What's new in travel this week

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Beginning Jan. 29, Southwest is reducing free checked bags to two. But this news probably won't bother you because only 2 percent of passengers in 2007 checked a third bag on Southwest. Full rules here.

[UPDATE Jan. 4, 2008: American Airlines is testing anti-missile defense on its planes.

It's getting easier to share road trip itineraries: Hewlett Packard has created a new website where travelers can use their GPS devices to share road trip itineraries. We've blogged about HP's 310 GPS device before. Here's how the device and the new website can work together: You tether your iPAQ 310 to your PC or Mac, visit www.ipaq.com/navigate, and download map information provided by other iPAQ users.

Surprising story: This fall, Craig Heimburger traveled southeast Asia with his pregnant wife Tatiana. If you think you already know what that must have been like, think again, and read his blog post at Travelvice.

Here's how one backpacker uses a plastic bag to wash clothes.

We've blogged about the TSA's new ban on carrying spare lithium-based batteries, and we've received emails from readers who remain confused about the policy. The FAA has posted its rules on its website. But here's a quick rundown:

The TSA is only talking about lithium-based batteries, not alkaline batteries or nickel-based re-chargeables.

The TSA is only talking about carrying spares, not the batteries already installed in gadgets.

The TSA is only talking about spare batteries being carried in checked luggage, not carry-on.

The rule of thumb is that if you carry spare lithium-based batteries in your checked luggage, make sure that they aren't too big, and only carry two of 'em.

ELSEWHERE ON THE BLOGHow to make the most of Restaurant Week.


How travelers can effectively complain when they receive shoddy service. The always insightful David Rowell has helpful advice on successful complaining.

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