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Passport Processing Is Taking Forever. Here's How to Hurry Things Along.

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 07/10/2021, 7:00 AM

UPDATE, July 23, 2021: The U.S. State Department has temporarily suspended its online system for booking last-minute appointments for passport centers in order to ensure that the very limited number of appointment times set aside for emergency travel go to those applicants who truly need them. Currently, the only way to schedule a last-minute appointment is by calling the National Passport Informa...

Biden's Executive Order Will Make Flying Cheaper and Less Stressful

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 07/09/2021, 10:00 PM

Fa la la la la! It's Christmas in July for American travelers. President Joe Biden's just-issued Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy is a massive document that goes after monopolistic practices in U.S. industries ranging from agriculture to telecommunications to hearing aids. But it contains many gifts for travelers, too. "Capitalism without competition isn't cap...

Hilton Drops Daily Room Cleanings at U.S. Hotels, But Not Rates

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 07/08/2021, 6:00 PM

From now on, daily housekeeping as a matter of course at Hilton hotels is a thing of the past.  In an update to its pandemic-inspired CleanStay program, the company announced that staff members across 18 Hilton brands will be cleaning guest rooms only in between check-ins and on every fifth day of extended stays.  If you want your room cleaned more frequently than that, you'll need to make a...

Hertz Accused of Slapping Fees on Innocent Customers: How to Protect Yourself

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 07/06/2021, 4:00 PM

Tuesday's Los Angeles Times had a skin-crawling story about Hertz, the rental car giant that just emerged from bankruptcy last week. The article tells the tale of a family who picked up a rental car, complained to Hertz staff that the vehicle didn't look like it had been vacuumed, but were blown off by being told there were no other vehicles available. Since Frommer's and other news outlets hav...

Is It Wise to Book Group Tours at This Time? Our Advice

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 07/06/2021, 3:00 PM

Even in the best of times, group tours are tremendously complicated travel products. A tour company not only has to create an appealing itinerary. It must also arrange for all accommodations for the group, provide in-country transportation, pre-reserve and buy admissions to touristic sites, and hire one or more expert guides. Sometimes the company also contracts with local restaurants and ho...

A Taxi and Uber Shortage Is Making Airport Transfers Hard: Here's What to Do

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 06/30/2021, 6:00 AM

In many American cities this summer, the line for taxis is making the TSA queue look short by comparison. The wait for rideshare services like Uber and Lyft isn't much better—and their prices are soaring. Just how bad is the shortage? In New York City, the number of taxis in operation has been slashed by more than 50%, according to the New York Times. The Las Vegas Sun reports rates for U...

The World’s Most and Least Expensive Cities for Expats in 2021

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 06/24/2021, 7:00 PM

Interested in living abroad? Turns out you're likely to blow your budget fastest in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, according to a well-regarded annual ranking of the world's most expensive cities for expats.  The Central Asian country's capital (pictured above) topped the 2021 Cost of Living index compiled by asset management firm Mercer, which compares prices for housing, transportation, food, entert...

What Travelers Need to Know About American Airlines' Service Meltdown

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 06/22/2021, 6:00 AM

We've been warning for weeks that the return to travel this summer would be bumpy. But I don't think any of us could have predicted just how ugly things could get this week. Over the weekend, American Airlines abruptly canceled hundreds of flights. Some passengers only found out at the moment they tried to check in for their trips. Even more shocking: On Sunday, the airline announced that...

Royal Caribbean Will Charge Unvaccinated Cruisers More And Bar Them From Some Activities

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 06/18/2021, 5:00 PM

Update, July 1: What follows now applies to Celebrity Cruises as well as its sister line Royal Caribbean. Celebrity has announced that for sailings from Florida, passengers who fail to show proof of vaccination at boarding "will be treated as unvaccinated and subject to additional protocols, restrictions, and costs for Covid-19 testing." Consult the travel requirements page on the Celebrity Cruise...

How to Survive the USA's Crazy-Busy National Parks This Summer

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 06/17/2021, 3:00 PM

America is entering a summer of pent-up travel energy following more than a year of homebound life. And as long as most international countries remain unready to fling open their doors (not without putting up obstacles anyway), U.S. vacationers are directing their plans toward domestic destinations.  If you thought 2021 would be the summer you finally knock the great national parks off your buc...

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