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

A woman named Sherry Wright is claiming that the TSA turned away her disabled sister from boarding a flight because the mute flyer could not speak with the agent. The NY Post reports that Sherry's sister, Heidi, is wheelchair-bound and incapable of speaking due to a stroke. ... read more»

Farmers Market, Italy (Photo: Rick Steves)

When I'm in Italy, I generally eat only Italian food. I doubt there's another country in Europe (except France) that could hold my palate's interest so easily.

Italians are passionate about food. Cuisine is like a religion—and it's the quality of the ingredients that's most sacred. They tell me French cuisine is the art of making a fine sauce to cover the taste of mediocre ingredients. In Italy, they say, "La miglior cucina comincia dal mercato" ("The best cuisine starts from the market"). When a chef comes out to chat with diners, ingredients are often the topic of conversation (which can become an animated debate): "Arugula is not yet in season. But, oh, Signora Maria has more sun in her backyard, and her chickens give her a marvelous fertilizer." ... read more»

Photo: PhotoDisc

Last week, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee marked up a proposed bill that would allow airlines once again to omit taxes and fees from advertised prices and instead add them in later, just before you buy. Make no mistake: This "Transparent Airfares Act of 2014" is an anti-consumer bill. It was drafted, marked up, and sent to the House without any input from consumer or business travel interests. And it is based on lies. ... read more»

Air: Passengers Filing Into Plane from Tarmac (Photo: Shutterstock/Sergey Peterman)

The overall "quality" scores of the 15 biggest U.S. airlines for 2013 increased enough over their 2012 performance to be the best level ever recorded. At least that's what the authors of the annual Airline Quality Rating (AQR) scores have to say. In 2013, reductions in denied boarding (bumping) and consumer complaints offset slightly poorer on-time arrivals and numbers of mishandled bags. ... read more»

Lady Liberty with Sunglasses, Lei, and Suitcase (Photo: Thinkstock/iStock)

We all know that travel can be taxing in both the physical and financial senses. But the extent of financial taxing in major destinations around the country may surprise you. A new study by the Global Business Travel Association sheds light on two different kinds of taxes travelers have to pay: all-up taxes, including state and local sales levies, and taxes that specifically target travelers. ... read more»

Passenger Airport Frustrated Overwhelmed (Photo:iStockphoto/Dystortia)

A new study finds that Spirit generates three times as many complaints as the next most complained-about airline. Is that the price of cheap tickets? ... read more»

(Photo: SmarterTravel)

Vulnerability is part of travel. Exploring new places means pushing personal boundaries, and the most successful travelers balance that spirit of adventure with a sense of personal safety. Part of staying safe is paying attention to your surroundings and the people around you, but it also has to do with you—how you carry yourself, speak, and, if the situation requires it, fight back.

For expert advice about self-defense while traveling, I teamed up with IMPACT Bay Area, an organization that teaches personal safety and self-defense skills. IMPACT is known for its padded mock-assailant instructors, an unusual feature that allows students to learn to fight through the "freeze response" that often happens in an attack and to experience what it feels like to fight full-force. IMPACT has been training people of all ages, body types, and fitness levels to defend themselves for nearly three decades.

... read more»
Donkeys at Caneel Bay, St. John, USVI (Photo: Dara Continenza)

Among the mangroves and mimosa trees, away from the skyscraping high-rises, the old Caribbean can still be uncovered. This is a low-key Caribbean, a natural Caribbean, where you won't get white-glove service (or even in-room televisions), but you will find comfortable spaces in settings so serene they feel a part of the very islands on which they reside.

This is Laurance Rockefeller's Caribbean.

A member of the American philanthropic family, Rockefeller was also an ardent conservationist and a firm believer that public lands should be protected. He applied his vision to a kind of do-gooder venture capitalism, forming RockResorts in the 1960s on the idea that luxury needn't be destructive and resorts should celebrate their natural surroundings rather than bulldoze their way in.

... read more»

Photo: Southwest Airlines

When Southwest begins taking delivery of its Boeing 737 Max jets, the company will gain bragging rights to coach seating that offers more elbow room than many of its competitors. ... read more»

Hotel room door slightly open (Photo: iStockphoto/MBCheatham)

Hard on the heels of InterContinental's announcement that award prices would remain mostly unchanged for 2014, Hilton has made a similar promise regarding HHonors award pricing. ... read more»

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