No passport required

Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands expecting more tourists as regulations kick in

The Smart Traveler

February 04, 2007

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO

THE CHEAP BASTARD'S GUIDE TO CHICAGO: SECRETS OF LIVING THE GOOD LIFE -- FOR FREE

Insiders' Guide / Globe Pequot Press / $14.95

Most people try to avoid the perception that they're cheap. Not author Nadia Oehlsen, though. Oehlsen wears her cheapness with pride and, what's more, she knows a bargain when she sees one. No matter what your interest, this cheap guide mentions the best deals on everything from theater and poetry to music and film. Here you will find information on theaters that seek ushers, no-cover nightclubs, free street festivals and even free food sampling. As Oehlsen makes abundantly clear, it's fun being a cheapskate.

JUNE SAWYERS

AIRPORTS

Leave snow globes in gift shop

Some folks call them snow globes; others elevate them to snow domes. But whatever you call the glass or plastic water-filled orbs that produce "snow" when shaken, don't plan on packing one in your carry-on bag anytime soon. Snow globes recently made the Transportation Security Administration's prohibited items list for violating the 3-ounce liquid limit the agency set in August. The solution for trinket lovers? Put it in your checked luggage.

LOS ANGELES TIMES

FRANCE

Paris homes put out welcome mat

Paris has begun a new program for residents willing to operate bed-and-breakfasts -- Hotes Qualite Paris (www.hqp.fr) -- and is encouraging residents to make their spare rooms available. For about $90, you can stay in a room near the Bois de Boulogne, with "a passionate history lecturer" as host. Even better, on the Web site bed-and-breakfast-in-paris.com, travelers can book a stay in an elegant room on the Ile St.-Louis for $189 a night with an English woman and her husband, "a retired French senior official," who can get his houseguests into the Assemblee Nationale, which normally requires an invitation.

NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

VIRGINIA

New visitor center for Monticello

A new visitor center is under construction at Monticello, the historic Virginia home of Thomas Jefferson. The center will be built at the former site of the ticket office, which has been relocated to a temporary structure while construction takes place. The new 42,000-square-foot facility will consist of five pavilions around a central courtyard. The pavilions will include exhibit space, classrooms, a cafe, a museum shop and a place to buy tickets and get visitor information. The center is scheduled to be completed in late 2008. Tours of Monticello will be uninterrupted by the construction.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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