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In Hawaii, May Day is Lei Day, and the state will celebrate

Celebrations will be held throughout Hawaii on May 1 as the 50th state celebrates Lei Day, a long-standing tradition.

Lei Day got its start in 1928 in Honolulu as a way of keeping alive the centuries-old practice of presenting people with floral wreaths to say “Aloha.” The custom is observed every May Day.

Honolulu’s Lei Day Celebration will be from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. in Queen Kapiolani Park near Waikiki Beach.

Award-winning leis will be displayed and members of the lei court will be presented to the public. There will also be live entertainment, including hula performances.

Info: (808) 768-3041.

On Kauai, Paul and Noelani Pomroy will carry on a tradition Paul’s mother started 35 years ago with their annual lei contest at the Kauai Museum  in Lihue.

“It’s done to perpetuate the culture,” Paul told me, adding that May Day Lei Day has become so popular that some tourists plan their vacations to coincide with the event.

About 100 lei makers are expected to present their finest work to judges,...

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$99 rooms at Standard Hotels with new same-night booking app

Hey hipsters, now you can grab the lowest-priced, last-minute room at any of the five Standard Hotels by using a mobile app exclusive to the hotel company.

Those who use the free app also may find a room -- any room or suite in the hotel, actually -- for $99 a night until May 3. (It's on a first-come, first-served basis.)

The One Night Standard app operates like HotelTonight or other discounted same-night booking services except there's no middleman.

Download the app, sign in and you'll see the lowest same-day room prices for properties in downtown L.A. and Hollywood, New York City (High Line and East Village) and Miami Beach.

You can book a room starting at 3 p.m. the day of your stay until 5 the following morning; regular checkout time is noon, but you can push it to 3 p.m. You can even score a second night, depending on availability.

And as for the $99 rooms, they're a steal -- if you snag one. I checked online and found prices for a Tuesday night stay starting at $221 in downtown L.A....

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Taking your pet on vacation? Which U.S. cities have the most dog parks

More proof it's good to be a dog: The number of off-leash dog parks is growing faster than any other type of park in American cities, a recent Trust for Public Land report says.

Portland, Ore., takes the top spot, while Las Vegas and San Francisco make the top 10. It's good news too for travelers who like to take their pets when they go on vacation.

Where to go first?

If you want plenty of open spaces options for your dog, head to Portland. The 2015 City Parks Facts released last week says it leads the per capita pack with 5.4 dog parks per 100,000.

The website BringFido recommends Sellwood Riverfront Park (Southeast Spokane Street and Oaks Parkway) on the Willamette River (it rates five bones), 200-acre Mt. Tabor Park (Southeast 60th Avenue and Salmon Street) and Chimney Park (9360 N. Columbia Blvd.).

Other cities that received high marks for the per-capita number of dog parks:

2. Norfolk, Va.

3. Madison, Wis.

4. Henderson, Nev.

5. Las Vegas

6. Arlington, Va.

7. San Francisco

8. Tampa,...

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Love flash sales? Princess takes half off prices on these cruises

Princess Cruises has launched a half-off sale on cruises to Alaska, the Mediterranean, the British Isles and other destinations. The Summer Clearance Sale features week-long cruises that start at $599 per person.

The savings are good (see below) on certain sailings, and you'll receive up to $400 on-board credit depending on what cabin level you choose. To get the deal, you must reserve and make a deposit by 11:59 p.m. Pacific time on May 14.

One of the best deals is the seven-day Voyage of the Glaciers cruise from Vancouver, Canada, to Anchorage, Alaska, on Aug. 15.

Prices aboard the Grand Princess start at $599 per person (discounted from $1,799) for an inside cabin and $489 per person for third and fourth passengers in the same room. Balcony staterooms go for $1,699 per person instead of $1,939, and come with a $50 on-board credit.

Other deals include:

--A week-long Mediterranean cruise from Rome to Barcelona -- with port stops in Sicily; Tunis, Tunisia; Florence; Genoa, and Toulon,...

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Deal: Book Las Vegas air-hotel package and get free show tickets

It's show time in Las Vegas with this deal from You receive two free show tickets when you book a three-night stay with airfare at the website.

Deal: The airfare-hotel CA Bonus from is a perk aimed at California residents.

Book three nights and airfare at the website and you'll receive two show tickets to one of four shows: Human Nature (the Motown Show), Australia's Thunder From Down Under, the Australian Bee Gees Show or Divas Starring Frank Marino.

Theater tickets are available Mondays through Thursdays only.

After you book the package, you'll receive an email to choose what show tickets you want.

When: The deal is good through May 10 for travel between April 20 and Sept. 30.

Tested: You can take Mom to Vegas, baby, on a long Mother's Day weekend with this deal. I looked for the deal from May 8 to 11 to meet the three-day minimum stay requirement.

I found availability at these prices per person: $257 at the Luxor, $305 at the Flamingo, $306 at Mandalay Bay and $373...

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Gear: This bag acts like a briefcase, works like a backpack

Here’s an organizational tool most often found in briefcases but now adapted for backpacks: Ivar’s Urban 20 Backpack has a tiered vertical shelf system built into the double-zippered main compartment that provides file-like organization (including room for a 15-inch laptop).

The structure has the bonus of more evenly distributing weight and providing better load stability than backpacks with just one big open main compartment. The Urban 20 is 17 inches tall, 11 inches wide and 7 1/2 inches deep and has well-padded ergonomic curved shoulder straps and thick mesh-covered padding on the back.

Besides the three internal “shelves,” the bag has a roomy zippered external front pocket, and elasticized side pockets for quick access to water bottles, umbrellas or what have you.

An internal organizational panel on the main compartment’s upper back wall has an open stash pocket, two Velcro-closure flap pockets and a slim open pocket for pens/pencils and a hanging key clasp.

Info: Ivar Urban 20 Backpack...

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