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Berlin

Reto Klar 2

For Lynne and Tim Martin, retirement wasn’t about slowing down — it was about seeing the world.

In 2011, the couple revealed to their family and friends that they were taking the unusual step of selling their California home, donating the furniture, and putting the rest of their belongings in storage so that they could travel the globe. But rather than set up shop in hotels, the Martins make themselves at home in vacation and apartment rentals through HomeAway, never staying less than a month in each destination. We sat down with Lynne to chat about how they manage this lifestyle — to get some advice for other roving renters.

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Casa Pueblo, Punta del Este, Uruguay, architecture

Lots of hotels have impressive art collections, but these ones go a step further and function as stand-alone museums as well as accommodations.

Benesse House, Japan
The Tadao Ando-designed Benesse House is located on the tiny Japanese island of Naoshima, a fishing community turned “art island” that hosts the Setouchi Art Triennal and is home to several permanent art installations and excellent museums. Guests of the Benesse House are granted access to the museum even after typical hours and have exclusive access to a six-seat monorail that runs up to the hotel’s Oval annex. Guest rooms in the museum are available in four styles and are decorated with drawings, paintings, and prints from the artists on exhibit. Rates start at $330.

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Switzerland, ZurichSwiss Air Lines is offering some good fares to a number of European cities for the fall and winter, but you will have to make your mind up quickly as the sale ends at midnight tonight. If you’re wondering whether you’re ready to make a spontaneous booking, take a look at our handy checklist. Otherwise, you can book through our Travel Search tool, or visit the airline’s web site directly.

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At the beginning of the boutique hotel boom, luxury was defined by money; how much of it you had and what it could buy you. But that has long since changed. The emergence of creative “lifestyle” hotels have transformed the industry — as the annual LE Miami trade show in South Beach pointed out — with rising demand in experiences that are unique and culturally connected. These days, rather than high prices, luxury is about authenticity, storytelling, and innovation.

So how does this shift in the very definition of luxury translate to a more authentic, value-driven experience on your next trip? 

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hong kong light show

If you thought that light shows were reserved for children at theme parks or at techno shows for young adults, think again. Each year, each day, cities around the world ignite their skies with colorful arrangements of phosphorescent lights. From decorative cranes at an old Croatian navy yard to entire harborscapes like those in Hong Kong and Singapore, there’s a delightful journey in some of the world’s finest light shows. See our favorites here.

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In Europe, when temperatures drop, so do the prices. Traveling to Europe outside of the summer season almost always guarantees savings — but this year you can get an even earlier start by jumping on this special offer from Lufthansa. The respected airline, a member of the Star Alliance, is offering low rates starting at $532 round-trip between the United States and a number of European cities, including Istanbul, Vienna, Berlin, Warsaw, Prague, and even Moscow. Read more

Polandvines

Tucked into the 350 miles that separate Warsaw and Berlin, the Lubuskie region is the unofficial capital of Poland’s small but growing wine production. It’s the largest of Poland’s three main wine-growing areas, just over three hours from Warsaw and two from Berlin via train. Thanks to the location’s accessibility, the region is a long but possible day trip. It sees few American visitors, despite its convenience and proximity to other popular destinations, but we hope that changes soon. It’d be a shame to miss out on what may be one of the wine world’s best-kept (and utterly idyllic) secrets.

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ReichstagCompared to most of Western Europe, Berlin is a bargain. Hotel rooms cost about half the price of rooms in Paris or London, and it’s easy to fill your belly for fewer than five bucks. The city’s affordable activities and creative spirit make it a budget traveler’s dream. And there are plenty of free things to do — from museums and monuments, to public parks and open-air karaoke. Here are some of the best free things to do in Berlin. Read more

Elvis Diner JerusalemStuck forever in the era of boat-sized convertibles, Elvis memorabilia, and red-checkered tablecloths, these American-themed diners offer a nostalgic ride into ‘50s Americana while satisfying rumbling tummies. Although commonplace throughout the fifty states, you don’t tend to come across these neon-lit, chrome-plated structures anywhere else in the world. So if you happen to be abroad and craving a burger and a milkshake, here are twelve diners around the world that’ll transport you back home.

Visit the full slideshow here.

Visit BerlinGet ready for another one of those anniversaries that might make you feel really old. November 9, 2014 will mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Once you’ve overcome this shock, start researching cheap tickets on low-cost carrier Air Berlin because a series of special events and exhibitions are about to take place throughout the city.

As well as being Europe’s fastest growing tourism city, Berlin is a great overall budget destination where tourist activities tend to cost less than in other European cities. A hop-on-hop-off sightseeing bus ticket will cost you $23 in Berlin, for example, compared to $40 in Barcelona.  If you are planning to travel around the city and visit a lot of museums, you might also consider the Berlin Welcome Card, which covers transportation, museum entry, and discount vouchers. The card starts at $25 for 48-hours.

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Flickr/rjshadeAs the count down to the New Year approaches, so does the party-planning pressure. Most major cities throw vast, crowded spectacles for the occasion, but if you’re not so keen on ringing in the New Year elbow-to-elbow with thousands of strangers, consider planning something a little offbeat this year… Read more

TOUCHEDTel-Aviv-El-AlEast-bound Europeans will be happy about the launch of El Al’s new low-cost carrier, UP. Based out of Tel Aviv, the offshoot airline will directly compete with Europe’s budget airlines like EasyJet, which offers service to Israel for as low as 68 EUR (about $93) each way. That’s more expensive than the fares offered on UP, which will start at just $69 each way.

Beyond price, frequency of service is a key part of UP’s strategy: a total of 50 flights per week will shuttle between Tel Aviv and Berlin, Kiev, Prague, Budapest, and Larnaca, some of Europe’s most popular hubs.

And here’s our favorite part: A new low-cost carrier in Europe can mean cheaper flight options for U.S. travelers heading to the region. Opting for a layover in Europe, and a switch to a budget carrier once you get there, can really save. And the difference in price can far outweigh the inconvenience of connecting in another airport. As El Al’s new low-cost carrier augments service to Tel Aviv, we’re wondering: could UP offer a new solution for U.S. travelers trying to get to Israel more affordably? Read more

After-Hours Museum PartiesA visit to the museum needn’t be a serious, subdued affair – despite whatever you were told on the field trips of your school days. Many museums are catching on to the trend of keeping doors open after hours so that guests can combine a love of art and culture with good food, drinks, music and dancing. Here are a few of the best.

Warm Up at MOMA PS1, Long Island City, New York

This experimental summertime dance party is one of New York’s hottest tickets and runs on Saturdays from late afternoon through the evening. The museum’s courtyard is taken over by an installation created by the winner of their Young Architects Program while a stellar lineup of international DJs plays to the crowd. You can also expect food, drink and al fresco dancing come rain or shine. Read more

Berlin on a Budget and LuxuryIt’s very rare that I get to experience the same destination twice. Even more rare is it that I get to experience a city twice from two completely different perspectives. If you’re traveling to Berlin, whether you’re looking to pinch pennies or indulge, here are some ways to make it unforgettable. Read more

Tropical Islands Germany ResortWhen I think of Berlin, beer and a culturally rich city comes to mind. Not an island oasis. But head about 37 miles south of the city and you’ll encounter just that. And in an old military hangar, no less. Welcome to Tropical Islands, an entire island-like resort housed in a giant dome. According to their website, the dome is actually the largest free-standing hall in the world – it’s big enough to fit the Statue of Liberty standing up and the Eiffel Tower lying on its side. Sunbathe, go swimming in the waterfalls, and even stay overnight in the middle of the world’s largest indoor rain forest. Read more

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