The polar bear express
Via Rail Canada’s map resembles a constellation, with 19 interconnecting train routes. One of these routes, the Winnipeg-Churchill train, departs from the capital of Manitoba (visit the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the Forks Market before boarding) and spends two days chugging through sunflower fields, prairies, boreal forest and uninhabited Arctic tundra. The train often stops on First Nation lands and at other isolated communities to pick up passengers from the side of the tracks. At night, sleep with your eyes wide open so that you don’t miss the aurora borealis. Daryl Adair, who wrote the Canadian Rail Travel Guide and runs a train-travel tour agency in Winnipeg, said one guest compared a stretch south of Churchill to “traveling on the surface of the moon.” In Churchill, a subarctic region on the Hudson Bay, watch for polar bears or beluga whales, depending on the season (www.viarail.ca).
A group trip planner
With TripRepublic.com, you can organize details of your vacation or group excursion while keeping everyone informed. The website is a simple travel planner that can organize trips for you and your group. Search your destination for flights, activities, food and hotels. Your search results will appear as photo cards with price tags. Drag and drop them into individual dates on your itinerary or click on the card to move and prioritize its placement. Ready to book? Click through to the booking partners and make your itinerary come true. You can schedule your day with places to eat, sleep and play and can involve multiple users in the planning.
Los Angeles Times
Hamilton tour at Monticello
Alexander Hamilton never visited Monticello, the Virginia home of archrival Thomas Jefferson. But the nation’s first Treasury secretary — and namesake of the hit musical — rules the house during the new Hamilton Tour Takeover. The after-hour visits are part history class and part civics lesson — with chances to rap and sing. A guide distributes stick puppets of the Founding Fathers, and the nature of their conflict emerges as visitors read excerpts from source documents and lyrics from the musical. As the tour approaches the dining room, a visitor begins to sing “The Room Where It Happens,” a showstopper from the play. The roughly 90-minute tours cost $40 and are offered on select Fridays and Saturdays through May, and in September (monticello.org).
Delta may offer $9,950
Delta Air Lines has taken advantage of United Airlines’ stumble by significantly increasing its cash offers to passengers who give up a seat on an overbooked flight. Delta gate agents are now able to offer as much as $2,000, up from $800, while supervisors are empowered to pay up to $9,950, where they once offered $1,350. The decision came earlier this month as United was reeling from public anger over its decision to have a man dragged from one of its overbooked flights. While it’s likely that Delta would rarely have to fork out almost $10,000, the airline’s decision to ramp up its rewards will make it more likely that overbooked flights don’t become angry scenes. “At $9,950, you can pretty much guarantee you would have a stampede off the plane,” said Robert Mann, an airline consultant and former American Airlines executive.