Culture Tripping

Travel Trends
The latest issue of T Magazine pegs “culture tripping” as the new trend in travel. The story goes that those who can still afford to travel are attempting to assuage their guilt by infusing their odysseys with cultural significance. Pinacoteca Founder Anna Di Stasi tells the magazine, “It’s not about luxury anymore. Everything is cyclical, and slowly we’ll come back to the point of acceptance of the ‘L word,’ but for now it’s about the experience you take away with you.” Culture tripping reportedly is popular with families especially, who want their children to gain “enlightening experiences.” Before you write off culture tripping as just another bourgeois exercise, however, be aware that it’s not just about immodest guilt. For some people, culture tripping is more about “shaking things up” and…
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Hotels Retool In-Room Dining

Hotel Trends
Room service, or in-room dining as it is now often called, is being retooled at many hotels as a way to cut costs while struggling with lessened demand for rooms and decreased travel. In-room dining has never been profitable for hotels, even prior to the recession, but has always been de rigueur for hotels of a certain stature, Joseph McInerney, president and chief executive of American Hotel and Lodging Association, told The New York Times. Brad Barnes, founder of restaurant consulting firm GigaChef, added that the service enhances the welcoming feel of a hotel, which in turn bolsters customer loyalty and the overall perception of the establishment. So how do hotels trim their in-room dining offerings without axing the service altogether? According to the Times, some are focusing more on…
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Dining among the Trees

Australia & New Zealand
If you're claustrophobic, or dining with the fishes just isn't your thing, consider the Yellow Treehouse, a New Zealand-based exercise in both marketing and sustainability that sits 30 feet above ground amidst a private redwood forest. The large, onion-shaped restaurant was conceived as an ad campaign for directory-focused company Yellow and was built using only resources found in the company's directories. With its slatted, tree-clinging structure, the restaurant is meant to resemble nature and, fittingly, was constructed using redwood from the surrounding forest, as well as sustainably grown pine and poplar. The bad news (or good news, if you're acrophobic) is that the Yellow Treehouse was open for business for only a few months. However, in the future it may become available for rent for weddings and parties.
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Visiting America’s Most Endangered Places

Featured
Here's an avant-garde idea for a vacation: travel the National Trust for Historic Preservation's list of the "11 Most Endangered Historic Places." According to The New York Times, it takes more than perilous looks to make the list. Instead, "the trust selects what it considers important examples of the nation’s architectural, cultural and natural heritage that are at risk of being destroyed or irreparably damaged," Robin Pogrebin writes. This year's list includes a special emphasis on the threat to Modernist buildings. In alphabetical order, this year's most endangered historic places are: Ames Shovel Shops, Easton, MA Cast-Iron Architecture of Galveston, TX Century Plaza Hotel, Los Angeles, CA Dorchester Academy, Midway, GA Human Services Center, Yankton, SD Lāna‘i City, HI The Manhattan Project’s Enola Gay Hangar, Wendover Airfield, UT Memorial Bridge,…
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Hot Spots: Dublin, Ireland

Hot Spots, Ireland
There’s more than just a robust literary underpinning to Dublin, Ireland, although the city’s history of letters is unavoidable. The erstwhile hometown to James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett, Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, J.M. Synge, W.B. Yeats, and many other major writers brims with a youthful vim (an estimated 50% or more of the city’s denizens are less than 25 years of age) that belies the solid architectural appearance. Neatly bisected by the River Liffey, Dublin offers ample sightseeing opportunity via foot. For the traveler on a tight budget, Dublin’s many free attractions leave extra funds for a pint or five after a long day of tourism, but for those with a little extra gravy, the Dublin Pass widens the range of attractions while keeping funds in check. What…
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Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?

Travel Tips
That's the dilemma facing travelers who are trying to decide whether to book flights now, while prices are low, or wait until later in the summer travel season when fares may decrease further.  The New York Times reports, "In recent weeks, travelers have been able to find nonstop round-trip flights, including taxes and fees, for $477 from Chicago to Madrid for travel in April, $312 from Newark, N.J., to Dublin in May, and $482 from Washington to London in early June." Sounds great, right? But what if ticket prices can still go lower, just like the housing market? And what if they don't? Will travelers ruin their plans by playing wait-and-see? The old "book early for the best price" rule is no longer applicable, it seems. The answer, of course,…
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United Airlines’ Controversial New Policy

Featured
Last week, United Airlines introduced a controversial new policy that requires passengers who need more than one seat-belt extender and who cannot put their seat's armrests down when seated to purchase an extra seat. If no empty seat is available on the flight, the passenger must wait for the next flight or forgo his or her travel plans with United. While United is not the only airline to enforce such a policy, it has come under fire from the Association for Airline Passenger Rights (AAPR) for shelving its customer service standards in favor of profit and irresponsibly packing in passengers in coach too tightly. Could the new rule do further damage to the flagging airline industry? A 2008 survey showed that airline customer satisfaction had reached its lowest level since…
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La Parisian Vita, Courtesy of Doitinparis.com

France
For anyone who cut her hair into a semi-sloppy bob after seeing Amelie or wished Carrie would just stay in Paris with The Russian forever, a new site called Do it in Paris is just what the doctor ordered. Featuring Parisian fashion, tres chic Paris addresses, French recipes, and tips on what to see and where to eat, the site is a comprehensive guide for anyone planning a trip to Paris, as well as anyone who wants to take a mini-vacation in their head! Also handy is the Practical Guide, which provides information about landing in Paris, getting around the city, and daily life.  For a taste of the Parisian joie de vivre, visit www.doitinparis.com.
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Find Accommodations for Less with iStopOver

Travel Tips
Love to travel but have limited funds? What if you had a friend in every city whom you could stay with for much less than the cost of renting a hotel room? The answers to both questions are cropping up in the form of sites like iStopOver.com, which caters to frugal travelers looking for hotel alternatives. The concept is sort of like a Craigslist for accommodations. Hosts list their house/apartment and guests can search for available rooms in their destination city. Often, the accommodations rival that of hotels but are offered at a much lower rate, and some do not charge the costly cancellation fees associated with hotel reservations. The inevitable concern, of course, is whether the host will be some pervy neat-freak who has a conniption fit if you…
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Hot Spots: Adelaide, South Australia

Australia & New Zealand, Featured, Hot Spots
Flocked by parklands and vineyards and peppered with churches, Adelaide enjoys a slower pace of life than some of the other state capitals, calling up its German and English history (Adelaide is the only capital settled by English free settlers, though it was originally inhabited by the Kaurna people) while also edging towards a more cosmopolitan flair. Adelaide tends to get overshadowed by cities like Sydney and Melbourne, but it has many pleasures in store for lovers of wine, food, art, and coastal life. Adelaide, with a population of 1.1 million, claims the distinction of having more restaurants per person than any other city in the country, as well as the distinction of producing about half of all Australian wine. For the epicure or just the foodie, this is a…
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