Credit Card: Man Holding a Range of Cards (Photo: iStockphoto/Andresr)

As many as there are already, when it comes to rewards credit cards, it seems there's always room for one more.

The latest, released this week, is the Hilton HHonors Reserve Visa Signature card issued by Citi. The "Reserve" distinguishes the new product from the old, less robust non-Reserve card, which remains available for no annual fee....read more»

Italy: Woman Splashing Fountain (Photo: Thinkstock/Creatas Images)

My work is all about Europe. But more fundamentally, it's about living with abandon through travel. I love to take life by the horns and make it an adventure. By being open to differences and staying flexible, I have a better time in Europe—and so can you. It's not what you spend or pack that makes your trip memorable; it's the state of mind you bring.

Savor the differences. When I'm in Europe, I'm immersed in a place where people do and see things differently. That's what distinguishes cultures, and it's what makes travel exhilarating. Europeans drink mud for coffee, slurp mussels in Brussels and snails in Paris, and sit down to dinner at 10 p.m. in Spain. Germans wait patiently for the traffic light before they cross an empty street, while Roman cars stay in their lanes like rocks in an avalanche.

Accept that today's Europe is changing. Be mentally braced for some surprises, good and bad. Among the imposing palaces, soaring cathedrals, and dusty museums, you'll find a living civilization grasping for its future while we romantic tourists grope for its past. Contemporary Europe is alive and in motion. Keep up!

Be ready to ad-lib while conquering surprise challenges. Make an art out of taking the unexpected in stride. If your must-see cathedral is covered with scaffolding, look the other way: climb its bell tower for an unforgettable view over the town. If your favorite artist's masterpiece is out on loan, take a tour of his runner-up works. Good travelers—like skiers bending their knees to make moguls more fun—enjoy the bumps in the road. ...read more»

Canada: Queen Charlotte Islands (Photo: Thinkstock/iStockphoto)

Hot springs, pristine beaches, and unique animal life ... Yup, Canada's got a Galapagos all its own. Sure, the temperatures won't be as hot, but Canada's Queen Charlotte Islands are often called the Canadian Galapagos due to the unique species found only on the islands.

The islands also go by another name, Haida Gwaii, which is their native title. One third of the islands' population are Haida, and this is a great place to see Aboriginal culture. Visit the SGang Gwaay UNESCO World Heritage Site to see a First Nations village or Skidegate Village to see the Haida Heritage Centre at Kaay Llnagaay.

There's plenty of adventure to be had in this remote island group. Go whale watching at Naikoon Provincial Park, soak in hot springs, take a multi-day kayaking tour, or just explore the pristine beaches! ...read more»

Shoes: Travel Walker II (Photo: FootSmart)

What Is It: The Propet Travel Walker II, a walking shoe that folds or rolls up to fit in your suitcase.

Price and Where to Buy: $54.99 from FootSmart. (The shoes are also available in a men's version for the same price.)

Pros: Forget tossing a pair of flimsy foldable flats or flip flops in your bag—these miracle sneakers are built for walking, and yet fold down to take up barely any space in your suitcase. The comfortable shoes are designed for walking, and the Propet is so durable that it comes with a 1,000-mile/six-month guarantee. The shoe's stylish look is another pro—I hate walking around cities (or even rural areas) in athletic sneakers, but these are low profile enough not to be a fashion faux pas. Yet, they offer enough support for the hours and hours of walking that usually comes with travel.

Cons: Although it helps keep the shoe rolled up when not in use, I'm not a fan of the bungee closure that these shoes have in lieu of traditional laces. However, if you feel the same way, the bungee cord can easily replaced with traditional laces for a dollar or two....read more»

JetBlue Airplane in Sunset (Photo: JetBlue Airlines)

Yesterday was a banner day for low-cost carrier loyalty schemes, with both Virgin America and JetBlue announcing major upgrades to their programs.

Virgin America's addition of elite tiers and perks to its Elevate program takes effect on August 8, so that received the first review.

Today we consider JetBlue's initiative, which is eerily similar to Virgin America's but doesn't launch until sometime later this year....read more»

Signage: Snowflake (Photo: Thinkstock/Hemera)

By now, many of you are planning where you'll go for a fall or winter trip. Many of those trips will likely require you to pony up a large deposit or advance payment (payments that often are either nonrefundable or carry large cancellation penalties) if you subsequently have to cancel your trip. You may also have to make those payments a long time in advance. If your trip fits either category, you're a candidate for trip-cancellation insurance (TCI) and trip-interruption insurance (TII), almost always sold together in a bundle. And if so, you need to know what TCI/TII does do, doesn't do, and how to avoid pitfalls if you aren't careful when you buy.

What TCI/TII Does

The TCI component refunds whatever advance deposits and prepayments you can't first recover if you have to cancel your trip before you leave, and TII pays those costs plus possible extra costs of returning home early if you have to abort your trip after you've started. All TCI/TII covers cancellations or interruptions required by something that happens to you or a traveling companion (sickness, accident, and such) and most covers you if something happens to a close family member who isn't traveling with you. But when you buy TCI/TII, the devil is in the details:...read more»

Credit Card: People Passing Card (Photo: iStockphoto/Marcus Clackson)

Bank of America announced Monday that it will make chip-and-PIN credit cards available to large numbers of its cardholders. Here's what the company has planned:

  • All newly-issued Merrill Lynch, U.S. Trust Accolade, BankAmericard Travel Rewards, BankAmericard Privileges, and Virgin Atlantic travel credit cards will automatically be chip-and-PIN cards. The bank also will upgrade existing customers in these card programs who have been identified as international travelers.
  • Users of BankAmericard Cash Rewards, BankAmericard Power Rewards, BankAmericard, AAA Members Rewards, NEA, Asiana Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Lines cards can request chip-and-PIN cards....read more»
Man: Shocked Business Man (Photo: Thinkstock/iStockphoto)

Major U.S. airlines have initiated another fare hike—and it looks like this one has stuck.

Blame United. The airline led the price increase by bumping up prices last week by up to $10 round-trip. Subsequently, Delta, US Airways, American, and Southwest have followed suit, reports FareCompare. And according to USA Today, JetBlue and Virgin have also matched the increased prices. ...read more»

Northern Mariana Islands: American Memorial Park (Photo: Flickr/rapidtravelchai)

Located in the Northern Mariana Islands, the American Memorial Park is definitely more than a road-trip away, unlike so many other national parks. However, the park's history, white sand beaches, and nature are worth the effort!

The park was built to honor the lives lost during World War II's Marianas Campaign. The memorial with over 5,200 names inscribed on it, is a stark reminder of the sacrifices made here, as is the Carillon Belltower that chimes every half-hour for most of the day....read more»

Amsterdam, Netherlands (Photo: Andrew Ward/Life File)

Enter KLM's VIP Trip to TCS Amsterdam Marathon sweepstakes by September 21 for a chance to win the grand prize: tickets for two to Amsterdam, three nights' hotel accommodations, entry into the marathon (optional), a camera, and a 250-euro Mizuno shopping voucher.

To participate, simply enter the contact information on the sweepstakes entry form. Done!

Time required to enter: under 60 seconds....read more»

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