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
Snow monkeys bathe in the hot spring of Jigokudani Monkey Park in the mountains in Yamanouchi town, Nagano, central Japan.

Our beautiful world: Star Tribune photographers share their travel pictures

Travel destinations are quiet, their streets and beaches empty. But these photos from our staff photographers let us slip away for a moment.
Cathedral Rock in Sedona, Ariz. A landmark of Sedona's skyline and one of the most photographed sights in Arizona, Cathedral Rock is located in the Co

Travel section to temporarily move to Variety

Since homo sapiens walked out of Africa about 60,000 years ago, we have been a traveling species. That early exploratory impulse, which likely lives on…
The golden tips of aspen trees in fall are sprinkled throughout the boreal forest along the North Shore of Lake Superior.

Where to get away from it all (including other people) in Minnesota

EDITOR’S NOTE: Since this story was published, U.S. public health officials have advised Americans to stay at home to help slow the spread of the…
The “Jerusalem” cookbook can let you visit vicariously.

How to explore the world without ever leaving home

I spy the streets of Rome, and they are exquisitely empty. Not because its citizens are stuck inside, but because the year is 1960 and…
Fliers can find cheap tickets now for cities such as New Orleans.

Cancel or book a vacation? Consider doing both

A week of fast-moving coronavirus news has puzzled travelers.
Walls with two different but similar colors can give a room dimension and make it feel larger. In this room designed by HUEcreative, Agreeable Gray by

Choosing paint colors is tricky – consultants can cut through the confusion

Consultants, from designers in your home to online services, can ease the selection process.
Photo by Jennifer Jeanne Patterson, Special to the Star Tribune

It's getting real: Travelers will need a Real ID by Oct. 1 – here's how to get it

I’ve put off the task long enough: It’s time to get a Real ID. Beginning Oct. 1, Minnesotans 18 and older will need a Real…
A traveler wears a face mask at an airport near Detroit, Feb. 27, 2020.

As the coronavirus spreads, should you cancel vacation?

Common questions about the coronavirus and travel: what travelers need to know.
Digs are sleek and chic at Roost Apartment Hotel in Philadelphia.

Finding a hotel home in Philly, London, Rome

Airbnb has been a boon to travelers — even those who never use its website-based home-sharing services.That's because hotels have taken note of the growing…
U.K. and E.U. flags outside Parliament in Westminster, London.

What Brexit means for U.S. travelers

After years of threats and, essentially, attempted divorce proceedings, Britain finally departed the European Union on Jan. 31.How has the shift altered travel to the…
The Diamond Princess at Yokohama Port, near Tokyo.

Will the coronavirus sink cruising?

“A large, floating Petri dish:” that’s how a reader referred to cruise ships last week, which was a particularly bad week for cruises. The new…
A child swam in the Wilderness Resort’s Wild WaterDome water park in Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

Escape winter without getting on a plane: drivable destinations that will warm your bones

On a February day, the temperature neared 10 degrees. Yet there I was, soaking up the sun in a swimsuit. Nearby, my young companions splashed…
Flights from China may experience delays as passengers are screened for the new coronavirus.

As coronavirus concerns grow, should you board that plane?

As the novel coronavirus spreads, so do precautions. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises against nonessential travel to China. The U.S. State…
Somia Mourad and Keith Bush prefer the sleek, clean look of white enamaled woodwork and painted their 1891 Kenwood home to suit their tastes. Project

Tackling a controversial question: Should you paint the woodwork white?

That is the question for home sellers in an era when white woodwork is preferred by many prospective buyers, especially younger ones.
The Milky Way dazzles in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, which could soon be part of a designated dark-sky region.

From dark skies to cruises to camping, travel trends for the new decade

Five of the latest travel trends lead to Minnesota — and beyond.
Daniel, an emotional-support duck, is pictured onboard an American Airlines flight in this file photo.

New rule would limit emotional support animals on planes. Here's how to give your input.

Roosters have boarded airplanes. So have turkeys, ducks and monkeys — all in the name of service. These animals allegedly helped their owners stay calm.…
The first sunrise of 2020 brought deep orange and pink colors over the Duluth Harbor North and South Breakwater Lighthouses in Duluth, MN on January 1

Viking cruises will sail the Great Lakes with a stop in Duluth

The cruise line discovers the Port City, names Minnesota explorer Ann Bancroft a ship godmother.
Guests eat at a dinner organized by Eatwith, a communal dining service that is now in more than 200 cities.

Tips for thriving when traveling solo

Traveling solo has always been rewarding — and it has also sometimes been uncomfortable. I've encountered wimpy locks on hotel doors, felt unease when lost…
Atop the ferris wheel on the historic Santa Monica Pier.

Mourning the remake and price hike at a favorite hotel

My family returns to Santa Monica, Calif., almost annually. But since we moved from there to here 15 years ago, the place has gone posh.…
The Grand View Lodge in Nisswa, Minn., has added a boutique hotel to its traditional cabin and old-style lodge rooms.

For 2020 travel, new spots in Minnesota

Happy New Year — and happy new vacation options. Grand View Lodge, a resort on Gull Lake in Nisswa, Minn., that dates to 1916, is…
Aidan Jones caught a smallmouth bass while wading in the water off a South Lake campsite. ] Aaron Lavinsky ¥ aaron.lavinsky@startribune.com DAY 1 - T

Star Tribune experts share tips on taking travel photographs

Star Tribune photographer Aaron Lavinsky knows that vacations aren’t about taking photographs; they are about experiencing a new place and being open to experiences there.…
It’s best to study your options in advance before potential weather delays.

Bad weather and flying don't mix, but you can be prepared

When bad weather strikes, it can cause headaches for airlines and passengers alike.Airlines have coping strategies. Most cancel flights even before the bad weather strikes…
Sleek skyscrapers and towering mountains meet in Vancouver, a city with great shopping, dining and outdoor fun.

Lower fares to Vancouver may be coming – here's what to do when you're there

Last week, Sun Country Airlines announced plans to offer nonstop flights between Minneapolis-St. Paul and Vancouver International Airport beginning May 20. The route will…
The Sugarbush Ski Trail System cuts through the Superior National Forest in the Lutsen-Tofte area.

Where to hit the slopes or trails for a wintry Minnesota getaway

There are lots of down-home places in our state to play in the snow.
“Minnesota Love Location” photo art was created by Heather Buchma; it’s available, from $42, at www.minted.com.

Best ways to get your travel photos into your life

My job requires me to organize travel photos. When it comes to family trips, though, I'm hopeless. Some photos are on my phone. Some are…
Elephants at Patara Elephant Farm, which has met standards for humane treatment, outside Chiang Mai, Thailand.

TripAdvisor stops selling tickets to SeaWorld; Airbnb offers ethical animal encounters

Have you gone on an elephant ride during some distant getaway because you adore the laconic beasts? That act of communing up close with the…
Among companies offering Black Friday sales is Hurtigruten, whose newest ship, MS Roald Amundsen, is a hybrid electric-powered ship.The sale runs Nov.

Latest Thanksgiving-based marketing notion, Travel Tuesday, may not fly

The Thanksgiving holiday has been taken over by marketers, with retailers throwing open their doors on the eve of Black Friday (i.e., Thanksgiving, post-turkey) or…
Escape Lounge at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Secrets to surviving MSP Airport during the busy travel season

Thanksgiving will be busy at airports across the country, including Minneapolis-St. Paul International. If you're flying out — or picking up guests — these tips could help.
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…
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…
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.
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.