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Preview: L.A. Times - Travel

L.A. Times - Travel

Our travel writers bring you the most fascinating destinations on the planet. Scour travel deals, find vacations, get travel tips and more.

Last Build Date: Sat, 16 Dec 2017 22:50:06 -0800

Copyright: ©2017 Los Angeles Times

Ugly holiday sweater day is here. Even wax figures of Trump and Merkel wear them

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 06:30:00 PST

It’s National Ugly Holiday Sweater Day! Alaska Airlines and partner carriers Virgin America and Horizon Air will offer early boarding to fliers who turn up wearing an ugly holiday sweater Friday. The perk is good for one day only.

Travelers who decide to wear their holiday worst won’t be alone....


Round-trip fare from LAX to Taipei, Taiwan, $402 on United

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 07:00:00 PST

Here’s another super-low fare to Asia, this one $402 round-trip, including all taxes and fees, from LAX to Taipei, Taiwan on United.

The fare, subject to availability, must be purchased by Dec. 22. It is for departures Jan. 5-Feb. 5.

There is no minimum stay, but there is a three-month maximum...


Your Hawaii hotel bill will go up in 2018, thanks to a new tax increase

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 06:15:00 PST

Hawaii visitors can expect to shell out a little bit more money for their hotel rooms in 2018. On Jan. 1, the Transient Accommodations Tax will increase 1%.

While the tax hike will affect tourists statewide, money raised from the increase will be used exclusively to fund a new light rail project...


2018 New Year's Eve celebrations for $10,000 and up

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 06:00:00 PST

Most Americans will spend up to $200 on New Year’s Eve celebrations, according to WalletHub. A few will blow a whole lot more.

Here are four party places that start at $10,000 — and what you get for that whopping price tag.


For $10,000, you can get the best seat in the house to spend New...


Valentine's Day cruises will sail to Naples and Italy's Amalfi Coast

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 05:30:00 PST

Surprise your special someone on a romantic Valentine’s Day cruise that visits Italy's southern shores.

The eight-day CroisiEurope cruise, which has three sailings during February, departs Naples and includes stops on the Amalfi Coast, in the Aeolian Islands off the coast of Sicily, Messina, Vibo...


City slickers will find more than ridin' and ropin' on a weekend escape to an Arizona dude ranch

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 06:00:00 PST

Ever dream of riding into the sunset like Roy Rogers or gazing at star-pierced night skies and finding the Milky Way? How about sipping a prickly pear margarita or walking the labyrinth while meditating in a cactus-studded desert. I recently stayed at Rancho de los Caballeros in Wickenburg, a gentrified...


Singers Andrea Bocelli and Ricky Martin to perform at MSC Seaside's naming party

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 05:45:00 PST

The new ship will homeport in Miami and has design features - like 'beach-condo' style cabins - that reflect the Florida vibe. It will officially roll out Dec. 21.(image)

Resort offers four-day Swiss Alps ski trip for families

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 05:30:00 PST

If you're looking for a holiday gift the family won't forget, consider a winter vacation in the Swiss Alps.

A learn-to-ski program in upscale Gstaad, known for its soaring mountains, offers a wide range of activities, including schools for first-time skiers and children, intermediate skiing and...


Virgin Atlantic tells first-class fliers: Steal our holiday salt and pepper shakers. Please.

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 06:30:00 PST

Virgin Atlantic’s little plane-shaped salt and pepper shakers with feet were introduced 15 years ago. Now the airline tells passengers to feel free to steal (or as they put it “pinch”) the red limited-edition holiday versions from their flights.


Well, apparently the shakers — named Wilbur...


Where to find good vegan food in Las Vegas? Vegans, Baby tells all

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 06:15:00 PST

Creator Diana Edelman identifies restaurants that offer plant-based dishes, from the Strip to out-of-the-way locations.(image)

That $450-million Da Vinci? You can see it at Louvre Abu Dhabi

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 06:00:00 PST

The museum, the only offshoot of the Louvre, opened Nov. 11. Its inaugural exhibition, “One Louvre to Another: Opening a Museum for Everyone,” will open Dec. 21. It ends April 7.

The show’s three sections will tell the story of the Louvre, with royal paintings from Versailles under King Louis XIV,...


American themes, from Civil War to lobster bakes, set for 2018 U.S. river cruises

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 05:30:00 PST

Retrace the footsteps of explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark in the Pacific Northwest, go on lobster bakes in Maine, or sail through Washington state's Puget Sound on a wine-and-dine cruise. The cruises are among 16 themed journeys being launched next year by American Cruise Lines.



Thomas fire suspends part of Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner service, shuts resorts in Ojai and Santa Barbara

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 14:30:00 PST

Amtrak’s rail service between Oxnard and San Luis Obispo on its popular Pacific Surfliner route continued to be shut Tuesday because of the Thomas fire raging in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

Trains have been suspended indefinitely from traveling to stops in Ventura, Carpinteria, Santa Barbara,...


Disneyland and New York City are 2017's most Instagrammed places in the world

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 06:45:00 PST

Travelers this year have been busy posting millions and millions of Instagram photos, most notably Disneyland as the No. 1 location and New York City as the top city.(image)

Megabus will give you a free bus ride if your holiday flight gets canceled

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 06:15:00 PST

Megabus is offering holiday travelers a free bus ticket to their destination if their flight is canceled. It’s the first time the company has made such an offer to stranded airline passengers.

The move came this month after American Airlines announced that, because of a scheduling glitch, it had...


San Luis Obispo offers $100 cash to travelers who stay two nights in local lodgings

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 06:00:00 PST

San Luis Obispo is giving travelers $100 in spending money if they spend two consecutive nights in a hotel or motel in the city. There’s no catch, just cash.

The deal: Check out the list of SLO town accommodations that qualify. There’s a little paperwork that comes with this offer: After you make...


MSC's Seaside named best new ship, Carnival deemed best cruise value

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 05:00:00 PST

Dozens of cruise lines received kudos Tuesday as cruise review website Cruise Critic announced its 10th annual Editors' Pick Awards. Winners range from small riverboats to some of the largest passenger ships sailing the world's oceans.

Viking Cruises, with both river and ocean ships, scored five...


What's the result of new Cuba restrictions? Lots of confusion

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 07:00:00 PST

Question: I recently booked a cruise for my wife and me that includes two ports of call in Cuba. Are we allowed to go to Cuba on this cruise, given the new regulations?

Patrick King


Answer: The short answer is yes, even though coverage of the recent changes might lead you to believe the...


How Honolulu's hotels get decked out for the holidays

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 06:15:00 PST

As Christmas approaches, not all of the sand in Waikiki will be along the beach. Honolulu hotels show their holiday spirit with sand sculptures, the aroma of gingerbread and sightings of Santa.

For the 12th straight year, the Sheraton Waikiki is treating guests to seasonal sand sculptures with...


Queen Mary 2 hosts film premiere of 'Greatest Showman'

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 06:00:00 PST

A host of stars appeared last week for the world premiere of "The Greatest Showman," a film about circus impresario P.T. Barnum. The red carpet was aboard Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, in New York Harbor.

The seaboard premiere was a first, according to Cunard. Barnum, who lived from 1810 to 1891, was...


Why booking a cruise far in advance may be the only way to get exactly what you want

Sun, 10 Dec 2017 07:00:00 PST

Mike and Katrina Tschida love to travel, rambling across the globe to play polo in Buenos Aires, go on nature walks in the Galápagos Islands and ride the Orient Express from Paris to Istanbul.

Earlier this year, the Long Beach couple cruised to Antarctica, where they camped out and kayaked in the...


More ways to save money in Paris

Sun, 10 Dec 2017 06:00:00 PST

Debbi Kickham's “The City of Light for Less" [Nov. 26] was extremely helpful. I'd like to add to her list of Paris deals. In my "Paris Made Easy" guide, I feature some of the best free museums and sights in Paris.

The Museé Cognacq-Jay ( in the Marais is in an elegant...


Idaho's Sun Valley is a grand dame and a grand time among skiers and snowboarders

Sun, 10 Dec 2017 05:00:00 PST

Sun Valley, America's first destination ski resort and still a favorite winter playground for many of Hollywood's skiers and snowboarders, is a grand dame among ski resorts, marking its 82nd season this winter.

Two winters ago, I returned to the Idaho resort after a 22-year absence and 36 years...


What's up for the weekend of Dec. 15-17: a blizzard of holiday and ice events

Sun, 10 Dec 2017 05:00:00 PST

Grab your parka because Santa, ice and decked-out boats seem to be everywhere next weekend.

Newport Beach

One hundred brightly illuminated and decorated boats of varied types, sizes and shapes follow a 14-mile course along the peninsula and islands of Newport Harbor at the 109th Newport Beach Christmas...


Another epic winter in store for resorts? Maybe — if not with snow then definitely with speed and size

Sun, 10 Dec 2017 04:00:00 PST

Mountain resorts in California and the West would be happy with a winter even half as snowy as last year's snow season so they can show off a slew of improvements.(image)