Mark Orwoll shares travel websites and apps that will make it easier to book your next trip.
Backbid: Reverse hotel bids Post a reservation request (dates, location, number of stars) with maximum rate you're willing to pay. Hotels in that destination will bid for your business, presenting the lowest rates they can offer. Unlike other bidding sites, you know the specific hotel where you'll be staying using Backbid. When I tried it, I got my first reverse bid within two minutes at a savings of more than 10 percent of what I would have paid on the hotel's own website.
Tingo: Automated hotel rebooking at lower rates Book your hotel through Tingo and if the rates go down, Tingo automatically rebooks you at the lower rate. It's great for those travelers who know which hotel they want to stay at but are concerned whether they really got the "best" rate at time of booking. Tingo only rebooks if there are no rebooking or cancellation penalties and the price difference is refunded automatically to your credit card. All you have to do is enjoy your hotel stay.
If your 2013 resolution is to travel more, watch T+L's feature editor Nilou Motamed reveal the 13 places you have to see in 2013 on the TODAY show, from Puerto Rico and Uco Valley, Argentina, to Amsterdam and Charlevoix, Quebec. See the full list of the Hottest Travel Destinations of 2013 here.
As the holiday season comes to an end, seemingly countless numbers of travelers are making their ways home. But with ever-changing rules implemented by airlines, packing isn't as cut and dry as it once was. So this morning T+L Features Director Nilou Motamedstopped by the set of the Today Show to discuss some strategic tips to help make the process a lot smoother.
EX-PATS, the Reserve Channel’s new YouTube series, showcases people who've abandoned the home front to pursue their passions in a more exotic culture.
In this next episode of EX-PATS, host Savannah Jane Buffet takes a trip to Placencia, Belize to visit Pam and John Solomon. After living the fast life in New York City, the couple decided to resign to paradise, packing their love for food and drink, and opening RumFish y Vino restaurant in this Belizean fishing village.
Now parents, Pam and John are thrilled to be raising their daughter, Libby, in a country where farm- or sea-to-table is the only way to eat. Press play to catch the island breeze.
Maria Pedone is a digital editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.
Travel + Leisure's Sarah Spagnolo presents easy weekend getaways from San Francisco on the Weather Channel's Wake Up and Go.
1. EMERGING FOOD SCENE: Oakland, California
A now-thriving restaurant scene has put this East Bay City—just a 20-minute drive across the bridge from San Francisco—on the traveler’s map. WHERE TO STAY The Waterfront Hotel, a 143-room property right on the marina, with a heated pool, weekday wine and cheese hour, and a fireplace and balcony in every room. PRICE $149 a night. BOOK NOW
Travel + Leisure's Sarah Spagnolo presents easy weekend getaways from Cleveland on the Weather Channel's Wake Up and Go.
1. Geneva on the Lake, Ohio Ohio’s first summer resort, on sparkling Lake Erie, has both a state park (for hiking and bird-watching) as well as an undiscovered wine region. WHERE TO STAY Try the Lodge at Geneva on the Lake, a quaint cottage right on the water. The hotel’s wine shuttle brings guests to nearby vineyards. PRICE $139 a night. BOOK NOW
2. Laurel Highlands, Pennsylvania Want to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water? Head 3.5 hours southeast of Cleveland to Pennsylvania’s Allegheny Mountains. WHERE TO STAY The 1907 Summit Inn, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a charming spot with an expansive deck lined by rocking chairs. Besides being the closest inn to Falling Water, it also has a nine-hole golf course founded by Pete Dye’s father. PRICE From $120 a night. BOOK NOW
3. Cincinnati, Ohio Cincy is an emerging cultural destination, and two notable stops are the Contemporary Arts Center by Zaha Hadid and the new National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Up next: the soon-to-open 21C Museum Hotel, where works by contemporary artists will be on display. WHERE TO STAY Until 21C opens later this year, try the city’s grand Cincinnatian Hotel, complete with in-room fireplaces and soaking tubs and an afternoon tea service. PRICE $179 a night. BOOK NOW
For more easy escapes from major cities, sign up for our new Weekend Getaways newsletter here.
The Reserve Channel’s new series on YouTube, EX-PATS, is off to a great start. As the name suggests, the show profiles people who’ve traded in their lives in the mainland U.S. for a more fulfilling existence elsewhere—they’ve followed the road less traveled, found happiness, and want to share their stories.
Created in cooperation with Travel + Leisure, the third episode returns to St. John to meet a wooden boat builder from Vermont, Jamison Whitbek, whose love of the open water and island life inspired him, and his family, to move to St. John fulltime. Today, he owns and operates a sailing charter; his hand-crafted 55-foot catamaran, KEKOA, is staffed by women—and occasionally his three kids. Watch for a peek into a dreamy life that many think about, but only a few pursue.
T+L's Sarah Spagnolo presents easy weekend getaways from New York City on the Weather Channel's Wake Up and Go.
1. Litchfield County, Connecticut This posh enclave is where many of Manhattan’s boldfaced names go to escape the bustle of the city. WHERE TO STAY Falls Village Inn for bright interiors by designer Bunny Williams. Ask for the Green Room: it’s the only guestroom with a bathtub. PRICE $199 a night. BOOK NOW
Need some travel inspiration? (Personally, my desire to explore and experience new places and cultures is an intrinsic part of me, and I’m sure the same can be said of all of my colleagues, but a little motivation never hurt anyone.) That aside, this video that NASA recently released, taken from International Space Station, shows the world from high above, at nighttime, and is absolutely mesmerizing and beautiful. From the radiating light of bustling cities, to flashes of lightning, to the brilliant aurora borealis, it’s a reminder of just how beautiful this planet truly is. And it’s more than enough to make even the biggest homebody want to get out and explore it.
Joshua Pramis is the social media editor at Travel + Leisure and resident tech aficionado. Follow him on Twitter: @joshuapramis.