travel

Around the world in paper models

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As souvenirs go, paper models are easy to transport, but can sometimes be challenging to put together when you get home.

Anyone who has tried that will appreciate the exhibition at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., which features selections from a 4,500-piece collection of architectural paper models representing buildings, cultures, and countries from Austria to Wales.

The collection includes examples of hand-drawn castles, intricate cathedrals with water-colored gardens, and micro-models smaller than a postcard and will be on display through April, 2017.

Some are shown flat; others are copied and constructed in 3-D and after touring the exhibit, visitors will get the chance to build their own models.

All paper models in this exhibition are from the Kemnitzer Paper Model Collection housed at the National Building Museum and represent all 50 states and multiple countries, as well as many imaginary buildings such as farms, forts, villages, skyscrapers, and castles.

Here are some samples:

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Building museum stadium

Want to make your own model? Here are links to some downloadable samples, including the National Building Museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture and a suspension bridge.

Horizon Air seats get upcycled

ALASKA LOOPTWORKS

Need a gift for an aviation geek or just some really nice environmentally responsible gear?

Bags made from old airline seats may do the trick.

When Alaska Airlines decided to replace the seat covers on planes flown by its sister carrier, Horizon Air, sending the old leather to the landfill seemed too wasteful.

Instead, the airline turned to Portland, Ore.-based Looptworks, a company that upcycles unwanted materials into limited edition, hand-made products, for a solution.

Looptworks already makes a Southwest Luv Seat line of bags and accessories that use that the carrier’s old seat leather, as well as a line made from motorcycle jacket leather, so turning 4,000 Horizon Air leather seat covers into useful items wasn’t a big challenge.

Now there’s the Alaska Airlines Carry-On Collection, which includes a wallet ($65), laptop sleeve ($120), tote ($160), crossbody bag ($140) and a messenger bag ($230)

The leather is cleaned and prepped in partnership with an Oregon non-profit that employs and trains adults with disabilities and then is passed on to Northwest craftspeople who do their magic.

Alaska and Southwest aren’t alone in exploring upcycling.

Clothing made from the surplus leather and fabric from Hawaiian Airlines seats was on exhibit recently during Honolulu Fashion Week, there’s a line of bags made from recycled JetBlue crewmember uniforms, and Skyebags makes a wallet and a tote bag from reclaimed Delta Air Line seat leather.

(My story about upcycling old airline seats first appeared on USA TODAY in a slightly different version.)

Yotel’s YobotSanta giving out gifts

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If you’ve ever spent a few hours at a Yotel in Heathrow, Gatwick or Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, then you know these short stay hotels with compact rooms are a blessing for those who need to nap and recharge after a long flight or be at the gate really, really early in the morning.

There’s an off-airport Yotel in New York City that still has compact rooms, but it operates more like a ‘regular’ hotel, with full day rates, a restaurant and a place in the lobby to store luggage.

But luggage storage is unusual in that there’s a giant robotic arm – called the Yobot – that puts luggage in a lobby vault and retrieves it when asked.

Yotel is turning the Yobot into YobotSanta this season: the Yobot may bring guests staying at the Yotel New York a gift from the vault before storing their luggage – and YobotSanta is also giving away gifts online.

You can choose a virtual YOBOT bin each day for a chance to win a range of travel surprises, such as round-trip travel certificates on JetBlue, two-night Yotel stays in New York and luggage and travel accessories from Flight 001.

Go play here

Cyber Monday airfare deals to get now

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Several airlines rolled out sales on Black Friday that continue through Cyber Monday (and maybe beyond.) Other airlines have teased about their sales but are waiting until Sunday or Monday to roll them out.

If you’re planning a trip, check these out.

On Black Friday Emirates announced a two-for-one round-trip airfare sale for travel out of its 10 U.S. gateways Chicago (ORD), Boston (BOS), San Francisco (SFO), Los Angeles (LAX), Seattle (SEA), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), Houston (IAH), Washington (IAD), Orlando (MCO), and New York (JFK).

The sale fares apply to economy class bookings for travel from January 9 through May 6, 2016.

Details and restrictions on the Emirates sale here.

Cathay Pacific’s Black Friday sale of up to 50 percent off prices on economy fares from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Boston to Asia will be available through December 4, 2015.  They’re also throwing in 1,000 bonus Asia Miles for each booking.

Etihad Airways is offering a CyberMonday deal of 25 percent off fares in economy, business and First Class from the US to a wide variety of destinations. The sale is good through November 30 for travel from January 1 through June 30, 2016.  More details here.

And Alaska Airlines will be kicking off its Cyber Monday sale on Sunday evening at 5 p.m. PST. All they’ve said so far is that the sale will include “some of the airline’s best deals of the year.”

Packing for a trip? Do you fold or roll?

Blackpool Suitcase

When it’s time to hit the road, do you fold, roll, layer or squish? Do you make a packing list or just wing it?

Those are just a few of the questions Cheapflights.com recently asked travelers in a quick on-line survey.

Here’s what they found:

Just over 56 percent of Americans make packing lists and 77 percent plan or lay out outfits.

Forty-two percent of us start packing two to three days before leaving home and an another 30 percent start packing a week ahead of a trip.

26 percent admitted waiting until the night before a trip to start packing while just over 2 percent said they lived on the edge and and didn’t pack anything until a hour or less before leaving.

No doubt, those are people you see looking for a place to buy underwear at the airport.

Fold or roll?

70 percent of survey respondents said they folded clothes in their suitcases, while 30 percent said rolling was their method of choice.

And maybe it doesn’t really matter what you pack or how: only 45 percent of Americans reported that they ended up wearing everything they packed.