Today's travel intel

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Should you buy trip protection insurance for your next vacation? No doubt you've heard many conflicting answers to that question over the years. To quote from this Los Angeles Times story, "Don't buy travel insurance, says Consumer Reports. Do buy travel insurance, say consumer advocates Clark Howard and Ed Perkins. Don't buy travel insurance, says the Consumer Federation of America." So what are you supposed to do? Here's Budget Travel's take:

If all you have reserved are flights and hotels, insurance generally isn't worth it: You can rebook a flight and only suffer a $100-per-ticket (or so) fee, and hotels rarely have strict cancellation policies. But if you're headed on a cruise or a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, such as a safari, insurance looks better and better, because tour operators and cruise lines (which are less likely to get any last-minute bookings) tend to penalize those people who cancel. You should also consider buying travel insurance when you think the odds are decent that you won't be able to take the trip for one reason or another. Just make sure you understand up front exactly what is and isn't covered, which situations allow you to cancel, and what the cancellation time frame is.

Two new sightseeing cruises of New York City focus on Manhattan's architecture and history. The history cruise, formulated by a group of New York historians, covers four centuries of Manhattan history. The architecture cruise, created with the help of the American Institute of Architects, includes talks on the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the New York Life Insurance Building, and a few buildings in Brooklyn, too. Each cruise lasts 90-minutes, is run by NY Waterway Tours, and departs from Pier 78 on West 38th Street and 12th Avenue. Each one also includes the standard photo opportunities of the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and so on. Cruises have a limited schedule. Tickets are $23 for adults, $13 for kids, $19 for seniors $19. Details at

(Earlier: The duck truck takes Manhattan.)

Here's a story from Britain's Independent on how to be a travel explorer, visiting someplace few other people have ever visited.

A new travel blog is born. The Chicago Tribune, which has one of the finest Sunday travel sections in the country, has given birth to a baby blog. Welcome, Taking Off. (And if you live in the Chicagoland area in particular, be sure to sign up for the blog's newsfeed, which is an easier way to read the blog.

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