Vacations | Vacation Ideas & Travel Destinations | Travel Articles
Vacations | Vacation Ideas & Travel Destinations | Travel Articles
Want to travel like a pro? Follow these five tips and you'll be well on your way to arriving at your destination refreshed, energized, and ready to tackle your day

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The Peninsula Hotels makes its grand entrance into Europe with The Peninsula Paris, setting spectacular new standards in design, luxury and comfort. The century-old classic building has been meticulously restored and modernised

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I don't like to make style sacrifices. However, years of over-packing has taught me that I enjoy hefty baggage fees even less. Here's how to keep your luggage from weighing you down

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My first move in planning any European trip is to assemble an itinerary. Although it sounds like a chore, it's actually fun: Filling in the blanks between the flight out and the flight home is one of the most pleasurable parts of trip planning

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It's hard to top Barcelona, Spain's most cosmopolitan and fun city. I love the place, and I'm not alone. However, If you want a break from the crowds, several day trips from Barcelona are tempting scene-changers

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Vienna ranks right at the top of my list of elegant European cities. From a sightseeing point of view, Vienna is the sum of its illustrious past, with plenty of palaces to explore

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  • With 2014 marking 450 years since the birth of playwright William Shakespeare, London is preparing for a year-long celebration. Here's a compilation of the best of what is happening this year to celebrate the achievements of the world's greatest playwright

  • This is my first Mediterranean cruise, so my learning curve is steep. I'm sailing with Royal Caribbean on the good ship 'Liberty of the Seas.' We've got 3,700 passengers and a crew of 2,000 on board

  • Everything you need for a day of swimming, sun and summer fun

  • Need a vacation but don't have the time or funds? No problem! With a little legwork and creativity, you can plan an escape right in your own home or backyard. You'll create happy memories for the whole family. Consider these innovative ideas

  • Traveling can leave kids cranky or bored -- and parents frustrated. But you can steer clear of these bumps in the road with a little advance preparation. With the following simple strategies, your next trip will be less stressful -- and more memorable

  • The good news is that most obstetricians say there's no reason most women can't travel during a healthy pregnancy. But there are some wellness guidelines that can help make any trip -- work or pleasure -- footloose and fancy-free

  • For as long as it's been open, Enchantment Resort, in Arizona's Red Rock Country, has earned dozens of stars and diamonds, climbed onto most "top ten best" lists and generated thousands of adjectives

  • L'Auberge de Sedona is a luxury lodge with secluded guest cabins on the banks of Oak Creek

  • Tutka Bay Lodge, at the foot of the glacier-capped Kenai Mountains, is surrounded by the wilderness of Kachemak Bay State Park. The combination offers no better and certainly no more stellar introduction to Alaska.

  • Mark Twain said that "Mississippi steamboats were floating palaces. They were finer than anything on shore. They tallied with the citizen's dream of what magnificence was, and satisfied it." Watching this spectacle, we'd have to agree.

  • Any time of year is a good time to stay at the Mountain Lodge in Telluride, which is located in southwest Colorado's San Juan Range.

  • Tortola, the capital of the British Virgin Islands (BVI), is all about enjoying the Caribbean Sea. The island is hugely popular as a base for chartering sailboats, is renowned for pristine scuba-diving reefs and draws surfers from all over the world to visit its north shore's perfect waves

  • It doesn't take much to provoke a debate about the Victoria Falls Hotel, legendary queen of the Zambezi River and the pride of the former British Empire. Travelers with a soul and a sense of history glow with delight. A newer generation of travelers, the same people who demand armchairs made yesterday and 800-thread-count linens, aren't so sure.

  • If you're flying into Johannesburg, South Africa, the trailhead for wildlife adventure safaris here and in Botswana, there's a good reason to start and end your travels at the GRACE HOTEL in Rosebank.

  • The best introduction a traveler could possibly have to Morocco at night is Marrakech's gigantic square, Djemaa el Fna -- in the heart of the city. Nothing else can compare.

  • I keep getting asked if Greece is safe for travelers -- a question that feels absurd the instant you arrive there. Safety concerns have been played up by the international media outlets. Frankly, it's a great time to travel to Greece

  • A good way to introduce yourself to Prague is with a walk across town, starting in lively Wenceslas Square, weaving through the Old Town, and ending at Charles Bridge

  • If you have mobility concerns, consider your own situation thoughtfully when choosing which attractions to visit, where to sleep and eat, and what to avoid. Here are some tips to make Europe more accessible

  • Originally designed to keep people out, Great Britain's castles are now wide open to visitors and appreciated for their romantic allure. Adults and kids alike love a good castle

  • Three countries with a rich heritage -- Germany, Hungary, and Austria -- each have a constantly evolving sightseeing scene. Here's the latest vacation travel ideas

  • Hamburg is Germany's second-largest city and its most important port. Like other great European 'second cities' -- such as Marseille, Glasgow, and Barcelona -- this northern port city has a special pride. Hamburg has a real feel and edgy charm

  • Oscar Wilde once said, 'We have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, language' -- and it's still true. On your first trip to Britain, you'll find plenty of linguistic surprises

  • Sunny, out-of-the-way Languedoc is an intoxicating part of the world. Stretching from the Mediterranean to the Pyrenees in southwest France, it shares a balmy climate, winter wind, grapevines, and the sea with Provence

  • Learning how to use Europe's public-transportation systems system while vacation traveling is a great way to save time and money

  • Readers naturally want to know the best, but it's just as important to know the worst. I've pulled together my candid opinions on the best and worst European destinations. Here goes

  • I'm captivated by the Rhine. There's a rhythm to the mighty river that merges with its environment: black slate cut from plains above, terraced vineyards zigzagging up hills, husks of ruined castles, and stoic spires of stone churches slicing vertically through townscapes

  • Here's our list of the 10 most fascinating and greatest train rides in the world

  • Mention New Orleans and anyone who's been there will tell you the food is great, and so is the music. Certain restaurants appear on multiple lists

  • Do you put on pounds every time you go away? Try these simple tips to come home slimmer

  • These days, more and more Muslim travelers are looking for the 'halal' label on hotels, restaurants and even airlines when they travel

  • Planning a mini-getaway this summer? Here are packing tips from a pro -- no stress and no checked baggage required

  • Though my paper map remains my constant back-pocket companion, technology is making it easier than ever to navigate Europe

  • Go the extra mile when it comes to avoiding food poisoning while traveling. To get the inside scoop on how to do that, I consulted registered dietitian Keith Ayoob

  • I used to think there were independent travelers and cruise passengers -- two mutually exclusive categories. But now, with cruising shedding its newlywed and geriatric stereotypes, all kinds of tourists are finding shipboard travel to be appealing

  • Save big on your next flight with these insider tips

  • The Marquesas Islands. This is the most northerly archipelago in French Polynesia, just south of the equator, and farther from a continental landfall than any other group of islands on earth -- as far as you can get from so-called civilization

  • Here's how to stop ear pain when flying

  • Here are some tips and lessons that I've learned from the photographic school of hard knocks

  • When you start planning your 2012 travels, consider a trip with some definite purpose. Having a specific goal is lots more interesting than just checking off the main mountains, temples, and museums off the list and eating in the recommended restaurants. Purpose travel can be either individual or in groups, and you have a wide range of alternatives

  • Research shows the right vacation boosts your brain's health. Optimize your time off -- whether or not you get away

  • Even a minor health problem can spoil a vacation. And a major one can make you regret ever leaving home. Of course, there are no guarantees, but taking the following precautions can improve your odds for a medically uneventful trip

  • You've packed the bags. You've dog-eared and highlighted the travel guides. With everyone excited for the family vacation, someone getting sick is the last thing you want. Here's how to keep the family healthy while you're away -- plus what to do if sickness does strike.

  • Priceline just announced its compilation of the 10 most popular free travel apps for the industry-leading iPhone (some of which are also available in other phone systems)

  • Are travelers overloaded by social media? It's a timely question, given the release of 'The Social Network,' which topped the box office for several weeks in October, and is about the origin of Facebook, the most successful social network on the planet.

  • Airports are among the world's most hostile environments. Crowds, noise, long lines, inadequate seating, and garbled announcements are the norm. Fortunately, even occasional travelers can avail themselves of the road warriors' refuges: VIP airline lounges. Mostly, you'll have to pay, but an oasis of calm can be worth a few bucks

  • When you find a fare online, it isn't actually there -- it's cached on the site. Caching, or storing a copy of the fare information, is cheaper and makes everything run faster. But there's a price to be paid for the speed and convenience: A small number of fares -- usually less than 5 percent -- may no longer be available when you try to book them.

  • By now most of you know the current mantra of frequent flyer miles: 'Easy to earn; impossible to use.' If you can't use your miles yourself, consider giving them away to a relative or friend -- especially someone who might be a bit more flexible about travel dates than you are. Here's the best ways to give your miles away

  • Frequent flyer miles no longer have much if anything to do with loyalty: Instead, they've become a strange sort of currency that you don't really own and has value that is at the whim of the airline. Unless you fly a lot, it's time to re-think your frequent flyer plans.

  • Call me a frequent-flier program skeptic. I take a dim view of any scheme that promises you the world in exchange for all your business. Not that I don't like sitting in first class, staying in a suite or being treated like a movie star. I mean, who doesn't? Having covered the travel industry for most of my career, I just don't believe in 'win-win' propositions. Here's why

  • How likely are you to find a 'free' seat with your miles when and where you want to go? That depends, says a recent study, on the airline you fly. Among the 22 programs in the study, the range of success rates runs from 'almost every time' to 'hardly ever.' The following results provide some useful conclusions and guidance

  • In a jumbled mess of phony invoices, misappropriated trademarks, and concocted credentials, New York businessman Joseph Ehrenreich's elaborate scam has come crashing down over the course of the past year. Like most intricate travel-related frauds, Ehrenreich's scheme began with a simple premise: heavily discounted vacations

  • I'm dedicating this column to travel mistakes, a topic that will be familiar to anyone who reads this feature or follows my misadventures. So here it is, mistakes you should avoid when you travel and how to fix them

  • You should consider trip-cancellation insurance (TCI) any time you make a big upfront deposit or prepayment, on any travel service, that is either nonrefundable or carries a big cancellation penalty. Whenever your exposure is larger than you can afford to ignore should you have to cancel, you probably need insurance. Here are my rules for travel insurance

  • Quick quiz -- what's today's biggest travel gouge? Airline baggage fees? Hotel 'resort' fees? Full-fare coach? Foreign exchange fees on credit cards? Yes, those are all gouges. But my current nominee is inflated beverage prices in restaurants and on cruise lines amongst other rip-offs

  • Glenn Robins is grossed out. As a frequent traveler, he assumed the sheets on hotel beds are changed between guests. But a new TV ad by the Hampton Inn chain calls that assumption into question. It shows housekeepers changing sheets in hazmat suits, at what appears to be a competing hotel chain

  • My take is that tour packages are occasionally cheaper than putting your own trip together, but usually they aren't. Even so, however, they may be better deals, but for the service they provide rather than cost. Here's a case in point

  • While I've camped in the western United States and in Europe as well, most of my experience is on the East Coast, and I firmly believe going on a camping trip an activity every city slicker should try at least once. Regardless, here's some wonderful campsites in the United States plus Camping tips

  • Cruising in a small ship -- typically accommodating fewer than 500 travelers, with many carrying only 50 to150 -- can take you places those behemoths couldn't get near. On a small-ship cruise, you typically get to know everyone else traveling along with you. The downside, however, is a big one: Small-ship cruises cost far more than megaship mass-market cruises.

  • There's something for everyone on a cruise. And I don't mean that the same way your travel agent or cruise line does. Whether it's a silly upsell, like asking you to pay extra for fine dining on your 'all-inclusive' vacation, or dumb laws that prevent you from boarding or disembarking your vessel, you won't fail to find something absurd at sea

  • With all the intensity in our domestic and political worlds lately, it's a fine time for an escape -- sunset glinting through the drink in your hand. Let's fantasize about the 10 best seaside bars in Europe

  • Italy has more of Europe's cultural heritage than any other country -- and the Italians are doing a fine job of sharing it with their visitors. Here is the latest, gleaned from my guidebook research

  • I love the idea of creatively finding a free or cheap bed in Europe. One of the best ways to do that is to stay in someone's home. Sleeping where the locals do can provide some of the richest and most memorable travel experiences

  • I returned to the Cinque Terre to check in on the rebuilding efforts and visit old friends. Both times, I was amazed by the progress and moved by the locals' devotion to restoring their little chunk of Mediterranean paradise

  • Long ago I gave up looking for an untouristy, half-timbered medieval German town, but recently, I stumbled upon it in the sleepy town of Erfurt

  • Tucked into a bend of its river, the Andalusian town of Cordoba has a glorious Moorish past. Typical of southern Spain, it's a people-friendly place filled with energy and color

  • Alsace is France with a German accent. Its unique mix of cultures offers enchanting cobbled villages, scenic vineyards, gourmet cuisine and art that is as vibrant as the medieval day it was painted

  • Travelers to France find a rich and constantly changing palette of cultural and historic sights. Here's a review of what's new or different in la belle France

  • Great Britain will likely be taking a deep breath this year as it recovers from a busy summer, when it hosted both the Olympics and Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Just as the EU has transformed Europe, it has also transformed Brussels. Brussels today is multicultural, hosting politicians and businesspeople (and immigrants) from around the globe -- and featuring a world of ethnic restaurants

  • Amsterdam is a laboratory of progressive living and tolerance, bottled inside Europe's most 17th-century city. This city is a patchwork quilt of canal-bordered islands

  • There are two IQs for travelers: those who queue and those who don't. If you plan ahead, you can avoid nearly every line that tourists suffer through (except for security checks)

  • Staying at a European bed-and-breakfast is a bit like having your own temporary mother while you travel. B and Bs are generally small, family-run places with fewer amenities but more character than a hotel

  • You may have to forgo your big vacation plans this year, but a tighter budget doesn't have to doom your summer getaway altogether. You just have to be more creative, more flexible and willing to spend a little extra time finding deals. And without a doubt, great deals are out there. These out-of-the-box ideas may just make that postponed summer vacation downright doable

  • No matter how snazzy the car -- from a kids' perspective anyway -- and how short (or long) the trip, the biggest challenge, of course, is keeping the kids amused along the way.

  • Wish you had more time to spend with your best friend or your family members? Try a multifamily vacation! These group getaways are a growing trend -- the travel industry calls them 'togethering.' They're a chance to kick back and share adventures with pals and relatives, plus they reduce the costs of lodging

  • Maybe it's the economy. Maybe it's the need to reconnect with friends and family. At beach houses and on sailboats, city condos and mountain cabins, families and friends are joining forces on vacation.

  • No worries if you haven't been outdoors in years. In fact, many companies that specialize in outdoor adventures and expeditions now offer family departures to make it easy and affordable. All you need to do is show up

  • When it comes to family vacations, you can plan for the good stuff in advance. A bad turn of events, however, can strike without warning, especially when you're traveling with kids. Accidents and mishaps can occur anytime, anywhere. Keep your family as healthy and safe as possible while on vacation by taking these simple precautions

  • It's hard to be a novice at anything but if you've never done it before traveling can be one of life's most daunting experiences. With this in mind, here's what our veteran travelers would tell the novice traveler if they could only offer one piece of advice

  • Whether prompted by necessity or adventure, travelers do a lot of dining out and thus have developed some pretty strong opinions about the experience

  • While it's a tradition that began in Italy, street painting or chalk festivals have become as much a part of spring and summer tradition in the U.S. as barbecues and fireworks. With this in mind, the members and editors of VirtualTourist.com have chosen these 10 great street painting festivals as some of their favorites

  • Greetings from Bora Bora -- that tiny piece of heaven in the South Pacific. The water is impossibly blue, except for those improbable shades of green, and everywhere you turn, it is -- snap, snap, snap -- picture postcard perfect. James Michener, author of 'Tales of the South Pacific,' thought Bora Bora was the most beautiful island of all. No wonder.

  • Who says kids and romance don't go together? Even in a place as famous for honeymoons as Bora Bora, families' rule, especially as Air Tahiti Nui continues to offer kids free deals on flights. There are also great hotel deals.

  • We are in paradise -- really. The fish literally eat out of our hands, the water is so clear I can see seashells in the sand six feet below us and the island nearby is ringed by lush, green trees, some dripping with exotic fruits.

  • Whether you're a frequent flyer or just seeking a generous rewards program, there's a card for you. Here's the skinny on some of the best travel rewards credit cards

  • Airfare monitor Airfarewatchdog recently posted a report showing that search sites promising to find the 'lowest fares' often don't make good on this promise

  • When Brittany Laughlin needed to fly from Chicago to San Francisco last month, she tried something new. Instead of visiting an online travel agency or an airline website, she headed over to Google Flight Search, the newest and most controversial travel site to launch since Orbitz opened its doors a decade ago

  • Several websites offer mileage tracking, which could prevent you from letting miles expire or getting so frustrated you give up on mileage programs altogether. Here's a look at five mileage-tracking sites and their features

  • With travel-linked rewards program cards, points are exchanged for airline tickets, hotel stays, and merchandise. In some cases, points can be turned into cash. These cards reward spenders, but watch the fees and terms

  • Quitting a frequent-flier program looks easy: You cut up your card and donate the miles to charity. And that's it. But, I realized that there's a little more to it. Living miles-free in a world that's polluted with points is exceedingly difficult -- and for some, impossible.

  • Maybe you can have your salted peanuts and eat them, too. According to a new study, the airline industry had its best performance in decades, and so-called discount carriers led the pack

  • If you don't want to pay the exorbitant price for a first-class ticket, your only chance to avoid the bone-crunching crowding of the airlines' coach/economy cabins is to wangle a coach seat with extra legroom. Rather than dole out those choice seats first come, first served, more and more airlines have taken to selling access to them.

  • Traveling, whether for work or play, can take its toll on your physical condition. Here are seven health problems you might encounter in transit along with tips for avoiding them

  • The Marquesas Islands. This is the most northerly archipelago in French Polynesia, just south of the equator, and farther from a continental landfall than any other group of islands on earth -- as far as you can get from so-called civilization

  • Don't be the slowest passenger on the security line -- or the one who sets off buzzers or is pulled aside and searched. This simple suitcase guide will help make your future travels a cinch.

  • There are no statistics on luggage failures of the type I encountered -- broken handles, busted wheels, screwed-up zippers -- but plenty of stories. Here are four luggage horror stories, and some tips on how to cope with them.

  • You travelers tell us that 'Baggage Fees' have risen near the top of your lists of airline annoyances. Certainly, the fees are getting ever more widespread. And UPS just got into the act with a new 'luggage box' it would love to ship for you. But does this development mean shipping your stuff ahead makes any sense?

  • What is it about travel that makes people jettison their manners? Whether it's the Ugly American or the Entitled Elite, travel has no shortage of unflattering stereotypes. They've always been with us. They'll always be with us. But are their numbers growing?

  • At the right time, these are all perfectly reasonable ways to complain to a travel company. At the wrong time, they can doom your customer service request to failure at the hands of a dreaded form response. What kind of a complainer are you?

  • Lots of you, I'm sure, enjoy your vacation more when have your longtime dog or cat companion along with you. But traveling with a pet can be dangerous to the pet's health. -- a fact vividly demonstrated by the recent story about the death of seven puppies on an airline flight. Here's what you need to know

  • Over the years I've been traveling, tipping has become a lot more confusing -- and a lot more expensive. Moreover, long established customs around the world have changed, mostly for the worse. Here are some highlights from the most recent worldwide tipping guide

  • Which major world destination city offers the best 'value' in hotel accommodations? Prague, says a recent survey; not a great surprise, given the almost universal reputation that worthy city has earned in the last decades. And other Eastern European cities also fare well

  • It's normal for travelers to pocket a 'physical representation' of their vacation. But before they snatch up that porcelain figurine or sombrero, she advises that they remember the acronym CUTE, which stands for 'Can't Use This Ever.'

  • Renting a reliable vacation home isn't easy. And not just because there are a seemingly endless number of rental resources to turn to -- everything from local sites that list a few condos to big listing services like HomeAway.com or VRBO.com. I asked experts to identify the biggest challenges when renting a home. Here's what they told me

  • Where's the line? When you're staying at a hotel, is it OK to pocket the bottles of shampoo and lotion? How about the magazines? Bathrobes? Furniture? It depends on the traveler.

  • While the travel industry seems hell-bent on downgrading your next trip, (and I have to be careful here not to single out my friends in the travel agency community -- you're the victims here, too) there are a few things you can do to make sure it doesn't happen. You can upgrade your trip. How? Here are a few tips I've picked up as a consumer advocate

  • Solo travel gives you complete freedom and independence. You never have to wait for your partner to pack up. You decide where to go, how far to travel, how much to spend, or when to call it a day. If ad-libbing, it's easier for one to slip between the cracks than two. Of course, there are downsides to traveling alone

  • It isn't just fear that's keeping many of us away from a plane, but common sense. Flying has become such an unbelievably humiliating experience, it's no wonder there are still people out there who haven't flown. If anything, I'm amazed there aren't more of them out there

  • Americans appear ready to spend a little more on summer fun -- as long as they're still landing good deals. Top destinations include countries that have slashed their prices, domestic cities considered less desirable to foreign tourists, and old-fashioned, multi-family beach houses. If you're still looking for the perfect summer getaway, here are 11 strategies to consider

  • As summer starts, it's the perfect opportunity to clear your head -- and your calendar -- for a much-needed getaway. Jennifer Oberstein, a director with Leading Hotels of the World and an avid traveler for both work and play, offers the following pre-trip tips for planning the perfect vacation

  • Nothing -- not higher gas prices, not soaring airfares, not climbing hotel rates -- seems to be keeping travelers off the road this summer. Offering them useful travel advice? That's something of a roadblock it turns out

  • If I could generalize about the types of screw-ups most common to travelers, I'd say they're not errors of commission as much as they are errors of omission: leaving something out, forgetting to verify a reservation, or just making an incorrect assumption. Here are some of my favorite travel mistakes