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TSA: Screening (Photo: Thinkstock/Creatas)

Yes, it actually happens. Here's how to avoid the travel nightmare you didn't even know you had. ... read more»

To help those going for the first time, here are a few tips for things every Burner should have on their packing list. ... read more»

Luggage: Open Bag in Closet (Photo: Shutterstock/Africa Studio)

Be sure these eight great, multifunctional items make into your suitcase. ... read more»

Copenhagen, Denmark's capital, is an improbable combination of corny Danish cliches, well-dressed executives having a business lunch amid cutting-edge contemporary architecture, and some of the funkiest counterculture in Europe. And yet, it all just works so tidily together.

I like tuning in to the little details of everyday life here. Along with the city's key sights (such as the outstanding National Museum), I make sure to get out among the fun-loving locals. There's an orderliness without rigidity, a sense of balance, and a general calm.

A busy day cycling the generous bike lines and taking in an old-town walk gives me my bearings. I feel right at home strolling the Stroget, a series of lively streets and inviting squares that stretches through the old town. Established in 1962, it was Europe's first major pedestrian boulevard. It's also a good place to try Denmark's enticing open-faced sandwiches. Tradition calls for three sandwich courses: herring first, then meat, and then cheese. ... read more»

Beach: Sombrero Lady (Photo: Thinkstock/iStockphoto)

Numerous hotels have rooms with an al fresco leaning, but here are the 10 prettiest we've ever seen. ... read more»

In Rome, sunset brings unexpected magic. A stroll in the cool of the summer evening is made memorable by the romance of the Eternal City. The tourist who retreats at night to an air-conditioned hotel room is missing the best time to plunge into Rome. Once the museums close and the crowds thin, Rome relaxes. The city—so grand and monumental by day—becomes intimate and approachable.

On my Roman night walks, I like to sit so close to a bubbling fountain that traffic noise evaporates. In the evening, it's fun to jostle with kids to see the gelato flavors or watch lovers straddling more than a bench. While strolling past polizia in flak-proof vests, I marvel at the ramshackle elegance that softens this brutal city for those who were born here—and can't imagine living anywhere else. These are the flavors of Rome, best enjoyed after dark.

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

The best frequent-traveler program? If you read this column regularly, you already know the answer: It's the program that delivers the most rewards (free flights, elite perks), given your individual travel and consumption patterns.

Some programs boast more earning opportunities; others are more robust on the rewards side. Some programs stand out for their award-seat availability, others for their liberal award-travel policies. Some programs offer easy access to elite status; other programs stand out for the generosity of their elite benefits. In the end, the choice of a travel-rewards program comes down to what's important to you, and which program best dovetails with your needs and your day-to-day behavior as a traveler and a consumer.

There is no single best program. If there were, everyone would join it, leaving the other programs member-less.

Nevertheless, the idea of a categorically best program is a compelling one, fueling regular articles in the main- and not-so-mainstream press that promise to definitively answer the question. The latest is from U.S. News & World Report, the former weekly news magazine now known chiefly for its annual rankings of U.S. colleges and universities.

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Airport: Couple Looks On As Bags Are Checked (Photo: Hinterhaus Productions/Getty Images)

There's a new sheriff in town. Each year, U.S. News & World Report ranks the best travel rewards program. And this year, for the first time, Alaska Airlines' Mileage Plan has topped the list of the Best Airline Rewards Programs. Generous elite membership benefits, ease of earning reward travel, and high network coverage boosted the airline in the rankings. American's AAdvantage program, Southwest's Rapid Rewards, JetBlue TrueBlue, and Hawaiian's HawaiianMiles programs rounded out the top five.

On the hotel front, Marriott Rewards was declared the Best Hotel Rewards program for the third year in a row. Marriott earned highest marks for its variety of lodging types and price ranges and ease of earning free nights. Wyndham follows in the number two spot, while Best Western Rewards and Club Carlson tie for third and IHG Rewards Club rounds out the top five. ... read more»

What is it: A soft, 16" tote bag that can be used alone or hook over your rolling suitcase's handle.

Price and Where to Buy: Available on Biaggi's website for $79.99, but SmarterTravel readers can use the promo code: 30FOLD for 30 percent off!

Pros:

  • Comes with an add-a-bag sleeve that lets you attach the tote to your rolling suitcase's telescoping handle, so that you don't have to carry it
  • Can be used as a standalone bag
  • Cushioned carry handles are comfortable to lug even heavy loads
  • Zippered main compartment keeps your stuff secure
  • Interior zippered pocket keep your essentials within easy reach
  • Lightweight (1.9 lbs)
  • Makes the perfect personal item for airlines
  • High performance nylon fabric is easy to clean and durable
  • Exterior zippered pockets can hold your passport or documents
  • Comes in matching colors to Biaggi suitcases

Cons:

None! We love this bag, especially for the zippered sleeve that slides over your luggage handle for hands-free carrying

... read more»

Spirit jet in the air  (Photo: Spirit Airlines)

As business cases go, Spirit's is a confounding one. The airline, paradoxically, manages to both draw the most customer complaints and enjoy the industry's highest profit margin. Fuming flyers and ecstatic investors? As improbable as the picture seems, it's an accurate one.

For most of its history, Spirit was more than comfortable with the disconnect. The company positively reveled in its ability to soar financially even as its passengers squirmed in their too-tight seats and griped about the seemingly endless list of fees charged by the carrier. ... read more»