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Rome's Colosseum Moves to a Timed Ticket System: We Tested It

By Elizabeth Heath

Posted on 11/06/2019, 10:30 PM

Seeing the Colosseum in Rome just got easier. And more complicated. In spring of 2019, CoopCulture, the entity that manages visitor access to the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Palatine Hill and other archaeological sites in Rome, introduced a new timed ticket system that appears to be working relatively smoothly.  Prior to the timed system, advance planners could buy their skip-the-line e...

Get Ready to Pay a Tourist Tax to Visit Cabo San Lucas

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 11/05/2019, 9:30 PM

Starting on Saturday, November 9, a visit to the Mexican state of Baja California Sur will cost you extra.  The home state of popular Pacific Coast resort cities including Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo is instituting a tourism tax that each foreign visitor will have to pay, according to a government announcement.  The charge will be 350 pesos per person. With current exchange rates, that ...

Chinese Glass Bridges Closed Out of Safety Fears

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 11/01/2019, 3:00 PM

For a few years now, China has seemed determined to install spine-tingling transparent bridges, walkways, and slides at every cliffside, mountain gorge, and canyon in the country. At last count, China had as many as 2,300 high-altitude, glass-bottom bridges designed to give tourists the frightening sensation of walking on air, à la Wile E. Coyote before gravity gets the better of him. Subtract...

High-Speed Trains to Connect Miami's Cruise Port and Orlando

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/31/2019, 9:00 PM

The possibility of a car-free Florida vacation just rolled a little closer to reality. Brightline, which currently operates high-speed rail service connecting Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach, has announced that, in the not-too-distant future, trains will zip between Miami's busy cruise port and Orlando International Airport. From there, Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando are both...

China Expands Its Free Six-Day Visa to More Tourist Cities

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 10/30/2019, 12:00 AM

Usually, filling out the paperwork to obtain a visa for China is as elaborate as taking the bar exam, but less fun. Tourists have to answer a long list of sometimes invasive questions (be prepared to share what your mother does for a living), supply disappointing photos of their faces, fork over $140 per person, and wait four days to see if they made the cut. The rigmarole has discouraged many peo...

Nickelodeon's New Indoor Theme Park Is the Biggest in the U.S.

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/24/2019, 4:45 PM

The biggest indoor theme park in the United States opens in New Jersey this week.  Nickelodeon Universe spreads across 8.5 acres and 35 rides and attractions, all related to the popular kids' TV network and all able to be enjoyed without such irritants as fresh air and sunshine. Features include the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles–inspired Shellraiser roller coaster along with live shows (and bucke...

Royal Caribbean's Next Private Island Will Be in the South Pacific

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/17/2019, 3:00 PM

Royal Caribbean announced plans this week for a new private island to be used exclusively by passengers of the company's cruise ships. Though such destinations are increasingly common among cruise lines in the Western Hemisphere—Royal Caribbean recently expanded its Perfect Day at CocoCay in the Bahamas—this upcoming island-sized attraction, scheduled for 2022, will be the first of its kind in ...

A Much-Needed New Hotel Opens on the Mississippi Blues Trail

By Caroline Eubanks

Posted on 10/16/2019, 4:15 PM

This past summer, The Cotton House in Cleveland, Mississippi, opened as a major boutique-style hotel in the Mississippi Delta, a part of the country that hasn’t usually been strongly associated with full-service accommodation.   Up to now, most road trippers on the Blues Trail, the world-famous music-and-history circuit around the birthplace of the blues, would usually need to make do with b...

Hanoi Removing Cafes from Narrow “Train Street” Due to Safety Concerns

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/10/2019, 2:00 PM

What magical tourist attraction is Instagram ruining this week? The photogenic "train street" in Hanoi, where a single-track railway squeezes between makeshift cafes and other buildings in the Old Quarter of the Vietnamese capital. Local authorities have ordered those cafes lining the tracks to close by Saturday, according to VnExpress, following a close call last weekend. The train's ope...

Howard Johnson Hotels Are Getting a Mid-Century Modern Makeover

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/04/2019, 6:45 PM

Once-ubiquitous hotel chain Howard Johnson is getting its first major design makeover in 25 years. The refreshed look recalls HoJo's heyday in the 1950s and '60s, when the company was said to open a new motor lodge every two weeks and a new restaurant every nine days. The two halves of the business were eventually split, and hundreds of HoJo restaurants across the U.S. went kaput. The last hold...

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