Traveling “home” this holiday season? Don’t fall into your old routine. Your high school hangout may be an easy go-to, but if you don’t live there anymore there’s a good chance you’re missing out on some great new local spots. (Plus, be honest: you already know what all your classmates are up to from Facebook.)
AOL Travel turned to local writers to help you rediscover your hometown over the winter holidays. Each city guide features a great new restaurant to try while you’re in town, a cool neighborhood that wasn’t on the radar last year or a store where you can pick up a keepsake to bring your old home back to your new home. AOL Travel also will catch you up to speed on the hot topics of conversation in each city, so you’ll come back savvy enough to join the local sports banter or eat your holiday weight in Cronuts.
Click your city below to learn what’s new since the last time you went home:
The litany of year-end travel-related lists continues. Today, it’s TripAdvisor, which unveiled its most reviewed cities. Leading the way: London, Rome and Paris, according to the Telegraph. The top U.S city was New York, which ranked fourth overall — a stunning blow for American exceptionalism.London venues received 459,000 reviews, 96,000 more than Rome.
According to the Telegraph, “TripAdvisor features more than 260 million monthly visitors and its community has contributed more than 125 million reviews and opinions to the site, up from 75 million reviews and opinions a year ago.”
Curiously though, the only airport in the country where travelers could complete the program’s required background interview was Indianapolis International Airport. That changed today when TSA opened three enrollment centers in the Washington, DC area. Interestingly, none of them are at DC-area airports. Nor are any of them in DC itself.Instead, according to the Washington Post, the centers are located at
3139 Duke St., Alexandria, Virginia
2200 Broening Highway, Suite 110, Dundalk, Maryland
10665 Stanhaen Place, Suite 300A, La Plata, Maryland
Photo-sharing app Instagram and Facebook, a website your parents visit, released lists of their users most checked-in locations for 2013 earlier this week.
Congratulations to Disneyland for being the top U.S. spot for Facebook check-ins and the third most photographed location on Instagram. And props to all of Canada: its most checked-in location was a hockey arena.
Vineyards and ziplines have long been used to attract tourist dollars for destinations that, well, could use a little help:
Regardless of the area’s suitability for growing grapes, plop down a vineyard or winery and travelers will come for a taste and buy a sympathy bottle (pro tip: go for the ice wine as it’s harder to mess up)
Ski resorts looking to attract off-season dollars or stale attractions looking to draw media coverage and visitors hook up a zipline
So really, the 1,800-foot Pinot Express zipline at Margarita Adventures, which debuted recently at the Santa Margarita Ranch in the Paso Robles wine country on California’s Central Coast, is the travel industry’s destiny.The zipline begins atop a mountainside forest, 125 feet above the ground, then sends swoops low over pinot noir vines. It’s the highest, longest and fastest of Margarita Adventures’s four ziplines. A zipline tour costs $99
“Tours conclude with an optional tasting at the affiliated Ancient Peaks Winery, which specializes in artisan wines grown on the ranch’s estate Margarita Vineyard. Tour guests receive 20 percent off wine purchases, and the tasting fee is waived with a purchase of one bottle or more,” according to the press release.
“You can taste wines from vines that you just zipped over,” said proprietor Karl Wittstrom said. “It’s a fitting reward for your adventure.”