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Amtrak Nearly Halves the Price of Its USA Rail Pass for Summer Vacationers

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 06/08/2021, 4:00 PM

And it's time for another impressive sale from Amtrak. Over the last six months, the national railway has rolled out one discount after another, but this one should be particularly appealing for summer travelers. It's for the USA Rail Pass, Amtrak's answer to Europe's Eurail pass. The Amtrak version lets passengers take 10 rides within a 30-day period for one single price.  For this deal,...

How to Get Free Flights on United Airlines Just by Getting Vaccinated

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 06/07/2021, 3:00 PM

Beyond protection from a horrific virus that has killed nearly 4 million people worldwide (incentive in and of itself, one would think), vaccination will now provide a potent perk for some lucky folks: free travel. United Airlines has launched a sweepstakes called Your Shot to Fly, which gives five lucky winners up to 26 flights for two, in any cabin, and on any route the airline flies, to be u...

You Can Now Stay Overnight at the Palace of Versailles. Take a Peek Inside.

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 06/01/2021, 5:00 PM

We're guessing Marie Antoinette's TripAdvisor review of the Château de Versailles would have been decidedly mixed ("Pastry chef: okay; security against angry mobs: subpar; verdict: two stars").  Nevertheless, the over-the-top palace, built about 30 kilometers (19 miles) outside of Paris under Louis XIV in the 17th century, now has a sumptuous hotel on its grounds.  (Madame de Fouquet room, ...

To Cool Down This Summer, Rent a Private Pool by the Hour Wherever You Are

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 05/28/2021, 8:00 PM

With apologies to ice cream trucks and darkened movie theaters, a swimming pool is the most effective antidote to blazing summer temperatures.  Fortunately, there's an easy and reasonably affordable way to take a refreshing, chlorinated dip during your next warm-weather vacation (or staycation), even if you've booked lodgings that lack a pool on the premises.  An online marketplace called Sw...

In Idaho, You Can Spend the Night in a Giant Potato

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 05/27/2021, 6:00 PM

On a farm near downtown Boise, a 6-ton replica of Idaho's most famous agricultural product is now available for overnight stays. The Big Idaho Potato Hotel is a 28-foot long, 12-foot wide, 11.5-foot tall structure built from steel, plaster, and concrete to resemble one of the state's beloved Russet Burbank spuds.  The Idaho Potato Commission created the titanic tuber for the organization's 7...

Chart Your Travels with Lego’s New, Nearly 12,000-Piece World Map

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 05/26/2021, 7:00 PM

A huge new Lego set pays tribute to globetrotters—though to be honest, completing the assembly would likely confine us to our homes for several months.  Set for release on June 1, the Lego Art World Map contains a total of 11,695 pieces. That's the most ever in a single set, according to the company.  The newest addition to the Lego Art series of ultra-challenging sets intended for grown-ups...

In Paris, a Former Stock Exchange Is Now a Cutting-Edge Art Museum

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 05/21/2021, 7:00 PM

Paris has a new showcase for contemporary art. In fact, the place is so fresh it's not even in the guidebooks yet.  Opening Saturday, May 22, the Bourse de Commerce–Pinault Collection houses a vast trove of paintings, sculptures, videos, photographs, audio works, installations, and other art from the 1960s to the present.  The new museum occupies a historic domed building that started out as...

Take an Elevated Stroll Among Giant Redwoods on California’s New Sky Walk

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 05/20/2021, 3:00 PM

A brand-new suspended walkway in Northern California will give visitors a unique perspective on the region's gigantic redwoods.  Located at the Sequoia Park Zoo in Eureka, Redwood Sky Walk is a network of platforms and bridges hanging up to 100 feet over the forest floor. That's about a third of the way up the tallest trees in the old-growth and mature second-growth redwood grove on city ground...

Find the Oldest Hotel in Each Country with These Illustrated Maps

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 05/19/2021, 7:00 PM

The planet's oldest hotel, according to Guinness World Records, is a Japanese onsen (hot-spring hotel) that has been in operation since the year 705.  Emperors and samurai warriors are among the guests said to have soaked in the waters of Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan (pictured above), located in Yamanashi Prefecture southwest of Tokyo. Incredibly, 52 generations of the same family have been runn...

Japanese Airline Installing Hands-Free Lavatory Doors

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 05/14/2021, 8:30 PM

Touching an airplane bathroom's door has always been scary, whether there's a global pandemic raging or not.  A clever solution has been devised in Japan, and, frankly, we'd like to know what took so long.  All Nippon Airways (ANA), the country's largest carrier, has partnered with aviation manufacturer Jamco to come up with hands-free lavatory doors for airplanes.  A handle and sliding l...

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