Travel Links We Like for 12/12

We don’t like to think that collecting links to stories we liked this week is lazy blogging, we like to think it helps justify all the online reading we did while we were meant to be working on something else. We also like to think it will help you discover something you’ll like too.

So here’s our soon-to-be weekly roundup of Travel Links We Like.

Notable Travel Books of 2014, by Andrew McCarthy
McCarthy begins his roundup with the admission that travel writing is complicated these days: “in our Google Maps world, even once sleepy places like poor Provence have become hackneyed and played out.” He still manages to find five titles — three titles about exploring the world and two compilations of stories — to recommend. There are some familiar names in the roundup, including Gadling contributor Pico Iyer and former features editor Don George, who wrote and edited, respectively, two of the titles. Head down to your favorite independent bookstore and stuff your loved ones’ stockings with them.

Quantum of the Seas: The First Cruise Ship Built Specifically for Selfies, by Paul Brady
For a two-day cruise to nowhere, the Quantum of the Seas sailing out of New York in mid-November produced a surprising amount of good stories. From Scott Mayerowitz’ doubtful look at his prospects for finding joy on a mega-ship to the Verge’s video segment about the boat’s tech perks, this wasn’t your typical boat packed with freeloading hacks. Into the good pool jumps CNT’s Brady, who looks at the boat in context of the social media sharing trend that Royal Caribbean hopes the boat’s extensive tech will encourage amongst its passengers.

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An #cockpitview image uploaded to Instagram.

Have emotional support animals gone too far?, by Heather Poole
Everyone’s favorite literary flight attendant (with the exception of some grumpy avgeeks) has some measured thoughts about the many bogus emotional support animals airlines are being forced to deal with with a rising frequency. She tells tales (sorry) of roosters, pot-bellied pigs, and five first-class Spuds MacKenzies, as well as allergic passengers and miniature ponies. Short story: Flying is a zoo these days.

By the way, the answer to the question posed in the title is most certainly “Yes.”

The pilots of Instagram: beautiful views from the cockpit, violating rules of the air, by David Yanofsky
Quartz alerts us to a problem we didn’t know we had: Pilots that like Instagram as much as we do. The site monitored pilot-friendly hashtags on the social media network for six months to highlight the frequent snapping and uploading of pictures from cockpits, done largely when pilots are not permitted to snap pictures. The rules pilots operate under appear to be anachronistic at times — cameras are OK, but cameraphones in airplane mode are not — so there does appear to be a compelling reason to get some updated rules out there that can cut out distractions.