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PHOTOS: Richmond, Virginia

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Kentucky capital a hard hat destination with plenty to do

Kentucky capital a hard hat destination with plenty to do

FRANKFORT, Ky. — “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” Not really — it only feels that way because so many buildings on Frankfort’s, horizon have come down and are going up. But even with implosions, dust clouds and a shifting skyline, Kentucky’s capital city remains open for business, its downtown straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting and its attractions...

Porsche’s L.A. Experience Center is a theme park for grown-ups who love to drive

SAN FRANCISCO — Last weekend, I drove to Los Angeles from my Bay Area home. My wife and 12-year-old daughter visited Disneyland. I headed to my ideal theme park: the Porsche Experience Center in Carson.  There are no lines at the Porsche Experience Center. There are 77 shiny near-new Porsches, one of which was reserved for me: a beautiful cobalt blue 911 GTS.   Anyone 21 or over...

A birder’s paradise in Zimbabwe

John Brebner swept his binoculars over a fissure-ridden rock face that towered over a grove of acacia trees. Candy-colored striations of dolomite and quartz ran through the tan granite, and human figures painted by Khoisan Bushmen three millenniums ago were faintly visible on the facade.  “There it is,” Brebner exclaimed, passing the binoculars to me. “Look through these and...

What's it like to film a TV travel show? I joined the crew of "Travels With Darley" to find out.

The question rang out like a cowbell through the French Alps: "Where did Darley go?"  The host of PBS's "Travels With Darley" was missing. She was last seen at the bottom of Isola 2000, a ski resort about 55 miles north of Nice. A member of the ski patrol released a stream of French into a walkie-talkie, his words punctuated by puffs of cold air. Darley's cameraman desperately...
Europe’s best border-busting day trips

Europe’s best border-busting day trips

With relatively small countries and delightful public transportation, it’s easy to throw a change of scenery and culture into your European itinerary. Here are some of my favorite international day trips. London to Paris Zipping on the bullet train from London to Paris (or vice versa) in a tunnel deep below the English Channel (the “Chunnel”) is exciting — and only takes about...

5 international trips that are cheaper than a weekend in London

We’ve told you how expensive New York City can be, but there are plenty of other destinations that will break the bank in no time at all. London is one of those places. The popular European city drew a record 19 million international visitors in 2016 alone, according to the Evening Standard, and for good reason. London is loved for its centuries-old history, diverse cultural scene, countless...

Marriott’s new loyalty program: not as bad as Starwood fans feared

In the nearly 2 1/2 years since Marriott announced its intention to acquire Starwood Hotels and Resorts, the parent of Westin, Sheraton and W, skeptical customers of both companies have waited impatiently for answers to the following question: Just how many rewards and perks would Marriott take away from the 110 million members when it combined the loyalty programs?  On Monday, we all found out...

Stewart Airport adopts a new identity: New York area’s budget flight hub

NEW WINDSOR, N.Y. — As the baggage claim area at New York Stewart International Airport filled with passengers arriving from Dublin last month, the airport’s manager of business development, Michael Torelli, shook his head with delight.  “Awesome,” he said of the crowd.   Just two years earlier, the airport, 67 miles north of Manhattan, had 275,000 passengers...

Where to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara, California's chefs have the natural advantage of an abundance of fresh produce from the Central Valley, a robust wine industry and a nearly perfect climate. These attributes have lured restaurateurs from San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles to the city's thriving dining scene, but natives tend to prefer spots with deep roots in the community. Some of the most innovative and popular...

Family travel: Let the good times roll

Sing a song. Tap your feet. Dance the night away. Gather your clan and discover the history and inspiration behind some of our country’s most popular music.  Here are five places where the good times roll:   Steep yourself in authentic mountain music in this 300-mile scenic corridor that winds through the colorful mountain communities of southwest Virginia. Introduce your family...

The Maldives' new star villa is underwater

On a recent trip to the Maldives, my itinerary was planned around a single hotel amenity: a bungalow with a two-story waterslide. In the luxury-friendly Maldives, more than anywhere else on Earth, it's extravagant design features rather than location or good restaurants that make a hotel.  Enter Conrad Maldives Rangali Island with the region's first underwater bungalow. When it opens late this...

Answers to your top questions about traveling to Europe

Planning a trip to Europe can be daunting for the novice traveler, as evidenced by the many questions readers ask us. We combed through the past several years of chat transcripts to put together representative examples of our most frequent queries and expanded upon our responses.  Q: I have never visited Europe, but I want to go and have put aside 10 days of vacation to accomplish that goal....
In Beijing encounters, a wayward soul stumbles toward self-discovery

In Beijing encounters, a wayward soul stumbles toward self-discovery

I like to watch the beautiful women of Beijing spit on the street. My journey to get to the capital of China was arduous. I got an hour of sleep on the plane. My first 24 hours here came without closing my eyes. That first evening, a friend insisted on giving me a long walking tour of the city. Over the next few days, I visited the Forbidden City and Summer Palace, and they were awe-inspiring, like...

In Bangkok, an intimate hotel with an inky past

1 Lan Luang Road; bpresidence.com   Double rooms from 4,800 baht (about $154).  Stop the presses. The fading glories of books and printing receive a retro-chic resurrection at Bangkok Publishing Residence, an intimate eight-room hotel that opened last year in the former offices of Bangkok Weekly magazine. The atriumlike four-story structure features throwback factory architecture &mdash...

Talk Travel: Yosemite in the summer? Grab a guide.

The Washington Post's Travel section writers and editors recently discussed stories, questions, gripes and more. Here are edited excerpts:  Q: A friend and I are taking a road trip in northern California this summer, and I would like to stop by Yosemite. However, I've heard it's really busy. Do you have any tips or resources on best ways to avoid the crowds (besides going as early as possible...

Where to find Bangkok’s best street food while you can

It was a few minutes after 6 p.m., and Lim Lao Sa, a fishball noodle stand tucked into an alleyway near the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, had just opened. Rain was falling, hard. A series of deftly arranged tarps sheltered patrons sitting on red plastic stools at a handful of tables. Water drizzled off the tarp edges, down the concrete walls and past exposed wiring. Fluorescent bulbs cast harsh shadows...
Retiring travel editor names his top 10 trips

Retiring travel editor names his top 10 trips

Over my 20-year career writing travel stories for The Seattle Times, a question I’ve fielded (happily, I should say) when meeting someone for the first time was almost as predictable as the number of pretzels I got flying Coach: What’s been my favorite trip? I usually fudged. Prettiest place? Nicest people? Most fun? Educational? How does one judge? What I’ve learned through travel...

Disney: Pandora Utility Suit coming to Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is introducing a 10-foot-tall way to get into the details of its World of Avatar. The Pandora Utility Suit, a mechanical apparatus guided by a human pilot, will debut at the theme park on April 22.  The new brand of street entertainment will inform guests about Pandora’s flora — bioluminescent and otherwise. A video released by Disney shows a man carefully...

Alaska Airlines shrinks its permitted carry-on bag size

Passengers traveling with Alaska Airlines should make the most of the carrier's generous carry-on luggage size. Throw in that extra Scandinavian crime novel while you can, because soon travelers will have to edit their packing list and might even need to purchase new luggage.  Starting on June 4, the airline will reduce the carry-on size limit to 22-by-14-by-9 inches - a 2-by-3-by-1-inch trim...

Wyndham Hotel Group unites brands under one name

Wyndham Hotel Group is bringing its economy and midscale brands together with one of the largest name changes in the history of the hospitality industry, the company announced this week.  At least a dozen brands will add the "by Wyndham" suffix to their names in a move aimed at uniting hoteliers under a common mission and improving brand awareness.   The 12 brands receiving...

Doing good, deliciously: Sustainable dining in Amsterdam

The Dutch, packed into a small country that lies mostly below sea level, are known for their experimentation and ingenuity. For a long time, that was not necessarily reflected in the traditional culinary offerings, which have relied on comfort foods such as bitterballen bar snacks, sweet or savory pancakes, and raw herring. For sure, you should indulge in those specialties, as well as try an Indonesian...
Norwegian Cruise Line approved to build new terminal at Miami port

Norwegian Cruise Line approved to build new terminal at Miami port

MIAMI — A sleek new terminal proposed by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings at PortMiami has officially gotten the green light to begin construction. The Miami-based cruise company and Miami-Dade County reached an agreement for the terminal, settling on a location east of the existing Terminals B and C. That puts the new Norwegian terminal just west of Terminal A, where Royal Caribbean Cruises is...

Beautiful, complicated Bogotá: A traveler’s starter kit

“So, where are you going in Colombia?” someone, usually Colombian, would ask me with anticipation. “Medellín? Cartagena?”  “No, Bogotá.”   “Just Bogotá?”   “Just Bogotá.”   “Are you sure? Can you change that?”   One Bogotá resident even used an expression...
Finding the aloha spirit in three Hawaiian Islands

Finding the aloha spirit in three Hawaiian Islands

The Hawaiian Islands hold a special, almost mystical, appeal for many mainland Americans and Asian visitors, myself included. Recently I traveled to Oahu, the Big Island and Kauai to see which island I liked best, and to discover new places to stay and activities not to be missed. I began my odyssey in Oahu, the most well-known and populous island. Using the centrally located Laylow Waikiki hotel...

What Joy Bryant can’t travel without

Actor Joy Bryant, originally from New York, now lives in Los Angeles, where she filmed the television series “Parenthood” for six years. Her next role is a public defender in the fourth season of “Ballers,” which will have its premiere on HBO in August.  Bryant’s favorite vacation spots are Jamaica and Kauai. “I love island life, man!” she said. &ldquo...

Fly now, pay later: Are travel loans a good deal?

Dreaming of a spring getaway with white-sand beaches and a cool drink in your hand?  A search for airline tickets can bring your dream down to earth, if the steep fares charged by many airlines outstrip your savings.   What if you could book your trip today and pay for it later — without maxing out your credit cards?   Major airlines including American Airlines, JetBlue...

Learn how to take better photos, ‘time travel’ in Europe and more

Visionary Wild is a company that offers travel experiences to photographers looking to move their work to a higher level. It holds workshops led by professional photographers in picturesque locations around the world. A workshop set for Nov. 5-9 offers a chance to blend photography and wine with the Autumn Color in Wine Country workshop, based in California’s Napa Valley. This workshop combines...

A Nashville spot serving bar food that is anything but standard

Wood-roasted rabbit sliders. Chesapeake Bay oysters. Osetra caviar. This is not your typical bar food.  Black Rabbit, which opened in November in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, is the latest brainchild of the local chef Trey Cioccia. He and his business partner Robert Compton fell in love with an 1890s brick building near Printers Alley, the hub that buzzed with night life many decades ago. They...

Souvenirs 101

“Nobody sits us down and tells us to collect objects when we’re young,” Rolf Potts writes, “it’s just something we do, as a way of familiarizing ourselves with the world, its possibilities, and our place in it.”  Few of us would call ourselves collectors, but most travelers have, at some point or other, bought a key chain, pocketed a seashell, or saved a ticket...

Priceline discontinues Name Your Own Price for rental-car bookings

For many budget travel shoppers, Priceline's Name Your Own Price tool held the same promise - and heartbreak - as gambling. Choosing the right number for a rental car triggered an adrenaline rush equal to watching the roulette wheel land on your bet. Of course, learning that no company accepted your bid hurt. Adding to the insult: Having to incrementally increase the price for, say, a Ford Focus. ...

In Windsor, England, a look at Harry and Meghan's (relatively) low-key wedding site

St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle is about the most down-home place for a British royal wedding that American Meghan Markle could have hoped for. Compared with the spectacular public wedding of Prince Harry's parents at St. Paul's Cathedral, and big brother Prince William's to Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey, the May 19 wedding there promises to be intimate - well, intimate for royalty...

Forget spritzes, shopping and fancy hotels. The best part of Lake Como is being on it.

'Mom! Do you have the permit?? WHERE IS THE PERMIT???" I yelled above the engine of our custom Cantiere Ernesto Riva motorboat while zooming along Italy's Lake Como.  My heart was beating fast and my hands were shaking on the steering wheel. I had just gotten comfortable in my captain's perch, and was trying to adjust to the throttle and watch where I was going despite the wind whipping...

Travelers have plenty of reservations about hotels

Of all the hotel annoyances, the one that bothers Louise Sattler the most is the smells.  "Scents," she says, "and smoking in hotel rooms."   Sattler, a psychologist from Los Angeles, is one in a billion. That's about the number of annual guest nights in the American hotel industry. And for every guest, there is at least one pet peeve - and often many.  ...

Affordable, Springtime New England Getaways

If peak summer prices at hotels along the coast of New England are cost prohibitive, travelers may want to explore shoulder season deals in April and May. From Nantucket and Cape Cod in Massachusetts to Newport, Rhode Island, substantial savings are available alongside cooler temperatures and peaceful beaches.  At the Nantucket Hotel and Resort, rooms are available in April and May starting at...

Five ways to get some culture on your next cruise

Culture lovers don’t always think of cruising when planning a vacation, according to Doug Prothero, the managing director of the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection.  “Cruises are stereotyped as getaways with lots of eating and drinking and little culture in sight,” he said.   While that may be true for some cruises, Prothero said it’s not the case all-around, and...

If the Boston Marathon is too easy for you, try these crazy runs

For runners, one of the most storied-and feared-stretches is Heartbreak Hill, 20 miles into the Boston Marathon. The 90-foot elevation gain over one-third of a mile would be a painful climb in any marathon, but here it's compounded because it occurs at the distance where many runners hit the proverbial wall.  Last April, Erik Rasmussen, a 42-year old trail seeker, runner, and triathlete, finished...
Chill out or be chilled in St. Augustine after dark

Chill out or be chilled in St. Augustine after dark

Hair standing up on the back of the neck? Check. Chill running down spine? Check. No one standing behind you? Double check. St. Augustine visitors traditionally pack the pedestrian-friendly streets of downtown during the day, soaking up historic landmarks amid art galleries, restaurants and shops galore. But while there’s plenty to do in the daylight, the nation’s oldest city has a sleepy...

Travel deals: Southwest nonstop airfare sale and $500 off Cuba packages

This week's best travel bargains around the globe.  - More than 40 Hilton hotels in New York City and New Jersey are offering half-off rates for Sunday stays, plus other perks. For example, at the Millennium Hilton New York Downtown, pay $564 for a Friday and Saturday night stay in May and $144 for Sunday. Add $115 in taxes per night. The deal also includes a$15 taxi credit through Curb, a taxi...
Paradise takes many forms on this Indonesian archipelago

Paradise takes many forms on this Indonesian archipelago

WAIGEO ISLAND, Indonesia — When I enter the rainforest of Indonesia’s Waigeo Island, the first thing I notice is the equatorial air. It’s so thick, I feel as if I’m walking through a cloud. The next thing that hits me is the deafening hum of cicadas. They drown out the noise of my feet crunching leaves as I step ever closer to my destination: a tiny thatched-roof hut in a muddy...

Will U.S. Withdrawal from UNESCO Affect Heritage Sites?

Last fall the Trump administration announced it would withdraw from UNESCO, the cultural organization of the United Nations that is known to travelers for its list of World Heritage sites.  The withdrawal is scheduled to go into effect at the end of 2018. There are 23 World Heritage sites in the United States, including Grand Canyon National Park, Independence Hall, Yellowstone National Park...
In Jerusalem's crush, is there room for peace?

In Jerusalem's crush, is there room for peace?

I'm in Christendom's epicenter, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City, and I'm waiting to feel the holiness.  The last five stations on Jesus' final journey surround me - including the crucifixion hill at Calvary, the anointing stone and his empty tomb, all encased in the giant domed church originally conceived by Saint Helena in the 4th century - but I'm crushed by people...
Meet the guy behind TSA’s surprisingly hilarious Instagram account

Meet the guy behind TSA’s surprisingly hilarious Instagram account

Need a good laugh? Look no further than the Transportation Security Administration. Yes, that TSA. Almost since its inception in 2013, the @TSA Instagram handle has been winning the internet thanks to its bizarre, shocking and surprisingly funny posts on life at the airport. “People don’t expect to come to a TSA Instagram account and see corny puns,” said Bob Burns, who runs the...
How to catch the lowest possible airfares

How to catch the lowest possible airfares

Let’s get one thing clear from the start: airfares are volatile. While it’s true that flying on a Tuesday or Wednesday is cheaper than on a Friday or Sunday, there is no magic time of day, day of week or month of year to book a low airfare. Airfares can change in a heartbeat, high one minute and low the next, and the trick is to buy when a fare on your route becomes a bargain. Fare drop...
Disney’s California Adventure expansion will feature Marvel superheroes

Disney’s California Adventure expansion will feature Marvel superheroes

LOS ANGELES — Several aging toddler attractions at Disney California Adventure Park could be bulldozed in the next year or so to make way for an expansion based on some of the world’s most popular fictional characters. The new land in Anaheim will feature superheroes made famous in Marvel comic books, movies and video games, including Spider-Man, the Hulk and Iron man, among others. But...

Alaskan illuminations: I went in winter to see northern lights. In the daytime, I saw much more.

Where were they?  The hour was closer to midnight than noon, and the sky above the small Alaskan town of Talkeetna was as black as a bear's button nose. Several stars twinkled their encouragement. Before stepping out in the minus-numbing-degree air, I had checked the Aurora Forecast. The rating was a 5, which the Geophysical Institute described as meaning "Auroral activity will be high."...

Talk Travel: Is Turo - the 'Airbnb for rental cars' - a good bet?

The Washington Post's Travel section writers and editors recently discussed stories, questions, gripes and more. Here are edited excerpts:  Q: What's your take on Turo, the so-called Airbnb for rental cars? What happens if the car breaks down?   A: I have used Turo a few times and texted the owners with all of my questions. They responded pretty quickly, though my needs weren't very...

A family adventure in the wild heart of Tanzania

Few wildlife parks in Africa allow you to drift lazily along a calm stretch of water like something out of “The African Queen” and take in an incredible amount of wildlife from a boat. The Selous Game Reserve, a remote and spectacular wildlife refuge in central Tanzania, is one of them.  Last year, I took a wonderful safari here with my family, and on one of our first afternoons,...

What’s it like to visit Wakanda? You had some (great) ideas

When “Black Panther” was released in theaters in February, it became a cultural phenomenon. Millions of moviegoers around the world became acquainted with Wakanda, the mythical African nation whose advanced society is hidden from the outside world behind a holographic camouflage. In the film, technology plays a big role, from the prevalence of vibranium to the use of kimoyo beads to remote...
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