Still working out your 4th of July travel plans? You can do all the planning and packing and glowstick-buying in the world, but no “to-do” list can prevent cloudy skies and rain during your Independence Day celebration.
Never fear, we’ve got you covered. Travel Channel has teamed up with the long-term forecasting experts at weathertrends360 to bring you the best (and worst) places around the country to watch the fireworks. Topping our list for the very best cities are Denver, Phoenix, Addison, TX, San Francisco and Seattle. Check out which cities have the highest risk for bad weather … you may want to reconsider your plans.
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The Olde Time Coney Island Strongman Spectacular …
In a display that has not been seen at Coney Island for over 60 years, some of the strongest men in the country gathered on the streets — once known for their outrageous spectacles — to showcase unusual acts and super-human feats. Among the performers were a man who pulled a truck down a street with his teeth and a master escape artist. READ MORE
Cannes Film Festival …
Stars descended on the small French Riviera town this week for the beginning of the annual Cannes Film Festival. Among the guests was “The Dictator,” a character played by actor Sacha Baron Cohen in the upcoming movie of the same name. READ MORE
NBC’s 17th annual TODAY Summer Concert Series kicks off (appropriately) … today! If you’re an early bird and in Manhattan on any Friday this summer, head down to Rockefeller Plaza around 6 a.m. to stake out your spot for a free live show. Usher is the first on the all-star roster of performers, which also includes Justin Bieber, Maroon 5, Kenny Chesney, Zac Brown Band, Train and Jason Mraz. READ MORE
By Jimmy Im
The 2012 Mayan Doomsday is upon us (insert maniacal laughter). You’d think most travelers would make plans to avoid archaeological Mayan sites on Dec. 21, but it’s in fact the other way around — and with good reason.
“End of the World” packages and tours have skyrocketed with the upcoming Dec. 12 date, which Hollywood deems the end of the world (according to experts, the Mayan calendar simply indicates Dec. 21 starts a new life cycle). There’s so much popularity around this date that Mayan-civilized countries once at the top of their game (including Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and, of course, Mexico) have seen a growth in hotel and tour bookings for next December. READ MORE
This week, big-name acts rocked out at Jazz Fest, One Word Trade Center became NYC’s tallest building, and Queen Elizabeth II continued her tour of the UK to mark her 60th year as monarch.
New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival …
The 42nd annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival kicked off with performances by the Beach Boys, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Bruce Springsteen and Jimmy Buffet, along with many local musicians like Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. This weekend is set to be just as epic: Zac Brown Band, Ziggy Marley, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, the Foo Fighters, the Eagles and local bands like Rebirth Brass Band are all slated to perform. READ MORE
In 2010, the Florida-based Spirit Airlines took the historic step of being the first US airline to charge passengers baggage fees for carry-ons. That’s right — not checked bags, carry-ons. Today, the airline is in the news again, this time for raising their already-unprecedented carry-on fees even more.
Travelers be warned: starting Nov. 6, any Spirit Airlines passengers who wait until they get to the gate to pay for their carry-on (defined as a bag that needs to be put in the overhead bin and cannot fit under the seat) will get hit with a whopping $100 fee. READ MORE
by Jimmy Im
If you didn’t think hotel discounts could get any more attractive, think again. Launched few weeks ago by TripAdvisor, Tingo is a new booking site that promises users an instant refund of the price difference if the rate at which they reserve a room drops. Sound too good to be true? It’s not.
Here’s how it works: Tingo allows users to book virtually any hotel available on Expedia and then automatically tracks the rates of the property. This means that users don’t have to watch prices on their own to get a better deal, so you’re guaranteed to get the lowest possible rate on the hotel booking. Tingo is the first site to automatically rebook a hotel reservation if the price drops, and consumers save on the difference with a refund (Orbitz has a price assurance policy with a similar plan, but unlike Orbitz, you qualify for a refund at Tingo regardless of whether another traveler has also booked the lower rate).
The company says about a third of rooms drop in price between booking and check-in, and because you’re so busy, you’re not monitoring this. In comes Tingo to watch the prices for you and give you the difference provided there is a price drop (if the price never drops, obviously nothing happens).
This week, giant puppets (yes, you read right) put on a show on the streets of Liverpool, England. Over 600,000 people turned out for the 3-day performance. Entitled “Sea Odyssey,” the show was a tribute to the Titanic, one of the many commemorative events held this month for the 100th anniversary of the ship’s tragic end.
Titanic Recreation …
A 30-foot-tall Little Girl Giant wandered the city of Liverpool with her dog Xolo, looking for her father who drowned when the Titanic sank. Luckily, her 50-foot-tall uncle was there to comfort her. The production, which ended with the giant puppets boarding a boat out of the city, was staged by the French street theatre company Royal de Luxe. It took 110 puppeteers and multiple cranes to operate the enormous marionettes. READ MORE
by Jimmy Im
When it comes to Belfast, more Americans remember its dark political history and forget that the New York-bound Titanic ship was built and made its maiden voyage from there 100 years ago this month. Belfast is hot on its heels of erasing the repercussions of its late civil war (the city is known as the safest city in all of Europe based on nationwide crime figures), and the Titanic is luring travelers the world over to check out the new and improved Belfast.
This month, the $156 million Titanic Building opened its doors, providing the world’s largest Titanic memorial. The museum center stands the same height as the original Titanic — about 10 stories high — and is designed to look like the hull of the ship. And don’t expect tributes to Jack and Rose. The Titanic Building is the real deal, with 9 informative galleries that start with Boomtown Belfast (when the city was at the forefront of shipbuilding) and the launch of the Titanic, ending with the Oceanic Exploration Center. So visitors can explore the wreckage discovered 2 1/2 miles on the ocean floor in 1985. Interactive features allow visitors to feel like they were actually on the ship. READ MORE