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Cleaning fees are one-time charges that Airbnb hosts can tack on to the nightly rate. They’ve become a pain point for many travelers because cleaning fees can be exorbitantly high in some cases and are not shown in search results. Airbnb aims to make them more transparent by adding a search filter for total booking cost and requiring hosts to put cleaning requirements — like stripping the beds or taking out trash — on the listing. These new features may help customers make more informed decisions when booking and incentivize hosts to lower or forgo cleaning fees altogether.

AP
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There has been a surge in the number of Mexicans seeking asylum in Canada this year. The reasons for the big jump include the relative ease for Mexicans to obtain refugee status in Canada compared to the U.S., visa-free travel between Mexico and Canada, and the threat of violence back home. More than 8,000 Mexican nationals have applied for asylum in Canada since the start of the year. That is six times as many as last year and more than twice as many as in 2019, which was the last year before the COVID-19 pandemic and the travel restrictions that accompanied it. The majority of the asylum seekers are flying into Montreal. The city has many direct flights between the two countries.

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Throngs of spectators have lined the streets of New York as colorful, high-flying balloons help usher in the holiday season at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The annual tradition packed streets as a procession of giant inflatables and floats streamed for more than 40 blocks from Central Park to Herald Square. International cartoon sensation Bluey, the Australian cattle pup, made her parade debut Thursday morning. She towered as tall as a four-story building and stretched as wide as seven taxi cabs. Stuart, the one-eyed Minion, was also there. This year’s parade featured 16 giant balloons, 28 floats, 40 novelty and heritage inflatables, 12 marching bands, 10 performance groups, 700 clowns and one Santa Claus.

AP
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World Cup fans who found hotels in central Doha booked up or far beyond their budget have settled for vast fan villages some hour away from the city.  From the moment that Qatar was named host of the World Cup, fears mounted over how the tiny country would find rooms for the massive influx of 1.2 million fans — roughly a third of the nation’s total population. Qatar’s frenzied building program delivered tens of thousands of rooms through new hotels, rented apartments and even three giant cruise ships. But soaring prices have forced many thrifty fans into remote desert campsites and giant fan villages in Doha’s outer reaches, including one near the airport consisting of corrugated box rooms.

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Pandemic rebooking issues drove many air passengers to book directly with airlines instead of third-party travel sites. While ancillary fees have become a major part of airline revenue over the past 15 years, airlines have more recently ramped up efforts to drive revenue from add-on fees. Customers could end up paying more when booking directly with airlines because of the aggressive push toward extra upgrades, combined with seat selection and baggage fees. Online travel agencies such as Expedia and Kayak may help travelers save money because they offer better comparison shopping, which helps travelers choose the lowest overall cost, not just the lowest base cost.

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Bison nearly vanished from the Great Plains. Decades later, there's a nationwide resurgence of Indigenous tribes seeking to reconnect with the humpbacked, shaggy-haired animals that occupy a crucial place in centuries-old tradition and belief. Since 1992 the federally chartered InterTribal Buffalo Council has helped relocate surplus bison. The come locations such as Badlands, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon National Parks to 82 member tribes in 20 states. Collectively, they are managing over 20,000 of the animals on their lands. One prominent Native leader says the goal is “to restore buffalo back to Indian country for that cultural and spiritual connection that Indigenous people have with the buffalo.”

AP
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The last-minute decision to ban the sale of beer at World Cup stadiums in Qatar is the latest example of some of the tensions that have played out ahead of the tournament. Qatari officials have for long said they were eager to welcome everybody but that visitors should also respect their culture and traditions. Alcohol consumption, forbidden in Islam, is one of the areas where Qatar has been attempting to strike a delicate balance. Some Islamic countries, like Saudi Arabia, outlaw alcohol. But alcohol is available in some other Muslim nations though regulations vary widely and there can be intricate rules and restrictions on its sale.

AP
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A senior Human Rights Watch official slammed the Egyptian government’s human and environmental rights record, saying that the space for environmental activism in Egypt “is severely curtailed.” Richard Pearshouse, director of environment and human rights at HRW, said environmental activists in Egypt have faced “constant harassment” by security forces including restrictions on travel, foreign funding, and research permits. He said that such restrictions bar public debate and research on damages caused by business, agro-industry, cement factories and other businesses linked to the military.

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The revolutionary artistry of the late French designer Manfred Thierry Mugler is now on display at the Brooklyn Museum. The traveling exhibit “Thierry Mugler: Couturissime” kicked off its fifth stop with an opening celebration Tuesday night featuring the likes of Kylie Jenner and Julia Fox. In an ushering of the new guard, Mugler's newest creative director Casey Cadwallader guided Jenner as the pair gazed upon the complexities of Mugler's futuristic designs. Mugler himself died in January at the age of 73. The exhibit opens to the public Friday and runs through May 7.