Whales and wonder in icy Antarctica

By: Don Mankin
Posted on: September 04, 2019

One after the other, humpback whales arched their backs and slid into the frigid waters of Antarctica. As they flicked their tails in the air, rivulets dripped from the edges before they disappeared below the surface. I stood up in the Zodiac, a small inflatable boat with an outboard motor, my camera poised for the next opportunity for a once-in-a-lifetime shot. I didn’t have to wait... READ MORE

Visiting Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands

By: Glenda C. Booth
Posted on: September 03, 2019

There are many good finds in Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands, an undulating countryside 50 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. Visitors to the 3,000-square-mile region, which encompasses Westmoreland, Somerset and Fayette Counties, will find Pennsylvania’s highest peaks, rolling hills, small towns, covered bridges and dense verdant forests that burst into blazing colors in the... READ MORE

When you need to change an airline ticket

By: Ed Perkins
Posted on: August 13, 2019

Many of your best airfare deals are “nonrefundable.” Once you pay, you don’t get your money back if you have to cancel. Although the very cheapest advance-purchase tickets started out as completely nonrefundable, most big U.S. airlines switched to a policy that when you cancel a nonrefundable ticket for any reason, the airline will allow you to apply the cash value toward a future... READ MORE

Riding the rapids of the Sierra Nevadas

By: Don Mankin
Posted on: August 01, 2019

You’re never too old for adventure, but on a spring trip on the American River in California, I was thankful for my younger traveling companions. As my fellow rafters and I whooped and thrust our paddles in the air to celebrate a successful run through the roaring rapids, our raft snagged on a rock, sending me flying into the water. I bounced off the river bottom, popped to the... READ MORE

Diverse Panama offers more than a canal

By: Victor Block
Posted on: July 29, 2019

An American traveler, adventurer and author named Richard Halliburton swam the length of the Panama Canal a few years after it opened in 1914. He was charged 36 cents for the trip. Today, ships that follow in his footsteps — or, rather, his wake — pay $200,000 to $300,000 for the privilege. The average toll for the largest vessels, which use wider locks that began to operate in 2016, ... READ MORE

Which are the best hotel chains today?

By: Ed Perkins
Posted on: July 12, 2019

The best U.S. multi-brand hotel chains are Hilton and Marriott, tied at a score of 80 out of 100 in the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). Hyatt at 79 and InterContinental at 78 follow closely, and Best Western scores above the industry average at 77. Chains scoring below average run from Choice at 74, La Quinta at 74, Wyndham at 70, down to Motel 6 at 64. Aggregate... READ MORE