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It's that time of the year again, the time when the year just plain ends. Alas, we can't just let 2013 go that easily, especially since travelers spent it both up in the air and up in arms over a crazy range of topics. Needless to say, we're ready to get going into 2014, but first we're taking a brief look back at the best of 2013 with the Jaunted Travel Awards,or as we fondly refer to themThe Jauntys.
2013 saw the rise of important new routes for three world cities in particular: Chengdu, China; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Seoul, South Korea. Just one can win for hosting the best new route of the year, however, and so we hope you packed plenty of 'Gangnam Style' for the launch of American Airlines' nonstop between Dallas-Fort Worth and Seoul-Incheon.
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This contest is the brainchild of the folks at Asiana Airlines and you can be entered with just a few clicks of the mouse.
First off, head to the airline's Facebook page and give it a big thumbs up/like it. Besides getting to enter the contest, you'll get all the news of events and promos, so it's kind of a win win.
Then post a comment on the "Best Getaways" post with your picks of the best cities in each of the five categories. Think of your favorite cities for shopping, relaxation, food & drink, people and nightlife and give your reasons for each. Don't worry if a South Korean city doesn't make the list; it's about having fun, getting creative and throwing your name in the hat.
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Recently there was some kind of survey, poll, or other question-asking thing that tried to assess what people truly want at the airport. The number one thing was movie theaters, as apparently this is the best darn way to kill time on a long layover or delay.
Well there’s no need to wait around for airports to build multiplexes, as there are already a couple so ahead of the curve that they've already got in-terminal theaters ready to help you pass your transit time.
It’s not surprising that Singapore's airport is fully equipped with the latest in amenities. After all, Changi is the place that actually has slides—yes, those kinds of slides—right in the middle of all the arrivals and departures. The Entertainment Deck is located on Level 3 of Terminal 2—next to the Sunflower Garden—and that’s where you’ll find the airport’s movie theater. Like they say, “its cozy seats and latest picture projection and sound technology is a sure hit for all movie lovers.”
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Let's play a game of what's hot and what's not. What's HOT is flying to the other side of the world to land at Incheon International Airport, visiting Seoul, South Korea, and eating and shopping yourself silly in the city. What's NOT is...well, not doing these things, since Seoul is absolutely one of the global capitals on the cusp of everything cool right now. So while we definitely recommend making your stay longer than five days to even begin to scratch the surface, at least these do-not-dos will help no matter the trip length.
So without further ado, here is the Jaunted guide of What Not To Do In Seoul: The Top 5 Tourist Mistakes.
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Hanging out in Amsterdam
A 6+ hour layover sure sounds like guaranteed misery, right? Wrong, if you're between flights at one of the several international airports that offer city tours for passengers in transit.
Some airports provide these tours absolutely free as a way to promote tourism, but all require that you clear immigration and customs in order to take them.
So before you settle down for a 10-hour boredfest on a bench near an airport Sbarro, try out one of the transit tours at these six airports:
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No Seoul/soul jokes this week, guys. We're just going to tell it like it is in celebration of American Airlines' new route to Seoul, South Korea, a city so hugely underrated and yet so majorly cool. It's a city that comes with the Jaunted seal of approval many times over and for the next several days we'll be explaining exactly why.
Bibimbap. Bulgogi. Tteokbokki. We're not going to sugarcoat things; Korean cuisine can be just as confusing as attempting to correctly pronouce the name of a dish. Now, that's no reason to spend every evening dining at Lotteria (Korea's version of McDonalds, complete with a ramen burger); in fact, all the etiquette and ingredients and ceremony of a hearty Korean meal means diving in head-first and, yes, tasting the kimchi.
For first timers to Seoul or those who need a refresher, we recommend joining an O'ngo Dining Tour. Depending on your tastes (literally), O'ngo will take you out for Korean BBQ, to nibble from street stall to street stall in bustling Myeongdong, orwhat we bookeddown the alleys and into the local favorites around Anguk after dark. This one tour gave us the confidence (and pronunciation help) to continue devouring only Korean cuisine for the next 7 nights of our stay. Best idea ever, really.
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No Seoul/jokes jokes this week, guys. We're just going to tell it like it is in celebration of American Airlines' new route to Seoul, South Korea, a city so hugely underrated and yet so majorly cool. It's a city that comes with the Jaunted seal of approval many times over and for the next several days we'll be explaining exactly why.
Instead of several boring paragraphs explaining our love for this mega metropolis, we're kicking off Seoul Week by just putting it all out there in visuals, or Vines.
Vine, a social video sharing app, is best deployed for capturing the tiniest moments in travel, those which would be easily lost in the static menagerie of Instagram. Below are six examples, all shot while we tooled around Seoul for 9 days of perfect late spring weather:
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If we were to tell you that American Airlines only just began flying to Seoul, you'd probably say "what, they weren't flying there already?!"
As crazy as it seems, it's the truth. Prior to May 9, any traveler wanting to fly American to Seoul would actually only get as far as Tokyo, where there'd be a connection to a Japan Airlines flight onward to Seoul-Incheon (ICN). Furthermore, this new route means some very nice competition for airlines to Korea and some fresh service enhancements from American (like the bibimbap!).
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At Seoul's Gyeongbokgung Palace
Forget "Gangnam Style" for a moment and consider what influence the tiny country of South Korea has on the planet. Own anything by Samsung or LG? Ever tried Taekwondo or tasted Red Mango yogurt? These are all Korean contributions to the world. Finally more airlines are figuring out that Seoul is awesome enough to warrant nonstop flightslike American Airlines' nonstop from Dallas-Ft. Worth starting tomorrow (May 9).
If you're not scared off by North Korea's threatsand you shouldn't be because everything is progressing normal as pie in South Koreaand you're hopping a flight to ICN soon, then there are a few steps you can take to prepare for a trip to Seoul:
· Register with the State Department's STEP Program
STEP, or "Smart Traveler Enrollment Program," used to by the less jazzy title of "State Department Travel Registration," but its function is still the sameto make the US embassies to which you're traveling aware of your presence. Should there be a weather disaster, civil unrest, or other emergency occurrence, the embassy will have your contact information and know that you're likely in need of assistance along with other American in the country. In times of peace and sunny weather, the program occasionally sends an email with the latest travel alert news on the destination.
We actually register with STEP for any trip we take lasting over one week, or to any country with even the least bit of weirdness.
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Kickin' back in Club World between London and Tokyo
When Psy's music video "Gangnam Style" went viral at the end of the summer, our first thought was "oh man, this is going to be awesome for Seoul tourism." Seriously. We're geeks about this stuff, okay? Anyway, it's holding true as British Airways just announced a huge fare sale with the headline "Get to Gangnam in Style."
Brilliant, BA. Our cursor is already hovering over the "purchase" button. What's even better are those sale ticket prices for the 9.5-hour flights:
London-LHR to Seoul-ICN* on a Boeing 777:
In Economy (World Traveller): £377/$600 roundtrip (45% off)
In Premium Economy (World Traveller Plus): £577/$918 roundtrip (40% off)
In Business (Club World): £777/$1235 roundtrip (70% off)
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The modern airport is for so much more than simply leaving a flight. These days, they features everything from excellent eateries to spas, and even a library in Amsterdam's case. Well, the SkyTeam alliance is fully aware that their member airlines fly to some of the coolest airports in the world, and they wanted to show off a bit with a video series of famous names showing around their favorite hubs.
Granted, we've already featured the Pam Ann-takes-LHR video, but up until today's web searching, we didn't know there were more to the series. Enjoy!
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If you’ve been paying attention to the comings and goings of the A380, you’d know that Korean Air recently got their very first big birds. The carrier is already shuttling happy passengers back and forth between New York-JFK and Seoul-Incheon International Airport, and there are plans to send similar planes further and farther.