Saturday, April 18, 2015         

Travel News

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Chichen Itza, on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, is dominated by gray limestone that was cut by hand and moved without any wheels. It was the last major city developed by the Mayans and was certainly one of Mexico's grandest cities for nine centuries.

Spring doesn't just bring May flowers; it brings blockbuster shows at museums throughout the Northeast, and this year is no exception. Art institutions in New York, Boston and Philadelphia are gearing up for major exhibits.

The Internet is teeming with travel websites that can lock in the lowest airfare, find you a plane with onboard Wi-Fi and even hook you up with a travel companion. With so many online sites to choose from, why is there a growing demand for human travel agents?

Just in time for spring and summer road trips, here's an app that can save you time and money. Gas Guru locates gas stations by price near your current location; it can also search by city.

Luggage goes astray 60% less often • Airlines loyalty programs merging • Former terrorist ok’d for precheck

To book a boutique hotel or villa in Europe, you might need a boutique travel website to help you find what you’re looking for. Book the best boutique hotel experience with Slow-Chic.

If you have ever glanced at your hotel receipt only to be stunned to see an unexpected $28 resort fee, help may be on the way.

After a winter getaway to Florida and the Caribbean, I returned with a new appreciation for what travel apps can do to ease glitches along the way. We organized travel information in the updated Tripit app, found free Wi-Fi with Wifi Finder and used Cost Split to tally up our tabs at the end of our journey.

For air travel in the U.S., 2014 brought soaring profits for airlines and turbulence for passengers. It was not such a great year for airline passengers: On-time arrival rates for airlines were down to the lowest level in four years.

It’s easy to put together your own map-based guide to favorite hot spots, whether you’re collecting as you travel or planning for a trip. Details include contact info, price rating, hours, reservations where applicable and directions for those walking, driving or taking a bus.

If you are fortunate enough to travel to the British Isles for a week, do as I say, not as I did. Scotland for a week in late December — with a quick trip down to London — was a revelation: sparkly, festive, not that cold, endlessly interesting.

Sick travelers slipping past screeners • Hotel chain serving up free booze

Selfie sticks have now been banned at a French palace and a British museum, joining a growing list of global tourist attractions to take such measures.

Love to eat? Love to read? The two don't have to go hand in hand, but in this case the two traits make for delicious city guides.

Maybe you don't want to please your cabin crew next time you fly. I know, I know, it's their job to be nice; you're the customer, they're the employee. But if you're good to them, they'll be extra nice to you.

Gotta love a town that supposedly earned its name in an 1850s bar fight — something about likening the brawl to the British siege of the seaport of Sevastopol during the Crimean War. Clearly, folks were up on global events back then, despite no broadband service.

Are you into extreme budget travel? If you're bored with couch surfing or just want a different style of camping, here's another variation of the sharing economy for you to try.

Two of the nation's largest airlines, United and Delta, have adopted major changes to their loyalty reward programs that experts say will benefit the airlines at the expense of passengers.

Shrouded in mist, the sacred mountain rises above the countryside, majestic, mysterious and a little foreboding. Here, St. Patrick is said to have fasted for 40 days and nights as he wrestled with demons and banished snakes from Ireland.

While filming a movie on the Universal Studios backlot several years ago, actor Jim Carrey decided to give guests of the studio tours an extra thrill. He jumped out from the set of the 1960 horror classic "Psycho" waving a fake blade at the frightened tram passengers.

Searches for and compares low-cost carriers to help you find the lowest fare as well as reveals whole-year price trends. Searches carriers in the United States, Europe and the Pacific.

Searches for and compares low-cost carriers to help you find the lowest fare as well as reveals whole-year price trends. Searches carriers in the United States, Europe and the Pacific.

The farm woman selling the orange-and-pink hand-knit dolls at the farm market in Castro, on Chiloe Island, is telling me where she gets the wool, I'm trying to answer, and we've hit a dead end.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is asking hikers planning to walk the entire 2,185 miles of the trail to consider alternatives to traditional itineraries as a way of reducing overcrowding on southern stretches of the trail.

Controversial German anatomist ­ on Wednesday opened a permanent exhibit of preserved corpses at Berlin's iconic Alexanderplatz after months of legal wrangling.

The aging Riviera hotel and casino on the Las Vegas Strip won't be long for this world now that a plan from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority to buy it, demolish it and make way for a growing convention center got the go-ahead Friday morning.

It's a fine time for history geeks with a thing for Alexander Hamilton. A hip-hop-and-history musical called "Hamilton" — inspired by an 800-page biography — just opened off-Broadway and is sold out for months.

The best things in life may be free, but few people can resist the siren song of shopping. When traveling in Asia, it's wise to be discerning — if only to avoid baggage fees.

The dubious distinction of least accessible airport in the world falls on Denver International Airport and New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, according to a ranking of the world's 30 busiest airports by the Global Gateway Alliance.

Turn a vacation into an adventure by adding more stops to your ticket. Vamo.com combines itinerary inspiration with multistop flight and hotel booking for global destinations. Use one of its itineraries or create your own.

Hollywood's grande dame the Sunset Tower and the Chateau Marmont stand like stone sentries on Sunset Boulevard, less than 2 miles from the decidedly less stylish stretch of Hollywood Boulevard that hustles from morning to night with camera-toting tourists and Spider-Man and Batman impersonators.

It's all seemed unlikely: the God-fearing family of A&E's "Duck Dynasty" turning their tale into a musical in Sin City. Broadway producer Michael David has been on the receiving end of surprise and, sometimes, concern when people learned of his involvement in the "Duck Commander Musical."

Universal Studios Hollywood in California hosts a "Year of the Ram" celebration through Feb. 28 at Universal Plaza, which is being decorated with red lanterns and animal symbols of the Chinese zodiac.

To squeeze more profits from each plane, the airline industry in the last few years has begun to install extra rows of seats, leading to a crunch in legroom that has sparked tiffs and feuds among frustrated passengers.

Uber, Lyft or a good old-fashioned taxi? How do you determine which one offers the best fare? Here's a tool that can help you sort by price.

The new operators of Elvis Presley's estate and brand took their show on the road for the first time with a nine-month exhibition of Presley artifacts at London's O2 arena that began in December.

A new underground bicycle park with miles of dirt trails, jumps and stunt courses is being built inside an abandoned limestone mine in Louisville that has been recycled into a popular tourist attraction.

Two new digital platforms are helping travelers get closer to cuisine and the people who make it. Chefs interested in showcasing their culinary skills host supper club-style dinners at their homes, which users can sign up to attend.

If hotel rates seemed a bit higher last year, it wasn't your imagination. The average U.S. hotel rate in 2014 was the highest ever — up 4.6 percent to $115 a night — and industry experts are predicting a 5.2 percent increase by the end of this year.

Tripda connects passengers and drivers to share rides and expenses in 13 countries including the United States, Ar­gen­tina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, India and the Philippines.

Remember the scene near the beginning of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" when Indiana Jones boards a plane on the way to Nepal, circles a tight staircase to the upper cabin, then settles into a cushy seat, tugging his trademark fedora over his eyes for a nap?

A huge angry stone face looks down on visitors through giant spires of cypress trees at Giusti Garden. The intimidating "mascherone" was originally designed to breathe fire, probably the only thing that could make it more foreboding.

Airfares for popular destinations such as Las Vegas, New York, San Diego and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., are expected to drop by up to 11 percent this year, according to a study by the travel company Expedia Inc.

A quick and easy-to-read (but not to choose) resource for boutique accommodations around the world that match the reputation and standards you'd expect of the National Geographic brand.

A hundred years ago, San Francisco had something to prove. Its leaders wanted the world to know they had rebuilt since the earthquake and fires of 1906, and they wanted to woo the travelers and commerce that would be headed west through the just-completed Panama Canal.

To find the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition's legacy in San Francisco, proceed to the Palace of Fine Arts. Then start thinking like a detective. The Palace of Fine Arts is the only major 1915 expo structure still in its original location.

If you'd visited San Diego's Balboa Park in the past 79 years to climb the handsome California Tower and look for reminders of 1915 — well, never mind. You couldn't. Although the tower is the park's most widely visible structure its interior was closed to the public in the 1930s.

Chinatown has long been a popular destination for tourists in Lower Manhattan. But visitors willing to explore the city's outer boroughs might consider a subway ride to neighborhoods in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, or Flushing, Queens.

Julie Dawson hears life in all its clanging, chiming, gonging, bonging charm. That's because she has spent decades tracking and finding bells all over the world. She has 15,000 photographs of bells and nearly as many stories.

When you run a low-cost carrier with a tiny marketing budget, you have to be creative to get publicity. That explains why Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air has let a television crew film a game show in the cabin of its planes during regularly scheduled flights.

It's as if your coolest cousin gave you the scoop on the hippest things to do in her city and put it in this app. Sosh acts as a city guide to fun things to do and see curated by real people gathering info from local weekly magazines, newspapers and niche websites.

Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis, one of the most treasured aircraft at the National Air and Space Museum, has been lowered to the floor for its first conservation treatment in 22 years.

On Dec. 26 my 11-year-old grandnephew, CJ, boarded a United Airlines flight from LAX to Denver and then on to Durango, Colo. He was traveling with his 15-year-old cousin and 13-year-old sister to spend a long weekend with his grandfather.

To use Flight Tonight, a simple iOS app from Hopper.com, you input your hometown airport code and it returns same-day flight deals — domestic and international — for that airport and nearby cities.

In 1954, as an impetuous, irascible 16-year-old, I got my first view quite by accident of Nebraska's Sand Hills. In my sophomore year of high school, it had occurred to me that the lakes and forests of Michigan were too small for my burgeoning personality.

A brass band strolled through a riverside warehouse holding huge, colorful parade floats as New Orleans Mayor Mitch Lan­drieu and other city officials Tuesday kicked off the city's official countdown to Mardi Gras.

The biggest travel headache is getting stuck in a long airport line, and travelers think it's time that airports do something about it. In a survey of more than 2,000 travelers, 93 percent said they want airports to warn them about delays and wait times.

Tripnary lets you discover new places and create travel bucket lists based on photos from those who have gone before you. Then Skyscanner compares flight prices to your destinations. Your list is organized into a map ready for you to use.

A few dozen locals and foreigners were looking on with curiosity as artists Yan Wei and Yinmai O'Connor ran their black paintbrushes over the walls, furniture and even the human occupants of a whitewashed room.

See Cuba before it changes. Check out the Expo in Milan. And if you're heading to New York City to see the view from 1 World Trade Center's observatory, take the subway to Queens and see if you can figure out why it topped Lonely Planet's "best in the U.S." destinations for 2015.

Marriott International Inc., the Maryland hospitality giant with more than 4,000 hotels worldwide, threw down the gauntlet last month by announcing it was offering free wireless Internet to guests who join its loyalty rewards program.

Stop botching the names of foreign business partners, hosts or even new friends you meet on the road. www.NameShouts.com sounds out the correct pronunciation of names in 14 languages, including Mandarin, Arabic, Hindi, Japanese, Bengali and Russian.

"Sideways" put Santa Barbara's wine country on the map — and won an Oscar, two Golden Globes and the American Film Institute's movie of the year prize, to boot. So it's no surprise that their wineries have been celebrating the big anniversary all year long.

The ice hotel called Hotel de Glace in Quebec will observe its 15th anniversary by offering an array of suites, including ones inspired by Leonardo da Vinci and Einstein's curvature of space-time.

Comedian Bob Hope might not have found humor in a promotional campaign proposed for the regional airport named after him. Demand for air travel has been on the rise nationwide, but you wouldn't know it by visiting Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, Calif.

Lets you kick the tires on a motor home or travel trailer before you buy or rent an RV for a road trip. If you own an RV, you can make some extra cash by listing (free) and renting your motor home.

Had I been driving I would not have stopped here. But I was lured from the sidewalk by an open gate and the mysterious buildings beyond. There was a Moorish structure with a minaret, another was Italian with a loggia, a third had a fleur-de-lis on a chimney.

The tense expression on Ilse Grassmann's face belies the festive occasion. It's Christmas 1944 and she is sitting at home with her three youngest children, the table bare of food or gifts.

Few people think of Hawaii and chocolate as belonging together. Perhaps they should. We squeezed in a trip to a chocolate factory between scuba diving, bike riding, body surfing and snorkeling during a trip to the Big Island.

Almost simultaneously last week, Delta and American announced upgrades that would include all new seat categories at Delta Air Lines and power outlets and satellite-based Internet on American Airlines planes.

Travel budgets are easily broken. Here's an app that helps you track where those dollars, euros or yen actually went. It helps you log and track your expenses. Set a budget and manage goals before plotting your next escape.

The dark days of December are being lit up with holiday sparkle all over the map, from creative Christmas trees to giant menorahs. Gingerbread houses, light displays and train shows are part of the fun, too.

A little more than half of consumers who make hotel reservations do so directly at hotel websites such as Hilton.com or Marriott.com, even if they're searched elsewhere, because they're loyal to one brand or they think they'll find the best prices by booking direct.

Madame Jojo's is dead, but the risque London institution is not passing quietly. The closure of the venerable burlesque nightclub has ignited a battle between developers, residents and entertainers for the soul of Soho, the city's late-night hub, red-light district and creative heart.

The next frontier in airline fees may be higher charges during peak demand periods. In other words, the $25 you now pay to check a bag may go to $30 if you insist on flying during busy travel periods such as Christmas or Labor Day.

12hrs.net is for when your sightseeing time is limited. It can help when you're hot to travel but short on time. The giant magazine-quality photos are beguiling, but make sure you read the text.

At Taipei's Ningxia Road Night Market on a cool evening last spring, the local food blogger known as Peray showed me his favorite stalls among hawkers selling food like milkfish, charred cuttlefish and sea snails.

When you are traveling 550 mph at 35,000 feet in the air, your food choices are pretty limited. The good news is that the overall trend in airline food is improving, with one of the world's largest carriers making huge strides toward more healthful food over the past year.

Airfarewatchdog.com, the source for hot airfare deals, has expanded into the hotel market. It's a hotel search engine that gives you a top 20 list of hotels based on price, TripAdvisor ratings and key attractions, restaurants and nightlife.

A 45-minute flight from San Diego to Los Angeles can get pricey — about $350 for one-way economy seats on American Airlines. But an unusual travel site can get you there for about $200 less.

Another gorgeous and sunny fall Southern California afternoon — the smog, apparently, is taking the weekend off — and here I am in a traffic jam deep in the industrial heart of the San Gabriel Valley.

Whether they make travel smoother or more elegant, send you somewhere you've never been or make you feel as if you're an ocean away when you haven't left home, these gifts aim to transport.

For the backpack-toting, smartphone-app-using millennial, here's an easy way to discover and book hostels around the globe.

Thailand's embassy in Japan has some tips for Thai visitors: Don't put your chopsticks in the serving bowl. If driving, stop for pedestrians at crosswalks. And just because you have kids doesn't mean you can cut in line.

From touring nine months a year with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Glenn Allen Sims, a principal dancer, has learned a few things about traveling.

A bombed-out bunker with a digital battle-mapping table and animated fighter planes soaring overhead gives an immersive look at strategic air raids over Europe during World War II.

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.


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