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oct 12 2012

The Inspiration Behind Some of Our Favorite Reader Photos

University of Wisconsin's Lady Liberty prank

University of Wisconsin's Lady Liberty prank

(Courtesy CliffK/myBudgetTravel)
Girls in kimonos in Japan

Girls in kimonos in Japan

(Courtesy dni/myBudgetTravel)
Traffic in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Traffic in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam

(Courtesy ateliercypher/myBudgetTravel)
Cuban woman in Havana

Cuban woman in Havana

(Courtesy tuckerg/myBudgetTravel)
Waves on Ehukai Beach in Hawaii

Waves on Ehukai Beach in Hawaii

(Courtesy Island Gal/myBudgetTravel)
View from the top of St. Paul's Cathedral

View from the top of St. Paul's Cathedral

(Courtesy sheila78/myBudgetTravel)
Dog hot air balloon in Boyce, Virginia

Dog hot air balloon in Boyce, Virginia

(Courtesy RickCollier/myBudgetTravel)
Base of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

Base of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

(Courtesy lavenderdays/myBudgetTravel)
Moai at Rapa Nui National Park, on Chile's Easter Island.

Moai at Rapa Nui National Park, on Chile's Easter Island.

(Courtesy awc007/myBudgetTravel)
Balinese women

Balinese women

(Courtesy jfenson/myBudgetTravel)
The Brooklyn Flyer in Coney Island, Brooklyn, N.Y.

The Brooklyn Flyer in Coney Island, Brooklyn, N.Y.

(Courtesy jorgeq/myBudgetTravel)
Potala Palace, Tibet

Potala Palace, Tibet

(Courtesy jacksonn298/myBudgetTravel)
St. Peter's Basilica, Rome

St. Peter's Basilica, Rome

(Courtesy marjen/myBudgetTravel)

Brooklyn Bridge, New York City

(Martrese White)

Sintra, Portugal

(Miriam Cinquegrana)

Maui, Hawaii

(David Shrader)

Basilique du Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre, Paris

(Jen McDonald)
Oia, Santorini Island, Greece

Oia, Santorini Island, Greece

(Courtesy laratada/myBudgetTravel)

Plaza de Armas, Cuzco, Peru

(Thomas Cox)

Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

(Rebecca Wilks)

Piazza della Rotonda, Rome

(Timothy State)

In every issue of Budget Travel, we feature one of the best reader photos on our back page. Now, see the stories behind them.

Madison, Wisconsin
The University of Wisconsin students have a real sense of humor. Their Lady Liberty on the Lake prank is a classic image of Madison that has made it onto postcards all over the city. During the summer, I'm usually sailing on Lake Mendota, but when it's five below zero, you've got to take advantage of it, too. So one February, I decided to see it for myself. I took this shot from the Memorial Union Terrace, but I actually went out on the lake and took some close-ups as well. I know how deep the water is and it was completely disorienting to be walking on it. I've live here for 35 years, but sometimes you need to look at your own hometown through a tourist's eye.—Cliff Koehler, Madison, Wis.

oct 09 2012

Legal Visits to Cuba Back on Track

The colorful, musical streets of Havana, Cuba, are no longer closed to American visitors. But a trip to the communist island has to meet strict cultural exchange requirements set by the U.S. government.

(Courtesy kellysteveadventures/myBudgetTravel)

Ever been to Cuba? When I was a kid, that question would have been just about unthinkable. The only people I knew who'd been there were those who'd fled the Caribbean island in the wake of the communist revolution that put Fidel Castro in power at the height of the Cold War, raising the specter of a Soviet satellite nation just off American shores. 

nov 18 2011

Is Travel to Cuba Worth the Hassle?

Cuba has long been forbidden territory for Americans. Only the most intrepid travelers have made it to the country, mostly by going through Mexico or Canada.

aug 03 2011

U.S. Government says travel to Cuba is not "unrestricted"

Havana, Cuba (Courtesy Svenslens/Flickr)

The U.S. Department of Treasury issued a statement last week that it "is aware of misstatements in the media suggesting that U.S. foreign policy now allows for virtually unrestricted group travel to Cuba."

jul 01 2011

We can now travel to Cuba!

A taxi in Cuba. (Courtesy Tuckerg/myBudgetTravel)

Finally, all Americans can now travel to Cuba, so long as they go with a licensed tour operator performing "people-to-people" trips.

Although the Treasury Department still requires travel to Cuba to be "purposeful," you no longer have to be pursuing a degree program or be a journalist to go there, thanks to policy changes made by the Obama administration earlier this year. The trips are, however, meant to be educational, so you'll follow busy itineraries with meaningful interaction with the locals. In other words, you're not just hanging on the beach in Havana for a week.

may 11 2011

Should the government ease all restrictions on Cuba travel?

Earlier this year, President Obama spoke about easing a number of travel restrictions in an effort to help the relationship between the United States and Cuba grow stronger. With more and more people now able to visit the island nation, the country has the potential to one day become a major tourist destination, if it isn't already.

apr 12 2010

Cuba prepares for an end to the travel ban

A year ago, we blogged about Congress's debate over lifting the travel ban for Americans to Cuba. Here's an update…

Cuban officials are banking that the ban will end soon, and they have begun to prepare for a boom in business. The country recently announced plans to open nine new hotels this year, adding about 50,000 rooms to the island. (For perspective, consider that Las Vegas added only 14,000 rooms in the past year.)

mar 30 2009

Congress eyes lifting the travel ban on Cuba

On Tuesday, 18 Senators will introduce a bill that would permit all Americans to travel to Cuba. The Washington Post reports that "a bipartisan majority in Congress" would support the lifting of the current travel restrictions.

jan 30 2009

Cuba: Change travelers can believe in?

Playing stickball in Santa Clara, Cuba (Courtesy tawasaru/myBudgetTravel)
A rooftop in Havana, Cuba (Courtesy tawasaru/myBudgetTravel)

If President Obama sticks to his word, it's likely that travel restrictions to Cuba—imposed almost continuously since 1962 and tightened under President Bush—will be eased during his tenure. He suggested as much on the campaign trail and specifically promised to allow Cuban Americans to visit relatives and send money without limits.

nov 07 2007

Mr. Bush, let us go to Cuba!

Every now and then it stuns me anew that Americans are not allowed to travel freely to Cuba. It's patently absurd, bordering on stupid, and definitely embarrassing—one more global PR gaffe that makes us look less like a superpower and more like a petty backwater. Maybe I'm just in a bad mood this morning, but really, when on earth will the embargo end? Bush is now saying that it will continue if power officially passes from Fidel Castro to his brother, Raul. But to act like the U.S. is taking the high road, arguing that the embargo is important because Cuban citizens aren't allowed to be free while U.S. corporations are busy shaking every hand in China—well, it's insulting.

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