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Airport security check sign (Photo: iStockPhoto.com/Stephen Finn)

The great majority of American travelers will never suffer the effects of having their names included on the federal government's watch list of known or suspected terrorists. Air travel is stressful enough without the added worry of being subjected to "enhanced" airport security screenings and possibly being prohibited from flying altogether.

But it's a seemingly inevitable byproduct of the anti-terrorism security apparatus that the names of many ordinary citizens find their way onto the list. And that has raised questions about what, exactly, are the criteria for inclusion on a list of could-be terrorists. ... read more»

If pigs could fly ... well, they might have it better than humans flying in coach.

Pigs on a truck are probably on their way to the slaughterhouse. For humans on a plane, shoehorned into coach seats, it just feels that way.

According to the American Meat Institute's "Recommended Animal Handling Guidelines & Audit Guide: a Systematic Approach to Animal Welfare," a swine or sow weighing 200 pounds should be allocated 4 square feet of space when being transported by truck during the summer months. (Although the guidelines are for travel by ground, they would presumably apply as well in the unlikely event that pigs were flown rather than trucked.) ... read more»

Glasgow, Scotland (Photo:enthusiasticawe via flickr/CC Attribution)

Glasgow may be Scotland's largest city and the third largest city in the UK, but we think it remains a seriously underrated destination. The bustling seaport boasts everything from medieval castles to a modern music culture. Now, as host of the 2014 Commonwealth Games (opening ceremonies kick off the event on July 23) here's why you should add the Scottish metropolis to your bucket list.

... read more»

(Update, 9:15 a.m., July 24) The FAA has lifted its ban on U.S. flights to and from Ben Gurion Airport. The agency continues to monitor the situation.

U.S. travelers hoping to visit Israel soon may have to rework their plans. Yesterday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a 24-hour ban on U.S. airlines flying to or from Ben Gurion. The restriction was authorized in response to a rocket strike that happened near the airport. This afternoon, the agency followed up with an extension on the ban: For another 24-hour period at the very least, U.S. flights to Tel Aviv are prohibited.

The State Department has warned that Americans should consider deferring travel to the region as the conflict between Hamas and Israel escalates. This warning was posted on Monday; read it here. ... read more»

<p>For Ren&eacute;e S. Gordon, <em>Smooth Traveler</em> columnist for <a href=" http://www.philasun.com/travel.html"target="_blank">The Philadelphia Sunday SUN</a>, there's no better place than Manhattan, both for world-famous attractions and little-known delights.</p>

<p>"Historic structures stand pressed between high rises and in gentrified neighborhoods," says Gordon. "These surprises, lagniappes, are sprinkled around the city. My favorite is the 1780s <a href=" http://www.dyckmanfarmhouse.org/ "target="_blank">Dyckman Farmhouse Museum</a>, across from a row of retail establishments on Broadway at 204th Street.</p>

<p>"I love everything about the city ... No matter what time of day or night there is something that will extend the limits of your personal universe in an unexpected way. New Yorkers are a special breed. Contrary to popular belief they are quick to assist you, they are tolerant, flexible, witty and gritty and wonderful. You can find yourself walking beside a street person or a star and both will treat you the same way."</p>

<p>To start your New York City trip planning, visit <a href=" http://www.nycvisit.com/"target="_blank">NYC &amp; Company</a>.</p>(Photo: NYC &amp; Company)

New York City—fun to visit, but not so fun to live there? According to a new study released by the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research, New York, NY is the country's unhappiest metropolitan area. The study, conducted by Joshua Gottlieb of the University of British Columbia's Vancouver School of Economic Research, used self-reported levels of happiness from participants in the General Social Survey, the National Survey of Families and Households, and the Centers from Disease Control.

Factors like cost of living and weather (warmer winters had a link to higher happiness levels) could explain why Richmond–Petersburg, VA, was ranked as the happiest city. ... read more»

(Photo: Amazon)

Heads up, travelers. The newest version of the Kindle Paperwhite is the e-reader you've been waiting for. ... read more»

(Photo: Brunton)

What Is it: The Brunton Pulse 1500 Power Booster, a portable battery that can charge your electronics without an outlet.

Price and Where to Buy: The device is currently on sale on Amazon for $18.14, or buy it on Brunton's website for full price ($34.99.) ... read more»

Pay whatever you want for your stay in Paris? C'est vrais!

A Paris hotels group is running an unusual promotion, allowing guests to pay what they want for accommodations in the city this summer. According to a French-language online post on a site called "Payez ce que vous voulez" (that means "pay what you want"), five Parisian hotels are participating in a scheme that gives hotel guests the freedom to determine their own nightly rates. ... read more»

(Photo: Tego)

What Is it: The Tego PowerGrid, a portable battery that can charge your electronics without an outlet.

Price and Where to Buy: $59 on Tego Power's website. Smarter Travel readers can use promo code: TEGO20 and get 20 percent off of their entire purchase on the site. ... read more»

(Photo: Getty Images/Vetta)

I love all the technology that makes travel easier than ever. Even when you want to get away from it all, it makes sense to take your smartphone (or tablet) with you. You can keep in touch if you want to, plus you'll have instant access to resources that can enrich your trip. I wouldn't leave home without mine.

Essentially, a smartphone helps you make the most of your travel time. For example, some of Europe's blockbuster sights, such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Colosseum in Rome, allow you to buy tickets and have them sent to your phone—enabling you to skip the formidable lines when you get there.

You can also check hours and get directions to places you want to visit and confirm other details that help you plan your itinerary. I generally don't care about the weather, but while filming recently in the Italian Riviera—where good weather was critical—I repeatedly checked my weather app hoping for a better forecast than the predicted drizzle. ... read more»

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