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20 Travel Experiences You Must Have in the United States

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The United States is a land of absolutely incredible diversity. Every region of the country is different. From the kinds of cuisine you’ll sample, to the places you’ll see, and even to the people you’ll meet, there’s no shortage of incredible things to experience in the great ol’ U. S. of A.

If you’re visiting the country, then you’ve got your work cut out for you. There are simply to many things to list that you absolutely must see and do… But, even if you’re an American, there is still a long list of places to visit and things to experience that you need to cross off of your bucket list!

On the list below, we’ve pulled together our 20 picks for the travel experiences that everyone must have in the United States. On this list, we’ll share our picks for some of our favorite road trips that you can take. In addition, we’ll share our picks for the best landmarks for you and yours to check out. And, we’ve even got a few surprises on here for you! It’s not going to just be a list of places like Mount Rushmore and the Empire State Building, after all!

1. White Sands National Monument

The white sand of this landmark located in New Mexico will make you feel like you’ve stepped onto the surface of another planet.

2. Washington D.C. Cherry Blossom Festival

There’s much and more to see in our nation’s capital, and it never looks better than it does when the cherry blossoms are in bloom.

3. Yellowstone National Park

The natural beauty of Yellowstone cannot easily be put into words; it’s just one of those things you need to experience for yourself.

4. Napa Valley Wine Tasting

There’s nothing quite as relaxing, fun and – yes – a little tipsy than cruising the Napa Valley and visiting its sundry wineries.

5. Top of the Statue of Liberty

This is one of the quintessential things one should do at least once when visiting the Big Apple. So what if it’s a little cliché?

6. Drive the Florida Keys

There may be no United States road trip that’s more laidback and invigorating the cruising through the Florida Keys.

7. Drive the Pacific Coast Highway

Stretching from the bottom of California and all the way up the Pacific coast, we simply can’t count the number of incredible things you’ll see along this cruise.

8. The Golden Gate Bridge

On a clear day, crossing the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco is one of the most beautiful drives on the planet.

9. Palm Springs

Long the playground of the stars, this town out in the desert features awesome midcentury architecture, incredible restaurants and shops… And golf!

10. Skiing in Jackson Hole

There are plenty of incredible places to go skiing in the United States, but our pick for the best of them is without a doubt Jackson Hole.

11. Hike the Grand Canyon

You need to see the Grand Canyon in order to believe it… But, don’t just look at it from an observation point! Actually go hiking around and through it.

12. 360degrees Chicago

The city of Chicago has one of the country’s most impressive skylines, and this 1000-foot high destination offers the greatest vantage point form which to view it.

13. Graceland

Elvis is pretty much American royalty, and taking a trip to his home in Memphis, Tennessee, is something everyone should do.

14. Cruise Route 66

Running all the way from Chicago to Los Angeles, cruising Route 66 is an easy way to see much of what the country has to offer.

15. The New Orleans Jazz Festival

Mardi Gras may get much of the press when it comes to New Orleans’ events, but ask a local. The Jazz Festival is the most fun.

16. Mammoth Cave National Park

This destination in Kentucky is home to an incredible and extremely massive cave system that’s sure to impress.

17. Sequoia National Park

You haven’t seen a tall tree until you’ve had the chance to step underneath that absolutely massive redwoods you’ll find here.

18. Leaf Peeping in New England

Once the autumn months come along, the landscape of New England turns all kinds of bright yellows and fiery reds.

19. Las Vegas Party

At least once in every life one needs to take the opportunity to live the high-roller lifestyle in Sin City.

20. Badlands National Park

It’s just like the name of this park says, and the landscape you’ll find here in South Dakota is unlike anything else in the world.

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General

World’s First All-Electric, Jet-Powered, Five-Seater Air Taxi Completes Test Flight

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German electric air taxi startup Lilium unveiled Thursday its jet-powered, five-seater prototype, which conducted its first flight earlier this month.

The Lilium Jet is part of an app-based flying taxi service that the company expects will be “fully-operational in various cities around the world by 2025.”

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The full-scale, full-weight prototype is powered by 36 all-electric jet engines that allow it to take-off and land vertically. The aircraft design has no tail, no rudder, no propellers, no gearbox and only one moving part in the engine.

“In less than two years we have been able to design, build and successfully fly an aircraft that will serve as our template for mass production,” Lilium co-founder and CEO Daniel Wiegand said in a statement. “Moving from two to five seats was always our ambition as it enables us to open up the skies to many more travelers.”

The battery-powered jet is capable of traveling 186 miles in 60 minutes on a single charge. (Photo Credit: Lilium)

The battery-powered jet is capable of traveling 300 kilometers (186 miles) in 60 minutes on a single charge, and will connect cities through a network of landing pads. Commuters will be able to book rides from their nearest landing pad through the Lilium smartphone app.

“At the push of a button, passengers will be able to use the Lilium app to locate their nearest landing pad and plan their journey with ease,” the company said in a press release. “Choosing from a network of pads across cities and regions, passengers will enjoy journeys that are comparable in price with a taxi, yet four times faster.”

The Lilium air taxi service, operational in 2025, allows commuters to book rides from their nearest landing pad through a smartphone app. (Photo Credit: Lilium)

The Lilium Jet took flight for the first time on May 4, after completing extensive ground testing at Lilium’s HQ in Munich, Germany, the company said. The prototype aircraft, which is controlled remotely from the ground, has also begun a rigorous flight test campaign, the first step toward certification of the aircraft to safety standards comparable to those of large commercial aircraft.

The full-scale, full-weight Lilium Jet prototype is powered by 36 all-electric jet engines that allow it to take-off and land vertically. (Photo Credit: Lilium)

In 2017, Lilium completed testing of a two-seater prototype, which first demonstrated Lilium’s “signature transition flight maneuver,” where the aircraft shifts from vertical to horizontal flight, and laid the groundwork for the five-seater prototype.

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General

Google Combines Trip-Planning Features Under One Roof

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Google is making it easier to plan your next trip online.

Following last year’s rollout of similar mobile tools, the company on Tuesday announced a major revamp of its web-based travel platform.

The new google.com/travel landing page features information about previously reserved journeys, and lets users effortlessly switch between flight, hotel, and package searches.

“As you plan a trip, your research and reservations will be organized for you in Trips,” Richard Holden, vice president of product management for travel, wrote in a blog post.

Finally, the web and mobile versions are on feature parity, making it simple to start outlining your summer vacation on the commute, consult the whole family from the living room, and finalize arrangements from the comfort of your bed.

Look for the ability to directly edit saved trips and add new reservations (coming soon), as well as sections highlighting recently viewed hotels and activities.

“When you want to continue planning, all of your research will be waiting for you,” Holden boasted.

Scroll down to see travel articles and find out more about a destination, like suggested day plans, popular restaurants near your hotel, and events during your dates.

Google also baked in weather forecasts for upcoming or potential trips, “so you can make sure you’re prepared, rain or shine,” according to Holden.

If this is all a bit too much, users can opt out of private results by adjusting the web and app activity settings.

And while this week’s updates tend to focus on desktop, Google has introduced a handy new mobile function for neighborhood newcomers: Google Maps points out popular areas nearby and what they’re known for.

Visiting Vancouver for the first time? Find out more about Gastown, Coal Harbour, and Yaletown with the tap of your finger.

“Our goal is to simplify trip planning by helping you quickly find the most useful information and pick up where you left off on any device,” Holden said. “We’ll continue to make planning and taking trips easier with Google Maps, Google Search, and google.com/travel—so you can get out and enjoy the world.”

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General

Researchers Have Invented a Quieter, Less Terrifying Airplane Toilet

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If you’re a frequent flyer, you know how loud airplane toilets could be. Flushing could produce a noise so terrifyingly loud, it almost seems like the whole lavatory is being sucked out through that tiny hole.

But changes might be coming: Researchers from Brigham Young University have invented a vacuum-assisted toilet that is about half as loud as the regular airplane commode.

“People have told us they don’t want their kids to be scared to use the bathroom on a flight,” said lead researcher Kent Gee, BYU professor of physics. “So, we’ve used good physics to solve the problem.”

While aviation tech has developed, the airline industry hasn’t been able to improve vacuum-assisted toilets over the last 25 years. That’s because getting airplane toilets to flush with very little water requires a partial vacuum, which at 38,000 feet, pulls air at nearly half the speed of sound. When things move at that speed, any disturbance at all to the flow — like the bend of a pipe or a valve — generates significant noise.

And with cabins now quieter than ever due to newer airplanes, toilet flushes reverberate much more throughout the cabin.

“Airline companies have always had standards for the toilet noise, but they’ve never met those and there has never been much pressure to do so,”said Scott Sommerfeldt, BYU professor of mechanical engineering. “Now with the reduced cabin sound levels, the sound of the toilet flushing is more noticeable and customers are pushing back.”

To solve the problem, the BYU team focused on three valve conditions during the flush cycle: the initial noise level peak associated with the flush valve opening, an intermediate noise level plateau associated with the valve being fully opened and the final noise level peak associated with the flush valve closing.

The researchers added additional piping to increase the distance between the toilet bowl and the flush valve and made the pipe attachment at the bowl more of a gradual bend as opposed to a sharp 90-degree angle.

Tests of the new contraption show aeroacoustically-generated noise dropped up to 16 decibels during the flush valve opening and about 5 to 10 decibels when the valve is fully opened.

“It’s a great mix between physics and engineering,” said grad student Michael Rose, lead author on the team’s paper published in Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics. “The toilet is much quieter and now kids won’t think they’re going to get sucked out.”

The researchers have filed three patents on the new toilet and are now working with an industry partner to bring it to market. The invention works with existing airplane toilets — only the elbow need be removed during a retrofit, while the valve and the bowl can remain where they are.

The vacuum-assisted tech could also be used for toilets on cruise ships and trains and even in green building projects where housing units are looking at ways to reduce water usage.

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