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Cover: Beer Flight (Photo: Shutterstock/MaxyM)
The Brewers Association released exciting news this month: There are now more than 3,000 breweries in the nation—cheers to that!

Not only do connoisseurs have a more varied selection of local craft beers to enjoy, but these quality-driven brews—and their accompanying trendy scenes—have a way of converting nonbelievers, too. Now, former beer skeptics and beer snobs alike can clink pint glasses and talk hops over a beer flight at their local brewpub or taproom.

While some cities throughout the country are known for having a well-established craft-brew scene, keep an eye on the following emerging beer cities. ... read more»
Restroom Sign - DD (Photo: Thinkstock/Design Pics)

It's not something most people take into consideration when planning a day of travel, but it's something each one of us does every day—several times a day, actually. When nature calls, locating a loo—quickly—is crucial. We did the research, so all you have to do is go. Here are three apps that will help you locate a public bathroom wherever your travels take you in the U.S.

Where to Wee

Restroom facilities are never far away with the Where to Wee app. This is easily one of the most comprehensive lists of restrooms available, and it's no surprise, because the app developers cleverly partnered with Cintas Corporation, a company that stocks more than a million businesses with bathroom supplies. Cintas' expertise in the field also gives the company the privilege of honoring the most-proper loo with the highly coveted America's Best Restroom Award. ... read more»

Photo: Kimpton Hotels

Kimpton, with just over 50 hotels and restaurants in its network, is a David among Goliaths when it comes to hotel chains. Marriott, for instance, just passed the 4,000-hotel mark, and it's not the largest of the major chains.

Size is a decided advantage for hotel loyalty programs: The more hotels, the easier it is to earn points wherever you go, whether you're traveling on business or on vacation. And the converse: It's harder to be loyal to a smaller chain, because you won't find participating hotels everywhere you go.

That competitive disadvantage means that a small chain's loyalty program has to be better than those offered by the mega-hotels. ... read more»

(Photo: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

Flashback four years to Australia's Bondi Beach, where IKEA set up 30 of its bookcases stocked with thousands of books for a massive pop-up swap. Although this was a one-day affair, it sparked us to find some more permanent (well, somewhat permanent) beachside "free" bookstores.

... read more»

Inn at Whale Cove, Grand Manan Island (Photo: Julianne Lowell)

Your secret island awaits, ringed with rocky cliffs and sparkling ocean, adorned with wildflowers and lighthouses. Grand Manan Island sits just off the shore, at the point where New Brunswick meets Maine. And while it's within sailing distance of two of the world's largest countries, it feels like a world unto itself. The island's Inn at Whale Cove Cottages is the unhurried embodiment of this mostly undiscovered borderland.

Owned and operated by Laura Buckley, the Inn at Whale Cove Cottages beckons travelers seeking a taste of the island's rugged red and green cliffs and driftwood-adorned beaches. As Buckley will tell you, it's a place "for readers, nappers, and explorers." ... read more»

(Photo: Thinkstock/iStock)

This new airplane seat just patented by Airbus looks a bit like a medieval torture device. See it for yourself here. ... read more»

Airplane Cabin with Side View of Seats (Photo: Thinkstock/iStock)

As it has since 1999, airline ratings service Skytrax has published the results of its 2014 World Airline Survey, ranking more than 200 of the world's airlines from best to worst. The rankings were based on responses to 18.9 million customer surveys.

Skytrax boasts that it uses sophisticated data-weighting algorithms to compensate for different sample sizes, and has fraud-detection mechanisms in place to maintain the results' legitimacy. And the research is not funded by any of the ranked companies.

Although the survey is clearly more rigorous than most, there are questions about its methodology. It's not clear, for example, how much weight is given to the various factors that, taken together, give an airline its overall score. Full transparency is reserved for airline executives, who presumably pay for privileged access. ... read more»

Beach: Floating Swimmer (Photo: Thinkstock/iStockphoto)

Do you rock a Speedo-style swimsuit at the beach? According to Expedia's 2014 Flip Flop Report, your answer might depend on which country you come from. Of the respondents, 95 percent of Brazilians approved of the skimpy swimwear, as did 94 percent of Austrians, 91 percent of Germans, and 91 percent of Spaniards. Norwegians were the shyest swimmers with only 40 percent approving of the clothing choice. (For the record, 57 percent of Americans also approved of the style.)

For the survey, Expedia questioned 11,165 adults across 24 countries in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia/New Zealand on their behaviors and preferences regarding the beach. ... read more»

Angry business traveler (Photo: iStockPhoto/Gulden Kunter Tikiroglu)

Ten years ago, I compiled a list of some of the travel industry's false and misleading pricing techniques, using the metaphor of a man who observed various promotions as he walked along a city street.

First, he saw an appliance dealer featuring a "side-by-side refrigerator, only $499," with fine print explaining "for the refrigerator compartment, plus $399 for the freezer compartment."

A few doors farther, he passed a restaurant that had a big banner in the window displaying "Free Breakfast Eggs!" with tiny type noting "with the purchase of bacon for $7.99." ... read more»

Photo: Icelandair

If you're planning a long-distance overseas trip—one of those 18-hour marathon nonstops, or even worse, two 12-hour flights with a connection—you might want to take a stopover at an intermediate point, especially when the normal itinerary is back-to-back red-eyes. Or maybe you really want to visit two countries. Either way, you can sometimes arrange a stopover between your home airport and most distant destination with little or no extra cost.

Where You Can Stop: For the most part, easy stopovers on intercontinental trips are confined to one of an airline's major hub cities. That means the usual suspects: Dublin, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Oslo, and such in Europe; Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Istanbul, and Qatar in the Middle East; Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei, and Tokyo in Asia; Fiji, Honolulu, and Tahiti in the Pacific. ... read more»

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