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For Tourists, This Is the Last Straw!

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 03/09/2018, 12:00 AM

Last call! More and more, you're going to have to go without drinking straws. Single-use plastic straws are distinctly unkind to wildlife. Fresh straws choke animals. Then each straw is said to take longer than 200 years to break down, and all the while, it disintegrates into ever-smaller and smaller bits that are eaten by small animals, fish, and even plankton. The plastic bits eventually make it...

Booking.com Introduces New Program for Unusual Stays

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 03/08/2018, 12:30 AM

Unconventional accommodations like treehouses, yurts, and barns have proven popular on vacation rental sites such as Airbnb and HomeAway. For the increasing number of travelers seeking unique, Instagrammable experiences, a night in a castle or on a houseboat has obvious advantages over a run-of-the-mill chain hotel. Now Booking.com, which has an enormous online database of accommodations around t...

Most Visited U.S. National Parks and Monuments in 2017

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 03/05/2018, 10:45 PM

The National Park Service (NPS) has released its visitor numbers for 2017.  A total of 330,882,751 people spent time at American national parks, monuments, and other sites deemed worthy of federal protection. As the NPS points out, that figure is only a smidge lower than the record-setting 330,971,689 visits the agency logged in 2016—the year of its highly touted 100th birthday. The Blue Ridge ...

American Airlines Adding Basic Economy Fares to Transatlantic Flights

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 03/02/2018, 12:00 AM

Starting in April, American Airlines is selling bare-bones "basic economy" tickets on some flights to Europe.  The move seems an obvious effort to compete with low-cost transatlantic carriers such as Norwegian Air Shuttle, Iceland-based WOW air, and Level, a recently launched Spanish entrant in the cheap-flights-to-Europe race.  Closer to home, Delta Air Lines has also begun selling no-frills ba...

Carnival Announces New Cruises to Cuba

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 02/28/2018, 10:30 PM

Carnival Cruise Line is significantly increasing its sailings to Cuba.  In 2019, the company will schedule 17 new cruises to the island aboard the recently renovated Carnival Sensation.  The five-day voyages will be the line's first round-trip cruises to Cuba from Miami. They'll feature a day-long call in Havana as well as stops in Grand Turk, Grand Cayman, Nassau, and the private destinations o...

Huge New Atlantis Resort Opens in China

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 02/26/2018, 10:30 PM

The world now has three Atlantis resorts to overwhelm visitors with an ocean's worth of watery amenities and maximalist architecture.  Joining sister properties in the Bahamas and Dubai (another is in the works in Hawaii), the just-opened Atlantis Sanya occupies more than 130 coastal acres on China's Hainan island, a tropical spot southwest of Hong Kong in the South China Sea that's becoming incre...

New Looks for Two of London's Most Important Art Museums

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 02/22/2018, 11:15 PM

Fans of art and architecture already have a lot to keep them busy during stays in London—and with free admission at most of the top cultural institutions, the city's treasures are easy to access, too. But museum- and gallery-goers will have even longer to-do lists in the coming months, thanks to the reopening of two high-profile spaces—one a 250-year-old mainstay, the other an oft-reviled Brutali...

Paris' Grand Palais Getting a Grand Makeover

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 02/20/2018, 9:30 PM

The Grand Palais in Paris is getting its largest refurbishment since opening for the Exposition Universelle in 1900, when the mammoth hall on the Champs-Élysées was used to show off sculptures and horse races under the biggest glass roof in Europe.   Today, the Grand Palais is used for blockbuster art exhibits, sporting events, and fashion shows. As a matter of fact, one of France's most famed fas...

After 50 Years, Jesus' Baptism Site May Fully Reopen to Tourists

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 02/16/2018, 11:00 PM

The section of the Jordan River traditionally designated as Jesus Christ's baptism site, where the Man from Galilee kicked off his mission to bring peace to the world, is currently surrounded by nearly 4,000 land mines. In other words, the peace-on-earth project still has a ways to go. But at least some moves are being made in the right direction. Following many delays and ongoing negotiations, ...

Famous Thai Beach Closing to Tourists This Summer

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 02/14/2018, 10:15 PM

Thailand's Maya Bay is so pretty it played the paradise sought by Leonardo DiCaprio's character in the 2000 movie The Beach.  But tourists will have to stream that film—fair warning: it's terrible—to lay eyes on Maya Bay this summer. Authorities are closing the beach to visitors from June to September in an effort to combat environmental damage caused by over-tourism.  The fame that has resulted...

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