Festival of Books
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Festival of Books: Pros share tips on travel deals; panel set for Sunday too

'More for Your Money: Finding Hotel and Airfare Deals" with Travel editor Catharine Hamm, Fly.com's Warren Chang and Trivago's Jon Eichelberger takes place 10:30 a.m. Sunday at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Look for the Travel Smart Stage; the event is free.

If you’re looking for a good travel deal, check your email.

That's the advice given by travel experts Johnny Jet (a.k.a. John DiScala) and Gabe Saglie at Travelzoo on the “More for Your Money: Travel Bargains in 2015” panel Saturday at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

Travel writer Jen Leo moderated the panel about how to stretch your vacation dollars.

The good news for Americans is that the dollar is strong this year. Saglie said Norwegian travel agents are "predicting that the dollar is stretching 30% more in Norway than it did a year ago.”

But back to those emails. Sign up with travel entities to get their deal alerts and newsletters, the pros said.

"The best way to find deals is to sign up to every single ariline,...

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Festival of Books: Cuba beyond the cliches; panel continues Sunday

"Moving Beyond the 'Cuba Cliche' and Getting to the Real Cuba" at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books repeats at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. Times travel writer Christopher Reynolds will speak about Cuba with travel writer Catherine Watson. Look for Booth 47, also named the California Pavilion, on the corner of Trousdale Parkway and Downey Way at the festival at USC. The event is free.

For many Americans, Cuba is a mystery, a forbidden place that until now has been difficult to reach.

The small California Pavilion Stage at the Festival of Books on Saturday was packed with people eager to talk about Cuba now that President Obama has opened the door for us to peek in.

On Saturday, Times Assistant Managing Editor Alice Short, who recently visited Cuba, sat down with Catherine Watson, who has traveled to the island nation as a journalist several times since 1999.

Watson said she stopped going in 2003 because “it was just too sad to find so many bright, educated people who couldn’t get out.”


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Letters: Add New Salem, Ill., to Abraham Lincoln's stops

It's incredible that the story "They're All Players in Lincoln's Story" [April 12], a collection of places associated with Abraham Lincoln, managed to omit Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site in Illinois, 22 miles northwest of Springfield and re-created on the site of the original New Salem, where Lincoln lived from 1831 to 1837.

During his time living in that frontier village, he was a general store owner, a soldier in the Black Hawk War, a postmaster and a surveyor. It was there that he was first elected to the Illinois state assembly.

As a bachelor who didn't own a home, he boarded for a time with my great-great-great-grandparents, Isaac and Susan Burner. Even then he was highly regarded by his fellow villagers.

During the summer of 2006 our family was delighted to attend the first-ever Descendants Reunion at New Salem. Before that the eyes of my sons would too often glaze over when I mentioned family history. They were so taken with their visit to the village and to the Burner...

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Travel tips at Los Angeles Times Festival of Books


Travel Smart Stage

Learn money-saving tips and hear Gavin MacLeod of "The Love Boat" on the Travel Smart Stage.

When, where: 11:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, USC

Admission, info: Free. latimes.com/FestivalofBooks



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

When, where: 7 p.m. Thursday at the REI store in Huntington Beach, 7777 Edinger Ave.

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



John Marshall, author of the new memoir "Wide-Open World: How Volunteering Around the Globe Changed One Family's Lives Forever," will discuss how he, his wife and two teenagers spent six months volunteering their way from country to country.

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Distant Lands, 20 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena.

Admission, info: Free. RSVP to (626) 449-3220.



Diana Trombley will discuss the Kalimantan region of Borneo as...

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Comfy Hacienda Flamingos in San Blas, Mexico

In San Blas, Mexico, the Hacienda Flamingos is two-story traditional hotel complex around a courtyard. It's full of tile, with big, comfortable rooms and a good location between the town zocalo and the dock. Not expensive. From $64; two-night minimum preferred.

Hotel Hacienda Flamingos, 105 Juarez, San Blas, Mexico; 011-52-323-285-0930, http://www.rivieranayarit.com/hacienda_flamingos_nayarit

Eric Mankin

Los Angeles

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Festival of Books: Travel talks on Cuba, travel bargains and TSA singers

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at USC this weekend will feature hourlong sessions on travel topics like how to get the best deal for your next vacation and what the eased rules mean for travel to Cuba.

Presentations are scheduled Saturday and Sunday, most at the Travel Smart Stage near the festival's Jefferson Boulevard entrance. The stage is at the corner of McCarthy Way and Trousdale Parkway (maps will be available at the site).

Here's what you can expect to find:

10:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday: With U.S. travel restrictions eased and President Obama removing Cuba from the state terrorism list, there's a lot to sort out. Travel writer Catherine Watson will talk about the island nation at the Times California Pavilion.


11 a.m. Discover Incredible India presented by India Tourism Los Angeles.

12:15 p.m. "More for Your Money" on how to find the best travel bargains of 2015. Travelzoo's Gabe Saglie and Johnny Jet (a.k.a. John DiScala) talk deals with moderator Jen Leo.


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