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California Desert Caves Soon to Reopen to the Public

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/30/2017, 1:45 AM

The only limestone caves in the California state parks system will soon reopen to the public, the Los Angeles Times reports.  Located in the remote Mojave Desert in the southeastern part of the state, the Mitchell Caverns had been a tourist attraction since the 1930s until the site was closed in 2010 due to budget cuts.  Vandals later damaged a visitor center and other facilities related to the ...

The Shortest Flight in the U.S.

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/29/2017, 12:30 AM

United Airlines has begun operating the shortest commercial flight in the United States.  Zipping between San Francisco and Santa Rosa in California's Sonoma County wine region three times a week, the route covers about 60 miles and stays in the air for just 16 minutes. (Factor in taxiing and such and the one-way trip takes a still-speedy 45 minutes.)  In addition to putting themselves through t...

Now Is the Best Time to Apply for or Renew a U.S. Passport, Says State Department

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/26/2017, 9:00 PM

If you need to apply for or renew a U.S. passport, the best time to do so is right now, according to the U.S. State Department. Processing times are shortest between September and December, the agency says, and longest (up to six weeks) from January to the high season of summer travel. Even if your passport isn't set to expire before the end of the year, you might still need to renew—many countri...

Florida Keys to Reopen to Tourists October 1

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/25/2017, 8:30 PM

The Florida Keys will reopen to tourists on October 1, government officials there have announced. The archipelago just off the southern tip of Florida was hit with extreme force by Hurricane Irma on September 10, when the Category 4 storm made landfall, destroying an estimated 25% of homes on the islands.     In the immediate aftermath, officials advised travelers to postpone trips to the area w...

U.S. Airlines Are Making a Fortune from Checked Bag Fees

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/21/2017, 8:30 PM

Two recent government reports have underscored the huge revenue-generating power of checked bag fees at the airport. First, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study found that while unbundling airfares from services such as checking bags and priority boarding has indeed resulted in lower base fares, the new fees often more than make up the difference that customers think they're saving. ...

Up-to-the-Minute Online Tool Finds Wisconsin's Best Fall Foliage

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/11/2017, 10:45 PM

New England states get all the attention when it comes to fall foliage, but there are other leafy places worth peeping during Pumpkin Spice Latte season. One of the best in the Midwest is Wisconsin, where vivid displays in spots like the Kettle Moraine State Forest (pictured above) provide beautiful backdrops for scenic drives, waterfall hikes, and stops at orchards in small farm towns. Travel ...

Canada Completes World's Longest Hiking Trail

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/07/2017, 8:45 PM

After 25 years of trying, officials in Canada have managed to stitch together a network of hiking, biking, and paddling trails that stretches across the breadth of the country from coast to coast. With a total length of 14,000 miles, the Great Trail, formerly known as the Trans-Canada Trail, is now the longest hiking route in the world. By way of comparison, the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to ...

Non-Flyers Now Allowed Into Secured Areas at Pittsburgh Airport

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/06/2017, 8:30 PM

We've got good news for airport shoppers, chaperones, and prolonged goodbye-sayers. For the first time since 9/11, an American airport is allowing people without tickets into secured areas.  The facility in question is Pittsburgh International Airport, where officials have worked with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) over the last two years to develop a program called MyPITpass, ...

Wildflowers Now in Bloom at Chile's Atacama Desert, the Driest Place on Earth

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/01/2017, 12:00 AM

The driest place on earth is currently blanketed in purple wildflowers. Northern Chile's Atacama Desert typically gets a measly 0.6 inches of rain in an entire year. Nevertheless, every five to seven years—usually along with El Niño weather patterns—multitudes of beautiful mallow flowers fill the arid landscape with a surreal expanse of color. It's like finding a botanical garden on Mars (it so h...

Boston's Logan Airport Might Charge You to Drop Off and Pick Up Passengers

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 08/31/2017, 9:45 PM

A new fee could soon be put in place at Boston Logan International Airport—and drivers are not going to like it.  The airport has launched a study to look into charging people for bringing their private cars to the terminals in order to drop off or pick up passengers. These are ordinary drivers we're talking about, mind you—not those offering Uber or taxi services. The potential measure is onl...

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