WEB WATCHKeep tabs on your info
Instead of a notebook of personal information secreted in your luggage while traveling (i.e. passport number), consider KeepYouSafe.com. You can enter or scan valuable data online, so if your wallet is stolen, you still have access to critical phone and account numbers without hunting down pieces of paper. The site assures users that data are encrypted and staffers "regularly audit the security of our systems," but it notes that it won't be able to give out your password if you forget it. Of course, you have to have Internet access to get the information. You get as many as 10 records for free; it's $48 annually to store up to 500 records.
LOS ANGELES TIMES
TRIP TIPA surge of laptop advice
When traveling to developing countries, bring a surge protector as well as a power adapter. Adapters don't protect against surges, which occur frequently and can destroy electronics like laptops. Also, stay connected wherever you are by researching and jotting down WiFi hot spots at your destination. Jiwire.com, for instance, lists thousands of Internet locations in nearby and far-flung places. The website also lists which locations are free.
ODDBALL OFFERINGSThe ultimate no-frills flight
We're on our final approach for landing. Please fasten your seat belts and return your tray tables and seats to the upright position. Oh, and put your clothes back on. An eastern German travel firm, OssiUrlaub, has started taking bookings for a nudist day trip from Erfurt, Germany, to the popular Baltic Sea resort of Usedom. The trial excursion is planned for July 5. The plane's 55 passengers will have to remain clothed until they board and dress before they disembark. The crew and pilots will stay dressed for security reasons. Sandra Kohler, a spokeswoman for OssiUrlaub, said one has to be a fan of nudism to truly understand how liberating it can be to soar above the clouds in the buff.
COX NEWS SERVICE
Cheaper sleepsBe a smart hunter
Comparison shopping on the Web can save big bucks, but there's more to getting a great price on hotel rooms than simply plugging in a date and seeing what comes up. Charlyn Keating Chisholm, hotels and resorts expert for About.com (www.hotels.about.com), has these tips:
• Know when not to go. If you're planning to visit a place that's popular with conventioneers, find out when the big conventions are in town, and "go there at any other time."
• Timing is everything. Is a hotel less expensive during the week or on the weekend? "In Las Vegas, the weekends are so much more expensive," says Chisholm. New York, on the other hand, can be dead on weekends, especially near Wall Street.
• Don't overlook the 'burbs. They may be the key to a hotel bargain.
ON DISPLAYAnsel Adams' Carlsbad
A new visitors center opening this summer at Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico will include a permanent art exhibit. Works by photographer Ansel Adams and New Mexico painter Will Shuster will be among the pieces on display. The park has 25 original Adams prints, believed to have been taken in the early 1930s. The park's art collection also includes paintings by artists who worked at the park as part of President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal arts program (www.nps.gov/cave/).
BOOK BRIEFModern-day Ulysses saga
National Public Radio contributor Scott Huler, obsessed with Homer's wandering epic, "The Odyssey," set out to retrace brave Ulysses' storied journey from Troy to Ithaca. The narrative "No-Man's Lands: One Man's Odyssey Through the Odyssey" (Crown, $24.95) is his account of the classical 20-year foray that he condensed into a modern journey of six months. It is by turns daunting, humorous and instructive. When the author reaches Malta in search of the cave where the nymph Calypso held Ulysses captive for seven years, unexpected adventures and revelations waylay Huler there, too. And they do at other stations on his Homeric pilgrimage, from the Isle of Cyclops to the strait between Scylla and Charybdis where Huler must paddle a kayak between those mythic monsters. Huler's largely improvised trip brings an illumination, which he connects to Homer's poetry and to the larger meaning of Ulysses' mythic perambulations.