PACKING SMART FOR FLIGHTS THIS SUMMER

Starting June 15 - just when we're taking off on long-planned vacations -- American Airlines will charge us $15 each way for the first checked bag and $25 each way for the second checked bag on American Airlines, assuming you are flying domestically on a discounted ticket and are not a top-level frequent flier. (Southwest will still allow you to check two bags free.)

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A Week in Belize (after a nightmare in the airports)
Roberts Grove resort in Belize

A Week in Belize (after a nightmare in the airports)

We arrived yesterday evening after typically frustrating flights. First, we had to get our flights changed because of the American Airlines MD-80 inspection mess. That took hours on the phone. We thought we were home free when we were able to rebook our flights on Delta but no such luck. At the airport in New York, we encountered incredibly long lines for check-in and security.

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SURVIVING THE RELATIVES THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

Let's hear it for innkeepers who always have a smile for their guests -- and everyone else who is struggling to keep smiling when hosting family this holiday season, when the visiting toddler drops Goldfish everywhere and the teen refuses to be roused before noon from the family room sofa bed. Did I mention the uncle who falls asleep on the couch before dessert, snoring loudly?

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