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Hostelling International will conduct a workshop on how to travel inexpensively and safely throughout Australia and the surrounding isles.

When, where: 7 p.m. Tuesday at the REI store in Tustin, 2962 El Camino Real.

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




Festival camping experts will help you put together a setup for Coachella, Burning Man, etc., including gear, the latest technology in unwired gadgets, and how to stay connected and charged.

When, where: 7 p.m. Wednesday at REI stores in Arcadia, 214 N. Santa Anita Ave.; Tustin, 2962 El Camino Real; and Rancho Cucamonga, 12218 Foothill Blvd.

Admission, info: Free. (626) 447-1062 for Arcadia; (714) 505-0205 for Tustin; and (909) 646-8360 for Rancho Cucamonga.




L.A. Times Travel editor Catharine Hamm will offer info and tips for world travelers and armchair adventurers.

When, where: 2:30 p.m Saturday at the Cypress Library, 5331 Orange Ave., Cypress.


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Web Buzz: TripExpert combines reviews to score hotels

Are you sick of searching through crowd-sourced hotel reviews while trying to figure out if the bed will be good enough? A solution is here.


What it does: TripExpert assigns a hotel a score based on reviews in 20-plus publications, including guidebooks, magazines and newspapers. These include, but are not limited to, Travel & Leisure, Frommer's, Fodor's, Tablet, Michelin Guide, Lonely Planet and the New York Times. It features 500-plus destinations and continues to grow.

What's hot:If you are looking for a short list of distinctive hotels, you've come to the right place. Use the "Explore" section to find collections of Top Destinations and Top Hotels. Once you click on a destination (you also can jump to your city using the search bar), you'll find a page of hotels with their scores, description and number of reviews. You can also filter by price (budget is less than $150, mid-range is $150 to $300 and luxury is more than $300 a night). Click on the hotel's...

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Letters: Inside tips to Oceanside

Inside tips to Oceanside

Although I commend Irene Lechowitzky on her selection of Oceanside ["Easy Breezy," July 6], I wish to mention what I consider two major omissions or oversights.

On Saturdays and Sundays, there are four Metrolink trains that travel between Oceanside and Union Station. The fare is only $10 for all-day use on any Metrolink train. This means you could travel to and from Oceanside from Ventura, Lancaster, San Bernardino and all points in between for only $10. This is certainly much cheaper than the $28 one-way fare on Amtrak from Union Station. Also, there wasn't any mention of the fine local bus service to and from the station.

Old Mission San Luis Rey, about five miles from the train/bus station, is a must visit for any traveler to Oceanside.

Hope this information might prove useful. Really enjoy reading the Sunday Travel section of The Times.

George Pallas



Oceanside is "rough around the edges"? Well, yeah, parts are. But remember, Oceanside is English...

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Stately 234 Winder Street Inn in Detroit has been restored to glory

Having just left the Motor City, I can say that Detroit is far from down and out. Of special note is the 234 Winder Street Inn, a bed-and-breakfast in a stately old mansion in the Gold Coast, once an enclave of Detroit's early gentry. The innkeeper, Mona Ross, has lovingly restored the home of 19th century merchant Emmanuel Schloss in a regentrified strip of town overlooking Comerica Park and Ford Field. Ross, an excellent cook, prepared the most incredible breakfasts and went overboard to make sure we had a freshly prepared dessert waiting for us each night when we returned from our forays to the many museums and historical sites around town. Rooms from $189 a night.

234 Winder Street Inn, 234 Winder St., Detroit; (313) 831-4091,

Shirley Smith


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Nevada: Mustang Monument resort echoes Old West but with amenities

You’ll want wild horses to drag you away to the Old West at the luxurious yet rugged Mustang Monument Wild Horse Eco-Resort set in the wilderness of Wells, Nev.

Here you can spot mustangs running free on 900 square miles thanks to activist and philanthropist Madeleine Pickens, ex-wife of Oklahoma oilman T. Boone Pickens. She opened the resort and horse sanctuary, nestled between the Ruby and Spruce mountains, in June.

The resort is about 180 miles west of Salt Lake City.

Pickens' vision: to let guests experience Native American and cowboy traditions while gazing at wild mustangs in their natural habitat — without sacrificing amenities and accommodations.

Go glamping in style in one of 10 hand-painted tepees for $1,000 a night (double occupancy). The 300 square feet of living space is furnished with plush leather chairs, down pillows, hardwood floors and custom-made king-size beds. Outdoor bathrooms provide a still-roughing-it element (flashlight included).

For $1,500 a night, you can...

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Airfare: Round-trip ticket to Atlanta for $286 on Southwest

Atlanta owes much of what it is today to the railroads, which made it a gateway. This fare make it  your gateway to the city or the South as summer winds down and fall steps in with a $286 round-trip fare from LAX on Southwest.

The fare, which includes all taxes and fees, is subject to availability. There is no minimum stay.

It is for travel Mondays-Thursdays and Saturdays from Aug. 25-Oct. 1.

Info: Southwest, (800) 435-9792

Source: Airfarewatchdog

Follow us on Twitter at @latimestravel

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A digital guide to national parks perfect for your next road trip

Get out your sleeping bag or leave it behind on a trip to one or more of 26 national parks profiled in a National Park Foundation guide released this week.

Grand old park lodges and out-of-the-way campgrounds get equal billing in a digital guide that's free and easy to download.

The deal: Gimme Shelter (nice Rolling Stones title) has a magazine-style layout that includes places as familiar as Yosemite National Park and as remote as Assateague Island National Seashore off the coast of Maryland and Virginia (both states lay claim to parts of the island, I learned).

What's good to see, when to go, what lodges and campgrounds look like, and what you can expect to pay are included with each park description.

When: The guide is available indefinitely.

Details: I liked learning about boat-in campsites at Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota's North Woods close to the Canadian border and that winter is the best time to stay in Chisos Basic Campground in Texas' Big Bend National Park.

It's a...

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Antarctica: Cruise's photo pro makes sure your penguins are in focus

Summer may be the right time to think about cool places to visit come fall and winter. Antarctica comes to mind, especially because a 12-day tour to the bottom of the world is on sale through the end of July.

Luxury travel outfitter Abercrombie & Kent offers a December tour aboard the ship Le Boreal where participants learn to take great photos from photographer Richard Harker, learn about climate change from  "Lost Antarctica" author James McClintock and learn about wildlife and geography from naturalists.

Penguins and a range of seabirds, whales, icebergs and glaciers are the highlights of a

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Pilot who threw pizza party on tarmac wins awesome slice of fame

Frontier Airlines pilot Gerhard Bradner made a not-so-split-second decision after his diverted plane full of passengers sat grounded on the runway in Cheyenne, Wyo., because of bad weather. When food on board ran out, he made the tough call -- to Domino's Pizza to order more than 30 pies, paying out of his own pocket.

Social media and media outlets ate it up. "Greatest airline pilot ever," People magazine gushed. labeled the act "a slice of awesome."

"Not sure if he was hungry, but it is not unusual for our pilots to go above and beyond to provide care for our customers," a Frontier representative told NBC News. "We had depleted all our food onboard."

The Monday night flight that departed at 6:40 p.m. local time from Reagan International Airport in Washington, D.C., and was supposed to go to Denver. But severe thunderstorms forced the flight to divert to Cheyenne until the weather lifted, according to media reports.

The delay lasted a few hours, which prompted the captain to...

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Russia: Tour explores space program, from Star City to launch pad

Star City was once the secret site in Moscow where Russian cosmonauts trained for trips to outer space. Now a nine-day tour takes you there, offering an insider's look at the history of the space program and even some zero-gravity cosmonaut training.

And there's a blastoff too. Seattle-based Mir Corp. takes the group to Baikonur, Kazakhstan, where a manned Soyuz rocket readies for a flight to the International Space Station.

"We will observe the early-morning rollout of the Soyuz rocket and follow it to the launchpad site together with the press, military personnel, cosmonauts and their relatives," company President Douglas Grimes said in a statement. "The following day we will gather in a VIP seating gallery at Mission Control Center for the live satellite feed of the Soyuz docking."

Before and after the launch, participants explore the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center and hear firsthand accounts of outer space from a cosmonaut, and visit sites such as the Space Exploration...

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Megabus to offer assigned seating on West Coast trips -- at a price

Southern Californians who travel on Megabus can now reserve a seat -- for a fee.

Taking a page from the airline playbook, Megabus will charge travelers who want premium seats, such as those with a table or in the upper deck, on its double-decker buses.

The 10 most popular bus seats, as Megabus calls them, will be available for reservations for trips starting Sept. 10 in 30 cities, including Los Angeles, Riverside, Burbank, San Francisco and Las Vegas.

The company rolled out the service on the East Coast and Canada earlier this summer.

How much you pay for a seat depends on the route you travel and the date.

Here's an example: I checked the Megabus website and found availability for a round-trip journey from Los Angeles to San Francisco leaving Oct. 2 and returning Oct. 6. Tickets cost $1 each way (plus $1.50 reservation fee).

To book a reserved seat on the buses I would take, I had the option of paying an additional $3 for a table seat, $5 for a balcony seat upstairs, and $7 for an...

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London, Bangkok most popular destinations for 2014

More than 18 million people will visit London this year, making it the top tourist destination in the world, according to a MasterCard travel report released Wednesday.

London beat out second-ranked Bangkok, the No. 1 tourism stop in 2013, likely because of political unrest in Thailand this year that may have caused travelers to stay away.

Of the 20 most popular destinations in the world, only one U.S. city made the cut: New York City, with an estimated 11 million visitors. Others in the top 10 include, in order, Paris at No. 3 then Singapore, Dubai, New York City, Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Seoul.

The MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index for 2014 says tourism dollars exceeded gross domestic product growth since 2009. Why are more and more people traveling?

The growth of a middle class in emerging markets (China is a good example), increased need for business travelers to hit the road despite the digital age and "proliferating innovations" in luxury travel.


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