Travel


Blithe tone belied desperate actions of Seattle plane thief

SEATTLE (AP) — He cracked jokes, complimented the professional demeanor of an air traffic controller and apologized for making a fuss.  But the friendly tone of a 29-year-old airport worker who stole a commercial plane Friday night, performing acrobatic stunts before the fatal plunge into a thick island forest, belied his desperate actions.   "I think I'm going to try to...

Traveling alone helped me confront my fear of being by myself

After being laid off this past December, I booked a two-week trip to Paris. I already lived alone, went to dinner alone, sat in coffee shops alone and danced at weddings alone. But I had never traveled alone. It seemed like the final frontier of my life as a single woman.  When I booked the trip, I imagined all the things I would do by myself in Paris. I would walk along the Seine. I would spend...

Trying on a farmhouse in Northern Italy for size

Framed by a mountainous horizon, the farm fields are littered with hay bales, both round and rectangular, and I'm reminded of the Virginia Piedmont, where I grew up. Such a gentle, pastoral landscape seems imprinted in my spiritual DNA, and is the real reason I've journeyed here, to Northern Italy's Piemonte region: to discover whether the two places have more than similar names in common.  The...

Los Cabos is a model for sustainability

Long a favored Mexican visitor destination, Los Cabos is as popular for its plethora of visitor activities as it for its proximity to the United States.  Less than a three-hour plane ride from most of Texas and California, Los Cabos can also be reached in just about five hours for New Yorkers. Moreover, the destination welcomes 500 flights weekly from 40 cities in the United States and Canada...

Travel dilemmas: Calling customer service?

Loretta Gromo wanted to do something special to celebrate her wedding anniversary, so she decided to book a Royal Caribbean cruise to mark 25 years of marriage to her husband, Bob.  After 34 years as an elementary school teacher, she was experienced in handling a range of behaviors, including a lack of cooperation. In the classroom, that might be expected; after all, she taught second-graders...

A sleek San Diego hotel with a focus on food

The Pendry San Diego occupies half a city block that was cleared to make way for a Marriott hotel that never materialized. The 317-room hotel, opened in February 2017, was the first in Montage International’s new hospitality brand.   With the Pendry, the group hopes to attract younger luxury guests than its Montage Hotels & Resorts. As much a destination for drinking and dining as...

Flight trying to leave D.C. delayed - by 1,400 pounds of paperwork

WASHINGTON - There are days when paperwork weighs you down -- and there are days when you are weighed down by so much paperwork your flight can't take off.  Monday, Aug. 6, was such a day, when American Airlines Flight 163 bound for Los Angeles found itself literally grounded by 1,400 pounds of what the pilot termed "government documents." The excess weight had to be unloaded before...

The joy of traveling alone: A New York Times travel writer describes why she loves exploring solo

As a travel writer for the New York Times, Stephanie Rosenbloom has scored many plum assignments. One of them - spending five days in Paris, on her own - stayed with her long after she returned. To find out why her senses pricked up there - and why she was able to delight in the smallest things there - she returned to Paris and also traveled solo to Istanbul and Florence. Back in New York City, she...

The guide to responsible camping in Colorado

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Camping in Colorado is a blast. It’s the best way to get up-close to the wild environment that makes the Centennial State so special. That being said, following best practices of camping responsibly is key to having an experience that’s both enjoyable and safe for often fragile environments. Here are a few guidelines to make sure that you’re camping...

Hiking near wildfire zones? What to know before dashing up that trail

Dana Hendricks had a front-row seat when 176 hikers got stranded by fast-moving wildfires last year in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge.  The veteran trail manager who lives just upriver from where it happened said the harrowing episode underscores why those heading into wilderness need to be prepared for a fire. Although all the hikers eventually were rescued, most had to spend a night on...

Want to stay healthy while flying? Follow this advice from an aviation doctor.

Quay Snyder flies more than 130 times a year on commercial flights. As an aerospace medicine specialist, pilot and flight instructor, he feels perfectly safe in the air. But after each flight, to put his wife's mind at ease, he'll call her to say he has arrived without incident. "I joke with my wife," he says. "I give her a call and I say: 'I'm starting the most dangerous part of my...

San Jose airport shows off facial recognition for international flights

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Mineta San Jose International Airport demonstrated a facial recognition system that will make it the first West Coast airport to launch, for all international flights, a technology that officials said has already slashed the processing time for travelers.  Facial recognition uses a digital image or a video capture to verify or identify a person. The airport launched the...

San Jose airport shows off facial recognition for international flights

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Mineta San Jose International Airport demonstrated a facial recognition system that will make it the first West Coast airport to launch, for all international flights, a technology that officials said has already slashed the processing time for travelers.  Facial recognition uses a digital image or a video capture to verify or identify a person. The airport launched the...

Visiting Jack Daniel’s, and other kindred spirits

While restoring the 1887-vintage Old Taylor Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky, Will Arvin and Wes Murry, partners in the business, discovered abandoned train tracks on the property and a passenger depot once used by visitors arriving to tour the bourbon works. When it reopens in the fall, after a 40-year hiatus, as Castle & Key Distillery, the gin and bourbon brand will use the restored Taylorton...
Flight trying to leave D.C. delayed - by 1,400 pounds of paperwork

Flight trying to leave D.C. delayed - by 1,400 pounds of paperwork

WASHINGTON - There are days when paperwork weighs you down -- and there are days when you are weighed down by so much paperwork your flight can't take off.  » RELATED: NASA flight to sun delayed 24 hours Monday, Aug. 6, was such a day, when American Airlines Flight 163 bound for Los Angeles found itself literally grounded by 1,400 pounds of what the pilot termed "government documents...
Nantucket’s small size belies boundless history, appeal

Nantucket’s small size belies boundless history, appeal

The Grey Lady is gorgeous. Just the profusion of giant rhododendron and wild roses cascading over the sand dunes is worth the cost of the hourlong ferry ride south from Cape Cod. But there is so much more to see and learn about on the island of Nantucket, a National Historic Landmark. Its diminutive size (47.8 square miles, in what Herman Melville described as a “small elbow of sand”)...
Play for the day in Portland

Play for the day in Portland

An Austinite doesn’t have to stay long to feel right at home in Portland. From the cities’ mutual love for live music, bicycles and craft beer to a shared affinity for keeping things “weird” and a foodie culture that embraces culinary innovation in everything from chef-driven restaurants to doughnut shops and food trucks and carts, similarities between these unofficial sister...
Exploring Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory

Exploring Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory

On the wild and rushing Clackamas River that winds through Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory, our screams are drowned out by the roar of the rapids. Our black inflatable raft surges forward atop raging whitewater as bone-chilling waves soak our bodies and steal our breath. During this half-day rafting trip with Blue Sky Rafting (blueskyrafting.com), our emotions are a mix of sheer thrill punctuated...

Warrantless device searches at the border are rising. Privacy advocates are suing.

If you're traveling abroad this month, be careful what devices you bring across the U.S. border.  Customs and Border Protection searches of cellphones, laptops and other electronic devices have spiked dramatically over the past two years, and they're expected to rise in the August vacation season.   Privacy advocates worry that these searches, if conducted without a warrant or suspicion...
Universal Orlando hints at name of 4th theme park

Universal Orlando hints at name of 4th theme park

ORLANDO, Fla. — Comcast executives in July gave a glimpse of how much they hope to amp up a war with Walt Disney World as they hinted at a possible name for a fourth theme park they believe would make Universal Orlando Resort destination for a week-long stay. In a question-and-answer session July 26, an analyst inquired about a patent application filed last month for the name “Fantastic...
Celebrity Cruises revamps fleet while moving forward on Celebrity Apex

Celebrity Cruises revamps fleet while moving forward on Celebrity Apex

Celebrity Cruises is set to debut its first new ship in more than a decade when Celebrity Edge makes its way to Florida this fall, but the cruise line isn’t slowing down after that. This summer, the second of four Edge-class ships, Celebrity Apex, moved forward with a steel-cutting ceremony at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in St. Nazaire, France. And Celebrity announced it was...

Don't make these car-rental mistakes on your next vacation

Before you click the "book" button on your next car rental, consider what happened to Elizabeth Thorp on a recent trip from her home in Washington to Denver.  When Thorp's airline canceled her flight, delaying her arrival by a day, Avis charged her a $150 cancellation fee for her rental car.   "A representative said, 'Sorry, you had a prepaid rate,' " says Thorp...

At this supermarket pop-up, everything is made of felt. Really

LOS ANGELES — It’s tempting to turn “The Sparrow Mart,” British artist Lucy Sparrow’s latest exhibition, featuring more than 31,000 felted creations made to look like everyday supermarket items, into a commentary on American consumerism.  But for the 32-year-old Sparrow, the interactive installation, currently on view at the Standard Hotel in downtown L.A., is merely...

In Guatemala City, a temple to the tostada

Written in big white chalk letters on the door of Dora La Tostadora are the words “No hay caviar, pero hay maíz.” There’s not caviar, but there’s corn.  That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows the place. The restaurant — a few blocks from the heart of Cuatro Grados Norte, or Zona 4, Guatemala City’s bustling cultural and gastronomic...
Florida’s scallop season is an underwater Easter egg hunt

Florida’s scallop season is an underwater Easter egg hunt

ORLANDO, Fla. — It’s scallop season in Florida, which means hundreds of scallopers converge on Homosassa Bay in search of the edible mollusk. Early on a bright and sunny Saturday morning, my family set out for the Gulf of Mexico in search of the Florida Bay scallop. There were six in our hunting party; four were novice scallopers. We were armed with snorkel masks, swim fins, scalloping...

Hotels grapple with racial bias

Incidents of racial bias have hit major consumer brands, including Uber, Starbucks and Airbnb. Now they are cropping up at hotels, unsettling guests, spreading via social media with the hashtag #TravelingWhileBlack, and leading some in the travel industry to revisit diversity training and evaluate its effectiveness.  In May, The Washington Post ran an article about a hotel clerk at the Country...
Tourism plummets in Nicaragua amid unrest – but surfers won’t stay away

Tourism plummets in Nicaragua amid unrest – but surfers won’t stay away

POPOYO, Nicaragua — As tourism in Nicaragua skids to a near standstill amid continuing political upheaval, hotels and restaurants have shut down by the hundreds, the tourism workforce has been cut by more than half and even the most luxurious hotel in the country, known for attracting celebrities like actor Morgan Freeman, has closed its doors. But there is one unlikely bright spot: surfers...

How airplane passengers evacuate in an emergency is getting a closer look

On Oct. 28, 2016, American Airlines Flight 383 sped down the runway at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport for a flight to Miami when the Boeing 767 aircraft came to a sudden stop and a fire erupted around the right engine.  Within seconds, the plane’s flight attendants had begun to evacuate the plane, with the first passenger exiting down an overwing slide 31 seconds after...
Visitors can swim with sharks at Discovery Cove

Visitors can swim with sharks at Discovery Cove

Most people opt to stay as far away from sharks as possible, thanks to movies like “Jaws.” At SeaWorld’s Discovery Cove, visitors can face their fears and free swim right alongside 20 sharks. Whitetip reef sharks, blacktip reef sharks, nurse sharks, a zebra shark and a spotted wobbegong can all be found swimming next to human visitors during the shark swim experience. Aquarium supervisor...

19th-century illustrator gets her due for work benefiting a college that wasn't open to women

Orra White Hitchcock had an unusual knack for translating science into arresting, informative images.  Chances are, though, that you don't know her name.   It's no wonder: Largely unsigned, most of her groundbreaking scientific illustrations were created for other people. She did her work "without the slightest pecuniary compensation, or the hope of artistic reputation," her...

The persisting pleasure of Chanticleer Garden

A decade ago, I started work on a book about Chanticleer Garden in Wayne, Pennsylvania, and with photographer Rob Cardillo produced what I hoped would be not just another fleeting coffee table book but an ode to one of America's horticultural gems.  What makes Chanticleer so special is the underlying ethos established, among others, by its first director, Chris Woods, who held that the primary...

Talk Travel: How to see Canada by train

The Washington Post's Travel section writers and editors recently discussed stories, questions, gripes and more. Here are edited excerpts:  Q: Do you have any advice/info on fares, stops to visit and routes on traveling cross country via the Canadian rail system?   A: I rode Via Rail from Halifax to Vancouver last year for the country's 150th anniversary. Summer is a great time to go...

How to get rid of a timeshare

Some timeshare buyers know almost instantly that they've made a mistake. Other owners struggle for years with loan payments and ever-escalating annual fees before they're ready to throw in the towel. Even the happiest timeshare owners may decide they want out of their contracts, perhaps when they are no longer able to travel.  Buyers can cancel a timeshare purchase if they do so within the "...

Flight attendants want to do something about cabin temperatures that run hot or cold

For some air travelers, the only thing worse than spending hours crammed into a tiny seat aboard a jetliner is spending the rest of the trip shivering from extreme cold or sweating from extreme heat inside the cabin.  Now there's something you might be able to do about it.   Flight attendants are asking passengers to download a free app, 2Hot2Cold, that can monitor and report cabin...

This app helps users look like world travelers on Instagram

There was a time, not so long ago, when your travel destination determined your photos. Now, experts say, your photos increasingly determine your travel destination.  That's because Instagram has turned "travel bragging" - posting alluring images from exotic locales to one-up your followers - into something of an art form.   Amass enough followers and you could gain influencer...

Heat wave: Portugal tames wildfire; French cities ban cars

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Firefighters in Portugal were close to bringing a major, four-day wildfire near a popular tourist area under control Monday as sweltering weather gripped much of Europe.  The Portuguese Civil Protection Agency said firefighters had contained 95 percent of the blaze in rolling hills by the country's southern Algarve coast, though they were wary of reignitions and...

Stay awhile to enjoy the wine and olive oil

Tours and tastings at olive oil estates and wineries are a popular part of any trip to Italy, but why visit for only an hour or two when you can spend the night? Several of these estates throughout the country hope to attract overnight guests with new accommodations and a lineup of activities.  Hanging your hat in a winery or with a local olive oil producer is an opportunity to enjoy a countryside...
Rocket City, Alabama: Space history and an eye on the future

Rocket City, Alabama: Space history and an eye on the future

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — The birthplace of NASA's rockets lies in the land of cotton, hundreds of miles from Cape Canaveral's launch pads.  From the first U.S. satellites and astronauts, to the Apollo moon shots, to the space shuttles and now NASA's still-in-development Space Launch System, rocket history inundates Huntsville, Alabama.   Huntsville's nickname, Rocket City, is thanks...

Sleepy Joshua Tree sees a boom in tourism, illegal rentals

JOSHUA TREE, Calif. — Mark Grden was looking for peace and quiet when he bought his house a half-mile from the main entrance to Joshua Tree National Park in 1998. And for years, he found it.  “I used to sit out on the porch and watch bobcats creep past under skies filled with stars, bats and owls,” he said. “Neighbors knew each other and kept an eye on each other&rsquo...
This Texas airport is one of the worst in the country, according to a study

This Texas airport is one of the worst in the country, according to a study

Ever flown out of San Antonio? Then you’ve flown out of the sixth-worst airport in the United States, according to a new study. Credit card site Upgraded Points analyzed 60 of the biggest airports in the country and deemed San Antonio International Airport particularly unsavory. The study compared the airports in terms of overall satisfaction, flight delays and cancellations, ease of access...
Do you love to feel scared? This Texas festival is for you

Do you love to feel scared? This Texas festival is for you

If haunted dolls freak you out, you may not want to attend the second annual Nightmares of San Antonio Paranormal Fest next month. RELATED: 6 places in Austin you didn't know were haunted The festival will have ghost hunter booths, psychics, mediums, vendors and a “spirit communication class,” according to the San Antonio Express-News. The festival’s main event...

Grand Teton National Park’s Snake River is a charmer

GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK — In 1911, James Manges laid claim to 160 acres inside what eventually would become this park, and when he left his small cabin to fish cutthroat trout in the Snake River, he’d tack a handwritten note to the door:  “Gone fishing,” he scribbled. “If I don’t come back try to make a living off the place.”   Manges was...

On a budget safari in Africa, the luxury is in the wildlife

Bill, an Australian traveler in Zimbabwe, stood in the velvet-caped darkness and listened. I planted myself next to him and sucked in my breath, not wanting the smallest leak of air to disturb the quiet. And then we waited for it, the low growl that would confirm our suspicions: A lion had crashed our campsite.  After hearing the noise again, I grabbed our guide from the picnic shelter. Onary...

Summer in France, in two very different ways

“It is OK. It is not a big jump. Take a breath. One, two, three, and then step,” said my French canyoning guide, Fabrice Paget. I insisted that he was wrong. It was a huge step, off a cliff, 20 feet down into a pool of freezing cold water.  I had paid 65 euros (about $76) to do exactly this: trek through a river canyon near the Alpine town of Megève while rappelling down vertical...

Nine budget hacks for your next vacation

Want to travel like the pros? Better start pinching your pennies, pesos and pounds. While it's true that money can buy you an elite - easy, even - adventure anywhere, those who travel for a living genuinely enjoy the challenge of bargain hunting. Riding public transportation, couch surfing and sampling street food immerses you in the day-to-day life of any city - and that's what traveling is all about...
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