Honolulu Star-Advertiser

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Island Hopping

Keiki club, photo contest at Aston

Aston Hotels & Resorts is offering its underage guests daylong Oahu adventures running through August.

The Aston Keiki Adventure Club takes kids ages 5-12 years old to see the best of Oahu’s sights and attractions, including Sea Life Park, the Pineapple Garden Maze and the train at Dole Plantation, Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium. The program also offers arts and crafts projects, hula lessons and beach activities.

The program is open to all Aston guests on of Oahu.

For more information, call 922-2511.

Meanwhile, shutterbugs are invited to enter the Aston Waikiki Sunset Endless Sunset Photo Contest. Three winners will each earn a three-night complimentary stay at the hotel. Contestants should submit one color image that demonstrates the following: a moment that captures the essence of a Hawaiian sunset, composition, creativity, clarity and technical quality. Submit photos by uploading images to flickr.com/groups/endless_sunset_contest. The deadline is Sept. 15.


Isle resorts among top golf spots

The Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa and the Kauai Marriott on Kalapaki Beach are listed on Conde Nast Traveler’s list of Top 80 Golf Resorts. The rankings were based on the magazine’s 14th annual Reader’s Choice Survey, in which readers voted for the best golf courses and hotels in North America and the Caribbean.

Please send items about vacation deals and activities available to visitors and residents to mpoole@staradvertiser.com.


U.S. passport fees to increase

Summer travelers just can’t get a break. First, the airlines slap on surcharges for the season, and now the U.S. State Department is raising passport fees and imposing a new fee for extra visa pages.

The new passport prices take effect Tuesday. How much? Here are some comparisons:

» Adult passport: New fee: $135; old fee: $100
» Adult passport renewal: New fee: $110; old fee: $75
» Minor passport (under age 16): New fee: $105; old fee: $85
» Adult passport card (allows border crossings by land): New fee: $55; old fee: $45
» Minor passport card: New fee: $40; old fee: $35
» Extra visa pages: New fee: $82; old fee: free of charge

The plan to raise the fees, first proposed in February, has been protested by some congressmen, AAA and other organizations. In fact, more than 70 percent of the 1,797 public comments filed with the State Department "expressed concern about the increase," the department said.

But Brenda Sprague, deputy assistant secretary of state for passport affairs, has said the fee increases are needed to cover rising costs, including high-tech security features added to passports and new passport facilities being built to keep up with demand.

To learn how to apply for a passport or renew one, go to the State Department’s website for travelers at travel.state.gov/passport.


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