Visiting Guatemala’s grit and grandeur

By: Manuel Valdes

My childhood home is gone and so is the Chinese restaurant next to it. But my street in the urban center of Guatemala City remains its bustling old self.Buses growl and spit exhaust. Cars race down the narrow one-way street. Stores sell everything from wedding gowns to candy. But the paint is worn away from some of the buildings, a sign that the years have taken a toll.I left this street... READ MORE

Sublime wine, scenery in central Virginia

By: Glenda C. Booth

The masseuse’s golf balls gently rolling across my back in the dimly-lit spa put me into a Zen-like trance.So did the thick clumps of interrupted ferns carpeting the forest floor as I hiked, while the haunting, flute-like call of the wood thrush wafted through the trees.And a little while later, in a cider taproom, the sparkling hard cider gave me a slight buzz. This is Nelson... READ MORE

The last call for long-distance train trips?

By: Ed Perkins

Trump’s budget proposes to cut all funding for Amtrak long-distance trains. The administration isn’t happy with Amtrak’s ongoing losses, and long-distance trains face an uncertain future.So if you’re interested in a long rail trip, you don’t have to worry for this year, but the future will be much cloudier.Most scenic tripsFor most people, the main reason to... READ MORE

Cuba combines opposites in a time warp

By: Glenda C. Booth

Classic American cars abound in Cuba, where importing American-made goods was banned when Fidel Castro took power in 1959. Today, the meticulously maintained (though seat belt-free) Cadillacs, Fords and Buicks can be seen on streets in Havana and throughout the country. American tourists seem to enjoy taking a ride.Photo by JHVE PhotoWhen Columbus landed in Cuba in 1492, he proclaimed the... READ MORE

Not a hotel lover? Try a vacation rental

By: Sandrzej

“Eew, this isn’t anything like what I expected!” Although vacation rentals don’t generate a lot of complaints, I’m pretty sure the number one complaint is disappointment on arrival at a previously unseen rental.The big online vacation rental “marketplaces” such as FlipKey and VRBO do as much as they can to assure... READ MORE

Be flexible to snag true bargain airfares

By: Ryan Ermey

Kiplinger’s interviewed Scott Keyes, who writes an email newsletter called Scott’s Cheap Flights. Through it, he sends out international airfare deals to 350,000 subscribers.Here are excerpts from the interview.Q.: What’s your number-one rule for finding cheap airfare?        A.: Flexibility. Once you have an origin airport, a destination... READ MORE