Palermo, Italy offers a lively slice of Sicily

By: Cain Burdeau

For many travelers, Italy is seen as romantic, mysterious and a bit chaotic, with torpid heat, gorgeously rich colors and irresistible food. In reality, of course, every region has a distinct culture and identity. But Palermo — the ancient capital of Sicily and jewel of the Mediterranean — lives up to the Italy of popular imagination. It’s joyful and colorful, rich in art and... READ MORE

New airline rewards cards without the fee

By: Lisa Gerstner

Frequent fliers can now sign up for a dedicated airline credit card from a major airline without paying up front. Delta and United have introduced no-fee cards that offer miles or credits that cardholders can redeem for flight purchases. The American Express Blue Delta SkyMiles card (16.74 to 25.74 percent annual percentage rate; 2.7 percent foreign-transaction fee) offers two... READ MORE

Nonrefundable fares vs. trip insurance

By: Ed Perkins

If you look at the many consumer complaints about the travel industry, one issue clearly rises to the top: nonrefundability. In exchange for giving you a price break, airlines, hotels, car rental companies, tour operators and others make your payment nonrefundable. Airlines allow you to alter a nonrefundable ticket, but only after a very stiff change fee, and only by spending the... READ MORE

Albuquerque basks in its place in the sun

By: Glenda C. Booth

Albuquerque license plates sport New Mexico’s symbol — an ancient red sun on a bright yellow background, an image borrowed from the indigenous Zias for whom the sun was sacred. Maybe that’s because the sun shines on Albuquerque 310 days a year. Sunlight dapples across the high desert, and sunsets turn the Sandia Mountains watermelon pink. The sun inspired early inhabitants, who... READ MORE

Greenwich Village: Still cool to hang out

By: Beth J. Harpaz

As a teenager in New York City in the gritty 1970s, I often hung out in Greenwich Village with friends. There was nothing cooler than buying a tie-dyed T-shirt in some little shop, or listening to a guitar-playing hippie in Washington Square Park. As an adult in the complicated 21st century, I can still recommend the Village as a magical place to spend a day, but its charms are different ... READ MORE

Caribbean sugar, sand and sightseeing

By: Victor Block

“Stay to the left. Stay to the left.” Those words became my often-repeated mantra when driving during a recent visit to an intriguing pair of sister Caribbean islands. Because St. Kitts and Nevis share a common British heritage, steering a vehicle on the left side of the road is one vestige of the mother country’s lingering influence. Fortunately, St. Kitts and Nevis, two... READ MORE