It’s happening, people. Travel to Cuba just got as little easier, thanks to a new set of regulations that take effect today and expand on President Obama’s recent policy changes.
The Department of Treasury dropped the amended regulations on the lap of tour operators and others with a stake in travel to Cuba yesterday morning. Just how quickly these changes can and will be implemented remains foggy—as do some of the particulars, which will likely be hashed out in the coming days and weeks. So watch this space.
Q: I found a great place through a vacation-rental website. What could go wrong?
The apartment was a dream: the entire light-filled top floor, a one bedroom with an eat-in kitchen and a living room, in a restored Victorian row house in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights for less than $200 a night. My friend and her husband were ecstatic and everything went smoothly… until they emerged from their bathroom on the first night, teeth brushed and ready for bed, to find the owner mysteriously puttering around their living room. “Just checking in,” she told them.
UPDATE: The U.S. Department of State has issued an updated Worldwide Caution alert following the terrorists attacks in Paris, saying they "serve as a reminder that U.S. citizens need to maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness." The caution offers a detailed assesment of threats to Americans traveling in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and South Asia, and Africa (predominately North Africa).
The news out of Paris this week has been heart-wrenching, to say the least—and unnerving for travelers with imminent plans to visit the City of Light. And even as Parisians go on high alert, Britain’s MI5 intelligence head, Andrew Parker, is warning of increased threat levels in the U.K. from Al Qaeda and extremists groups in Syria and Iraq. (The official threat level remains at “severe,” where it has been since August.) The country has stepped up security checks at ports and border points, especially on passengers and goods coming from France and the rest of Europe.
Just as the year’s latest and greatest tech gadgets are being introduced at the annual Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas, another must-have tech-enhanced travel item is on the horizon and gaining buzz: smart luggage.
If you’re like me, you’re beginning the new year with a long list of self-improvement goals. Here are my top seven.
I’m going to get the most out of my miles and points (finally!).
Yes, airlines are doing everything they can to test our loyalty right now, including making it more difficult to earn miles. But those miles, along with points from hotels and credit cards, are still worth a lot in free travel, perks, and upgrades. So don’t let them gather dust—or worse, expire. A TripIt Pro($49 a year) subscription will both manage your itineraries and track all of your accounts in one easy-to-use place. If you want to get more advanced, consider a service like AwardWallet, which keeps tabs on expiration dates, or Points.com, the only program that lets you move points between accounts.
Looking for quick solutions to your travel concerns? Our resident expert Amy Farley has the facts with Travel + Leisure’s Trip Doctor Challenge.
Thinking of trying out Airbnb for your next vacation? There’s still a lot that’s murky about renting someone else’s apartment. Here’s what you need to know when you use sites such as Airbnb, HomeAway, FlipKey, and OneFineStay.
It’s not yet mid-November, but the snow is coming down in many parts of the country. If that has you thinking about skiing, it’s time to take action and buy those season passes. TheVail Epic Pass, which gives you unlimited access to 12 U.S. mountains, is on sale until November 23, while theMountain Collective, which offers 14 days at 10 world-class resorts, is getting closer to being sold out. Don’t know which pass is right for you? Luckily the good folks at ski resort–finder Scout, have created a handy info graphic breaking down the differences.
(Click the image above to see the full infographic.)