Luxury Travel: Uber Launches UberCHOPPER, Hamptons Rides Just In Time For July Fourth

liberty helicopter
Image Via Liberty Helicopters

What says “patriotism” more than a long Fourth of July weekend in the Hamptons? For luxury seeking beachgoers, not much. Unless, of course, that beach trip comes with a private driver and a helicopter transfer.

Uber is launching a special UberCHOPPERS service exclusively on July 3, offering SUV service (for you and up to four friends) for transport to the helipad, to East Hampton, and on to your final destination. The cost? A cool $3,000 for the entire deal, all pre-paid via credit card, tips included. Considering a standard trip is around $3,500 on other charters, not including rides to and from the helipad, this is a good deal.

Should you prefer a slightly less pricey mode of transport, flat fare transport in Uber cars that seat between four and six cost between $300 and $500, depending on the level of service selected.

Additionally, Uber is running its network of cars all the way from Southampton to Montauk this July Fourth and during weekends this summer.

How The Rich Kids Of Instagram Travel

Dom Perignon Champagne
Nicholas Y.F. Chen, Flickr

When it comes to vacations, most of us probably already knew that the so-called one percent don’t exactly fly cattle class, stay in Super 8 motels or slurp cheap Chinatown noodles to keep their budget under check. But we didn’t realize just how lavish their vacations actually were until a collection of snapshots titled “Rich Kids of Instagram” started making its way around the Internet.

The photos follow spectacularly wealthy young adults as they jetset their way across the globe, instagramming their every move so the other 99 percent can gawk, tsk, admire, envy or weep over, depending on their inclination.Helicopters and private jets appear to rule as the transport method of choice for this unapologetically rich crowd. One instagrammer even buckled a gold-plated champagne bottle into its own seat on his jet while another reserved a plush leather spot for his dog. Boats made an appearance too with one photo showing Louis Vuitton luggage piled high on a luxurious yacht bound for the island of St Barth.

As far as destinations go, the rich kids of instagram are lounging by the pool at their holiday homes (holiday mansions?) in the Hamptons, posing in their brother’s chateau in the French city of Cannes, or stimulating the economy in Monaco. All this while they double-fist bottles of Dom Perignon and spray themselves with Moet like a Formula 1 driver on a podium. It’s a fantasy world to say the least, but you can step into it vicariously by clicking over here.

Airbnb Offers Free Housing For Victims Of Hurricane Sandy

Last week, thousands of residents along the East Coast had their homes destroyed or were left without electricity and heat by Hurricane Sandy. This week brought yet another injustice as a vicious Nor’easter storm bearing snow and frigid temperatures left victims scrambling for shelter. That’s why we were heartened to hear about a just-announced partnership between NYC.gov and apartment rental service Airbnb to coordinate free housing for New York area storm victims.

Since the storm hit New York and New Jersey last Monday, Airbnb has seen a surge in last-minute bookings in storm-affected areas like Atlantic City, New York City and the Hamptons. As a result of the surge, Airbnb announced it was partnering with NYC.gov to waive all fees for all Sandy victims looking for shelter on the service and put in a new call for generous New Yorkers with extra space to donate extra rooms and couches to those in need.

Airbnb is one of several services that let savvy apartment owners make money off their unused space, but what sets them apart is the site’s emphasis on community. Rather than just a place to rent apartments, the site’s users can now help displaced New York, New Jersey and Connecticut residents find help in a time of need. We hope more travel brands will look to this example and continue to encourage this kind of generosity and community among members.

[Photo credit: Randy Le’Moine Photography]

Heat “dome” descends on mid atlantic region: what are the coolest places to visit this summer?

mid atlantic heat wave What’s hot for summer? Well, everywhere. The predicted heat index for Friday in Washington, D.C. is a miserable 116 degrees. According to ABC News, 22 people have already died as a result of this natural phenomenon and this temperature spike could last weeks.

Sitting in the air conditioning all summer just won’t do.

Thankfully for us, the folks over at MyWeather.com have come up with the seven “coolest” cities to visit this summer. These domestic cities have average July high temperatures of 81 degrees and below, as well as an array of attractions, activities and other amenities that make them desirable vacation spots.

Breckenridge, Colorado – Average July High: 73 Degrees F

What’s cool about it: This winter wonderland is more than just a ski town boasting 300 days of sunshine annually with activities to keep you busy all year long. Breckenridge Fun Park features scenic gondola and ski lift rides – two miles high – along with plenty of hiking, whitewater rafting, and picturesque views of the Continental Divide.

[Flickr via Ed Yourdon]

Upper Peninsula, Michigan – Average July High: 73 Degrees F
What’s cool about it: With more than 150 waterfalls, 40 lighthouses, and a terrain that’s perfect for camping, boating, fishing and other outdoor activities, Upper Peninsula boasts 1,700 miles of shoreline along three of the nation’s five Great Lakes. Want to be adventurous? Try taking a glass-bottom shipwreck boat tour.

San Francisco, California – Average July High: 68 Degrees F
What’s cool about it: Besides being home to Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Ghirardelli Chocolate Co., San Francisco has the coolest daily summer temperatures among major U.S. cities. In fact, a popular quote (incorrectly attributed to Mark Twain) notes: “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” While wine country and Fisherman’s Wharf are popular tourist destinations, the Monterey peninsula is a less traveled side trip. Though it may be summer, be sure to bring plenty of layers!

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – Average July High: 81 Degrees F
What’s cool about it: Breathtaking views, national park access and a whitewater rafting mecca – that’s Jackson Hole. If a leisurely float down the river is more your speed, you can do that, too. Grand Teton and Yellowstone Park offer great hiking, climbing and water activities, with unparalleled photo opportunities. Wyoming‘s daytime temperatures run in the 70s and 80s in the summer, but the air cools quickly after sundown and humidity is low year-round.

Portland, Maine – Average July High: 79 Degrees F
What’s cool about it: With the Atlantic coast and Appalachian Mountains only a 45-minute drive apart, Portland has the best of both worlds. There’s also fine cuisine in between as Bon Appetit recently dubbed Portland the “Foodiest Small Town in America.” With tours to help you sample culinary delights by foot or by trolley, Maine‘s seaside climate creates cool breezes and temperatures which are comfortable and with low humidity all summer long.

Olympic National Park, Washington – Average July High: 73 Degrees F
What’s cool about it: Located on Washington‘s Olympic Peninsula, this million-acre national park encompasses three major ecosystems ranging from rain forest to snow-topped mountain peaks. Here you can walk, backpack, camp, or fish, as well as participate in one of the many ranger-led programs. Summers are fair and warm with highs between 65-75 degrees. Little rain falls during the summer months, although the low valleys are foggy in the morning.

Chena Hot Springs Resort, Alaska – Average July High: 73 Degrees F
What’s cool about it: Located 60 miles from Fairbanks, Chena Hot Springs features legendary healing mineral waters, a renewable energy tour, and a working dog mushing kennel. To keep cool you can also visit the Aurora Ice Museum. Maintained by world ice art champions Steve and Heather Brice, the museum began as the only ice hotel in the Americas. Summer days are breezy, dry and warm – perfect for boating, fishing, and other outdoor activities. The area has less than 12 inches of annual rainfall.
Where did they miss? Is your hometown or favorite vacation spot a “cool” place to go this summer? Leave suggestions for heat-ravaged mid-atlantans in the comments below.

35 Best U.S. beaches for Summer

Coast Guard Beach, Massachusetts.

Coast Guard Beach, Massachusetts.

Summer is fast approaching. Where are you going to spend your vacation? How about visiting one of our country’s many fantastic beach locations? Bring your lover or family, a bathing suit, sun lotion, a blanket and a picnic basket, and you are all set for a romantic get-away or a relaxing family get-together on one of these magnificent sandy stretches.

Delray Beach, Florida

Delray boasts a great family-friendly stretch of sand, with youngsters playing Frisbee games and teens surfing the waves. Enjoy the well-preserved dunes and the warm, snow-white sand and comforting turquoise water. After a day on the beach, take a stroll in the European-style town and dine at the sidewalk bistros.

Mexico Beach, Florida

Mexico Beach is located on Florida’s panhandle …