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Travel


Cruising trends for 2017

Cruise lines are still trained on how to win over all those travelers who consider a vacation at sea too confining, limited or old-fashioned. They’ve even gone so far as toning down decor and rewording brochures.  Here’s some of what you’ll see in the coming year on the high seas — and the rivers, of course, since river cruising remains hot, interesting and, as far as...
Elements of sleeper train revived as Tokyo hostel

Elements of sleeper train revived as Tokyo hostel

TOKYO - In 1988, the Hokutosei sleeper express was the first train to use the Seikan tunnel to link Ueno Station in Tokyo to Sapporo, over a journey of 1,200 kilometers. It gained popularity through such charms as luxury sleeping cars and a dining car where travelers could enjoy French-style cuisine. However, to the regret of many fans, in August 2015 the train service was discontinued due to the...

Rules backpedaling may catch travelers in spokes

American travelers fear they'll be left to fend for themselves when they hit the road this year - and for good reason.  The incoming presidential administration has signaled that it intends to undo a wide range of federal regulations, many of which protect consumers. Although it hasn't yet targeted any rules that affect tourism, Donald Trump's campaign trail pledge to require that for every new...

How to plan your next vacation with a chatbot

Need to book a hotel on the go, or a friendly dinner recommendation while exploring a new city? There’s a bot for that.  Now, the booking services Expedia, Kayak, Skyscanner and many others are allowing potential customers to seek recommendations on hotel rooms and flights and book them via Facebook Messenger.   Here is what three of the more interesting options have to offer...
Hotels offer meditation so children can chill

Hotels offer meditation so children can chill

To help children feel more relaxed and less anxious when they travel, hotels are offering meditation sessions and therapies developed for younger guests. At the Resort at Squaw Creek in California, the Kids Chillax Spa offers customized relaxation sessions. Sessions include aromatherapy treatments, deep-breathing exercises and stretching techniques ($35). Rosewood’s Jumby Bay in Antigua, which...

Bargains include free Peru lodging, air credits for Alaska cruises

- Visit Myrtle Beach in South Carolina is offering discounted rates at several hotels in honor of Blue Monday (Jan. 16). For example, rates at the Captain's Quarters Resort start at $87 a night, including taxes, a discount of up to 41 percent. Also receive a $20 daily food credit and one $25 game card for the resort's arcade per stay. At the Crown Reef Beach Resort and Waterpark, pay from $95 a night...
Travel Tips: How to plan a volunteering vacation

Travel Tips: How to plan a volunteering vacation

A volunteering vacation can be a meaningful way to spend your time off, said Courtney Regan, the founder of the San Francisco travel company Courtney Regan Travel and an expert on what is known as voluntourism. But she added that there are several factors to consider to make the trip fulfilling and ensure that your efforts are productive both for you and the cause you’re supporting.  Regan...
Why Neil Patrick Harris loves Vancouver (and the rest of Canada)

Why Neil Patrick Harris loves Vancouver (and the rest of Canada)

For many actors, a life of constant travel is part of the job, but for the actor Neil Patrick Harris, 43, who lives in New York City, frequent work-related trips generally aren’t the norm. “Given that I have two young children, I try to travel as little as possible for work,” he said, referring to his 6-year-old twins, Gideon Scott and Harper Grace, with his husband, David Burtka...
How to spend a perfect weekend in Europe's coolest capital

How to spend a perfect weekend in Europe's coolest capital

If everyone you know is thinking about going to Lisbon, there's plenty of reason for that. Its meteoric rise as a culture capital is just one part of the appeal. The city is also undergoing a luxury hotel boom, and the food scene is hot, hot, hot. But all that is amplified by Lisbon's ease of access: It's the closest European hub for Americans and offers a worlds-away feeling for travelers coming...
4 places to celebrate Carnival in the Caribbean

4 places to celebrate Carnival in the Caribbean

Carnival is about over-the-top, shed-your-inhibitions fun. Like Mardi Gras, it’s traditionally a last chance for excess before the solemn season of Lent for Catholics.  The annual bash is practically synonymous with Rio de Janeiro. But it’s also a big deal in the Caribbean, which, despite popular belief, isn’t one homogeneous destination. Each Caribbean island has its own history...
A Pennsylvania restaurant that’s hot in more ways than one

A Pennsylvania restaurant that’s hot in more ways than one

As my mother tells it, the beef tongue she ate as a child was a dish to be feared — one boiled into edibility, then choked down when money was tight. What I encountered during a recent dinner at Luca, an Italian restaurant that opened in July in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was not that tongue. This version melted in my mouth like an overpriced filet. The grass-fed meat had been brined for several...
How to take more vacation time in 2017

How to take more vacation time in 2017

Heading into 2016, “living life to its fullest” was the most common New Year’s resolution for Americans, according to a Google Consumer Survey by GO Banking Rates. The concept of traveling more would have fit nicely under this concept for many, but Americans continued to give in to work-culture pressures that lead them to pass on the paid vacation time that is owed to them. ...
As Cuban tourism booms, US travel companies wonder: What Trump will do?

As Cuban tourism booms, US travel companies wonder: What Trump will do?

The wait in the line to exchange money at the Havana airport can stretch on for hours, reservations are a must at popular private Cuban restaurants and tangerine and hot-pink-colored vintage cars ferrying visitors crowd the streets around the most frequented tourist destinations.  Tourism on the island is definitely booming. Cuba welcomed a record 4 million visitors last year, a 13 percent increase...
Airlines increase on-time arrivals, reduce canceled flights

Airlines increase on-time arrivals, reduce canceled flights

The chances that your flight will be on time and won't get canceled appear to be looking up.  The federal Department of Transportation reported Tuesday that 86.5 percent of U.S. flights in November arrived on time, an improvement over both the previous month and November 2015.   Less than one-third of 1 percent of domestic flights on the busiest 12 airlines were canceled, the lowest...

Bites: A shift to simpler fare

Bites: Elystan Street London  One way for a chef to shift culinary gears — an extreme one, perhaps — is to sell his restaurant and open a new place. In September, six months after Philip Howard relinquished the Square, which earned two Michelin stars for its precision and elegance and where life goes on under new owners, he and his business partner opened Elystan Street on a quiet...

How to use a novel as a guidebook

I like bookstores that shelve fiction, nonfiction and travel guides together by destination.  But can you use a novel as a guidebook? Certainly tourists flock to fictional locations like platform 9 3/4 in King’s Cross Station. But what can you learn from following the footsteps of a fictional character? To see, I followed the route of Oliver Twist as he entered London for the first time...
Top 10 cool stays for 2017: A bucket-list of lodging

Top 10 cool stays for 2017: A bucket-list of lodging

I love coolstays.com. They’re a great resource for, well, cool stays — unusual, or at least not your average hotel accommodations. That would include anything from dude ranches to treehouses.  They’ve just put together a bucket list Top 10 for 2017. If you decide to book one of these places, consider bringing along a medium-size trunk — I’m a little too big to squeeze...

American mimics United with fare barring use of overhead bin

American Airlines followed United Continental in announcing no-frills tickets that limit carry-on bags to those that fit under a seat, bolstering efforts to compete with fast-growing fare discounters.  The new basic-economy tickets will go on sale Feb. 10 in select domestic markets, and the first flights will begin soon after, the Fort Worth, Texas-based airline said in a statement Wednesday...
Why the Cook Islands are the best South Pacific bargain

Why the Cook Islands are the best South Pacific bargain

“So how’s your day going?” asked the post office lady as I bought some colorful Cook Islands postage stamps (I’m very analog and love sending post cards on my travels rather than posting to Facebook).  Funny thing was, the way she asked I had a feeling that she would have lent an ear were I interested in sharing the details of my day, which by the way had gone splendidly...
Beyond Santa Fe, a different world

Beyond Santa Fe, a different world

The first time I went to Santa Fe, New Mexico, I went out for a morning run and the city willed me to fall in love with it. The sunny sky, sweeping views and smell of the pinyon — the natural beauty captured my soul. That was three decades ago. I never stopped going back.  Now I have a home there, and I dip into the city to explore its rich history, culture and food scene. There are 15...
Parties, protests to take over DC for Trump's inauguration

Parties, protests to take over DC for Trump's inauguration

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to clog the nation's capital for Donald Trump's inauguration and a major demonstration the day after. How many will actually arrive to party or protest is an open question.  Officials estimate that 800,000 to 900,000 people will be present Friday for the inauguration, a celebration that takes over the city, closing roads, taxing...

Las Vegas works to charm travelers from Asia

From baccarat and pai gow poker to noodle restaurants, it’s no secret that Las Vegas has long been courting travelers from Asia, particularly China. But by this Chinese New Year — Jan. 28 — visitors will find a more intense focus on Asian tourists on and around the Strip as businesses aim to increase international traffic.  The first direct flight from Beijing to Las Vegas,...
Where I live: Washington, D.C.

Where I live: Washington, D.C.

On a chilly Friday afternoon about a month before the White House was due to receive its next tenant, I paid a visit to the other residence in Washington where several presidents once lived during the hotter months of the year. Previously known as the Soldiers’ Home and nowadays referred to as President Lincoln’s Cottage, after its most illustrious occupant, the stucco villa sits on a...
Paisley Park vs. Graceland: How do these royal museums compare?

Paisley Park vs. Graceland: How do these royal museums compare?

Graceland and Paisley Park. They’re as different as Memphis and Minneapolis, as rock and funk, as the 6-foot King and the 5-foot-2 Prince. Elvis had his stud-decorated jumpsuits, an endless supply of silk scarves and a big necklace with his lightning “TCB” (taking care of business) logo. Prince had his colorful custom-designed outfits, an endless collection of shoes with 4-inch heels...

Disneyland to add a digital Fastpass option for $10 a day

Disneyland’s Fastpass ticketing system, which lets visitors avoid the long lines for crowded attractions by booking a ride time, has been a free feature since it was created in 1999. But Disney announced last week that it will let parkgoers use the Disneyland smartphone app to electronically book and redeem Fastpasses, as well as download unlimited photos taken by resort photographers &mdash...
There's a bus tour in London for dogs (and their humans)

There's a bus tour in London for dogs (and their humans)

Dogs, the primary beneficiaries of the pet-humanization trend, get to go a lot of places these days - restaurants, workplaces, yoga. So perhaps it was only a matter of time before someone began offering a bus tour for pups.  What claims to be the world's first such tour launched Monday in London. Three times a day, it's ferrying pooches and their people around the city, offering one hour of commentary...
Reno: Biggest little city is growing up

Reno: Biggest little city is growing up

RENO, Nev. — Hunched on the eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada, Reno has long suffered a reputation as a poor man’s Las Vegas with snow. Its casinos are more modest than the flashing palaces on the Strip, and even its motto — “The Biggest Little City in the World” — feels strangely self-deprecating.  All that is changing, however, as Reno rides a wave of tech...
Exploring Austria like a local

Exploring Austria like a local

Vienna has its traditional cafes, opulent palaces and venues for its legendary classical-music scene. Salzburg attracts a crowd with all those churches and castles. But within easy striking distance of both big-name tickets are delightful corners of Austria where English-speakers are rare, crowds are thinner and the gemuetlichkeit is pervasive.  I have an inside track. My explorations of the...

Barcelona city tours for the socially conscious

One recent glorious Sunday morning in Barcelona, my friend Elies and I are walking down the Rambla to meet our tour guide in front of the ornate 19th-century Liceu opera house. It's 11:30 a.m., and tourists are swarming the historic promenade, sitting down for an early lunch, armed with selfie sticks and maps to study.  We dodge a swarm of cruise-ship passengers, who trail behind a Pied Piper-like...
Florida road trip: Biking from Key Largo to Key West

Florida road trip: Biking from Key Largo to Key West

KEY LARGO, Fla. — Driving the 100-plus miles that link the Florida Keys’ limestone and coral islands ranks as one of America’s epic road trips.  I wanted to experience it on two wheels instead of four. The plan: Bike the country’s “southernmost century,” cycling-speak for a 100-mile journey in a single day, from Key Largo to Key West.   We all know...
Travel Tips: How to take photos worthy of the trip

Travel Tips: How to take photos worthy of the trip

You could lose the souvenirs you buy when you go on vacation, but the pictures you take from your trips will last forever, says travel photographer Natalie Amrossi. A brand ambassador for the camera company Canon, Amrossi has a portfolio of travel shots from more than 50 countries.  “Travel pictures instantly transport you back to those destinations and evoke the good times you had,&rdquo...
Laughter under the midnight sun

Laughter under the midnight sun

Just before 9 p.m. on a Monday this past summer, rays of dust-speckled light from the midnight sun poured through gaps between black curtains inside Gaukurinn, a rock bar in downtown Reykjavik where an English-language open mike was about to begin.  Sitting in a booth by the well-stocked bar was an Australian comedian, Jonathan Duffy, 31, holding court with an Icelandic comic, Bylgja Babylons...

4 easy travel resolutions for the new year (and how to keep them)

So, you want to travel more this year? Travel expert Donna Adinolfi, who runs the website mindfuladventures.com advises that the first step is inspiration. “Get inspired by first looking at photos in travel magazines, tourism sites, Instagram or Pinterest travel pages/pins.”  Once the travel bug has been fed with ideas, here are four resolutions to get you moving in the right direction...
Small ski classes for women boost confidence, camaraderie

Small ski classes for women boost confidence, camaraderie

BEAVER CREEK, Colo. — My family’s idea of the perfect vacation is to follow winter around the world and schuss down a snow-covered mountain as fast as gravity allows.  That’s not quite my speed, so I often end up on the sidelines spending the daylight hours of our ski trips alone.   I thought this was my unique problem until I enrolled in a ski class given by women...

'Europe's last dictatorship' has a new plan: tourism

It's a flat, landlocked country most known for its chilly winters. It was famously dubbed the "last dictatorship" in Europe - a place where even the country's leader, in place for the past 22 years, has described his politics as authoritarian. It's a former Soviet republic where the KGB is still called the KGB, and where people still work on collective farms and at state-owned vodka companies...
The taste for classical music is expanding at New York City eateries

The taste for classical music is expanding at New York City eateries

On a freezing night in December, a bundled-up young crowd filed onto benches in Mast Chocolate's factory at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. They drank wine and ate candy while a 32-piece orchestra sounded the opening notes of Verdi's "Macbeth," presented by the three-year-old LoftOpera.  Though the mood was relaxed - toppled beer bottles clanged and a DJ played during intermissions - the actors...
Adventures in space: new carry-on rules

Adventures in space: new carry-on rules

It’s the first year that United Airlines will be offering “basic economy” fares — the lowest prices on a particular flight, but with notable restrictions such as: You don’t receive a seat assignment until check-in (and sitting next to your traveling companions is not guaranteed); you’re the last to board; and you’re not allowed to bring on a full-size carry-on...
7-decade passion for toys fills Mexico museum

7-decade passion for toys fills Mexico museum

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Even as a child, Roberto Shimizu loved collecting things.  So when his Japanese immigrant father opened a stationery and toy store in Mexico City in 1940, Shimizu began a lifelong quest to save and collect toys.   More than seven decades years later, that youthful fascination lives on in the Antique Toy Museum, a four-story building packed with objects that...

Cuba is high on this year's must-see travel lists

It seems like every travel organization in the country is out with its "must visit" list for 2017. What do they say? They're literally all over the map, but one place gets repeated mentions: Cuba.  The U.S. Tour Operators Association singled out the island nation as the hottest destination of 2017, while the website for the travel guidebook Frommer's listed Cuba as one of the best places...
What happens between now and Ringling's closure in May?

What happens between now and Ringling's closure in May?

ELLENTON, Fla. (AP) — The owners of Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced Saturday that they will close the 146-year-old show in May.  Kenneth Feld, the chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, which owns the circus, said declining attendance combined with high operating costs are the reasons for closing.   Here's where things stand with the iconic show:  ...

Soaking in luxury in historic Bath, England

Check In  The Gainsborough Bath Spa, Beau Street, 44-1225-358-888; thegainsboroughbathspa.co.uk.   Rates   Rooms from 255 pounds (about $315).   Basics   In a city that has attracted visitors to its mineral-rich thermal baths since Roman times, the opening of the first hotel with its own natural thermal spa on site was a major event. The Gainsborough Bath...
Affordable fitness getaways in January

Affordable fitness getaways in January

After the feasting and revelry of the holidays, attention in January often turns to fitness and health. Domestic and international hotels have designed packages with spa treatments, fitness classes and eating cleanses to help travelers detoxify.  At Gurney’s Montauk Resort and Seawater Spa on Long Island in New York, rates drop in the winter. In addition to on-demand audio meditations by...