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Catalina Island beckons with new trails, vestiges of old Hollywood

California sun sends shimmers of light across the choppy waves as I depart Long Beach and head out to sea aboard the high-speed ferry Catalina Express. My destination: a 76-square-mile fortress of rock that’s marooned 23 miles off the coast of Los Angeles. Catalina is one of eight of the Channel Islands, and it’s the only one with a significant civilian population. Latest figures put the...

What's new at theme parks: Wonder Woman coaster, Pixar Pier

NEW YORK (AP) — Orlando, Florida, doesn't have a lock on theme park news this summer.  Sure, Toy Story Land at Disney World and a new "Fast & Furious" attraction at Universal Orlando will be getting attention. But there are lots of other exciting openings around the country.   Fans of Wonder Woman can ride the first coaster named for her, Wonder Woman Golden Lasso Coaster...
The world’s most beautiful boulevards find favor with ‘flaneaurs’

The world’s most beautiful boulevards find favor with ‘flaneaurs’

When my architect friend Westley visits Paris, he doesn’t dawdle in the Louvre or climb the Eiffel Tower. Instead, he goes for a stroll. “I want to experience the city like the locals do,” he once told me. “The idea of crowding around the Mona Lisa with a scrum of tourists just doesn’t interest me.” In other words, Westley is a boulevardier, a “flaneur,&rdquo...

New study provides glimpse inside cars – what people do, eat and argue about

ALEXANDRIA, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 23, 2018--“Are we there yet?” is a phrase associated with boring summer road trips; however, a new study shatters that myth, as it shows that 69% of people say traveling to their destination is often as fun as the actual vacation destination. The Summer Drive Study by NACS (a trade association that represents the convenience store industry) provides...
Best way to see Niagara Falls is up close

Best way to see Niagara Falls is up close

Niagara Falls is nature at its mightiest. More than just a look at a waterfall, a visit is a full vacation surrounded by the natural beauty of the area and the luxury that has drawn tourists from around the world. A great introduction to the Niagara Falls is from the water with a tour from Niagara Cruises. Voyage to the Falls boat tour visits Great Gorge, American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and the...

Talk Travel: How to lessen a financial blow when you have to cancel a flight

The Washington Post's Travel section writers and editors recently discussed stories, questions, gripes and more. Here are edited excerpts:  Q: We had a long-planned trip to visit my sister's family over Memorial Day weekend and bought regular (nonrefundable) tickets on American Airlines. Completely out of the blue, her father-in-law was diagnosed with a terminal illness and given a few weeks...

A Mumbai restaurant celebrating the flavors of Goa

Despite the nostalgia for Goa, the petite state on India’s western coast, held by Mumbai residents, restaurants featuring its cuisine — seafood-forward, infused with vinegar and heat, the legacy of four centuries of Portuguese rule colliding deliciously with Indian flavors and ingredients — are scarce in the city. So when rumors began circulating that the all-star team behind Mumbai&rsquo...
Facelift of Seattle's Space Needle nears completion

Facelift of Seattle's Space Needle nears completion

SEATTLE (AP) — Tourism is booming in Seattle. Just take a look at the Space Needle.  The family-owned landmark is set to unveil the biggest renovation in its 56-year history next month, a $100 million investment in a single year of construction that transformed the structure's top viewing level with floor-to-ceiling glass.   Seattle and King County benefited from $7.4 billion...

Saving face on the plane

Makeup artist Patrick Ta has a loyal following of clients that includes the Kardashians and Ariana Grande.  Based in Los Angeles, Ta spends more time traveling than at home, flying around the world to create what he calls the “selfie-look” — makeup that looks as good on camera as in real life — for his celebrity clientele.   He uses the hours on the plane to...
12 days to explore the ancient wonders of Egypt

12 days to explore the ancient wonders of Egypt

Let’s hope the “mummy’s curse” isn’t real. Because I’m sweatily crouching through a claustrophobic 125-foot-long tunnel inside Egypt’s iconic Great Pyramid on my climb to its 4,500-year-old royal burial chamber. Dangling from my necklace is an amulet charm — the protective Eye of Horus — because you can’t be too sure in this myth-mesmerizing...

Camping without the hassle: New service rents you all the gear you need, plus the car

One day in April, I returned from a camping trip - a quick 24 out of the city - and ran a load of laundry. What's more telling is what I didn't do.  I didn't hose down a muddy tent, I didn't soak a shoddily cleaned pot, and I categorically did not empty a cooler or clean out a car. Instead, I relied on a new District of Columbia-based adventure outfitter called Trailhead Outdoor Journey Cooperative...

How does Carnival track its cruise ships? New high-tech center relies on big data

When Hurricane Irma struck last September, 16 of Carnival’s cruise ships were sailing the Caribbean. The Carnival team scrambled to reroute ships, rebook passengers embarking or debarking, and set up new port calls out of harm’s way.  Next time a storm threatens, the task will be easier, thanks to a new, state-of-the-art fleet operations center that tracks weather, ship location,...

Florida's funky Hollywood is ready for a final close-up

Sometimes you have to see a place before it changes drastically, while it's still on the right side of your economic, ecologic, emotional or aesthetic tipping point.  I learned this in 1989 on my first trip to magical Bali - well after the 1960s hippie/surfer invasion when you could live simply for almost nothing, but before the explosion of opulent five-star resorts. Similarly, in 2016, amid...

Close to nature (and a nice pool) in South Carolina

Montage Palmetto Bluff 477 Mount Pelia Road; montagehotels.com/palmettobluff  From $340.  A traditional resort that has modernized its Old South feel, South Carolina’s graceful Montage Palmetto Bluff has been called one of the world’s most romantic hotels. The property opened two new restaurants in 2017 and added a third, serving Southern classics, this month. The resort&rsquo...

That free frequent flyer seat may be easier to book. Here’s why

Airlines are making it easier for frequent flyers to redeem their travel rewards, as major carriers work harder to keep their most loyal customers happy, according to a seat availability survey released last week.  American Airlines showed the biggest improvement, rising from the bottom of the pack to ninth in the annual survey, with members of its AAdvantage program able to book reward seats...

Disney Cruise Line returns to favorite destinations in 2019

Disney Cruise Line has announced a wide range of itineraries for 2019. The line will return to several popular destinations and home ports, including Bermuda, Bahamas, Baja, Canada and the Caribbean. Bookings open on May 24, 2018.  Highlights of the 2019 lineup include the Disney Magic’s return to New York in September. She’ll sail special itineraries to Bermuda, the Bahamas and New...

Travel dilemmas: Before you drive off, here are a few tips

You and nearly 37 million of your closest friends are getting in the car and driving to some well-deserved respite on Memorial Day weekend, AAA tells us. Here are things you may want to do (Real ID driver’s licenses) and things you must do (renting a car to get out of town).  Real ID, an update: By now, you’re aware that you’ll need a federally compliant form of identification...

Family Travel: 5 tips for planning a 'skipgen' getaway with the grandkids

It’s that time of year when grandparents embark on travel adventures with the grandkids. Here are five ideas to consider if you’re planning a “skipgen” (leaving the parents home alone) getaway with the younger generation:  It makes sense to include the kids in choosing a destination. But remember they don’t know what they don’t know. Begin by discussing big...

Where to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in Los Angeles

Just two Los Angeles Metro Rail stops from the grungy glitter of the Hollywood Walk of Fame is a whole different world - Thai, American and Angeleno. The neighborhood of Thai Town is buoyed by L.A. County's Thai population, the largest in the country, a group big and hungry enough to sustain regionally specific cooking. The blood, bile and bitter herbs of Northern Thai cuisine, the lime-lashed food...

TSA has created secret watch list for unruly passengers

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), not content with pat-downs and other intrusive procedures that can break the air passenger's spirit, has been compiling a secret watch list of "unruly" passengers who might pose a threat to TSA staff at airport checkpoints.  The watch list - first reported by the New York Times - includes people deemed by the agency to have engaged in...
Do your homework to find the right guide

Do your homework to find the right guide

For many travelers, hiring a private tour guide is a luxury. But with an informed approach, it’s an expense that’s often worth the cost. “With a good guide, you will learn and see things that you would never find in a book or online,” said Emma Guest-Consales, vice president of the Guides Association of New York City (GANYC) and a private tour guide.  But how do you find...

Whitewater river in Colorado a bright spot amid grim drought

SALIDA, Colo. (AP) — Despite a severe drought across the Southwestern United States this spring, there should be plenty of water for rafters and anglers in one of the nation's most popular mountain rivers.  Water from melting snow is rushing into the Arkansas River in central Colorado, thanks to a surprisingly wet winter in the towering peaks where the river begins, state and federal officials...

Airbnb sets its sights on surfing

Surfing has become part of Airbnb in a big way: The home rental and travel company recently introduced more than 75 surfing-related activities in its Experiences category, a service where travelers can book activities and tours with Airbnb hosts in more than 20 destinations worldwide.  The new Experiences were launched in collaboration with the World Surf League, the professional sport&rsquo...

Travel deals: Two-for-one river cruises and $300 off hiking and biking in Ireland

This week's best travel bargains around the globe.  - At Mountain Lodges of Peru, get 15 percent off the lodge-to-lodge Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu via foot or horseback. The six-night trekking trip costs $3,300 per person double (a savings of $590), and the equestrian trip costs $3,500 (a savings of $625). Both excursions involve round-trip travel from Cusco, Peru, and include lodging, most...

How to get to and enjoy a luxury trip to Paris for less

Interested in a late summer vacation to Paris, but think that peak travel season means it must be completely out of reach? August happens to be one of the most affordable times to visit the city, with even luxury hotels offering rates and inclusions that aren’t usually available during the rest of the year. Airfare to the city, it turns out, is also cheaper compared with other months. ...

American travel to North Korea remains out of bounds

In September, the United States barred American travelers from visiting North Korea.  But a perceived thaw in relations after the release of three Americans imprisoned in North Korea and news of negotiations for a meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s leader, has revived industry hopes for a travel rapprochement.   The ban followed the death in...

Carnival expands Cuba offerings for 2019-2020

Carnival Cruise Line will expand its lineup of Cuba cruises for 2019-2020. An additional 23 sailings on five different ships will depart from four East Coast homeports. Carnival Sunshine will sail to Havana from Charleston, S.C.; Carnival Triumph from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Carnival Paradise from Tampa, Fla., and Carnival Victory and Carnival Sensation from Miami.  Carnival Sunshine will make...

Chatbots are industry's new conversation piece

Travel chatbots are having a moment. It's about time.  After a few false starts, these automated programs that answer basic questions, find deals or secure refunds are slowly coming into their own. And they might be worth trying.   A bot is an application that performs an automated task. Outside of travel, bots can do things like tell you the weather or conduct an online search. Most...

That time when a bear broke into our minivan on a family vacation in the Smokies

As we checked in and got directions to our mountain cabin, we were told we might encounter bears on the property.  Don’t feed them, we were warned.   OK, we said. Got it.   Not long after completing a 600-mile, nine-hour road trip from Chicago, we followed a winding road to an area just west of downtown Gatlinburg, Tenn., the gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National...

This Oregon city has trails worth traveling for

SISTERS, Ore. — Coming from Bend, I have yet to regret making a trip to Sisters or through Sisters for hiking or biking.  Whether I’m just passing through on the way to higher-elevation trails in the Cascade Range or staying on trails near Sisters, if I’m in Sisters, I’m usually on my way to some outdoor fun.   Speaking of trails near Sisters, the Peterson Ridge...

The thrill of victory and the agony of the feet

It's the time of year when people start thinking about getting in shape for summer vacation, usually with swimwear in mind. But I've found a more useful variation on the theme: Get in walking shape. With the ability to walk for hours (and hours), you can cover miles of city blocks, take in a day of Disney attractions or explore your supersize cruise ship from stem to stern without conking out. ...

Want to be a gastronaut? Let these tours lead the way

When it comes to consuming a culture, it’s hard to beat digesting it in the literal sense, which may explain the explosion of food-related trips.  From Texas to Turkey, food is a point of differentiation for many destinations and, according to the United Nation’s World Tourism Organization, food is helping drive tourism to rural regions, giving often needy areas income to supplement...
Oregon couple reflects on 20-month, 18,000-mile cycling odyssey

Oregon couple reflects on 20-month, 18,000-mile cycling odyssey

BEND, Ore. — They had endured grueling climbs while crossing the Andes six times, relentless rain and wind, endless desert, vicious dog attacks, scary crashes and an agonizing bout with dengue fever.  So it is no wonder that when Bend’s Kristen and Ville Jokinen approached the end of their 20-month, 18,215-mile cycling journey in Ushuaia, Argentina, they were an emotional mess: laughing...
Made in Music City

Made in Music City

Bryce McCloud, zhuzhed up in a red neckerchief and matching red suede sneakers, sweeps through his Isle of Printing shop in Nashville’s Pie Town district, a melange of empty Cafe Bustelo canisters and posters that say “Invest in Kindness.” He switches on a Dorothy Ashby record for background music. “I just discovered her over Christmas,” he says. “I’m really...
Hosteling: Great for ‘youths’ of any age

Hosteling: Great for ‘youths’ of any age

Many travelers wonder: “Youth hosteling … can we still do that?” You can: Many hostels are filled with travelers well past their 20s — and age cutoffs are generally a thing of the past. Even the International Youth Hostel Federation has removed the word “youth” from its name and is now known as Hostelling International (HI). If you’re alive, you’re...

Talk Travel: Going to South Dakota? There is plenty to see in addition to the National Parks

The Washington Post's Travel section writers and editors recently discussed stories, questions, gripes and more. Here are edited excerpts:  Q: We'll be staying at a cabin near Rapid City, South Dakota in late June/early July for eight nights. Besides the National Parks and National Monuments in the area, what other interesting sites are recommended? We'll be driving from Fort Collins, Colorado...

What’s around the Fillmore

The Fillmore stands near the confluence of three neighborhoods. Here’s what to visit in each. ——— Fillmore District For a jazzier scene in a throwback setting far smaller than the Fillmore, step across Geary Boulevard to the Boom Boom Room at 1601 Fillmore St. Once known for its association with John Lee Hooker, the Boom Boom Room is a long, narrow lounge (no food) with a round...
Feel the music at the Fillmore

Feel the music at the Fillmore

SAN FRANCISCO — It’s 10 minutes to showtime. Step up to the three-story Italianate brick box at Fillmore Street and Geary Boulevard. Avert your eyes from the payday-loan operation that takes up much of the ground floor. Submit to a brief search by security. Then climb the stairs, grab an apple from the giveaway bin and check out the hundreds of vintage posters. The 10 twinkling chandeliers...

A road map to shopping like a royal

The British royal family has long been a source of public fascination, captivating mere mortals in Britain and beyond with a passion for all things Windsor.  Toss a wedding into the mix — specifically one so storybook as the nuptials of Prince Harry and his American fiancée, Meghan Markle, on Saturday — and the excitement swells: Where will Meghan shop in London? Where will...
More details: Chihuahuan Desert Bike Fest canceled — for now

More details: Chihuahuan Desert Bike Fest canceled — for now

The main organizer of the Chihuahuan Desert Bike Fest has pulled the plug on the event, but officials with Texas State Parks say they are looking for a way to keep it going in 2019 and beyond. Desert Sports, an outfitter in Terlingua, has partnered with the state parks department since 2011 to put on the festival, which drew a large number of Austin cyclists to the Far West Texas desert for three...
The fires could not quench the beauty of California’s wine country

The fires could not quench the beauty of California’s wine country

NAPA VALLEY, Calif. — As I floated 2,500 feet above this storied wine-producing valley in a hot air balloon, all I could see below was a vast mosaic of greens. Greens in every shade — from palest lettuce to soft sage to vivid emerald. Soaring over the Mayacamas Mountain Range, a tantalizing view of Mount St. Helena (not to be confused with Washington state’s Mount St. Helens) loomed...

Does Washington need an anti-Trump hotel? This entrepreneur is betting on it.

On an overcast February afternoon, Katherine Lo glides into the lobby of a building under renovation at 12th and K streets Northwest in downtown Washington. "This is my favorite part of the whole hotel," Lo says, referring to her soon-to-open business and gesturing toward a small room off the lobby entrance. The space will become a glass-walled digital radio station, she says, where local...
Is Frontier really offering $15 flights from Austin to Portland, Seattle and other cities?

Is Frontier really offering $15 flights from Austin to Portland, Seattle and other cities?

The latest deal announced by Frontier Airlines earlier today sounds too good to be true — $15 flights from Austin to a variety of destinations including Portland, Seattle, Detroit, Albuquerque, Reno and Providence. So can you actually go online and book a $15 flight? Sort of. A plane comes in for a landing at Miami International Airport. credit: Getty Images You can find one or two...
An ‘Austin-inspired’ food hall is headed to New York City

An ‘Austin-inspired’ food hall is headed to New York City

What is “Austin-inspired” food, anyway? According to Hill Country in New York City, it’s barbecue, breakfast tacos, fried chicken, pizza, burgers, coffee, doughnuts and more. So just ... food?  At any rate, the folks behind New York’s Hill Country Barbecue Market and Hill Country Fried Chicken are opening -- you guessed it -- Hill Country Food Park in the Brooklyn...
Behold: Marfa’s new, light-up stonehenge-type thing!

Behold: Marfa’s new, light-up stonehenge-type thing!

OK, Marfa, Texas, doesn’t take much more than a long weekend to look around and maybe eat a taco or something.  But we are always here for some good ol’ Marfa weirdness, including this story reported by the fine people at Wired about, well, “one man's mysterious vision.” Artist Haroon Mirza trucked in “nine massive chunks of quarried black marble&rdquo...
There’s an Austin-themed restaurant in Sweden, and we want to go

There’s an Austin-themed restaurant in Sweden, and we want to go

You heard about that Texas-themed chain restaurant? No, not Longhorn Steakhouse. Not Texas Roadhouse, either.  I’m talking about Texas Longhorn Steakhouse, a temple to the Lone Star way of eating out that’s based in Sweden. According to Texas Monthly, the franchise in the land of Ikea was founded by former San Antonio chef Philip Huntzinger in 1994, hoping to bring the flavors...
Florida roadside attraction: Gators to the left, crocs to the right

Florida roadside attraction: Gators to the left, crocs to the right

There’s a fine line between alligators and crocodiles. At Gatorama, a roadside attraction in Palmdale, Fla., off U.S. Highway 27, that line is a boardwalk. As you venture into this alligator farm with a healthy dose of reptiles on display, a giant lake houses dozens of the largest specimens on site. They don’t mix, though, with a population of nearly 30 American crocodiles to the right...
Horseback riding offers taste of Old Florida wilderness

Horseback riding offers taste of Old Florida wilderness

The Sunshine State is filled with options for those seeking a nature getaway, especially in the rural middle and northern areas. However, if you want to taste Old Florida but still be within reach of bigger-city attractions, a quick getaway to a horseback-riding ranch can fit the bill. In The Breeze horse ranch in suburban Tampa, one of several places to ride in Hillsborough County, is located within...

Your friends in Hawaii are probably safe from the volcano on the Big Island. Here's why.

As someone with relatives in Hawaii, I've been touched by the friends who have reached out to me and my husband to see how our family is doing - and a bit bemused. My in-laws, - who are fine, thank you - live on Oahu, 200 miles from the Big Island, where the Kilauea volcano is reworking the landscape and laying waste to some residents' dreams of paradise. Don't be embarrassed, such misperceptions...
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