A trip to Costa Rica with two teenagers
Eva and Kayla in Costa Rica

A trip to Costa Rica with two teenagers

JFK was typically a crowded mess at Delta. No one was quite sure which line was which -- baggage drop, check in, security? For some reason, the automated kiosk wouldn’t let us check in so we got on a long line only to discover that was the line for the folks who had already checked in but needed to drop their bags

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A trip to Italy with my college graduate
A rolling gelateria in Rome

A trip to Italy with my college graduate

When we arrive in Rome at noon the next day, a driver arranged by Jill Kammer, who with her husband Leon runs www.italy-accom.com was waiting for us. I know we could have grabbed a taxi or much cheaper, the train into Rome, but after a long flight, a little luxury was in order, I figured, especially when arriving in a city I don’t know well.

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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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