DVD review: Smart script leads to a thrilling leap in time-travel tale ‘Looper’

Grade • A-

DVD • If New Year’s Eve is the time to look back and look ahead, then Rian Johnson’s “Looper” is the perfect DVD for the date. This trippy science-fiction tale centers on Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a hitman known as a “looper” who kills mobsters sent to him from the future (where time travel is possible, but illegal and therefore only used by gangsters).

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When Joe’s victim is a 30-years-older version of himself (played by Bruce Willis), the chase is on — as old Joe launches a deadly mission, and young Joe tries to stop old Joe before he does. The diverging time streams lead both to a farmhouse, where live a single mom (Emily Blunt) and a child (Pierce Gagnon) who’s not all he appears to be. Johnson (“Brick,” “The Brothers Bloom”) pens a whip-smart script that sets up its time-travel premise and plays out its complications expertly. Gordon-Levitt gets Willis’ trademark mannerisms down perfectly, and Gagnon is a rare discovery.

Extras include deleted scenes, and commentary tracks with Johnson, Gordon-Levitt and Blunt.

Copyright 2012 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Article source: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/entertainment2/55512214-223/joe-looper-travel-gordon.html.csp

A look at past Bizarre Travel Tales


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Looking to restore your faith in humanity during the holidays? DO NOT read any further.

Now that the Chronicle Travel section has  released its Bizarre Travel Tales for 2012, an annual recap of wackiness from around the world, here are links to collections of failures, foibles and oddities from previous years. All stories were written by former Travel Editor John Flinn.

Who knows? Maybe 2012 wasn’t so bad after all.

The year in weird travel stories

Year in review: Top weird travel stories

2009 (cover right)
Travel’s weird and wild

Cringing look at year’s oddest travel stories

Article source: http://blog.sfgate.com/travel/2012/12/31/a-look-at-past-bizarre-travel-tales/

GSA calls for travel advisory committee nominations

The General Services Administration is soliciting nominees to serve on the new Government-wide Travel
Advisory Committee (GTAC).

GSA recently determined that an agency was needed to oversee existing government travel policies and
procedures to ensure that they were sufficiently transparent and accountable.

Through a review process, the GTAC will examine travel industry trends and solicit expert advice from
industry leaders and other qualified individuals. Using this information, the committee will make
recommendations on how agencies can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their travel policies.

GTAC will be made up of no more than 15 members — including a chairman — who have
extensive knowledge in travel management. Nominees can be agency travel managers or members of the
public and private sector with related experience, such as hoteliers and travel association officers as well as
state and local government officials.

Federally registered lobbyists are prohibited from serving on the committee.

GTAC members will initially serve two-year terms, with the chance of a one-year extension. The government
will not compensate committee members for their service nor reimburse their travel expenses.

The committee’s charter will automatically expire two years after its initial filing, unless it is renewed
before the expiration date.

More information about how to nominate an individual and other requirements can be found at the Federal Register.


Energy Department missing big opportunity to cut travel costs

GSA freezes feds’ 2013 travel per diem rates at 2012 levels

Article source: http://www.federalnewsradio.com/445/3176740/GSA-calls-for-travel-advisory-committee-nominations

Have Fictional Characters, Will Travel

Even if you couldn’t afford to visit another country this holiday season, characters in literature have been crossing national borders for centuries.

It’s certainly one of the more interesting things protagonists can do. By journeying to another nation, characters might find love, escape a romantic entanglement, satisfy wanderlust, reveal how they react to relaxation or stress, display open-mindedness or narrow-mindedness toward a different culture or even lose their life. They may travel for vacation, for business, to see family, to flee oppression, to fight in a war or for other reasons. Anything can happen, and often does.

Worldwide traveler Mark Twain not only wrote two nonfiction books with the word “abroad” in their titles (Innocents Abroad and A Tramp Abroad) but also the fictional Tom Sawyer Abroad — one of Twain’s top 20 novels; he wrote about a dozen. :-) But there’s also international (time) travel in one of Twain’s best novels, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, in which Hank Morgan goes from the U.S. to Camelot-era England.

Other authors not only travel widely, but spend many years living abroad — as was the case with Henry James and Edith Wharton. Not surprisingly, many of their characters also crossed borders. James had Americans go overseas or non-Americans visit the U.S. in novels such as Daisy Miller and The Europeans. Wharton placed selfish American-born Undine Spragg in Europe for part of The Custom of the Country, and put free-spirited Ellen Olenska of The Age of Innocence in the U.S. (after her European marriage went south) and then back across the ocean. Near the end of the book, Newland Archer travels from the U.S. to France, where his once-almost-love Ellen is living, and…

Among the many other wealthy American characters who find themselves in Europe are Dick and Nicole Diver in F. Scott’s Fitzgerald’s Tender Is the Night. In France, that couple meet young actress Rosemary Hoyt, who ends up having a rather complex relationship with Mr. Diver.

In more recent literature, an example of international romance involves Stella Payne, an American who meets a much younger guy during a Jamaican vacation in Terry McMillan’s How Stella Got Her Groove Back.

Also ending up in the Caribbean is the title character of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. The Dominican-American Oscar is a New Jersey resident who, near the end of Junot Diaz’s book, takes a fateful trip to his ancestral country.

There are life-changing experiences as well for the young American men who travel to Mexico in Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy, which consists of All the Pretty Horses, The Crossing and Cities of the Plain.

The characters of Jeeves and Bertie Wooster also appear in two countries (England and the U.S.) in P.G. Wodehouse’s stories and novels.

Wodehouse’s long life (1881-1975) spanned two world wars and various other conflicts in which many authors have set their characters. These protagonists, of course, often end up fighting in another country after enlisting or being drafted. And, as is the case with Korean War veteran Binx Bolling and his quest for more meaning in life, the trauma of battle can help shape an ex-soldier’s personality when back in civilian life. Bolling is the star of Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer; thanks to commenter Brian Bess for recently recommending that absorbing novel!

Also during wartime, many civilians obviously flee to other countries to escape, say, the Nazis. That’s the scenario in Erich Maria Remarque’s Arch of Triumph (Germany to France) and The Night in Lisbon (Germany to Portugal, with the hope of getting to America).

Many decades earlier, Sir Walter Scott used his Quentin Durward novel to tell the story of a Scottish military cadet who makes his way to 15th-century France to serve under King Louis XI.

The young Lalla travels from Morocco to France (where she finds professional success but not happiness) in J.M.G. Le Clezio’s Desert. Several British characters have an involuntary but amazing Tibetan sojourn in James Hilton’s Lost Horizon. Nasty American missionary Nathan Price drags his family to Africa in Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible. Two American professors travel to England for research, and more, in Alison Lurie’s Foreign Affairs. The title character in Martin Chuzzlewit sails from England to America — partly because Charles Dickens wanted to jump-start lagging sales of that serialized novel. Another title character sails from America to England in Herman Melville’s Redburn. Melville’s friend Nathaniel Hawthorne placed Americans in Italy in The Marble Faun.

One can also settle permanently in a different nation, but I didn’t address that in this post because I wrote a 2011 piece about immigration in literature.

What are some of your favorite fictional works featuring characters who travel to another country?

Dave Astor’s 2012 memoir Comic (and Column) Confessional includes a preface by Heloise and back-cover endorsements by Arianna Huffington, “The Far Side” cartoonist Gary Larson and others. Those three also appear in the partly humorous book, along with other famous columnists and cartoonists and people such as Hillary Clinton, Walter Cronkite, Coretta Scott King and Martha Stewart. If you’d like to buy a personally inscribed copy (for less than the Amazon price), contact Dave at dastor@earthlink.net.


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Comic (and Column) Confessional

Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dave-astor/have-fictional-characters_b_2388686.html

Cheapflights’ Travel Tips: 6 Travel Trends To Watch In 2013

It’s been a big year — and a difficult one in places — so, as the team here at Cheapflights looks forward to 2013, we thought you deserved a bit more than our regular five travel trends for the year ahead.

So here are six new ways of vacationing that our experts think we’ll be seeing more of in 2013.

1. The Parental Piggyback Holiday

With cash tight and no end in sight, most people are still going to be watching their pennies. Our experts are predicting that 2013 will see the “bank of mom and dad” move into the vacation market in a big way, with the rise of the “parental piggy back holiday” — extended family groups getting away together to save cash.

“Be very afraid” some will say — and, ok, this may not exactly be everyone’s idea of a getaway — but for overworked new parents, and grandparents complaining that they never see their grandchildren, this could be the only means to get an affordable break.

Group bookings, splitting the cost of a rental property, sharing on the food bill, getting maximum value out of all the seats in your rental car and making group bookings all mean savings — and with your funds stretching that much further, you can go further too.

This may have some people gritting their teeth — but, with a few simple ground rules and the right environment, it can be a good option for everyone, particularly new parents who want built-in babysitters they can trust.

For grown-up kids with active parents, a shared ski trip or activity can work too. Perhaps start the day with a social family breakfast and some early skiing and then you might be able to carve your own trail in the afternoon, letting everyone get some “me time.” Just remember to be considerate if you’re getting into the après ski — and that goes for the parents as well!

Whether you opt for a timeshare, rental property or hotel room, if you are considering “parental piggybacking” do make sure you think it out well in advance. Go for a destination that caters for kids, parents and grandparents — and make sure that there’s sufficient room, outdoor space and scope for timeout so you don’t get under each other’s feet.

2. Friend, Share, Like

Increasingly, vacation planning starts with browsing through seductive images of blue skies, palm trees and white sandy beaches, followed by pictures of the local hotels and their amenities, right down to the dishes at the breakfast buffet. You can switch to Twitter to get a running commentary (and deals) on local sightseeing options and then take a look at dinner options on Pinterest. Before you book, check out friends’ recommendations and advice or see how fellow travelers got on checking-in to the resort you are eyeing.

300 million images are posted to Facebook every day; and holiday photos are a major generator of “likes” — and envy. Little wonder that surfing social networks can be a handy way to get holiday inspiration, get a genuine opinion on that hotel – and perhaps find that out-of-the-way boutique hideaway in the sun that (almost) no-one else knows about. In many ways it’s like having your own personalized guide; the ultimate “try before you buy.”

For these reasons the travel gurus at Cheapflights think “place-book” holidays will be all the rage in 2013. Just be careful which friend requests you accept…

3. Digital Detox

Ok, so you may have found your holiday on Facebook and you may be a social network junkie, but there’s only so much liking, friending, trending, tweeting, sharing and pinning anyone can handle before they’re deluged.

In 2013, digital detox is increasingly on the travel to-do list.

As technology and social media becomes increasingly pervasive, so too does our need to make a conscious decision to turn them off from time to time. With Wi-Fi access on planes and mobile data networks growing and covering more and more of the world, tuning out and taking a break from the steady stream of information is harder to do but more important than ever. Many resorts and cruise ships are turning off their wireless signals and satellite dishes and attracting waves of visitors whose thumbs twitch for a day to two but who, in the end, recharge themselves like never before.

So if you feel like you’re “always on,” this may be the time to take a short break; turn that stream of social media off, kick back, relax your thumbs and go cold turkey in the “world of the real” for two weeks — there’ll be plenty of time to edit your holiday snaps and make your Facebook friends green with envy when you get back.

4. Bag-a-Bargain Abroad Holiday

With cash-strapped travelers looking for maximum bang for their buck in everything they do, we predict an increasing focus on BABA holidays — for the uninitiated, that’s “bag a bargain abroad.”

With the internet offering greater transparency on pricing of goods and services in different markets on an almost daily basis — and cash-strapped consumers looking to tighten their belts — international shopping holidays can offer significant savings.

Savings on duty free and electronics in the Far East are just the start. Consider made-to-measure suits in Thailand and Hong Kong, prescription glasses in China, leather goods in Spain and Portugal and specialty rums throughout the Caribbean.

At the more radical end of the scale, consumers are increasingly looking at the prices of any number of goods and services abroad, including laser eye correction and cosmetic surgery. We’d stress that you need to research thoroughly and look at your insurance options if you wanted to consider this, ensuring your chosen provider is well-regulated and legitimate. Botox and beach break, anyone?

5. Sports And Event Tourism

The 2012 Olympics in London opened a lot of eyes to event tourism — the once in a lifetime chance to experience a huge sporting spectacle, take in your favorite band in a unique location or watch your team playing a critical road game. And, if anyone has friends on Facebook who visited the London 2012 Games knows, photos from big events are well “liked.”

Sport is a major driver of travel; just witness the 4,500% increase in searches for tickets to Rio on Cheapflights when the host city of the next Olympics was mentioned during the London 2012 closing ceremony.

We may not have the same smorgasbord of activity in one place this year, but the bad news for sports widows and widowers is that there’s no shortage of international events worth traveling for. We predict that sports, concerts, cultural events and festivals will again be a major driver of travel destinations in 2013. So what’s on the agenda for international eventers who want to travel?

2013 sees the 100th anniversary of the Tour de France — perhaps the best chance in our lifetimes to witness this incredible sporting spectacle.

In soccer there are some juicy cup matches in The Champion’s League, with Manchester United facing Real Madrid at the Bernabeu and Celtic lining up against the mighty Juventus.

The NFL also continues its push towards globalizing football with two match-ups at London’s Wembley Stadium this year: Sunday September 29th, when the Minnesota Vikings will host the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Sunday October 27th, when the Jacksonville Jaguars take on the San Francisco 49ers.

If you’re more musically inclined, there are tours from a host of famous acts from the Rolling Stones to Justin Bieber, to Kaiser Chiefs, Muse, Springsteen — and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

6. The Stubborn Splurge

So we’ve all been watching the pennies but there’s only so many staycations we can take. After four years, it seems a lot of us have had enough of not having enough.

We’ve identified four groups who may be opting for a bit more of a holiday splurge than the rest of us this year.

  • The “let’s not wait until it’s too late-ers”: Got something big coming up in your life? If you’re a parent-to-be like the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, now might be the perfect time to get away and have a chilled-out break to somewhere exclusive. And make sure to include plenty of pampering and me time. Also in this category are holiday-makers who want to visit destinations before they change significantly: Rio before the Olympics and the World Cup, Croatia before it joins the European Union, or, perhaps, Myanmar before it becomes an established destination.
  • The “pent up demand demanders”: They’ve had no major vacation for three years but, after being frugal with their funds, twenty twelve was a trigger. Like an Olympian out of the blocks, we expect to see people sprinting for the line to destinations that made the headlines in 2012 — with London key amongst them.
  • The “lump sum-ers”: These are the recently retired, laid off or career switchers as well as those who’ve downsized their house or just decided it’s time to get out of a rut. Any which way they’re in the market for a big “once in a lifetime” trip such as on safari in Kenya, a visit to the spectacular Iguazu Falls on the Argentina/Brazil border or an Alaskan cruise.
  • The “let’s go do before they’re two” crowd: As parents will tell you, it all gets a bit trickier to travel after your children turn two. Suddenly it’s pricier, they’re more mobile and that’s before we even mention the “terrible twos.” Given the significant difference in cost once the second birthday rolls around, many parents are grabbing the bull by the horns and deciding to make that trip to see relatives in Australia or the old country. Great for the photos to embarrass the young travelers with later in life….

Follow Cheapflights on Twitter:


Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cheapflights/cheapflights-travel-tips_b_2385087.html

State Dept. warns Americans about Haiti travel

6 hrs.

Dieu Nalio Chery / AP

A woman covers her mouth and nose as she walks past an active fire at Port Market in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Saturday Dec. 29, 2012. Police spokesman Frantz Lerebours said Saturday that dozens of stalls at the popular marketplace were burned to the ground and that few items were recovered. Authorities are investigating what caused the fire late Friday.

WASHINGTON – The State Department has issued a revised Haiti travel advisory, warning Americans planning to travel to the Caribbean island nation about robbery, lawlessness, infectious disease and poor medical facilities.

“U.S. citizens have been victims of violent crime, including murder and kidnapping, predominantly in the Port-au-Prince area. No one is safe from kidnapping, regardless of occupation, nationality, race, gender or age,” the department said.

The new travel warning was released Friday to replace a less strongly worded advisory issued in June.

In recent months, travelers arriving in Port-au-Prince, the capital and largest city, on flights from the United States have been attacked and robbed after leaving the airport. This year, at least two U.S. citizens were shot and killed in robbery and kidnapping incidents, the State Department said.

“Haitian authorities have limited capacity to deter or investigate such violent acts or prosecute perpetrators,” the department said.

The State Department also noted that while the incidents of cholera have declined, the disease persists in many areas of Haiti. Medical facilities, including ambulance services, are particularly weak.

“Thousands of U.S. citizens safely visit Haiti each year, but the poor state of Haiti’s emergency response network should be carefully considered when planning travel. Travelers to Haiti are encouraged to use organizations that have solid infrastructure, evacuation and medical support options in place,” the department said. 

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Article source: http://www.nbcnews.com/travel/state-dept-warns-americans-about-haiti-travel-1C7782788

CNN’s 2013 travel wish list

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Since reading about Marco Polo's travels to the Mongol Empire as a child, CNN Senior International Correspondent Ben Wedeman has dreamed of visiting Mongolia.Since reading about Marco Polo’s travels to the Mongol Empire as a child, CNN Senior International Correspondent Ben Wedeman has dreamed of visiting Mongolia.

CNN Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson has deep ties to Jordan and would like to take his daughters to see Petra and other historic sights.CNN Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson has deep ties to Jordan and would like to take his daughters to see Petra and other historic sights.

Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley has a bank account designated for her dream trip to the Galapagos.Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley has a bank account designated for her dream trip to the Galapagos.

Crowley said she's never been a big traveler in her free time, but several years ago she fulfilled a dream to explore the Great Barrier Reef.Crowley said she’s never been a big traveler in her free time, but several years ago she fulfilled a dream to explore the Great Barrier Reef.

Shasta Darlingon, a CNN correspondent based in Sao Paulo, has her sights set on the Pantanal region of Brazil, an enormous wetland that teems with wildlife.Shasta Darlingon, a CNN correspondent based in Sao Paulo, has her sights set on the Pantanal region of Brazil, an enormous wetland that teems with wildlife.

There's a bounty of Brazilian flora and fauna in the Pantanal.There’s a bounty of Brazilian flora and fauna in the Pantanal.

Patrick Oppmann, a CNN correspondent in Havana, Cuba, would like to see South Africa on his next visit to the continent. The stories of the country's emergence from the Apartheid era, plus the natural beauty of places like Cape Town's Table Mountain, are calling to him.Patrick Oppmann, a CNN correspondent in Havana, Cuba, would like to see South Africa on his next visit to the continent. The stories of the country’s emergence from the Apartheid era, plus the natural beauty of places like Cape Town’s Table Mountain, are calling to him.








(CNN) — We’ve all got them: places that live large in imagination or memory, begging us to hop on a plane to uncover their delicious mysteries.

As the new year kicks off, a handful of our very well-traveled CNN correspondents — who’ve been places and seen things many of us may never see firsthand — share their destination wishes for 2013 and beyond.

Where are you dreaming of visiting this year? Please share your picks in the comments below.

8 travel resolutions for 2013


Senior International Correspondent Ben Wedeman set his sights on Mongolia early in life.

“Back when I was, I think, nine or ten years old I read a book about Marco Polo, how he traveled with his uncles on the ultimate business trip to the Mongol Empire at its height,” wrote Wedeman, who recently moved to Rome after an assignment in Cairo.

“The trip lasted almost a quarter of a century, during which he grew up, mastered Mongolian, gained the confidence of the Mongol emperor, Kublai Khan, and then eventually returned home with fantastic tales of strange lands and stranger people. The story hooked me.”

12 months, 12 trips to make your friends jealous

Wedeman socked away money from his first job delivering newspapers with an eye toward a $3,000 trip to Mongolia advertised in the Sunday New York Times magazine. “Making around $30 a month, it would have taken me more than eight years to come up with the money.”

He read about Mongolia in the meantime but spent most of his teenage years in the Arab world, where he learned the language and became interested in journalism, “for better or for worse, a busier profession in the Middle East than in Mongolia, for example.”

Wedeman took courses in classical and modern Mongolian while studying for his master’s degree and found it “beastly difficult.”

He still wants to visit, in the spring or summer, he said. “Mongolian winters, when temperatures drop to −30 °C (−22 °F) are not for me, thank you very much.”

He says he would hire a guide and horses and set out for the vast steppes.

“I know it’s changed radically since I first latched on to the idea. For one thing it’s no longer part of the communist bloc, it’s no longer isolated, and its economy is growing rapidly fueled by a mining boom (which is destroying the traditional nomadic lifestyle, and severely harming the once pristine environment).”

The price today with an upscale company is reasonable, he said, “compared to the $3,000 it was back in 1971.”

“Today the same trip is around $5000, which though a still hefty sum, is, in terms of inflation, a steal.”


CNN Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson spent much of the past year in conflict-ridden places that many travelers avoid these days, including Syria, Libya, Egypt and Lebanon. Next year, Robertson expects to travel to Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Jordan and Mali in North Africa, where he says al Qaeda is putting down roots.

So you’d think he might like to spend some time on a secluded beach somewhere. Nope. He wants to travel with his wife and two daughters (ages 17 and 21) to Jordan.

“I have yet to take my children there and it is a very special place to my wife and I as we met there in the build up to the first Gulf War,” wrote Robertson, briefly at home in London, in an e-mail. “The hotel we met in, which was the CNN hotel, at the time called the Philadelphia, now the Radisson, was attacked by Zarqawi suicide bombers in 2005.

“Jordan today is becoming less stable and I would like to take my children there to visit places like Petra, the Roman ruins in Amman and Jerash, the Dead Sea and Aqaba where I learned to dive. My eldest daughter’s second name is Jordan after the country … so you can see the connection runs deep.”

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Work has taken CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley all over the world, but in her free time she’s “never been much of a traveler” beyond a yearly pilgrimage to Sleeping Bear Bay in Michigan, which Crowley calls “the place of my heart.”

Yet a few years ago, she was in a boat off the coast of Australia with her grown children, living out a travel dream.

“I began to see massive areas of dark brown spread across the horizon of blue water. I started to cry. I never thought a dream I had since I was a teenager would come true, but there I was about to scuba dive and snorkel in an area of The Great Barrier Reef,” wrote Crowley.

“I love water, sea life, scuba diving and snorkeling. I love the warmth of sand just before it gets so hot you need shoes. I love a place with that spiritual feel of history and mystery. I love being with my children there to share.”

Crowley’s got her next fantasy trip mapped out.

“Now I have a bank account with ‘The Galapagos’ written on it. It’s not in the cards for 2013, but I’ll get there.

“I want to do one of those week long boat trips with the scientists on board who tell you what you’ve seen, what you’re about to see because I think it will ratchet up the awe factor, if that’s possible.”

Pantanal region, Brazil

Shasta Darlington, a CNN correspondent based in São Paulo, is determined to visit the Pantanal region of Brazil.

“This is my second time living in Brazil and it’s something I failed to do the first time, so I want to make sure I get there this time,” wrote Darlington.

“It’s the largest contiguous wetland in the world and teeming with animal life. Most people think the Amazon is the place to go to see Brazilian flora and fauna, but the Pantanal region is easily just as rich in animals and they’re easier to spot, especially during rainy season when rivers rise forcing animals literally onto islands.”

The region is hard to reach and navigate, Darlington said, with mostly lodge-like accommodations and boats, small planes and four-wheel-drive vehicles for transportation.

But the rewards are rich. “There are an abundance of birds, monkeys, caimans, snakes, butterflies and fish out there.”

South Africa

“There are some destinations that you know as soon as you step off the plane will change you. For me, it’s always been Africa,” wrote Patrick Oppmann, CNN’s correspondent in Havana.

He has visited the continent three times but has yet to make it to South Africa.

“As a journalist, I have long been fascinated with how South Africa is emerging from decades of the racial divisions of the Apartheid era.

“But it’s one thing to read about those years and another to actually visit Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, or to walk in District 6, the area where thousands of black residents had their neighborhoods destroyed.”

And of course, the country’s spectacular beauty is a big draw. “You can hit the beach, hike Table Mountain overlooking Cape Town, take in amazing wildlife and cage dive among Great White sharks.”

Oppmann wouldn’t miss trying braai, the South African way of spit-roasting meat over an open fire.

“And if there was a cold glass of the excellent local wine or beer to go along with the braai, that would be just fine too.”

Where are you dreaming about going in 2013?

Article source: http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/31/travel/cnn-travel-wish-list/index.html

Holiday Travel Could Be Slick

Chris Daniels, Meteorologist

December 31, 2012

Updated Dec 31, 2012 at 9:19 AM EST

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) – Another winter system will cross the Ohio valley today. This system will drop mostly light snow in our area. Accumulation will be under an inch with the snow begining this afternoon. Further south the snow may accumulate up to 3 inches. Central Indiana is under A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY. This includes Indianapolis. Untreated roads will be slick into the evening. The system will move east by midnight and the snow will end. If you are out this afternoon and evening, be ready for winter driving conditions.

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Article source: http://www.indianasnewscenter.com/news/local/Holiday-Travel-Could-Be-Slick-185275692.html

Top 2013 Travel Trends

5:30 AM

By: Valarie D’Elia

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NY1′s Valarie D’Elia filed the following report on the top travel trends for 2013.

Travel to Europe will be more of a bargain in 2013, especially if you book tour operators who finagled favorable dollar-to-euro exchange rates, driving costs down by as much as 18 percent.

Amsterdam jumps off the European map in the new year, with 2013 marking 400 years of its circuitous canal system.

China will continue to be a bargain for bucket list travelers, with cut-rate tour operators such as China Spree offering discounts for cash-only payments.

New Zealand may not be a steal, but the release of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” will inspire many well-planned journeys to the land that stands in for Middle Earth on the big screen.

The Sunshine State is basking in the glow of a big milestone: the 500th anniversary of the founding of Florida by Ponce de Leon, whose discovery of the fountain of youth resulted in an overflow of tourism to old world St. Augustine.

For civil war buffs, a couple of noteworthy events: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania commemorates the 150th anniversary of both the Gettysburg Address and the Battle of Gettysburg.

In New Orleans, the National World War II Museum’s new Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center opens in January. The $35 million attraction showcases airplanes, artillery, tanks and other big guns that helped to fuel the Allied victory.

You don’t have to leave the Big Apple for something momentous. February 1 marks the 100th birthday of Grand Central Terminal.

Family travel continues to “build” momentum. The nation’s first LEGOLAND® Hotel opens at LEGOLAND® California Resort in Carlsbad.

And finally, mobile apps are going everywhere in 2013, continuing to help organize and manage travel plans. So “Appy Travels” everyone.

Article source: http://www.ny1.com/content/ny1_living/travel/174737/top-2013-travel-trends

Me & the Mouse: Travel agent helps make remember-when moments at Disney

Name: Kelly Maher

Job: Owner and travel agent, Me the Mouse Travel in O’Fallon (206-7238)

Outlook: “We create remember-when moments.”

There is just something about taking a trip to a Disney resort that has led travel agent Kelly Maher to make it her full-time vocation. About a year ago, she and a business partner established their own travel agencies in her O’Fallon home and another across the river in O’Fallon, Mo. to share their love and expertise of Disney destinations. Maher recently talked about her travels and travel agency with business writer Will Buss:

Why did you establish this travel agency?

“I have always loved Disney. It’s far and above the best quality as far as vacationing goes. I just love going and seeing my kids light up when they see the different characters. We have remember-when moments all year long after vacation.”

How long have you been in business?

“It will be a year in January. I have a business partner in O’Fallon, Mo. Her name is Elizabeth Hollman. It will be our one-year anniversary, but we have been doing this before then.”

Were you working at another travel agency before opening your business?

“Yes, I was.”

What are the different Disney resorts that you can help clients plan for their vacations?

“There is Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Lines, Adventure By Disney and Aulani.”

What is Aulani?

“It’s a new Disney resort in (Oahu) Hawaii.” When was the first time you went to a Disney resort?

“I don’t even remember. Maybe when I was around 8 or so.”

How many times have you been?

I don’t even know. It’s been several times.”

How often do you go?

“We go at least once a year. We just went in November for the Fantasyland grand opening in the Magic Kingdom in Disney World. The grand opening was on Dec. 5. That was very enjoyable.”

How do you help clients plan a trip?

“It’s a free service. I want to point out that we’re not employed by Disney. When we book rooms or purchase tickets for clients, we are paid by Disney, but it’s a free service. I have been a stay-athome mom and I know we’re all very busy. But when most people go to Disney’s website, they feel overwhelmed with the many choices they have. So we help streamline that and get to know each family to see what is the best resort for them, which days to go to and how many tickets to get. There are so many things and as we are getting to know them, we can figure that out for them. My business partner and I have hired a marketing advisor, and we have learned so much about marketing in the past year.”

What is the best part about your job?

“The best part of my job is after they come home, I follow up and call to see how it went for them. They say how fun it was and what a great time they had. Parents say feel they felt like they were kids, too. It’s just knowing what a great time they had and being able to help share the experience they had. I am a breast cancer survivor. And having gone through that experience was a difficult struggle, and it helps me really appreciate the wonderful times you have with your family. It’s the thing that when your family is together all having a great time, they find the happy times or the sad time are the things you remember most as a child and after being a survivor. We really appreciate the time we have together, and I want to help others do that as well.”

Contact reporter Will Buss at wbuss@bnd.com   or 239-2526.

Article source: http://www.bnd.com/2012/12/31/2443377/me-the-mouse-travel-agent-helps.html