Now that the Transportation Security Administration will offer its expedited airport security screening program, which is the best way to get it — through frequent flier programs, Global Entry or the TSA itself? Should you get it at all?
On Wednesday, the TSA began offering its screening program, called PreCheck, for $85 to travelers. If you are accepted into the program, for the ensuing five years you don’t have to remove your shoes, belt or jacket -- and you can leave your liquids and your laptop in your hand luggage.
Previously, the PreCheck program was available to frequent fliers who had achieved elite status on their airline of choice or as an added perk to Global Entry, a Customs and Border Protection program that gives fliers returning to the U.S. expedited entrance into the country after travel abroad. Global Entry costs $100 for five years.
More recently, the TSA has been choosing travelers at random for the expedited screening, to the dismay of some who bought...
When we last left this story, I was being held up at the Vietnamese border, where the border authorities wanted to impound my bright yellow motorcycle. They suggested that I leave without it (I couldn’t do that) and go on to Ho Chi Minh City.
I did manage to finally talk my way out of this problem. It didn’t involve any payoffs because I’m traveling with no money. My around-the-world journey, which began Aug. 10 in Los Angeles, has been financed by total strangers who are committing acts of kindness.
They have fed me, sheltered me and provided me (or, more accurately, my bright-yellow motorcycle, dubbed Kindness One) with gasoline as I’ve journeyed across the U.S., then across the Atlantic, through Europe and then to Asia.
During my last months of travel: I’ve slept in the “home” (a parking garage) with a homeless man in Pittsburgh. I’ve crossed the Atlantic on a container vessel. I’ve been welcomed in an Indian village by hundreds...
Women who like rugged vacations and the healing side of yoga will appreciate this five-day rafting trip on Utah's Green River that goes beyond a standard yoga retreat. Utah-based Holiday River Expeditions designed the women-only journey down Desolation Canyon for those of all abilities and ages seeking "personalized wellness and lifestyle counseling."
Deanna English, a registered nurse and yoga therapist, leads the trip, which teaches participants the therapeutic side of yoga, breathing, good nutrition and more. Days are spent hiking up red-rock side canyons to see petroglyphs, doing yoga stretches on sandy pull-offs along the river and hitting the rapids through Desolation and Gray canyons.
Participants also will have time to meditate or do a little kayaking on their own. The trip begins and ends in the city of Green River southeast of Salt Lake City. Campers bring their clothing, sleeping bag and tent; outfitters provide the rest.
Can fans ever get enough of "Downton Abbey"? In the first show of its kind in the United States, 40 wardrobe items from the PBS "Masterpiece" series will go on display this spring at what could be a "Downton" twin: Winterthur, the expansive 175-room Delaware estate created by Henry Francis du Pont.
"Costumes of Downton Abbey" opens March 1 at the Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library near Wilmington, Del. It will contrast the "Downton" duds -- items such as Lady Sybil's harem pants, Lady Mary's engagement dress and the ill-fated wedding dress of Lady Edith -- with clothes and decorative items such as an 1874 Tiffany silver tea set at the du Pont house.
The exhibit plus lectures and other events will provide a window on 20th century country life in the fictional artistocratic British family and the real-life stateside du Pont family. The museum features furniture, ceramics and glass items, paintings, prints and more items that were collected by du Pont, great-grandson of the chemical...
By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Deal and Travel Blogger
Weekdays and winter are an ideal match for low rates at lodgings inside Zion and Sequoia & Kings Canyon national parks. Fewer visitors and snow are bonuses for those ready to bundle up to explore the off-season side of these parklands in Utah and California.
Deal 1:Zion National Park was created in 1919 and was the first national park in Utah. Zion Lodge offers a package that comes with breakfast for two and costs $139 a night for a room, $149 for a cabin and $179 for a suite. (Prices exclude tax.) Use the code "WNTR" when making a reservation.
When: The offer is good Sundays-Thursdays from now through March 20, based on availability. Weekends cost $15 more a night.
Tested: I found availability for $139 rooms on Jan. 12-14. Rates usually run $185 a night for rooms, $192 for cabins and $226 for suites. Note the package isn't available around Christmastime or New Year's Eve.
By Catharine M. Hamm, Los Angeles Times Travel editor
If you’re strictly a domestic traveler and want to speed through airport security, the Transportation Security Administration on Wednesday will begin offering you a chance to join its PreCheck program.
A center that will administer the TSA program is to open in Los Angeles by the end of the year, although it is not yet known where that will be.
Previously, PreCheck was available to elite frequent fliers by invitation of the airline with which they had elite status or through Global Entry, a government program that allows expedited entry back into the country as well as faster airport screening.
Global Entry, administered by Customs and Border Protection, costs $100 (nonrefundable even if you’re denied access to the program) and is good for five years. The TSA’s PreCheck program piggybacked onto Global Entry program.
But beginning Wednesday, travelers who don’t want or need that reentry perk can apply to TSA for the chance to go through security without removing...
By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Deal and Travel Blogger
In December, Southern California public gardens aren't so much about what's growing as what's glowing. Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont, the Living Desert in Palm Desert and the San Diego Botanic Garden open for nighttime lights or luminaria displays. And Scrooge drops in for weekends at Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge. Here's a list of holiday happenings at these gardens:
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont: Follow the more than 1,000 candle-lighted luminarias along a loop trail in the garden at night on weekends leading up to Christmas. Listen to live performances -- Native American flute music, folk music, Appalachian fiddle and more -- while munching on cookies and sipping hot cider. Events run 6-9 p.m. on Saturday, plus Dec. 13 and 14, 20 and 21 and cost $5 per person; children younger than 3 are admitted free. Buy Luminaria Nights tickets online or at the garden. Info: 1500 N. College Ave., Claremont; (909) 625-8767
Seeing Santa at the mall is so passé. In Las Vegas, he can be found this month floating in a giant fish tank, month riding a train, and running through the streets -- by the thousands.
St. Nick will swim with the fishes -- 4,000 of them -- at the Silverton Casino Hotel, where he will don lead boots for his dives in the resort’s 117,000-gallon aquarium. Santa and his elves will be submerged from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. starting this Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 22. Modern technology will allow the jolly old man to chat with kids outside the tank.
Elsewhere in Las Vegas, Santa and Mrs. Claus will greet youngsters aboard the Santa Train operated by the Nevada State Railroad Museum, about a half-hour east of the Strip in Boulder City. The full-size train will operate Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 22. Trips depart on the hour from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Tickets are $5 per person. Info: (702) 486-5933.
A sea of Santas can be seen dashing through downtown Las Vegas on Saturday. The Opportunity...
Just in time for prime shopping season, San Diego's longtime police station has been reborn as an upscall mall known as the Headquarters at Seaport District. It opened Nov. 18 near the downtown waterfront.
The complex, a mix of Spanish and Mission Revival styles, was built in 1939 with a jail, five courtrooms, an indoor shooting range, a law library and a big garage. The police moved out in the late 1980s, and the site stood idle for years while the tourists flocked to the tourist-friendly Seaport Village shopping area next door.
Nowadays it’s Seaport Village that seems less compelling while the Headquartersstands tall, freshly groomed and eager to please. Its restaurants include a Pizzeria Mozza, Eddie V’s (steak and seafood); Puesto (Mexican street food); and Bruxie, a sandwich spot that uses Belgian waffles instead of bread. Shops include a fancy cheese place (Venissimo Cheese), a fancy toy place (Geppetto’s) and Kitson, the upscale retailer that made its name...
Everyone loves my big yellow motorcycle with a sidecar, the one I’m using in an attempt to circumnavigate the globe. Kids love it. Adults love it. Cambodian monkeys also love it. But there is one place where the love falls short.
Since I left Los Angeles on Aug. 10, I have relied on the kindness of others for food, shelter and gasoline and have been fortunate to attract the best kind of attention. But for some reason border guards do not love my bike, which I called Kindness One, and they apparently do not like me either.
As I tried to enter Vietnam from Cambodia, things were not looking good. I had encountered border troubles before. The Thai border guards didn’t seem to know what to make of me and my bright yellow motorcycle. I spent six hours at the border trying to persuade them I wasn’t a vintage motorcycle smuggler. (This is a 1978 Chang Jiang motorcycle, outfitted with a BMW engine.)
I managed to talk my way around this when I learned that the head of the...
A wedding ceremony for less than $100? A beautiful setting -- Hawaii -- and some bargain prices may mean big business in the Aloha State, where same-sex marriages begin Monday.
“We anticipate a huge increase in spending in the state of Hawaii from the LGBT market,” Neal Miller of Atlanta’s Neal Miller Travel Co. told Travel Weekly. “We expect larger celebrations, larger groups of folks coming to Hawaii with couples choosing to bring their families along with them.”
Citing a paper from the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization released in July, U.S. News on NBC News reported that same-sex marriage could add nearly $70 million a year to Hawaii's economy. Tourism is the No. 2 industry in the state and suffered reverses in the 2008 economic downturn.
Kevin Rebello, an owner of Gay Hawaii Wedding, said his company had arranged five same-sex weddings for Monday.
“We are swamped," he said. "We’re up to about 30 bookings since the bill...
Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger Mary Forgione likes to hit the dirt when she's on vacation. An avid hiker and runner, Mary likes speed-touring cities on foot and sightseeing by running marathons.