Most Visited U.S. National Parks and Monuments in 2017

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 03/05/2018, 10:45 PM

The National Park Service (NPS) has released its visitor numbers for 2017.  A total of 330,882,751 people spent time at American national parks, monuments, and other sites deemed worthy of federal protection. As the NPS points out, that figure is only a smidge lower than the record-setting 330,971,689 visits the agency logged in 2016—the year of its highly touted 100th birthday. The Blue Ridge ...

Arthur Frommer: Make Sure To Check Your Passport Dates Before Travel

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 02/14/2018, 7:00 PM

You are about to leave on an international trip, and you have carefully checked the contents of your suitcase, wallet or purse to make sure that everything—especially your passport—is there. And is the passport still valid? You glance at the page with that information, and seeing that all is well, you leave for the airport.   You have done everything correctly, right? Wrong! Unbeknownst to...

Get Yours Now! Passport Fees are Going Up

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 02/06/2018, 10:00 AM

The U.S. State Department has announced that prices for passports will inch up come April. For adults, the cost for a passport book will be $145. The fee for children 16 and younger will be $115. It's an increase of only $10, but that's on top of a fee that already was pretty steep—those who live in the United Kingdom pay roughly 30% less for their passports. Passport cards, which are used for ...

People in line at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

The 10 Worst Airports in the U.S.

The U.S. has some of the world's worst airports by any measure. We pick the most terrible terminals by flight delays, security wait times, customer satisfaction surveys, expert reviews, and other factors.

The Travel Services That Close in a U.S. Government Shutdown

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 01/19/2018, 11:00 AM

As the wheels of Washington threaten to grind to a halt yet again, another United States federal government shutdown is a concern. Travel, by and large, is considered a "non-essential" function—and non-essential functions either dim or go dark. Generally speaking, here's what is not available during a federal government shutdown: Passport services Visa processing National parks and...

U.S. State Department Travel Advisories: Where to Find Them, How to Read Them

By Zac Thompson

In 2018, the U.S. State Department revamped its travel warnings to make them easier to understand. Here's how to find them and how to use them to plan a safe trip overseas.

Tour Operator to Pay Passport Fees for Travelers Age 18–35

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 01/13/2018, 9:30 AM

More than half of Americans age 18–35 don't have passports, according to Contiki, a tour operator specializing in that very demographic. For a limited time, Contiki is offering some passport-acquiring incentive to first-time international travelers—at least, those who fall within the 18–35 age range. Contiki customers who book one of the company's trips lasting longer than seven days can get the...

A Slump in the Number of Foreign Visitors to the United States Continues

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 01/11/2018, 8:15 PM

Commencing with the inauguration of President Trump, tourism officials in several U.S. cities have drawn attention, with alarm, to a reduction in the number of foreign residents visiting their cities. One such official, representing New York, cited a drop of 700,000 foreign tourists no longer coming to the Big Apple. But until now, no such figures have been reported for the United States ...

NYC's Met to Charge Mandatory Admission to Out-of-Towners

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 01/05/2018, 11:15 PM

For the first time since its founding in the 1870s, New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art is instituting a mandatory admission fee.  Starting March 1, visitors who do not live in New York State will be charged $25 to enter. That ticket will be valid for three consecutive days at the Met and its offshoots, the Met Breuer and the Cloisters. There will not be separate lines at any of those plac...

To Visit This Island Paradise You Have to Pledge to Protect the Environment

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 01/04/2018, 8:45 PM

In order to enter the island nation of Palau in the western Pacific Ocean, visitors must now sign a "passport pledge" to protect the environment. The mandatory vow was enacted to counter the negative effects of tourism on the country's 200 islands and their coral reefs, volcanic hills, rich biodiversity, and cultural sites.  The move makes Palau the world's first nation to change immigration law...

Turkey Fully Resumes Issuing Visas to Americans

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 12/29/2017, 12:00 AM

For nearly three months, Turkish authorities and the U.S. government have been in a diplomatic spat, resulting in the suspension of visas for American tourists. The quick and painless electronic application procedure was abruptly closed to U.S. citizens. A month later, they were offered the arduous option of going in person to a Turkish embassy or consulate to submit to interviews, a luxury nearly ...

Arthur Frommer's Travel Resolutions for the New Year

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 12/28/2017, 12:00 AM

Because they often seek to regulate all of human activity, I find most New Year’s Resolutions to be rather unsatisfying. Here’s an attempt to limit these rules to the world of travel, which—to me—is badly in need of a little moralizing at this moment in our history.   So here goes. In the year ahead:    I shall fight, as a citizen and as a voter, to preserve the right of every American...

The Bund, Shanghai

Do These Things Before Going to China—Your Trip Will Go Better

Before leaving on a China vacation, Westerners should take these steps to navigate the country's currency, mobile phones, and Internet systems.

Our Top Tips for Surviving Holiday Air Travel this Year

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 12/13/2017, 2:45 PM

The airlines are expecting 51 million passengers to fly in United States in the final two weeks of December, a figure that’s up 3% from last year’s record number. Break it down and that means some 80,000 more passengers a day than fly during an average day during the rest of the year. If you will be among the masses, you'll want to carefully strategize. Here are our suggestions:   Check in 2...

American State Department Simplifies Travel Warnings

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 12/11/2017, 2:15 PM

Following a long internal review, the United States Department of State is making its travel warnings clearer. Starting in January, its notices on safety situations will be boiled down to one of four categories. Level 1: Exercise normal precautions Level 2: Exercise increased caution Level 3: Reconsider travel Level 4: Do not travel Since the State Department's travel warnings are ...

Paid Reservations Now Required to Visit California's Muir Woods

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 11/30/2017, 12:00 AM

From Dubrovnik to Machu Picchu, popular tourist destinations around the world are devising new sign-up strategies to combat overcrowding caused by hordes of temporary visitors. The latest spot to add to the list, as Frommer's reported would happen back in 2015: Muir Woods National Monument in Mill Valley, California, north of San Francisco.  Starting on January 16, 2018, each visitor who arrives...

Brazil Just Got a Whole Lot Easier to Visit

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 11/27/2017, 12:00 AM

Hallelujah! Brazil's arms are finally opening wide to tourists. For years, if you wanted to visit the riches of this South American country, you soon found out how difficult it was. You'd have to make an appointment with the nearest Brazilian embassy or consulate, and that could take more than a month. On the big day, you'd travel there and proffer your passport along with photo, an application, a...

The Trump Slump Claims Another Victim: Students Coming to Study at U.S. Colleges

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 11/17/2017, 9:00 PM

In earlier blogs, I discussed the recent sharp decline in foreign tourism coming to vacation in the United States—far more than a few million fewer visitors compared to previous periods. To those figures, in statistics released just days ago, we now need to figure in a drop of several hundreds of thousands of fewer foreign students coming to the United States to study in our places of learning. ...

Blaming Trump, Another Airline Calls It Quits in Cuba

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 11/17/2017, 8:30 PM

Alaska Airlines will discontinue its service to Cuba on January 22, 2018, the carrier has announced. The reason: the Trump Administration's new rules that make it too difficult for Americans to visit the island. The tighter restrictions do away with the Obama-era "people-to-people" travel exemption. That means that Americans who want to visit Cuba must now do so with authorized tours and cruises ...

U.S. Government Makes It Harder for Americans to Visit Cuba

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 11/08/2017, 9:30 PM

Travel to Cuba gets tougher for Americans this week. New rules released by the Trump Administration ban most independent travel to the island, requiring visitors from the U.S. to rely on authorized "people-to-people" tour companies instead. That's a return to the way things were before President Barack Obama restored diplomatic relations with Cuba in 2015. In June of this year, his successor an...

More Complex Screening Begins for U.S. Passengers

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 10/25/2017, 12:00 AM

You might remember that last spring, several international airlines, mostly from predominantly Muslim countries, were banned from allowing laptops in passenger cabins. That, and the uneven application of the policy across airlines, caused a diplomatic furor, and some carriers even curtailed service to the United States. In response, the U.S. government reversed the requirement but dictated new secu...

Turkey Suspends Visas for Americans

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 10/10/2017, 4:00 PM

A diplomatic spat between the United States and Turkey has spun out of control and resulted in the suspension of tourist visas in both directions.  Tensions have been growing between the two countries for the past several years. Among other issues, Turkey has accused the United States of harboring a cleric that it claims helped orchestrate a failed coup, and the United States is angry that Turk...

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...

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...

The Undeniable Drop in Incoming Foreign Tourists Will Gravely Affect Our Economy

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 09/15/2017, 6:00 PM

Disturbing reports from a number of reliable sources have shown, beyond doubt, that the number of incoming foreign tourists to the United States has fallen dramatically in the past several months.   Those reports are not simply from private sources, but also from federal government agencies that would be the last to challenge the Administration’s claims of a healthy economy. The fall-off in forei...