Have pooch, will travel

Check airline policy before planning to bring the family pet along

The Smart Traveler

February 25, 2007

NEW YORK // SuNae Martz is a 10-year-old jetsetter who's crisscrossed the globe more than once. The catch: SuNae is a dog -- a fluffy white coton de tulear, to be exact.


Pearson Venture Group / $15.95

There are guidebooks, and then there are stories. This series (other books in the series include Italy From a Backpack and Europe From a Backpack) offers first-person accounts from mostly twenty- to thirty-somethings about their experiences -- good and bad -- while living, working, studying or traveling in Spain. Some follow in the footsteps of Hemingway (running with the bulls in Pamplona); others participate in a pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago. The stories here are, for the most part, modest descriptions of life in Spain.



Where pampering is an art

The top spa destinations in the United States and Mexico, from Allure magazine:

The Ashram, Calabasas, Calif.

Cal-a-Vie Health Spa, Vista, Calif.

Canyon Ranch, Tucson, Ariz.

Golden Door, Escondido, Calif.

The Greenhouse Spa, Arlington, Texas

Lake Austin Spa Resort, Austin, Texas

Mayflower Inn & Spa, Washington, Conn.

Miraval Spa & Resort, Tucson, Ariz.

Rancho La Puerta, Tecatem, Baja California Mexico

The Red Mountain Spa, St. George, Utah


Mini-bars for all occasions

If you thought pillow menus in hotels were over the top, how about customized mini-bars? The Catalina Hotel and Beach Club in Miami's South Beach is offering themed mini-bar packages starting at $50 each. The hotel is calling this deal "Pimp Your Fridge." The Rock Star mini-bar comes with Krispy Cremes, vodka and Red Bull. The Get It On mini-bar package includes edible body paint and candles. The mini-bar packages must be reserved in advance. Go to catalinahotel.com or call 305-674-1160.



Travel that won't hurt the planet

Environmentally concerned travelers worried about taking the family on safari to Africa or snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef (both high-carbon journeys) might consider booking through REI Adventures (rei.com / adventures). The company offsets 100 percent of carbon emissions produced by transportation through a deal with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation. Included in the price of each trip are renewable energy credits that offset the polluting effects of each passenger's trip by supporting solar, wind and other renewable energy sources. For details, go to greentagsusa.org.



That second suitcase will cost you

Two airlines recently announced plans to charge passengers more for checking a second bag, a practice one airline expert predicts will be widespread by the end of the year. Spirit Airlines started tacking on a new fee Feb. 10: $10 for checking a second bag; a third piece or more costs $100 per bag, a spokeswoman said. Feb. 13, British Airways said it would phase in charges for a second checked bag for economy-class travelers. Trans-Atlantic economy passengers, however, still can check in two pieces of luggage free. "I think this is the beginning of a trend that will get to a point where airlines will charge for all bags," said Terry Trippler, an airline expert at myvacationpassport.com.


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