On the right scent

Lavender oil calms unruly dogs during road trips

The Smart Traveler

November 05, 2006

IF YOUR DOG IS A TERRIBLE TRAVELER on car trips, aromatherapy may help calm your pet -- and you.


Rusty Duck Press / $22.95

If you're looking for a restful spot off the beaten path, this paperback book is for you. Author Dusty Dave -- real name unknown -- has profiled rugged mountain cabins, dude ranches and lush lakefront lodges across the United States, Mexico and Canada. He lists prices, activities and contact information to ease vacation planning. Numerous color photos complete the vacation picture. Even if you can't book your dream getaway this minute, Dave's book will let you dream.



Come aboard in New Orleans

In another sign of the recovery of New Orleans' tourist industry, NCL's Norwegian Sun arrived last week as the first cruise ship to home-port in the Crescent City since Hurricane Katrina struck last year. The 1,936-passenger ship will sail seven-day western Caribbean cruises out of New Orleans through April. Late next year, the Norwegian Spirit will take over. Port calls include Costa Maya, Mexico; Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala; Belize City; and Cozumel, Mexico. Fares this month begin at $349 per person. Post-cruise city tours of New Orleans are available at extra cost.



Travelon, maker of myriad travel aids and accessories, has addressed that urgent question: How do I carry my wine bottles? The four-bottle Wine Carrier has four bottle-size pouches made of neoprene (the same material used for diving wet suits), joined together and equipped with a central carry handle. The lightweight neoprene keeps the bottles cushioned and somewhat insulated, and, when empty, folds flat for packing. This wine carrier is useful to have in hand when your travels include shopping for a few bottles of wine or champagne -- say during a winery tour or provisioning for a picnic. The carrier also can be used to cushion camera lenses or other fragile items in checked bags. Available in red or black. Four-bottle Travelon Wine Carrier is $18 from EBags; 800-820-6126; ebags.com.



Mapping popular stays

Here's a handy new online mapping feature next time you're trying to figure out what hotel to stay in. The tool is offered by TripAdvisor.com. On the "Find Hotels" page, type in your destination, then click on "New! Map the most popular area hotels." A map will appear with the hotels marked by numbers that correspond to their rankings, as determined by TripAdvisor reviewers. At the same time, a list of the hotels appears, and you can click for a pop-up with more information on each hotel, including prices, photos, how to book and links to reviews. You can zoom in and out to see street and road names, and even gauge how far accommodations are from airports and major attractions.



After the earthquake

The aloha mat is out for visitors to the Hawaiian Islands, a few weeks after a 6.7-magnitude earthquake struck off the western coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. Although damage was estimated at about $46 million, no fatalities were reported, all airports were operating, major roads were open and damage to hotels and resorts was minimal. Of Hawaii's 72,000 hotel rooms, 100 were put out of commission by the earthquake. All were on the Big Island and most of those have been cleaned up and cleared for occupancy. Several airlines have waived fees for travel changes or offered refunds for canceled flights.


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