Festival of Books
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Festival of Books: Pros share tips on travel deals; panel set for Sunday too

'More for Your Money: Finding Hotel and Airfare Deals" with Travel editor Catharine Hamm, Fly.com's Warren Chang and Trivago's Jon Eichelberger takes place 10:30 a.m. Sunday at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Look for the Travel Smart Stage; the event is free.

If you’re looking for a good travel deal, check your email.

That's the advice given by travel experts Johnny Jet (a.k.a. John DiScala) and Gabe Saglie at Travelzoo on the “More for Your Money: Travel Bargains in 2015” panel Saturday at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

Travel writer Jen Leo moderated the panel about how to stretch your vacation dollars.

The good news for Americans is that the dollar is strong this year. Saglie said Norwegian travel agents are "predicting that the dollar is stretching 30% more in Norway than it did a year ago.”

But back to those emails. Sign up with travel entities to get their deal alerts and newsletters, the pros said.

"The best way to find deals is to sign up to every single ariline,...

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Festival of Books: Cuba beyond the cliches; panel continues Sunday

"Moving Beyond the 'Cuba Cliche' and Getting to the Real Cuba" at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books repeats at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. Times travel writer Christopher Reynolds will speak about Cuba with travel writer Catherine Watson. Look for Booth 47, also named the California Pavilion, on the corner of Trousdale Parkway and Downey Way at the festival at USC. The event is free.

For many Americans, Cuba is a mystery, a forbidden place that until now has been difficult to reach.

The small California Pavilion Stage at the Festival of Books on Saturday was packed with people eager to talk about Cuba now that President Obama has opened the door for us to peek in.

On Saturday, Times Assistant Managing Editor Alice Short, who recently visited Cuba, sat down with Catherine Watson, who has traveled to the island nation as a journalist several times since 1999.

Watson said she stopped going in 2003 because “it was just too sad to find so many bright, educated people who couldn’t get out.”

She...

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Comfy Hacienda Flamingos in San Blas, Mexico

In San Blas, Mexico, the Hacienda Flamingos is two-story traditional hotel complex around a courtyard. It's full of tile, with big, comfortable rooms and a good location between the town zocalo and the dock. Not expensive. From $64; two-night minimum preferred.

Hotel Hacienda Flamingos, 105 Juarez, San Blas, Mexico; 011-52-323-285-0930, http://www.rivieranayarit.com/hacienda_flamingos_nayarit

Eric Mankin

Los Angeles

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Festival of Books: Travel talks on Cuba, travel bargains and TSA singers

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at USC this weekend will feature hourlong sessions on travel topics like how to get the best deal for your next vacation and what the eased rules mean for travel to Cuba.

Presentations are scheduled Saturday and Sunday, most at the Travel Smart Stage near the festival's Jefferson Boulevard entrance. The stage is at the corner of McCarthy Way and Trousdale Parkway (maps will be available at the site).

Here's what you can expect to find:

10:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday: With U.S. travel restrictions eased and President Obama removing Cuba from the state terrorism list, there's a lot to sort out. Travel writer Catherine Watson will talk about the island nation at the Times California Pavilion.

Saturday

11 a.m. Discover Incredible India presented by India Tourism Los Angeles.

12:15 p.m. "More for Your Money" on how to find the best travel bargains of 2015. Travelzoo's Gabe Saglie and Johnny Jet (a.k.a. John DiScala) talk deals with moderator Jen Leo.

...

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Video: In the Bahamas, a busy street and a private beach

For years, cruise ships have been stopping at Nassau in the Bahamas. This video shows the touristy main drag that passengers find when they debark. But wait.

This video, shot in February, also shows another side of the Bahamas, which includes more than 700 islands and a few hundred smaller cays. Coco Cay, leased and staffed by Royal Caribbean Cruises, is a private compound for cruise passengers spending a day at the beach.

The tides are gentle. The water is bright blue. The island culture is – well, it’s a sort of artificial construct of Royal Caribbean. But as the video makes clear, Coco Cay is a pleasant place to pass a day, if you've got sunscreen and a hat. Keep an eye out for the reptile at the end.

“A Minute Away” is a video series in which nothing much happens -- except you see the world, and hear it, and get a respite from workaday life. We’ve covered Machu Picchu, Red Square, the Yucatan, the Alamo, an Alaskan float plane and the reading room of the New York Public Library, among...

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Bill Clinton to mark 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing

Former President Clinton will speak at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum on Sunday to remember the scores of people killed and injured by a bomb blast at a federal building.

Clinton was president when one of the deadliest domestic terrorist attacks in U.S. history was carried out. The bomb was built and detonated in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols on April 19, 1995.

Clinton's comments will be part of the 20th Anniversary Remembrance Ceremony at the museum and memorial in Oklahoma City.

The number of people who died in the blast is still unclear. The tally is generally 168, but one body part that was never identified as from any other victim means the tally may be 169.

The ceremony is to observe 168 moments of silence at 9:02 a.m., the time of the blast. It will also kick off a campaign that asks residents to commit to one act of "service, honor and kindness" during the month of April in remembrance of the attack.

People will...

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