Sustainable hotels

Hotels and resorts are ramping up efforts to reduce their resource and energy consumption. Jade Mountain in St. Lucia designed open-air rooms to allow natural breezes to cool the areas, eliminating air-conditioning. Solmar Hotels and Resorts in Cabo San Lucas heats water (including in its pools) using photothermal panels. Hostelling International USA became the first hostel company to implement “smart showers” limited to seven minutes. And Norway’s 99-room Svart will open by 2022 as the world’s first net energy positive hotel above the Arctic Circle. The entire hotel is powered by solar panels; excess energy is saved for when the country has more darkness than light-filled days.

New York Times

New routes for Sun Country

As Sun Country Airlines expands service and transitions airplanes for summer flights, fliers at Minneapolis-St. Paul benefit from more choices — and the potential for more competitive airfares. The airline began nonstop flights this month from MSP to Chicago O’Hare, Providence’s T.F. Green Airport, Newark Liberty International and Philadelphia International. The inaugural flight to Dulles International, which serves Washington, D.C., from suburban Virginia, flew April 25. Service to San Antonio and Sacramento airports begins May 23, and the final new nonstop of the summer, to St. Louis Lambert International, begins June 5. These new routes are seasonal.

Kerri Westenberg

Phoenix’s desert garden

Tucked within the red-hued landscape of Phoenix’s Papago Park, the Desert Botanical Garden hosts one of the world’s finest collections of desert plants. The garden is home to rare, threatened and endangered species from around the world. Families enjoy the magical Butterfly Pavilion, where beautiful winged creatures native to the Southwest sip nectar and gently perch on young visitors. You’ll learn about the butterfly life cycle in the caterpillar nursery and observe butterflies emerging from their chrysalis. Also, check out Cocoon, a new place for creative garden play (

Pack the bear spray

Grizzly bears are capable of running as fast as 40 miles per hour. Close encounters with hikers are a risk in the Yellowstone National Park area, and park rangers recommend packing protection akin to mace for Manhattan muggers: bear spray. Nonlethal bear spray — carried in a cartridge resembling a small fire extinguisher — expels “a fine cloud of Capsicum derivatives to temporarily reduce a bear’s ability to breathe, see and smell,” according to the National Park Service. That buys time for a quick escape from the agile beasts. While the odds of an attack are estimated at just one in 2.7 million in the Yellowstone area, a hiker can never be too careful. And don’t feed the bears!

Bloomberg news

Travel scam warning

Consumers have lost more than $22.6 million in travel scams so far in 2019. The Better Business Bureau is warning that scammers are using social media, pop-up ads and unsolicited phone calls. The bureau warns of scammers asking for credit card details over the phone or requesting scanned copies of your driver’s license. The BBB wants travelers to stay away from broad internet searches for deals that may lead to fraudulent websites. It also advises that you get trip details in writing before paying, and not to wire money or use prepaid debit cards.