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Travel


Tips for first-time cruisers

Have you never taken a cruise before? Well, Cruise 1st appropriately enough has gathered a list of first-time cruiser tips, contributed to by yours truly, to inspire you to step aboard with the following helpful suggestions.  Emma Gray of Emma’s Travel Tales starts off by suggesting port research. Not only is it important to consider what to do onboard — including packing for the...
Trip to Disney World helps unravel Army veteran's $300,000 disability fraud, officials say

Trip to Disney World helps unravel Army veteran's $300,000 disability fraud, officials say

An Army veteran who received $300,000 in benefits over the course of several years is facing more than a decade in prison after investigators discovered that she was faking her disability. A federal jury in Jacksonville found her guilty on Thursday. A trip that Crystel Lee Riedling, 44, took with her daughter to Disney World in Orlando turned out to be a key piece of evidence as investigators...
How to take part in inauguration weekend

How to take part in inauguration weekend

Where to Go Now: Washington, D.C  On Friday, Jan. 20, around noon, President-elect Donald Trump will take the oath of office on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., to become the 45th president of the United States; Vice President-elect Mike Pence will be sworn in before Trump. The occasion marks the country’s 58th presidential inauguration.   Inauguration Day...
Affordable fitness getaways in January

Affordable fitness getaways in January

After the feasting and revelry of the holidays, attention in January often turns to fitness and health. Domestic and international hotels have designed packages with spa treatments, fitness classes and eating cleanses to help travelers detoxify.  At Gurney’s Montauk Resort and Seawater Spa on Long Island in New York, rates drop in the winter. In addition to on-demand audio meditations by...
Snowshoe to Stargaze Point for untouched powder north of Idaho City

Snowshoe to Stargaze Point for untouched powder north of Idaho City

IDAHO CITY, Idaho — Don’t let the Pioneer Fire stop you from exploring the Park N’ Ski snowshoe trails in the Boise National Forest north of Idaho City.  I joined a State Parks and Recreation-led hike to Stargaze Point last weekend, which was the annual Free Ski & Snowshoe Day for the department.   Our group found acres of untouched powder, spectacular views and no...
Obama adds Alabama civil rights area to Park Service

Obama adds Alabama civil rights area to Park Service

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — President Barack Obama signed an order Thursday designating an historic civil rights district in Alabama as a national monument, placing several blocks of a city once rocked by racial violence on par with landmarks including the Grand Canyon.  The National Park Service will now have oversight of a downtown section of Birmingham, Alabama — a focal point of civil...
All Aboard’s Brightline train to begin tests on tracks this week

All Aboard’s Brightline train to begin tests on tracks this week

All Aboard Florida’s Brightline rail service will start testing its first passenger train this week along a 9-mile stretch of the Florida East Coast Railway tracks that runs from West Palm Beach to Lantana. But a planned quiet zone to silence train horns along the route will not be in place before the company begins testing the 489-foot-long train and its on-board systems, Brightline officials...

Europe's ski season is off to a dry and worrisome start in the Alps

Ah, the Alps. Land of the mountain chalet and piping hot mugs of mulled wine, sipped between glorious runs down some of the most challenging ski slopes in the world.  Except this year, the challenge is having ski slopes at all.   December was Switzerland's driest month on record. The country received .07 inches of precipitation, way down from the average of 3.5 inches. "There is...
How an author found the real Florida

How an author found the real Florida

Cathy Salustri, author of “Backroads of Paradise: A Journey to Rediscover Old Florida,” delights in letting people know that to really discover Florida, you have to turn off the congested interstates and explore the state’s towns and cities. “Legally, we’re one state, but we’re really a bunch of different states,” she said. “I want people to see that...
At Grand Canyon, cancer survivor on rim-to-rim-to-rim hike

At Grand Canyon, cancer survivor on rim-to-rim-to-rim hike

I'm having a moment. The Colorado River, flowing fast and brown after several days of rain, is 20 feet below. The South Rim of the Grand Canyon, my destination, is nearly 5,000 feet above, nine miles away via the Bright Angel Trail. It's only 8 in the morning and already upward of 80 degrees. I find a smooth granite boulder in a patch of shade and sit and start crying.  Hiking from the Grand...
Can restaurants take a stand during inauguration without alienating Trump voters?

Can restaurants take a stand during inauguration without alienating Trump voters?

WASHINGTON - In a political environment where every action generates an equal and opposite reaction, restaurants that want to signal their discomfort with the policies of the incoming Trump administration have to orchestrate their moves carefully during inauguration weekend. Anything labeled, or just perceived, as a protest could meet with significant backlash.  So this week, as Nando's Peri-Peri...
North Korea is a bad trip if you're looking to get high

North Korea is a bad trip if you're looking to get high

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — North Korea has been getting some pretty high praise lately from the stoner world.  Marijuana news outlets including High Times, Merry Jane and Green Rush — along with British tabloids, which always love a good yarn — are hailing the North as a pothead paradise and maybe even the next Amsterdam of pot tourism. They've reported North Korean marijuana...
Foodie adventures in charming Boonville, Calif.

Foodie adventures in charming Boonville, Calif.

There are hidden California treasures nestled in Mendocino’s Anderson Valley, where vineyards unfurl along the hillsides and the tiny town of Boonville offers a foodie paradise. Culinary inspiration is contagious in this hamlet, where everyone knows everyone, and we weekenders can dabble in all the deliciousness.  Sampling Table 128’s paella, Pennyroyal’s goat-sheep laychee...
Reasons to take your vacation days this year

Reasons to take your vacation days this year

2017 is practically begging you to take a trip. Airfares are down and gas prices are below what they were last year at this time. Plus, more than half of you are still not using all your vacation days, according to Bankrate.com, so the odds seem in your favor. Of course, you would expect us to say that. But the next time you post to Instagram or send something by Dropbox, know that these ideas came...

Your 2017 travel forecast

2017 is shaping up to be a year of big change for travelers. In addition to a new president whose policies could affect where and how Americans travel, there are also major changes on the way from leading travel and hospitality brands, including new airplane cabins, hotel loyalty programs and theme park expansions. Below, a guide to what to expect in the new year.  — Changes to Airplanes...
Need a vacation? 75 percent of Floridians plan to take one in 2017

Need a vacation? 75 percent of Floridians plan to take one in 2017

Floridians are planning to hit the road this year, vacationing in warm weather destinations across the United States and abroad, according to a new survey released Thursday by AAA.
Airport corner debuts travel-oriented convenience plaza

Airport corner debuts travel-oriented convenience plaza

A travel-oriented 7-Eleven, Mobil gas station and Dunkin’ Donuts officially opened Thursday next to Palm Beach International Airport. The county mayor, airport director and other officials were on hand for the opening shortly after 9 a.m. The property is at the southwest corner of Belvedere and Florida Mango roads. Related: Airport plaza races to beat Wawa Andre LeBlanc, vice president of operations...
5 things to look for in Brightline’s new passenger trains

5 things to look for in Brightline’s new passenger trains

We got our first look this week at the new train for All Aboard Florida’s Brightline passenger-rail service.
Shifting visa fees can make travel to Vietnam confusing, costly

Shifting visa fees can make travel to Vietnam confusing, costly

We were thrilled when we found $730 plane tickets from Chicago to Vietnam.   Friends had recently traveled to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, so we knew we’d need to get our visas ahead of time.    What we didn’t know was that we had booked our October flights shortly after the country changed its visa regulations.    In April, according to a State Department official...
Where to go in 2017

Where to go in 2017

Here are 17 destinations that look especially fetching right now. The list includes cities, countries, islands and national parks on five continents; bohemians and Slovenians; spherical Canadian treehouses; vast Vietnamese caves; train tracks at 14,000 feet; and the mother of all Marimekko stores. Some of these spots are in the middle of building booms. Some are celebrating historic anniversaries...

No Olympics or World Cup, but plenty of sports to cheer on

Sailors, skiers and fans of activities such as tug of war and rock ‘n’ roll dancing — the competitive kind — will find much to like on the global sports circuit in 2017.  Super Bowl LI, or 51, is scheduled in Houston on Feb. 5. Lady Gaga will appear at halftime.   Held every two years, the Alpine World Ski Championships head to St. Moritz, Switzerland, Feb. 6-19...

Travel talk: Family spring break; first-time cruisers

Q: I'm looking for a warm, beachy family spring break (March) destination in the Caribbean. Kids' ages are 12 and 5. Considering both all-inclusive type resorts (for the pools and convenient meals/drinks) and renting a house or condo. Trying to find a balance between over-commercialized/crowded and too sparse/nothing-to-do. We're mostly content hanging at the pool or beach, but do like going out to...
See photos, video of All Aboard’s first Brightline passenger train

See photos, video of All Aboard’s first Brightline passenger train

All Aboard Florida’s Brightline rail service unveiled the first train in its growing fleet on Wednesday, marking a new phase for the company as officials shift their attention from construction to customer service.
Celebrate Valentine’s Day with these staycation deals

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with these staycation deals

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, local tourism leaders are promoting a handful of deals perfectly designed for both visitors and county residents looking for a romantic getaway.
When the room is the view

When the room is the view

Sometimes a hotel is just a place to sleep. Other times, it’s a destination. The following hotel openings, scheduled from late 2016 to late 2017, belong to the latter category: worthy of trips in their own right.   BHUTAN    Six Senses Bhutan    Five new lodges known collectively as Six Senses Bhutan are expected to open in August, offering inn-to-inn circuits. With...

Reviewing ItsEasy’s remarkably simple in-app passport renewal process

Renewing your passport is a pain. It ranks right up there with visiting the DMV and going in for a root canal as things you would want to do with your free time. In an era of automation, however, this doesn’t have to be the case. This year, I tried and fell in love with ItsEasy’s app and its promise of a simple and efficient way to renew my passport. ItsEasy has a nice website as well...

A year to toast independence, reformation and satire

Political unions, milestones related to deceased authors and the commemoration of one major religious event highlight the 2017 anniversary calendar.   Germany will examine the Protestant Reformation that began in 1517 when Martin Luther tacked up his 95 theses on what he viewed as abuses by the Roman Catholic Church in Wittenberg. Among planned events are exhibits in Berlin, Eisenach and Wittenberg...
These are the best- and worst-performing airlines in the world

These are the best- and worst-performing airlines in the world

For those who insist that traveling is all about the journey, we say this: It really depends on which carrier you're flying.  Aside from variations in cabins and service quality, there's the major concern of how likely you are to get delayed. Fly on the wrong airline and your odds of a delay are as high as 55 percent; choose the right one and that number shrinks way down to just 11 percent. That's...
Japan's magic metropolis

Japan's magic metropolis

Airline offers $69 fares from US to Europe

Airline offers $69 fares from US to Europe

An Icelandic airline is offering American globetrotters tickets from the West Coast to any of four European cities for less than $70 starting Tuesday. WOW air announced Tuesday that travelers can get one-way tickets from the Los Angeles or San Francisco international airports to Stockholm, Copenhagen, Bristol or Edinburgh for $69.99. The sale applies to trips between Jan. 15 and April 5. The airline...
SeaWorld San Diego ending killer whale show

SeaWorld San Diego ending killer whale show

SAN DIEGO (AP) — SeaWorld San Diego is ending its long-running killer whale show after years of outcry and falling attendance prompted it to renounce theatrical orca displays.  The show that featured killer whales cavorting with trainers and leaping high out of the Shamu Stadium pool will have its final performances on Sunday.   This summer, the park will unveil a new attraction...
Tourism leaders look to locals to market area as vacation destination

Tourism leaders look to locals to market area as vacation destination

Palm Beach County’s tourism leaders are calling on local residents for help marketing the county as an international vacation destination on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The push is part of a new advertising campaign, dubbed “Friends Trust Friends,” unveiled Monday by Discover The Palm Beaches, the county’s official tourism marketing arm. Under the...
Turkey's tourism takes big hit after extremist attacks

Turkey's tourism takes big hit after extremist attacks

ISTANBUL (AP) — The once bustling Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is astonishingly quiet. The shops and restaurants in the city's trendy Istiklal Street are all but empty of foreign customers and the hotels in the upscale Nisantasi district are nearly deserted.  Turkey's economy is suffering in the face of a string of extremist attacks — including the nightclub massacre of New Year's revelers...
Getting around by rail, sail or foot

Getting around by rail, sail or foot

Whether by train, ship or continent-spanning trail, transit alternatives are poised to proliferate in 2017.  Midyear, the Brightline express train in South Florida is expected to open, linking Miami and West Palm Beach. When it’s finished in 2019, travelers can make the trip between Miami and Orlando in three hours, while driving takes four. The terminus at the new downtown MiamiCentral...
Fort Lauderdale airport shooting: Shoes, strollers, keys, await owners

Fort Lauderdale airport shooting: Shoes, strollers, keys, await owners

Strollers. Bags. Purses. Shoes. Toys. Glasses. Car Keys. Thousands of items sitting in an aviation hangar. Items separated from people who dropped everything as they ran for their lives. They — more than 20,000 items in all — are just part of the residue from the act of one man stepping out of a restroom at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport with a pistol. On the...
Construction advances on Brightline’s Miami station

Construction advances on Brightline’s Miami station

The first Brightline train has arrived, housed in the company’s rail repair facility off of Division Avenue in West Palm Beach on December 14, 2016.
Dream Job: Royal Caribbean’s Instagram internship is everything

Dream Job: Royal Caribbean’s Instagram internship is everything

Looking to travel the world and post pictures on Instagram for a living? Look no further, my friend. Royal Caribbean UK & Ireland is looking for an intern to do just that.  But, before you start packing, let’s get this right off the bat: Only open to applicants from the UK and Ireland. Must be at least 21 years old. Carry a valid passport, no criminal record and no travel restrictions...
Grand opening for PBIA’s travel plaza to be held this week

Grand opening for PBIA’s travel plaza to be held this week

provided A grand opening ceremony will be held Thursday for the travel plaza on the outskirts of the Palm Beach International Airport.

Trending 2017 trips to book now

These are going to be the coolest destinations for 2017, from the tried-and-true to emerging hot spots. There’s always a renewed sense of excitement, anticipation, and inspiration at the beginning of the year. Resolutions are fresh and change feels within reach. Most importantly (for us, at least) there travel dreams and fantasies that beg to become realities. And my, those dreams are bountiful...
Savoring porridge and sipping pinot

Savoring porridge and sipping pinot

Where should your appetite take you in 2017? The temptations to travel abound, from festivals honoring crowd-pleasing foods to those that celebrate downright quirky ones, not to mention events where it’s possible to savor the creations of several famous chefs in a single day. At the St. Barth Gourmet Festival (Nov. 2 to 5), for example, now in its fourth year, eight Michelin-star chefs from...
NEW: Deputies confronted airport shooter within 70-80 seconds

NEW: Deputies confronted airport shooter within 70-80 seconds

The gunman who shot and killed five people and injured six others at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Friday was confronted by Broward County sheriff’s deputies within 70 to 80 seconds of his attack, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said in a news conference. The gunman, identified as 26-year-old Esteban Santiago, was not on a no-fly list, said FBI Special Agent in...
Jewish art challenges the taboo of Jesus

Jewish art challenges the taboo of Jesus

JERUSALEM - At the center of the Israel Museum's newest art exhibit stands an imposing, life-size marble figure of Jesus Christ. The sculpture, titled "Christ Before the People's Court," would not be out of place in a church in Rome.  Yet in this depiction, the Christian savior wears a Jewish skullcap.   The sculpture, created by Russian Jewish artist Mark Antokolsky in 1876...
BREAKING: Spirit flight diverted to PBIA; customers told en route

BREAKING: Spirit flight diverted to PBIA; customers told en route

At least one flight was diverted to Palm Beach International Airport on Friday from Fort Lauderdale in the wake of the shooting that left five dead and eight wounded there. Mark McGourty was on the Spirit Airlines flight from Boston that landed at about 4 p.m. “Early in the flight people got suspicious as to why it was taking longer than we thought,” McGourty said. “We were told...
Cruise ship operators bringing high tech to the high seas

Cruise ship operators bringing high tech to the high seas

LAS VEGAS (AP) — High technology is taking to the high seas.  Cruise ships are being outfitted with sensors and trackers, all to help crew members better anticipate passengers' needs and whims.   Carnival Corp., the operator of cruise lines including its namesake, Princess, and Holland America, unveiled the new concierge technology at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas on Wednesday...