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Cruise ships face weighty problems: Heavier passengers

Maybe it’s the all-you-can-eat buffets aboard, but according to the U.S. Coast Guard, cruise passengers today weigh an average of 185 pounds. That’s 25 pounds heavier than those who sailed in the late 1980s.

This may seem to be just a problem for the passengers’ health, but the USCG report says it has more consequences. Larger ships with thousands of passengers may sail with 100,000 pounds of extra weight, affecting fuel costs.

Additionally, there are legal limits to the weight ships can carry, which cuts the number of paying passengers allowed on each cruise. To meet expenses and profit expectations, booking charges have to be increased.

So, if your bathroom scales show an extra 25 pounds or more, and you want to go to sea, consider knocking off the extra weight. Then maybe you can proudly call yourself a biggest cruiser loser.

Vancouver's best seafood restaurants PDF Print E-mail

Bear fishing

Classically beautiful Vancouver sits on the chilly Pacific coast of Canada’s British Columbia, and boasts some of the best seafood resturants in the world. How could anyone go wrong by sitting down, putting on a bib and enjoying salmon and other sea creatures that were swimming nearby just hours before? Here are just a few examples of Vancouver’s best seafood restaurants:

Go Fish! is at 1505 West 1st Avenue, right on the city’s famed Fisherman's Wharf. You can’t possible get any closer to fresh seafood than in this wharf cafe, unless you’re actually out there swimming with your next fish dish. The eye-catching blue corrugated steel shack sitting next to False Creek specializes in fried salmon, cod and halibut. The generous servings come with chips and slaw.

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Travel ideas: Shop for top home swaps PDF Print E-mail

Condo signs

Q: We live in a high rise in downtown Los Angeles. It’s a two-bedroom condo, just across the street from MacArthur Park, and ten minutes from Hollywood and Beverly Hills. This year, instead of paying high prices for hotels and restaurant food when we travel, we’d like to try swapping homes with another senior couple for several weeks. We’ll mostly do our own cooking, with occasional visits to cafes, entertainment and other local features.

We haven’t quite made up our minds about where we’d like to swap. High up on the list are New York (Broadway shows), London (museums, history), St. Petersburg (Russia’s royal past) or San Francisco (Chinese restaurants). Maybe Rome, Venice or Paris to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. How do we get started?

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Last-minute travel: There's no place like home(town) PDF Print E-mail

Cruise ship

You suddenly find you’ll be getting a week off, and you want to find a place to relax. You don’t have much time for plans, because you don’t want to waste any of those days. You need to find last-minute travel pronto.

To choose the best locations for last-minute vacation travel, there are many variables. If you're willing to pay for the convenience, vacations to favorite cities, including Las Vegas, New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Rome and others can offer anything you need for a fulfilling, if very expensive, vacation experience.

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Airport Tips: Watch your bags at all times! PDF Print E-mail

Cartoon of people with suitcases

A Phoenix man and woman were arrested recently for stealing at least a thousand checked suitcases from the baggage carousels in the city airport during the past year. How could that happen? Imagine the conversation between an airport cop and his boss last June:

Cop: Duh, chief, didja know that more than 500 checked bags have been stolen from our carousels since January. Shouldn’t we do sumpin’ about it?

Chief: Only 500? Nah, not to worry. We wait ‘til them crooks take at least a thousand. Then we gotta think about doin’ sumpin.

Those airport security guys are great at checking shoes and waving electronic wands. But, how could they ignore this obvious in-their-faces crime spree? They never caught on, and it took city cops to catch the crooks in action, then follow them and find their house full of hundreds of empty suitcases.

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Tips: Make holiday road trips more comfy PDF Print E-mail

Flock of turkeys

Here are a few ideas about making things easier if you’re going over the hills and through the trees to grandmother's house by car.

1. Gasoline prices may no longer be the highway robbery they were last year, but you can still expect your friendly neighborhood gas station owners to jack up the price and gobble greedy profits for the holidays. Check local prices before you fill up, or go online to gasbuddy.com, where daily price changes are noted in your area and along your route. To avoid crowded highways, plan to do your driving between 11 pm and 6 am.

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