The Caribbean's Newest Resorts are Now North of Cancun, Reports Arthur Frommer

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 12/13/2018, 12:00 AM

We Americans tend to have widely divergent views about Mexico. Some regard that nation as a place of constant poverty and problems. Other more perceptive types are aware of Mexico’s skyrocketing rise in the world of tourism.   Mexico is currently enjoying a major increase in its yearly number of international visitors, and similar advances in many other industries. In particular, giant new hotels...

Now Car Renters Will Scan Your Face: Hertz Goes Biometric

By Zachary Laks

Posted on 12/11/2018, 2:00 PM

Calculating your forehead-to-eye ratio to expedite a car rental? Sure! Anything to help trim a few minutes off the arduous process of approving paperwork.  Hertz announced today its new partnership with CLEAR, the first in the car rental-industry to introduce biometric screening as part of the check-in process. Just how will it work? Similar to other systems seen recently in travel, such as ...

U.S. Tourism to Canada Again Embroiled in Controversy

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 12/10/2018, 12:00 AM

Through all the decades of travel from the U.S. to Canada, our northern neighbor has occasionally presented us with touristic issues and arguments. Some 60 years ago, Canadian travel agents were accused of attracting prolonged visits by young American men as a means of their avoiding service in Vietnam. But now the entire Canadian nation is attracting modern-day American tourists for another reas...

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Historic Delta Queen to Resume Cruising U.S. Rivers

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 12/07/2018, 4:00 PM

The Delta Queen riverboat will once again cruise American waterways.  A floating National Historic Landmark, the 1920s-era vessel has been docked in Chattanooga, Tennessee, since 2008 due to a law banning overnight cruises on wooden ships.  But a bipartisan measure exempting the Delta Queen from that prohibition was approved by Congress, clearing the way for multiday excursions aboard the histor...

Meet UNESCO's New Cultural Heritage Inductees: Reggae, French Perfume, and More

By Zac Thompson

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

Reggae music from Jamaica, the Irish sport of hurling, Polish Nativity scenes, Korean wrestling, and about three dozen more arts, crafts, folk dances, foods, and festivals are the latest global traditions added to UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. (Pity the arts and tourism officials currently trying to squeeze that mouthful into quick after-dinner speec...

The Leaning Tower of Pisa Is Leaning Less

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 11/29/2018, 12:00 AM

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is standing a little straighter these days.  Engineers say that the tilt of the Italian icon has reduced by about 4cm (1.6 in.), according to news reports. More significantly, the international group that monitors the tower has deemed it stable, safe, and unlikely to topple over.  For these developments we can thank a restoration process begun in the 1990s, when safety...

Arthur Frommer: 12 Famous Destinations That Are Almost Too Crowded to Visit

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 11/29/2018, 12:00 AM

It doesn’t often happen that one travel writer advises his or her readers to study the works of another travel writer.   But exceptions should occasionally be made, and that’s the case with a recent and quite thorough analysis of the hideously overcrowded places that smart tourists should avoid visiting—at least in high season. Prepared by the travel department of CNN and entitled “12 Destinati...

Underground Luxury Hotel Opens in a Quarry

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 11/28/2018, 3:00 PM

Bringing new meaning to the term "money pit," the recently opened, mostly subterranean InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland is a ritzy, multimillion-dollar resort with 16 of its 18 floors built into the side of a quarry southwest of Shanghai. The hotel has 336 rooms, the majority of which are located below ground level, stretching to a depth of 88 meters (289 ft.) in China's Sheshan Mountain Range...

Arthur Frommer: The Safest Destinations Are Named. Guess Who's Not a Leader?

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 11/27/2018, 2:00 AM

A well-respected international consumer organization has picked the safest countries in which to travel, and the United States is nowhere among the leaders. Which are the world’s safest countries in which to travel? In these days of terror and climate change, that question is posed by a great many would-be tourists. An international organization recently researched that question, and to no o...

Smoke on a Carnival Cruise and You Could Get Kicked Off the Ship

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 11/27/2018, 12:00 AM

Carnival Cruise Line is getting stricter with passengers who light up at sea.  The company has updated its tobacco and marijuana smoking policy to include the possibility of removal from the ship for guests caught smoking in staterooms, suites, or on cabin balconies.  Any other passengers staying in the offender's room will have to leave, too, and nobody will get refunds for unused cruise fare. ...

Arthur Frommer: Long Live the FAA, Protector of Our Lives in the Air!

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 11/20/2018, 12:00 AM

Although a great many business interests are constantly opposed to being regulated by the federal government, almost no one objects to a similar supervision of the airline industry. We all risk our lives when we fly, and to a lesser extent we rely on government for our transportation comfort. Just recently, Congress reauthorized actions by the Federal Aviation Administration, and gave additiona...

New Rules in Rome Target Rowdy, Boozy Tourists

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 11/19/2018, 5:30 PM

Italy has just about had it with your nonsense. Straining under the burden of accommodating endless hordes of tourists and their accompanying noise, litter, rowdiness, and traffic gridlock, the country's most popular cities are rolling out strict behavioral regulations—with hefty fines—aimed at keeping visitors under control. Florence recently banned eating in the streets. Venice has outlawed ev...

Summer River Cruises in Europe May Now Present Problems, Says Arthur Frommer

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 11/15/2018, 12:00 AM

Should you book a European river cruise that takes place in summer? Maybe not.   Next summer’s cruise passengers are expected to encounter problems because of an unusually hot season in Europe.   The result of that torrid weather has been low water levels in isolated parts of European rivers, requiring that cruise companies alter or even cancel itineraries. They cannot operate their ships wher...

In Japan You Can Build Your Own Kit Kat Now

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 11/13/2018, 12:00 AM

Like compact cars and the band Cheap Trick, Kit Kat candy bars weren't born in Japan, but they sure went big there.  The chocolate-covered wafers (a U.K. creation currently owned worldwide by Nestlé) are among Japan's best-selling sweets and they have appeared in hundreds of flavors, including strawberry cheesecake, green tea, purple sweet potato, wasabi, and sake.  The country's latest innovati...

Resort Fees Have Spread to City Hotels Now: How to Get Them Off Your Bill

By Juliana Shallcross

Resort fees aren't just for resorts anymore. Even city hotels are getting in on the scam. Why hotels annoy you with them—and what to do about them.

American Airlines Will Allow Early Boarding for Flyers with Nut Allergies

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 11/08/2018, 12:00 AM

As if determined to undo their decades of peanut pushing, U.S. airlines continue to make concessions to passengers with nut allergies.  Hardly any carriers serve those snacks on flights anymore—not even Southwest Airlines, which had once made its peanuts a core part of the company's brand identity. Now, American Airlines is going a step further for allergy sufferers.  Starting December 12, they'...

Arthur Frommer: Charging $300 Round-Trip to Europe, Level is the World’s Budget Champion

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 11/08/2018, 12:00 AM

If you were to ask even a well-informed travel professional to name the cheapest airline flying the Atlantic, they would undoubtedly answer: Norwegian Air. And they’d be dead wrong. The cheapest such airline is the oddly named Level, a joint enterprise of British Airways and Iberia Airlines. It flies mainly from Paris and Barcelona to Newark, Boston and San Francisco, for a basic fare—hold your b...

World's Tallest Statue Unveiled in India

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 11/06/2018, 10:00 PM

The average height of adult males in India is 5 feet, 5 inches (165cm). Throw in men made of bronze, and that figure might jump up a few notches, at least as of last week.  That's when Prime Minister Narendra Modi helped dedicate the country's new Statue of Unity, a monumental likeness of Indian independence leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel that stands at the incredible height of 597 feet (182m)—...

Arthur Frommer: Canada Legalized Marijuana, But Visitors Should Know the Rules

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 11/05/2018, 12:00 AM

The recent decision by all of Canada to legalize the sale or use of marijuana was hailed by U.S. users and advocates of that drug. On careful study of Canada’s action, those cheerleaders may be less enthusiastic about what has happened. Although Canada acted as a single nation in legalizing the substance, it has permitted individual provinces of Canada to enact specific rules governing its sale a...

The Cartoon Network Is Building Its First Hotel

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 11/02/2018, 2:30 PM

Listen up, fans of Adventure Time, We Bare Bears, and The Powerpuff Girls: The Cartoon Network is getting its own hotel.  Developed through a partnership between the animated cable channel and amusement park operators Palace Entertainment, the 165-room property is currently under construction on 9 acres in southern Pennsylvania's Lancaster County. The new hotel will stand right next to the Dutch ...

Colorful New St. Louis Hotel Wants to Give You the Blues (or Reds or Yellows)

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/31/2018, 4:45 PM

"Got the St. Louis Blues," goes the old W.C. Handy song, "just as blue as I can be." Those lyrics take on new meaning at the Angad Arts Hotel, which opens this week amid the many galleries and performance venues of the Grand Center Arts District in St. Louis. Guests who book one of the hotel's 146 rooms or 38 suites don't just pick bed sizes but also a color to match one of four moods—red for pa...

You Can Stay in Ralphie’s House from ‘A Christmas Story’

By Michele Herrmann

Posted on 10/30/2018, 1:00 AM

Ultimate fans of the American holiday film classic A Christmas Story might already own a replica of the Major Award leg lamp, nightmarish bunny pajamas, or even a toy Red Ryder BB gun (warning: you may shoot your eye out). Yet, how many of them know that they can spend the night inside Ralphie Parker’s actual house? Located in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio, the real-life house use...

National Veterans Memorial and Museum Opens in Columbus, Ohio

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/29/2018, 3:00 PM

More than 40 million people have served in the U.S. armed forces. They've been honored with monuments, memorials, and museums in Washington, D.C., across the country, and even around the world (as at the D-Day Beaches in Normandy, France). But those sites focus on individual conflicts or branches of the military. The new National Veterans Memorial and Museum (NVMM), which opened in downtown Colum...

Paris' Henri Cartier-Bresson Photography Venue Moves to Meet Tourists

By Lily Heise

Posted on 10/26/2018, 12:00 AM

The gallery and archive dedicated to one of France’s most iconic photographers reopens this week in a new space in the artsy Marais district, where more tourists will be able to see it.   Henri Cartier-Bresson was instrumental in the development of modern photojournalism, particularly through his candid street photography. He was also, along with Robert Capa and several other contemporaries,...

Oldest Building on D.C.'s National Mall Reopens After Restoration

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/25/2018, 4:45 PM

You've probably never heard of the Lockkeeper's House in Washington, D.C. There's a good reason for that. It's been closed for decades. But this unassuming stone building at the corner of Constitution Ave. and 17th St. NW is actually the oldest structure on the National Mall. Built in 1835, the building is now open to the public after a restoration that took nearly two years.  Using funds from ...