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Et tu, Amtrak? Baggage Fees Coming to Rail

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 10/01/2015, 6:00 PM

Amtrak is taking a page from the airlines. No, make that two pages. Starting today it will start charging for bags. And it's telling us this is for our own good. According to the railroad, passengers have been trying to bring too many large bags onboard. So it will now start enforcing a limit of two carry-on bags. Those who have more bags will incur a $20 fee for each. And if the bag w...

The Vatican Gets More Liberal...With Visitor Hours

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 09/29/2015, 7:15 PM

I'm assuming we can thank Pope Francis, though this wasn't one of his bigger announcements. But quite quiety, several months ago, the Vatican extended its hours for half the year, on Fridays only. From May through July and again in September and October, on Fridays, the doors of the Vatican will open between 9am and 4pm and again for 7pm through 9:30pm visits. Visitors will be allowed into...

HopStop Stops for Good

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 09/27/2015, 9:15 PM

One of the greats is gone. I feel like I've lost a friend. No, I have lost a friend. Because unlike college buddies and work colleagues, Hopstop—the superb public transportation mapping service—never steered me wrong. Unfortunately, the app and website were bought by Apple in 2013, and in its great corporate wisdom, the massive company has decided to pull the plug on the little-map...

Paris Extends Shopping Hours in 12 Major Neighborhoods

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 09/25/2015, 3:15 PM

Thanks to a recently passed bill, Parisian stores in such popular neighborhoods as the Marais, the Champs Elysees, and Montmartre will have the option to stay open on Sundays and up until midnight, a radical policy shift. And a controversial one: the Mayor of Paris has spoken out against the new rules, which overturn a 1906 law keeping Sunday a "day of rest" for the majority of workers; an...

A Camera that Won't Work at Tourist Sights

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 09/23/2015, 8:15 PM

Instagram is bigger than you thought. This morning, Facebook (which owns it) announced there are now 400 million active users—that's up 100 million since the start of 2015. Soon, nearly half a billion people will be recording their experiences that way. And look what that mentality has wrought. New, in things we don't need: An idea for a camera that won't let you take pictures of popular t...

Kids Stay and Eat Free in San Diego

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 09/23/2015, 6:00 PM

Once again, as it has done annually for a while, the city of San Diego, California, has worked with some of its biggest hotels, restaurants, and attractions to offer a slew of deals in which kids vacation for free with their families. This year, those promotions include free admission to the famous San Diego Zoo, the original SeaWorld, and on Hornblower Cruises tours of San Diego's deserve...

Miss a Connecting Flight? This Airport Will Pay

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 09/15/2015, 7:30 PM

Would you pay $42 if it meant you didn't have to worry about missing a connecting flight? Gatwick, London's second-busiest airport (out of the city's six), has launched a new product that does exactly that. For £27.50 per flight, passengers can buy this option as part of "GatwickConnects," which promises that if they miss a connecting flight there because of delay or cancellation, the airp...

TSA's Luggage Lock Skeleton Keys Leaked

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 09/11/2015, 3:00 PM

Consumerist and Wired report the design of the master skeleton keys used by the TSA to open and inspect your luggage has been leaked on the Web. Now anyone can use a 3-D printer to duplicate the keys and open luggage—and people are doing it. The security blunder stems from a story in the Washington Post published nearly a year ago, which ran an image of the keys along with a story on lugga...

An Icon of Modernist Architecture Turns 50: Happy Birthday to St. Louis’ Gateway Arch

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 09/02/2015, 10:00 PM

St. Louis’ Gateway Arch may well be the most bittersweet of the world’s iconic monuments. The planned focal point of a park built in the 1930’s to celebrate Thomas Jefferson, and the expansion of the United States westward, spurred by the “Louisiana Purchase” (the land buy that the President made from the French, doubling the size of the United States), its creation required the destructi...

#1 in #2: Japan Opens First Toilet Museum

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 09/02/2015, 4:00 AM

I don't know if you've ever sat on one of those futuristic Japanese toilets, but they will change your life. In North America and Europe, toilets plug into the plumbing, but in Asia, most of them are also plugged into the electric supply. The things have more buttons than the remote control than your television, and boy do they make you feel happier—between the seat warmers, odor neut...

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