Travel News & Deals
Deals, tips, advice and more
Duty-free shoppers, make sure you've got rules on liquids in the bag

Question: My husband and I recently returned from an overseas trip. We flew from Naples, Italy, to Vancouver, Canada, before our last leg to LAX. After we cleared security in Naples, we did some shopping in the duty-free store, where we bought two bottles of Italian olive oil. At checkout, the clerk scanned our ticket, then bagged our items to carry on the plane with us. All was fine until we reached Vancouver. The security personnel said that because the oil wasn't bagged in a sealed bag they would have to take it. I had the items in the original bag from the duty-free store and the receipt, but they would not budge. When we were in Naples, all the bags were open tote-style bags. I did not see any kind of bag that would seal. The cost was minimal, but we were disappointed. If we had known this would happen, we would have purchased olive oil while shopping in town and packed it in our suitcases. We thought we were doing it the right way by shopping in the duty-free store. What is this...

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Hipcamp.com wants to be handy for even inexperienced campers

If your camping experiences are limited to your Boy Scout or Girl Scout days, these campgrounds will be a comfortable welcome back. Name: www.Hipcamp.com What it does: Uses actual camping experiences and glorious photos of nature — not to mention handy Google Maps — to make camping more accessible and desirable to those who are not regulars. Have an RV, kids or need a pet-friendly campground? Search destinations using its amenities section. What's hot: I loved the tips section for each campground. Even the most hesitant camper will feel more confident strolling into his or her campsite with info such as this that I found for Point Reyes: "Our favorite spots to camp are the boating sites on Tomales Bay. Grab a bag of oysters and paddle across the bay to find your own private beach campground. Remember to get a fire permit as well — gathering driftwood is allowed, but toward the end of the summer it will likely be sparse, so bring a bundle!" It's also super-handy to know which campsites...

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Travel Letters: Health concerns over Google Glass

Concern over Google Glass Regarding "Seeing S.F. Through New Eyes" by Catharine Hamm, July 20: As the director of the Center for Family and Community Health at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, I want to make people aware of another potential "con" for Google Glass users: the potential health risks to those who wear this device. In April, I did some preliminary research that is summarized at bit.ly/1k8smWc. Google Glass emits more wireless radiation than most cellphones. Moreover, Glass users may be wearing this device on their heads for more than 12 hours a day, increasing their health risks. Although the radiation level complies with the 1996 federal standards, many health scientists believe that these standards are obsolete as they fail to protect wireless device users from the nonthermal effects of wireless radiation. In the long term, these effects include increased brain cancer risk, and in the short term, other health problems including electrosensitivity, sperm damage...

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Travel films & events

NEPAL Presentation Elaine Pike will retrace the steps of her 20-day, 100-mile trek in the Everest region that resulted in her memoir, "Footsteps of Gopal." One hundred percent of the profits from the sale of the book will be donated to support schools in the area. When, where: 7:30 p.m. Monday at Distant Lands, 20 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena. Admission, info: Free. RSVP to (626) 449-3220.   PHOTOGRAPHY Workshop Travel photographer and guide Ralph Velasco will share tips and tricks using images from recent trips to Cambodia. When, where: 7 p.m. Tuesday at the REI store in Huntington Beach, 7777 Edinger Ave. Admission, info: Free. (714) 379-1938.   YOSEMITE Workshop Suzanne Swedo will share when and where to see the best of Yosemite, including wildflowers, waterfalls and wildlife, as well as the grandest vistas and highest peaks. When, where: 7 p.m. Friday at the Adventure 16 store, 11161 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. Admission, info: Free. (310) 473-4574.   Please email announcements at...

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Gear: Motion-sensitive alarm aims to keep you and your belongings safe

First Alert, known for smoke and carbon monoxide detector/alarms, is offering a different kind of protection -- for you and your belongings. The POD Personal Security Alarm is a featherweight 3-inch-long teardrop-shaped device that looks like a remote control but is really a screeching, motion-sensitive alert. Users hang the POD by its included loop around a door handle, suitcase, purse or whatever, and activate its button with a vibration symbol. Sensors then trigger a siren if the object moves. (The alarm can be set to sound instantly or to go off after a 20-second delay.) A button with an exclamation mark inside a triangle is an in-hand emergency/panic alarm, ready to blast a 100-decibel siren and activate a flashing light when pressed. It also can become a flashlight. The alarm on the POD, which runs on an included lithium battery, sounds for three minutes (unless deactivated), then rearms. It costs $39.95. Info: First Alert Store Follow us on Twitter at @latimestravel

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Readers Recommend: Loire Valley inn

This July my husband and I spent four wonderful nights at the delightful Au Reflets du Cher in France's Loire Valley. Central location (near Tours), on the the river Cher. Beautifully appointed and immaculate with gorgeous grounds. Our hosts Annie and Jean-Claude gave us an warm welcome, made our dinner reservations at the best local restaurants and helped us plan our days. About $115 a night, including breakfast. Aux Reflets du Cher, 29 Quai du Vieux-Moulin, Veretz; www.auxrefletsducher.com, 011-33-2-47-25-18-78 Sherry Rappoport San Diego

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Washington, D.C.: Trump begins work on new hotel at Old Post Office

Donald Trump, posing with a golden shovel marked with his brand name, broke ground last week on what will be a new addition to his hotel chain: renovation of the hulking Old Post Office building in Washington, D.C. The company promises elegance and luxury in the $200-million redo of the 1899 building at Pennsylvania Avenue and 12th Street Northwest. It will be called Trump International Hotel, Washington, D.C. The Old Post Office Tower, a landmark operated by the National Park Service, includes an observation deck where visitors can take in some of the best views of the Capitol. It will be closed until 2016 when the hotel is expected to open. Trump and his businesswoman daughter Ivanka last Wednesday posed for photos in announcing the hotel that will bring 270 rooms and suites to the Romanesque Revival building, which takes up a city block. Trump doesn't own the building; the General Services Administration awarded him a 60-year lease. The new hotel will transform the postmaster...

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Signs of peace? L.A. murals are Miracle Mile's latest landmarks

I don't know whether art can salve recent violent faceoffs around the world coupled with the horrifying sight of crashed airplanes, but it's worth a try. I found two new go-to places for hope not far from each other on L.A.'s Miracle Mile. The first is a brave new world mural on the side of the Line Hotel in Koreatown created by Shepard Fairey, he of the Obama poster fame. The "Peace Tree Mural" covers a towering recessed wall at the 3515 Wilshire Blvd. hotel partly owned by Korean barbecue chef Roy Choi. (It's best viewed if you are heading west on Wilshire.) The black, red and off-white image features a tree trunk that gives way to leaves and a huge bloom with the Obey Giant face (you'll recognize it) at the center and the word "Peace" below. It's been up for about three weeks. "I'm very happy with how the mural turned out and how it works with the building’s architecture," Fairey wrote on the Obey website. "The Line has a bunch of cool art in the interior as well as a great D*Face...

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How to get to LAX during this weekend's 'Century Crunch' road closure

Ready for the "Century Crunch"? The closure of Century Boulevard at the entrance to Los Angeles International Airport starts at 9 p.m. Friday (today) and will last until 6 a.m. Monday. It's a roadway used by about 92,000 drivers every day, so plan for the jam. During this period, the intersection of Century and Aviation boulevards will be closed, and Aviation will be closed between Arbor Vitae and 104th Street. Drivers heading into the airport on Century Boulevard will be diverted onto northbound La Cienega Boulevard for a three-mile detour. The weekend closure allows workers to demolish a bridge and make way for a stop on a new 8.5-mile light-rail line on Crenshaw Boulevard. LAX is expecting to handle about 200,000 passengers a day on more than 1,700 flights over the busy summer weekend, an airport statement says. So you won't be alone in your frustration with getting in or out of the airport unscatched. Here are some workarounds recommended by LAX. --Drivers should leave plenty of...

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Airfare: $391 round trip on Delta from LAX to Montreal

It's very cosmopolitan, and French is the language you'll hear. We're speaking, of course, of Montreal, for which Delta is offering a $391 airfare round-trip from LAX. That's about a third the cost of a ticket to Paris this summer. The fare is for travel any day of the week from September through June, excluding peak holiday periods. It is subject to availability. Info: Delta, (800) 221-1212. Source: Airfarewatchdog Follow us on Twitter at @latimestravel

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Pennsylvania: Brew fest set for grounds of Gettysburg seminary

A brew fest on the grounds of a seminary? Really? Really. And it’s happening in historic Gettysburg, Pa. The inaugural Gettysburg Brew Fest  will be held 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 23 at the historical Lutheran Theological Seminary. The seminary location might seem odd if you don’t know its history. On July 1, 1863, the grounds of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg became a battlefield. Its dormitory cupola served as a watchtower, and the seminary building became a hospital for the wounded on both sides.  “When doing a festival, I want it to be something you can’t experience anywhere else, so I approached the Lutheran Theological Seminary expecting to be told, ‘Get the heck out of here,’” said Randy Prasse, the festival’s executive director. “But there is a history of Lutherans brewing, and they were actually thinking of producing a brew festival themselves.” Beyond tasting as many as 60 brews, guests can sample a variety of ciders and custom-brewed sodas. Several of the 35...

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Italy: Cruise of Venice and its lagoon starts at $630 per person

If you haven't tried a river boat in Europe, Italy's storied Venice lagoon might be a good place to get your feet wet. CroisiEurope offers two short cruises in October with prices as low as $630 per person. The deal: The trip aboard the MS Michelangelo lasts five days and sails in the Venice lagoon. Meals (wine and beer too) are included with a cabin, or course, and the price is based on double occupancy. Nights are spent in port in Venice, which means you can explore the city on your own or pay for the cruise line's optional tours to Murano and Burano. On the fourth day, the ship sails to nearby Chioggia and offers an excursion (which costs extra) to the town of Padua before returning to Venice for a final gala dinner on board. When: Cruises at the sale price leave Oct. 22 and Oct. 30. Tested: I checked online and  found the same cruise ranging from $832 to $951 per person on dates from September to mid October. Cabins with a double bed or two single beds were available at the $630...

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