Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Branson Named 2016 Best Value City In America

Image result for Branson, Missouri

Every year analyzes cities across the US to reveal the upcoming year’s 50 Best Value cities and for 2016, Branson took first place – making it the Best Value City in America.
The trivago Best Value Index provides an overview of the best value destinations by using a specifically tailored algorithm that combines the trivago Hotel Price Index with trivago’s Reputation Ranking for hotels. The trivago Hotel Price Index shows the average overnight accommodation prices for a standard double room on trivago. Scaling up to 100, the Best Value Index lists the combined score on consumer rating and average hotel price. Branson scored a 90.5.

“Branson has always been a great value vacation destination,” said Jeff Seifried, President/CEO, Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and CVB. “Having the number one spot as the Best Value City in America is probably one of our greatest accolades. Visitors will know that their money goes further in Branson.”
Nearby neighbor Springfield, Mo. also ranked within the Top 10 bargain hotspots for 2016. 

About Branson, Missouri
Branson is a one-of-a-kind family vacation destination nestled in the lakeside beauty of the Ozark Mountains with dozens of live performance theaters, three pristine lakes, championship golf courses, an international award-winning theme park, family attractions and museums, a Historic Downtown district, shopping galore, a full range of dining options, and a host of hotels, motels, resorts, RV parks, campgrounds and meeting and convention facilities. Less than one day's drive for one-third of U.S. residents with flights to the Branson Airport (BKG) and nearby Springfield-Branson National Airport (SGF) Call 1-877-BRANSON for help planning your next vacation, convention or reunion. See more at

Newseum's Popular FBI Exhibit Will Reopen on Nov. 13

Exhibit Will Highlight the FBI in the Post-9/11 Era, Featuring More Than 45 New Artifacts
On Nov. 13, 2015, the Newseum will
 open "Inside Today's FBI: Fighting Crime in the Age of Terror," a new version of its popular FBI
 exhibit, featuring never-before-displayed evidence and artifacts from some of the FBI's biggest
 cases. In the post-9/11 era, the bureau's top priorities are terrorists, spies and cybercriminals,
\ stalked with powerful new surveillance technologies.

The FBI's mission of combating terrorism is a major focus of the new exhibit, which displays
 more than 45 new artifacts, including the Toyota Corolla abandoned by 9/11 hijackers at
 Dulles Airport outside Washington, D.C., and a Nissan Pathfinder that was rigged with explosives
 in a failed attempt to bomb Times Square in 2010. The alarm clocks, propane tanks, pressure
 cooker pot and other components of the homemade bomb will be on display inside the SUV.

The FBI has been making headlines for more than 100 years, and the exhibit explores the
 sometimes cooperative, sometimes combative relationship between the press and the bureau.
"The exhibit vividly illustrates the dramatic story of the FBI's changing mission after 9/11 and
 explores debates over national security and privacy in this new age of global fear," said Cathy
 Trost, senior vice president of exhibits and programs at the Newseum. "With an unprecedented
display of evidence, the exhibit takes visitors behind the investigations of some of the FBI's
 biggest cases, including stories about terrorism and cybercrime ripped from today's headlines."

"Inside Today's FBI" also displays artifacts from the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, including
 the handcuffs that restrained bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and a mobile fingerprinting device that
 identified his brother, Tamerlan, as well as the marathon bib and running shoes worn by Boston
 Globe reporter Michael Rezendes, who switched from running the marathon to reporting on the
 deadly bombings.

The Newseum's original FBI exhibit was the first temporary exhibit to open after the Newseum
 moved from Arlington, Va., to Washington, D.C., in 2008. The exhibit proved so popular with
 visitors that its run was extended indefinitely until it finally closed for renovations in July 2015.
 Some of the most significant artifacts from the old FBI exhibit will remain on display, including
 the Unabomber's cabin, engine parts and landing gear from United Airlines Flight 175, which
 crashed into the World Trade Center South Tower on Sept. 11, 2001, and the shoes worn by
 shoe bomber Richard Reid in an attempt to blow up an American Airlines flight in December 2001.
"Inside Today's FBI" will be on display indefinitely in the ABC News Changing Exhibits Gallery.

About the Newseum 
The mission of the Newseum is to champion the five freedoms of the First Amendment through
 exhibits, public programs and education. One of the top attractions in Washington, D.C., the
 dynamic, engaging and interactive museum allows visitors to experience the stories of yesterday
 and today through the eyes of the media while celebrating the freedoms guaranteed to all
Americans by the First Amendment. The Newseum Institute serves as a forum for First
Amendment study, exploration and education. The Newseum is a 501(c)(3) public charity
funded by generous individuals, corporations and foundations, including the Freedom Forum.
For more information, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
This 1993 Nissan Pathfinder was rigged to explode in New York's Times Square in 2010. Inside the SUV was a homemade bomb that failed to explode, which included this gas can, propane tank, pressure cooker pot and these alarm clocks. Photos: Amy Joseph/Newseum; artifacts: Loan, FBI

Travelers Can Now Fly Direct (Non-Stop) Between Beijing & Montréal

Air China now flies to Montreal
Earlier this year, Air Canada and Air China made a major announcement that brought Montréal closer to Asia: a direct flight between Montréal and Beijing. Although currently operated by Air China, tickets will also be offered through Air Canada’s booking portal as the first step of a broader partnership. The inaugural flight takes to the skies on September 29 (2015).


The new route goes beyond simply providing more options for travelers. The local airport authority (formally known as Aéroports de Montréal) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Beijing Capital International Airport Co. Ltd. (BCIA) to establish of a “sister airport” partnership. With this agreement, the two airport authorities will strengthen co-operation and share best practices. Sounds like a win-win!


This new Montréal-Beijing route is great for a variety of factors. Here are five of our tops reasons why the route is a game changer.
Chinese tourist spending is beyond big. According to a report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, 174 million Chinese tourists will spend a record $264 billion by 2019. More than ever, Montréal will be recognized as a destination for accessible and direct tourism. That means huge economic potential for the city.
More Montréal meetings. A direct flight from China to Montréal will inevitably increase the likelihood of Chinese companies selecting our city as a strategic meeting destination. Montréal makes an ideal middle ground (geographically and politically) for international stakeholders from Europe, Asia and the Americas.
Opportunities for Montréal startups. Direct flights mean easier access, and easier access means more business opportunities. Companies in the city will be able to use the connection with Beijing as a gateway for all their activities in Asia. We’re curious to see how the new route will impact our already-booming startup scene — stay tuned!
Family ties. With over 100,000 Chinese Canadians living in the province of Québec, the direct route makes it easier than ever to connect with family and friends in China.

Weekends in Beijing. As of 2013, tourists from 45 countries (including Canada) are permitted a 72-hour visa-free stay in Beijing. A direct flight means Montréalers travelling for either business or leisure can literally take a three-day weekend in Beijing without the hassle of time-crunching layovers. That means less time in transit and more time on the ground for local experiences.

Travelore Tips: 5 Airport Wi-Fi Hacks You Need To Know

Learn how to get past that airport internet access paywall. (iStock)
Airport terminals may be adding snazzy new amenities like better shopping and high-end dining but when it comes to travel, flyers really just one thing: to zone out online.
While most major airports across the country offer Wi-Fi access, getting connected isn’t always free. In some places, it could cost as much as $8 for a day pass using services like Boingo—but who stays at an airport all day?  
Thankfully, computer geniuses across the country have figured out ways to bypass paywalls and other tricks to getting online without having to forgo the money for your pre-flight snack.
Check out the best airport hacks to get you connected to free Wi-Fi:
1. Fool the Boingo paywall
No one wants to pay extra for something they could get for free. And while Boingo offers limited Wi-Fi access in some terminals, it's not free everywhere. But according to Road Warrior Voices, it is possible to bypass the service’s paywall. 
After connecting to the network, refrain from clicking “Get Online Now.” Instead choose “The Good Stuff” and click on one of the sites that are free to browse, usually pages like Wikipedia, LinkedIn, and a few retail sites. If it's your lucky day, you can fool the system and get through that pesky paywall to browse other sites to your heart’s content.
2. The hacker’s URL trick
Type in a desired site and add “?.jpg” to the end of the URL before pressing Enter. It’s an oldie but a goodie and may not work at airports with more advanced systems-- or on more complex websites.
3. Get a “brand new” computer  
If you’re browsing for free and don’t want to shell out cash for extra time, there’s a sneaky trick to fool the powers that be. Networks know who you are based on a device’s Media Access Control (MAC) address and will try to shut you down if you reach the limit. If you run out of time, you can either download a new MAC address from Technitium MAC Address Changer (for Windows) or Linkliar (for OS X), according to Thrillist. This will fool the network into thinking you’re using a different computer and you can restart your browsing session.  
4. Enlist the help of travelers before you
Well-meaning web browsers around the world who have figured out wireless passwords from airport terminals or VIP lounges often leave comments behind on Foursquare relaying pertinent info to the masses. Of course, those could be changed by the time you reach a destination, but it’s always a worth a shot.
5. The time traveler
 For airports that impose a time limit on their free Wi-Fi packages, there’s another relatively simple work around. Before your window has run out, reset the clock on your device—for at least an hour—reboot and try to get back on.

Legendary Chef Jacques Pepin Gets His Own Oceania Cruise

Culinary travel is one of the hottest trends in travel right now, andOceania Cruises is tapping into that white-hot market with a new itinerary specially prepared for the foodie traveler.
Oceania Cruises announced that its 1,250-passenger Marina cruise ship would host a Mediterranean itinerary featuring world-renowned chef Jacques Pepin, which is scheduled to set sail on Nov. 1, 2016.

Legendary Chef Jacques Pepin Gets His Own Oceania Cruise
Photo courtesy of Oceania Cruises

Pepin is a legendary master chef and longtime executive culinary director for Oceania Cruises, and he has been tapped to host the Jacques Pepin Cruise. The 10-day voyage will take passengers from Venice through the Mediterranean before finally returning to Rome.
Guests onboard the Marina cruise ship will be treated to book signings, meet-and-greets and a special culinary demonstration hosted by Pepin himself. Add in specially designed menus in the restaurants, epicurean-infused shore excursions and hands-on culinary instruction taking place in the Culinary Center on board, and passengers will be immersed in Pepin’s signature style.
Pepin released a statement about the Oceania Cruises journey next year, saying, “It’s such a joy sailing aboard Marina with guests who share the same passion for food, wine and overall enjoyment of life. This Mediterranean itinerary is a beautiful mix of long-established culinary destinations and some burgeoning epicurean hotspots.”
As for how much a journey like this will cost, fares for the Jacques Pepin Cruise start at $3,899 per person. Passengers can also purchase a ticket for Oceania Cruises’ Reunion Cruise that departs November 11, making it a 20-day voyage. A ticket for both cruises starts at $6,599 per person.
For more information about the Jacques Pepin Cruise, check out the Oceania Cruises' official website.

Free Valet Parking And 2 Signature Cocktails Now At W Hotels

  • Expiration: 12-31-15
  • Travel Dates: Through December 31, 2015.
Stay at one of Starwood's W Hotels and receive free valet parking plus two signature cocktails upon arrival. From now to the end of 2015, stay at select W locations in Los Angeles, South Beach, Montreal, Puerto Rico and more. Mention mention rate planWPLAYPKG.

For more information and reservations visit the W Hotels website.
  • Travel Dates: Through December 31, 2015.
  • Advance Purchase Requirements: May apply.
  • Expiration: 12-31-15
  • Minimum/Maximum Stay: May apply.
  • Blackout Dates: May apply.
  • Additional Fees: Additional fees may apply.
  • Further Restrictions: Further restrictions may apply.


Tel Aviv Nightlife: Where To Party in Israel

With its sultry Mediterranean climate, seaside location, hedonistic vibe and young, international population, it’s no surprise Tel Aviv is known as the party capital of the Middle East. Any great evening here should start at a beach bar around sunset  a cold beer on your lips, toes pushing into still-warm sand.
Later on, you could squeeze onto the last free stools in a packed pub before spilling out onto the pavement, drink in hand, for some fresh air and conversation. Then find a quiet backstreet wine bar to sample local vineyards' offerings, see some art at a 'gallery bar' and maybe catch a band play. As the night stretches on into the small hours, there's only one choice left: hit the city's clubs, where it's lasers, beats and dancing until dawn. Ready to join Tel Aviv on a night out? 
A Friday night party on Tel Aviv's Jerusalem BeachA Friday night party on Tel Aviv's Jerusalem Beach. Image by Maremarum/Photolibrary/Getty

Central Tel Aviv

For a first-timer, there’s no better place to bar hop than the city’s main artery. Packed with most of the city’s best bars and clubs, it’s easy to spend a whole night at the southern end of Rothschild Boulevard and its surrounding streets. While Tel Aviv’s nightlife scene can be a fickle beast, there are a few sure bets here.
Kick off at Rothschild 12, a longstanding cafe that, like many daytime eateries in Tel Aviv, morphs into a bar after dark. Enjoy a beer on the buzzy terrace, pull up a pew at the narrow bar just inside, or head out back to catch a live band.
Just a few blocks away, new-kid-on-the-block Kuli Alma ( is a great bar/club to swing by while you’re sober enough to appreciate its vibrant murals and rotating art exhibits – enjoy a cocktail in the open-air courtyard if you’re not yet ready to hit the dance floor next to the bar downstairs. It’s just one of an increasing number of ‘gallery bars’ that have popped up in Tel Aviv over the past few years, including subterranean drinking dens Buxa (31 Rothschild Bvld) with its alternative Tokyo vibe, and Radio EPGB (7 Shadal St), which with its polished wooden bar, moody lighting and graffiti-scribbled walls wouldn’t look out of place in New York’s East Village.
After 11pm Tel Aviv’s clubs slowly begin to fill up, but they don’t really get pumping until around 2am. Discreetly located in the windowless depths of a former post office, Jimmy Who (24 Rothschild Bvld) has drawn parallels to the alternative bars of Berlin. A short walk away, Deli is another top spot in Tel Aviv to lose your inhibitions. Named for the former New York-style sandwich shop – now a Mexican takeaway joint – that conceals the entrance, it's the place to go for cocktails and house music.
A popular day-to-night hangout on Ben Gurion Boulevard. Image by Dan Porges/Archive Images/Getty ImagesA popular day-to-night hangout on Ben Gurion Boulevard. Image by Dan Porges/Archive Images/Getty Images

South Tel Aviv

Just a few blocks south of Rothschild, you’ll hit the beautifully restored yuppie neighbourhood of Neve Tzedek. Perhaps the best ‘burb in Tel Aviv for a lazy brunch, it’s also home to a clutch of chic wine bars such as Wine Story (8 Ahad Ha'am St) and Jajo Vino (44 Shabazi St). Just east of here is Florentin. Currently in the midst of a hipster-fuelled renaissance, this grungy, industrial suburb has shabby-chic bars to match including Hoodna Bar and Bugsy (26 Florentin Street).
Tel Aviv's wine bars are . Image by David Silverman/Getty Images EuropeTake your pick from a clutch of relaxed wine bars in Tel Aviv. Image by David Silverman/Getty Images Europe


A concerted effort has been made to spruce up Jaffa, just south of Neve Tzedek, in recent years, and the results are undeniably attractive. With a vibe akin to Istanbul’s reenergised port area of Karaköy, Jaffa’s Flea Market enclave is one of the hottest hang-outs in Tel Aviv – head here in the early evening for a spot of boutique shopping before checking out the bar scene.
Tucked in an alley off the Flea Market, bohemian café/bar Shafa Bar is a great spot for a round of mint raki, and stay on to take in a live band. Move on to Jaffa Bar (30 Yefet St) for a craft cocktail, cabaret performance, or late night snack (the menu offers dishes from owner/chef Nir Tzuk’s flagship Cordelia restaurant, strategically located across the alley) or cut some shapes on the dance floor to some electro-Arab beats at Anna LouLou Bar.
Tel Aviv's clubs get going around 2am. Image by Alex Segre/moment Open/Getty ImagesTel Aviv's clubs get going around 2am. Image by Alex Segre/moment Open/Getty Images

Beach parties

Tel Aviv beaches can feel like one big party on weekend days. Come nightfall, however, the beaches also play host to more organised revelry on an even larger scale. The action is usually centred between Hilton Beach and Gordon Beach, including Frischmann and Bograshov Beaches in between – keep your eyes peeled around town for posters advertising upcoming beach parties. More permanent fixtures include, from north to south, Shalvata (, near the port, the day-to-night beach bars on Hilton and Gordon beaches, Mike’s Place (just south of Borgrashov Beach) and the enormous Clara Beach Bar, at the site of Tel Aviv’s former dolphinarium.
Beachfront bar Mike's Place is a Tel Aviv institution. Image by Yoav Lemmer/AFP/Getty ImagesBeachfront bar Mike's Place is a Tel Aviv institution. Image by Yoav Lemmer/AFP/Getty Images

LGBTIQ+ scene

One of the world’s friendliest LGBTIQ+ destinations, Tel Aviv has a solid scene. By day, a gay crowd generally congregates on the sands of Hilton Beach, filtering into the bars and clubs of central Tel Aviv by night. It may be the oldest gay bar in Tel Aviv, but Evita has still got it: complete with smouldering shirtless bartenders. Needless to say, this is the place to be during Tel Aviv Pride week. Shpagat is another popular haunt, while Lima (42 Lilienblum St) and Alphabet (54 Ahad Ha’Am) also host good gay nights.

What to drink

Home to one of the world’s top party cities, it may be surprising to learn that Israel is not a nation of big drinkers. Annual wine consumption, for example, stands at around 6L per person, while Brits quaff 20L (and the French a whopping 45L!). Beer consumption isn’t much higher. Home to several hundred wineries, however, Israel boasts some very drinkable drops both red and white, and several shades in between. This writer can speak very highly of boutique Tulip Winery’s White Franc, a gorgeous blend of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc perfectly suited to imbibing in Israel’s arid climate, and US booze bible Wine Spectator went as far to name Recanati Winery's Cabernet Sauvignon as one of the world’s top 100 wines of 2014.
When it comes to beer, drinkers had little to choose from beside mass-produced commercial lagers like Macabee and Goldstar until just a few years ago. Israel now has several dozen good microbreweries – Alexander Brewery’s IPA, the Dancing Camel’s Olde Papa, and Jem’s 8.8 are three great brews worth trying.
Thanks in part to the million-strong wave of Russian immigrants who made Tel Aviv home after the collapse of the Soviet Union, vodka is the spirit of choice; vodka, whisky and arak are standard chasers. If you’re ordering mixed drinks or cocktails, be warned that pours often verge on the dangerously generous.

Top tips

There's always a new hot spot on Tel Aviv's nightlife scene, with new bars and clubs appearing and disappearing practically overnight.  Most are open seven days a week and don’t kick out the last punter until daybreak. Refreshingly, club admission is usually free, but on busy nights (Thursday and Friday are the big nights to go out) the door staff can be picky. Asthmatics be warned: smoking bans are rarely enforced, so most places can get pretty smoky.
Sarah Reid travelled as a guest of the Israel Government Tourist Office ( Lonely Planet contributors do not accept freebies in exchange for positive coverage.


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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Travelore Warning: Hilton Hotels Allegedly Suffer Credit Card Breach

Report: Hilton Hotels Allegedly Suffer Credit Card Breach
Reports have surfaced that Hilton Worldwide has allegedly been hit with a credit card breach, impacting customers who made purchases in gift shops and restaurants at properties owned by the hotel company.
In a report from Brian Krebs of, industry insiders have discovered a pattern in fraudulent activity that points to the possibility of hackers attacking registers in the retail and food service establishments located at "a large number" of Hilton properties.
The report claims Visa sent notices to financial institutions warning about the possible credit card breach between April 21, and July 27, 2015, but the alerts did not reveal which company was allegedly hacked.
Krebs said that five different banks told him they have found similarities between the hacks, revealing that the breached credit cards were all reportedly used at Hilton properties such as Embassy Suites, Doubletree, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and others.
The guest reservation system is not believed to be impacted by the breach, but instead the hack likely came from point-of-sale registers in the gift shops and restaurants on Hilton property. The report claims there is no estimate on how many customers were affected.
Krebs also reported that the breach could have started as far back as November 2014 and it may still be going on right now. Hilton released a statement regarding the reports of being hacked:
“Hilton Worldwide is strongly committed to protecting our customers’ credit card information. We have many systems in place and work with some of the top experts in the field to address data security. Unfortunately the possibility of fraudulent credit card activity is all too common for every company in today’s marketplace. We take any potential issue very seriously, and we are looking into this matter.”
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