Knott's Berry Farm breathes new life into old mine train ride

Knott's Berry Farm breathes new life into old mine train ride

A long-overdue renovation of the Calico Mine Ride will introduce state-of-the-art technology to the first major Knott's Berry Farm attraction while preserving the groundbreaking work of a legendary theme park innovator.

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Deal: Chicago-New Orleans river cruise on sale for $4,999 for two

Deal: Chicago-New Orleans river cruise on sale for $4,999 for two

River cruises aren't just for European ports. Blount Small-Ship Adventures is offering 2-for-1 prices on a 16-day cruise along the Mississippi River between Chicago and New Orleans.

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Santa Barbara: An AKA Beverly Hills suite in an Airstream trailer? Yes

Santa Barbara: An AKA Beverly Hills suite in an Airstream trailer? Yes

Finally, someone has designed a luxury hotel suite with wheels. Long-stay AKA Beverly Hills hotel has created a suite inside an Airstream trailer with leather interiors, full kitchen and bathroom, a bed with comfy linens, and even its trademark Bulgari bath amenities.

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New Yosemite air freshener smells like wild strawberries, but why?

New Yosemite air freshener smells like wild strawberries, but why?

If you want to know what a national park smells like, head to Yosemite National Park and inhale. Maybe you'll catch the sweet scent of lupine or the butterscotch aroma of a ponderosa pine. What you are unlikely to smell is wild strawberries -- unless you buy a national park air freshener.

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New Zealand: Prince William and Kate go for white-water thrill ride

New Zealand: Prince William and Kate go for white-water thrill ride

What did they do with baby George? The official trip that brought Prince William and wife Catherine to New Zealand this month took a turn for the adventurous Sunday when the couple hopped on a jet-boat journey down the Shotover River.

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Denver: Pot-loving 420 Rally this weekend, but beware at airports

Denver: Pot-loving 420 Rally this weekend, but beware at airports

If you're celebrating Easter this weekend in Denver, you might also ingest a bit of the city's pot-celebrating 420 Rally that has been expanded to a two-day event this year.

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Passover: TSA plans safe travels for matzo and religious items

Passover: TSA plans safe travels for matzo and religious items

Passover begins at sundown Monday (today) and the Transportation Security Administration is assuring fliers that its officers will be sensitive to carry-on items associated with the Jewish holiday.

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In D.C., a new show of old national park posters

In D.C., a new show of old national park posters

A new art show in Washington, D.C., spotlights national park posters from the Depression years, including the frothy falls of Yellowstone, the jagged mountains of Glacier and the native ruins of Bandelier National Monument.

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Deal: SLS Las Vegas Hotel to open in August, offers rates from $109

Deal: SLS Las Vegas Hotel to open in August, offers rates from $109

If you love being the first to sleep in a new hotel, this deal checks you into a hot new hotel as Las Vegas temperatures start to cool.

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Carlsbad: 6 places for women's spa weekends, starting at $299

Carlsbad: 6 places for women's spa weekends, starting at $299

Relax, breathe deep and head to Carlsbad, Calif., for pampering time devoted to women. The California coastal town launches its second Women's Wellness Weekends at six hotels this May.

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That favorite belt? Leave home without it when going on a trip

 That favorite belt? Leave home without it when going on a trip

Question: On March 7, I flew to Sacramento from L.A. for an overnight trip. I packed light — just a dress, belt, shoes, sweats, nightshirt, a bag of toiletries and my iPad. When I arrived at my hotel and opened my bag, there was a notice that the Transportation Security Administration had gone through my luggage. When I was getting dressed, I noticed my belt was missing. I had carefully packed it in the see-through zipper compartment of my suitcase, as I didn't want it to fall out. It was my favorite belt, old, vintage, worn and funky. I guess someone at TSA liked it because they just took it. You can imagine how infuriated and violated I felt. If someone took my iPad it would have been more understandable, but an old favorite belt?

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Ireland: First-timers' tour includes airfare, car

Ireland: First-timers' tour includes airfare, car More...

Gear: Spy camera disguised as a remote can shoot video and stills

Gear: Spy camera disguised as a remote can shoot video and stills

This is sneaky: What looks like a typical car remote is actually a spy camera. Swann’s HD RemoteCam has a tiny lens and microphone at one end, a key chain at the other, and, on top, a power button and a record button masquerading as “remote control” buttons.

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Las Vegas: Comedian George Wallace to end 10-year run on the Strip

Las Vegas: Comedian George Wallace to end 10-year run on the Strip

Comedian George Wallace is about to end his 10-year run on the Las Vegas Strip. He has announced that his show will go dark later this month.

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Web Buzz: Dealscoopr.com tracks deals at your favorite destinations

Here's a website that can help you keep tabs on travel deals for your favorite destinations around the globe.

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Letters to Travel: Brazil and slavery

Vincent Bevins wrote that, "São Paulo was built by immigrants from Italy, Japan, Portugal and Lebanon, among others..." ["Culture by Day, Partying by Night," March 30]. That is quite an interesting tidbit about the place that received the majority of the slaves shipped to the Americas. I suppose they are the "among others."

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Fine dining in Monticchiello, Italy

La Taverna di Moranda in Monticchiello, Italy, is our favorite restaurant in the Tuscany and Umbria region. After eating there for the first time, we made a reservation for a second night. When we returned two years later, we stayed nearby just to be near Monticchiello. We had the Florentine steak twice and the lamb twice. Both were amazing. The restaurant is very romantic; it looks like a wine cave.

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Reader photo: Nap time's over in Palm Desert

Reader photo: Nap time's over in Palm Desert

Rina Evans and her husband, Mark, in January visited the Living Desert in Palm Desert. The botanical garden and zoo exceeded Rina's expectations; she was particularly impressed by the zoo's animal population, which includes bighorn sheep, giraffes, camels, weaver birds and hyenas. They were lucky to watch this cheetah as it awoke from a nap, which Rina captured mid-yawn. The Cypress resident took this photo with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200.

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Air New Zealand's black Dreamliner flies in the face of convention

Air New Zealand's black Dreamliner flies in the face of convention

Talk about flying in the face of convention. Whereas many planes use a white or light color scheme, a newly painted Air New Zealand 787-9 is a study in black--a stunning study at that.

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Airfare: Round-trip ticket from LAX to Athens is $759 on Aeroflot

Airfare: Round-trip ticket from LAX to Athens is $759 on Aeroflot

Traveling in shoulder season and off-season, when fewer tourists frequent favorite destinations, will almost always save you money. Case in point: this round-trip fare from LAX to Athens.

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Tall Ships Festival 2014 will sail into Los Angeles in August

Majestic tall ships will parade through L.A.'s harbor and dock for five days in August for the first time since 2008 during the Tall Ships Festival 2014.

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Panama: Tour highlights the country beyond the canal

The Panama Canal will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its opening on Aug. 15, but there’s much more to see in this often overlooked country than the impressive waterway.

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Tips to protect data and dollars from thieves

Any traveler can get distracted — in fact, it's the rare traveler who doesn't. But when your attention is focused on other things, you may be leaving yourself wide open to theft and data breaches. From stashing your cash to selecting luggage, here are some of my favorite security solutions.

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Washington, D.C.: Take a world tour during embassies' open-door policy

Want to visit Japan, South Africa, Costa Rica and Australia in a day? Go embassy-hopping in Washington, D.C., on May 3 when more than 50 countries open their doors to visitors.

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Marriott tops list of guests' favorite hotel rewards plan

If you like participating in hotel loyalty programs, you’re going to be happiest with Marriott Rewards, according to a study release Friday by J.D. Power.

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Unique roller coaster heading to tiny Anaheim amusement park

A small amusement park in the shadows of Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm will introduce a first-of-its-kind ride in the United States that has already caught the attention of roller coaster enthusiasts.

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Death Valley: Wildflowers appear, despite drought

Drought? What drought? Southern California's sporadic rainfall (and lack of it) this season seems to have been just enough for wildflowers to put on a decent show at Death Valley National Park.

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Las Vegas: What's on the menu for Easter

Easter in Las Vegas inspires many of the city's fine chefs to develop special menus that are full of creative, seasonal offerings available only on April 20. Hoping to indulge on another date? Check ahead of time. -- Jay Jones

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Yellowstone: Explore mud pots and track wolves on this family tour

Yellowstone National Park covers 3,472 square miles in Wyoming and parts of Montana and Idaho -- a lot to explore on a family vacation. The Yellowstone Assn. Institute and Xanterra Parks & Resorts have joined up to offer a tour with kids in mind that breaks down the vast parkland.

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Nevada: Bikers get ready to roll into Laughlin for river run festival

Thousands of motorcyclists will roll into Laughlin, Nev., later this month as one of the West’s largest biker events takes over the town on the Colorado River.

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'Terminator 2' motorcycle, other props stop by Milwaukee Harley museum

Movie buffs and motorcycle fans can conjure memories of a 1991 Hollywood blockbuster -- starring California’s former governor -- at a new exhibition at a Milwaukee museum.

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California: Quiet Mondays at Oceanside mission let you unplug, unwind

Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside, the largest of California’s 21 missions, is offering a sanctuary from life’s frenzy during its new Quiet Monday retreats.

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New cruise-like passenger ferry to connect Maine and Nova Scotia

A new passenger ferry will begin plying the Atlantic Ocean route next month between Maine and Nova Scotia, offering passengers a cruise-like experience.

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TripAdvisor travelers choose Istanbul as the world's best city

Istanbul. Turkey, beat out Rome and London as the world's top city in TripAdvisor's 2014 Travelers' Choice Destinations released this week. The city jumped to the top spot despite a corruption scandal surrounding the country's prime minister and high-profile street protests last year.

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New Mexico: Albuquerque to host the Gathering of Nations

An array of cultural experiences awaits visitors to Albuquerque later this month during the Gathering of Nations.

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Las Vegas: It's man versus beast at April 19 bull-riding championships

It will be man versus beast when many of the nation’s best bull riders gather in Las Vegas on April 19.

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Connecticut home of Crystal Cathedral designer to open for tours

The New Canaan, Conn., home of the architect who designed the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove will open for tours next month, but best to keep an eye on his Glass House because it could disappear.

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Canada: Glacier Skywalk to make its debut in Jasper park on May 1

Depending on how you feel about heights, you'll utter “wow” or “uh-oh” when you walk out on the new curved Glacier Skywalk in Jasper National Park in western Alberta, Canada.

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Gilroy: Garlic fest invites cooks to enter favorite aromatic recipes

Got a great recipe for which garlic is a key ingredient? It could earn you a spot in a popular cook-off during this summer’s Gilroy Garlic Festival in Central California.

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Ojai rolls out citrus-colored carpet to celebrate mandarin harvest

The harvest of the seedless citrus known as the Pixie is underway in Ojai and the community is rallying behind the beloved mandarin with a variety of flavorful and fun activities throughout the month.

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Landlubbers can sample line's fare, wine at Celebrity Cruises OC event

Now you can try cruise-ship cuisine as well as fine wine without ever setting sail at a Celebrity event in Irvine.

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Hawaii: Maui's Sea House parties like it's 1963 (with prices to match)

A landmark West Maui restaurant known for its legendary view is celebrating its 50th anniversary with dining specials that will continue throughout 2014.

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CNN: The 15 best places to keep your kids happy

if you're looking for places that will delight children, consider San Francisco's Exploratorium, Legoland California and the Twirl Toy Store and Play Space in Taos, N.M., Those are among the 15 attractions that CNN says will keep kids—and their parents— happy.

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Taking advantage of last-minute travel bargains

Question: A reader writes that she and her husband are retired, older than 70 and want to travel. They can leave at a moment's notice, so they want to know whether they can take advantage of last-minute deals and, if so, where. (For security reasons, we are not using their names, which are unusual and could make them a target of thieves.)

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Sand castle makers to compete for $17,000 in prizes at Imperial Beach

Beautiful—if fleeting—works of art will be sculpted from sand when the the Original Imperial Beach Sandcastle Competition returns July 19 to the San Diego County town.

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Gear: Compact projector turns almost any surface into a big screen

Like watching everything on a big screen? Here's a way to take along (or more accurately, create) a big screen from a small package wherever you roam.

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Canada: Hold the phone! A touch tour of Alexander Graham Bell artifacts

Imagine getting to hold priceless artifacts in your hands. Beginning May 19, you can, by taking Parks Canada’s White Glove Tour at the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site in Baddeck, Nova Scotia.

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BonVoyaging.com helps travelers craft their own guidebooks

Here's the latest trip-planning website that can help you craft your own guidebook.

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Travel letters: The many joys of Claremont

The many joys of Claremont

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Book talk on Cotswolds, cottages and humor, and more

ENGLAND

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Go Metrolink to explore Southern California on a weekend day

For local trips, try Metrolink, which offers a $10 weekend day pass [Saturday or Sunday]. Angelenos might enjoy the antiques stores in Orange and the pier in San Clemente. There is more to see in San Juan Capistrano than the mission. In Riverside, the Mission Inn is definitely worth seeing.

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Reader photo: A view from home in Tokyo

Tom Kramer and his wife, Alicia, were in Tokyo in March visiting friends. On Odaiba, an artificial island in Tokyo Bay, their breath was taken away by the view of central Tokyo, which included a replica of the Statue of Liberty built in 2000. "It was a view that combined the best of San Francisco and New York but was ultimately pure Tokyo," the Valley Village resident said. "Stunning." Tom took this photo with his iPhone 4S but notes that Alicia came up with the idea.

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Las Vegas: Unusual cocktails to toast the week's end

"Barflies," says Craig Schoettler, the chief mixologist at Aria in Las Vegas, "are becoming more like foodies. They want to know if the veggies are fresh, if they're organic." Las Vegas bars have upped their game, serving cocktails crafted with high-end ingredients and blended with some unlikely liquid bedfellows. Here's a look at nine that may surprise you. Cheers! — Jay Jones

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Baker's giant thermometer may soon be back in business

Just in time for triple-digit temperatures, the world’s tallest thermometer in Baker, Calif., could soon be back in operation.

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San Francisco: Nob Hill hotel deal drops rate to as little as $143

Whether you long for great food, live music at Biscuits & Blues or a cable car ride, this deal for Hotel Carlton locates you near Union Square for a San Francisco visit and gives you room rates as low as $143 a night.

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Airfare: $573 round trip from LAX to Copenhagen on Air Canada

Airfares in Europe — even in shoulder season — continue to put a crimp in travelers’ budgets so this round-trip fare from LAX to Copenhagen may provide a new gateway to the Continent.

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Canada: New Vancouver hotel will focus on First Nations culture

Visitors will be able to immerse themselves in Canada’s First Nations culture when a first-of-its-kind hotel opens next month in Vancouver.

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Las Vegas: Pool scene starting to heat up at Drai's, Picnic, Tropicana

As the weather in Las Vegas heats up, resort pools are beginning to open for the season and new venues are sure to bring some extra sizzle to the city this summer.

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Need ideas on how to spend your tax refund? Expedia wants to help

Want to use your tax refund to do some traveling? Booking engine Expedia has come up with a tool that it claims can offer inspiration, although with limitations.

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Boston: With spring thaw come more Freedom Trail tours

As New Englanders thaw out from a winter they'd probably like to forget, the opportunities to see where history was made in Boston during the American Revolutionary War are growing.

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Cost of Airbnb lodgings going up in SF, NYC and Portland, Ore.?

The cost of Airbnb accommodations in San Francisco, New York and Portland, Ore., seems likely to increase, thanks to new tax collection.

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AARP relaunches travel website, adds interactive features

This isn’t your grandma’s AARP site.

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Las Vegas: If check-in wait is too long, Palms will comp your drinks

A Las Vegas resort is betting that cocktails will make waiting in line at check-in a bit less stressful by placing a portable bar in its lobby that dispenses libations that could be free.

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32 best new theme park additions of 2014

As summer approaches, 2014 already looks like a great year for ride enthusiasts around the world as a number of new theme parks are planned for Europe and Asia and several major attractions are in the works for North America.

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Would you travel to see museums on neon or spuds? List says you should

If you have a hankering for banjos or spuds, salt or neon, there’s a museum for you, according to a new list of such repositories in all 50 states.

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Las Vegas: Spring arrives at Bellagio's botanical gardens

Spending all your time inside playing the slot machines? No need to miss out on the change of seasons. Bellagio's Conservatory and Botanical Gardens has put on its spring outfit to make the transition. The floral display is open 24 hours and is free. By the time that exhibit ends in May, nearly 83,000 flowers -- they're changed out weekly -- will have graced the conservatory. -- Jay Jones

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Hawaii: Big Island tour to link the land and hula

The hula is sometimes performed by dancers in grass skirts, but the connection between the dance and the land goes well beyond that, as visitors can discover next month when a hula master and a botanist team up for a field trip on the Big Island of Hawaii.

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Gear: Keep a vacation rental home clean by unleashing a mopping robot

Whether you’ve tracked in snow, mud, dirt or sand, there’s no reason you should trouble yourself with scrubbing the floors of your weekend getaway or vacation rental.

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Las Vegas: High Roller Ferris wheel makes its debut

The world’s tallest Ferris wheel, the appropriately named High Roller, welcomed its first passengers on Monday in Las Vegas.

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Deal: Kids can learn about animals for $40 at a half-day zoology camp

 

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Las Vegas: NeNe Leakes to join Cirque du Soleil's 'Zumanity' show

NeNe Leakes, a fixture on Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” will add live theater to her repertoire when she joins the cast of "Zumanity," one of Cirque du Soleil’s several Las Vegas shows, for a limited run starting in late June. 

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New York: Take an insider's tour of Central Park

Central Park, one of New York’s most beloved landmarks, is a masterpiece of landscape architecture filled with lawns, lakes and woodlands. To make sure visitors get the most out of their exploration, the Central Park Conservancy has launched a series of tours of its 843 acres; tours vary by subject, location and length.

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Las Vegas: Excalibur's 'Tournament' gets first female horse rider

A woman with plenty of equine experience has become the first female horse rider in the cast of a long-running medieval-themed dinner show in Las Vegas. 

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Procrastinators can plan on Last Minute Travel Deals

For those who can't plan ahead, here's another app to help you find travel savings.

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Foreign travel: Warnings on Crimean Peninsula, Mali

Risks and warnings

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Travel letters: A toast to San Francisco's City Lights Bookstore

Thank you, Pico Iyer ["Still Shining," March 23]. Brilliant article about City Lights Bookstore. I have made many a pilgrimage there since college and made sure my kids visited it too. Isn't it encouraging that it is still going strong? Happy birthday, Lawrence Ferlinghetti. I once saw you speak at the L.A. Times Festival of Books.

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Travel films and programs: March 31-April 6

ART

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Readers recommend: Harvinder Tours & Travels in Delhi, India

Harvinder Singh is a friendly, kind, protective and generally delightful man who will drive you anywhere and also treat you to special places and experiences in Delhi, India.

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Airfare: $850 round trip from LAX to the Cook Islands

Air New Zealand makes it easier to get to the Cook Islands in the South Pacific with a round-trip LAX-Rarotonga fare of $850, including all taxes and fees. It is subject to availability.

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Canada: Montreal jazz fest to feature Michael Buble and Diana Ross

Michael Buble and Diana Ross will be among the music world’s biggest names converging on Montreal this summer for the popular Festival International de Jazz.

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Travel tips on how to find cheaper airfare

As you're planning your summer travels, you may be in for sticker shock: Airfares on some routes are higher than they were four or five years ago. Here are some tips for making your airfare dollars go farther.

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Greece: Athens, Aegean Islands cruise for less than $1,500

TourCrafters is offering reasonably priced excursions to Greece that combine a stay in Athens with an Aegean cruise that allows you to sample some of the country’s popular islands.

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Las Vegas: Bellagio exhibition details the struggles of women artists

Works by Mary Cassatt, Georgia O’Keeffe and Gretchen Woodman Rogers are among those at a new Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art exhibition that tells the story of the struggles women artists faced in gaining recognition.

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Philadelphia: Exhibit looks at adversity, triumphs of barrier breakers

“Play Ball!” is echoing through a Philadelphia museum in a new exhibit about minorities in Major League Baseball that opens just as the 2014 season begins to unfold.

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Middle East: Breaking Bread tours give visitors a taste of real life

What do stuffed turnips have to do with Middle East peace? Practically everything, if you ask Elisa Moed and Cristina Samara

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Washington Monument to reopen May 12

The Washington Monument is almost back. The National Park Service announced this week that the remaining scaffolding surrounding the monument is beginning to come down. Reopening is set for May 12 after a 32-month closure due to damage from an earthquake.

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Las Vegas: Holly Madison helps Sprinkles make its Sin City debut

TV personality and model Holly Madison recently helped welcome Sprinkles, the Beverly Hills-based cupcake bakery, to Las Vegas.

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Las Vegas goes country in April with superstars, ACM Awards

Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Toby Keith, Keith Urban and Lady Antebellum. are among the country stars who will gather in early April in Las Vegas for an awards show and what's called “The Week Vegas Goes Country.”

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A tipi provides a cozy spot from which to view the Northern Lights during a trip to Canada's Northwest Territories.

Canada: You can watch the Northern Lights in comfort, not the cold

If you want to view the Northern Lights without getting up from your cozy bed or venturing outside bundled up like the Marshmallow Puft Man, a remote lodge in Canada’s  Northwest Territories can deliver just such a cushy and awe-inspiring experience.

The adventure is offered at Blachford Lake Lodge, a remote resort accessible only by floatplane. Guests can watch the ultimate light show while snuggled under a warm duvet or they can catch the display from a tipi or a hot tub.

The Aurora Tour begins in Yellowknife, the territorial capital, where travelers spend two nights before flying to the lodge. Depending on the package, visitors then spend two or five nights at the upscale lodge.

When: Five-day, four-night stays begin on Thursdays from mid-August to mid-October. Eight-day, seven-night packages begin on Saturdays. Meals and snacks at Blachford Lake Lodge are included.

Price: The five-day program is priced at $1,890, based on double occupancy. The eight-day journey runs $3,580.

I...

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Roy Horn interacts with Mantecore, the tiger that once nearly killed him, during filming in 2013 of a German television documentary. The white tiger died March 19.

Las Vegas: Tiger that injured Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy dies at 17

The white tiger that gravely injured magician Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy in what some called an attack and others said was an effort to save the performer’s life has died.

Mantecore, one of the big cats that shared the stage with Siegfried & Roy in thousands of shows at the Mirage in Las Vegas, died March 19 after a brief illness. He was 17.

The tiger gained worldwide notoriety on Oct. 3, 2003, when he sank his teeth into Horn’s neck and dragged him off the stage during a performance. Horn, who suffered extensive blood loss, also suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed. 

Neither Horn nor his performing partner, Siegfried Fischbacher, ever blamed the tiger for his actions.

Horn has maintained that the tiger acted instinctively after sensing that Horn was ill. Some reports say that Horn suffered a stroke onstage and that the tiger was seeking to drag him to someone who could help.

"I will forever believe it was his concern for my safety and well-being that caused...

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Crowds celebrate spring break action in this file shot from Panama City Beach, which topped Facebook's list.

Facebook tracks spring break hot spots

Social media have become one of the most telling barometers of travel hot spots. And there’s nothing hotter than spring break. Using last year’s data, Facebook put together the lists below of the most popular spring destinations for college students and families. Among the overlaps: Santa Monica. Meanwhile, several other SoCal beaches made the family-friendly list.

These lists show the top 10 most popular beach destinations based on volume and increase in Facebook check-ins, a feature of the site that allows users to check in to a location while updating their status. The two lists were compiled by looking at action from February and March of last year, for those ages 18 to 24 and those more than 25 years old.

Popular college spring break beaches:

  1. Panama City Beach, Fla.
  2. Santa Monica Beach
  3. South Beach, Fla.
  4. Gulf Shores Beach, Ala.
  5. Port Aransas, Texas
  6. Main Beach (Santa Cruz)
  7. Venice Beach
  8. Fort Myers Beach, Fla.
  9. Cocoa Beach, Fla.
  10. Mission Beach (San Diego)

Popular family-...

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Monterey Bay: These cuttlefish, octopus star in aquarium's new show

Monterey Bay: These cuttlefish, octopus star in aquarium's new show

Deep-dwelling sea creatures, and the cultures that love them. That could be the tagline for a new show set to open next month at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, Calif. It combines live specimens of squid, octopus and other little-seen cephalopods with examples of ancient pottery and modern literature that reflect the cultural bond humans have had with these sea dwellers for centuries.

Giant Pacific octopus, Hawaiian bobtail squid, chambered nautilus, wunderpus and other species will be rotating through "Tentacles: The Astounding Lives of Octopuses, Squid and Cuttlefish." It opens April 12.

Known collectively as cephalopods, these creatures change shape and color to avoid detection. "We're trying to display something that doesn't want to be seen," aquarist Alicia Bitondo says in a statement about the show.

Indeed, the $3.5-million exhibition displays a school of bigfin reef squid, which hail from Indonesian waters and measure almost a foot each, and the pinky-red giant Pacific...

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This 1964 photo shows the entrance to "It's a Small World" at the New York World's Fair.

When did you first see Disney's Small World? It's about to turn 50

It's a Small World, the theme park ride created by Walt Disney with dancing animatronic dolls and the song that endlessly loops through our collective brains, is about to hit middle age. The ride meant to convey peace and hope (not melodic overload) debuted at the 1964 New York World's Fair as a tribute to children everywhere and to UNICEF. Now, to mark the attraction's half century, Disney parks worldwide will host a global sing-along in April -- and everyone is invited.

Performers will pay vocal tribute to the song and the ride in Disneyland in Anaheim, Disney World in Florida, and the Tokyo, Paris and Hong Kong parks on April 10. Disneyland's website says the ride has been closed for refurbishment and will reopen April 10.

Aside from the park events, there's a digital side to the sing-along too. Fans who can't be there in person can make a video of themselves singing it -- solo, with friends and family, or with complete strangers -- and upload it to SmallWorld50.com.

The Walt Disney...

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At Oahu's newest luau, guests learn through dances such as the hula how ancient traditions have been passed down through many generations.

Hawaii: New luau option in Waikiki

Honolulu visitors have a new luau to consider when planning their evening entertainment in Waikiki. And it’s being staged by a company with decades of experience in island entertainment.

“Te Moana Nui” -- “Tales of the Pacific” in English -- launched in late February at Pacific Beach Hotel on Kalakaua Avenue.

Through storytelling, song and dance, the show takes guests back in time to when the first Polynesian voyagers celebrated their arrival in Hawaii. 

The links between Hawaiians and the natives of other Pacific lands -- such as the Cook Islands, Tahiti and Tonga -- are then shared through native dances.

The entertainment concludes as visitors learn how ancient traditions have been kept alive through dancing and music.

The luau starts at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

The standard package, which includes a buffet dinner, is $115 for adults and $82 for children ages 5-12. A cocktail package that includes two drinks and the show, but no...

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Frank Lloyd Wright designed SC Johnson's Research Tower (left) and its Administration Building at right.

Wisconsin: Frank Lloyd Wright tower to open to visitors for first time

What do products like Raid and Pledge have to do with architect Frank Lloyd Wright? Plenty. Headquarters for brand maker SC Johnson in Racine, Wis., are housed inside Wright-designed buildings that look as modern as the 20th-century day they were built. Now, for the first time, the company plans to offer visitor tours in spring.

The company is accepting reservations for free tours on Fridays and Saturdays that will be offered from May 2 through Sept. 27.

In the 1930s, H.F. Johnson, son of the company's founder, sought out Wright to build the company's "lily-pad style" Administrative Building. It was completed in 1939, and the Research Tower followed in 1950. Both buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.

The tower became the creative hub of the company where scientists formulated some of SC Johnson's most popular household products for more than three decades, the company says in a statement. The 15-story cantilevered tower closed in 1982, and was restored last year...

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Quietest road race ever? Croatia hosts electric vehicle rally in May

Quietest road race ever? Croatia hosts electric vehicle rally in May

Nikola Tesla would be proud. In May, Croatia will host its first electric car rally that winds from the northern coast to the capital Zagreb through some of the country's most scenic spots. The route includes a visit to electricity pioneer Tesla's hometown too.

The Nikola Tesla EV Rally 2014 starts May 27 and will be divided into five legs that cover some 530 miles. It starts in the coastal town of Pula in the north, heading south to the mountain village Smiljan where Tesla was born, Krka National Park and Zadar on the coast before heading inland and north to the capital Zagreb.

Over five days, electric car and motorcycle drivers will pass through three national parks -- Paklenica, Plitvice Lakes and Krka -- as well as resort towns like Optaija and Rovinj. Each leg of the journey is short, covering just about 100 miles each day.

But how far can electric vehicles go? Specially designed fast-charging stations, ones that charge a car in about an hour and a half, will be installed every 40...

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Travelers on an Arctic cruise form a human circle at the North Pole.

Hop on $25,000 cruise to the North Pole during Santa's off-season

Mega-cruise ships won't take you to the top of the world but a powerful icebreaker will. Polar fanatics who pony up $25,000 each can snap a selfie on an icy speck of the planet at 90 degrees north, otherwise known as the North Pole. And you won't be alone.

Montana-based Adventure Life takes 128 passengers on 14-day cruises to the North Pole this summer that begin in Helsinki, Finland, and then fly to Russia to board the 50 Years of Victory icebreaker. It takes five to eight ice-crunching days to reach Santaland, during which time you can look for polar bears and walruses, or relax in the ship's lap pool.

There's nothing at the top -- no ice hotels, no posh pop-up bars -- except a sign marking the spot. But participants will chow down at a barbecue with a Champagne toast on the ice. Wildlife viewing in Zodiac boats and helicopter tours of the area are included too; you even have the option of taking a hot-air balloon ride ($295 extra) over the pole. The itinerary includes a visit to...

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Traveling with pricey items? Hotels aren't always thief-proof

Question: A client who was traveling for the holidays stayed at a luxury hotel in Miami. She used the hotel's VIP butler services. As she prepared to leave, the butler packed the trunk. She locked it in the presence of several other persons and did not unlock it until she arrived, by private jet, at her next location, where she discovered expensive clothing and jewelry were missing, about $35,000 worth. She began to wonder: Is this the only luxury hotel where something like this can happen to its guest? Or should one consider this a regular risk?

A. Yermak

Kiev, Ukraine

Answer: You know this line is coming, but it must be said: Crime never takes a vacation, and it visits some of the best-known resorts and hotels.

A luxury hotel may give a false sense of security, experts told me, but one needs to exercise caution anywhere that's not home.

Yermak said in his original letter that the butler had admired this woman's clothing, but this isn't a murder mystery, and saying the butler (or...

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The new Camp-California! guide is available in print or digital form.

Free guide to California camping takes guesswork out of planning

It's spring, the perfect time to plan an outdoors vacation, with or without the kids. California campers who want more options than what's offered in state and national parks should grab a copy of the free "2014 Camp-California" guide that's available in digital or print form.

The deal: "Camp-California!: The Camper's Guide to California" is published by the California Assn. of RV Parks & Campgrounds. As such, commercial sites like KOAs and private RV parks dominate the profiles of almost 700 campgrounds that often come with Wi-Fi, playgrounds, laundry facilities and other family-pleasing extras.

The guide could really come in handy for finding quick alternatives when you arrive at your favorite "first come, first served" public campground and find it full up. It breaks up the state into 12 regions, from the North Coast to San Diego and eastern deserts.

Regional and individual park maps, events and highlights in the area, and details (important things like price, number of electrical...

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Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger Mary Forgione likes to hit the dirt when she's on vacation. An avid hiker and runner, Mary likes speed-touring cities on foot and sightseeing by running marathons.


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