USA TODAY Travel asked editors at The Huffington Post to share some of the site's top travel stories this week. Here are their picks:
Istanbul's lucky commuters enjoy the Bosphorus by ferry: A little after eight o'clock in the morning, crowds of young professionals and older men in knit hats bundle down the docks at the edge of Istanbul's Kadiköy district and watch similar herds of busy gulls swirling across the Bosphorus, obscuring the panoramic view of the Byzantine city walls and the Hagia Sophia. Istanbulis don't queue, but they don't jostle either. When the gates finally open, they board the commuter ferries with amiable efficiency, holding their briefcases to their chests and casually minding the expanding and contracting gap between hull and dock.
Deckhands stand by to help everyone aboard. Only a few elderly tourists reach for their rope-hardened hands. The trip from Asia to Europe is, despite the staggering views on offer, a routine commute for the thousands of locals who live in eastern Istanbul's patchwork of bohemian and bourgeois neighborhoods and work in Sultanahmet, the city's arrhythmatic Ottoman heart, or Beyoglu, the more student-dominated peninsula just to the north.
The sunniest destinations on Earth: Travelers have been chasing the sun ever since Europe's monarchs started constructing gaudy summer palaces. It is hard, after all, to relax while shivering. It is also hard to shiver for months and remain optimistic about life in general. Seasonal Affective Disorder is both very real and entirely indicative of mankind's deeply felt need for sunshine. Doctors now prescribe flights south and with good reason: Warm temperatures courtesy of global warming have made winter a bleak, grey affair in the Northeast, where a little sun and snow used to temper the January blues.
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7 ways to get the best airplane seat: You've managed to secure the cheapest airline ticket or the best value ticket based on your travel itinerary. Or, maybe you've managed to snare that elusive upgrade or free award ticket in First Class. That's terrific, but you're still only halfway to a great experience -- Where are you going to sit? On the wing?
Traveling from one city to another can vary greatly based on the airline and the equipment (type of plane). Different airlines will fly different aircraft types and each will have its own seating configuration and amenities. This can drastically alter your flying experience. Even with the same airline, two or three different aircraft types may be used and each with varying quality of seats and seat arrangements.
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13 cultural destinations for 2013: At AFAR, we believe that (nearly) anywhere in the world could be a place to go in 2013. Maybe it's because we subscribe to the choose-your-own-adventure approach to travel. That said, the following 13 places really stand out for us this year. Some are emerging destinations just coming onto the radar for travelers; others are countries you may have visited before, but now's the time for a return visit to enjoy new and noteworthy hotels or upcoming events. All offer travelers the real thing: authentic experiences of place, culture, and people.
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