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

Festival of Books: Travel talks on Cuba, travel bargains and TSA singers
The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books this weekend will feature travel presentations at the Travel Smart Stage. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

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.

2:45 p.m. A performance by the TSA Chorus, yes, they're agents who love to sing.

4 p.m. "Street Smart, Street Safe: What Every Traveler Must Know" is a presentation by veteran police detective and security consultant Kevin Coffey.


11:45 a.m. Sunday: Why DO You Make Us Take Off Our Shoes and Other Things You Always Wanted to Ask the TSA." Spokesman Nico Melendez, in conversation with Travel editor Catharine Hamm.

1 p.m. "Location-Aware Audio Walks: The Detour Project," featuring Jorge Just in conversation with Times staff writer Christopher Reynolds.

2:15 p.m. "More for Your Money" focuses on finding hotel and airfare bargains. Travel editor Catharine Hamm in conversation with's Warren Chang and Trivago's Jon Eichelberger.

3:30 p.m. Gavin MacLeod, "Love Boat's" Capt. Stubing and author, will talk about cruising and his longtime relationship with Princess Cruises as well as his book "This Is Your Captain Speaking," with Travel editor Catharine Hamm.