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The Travel Services That Close in a U.S. Government Shutdown

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 01/18/2018, 11:00 AM

As the wheels of Washington threaten to grind to a halt yet again, another United States federal government shutdown is a concern. Travel, by and large, is considered a "non-essential" function—and non-essential functions either dim or go dark. Generally speaking, here's what is not available during a federal government shutdown: Passport services Visa processing National parks and...

Now Flying: A Zip Line Over the Grand Canyon

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 01/18/2018, 9:00 AM

A brand-new zip line has opened on a spur of the Grand Canyon, sending harnessed thrill seekers flying 1,000 feet over the earth. The Zip Line at Grand Canyon West near Peach Springs, Arizona, actually comprises two zip lines—one that's 1,100 feet long, another that's 2,100 feet long—to churn up adrenaline as passengers hurtle up to 45 miles an hour past Quartermaster Canyon. It's the perfect add...

San Francisco Airport Can Now Send Emergency Texts to Passengers

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 01/18/2018, 8:00 AM

San Francisco International Airport has become the first in the nation to receive approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to send emergency text messages directly to any cell phone onsite—devices belonging to passengers included. The warning system will work something like Amber Alert notifications used in response to child abductions: In the event of an emergency, travelers will re...

U.S. Civil Rights Trail Links Dozens of Historic Sites in 14 States

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 01/16/2018, 11:00 PM

Fourteen states, covering a chunk of the U.S. from Delaware to Kansas, are joining together to promote tourism to more than 100 landmarks crucial to the struggle for civil rights. The U.S. Civil Rights Trail is a first-of-its-kind effort by tourism officials to expand smaller state programs, such as the Mississippi Freedom Trail, to cover a multi-state region predominantly in the South, the setti...

Tour Operator to Pay Passport Fees for Travelers Age 18–35

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 01/13/2018, 9:30 AM

More than half of Americans age 18–35 don't have passports, according to Contiki, a tour operator specializing in that very demographic. For a limited time, Contiki is offering some passport-acquiring incentive to first-time international travelers—at least, those who fall within the 18–35 age range. Contiki customers who book one of the company's trips lasting longer than seven days can get the...

Now You Can Fly Round-Trip to Europe for €399—with a Catch

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 01/11/2018, 12:00 AM

First, U.S. domestic airlines introduced Basic Economy fares so their rates would appear more competitive with low-cost carriers in Web searches. Now the transatlantic airlines are stripping down their benefits to compete with low-cost airlines. First it was Icelandair, which came up with Economy Light, which only allows for a single carry-on up to 22 pounds (10kg)—no checked bags permitted. TAP ...

No More Airline Miles for Hotel Stays Among Changes to Hilton's Loyalty Program

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 01/10/2018, 11:30 PM

Hilton Worldwide is making changes to its 70-million-member hotel loyalty program, Hilton Honors. Among the most consequential of the updates: Starting April 1, members will no longer be able to earn airline miles from stays at Hilton hotels. Though it will still be possible to transfer loyalty points to the airline of your choice, the move makes it even harder for ordinary travelers to gain mile...

Strange Japanese Ferris Wheel Reopening After Nearly a Decade

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 01/09/2018, 9:00 PM

It sure doesn't look like it, but the structure pictured above is actually a Ferris wheel. The oblong oddity adorns the Don Quijote discount shopping center along the Dotonbori River in Osaka, Japan. Opened in 2005, the ride hasn't been operational since 2008, when a mechanical problem put it out of commission. But fielding questions about the Ferris wheel for nearly a decade has finally persuade...

NYC's Met to Charge Mandatory Admission to Out-of-Towners

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 01/05/2018, 11:15 PM

For the first time since its founding in the 1870s, New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art is instituting a mandatory admission fee.  Starting March 1, visitors who do not live in New York State will be charged $25 to enter. That ticket will be valid for three consecutive days at the Met and its offshoots, the Met Breuer and the Cloisters. There will not be separate lines at any of those plac...

To Visit This Island Paradise You Have to Pledge to Protect the Environment

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 01/04/2018, 8:45 PM

In order to enter the island nation of Palau in the western Pacific Ocean, visitors must now sign a "passport pledge" to protect the environment. The mandatory vow was enacted to counter the negative effects of tourism on the country's 200 islands and their coral reefs, volcanic hills, rich biodiversity, and cultural sites.  The move makes Palau the world's first nation to change immigration law...

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