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Casa Palopo: a jewel on Guatemala’s Lake Atitlan

Casa Palopo: a jewel on Guatemala’s Lake Atitlan

Some days at the office, as every member of the work force knows, are better than others. As a travel writer, the world is my office and this was definitely one of the better days. Upon arrival at the airport in Guatemala City, I was whisked off to lunch at the colorful La Esquina, a combination bistro and marketplace in the city’s vibrant Zone 4 neighborhood. A veritable riot of color and design...
A perfume devotee in the land of French fragrance

A perfume devotee in the land of French fragrance

Before I became a perfume devotee a dozen years ago, my lexicon for describing scent was limited to words like “woodsy” or “flowery.” Later I found myself craving the dexterity of language that could match the increasingly complex perfumes arriving at my house in tiny decanted samples.  At the time, perfume blogs and a few books were lifting the veil off a closely guarded...
Iconic Yosemite National Park is seeing more vehicles than ever clogging its roads

Iconic Yosemite National Park is seeing more vehicles than ever clogging its roads

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. — Pierre Celotto and Aurene Humbert had a definite vision in mind when they booked a summer vacation that included a day in Yosemite Valley.  Urged on by breathtaking photographs and nature documentaries, the Parisians said, they looked forward to serene walks along trails where pine trees threw shadows across streams and picturesque meadows teemed with wildlife...
In Vegas, some bars work with machine-like precision

In Vegas, some bars work with machine-like precision

LAS VEGAS—They will make your drinks, but they won’t listen to your problems. Robot bartenders have made their way to the Las Vegas Strip — evidence perhaps that Skynet is closer to becoming self-aware and will have a convenient place to take the edge off. Bar owner Rino Armeni swears this isn’t yet another move to replace human beings. “No, no, no,” he said gamely...
From canopy walk to gator-filled waters, this Florida park offers wildlife aplenty

From canopy walk to gator-filled waters, this Florida park offers wildlife aplenty

The only thing more worrying than seeing a bunch of alligators around your canoe is not seeing them but knowing darn well they are there.  I am with my two kids, Kai, 8, and Christina, 5, and my sister Gina and her 5-year-old son Quincy, in Florida's Myakka River State Park. It's a moss-and-vine-draped domain of birds, mammals and Jurassic-spiked reptiles covering 29,000 acres about 20 miles...
We took our 12-week-old to Cuba. Here's why, and how you can travel with a baby, too.

We took our 12-week-old to Cuba. Here's why, and how you can travel with a baby, too.

"We will never travel again!" Those were the first words out of our mouths as my wife and I watched the fourth pregnancy test turn positive. (Yes, it took four tests to believe it.)  Coming as a complete surprise, joyous thoughts of raising a beautiful family together were far from our minds. Instead, we were grieving how our lives would drastically change. Having grown up traveling...
A taste of small-town Texas

A taste of small-town Texas

When you’re craving an escape from city traffic and crowds, travel just beyond the outskirts of Austin’s bustle for a taste of the true small town Texas flavors that flourish in Taylor. This quintessential pint-size Texas town boasts finger-licking barbecue, a quaint Main Street lined with historic buildings being revitalized by independent, locally focused businesses, and hometown pride...
Dressed to impress? Unofficially, the airline may take note

Dressed to impress? Unofficially, the airline may take note

It may matter what air travelers wear on the plane.  That’s not just the case for the legging-wearing teenage girls denied boarding on a United Airlines flight this spring. The two girls were flying on United’s pass program, which lets friends or relatives of airline employees fly free or at discounted rates. The catch is a dress code.   But even for those paying regular...
A tranquil oasis in Greece

A tranquil oasis in Greece

Check In  Casa Cook Rhodes, Greece   Rates   From 101 euros (about $120).   Basics   Casa Cook Rhodes opened a year ago as the first Greek hotel by Thomas Cook, a tour operator based in Britain. With the rugged Tsambika Mountain as its backdrop, the 95-room bohemian resort for adults only has a minimalist, contemporary style. A garden with bright flowers...

Family travel: Some tips on how to make this experience eclipse all others

Soon, the United States will experience its first total solar eclipse in 99 years. On Aug. 21, the sky will go dark, the air will cool and stars will be visible as a shadow falls across a narrow sliver of land called the Path of Totality. From Oregon to South Carolina, eclipse enthusiasts will be celebrating this celestial wonder. If you have yet to make plans for the big event, here are five ideas...
Plenty of legroom on Boeing 777 tailored for the world’s richest

Plenty of legroom on Boeing 777 tailored for the world’s richest

SEATTLE—On commercial airlines today, traveling in coach is a pain, while the wealthy are well looked after in first class. But for the ultrawealthy, there’s a whole other level available.  For China’s “Golden Week” holiday at the beginning of October, a group of rich Asians will take off from Hong Kong on a lavishly appointed Boeing 777 for a nine-day tour with...
In Breezewood, Pennsylvania, the truck stops here

In Breezewood, Pennsylvania, the truck stops here

I expected to live my entire life without price-shopping for truck-stop showers. Then I spent the night in Breezewood.  The adventure began last August when my main squeeze James and I drove to Colorado. We passed through Breezewood, Pennsylvania, as do many drivers heading to the Rust Belt and beyond.   "What do you think about vacationing here for a week," James asked. I...
Santa Fe Indian Market fuses tradition with contemporary art

Santa Fe Indian Market fuses tradition with contemporary art

For nearly a century, American Indian jewelers, potters and other artists have been gathering in the heart of northern New Mexico to show off their creations at one of the nation's most prestigious art markets.  The annual Santa Fe Indian Market begins Saturday as organizers push ahead with raising the bar for showcasing what they say are the best examples of art that has evolved from centuries-old...
Traveling together? Apps to help split (and pay) the bills

Traveling together? Apps to help split (and pay) the bills

Traveling with a group — friends, extended family, a bachelor party — makes for some of the best summer vacations. It can also make for some of the most complicated vacations when it comes to splitting the costs of dinners, museum admissions, rental homes and cars.  Digital wallets and peer-to-peer payment apps, however, are aiming to make it easy by allowing users to pay one another...

Thinking of visiting that hot new vacation destination? Think again.

Daniel Threlfall remembers his visit to Chichen Itza, Mexico, a destination billed as one of the wonders of the world. It isn't a good memory.  Threlfall, an Internet consultant from Greenville, South Carolina, expected to be wowed by Mayan temples and natural beauty when he traveled to the Yucatan with his family last year. "Instead, we were met with sky-high prices, in-and-out access and...

A Southwest airfare sale and $100 off a Caribbean vacation

This week's best travel bargains around the globe:  --Peregrine Adventures, a small, group-adventure-travel company, is offering 20 percent off most of its international trips, including those to Egypt, Uganda, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica and Tuscany in Italy. For example, the 15-day Explore Azerbaijan, Georgia & Armenia itinerary, which departs Oct. 7 and 14, costs $2,792 per person double, down from...
North Korean tensions aren't deterring tourists from Guam

North Korean tensions aren't deterring tourists from Guam

HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — Tourists haven't been deterred from visiting the tropical island of Guam even though the U.S. territory has been at the center of North Korean and U.S. threats during the past week.  Won Hyung-jin, an official from Modetour, a large South Korean travel agency, said several customers called with concerns, but they weren't worried enough to pay cancellation fees for their...
Tips for women traveling solo, from dining out to hotel safety

Tips for women traveling solo, from dining out to hotel safety

Suzanne Randolph, 60, knows firsthand that it can be daunting for women to travel on their own. Randolph, a former art adviser, says that in her more than two decades of frequent solo travel, she has encountered her fair share of challenges. “Finding a place to eat and getting plugged into the local scene of your destination isn’t easy when you’re alone,” she said.  Her...
In France's Dordogne region, a land of castles and caves calls for deep exploration

In France's Dordogne region, a land of castles and caves calls for deep exploration

When our children were 11 and 9, young enough to still be entirely inside the family circle but old enough to remember, we splurged on a "once in a lifetime vacation" and rented a small farmhouse in Southwestern France outside the village of Saint-Cyprien. Each day, our son and daughter would say goodbye to the donkey that hung around our patio and we'd climb in the tiny rented Renault and...

How to vacation with your parents for less

As my parents have grown older, my desire to haul them around to far-flung places has only grown.  Since my dad turns 75 this year and my mom turns 70 the next, I know our time together could easily come to an end in the next five-to-20 years. So, of course, I want them to relax on beautiful beaches, enjoy delicious dinners and forget about their worldly troubles for a while.   Unfortunately...
A classic London restaurant gets a makeover and a new mission

A classic London restaurant gets a makeover and a new mission

The rubbery corporate mascot we know as the Michelin Man actually has a name: Bibendum, drawn from a Latin phrase once used in the tire company’s advertising: “nunc est bibendum,” best translated as “time for a drink” — odd advice, perhaps, for drivers, but good news for diners.  Bibendum is also the name of the restaurant that the designer and tastemaker Terence...

Airlines are bumping fewer passengers, U.S. report says

Domestic airlines are bumping passengers off flights at the lowest rate since 1995, according to a new federal report — a decline that may be partially attributable to the fallout from an April episode in which a man was dragged off a United Airlines flight.  The 12 domestic carriers that report data on the number of passengers who are involuntarily denied boarding posted a bumping rate...

How to survive a long flight with a baby or preschooler

Flying with babies and small children is an activity most of us wouldn't wish on our worst enemies. Yet sometimes, it has to be done - especially if you consider the alternatives - the car ride from hell? A slow boat to China? Horse and buggy? One dad admitted that on one plane trip, he let his kids drop items on the floor and then kick him in the head when he went to retrieve them. They got a big...

Affordable trips to South Africa

South Africa is a coveted destination this year for travelers from the United States: According to data from South African Tourism, the first quarter of 2017 saw a 6.3 percent increase in visitors from the United States to South Africa, compared with the first quarter of 2016. Also, the airfare prediction app Hopper saw a 36 percent increase in flight searches this spring for travel in the fall to...
Travel tips: Luxury for less in New York City

Travel tips: Luxury for less in New York City

A luxury vacation to New York City on a budget? It can be done, according to Eric J. Gordon, the owner of Beyond Times Square, a company that plans high-end New York City trips. “An upscale New York getaway can be several thousand dollars, but with a few money-saving tricks, you can have a similar experience for far less,” he said.  Here, Gordon shares his tips:   Hotel...
Travel goods for today: Packing for a dual-purpose trip

Travel goods for today: Packing for a dual-purpose trip

If anyone knows how to pack for a trip that begins as business and segues into leisure, it is a member of a flight crew. Travelpro, a company founded by an airline pilot, knows this and has designed many bags that are stylish yet sturdy, and perfect for professionals presiding over a board meeting or presenting at a conference and then downshifting to a weekend of leisurely pursuits.  Travelpro&rsquo...
Milwaukee welcomes visitors with lake views, stellar food, never-ending brews

Milwaukee welcomes visitors with lake views, stellar food, never-ending brews

There's always something to celebrate in Milwaukee. And I'm not just talking about the music, food and art festivals that fill the summer, or the azure views of Lake Michigan, or even the city's beer-steeped history. I'm talking about the jovial bands of people walking the streets of downtown every time I visit - bachelorette parties (so many bachelorette parties!), bachelor parties, wedding parties...
8 ways to tackle long-haul flights with children

8 ways to tackle long-haul flights with children

Whatever the mode of transport, traveling with children is often no picnic. The long-haul flight (five hours or more) offers up a special brand of hell, a smorgasbord of meltdowns, impromptu maladies and indiscriminate peevishness. I don’t blame them. Being caged like the class gerbil for hours can be tedious. They can’t seem to help upchucking on you and whining. A carefully plotted parental...
Solar eclipse could create once-in-a-lifetime road hazards

Solar eclipse could create once-in-a-lifetime road hazards

WASHINGTON — The moon will block out the sun, and day will plunge into night. Birds will stop singing, crickets will start chirping, and many people will gasp, weep, or even howl when they see the sun’s corona shimmering in the darkened sky.  And some drivers, inevitably, will stop in the middle of the road to take a selfie.   The Aug. 21 total eclipse will cut directly...
Barcelona’s version of Valentine’s Day celebrates love, literature

Barcelona’s version of Valentine’s Day celebrates love, literature

The red roses had popped up all over town by Friday evening. Young men selling these centuries-old proclamations of love, individually wrapped with the red and yellow stripes of the Catalan flag, began appearing on street corners and roundabouts. Gas stations temporarily added to their stock book stands with recent best-sellers and buckets full of roses. The first signs of Barcelona preparing for...
Favorite park getaways in Paris, London and Barcelona

Favorite park getaways in Paris, London and Barcelona

Europe’s greatest major cities are filled with exciting bustle and thrilling “I’ve always wanted to see this” sights. But the grandeur of a big city can get drowned out quickly by the hubbub of humanity and the panicky pressure to pack in the sightseeing. Happily, Europe’s cities all offer peaceful parks and gardens to stroll, bike or just sit and people-watch. Here are...
Embracing farm-to-table at Mohonk Mountain House

Embracing farm-to-table at Mohonk Mountain House

Can you create a farm-to-table restaurant if you have 100 tables in an 8,750-square-foot main dining room, 80 more tables downstairs, nine in a cozy lounge, 50 outside overlooking an Arcadian lake and, on certain nights, eight in a capacious kitchen?  That is the question that Jim Palmeri, the executive chef at Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York, spent several years contemplating. ...
Donald Trump's childhood digs now available to rent on Airbnb

Donald Trump's childhood digs now available to rent on Airbnb

Looking for a rental home? Now you can stay at Donald Trump's place.  No, not 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. - but Trump's childhood home in Queens, New York, now available on Airbnb.   Trump's father Fred built the 5-bedroom, 3 1/2-bath home, dubbed "Jamaica Estates." The circa 1940 Tudor-style house is available for $725 a night. "Not much has been changed since the Trumps...

In an era of on-demand food delivery, hotel room service is forced to evolve

CHICAGO — Hotel room service has always been a tough sell.  It’s expensive both to order and to operate, looks extravagant on a business traveler’s expense report, and for most people, goes against the very point of travel: to get out and explore new sights and cuisines. Room service revenue industrywide is down more than 25 percent since before the recession, according to CBRE...

A San Francisco hotel wired for a tech central crowd

— Check In  Axiom Hotel   28 Cyril Magnin St., San Francisco; 415-392-9466; axiomhotel.com    From $279.   The Axiom Hotel aims to reflect the city that it’s in. Being tech-forward is the focus of this six-story, 152-room hotel, which opened in February 2016. Developed by Host Hotels & Resorts and managed by Kokua Hospitality, this property in the...

Are 'schedule changes' just a chance for an airline to improve their on-time record?

The Washington Post's travel writers and editors recently discussed stories, questions, gripes and more. Here are edited excerpts:  Q: I nearly panicked when I saw "Schedule Changes That Impact Your Upcoming Trip" in the subject line on an email from the airline where I recently booked a round-trip to Boston for connecting flights to/from Europe. As luck would have it, the only changes...

The 5 words you never want to say when paying by credit card in a foreign country

Question: We recently traveled to Spain and Portugal. When paying by credit card, we were given the option of paying in euros or dollars. It was unclear which was more advisable. I carry a co-branded airline credit card that doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee, so if you can pay in dollars and not incur a foreign transaction fee, then there is no reason for us to be paying $95 for a card...
Travel tips: How to navigate art galleries in any city

Travel tips: How to navigate art galleries in any city

Whether you’re vacationing in a big city or a small town, checking out the local art galleries makes for an enjoyable day out, said Natasha Schlesinger, an art historian who created ArtMuse Discover Galleries, an app that guides users through New York City’s more than 1,000 art galleries. “So many places around the world have a gallery scene that’s either burgeoning or established...
Call of Colorado River leads to a family pilgrimage

Call of Colorado River leads to a family pilgrimage

“Whoa, that’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” my 9-year-old nephew Deegan whispered, staring at a night sky that was pitch black and dotted with starlight. Worn out after a day of rafting, nearly a dozen of us were zipped into sleeping bags, strewn about the sandy banks of the Colorado River like pieces of driftwood tossed ashore. The wild river bubbled...
Disney plans ‘Star Wars’ virtual reality attraction

Disney plans ‘Star Wars’ virtual reality attraction

LOS ANGELES — There’s about to be a new way to experience the “Star Wars” universe.  An attraction that blends virtual reality and real-world elements will open at the Disney resorts in California and Florida this holiday season, Walt Disney Co.’s Lucasfilm unit has announced.   Lucasfilm and its ILMxLAB immersive-entertainment unit are working with the...
New San Diego Zoo bridge eliminates uphill climb

New San Diego Zoo bridge eliminates uphill climb

SAN DIEGO — Traversing a hilly portion of the 100-acre San Diego Zoo just got measurably easier, thanks to the recent Friday of a long-planned pedestrian bridge linking the west and east sides of the Balboa Park attraction.  Canopy Bridge, as it is being called, is elevated 70 feet above the canyon floor and spans 450 feet between Elephant Odyssey on the west and the Treeptops area near...

What is turbulence? It's scary, but no cause for alarm.

Patrick Smith compiled a list of the five things that worry him the most when flying. Bird strikes and cargo fires made the cut; turbulence did not.  "Most of us in the cockpit are thinking, 'This is really annoying,' and not, 'I hope the wings don't rip off,'" said Smith, a veteran commercial air pilot who hosts the website Ask the Pilot.   Flight-crew members are not typically...

That North Korea vacation? It’ll soon be out of the question for Americans

The U.S. government has decided to bar Americans from visiting North Korea, the first time in years that the State Department has moved to block travel to another country.  The restriction comes amid rising tensions between the United States and North Korea, which has been testing intercontinental ballistic missiles and threatened to attack the United States with nuclear weapons. The ban also...
Terlingua Adventure Beer Company blends Big Bend, brew and dreams

Terlingua Adventure Beer Company blends Big Bend, brew and dreams

The way Tony Drewry sees it, a beer castle will rise in the desert. It will house a modern history of Texas beer, via a collection of cans and memorabilia. And it will lure adventure seekers, especially those with a background in the beer industry, from all corners of the state. They will gather in the Big Bend region to paddle, hike and explore the back country via 4x4 vehicle, and, of course, to...
Austin among ‘hottest’ U.S. cities, in more ways than one 

Austin among ‘hottest’ U.S. cities, in more ways than one 

Austin’s a hot city to live in, and as anyone who’s ever set foot here, it’s also scorching hot in the summer.  Sparefoot, a personal storage company, recently put together a list of the “hottest hottest cities in the United States,” ranking cities with growing populations and rising temperatures.  Austin landed in the No. 5 spot of Sparefoot’s list...
Don’t leave painted rocks at state parks, Texas Parks & Wildlife requests

Don’t leave painted rocks at state parks, Texas Parks & Wildlife requests

They might look pretty, but the painted rocks being left behind at many natural sites across Texas aren’t welcome, according to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department in a Facebook post that elicited strong reactions from subsequent commenters. Leaving the rocks is a violation of the ‘Leave No Trace’ principles that Texas Parks & Wildlife, like the other parks departments across the...
100 Williamson County cats to be euthanized if not adopted, fostered in next 3 days

100 Williamson County cats to be euthanized if not adopted, fostered in next 3 days

“For the first time in years we are facing a heartbreaking decision,” reads a Facebook post on the page of the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter.  The shelter posted yesterday that, because its facilities had met capacity, it would need to find families or foster homes for 100 healthy cats or be forced to euthanize them. The shelter also said that all cat and kitten adoptions...
12 things I learned by working as a butler at the Plaza Hotel

12 things I learned by working as a butler at the Plaza Hotel

Old-school service is alive and well at the Plaza: High tea treats are served in brass birdcages, tuxedo-clad bellman whisk away luggage to gilded suites, and chefs bear toques that tower above their heads. But in the age of Amazon Prime-when we all want everything now -what is it really like blending vestigial aristocratic assistance with light-speed wish fulfillment?  In order to properly find...
How a tenderfoot’s horse trek showed him the magic of pristine Sierra

How a tenderfoot’s horse trek showed him the magic of pristine Sierra

Shane was a strong, sure-footed horse, about 20 years old, raised in Texas. He had plenty of ideas about how an excursion into the Eastern Sierra should go, especially the grazing and drinking between meals. I had different ideas, and the reins. Occasionally, there was friction. But for four days in late June, we were a team clambering up switchback trails and crossing creeks full of rushing water...

Trending: Want to book a secret?

When Veronica Hershey was planning a trip to Las Vegas, her friend told her about an unadvertised suite at the El Cortez Hotel and Casino.  It was the former penthouse of Jackie Gaughan, a famed Las Vegas casino owner with eccentric taste. After a renovation, the owners decided to preserve the 2,700-square-foot space in his honor. The bathroom has a pink marble tub with gold swan faucets. The...
Santa Barbara: Exploring surf and turf along America’s Riviera

Santa Barbara: Exploring surf and turf along America’s Riviera

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — For someone with only one cup of coffee in her system and a steep, craggy trail run into Rattlesnake Canyon looming, it was not the best way to greet the morning. “Keep an eye out for loose rocks,” a pair of passing hikers called out as I rounded a turn on the switchback path. “Oh, and rattlesnakes!” they added with a nonchalant air, as they scrambled...
Looking for love? You’re not alone at this matchmaking festival

Looking for love? You’re not alone at this matchmaking festival

LISDOONVARNA, Ireland — Once a tranquil backwater a few miles off the rugged Atlantic coast, Lisdoonvarna landed on the map thanks to its mineral springs, which drew visitors seeking the curative powers of these sulfur- and iron-rich waters. Lisdoon — as it’s known locally — sprouted up from the karst limestone landscape in County Clare to become one of Ireland’s earliest...
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