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Does the world really need another hotel brand?

Hilton thinks so, and will begin opening hotels under the Canopy name in 2015.

Hilton is promoting Canopy as a "lifestyle brand," which seems to mean that it aspires to be whatever's considered hip and cool by Millennials. Here's how that translates into hotels:

Neighborhood-y - "Canopy is all about being local, through design, food and beverage, art and knowledge."

No Cookie-Cutter Hotels - Each Canopy hotel will be unique. ... read more»

The key to fall trips is to pack warm items while keeping baggage weight to a minimum. Finding outwear that folds up small or rolls up tight is also important, since bulky jackets can easily take over a small suitcase. Here are three lightweight jackets that look great, are warm enough for cooler days and evenings, and compress well for easy packing. Each approaches the light-small-warm equation slightly differently, but all succeed. These jackets have three different price points, but all share the same goal: to keep you warm and fashionable wherever your travels take you this fall. ... read more»

Bangkok Golden Buddhas (Photo: iStockPhoto/YinYang)

Thailand is poised to take destination marketing down a heretofore unexplored road with an ad campaign that promotes the supposed lure of visiting a country operating under martial law.

Since the democratically elected government was ousted in a May coup, the country has been under the control of the army. Tourism, which normally accounts for around 7 percent of Thailand's economy, is off 20 percent. And the Tourism Authority of Thailand was understandably under pressure to put a tourist-friendly face on the situation. ... read more»

Test your knowledge of the Caribbean Islands with this fun quiz. Match the correct island to the question, and then share your results on Facebook and Twitter to have all your friends dreaming of a tropical island getaway!

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(Photo: TripAdvisor, LLC)

TripAdvisor's annual award winners for best restaurants high-end, with many glittering Michelin stars among them. ... read more»

Photo: PhotoDisc

Within the borders of the U.S., the New York/Los Angeles route is widely viewed as the jewel in the crown of commercial aviation.

The country's two largest media markets. Centers of finance and entertainment. Plenty of upscale customers willing and able to pay for front-of-the-plane accommodations. It's a recipe for profitable air service. Which means it's also a hotbed of competition.

And indeed, every airline that flies cross-country routes does so with its plushest seats, fanciest meals, and most robust menus of inflight entertainment.

And that raises the question: Which airline's transcon service is the best?

There are many ways to assess the quality of an airline's service. But George Hobica, founder of sister site Airfarewatchdog, decided to do it the old-fashioned way, by the seat of his pants. He flew transcon in first or business class on all five of the competing carriers.

His conclusion, as reported in USA Today: American's service is the best of the best. ... read more»

Hotel Safe (Photo: iStockPhoto.com/Jaap Hart)

Hypothetical: If your belongings were incinerated in a hotel fire, would you expect the hotel to compensate you for your loss?

My answer is an unqualified "Yes." As I suspect would be the response of most travelers. It's just a basic sense of fairness.

Back in the real world, that sense of fairness apparently doesn't count for much.

The Back Story

On July 16, lightning struck the Hampton Inn in Tucumcari, New Mexico, igniting a fire that ravaged the structure. All hotel guests and hotel employees were evacuated safely, according to the Quay County Sun. But in many cases, the guests were forced to leave behind their possessions, which were either burned or water-damaged beyond repair.

The Compensation Question

The story was picked up this week by the L.A. Times, which reported on one guest's unsuccessful efforts to be made whole after his loss.

Bill Dailey and his grandson were en route to Los Angeles from Florida, where the younger Dailey had been discharged from the Marines. They were among those who lost everything they were packing in the fire.

When they arrived home after their road trip, they sent the hotel an itemized list of their lost possessions, fully expecting that they would be fairly compensated.

But the hotel's insurer argued that the fire was an act of God, and denied Dailey's claim. That needn't have been the end of the story. The hotel itself could have compensated Dailey, as a goodwill gesture. And although the hotel itself is independently owned and operated, it is part of the Hilton Hotels network, which raises the possibility of Hilton corporate stepping in to do the right thing, to protect the integrity of the Hampton Inn brand.

Only after being called out by the Times reporter did a spokesperson for Hilton offer Dailey five free nights at any Hampton Inn over the next year.

After being burned once, that was an offer Dailey found laughably inadequate. ... read more»

(Photo: Rick Steves)

My fondest memories of travels in Scotland are in the pubs with folk bands stomping the paint off the floor as locals came together with the same twinkles in their eyes. This is an example of a time when I really feel I'm in Scotland instead of Britain. Home of kilts, bagpipes, whisky, golf, and haggis, go-its-own-way Scotland boasts a culture that stands apart from the rest of its British brethren.

Like Wales, Scotland is a country of ragtag Celts sharing an island with wealthy, powerful Anglo-Saxons. Since the days of William "Braveheart" Wallace, the Scots have chafed under English rule. Throughout the centuries—after the 1707 Act of Union tied Scotland to its southern neighbor—Scottish nationalists have rioted for independence in Edinburgh's streets and led rebellions in the Highlands. ... read more»

The fantastic, beautiful, or simply strange places in art are often inspired by real-life destinations. The best part is that you can visit these locations, from Glencoe village in Scotland (which played the part of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter franchise) to the isle of Kauai on Hawaii (you may know it as the stomping grounds of Jurassic Park). ... read more»

JetBlue Airplane in Sunset (Photo: JetBlue Airlines)

"JetBlue must reduce legroom and add baggage fees." "Virgin America must increase its fees." "Southwest has to start charging baggage fees." Both the financial and the aviation media are full of stories highlighting Wall Street's dicta for these airlines. And Wall Street apparently doesn't care if its formula will effectively destroy these three lines as you know them. As one respected airlines writer put it, "That nice-guy approach to air travel wins awards and attracts a cult following, but it may not fly with Wall Street."

By customer standards, those three lines—along with Alaska—are among the very few "good guys" in today's airline business: ... read more»

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