Travel


No passes needed for African-American museum on weekdays in September

WASHINGTON - The National Museum of African American History and Culture will not require visitors to have passes to enter on weekdays in September.  » RELATED: Oprah Winfrey exhibit at National African American Museum DC The relaxation of crowd-control measures comes two years after the Smithsonian museum opened on Sept. 24, 2016. Weekend visitors will still need to have the free...

10 great last-minute summer getaways you can book in July

There is no need to shelve that summer vacation you wanted to take but never got around to planning: The last two weeks of August may be the most popular time to get away for the season, but there are still plenty of options available for travelers who are game for a last-minute escape.  Jack Ezon, the president of travel company Ovation Vacations, said that July is actually an opportune time...
In these parts of France, the Great War will never be forgotten

In these parts of France, the Great War will never be forgotten

The last time I saw the Picardie region of France was in 1978. I was visiting an old family friend, who suggested we take a road trip to see the chateaux and cathedrals that dot the landscape there and nearby in Champagne-Ardenne and Lorraine, all of which are an easy drive from Paris. Off we went in her Peugeot 504 and at some point I became lost (this was in the days before GPS obviously) and decided...

On an Icelandic road trip, mossy moonscapes and more

Jada Yuan: Going to Iceland for the first time, I had some idea of what to expect: tiny horses, stunning waterfalls, Jon Snow and the Wildlings. Nothing I imagined, though, could come close to the experience of being there in person. Just driving from the airport felt like landing on an alternate moon covered in moss and fog.  What made this leg of the 52 Places trip most exciting, besides being...

Here's what you can do for jet lag

Jet lag is a tough problem to get sympathy for. Traveling across multiple time zones is often a cause for jealousy, not compassion. But high-speed plane travel to a location that is out of sync with your body's internal clocks can cause more than just sleepiness. Symptoms of jet lag also include irritability, disorientation, nausea, gastrointestinal distress and trouble concentrating.  And an...
Coachella’s siren song attracts chic new resort

Coachella’s siren song attracts chic new resort

Every year, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and its sister country music event bring hundreds of thousands of revelers to the desert, far from the trendy restaurants, hotels and other attractions in a resurgent Palm Springs, Calif. Now, a developer group with a celebrity pedigree is building a sprawling 35-acre resort featuring a hip hotel that will not only cater to the hugely popular...
Scaling the Swiss Alps on trains and trams, and more

Scaling the Swiss Alps on trains and trams, and more

The Swiss Alps are one of Mother Nature’s most impressive shows, even viewed from afar. Getting in among these craggy peaks — some of which soar more than 13,000 feet into the sky — is even more special. Alpenwild offers a 10-day/nine-night tour that scales those peaks compliments of Switzerland’s amazing network of trains, trams, and funiculars. Among the classic lines ridden...

Three-and-a-half centuries of mythos surrounds Salem's House of the Seven Gables

"A nice mix of fiction and nonfiction." That's how Bill Sjostedt of Mamaroneck, New York, described the House of the Seven Gables in Salem, Massachusetts, after finishing his tour.  "It's been a part of the folklore of our country."   And that needs to be kept in mind when visiting this house made famous by Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1851 novel of the same name: The house...

An enduring Paris hotel in a new light

Is it Parisians who are most looking forward to the reopening of the more than century-old Hotel Lutetia, on the Left Bank? Or is it the property’s loyal overnight guests?  It is hard to know for sure.   “The Lutetia — it isn’t like other luxury hotels in Paris that locals don’t go to unless they have to,” said Apollonia Poilâne, the head baker...

Are cruises cool? No. That’s what makes them so great.

It’s the final day of this seven-night cruise, and I am sitting in my moderately messy balcony stateroom aboard the Celebrity Summit finishing the last bites of a room service cheeseburger, bags as yet unpacked for tomorrow morning’s disembarkation, the vast undulating North Atlantic just over my starboard shoulder.  I am trying to summon up my arguments in support of the mass-market...
Travel Dilemmas: Don’t pack cannabis

Travel Dilemmas: Don’t pack cannabis

You can’t take it with you. Actually, you can. But it’s not a good idea when you’re traveling, especially for the risk-averse. We speak, of course, of cannabis; its use was approved in California by 57 percent of voters in November 2016. Proposition 64, known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, allows the recreational use of marijuana in the Golden State; medical marijuana had been...
Scaling the Swiss Alps on trains and trams, and more

Scaling the Swiss Alps on trains and trams, and more

The Swiss Alps are one of Mother Nature’s most impressive shows, even viewed from afar. Getting in among these craggy peaks — some of which soar more than 13,000 feet into the sky — is even more special. Alpenwild offers a 10-day/nine-night tour that scales those peaks compliments of Switzerland’s amazing network of trains, trams, and funiculars. Among the classic lines ridden...

Three-and-a-half centuries of mythos surrounds Salem's House of the Seven Gables

"A nice mix of fiction and nonfiction." That's how Bill Sjostedt of Mamaroneck, New York, described the House of the Seven Gables in Salem, Massachusetts, after finishing his tour.  "It's been a part of the folklore of our country."   And that needs to be kept in mind when visiting this house made famous by Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1851 novel of the same name: The house...

An enduring Paris hotel in a new light

Is it Parisians who are most looking forward to the reopening of the more than century-old Hotel Lutetia, on the Left Bank? Or is it the property’s loyal overnight guests?  It is hard to know for sure.   “The Lutetia — it isn’t like other luxury hotels in Paris that locals don’t go to unless they have to,” said Apollonia Poilâne, the head baker...

Are cruises cool? No. That’s what makes them so great.

It’s the final day of this seven-night cruise, and I am sitting in my moderately messy balcony stateroom aboard the Celebrity Summit finishing the last bites of a room service cheeseburger, bags as yet unpacked for tomorrow morning’s disembarkation, the vast undulating North Atlantic just over my starboard shoulder.  I am trying to summon up my arguments in support of the mass-market...
Travel Dilemmas: Don’t pack cannabis

Travel Dilemmas: Don’t pack cannabis

You can’t take it with you. Actually, you can. But it’s not a good idea when you’re traveling, especially for the risk-averse. We speak, of course, of cannabis; its use was approved in California by 57 percent of voters in November 2016. Proposition 64, known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, allows the recreational use of marijuana in the Golden State; medical marijuana had been...

Tourists on honeymoon collide while zip-lining, leaving husband dead and wife injured

A newlywed Israeli couple on their honeymoon collided while zip-lining in Honduras, leaving the husband dead and the wife seriously injured, Honduran authorities said.  The wife was zip-lining amid the treetops in Roatan, the largest of Honduras's Bay Islands, when she got stuck shortly before 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Wilmer Guerrero, commander of the Roatan Fire Department, told The Washington Post...

A Black Forest trek to German philosopher Heidegger's writing hut

Stuck behind the wheel of a cramped rental car during a six-hour drive from Paris the previous day, it would take more than the threat of morning showers to keep me from stretching my legs on a Black Forest walking trail. That, after all, was why I was here, in the southwestern corner of Germany: to walk in woods once so dense and dark (before logging) that they were named "black." ...

Into the wild, in droves

As always, I arrived too late. The time to be here, the real sweet spot? I missed it. Try a good half-century ago, I was told by locals, before the place was discovered by the outside world, back when it was still Arches National Monument and not yet a designated park, just a dusty backwater in southeast Utah inhabited by a few old cowboys, desert castaways, Latter-day seekers and a handful of tourists...

Looking for a weekend escape? Here are 5 family-friendly options

Weekend vacations to destinations that American travelers can reach by driving appear to be growing in popularity: In the 2018 Luxe Report from the travel network Virtuoso, 25 percent of the network’s more than 16,000 advisers reported seeing a significant increase in demand for one- to three-day vacations within driving distance from home.  Weekend trips in general are on the uptick, according...
Pixar Pier tells a whole new story

Pixar Pier tells a whole new story

The early days of Disney’s California Adventure theme park next door to Disneyland boasted a number of peculiar design choices: a paparazzi-themed family ride, a coaster alluding to reckless drivers on Mulholland Drive and an extreme sports story line to its rafting ride. Most of the above has been removed or fixed over the park’s 17 years. Additions such as the cartoonish take on Route...

Anxious parents of infant on first flight pack treats — for fellow passengers

Brett and Samantha Kellgren weren’t looking forward to taking their infant son on his first plane ride, an early-morning Southwest Airlines flight from their hometown of Chicago to Boston.  “I felt like if it wasn’t a family wedding, we probably wouldn’t have done it,” said Samantha Kellgren, 33. “I didn’t know how it would go. Would he be awake the whole...

Take a walk on New York's High Line from end-to-end

To escape the madness of Manhattan's West Side, climb out of the chaos and into the calm of the High Line. More than 10 entry points between Gansevoort Street and 34th Street lead to the free elevated public park, a verdant refuge built nearly two decades after the last freight train hauled frozen turkeys across the tracks. The visionaries behind the urban sanctuary cleaned up the railway line, planting...

Cold and remote Saskatoon provides its own warmth

Five minutes outside of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, a steady stream of roadside motels and Chinese takeout joints faded into the most intensely flat landscape I have ever experienced. A turn of the wheel and it was as if the Canadian world had depopulated, leaving nothing but open road and yellow, rustling grain fields and a snow globe’s worth of cotton ball clouds floating overhead.  I was...

What W. Kamau Bell can’t travel without

Comedian and author W. Kamau Bell travels all over the country performing his standup show, “W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About an Hour.” He also hosts his own documentary television show, “United Shades of America” on CNN.  Based in Oakland, California, he regularly flies to and from Los Angeles daily, or takes a red-eye to New York, spends the day working in...

Florida towns’ claims to fame: We’re No. 1

Florida is known for making headlines — alligators end up in swimming pools, iguanas come out of toilets and people are always in the news for outrageous crimes. And with all the funny stories come interesting titles and nicknames for the cities within.  Here are some Florida towns and cities and what they’re famous for.   Apopka: Because of its many nurseries and greenhouses...

A Pittsburgh area restaurant that trades fussy for fun

A 15-foot man guards the entrance to U.S. Steel’s lone remaining Pittsburgh plant, smiling as he bends a rail with his bare hands. Joe Magarac is to steelworkers what Paul Bunyan is to lumberjacks; the plaque on this statue of him claims Joe was born in an ore mine, never slept, and “ate hot steel like soup, and cold ingots like meat.”  Until recently, you weren’t likely...

Save $500 on African safaris, fly from National to Orlando for $117 and more.

This week's best travel bargains around the globe.  - The Perry Hotel Key West at Stock Island Marina, a new hotel on a private marina just over the bridge from downtown Key West, Florida, is offering 30 percent off rates plus an activities credit. The Experience the Perry deal starts at $450 for two nights, plus 13 percent tax, and includes a $100 excursion credit that can be used on such adventures...

'The Internet doesn't call you back:' AAA's case for more human travel agents

Car stalled on the side of the road? AAA awaits your call.  Trying to plan a vacation? AAA wants to get your there, too.   The company widely known for its roadside assistance is hiring work-from-home travel agents to join its roughly 3,200 full-time agents nationwide, even as much of the travel industry has shifted, in the age of the Internet, to do-it-yourself online bookings. ...

Travel dilemmas: Watch fall colors in Arizona

Question: We heard that Arizona has fall colors, and that will save us a trip to the East Coast. Can you tell us where in Arizona we need to visit and the time of year?  Theola and Norm Kirschenbaum   Whittier, Calif.   Answer: I snickered when I received this query from the Kirschenbaums, the same way I snickered 25 years ago when I moved to California and someone asked me...

Visiting Guatemala after a deadly eruption

As Guatemala struggles to recover from the devastating eruption last month of the Volcán de Fuego in the picturesque highlands, tourism officials, hoteliers and language-school owners are contending with another challenge: convincing tourists that Guatemala’s shimmering lakes, ancient Mayan treasures, and, yes, stunning volcanoes, are safe and waiting to welcome them.  The disaster...

US airports near new passenger record as demand for air travel continues to grow

People are crowding into U.S. airports at near record levels, leaving airport managers worried that the country’s facilities won’t be able to handle much more of the ever-growing demand for air travel.  On June 29 — the Friday before the Independence Day holiday — the Transportation Security Administration reported that it screened 2.67 million travelers, the second highest...

5 simple tips to handle a wild animal encounter on vacation

Whether it’s a beach getaway or a camping trip, animal encounters — some potentially dangerous — can happen on any vacation. Rachel Levin, a San Francisco-based writer (and a New York Times Travel section contributor), has plenty of tips to help in her new, lighthearted book “Look Big: And Other Tips for Surviving Animal Encounters of All Kinds.”  The book offers...

Waikiki Beach is only two miles of Oahu. The rest is well worth checking out.

OAHU, Hawaii - The towers of Waikiki Beach cast such long shadows over Oahu that it seems daunting, in the mind's eye at least, to escape them when weighing a visit to Hawaii's most populous island.  But it can be done, and we did. Odysseus-like, I lashed my hands to the mast of a Kia Optima for a week this spring while my family crew and I motored around the island's perimeter, ignoring Waikiki's...

Walk among giants — Woody included — at Disney World's new Toy Story Land

Do you love the “Toy Story” movies so much that you wish you could hop right inside them? Walt Disney World Resort is doing its best to make that happen. Continuing its tradition of building physical experiences in their parks to match big, popular media properties (think Pandora: The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom), Disney/Pixar opened Toy Story Land on June 30 at Disney’s Hollywood...

How to keep a big group from smothering your trip

The majority rule - the one that says the needs of a group outweigh those of an individual - has always been a travel industry standard. When there's a convention or a wedding, regular guests sometimes feel like second-class citizens when they find attractions, dining areas or other facilities closed to them without apology.  Most hotels and cruise lines try to balance the needs of groups and...

Yosemite National Park offers electronic park entrance passes

The number of public lands and national parks offering electronic visitor passes and permits is growing.  Yosemite National Park, in California, recently announced that it has joined the YourPassNow program, which offers visitors new digital passes. Yosemite began offering the passes June 21.   Through YourPassNow, those planning to visit a participating location can go online and purchase...

Colorado’s dinosaur graveyard a land of lasting mysteries

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway climbs north, high to epic overlooks of a forested basin, before it tumbles back to the desert that typifies far western Colorado. The road skirts Rangely, the town born by oil, and then Dinosaur, holding on by its namesake, with souvenir shops between ramshackle homes and a canyon backdrop that is the final resting place of the ancient...

What I learned as a honeymoon planner for billionaires

Summer is here, which means it's officially wedding season-which means it's also honeymoon season.  Lining up a dream postnuptial vacation can be just as high-stakes as planning the big day itself - especially complicated, it turns out, if you are a billionaire.   Nobody knows that better than the planning team at Ovation Vacations, a leisure travel consultancy for ultrahigh-net-worth...

Where to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner on Prince Edward Island

From the air, the crescent-shaped Prince Edward Island resembles an exuberant smile floating in the Gulf of St. Lawrence between the coastlines of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. On land, the verdant island is a riot of color in summer, with bright-green marsh grasses, red-sand beaches and swaths of purple lupines, orange lilies and wild pink roses. At about 174 miles from tip to tip, the island is...

With ban upheld, travel industry urges a welcome for tourists

The travel industry is hoping to turn the page on a bad public relations chapter in the wake of the Supreme Court decision upholding the travel ban on five Muslim-majority nations as well as North Korea and some travelers from Venezuela.  “The most important thing is the administration has got to change its rhetoric to welcoming legitimate travelers from around the world because the noise...

5 summer programs for teens that teach empathy through community service

It is tough to be a teenager these days. High school plays out under a social media microscope, one that parents and young people can find difficult to free themselves from and focus instead on what is really important. To help expand their children’s horizons, improve their empathy and make a difference in their communities, parents (and teenagers eager to change the world) have several summer...

In Havre de Grace, Maryland, a rich maritime history - and ducks, lots of ducks

Because Washington sits at the southwest end of the Northeast Corridor, anyone with interests in the upper reaches of the zone can spend a lot of time traversing the same path, back and forth, over and over. By car or by train, and regardless of the destination, the scenery is a parade of monotony.  That's true for almost the entire journey. Almost.   For a brief moment, the tunnel...

From Ace Hotel, a new city and a new brand

Making hotel lobbies socially magnetic and in-house restaurants and bars urban destinations has become the blueprint for a lot of boutique hotels. Arguably, Ace Hotel, the small hotel company founded in Seattle in 1999 by a trio of musically focused entrepreneurs, perfected that design. Its nine hotels — including locations in Chicago, London, Los Angeles and New Orleans — aim to distill...

U.S. airports spend record sums to renovate amid travel boom

U.S. airports are breaking records on construction spending to cash in on a surge in travel while the industry is flush from years of low fuel prices.  Airports spent a seasonally adjusted $5.42 billion on construction in May, according to a preliminary estimate released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Monday, a 75 percent increase from a revised estimate of $3.1 billion a year earlier.  ...

Hawaii is about to ban popular sunscreen brands to protect its coral reefs

From Banana Boat to Coppertone, major sunscreen brands will soon have to revamp their products or stop selling them in Hawaii.  State lawmakers passed legislation in May that would ban skin-care companies from selling and distributing sunscreens on the islands that contain two chemicals deemed damaging to coral reefs. The bill is opposed by various companies and business associations and even...

A celebration of African-American culture in Baltimore

“So, I’m in Baltimore for a few days, what should I do?” I asked eagerly, at an airport rental car counter.  “Um, go to Washington, D.C.?” said the employee, laughing. I swear, the next four people I spoke to, even in the city proper, had the exact response. Baltimoreans have a deep pride in their hometown. But coming here reminded me of Bogotá, another city...

Ryanair faces summer strikes as Irish pilots vote for action

Ryanair Holdings faces pilot strikes next week in its Irish home market in what may become the most significant confrontation between Europe's biggest low-cost carrier and organized labor to date.  A poll of Ryanair cockpit crew produced a 94-to-1 vote in favor of industrial action including strikes, a spokesman for the Irish Air Line Pilots' Association said on Tuesday, with the walkout set...

Is a White House tour worth the wait?

WASHINGTON - According to the White House website, all you have to do to get a tour of the building is to request one through your congressional representative. Since I live in D.C., I don't really have a representative - though I do have Eleanor Holmes Norton, a non-voting member of Congress. So I called up her office and requested a White House tour. "I live here, so I can go anytime,"...

Soaking up Manhattan's literary history: A book lover's bar-hopping guide

NEW YORK - It's fair to say I look at things through a literary prism - I'm a writer by profession and I work at a museum that honors another one. So when I set out for New York City this spring, images of chain-smoking figures hunched over ancient Underwoods in Greenwich Village walk-ups were foremost in my mind.  Writers have long been drawn to live and work in the city, attracted by the proximity...
Precision packing tips for frequent travelers

Precision packing tips for frequent travelers

Finding room for everything you want to take on a trip can be a frustrating task to say the least. Broken nails from zipper tugging, last-minute editing of the travel wardrobe and doing a full body dive onto the top of my suitcase to get it closed when vacuum bags didn’t quite do the trick have all been part of my flight prep on more than one occasion. Even with streamlined packing protocols...

Flying from New York to London in two hours is on the horizon, Boeing says

Earlier this year, a Norwegian Air flight said one of its crews set a record time for the fastest-ever trans-Atlantic flight by a subsonic passenger aircraft.  The time: 5 hours and 13 minutes, besting the previous record, which was three minutes longer.   Not bad, but imagine boarding a plane in New York and arriving in London two hours later, about a 1.5 hours faster than the time...

The tech you need to travel better

With airline seats getting smaller and highways more crowded, it is a good thing there are plenty of high-tech, budget-friendly solutions to our travel woes. While there is no gadget that will make your seat wider or lessen traffic, there are some that will help you sleep better and stay relaxed on your next trip. Here are a few suggestions you may want to invest in, with the help of our colleagues...

You've heard of Kensington Palace. You should have heard of Blenheim Palace.

WOODSTOCK, England  Even if you're no lover of the monarchy, Britain's palaces are hard to resist.   There's Buckingham Palace, where a recent changing of the guard featured a regimental band cheekily playing Our House. And there's Kensington Palace, home to legions of the queen's relatives and a splendid collection of Princess Diana's dresses and gowns.   In my book, though...
Go around the world in these 5 Chicago neighborhoods

Go around the world in these 5 Chicago neighborhoods

The modest “kitchen,” if it could be called that, had drawn a crowd. Under the shade of a white plastic tent, a man and woman bowed over a grill, flipping tortillas. Fragrant smoke spiraled into the air. A cluster of diners stood in the street, eagerly awaiting their prizes. “Try one of these quesadillas, chica,” a man observing the operation told me. “You’ll feel...
The Indianapolis 500 is awesome, but there’s a lot more to do

The Indianapolis 500 is awesome, but there’s a lot more to do

INDIANAPOLIS — It was quite the scene. Thor aka Chris Hemsworth dropped the green flag. Kelly Clarkson sang the National Anthem. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers cheered on his girlfriend Danica Patrick. “Dancing With the Stars” alum Helio Castroneves hoped for his fourth victory — a feat which would ensure him “legend” status. Oh yes, and it was the...
Nantucket’s small size belies boundless history, appeal

Nantucket’s small size belies boundless history, appeal

The Grey Lady is gorgeous. Just the profusion of giant rhododendron and wild roses cascading over the sand dunes is worth the cost of the hourlong ferry ride south from Cape Cod. But there is so much more to see and learn about on the island of Nantucket, a National Historic Landmark. Its diminutive size (47.8 square miles, in what Herman Melville described as a “small elbow of sand”)...

Four new Times Square attractions offer a variety of immersive experiences

Just when you thought Times Square had it all - monster LED billboards, Broadway shows, roaming cartoon mascots, a grown man crooning in his underwear - four new themed attractions have opened near Manhattan's main tourist drag, all vying for your attention, selfies and dollars.  While the Big Apple is known for its cultural landmarks - the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art...

How do you pack for a yearlong trip?

You know those paisley Vera Bradley duffels beloved by sorority sisters and grandmas nationwide? I dragged one with me for the first four legs of my impossible, wonderful 52 Places trip because it was the only luggage I owned that fit all the things I thought I needed. It went home just before I left the United States, which made up the first few legs of my trip, along with some 20 pounds of clothes...

Why are you tuning out preflight safety announcements? Because you can tune in to your devices.

Admit it, you don't pay attention to those preflight safety announcements anymore. I don't, either. "Now, we request your full attention as the flight attendants demonstrate the safety features of this aircraft" goes in one ear and out the other.  Apparently, I am not alone. If you saw photos of the depressurized cabin on Southwest Airlines Flight 1380, which suffered a major engine...

50 years later, St. Louis' Gateway Arch emerges with a new name and a skeptical view of western expansion

ST. LOUIS - On July 3, one of this country's most recognizable landmarks will be reintroduced to the world with a new name, a new museum and a substantial redesign of its urban landscape.  A half century after Eero Saarinen's Gateway Arch was inaugurated in 1968, it has been reconnected to the city of St. Louis, with a sleek underground entrance facing the city, an expanded and redesigned visitor...

To Infinity: Toy Story Land opening at Disney in Florida

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — For children of the mid-1990s, Disney's new Toy Story Land offers the opportunity to visit the imaginary world they grew up in. For their parents, it brings back sweet memories of a magical time of toys and make-believe. And for everyone else, the new theme park land offers a whimsical experience from the moment a nearly 20-foot (6-meter) statue of Sheriff Woody...

New TSA rule affects quantity of powders allowed in carry-on bags

The Transportation Security Administration has a new rule affecting the size of containers holding powdery substances. The measure applies to items packed in carry-on bags on flights bound for the United States from abroad.  With the new ruling, passengers must store such granular items as flour, sugar, ground coffee, spices, powdered milk (such as baby formula), protein powders and cosmetics...

18 ways to navigate stress at the airport

Between the crowds, the security hassles, the need to be timely, the frustration of flight delays and perhaps even a fear of flying, the airport can be a stress-invoking phase of travel. The following tips address strategies for dealing with anxieties and annoyances large and small to help make your next plane trip less turbulent before takeoff.  There is nothing like entering an airport and...

All aboard Hello Kitty: Pink bullet train debuts in Japan

TOKYO (AP) — A Hello Kitty-themed "shinkansen" bullet train has debuted in Japan. Adorned with the cartoon icon inside and out, it's a dream ride for fans of the internationally popular character.  The special shinkansen had its inaugural round trip Saturday between Osaka and Fukuoka, connecting Japan's west and south. It will run through September.   The stylish, eight-car...

From wine to sweets, Greek goodies at a new Athens market

At first glance, Yoleni’s looks like an Athenian grocery store of a bygone era. You can taste cold cuts, cheeses and halvah before you buy; the feta is sold by the slice from a large slab preserved in salty brine; and there is a bakery and a fruit and vegetable section. But walk a few steps farther in, and you’ll realize this multi-floor food emporium in Kolonaki, a fancy neighborhood...

United Airlines tests telling passengers why their flights are delayed

CHICAGO –– You’re sitting at the airport, about to leave on a big summer trip, when you hear the dreaded announcement: the flight’s delayed. Would knowing why you’re about to kill a couple of hours in the airport lounge leave you less frustrated?  United Airlines is testing the idea at its Chicago and Houston hub airports. Since late January, passengers on some significantly...

3 new services that bring hotel amenities to travelers not in hotels

Home-sharing services like Airbnb can be great money savers. But the greatest money savers tend to require skipping common hotel amenities like fitness centers, spas, pools and room service. Now, naturally, there’s an app for that.  Make that apps, plural, including the following new ones that offer nonhotel guests access to hotel services.   At the beach and craving a burger...

Travel deals: Sale fares to South Africa and birthday discounts at a N.H. hotel

This week's best travel bargains around the globe.  Chileno Bay Resort & Residences, part of the Auberge Resorts Collection in Los Cabos, Mexico, is offering an all-inclusive special with savings of about 45 percent. The deal starts at $1,177 per person double for an ocean-view room and $1,107 for a garden-view room. Price includes all food and drinks, including bottomless tacos and margaritas...

Where to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in Mystic, Connecticut

On Connecticut's southeastern coast, along either side of the picturesque Mystic River, the village of Mystic holds a deserved reputation as a relaxed, family-friendly destination. The Mystic Seaport Museum and Mystic Aquarium are just two attractions that highlight the region's rich maritime history and aquatic diversity. Downtown Mystic is a destination in itself, with a mix of shops and restaurants...

How to keep your dog safe while traveling

As the summer travel season begins, many families will be making plans and taking trips that include their canine companions. Whether you’re traveling by car or plane, taking a little extra time to prepare for the trip will make a significant difference in your dog’s experience.  The American Kennel Club offers the following canine travel tips.   — Dogs get anxious...

Atlantic City welcomes back 2 shuttered casinos

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Many sweet rides have pulled up to Atlantic City casinos over the years, but this one was the King.  Joe Emanuele, whose vast portfolio at Hard Rock International includes securing music memorabilia, had located Elvis Presley's Rolls Royce, bought it at an auction and drove it to the Atlantic City casino whose opening Hard Rock will celebrate Thursday morning...

The bargain potential of one-way airfares

If you want to find bargain airfares during peak holiday travel periods, particularly in the summer, you will need to be flexible and creative. For example, I frequently book one-way flight segments, even if it means using airports that were not in my original plans. In my travel world, a trip to Greece can veer off into Britain, Denmark or anywhere else that saves me money.  Conventional wisdom...
Leaving technology behind on vacation in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

Leaving technology behind on vacation in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

Children are welcome at Iron Stone Acres, the bed-and-breakfast that Sharon Zimmerman has been running for nearly 30 years in rural Narvon, Pennsylvania, but they'll need to entertain themselves. The Mennonite-owned dairy farm has no internet connection and no TVs, and you'll have to head into town to find a newspaper.  The severed connection to technology in favor of the farm's peace and quiet...

Talk Travel: Think November for a crowd-free Yellowstone

The Washington Post's Travel section writers and editors recently discussed stories, questions, gripes and more. Here are edited excerpts:  Q: I've hit the web hard on this, but would appreciate your thoughts on a late August/early September visit to Yellowstone National Park. What are the chances of snow versus smaller crowds?   A: Crowds should lessen after Labor Day, but if you really...

The Cheeca Lodge is back, Tiki bar and all

Cheeca Lodge & Spa 81801 Overseas Highway, Islamorada, Florida; cheeca.com.  From $249.  The Cheeca Lodge & Spa, a storied Florida Keys hotel where presidents and celebrity athletes have fished and basked for decades, reopened March 30, six months after Hurricane Irma decimated the sprawling property with its powerful winds and 8-foot surge. The storm wrecked the lobby, dock, pools, restaurants...

Universal Studios: New ‘Cinematic Celebration’ to cap off park nights

Universal Studios is revamping its approach to its nighttime spectaculars, a move that changes where visitors watch, slows down the pacing of its film clips and busts its Harry Potter-ness out of the Wizarding World. The result will be “Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration,” scheduled to debut sometime this summer.  It replaces a rapid-fire show that celebrated a century...

Coming soon to the National Mall: Tricks, tastes of Catalonia

WASHINGTON - If you spot a very tall tower made of humans on the National Mall, do not worry! They are human-tower builders from Catalonia, and they know what they're doing. (Don't try this at home - or anywhere.)  These towers are called castells, a centuries-old Catalan tradition, and they will be featured at this year's Smithsonian Folklife Festival. The festival is celebrating the Spanish...

Rolling out the rainbow carpet

Once the LGBT Memorial in New York City opens, which is expected this month, its designer, the multimedia artist Anthony Goicolea, plans to offer personal tours of the site in Hudson River Park through Airbnb’s Experience tours, exploring its composition of nine stones, some bisected by prismatic glass that radiate the colors of the LGBT flag.  “I’ll go over aspects of it that...

Where to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in Virginia Beach

The grand reopening this spring of Virginia Beach's historical Cavalier Hotel, following a four-year, $85 million renovation of the 91-year-old oceanfront landmark, is a fitting symbol of the city's booming tourism business and rapidly changing culinary scene. The latest state tourism data shows that the last five years have brought record numbers of visitors to enjoy the city's pristine beaches and...

Travel dilemmas: How to upgrade like a pro

Question: I am very confused about airplane upgrades and how to get them. Would you please give us a tutorial on how to upgrade to business or first class?  Barbara Busch, Santa Barbara, Calif.   Answer: Getting an upgrade so you can sit (or sleep) in the not-so-cheap seats depends a bit on who you are, how much you want to spend and who might be flying with you.   Here&rsquo...
In Seattle: Give me a decaf mocca frapaccino – and hold the fish

In Seattle: Give me a decaf mocca frapaccino – and hold the fish

A prudent first consideration when trying to understand Seattle is that it is not Athens, Rome or, for that matter, Stratford-upon-Avon. The seed of Western Civilization was planted in classical Athens, blew westward on a storm toward ancient Rome, was miraculously grafted onto stronger roots during the Renaissance in Florence and Siena and, one thing following another, kept going until it hit Seattle...

Two Virginia estates central to George Washington's life share little middle ground

Many Americans are aware that George Washington lived at Mount Vernon, near Alexandria, Virginia, a historic site where they can walk in the footsteps of our nation's foremost founding father, Revolutionary War hero and first president.  What's less well-known is that Washington grew up 40 miles south of there, at what is now called Ferry Farm, near Fredericksburg, Virginia and the site - the...
‘Southwest Sampler’ packs a lot of adventure into short amount of time

‘Southwest Sampler’ packs a lot of adventure into short amount of time

Sometimes it’s easier to squeeze in a quick summer getaway. Here’s one that’s short and sweet: The Moab Adventure Center in the red-rock town of Moab, Utah, offers the Southwest Sampler. Over four days and three nights, guests explore Arches National Park and hit the water for a float on the Colorado River. In Arches, named for its more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches, there&rsquo...

Solitude and rough waves along the border

The wind started blowing at two in the morning. Branches and leaves ricocheted off the tent, and the trees around Diggity Stream groaned. I barely slept as gusts burst off the lake and rattled the tent poles. When I finally got up, it was 5:30 a.m.  Fog flowed from the mountains into Spednic Lake. The eastern sky was an arc of amber light. Wind roaring through the trees was thick with the dank...
Orlando’s chambers of secrets magical fun for foodies, Potter fans

Orlando’s chambers of secrets magical fun for foodies, Potter fans

An unexceptional door hidden in plain view slides open at the push of a button to reveal a speakeasy bar with elixirs like a Blonde Donkey and Monkey in the Vault, and a restaurant with such restorative “prescriptions” as double-cut brined pork chops and cast iron seared prime rib-eye steaks. An alluring tea room that would look perfectly at home in Hogsmeade perched amidst Honeydukes...

Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, the Louvre, are tops in visitorship survey

A recent survey on theme parks and museums would make the Mona Lisa smile: The Louvre was the world's most-visited museum last year, with 8.1 million people admiring the art at the Paris institution. Of course, Cinderella doesn't have to feel threatened by the woman with the enigmatic expression. Almost 20.5 million parkgoers chose Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida as their happy...
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