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Now Is the Best Time to Apply for or Renew a U.S. Passport, Says State Department

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/26/2017, 9:00 PM

If you need to apply for or renew a U.S. passport, the best time to do so is right now, according to the U.S. State Department. Processing times are shortest between September and December, the agency says, and longest (up to six weeks) from January to the high season of summer travel. Even if your passport isn't set to expire before the end of the year, you might still need to renew—many countri...

Florida Keys to Reopen to Tourists October 1

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/25/2017, 8:30 PM

The Florida Keys will reopen to tourists on October 1, government officials there have announced. The archipelago just off the southern tip of Florida was hit with extreme force by Hurricane Irma on September 10, when the Category 4 storm made landfall, destroying an estimated 25% of homes on the islands.     In the immediate aftermath, officials advised travelers to postpone trips to the area w...

U.S. Airlines Are Making a Fortune from Checked Bag Fees

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/21/2017, 8:30 PM

Two recent government reports have underscored the huge revenue-generating power of checked bag fees at the airport. First, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study found that while unbundling airfares from services such as checking bags and priority boarding has indeed resulted in lower base fares, the new fees often more than make up the difference that customers think they're saving. ...

$5/Day One-Way Car Rentals to Florida Right Now

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 09/20/2017, 11:00 PM

It's time for the Great Florida Drive-In. Each autumn, the major rental car brands need to shift inventory to their parking lots in Florida to meet winter tourist demand.  Normally, it'll cost a hefty extra fee to drop off a rental car in a different location than where you picked it up. Not right now. For the next few weeks, renters in the northeastern United States will find deals that hover aro...

2018 Inca Trail Permits Will Sell Out Early Because of New Rules

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 09/19/2017, 9:30 PM

If you were thinking of making 2018 the year you finally realize your dream trip of hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, you'll need to start planning right now. Normally, Peru's limited allotment of permits for the trail goes on sale early in the calendar year—and they usually sell out quickly—but for 2018 trips, they will go on sale October 1, 2017. That means you'll need to start planning fo...

India Ashram that Inspired the Beatles to Re-Open, 50 Years Later

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 09/18/2017, 10:30 PM

If you were alive in 1968, you remember it: The Beatles dropped out of Western society, fled Beatlemania, and tuned in at an Indian ashram the well-known guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. When they came back, they had most of White Album written. Well, for the half-century anniversary of that pop culture milestone it's coming back—albeit in a newer, commercialized form, reports The Hindu.  Found in Ris...

Motel 6 Accused of Sending Guest Lists to ICE

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 09/13/2017, 8:00 PM

Phoenix New Times, an Arizona newspaper, reports that at least two local Motel 6 properties stand accused of violating customer privacy by sending guest lists to the United States' Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The New Times points to an incident in which a Motel 6 customer, a Mexican citizen living in the area, checked in for a one-night stay using a voter ID card from Mexico. Six ho...

Rental Car Rates Could Zoom Sky-High Thanks to Lobbyists

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 09/13/2017, 3:15 AM

Today, the American Car Rental Association (ACRA), a lobbying group for the car rental industry, is wrapping up its annual Washington, D.C. "Legislative Conference," during which it plots its political agenda and schmoozes lawmakers to help make it happen. But some of its battles against consumer protections have already been won on the state level. AutoSlash, the discount car rental aggregator, r...

Up-to-the-Minute Online Tool Finds Wisconsin's Best Fall Foliage

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/11/2017, 10:45 PM

New England states get all the attention when it comes to fall foliage, but there are other leafy places worth peeping during Pumpkin Spice Latte season. One of the best in the Midwest is Wisconsin, where vivid displays in spots like the Kettle Moraine State Forest (pictured above) provide beautiful backdrops for scenic drives, waterfall hikes, and stops at orchards in small farm towns. Travel ...

Canada Completes World's Longest Hiking Trail

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/07/2017, 8:45 PM

After 25 years of trying, officials in Canada have managed to stitch together a network of hiking, biking, and paddling trails that stretches across the breadth of the country from coast to coast. With a total length of 14,000 miles, the Great Trail, formerly known as the Trans-Canada Trail, is now the longest hiking route in the world. By way of comparison, the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to ...

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