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Days When You Can Visit U.S. National Parks for Free in 2018

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 01/04/2018, 9:00 AM

Each year, the National Park system throws open its gates for a few days and spreads the good word by admitting everyone without charging entry fees. It's a great way for low-income families, students, and seniors to experience the parks, and hundreds of thousands of Americans take advantage of the invitation annually. The Department of the Interior has announced the free days for 2018—and they'v...

When Southern California Museums Open for Free This Month

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 01/04/2018, 12:30 AM

The 13th annual Free-for-All day at Southern California museums will be Sunday, January 28.  Nineteen institutions in the area will waive their admission fees on that day, offering access to their artistic, cultural, natural, and scientific holdings at no charge. An additional 18 museums where admission is always free are also listed as participants—though in their cases, we guess the event is m...

Huge Nature-Themed Light Show Illuminates Winter Nights in Japan

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 01/02/2018, 1:00 PM

Each winter at Japan's Nagashima Resort in the city of Kuwana, millions of LED lights are used to create ravishing nighttime nature scenes. Held in the gardens of the complex (which also has an amusement park and hot springs), the Nabana No Sato display has previously depicted Mount Fuji and the Northern Lights, among other wonders. For 2018, the focus is Japan's Kumamoto Prefecture. As CNN rep...

Royal Caribbean Increases the Daily Fee Used to Tip Staff

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 12/29/2017, 12:00 AM

For the third time in three years, Royal Caribbean Cruises is hiking up its "automatic gratuity"—the term for the service fee that lines recommend each passenger pays per day during a cruise. They make this recommendation by automatically adding the tip to your bill. To raise or lower the amount—or strike it altogether for those who prefer to tip housekeeping staff, restaurant servers, and other ...

Turkey Fully Resumes Issuing Visas to Americans

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 12/29/2017, 12:00 AM

For nearly three months, Turkish authorities and the U.S. government have been in a diplomatic spat, resulting in the suspension of visas for American tourists. The quick and painless electronic application procedure was abruptly closed to U.S. citizens. A month later, they were offered the arduous option of going in person to a Turkish embassy or consulate to submit to interviews, a luxury nearly ...

Robert De Niro’s Hotel Brand Goes On a Building Spree in 2018

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 12/28/2017, 12:15 AM

Nobu Hotels, co-owned by actor Robert De Niro, star chef Nobu Matsuhisa, and movie producer Meir Teper, will have a busy 2018. The upscale chain is adding new properties in Chicago; Los Cabos, Mexico; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; and two in Spain—one in Barcelona, the other in Marbella.  Since the first Nobu hotel opened in 2013 inside Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, six more have followed in locales aro...

Hyatt's Cancellation Rules Worsen for Consumers

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 12/26/2017, 5:00 PM

Hyatt Hotels has made it more expensive for you to cancel a reservation.  At most of the company's 700-odd properties, customers must now cancel at least 48 hours ahead of their planned arrival or they'll be charged. The new penalty, which will be imposed at all Hyatt brands except for Hyatt Residence Club resorts, Miraval resorts, and M life resorts, kicks in on reservations made or changed afte...

New App Helps Visually Impaired Travelers Navigate Airport

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 12/26/2017, 3:30 PM

American Printing House for the Blind's "Nearby Explorer" app—a GPS-enabled mobile wayfinding service developed specifically for visually impaired users—has a brand-new feature to help blind travelers get around Louisville International Airport. And the app's developers hope that's just the beginning.  Dubbed "Indoor Explorer," the new tool uses Bluetooth connectivity, OpenStreetMap data, and mo...

Lady Gaga Residency in Vegas Set for Late 2018

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 12/21/2017, 6:00 AM

By the end of next year, it will be easier than ever for Las Vegas gamblers to watch Lady Gaga perform "Poker Face" on the same day they perfect their own. The singer is settling in at the MGM Park Theater for a bigtime residency expected to begin in late 2018. Currently set to include 74 concerts, the deal, which Variety says will make Gaga more than $1 million per show, could be extended, provi...

It's Here: Donald Trump Robot Unveiled at Disney's Hall of Presidents

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 12/19/2017, 1:15 AM

About six months behind its usual post-election refurbishment schedule, Walt Disney World has unveiled its Audio-Animatronic version of the current president of the United States, including a short recorded monologue by him about the American spirit. The attraction officially opens to the public on Tuesday, December 19.  The Hall of Presidents, running since 1971 when Richard M. Nixon was in the ...

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