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]

You Can Rent This Wizard of Oz-Themed Cottage in North Carolina

Airbnb
Airbnb

This year marks the 80th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz, the classic 1939 adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s book. In addition to watching the film, you can opt for a more immersive way to celebrate the occasion. As Travel + Leisure reports, a cottage in West Jefferson, North Carolina offered on Airbnb is perfect for any traveling Oz fan—and it’s only $35 a night.

The studio cottage is considered a glamping destination and is slim on amenities—it has a breakfast nook, porch, sofa bed, and a Porta John—but the Oz-themed details more than make up for the lack of luxurious perks.

A pair of stockinged feet are visible under the home, hinting at a witch’s untimely demise; a character mural of Dorothy and her three escorts, the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion, appears on the side of the cabin; inside, various other decorations pay homage to Baum's books, including a pair of ruby slippers and a few stuffed Totos.

A cottage with a 'Wizard of Oz' theme in West Jefferson, North Carolina is pictured
Airbnb

If you go, you’ll have to act quickly. The cottage is open only in the spring, summer, and fall, as it has no heat.

The Airbnb listing has a perfect score across 16 reviews. You can book it here.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

Visit Any National Park for Free on September 28—or Volunteer to Help Maintain Them

Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park
Nick Hanauer/iStock via Getty Images

By the end of September—which always seems especially busy, even if you’re not a student anymore—you might be ready for a small break from the hustle and bustle. On Saturday, September 28, you can bask in the tranquility of any national park for free, as part of National Public Lands Day.

According to the National Park Service, the holiday has been held on the fourth Saturday of every September since 1994, and it’s also the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort. It’s up to you whether you’d like to partake in the service side or simply go for a stroll, but there is an added incentive to volunteer: You’ll get a one-day park pass that you can use for free park entry on a different day. Opportunities for volunteering include trail restoration, invasive plant removal, park cleanups, and more; you can see the details and filter by park, state, and/or type of event here.

If you’re not sure how you should celebrate National Public Lands Day, the National Park Service has created a handy flowchart to help you choose the best course of action for you—which might be as simple as sharing your favorite outdoor activity on social media with the hashtag #NPLD.

National public lands day celebration flowchart
National Park Service

There are more than 400 areas run by the National Park Service across the U.S., and many of them aren’t parks in the traditional sense of the word; the Statue of Liberty, Alcatraz Island, and countless other monuments and historical sites are also run by the NPS. Wondering if there might be one closer than you thought? Explore parks in your area on this interactive map.

For those of you who can’t take advantage of the free admission on September 28, the National Park Service will also waive all entrance fees for Veteran’s Day on November 11.

And, if you’re wishing a free-admission day existed for museums, you’re in luck—more than 1500 museums will be free to visit on Museum Day, which happens to be this Saturday.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER