And the Winner of Sound of Music Live Is…

Mirabell Gardens, Salzburg
Jasper180969 via Flickr

Last night’s live production of The Sound of Music on NBC got more flak than Maria did for being an unsolvable problem nun. The acting was bad, the costumes St. Pauli-esque and the mountains… gasp! They were fake!

But there was one winner in last night’s performance: the city of Salzburg, Austria. Home of the Von Trapps, setting of the original movie and now site of thousands of Edelweiss-blasting tour buses and gazebo-worshipping 16-going-on-17-year-olds, Salzburg enjoyed a flurry of love last night.Some viewers reminisced about past visits to the Austrian city (and the nearby lake district):

Many were eager to show off their inner Maria:

For some, it inspired new interest in traveling to Austria:

Others piped in from Salzburg, where the Sound of Music is apparently still a hot jam after almost 50 years:

There was also the inevitable “there’s more to do in Salzburg than the Sound of Music”:

And finally, more Sound of Music Live bashing — this time in defense of the real place:

So while Carrie Underwood and Vampire Bill may not be winning Emmys, it was a good night for the beautiful city of Salzburg. Which by the way does have more to offer than the Sound of Music, including a wonderful Christmas Market, which is open right now.

TSA Lets Travelers Apply for PreCheck

Travel-Airport Security Fast Track
Associated Press

Today the Transportation Security Administration (you know ‘em as TSA) began allowing travelers to apply for its PreCheck program (or as TSA calls it, Pre✓™).

According to TSA,

The new application process allows U.S. citizens to directly enroll in TSA Pre✓™, an expedited screening program that allows travelers to leave on their shoes, light outerwear and belt, keep their laptop in its case and their 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels bag in a carry-on, in select screening lanes. To date, passengers have only been eligible through existing programs such as U.S. Custom and Border Protection’s Global Entry program and frequent flier programs with certain airlines, but this announcement will allow travelers to apply directly for the expedited screening program.

Travelers can pre-enroll at tsa.gov. But to complete the process, they’ll need to complete a background interview at a participating airport. Currently the only participating airport in the entire country is Indianapolis International Airport.

So, here’s AOL Travel’s Indianapolis travel guide.

TSA expects to open application centers in the New York City; Washington, DC; and Los Angeles areas later this month. It plans to eventually open more than 300 centers around the country. But for right now, Indianapolis.

Demonstrations in Thailand? No Problem, Travelers Say.

Rush Hour in Bangkok Centre
Shutterstock

The political protests currently taking place in parts of Bangkok don’t seem to be affecting travel to and within Thailand. And that should be no surprise. Despite events — a coup, floods and protests that closed an airport among them — that have rocked the country in recent years, travelers remain unfazed about visiting Thailand.

Quartz reports:

Not only are tourists still coming, but they’ve been arriving in increasing numbers in recent years, according to government data.

The story adds:

Indeed, despite the recent turmoil, Bangkok was this year named the world’s most popular tourist destination, beating London for the top spot in the “Global Destination Cities” Index. The capital is set to receive some 15.98 million visitors this year, with Chinese tourists in particular coming to the city to shop, since it’s inexpensive compared to regional rivals like Singapore and Hong Kong.

Still, some countries are alerting their citizens to be careful during the current protests. The U.S. State Department hasn’t issued a travel alert, but the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok yesterday released a message for U.S. citizens:

Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations. Be alert and aware of your surroundings and pay attention to local news media reports.

Will You Be a Horrible Restaurant Customer This Holiday Season?

Hispanic waitress taking order
Getty Images

So you’ve finished your Thanksgiving dinner and you’re finally sick of turkey leftovers. It’s time to get out there and hit the great new restaurant that just opened in your hometown or wherever you’re spending the holidays. (FYI: Aol Travel knows the hot restaurants in cities around the U.S.)

Wherever you go, remember that there are appropriate ways to behave. And there are horrible ways to behave, as highlighted in this Montreal Gazette story by two Montreal-area restaurant servers. Among other things, they urge:

11. There actually is such a thing as a stupid question.

Examples:

Can I get the burger for cheaper if I don’t want onions?

Client: What beers do you have on tap?

Server: Guinness, Molson Ex, Rickard’s Red and Heineken.

Client: Do you have Samuel Adams?

Client: Why is our food taking so long?

Server: Because you ordered a steak well done and it’s only been six minutes.

12. Can you sing Happy Birthday?

Not for a $35 bill …

Read the rest of the story for 18 more ways to not be a horrible restaurant customer.