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

World class scenic winter train travel

By: Ed Perkins

If you want to enjoy spectacular snowscapes without the hassle of winter driving, take a train.Except in unusual circumstances, railroads keep their tracks open through snowfall heavy enough to shut down the highways. And many of them travel on routes with better sightseeing than you can find anywhere else.If you want really great snow scenery, you can’t beat Switzerland. Although my... READ MORE

Bike downhill on Virginia’s Creeper Trail

By: Karen Testa

It was an invitation even teenagers who had hoped to be watching college football or playing video games couldn’t resist: a mountain bike ride — all downhill. Visitors to the Virginia Creeper Trail will find a remarkably family-friendly ride, adaptable to any skill level, and with scenery to hold anyone’s attention. With its broad paths and wide curves, the Creeper encourages... READ MORE