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Instagram Releases The Most Photographed Places Around the World

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Instagram has released their latest list of the most-Instagrammed locations for 2013. In our October issue, we mentioned the top nine around the world, with Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport beating out spots like Disneyland Park in Anaheim, CA, and Times Square in New York City for the #1 spot. Since then, the busy Thai airport has plummeted to #9, with another Bangkok location, the Siam Paragon shopping mall (pictured), taking its place. Other additions to the list include the Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas, Disney World in Florida, and New York’s Central Park. Which of these top ten spots can you check off?

1. Siam Paragon shopping mall, Bangkok, Thailand

2. Times Square, New York

3. Disneyland, California

4. Bellagio Fountains, Las Vegas

5. Disney World Florida

6. Staples Center, Los Angeles

7. Central Park, New York

8. Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles

9. Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), Bangkok, Thailand

10. The High Line, New York

Check out the best Instagram photos of the year from our T+L community here.

Maria PedoneMaria Pedone is on the digital team at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.

Photo courtesy of @2grace02

What Should You Wear On a Plane?

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When it comes to picking the right travel clothes, it's all about fabric, fit, and comfort. Here's a look at what to wear on your next flight.

Mimi LombardoMimi Lombardo is the fashion director at Travel + Leisure. Have a packing dilemma? Need some tips and remedies? Send your questions to tripdoctor@timeinc.com. Follow @tltripdoctor on Twitter.

Packing Tips & Secrets Straight From Our Experts

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How do you travel better? We asked a team of experts in a recent Twitter Chat for their rules of the road, which we’re revealing in a series of blog posts. With the holiday season upon us, we asked for packing tips and tricks.

Co-Founder of Skift.com, Jason Clampet (@jasonclampet) mails the big-ticket items ahead, so that he can pack (and bring) as little as possible.

Weather Channel Meteorologist, Maria LaRosa (@TWCMariaLaRosa), lays dresses and pants across the bottom of a suitcase to create a lining. She then fills in the contents of the suitcase with other items and folds the “lining” over the packed goods. She swears—no wrinkles! Sounds to us like enough of a reason to try this trick on our next getaway.

Our T+L Trip Doctor (@TLTripDoctor) brings contact lens cases for small amounts of toiletries like eye makeup remover and moisturizer. She’s the Trip Doctor for a reason!

Follow @travlandleisure on Twitter and #TL_Chat for more expert tips.

Gabrielle Blitz is associate social media editor at Travel + Leisure

How to Survive a Flight Delay

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How do you travel better? We asked a team of experts in a recent Twitter Chat for their rules of the road, which we’re revealing in a series of blog posts. With Christmas being one of the biggest travel days of the year, we wanted to know the first thing our panel does when their flight’s delayed (don’t worry, it won’t happen to you!).

Our T+L Trip Doctor (@TLTripDoctor) is responsible by checking @flightstats to see options for getting on another flight. Well, at least she starts out that way…

In the end, there was an overwhelming consensus by our panelists and chat participants. Digital and Brand Marketer, Melanie Nayer (@chic_travel) and T+L’s Rich Beattie (@richbeattie), Brooke Porter (@brookeporter1), Peter Frank (@pfrank1), and Shane Mitchell (@shanegoesforth) all seem to agree—find the nearest bar!

Follow @travlandleisure on Twitter and #TL_Chat for more expert tips.

Gabrielle Blitz is associate social media editor at Travel + Leisure

Our Airport Survival Kit For Holiday Travel

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How do you travel better? We asked a team of experts in a recent Twitter Chat for their rules of the road, which we’re revealing in a series of blog posts.

With the holiday season upon us, we asked our panel what’s in their airport survival kit. Designer, Chris Benz (@cmbenz), plans ahead and brings adapters and chargers for the airport and a large bottle of water for the in-flight experience. SeatGuru (@SeatGuru) said hand sanitizer is a necessity for the airport, if you want to stay fresh.

Follow @travlandleisure on Twitter and #TL_Chat for more expert tips.

Gabrielle Blitz is associate social media editor at Travel + Leisure

Bullet Train Cuts Travel Time in Half From Paris to Barcelona

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Traveling around Europe just got faster with the new TGV train linking France and Spain. On Sunday, the inaugural journey began at 7:15 a.m. in Paris, and concluded less than six and a half hours later in Barcelona. That’s less than half the time it used to take.

The new line—which gives the world's fastest trains a run for their money—also links Lyon, Marseille, and Toulouse, and was celebrated by both French president Francois Hollande and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy as a milestone for international relations between the two countries.

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Instagram Hits The Wall at Portland's Hotel Lucia

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This month, a wall in the lobby of Portland’s Hotel Lucia became the first permanent installation of futuristic social art. 

Like a scene from The Outer Limits, Intel Labs has installed a massive projector with custom software and optical sensors to display images from Instagram tagged #LuciaWallPDX. Everyone, from hotel guests to local Portlanders, is encouraged to drop in and swipe through the pictures, arranged as an enormous and ever-changing collage.

The immersive experience blends science fiction, social media, and art, allowing users to tag their emotional response and complete the circle by uploading their own photos to the wall.  

Melanie Lieberman is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of Hotel Lucia

American Airlines' Plusgrade Program Lets Fliers Bid on Upgrades

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How much would you pay to upgrade on your next flight? That’s what American Airlines is finding out, now that they’ve launched their trial Plusgrade program.

“It’s simple,” their website promises. Six days before a flight, travelers can check to see if an upgrade is available (currently, the test is only being conducted in 13 undisclosed markets). If there’s a seat open in the next-highest class, flyers are encouraged to name their price.

If accepted, the upgrade will include priority check-in, boarding, and baggage, and complimentary food and beverage service.

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JetBlue’s Super Fast Wi-Fi Arrives at Last… For Free!

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Finally, the day that travel-obsessives have been waiting for is here: JetBlue’s new in-flight Wi-Fi, the product of endless chatter for months on end, is finally making its debut. This morning, a beta version of Fly-Fi (Simply Surf, as they’re calling it) was made available on three inaugural flights, indicating a slow launch for the carrier.

Morgan Johnston, JetBlue’s manager of corporate communication, says the airline will be bringing connectivity to five planes by end of year, and 140 more throughout 2014. But compensating for the slow roll out is super-fast service, thanks to a unique high-speed satellite that’s unrivalled among other airlines. An extra perk? Simply Surf will be free for the first six months, with an intention to make complimentary service available on an ongoing basis.

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Instagram Direct Launches For Private Sharing

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Today, at a rare NYC-based launch event, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom announced a new feature called Instagram Direct. Like your private inbox on Twitter or Facebook, it’s a new way to share privately—either with one individual or a group of up to 15 friends. Simply select who you want to share your photo with, and each person’s avatar shows up in a bubble underneath your caption—first grayed out, then in color with a green check mark once they’ve seen your message.

The new feature (available today on mobile) comes in response to the tendency of self-curating—not wanting to overwhelm your feed with every single shot of your Roman holiday, for instance—and the need to share those extra images with the people who really do want to see them. (Named groups, such as “Family” or “Foodie Friends” will follow in the 2.0 version of Direct, making it easier to share that ump-teenth baguette and cheese shot in Paris without annoying your best carb-avoiding gal pal.) So why have the launch in New York? Said Systrom: “Instagram isn’t just about Silicon Valley. Instagram is all about sharing moments all around the world.” We couldn't have put it better ourselves.

Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.

Photo courtesy of Maria Pedone

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