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Vineyard and Zipline Trends Collide at the Pinot Express

Chris Leschinsky
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.

Because There Aren't Enough Reasons to Visit San Diego in Winter, Now You Can Ice Skate

Hotel Solamar
Top reasons to visit San Diego right now:

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.

Where to Ski In Every State and 16 Ski Vacations Near Big U.S. Cities

Squaw Valley
The period after Thanksgiving isn't just the start of the holiday shopping season, it's typically the start of the ski season as well. To that end, AOL Travel has posted these two guides to ski vacations: Now you'll be able to cross off Ski in Alabama on your bucket list.

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.

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:

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:

4 Thanksgiving Travel Tips to Save You Time

APTOPIX Airport Travel
Associated Press

Sure, some of these travel tips are basic. But Thanksgiving travel is looking to be an even bigger mess than normal this year, especially around the East Coast. So this 90-second refresher from Samantha Brown and Mark "Hawkeye Louis" could save you hours.

Discover Something New at Home this Holiday Season

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.)

We turned to local writers to help you rediscover your hometown over Thanksgiving and 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. We'll also 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:

AIR Chicago Radio Station Launches Monday at O'Hare, Midway Airports

Just in time for the holiday season-amazing how that works!-this Monday will see the launch of AIR Chicago, "the first 24-hour-a-day airport radio station dedicated to keeping O'Hare and Midway travelers in tune with Chicago Department of Aviation information, airport traffic, weather, business news, smooth jazz music and much more."

Travelers can access the stations through Orbitz has predicted that O'Hare will be the busiest airport in the country over Thanksgiving, while Clear Channel estimates 85 million travelers pass through both O'Hare and Midway airports annually.

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