Crackdown on cancellations
Two of the world’s biggest hotel companies are cracking down on last-minute cancellations. Hilton Hotels & Resorts and Marriott International will penalize people who cancel reservations within 48 hours of the planned stay, up from 24 hours. In most cases, the penalty is the price of one night’s room rental. The change is meant to discourage guests who cancel reservations shortly before their stay because they find a better rate while shopping on the internet, said Bjorn Hanson, a professor at New York University’s Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism. The new policy marks a dramatic change from a few years ago when many hotels waited as late as 6 p.m. the night of a hotel stay to impose a penalty for cancellations, Hanson said.
Los Angeles Times
Bali from $999
With Sayang Holidays, spend a week in Bali from $999 per person double. The Amazing Bali deal includes round-trip air from San Francisco or Los Angeles (connecting flight not included); seven nights at Wina Holiday Villa Kuta or Holiday Inn Express Baruna; daily breakfast; several guided tours; airport transfers; and taxes. Priced separately, the trip costs about $1,400. For the lowest price, travel Sept. 1-Nov. 30 and Jan. 1-March 31. A $60 surcharge applies for Friday-Sunday departures (1-888-472-9264; sayangholidays.com/tours/142).
Go tubing in Montana
Widely known as a destination for fly fishermen, a wide and relatively shallow stretch of the lower Madison River near Ennis, Mont., garners attention for its “bikini hatch” during the warmest months of summer. Families slather on the sunscreen, flop into a tube and enjoy a float under the big sky. Expect spectacular mountain scenery, puffy, white clouds and hawks, herons and eagles overhead (madisonriver tubing.com; visitmt.com).
Dallas morning news
There once was a vacancy in Nantucket
Although the last two weeks of August are a peak time for summer getaways, plenty of properties in appealing places still have availability. Nantucket Island Resorts, a collection of five properties on Nantucket in Massachusetts, has rooms available in late August. Each hotel is different: The White Elephant overlooks the harbor; White Elephant Village offers free bicycle rentals and has a pool; the Cottages sits alongside the marina; the Jared Coffin House is in the heart of town, near boutiques and restaurants; and guests at the Wauwinet have access to two private beaches (from $365; 1-800-475-2637 or nantucketislandresorts.com).
New York Times
Scratch the North Korea trip
The U.S. government has decided to bar Americans from visiting North Korea. The restriction comes amid rising tensions between the United States and North Korea, which has been testing intercontinental ballistic missiles and threatened to attack the U.S. with nuclear weapons. The ban also follows the death in June of Otto F. Warmbier, the University of Virginia student who was convicted of trying to steal a political propaganda poster from his hotel in Pyongyang. This is the first time that the State Department has taken such strong measures since the early 1990s, when travel to Iraq was restricted during Saddam Hussein’s regime.
New York Times