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Kerri Westenberg

Travel editor | Newsroom
phone: 612-673-4282
Kerri Westenberg is the Travel editor. She writes stories about destinations and consumer travel issues. She has globe-trotted for National Geographic and other magazines and now zips around the region, on the lookout for travel news you can use.
Recent content from Kerri Westenberg
Why houseboat? Because the perks outweigh the pains

Why houseboat? Because the perks outweigh the pains

Yes, I would vacation on a houseboat again. And no, it was not as simple as unpacking in a hotel and kicking back.
Rio and Zika: the surprising power of a mosquito

Rio and Zika: the surprising power of a mosquito

The gold medal for scaring away spectators goes to Aedes aegypti, a little bitty mosquito. As the Olympic Games approach — scheduled for Aug. 5-21…
Souvenirs – of many kinds – conjure vacation memories

Souvenirs – of many kinds – conjure vacation memories

My souvenirs lean toward the practical, from a ceramic hurricane lamp purchased in Mexico City to a Gooseberry Falls hoodie I picked up during my most recent trip to the North Shore.
Travel Desk: Lost and found on the North Shore

Travel Desk: Lost and found on the North Shore

This holiday weekend, many of us are driving to a treasured spot in the state. Lucky us. Where there are others, well, Minnesotans, generally speaking, are a pretty pleasant bunch.
When to buy travel insurance

When to buy travel insurance

A reader recently asked if I’ve ever purchased travel insurance, and what kinds of trips warrant the coverage. Actually, I haven’t. Not yet. When I’ve…
Insulating travel can keep you from wider experience

Insulating travel can keep you from wider experience

“Travel with those of like mind, for whom an elegant voyage through America is as treasured a gift for them as it is for you.”…
Travel Desk: Avoid surprise costs of a summer trip

Travel Desk: Avoid surprise costs of a summer trip

Two types of fees can unexpectedly raise the price of your summer getaway. To avoid a bill that, well, exceeds expectations, read the fine print on your selected resort's website and confirmation e-mails.
Travel Desk: Honoring Prince, touring his hotspots

Travel Desk: Honoring Prince, touring his hotspots

With all the attention brought to the Twin Cities area by the star's passing, organizations are highlighting their tours.
Here's what fliers need to know about airport security lines

Here's what fliers need to know about airport security lines

Fliers have endured a frustrating few months with record-long security lines at airports around the country.
Travel Desk: Fed hints of rate hikes could make Europe more affordable

Travel Desk: Fed hints of rate hikes could make Europe more affordable

What does the Federal Reserve have to do with your overseas vacation?
Does traveling in Australia's stifling heat still make an exotic trip feel exotic?

Does traveling in Australia's stifling heat still make an exotic trip feel exotic?

Considerations about climate take a back seat when going on vacation because you can't control the weather, and besides, you can always dress for it, right?
State of Wonders: A wild world blooms in northwestern Minnesota

State of Wonders: A wild world blooms in northwestern Minnesota

Life rebounds with fanfare as winter melts away in Minnesota's northwest reaches.
State of Wonders: Exploring winter in the Arrowhead

State of Wonders: Exploring winter in the Arrowhead

Minnesota is blessed with immense natural beauty and dramatic seasonal shifts. With the "State of Wonders" series, we showcase that range of scenery.
State of Wonders: Beauty is in the details

State of Wonders: Beauty is in the details

Amid fall's flamboyant colors, subtle scenes hold their own stunning beauty.
Consumer rights written into bill

Consumer rights written into bill

If things go smoothly in Washington — and why wouldn't they? — fliers could soon see some changes for the better.
Midwest Traveler: On Madeline Island, don't miss La Pointe

Midwest Traveler: On Madeline Island, don't miss La Pointe

The quirky, laid-back town sets the tone for a Madeline Island vacation.
At MSP, another ride option takes off

At MSP, another ride option takes off

Due to a recent change at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, you can turn to Uber, that fleet of free-range individuals offering rides in their personal vehicles.
DNR asks for more money for state parks and trails

DNR asks for more money for state parks and trails

A friend and I tucked into the rustic building at Jay Cooke State Park after a day of hiking. We were drawn by its brown-clapboard,…
All is not lost if you still want to get in on the majesty of Tall Ships Duluth 2016

All is not lost if you still want to get in on the majesty of Tall Ships Duluth 2016

The Tall Ships Duluth events have proved so popular that tickets to sail on the ships have sold out in days, if not hours. But all is not lost.
Tell us your tale of a national park visit

Tell us your tale of a national park visit

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, and we want you to help us celebrate and document these gems.
How to apply for TSA PreCheck (it's easy)

How to apply for TSA PreCheck (it's easy)

Given long security lines at the airport, the Transportation Security Administration's PreCheck program is looking better than ever.
Travel Desk: Spring break meets MSP's long lines

Travel Desk: Spring break meets MSP's long lines

The Transportation Security Administration's changes to the checkpoints at MSP were supposed to increase, not decrease, efficiency. Unfortunately, the reality is falling short of the intention.
Ahwahnee Hotel, other lodging at Yosemite National Park to get name changes

Ahwahnee Hotel, other lodging at Yosemite National Park to get name changes

Yosemite’s Ahwahnee Hotel ­— one of the country’s storied lodges, in one of the great national parks — may soon be no more, at least…

Traveling? Prepare for the sales pitch

I've just returned from a trip to Phoenix, and I am surprised that — despite all the upsell opportunities thrown my way — I remained on budget.
On Delta, more fares to choose from, but not in a good way

On Delta, more fares to choose from, but not in a good way

Delta Air Lines now is offering four levels of ticket fare: basic economy, main cabin, comfort-plus and first class. What gives?
Cities impose limits on short-term home rentals

Cities impose limits on short-term home rentals

Across the country, municipalities are waging battles against home sharing sites such as Airbnb and VRBO.

What travelers need to know about the Zika virus

Will you let a little thing keep you from traveling? Maybe, if that thing is the Zika virus, which measures just 40 billionths of a…
Keep Minnesota nice, and drive a friend to the airport

Keep Minnesota nice, and drive a friend to the airport

What has become of Minnesotans' inclination to drive friends, neighbors and family members to or from the airport?
Travel alerts are part of our world

Travel alerts are part of our world

What to do in the face of yet another terrorist attack on innocent travelers, the most recent near the Blue Mosque in Istanbul? Pack your suitcase.
Grand Marais and Ely are winter wonderlands

Grand Marais and Ely are winter wonderlands

If you are looking for a snowy scene and want to get out on cross-country skis, snowshoes or a dogsled, head north.
5 regional travel spots Minnesotans should try in 2016

5 regional travel spots Minnesotans should try in 2016

Our region is beautiful and diverse, with remote beaches, adventure trails and boutique hotels all within a day's drive. So here is a collection of 2016 destinations made exclusively for Minnesotans. Fill your tank, and head out to explore.

Travel to help you with your New Year's resolution

I strapped on snowshoes, hiked over a frozen lake and stopped to watch a woodpecker hunting for lunch. My own noontime meal had been a…
Classes to improve your travel photography

Classes to improve your travel photography

Want to improve your photo skills? Consider taking a class before your next trip.
Six tips for prepping the car for a long winter drive

Six tips for prepping the car for a long winter drive

Before heading over the river and through the woods to Grandma's house by car, tend to these road-trip tips, just in case.
From the Travel Desk: A visit to the Escape Lounge

From the Travel Desk: A visit to the Escape Lounge

Escape Lounge, a new spot at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, is designed to keep fliers happy — at least those with extra cash.
Two Minnesotans reflect on trips to City of Light

Two Minnesotans reflect on trips to City of Light

Catherine Reid Day of St. Paul was tucked into a Paris hotel room Nov. 14, trying without success to sleep, when her phone beeped.
From the Travel Desk: November, early Dec. are great times to travel

From the Travel Desk: November, early Dec. are great times to travel

Lower prices and easy-to-get reservations are nice, but the main reason to travel when others stay at home? You can see a place more clearly when it's not overcrowded.
Flying soon? Keep these apps at your fingertips

Flying soon? Keep these apps at your fingertips

This holiday season, I’m carrying a little something extra on the airplane: knowledge at my fingertips. As I pack for my upcoming trip, the Fly…
Puerto Vallarta weathers the big storm

Puerto Vallarta weathers the big storm

"We are seeing new Puerto Vallarta bookings," said Renata Faeth, sales manager at AAA Minneapolis. "We encourage it, with confidence."
At MSP, several ways to send boredom packing

At MSP, several ways to send boredom packing

ere are four things you can do at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to turn a flight delay into an opportunity.
Flight quandary: Agree to middle seat so woman can be next to husband?

Flight quandary: Agree to middle seat so woman can be next to husband?

"Would you change seats so I could sit by my husband?" a woman asked my friend, who had an aisle seat.

From the Travel Desk: More cruise lines head to Asia, offer cheap Wi-Fi

Some people long for the elusive vacation spot that will leave them entirely unplugged: no ringing phones, no pressure to get the perfect shot to…
Why do I love Delta? Let me count the ways

Why do I love Delta? Let me count the ways

The airline we're stuck with (because it dominates our market) is the airline we love to hate. But there must be some reasons to love Delta, right?
Lost luggage declines, but complaints are up

Lost luggage declines, but complaints are up

What problem have airline passengers complained most about this year? Lost luggage, according to Skytrax, an airline and airport user-review website.
Travel Desk: Best hike for fall on the Superior Hiking Trail

Travel Desk: Best hike for fall on the Superior Hiking Trail

As soon as the book "Guide to the Superior Hiking Trail," arrived in the mailbox, I began to dream and plot.
International Owl Center welcomes a true international

International Owl Center welcomes a true international

Uhu, newcomer to the International Owl Center in Houston, Minn., brings an air of worldliness to the place. That's because she is a Eurasian eagle-owl,…
5 favorite fall-color roadtrips in Minnesota to start planning now

5 favorite fall-color roadtrips in Minnesota to start planning now

Five beloved fall drives you'll want to take, plus inns to savor at the road's end.
From the Travel Desk: Passport Day is Sept. 19

From the Travel Desk: Passport Day is Sept. 19

The U.S. State Department is cranking up — and the added energy has little to do with the proposed Iran nuclear deal. September is Passport Awareness Month.

With Airbnb, beware the fine print

Debra Gartner returned to Golden Valley after a family trip to Spain with happy memories — and an annoying problem. For a stop in Seville,…
Travel Desk: New chip credit cards may not work while traveling

Travel Desk: New chip credit cards may not work while traveling

Soon, U.S. overseas travelers' frustrations with credit cards could ease. Visa and MasterCard are switching to a chip-reading system, which is used nearly everywhere else in the world.
Returning to the same old spot, and loving it

Returning to the same old spot, and loving it

You drive up the sunny road and find nothing has changed. You know the best place on the lake for a swim, when to settle on the porch for sunset and where to buy the best burger.

On Broadway, privy lines get bad reviews

Broadway has a privy problem. Lines. LOOONG lines. In one glorious historic theater after another, womenfolk grumbled about, ahem, limited seating.

Travel Desk: Keeping mum about your favorite secret vacation spot

My husband and I have a secret place. It’s east of Tucson, Ariz. That’s all I can say. I may already have said too much.…
Travel Desk: Best ways to use your Delta SkyMiles

Travel Desk: Best ways to use your Delta SkyMiles

Changes are coming again to Delta Air Lines' SkyMiles program. On June 1, 2016, the number of miles needed to book an award flight may go up significantly.
Travel Desk: Reach out to experts to find a Minnesota resort quickly

Travel Desk: Reach out to experts to find a Minnesota resort quickly

What can you do if you haven't booked a vacation, but you suddenly feel the itch to relax lakeside? Call in the experts for help — the people who run the local convention and visitor bureaus across the state.

Travel Desk: Delta Skymiles account must carry your official name, or else

When I entered my SkyMiles number in order to get the mileage credit for the flight, red type popped up.
Travel Desk: Money matters for vacationers in Greece

Travel Desk: Money matters for vacationers in Greece

What can travelers to the financially squeezed Greece expect? Business owners who will be happy to see euros. And great prices as the dollar strengthens and hotels in there look for customers.
Minnesota makes a great place for a road trip

Minnesota makes a great place for a road trip

Minnesota ranks third, after only Oregon and Nevada, when it comes to offering frugal-minded road travelers "the most fun for the least cost."
Travel Desk: Airline tickets under consumer protections when airline stops flying

Travel Desk: Airline tickets under consumer protections when airline stops flying

These are cloudy days at Mendota Heights-based Sun Country Airlines. In continuing negotiations between the airline and its pilots, pay raises remain an issue. Pilots…
Travel Desk: From overhead bins come headaches

Travel Desk: From overhead bins come headaches

When it comes to choosing a seat on an airplane, are some better than others for boarding relatively early and securing overhead space for bags?

Travel Desk: New Explore Minnesota ad features gay couple, welcomes all

In a new Explore Minnesota television ad, scenes flash by in quick succession: horseback riding on the prairie, zip-lining, cycling in Lanesboro, rock climbing in…

Tips for making the most of your Minnesota resort vacation

The best summer vacations are carefree and easy — and go off without a hitch. So before you head out, we offer a few guideposts…
Number of visitors to Duluth's Glensheen Mansion grows

Number of visitors to Duluth's Glensheen Mansion grows

The number of visitors to Glensheen had been declining for years, but those numbers are turning around thanks to new additions and features.
Travel Desk: Readers recommend Charleston, S.C., other weekend getaways

Travel Desk: Readers recommend Charleston, S.C., other weekend getaways

Last week, I asked for help generating ideas for a women-only weekend away. Denver, New York City, Albuquerque and others came up. But one city dominated: Charleston, S.C.

Travel desk: Tips for women's weekend trips bolstered by your own ideas

"I wanted to see if you had any destination recommendations for a girl's trip … outside of Minnesota," the e-mail from a reader said. I've…
Midwest Traveler: Gushing over waterfalls and history in Grand Portage, Minn.

Midwest Traveler: Gushing over waterfalls and history in Grand Portage, Minn.

All along Minnesota's North Shore each spring, snowmelt from the Sawtooth Mountains swells rivers and turns waterfalls into powerful spectacles. Grand Portage's falls are among the best.
Travel Desk: Road atlases give directions and perspective

Travel Desk: Road atlases give directions and perspective

On a recent road trip, I longed for my dog-eared road atlas, with maps that trace small county roads, call out each tiny town with its own dot, reveal each stream and lake.
Travel Desk: More points for travel if I ditch my Delta-branded AmEx

Travel Desk: More points for travel if I ditch my Delta-branded AmEx

"If it's Delta miles you want, there are other cards that will earn Delta miles faster," read the e-mail from awards expert Gary Leff, who writes the View From the Wing blog.

Travel Desk: Best Minnesota parks for hooking up an RV

Which state parks offer a good place to hook up a roving kitchen-bedroom-living room behemoth?
State of Wonders: Summer's prairie song plays beautifully

State of Wonders: Summer's prairie song plays beautifully

Beauty and history shine bright under the monumental summer sky in the southwest corner of Minnesota

From the Travel Desk: How to file a complaint about an airline

My recent flights between Minneapolis and Los Angeles were seamless, even during a busy spring break week. The flight to LAX arrived so early that…

From the Travel Desk: High cost of flying stand-by

When we book flights — usually months ahead of our travels — plans are often still unfolding. That was the case for a reader who…
Review: 'I Refuse,' by Per Petterson

Review: 'I Refuse,' by Per Petterson

FICTION: A chance meeting between two old friends spurs memories and affects them both in surprising ways.
From the Travel Desk: Paying extra for comfort in the air

From the Travel Desk: Paying extra for comfort in the air

According to a new survey released last month by the American Travel Association, we are both annoyed at having to pay extra fees, and willing to pay them — if we can see clear benefits.

From the Travel Desk: Strong dollar boon to U.S. travelers

Say hello to cheap hotel rooms, reduced entry fees to museums and discounted dinners in Europe and elsewhere outside the country — all courtesy of the U.S. economy and its strong dollar.
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