Relaxation at the airport? That's a luxury usually reserved for travelers with access to an airline's exclusive lounge. That will change this fall when a spa and wellness center, XpresSpa, will open in the Lindbergh Terminal, expanding "opportunities for travelers to relax and take care of themselves," according to the Metropolitan Airports Commission. The 5,000-square-foot facility will include a hair salon and spa, a walk-in medical clinic and a pharmacy. Manicures and pedicures, massage, facials and waxing will be on the spa menu. Construction begins this summer. Look for it at the entrance to Concourse D.
With gas prices predicted to reach record highs, will Americans travel less in 2008? Statistical trends suggest the opposite. American travelers went on a record 2 billion domestic "person trips" in 2006, according to the Travel Industry Association (which defines a "person trip" as one person traveling 50 or more miles one way and spending the night). Despite higher travel costs in general, the group expects the 2007 total to top 2006 by 1.5 percent, and it is predicting another 1.6 percent uptick this year. A check of recent reports at the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics confirms the upward trend through 2007. One signpost: Despite increasing costs, the number of domestic air passengers was up by 3.2 percent in 2007.
On certain streets in Paris, life goes on as if the neighborhood were a country village instead of part of a big city. Either Right Bank or Left, there are market streets all over. If you're on the Right Bank near Montmartre, especially on a Sunday, walk to the bottom half of rue des Martyrs, starting at the church of Notre Dame de Lorette, just northeast of Galeries Lafayette department store. This part of the street is closed to cars between 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Sundays, when families shop and chat with neighbors amid the scents of ripened cheeses, fresh oranges and roasting chestnuts coming from the open-air food shops. On the Left Bank, ride the Metro to Denfert Rochereau, near the Paris Catacombs, and spend time strolling the pedestrian-only rue Daguerre in the local 14th district. Best times for the market are morning and late afternoons, when the fish, fruit and cheese sellers hawk their wares.
Woe to the shopper who saves a few dollars by choosing the cheapest flight, but discovers too late that he has booked a chronically late flight in an old plane that is always packed. A new website currently in its testing phase, www.insidetrip.com, may help you make better choices. In addition to listing prices, it rates each flight for speed, comfort and ease based on 12 criteria, including baggage loss, aircraft age, on-time records and how full a flight tends to be. Once you click on a flight, you're sent to Orbitz to make the purchase. The site requires Internet Explorer 7 or Firefox 2, or later versions. If you hit testing snags, wait a minute and try again.
Lonely Planet has long been synonymous with adventurous, no-frills young travelers, but the guidebook company's City Guides are growing up. The revised series of books about places such as San Francisco, Vancouver and Chicago is geared to baby boomers and Gen-Xers who are interested in longer stays, "affordable luxury" and cultural immersion, according to Lonely Planet spokesman Frank Ruiz. The guidebooks also offer more emphasis on shopping, entertainment and moderate to high-end restaurants and hotels and fewer listings for hostels and taco joints.
The tram that was out of service for eight months in the famed Gateway Arch in St. Louis is working again. A snapped cable had shut down the tram in the south leg of the arch last July, leaving only one route up to the 630-foot-tall monument on the banks of the Mississippi River. For information on the tram, go to www.nps.gov/jeff/.
Soon, the reader photos you see in this spot each Sunday will also appear in an online photo gallery at www.startribune.com/travel. Like to see your photo among our picks? So would we. Send your jpeg images to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.