The Daily Traveler: Strangest Vending Machines Around the World

Strangest Vending Machines Around the World

In Germany, when financial panic strikes and the need to convert all assets into gold—immediately—arises, jumpy investors head to the Gold to Go vending machine. You can buy peace of mind in increments as tiny as 1/10 of an ounce for $5.

Click through to read the rest of the article at the Condé Nast Traveler.

Image courtesy of Gold to Go.

DVD Review: Fast Five

'Fast Five' Is as Fun as When You Were a Kid, Smashing Your Toys Together

From the opening moments of the movie—when two flashy muscle cars conspire to collide with the prison bus, which tumbles and rolls and everyone walks away without a fatality—it’s clear that Fast Five is going to be at least a little silly. The characters drive off cliffs and leap out of windows and suffer neither broken bones nor scratches and bruises. It is, however, aware of its own outlandishness. “There’s nowhere in the world where people with cars hang out with models. We get that,” director Justin Lin says in his solo commentary on the movie’s extended edition, which runs a full one minute longer than the theatrical cut.

But there’s no harm in running away with the fantasy of it. In the commentary, Lin suggests that everyone just “embrace the ridiculousness of it.” There’s no reason not to, since going along with it means you get to see high-powered cars going up against buses, trains, and, eventually, bank vaults. The joy is similar to the one you experienced when you were a kid, smashing your toys into one another—only the movie has far more expensive toys. Lin estimates that more than 200 cars were destroyed during filming.

Click through to read the rest of the review at PopMatters.

The Daily Traveler: Ten Hotels in Unlikely Places

For a recent slideshow on the Condé Nast Traveler website, I rounded up hotels that can be found in properties once used for disparate purposes, such as a plane, old train cars, a prison, a primary school, etc.

Ten Hotels in Unlikely Places

The Långholmen
The Långholmen operated as a prison from the 1840s all the way to 1975, and it's kept some cheeky nods to its past in its décor. You'll see them as you walk the cell blocks where the rooms are located. (Are those multi-paned windows supposed to look like they have prison bars?) A high wall surrounds the property, but thankfully it's flowers—not barbed wires—that decorate it.

Click through to see the rest at the Condé Nast Traveler.

Photo Credit: Vincent Castello

The Daily Traveler: Starbucks Bathroom Policy Change Could Leave Travelers with a Problem

Starbucks Bathroom Policy Change Could Leave Travelers with a Problem

You're out discovering a new city, and, after a long day of sightseeing, shopping, and seeking out the best street-food vendors, it's finally time for a bathroom break. What used to be your go-to for a dependable public restroom—the closest Starbucks—may not be available to you anymore.
The New York Post reports that, though not an official policy, branches of the chain has been "steadily closing some of its restrooms," at least in New York City, because its own employees are forced to wait in line behind customers.
So, what's a weary (and full-bladdered) traveler to do? Where will you turn for your next pit stop? Leave us your best public-restroom-finding strategies in the comments.

The Daily Traveler: IKEA Designs a Community in London

We Hope London's Ikea Suburb Serves Swedish Meatballs

Ikea devotees, start packing your cheap-but-attractive furniture. LandProp—part of the Inter Ikea Group, which owns the Swedish furniture chain—is converting 26 acres and 2 million square feet of space into a mixed-use community south of London's Olympic park in Stratford. In other words: an Ikea village of sorts. In addition to offices and more than a thousand new homes, LandProp is outfitting the development, called Strand East, with a Graysons restaurant, a 350-room hotel, and Dane's Yard, a waterfront public square marked by an illuminated 130-foot-tall sculpture. The eco-friendly community will have car-free zones (families can stow their minivans underground), water taxis in the surrounding canals, and landscaped bridges and walkways. The big question: How many pieces will be leftover when they’re done assembling the ’burb?

Image Credit: LandProp

The Daily Traveler: Country Music-Inspired Travel


Taylor Swift Makes Us Want to Take a Country-Travel Tour

Taylor Swift took home the Entertainer of the Year statue at Wednesday's Country Music Awards. If her down-home charm—along with performances by Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert, and the oft-re-costumed Carrie Underwood—inspired you to put a little more honkey-tonk in your life, here are five places that'll get you in touch with your country roots.

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Nashville, Tennessee

No better place to start than Nashville, home to the Country Music Association, the Grand Ole Opry, and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The latter houses a collection of hundreds of thousands of country-music artifacts for fans to pore over, from Carrie Underwood's Grammy dress (though not all of the other  night's CMA outfits—yet) to countless photos, recordings, movies, and interviews. A current exhibition about Hank Williams and his kin, featuring rare and never-before-seen items donated by his family, closes December 31.

Click through to read the rest of the item at the Condé Nast Traveler website.

Photo by Tim Hursley

The Daily Traveler: Quiz - Match the Country to Its Motto


Quiz: Match the Country to Its Motto

This week, the House of Representatives voted to reaffirm "In God We Trust" as the national motto of the United States. This follows a 2002 vote that accomplished the exact same thing. We're not convinced our national slogan is really worth all of that congressional time and effort (does anyone pay attention to these things outside of their own countries, or even in them?) But with the idea that it might actually tell you something about the place you're visiting, we've looked into some other countries' mottos. See if you can match these ten adages to their countries.

Click through to read the rest at the Condé Nast Traveler.

The Daily Traveler: Rum Diary

Johnny Depp and Puerto Rico Star in The Rum Diary

Johnny Depp’s latest, The Rum Diary, opens tonight—an adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's semi-autobiographical novel about working at an ailing newspaper in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in the late 1950s. Filming was done on location on the island (which was recently top-rated in our annual Readers’ Choice Awards, along with several snazzy hotels and resorts). Johnny Depp, no stranger to working in the Caribbean, speaks fondly the two months he spent in Puerto Rico. "It's very vivid; there's a real celebration of life there," he told Entertainment Tonight. "The people there are very warm and welcoming—in truth, the sweetest people on Earth."

New Show Review: Allen Gregory


'Allen Gregory': A Little Egghead With a Temper


Similarly, the show leans on angry-Allen too much. Yes, it’s funny to see the little egghead blow his lid and be downright rude to people. The problem is, he’s belligerent to too many people, especially within his family structure. It’s realistic that a kid would be hostile to either his father’s partner or a new adopted sibling, and Allen Gregory has both. But scenes at the De Longpre home devolve into across-the-board shouting. The writers need to differentiate how Allen Gregory relates to Jeremy from how he relates to Julie. If the show had Allen Gregory treat Jeremy and Julie differently, there’d be more opportunity for a wider variety of jokes, including some that don’t involve yelling. 


At least Allen Gregory doesn’t try to emulate Family Guy‘s ugly aesthetic. Allen Gregory looks much nicer. Character designs come from Andy Bialk and James McDermott, whose combined credits include King of the Hill, The Ricky Gervais Show, Dexter’s Laboratory, The Powerpuff Girls, and Samurai Jack. As on those shows, the characters of Allen Gregory look flat and the backgrounds are mostly static. But rather than the ultra-spare designs of those shows, the artwork feels full and sophisticated, with a muted color palette. Maybe the humor can become as refined.


Click through to read the rest of the review at PopMatters.

Time Out New York: Guide to Fall in New York City

Visit These Sights Before Tourists Descend

The Rink at Rockefeller Center
Ice-skating before winter officially arrives may seem silly, but there is a benefit to heading out early: This iconic rink offers lower prices until November 3, and the ice—which accommodates only 150 people at a time—is slightly less crowded. Thus, you’ll have a wider berth while attempting your best shoot-the-duck spin. 30 Rockefeller Plaza between 49th and 50th Sts ( Times vary; visit website for details. Through Nov 3: $10–$14, seniors and children under 11 $8–$8.50; skate rental $8. Nov 4–17 $15.50–$19, seniors and children under 11 $9.50–$10.50. Nov 18–Jan 6: $15.50–$21, seniors and children under11 $9.50–$12.50; skate rental $10.

Click through to read the rest of the article at Time Out New York


Photograph: Courtesy the Holiday Shops at Bryant Park