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Friday, November 28, 2014         

Travel News

You could always count on Long Beach, on the Washington coast, for being an old-school beach town. And it's all still there: the go-cart track. The kitschy Marsh's Free Museum, home to plaster-cast Jake the Alligator Man.

With fuel costs continuing to drop, a new study finds the relationship between fuel prices and airfares benefits airlines more than passengers. The study by the travel research site Hopper.com found that over the past 22 months fares have remained flat when fuel prices have dropped.

Brings scenes to life by adding a soundtrack to vibrant black-and-white panoramic photographs. Available for seven destinations, including New York; San Francisco; Bergen, Norway; Oslo, Norway; and Stockholm.

They deal in the faux and fantastical on the frenetic Las Vegas Strip, where reality exists merely in air quotes. Just such a respite lies 25 miles southeast, in an altogether different, more chill faux environment, a world away from the Strip's hustle and bustle.

Planning to travel over the holidays? Still haven't made reservations? It's not too late to find an affordable Thanksgiving or Christmas getaway. This procrastinator's guide to holiday travel is for you.

For more than a century, cities around the world have compared themselves to Paris. Many claim to be the Paris of the East: Bucharest, Prague, Istanbul, Beirut and Shanghai, to name a few.

Some of the biggest airports in the world are planning to invest heavily in technology that will let you check in with a mobile device or on an electronic kiosk and board your plane without checking in with a gate agent.

Nobody to walk you back to your hotel or car after dark? This personal safety app may offer some peace of mind. It connects to emergency services and records your whereabouts.

Mark Twain lived in Hannibal, Mo., for only 13 years, but many of his most famous stories were inspired by this humble Midwestern city. A visit to Hannibal today offers a way to appreciate the impact this place had on one of America's best-known writers.

United Airlines launched a concept 15 years ago called Economy Plus, an airline seat that gives fliers a few more inches of legroom for a higher price. It has been so popular that other airlines have copied the idea. America Airlines offers "Main Cabin Extra," and Delta Air Lines has "Economy Comfort."

Everyone hates standing in the dreaded airport security line, but what if you knew your wait time wouldn't be as long as you had thought?

Somehow, on four visits to Pike Place Market over three decades, I failed to learn where the brothel was. Nor did I hear how the first Starbucks did business for years in this neighborhood before selling its first cup of coffee.

The Seattle waterfront wants you. Especially the Seattle Aquarium (Pier 59) and the Seattle Great Wheel (Pier 57), whose bright lights can be seen for miles. But if you're there when the weather is mild, you might want to consider Pier 52, the ferry terminal.

Don't rent a car to get around downtown Seattle. Since 2009, Sound Transit's Central Link light-rail system www.soundtransit.org has run trains from the SeaTac Airport to the underground Westlake Station at 4th Avenue and Pine Street.

Exhibits include dog paintings, dog sculptures and displays about famous dogs. But what really makes this St. Louis museum unique is the visitors: Dogs are welcome, and curators aren't worried about the canines knocking things over or making a mess.

The Transportation Security Administration is falling flat in its efforts to win the hearts of frequent fliers. Nearly 86 percent of frequent fliers surveyed said the agency is doing a "poor" or a "fair" job.

Forget about your latest overindulgence. There are yoga and wellness retreats all over the world that have better views than your local gym.

From the snow-dusted peaks of Arizona's San Francisco Mountains to the fire-singed hillsides surrounding this northern New Mexico town, Mother Nature is signaling that fall is here.

As the weather turns colder and the leaves fall, many of us begin to plan our spring holidays and think of the days when everything will be bright and blooming again. Wales is a part of the United Kingdom but has a heritage and language all its own.

The Ebola scare that has prompted calls for a travel ban and a quarantine of visitors from West Africa has done little to dampen business travel from the United States.

Utrip.com acts as a day-to-day concierge to help plan your next trip. • What it does • What's hot • What's not

As if visiting the Paris Catacombs in the daytime wasn't creepy enough, you can now visit the underground maze of skeletons after nightfall, too. That is, if you dare defy the warning at the entrance: "Stop, this is the empire of Death."

Pere Sirvent strode into the food market in the Sants neighborhood of Barcelona on a recent morning and looked around with satisfaction. "Half the shops here used to be empty," said Sirvent.

In their ongoing quest to squeeze more revenue out of passengers, airlines are split on a big potential moneymaker: in-flight entertainment. Large carriers such as Delta Air Lines have invested heavily in touch-screen entertainment systems that are built into seat backs.

Ski trips are so expensive. Before you go, wouldn't it be nice to have a friend who could give you all the inside info on hotels and resorts? Scout is here for you.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art opened in 2011 in Walmart's hometown, Bentonville, Ark., with a respectable collection of work by famous artists from Norman Rockwell's "Rosie the Riveter" to a George Washington portrait by Gilbert Stuart.

The first thing you encounter at a new contemporary art show at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is the "Mom Booth," where a woman in an apron sits at a table. She's a real mom who gives advice, hugs and maybe a scolding.

After the marriage of American Airlines and US Airways last year — the latest of several airline mergers — more than 80 percent of the nation's domestic air travel was funneled through just four carriers.

Here's an award-winning visual storytelling app that takes travelers' photo essays to the next level. » Available for: iPhone and iPad » Cost: Free » What it does: Select photos from your iPhone or iPad and turn them into a magazinelike photo essay

If you've seen "Gone Girl" movie trailers, you've already glimpsed some sights around Cape Girardeau, Mo. A recent one has a great shot of the Mississippi River bridge. The first-released trailers closed with a shot of the river.

Halloween seems to be getting scarier, with attractions going ever more interactive and in-your-face. At Knott's Scary Farm in Buena Park, Calif., guests are outfitted with neon-green laser guns and ordered to shoot actors portraying zombies by aiming at their heads.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is holding its first exhibit in the space that will become Hollywood's premier museum devoted to the movies. "Hollywood Costume" opens Thursday inside the historic May Co. building.

If passengers can divert a commercial plane by feuding over reclining seats, imagine the squabbles that would erupt if fliers were allowed to make loud telephone calls while crammed together in an airline cabin.

Traveling to a big city can be overwhelming. Here's a website that helps you find — and book lodging in — the neighborhood that's right for you.

Saint Paul Street, or Rue Saint-Paul, the oldest street in one of North America's oldest cities, runs through the heart of Old Montreal. It's barely a mile long, but its first cobblestones predated American democracy, and its restaurants, shops and galleries are tucked into some great old buildings.

Each day, 8.3 million people around the globe board some 93,500 flights. They almost always land safely. But in the rare chance of a crash, there are things passengers can do to improve the odds of survival.

Airbus, the giant European aircraft maker, has unveiled a cabin design that gives passengers more room to stow their luggage but less elbow room in the back-of-the-plane lavatory.

Here's a website that makes choosing a hotel a snap. It allows you to drag two hotels onto the page so you can do side-by-side comparisons of price, ratings and reviews as well as night life, dining, shopping and tourism.

Intricate, inventive and ahead of their time -- and that's just the vases. London's British Museum opened a major new exhibition Thursday exploring the rich art and global influences of China's Ming era in the 15th century.

After we heard buzzing overhead in the thick jungle for the second or third time, I asked our ponytailed guide, Gregorson Rider, the source of the noise. "Helicopter?" I said. "Tours from Maui," he replied. "It's pretty obnoxious."

Skies see fewer 'unruly' passengers • Airlines spend less on in-flight food

The Hazel Lane website allows the armchair traveler with a soft spot for unique gifts to get her (or his) fix without leaving town.

We rented our bikes from a guy named Nick. He lives outside the tiny Scottish town of Taynuilt in the western Highlands off a road about as wide as one car. Nick Charlton owns RCS Cycles and repairs, sells and rents bikes from a large shed behind his house.

Although online travel websites such as Orbitz and Travelocity are now responsible for about 70 percent of travel booking in the U.S., the folks who work out of brick-and-mortar travel agencies are reporting booming sales.

Golfscape.com provides a smoother, more modern way to book your tee time at golf courses around the world.

Exploring the region north of New York City isn't just for locals, and autumn is one of the nicest times of year to do it. The Hudson Valley offers history, culture and outdoor attractions with Hudson River scenery as a backdrop, just an hour or two from Manhattan.

A device called the Knee Defender that prevents airline seats from reclining sparked an in-flight squabble that forced a United Airlines flight from Newark to Denver to divert to Chicago.

If you can afford to fly first class, you can probably afford to lease a private jet. Don't know where to look? Try this new travel app for fliers with deep pockets.

South Korea's hyper-efficient capital doesn't immediately spring to mind when you think of exotic Asian destinations. But this megacity offers much to tempt travelers beyond a layover from the ultramodern international airport in nearby Incheon.

Tired of sharing your travel pics one by one? UrbanBird lets you upload your photos and makes a map of your vacation that includes geographical information you can share with your friends on Facebook during or after the trip.

The percentage of seats filled on passenger planes — known as the load factor — continues to climb, making the likelihood of sitting next to an empty seat almost nil. But airlines say they are packing us in out of necessity, not greed.

Perched at the counter of Sweets Raku, a small, year-old dessert restaurant where almost everything is the gleaming white of a new iPhone charger, I chose a three-course tasting from a rice-paper menu printed in gold.

A new live arena show called "Marvel Universe Live!" — a first for the comic franchise — has begun an 85-city two-year tour, flooding stages with a dizzying array of actors and upping the technological ante for theatrical events.

New hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and concert venues have sprung up around the Los Angeles Convention Center, a neighborhood that locals had previously described as a frightening dead zone at night.

Before reading and writing become a lost art, here they are, romancing digital devices. The question is: Do you want to be a writer or a reader? Medium.com accommodates either.

As we neared Stanley, Idaho, the landscape surrounding the winding highway on which we'd climbed 7,000 feet gave way from rugged canyon to flat expanse of grass speckled by lodgepole pine and aspen.

Packpoint constructs an easy-to-use packing list whether you're traveling for business or leisure, taking just the basics, bringing a baby or planning to do laundry. The lists made with Packpoint were smart and quick to create.

A new study has confirmed what many airline travelers have long suspected: On any given flight, passengers can pay twice as much as others in the same cabin section, and even as much as eight times more.

"In Flanders fields," the old poem says, "the poppies blow / Between the crosses, row on row." And in the middle of those fields stands Ypres (pronounced "EE-pre"), haunted by World War I but also sustained by it.

If you dare to visit here you'll eventually stand beneath the elegant geometry of Gazi Husrev-bey Mosque (built in 1530) or sip a beer at the Sarajevo Brewery (founded 1864) or tiptoe atop the stone walls of the White Fortress.

He may not self-identify as a philosopher, being a proud gearhead and gas station grease monkey at heart, but Mark Mendenhall was nothing if not profound when he looked around and took stock of all he surveyed.

A new resort could soon spring up on the vacant Las Vegas Strip site of the former New Frontier casino, thanks to a partnership between Australian billionaire James Packer and former Wynn Las Vegas President Andrew Pascal.

www.Hipcamp.com • If your camping experiences are limited to your Boy Scout or Girl Scout days, these campgrounds will be a comfortable welcome back. • What it does • What's hot • What's not

Noted investor Warren Buffett just last year described the airline industry as a "death trap" for investors. But the industry has sprung back to life, with the nation's biggest carriers reporting hefty — and, in some cases, record — second-quarter profits.

The nation's top airlines have focused lots of energy in recent years on padding their bottom lines. But a new survey suggests they should put more effort into padding their seats.

www.Trip180.com • Here's a website that can help you travel with a passion and a purpose. • What it does • What's hot • What's not

What's the only downside to the VIP secret called the London Pass? The wrath of your fellow tourists when they see you jumping the line at visitor sites like the Tower of London.

Laptop littered with vacation photos? And dare I mention your smartphone? There are dozens of solutions for storing and organizing your snapshots. But how to choose? That depends on your particular habits and desires.

In the air, Etihad Airways has introduced a sleep program that includes all-natural mattresses, mood lighting, noise-canceling headphones, pillow mist and calming pulse-point oil.

Group tours sound easy: Choose a destination and the tour company plans your trip, delivering you to hotels, restaurants and attractions. You don't have to Google or organize a thing.

TripExpert.com • Are you sick of searching through crowdsourced hotel reviews while trying to figure out if the bed will be good enough? A solution is here.

Airlines boost take from passengers • The latest study on passenger fees collected by the world's airlines reached a predictable conclusion: Airlines are pocketing more than ever.

Kamino app, website help you set off on an urban adventure

Some travelers want to vacation in a city -- they enjoy the skyline of tall buildings and basking in the concrete jungle, while others prefer to soak in the beauty that nature has to offer.

Cambodia will build a memorial at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum to remember at least 12,000 people tortured and killed there during the radical Khmer Rouge regime, officials said Thursday.

From its frontier infancy through the mid-20th century, the only Las Vegas was downtown Las Vegas. But the city center known as Glitter Gulch lost the glamour battle post-1960 with the newer Strip.

In October, after a quick and gluttonous lunch at Hog & Hominy restaurant in Memphis, I swore I had just eaten the best pie of my life: the Beauregarde, named for Roald Dahl's gum-chewing brat, a certain Violet whose nasty habit led to her expanding into a giant piece of fruit.

www.Spinlister.com • Spinlister's shared bikes are an easy way to get around town. • What it does • What's hot • What's not

The flood of weapons uncovered by airport screeners continues to grow, despite repeated warnings by the Transportation Security Administration. In May the TSA discovered a record 65 firearms on passengers in one week, including 45 loaded guns.

It is not often that a prison is a must-see tourist attraction. Welcome to Dublin, where the Kilmainham Gaol is a national treasure. It has been called an Irish Bastille. The aging prison is a monument forever linked to the Irish independence movement.

When United Airlines and Delta Air Lines announced plans recently to overhaul their loyalty rewards programs, industry experts assumed the changes would benefit airlines at the expense of passengers. Now a new study calculates exactly how much fliers will lose.

TravelByDrone.com • Here's a website that's taking armchair travel to new heights. • What it does • What's hot • What's not

Downtown Santa Fe is enough New Mexico for some people. But in between gallery crawling, jewelry browsing and pepper tasting, you might like some elbow room. Some open country.

If you want to travel light, it's not merely what you pack that matters — it's what you don't pack. Yet you need not be a minimalist with featherweight shirts and quick-drying underwear to be a carry-on-only flier.

E-book for female travelers • If there were a Girl Scout badge for travel, you'd surely earn it after using these tips.

Federal fees not fliers' biggest bother • Here's a surprise: Most air travelers wouldn't mind paying more in fees — if it helps cut lines at airports.

It was a fading Friday afternoon in the peaceful valley northwest of Los Angeles, and that meant Marion Leeman and friends were perched along the slow-moving downtown strip with their usual signs.

If fast and free wireless Internet is a priority when you book a hotel room, don't expect speedy Wi-Fi at pricey chain hotels. That was a key conclusion in a new study by the website HotelWiFiTest, which collected and analyzed Wi-Fi speeds from 1,309 hotels nationwide.

Winerist.com • Why settle on wine tasting for just a day or two when there are wine-centric hotels, tours and experiences around the world from which to choose? • What it does • What's hot • What's not

Lori Gallo is feeding chunks of beef heart to Conrad, who is 2 years old and possessed of a piercing stare and incisors that could — make that, would — rip you apart if given a chance.

Upstart Norwegian Air Shuttle is ruffling rivals' feathers with its plans to bring the kind of low-fare service offered domestically by Southwest and JetBlue to flights across the Atlantic.

Wanderu.com • Don't knock traveling by bus until you check the price. • What it does • What's hot • What's not

The Tower of London is history. The infamous Norman castle is nearly 1,000 years old. It is associated with such historical figures as William the Conqueror and Richard the Lionheart.

A section of Los Angeles International Airport was evacuated last week when a Stanford University professor was arrested on charges of bringing a World War II-era grenade through a security checkpoint in a carry-on bag.

Gogobot.com: A major overhaul of the popular Gogobot app gives users more trip-planning features and a mobile-friendly design that's easy to use and easy on the eyes.

The National World War I Museum has weathered a whiplash arc from prominence to decline and back to distinction. The museum is working to highlight the story of a war that is often overshadowed in U.S. history by other conflicts.

Government studies have debunked the myth that air circulated in commercial planes is packed with disease-causing germs. Now comes a study that raises fears about germs on cabin surfaces.

Business travelers, rejoice. And then cross laundry and packing off your to-do list.

Pullman Rail Journeys was started in 2012 by Iowa Pacific Holdings, a company that owns or partners with several iconic passenger train lines in places like Machu Picchu, Peru; the Rio Grande Valley in Colo­rado; and Mount Hood in Oregon.

A new analysis suggests that some airlines are carrying slightly fewer passengers per plane, but it may seem crowded because more room has been set aside for passengers in the front of the cabin and less to fliers in the back.

It's a website that lets runners, hikers, mountain bikers and others share their favorite trails. Traveling to a new country and hankering for a brag-worthy trail to run? Crowd-source it from another passionate enthusiast before you pack your shoes.

Saving for your dream trip just got easier with this website. » Cost: $7.95 fee to print and mail your Travel Savings Card to you » What it does: Helps you achieve your travel goals by providing a system for saving money and organizing your travel budget.

Don't feel sorry for airlines yet. Airlines made 4 percent less on baggage fees in 2013 than the previous year, according to federal statistics released last week.

Across section of Americans awakened early and waited in line for hours to be among the first to ride to the top of the Washington Monument, open to the public Monday for the first time in nearly three years after an earthquake chipped and cracked the towering symbol.

The Titanic didn't have them. Neither did the snooty Queen Elizabeth 2 or the swinging TV "Love Boat" Pacific Princess. But now many travelers refuse to cruise if they don't have a balcony cabin.

Trevolta.com • If Mom and Dad refuse to give you money for your travels, this website offers hope. • What it does • Cost • What's hot • What's not

In the last few years, the Transportation Security Administration has removed the full-body scanners that create nudelike images of passengers and restricted pat-down searches of children and seniors, among other changes.

Like ghosts from another time, the real geishas seem to float silently along the streets at twilight, making their way to teahouses and restaurants where they will entertain elite, powerful men.

It may be no surprise that the U.S.-based airline that has drawn the most complaints per passengers over the past five years is Spirit Airlines. After all, the Florida-based carrier is known for supertight seating and dozens of fees, including charges for soft drinks and carry-on bags.

AwayFind • Get more quality time out of your vacations, let alone weekends at home, with this app. • What it does • Cost • Available for • What's hot • What's not • Worth it

LAS VEGAS » Developers are announcing plans to build a 33-acre open-air music venue on the Las Vegas Strip to host a four-day Rock in Rio USA festival beginning next year.

LA CONNER, Wash. » Nearby tulip fields aren't the only reason to visit this little town. But with the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival running the whole month of April, that's undoubtedly why many visitors will have made the drive in recent weeks.

Dealscoopr.com • Here's a website that can help you keep tabs on travel deals for your favorite destinations around the globe.

If you thought airlines could find no new ways to squeeze more passengers into each plane, you are underestimating the resolve of the airline industry.

Sleep over at the Smithsonian • 38 performances honor the Bard • Springsteen exhibit set to open

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. » Where once gunfire and the roar of a motorcycle filled the air, the sound of high-pitched giggling can now be heard at Universal Studios Hollywood.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. » Maybe you're planning your summer vacation. Or perhaps your daily life always has you on the go. Either way, when circumstances dictate you make quick, unplanned decisions about nutrition, you might not always make the most health­ful choices.

For those with a bit of flexibility and both time and money, TripCommon, a travel software company, recently completed beta testing for Hitlist, which works as a travel agent of sorts, monitoring fares between a home airport and a user's favored destinations.

One of the most tired cliches is that so-and-so doesn't actually sell such and-such; they sell peace of mind. Well, in this case it's true. The question is whether there is a market for that peace of mind among airline customers.

Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air has rolled out a roomier seat dubbed the "Giant Seat." It represents the latest way the airline industry has created new seating options for travelers willing to pay more for extra elbow room.

BonVoyaging.com • Here's the latest trip-planning website that can help you craft your own guidebook.

The late, great Australian art critic Robert Hughes once complained that "Crocodile Dundee" is still regarded by many Americans as a work of social realism. A rhetorical exaggeration, of course, but he had a point.

Returning from a recent leisure trip to Miami, Jerry Jorgensen landed in Detroit only to face one of the biggest frustrations of air travel: His bag was nowhere to be found.

Last Minute Travel deals • For those who can't plan ahead (procrastinators, you know who you are), here's another app to help you find travel savings.

There's a certain beauty to Death Valley -- a mosaic of colors from the salt flats and sand dunes to the striations of craggy peaks. Some years, stunning wildflowers bloom in spring and early summer.

If you're against letting airline passengers talk on cellphones, you've gained a powerful ally. The Global Business Travel Association, a trade group for the world's business travelers, submitted its opposition last week to a plan by the FCC to lift a ban on voice calls on planes.

Whoever said you can't save both time and money hasn't tried this parking app. ParkMe provides a "heat map" of real-time parking spaces in lots and garages that are available in 1,800 cities around the world.

It was a daunting challenge for a lone traveler in the African bush: Using only a tiny $23-a-day Fiat and my wits, I had to sneak around the six sleeping lions blocking the gravelly road ahead.

More and more air travelers are buying expensive first-class and business-class seats, and airlines are coming up with some creative amenities to keep those big spenders happy.

Findery lets you leave your mark • From the co-founder of Flickr comes a new travel app that's three parts photo-inspired sticky notes and one part treasure map.

The addition of airline bag fees several years ago created another annoyance: people who cram all their travel necessities into carry-on bags to avoid the fees. United Airlines recently began a crackdown.

AYEUX, France » There's a digital clock on display outside the visitors center in the charming Normandy town of Bayeux — but it doesn't tell the time. It's counting down the days until the 70th anniversary of D-Day in June.

In a city synonymous with theaters and night life, the 26-year-old from Munich was perched on a scarred wooden bench in a utilitarian room in lower Manhattan on a recent evening, straining to decode the methodical hubbub of arraignments in one of the nation's busiest courts.

MARATHON, Fla. » A portion of the historic Seven Mile Bridge, a Florida Keys icon, is to be saved for future generations after officials Wednesday approved a $77 million restoration and maintenance program that is to continue for the next 30 years.

California has always been linked with the idea of American possibility. It's the sun-drenched place where you go to leave the stuffy, decaying old world for a new life. But not everything here is shiny, new and full of potential.

Bill would void rule on full-fare ads • FLIGHTS FROM LAX TO SAUDI ARABIA

From farm to table to app directory • If you're a farm-to-table foodie or just a fan of farms and farmers, this website and app are for you.

Few things will ruin a cruise faster than feeling seasick. To help prevent motion sickness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends staying hydrated, curbing alcohol and caffeinated drinks, eating small meals and limiting external stimuli.

It couldn't have been easier. No gas-swilling car, no rental agreement fine print, no overpriced parking lots. Just me, my DeutscheBahn rail pass, a carry-on bag and a suitcase.

Don't call them hot dogs and don't ask for ketchup. Those are the cardinal rules at Olneyville New York System, arguably the best-known Rhode Island spot for one of the state's signature dishes: hot wieners.

Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, the luxury hotel company with 92 properties, including three in the Los Angeles area, will begin to offer guests customized beds, with mattress toppers that vary in firmness at the request of guests.

Ditch the hotel, grab the kids and "chillax" in a destination with room for the entire family.

DUBLIN » St. Patrick may have banished snakes and brought Christianity to Ireland, but perhaps his greatest feat was one of sheer endurance. After all, there were hundreds of other future saints roaming Ireland at the time, but Patrick is the one who gets the party.

LAS VEGAS » There was a time when gamblers tried to keep their trips to Las Vegas a secret. Now, visitors want loyalty points from mainstream hotel chains for the days they spend holed up in Strip casinos.

BAYFIELD, Wis. » Erno Hettinger stood atop a vast, frozen field of Lake Superior ice, hunched his back against whipping wind and gazed at the fantastic walls of icicles hanging from sandstone cliffs.

George Takei talks at "Star Trek" conventions about his role as Mr. Sulu. He tells soldiers and students about the role of Japanese-Americans during World War II. His new musical, "Allegiance" is based on his family's experience living in internment camps during the war.

NEW YORK » It's the wineries of New York's Finger Lakes that usually get the most attention from tourists, but a trail of restored homes, parks and museums may have visitors picking up a bit of women's history with their cabernet franc.

WASHINGTON » Despite the long, snowy winter in the Mid-Atlantic region, Washington's famous cherry blossom trees are expected to bring the first sure sign of spring between April 8 and 12, when they're predicted to reach peak bloom, the National Park Service said Tuesday.

Airlines strive to become more ‘green' • Airport adds pot 'amnesty boxes'

Localeur: This app offers travel tips from locals who discover and rediscover their cities as if they were on a hunt for hidden treasure.

DALLAS » Gabriel Barbier-Mueller bought his first samurai armor about 20 years ago from an antiques dealer in Paris, sparking a fascination that helped him create one of the most significant private collections in the world related to the Japa­nese warriors.

TAMPA, Fla. » Several Tampa Bay-area attractions, including the Busch Gardens theme park, will be part of a ticket pass booklet that's offered in other cities such as New York, Seattle and Toronto.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is pushing for private contractors to create a screening machine with "screen and walk" capability for use at the nation's 160 international airports.

FlightCar.com: The sharing economy speeds past just offering rides, to give travelers use of your car.

LAKE TAHOE, Calif. » "George Whittell," the tour guide said, "was born with a silver spoon in his mouth." So wealthy was Whittell's family that as a young man in San Francisco, he vowed he would never work a day in his life. He then set about vigorously pursuing that goal.

LIVERPOOL, England » It's the same barber shop where John Lennon got haircuts as a kid, the place immortalized in the Beatles song "Penny Lane." But instead of "a barber showing photographs" and "a banker sitting waiting for a trim," on this afternoon proprietor Adele Allan is snipping away on Jillian Keig.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico » Puerto Rico is building a water quality monitoring station to help protect a popular bioluminescent bay in the neighboring island of Vieques.

The report doesn't undertake any added science, but simply synthesizes previous studies, and the involvement of an insurance company might be cause for skepticism, but a recently issued white paper reaches a conclusion always worth repeating: Travel is good for you.

TOPEKA, Kan. » A new World War II exhibit starting this summer at the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum will pay tribute to the millions who fought, but organizers also have another purpose for the ambitious three-year project: getting young people engaged in the war's relevance.

The slew of storms that has pummeled the nation's Midwest and East Coast this winter has resulted in some horrible numbers: 77,000 canceled flights carrying nearly 6 million passengers so far this year.

Trekkel.com • This website service is a city primer and itinerary planning tool that considers the way you like to travel. • What it does • What's hot • What's not

MOSCOW » Once I came to Moscow to cover an urban ballooning expedition. In winter. But when the balloonists came face to frigid, wind-lashed face with the winter here -- well, we never got off the ground.

When airlines began charging for checked bags in 2008, they blamed the high cost of jet fuel for the move. But how much does it actually cost an airline in jet fuel to transport your suitcase?

Flight+ • This app offers up-to-the-minute info on delayed or canceled flights, whether you're the flier or picking up a traveler at the airport.

The world's airline industry has rebounded from the recession and expects 2014 to be the most profitable year on record, thanks to stable fuel prices and growing travel demand.

My friend Arcadia Kim has three children and a Harvard business degree, but when she tried to negotiate on our behalf with the lady in charge of exfoliation at the Dragonhill Spa in Seoul, South Korea, she did not stand a chance.

AMSTERDAM » Shortly before Anne Frank and her family went into hiding from the Nazis, she gave some of her toys to a non-Jewish girlfriend who lived in the building next door.

Emancipation edict on display for 3 days • WASHINGTON » The National Archives is placing the original Emancipation Proclamation on display in Washington to mark Black History Month.

In most luxury hotels, if you want wireless Internet access, you are going to have to pay. That trend may be changing. Sort of. Loews Hotels & Resorts announced last month that it will offer free Wi-Fi at all 18 of its hotels.

AFAR Travel Guide • Here's an app that offers up inspiring sights to add to your to-do list.

Amid the hoopla, there's plenty to do for free, including visits to one of the world's biggest breweries, two popular animal attractions, a science center and a towering monument that has come to define St. Louis.

For $13 you can play pinball until your arms fall off at Seattle's working pinball museum. The two-story storefront in Seattle's International District is filled with games from the 1960s to today.

That was the conclusion of a survey by the travel website Airfarewatchdog.com, which polled more than 6,100 travelers on the topic of "the Worst Major Airline Fees." • Also: High interest in travel to Colorado

The Spin(tm) real-time video-chat and photo-sharing app allows up to 10 friends can chat on the same channel, watch YouTube videos together, share photos and comment on them.

The typical visitor to Tokyo envisions a futuristic city of skyscraper canyons and electronic gadgets, but in the eastern part of the city, an older way of life persists.

The National WWII Museum in New Orleans plans a gallery commemorating the work of men and women who saved stolen cultural treasures from destruction by the Nazis — efforts also portrayed in a movie set for release in February.

Universal Orlando Resort is doubling the park space devoted to Harry Potter with its new Diagon Alley attraction opening this summer.

"Slim-line" seats, with thinner seat-back cushions, are increasingly popular with airlines because they weigh less and help squeeze in more passengers.

CarryOn deals with escalating savings, meaning that the more people who follow a trip, the more savings the service delivers.

New York, San Francisco and Portland, Ore., are wonderful cities that can't resist preening when passing mirrors to remind themselves just how wonderful they are. Pittsburgh is a wonderful city that doesn't even see the mirror.

The original, handwritten manuscript of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and the flag that inspired the song's lyrics will be displayed together at the Smithsonian in Washington, the first time the historic pieces are believed to have been shown side by side.

The world's airlines had one of their safest years on record in 2013. There were 29 airline accidents last year, which, combined, resulted in a record-low 265 fatalities.

This website will help you answer those age-old questions: Where do I go after I land? And more important, how much will it cost?

The bent backs and weary expressions found in the agricultural fields around Salinas, Calif., evoke the same compassion and empathy that affected beloved native son and author John Steinbeck about 75 years ago.

WESTMINSTER, Calif. » The flowering tree outside Tong Le's house in Southern California sprouts but one tiny yellow blossom in early winter. But by the time the Vietnamese community of Little Saigon readies for the Lunar New Year at the end of January, the branches of the hoa mai tree will brim with the yellow flowers that are ubiquitous during the annual celebration known as Tet.

Looking to save money and time, the airline industry has for years tried to come up with the fastest way to seat passengers. Now an academic study suggests airlines could cut boarding time by seating passengers based on how many carry-on bags they are hauling.

'Road Ninja' is a free mobile app that identifies your location and points you, exit by exit, toward gas stations, hotels, shops, camping, restaurants, pharmacies, coffee and more.

More than 25 million people have left their coats and shoes on their bodies, their laptops and 3-ounce liquids packed away and walked through a metal detector rather than a body scanner since the 2011 launch of the Transportation Security Administration's PreCheck program.

Here are travel toiletries you won't be able to live without, though they'll leave your wallet lighter.

Airline delays and cancellations have dropped significantly in the last few years. At least, that's what federal statistics show. But the numbers might not be telling us the whole story.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. » This Mississippi River city is proud of its barbecue, its fried chicken, its soul food. But the food scene here is often stereotyped because of it.

NEW YORK » The Olympics, the World Cup and commemorations of World War I, D-Day and the fall of the Berlin Wall are some of the events that will spotlight destinations like Sochi, Brazil, Sarajevo, Normandy and Berlin in 2014.

A drunken man gets tackled by a group of off-duty cops in November while trying to storm the cockpit on a flight from Warsaw to Toronto. An inebriated passenger on a January flight from Iceland to New York tries to grope and choke fellow travelers until crew and passengers bind him with duct tape.

Jetpac City Guides lets Instagram photos guide the way. This app provides a quick visual take on popular destinations — it's like having a concierge in the palm of your hand.

In Georgia, in this land of cotton, Civil War battlefields and big mess of traffic in Atlanta, it's hard to imagine that dinosaurs once roamed these hills of red clay millions of years ago.

WASHINGTON » A Vincent Van Gogh painting that has been hidden away at a Virginia estate for decades now has a new home at the National Gallery of Art.

Loud kids' parents ranked worst fliers • Conventions raise hotel room prices

Peek.com: With this website, you can spend more time having fun and less time searching for what to do.

Whether you're planning a trip in the new year and need some practical advice, or you'd like to give a coffee-table book filled with inspirational photos to someone on your Christmas list, there's a travel-themed book for you. Here are a few recently published books to consider, including the relaunch of Frommer's guidebooks.

Can't decide where to stay? Compare hotel options against home and apartment rentals, B&Bs, hostels and more at AllTheRooms.com.


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