CNN | If you're traveling by air this month, there's a good chance the government owes you money.
Don't believe me? You can thank Congress and its inability to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration. Here's how you can get your money back, though be prepared to wait a little while for things to settle.
Congress periodically has to renew the authorization of the FAA to do a variety of things, and one of those things is collecting taxes on air travel. As with everything in Washington, the left and the right all try to sneak in politically charged riders that prevent the FAA reauthorization from moving forward to fund important projects such as the NextGen air traffic control overhaul.
This fall, after many of the 3.7 million annual tourists have packed their cameras and left Yosemite National Park, the National Parks Service will begin culling young trees to open up views of the iconic granite faces and dramatic waterfalls that ring the valley.
DailyMail Online | The days of hotel guests helping themselves to towels and robes when they check out could be a thing of the past as high tech gets in to the linen.
One company has come up with a way of adding miniature tags in the expensive materials which were costing hotel managements a fortune to constantly replace.
It has long been assumed, wrongly in most cases, that the smart towelling robes and plush fluffy towels were fair game for guests looking to save some cash at home. But now beware—they may come with an electronic leash as more and more hotels are turning to new radio frequency chips to keep track of their inventory.
eTurbo News | Peru's extravagant celebrations of the centenary of the rediscovery of Machu Picchu descended into farce this week, after a bureaucratic wrangle that saw hundreds of tourists from around the world barred from entering the Inca ruins.
Last week, the local branch of Peru's National Institute of Culture (INC) abruptly ruled that no more than 2,500 people could visit Machu Picchu per day, a move aimed at preventing damage to the site.
On Tuesday, hundreds of frustrated tourists began picketing the official ticket office in downtown Cusco, the former Inca capital that is three hours from the archaeological site....
Photo courtesy of Lyndsey Matthews
Washington Post | Those blurry but revealing airport body scanner images that caused a public uproar last year are being replaced by a gray, cookie-cutter image of the human form.
After six months of testing at three airports, including Reagan National, the Transportation Security Administration said Wednesday that the new software would be installed on 241 units at 41 airports that use millimeter wave technology.
Software for an equal number of units that use backscatter technology is still being developed, the TSA said. Both work by bouncing X-rays or radio waves off skin or concealed objects.
eTurbo News | A list of the top five 2011 U.S. cities with the lowest and highest tourism taxes is out, showing cost differences in as much as 56% on average, according to an annual study by the Global Business Travel Association Foundation.
The five highest-tax imposing cities on travelers….
If you've ever had to leave from or change planes at New York's JFK International Airport, you know that it is a mishmash of terminals always in some state of repair (or disrepair). But coming in 2013, Delta Airline's $1.2 billion renovated and expanded Terminal 4 will introduce an airy, modern, state-of-the-art space that may even bring back some of the long-lost glamour that once accompanied air travel. Check out the airline's recently posted video that gives a peek into JFK's future T4.
Smart Traveler Mark Orwoll is the International Editor of Travel + Leisure. Follow him on Twitter.
Reuters Life! | Guests at an international hotel chain may sleep more soundly after the introduction of "snore patrols" and "snore absorption rooms" at a number of sites worldwide.
Crowne Plaza is trialing the first "snore absorption" rooms at 10 hotels in Europe and the Middle East, whilst six branches in Britain have implemented "snore patrols" this month in a bid to combat noisy sleepers.
"Snore monitors" patrol corridors in the designated quiet zones of Crowne Plaza hotels in the cities of London, Leeds and Manchester. Their job is to listen out for offensive noises and knock on the door of guests who snore too loudly.
Associated Press | A prolonged heat wave in the central U.S. has fostered the growth of a dangerous form of algae in lakes and ponds, threatening swimmers and livestock and scaring away tourists during the busy summer season.
Blue-green algae are actually bacteria that produce toxins harmful to humans and livestock. It flourishes in warm, stagnant, sunlit water, and this year's heat wave combined with Oklahoma's worst drought since the Dust Bowl have created what one water official called a "perfect storm" for its growth.
Officials have issued a series of warnings, telling boaters and swimmers at lakes in northeast Oklahoma, southern Kansas and Nebraska to avoid contact with the toxic gunk. The issue attracted national attention earlier this month when Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe blamed a respiratory illness on a swim in Grand Lake in Ketchum Hollow.
New York Times | Rural America, already struggling to recover from the recession and the flight of its young people, is about to take another blow: the loss of its airline service.
That was underscored last week when Delta Air Lines announced that it “can no longer afford” to continue service at 24 small airports. The carrier says it is losing a total of $14 million a year on flights from places like Thief River Falls, a city of 8,600 in northwest Minnesota that fills only 12 percent of the seats, or Pierre, the capital of South Dakota, where Delta’s two daily flights are on average less than half full.
Nationally, all major airlines have been reducing and sometimes eliminating flights altogether in small cities, as the industry concentrates much of its service in 29 major hubs, which now account for 70 percent of all passenger traffic, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.