JODY VICTOR®

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There are plenty of urban legends about the friendliness or rudeness of many popular travel destinations around the world. Like many myths, there is a probably a seed of truth to it planted somewhere in the shadows of history. However, for those of us who prefer somewhat more empirical evidence, travel magazine Conde Nast asked its readers in its 29th Annual Readers’ Choice Awards.
More than 100,000 readers responded to the travel magazine’s reader survey of favorite cities, hotels, resorts, islands, airlines, cruise lines, future travel destinations and, for the fourth year in a row, reader opinions of the world’s friendliest cities.

1. Charleston, South Carolina
2. Sydney, Australia
3. Dublin, Ireland
4. Queenstown, New Zealand
5. Park City, Utah
6. Galway, Ireland
7. Savannah, Georgia
8. Krakow, Poland
9. Bruges, Belgium
10. Nashville, Tennessee

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Sydney Helicopters, Hunter Valley Pub Tour
Approx. US $750

This helicopter pub crawl departs from Sydney, Australia — whirling above the city’s famous waterfront for a checklist-notching aerial view of the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge before soaring into the wild, bucolic yonder of outer New South Wales.

Rosehill Heliport-based Sydney Helicopters’ roster of full-day heli-pub tours includes excursions into the state’s rugged Blue Mountains and Southern Highlands, where multiple touchdowns at out-of-the-way bars and charming country inns factor in enough vintage Aussie drink stops to keep the propellers spinning even when they’re not.

Our top pick is the Hunter Valley Pub Tour, a seven-hour journey into one of the country’s prime, picturesque wine-producing regions.

Highlights along the way include stops at quirky rustic ale houses, boutique wineries and elegant vineyard estates for a wine-paired multi-course gourmet lunch — capped with a late afternoon visit to the historic Settlers Arms Inn in St. Albans for one last pint or two of counter fuel before the curiously blurry ride home.

Orbic Air, Mountain Top Landing Tour in Los Angeles
$349 per person

In sprawling, traffic-choked L.A., sitting pretty above all the tailpipes on Laurel and Coldwater Canyons, Sunset and Sepulveda Boulevards and the Freeway Interchange in a sleek whirlybird is a perch usually reserved for cops and car chase reporters.

Orbic Air’s standard 15 to 25-minute L.A. flyovers lift off from Burbank Airport and cover all the standards — from cool close-ups of the Hollywood Sign to vital views of celebrity home rooftops in Beverly Hills and Bel Air.

For the real California dreamin’ “Romance Package,” Orbic’s Mountain Top Landing Tour covers several Tinseltown landmarks en route to the city’s most natural charms along the coast — featuring a climactic landing on a secluded Malibu plateau with complimentary bubbly, dessert and a rose.
Diamond ring not included.

The London Helicopter, London MAX Tour
Approx. $2,000 (for up to six passengers)

Gazing down upon London’s spectacular cityscape from St Paul’s dome, the London Eye, The Shard, or (at a pinch) a double decker bus seat may be a jolly good start.

Upping the vantage point over 1,000 vertical feet over the River Thames via bright yellow G-ORKI helicopter takes urban sightseeing to an entirely different level.

Lifting off from southwest London’s Battersea Heliport (only recently opened to tourists), The London Helicopter’s London Buzz and London Sights tours cover a range of riverside essentials in and around the city center — from Big Ben and Buckingham Palace to St. Paul’s Cathedral and Canary Wharf. All crammed into 12 or 18 breathless minutes.

The London MAX Tour clocks a full half-hour of airtime, offering private groups of up to six an extended flight-seeing odyssey that includes nearly forty iconic London landmarks.
For an encore, book a package heli-trip from London to Highclere Castle (a.k.a. “Downton Abbey”) or Stonehenge.

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Summer Vacations


Posted By on Jul 20, 2016

One of the greatest parts of our national heritage is diversity: of people, places and cultures. With international travel becoming easier and the popularity of luxury vacations the family road trip has lost popularity. With the nation park system celebrating its centennial birthday, this is the perfect time to help our young people experience and connect with the beautiful and varied landscapes all over our country.

Travelers might also consider Lonely Planet’s top ten must-see destinations in the United States. As one will see, this list suggests cities and regions that will provide very different experiences for travelers.

Lonely Planet’s Best in the United States for 2016
1. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2. Natchez, Mississippi
3. Yellowstone National Park (Montana, Wyoming, Idaho)
4. Birmingham, Alabama
5. Alaska
6. Somerville, Massachusetts
7. Northwest Arkansas
8. San Antonio, Texas
9. Southern New Mexico
10. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Southern charm is a force to be reckoned with as far as Travel + Leisure readers are concerned.

Charleston, South Carolina, topped the publication’s world’s top cities awards, part of its annual reader-chosen World’s Best Awards.

Travel + Leisure revealed the award winners on Wednesday as part of the travel magazine’s 21st annual reader survey of top travel destinations and companies around the world.

Charleston wasn’t South Carolina’s only big winner. The state dominated the awards, with Hilton Head Island taking top honors as best continental U.S. island and Charleston’s Spectator Hotel named best hotel in the continental United States.

Southern charm is a force to be reckoned with as far as Travel + Leisure readers are concerned.

Charleston, South Carolina, topped the publication’s world’s top cities awards, part of its annual reader-chosen World’s Best Awards.

Travel + Leisure revealed the award winners on Wednesday as part of the travel magazine’s 21st annual reader survey of top travel destinations and companies around the world.

Charleston wasn’t South Carolina’s only big winner. The state dominated the awards, with Hilton Head Island taking top honors as best continental U.S. island and Charleston’s Spectator Hotel named best hotel in the continental United States.

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Following just over five years of construction and multiple delays, the long-awaited Shanghai Disney Resort opened its gates to the public on June 16. It is supposedly Disney’s biggest international park and takes full advantage of all the technological advances that have arrived since Disney’s last park opening — Hong Kong Disneyland — in 2005.

This means that rides you might have experienced at other parks — though many fan favorites are missing — have been given a complete revamp.

The best example of this is Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure.
A far cry from the original Pirates ride created by Walt himself back in the 1960s, this hi-tech version is the largest attraction in Shanghai Disneyland, taking up 16,340 square meters.

Boats are controlled magnetically so they can spin or go backwards to maximize views of all the scenes, which feature the latest animatronics technology.

The official dedication of Shanghai Disney Resort went forward as planned on Thursday morning local time, but an outdoor gala on Wednesday night was scrapped, with a smaller-scale event held inside instead. Disney said the change was due to rainy weather conditions.

Made up of Disneyland, Disneytown, Wishing Star Park and two hotels, the entire project covers 3.9 square kilometers.

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