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Budget Travel
Thursday, November 8, 2007
U.S. Passport (Photo by Robert Rexach)
INDUSTRY WATCH
The $97 passport fee that the State Department has been charging is higher than the cost of processing the passports, according to a congressional investigation reported in the Associated Press. Over the past year, as the government issued nearly 14 million new passports, it collected at least $111 million more in fees than its stated costs for processing passports. Share your opinions on passport costs. read more
FROM OUR BLOG: THIS JUST IN
"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." —Editor Erik Torkells read post
Route 413, outside Rincón
ROAD TRIP
There's a lot more to Puerto Rico than San Juan, including a spectacular rain forest, scruffy beach towns, and locals who really know how to roast a pig. read more
THE REAL DEALS
Inspired by our road trip story? You're in luck! We've rounded up a variety of lodging options—historic hotels, rentals, beach resorts, cozy paradores—starting at $87 a night. Some packages are geared toward Christmas, and none require a passport.
why it's a deal
Cloudgate Sculpture at Millenium Park Discounted hotel packages and room rates—some valid over Thanksgiving—for a getaway to the Windy City, from $95.
why it's a deal
Round-trip airfare, transfers, and six nights split between sexy Rio de Janeiro and laid-back Salvador da Bahia, from $862. why it's a deal
Ann Patchett
TAKE MY WORD
"My favorite spot in Boston is the Harvard Museum of Natural History. Part of my new novel, Run, takes places in the ichthyology lab, but even if dead fish aren't your thing, you'll be dazzled by the handblown glass-flower collection. Starting in 1886, father-and-son team Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka spent their lives making 4,200 perfect glass replicas of more than 800 plant species for the university, from single blooms to intricate bouquets." read more

More from our Take My Word series:
READER TIP
If you have serious allergies, traveling to a country where you don't speak the language is scary. At selectwisely.com, you can order allergy and emergency cards in several languages—and even add pictures to help communicate the idea. —Robin Willcox, South Hamilton, Mass. read more
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