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What We're Reading: Are U.S. Hotels Getting More Expensive?

We can think of a lot of words to describe airlines. But "cuddly" probably wouldn't be one of them. Find out why Budget Travel thinks one carrier is as huggable as the Snuggle Bear, and catch up on other interesting travel stories from this week, including a piece on rising hotel rates and a roundup of the best brunch cities in the U.S.

Hotel Rates Are Going Up

Travel + Leisure published a snapshot of recent average hotel rates in major cities, and it looks like properties across the country are raking it in. Average nightly prices have shot up by as much as 14 percent in cities including San Francisco, New York, Oahu, and Miami. According to Travel + Leisure, "By and large, you can expect to pay more for your hotel room this year in the United States."

Our advice? Forgo the hotel and find more affordable alternative accommodations like apartment rentals and B&B's.

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The Best Places to Have Brunch in the U.S.

Where are the best spots to find fried-chicken benedict, malted custard French toast, or cheese-stuffed Anaheim chiles topped with eggs? At America's top brunch spots, of course. Food & Wine's list of the Best Brunch Cities in the U.S. will have you hankering for a heaping plate of fried, cheesy, carb-loaded goodness.

But we have one objection. Denver's not on the list. Home to Snooze, which serves the stuff of Sunday-morning dreams—breakfast pot pie with rosemary gravy, breakfast tacos, and pineapple upside-down pancakes—the Mile-High City is a major contender when it comes to brunch. Take heed, Food & Wine.

Can an Airline Be Cuddly?

If you ask Budget Travel, yes. The publication has named the top 11 Surprisingly Lovable Airlines, and that list includes the cuddliest, the funniest, and the most irresistible. Are these airlines or contestants on a dating game show?

Turns out Air New Zealand is the "cuddliest" because of its recently introduced Economy Skycouch, a "padded, fold-out seat extension that allows a pair (or trio) of passengers to stretch out side by side for those longest of long-haul flights." To get the seat, however, travelers have to pay an extra 500 to 800 bucks, reports Budget Travel. Cuddles don't come cheap on Air New Zealand.

Pop Quiz

Which destination is known as Music City? How about the City of Roses? Test your nickname knowledge with the American City Nicknames Challenge on Word Dynamo.

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