Travel News & Deals
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What travelers should consider when Alzheimer's is in the picture

We're not yet past Labor Day, but it's already time to start thinking about traveling for the year-end holidays. If you've done it before, you can envision the hassle of getting there when it may seem as though half the world is going too, never mind the expense. If you're traveling with someone who suffers from memory loss, there's an even greater price to pay. Can such a trip be undertaken? And if it can, should it?

About 5 million people in the U.S. suffer from Alzheimer's, half a million of them in California, two-thirds of them women, according to the Alzheimer's Assn.

The obstacles to travel for people with dementia and thinking problems (which is a larger group than just people with Alzheimer's) are considerable. A trip may be doable but requires the caregiver to do lots of planning, said Jan Dougherty, family and community services director for Banner Alzheimer's Institute in Phoenix.

People with memory issues "can't manage time and time relationships," which is key to much of...

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More for your money: Some tips on tipping in Europe

Here's a tip. Don't stress over tipping.

Restaurant tips are more modest in Europe than in America. In most places, 10% is a big tip. Please believe me — tipping 15% or 20% in Europe is unnecessary, if not culturally ignorant.

Virtually anywhere in Europe, you can do as the Europeans do and (if you're pleased with the service) add a euro or two for each person in your party. In very touristy areas, some servers have noticed the American obsession with overtipping — and might hope for a Yankee-size tip.

But the good news is that European servers and diners are far more laid-back about all this than we are. The stakes are low, and it's no big deal if you choose the "wrong" amount. And note that tipping is an issue only at restaurants that have waiters and waitresses. If you order your food at a counter, don't tip.

At table-service restaurants, the tipping etiquette and procedure vary slightly from country to country. But in general, European servers are well paid, and tips are considered...

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Golfscape.com might fit sportsmen to a tee

Here's a smoother, more modern way to book your tee time at golf courses around the world.

Name: Golfscape.com

What it does: This website lets you plan and book golf games in the United States and 47 countries from your desktop, tablet or mobile device. Create a profile and make a wish list of courses you hope to play.

What's hot: It's a tempting site for the destination golfer. Scroll down the home page beneath the search bar to see featured golfing destinations in Da Nang, Vietnam; Cape Town, South Africa; and Hua Hin, Thailand, to name a few. There are plenty of course photos, a map and lists of amenities and weather reports, plus the opportunity for golfers to rate and review the courses à la Yelp or TripAdvisor. Users can make instant bookings in California, Arizona and Nevada.

What's not: You're getting just a sneak peek at features. For example, by year's end you should be able to search by city or individual course rather than by just a list of destinations. Also, there were...

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Travel letters: Couchsurfing.com another entry to sharing economy

I read Catharine Hamm's article "Learning to Share" (Aug. 24) with great interest. I have been thinking a lot about our sharing economy and whether it is really just that.

I was surprised that there was so little mention of Couchsurfing.com. I have just recently dipped my foot in these waters, hosting travelers from around the country and world. Unlike Airbnb, with Couchsurfing, no money is exchanged.

I open my home to travelers and offer a place to sleep. Beyond that, I offer what I wish or am able — food, day trips, etc.

The site also offers opportunities to ride-share and meet up. It is an exercise in trust for both parties. It may not be perfect, but it opens up a new world for everyone and the potential for friendships to grow across cultures.

It has expanded my horizons and is an example of the limitless possibilities of the Internet.

Jeff Bernhardt

Valley Glen

 

Sock it to 'em

Here's a solution for the smelly-feet issue on flights ("Raising a Stink When Shoes Come Off," On the...

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Films and events

EUROPE

Workshop

Hostelling International will conduct a workshop for those interested in exploring Europe by rail. Topics include types of Eurail passes and classes of service.

When, where: 7 p.m. Thursday at the REI store in Santa Monica, 402 Santa Monica Blvd.

Admission, info: Free. RSVP to (310) 393-9913, Ext. 3104.

 

CANYONEERING

Movie

Meet director Brian Olliver and view his documentary "Gorging," about the sport of canyoneering.

When: 7 p.m. Friday at the Adventure 16 store, 11161 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles

Admission, info: Free. (310) 473-4574.

 

ECUADOR AND THE GALAPAGOS

Presentation

Writer and photographer Wendy Windebank will discuss her travels to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

When, where: Noon Sept. 7 at Delphi Greek Restaurant, 1383 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles

Admission, info: $19.50 for lunch and program. Hosted by the Network for Travel Club. RSVP to (323) 578-3601.

 

...

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In Denver, SAME Cafe may be ultimate example of sharing economy

Libby and Brad Birky are taking Labor Day weekend off.

I can't think of people who deserve it more.

In researching the sharing economy of Denver for stories on how that peer-to-peer experience is changing travel, I heard about the Birkys and their restaurant, SAME (So All May Eat) Café from Becky Creighton, who runs Culinary Connectors. She told me not to miss it.

She briefly explained what SAME does: serves lunch daily except Sundays to anyone. You pay what you can and if you can't pay, you can do a little work.

This may be the ultimate example of the sharing economy, the movement that emphasizes letting others use what you have, whether it's a car, an extra room or expertise. Some critics say it's about putting dollars in your pocket by sharing what you have; proponents say it's a way of making connections.

The cute café on Colfax away from the exposed-brick-gentrifying downtown of Denver is clearly the latter. SAME has some outdoor seating, some inside, where the décor is plain but...

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Tours and cruises: Sail Canada in the fall

If you love the sea, but hate giant cruise ships, the 70-foot wooden schooner Passing Cloud might offer the kind of adventure cruise you're seeking.

Outer Shores Expeditions has scheduled three five-day fall sailings that will explore British Columbia's Gulf Islands National Park Reserve during one of the most picturesque times of the year. The park's islands and inlets, between Vancouver Island and mainland British Columbia, are known for an abundance of plant and wildlife such as sea lions, whales, orcas, sharks and porpoises. Highlights include beach and forest walks, whale, porpoise and seabird watching and sea kayaking. Expeditions begin and end in Sidney, near Victoria International Airport.

Dates: Oct. 15 19, 20-24, 25-29.

Price:  $1,837 per person, Includes meals, accommodation, transportation, user fees, use of onboard gear and resources, rubber boots. Airfare to and from Victoria International Airport is not included.  

Info: Outer Shores Expeditions, (855) 714-7233 

Follow...

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Readers recommend -- France: Wake up in a farmhouse outside Lyon

We just returned from France, where we had the great fortune to end our stay at Ferme de la Vallée, a beautiful B&B about 20 minutes outside of Lyon. The house is owned by Charline and Gilles Lauga (they speak English), who are wonderful hosts and ready with suggestions about what to see in the area. The property was gorgeous with walking paths surrounding the house. Charline makes a beautiful breakfast, and the room is great with private bath. An added plus for animal lovers is the big, friendly Newfoundland dog and four cats.

Ferme de la Vallée d'Arche, Route du Mont Thou, Chemin de la Vallée; 011-33-4-26-63-76-32, clauga.free.fr. Rooms from $126, breakfast included.

Sarabeth Rothfeld

Woodland Hills

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Labor Day: Last-minute hotel deals that cost less than $100 a night

No plans for Labor Day? Why not get out of town, even if it's just for a single night. Same-day hotel booking app Hotel Tonight will be offering $59 to $99 last-minute rooms in key cities around the country.

The app's Endless Summer promotion can save up to 45% off room prices, the company says in a release. App users can browse same-day prices and "Look Ahead" to see estimates on rates for upcoming nights. Hotel prices are posted at 9 a.m. local time each day and may be booked until 2 a.m. for a same-day stay.

Travelers who use the app Sunday night in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Sacramento of Phoenix can expect to find rooms for $59 a night. Pay $79 a night in Portland, Ore.; San Diego; and Denver, and $99 a night in New York City, New Orleans and San Francisco.

I checked the app's Las Vegas deals for Thursday night and found Endless Summer rates of $24 at the Four Queens Hotel & Casino and $41 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. (Priceline's same-day app also showed $41 for the Hard Rock on...

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Airfare: Round trip to Ho Chi Minh City from LAX is $798 on Air China

Air China is offering a round trip from LAX to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, for $798, including all taxes and fees.

That fare is significantly less than recent round-trip tickets to other Asian destinations.

Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon, has been influenced by numerous cultures, including French, Cambodian (it was part of the kingdom of Cambodia) and Japanese, who occupied the city during World War II. Saigon, as it was called, was captured by the North Vietnamese in April 1975, and it was renamed soon thereafter. 

The fare is subject to availability, but it is good through Dec. 9. You must stay at least seven days but not more than three months.

Info:  Air China, (800) 882-8122

Source: Airfarewatchdog

Follow us on Twitter at @latimestravel

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Palm Springs: New Architecture and Design Center to open in November

Each year Palm Springs dedicates a week to celebrating Midcentury Modernism architecture in the desert city. Now, it has more reason to celebrate.

The Architecture and Design Center, Edwards Harris Pavilion, is set to open Nov. 9. It will provide a place to showcase the sleek style pioneered by architects such as Richard Neutra, Donald Frey and E. Stewart Williams.

In fact, the building at 300 S. Palm Canyon Drive that houses the center was created in by Williams in 1961 as the Santa Fe Federal Savings & Loan. And the center's inaugural show will pay tribute to the architect.

The project is an expansion of the Palm Springs Art Museum, which also is housed in a Williams building. It bought the bank building in 2011 and has overseen the rehabilitation by L.A.-based Marmol Radziner architects.

Photos from architectural photographer Julius Shulman and Williams' original plans guided the work.

"The new A+D Center provides us with the much needed space for our permanent collection and...

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Six Flags Magic Mountain turning wooden coaster into Twisted Colossus

Six Flags Magic Mountain plans to convert a classic wooden coaster into the world’s longest hybrid coaster that adds two barrel roll inversions and a first-of-its-kind in the U.S. “high-five” element.

Dubbed Twisted Colossus, the massive makeover is to transform the now-closed 1978 Colossus racing wooden coaster into a 4,990-foot-long wood-steel hybrid ride with two separate lift hills and a pair of near-vertical drops.

Set to debut at the Valencia amusement park in 2015, the Magic Mountain ride is to be built by Idaho-based Rocky Mountain Construction, which has converted a number of wooden coasters into hybrid rides with looping inversions typically associated with steel coasters.

Twisted Colossus sounds like it could be an epic ride.

Departing from the station, the train will navigate a series of bunny hops before ascending the first of two 121-foot-tall lift hills.

Following an extreme 80-degree drop at 57 mph, riders will travel through a “high five” element where the tandem trains...

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