Ultimate Guide 2011
Travel is always rewarding, but preparing for it is another matter. That's why we bring you the Ultimate Guide 2011, in five parts: You'll find sections on cruising, travel planning, Asia, Europe and California.

California

A walk around Los Angeles' park neighborhoods

It's no easy job, being the lungs of Los Angeles.

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Escape urban stress at Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument

Escape urban stress at Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument

Barreling across the desert toward Palm Springs, I measured my progress on Interstate 10 by the unsightly roadside landmarks I passed: a...

Requiem for César Chávez

Requiem for César Chávez

Despite the rumble of locomotives idling on a track just a few yards away, there's a sense of serenity at a memorial tucked into the...

Witness to rebirth in Yosemite during spring

Witness to rebirth in Yosemite during spring

Spring in Yosemite unfolds like the complex opening movement of a symphony that becomes increasingly frenzied. Fortunately, the conductor...

Getting around Southern California's airports

Interactive graphic: Getting around Southern California's airports

Information for Bob Hope, LAX, Long Beach, John Wayne and Ontario International.

Yosemite's High Sierra trail loop makes hiking accessible

Yosemite's High Sierra trail loop makes hiking accessible

In 1995, I set off from Yosemite's Tuolumne Meadows toward Donahue Pass and the High Sierra country beyond. It was a splendid trip, and...

The Oakland renaissance

The Oakland renaissance

Oakland is feeling its oats. Steel-cut oats, that is. Sprinkled atop a puree of onion soup ladled over smoked dates at the Michelin-...

Where to stay when visiting Yosemite

Where to stay when visiting Yosemite

With more than 4 million people visiting Yosemite National Park last year — and that number expected to increase this year — it'...

Phone apps for exploring California

Phone apps for exploring California

Here are apps that do more than explore California; several may help alleviate travel stress. Apps that work on iPhone also work on iPad and...

Oakland Museum reflects city's evolution

Representative of the city's transformation is the Oakland Museum of California, near Lake Merritt, which reopened in May after a $62-...

Europe

Traveling to Europe this year? Five things you need to know

The lights are still on at the Eiffel Tower. They keep ringing up sales at Prada in Rome, and London is getting ready to start partying for about a year and a half, beginning with the April 29 wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey.

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A mom and son's surprising detour to Berlin

A mom and son's surprising detour to Berlin

I had two goals before I booked my flight to Europe: Get the lowest price, and travel with the fewest stops possible. Air Berlin offered the...

Don't think of Portugal as side trip

Don't think of Portugal as side trip

Travel due east across the Atlantic from New York, and the first country you'll encounter is Portugal. But it's often an afterthought for...

Amid bustling Berlin, stillness in the Holocaust Memorial

Amid bustling Berlin, stillness in the Holocaust Memorial

We were on our way to see the Brandenburg Gate when they came unexpectedly into view across the street — rows of muted gray concrete...

The Kvarner Islands: Adriatic idyll

The Kvarner Islands: Adriatic idyll

I'm walking along a stretch of the Adriatic Sea that reminds me of another time, another hemisphere. It's not the forest of pine trees...

Croatia: Seeking shelter in a <i>sobe</i>

Croatia: Seeking shelter in a sobe

He was the least aggressive among the dozens of locals waving sobe signs in our faces.

More For Your Money: Keep an eye on fuel surcharges

More For Your Money: Keep an eye on fuel surcharges

Travelers to Europe this year are discovering unwelcome ride-alongs: new and heftier surcharges for flights and cruises. They may even pay...

Apps to use in Europe

Apps to use in Europe

Today an app may be mightier than a map and far less cumbersome. Here are some apps to tap for Europe that are good for more than one...

Asia

Asia travel: Five trends to watch

Geopolitics. Rhinoplasty. Who knew those would be among the hottest topics in Asia for 2011? It was news to me, and I've been going back and forth to Asia for a quarter-century, with trips to Japan and China last year alone. To see what the Asia traveler might have in store, I spoke with...

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Need an Asian language interpreter, teacher or city navigator? There's an app for that

Need an Asian language interpreter, teacher or city navigator? There's an app for that

If language limitations have kept Asia off your destination list, smart-phone applications can help you overcome those barriers. Before...

Myanmar's dazzling shrines to Buddha

Myanmar's dazzling shrines to Buddha

As I sat on a high ledge of the 734-year-old Mingalarzedi Temple, looking out over the hundreds of ancient temples around Bagan, I...

Travel Planning

10 reasons to travel

Gulliver traveled. Look where it got him: lashed to the land by little people. Columbus, big traveler, right? Underestimated the circumference of the Earth and died thinking he'd found India. Sure, you can come up with justifications for never leaving the splendid safety of your office chair....

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A wake-up call for those travel nightmares

A wake-up call for those travel nightmares

Things go wrong. On the road, in the air, at the hotel — they go wrong everywhere. But if you have an idea about how to remedy them,...

Travel checklist

Here's a reader favorite that returns after several years away. The Travel staff has added to and updated (the list used to tell fliers...

High-tech travel shortcuts

High-tech travel shortcuts

Imagine feeling in control when you fly instead of feeling like a powerless pawn. Or picture yourself avoiding the hotel's crowded front...

Photos: Gadgets to help you on your travels

Photos: Gadgets to help you on your travels

From roadside emergency beacons to cameras or devices that improve your snapshots, some gadgets are worthy road companions. Here are some...

The pros and cons of travel apps

The pros and cons of travel apps

With an app and a smart phone, you'll find it easy to plan your family vacation. You can book a flight, reserve a hotel room, find a mall,...

A closer look at cashing in frequent-flier miles

Frequent-flier miles are both a boon (to the vacationer who scores the award ticket) and a bane (to the person who has the miles but can't...

Cruising

Queen Elizabeth liner caters to formal cruisers

Let the other ships have their rock climbing walls and their water slides, their come as-you-are and do-as-you-please ambience. On the new Queen Elizabeth, it's lawn bowling and croquet, formal nights and afternoon teas, assigned seating and fixed dining hours.

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Cunard's old-school travel continues tradition on Queen Elizabeth

Cunard's old-school travel continues tradition on Queen Elizabeth

I'm standing in front of the mirror in our stateroom, looking over my wife's shoulder and tying my black bow tie. It is our first sea day...

Navigating 2011's cruise offerings

Navigating 2011's cruise offerings

Just when you thought cruise lines had done it all — Central Park at sea (on Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas) and Cirque du Soleil...

Cruising Asia's modern miracles and ancient wonders aboard the Ocean Princess

Cruising Asia's modern miracles and ancient wonders aboard the Ocean Princess

On a windy, showery February evening midway through our 16-night cruise from Laem Chabang, Thailand, to Shanghai, my wife,...

New York's Erie Canal by boat

New York's Erie Canal by boat

"Now I know what's meant by 'steering committee,'" the lock tender said with a laugh as the water, rushing through the sluice gates of...

Want cruise information? Apps will lead the way

Want cruise information? Apps will lead the way

Pondering a cruise? There's an app for that. In fact, you'll find several you can use for planning, booking and enjoying cruises. Unless...

Photos: Cunard cruise ships

Photos: Cunard cruise ships

A look at ships past and present, including the Queen Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth 2, Queen Mary, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria.

Looking to get away? Browse our destination and topics pages to read about vacation ideas, view photos and videos and get advice from our experts.
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