Your West Valley News: Travel


  • Easier to climb tower of Pisa than find the right striped shirt for Wilsons

    ITALY -- The tour to Pisa is a half-day beginning at 1:30 pm, so we have the morning free to have breakfast, do some organizing toward packing for tomorrow and leave early to find the tour meeting point.We made a request at the concierge desk for a taxi to the airport tomorrow morning at 4:30 (yawn!) for our 7:05 fight to Paris. We walked to Santa Maria Novella church on the way to meet the tour, but our 72 hours were up at 11:00 and it is now just past noon, so we stopped at a small coffee shop for a drink and pastry. We have been looking for a black and white striped shirt for me. They seem all the rage here, but even though we have stopped in many shops, we cant find one to buy. I am very particular as I want horizontal stripes, not vertical, and all the stripes, both black and white need to be the same size. It seems if we find the right pattern, the garment is a dress, and if we find a shirt, the stripes are different sizes. We have searched so many places, it has become a joke between us.  We check out a few more shops while we wait, gradually moving nearer the tour meeting site. There is a small yellow sign above the sidewalk identifying our street-side meeting place. We check in with the tour guide, using David's cellphone to show the voucher. My, but aren't we becoming quite the digital travelers! There is a large number of tourists for this trip and we are relieved to see a double-decker bus pull up and everyone gets boarded.

  • Some vacation spots quietly benefit as travelers avoid Zika

    NEW YORK (AP) — With government officials now warning pregnant women to avoid Miami Beach in addition to Puerto Rico, some sun seekers are desperately scrambling for a Zika-free vacation.And that has left other tourist destinations to capitalize — quietly.Travel experts say families worried about Zika are now looking to Arizona and Southern California to get some sun, along with cooler weather locales such as New England and Canada.The Zika virus is transmitted by mosquitoes or through sex with an infected person. In pregnant women, a Zika infection can cause severe birth defects, including microcephaly, where babies are born with a dangerously small head. In others, it can lead to Guillain-Barre, which can cause temporary paralysis and in rare instances, death. That was the case earlier this month of a man between 35 and 45 years old who died in Puerto Rico after being infected.Given that background, many would-be vacationers don't want to take the risk.Jen LeFante and her husband Chris are expecting their first child in March. The New Jersey couple had wanted to escape to Puerto Rico or the Florida Keys for some relaxation before the baby arrives.

  • Traffic fatalities continued to surge in first half of 2016

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Traffic fatalities were up 9 percent in the first six months of this year compared with the same period last year, continuing a surge in deaths that began two years ago as the economy improved and travel picked up, according to preliminary estimates released Tuesday by the National Safety Council.An estimated 19,100 people were killed on U.S. roads from January through June, said the council, a congressionally chartered nonprofit that gets its data from state authorities. That's 18 percent more than two years ago at the six-month mark. About 2.2 million people also were seriously injured in the first half of this year.The council estimates the cost of these deaths and injuries at about $205 billion.At that rate, annual deaths could exceed 40,000 fatalities this year for the first time in nine years, the council said. More than 35,000 people were killed on U.S. roads last year, making it the deadliest driving year since 2008, when more than 37,000 were killed."Our complacency is killing us," said Deborah A.P. Hersman, the safety council's president and CEO. "Americans should demand change to prioritize safety actions and protect ourselves from one of the leading causes of preventable death."U.S. drivers have also put in a record 1.58 trillion miles on the road in the first half of this year, a 3.3 percent increase over the same period in 2015, the Federal Highway Administration said this week.

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