Days When You Can Visit U.S. National Parks for Free in 2017

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 01/20/2017, 12:00 AM

The first of 2017's free-admission days at U.S. national parks is already behind us—it was Martin Luther King Day. But before the year is over you'll have nine more chances to enjoy at no charge all the sites maintained by the National Park Service—from all-time faves like Yosemite and Yellowstone to overlooked gems such as Big Bend in Texas and Crater Lake in Oregon. Here are the remainin...

American Airlines Announces No-Frills Basic Economy Fares

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 01/19/2017, 12:00 AM

Joining other major carriers including Delta and United, American Airlines has announced that it too will soon begin offering low, no-frills "basic economy" fares on certain flights. Customers can expect to start seeing the new rates—which will be cheaper than those for any other seats in the cabin—in February, when the company will introduce them in 10 cities, with more locations expected t...

Fort Lauderdale Launches Ads to Attract Transgender Travelers

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 01/18/2017, 12:00 AM

(photo: Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau) Doing its part to attract GLBT travelers and anybody else who prizes diversity and inclusiveness, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau has launched a marketing campaign featuring transgender models. Starting this month, the tourism ads, which can be seen above, are appearing in media outlets aimed a...

In Final Days in Office, Obama Designates Five New National Monuments

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 01/17/2017, 12:00 AM

On Thursday, during Barack Obama's last full week in office, the president did for the (probably) last time something he's done more than anybody else who's occupied the White House: He designated some new national monuments. Five of them, to be exact. Exercising his power under the 1906 Antiquities Act to preserve sites of historic, cultural, and ecological importance, Obama added three ...

JetBlue Now Offers Free Wi-Fi for All on Every Flight

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 01/13/2017, 12:00 AM

JetBlue has good news for passengers terrified of spending a single solitary second away from the internet: The carrier now offers free high-speed Wi-Fi at every seat on every flight within the contiguous United States. Introduced in 2013, the airline's Fly-Fi network has finally been expanded to the entire fleet of aircraft. What's more, you don't have to wait until the plane reaches a crui...

Los Angeles Chosen As Site of George Lucas Museum

By Zac Thompson

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

Los Angeles has been chosen by Star Wars creator George Lucas as the site of his upcoming Museum of Narrative Art. The facility, which will house the film director's collection of popular art and movie memorabilia (from his own work as well as others'), was previously planned for San Francisco and then Chicago, but community activists in both of those cities objected to proposed building si...

Airlines with the Best and Worst On-Time Performance in 2016

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 01/11/2017, 12:00 AM

FlightStats, an aviation insights company, has released its highly regarded annual analysis of international airlines' on-time performance records. Topping the rankings for 2016: Dutch-based carrier KLM. Book a flight with that airline and your chances of being delayed are only about 11%. Contrast that with the airline with the worst on-time record, Israel's El Al, whose passengers are like...

City of Ice Opens in China

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 01/10/2017, 12:00 AM

(photo: @theeconomist / Instagram) If you take your vacation cues from Elsa in Frozen, you'll want to make your way immediately to northern China, where the 33rd annual Harbin International Snow and Ice Festival has officially launched. The yearly event is best known for its enormous illuminated sculptures, built this year with 180,000 cubic meters of ice—all of which came from the nea...

Famous Sequoia "Tunnel Tree" Toppled

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 01/09/2017, 4:30 PM

The tree in 1899 The Pioneer Cabin Tree, a historic tourist attraction carved out of a giant sequoia in the 1880s, was felled by a winter storm in Northern California this week. The 150-foot-tall tree, a part of Calaveras State Park's "Big Tree Trail" near Arnold, California, had been leaning badly over the past few years. For some of its history, cars were permitted to drive throug...

New Travel Trend: Camping in Medieval Churches in England

By Zac Thompson

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

Camping in churches—or "champing"—is an increasingly popular activity in southeastern England. Possibly because adherents don't call it "churmping." The growing trend dates to 2014, when the Churches Conservation Trust opened the medieval All Saints' Church in Aldwincle, Northamptonshire, to overnight guests willing to pay a relatively small fee (it's currently £55/US$68 per night). The f...

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