Richard Phibbs
| Credit: Richard Phibbs

It’s that time of year again: the results of T+L’s 2008 World’s Best Awards survey are in. And once more, it’s clear that the readers of this magazine are the adventurous sort, voting a safari lodge in Africa, the capital city of Thailand, and the Galápagos Islands into the No. 1 slots. There is also an impressive supply of newcomers who have climbed to the top: with the exception of Africa and the Middle East’s five-time champion, Singita Sabi Sand & Kruger National Park, the best hotels in four regions are first-time winners, as is the highest-ranking domestic airline (welcome, Virgin America!). But T+L readers are hardly fickle. Silversea Cruises is back at No. 1 (for the sixth time) in the Small-Ship Cruise Lines category after a three-year hiatus, and the favorites among Large-Ship Cruise Lines, International Airlines, Tour Operators and Safari Outfitters, and Car-Rental Agencies have remained stunningly consistent.

Because it’s all about the mix, elsewhere this month we’ve balanced the timely and the timeless in destinations and travel ideas, from a cutting-edge European city to a New England summer stalwart. Who knows what future World’s Best winners lurk among them?Russian-born and American-bred writer Gary Shteyngart navel-gazes his way through Berlin as part of the non-Teutonic (and non-tall) invasion of this vital, reinvented metropolis. T+L deputy editor Laura Begley heads home to Mom and Dad and her childhood summer haunt, Cape Cod, to provide a knowing account of the precincts and pleasures of this 70-mile-long peninsula; there’s a lot to learn in order to distinguish Woods Hole from Wellfleet, and Yarmouthport from Harwichport (The Best of Cape Cod). Contributing editor Karrie Jacobs reports on the good news about the experience of air travel—yes, there is good news!—detailing the architecturally significant airports that might actually make boarding pleasurable (Futuristic Airport Terminals ). In addition, our entire Strategies section this month is designed to help you maximize your frequent-flier miles and ensure that you reap the benefits of the time you spend in the air. And as all eyes turn to the Summer Olympics in Beijing, we bring you our nine-page editorial section China Travel Made Easy, offering insider tips on everything from itineraries and sights to hotels, food, and shopping.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been reading and hearing a lot about “staycations,” opportunities to recharge your batteries by staying close to home. I must admit that there’s a lot I don’t get to do within my home city of New York, so the idea does have its appeal. However, if you’re travel-obsessed like me—and most certainly the readers of this magazine are—I would bet that a good share of such a break would be devoted to R&D: researching and developing an itinerary for whatever corner of the planet you set your sights—and GPS—on next.