Nuts! Southwest Airlines Stops Serving Them on Flights

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 07/10/2018, 9:30 PM

If you were on Family Feud and Steve Harvey asked you to name a snack served on an airplane, it's a cinch that peanuts would be on the board, probably as the number-one answer.  Which is odd because peanuts aren't served on the planes of major airlines anymore, with only one or two exceptions. Delta is one—though according to Travel Weekly, that airline will "refrain from serving peanuts on a spe...

A Deadly End for the Yellowstone Daredevils

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 07/09/2018, 12:00 AM

Two years ago, in the spring of 2016, a few young Canadians created an international scandal by treading into forbidden, protected areas of Yellowstone National Park and recording it for their social media followers in the name of living life to the fullest. The men were famous for shooting videos of themselves doing extremely dangerous things in beautiful places. We wrote at the time: "Hundreds...

Arthur Frommer: Quintana Roo, Mexico, is Gaining as a Tourist Destination

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 06/26/2018, 12:00 AM

While numerous destinations in Mexico are suffering from what some describe as an overly sensitive spate of tourist warnings from our U.S. State Department, one area is obviously resisting that trend.   In 2017, some 22 million tourists visited the state of Quintana Roo, in sharp contrast to some declines in Mexican tourism elsewhere. Quintana Roo is the location for super-popular Cancun, Pl...

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Why Your Phone's GPS May Be Useless on a Foreign Road Trip

By Jason Cochran

You cannot rely on your smartphone for driving directions when you rent a car on a road trip in another country. You should rent a GPS unit. Here's why.

How Bad Will Hurricane Season Be This Year?

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 05/30/2018, 12:00 AM

Hurricane season officially starts Friday, June 1, but the first named storm of the year has already arrived.  Subtropical depression Alberto made landfall in the Florida Panhandle on Memorial Day and continues to bring the threat of heavy rains, wind gusts, and flash flooding as it moves through the Southeast. The Weather Channel predicts the storm could last through late Wednesday, as what rema...

Biased Metrics? Concerns Over Privacy and Race in Airport Face Scans

By Zac Thompson

The Department of Homeland Security plans to scan the face of each passenger leaving the United States, citizens included. Should we be worried—and is the technology fair?

Arthur Frommer: What Would Happen if Mexico Published Warnings About the U.S.?

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 04/08/2018, 9:30 AM

The Secretary of Travel for Mexico, one Enrique de la Madrid, was recently interviewed by the editor of Travel Weekly and expressed considerable upset at the various “advisories” (warnings) published by our U.S. State Department about travel to different parts of Mexico.   Every time, he said, that there is an outbreak of violence in or near a city of Mexico, our U.S. State Department quickl...

TSA to Make You Remove Snacks from Your Carry-On—Except When It Won't

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 03/29/2018, 3:00 PM

The next time you go through airport security, you could be asked to remove all food from your carry-on luggage, along with all the other stuff that gets removed—your shoes, your laptop, and, should you be selected for an invasive pat-down, your dignity.  Then again, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) might let you keep that Snickers bar or bag of Cheetos in your bag as it slides al...

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...

How Not to Do Yosemite in Winter

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 02/20/2018, 9:00 AM

I sometimes think my real job as a travel writer is to be an idiot. It's my job to make mistakes and then report on them so that my readers can have fun, safe, and error-free vacations. This week, I really succeeded: I almost died twice. I just left Yosemite National Park in California. I had thought this column would be about the wonders of Yosemite in winter. And while it is wondrous, the famo...

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, ...

A Luxury Island Retreat Where Only Women Are Welcome

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 02/02/2018, 3:15 PM

We told you women-only travel was going to be a big deal in 2018. To wit: In September, a private island off the coast of Finland will begin welcoming guests—and dudes need not apply. Christened SuperShe after a networking group designed to empower women, the luxury isle will specialize in wellness offerings such as fitness classes, healthy eating, and artsy activities.  Founder Kristina Roth t...

Is It Safe to Vacation in Cape Town Once the Water Runs Out?

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 01/31/2018, 12:00 AM

We have never been here before. A major world city is about to run out of fresh water.   On April 12, the drought-stricken city of Cape Town, on the southwestern tip of Africa, hits Day Zero. That's when the reservoir levels drop too low, taps run dry, and water must be trucked in. How we reached this point is important. While climate change dramatically reduced rainfall in the Mediterranean clim...

San Francisco Airport Can Now Send Emergency Texts to Passengers

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 01/18/2018, 8:00 AM

San Francisco International Airport has become the first in the nation to receive approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to send emergency text messages directly to any cell phone onsite—devices belonging to passengers included. The warning system will work something like Amber Alert notifications used in response to child abductions: In the event of an emergency, travelers will re...

U.S. State Department Travel Advisories: Where to Find Them, How to Read Them

By Zac Thompson

In 2018, the U.S. State Department revamped its travel warnings to make them easier to understand. Here's how to find them and how to use them to plan a safe trip overseas.

Arthur Frommer: For No Real Reason, Feds Attack the Legality of Cannabis Tourism

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 01/12/2018, 1:00 AM

  Because the current U.S. Attorney General is a fierce opponent of marijuana, we can expect a massive legal attack against travel to the states—mainly California and Colorado—that have recently legalized its use. What is startling about this prospect is that the alleged dangers of smoking marijuana have been denied by every respectable study.   The key examination of marijuana was cond...

New York City's Airport Dentist Looks Back on 30 Years in the "Smile High Club"

By Zac Thompson

Did you know there are dental offices at New York City's LaGuardia and JFK Airports? Dr. Robert Trager has been tending to the smiles of airport personnel and passengers for three decades. 

Want a Cannabis Vacation? Now There's a Whole Town for That

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 01/03/2018, 12:00 AM

One day after California, America's most populous state, made recreational cannabis consumption legal, the Los Angeles Times reported on an entire town where getting stoned is the whole point of the joint.  It's called Nipton—as in Nipton in the bud. The village was purchased last September by American Green, a publicly traded, Arizona-based cannabis company. Nipton is a speck of a century-old mi...

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If Morality Won’t Persuade U.S. to End Gun Violence, How About Economic Damage?

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 10/10/2017, 4:45 PM

Because this blog is about travel, not politics, I am prevented from discussing the issues of gun control raised by the recent shooting in Las Vegas. But I very definitely am entitled to discuss the impact of that event on foreign travel to the United States.   Even before the tragic use of an automatic rifle to kill and injure hundreds of spectators gathered for a music concert in Las Vegas...

If You Crave a Caribbean Vacation, Many Areas Escaped Storm Damage: A List

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 10/10/2017, 4:45 PM

This coming winter, many thousands of Americans will agonize over whether they can enjoy tropical vacations in the Caribbean of the sort they once knew. Should they even bother to apply for reservations in an area broadly damaged by hurricanes?   Fortunately, a majority of these famed islands was either unaffected by storms or else so moderately damaged that they can be restored and repaired...

A Tragic Backpacker Death Teaches an Important Travel Lesson

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 09/20/2017, 11:00 PM

What happened to Kit Mallinson was the nightmare every parent has when they send their child away on a trip. Last December, the 18-year-old backpacker from Dorset, England, boarded a night bus in Cambodia to visit Angkor Wat. He had just completed a seven-week engagement as a volunteer building clean water pipes in Borneo, and he wasn't feeling very well, so he hoped the overnight trip would give ...

Not All of the Caribbean was Devastated by Irma: Don't Neglect the Rest

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 09/15/2017, 6:00 PM

Our hearts go out to those island nations that suffered so badly from recent storms—St. Martin, the Virgin Islands, Barbuda, among them. But by assuming that all such islands were equally affected, and by then canceling our general plans to vacation in the Caribbean, we increase the suffering of that area.     It’s important to realize that some Caribbean islands were totally or primarily by...

A Major Battle is About to Erupt Over Marijuana Tourism

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 09/15/2017, 6:00 PM

Last year, California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts joined five other states in legalizing the recreational use and sale of marijuana.    The action taken by California is especially significant. With its huge population, greater than that of several other large states combined, California will create the foundation for a giant industry of marijuana tourism, causing millions of travelers...

Rental Car Rates Could Zoom Sky-High Thanks to Lobbyists

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 09/13/2017, 3:15 AM

Today, the American Car Rental Association (ACRA), a lobbying group for the car rental industry, is wrapping up its annual Washington, D.C. "Legislative Conference," during which it plots its political agenda and schmoozes lawmakers to help make it happen. But some of its battles against consumer protections have already been won on the state level. AutoSlash, the discount car rental aggregator, r...