Travel News & Deals
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Web buzz: Tripnary matches travelers to destinations

Could this app be the Tinder of travel?

Name: Tripnary

Available: iOS

Cost: Free

What it does: Lets you discover new places and create travel bucket lists based on photos from those who have gone before you. Then Skyscanner compares flight prices to your destinations. Your list is organized into a map ready for you to use.

What's hot: I was surprised by the number of destinations and attractions the app introduced me to that I hadn't heard of or considered important. When you're looking at images, it's fast and easy to "heart" the ones you like. The app keeps track for you and groups them by destination. Next, click over to the "Flights" section and see how the airfares to your destinations stack up against one another. I thought I wanted to go to New York or Hawaii, but flights to Austin, Texas, were less expensive. I'd "hearted" so many things I wanted to do and see there that I might consider a trip soon. The more pins you collect, the better your map to the city is.

What's not: I...

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Travel letters: Mexico stories a shocking juxtaposition

I had just finished reading the last part ("A Child's Burden," by Richard Marosi) of the profoundly moving series "Product of Mexico," which ran on the front page of the Dec. 14 L.A. Times.

Then I turned to the Travel section. There was a cover piece ("Resorts Make a Splash," by Rosemary McClure) on a luxury resort in Mexico, with rates from $587!

The contrast was a shock — a heartbreaking story on Page 1 juxtaposed with a piece catering to the wealthy.

How many tortillas could $587 buy for Alejandrina, the 12-year-old in the story who works the fields in southern Sinaloa, Mexico, eating only tortillas for breakfast? How many shoes? Or sleeping bags for her fellow workers?

Barbara Frank

San Luis Obispo

 

Advice on euro

I read with interest letters in the Dec. 14 Travel section ("Cash in Hand") about the exchange rate for the euro, the official currency of European Union members.

Not all EU countries use the euro. What is certain is the variability of exchange rates. The Economist...

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Camping workshop can help prep for a winter getaway

CAMPING

Workshop

Experts offer tips on gear, clothing, nutrition and more for winter campers.

When, where: 7 p.m. Tuesday at REI stores in Manhattan Beach, 1800 Rosecrans Ave., Suite E, and Santa Monica, 402 Santa Monica Blvd.

Admission, info: Free. (310) 727-0728 for Manhattan Beach; (310) 458-4370 for Santa Monica.

 

SAN PEDRO

Guided tour

Learn about the cultural and natural history of the area on a tour that includes inner Cabrillo Beach, salt marshes and tide pools.

When, where: Noon-2 p.m. Friday. Meet at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium courtyard, 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro.

Admission, info: Free. (310) 548-7562.

 

Please email announcements at least three weeks before the event to travel@latimes.com.

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French boutique airline La Compagnie a smooth flight to Paris

My wife and daughter recently traveled to Paris and back on La Compagnie, a new all-business-class airline. It flies from Newark to Paris six days a week. It was more convenient because of the intimacy of the 74-passenger cabin, and the flight attendants were excellent. The check-in at both airports was hassle-free. The staying power of boutique airlines is always an issue; hope this one really catches on so we can continue to fly on it.

La Compagnie, www.lacompagnie.com/en

 

Marvin Taff

West Los Angeles

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Where Times readers are traveling in 2015

From what you've told us, you're going places in 2015, from domestic destinations such as Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota to international locales like the European Arctic.

Some are traveling to explore their family roots, including Roderick Martinez, who will visit the Wattisham Airfield Station Museum in England, which served as a United States Air Force base during WWII. His father was attached to the 434th Fighter Squadron. Some are celebrating anniversaries, like Bill and Lecy Fredo, who are going on an 11-day cruise on the Seine in France to mark 50 years of marriage.

If you don't have travel plans for 2015, you've got time to plan. Here are 2015 travel itineraries from Los Angeles Times readers to inspire you.

Key West, Fla.

Emily Merkey, Santa Barbara

Each year, Emily Merkey and her family travel to Key West to visit relatives. "The trip there and back is always disastrous, but our time with family in the Keys is indescribable," she said. She has fond memories of boat...

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Where T. Rex and horses roam: Ricardo Breceda's studio in Temecula

When you see galloping metal mustangs jumping over California Highway 79 in Temecula, stop the car and turn around. The horses are a startling roadside site that will lead you to the man who made them.

I pulled off the two-lane winding highway in late November while driving from Temecula to the Anza Borrego Desert. Earlier I had seen a stagecoach pulled by horses and a T. Rex with signs inviting all to come visit Ricardo Breceda's studio.

Enter the Vail Lake Resort RV Park (they give you an hour of free parking if you tell them you're visiting Breceda's studio) and follow the signs to see the metal menagerie the artist keeps here. In a quiet oak grove below the highway sits a warehouse surrounded by animals, real and imagined.

Marlins and dinosaurs share space with scorpions and bears; figures are mostly Old West types of cowboys, and Native Americans that seem to fit in the woodland setting. But you'll also find a polo player or a buxom mermaid.

Inside are small sculptures of...

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