Travel News & Deals
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Good bets for Super Bowl partying in Las Vegas

As the clock ticks toward the Super Bowl matchup between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks, fans who will be spending the weekend in Las Vegas have a tantalizing decision to make: Will a humble hot dog be enough when dishes such as chili shrimp skewers and Grandma’s meatballs are available?

It will be a big weekend for sure: Last year, bettors in Nevada wagered a record $119.4 million on the Super Bowl. The Nevada Gaming Control Board said the combined earnings for sports books statewide totaled more than $19.6 million.

Because this is the big game, you’ll want to get the eating/drinking options right if you're in Las Vegas. Here are some good bets. I’ve even tossed in an option for the kids who obviously can’t sit next to Mom or Dad at an adults-only party.

PBR Rock Bar

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3 California hotels among Gayot's 10 best new hotels of 2014

The quirky Wayfarer hostel in Santa Barbara and much acclaimed Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles have been cited as two of Gayot's 10 top new hotels in the U.S., according to the guide's website.

Gayot took stock of newcomers in 2014 and ranked those worthy of a tryout. The boutique Kinzie Hotel in Chicago takes the top spot for its location and Chicago map murals on the guestroom walls, according to Gayot's website.

Five of the 10 are in the West, and the New York City area and Florida claim two each.

The Wayfarer is the guide's budget pick for 2014. You can get a private or dorm-style room with "free breakfast, a terrific pool and a community kitchen worthy of the most discerning gourmet chef," Gayot says.

It's pretty hard to beat the sheer beauty of the 1927 United Artists building that Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles took over. The ornate theater, the Chapter restaurant and the rooftop pool put the hotel at No. 3. (Gayout liked the in-room acoustic Martin guitars too.)

Here's Gayot's...

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Super-small boat cruises offer 2015 sailings to Scotland's western islands

Big cruise lines are rolling out their 2015-16 itineraries on luxury ships -- and so are new super-small ones, which operate just one boat on cruises to Scottish islands.

Hebrides Cruises isn't the only single-boat cruise line that operates in Scotland but it is among the newest.

The company last year started taking visitors to the Hebrides islands off the west coast of Scotland.

This year it offers eight itineraries -- to places like Mull, Skye, St. Kilda, Mingulay, Shiants -- aboard the Elizabeth G, a former Norwegian rescue boat. It holds just 12 guests on four- to six-night sailings, and a naturalist and nature photographer come along too.

Prices range from 830 to 1,800 British pounds ($1,245 to $2,700).

Argyll Cruising launches this year with a converted wooden fishing boat that accommodates just seven guests. It debuts with four itineraries on three- to six-night cruises to destinations such as Arran, Ailsa Craig and the Mull of Kintyre, according to a statement.

Prices range...

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On the Spot: Airfares stay sky high despite oil price drops

Question: I'm frustrated that airfares have not followed the decline in oil prices over the last few months. Airfares certainly followed oil prices as they rose last year. Have mergers eliminated competitive tension between the remaining carriers to the detriment of consumers?

Tom Cook

Topeka, Kan.

Answer: In the L.A. area, we're paying about $1.11 less for a gallon of gas at the pumps than we were last year at the same time, according to AAA's Fuel Gauge report. When I'm filling the car, I'm tempted to shake my fist and say, "C'mon, airlines, you big bunch of …." You can fill in that last part.

Cursing those culprits might temporarily alleviate my angst, but experts remind me that it's not that simple. Nothing about airlines or airfares is.

Seth Kaplan, managing partner and an analyst with Airline Weekly, an industry publication, started realigning my thinking with this analogy: "It's just like if you're running a diner, and the prices of flour, butter and eggs drop. You don't just...

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Gear: Water and your tablet do mix, if you use this submersible cover

Just when you thought there was at least one place your tablet might not seduce you — underwater — here comes the Satechi Waterproof Tablet Case Series.

The case is so impermeable it floats. It’s submersible up to 20 feet so you can’t escape even while snorkeling (although you can take photos and videos).

The tablet slides into a built-in really heavy-duty Ziploc-like compartment with a double waterproof “zip” seal. About 2 1/2 inches of the “bag” extends to the left of the tablet holding area, and is tightly rolled over itself three times then doubly sealed with a Velcro strip running the vertical length of the “Ziploc-ed” edge.

This provides users with full control of the tablet’s touch screen via the covering’s transparent touch-sensitive front panel. The case’s book-like front cover closes with a magnetic clasp and can be converted into a stand.

The case comes in sizes compatible with the iPad Air, iPad Mini or Kindle PaperWhite, with models for more electronic devices on the way.


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Travel letters: Egad! Secret's out on favorite Seal Rock Inn

Oh, how could Irene Lechowitzky expose my little secret hideaway on a budget — the Seal Rock Inn ["A Quiet Start at Lands End," Jan. 18].

It is one of those special gems that we, the less than wealthy, hope will never show up in the L.A. Times Travel section.

Well, all good things must come to an end. Very nice article, though.

H.J. Bruntsch

San Diego

Disneyland + 40

I read Brady MacDonald's article about Disneyland and the major changes that might take place by 2055 ["What Disneyland Could Be Like at 100," Jan. 11].

I've heard that Disney might create a "Star Wars"-themed land either in Toon Town or Tomorrowland. I'm very excited about this.

Meanwhile, I'll skip the Disneyland annual passes until executives make plans to make this idea a reality.

Eric Bunyan

Mission Viejo


Space Mountain will make the cut. MacDonald referred to keeping the Disneyland mountain range intact. Disneyland opened on my seventh birthday; I made my first trip about two months later, and I've been going ever...

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