30 Cheap Weekend Getaways in the USA

Slide 1 of 31: Sometimes you need to get out of town but aren't able to spend too much doing so. These weekend trip ideas will help you relax, unwind and get away from it all without draining your bank account or requiring you to trek too far from home.

Slide 2 of 31: The Gulf Coast of Alabama boasts 32 miles of white sand beaches that are perfect for hours of relaxation. Here, you can book a one-bedroom beachfront condo that can sleep up to four guests for less than $700 per week. Plus, you don't have to visit during the summer to experience the area's best weather. Spring and fall boast temperatures that are still comfortable for sunbathing and swimming. If you can drive (it's less four hours from Montgomery, Alabama, Tallahassee, Florida, and New Orleans), you'll save even more.

Slide 3 of 31: If you live in the Midwest, consider making the drive to Holiday World – a theme park and water park with daily entrance fees starting at $29.99 if you buy online. In addition to plenty of thrill rides, Holiday World offers several complimentary perks, including parking, sunscreen, Wi-Fi and soft drinks. What's more, you can camp next door at Lake Rudolph campground for less than $50 per night.

Slide 4 of 31: Seeking a solo weekend getaway? Drive or fly to Miami Beach to stay at Circa 39. The hotel's "Solo at Circa" package includes two nights of lodging, free daily breakfast, two free drinks at the WunderBar and a calendar that chronicles all the fun events happening in Miami Beach during your stay, starting at $123 per night. Circa 39 also boasts a pool and is conveniently just a block away from Miami Beach.

Slide 5 of 31: Bahia Honda State Park is a great place to visit for those wanting to experience the Florida Keys on a budget. You can rent kayak and snorkeling gear here, or even hop on a boat to snorkel at Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary. Entry fees start at $8.50 per vehicle. Plus, you can camp here for $36 per night (plus a $6.70 reservation fee) and renting a cabin costs just $120 per night plus reservation fees from May 1 to Oct. 31.

Slide 6 of 31: A glitzy getaway in Las Vegas can be yours, and it may be less expensive than you initially thought. Hotels on the strip can cost as little as $50 per night, but beware of resort fees, which can tack $29 or more on to the daily rate. Try not to spend too much time at the casinos while here. Instead, spend your time watching characters come and go on The Strip or catch a free outdoor show at the Bellagio Fountains.

Slide 7 of 31: While Sedona isn't always cheap to visit, you can find some hotels for as little as $100 per night during off-peak months in the summer and fall. Book a stay to enjoy the iconic red rock scenery and plan some extraordinary (and free) hikes on the Cathedral Rock, Fay Canyon and Devil's Bridge trails.

Slide 8 of 31: Albuquerque is quirky and fun, with an ancient old town that features brick-lined streets and adobe-style buildings. Visit during spring or fall for the best weather, then take advantage of local festivals like the Albuquerque Wine Festival (spring) or the famous Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (fall). Take a ride up the nearly 3-mile-long Sandia Peak Ariel Tramway or splurge for a hot air balloon ride, which can cost around $139 per person. Opt for a vacation rental rather than a hotel to save some coin.

Slide 9 of 31: San Antonio is an affordable destination brimming with cultural flair, historical significance and free things to do. You can visit the Alamo or the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park for free, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites. You should also take a stroll along the River Walk, which features waterfront restaurants, shopping and beautiful natural scenery.

Slide 10 of 31: Some say Stowe is a hiker's paradise, but you'll also find ziplining and performing arts events, plus ample opportunities to enjoy cold-weather sports like skiing and snowboarding during winter months. Fall is especially beautiful here, and cheaper if you stick to free activities like hiking and strolling to discover fall foliage. Stay at The Stowehof, Grey Fox Inn & Resort or Butler House Stowe for less than $150 per night in October and November.

Slide 11 of 31: The Wisconsin Dells is home to dozens of world class water parks and family-friendly hotels. You'll also find theme parks along with haunted houses, a "circus world" and a Ripley's Believe it Or Not! Museum. You can frequently find hotel and attraction discounts on the Wisconsin Dells main website, but the best prices are available when kids are in school.
Slide 12 of 31: Indianapolis has gained international acclaim for its bustling racing scene, but it's also affordable and fun to visit – particularly for families. The city hosts the largest children's museum in the world, the 250-acre White River State Park and an interactive history museum known as Conner Prairie, which lets children see how families lived and worked centuries ago. Various hotel deals are available year-round, too.

Slide 13 of 31: Head to Glacier National Park in northern Montana for a camping and hiking weekend with scenery you'll never forget. The park offers 700 miles of trails with stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. What's more, you can camp here for as little as $10 to $23 per night during the summer.

Slide 14 of 31: Dollywood can complete any Smoky Mountain getaway, offering visitors a theme park, water park, themed dinner shows and a resort complete with a pool and spa. The theme park alone boasts 40 different rides, including a 20-story free-fall ride known as Drop Line) and three-day passes to both parks start at $114 per person. Rather than staying at Dollywood, consider one of the nearby hotels, which average around $100 a night or less.
Slide 15 of 31: Tupelo is more than Elvis Presley's birthplace: It's a fun, affordable and quirky destination with numerous attractions ranging from its own Buffalo Park and Zoo ($11 admission) to a children's museum ($5 admission). You can even follow the Elvis Guitar Trail around town and take your picture with 25-plus iconic guitars the star once played.
Slide 16 of 31: Olympic National Park is worth a weekend visit, whether you want to hike, stare at the stars or explore its more than 70 miles of untouched coastline. While here, visit the famous Hoh Rain Forest, Lake Crescent and Rialto Beach. You can camp within the park for as little as $40 per night for up to 10 people sharing a site.

Slide 17 of 31: Known for its lively music scene and as the home of Graceland (the former residence of Elvis), Memphis is is easy to reach by car from numerous nearby towns and cities. Memphis is also affordable to visit nearly year-round (downtown hotels start at less than $100 per night during the summer). Plus, you can count on delicious eats. Memphis has become somewhat of a foodie destination thanks to its barbecue and buttery grits, among other southern favorites.

Slide 18 of 31: Amtrak offers an array of affordable long weekend getaway options by train, including itineraries with overnight lodging. The Rails to the Grand Canyon experience starts (and ends) in Los Angeles and lasts five days for $649 per person. Along the way, you can sit back and relax while enjoying views of the mountains and plains as your train winds along this scenic route. The package includes an overnight hotel and train stays, round-trip transportation and some of your meals, but the scenery is priceless.

Slide 20 of 31: Luxury travel experts at Under Canvas offer "glamping" – or upscale camping – for less than you'd think in various scenic destinations, including Utah's Zion National Park. You can book a basic safari-style tent with a king-sized bed, a carpeted floor and its own wood burning stove for $199 per night this spring and $229 per night through early fall.

Slide 21 of 31: You can enjoy an affordable weekend in Atlantic City – provided you steer clear of the casinos. Truthfully, there are plenty of ways to spend your time here, including exploring the beautiful beaches and boardwalk, which has roots that date back to 1870. Atlantic City is also home to numerous arts and culture venues and offerings, including the African American Heritage Museum, an aquarium and the Atlantic City Ballet.

Slide 22 of 31: Beer-lovers can score a frugal getaway to the DogHouse Hotel and Brewery, located on the outskirts of Columbus, Ohio. This beer-themed hotel has its own brewery on-site, which guests can even view from some rooms. Room rates include breakfast, and the lobby features a bar with games and activities. Rooms come with beer on tap (for purchase) and rates start at $162 per night.

Slide 23 of 31: Myrtle Beach is an affordable family-friendly destination with many low-cost or free activities for travelers of all ages. Watching the sunrise over the water, exploring the mile-long boardwalk and searching the iconic shoreline for shells are all free of charge. Stay at Crown Reef Beach Resort, which offers an on-site water park and nightly summer rates as low as $189 for a family of four.

Slide 24 of 31: Jackson Hole is a beautiful destination to retreat to year-round, but especially during late spring, summer and fall when you can get outdoors and take advantage of free activities. Hike the trails in the nearby Grand Teton National Park, stroll around the rustic town square or head to the National Elk Refuge, where you can see these animals in their natural habitat.

Slide 25 of 31: This area of the United States is home to Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park and the fascinating caverns of Wind Cave, making it perfect for a road trip. The Black Hills also boast numerous affordable family-friendly hotels, including campgrounds and lodges. Nightly rates at Sylvan Lake Lodge start at $165 per night this summer.
Slide 26 of 31: The Farm Sanctuary in the Finger Lakes region of New York is part animal sanctuary and part country retreat. Travelers eager for a break can book a tiny home and spend time with more than 800 rescued farm animals. Rentals start at $160 per night, although you do have to pay a $20 membership fee to make a booking.
Slide 27 of 31: Savannah is within a day's drive of some parts of the Midwest and southern United States, yet its historical charm makes it seem a world away. There are plenty of free things to do in Savannah, including exploring the city's many scenic parks and squares, visiting the beautifully decorated Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, strolling through the botanical gardens, enjoying distillery tours and more.
Slide 29 of 31: There's so much to do and see in New Orleans, and it's an affordable place to visit if you stay outside the French Quarter and avoid huge event weekends like Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday. Stay off the beaten path in the Garden District, then stroll along iconic Magazine Street, wander through the French Quarter in search of live music and shopping, or stop in a local eatery for a famous po'boy sandwich or beignet.
Slide 30 of 31: Ohio's Cedar Point theme park is home to numerous thrill rides and roller coasters, including the 120 mph Top Thrill Dragster. Visitors can also ride the park's Steel Vengeance, which is one of the tallest, fastest and longest roller coasters in the world. Daily admission tickets start at $49.99 and it's easy to find affordable hotels or motels in nearby towns. The Holiday Inn Express in Sandusky offers free breakfast and starts at $158 per night this fall.
Slide 31 of 31: The Gros Ventre Wilderness, which is part of the greater Yellowstone ecosystem, is a natural wonder worth visiting. Plan a weekend here to discover rolling rivers, numerous species of wildlife and amazing geological features including rock formations and natural slides. As for accommodations, travelers can rent the Hoback Guard Station cabin for $30 for a party of four.

Beijing Is One Step Closer to Opening the Biggest Airport in the World


Beijing Daxing International Airport — which is set to become the world’s biggest airport when it opens later this year — announced that it will begin test flights next week.

These test flights won’t be like normally scheduled commercial flights. Aircraft from Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, and Xiamen Airlines will land at the airport on the morning of May 13. After receiving ground clearance, they will take off again. The whole process is expected to take less than one hour.

According to the newspaper Beijing Youth Daily, the airport’s four runways and taxis passed inspection last week. The newspaper says work is progressing on schedule for the airport’s opening later this year.

Both China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines will use the airport as their new base when it opens.

The terminal, designed by Zaha Hadid, will be 700,000 square meters, and include separate passenger areas for domestic and international travel. It is expected to become the world’s largest airport in terms of surface area.

All work on the airport is expected to be completed by June 30. The airport is expected to open to the public on Sept. 30. By 2021, 45 million passengers are expected to pass through the airport annually. By 2025, that number is expected to grow to 72 million.

The Wave May Soon Open to More Tourists

a close up of a hill with Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in the background: the wave, arizona

The Wave is one of the United States’ most popular hiking spots, and while it received as many as 400 requests per day last year from potential visitors, only 20 to 96 people were allowed to visit each day.

With this in mind, the Bureau of Land Management is considering raising the daily limit of visitors to accommodate more people.

The popular rock formation located near the Utah-Arizona boundary in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument attracts hikers for the 9.5-kilometer hike through sandstone buttes and a sloping colorful basin full of tones of reds, oranges and yellows.

The Bureau of Land Management has kept the visitor limit low through a monthly online lottery and daily walk-in drawings at the Kanab visitor center. Federal data shows that less than five percent of the 150,000 people who wanted to hike the Wave last year were able to do so.

The reasoning behind the visitor limit has been to protect the environment and allow a peaceful hikes for visitors. However, agency official Mike Herder shared that the Bureau of Land Management may consider changing the visitor limit and is asking for public comments on the idea of implementing changes to the site.

They’re currently receiving feedback on environmental and safety concerns and discussing additional restrooms, parking and other resources to accommodate more visitors.

If the visitor limit is raised, travelers could see that occur as early as October.

These Incredible Napa Valley Airbnbs Are Perfect for Your Next Trip

Slide 1 of 10: Amy Poehler's new comedy and directorial debut Wine Country hits Netflix on May 10th, and it's giving me some serious girl trip FOMO. Here's what it's about: A group of six women book a trip to Napa Valley for a friend's 50th birthday, planning out a wine-fueled vacation, and since Amy's at the helm, it's a safe bet every second of the trip will be hilarious. TBH, it seems like the best friend getaway of a lifetime. So, why not plan a trip of your own to the famous California vineyards? These specially curated Airbnbs will give you all of the Wine Country vibes. Minus whatever mishaps Amy's crew faces.


Slide 3 of 10: Tiny rentals are all the rage, so why not make for an even trendier getaway? This completely renovated 31-foot Airstream sleeps two people and has all of the accommodations you'll need for a fantastic trip to wine country.BOOK NOW $130 per night, Airbnb

Slide 6 of 10: This Airbnb might take the cake for best Napa Valley rental-you can actually walk to wineries from here. No need to call an Uber! It has a pool, a hot tub, a tree swing and hammock, and also offers discounted wine tours (score!) and free tastings. I'm in heaven, and I'm not even there yet.BOOK NOW $589 per night, Airbnb

Slide 7 of 10: This rustic cabin sleeps four guests and is perfect for the outdoorsy types. It permeates that "old time" camp feelings, and might bring you back to your childhood summer memories. Just minutes from the downtown area, this rental is a country getaway in the middle of a bustling city.BOOK NOW $118 per night, Airbnb


Slide 8 of 10: An enormous, red barn cabin sitting in the middle of 50 acres of woods with a huge deck is just calling your name. The light wood interior is just the right amount of outdoorsy for indoorsy types.BOOK NOW $129 per night, Airbnb





Slide 10 of 10: Transport yourselves into your own secret garden with this light-filled cottage escape. Nature lovers will have the chance to explore the gardens and nearby hiking trails at this rental-once they've had enough wine tastings, of course. BOOK NOW $100 per night, Airbnb



Here’s Our Definitive Guide to the 50 Best Hikes in the US

Slide 1 of 51: If you’ve been wanting to spend some time in the great outdoors, look no further than these 50 best hikes in the U.S. We all lead busy lives, so when we get a chance to escape to a national park or local preserve and go on a hike, the tall trees and quiet lakes can be like therapy for our souls. That's certainly true for the destinations we've compiled here, many of which feature awe-inspiring views, babbling brooks, mountain vistas, and towering pine trees. Others will bring you closer to animals and other wildlife, from sea turtles to herons. And whether you're a beginner or a more experienced hiker (or camper), there's something for you here: These hikes span the range from easy to challenging, with many falling somewhere in between. Happy trails!


Slide 2 of 51: Bon Secour is French for “safe harbor,” which is the perfect name for this 6,000-acre coastal wildlife refuge. As you wander wood-plank trails above sands and swampland, you just might spot snowy plovers, sea turtles, and other endangered creatures.PLAN YOUR HIKE

Slide 3 of 51: Mount Roberts Trail, starting in downtown Juneau and reaching a height of 1,760 feet, is guaranteed to take your breath away. The sight of the snow-capped mountains can’t be beat-plus, if you reach the top and you’re exhausted, you’ll be happy to know that you can hitch a ride on a tram and head back down in comfort.PLAN YOUR HIKE

Slide 10 of 51: On this boardwalk trail that’s less than a mile long, you’ll get an up-close-and-personal view of the Florida Everglades, complete with alligators, herons, turtles, and other native wildlife.PLAN YOUR HIKE

Slide 11 of 51: The biking and hiking trails of the Jekyll Island Trail System provide plenty of tourist diversions, like a miniature golf course, local hotels, and historical markers. And it doesn’t get much more Southern than watching the Spanish moss sway in the trees along the trails.PLAN YOUR HIKE

Slide 12 of 51: Say aloha to one of the most best hikes in the world. Hawaii’s Kalepa Ridge Trail stuns visitors with its views of turquoise seas, lush greenery, and rocky cliffs. But be forewarned that this will be a walk on the wild side-it’s an unofficial trail that’s not regularly maintained. Still, locals and well-trained hikers assert it’s one of the best around.PLAN YOUR HIKE

Slide 13 of 51: Winding throughout the Idaho panhandle, this paved 72-mile rail-trail holds a wealth of natural beauty: pine-topped hills, riverside scenery, and frequently-spotted animals like otters, moose, and beavers.PLAN YOUR HIKE

Slide 14 of 51: Imagine towering sandstone rock formations, flourishing green trees, and picturesque waterfalls. Yup, that's Starved Rock State Park in Utica, Illinois, and it really is the stuff of daydreams. The trails are resplendent year-round, but when the trees change color in the fall, that's when it's really not to be missed.PLAN YOUR HIKE


Slide 15 of 51: It’s said that the waterfalls throughout Clifty Falls State Park reflect the changing seasons: They fluctuate from misty trickles in dry periods to surging, grandiose wonders in the late winter and spring.PLAN YOUR HIKE


Slide 16 of 51: Near Harpers Ferry, Iowa, you might be surprised to learn that there’s a treasure trove of Native American history found in the Effigy Mounds National Monument. Traverse bridges and a mix of paved and grass-covered paths to see the area’s 191 effigy mounds.PLAN YOUR HIKE


Slide 17 of 51: Kanopolis State Park in Marquette displays every type of Kansas terrain imaginable, from sandstone formations to flat, grassy prairies. PLAN YOUR HIKE

Slide 18 of 51: The Berea College Forest holds what’s known as “The Pinnacles,” a scenic area showcasing seven miles of hiking and running trails. Visit Indian Fort Lookout for some of the most spectacular views in Kentucky.PLAN YOUR HIKE

Slide 19 of 51: Only 25 minutes from New Orleans, you’ll discover a whole new world at the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. If you’ve ever wanted to visit a real-deal bayou filled with alligators, armadillos, and other swamp wildlife (viewed from wood-plank trails), this is your chance.PLAN YOUR HIKE

Slide 20 of 51: There are few places as beautiful as Maine’s Acadia National Park, and there’s one hiking destination within it that’s particularly pretty: the Shore Trail that touches Jordan Pond. It’s a 3.5-mile paved path where you’ll find an unforgettable view of the idyllic shoreline.PLAN YOUR HIKE

Slide 21 of 51: Just a hop, skip, and a jump from Washington, D.C., you might find yourself jumping like a billy goat on this striking but challenging trail. Appropriately name the "Billy Goat Trail," the rocky, 4.7-mile hiking path does require some fancy footwork. Be prepared for an amazing workout and equally amazing views.PLAN YOUR HIKE



Slide 22 of 51: Take your pooch to the dog-friendly Mount Greylock State Reservation and look out as far as 90 miles away from the highest point in Massachusetts.PLAN YOUR HIKE


Slide 23 of 51: Located in the Sleeping Bear Dunes, visitors enjoy the 1.5-mile Empire Bluff Trail, a combination of dirt trails and boardwalks that lead to a bluff where you can take in a panoramic view of Lake Michigan.PLAN YOUR HIKE




Slide 24 of 51: Splish! Splash! Those are the sounds you’ll likely hear when hiking Ely, Minnesota’s Kawishiwi Falls Trail. It’s famous for its gushing, gorgeous falls and easy-to-traverse path.PLAN YOUR HIKE




Slide 26 of 51: Now, here’s something you don’t see every day during a hike in a state park: ruins of an early 20th-century castle. In Ha Ha Tonka State Park, don’t miss the formerly grand mansion constructed by a wealthy Kansas City businessman, which met its demise in a 1942 fire.PLAN YOUR HIKE



Slide 27 of 51: Glacier National Park (specifically the Highline Trail) should be on everyone’s bucket list. See the majestic Continental Divide in all its glory as you make your way to Haystack Pass.PLAN YOUR HIKE

Slide 28 of 51: What’s the best way to see Scotts Bluff National Monument? That would be the Saddle Rock Trail, a 1.6-mile uphill path where you’ll witness the very landscape seen by pioneers on the Oregon Trail.PLAN YOUR HIKE



Slide 29 of 51: When you need a break from all that Las Vegas glitz, head out to the desert for some time in nature on the Calico Tanks Trail in Red Rock Canyon. You’ll be dazzled by the bright-red rock formations and desert vegetation.PLAN YOUR HIKE


Slide 30 of 51: In the White Mountain National Forest, there are miles and miles of hiking trails found in Franconia Notch State Park. Be sure to make your way through Flume Gorge, known for its granite boulders and cascading river.PLAN YOUR HIKE

Slide 33 of 51: It's more likely that you've been to Niagara Falls for the main event: the three waterfalls that sit along the border between New York and Canada. But for a new experience, head to Devil’s Hole State Park. There, you’ll get to see powerful whitewater rapids and walk by awe-inspiring overlooks.PLAN YOUR HIKE


Slide 36 of 51: As one of the best-known state parks in the Midwest, hikers enjoy Hocking Hills State Park for its trails lined with wildflowers, cliffs, waterfalls, and gorges.PLAN YOUR HIKE



Slide 38 of 51: The Pacific Northwest never disappoints for avid hikers, and Silver Falls State Park is no exception. Located in Sublimity, Oregon, the 9,200 acres contain a myriad of hiking trails. While you’re there, take a walk behind the 177-foot South Falls. PLAN YOUR HIKE



Slide 40 of 51: On Rhode Island’s Block Island, you can’t take a trip without hiking the Mohegan Bluffs. Climb the steps down the 200-foot bluffs and you’ll be rewarded with a glorious seascape. PLAN YOUR HIKE



Slide 41 of 51: If the mountains are calling to you, head to Jones Gap State Park. The mountain woodlands are very peaceful, and if you want to take a break from hiking, you can always do some trout fishing.PLAN YOUR HIKE


Slide 42 of 51: To truly experience Badlands National Park, go for a hike on the 1.5-mile Notch Trail which snakes its way through a canyon and then you’ll climb a ladder to view the White River Valley.PLAN YOUR HIKE


Slide 43 of 51: The Great Smoky Mountains are lauded for their many extraordinary trails, and the Alum Cave Trail might be one of the best. It weaves its way through secluded, tranquil nooks and crannies and electric-green forests.PLAN YOUR HIKE


Slide 44 of 51: This destination looks a lot less like Texas and more like the Midwest, as Lost Maples State Natural Area actually has few desert views. Instead, it unexpectedly features groves upon groves of maple trees, which come alive during autumn.PLAN YOUR HIKE


Slide 45 of 51: Zion National Park’s “The Narrows” provides a one-of-a-kind hiking experience. Instead of walking traditional trails, you’ll be jaunting through rivers that weave through caves and shadowy passes.PLAN YOUR HIKE


Slide 46 of 51: This Vermont state park has a pretty cool name and equally cool trails. In the early 19th-century, it was quite literally a route for smuggling! Nowadays, hikers simply enjoy the scenic trails that look out over soaring cliffs.PLAN YOUR HIKE



Slide 47 of 51: The falls are indeed great in this McLean, Virginia, national park. Situated only 15 miles from Washington, D.C., you'll be able to view the mighty, rocky falls as they build up along the Potomac River.PLAN YOUR HIKE


Slide 48 of 51: The Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park is world-renowned, and for good reason. Its natural beauty is unmatched, with its mystical moss hanging from gigantic trees, prevalent wildlife, and vibrant ferns made even greener by the area’s frequent rain showers.PLAN YOUR HIKE

Slide 49 of 51: Imposing boulders, large rock formations, and sweeping views of the Cheat River take center stage during a hike in West Virginia’s Coopers Rock State Forest. PLAN YOUR HIKE


Slide 50 of 51: Open year-round, Baraboo’s Devil’s Lake State Park encircles a placid pool of water while hikers amble up rock-strewn paths that lead to jaw-dropping views. PLAN YOUR HIKE


Slide 51 of 51: While you’re visiting Grand Teton National Park, make a point of hiking one of the top trails in the park, Jenny Lake Trail. At 7.7 miles, we’re betting that you’ll gasp when you see Garnet Canyon, Hurricane Pass, and of course, the once-in-a-lifetime mountain vistas.PLAN YOUR HIKE

Hilton Overtakes Marriott as World’s Most Valuable Brand

a car parked on a city street: New York Hilton Midtown hotel

Driven by strong revenue increases over the last year, Hilton has overtaken Marriott as the world’s most valuable hotel brand.

According to the Brand Finance Hotels 50 ranking, Hilton’s brand value growth is up 17 percent to $7.4 billion.

The same ranking reveals that Marriott suffered a reduction in brand value, down eight percent to $5 billion and its brand strength dropped from AAA- to AA+.

This news about Marriott comes as the company grapples with several challenges in the North American market including hacking scandals and issues with its loyalty schemes.

At the same time, the combined value of Marriott’s brands within the Brand Finance Hotels 50 ranking decreased by 30 percent, clearing the path for Hilton’s brand portfolio to claim the title of the world’s most valuable.

“Hilton’s strategic approach to brand growth has allowed it to extend its lead as the world’s most valuable hotel brand. At the same time, endorsement from the flagship brand has rendered benefits across the portfolio as Homewood Suites, DoubleTree, and Hampton have seen their brand values soar,” said Savio D’Souza, valuation director at Brand Finance, said.

The combined value of all Hilton brands which made this year’s top 50 ranking amounts to $14.7 billion – nearly $2 billion more than Marriott’s $12.9 billion portfolio.

Hilton Worldwide Holdings achieved overall brand value growth of 41 percent, while the Marriott International brand portfolio decreased by 30 percent.

Hilton’s brand value in the top 50 ranking is concentrated across six brands, up from five in 2018. The company also has thousands of new rooms and hotels in the pipeline.

Marriott saw four of its brands drop out of the Brand Finance Hotel 50 ranking this year.

With one new entrant, Marriott now has 12 brands in the ranking.

Marriott’s recent announcement of entering the home-rental market, however, is a promising move to take back market share from Airbnb and could contribute to an uplift in brand value in the coming year, according to Brand Finance.

Both the Hilton and Marriott portfolios remain well ahead of third-ranked Wyndham, which also suffered a drop of 8 percent in brand value to $7.3 billion.

The new ranking also reveals the three hotel brands that grew the fastest in value this year. All of them are from Hilton’s portfolio. They include Homewood Suites (brand value up 99 percent to $0.8 billion), followed closely by Double Tree (up 79 percent to $2.1 billion) and Hampton (up 78% to $3.2 billion).

This growth allowed the Double Tree and Hampton to reshape the ranking’s top 10, with Double Tree jumping from 17 to 7 and Hampton rising from 10 to 5 over the past year.

Meanwhile, the three fastest-falling brands this year were Westin, (down 46 percent) Residence Inn (down 46 percent), and Sheraton (down 44 percent).

According to the report, seven out of the bottom 10 worst-performing brands are part of the Marriott portfolio, dragging its combined value down.

In addition to calculating the overall brand value, the Brand Finance report also identifies the relative strength of brands through a scorecard of metrics that takes into consideration marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance.

According to this specific criteria and scoring, Mercure takes the title of the world’s strongest hotel brand, significantly improving its Brand Strength Index (BSI) score from 75.7 to 86.2 out of 100 and recording a brand rating upgrade from AA+ to AAA.

Mercure is also the most valuable brand in Accor’s portfolio, with nearly 800 hotels. The brand has continued to make several acquisitions through its scheme of franchise growth.

25 crazy facts about airplane food

Slide 1 of 26: Frequent flyers tend to have a love-hate relationship with airplane food. While in-flight meals often get a bad rap, many airlines still distinguish themselves through their onboard offerings. Some airline passengers are better off eating something in the terminal before boarding, whereas others will be met with more tolerable in-flight options. The difference in food is also often a big reason why some choose to fly business or first class instead of economy.Most airlines work hard to make sure their passengers are as comfortable as possible, and food is a big part of that. Decent food can be key to helping you survive a long flight, and airline catering has such importance to the overall business that a lot of thought and money goes into it. If you care about what you eat mid-air, you may find these 25 crazy facts about airplane food to be of interest.




Slide 4 of 26: Airlines are very precise about the requirements for their food. While many of them cater from the same companies, their requests from said companies may differ. Not only does this mean they order different foods, but how those foods are presented can be different too. Airlines are even known to request that their fruit be cut in a certain way or weigh a certain amount while still fitting into their bowls.
Slide 5 of 26: Whether you’re a passenger or airline staff, it’s hard to deal with flight delays. Not only does uneaten food get thrown out after every flight, but if the flight has been delayed for over six to eight hours, all the food that’s already been loaded onto a plane also gets thrown out. The entire load of food will get replaced in order to ensure food safety and quality.
Slide 7 of 26: You’re nowhere near alone if you despise airplane food. But it’s not the in-flight meal, it’s you. Food and drink taste very different to us at 30,000 feet due to humidity and low air pressure. At a high altitude, your ability to pick up sweet tastes drops by 15 to 20 percent, while your perception of saltiness drops by 20 to 30 percent.


Slide 8 of 26: The changes in your taste buds at a high altitude affect what’s on the wine menu. Wines that are more acidic and high in tannins aren’t as enjoyable in flight, so most airlines tend to carry fragrant and fruity wines instead.

Slide 9 of 26: In-flight meals are generally prepared 10 hours before they’re supposed to be eaten. Sometimes, however, they can be made up to 72 hours beforehand, after which they are frozen. It’s totally safe, though. Under international food safety standards, airlines can freeze food for up to five days and still safely serve it to passengers.
Slide 10 of 26: If you’ve flown before, you’ve likely noticed how expensive in-flight food and drink can be. A 2013 report found that airlines actually charge over 2,600 percent more than supermarkets. That’s not even considering the gourmet options available on more luxurious airlines.

Slide 11 of 26: In addition to taste and smell, your hearing can also affect how you experience food. According to recent studies, constantly hearing loud noises while you’re eating can cause your food to taste less sweet and less salty to you. Listening to music on your headphones can counter this, however.

Slide 12 of 26: Beef is cooked only 30 percent to completion, and chicken only 60 percent, before being brought on board. Not to worry, however. The meat is then cooked the rest of the way on board in the airplane’s convection or steam oven after getting blast-chilled in special fridges before transfer.
Slide 13 of 26: Airlines plan their in-flight menus at least six months in advance, and sometimes up to a full year ahead of time.
Slide 14 of 26: A lot goes into all that planning, down to every single ingredient. American Airlines famously saved $40,000 a year in 1987 by getting rid of just one olive from their salads. According to Delta Airlines, 60 percent of the cost of each meal is because of the actual entrée, while appetizers make up 17 percent, salads 10 percent, and desserts account for 7 percent. Delta saved $250,000 a year by shaving just an ounce from their steaks, and similar to American, removed a single strawberry from their in-flight salads (served in first class on domestic routes) for savings of $210,000 a year.
Slide 15 of 26: According to the International Air Transport Association, flight passengers generated a total of 5.7 million tons of trash in 2017. This statistic includes amenities such as toothbrushes, magazines and more, as well as toilet waste, but a significant portion comes from waste from in-flight meals. The waste is either incinerated or sent to landfills, rarely being recycled. 
Slide 16 of 26: Make sure you don’t go hungry during your flight. Neglecting to eat during your journey could cause your blood sugar levels to drop, making you feel weak and shaky. This can also lead to headaches and changes in mood. It won’t help you fight jet lag, either, if you’re traveling to a different time zone; it can actually worsen its effects.
Slide 17 of 26: Co-pilots on a flight are given different meals. It’s rare for in-flight meals to give you food poisoning, but this is done as an added precaution to make sure both pilots don’t get sick!
Slide 18 of 26: Not only does the dry air at a high altitude dry out your sinuses, it also dries out your food. Sauce-based dishes such as pastas and curries do better as in-flight meals due to the fact that they are moist by nature. That’s why most airlines tend to have saucy dishes, and why you should try to order them where you can. 
Slide 19 of 26: The terrorist attacks on 9/11 not only affected airline costs and security measures at airports — they changed in-flight dining as well. As a result, airline carriers started to use plastic utensils instead of reusable cutlery, costing some airlines financially. This was the reason why many of them, particularly in the U.S., stopped offering full meals and began giving out peanuts and soft drinks instead. Luckily, however, some airlines have started to bring back free meals. 
Slide 20 of 26: Your flight crew might not tell you this, but the snacks on a plane are actually totally unlimited. As long as everyone has already had theirs, feel free to politely ask one of the cabin crew for seconds.

Slide 21 of 26: As a result of the differences in taste perception, a study found that most people who order tomato juice on a flight would never order it otherwise. Tomato juice has a nice, fruity taste on an airplane, as opposed to the earthy taste observed on the ground. In fact, it’s such a popular drink that when United Airlines decided to take it off their shorter flights in 2018, the widespread backlash forced them to reverse their decision.

Slide 22 of 26: Umami, the fifth taste besides salty, sweet, sour and bitter, is the only taste that is unaffected at such a high altitude. For reference, that’s the savory taste you get from foods such as tomatoes, spinach, shellfish and soy sauce. That’s probably why you see so many in-flight meals with tomatoes in them, in addition to all the tomato juice served on board. 

Slide 23 of 26: When the flight attendant asks if you would like some tea or coffee, we recommend you skip it. The water on board comes from a tank that isn’t cleaned as often as it should be, resulting in dirty and stale water. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency found that one in eight American airplanes did not meet their standards for water safety, and that the tap water supply on 12 percent of commercial planes tested positive for fecal bacteria. 

Slide 24 of 26: Even airline food can hit the black market, and you can get pretty good deals, too. This is particularly prevalent in India. A bottle of Tropicana juice can go for as low as 32 cents! Most of it comes from airline employees who stole the food off the plane, but some of it even comes from airport dumpsters where people find plenty of unused meals and drinks. 

Slide 25 of 26: The average British passenger consumes more than 3,400 calories between check-in before departure and arrival at their destination, according to one estimation. We imagine this isn’t much different for passengers in other countries (and if anything, higher for Americans). This has been attributed to multiple factors, including higher salt and sugar in airplane food as a result of the decrease in taste perception, the fact that people tend to eat more when watching a movie or TV show (as they are wont to do on a flight), and just plain old boredom.

Slide 26 of 26: Airline food is planned so that it is recognizable to the average passenger, particularly in economy class. The menu tends to consist of foods that most people will be willing to eat, even if it’s not their favorite. As a result, international airlines also have different menus for different routes, so as to cater to different taste buds and cuisines from around the world.
More from The Daily Meal:
35 Great Food Towns Nobody Knows About
25 Best Airport Restaurants in America
The Weirdest Regional Slang Across America
33 Tourist Traps Locals Love
The 50 Best All-Inclusive Resorts in the Caribbean

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