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Domestic Travel Archives - ATX Fun - Austin-San Antonio Fun, Travel & Educational Opportunities

Finding Things to Do in a City You Plan to Visit

My personal preferred way to explore a new city is to take a hop-on-hop-off bus tour the first day. If you have a 48-hour ticket, you can ride around once to get an overview, then ride again with stop-overs at the places you found interesting.

Eiffel Tower in Paris, Photo by hillarywilliamtanner / Flickr
Eiffel Tower in Paris, Photo by hillarywilliamtanner / FlickrFlickr

Another idea, particularly if you want to meet some locals, is to check Eventbrite and Meetup for the city you plan to visit. I’ve found a multitude of happenings that way, mostly free.

Lifetime Learning Institute of Austin, A Valuable Resource for Persons Age 50+

LLI LogoLifetime Learning Institute of Austin ( has been in operation for over 40 years, providing economical classes on an eclectic range of topics. The primary group served is persons 50+.

Registration for the Spring 2019 semester opens on January 16, but it’s not too early to take a look at the classes that were offered in the Fall because many will also be available in the Spring.

Many LLI classes fill up within hours, so it pays to register as soon as possible. You can take a look at the list here to see which Fall classes filled (shown in red) and which still had room.

I usually take 2 or 3, sometimes 4, LLI classes each semester. My favorites are T’ai Chi (Taiji) and Qigong, and Yoga Fit. This time I enrolled in classes about American Comedy Films, Exercise for Men and Women, and India. My other recommendations are How to Listen to Classical Music, and Geology.

LLI is run as a non-profit by volunteers, and part of what keeps Austin wonderfully weird.

What to Do During a Long Airport Layover

American AirlinesI was talking with a friend this morning about a long layover he had a few days ago. He was flying from Austin to Charlotte via DFW, in order to attend a family get-together. His American Airlines flight from DFW to Charlotte was cancelled, and he had to wait several hours for the next available seat.

The information in this well-done article at would have helped him:

It’s good to read these tips, because everyone who flies will sometimes be in the same situation as my friend.

Sub-$300 Round-Trip Flights to Hawaii Still Available

Hawaii Kohala Ditch Adventures
Hawaii Kohala Ditch Adventures

Aloha! There are still some great deals for flights to the different islands of Hawai’i. The Points Guy has a blog post about some $293 round-trip airfares from Albuquerque and Denver, both of which you can reach inexpensively on Southwest.

Airlines offering these fares include Alaska, American, Hawaiian and United. If you can wait a year, Southwest should be in the mix also.

Search Google Flights for your particular date pair(s) to see the low prices available now. Aloha.

7+ Ways to Find a Free Tour Guide When You Travel

Solo Travel SocietySolo Traveler World occasionally re-runs this informative post describing no- or low-cost ways to get a tour of a city when you travel.

One of the sources listed is Global Greeters. This is a network of individuals in 25+ locations around the world who will show you their city free of charge.

Another idea is the “free walking tours” that you can find online. Note, however, that the guides on these tours are charged (by the website owner) for every person who shows up for a tour…therefore, you should tip your guide generously so they don’t actually lose money.

While the blog post lists 7 sources of free guided tours, one of the commenters adds an eighth source…couchsurfing.

Yes, There Are Still Places With Free Parking on the Las Vegas “Strip”

Las VegasBack in the day, not long ago, parking at casinos along The Strip in Las Vegas was free. Nowadays that free parking is becoming a thing of the past, as budget buffets did.

But, there are still a few opportunities for free self-park on The Strip, and even free valet parking. MommyPoints has listed six, and a commentor added a seventh. Here is the list, generally from north to south:

  • SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino
  • Hilton Grand Vacation
  • Fashion Show Mall
  • Palazzo and Venetian
  • Treasure Island
  • Planet Hollywood
  • Tropicana

Check the MommyPoints blog for details.

Record-Breaking Week for Firearms in Carry-On Luggage

Pistol in Purse X-RayAs reported on Travel Weekly, a new record has been set by passengers caught trying to take firearms through security at U.S. airports. In the week cited, 104 guns were found by TSA agents at checkpoints, breaking the old record of 97. Of the 104 guns found, 80 were loaded.

In all of 2017, the TSA found 3,391 firearms in carry-on baggage.

Many, probably most, of the firearms were carried by properly-licensed individuals. It’s likely that most were brought to the airport accidentally, with no sinister motives.

On Jan. 6, 2017, a passenger legally checked his 9mm handgun onto a flight headed for Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Upon landing, upon retrieving his luggage he loaded the gun and shot 11 people at baggage claim, killing five of them.

Falling For the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon PostcardEd Pizzarello is a travel blogger, one of the best, with a young family. His blog is named “Pizza in Motion.”

Recently Ed and his family visited the Grand Canyon National Park, and he has been publishing a detailed series of posts about their visit.

Ed chose to take the 2-hour train ride from Williams, Arizona, to the Grand Canyon. He recounted that trip, with photos and prices of all the options, in this post.

Yesterday he posted about his 5-hour visit to the South Rim. You can read that here.

Coming soon are posts about where they went after leaving the park.

Seven Classic Travel Scams to Avoid

Sign in Quito, Ecuador
Sign in Quito, Ecuador

When you are traveling you are in unfamiliar locations and situations, surrounded by people you do not know, and often in a hurry. That is part of what makes these classic scams so effective.

The author of this blog post has given them names:

  • You dropped your wallet
  • Say cheese
  • Do unto others
  • It’s in the bag
  • Friendship bracelets
  • The hotel welcome
  • Taxi turmoil

There are other scams, of course, and if you travel you will encounter them at some point. I’ve been very lucky so far in avoiding loss, but am aware that could change at any time while traveling.

My best advice is to make a photocopy of the information page of your passport, keep a spare credit card and some cash somewhere other than your purse or wallet, and (men) keep your wallet somewhere other than your back pocket.