Airport - Departure screen full of canceled flights (Photo: iStockPhoto/Simon Smith)

Bad weather can wreak havoc on your travel plans. With headlines playing up planes stuck on tarmacs and newspapers printing images of exhausted people sleeping on airport floors, it's hard to avoid total panic. But it doesn't have to be that way when your flight is grounded.

Here's a primer on your rights and other important things you need to know when bad weather strikes.

The Bad News

Airlines consider bad weather situations—including snow storms, hurricanes, fog conditions, and so on—to be "force majeure" events or "acts of God," and are not the fault of the airlines. Therefore, when it comes to your rights when there's a cancellation, the one basic thing you are entitled to is a refund—no free hotel stays, no ground transportation, and no food vouchers (though airlines might offer these options at its discretion). ...read more»

Dead Sea: Woman Floating (Photo: Thinkstock/Zoonar)

Not a good swimmer? Not a problem! Almost everyone can float with ease in the Dead Sea. This salty sea is ten times saltier than sea water, which increases your buoyancy compared to a regular body of water. In fact, it's not uncommon to see people floating in an almost sitting position, reading or chatting without effort.

The super salty water is claimed to have special healing powers, as is the sea bed mud. Grab a handful of the black mud and smear it all over your face or body for softer skin.

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Allegiant Air tail (Photo: Allegiant Air)

AirTran out, Allegiant in. That's a quick summary of a change in air service to Central Illinois Regional Airport, also known as Bloomington-Normal.

AirTran formerly flew between Bloomington and Florida, and after AirTran announced it would stop serving Bloomington, Allegiant quickly moved to fill the void. Starting May 16, the small-market leisure specialist will fly two weekly round-trips between Bloomington and Orlando/Sanford, with introductory fares starting at $74.99 each way.

Allegiant’s business model has improved air service to lots of places around the country: Fly less-than-daily service linking small cities with such key visitor destinations as Orlando, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. These routes don’t have enough traffic to support daily big-airline flights, but Allegiant finds that much of the leisure market is quite happy with two or three nonstops a week....read more»

Brazil: Amazon Rivers (Photo: Thinkstock/Digital Vision)

Two of the most powerful rivers in the Amazon region join forces at the Meeting of the Rivers. The brown waters of the Solimoes meet with the black waters of the Rio Negro, yet flow along side by side, without mixing, for nine kilometers. The two separated colors in one river make for an amazing photo op! An even better view can be had from an aerial tour above the waters in a helicopter.

Get ready for a swim here, as it's the one of the few places in the world where you can swim with fresh water dolphins. Not only do these dolphins live in a river, but they're pink. Not an optical illusion or something out off a Lisa Frank design, these dolphins are naturally a light pink hue. Don't look too closely, as according to Amazon River folklore, if a person looks the pink dolphin in the eye, that person will have nightmares forever....read more»

Air: Woman Frightened Looking Out Plane Window (Photo: Thinkstock/iStockphoto)

Ever hit the wrong button on a computer? Hopefully it didn't send hundreds of people into hysterical panic, as it did on British Airways flight 0206. One minute passengers were calmly snoozing or reading at 3:00 a.m. as they flew from Miami to London. The next minute, an alarm sounds, and everyone is told to prepare for an emergency water landing.

Fortunately, there was no emergency, and the recording was played accidentally. Oops! To make up for it, the airline handed out apology letters to all of the passengers once they reached their final destination (we hope that wasn't the in-flight movie). Which raises the question—does British Airways always fly with a stack of pre-printed "sorry we made you think you were going to die" letters, or were the poor flight attendants frantically hand-writing them over and over?

One might think British Airways, of all airlines, would have learned its lesson after a similar incident on a flight from Heathrow to Hong Kong in which the pilot "hit the wrong button, because they were so close together," according to an account by the Telegraph.

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<h2>Fiji beach</h2>
<p>Travel writer and photographer <a href="http://www.amandajonestravel.com"target="_blank">Amanda Jones</a> selects Fiji as her newest favorite destination. "Fiji reminds me of Tahiti 20 years ago," she says. "It has pristine beaches, serene hotel getaways, tropical waters, and some of the best scuba diving in the world. The local people are delightful. There are over 200 islands in the Fiji chain&mdash;I recommend the Yasawa Islands for people looking to drop off the planet into a remote paradise."</p>

<p>You can find comprehensive trip-planning resources, including interactive maps, visitor testimonials, and videos, on the <a href=" http://www.bulafiji.com/"target="_blank">Fiji Visitor's Bureau website</a>.</p><p>(Photo: iStockphoto.com)</p>

Enter Dole's "Warm Up & Win" sweepstakes by March 31 for a chance to win the grand prize: a trip for four to Fiji, including air, six nights' hotel, and $500 per day in spending money.

Runner-up prizes include down comforters, winter coats, and coffee makers....read more»

Airport: Woman Stressed at Airport, Flight Screens (Photo: Thinkstock/Eyecandy Images)

Many travel sellers are brazenly violating federal regulations by sneaking hefty "surcharges" into their discount prices. Ed Perkins tells you how to spot the phony charge....read more»

Italy: Venice, Murano (Photo: Thinkstock/Zoonar)

The Island of Murano is known worldwide for the amazing hand-blown glass produced there. Located just a quick water bus ride away from Venice, Murano is only about a mile wide, so it's easily explored in a day trip. Like Venice, Murano is a canal town, and has a grand canal bisecting the island.

The history of Murano is interesting—it became a major glassblowing center after glass-makers were forced off Venice due to fears that the glass making process would spark fires that would decimate the city's predominantly wooden buildings. Learn more about the city's history and the history of glass-making at the Museo Vetario.

The best part of the island is watching the many glass blowing demonstrations. Many of the factories put on shows, but then you are of course encouraged to buy the final product in the gift shop. Resist the urge to impulse buy if you don't want to pay to ship your goods home....read more»

Cruise: Costa Concordia Ship (Photo: flickr/Aah-Yeah)

By now, you've undoubtedly seen the news: A shocking series of events unfolded last weekend when Costa Concordia struck rocks off the coast of Italy on January 13 and subsequently capsized. Eleven passengers have died, reports the Associated Press, and 29 people who were onboard the ship are still missing as of this morning. The Concordia's captain, who allegedly abandoned ship before all passengers had been evacuated, is currently in Italian custody.

There has been no shortage of coverage on the recent cruise catastrophe—including some conflicting reports and, of course, an overly sensational story or two. So where is the best place to get the truth about what happened on that fateful Friday the 13th? Below is a roundup of the best coverage we've seen of the Costa Concordia crash, including reports from industry insiders, jaw-dropping videos, and fascinating photo slideshows. If you want the scoop on the sinking ship, you won't want to miss these five sound sources.

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Travel brochures (Photo: IndexOpen)

If it was a good deal (or a notably bad one) from an airline, hotel, or car rental loyalty program, you can read all about it here, and plan your travel accordingly....read more»

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