Staff Directory 10646201

Kerri Westenberg

Travel editor | Newsroom
Phone: 612-673-4282
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: Italian

Travel editor Kerri Westenberg has twice been named Travel Journalist of the Year by the Society of American Travel Writers. She previously worked at Bon Appetit, Cooking Light and National Geographic magazines.Westenberg’s writing has appeared in National Geographic, National Geographic Traveler, Real Simple and other national publications.

During Westenberg's tenure, which began in 2004, the society has named the Star Tribune's Travel section among the top three in the country many times. She is also the author of "State of Wonder," a book that celebrates Minnesota and derives from a series that first appeared in Travel.
Recent content from Kerri Westenberg
Photographer's feet, 100 feet off the ground, looking down at the "Tarzan Swing, 60 feet off the ground, at the Selvatura Zip Line in the cloud forest

State Department beefs up its international travel info

A growing number of Americans are heading overseas for vacation, and the State Department wants to make sure they stay safe. The department recently added…
A fireplace anchors the lobby and restaurant at Canopy Ithaca.

In from the cold at cozy Canopy Ithaca

In upstate New York, I would have seen tremendous fall color along the curving, hilly roads if it hadn’t been for the blur of windshield…
The landmark Chicago Theatre on State Street.

Minneapolis is runner-up to Chicago in Conde Nast Readers' Choice Awards

World-class museums, stellar restaurants, Lake Michigan shoreline, deep-dish pizza: Chicago’s long list of attributes just got longer. Add to it the unwavering admiration of travelers.…
After no response from the hotel, AmEx issued me a refund.

The tale of an uninhabitable hotel room, and a hero of a credit card company

The Manhattan hotel room was one block from Central Park and had a great price. Unfortunately, it also had an unpleasant odor that my travel…
Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration while flying.

Easy ways to stay healthy on airplanes

A colleague had been on an airplane — and he felt a cold coming on. With watery eyes and a red nose, he asked, “Have…
Rides in the Tuscan countryside head up and down hills, past vineyards and ancient walls.

Best day trip from Florence, Italy: a bike trip to Siena

Biking immerses riders in the Tuscan countryside — and an Italian way of life.
Say goodbye soon to this dining car, on the Amtrak Crescent.

Amtrak drops some dining cars

Amtrak caused a stir when it recently announced changes in its dining options. The traditional dining car is being removed from some long-distance trains east…
MSP International Airport

2 apps that make eating at MSP airport easier

Sitting at a table near Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport’s Concourse C, I was hungry. That’s when Robert Rodriguez, wearing a distinctive bright blue shirt, walked…
Many of the Bahamas’ most popular resorts remain open.

Want to help the Bahamas recover from Hurricane Dorian? Head there for your winter getaway

I am looking at a map of the Caribbean and marveling at the Bahamas, the country hardest hit by Hurricane Dorian. In Lonely Planet's "The…
A beautiful array of fall colors near Lutsen, Minn. Turn off Scenic Hwy. 61 and you’ll be engulfed in hardwoods, and likely happen upon the Superior

Where to see fall color: 3 great autumn drives in Minnesota

Fill your gas tank, turn off your navigational devices and don't be afraid to get lost in the woods when fall blazes across the land.
Online resources can help you find fall colors at their peak.

Resources to help you see the best fall colors

Remember all that rain this summer? The moisture fed the trees, making them generally happy and healthy — and great conduits of fall color.Online resources…
Lines were long at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport before 6 a.m. Monday, regardless of whether people were headed to the north or south sec

Five things travelers need to know about the checkpoints at MSP

What exactly is up with the airport — besides wait times at the security checkpoints? A $1.6 billion renovation at Minneapolis-St. Paul International promises to…
Brexit means you’ll pay less to see London’s cultural icons.

Why now is the time to head to London

Lucky for tourists, things are looking really grim in the United Kingdom. The prime minister, Boris Johnson, has pledged to leave the European Union by…
The Spanish Steps in Rome, before new rules banned sitting.

Tourists beware: Know the rules of Rome

When I traveled to Rome in March, I enjoyed a few moments of relaxation on the Spanish Steps, which run 138 rungs between the Spanish…
Minnesota United forward Mason Toye (23) celebrated a goal during the second half on Aug. 7 in the win over Portland, sending the Loons and their fans

Sun Country sets charter flight for Loons' Open Cup title match

Purchase of an airline ticket on this special flight includes round-trip coach bus transportation to and from the stadium in Atlanta, but not tickets to the match.
Travelers made their way through security at Terminal 1 at Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport in May.

How early should you arrive at the airport? Really early, one traveler learned

Give yourself plenty of time to clear security.
Dari-ette drive in, St. Paul

Need a nostalgic treat? Readers share their favorite drive-ins

I have a passion for thick malts made from hand-scooped ice cream and juicy burgers served at kitschy and cute old-fashioned drive-ins. I wrote…
Aqueducts in the basement of Rinascente date to 19 B.C.

The best place in Rome that neatly merges fashion, food and history.

Fashion, food and history have merged in Rome since toga-wearing partyers swept along marble roads to Bacchanalia festivals. In the modern city, one place encapsulates…
The Delta Airlines counter at MSP.

Delta eliminates extra fees for checking sports equipment

Even surfboards could get a free ride.
Many travel companies offer trips with open-water swimming.

A swimming vacation in Greece, Belize, the Canary Islands is full-immersion fun

I was at the cabin of friends when I waded into the water, slapped on my goggles and swam across the lake and back.The water…
The Drive-In in Taylors Falls sports a spinning root beer mug.

For a taste of vacation, pop into one of these regional drive-ins

When I head to Madeline Island, off Bayfield, Wis., I like to cut into Wisconsin early. That’s not because I prefer passing through towns with…
Travelers in wheelchairs wait in line at the gate to board their plane.

At MSP, help for older parents unfamiliar with flying— or anyone who needs it

“I was wondering if you might speak to any travel tips for seniors who haven’t flown for several years,” a reader recently wrote to ask.…
You can track lions in Kenya on an Airbnb Adventures tour.

Airbnb enters a new marketplace by offering multiday tours

In the realm of travel, the sharing economy keeps expanding, fueled by travelers seeking authentic interactions with locals. Airbnb has been attuned to that desire…
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Lending perspective to concerns about safety of Dominican Republic

Between Florida and South America, a string of island nations rim the Caribbean Sea. Beachy beauties, they offer romantic getaways and winter retreats. Recent reports…
Esperienza offers Italian language and culinary immersion experiences in Pennabilli, a medieval village in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna. Photo

Edina woman works to save Italian villages, one cooking or language lesson at a time

Minneapolis nonprofit offers language and cooking classes in Italy to draw visitors.
Pequot Lakes will have a parade and pancake breakfast July 4.

It's never too soon to make July 4th travel reservations

When fireworks start popping on July 4th, it could be a dazzling announcement that a four-day weekend is well underway. This year, the holiday falls…
Snapshot Safari allows users to help identify elephants, rhinos, zebras and more in the wild, all without leaving home.

How to take a desktop safari and get close to wild animals

The beast was large. That much I could tell, though darkness muddied the view at midnight in South Africa's Madikwe Game Reserve. Then the animal…
Bison calves are upping the cuteness quotient at Minneopa.

Nearly a dozen baby bison expand herd at Mankato's Minneopa State Park

The small herd of American plains bison has swelled this spring when a record 10 babies were born, joining the herd of about 20.
Eagles Nest in Nisswa, Minn. The mom-and-pop resort on Lower Cullen Lake has 15 charming clapboard cabins and a 40-foot beach.

5 budget resorts in Minnesota where we really want to spend a week

Looking for s’mores on the beach, fishing off the dock, lounge chairs lined up on the sand — and a nightly rate that won’t hurt…
Courtney Klocke and Dave Klocke enjoyed drinks and dinner at Lost Lake Lodge Sunday September 3,2018 in Nisswa, MN.

Hello, cabin, so long, cooking and cleaning: two Brainerd area resorts that offer the American plan

Sign up for a meal plan, and adore your cabin getaway more than ever.
The first stop of any summer road trip should be the garage, where a mechanic will check your car.

What you need to know before you start your road trip

If you plan to hit the road in your car this summer, you'll be among about the roughly 50 million Americans to take a road…
The Minneapolis Passport Agency is located inside the Old Federal Building.

Minneapolis Passport Agency to open its doors for annual Passport Day

Need expedited service? Passport Day takes place this year on May 18 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Old Federal Building in Minneapolis.
RVShare offers 200 RVs to rent in the Twin Cities metro area. A popular destination is Joshua Tree National Park in California.

RVs, boats, campgrounds: More Airbnb-like ways to embrace summer

Vrooming across a lake in a speedboat, camping in a forest, crossing the Great Plains toward some distant national park in an RV. These are…
In Rome, tourists gathered on the popular Spanish Steps. Rome is the most visited city in Italy.

As world tourism rises, finding ways to authentically engage

I recently returned from Italy, and it's a great place to visit. Just ask the more than 58 million other international tourists who traveled there…
Children chased bubbles in Piazza del Popolo in Rome.

Why did the Netherlands rank higher than Italy in the World Happiness Index?

I recently spent a few evening hours strolling along the canals of Amsterdam. The visit was a surprise. My flight from Italy had been delayed…
Skirmantas Strimaitis takes a selfie onboard a Boeing 737-800 airplane, taking off from Vilnius, Lithuania, March 16, 2019, as the only passenger aboa

With solo flights and empty airline seats, are we in a new 'golden age' of flying?

When word spread that a lucky Lithuanian was the sole passenger on a mid-March flight from Vilnius to Bergamo, Italy, it lit up the…
Shoppers walk past the Victoria's Secret store on Broadway in the Soho neighborhood of New York.

How to find local lunch spots in New York: Ask the shop clerk

On New York’s Upper East Side, we walked up a narrow stairway to reach the restaurant, and then a second, narrower stairway to get to…
Marie Rivard, a trainer for Airline Ambassadors, listened during a training Jan. 23, 2018, for flight attendants, concessionaire staff and airport vol

Delta, other airlines fight human trafficking in the air

Two weeks before Super Bowl LII, I was flying from New Orleans to Minneapolis when an unusual trio sat nearby. Two young women occupied the…
Beginning in 2021, U.S. citizens will need to complete a European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) application before entering most

Will you need a visa for Europe? Nope

Beginning in 2021, U.S. citizens heading to most European countries will need authorization first — but the European Union wants everyone to know that this…
The beach near the Villa Playa Blanca Hotel in Cancun, Mexico.

Note to Spring Breakers: Security Alert issued for Mexico

The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City warns visitors to use extra caution, citing recent violence in the area.
A rare convergence of cold temps and calm waters has created a unique opportunity to set out onto Lake Superior.

Ice skating on Lake Superior? Rare conditions make it possible on Minnesota's North Shore

At Naniboujou Lodge, northeast of Grand Marais, Minn., conditions were perfect. The rare confluence of calm waters and super chilly temperatures had turned the usually…
Myrtle Beach, S.C., is averaging 54 percent cheaper than other destinations during spring break.

How to land a spring break deal

Haven't booked a spring break trip yet? This could be a good thing
Skijoring teams took off from the starting line during the Chuck & Don’s Skijoring Loppet on Feb. 2 at Theodore Wirth Park.

4 fun ways to play in the fresh Minnesota snow

More than 20 inches of big, soft snow has fallen so far this month in the Twin Cities area. Instead of dull, dormant grass, the…
Andrew Zimmern, seen here in Zhujiajiao, China, has co-authored the first in a planned series of children’s books with writer H.E. McElhatton.

Andrew Zimmern's book brings kids on an adventure, where food and travel intertwine

Local food-and-travel phenom explains the power of adventure.
If you’re stuck on the tarmac, know your rights and politely remind flight attendants if the airline isn’t complying.

If you're stuck on the tarmac, know your rights

Just days ago, a Virgin Atlantic flight departing Hong Kong Airport for London's Heathrow was stuck on the tarmac for seven hours. That event fell…
Pinney's Beach in Nevis with St. Kitts in the distance.

Looking to escape winter? Try one of these 5 vacation hot spots

Still shivering from the polar vortex? Here's where to go to warm up.
Gleaming kitchens and posh social spaces: How hotels are competing with Airbnb

Gleaming kitchens and posh social spaces: How hotels are competing with Airbnb

As home-sharing grows and hotels evolve to compete, new options for overnight stays have exploded. We check in.
A Delta Air Lines jet takes off from Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport MSP.

Which is better for fliers at MSP: a cash-back or Delta-branded credit card?

With the first installment in our “How we travel now” series, on flying, we included tips on making Delta’s dominance at MSP work…
Delta controls almost 71 percent of the market at MSP.

With Delta the dominant airline at MSP, here's how to make the most of it

Because Delta has such a hold on the market, other airlines can drop fares to bring in customers and Delta won't necessarily follow suit.
Find dry desert air, mountain vistas and sunshine in Yuma, Ariz.

Amid a gloomy winter, give me sunshine, and give me Yuma

It’s been a gloomy winter in Minnesota. Who could blame me if, in a sun-starved fit, I get myself to Yuma, Ariz.? The city tucked…
Hotel Lora

Four new overnight spots in Minnesota worth checking in to

These new and renovated destinations epitomize Minnesota Nice.
The April 2018 snowstorm grounded many flights at MSP.

Sun Country takes action to ease worry of winter flying

Snow can create a big white beautiful playground. And it can shut down an airport.That's what happened last April when a late season blizzard closed…
During his stay at South Africa’s Sabi Sands Game Reserve, Andy Miller of Hutchinson, Minn., saw elephants, lions, hippos, rhinos and more. For him,

The best reader travel photos of 2018

Each week, Star Tribune Travel highlights a reader travel photograph in the Viewfinders feature. Here, we reprise some of the best of the year.
Fireworks explode behind Big Ben, at the Houses of Parliament in London.

The New Year's resolutions of a travel pro

Many people’s New Year’s resolutions go something like this: I resolve to visit ... fill-in-the-blank. I could spend hours daydreaming about how to fill that…
French Meadow at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport.

5 restaurants at MSP Airport that won't bust your buttons during a season of indulgence

Holiday cookies, Swedish meatballs, eggnog: Could these explain why the belts we remove at security checkpoints may be loosened a notch this time of year?…
The SS Sorlandet passed through the canal under the lift bridge July 25 in the parade of ships for the start of Tall Ships Duluth 2013.

Tall ships to sail into Duluth again August 2019

The majestic sight of replica sail boats has drawn huge crowds during past festivals.
Cars line up to enter the departure area of Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport's Terminal 1.

Fly smarter: Make sure to do this before heading to MSP

Everyone can use a plan to help avoid a maddening backup on the way to the airport when you fly out for the holidays or spring break. Here's a great place to start.
Taking vacations with your young children may actually help them do better in school, according to a 2009 study.

What's the best gift for developing brains? Travel

One year for the holidays, Dad gave us all a trip to Hawaii. He was on to something.Parents, there's a good reason for giving the…
A skier crosses frozen Bearskin Lake toward Bearskin Lodge. A makeshift hockey and ice skating rink, where snow is shoveled from the lake, sits near t

Why head to Gunflint Trail in winter? Ample snow, 130 miles of cross-country trails, cozy lodges

The road to winter fun, where snow arrives early and stays late.
Ski season opened once again at Afton Alps on Nov. 16.

Want to ski? Minnesota has loads of options

Across Minnesota, people will soon be retrieving skis from storage, applying wax, checking the bindings — if they haven’t already. There are giants of the…
The Mississippi River between its headwaters in Itasca State Park and “fun little college town” Bemidji.

Where to stay, eat and play along the Mississippi River? Book on Great River Road tells all

Dean Klinkenberg stopped counting the miles he’s cruised on the Great River Road when he hit 120,000. “I wore out one car, and I’m working…
Having toiletries, clothes and chargers in your carry-on will help make any extended airport stay more comfortable.

Eight essentials to help you survive air travel over the holidays

According to AAA, 54.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more for Thanksgiving this year, 2.5 million more people than last year. While most…
It's not a good idea to hold your baby on your lap during a flight.

Why you shouldn't hold a baby in flight

Just because the Federal Aviation Administration allows children under age 2 to ride on laps in airliners doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. I write…
The Road to Hana in east Maui winds through cliffside forests along the coast. Tor Johnson/ Hawaii Tourism Authority

Seeking the wild side of Maui? Easy, it's everywhere

Everywhere on Maui, lush, authentic, uncrowded places abound.
Sun Country Airlines' new plane paint jobs will rotate into service starting in November.

No more Ufly when you fly: Sun Country changes rewards program

The Ufly program will end, and members' points will be automatically transferred to a new rewards program. The airline says the changes are meant to simplify the rewards process for customers.
Passengers made their way through Terminal 1 to a TSA checkpoint Wednesday at MSP.

How FAA reauthorization will alter your experience at TSA checkpoints

Last week, I wrote about what the 2018 FAA Reauthorization means for fliers and airlines. The new law will affect our experiences at the…
A new FAA law addresses some of airline passengers’ concerns, like seat size and passenger removal from planes.

What the recently passed FAA reauthorization law means to travelers – hint: it's (mostly) good news

When the FAA Reauthoriation Act of 2018 became law on Oct. 5, fliers rejoiced — or at least breathed a sigh of relief. Here are…
A shopper looks at a wall of headphones at the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Ala.

What good can come from lost luggage? Designer dresses for a steal, plus help for the needy

The Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Ala., has intrigued me for as long as I've known about it — and that's a long time. The…
Lounging in the grand suite aboard the Carnival Vista.

On Carnival, an upgrade to a grand suite comes with a few headaches

I had been preparing for the cruise for more than a year. The Carnival ship hadn't even made its maiden voyage when I booked two…
The mosaic in the courtyard at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum depicts Medusa and dates to 117-138 A.D.

For wonderful surprises, let your friends lead the way on your next vacation

The villa is a marvel. Built on what was once marshland in Boston's Fenway, the building designed after an Italian palace awed me. The courtyard…
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, shown here in a 2015 photo, dipped in a J.D. Power satisfaction study.

MSP slips a bit in ranking of large airports in U.S. and Canada

Using a scale of 1,000 points, how would you rank Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport? On average, fliers who participated in J.D. Power’s 2018 North American…
The boreal forest on display at Voyageurs National Park.

National Public Lands Day is coming up. Just how much land do Minnesotans own? Lots.

Sept. 22 is National Public Lands Day, and there are about 12 million reasons to celebrate in Minnesota.Our state counts more than 12 million acres…
A woman walked through a canopy of beautiful fall leaves toward the Minnesota State Capitol after a morning rain.

Fall colors: Get them while you can

Summer is fading away, but at least we have autumn's brilliant blazes ahead. The trick is knowing where to find them at their peak. Fortunately,…
Small-headed sunflowers flourish beside Twin Lakes in the Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge in McGregor, Minn.

Autumn reveals the best of Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge in northern Minnesota

In autumn, ducks in the millions flock to the waters of Rice Lake.
Amtrak's Empire Builder pulled into the Winona, Minn., station.

Tips for train travel, from someone who was stuck on one in Wisconsin

When traveling on Amtrak, pack well, warns Wyatt Johnston of Rochester, Minn. “Bring snacks, bring extra batteries, bring one of those portable Wi-Fi hotspot…