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Cobb Hill Flats (Photo: Cobb Hill Shoes)

What Is it: Cobb Hill REVchi flat

Price and Where to Buy: $109, available at Cobbhillshoes.com

Pros: Hyberbole aside, these shoes are as close to an ideal travel flat as you can get. At 5.8 ounces, they're incredibly light. They're attractive, with pleasing but simple details like a criss-crossed ballet-style ribbon detail on the heel. And best of all, they're basically sneakers in disguise, with the same cushioning you'll find in New Balance running shoes....read more»

Airplane head-on in bright orange sky (Photo: iStockPhoto/Stephen Strathdee)

JetBlue is tops in customer service among the six largest U.S. airlines. Marriott earns top marks among the eight largest multi-brand hotel chains. Among the online travel agencies (OTA), the little guys—lumped into the "all others" group—slightly outpoint the top scorer, big agency Orbitz. So says the new American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) report for 2014. ACSI scores, developed by some folks at the University of Michigan, the American Society of Quality, and the CFI Group, are based on more than 7,000 consumer interviews. ...read more»

Woman: Anxious, Looking at Laptop (Photo: Shutterstock/O Driscoll Imaging)

"Optional" airline fees remain a major source of irritation. But most are truly optional: You don't really need to select your seat in advance, check a bag, or buy an onboard drink when you fly. One supposedly "optional" fee, however—the onerous ticket-change fee—is often not really optional. If you suddenly have to change a family vacation because of some personal emergency, you have to cancel your flights and—at best—reschedule your trip for a different time. On the legacy lines, the typical fee to change a domestic ticket is $200; international fees start at around $300 but can go as high as $700, depending on the type of ticket and route. So changing your ticket can really punish you....read more»

Poveglia, Italy (Photo: Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images)

In the market for your very own private Italian island? You're in luck, as the Italian government is putting a 99-year lease on Poveglia Island in the Venetian Lagoon up for public auction. According to Conde Nast Traveler, the bidding starts at just $490,000. Can't quite afford that? Why not get some friends together to all throw in—bids are open to groups.

A real estate agent would have a field day with the ad for this island: 17-acres of prime land located just a ten minute boat ride from the famous St. Mark's Square. Existing structures on Poveglia include a quaint 17th-century fort, historic church, bell tower, and hospital!

Too bad that quaint hospital is actual a former mental hospital, and that the whole island has quite a horrific history—earning it the title of the 'Most Haunted Place in the World'. Legend has it that a doctor who was insane himself, preformed horrible experiments on patients in the psychiatric ward, and was eventually driven mad by ghosts. Depending on which account you believe, the doctor either ended up throwing himself to his death from that aforementioned bell tower on the island, or was dragged up and tossed off it by angry patients.

Hospital beds and other creepy remnants of the past have also been left, untouched, to rot on the island.

The island's history gets even scarier though—during the Roman Era, bodies of plague victims were brought to the island, where they were dumped in mass graves and set on fire.

In the 1500s, the island became a dumping ground for plague victims both dead and alive—people suspected of having the Bubonic Plague were forcibly removed from Venice and brought (alongside corpses of other plague victims) to Poveglia for quarantine. ...read more»

Freedom Trail, Boston, MA (Photo: Eileen Ogintz)

Ready for a walk? It's not just any walk—it's one of the most famous walks in the country.

Welcome to Boston's Freedom Trail, the 2.5-mile-long route over cobblestoned streets that lets you travel back in time to when Boston was still a colony and people argued about what to do about the increasingly difficult demands from the King of England.

Three million people—a lot of them parents and kids—walk the Freedom Trail every year, or at least part of it. ...read more»

Copenhagen Cruise Port (Photo: Cameron Hewitt)

Cruising in Europe's Baltic or North Sea can satisfy even an independent traveler like me. Stepping off the gangway, I'm immersed in the vivid life of a different European city each day. I've toured some of the world's top museums, taken a Scandinavian-style coffee break while people-watching from a prime sidewalk cafe, lingered on a surprisingly sunny and sandy Baltic beach, and enjoyed some of Europe's most expensive cities on the cheap from my big-ship home base. ...read more»

It's no secret that air travel is hard on the environment. But there are ways to lessen the impact of each flight you take....read more»

Woman relaxing in hammock between two palm trees (Photo: Christian Wheatley/iStockphoto)

Enter the Budget Travel "Win a Trip to the BVI" sweepstakes by May 18 for a chance to win a trip for two to the British Virgin Islands, including airfare and six nights' hotel....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.

Spirit: Worst Airline or Misunderstood Do-Gooder?

In response to an article reporting Spirit Airlines' status as the country's most complained-about carrier, company CEO claims that the whiners just don't understand his company....read more»

Woman: Anxious, Looking at Laptop (Photo: Shutterstock/O Driscoll Imaging)

Even in the midst of the very public, very acrimonious slugfest between Alaska Airlines and Delta, the two airlines have so far maintained their reciprocal frequent-flyer program relationship: members of Alaska's Mileage Plan can earn and redeem miles for Delta flights; and Delta SkyMiles members can earn and redeem miles for flights on Alaska.

But that marketing tie-up is being gradually dissolved, beginning with the recent announcement that reciprocal elite benefits will be cut back starting on May 1.

The next step in that dissolution begins on May 6, when Mileage Plan members will have to spend more miles for many award flights on Delta....read more»

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