New Online Travel Tool Helps You Find the Cheapest Flights From Your City

iStock.com/Amit_Choudhary
iStock.com/Amit_Choudhary

If you’re overdue for a vacation but don’t know where you want to go, let Escape be your personal travel agent. This tool spotted by Thrillist helps you score the best airline deals by displaying a detailed, interactive map of the cheapest flights around the world at any given moment.

Just plug in your departure location and preferred travel dates to find the destinations with the cheapest flights. Want to travel from Chicago to Asia the first week of September? It looks like Beijing, China, is your best point of entry. Perhaps you want to fly domestic instead. Just select “North America” from the bottom of the screen, and start perusing the cheapest flight paths, which are displayed in green.

Escape is similar to Skyscanner’s flight comparison map, but there are a few notable differences between the two tools. For one, Escape lets you search by specific dates rather than an entire month. In addition to the usual filters (namely your budget, and whether you prefer direct flights), Escape also lets you narrow the search field by visa requirements, popularity of the destination, and weather. The site doesn’t sell the actual flight tickets, though. After you’ve made your decision, Escape will direct you to a third-party platform—like Skyscanner or Kiwi—to book your flights.

The Escape tool was created by the staff of the MIT Senseable City Lab in Singapore, which uses data and technology to address other urban challenges, like the effect of pollution on human activity in China. As for the Escape travel map, the goal was to help users “picture the price landscape whenever [they] felt like taking a holiday.”

To try it out for yourself, visit greatescape.co, and check out our other tips for figuring out when to book a trip in 2019.

[h/t Thrillist]

Florida to Open Its First-Ever Snow Park

Zuberka/iStock via Getty Images
Zuberka/iStock via Getty Images

Millions of tourists flock to Florida each year to ride roller coasters, meet their favorite cartoon characters, and lounge on the beach. The state isn't famous for its winter activities, but that could soon change. As WESH 2 reports, Florida's first-ever snow park is coming to Dade City in 2020.

At Snowcat Ridge, guests will be able to take part in the same snowy fun that's up North. The main attraction of the park will be a 60-foot-tall, 400-foot-long slope packed with snow. A lift will transport visitors to the top of the hill, and from there, they'll use inner tubes to slide back down to ground level. Single, double, and six-person family tubes will be provided to riders.

Guests can also check out the 10,000-square-foot play dome, where they'll use real snow to build snow castles and snow men. The area will even feature a small hill for young visitors who aren't ready for more serious snow-tubing. And because the best part of playing in the snow all day is warming up afterwards, Snowcat Ridge will be home to an Alpine Village, where guests can nibble on snacks and sip cocoa in front of a bonfire.

Dade City is located in Central Florida, an area that hasn't seen snow in nearly 43 years. The arrival of the new park will mark the first time many locals can get a full winter experience close to home.

Snowcat Ridge is expected to open in November 2020.

[h/t WESH 2]

The New York Times's Latest Book on Travel Will Help You Plan the Perfect Weekend Getaway

TASCHEN
TASCHEN

Getting a full sense of a new city while traveling can be tough—especially if you only have a weekend to explore it. But since 2002, The New York Times’s "36 Hours" column has been breaking down destinations all over the world into bite-size pieces, allowing travelers to see the big attractions while still experiencing the city like a local. Now, you can get the best of the column's North American destinations with the fully updated and revised edition of 36 Hours: USA & Canada for $40 at TASCHEN or on Amazon.

Even if you have the original, it’s worth purchasing this updated copy, as this version features 33 new itineraries from Anchorage, Alaska; the Berkshires in Massachusetts; Boulder, Colorado; Miami; Oakland, California; Chattanooga, Tennessee; and many more.

36 Hours: USA & Canda from the New York Times
TASCHEN

The 752-page book also offers more than 5400 hours of travel itineraries, 600 restaurants to dine at, and 450 hotel options. Each city featured includes a brief history, a list of popular destinations, and tips on how to experience it all like a local. For example, the New Orleans guide encourages travelers to start at the French 75 Bar for happy hour and order a Sazerac, a cocktail close to an Old-Fashioned that's a local favorite. Whereas the Miami guide takes you to the Buena Vista Deli, a bistro known for its take on classic French dishes. The travel book also features detailed city maps that pinpoint all the stops, and it's accompanied by nearly 1000 photographs.

Once you've picked your destination, check out some tips on how to craft the perfect itinerary.

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