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sep 30 2014

How U.S. Theme Parks Are Gearing Up For Halloween

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando

Are you brave enough to visit Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando?

(Courtesy 3viajeros/Flickr)

It's never too early to start planning for Halloween. We've got the inside scoop on Halloween events happening this year at Universal Studios, Busch Gardens, SeaWorld, and Six Flags theme parks.

HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS AT UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

In addition to annually updated shows like Bill & Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure, this year the parks are home to The Walking Dead: End of the Line, a terrifying attraction inspired by season four of the hit zombie t.v. show, The Walking Dead. Additional creepy maze attractions at Universal Studios Hollywood include Dracula Untold: Reign of Blood, From Dusk Til Dawn, An American Werewolf in London, Face Off: In the Flesh, Clowns 3D, and a new maze based on Alien vs. Predator. Still not scared? Try the Terror Tram: Invaded By The Walking Dead, a terrifying tram ride through Universal's Walker-infested Backlot. Universal Orlando will feature many of the same attractions (in haunted house form rather than being giant mazes) as well as haunted houses like Michael Myers' Halloween, Dollhouse of the Damned, Maskerade Unstitched, Roanoke: Cannibal Colony, Bayou of Blood, and The Purge: Anarchy, based on the new Universal film. This year the park celebrates The Rocky Horror Picture Show with live tribute performances and audience participation shows nightly.

Universal Studios Hollywood

sep 29 2014

Surprise! These Are the World's Top Honeymoon Destinations!

(Courtesy Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Bureau)

Wedding "party," indeed! Vegas, baby, Vegas is the most popular spot in the world to honeymoon, according to new data from Facebook—but it's not U.S. residents who are making it No. 1. International newlyweds most want to live it up in Sin City. That factoid and others were uncovered after the latest round of stat-crunching from the Facebook Data Team.

sep 25 2014

5 "Boomtowns" You MUST Visit ASAP!

Hong Kong is the fastest-growing city in the world, according to Bloomberg.

(Courtesy BereniceKimura/myBudgetTravel)

It's crunch time! Bloomberg recently released its list of cities around the globe that will be the most crowded in the year 2025. The top five? Hong Kong; Salvador, Brazil; Mexico City; São Paulo; and Singapore. All the more reason not to put off traveling to these destinations any longer! Bump them up on your bucket list instead, using some of our favorite travel tips for each town as guidance:

sep 24 2014

Get Ready for Free Museum Day!

Children's Museum of Manhattan

Visit the Children's Museum of Manhattan and more than 1,400 museums for free on Sept. 27th.

(Courtesy WalkingGeek/Flickr)

Museums all over the country will open their doors for free on Saturday, Sept. 27th, thanks to Smithsonian Magazine's tenth annual Museum Day Live!

While Washington, D.C.'s Smithsonian museums are always open to the public, more than 1,400 other museums and cultural institutions around the country are following their lead, at least for one day. Here in New York, there are so many museums to choose from and admission can really add up. Choose from museums like the Children's Museum of Manhattan (normally $11 per person), the Fraunces Tavern Museum (normally $7 per person), The Museum of Arts and Design (normally $16 per person), and The Jewish Museum (normally $15 per person), among hundreds of others around the country.

sep 23 2014

In Paris, Selfies Are IN, Love Locks Are OUT

(Dan Breckwoldt / Dreamstime.com)

It's a romantic idea in theory, but a destructive one in practice: For years, couples visiting Paris have affixed padlocks to the city's Pont des Arts bridge and thrown the keys into the Seine as a symbol of their everlasting love. Awww. But what happens after the lovers stroll off the bridge hand in hand is far from sweet: The thousands of "love locks" hooked onto the river's bridges cause the railings to sag, forcing the city to replace the panels, only to have them fill up with locks again.

sep 22 2014

Coast to Coast for Under $350? Yes, You CAN!

(Carlosphotos / Dreamstime.com)

A friend of ours Facebooked us the other day with a BT Challenge: "How can I find a round-trip flight from NYC to San Francisco in October for less than $350?"

We turned to seasoned travel expert John DiScala, better known in the blogosphere as Johnny Jet. He has good news for our friend—and for you: "It's not easy these days," he says. "But it's not impossible."

sep 19 2014

Ahoy Matey! Check Out These Pirate Museums

Pirates of Nassau Museum

Visit the Pirates of Nassau Museum next time you travel to New Providence Island in the Bahamas.

(Courtesy Kaeli Conforti)

Have you ever wondered what it was like to sail the seven seas, pillage for gold doublooms and hunt for buried treasure? Pirate lore has captured the imagination of both children and adults for centuries, often a popular subject of literature and film. A number of pirate museums along the east coast of the United States—as well as one in the Bahamas—offer guests a rare opportunity to see the treasures left behind by the real pirates of the Caribbean. Just in time for International Talk Like A Pirate Day (Sept. 19th!), here are three of our favorite pirate museums.

sep 17 2014

Frozen Attraction Coming to Walt Disney World!

(Walt Disney Pictures)

If you've got young daughters, granddaughters, or nieces in your life, it's a safe bet that you can sing at least one verse of "Let It Go," the super-catchy hit song written by Robert Lopez and Kristen Lopez-Anderson for the smash Walt Disney Pictures animated musical Frozen. "Let It Go" is sung by the film's troubled young queen, Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel), who is wrestling with how to come to terms with her awesome, but frightening magical powers. The song has become something of an anthem for young girls (including my seven-year-old!) wrestling with their own awesome powers.

sep 17 2014

5 Reasons Why the New Apple Watch May Be Your Travel BFF

(Apple)

Shelling out $350-plus for an Apple Watch is a big decision, but it might be easier to make when you factor in all the nifty new functions that are especially useful for frequent travelers. The newfangled ticker, available in 2015, may not be able to magically teleport you to Sydney in the blink of an eye, sci-fi style (don't we wish), but it could streamline several practical facets of your vacation.

1. Keyless hotel room entry (and more): A Starwood Hotels app on the Apple Watch will enable you to simply wave your wrist in front of your door to unlock your room. Yep, no searching for the plastic keycard that's probably resting soundly at the bottom of your beach bag, under your sunscreen, your e-reader, a beach hat, and a few seashells. Starwood owns Sheraton, Westin, and St. Regis, but the feature will be rolled out first in spring 2015 at the company's W Hotels.

And that's not all Starwood wants Apple Watch to do. It hopes to introduce features ranging from instant check-in the second you walk into a hotel's lobby (no front-desk pit stop required), push notifications about transportation options from the airport, and stored preferences that enable your favorite cocktail to be delivered to you when you sit down at the bar, without uttering a word to the barkeep. Will the Starwood app also tuck us in at night? We're sure that's in the planning stages too.

2. Auto time zone adjustment: Chicago to Barcelona? Manitoba to Venezuela? No worries. Apple Watch automatically switches to the time zone you're in, eliminating that awkward moment spent fiddling with your watch's crown after the plane lands—or after you missed your dinner reservation. Ditto with Daylight Savings Time. Even a Rolex doesn't do that.

3. Maps: Instead of winding through Parisian streets at night while staring down at your phone trying to figure out how to get back to your hotel (not that, ahem, we've ever done that), you can rely on the vibrations Apple Watch sends to your wrist to subtly tell you which way to turn to reach your destination. That's especially handy in an unfamiliar city when you want to avoid looking like a tourist, whether for safety or vanity reasons.

4. Apple Pay: Double-click a button on the side of Apple Watch, hold it up next to a merchant's payment reader, and boom—you've just paid for a souvenir mouse mug at Walt Disney World in Florida without even touching your wallet. So far, Apple Pay will only be available at major chains (like Sephora and Walgreens) in the U.S. only, but depending on whether this thing takes off, you could be paying for a pork schnitzel in Germany with your timepiece in the near future. That's good for travelers who are nervous about carrying cash or too many credit cards in foreign cities. Even if a thief lifts your Apple Watch, the device senses that no one is wearing it and goes into lockdown mode until a code is entered to activate Apple Pay again.

5. All-day fitness tracker: When you're eating your way through Rome or ordering your third piña colada of the day at an all-inclusive, your usual gym routine can go by the wayside. Enter the Apple Watch's Activity app, including an accelerometer to track your body's movements, plus a sensor that measures intensity via your heart rate. Combine those functions with the GPS and Wi-Fi in your phone that record the distance you've trekked, and Apple Watch spits all that data out in handy little charts, including how many calories you've burned. If you see that you've barely moved that day, save for a leisurely stroll to your beachside lounger, you'll know to schedule a salsa dancing class that evening or a hike the next day. There's a reminder to stand up for at least a minute every hour too - handy for long flights. Conversely, if you're actively pounding the pavement to see a new city's sights, it'll be fun to gauge how much your activity has increased from the norm. Which means more ricotta cannoli for you, guilt-free.

sep 16 2014

Save Money on Off-Broadway Shows This Fall

Blue Man Group

See the Blue Man Group perform for less during Off Broadway Week in NYC Sept. 29 thru Oct. 12.

(Courtesy pixajen/Flickr)

You can save big on buzz-worthy Off-Broadway shows thanks to two-for-one ticket deals on select shows now thru Oct. 12th. Tickets go on sale today at 11 a.m. for shows during Off-Broadway Week Sept. 29th thru Oct. 12th.

Show options this year include Avenue Q (note: this show may feature puppets, but I assure you, it's NOT for youngsters), National Lampoon Presents Bayside! The Musical!—a musical Saved By The Bell parody—and 50 Shades! The Musical, based on the popular series by E.L. James. Additional offerings include Aire Frío, Barceló con Hielo, Black Angels Over Tuskegee, Bedbugs, Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, En el Tiempo de las Mariposas, Found, Fuerza Bruta: Wayra, Gazillion Bubble Show!, Going Once Laughing Twice!, Here Lies Love, Hereafter Musical, iLuminate, Indian Ink, La Nena Se Casa, La Zapatera Prodigiosa, Lennon: Through A Glass Onion, Lips Together Teeth Apart, Money Grubbin' Whores, My Big Gay Italian Wedding, My Big Gay Italian Funeral, Olympics ÜberAlles, Pageant: The Musical, Perfect Crime, Scenes from a Marriage, Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man, Shut Up Sit Down & Eat, Sistas: The Musical, Sleepy Hallow The Musical, Stalking the Bogeyman, Tail! Spin!, The Awesome 80s Prom, The Belle of Amherst, The Bullpen, The Fatal Weakness, Harlem Rens, The Jackie Mason Musical, The Killing of Sister George, The Money Shot, They Call Me Q, When January Feels Like Summer, and While I Yet Live.

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