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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, 10 Dec 2016 12:51:53 -0800

Copyright: ©2016 Los Angeles Times

Holiday time in Las Vegas: Where to go and what to see

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 06:30:00 PST

Yep, even Las Vegas gets into the holiday swing of things — despite its desert location. You can find snow (indoors) and colorful decorations everywhere you go. 

Visitors between now and the end of the year will be treated to a variety of displays and activities that would even get Ebenezer Scrooge...


This little piggy is cheering up passengers at San Francisco's airport

Thu, 8 Dec 2016 06:00:00 PST

Many U.S. airports have brought dogs into gate areas to soothe stressed-out travelers. San Francisco International Airport has gone one step further with a touring pet pig named LiLou, who made her debut Monday. The airport now claims to have the first known airport therapy pig in the United States....(image)

Need transportation or a tour guide in Spain? Try Barcelona Taxi Van

Sat, 10 Dec 2016 08:00:00 PST

My family and I were recently in Barcelona, Spain, for a week. We met Aurelio, a cab driver who had spent quite a bit of time in the U. S., so his English was quite clear. He was extremely helpful and dependable and conducts tours for tourists. I would highly recommend him if you're in Barcelona...


National park tips: At the Grand Canyon in winter, try these for traction

Sat, 10 Dec 2016 05:00:00 PST

If you visit Grand Canyon National Park in winter, expect snow and ice on the south rim. And even if you’re only walking a mile or two down the trail, you’ll need traction.

If you haven’t got your own crampons, spend $20 for a pair (available in park stores) to help your hiking boots grip the icy...


Kids go free on Dana Point whale-watching tours in December

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 06:00:00 PST

Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching based in Dana Point Harbor offers some relief from the holiday stress: free whale-watching  tickets for children with a paying adult.

The offer is good through December when gray whales start to pass along Southern California’s coast during their extraordinary...


Track endangered cheetahs on this tour of Namibia

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 05:30:00 PST

Catch up with the cheetah, the world's fastest land animal, on a wildlife tour to Namibia that explores regions where the endangered animals live.

Marcy Mendelson, a conservation photographer and National Geographic contributor, will lead the 13-day trip available one time only in summer. Game...


National park tips: Is this the year you finally ride a Grand Canyon mule?

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 05:00:00 PST

It’s a thrill to savor, but not that many travelers these days get to take the classic mule ride at Grand Canyon National Park.

Instead, meandering on the trail for a few hours as most tourists do, you ride down to the canyon bottom, spend the night and ride back up the next day.

More than 600,000...


Guzzle beer from a motorcycle helmet, try rattlesnake-sausage pizza at new Evel Knievel-themed pizzeria

Thu, 8 Dec 2016 06:30:00 PST

One of Las Vegas’ newest pizza joints comes with a slice of pepperoni and a slice of history. “Live hard, ride fast, eat pizza” is the motto at Evel Pie, a one-of-a-kind pizzeria dedicated to motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel.

It opened recently in downtown’s expanding Fremont East Entertainment...


MGM to open Las Vegas-style gambling resort near Washington, D.C.

Thu, 8 Dec 2016 05:30:00 PST

Is Washington, D.C., ready for a Las Vegas-style casino resort just outside its famed beltway? MGM Resorts hopes so. The $1.4-billion MGM National Harbor stands to bring some Vegas glam to the East Coast when it opens Thursday.

Doors open 11 p.m. Thursday, but  the hotel won’t be welcoming guests...


National park tips: This fake tower's view is real

Thu, 8 Dec 2016 05:00:00 PST

Go to Desert View Watchtower in Grand Canyon National Park.

It’s 25 miles east of the South Rim’s teeming Grand Canyon Village, so many travelers miss it. (It’s not on the park’s shuttle bus routes, either.)

But it’s a great stop. One reason is the panoramic desert, canyon and river view.

The other...


Some Las Vegas hotels have increased their resort fees. Here's what it will cost you now

Wed, 7 Dec 2016 06:00:00 PST

The $200-a-night room you just reserved in Las Vegas? It’ll cost you a bit more now given the two biggest players on the Strip — MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment — have increased resort fees at many of their hotels.

I’ve learned that MGM Resorts last month increased the resort fees at some...


Go snorkeling in Belize's turquoise waters, bird-watching in its national parks

Wed, 7 Dec 2016 05:30:00 PST

With one foot in the Caribbean and another in Central America, Belize has many attributes that make it an attractive locale for a tropical vacation.

An eight-day Rainforest to Reef tour organized by Mountain Travel Sobek showcases some of the country's highlights, with time set aside to kayak or...


National park tips: See the Colorado River turn on itself like a coiling snake

Wed, 7 Dec 2016 05:00:00 PST

Horseshoe Bend, four miles southwest of Page, Ariz., on U.S. Route 89, will mess with your head.

You look straight down, 1,000 feet, at a 270-degree bend in the Colorado River. It looks like the river is swallowing itself.

Officially it’s part of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Yet there...


The Pearl Harbor attack is still seared into a survivor's memory: 'Everything ... blew up and was on fire'

Wed, 7 Dec 2016 02:00:00 PST

President Franklin Roosevelt described it as “a date which will live in infamy.” As the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor approaches, sailors and civilians have worked to spruce up Hawaii’s biggest tourist attraction.

Visitors from around the world, including many Japanese, come visit...


10 places in U.S. (California's desert is No. 4) Lonely Planet says you should visit next year

Tue, 6 Dec 2016 06:30:00 PST

Why do we love lists? For travelers, it’s always thrilling to see which destinations are generating the most buzz for the coming year.

Lonely Planet’s editors on Tuesday released their top 10 U.S. places you should visit in 2017. Asheville, N.C., takes the No. 1 spot for its artistic vibe and food-and-wine...


Take this cruise through Myanmar, and a pal goes for half-price

Tue, 6 Dec 2016 06:00:00 PST

Myanmar, formerly Burma, was closed to Westerners for decades until the country started opening to tourists in 2011. One way to explore it is to take a cruise on the Ayeyarwady River. For a limited time, you can book a cabin and receive half off the price of a companion ticket.

The deal: Prices...


Where to see reindeer and Northern Lights while staying in an ice hotel

Tue, 6 Dec 2016 05:30:00 PST

Some people say Santa lives in Lapland, but even if Mr. Ho-Ho-Ho doesn’t make an appearance during this Lapland Safari tour, there are plenty of reindeer and other memorable experiences.

The weeklong tour offered by Red Savannah includes a chance to mush your own dog team, drive a snowmobile and...


National park tips: Where the song of Gram Parsons is still sung

Tue, 6 Dec 2016 05:00:00 PST

If you revere the music of singer-songwriter Gram Parsons and the Flying Burrito Brothers, you’ll need to pay respects at Joshua Tree National Park’s Cap Rock.

It’s near the junction of Park Boulevard and Keys View Road.

And its Parsons connection dates to 1973, when, a few days after Parsons died...


Fake U.S. embassy operated in Ghana for a decade, issued bogus visas

Mon, 5 Dec 2016 11:50:00 PST

Before there were fake news stories, there was a fake U.S. embassy in Accra, the capital of Ghana. It opened three times a week, flew a U.S. flag, had a picture of President Obama on the wall and issued bogus visas for $6,000, according to a U.S. State Department report.

It operated for 10 years...


Twitter is the new social media darling for travelers, solving problems and saving money

Mon, 5 Dec 2016 07:00:00 PST

When I’m in a travel bind, whether it’s before a trip or at the airport, I often use Twitter to contact the airlines. That social media outlet can lead to better service and sometimes even savings.

Anthony Berklich, founder of the travel platform Inspired Citizen, has used Twitter for his travel...


New hotels, hot restaurants, a singing superstar - Vegas proves again it just never sits still

Mon, 5 Dec 2016 07:00:00 PST

New Year’s Eve may be a little less than a month away, but the Champagne corks are already popping in Las Vegas, ringing in new hotels, restaurants and attractions.

The Vegas boom, once as sizzling as an August afternoon, has slowed to a simmer since 2008. But a growth spurt is underway in Southern...


Gift ideas to make traveling easier

Mon, 5 Dec 2016 07:00:00 PST

The goal: Take the hassle out of travel. The gift: anything that does that.

Here are some items that can smooth the way, whether it’s across the state or around the world.

Our 2016 holiday gift guide is here, over 200 gifts for everyone on your holiday shopping list »

Separate your tech and clothing...(image)

At Pearl Harbor, the silence 75 years later pays tribute to the sacrifices that saved the world

Mon, 5 Dec 2016 07:00:00 PST

Sometimes, sorrow and reverence only whisper. 

As the Navy shuttle pulled near the sunken USS Arizona battleship at Pearl Harbor, National Park Service rangers requested quiet on that May day of my visit.

This landmark of American tragedy and resilience marks its 75th milestone  on Wednesday.



How to handle a passenger who insists on preaching loudly from the Bible on a red-eye flight

Mon, 5 Dec 2016 07:00:00 PST

I’m a flight attendant, not a cop. But on a recent flight from Miami to Rio de Janeiro, I was forced to wrestle a passenger to the floor, restrain her with airline-issued flex cuffs and turn her over to Brazilian police. 

The incident began about 4 a.m. The aircraft cabin was dark, save for the...


Disney story was right on the money. And Paris banks make you work hard for the money

Sun, 4 Dec 2016 06:30:00 PST

I want to commend David Swanson on his article about Tokyo DisneySea [“DisneySea Gets an ‘A’,” Nov. 20].

His line about DisneySea being "a great add-on to a Tokyo vacation, and maybe reason for the journey itself," is so true. 

I've been to the Tokyo Disney Resort three times.  I have been a Disneyland...