Dogs Now Welcome at Four Disney World Hotels

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/18/2017, 11:30 PM

Pluto and Goofy are no longer the only dogs welcome at Walt Disney World (Goofy is supposed to be a dog, right?). The family entertainment mecca in Central Florida is now allowing pooches to stay with their human companions at four onsite hotels: Disney's Art of Animation Resort, Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort, Disney's Yacht Club Resort, and the cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort....

WATCH: Drone Footage Takes You Soaring Over the Swiss Alps

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/17/2017, 8:45 PM

As any Instagrammer will tell you, it's not easy to capture the majesty of the Swiss Alps with a camera. But a new short film made from drone footage sure comes close.  Dubbed "Elevations," the roughly 3-minute video zips up and down snow-capped peaks, past waterfalls and jagged cliffs, to eye-popping panoramas you'll wish were your screensaver.  The film was created by Gabriel Kocher, a Montr...

Same-Sex Couples Can Now Get Married on Celebrity Cruises

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/13/2017, 12:00 PM

Celebrity Cruises will soon begin offering legal weddings for same-sex couples aboard ships in international waters, the company announced on October 11 (which, not coincidentally, was National Coming Out Day). The move was made possible by a ruling in Malta, where the majority of the Miami-based line's ships are registered. The legally binding ceremonies will be performed by the fleet's captains...

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Hotel Chain Brings Real-Time Sign Language Interpretation to Guests

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/11/2017, 8:30 PM

Travelers who are deaf or hearing-impaired can now make use of a cool new free service at Room Mate Hotels, a Spain-based chain with 22 properties in cities around the world, including Madrid, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Florence, and, in North America, New York, Miami, and Mexico City. Developed in collaboration with a company called Comunicados en Lengua de Signos, Room Mate's new program offers real...

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...

Turkey Suspends Visas for Americans

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 10/10/2017, 4:00 PM

A diplomatic spat between the United States and Turkey has spun out of control and resulted in the suspension of tourist visas in both directions.  Tensions have been growing between the two countries for the past several years. Among other issues, Turkey has accused the United States of harboring a cleric that it claims helped orchestrate a failed coup, and the United States is angry that Turk...

After Las Vegas, Should Airport Security Measures Now Be Applied to Hotels?

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 10/10/2017, 12:00 AM

The recent horrific shooting in Las Vegas has touched off a number of articles and proposals by travel writers on the relationship of hotel security measures to acts of terrorism.   For example: Should the suitcases of hotel guests be subject to the same electronic inspection as the same bags undergo at airports? Should security guards enter a hotel room whose front door has displayed a “do not...

Date Set for Last Virgin America Flights

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/09/2017, 7:15 PM

Your last chance to fly with Virgin America is April 24, 2018.  The award-winning and much-loved carrier was acquired by Alaska Airlines for $2.6 billion in late 2016. Alaska later announced that it would axe the Virgin America brand, albeit while adopting many of its most popular features, including distinctive mood lighting (pictured above), above-average meal options, and excellent in-flight e...

Starting Oct. 13, Drive California's Highway 1 from Carmel to Big Sur Again

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/09/2017, 2:45 AM

With the completion of the new Pfeiffer Creek Bridge in Big Sur, California, a key portion of the state's spectacularly scenic Highway 1 is set to reopen on October 13.  The original bridge had to be demolished in March after damage caused by heavy rains. That cut Big Sur in two and made it impossible for drivers to complete the rugged central coast route that starts in Carmel—one of the country'...

Norwegian Cruise Line Drinks Package Now the Priciest at Sea

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/05/2017, 10:00 PM

Norwegian Cruise Line has raised the price of its Ultimate Beverage package, covering all alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks that a passenger consumes while on board the ship (except drinks priced higher than $15, which have to be purchased separately).   Up from a previous fee of $79 per day—and, as recently as 2014, $54 per day—the package now costs $89 per passenger, per day.  But with a "serv...

Upper Levels of Rome's Colosseum Reopening for Tours

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/04/2017, 9:45 PM

The upper tiers of the Colosseum in Rome are reopening to the public for the first time in four decades.  The renowned architectural marvel—which dates to the first century A.D. and is one of the ancient city's most visited sites—is coming off a 5-year, multimillion-dollar restoration paid for by Diego Della Valle, chairman of luxury leather brand Tod's. With public money for major preservation...

Icelandair Joins the Basic Economy Crowd

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 10/04/2017, 12:00 AM

Icelandair has joined the major U.S. airlines in rolling out a new stripped-down fare.  "Economy Light," Icelandair's version of Basic Economy, comes with zero checked baggage provisions. Passengers with Economy Light tickets may bring a single carry-on bag weighing no more than 22 pounds (10kg). Fees for changing a reservation are a steep $275, as opposed to Economy's $200. The rules of Economy ...

Waterfront Entertainment Complex in D.C. Set to Open Oct. 12

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/02/2017, 11:45 PM

A soon-to-open waterfront development in Washington, D.C. is set to offer visitors a bunch of new dining, entertainment, and outdoor recreation options just south of the National Mall. Scheduled to begin welcoming guests on October 12, The Wharf is an ambitious project combining more than 20 food and drink venues, three hotels, shops, a 6,000-seat concert hall, and a water taxi system along a mil...

California Desert Caves Soon to Reopen to the Public

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/30/2017, 1:45 AM

The only limestone caves in the California state parks system will soon reopen to the public, the Los Angeles Times reports.  Located in the remote Mojave Desert in the southeastern part of the state, the Mitchell Caverns had been a tourist attraction since the 1930s until the site was closed in 2010 due to budget cuts.  Vandals later damaged a visitor center and other facilities related to the ...

The Shortest Flight in the U.S.

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/29/2017, 12:30 AM

United Airlines has begun operating the shortest commercial flight in the United States.  Zipping between San Francisco and Santa Rosa in California's Sonoma County wine region three times a week, the route covers about 60 miles and stays in the air for just 16 minutes. (Factor in taxiing and such and the one-way trip takes a still-speedy 45 minutes.)  In addition to putting themselves through t...

Arthur Frommer: Resort Fees are Immoral, But More Hotels Are Imposing Them

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 09/28/2017, 12:00 AM

At a large and growing number of U.S. hotels, final room prices have recently risen by thirty to sixty dollars because of "resort charges" billed to hotel guests. This has happened despite the fact that these hotels are not resorts by any stretch of imagination. And guests are being charged for indoor swimming pools, fitness rooms, vending machines and parking—the usual justifications for resort c...

Hot Tips on Hotel Stays from Top Travel CEOs

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 09/28/2017, 12:00 AM

So what do the masters of the travel universe have in store for us vacationers? I attended the Skift Global Forum, an industry conference, and in between the speeches on marketing and client acquisition by CEOs of many major travel brands, I gleaned a few tidbits that will be helpful for hotel-goers. Real loyalty: After listening to a lot of talk about points programs, it was clear to me tha...

Texting Is Now Free on Delta: Here's How It Works

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 09/27/2017, 12:00 AM

Delta Air Lines has announced that starting this weekend, passengers on 90% of its flights will be able to use the carrier's in-flight Wi-Fi network to text with people on the ground for free. The service will be text-only—no videos or photos. To use it, passengers must access the signal using the Gogo app, which you can get at airborne.gogoinflight.com. Texting will then only be permitted via Wha...

Gorilla Trekking in Uganda: How to Take This Bucket List Trip on a Budget

By Melissa Klurman

A trip to see African gorillas in the wild isn't cheap. But there is a way to bring down costs as much as possible.

Now Is the Best Time to Apply for or Renew a U.S. Passport, Says State Department

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/26/2017, 9:00 PM

If you need to apply for or renew a U.S. passport, the best time to do so is right now, according to the U.S. State Department. Processing times are shortest between September and December, the agency says, and longest (up to six weeks) from January to the high season of summer travel. Even if your passport isn't set to expire before the end of the year, you might still need to renew—many countri...

Florida Keys to Reopen to Tourists October 1

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/25/2017, 8:30 PM

The Florida Keys will reopen to tourists on October 1, government officials there have announced. The archipelago just off the southern tip of Florida was hit with extreme force by Hurricane Irma on September 10, when the Category 4 storm made landfall, destroying an estimated 25% of homes on the islands.     In the immediate aftermath, officials advised travelers to postpone trips to the area w...

U.S. Airlines Are Making a Fortune from Checked Bag Fees

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/21/2017, 8:30 PM

Two recent government reports have underscored the huge revenue-generating power of checked bag fees at the airport. First, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study found that while unbundling airfares from services such as checking bags and priority boarding has indeed resulted in lower base fares, the new fees often more than make up the difference that customers think they're saving. ...

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 ...

We Attended a Sitcom Taping in Hollywood: Here's What to Expect and How to Get Tickets

By Jason Cochran

We attended a TV sitcom taping—and we actually had fun! Here's what the experience is like, and here's how to get tickets for your next vacation.