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

New Orleans: music, museums and meals

By: Victor Block

Quick quiz: Think swinging jazz and soulful blues played in music clubs and by street musicians outside. Picture sidewalks crowded with people sipping beverages from plastic cups as they stroll along. If you guess that describes New Orleans, you’re right — but there’s more. Now see yourself visiting museums whose focus ranges from food and festivals, to history and mystery.... 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