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Share travel news you like with the world

By Thomas Berger
October 3, 2012

This Just In, as you know, is a great source for travel news. But perhaps you've read all of our recent posts and still have some time to kill. What to do?

You could check out Travel Off the Cuff, a travel-news aggregator. It relies on its users to link to the news they find interesting—recent entries include an ABCNews.com story called "End of the Tourism Boom" and Vagabondish's guide to better travel writing. Adding stories is easy. Click "Submit News" and paste in the URL and story title. Even easier: The box labeled "First Class Submit" has a button called "Share on Travel Off the Cuff" that you can add to your browser's bookmarks bar; when you're on another site, like BudgetTravel.com, and come across an interesting story, just press the button to send the story to Travel Off the Cuff.

Users can also comment on stories and can "Upgrade" stories that they like; items that get upgraded become "Top News," so you'll find out if others like the articles you post. The site's founder, Mark Wolinski, expects the upgrading to be more useful as the site gets more traffic and more people indicate which stories they like.

Wolinski wrote in his first blog post that the site will be "about what you do when you get there," and his goal is to build a database of cultural events around the world. These would range from big events like Munich's Oktoberfest to the smaller ones featured in our own "Wacky Festivals." As with the Travel News section, this would allow input from users, so if you lived in a small town in Scotland, for example, you would be able to add a local event; people planning to travel to Edinburgh might decide they'd have more fun in your town.

Check it out. And if you like site, help get it going by adding the stories you like from around the Intertubes.

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A few good links: Finding serenity at the airport

A few travel stories that caught my eye this past week: Airport Havens A website for finding the quiet spots at O'Hare and so many other stressful airports. [via Chicago Tribune] Debunking Thanksgiving myths at Plimoth Plantation A serious lack of pie is just the start of it. [CNN] Gucci frames for $20? Try Shanghai market "It's a shame the market's so hard to find, because it's a Four Eyes' dream." [Los Angeles Times] Google Maps Translate Reviews Suddenly that primo cafe is just a little easier to find… [Google Maps Mania] Across France, Café Owners Are Suffering …unless it's closed already (blame the smoking ban). [New York Times]

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Australia.com relaunches with fresh tourism info just in time for new Nicole Kidman flick

Tourist officials in Australia couldn't have better timing. They've relaunched Australia.com, their trip-planning website, on the same week that Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman light up the screen in the movie Australia, putting the country back on the minds of many Americans. On Australia.com, you'll find many more suggestions for accommodations and sidetrips than before, including thematic trip ideas, such as aboriginal, outback, coastal, and culinary. Eight suggested itineraries can help you with your planning. As for the movie, you should see it if you want to be inspired by the Northern Territory and Western Australia. It was our number one pick of the movies that most inspired us to travel this year. (We saw a preview. It hits screens in major cities this Friday.) In director Baz Luhrmann's tribute to his native Australia, aristocrat Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) takes an arduous journey across the country with a rough-and-tumble stockman named the Drover (Hugh Jackman) as World War II is about to break out. To learn how to plan a trip to see key scenes from the movie, read Movie Quest 2008.

Inspiration

Experience Narnia in Philadelphia

Intrigued by the filming locations depicted in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian, but can't make it to New Zealand, Poland, or Slovakia this winter? Well, head to Philadelphia instead to get your fill of all things Narnia at the Franklin Institute when "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Exhibition" opens there this Friday, Nov. 28. The 10,000-square-foot interactive exhibit features scene displays, creatures, props, and costumes from both movies, while also explaining the science and natural history behind the fantasy world. Guests enter in a re-creation of author C.S. Lewis's study and then step through a wardrobe to find themselves in a wintry Narnia scene, complete with wind and falling snow. Highlights include a replica of the White Witch's throne that visitors can sit on to feel its icy chill, accompanied by a display on climate change; a section on King Miraz's castle from Prince Caspian where guests can build an arch, learn about the architectural strategies used in the design, and also witness a demonstration of a medieval catapulting weapon; and an area showcasing pieces of petrified history, including a 5-million-year-old cave bear tooth. The displays—supported by input from NASA and California Institute of Technology scientists—are especially designed to allow kids to question the validity of the fantastical elements in the movies: Can animals communicate with humans? Can a waterfall really freeze? Can we manipulate the weather? In the movies, the magic was grounded in reality. As Prince Caspian executive producer Perry Moore explains, "That kind of magic is related to nature. It's about the power of the planet and the power of the earth." The exhibit runs at the Franklin through Apr. 19, 2009. Tickets cost $22.25 for adults and $17.50 for kids before 5:30 p.m., which also includes regular museum admission; after 5:30 p.m., adults pay $10.50 and kids pay $9.50. Tickets are sold online. Narnia-themed packages are also available at local hotels. narniaexhibition.com Philadelphia is the second stop on the traveling exhibit's multi-city tour. It debuted in Phoenix's Arizona Science Center in June and will visit eight more cities in the U.S. and Canada over the next five years. EARLIER Q&A; with editor of On Location Vacations, about movie quest travel Philly tour guides will have to pass history tests Interview with the director of Quantum of Solace about how to do James Bond travel

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