(Photo: Secret Sweater)

If you're already stuffing your sweater into your purse or day bag, congratulations, you're way ahead of the trend! The downside, you may already know, is that when you drag the sweater back out of your bag, it's wrinkled and, if your bag is anything like mine, covered with bits of fluff, loose change, and potentially a lipstick smudge or two.

It turns out that there are actually sweaters built to withstand this cycle of need and neglect. I compared three—the Secret Sweater, Chilly Jilly, and Pocket Poppet—side by side and discovered that, while at first glance they may seem interchangeable, each has key features that make it useful for a particular kind of traveler/purse-sweater-stuffer.

Common Features

All three sweaters share some useful features. They all fold up small and pack easily into an included cloth bag. They're all wrinkle resistant and, even if you do a careless job of stuffing the sweater into its sack, any wrinkles just disappear after a few minutes of wear the next time you put the sweater on. They're all quite flattering and adaptable and can be dressed up or down. And they all need to be machine washed on cold and air-dried....read more»

Airplane Wing Over Skyline (Photo: Thinkstock/iStock)

If you agree with virtually every consumer-activist and consumer-interest organization on the planet, think about signing this petition.

Transparency in airfare. That sounds like something everyone can get behind, right?

But the Transparent Airfares Act of 2014 (H.R. 4156), currently pending in the House, has ignited a firestorm of controversy about the nature and benefits of pricing transparency....read more»

Luggage on the belt (Photo: Index Open)

You arrive at your airport, claim your baggage, go home, and start to unpack, only to find that the heirloom silver cup your grandmother passed on to you is missing. Who was responsible? And what should you do now? Although I've never had anything lifted from a checked bag, it does happen. Prevention is the best protection:

Prevention Rule 1: Leave valuables that you don't need during your trip at home. I have no sympathy for travelers who wail about the loss of expensive jewelry or unique clothing when they're on a trip. ...read more»

Air: Passengers waiting in line (Photo: iStockphoto/Gene Chutka)

In recent months, giant airlines have made some big changes to their frequent-flyer programs, affecting earning and award schedules. Over the years, most changes have had a negative impact on ordinary travelers, and the recent ones are no different. ...read more»

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Berlin, Germany (Photo: Rick Steves)

When I visited Berlin recently to update my guidebook, I also scouted locations for a new TV show. I found the city as vibrant as ever—with massive infrastructure projects in progress all around town. The cranes speckling the horizon in every direction put an end to the idea of filming anytime soon—but the commotion is not a problem for visitors. If anything, seeing all the changes in the works made me eager to come back soon to see the Berlin of the future.

But even as the city busily builds itself into the 21st century, Berlin has made a point of acknowledging and remembering its past. A series of thought-provoking memorials installed throughout the city center directly confront some of Germany's most difficult history of the last century. Lacing these sights into your Berlin sightseeing is a way to learn from those difficult times. ...read more»

Single Suitcase on Luggage Carousel (Photo: Thinkstock/iStock)

In Frontier's latest step toward reinventing itself as an ultra-low-cost carrier, the airline introduced a new category of airfares that don't include any "extras."...read more»

<strong>Take a Walking Tour</strong>

One of the more affordable modes of transportation is using your own two feet, and walking is one of the best ways to learn about a destination. Plus, many cities offer a wide range of tours&mdash;both independent and guided&mdash;on a slew of different subjects, including history, ghost tales, food and drink, shopping, and sightseeing. And you don't need to know a soul to have a good time.

Start planning by visiting the city's convention and visitor bureau's website, which typically offers free maps, guides, itineraries, and suggestions for walking tours. The visitor's center is also a great place to stop by in person to get tips on where to go to find the type of tour that interests you. Many historical societies provide free guided tours to acquaint visitors with the city's past, so check their offerings as well.

The number of walking tours in a destination like New York City is overwhelming, and you would run your feet raw if you tried to go on even a quarter of them. However, this fierce competition means lower prices and a greater range of subjects to choose from. For instance, you can take a 90-minute <a href="http://www.unionsquarenyc.org/walk.html" target="_blank">Union Square: Crossroads of New York</a> free walking tour and a three-and-a-half-hour <a href="http://www.walkingnyctours.com/descriptions.php" target="_blank">Manhattan Melting Pot Eating Tour</a> for $40, all in the same day.

(Photo: iStockphoto/Vitaly Sokolovskiy)

Enter the Marriott Vacation Club "30 Ways to Celebrate" sweepstakes by December 31 for a chance to win a choice of 10-day guided tours for two of Ireland or Italy....read more»

Panasonic Portable Toothbrush (Photo: Panasonic)

What Is it: The Panasonic Portable Toothbrush, a travel sized electric toothbrush.

Price and Where to Buy: Currently on sale for $13.35 on Amazon....read more»

Miles & Points (Photo: Shutterstock)

Following is our regular summary of the latest travel news and best frequent traveler promotions reviewed during the past week.

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

United, After $609 Million Loss: 'What Me Worry?'

In spite of challenging winter weather, most U.S. airlines managed to turn a profit during the first quarter of 2014. But United posted a huge loss, and lacks a clear path forward. ...read more»

Arenal Lake, Costa Rica (Photo: Caroline Morse)

Can't decide between a beach, an adventure, or a volcano vacation? Why not visit Costa Rica, where you don't have to choose! We'll tell you how to cover Costa Rica's three most famous areas (Manuel Antonio National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest, and Arenal Volcano) in just nine days.

Take an early flight into San Jose International Airport, and then rent a car. From here, it's only about a two-and-a-half-hour drive to Manuel Antonio....read more»

Please enable JavaScript to properly view and use this web site.