Travel


Off the hook

“OK, y’all, I’m about to bring out the owl,” says Kelly Reetz, a naturalist with Alabama’s Gulf State Park, pulling on a tough brown leather glove from a box marked “owl encounters.” A group of excited kids encircles Reetz in the park’s nature center, quiet for just this moment, while she introduces them to the resident screech owl, the glassy-eyed bird...
March blooms with festivals across the state

March blooms with festivals across the state

From spring blooms and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations to rodeos and rattlesnake roundups, March bursts with fun festivals across the state. Below are 10 of the top Texas-size celebrations worthy of a road trip this month. Dallas Now-April 8: Soak in the season at one of the country’s leading spring festivals — Dallas Blooms: A World of Flowers at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical...
What’s new in Scandinavia for 2018

What’s new in Scandinavia for 2018

Anyone traveling in Scandinavia this year will find a region that’s investing productively in itself. Numerous urban, cultural and transit projects are underway, continuing the Scandinavian devotion to quality of life for residents and visitors alike. Here are some newsworthy notes to keep in mind as you travel in the region in 2018. In Denmark’s capital city, a massive subway project...

Tallahassee a great outdoors launching point

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — North Florida is rife with options for outdoor enthusiasts and Tallahassee is a great place for your adventure base camp.  Whether it’s diving into the state’s deepest freshwater spring, checking out the state’s tallest waterfall or trekking through the state’s only guided cave system, there are many great choices to take in what’s truly...

Starting an intimidating world tour in the Big Easy

On my first trip to New Orleans, eight years ago, I bought a new pair of sneakers. By the end of a week I had danced in the streets so much I’d worn holes through the bottoms of each of them, straight through to my socks. That, more than Mardi Gras or Jazz Fest or oak trees or gumbo, is my indelible image of the city: The only place in the world where I’ve had such a good time that the...

After the wildfires, raising a toast

Chris Morano settled into the pillow-strewn bench in the lobby of the Sandman, surprisingly relaxed after all he has been through. Behind him, singed shrubs appeared through the hotel window. Near the swimming pool, a concrete wall bore the black eye of a fireball. On the coffee table, by his knees, sat the most recent issue of Sonoma Magazine, which was dedicated to the October wildfires in Northern...

Great castles of the United States

Think only Europe has the lock on castles, coats-of-arm and other royal trappings? Pish-posh — the United States has its castles, too. And visitors may tour the grounds, enjoy a sumptuous repast and, in some cases, overnight in guest rooms that will make you feel like royalty.  — The Kentucky Castle, Versailles, KY   Kentucky is well-known for its equine nobility; it is...

Tips and tricks from a veteran British flyer

British writer Tilly Bagshawe is the New York Times best-selling author of more than a dozen novels. Her first, "Adored," was a Jackie Collins-style blockbusting bodice-ripper, and she's also written multiple officially sanctioned novels in the style of Sidney Sheldon. Her latest book is the first in a murder mystery series set in her beloved British countryside: "Murder at the Mill...

Experiential tourism gains momentum

SAN FRANCISCO -- The evening at Baker Beach was a postcard scene of San Francisco: bare-foot couples strolling on the beach, the golden-orange sun setting over the Pacific, a fog-free view of ships passing under the Golden Gate Bridge.  And 40 people in yoga pants dancing in the sand.   ``This is a really great way to experience San Francisco, especially if you like to be active and...
'Home of Sliced Bread': A small Missouri town champions its greatest thing

'Home of Sliced Bread': A small Missouri town champions its greatest thing

U.S. Route 36 stretches for 200 miles across the flat farmland of northern Missouri, connecting Kansas to Illinois. At one end is the Pony Express Bridge in St. Joseph and at the other is the Mark Twain Memorial Bridge in Hannibal.  The route is called "The Way of American Genius" because some of the nation's best-known innovators, creative minds and a military hero spent parts of their...

In New Zealand’s wilds, forget the tent

Finally scrambling out of the bush of New Zealand’s South Island, I paused, surveying the alpine valley in the foreground. Then I saw it. Nestled against a slab of moss-covered schist stood a modest structure, no larger than my 8-by-12-foot college dorm room. With excitement and relief, I clambered toward Cameron Hut.  As a 10-year-old, entranced by the cinematic landscapes of Peter Jackson&rsquo...

Airbnb adds restaurant reservations

Airbnb is expanding into restaurant reservations, part of the startup's plan to become a full-service travel-booking company like Expedia.  Through Airbnb's website and smartphone app, users can book tables at about 650 restaurants nationwide, the company said on Wednesday. Diners could previously use Airbnb to make reservations only in a small test in San Francisco.   The new service...

Uber wants to fly air taxis from DFW Airport to Frisco by 2023

FORT WORTH, Tex. — Uber and Fort Worth-based Bell Helicopter are working to launch an air taxi service in Dallas-Fort Worth.  And before you dismiss the idea as pie in the sky, it’s important to note that officials from both companies say they’re aiming to get it up and running by 2023.   “We expect test flights by 2020, and we anticipate commercial operation...
Viking joins Miami’s fleet of ocean-going cruise ships

Viking joins Miami’s fleet of ocean-going cruise ships

Typically, it’s the biggest cruise ships that grab the headlines, the ones that could carry the entire population of a small city, have more restaurants than Ocean Drive, and claim the most thrilling recreational amenities at sea. But a smaller class of ships is becoming popular, vessels that have a more intimate feel, can get into smaller harbors than the big ships can and offer neither Broadway...

Travel dilemmas: Vietnamese currency tips

Question: I will be traveling to Vietnam. Am I legally permitted to bring Vietnamese currency into Vietnam from the United States?  —Joe Joffino, Torrance, Calif.   Answer: You may take Vietnamese currency into Vietnam from the U.S. and vice versa.   Just for background: The dong is the national currency issued by the State Bank of Vietnam, the central bank. It is one...

Denali National Park welcomes its first, and last, luxury hotel

One of the most luxurious lodges in Alaska, and one of the most remote anywhere, has just opened on a rocky glacier outcropping, or nunatak, smack in the middle of Denali National Park. From its wraparound windows, the resort's guests-a maximum of 10 at any given time-can watch the aurora borealis dance around the sky or survey an endless horizon of jagged peaks blanketed in untouched snow. The only...
Switzerland-Italy train ride traverses different worlds

Switzerland-Italy train ride traverses different worlds

It takes 27 minutes to pass through the Gotthard Base Tunnel. It’s something of a dreamlike experience: you’re on the train hurtling through lush Swiss scenery — trackside haystacks and farmhouses, small villages with a single towering steeple, distant mist-crowned mountains, and dramatic landscape unfolding in more shades of green than you knew existed. Then all of a sudden, everything...

In Chengdu, finding peace in parks and heat in cuisine

“Now, that bear is definitely not white,” said the Dutch tourist next to me. The giant panda turned in our direction at that moment and let out some kind of loud sneeze or snort as if to say, “Give me a break, pal.” It was raining and muddy, after all, and even slightly smudged, the panda bears at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding were still absurdly adorable...

A New Orleans restaurant offers creativity between bread slices

Plenty of people regularly ate sandwiches as kids. But few, if any, have spun that experience into culinary gold like Mason Hereford, whose restaurant Turkey and the Wolf in New Orleans was lauded by Bon Appétit as the best new U.S. restaurant in 2017.  “I sure enough ate my share,” said Hereford, 31, who grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia, before moving to New Orleans in...

Talk Travel: What to pack on a cruise and other travel questions answered

The Washington Post's Travel section writers and editors recently discussed stories, questions, gripes and more. Here are edited excerpts:  Q: I (a mid-20s female) am going on a four-day Carnival cruise to the Bahamas in a couple of weeks with friends (all female, same age as me), with ports of call at Nassau and Princess Cays. As this is both my first time going on a cruise and to the Bahamas...

You're going where? Indianapolis

When I think of Indianapolis, I think about art. That may not be true for everyone who visits the "Crossroads of America," a place often associated with fast cars (the Indianapolis 500), sports fanaticism (the Pacers and Colts, for starters) and towering monuments. (The capital city of Indiana ranks just behind the District of Columbia in number of memorials and monuments.) But beneath the...

US passport ‘execution fees’ to increase in April

U.S. travelers who will need a new passport in 2018 can potentially save themselves a few dollars if they avoid waiting until the last minute to apply.  According to the U.S. Department of State, passport “execution fees” will increase from $25 to $35 starting April 2, 2018. The fee change will bump the total cost of a U.S. passport to $145 for adults and $115 for children 16 and...

A pilot program allows Walt Disney World resort guests to check in with Fido

At sunset on a warm January evening, I walked my dog along the edge of a man-made lake at Walt Disney World's Art of Animation Resort. She sniffed the grass and marked her territory while I kept my eye out for alligators and staffers' ubiquitous golf carts hauling guests' luggage to and from their rooms.  Six months ago, this would have been impossible. Annie Oakley Tater Tot is not a service...

Google really wants to take you there

Flight delay predictions, mobile trip-planning, automatic itinerary management, language translation through Bluetooth earbuds, and a smartphone that enables users to learn about landmarks by tapping an icon and aiming the phone at them: These are among the travel innovations Google has been introducing in recent days and weeks. While a Google Pixel 2 smartphone costs upward of $650, the company&rsquo...

Travel deals: Free night in the British Virgin Islands and a new low-cost carrier to Englan

This week's best travel bargains around the globe.  Land   Getaway Adventures, an adventure-tour company, is offering 25 percent off its guided biking, hiking and kayaking day tours in California Wine Country through 2018. For example, the Healdsburg Sip 'n Cycle winery bike tour costs $111 per person (down from $148) and the sunset bioluminescence kayak tour along the Jenner coast...

Suzhou Tourism has launched a sweepstakes for a four-night trip

NEW YORK (PRWEB) February 16, 2018 -- Suzhou Tourism has launched a sweepstakes giving consumers the chance to win a four-night trip to the charming city to learn about its rich cultural heritage, including the art of silk making.  Through February 26, 11:59 pm. EST, consumers are invited to visit traveltosuzhou.com to enter to win roundtrip airfare for one from a major North American gateway...

What Joel Embiid travels with

Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers is almost as famous for his playful grandstanding as his considerable skills on the basketball court. The 23-year-old, who grew up in Cameroon, has become synonymous with the concept of “The Process,” a strategy for long-term talent building employed by Sam Hinkie, the former 76ers general manager (Embiid punctuates his feisty tweets with the phrase)...

Affordable European getaways to take this spring

What’s better than a spring getaway to Europe? Perhaps one to Europe at an attractive price, and if you’re looking for a bargain, March through May are value-friendly months for a European trip.  According to the airfare prediction app Hopper, the average price for round-trip tickets from the United States to Europe was $870 in April. In June, the start of Europe’s peak tourist...

Proposal aims to reduce Mt. Fuji climbers by up to 25 percent

TOKYO - Japan's Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures proposed on Thursday reducing congestion on Mount Fuji by 12 to 25 percent per day during the peak period by lowering the number of climbers using two of the mountain's four trails.  A scientific committee of the Mt. Fuji World Cultural Heritage council comprising officials from the central government, the two prefectural governments and others...

Travel dilemmas: All the right passport moves

It would be convenient to blame Les Leach of Thousand Oaks, Calif., for my current obsession with the documents one needs (or will need) for travel. Leach wrote to ask what one should do if a passport is misplaced or lost.  But instead, I will thank him because his question spurred a chat with a State Department official who offered this information:   The cost of a passport book or...

Travel Tips: How to get by in a country where you don’t know the language

Traveling to a foreign country can be daunting if you don’t know the local language, and while François Thibault, the cellar master and a founder of Grey Goose, speaks only French, his job requires constant travel around the world. “Over the years, I’ve learned how to navigate foreign countries with limited verbal communication,” he said.  Thibault has a number...
Paradise awaits on Holbox Island

Paradise awaits on Holbox Island

Spray from the Gulf of Mexico splashed high onto the deck, dampening my clothes and skin with a fine layer of crusty salt as I crossed the Yalahau Lagoon between mainland Mexico and Holbox Island. The charter bus had departed from the Cancun Airport two hours ago, but now Puerto de Chiquilá was finally fading away in the hot atmospheric haze of a late spring afternoon and, somewhere in the...
What’s new in Italy for 2018

What’s new in Italy for 2018

Italy bubbles with emotion, corruption, traffic jams, strikes, rallies, religious holidays and crowds. Irate ranters will be shaking their fists at each other one minute and walking arm-in-arm the next. It’s bella chaos, and if you’re well-organized for sightseeing and up-to-date on your transit info, you’ll love it. Here’s the latest, gleaned from the research done for the...

They’re Disneyland superfans. Why a lawsuit is alleging gangster-type tactics against one social club

ANAHEIM, Calif. — They stroll through Disneyland in packs of 20 or more, motley crews that resemble a cross between the Hells Angels motorcycle gang and a grown-up Mickey Mouse Club with their Disney-themed tattoos and their matching denim vests strewn with trading pins and logos.  Disneyland social clubs, by most accounts, are harmless alliances of friends and family who meet up at the...

Climber's death on popular Oregon peak underscores dangers

GOVERNMENT CAMP, Ore. (AP) — Oregon's tallest peak rises above the streets of downtown Portland, its gorgeous snow-capped slopes luring 10,000 climbers a year.  The picture postcard view of Mount Hood makes it one of the most visited snow-capped peaks in the U.S., a destination to check off during any respectable visit to the City of Roses.   "It just stands there and calls...

Hoping for better customer service, travelers turn to Facebook's Messenger

When Karen Korr wanted to change part of her European itinerary, she didn't call Travelocity, her online travel agency. She didn't send an email or a text message, either.  Instead, Korr, who works for a nonprofit organization in San Diego, clicked on Travelocity's Facebook page and sent the company an instant message. She asked if she could make arrangements to stay in Lagos, Portugal, for a...

The acceleration of #vanlife

Years before #vanlife took on a life of its own across social media in the United States, Bill Staggs was onto something.  He had fond memories, dating to his late-1950s childhood, of family trips in a Volkswagen van. In the early 2000s, he started thinking that others might like to dip their toes into that nomadic lifestyle, chugging along behind the wheel of a rented classic vehicle with a...

A bridge now crossed less freely

We were both headed to the bridge, in her case so she could cross back to Mexico after a long day of work, and in mine so I could eat and drink at one of the places I used to go when people still did things like go across the international bridge to eat and drink.  She was an older woman, maybe in her mid-60s, and like so many others she lived in Matamoros and worked in Brownsville, Texas. My...

This is the year of the Mountain Coaster in Colorado

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — By the tracks of North America’s longest alpine coaster, all faces are smiling. But above, skiers rise on Steamboat Resort’s Christie Peak Express lift, and some look down to shake their heads and frown.  Like it or not, 2018 is the year of the coaster in Colorado ski country. The trade association with that name represents four resorts that have either...

Small-sized is big on the current RV landscape

MINNEAPOLIS — It took a camper the size of a fish house to address Ron Salargo’s midlife crisis.  To celebrate his 50th birthday last year, the Hopkins resident quit his full-time job as an accounts payable manager to hit the open road in a medium-sized Ford SUV. To affordably and comfortably circumnavigate the country in 82 days, he towed a teardrop camper so light and compact that...

A new shuttle service, minus the 1980s frills

The announcement by American Airlines seemed to hark to another era: The airline would be adding shuttle service between New York and Chicago this spring — and serving free beer and wine, no less.  But the American shuttle is a “shuttle” in only the narrowest definition: It will adhere to a regular, frequent schedule.   In the glory days of air shuttles, a few decades...
Jazzed about New Orleans

Jazzed about New Orleans

There are close to 100 stations on my Pandora playlist, ranging from classical and folk to rock and hip hop. Despite the selection of artists and songs at my fingertips, I always seem to find myself choosing jazz. It’s comfort music, soothing my soul at the end of a long day, beckoning a liberal pour of red with a side of couch collapse and longneck candles. My “go to’s” are...
Pilot program allows Disney World resort guests to check in with Fido

Pilot program allows Disney World resort guests to check in with Fido

At sunset on a warm January evening, I walked my dog along the edge of a man-made lake at Walt Disney World’s Art of Animation Resort. She sniffed the grass and marked her territory while I kept my eye out for alligators and staffers’ ubiquitous golf carts hauling guests’ luggage to and from their rooms. Six months ago, this would have been impossible. Annie Oakley Tater Tot is not...

Rare frontier photographs go on display in Mt. Carmel, Utah

MT. CARMEL, Utah (PRWEB) February 21, 2018 -- A special exhibit of 116 rare albumen photographs of American Indians taken in Utah and Colorado between 1872-1875 will open on March 15 at the historic Maynard Dixon Home in Mt. Carmel, Utah. The Utah Tribes Exhibit owned by the Thunderbird Foundation for the Arts, is an extraordinary collection of images by John (Jack) Hillers, one of the most important...
Florida beach named nation's best in TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice awards

Florida beach named nation's best in TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice awards

A Florida beach has been named the nation's best in TripAdvisor's annual Travelers' Choice awards. The travel website announced Tuesday that Clearwater Beach was the best in the U.S. in 2018, climbing from No. 4 in 2017. The beach also topped the national list in 2016.  >> Read more trending news  Meanwhile, Grace Bay in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, took the award for...
5 wine tours a lot closer to home than Napa

5 wine tours a lot closer to home than Napa

You can take some of the most lavish, expensive wine tours in the world in the Napa Valley, where wines are all about heritage, taste and sophistication. These days, though, even the snootiest oenophile can find a worthy wine tasting in places far from California. And the same goes for the Napa-style custom of wine tours. Travelers in the South or Southeast have lots of pleasurable wine tours...

A region on New Zealand's North Island is the Southern Hemisphere's take on Yellowstone

I'd been warned about the stink. It hit me the instant I stepped off the plane in Rotorua: a mix of bad egg and warm sewer gas that has earned this city on New Zealand's North Island the nickname "Sulphur City" - or, less kindly, "Rotten-Rua." I sucked in a deep breath and smiled. That subterranean scent meant I would soon be soaking in curative hot springs, smothering my body...

Medieval meets modern in charming Kilkenny, Ireland

On a sunny Friday afternoon in April, the sleepy city of Kilkenny, Ireland, began to wake up. Chattering students filled the sidewalks, their book bags slung across school uniforms, many of the boys carrying the short, hockeylike sticks used in hurling. Locals hurried through Butter Slip, a narrow passage between two streets where butter vendors set up stalls in medieval times. And shoppers ducked...
Boutique inns giving second life to LA’s historic office buildings

Boutique inns giving second life to LA’s historic office buildings

LOS ANGELES—The Bank of Italy once owned one of the finest office buildings in downtown Los Angeles, a 12-story neoclassical monument built in 1923 with towering Doric columns, an ornate, gold-ceilinged lobby and marble floors. By the late 20th century, however, it had fallen into neglect and for several years it was a shuttered eyesore — before reopening in January as the ritzy NoMad...

Two cities, two countries, common ground

“Please don’t write another story about drugs,” Sigrid Maitrejean, a volunteer guide at the Pimeria Alta Museum inside the old city hall in Nogales, Arizona, beseeched me in a playful tone. It was not the only time during my three-day visit to the region that people would make a similar plea: enough of the endless media stories and political rhetoric about the supposedly dangerous...
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