United States Travel Guide

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Easy Day Trips from Seattle: The Tropical Butterfly Garden

September 25, 2014 at 12:04 PM | by | Comments (0)

Seattleites love spending time outside. This week, contributor Lilit Marcus shows how even the most indoorsy city kid can enjoy Seattle's outdoor gems without having to go on the advanced hike.

In Seattle, it’s always a good idea to have a rainy-day backup plan. If you want to see some nature but the weather’s not cooperating, stop by the Pacific Science Center and head straight for the Tropical Butterfly Garden. This name is no joke; even if it’s 20 degrees outside, it’ll be nice and balmy in the butterfly garden, since many of the species come from warm climates.

The Science Center is more expensive than some other Seattle museums—$19.50 for an adult ticket—so if you have a moldy student ID around somewhere now’s the time to grab it. For obvious reasons, there will also be lots of kids around, so try to survey the scene when you arrive and check out other exhibits if the butterfly garden is filled up with a school group. Our favorite way to kill time is to check out some of the undersea creatures in the fake tidal pool, even though the cold water starts to get to you after a while.

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Flight Attendants Absolutely Do Not Want In-Flight Cell Phone Use Legalized

September 25, 2014 at 9:29 AM | by | Comments (0)

Less than a year ago, the FCC floated the idea of allowing cell phone use in-flight, a movement that most, including us, think would be a terrible, terrible decision. This week, the Association of Flight Attendants, an organization that represents about 60,000 flight attendants working across 19 carriers, confirmed that it too thinks allowing passengers to use cell phones in midair would be absolutely insane.

Here's an update on the situation: This week, a bipartisan group of 77 House Representatives sent a letter to the Department of Transportation, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Communications Commission that expressed their concerns over the safety and security issues in-flight cell phone use would bring up.

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Photos: Checking Out the Third and Final Section of NYC's High Line Park

September 24, 2014 at 11:32 AM | by | Comments (0)

Officially called the High Line at the Rail Yards, this third and final section of the monumentally popular elevated park on Manhattan's west side opened to the public last Sunday, September 21st. Picking up from where Phase Two (opened in 2011) ended at 30th St., this newest portion snakes around the rail yard towards the Hudson River, before descending to a wheelchair-friendly entrance at street level on 34th St.

Visible from certain parts is the West 30th Street Heliport, which makes it a wonderful spot to camp out and watch the tourist and corporate helicopters take off and land.

A notable addition to this section would be the children’s play area called Pershing Square Beams, constructed around existing beams then covered in soft rubber. Kids can climb through openings and even pop their heads up in the garden via a short tunnel.

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Not Sure What's Rocking the Treetops? A Shazam for Birdcalls Can Help

September 24, 2014 at 10:33 AM | by | Comments (0)

By now, we’re sure most of you are familiar with Shazam, the smartphone app that can listen to and identify a song by artist and title. The audio recognition technology is absolutely amazing, helping us name that tune whether it's playing at a bar, in a hotel lobby, or during the climax of a movie.

The concept might seem most useful for the partying and nightlife crowds, but as fate would have it, the technology has slowly been making its presence felt in one of the travel industry’s most quiet, observant segments: Bird watching. Outdoor enthusiasts have harnessed the power of audio recognition software to begin creating apps that identify animal calls, specifically birds, in the same way that Shazam recognizes a song.

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How Virgin America Aided the Post-Hurricane Evacuation from Cabo San Lucas

September 23, 2014 at 4:38 PM | by | Comments (0)

In the days following last week's category 3 Hurricane Odile and the destruction of Mexico's Baja Peninsula, both military and commercial jets mustered and pooled resources to rescue a thousands of stranded and weary travelers. Among the airlines to provide free relief flights were United, American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Delta, Southwest, and Virgin America.

The September 18 relief flight by Virgin America transported pallets stacked with water and food to Cabo and brought back a planeful of trapped tourists. Flying nonstop from Los Cabos to San Francisco, they fared far better than those who ended up with transport only as far as Tijuana. Virgin America has been one of the greatest champions of Cabo travel in the few years since they began flying to SJD, in the winter of 2010.

The plane to fly the mission was N855VA, named "screw it, let's do it" after one of Richard Branson's books. The lucky passengers who made it onboard surely echoed the sentiment, after queuing down airport roads for hours in the sun, waiting for a flight any flight to get them out of there.

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Race to Escape a City Overrun with Zombies During Nevada's Redrun II

September 23, 2014 at 2:27 PM | by | Comments (0)

If Zombiegeddon were upon us, would you rather be among the hordes of zombies, the living insane, or those running for their lives? The Redrun II – A Zombie Sequel lets you decide exactly where you think you'd belong.

The second annual horror run will take place in Virginia City, Nevada, thought to be one of the most haunted cities in America.

During the event, zombies will chase runners through Virginia City's train tunnels, haunted buildings, the Comstock Gold Mill, train graveyard and more. The total course covers six miles including six dead zones and six obstacles where runners will have to work together to survive.

Runners can regroup along the way at Revive Stations where there will be plenty of beer, water and, most importantly, safety.

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Easy Day Trips from Seattle: The Woodland Park Rose Garden

September 23, 2014 at 12:51 PM | by | Comments (0)

Seattleites love spending time outside. This week, contributor Lilit Marcus shows how even the most indoorsy city kid can enjoy Seattle's outdoor gems without having to go on the advanced hike.

One of the best things about visiting Seattle is how much nature you can enjoy without ever leaving the city limits. There is, for example, the Woodland Park Rose Garden, located across the street from the entrance to the Woodland Hill Zoo. This lush location in the Green Lake or Wallingford neighborhoods (it depends who you ask) is completely free to the public and open from 7 AM until dusk every day, year round, rain or shine.

For an hour or half the day, the Rose Garden is an ideal spot for quiet time, reading, meeting up with friends, or just enjoying a nice day outside. There's also the added bonus of being among the first to spot new rose hybrids before they become publicly available, as the Woodland Park Rose Garden is one of the few certified Rose Test Gardens in the USA.

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Inside the New Oneworld International Business Lounge at LAX

September 23, 2014 at 9:09 AM | by | Comments (0)

Freshly opened back in June, the new International Business Lounge within the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) at Los Angeles International Airport is the result of a combined effort from Oneworld alliance partners Qantas, British Airways, and Cathay Pacific. Located on level 5, it can accommodate up to 400 people and is open from 6 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Earlier this month, we swung through to take a look around during an 8-hour layover from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.

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What Does the 'Rougarou' Name of Cedar Point's Next Coaster Mean?

September 22, 2014 at 1:40 PM | by | Comments (0)

Cedar Point's record-breaking Mantis roller coaster may still have a little more than two weeks yet to live, but already the paint cans are open and hype machine on high for the ride's transformation to "Rougarou."

Losing its primary colors in favor of a fiery orange, Mantis ends its run on October 19 and will lose the stand-up style trains to become a sit-down "floorless" coaster named for a fictional monster. Or maybe it's not so fictional?

According to BigFootEvidence.com (hmm), a "Rougarou" is something not very nice:

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Easy Day Trips from Seattle: A Total Beginner's Guide to Olympic National Park

September 22, 2014 at 10:33 AM | by | Comments (0)

Seattleites love spending time outside. This week, contributor Lilit Marcus shows how even the most indoorsy city kid can enjoy Seattle's outdoor gems without having to go on the advanced hike.

Olympic National Park is also a UNESCO World Heritage site, which makes it an ideal spot for people crossing either national parks or UNESCO sites off of their to-do lists. Its size and distance from Seattle will make it just about impossible to visit without a car, so your best bet is to join up with a tour group.

The excellent but somewhat pricey Seattle-based EverGreenEscapes Tours (which I booked through Viator for $250 pp) will be happy to take you out for the day, an option which will free you from dealing with the logistics.

The adventure begins with a trip on the Bainbridge Island ferry, then a drive through Port Angeles to the park, with an arrival at the iconic Hurricane Ridge.

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Why Pittsburgh Airport Hopes You Packed a Bow and Arrow

September 19, 2014 at 6:52 AM | by | Comments (0)

We’re not saying hunting is cool and we’re not saying that it’s not, but we are passing along new about the rare opportunity to do it at the airport. The Pittsburgh International Airport is looking to control the wildlife in and around the airport grounds, and they’re holding a little bit of a lottery to offer up the chance to thin the population.

It’s not really at the airport in the traditional sense, but it is on land owned by the count airport authority. It’s archery only, and this year things will be limited to less than 1,000 acres or so. They’ve done this in the past as well, but this year due to development and other airport awesomeness—there's less land available, and we guess that's good for the deer!

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'Twilight' Actor Jackson Rathbone Describes Horrifying Emergency Landing

September 18, 2014 at 2:19 PM | by | Comments (0)

Twilight star Jackson Rathbone's JetBlue flight to Austin made an emergency landing this afternoon and he's been recounting the entire experience on Twitter.

Rathbone's first tweet, posted around 12:50 PM EST, simply read, "Thank you Jesus and the pilot of this plane."

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