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

Exploring Umbria’s picturesque villages

By: Victor Block

Assisi is one of the best known of the hill towns that dot Umbria, in the countryside of central Italy. St. Francis was born here in 1182. Medieval castles and churches dominate the town’s skyline. UNESCO designated the Franciscan structures of Assisi as a World Heritage Site in 2000.Photo by Henryk SaduraIn 1996, a book titled Under the Tuscan Sun recounted how author Frances Mayes... READ MORE

Getting lost in Venice, for the fun of it

By: Fyllis Hockman

Venice is an old city. The water-logged foundations date back to the 11th century. The newer building facades are as recent as the 15th.So many buildings were stripped of paint and plaster on both sides of a small alleyway that I expected them to crumble before my eyes — until I reminded myself they have looked pretty much the same for over 500 years.This other-worldly city is filled ... READ MORE

A visit to Pittsburgh: food, art and Fences

By: Beth J. Harpaz

If you’re planning a trip to Pittsburgh, you’ll need to learn a few things first. Yinz is local for y’all. Carnegie is pronounced Car-NAY-gie (as in Andrew Carnegie, who made a fortune in Pittsburgh’s steel industry, and whose name adorns libraries, museums and more). And you don’t get French fries with your sandwich at Primanti’s. You get fries on your... READ MORE

Inexpensive, rising Rust Belt destinations

By: Beth J. Harpaz

Here’s why tourists should take the Rust Belt about as seriously as they take politicians these days: Because the food, art and sightseeing in “flyover country” is well worth your precious vacation days — not to mention cheaper than in trendier destinations.In the last two years, I’ve visited Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin — sampling art museums,... READ MORE