TIME ebola

Rick Perry Wants to Ban Air Travel From West Africa Amid Ebola Outbreak

Rick Perry
Republican Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, delivers the keynote address at a Heritage Foundation event titled "The Border Crisis and New Politics of Immigration," August 21, 2014. Tom Williams—CQ-Roll Call,Inc.

He joins a growing list of politicians calling for such a ban

Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Friday called on the federal government to impose a ban on air travel from the West African countries hardest hit by Ebola, joining a growing list of politicians supporting such a travel restriction.

Perry reasoned a ban is the right move given that the first patient diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, Thomas Eric Duncan, traveled from Ebola-ridden Liberia to eventually reach Texas, the Associated Press reports. The governor’s call for travel restrictions is a reversal of his stance from just 10 days ago when he said an enhanced medical screening process would be more effective at keeping Ebola out of the country.

“The impact from banning flights from these areas is not going to be an efficient way to deal with this,” Perry said last week, according to The Hill. Referring to a travel ban, Perry added, “There are some that would make the argument that it would [hamper the fight against Ebola].”

Several prominent Republican politicians in particular, including Mitt Romney, have called for flight restrictions, but many health officials say that such a ban would only hurt efforts to contain the disease.

[AP]

TIME ebola

Why Airlines and the CDC Oppose Ebola Flight Bans

Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the CDC, during testimony at the Rayburn House Office Building on October 16, 2014 in Washington, DC.
Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the CDC, during testimony at the Rayburn House Office Building on October 16, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Washington Pos/Getty Images

Some Republicans say flight bans would be life-saving, but medical experts worry such measures could be deadly

The debate surrounding travel bans as a way to curb the spread of Ebola has intensified after Thursday’s congressional hearing, unleashing a flurry of impassioned arguments on both sides.

The stakes are high: those for a flight ban believe it’s a necessary protection against a deadly epidemic that has already reached American soil, but those against it say a ban would make the U.S. even more vulnerable to the virus.

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), who ran the hearing, wants to prohibit all non-essential commercial travel from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, as well as institute a mandatory 21-day quarantine order for any American who has traveled to the stricken African nations. This quarantine would include a ban on domestic travel.

Murphy explained his position at the opening of Thursday’s hearing: “A determined, infected traveler can evade the screening by masking the fever with ibuprofen… Further, it is nearly impossible to perform contact tracing of all people on multiple international flights across the globe, when contact tracing and treatment just within the United States will strain public health resources.” Murphy is not alone; other lawmakers such as House Speaker John Boehner and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) agree.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), however, maintains that these congressmen have it backwards. While they think a travel ban would secure the U.S. border from Ebola and shrink the potential spheres of contact, CDC director Tom Frieden says instituting a flight ban would forfeit what little control we currently have over the virus.

“Right now we know who’s coming in,” Frieden said at the hearing. “If we try to eliminate travel… we won’t be able to check them for fever when they leave, we won’t be able to check them for fever when they arrive, we won’t be able—as we do currently—to see a detailed history to see if they’ve been exposed.” The White House has sided with Frieden. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday that a travel ban is “not something we’re considering.”

Even if Republican lawmakers are correct that a travel ban could curb the spread of Ebola in the U.S., it would also curb the movement of American health workers to the West African countries that are already desperate for more aid.

“If we do things that unintentionally make it harder to get that response in, to get supplies in, that make it harder for those governments to manage, to get everything from economic activity to travel going, it’s going to become much harder to stop the outbreak at the source,” Frieden said this week. “If that were to happen, it would spread for more months and potentially to other countries, and that would increase rather than decrease the risk to Americans.”

There’s also a practical concern surrounding the bans. Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States and who later died from the disease, took three flights and flew on two airlines on his trip from Monrovia, Liberia to Dallas, TX, stopping in Belgium on the way. Prohibiting travel from West Africa to the United States quickly falls down the rabbit hole of connecting flights in Europe, especially since there currently aren’t any direct flights between the U.S. and the primary Ebola hot zones.

A spokesperson for Airlines for America, the industry trade organization for leading U.S. airlines, told TIME, “We agree with the White House that discussions of flight bans are not necessary and actually impede efforts to stop the disease in its tracks in West Africa.”

And if domestic or international travel bans were to be instituted, others familiar with the airline industry warn of unintended consequences. Greg Winton, founder of The Aviation Law Firm outside Washington, D.C., told TIME that mass flight restrictions “will have a huge impact financially, certainly on the whole economy, not just the aviation sector.”

But at this point Winton says anything is possible, citing the Federal Aviation Administration’s shut down of air travel following 9/11 as an extreme precedent. “As far as FAA aviation law, none of that really takes precedence over disease control at this point,” he said.

TIME Food & Drink

These Are America’s Best Coffee Cities

Coffee
Henglein and Steets—Getty Images/Cultura RF

Whether you’re looking for single-origin beans, personalized pour-overs, or carbonated iced coffee

When they took a train trip along the West Coast a few years ago, Stephanie Mantello and her husband got off at Portland on a mission.

It was for coffee.

“We sprinted off the train with only a 45-minute stop to get a coffee at Stumptown,” says the Sydney-based travel blogger. “It was well worth the potential of missing the train.”

Like many travelers, Mantello loves to try local java in a new place. And no surprise, Portland, OR—home of famed roaster Stumptown—was yet again in the running this year for the top city for coffee among Travel +Leisure readers. In the America’s Favorite Places survey, readers voted on the most magnetic features of major metro areas, from the quality of local coffee to the live-music scene.

Find out where to get your fix in the best coffee cities across the country—and make your opinions heard by voting in the America’s Favorite Places survey.

No. 1 Portland, OR

The Northwest city known for its latte-friendly (read: misty) weather won the coffee contest again this year—and not just forStumptown Coffee Roasters, which continues to expand beyond Oregon. Two lesser-known local favorites are in the city’s Central Eastside. One is Coava, a single-origin roaster whose beans are regulars at the Northwest Regional Barista Competition, and whose Zen-feeling Brew Bar shares space with a sustainable bamboo company. The other, micro-roaster Water Avenue Coffee, offers such barrel-aged coffees as Oak and Pinot Noir; one of the most popular menu items is a $1 sidecar shot of espresso.

No. 2 Seattle

The city that gave the world Starbucks fell to No. 2 again—perhaps because some T+L readers think only of the coffee giant when they come here. But Seattle, which also ranked well for bookstores and boutiques, supports plenty of smaller coffee operations (some even dubbed “nana-roasters”) that roast their own beans. Consider Slate Coffee Roasters in Ballard, or Convoy Coffee, a bike-powered coffee cart that does pour-overs, AeroPress, and iced coffee. If you can’t come to Seattle without visiting the mother ship, check out the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room, a 15,000-square-foot flagship that will offer small-batch roasts when it opens December 2014 in Capitol Hill.

No. 3 Providence, RI

The coffee culture in this state capital—populated by a lot of artists and geeks, according to T+L readers—runs deep. To understand one reason why sweet “coffee milk” is Rhode Island’s state drink, go toDave’s Coffee, which sells a high-quality espresso-based coffee syrup that locals often add to a glass of milk or use to lace their morning joe. Dave’s also does a cold-brew coffee on tap and boasts of having the state’s only Slayer machine—which helps baristas better control the temperature and pressure during espresso making. One of the best up-and-comer coffee places is in the Dean Hotel: Bolt Coffee Company, where the top order is a Chemex-made pot of coffee for two. And since nothing goes better with coffee than a little pastry, pick up some cookies from North Bakery, or scones and sticky buns from Seven Stars Bakery (Providence ranked at No. 1 for its baked goods).

No. 4 Albuquerque

The New Mexico city made the top five for its distinctive local flavor. Case in point: the New Mexico Piñon Coffee Company, offering blends made with local pine nuts, which fans say add a vaguely cocoa or hazelnut flavor. On Saturdays, the roaster offers a short coffee history class with a roasting demo and cupping. Ask Albuquerqueans for their other favorite local coffee drink, and they may send you to Golden Crown Panaderia, where you can indulge in the signature Coffee Milkshake with vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup, and a generous dousing of espresso.

No. 5 Houston

This business hub is one of four cities designated as a green coffee exchange port on the New York Board of Trade. For a purist’s cup, check out Siphon Coffee, in Montrose, where your coffee is prepared using the vacuum process, which promises to extract the best flavor from the beans. While Siphon’s baristas may discourage cream or sugar, they do condone snacks (like breakfast tacos and empanadas) and trying your luck on the coffee bar’s Ms. Pac-Man and Frogger machine. To taste other local brews, go to Revival Market, which offers local cheeses, charcuterie, and coffee by Houston-based roaster Greenway. Another reason to stop in: Houston also scored near the top of the survey for its foodie-friendly specialty grocery stores.

Read the full list HERE.

More from Travel + Leisure:

TIME russia

An Aeroflot Nightmare: How I Got Placed Under Virtual Arrest in Moscow

Russian Airlines OAO Aeroflot Operations
A passenger jet operated by OAO Aeroflot takes off from Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Old practices are dying hard in Russia, including at its national airline

Russia at one point seemed to be embracing the West, and the transformation that came as a natural result. After the unraveling of the Soviet Union in 1991, politics became democratic and the economy capitalist. The Cold War was relegated to history books and outdated spy movies. Separated by ideology and fear no more, the economies of Russia and Europe became closely intertwined. The G7 turned into the G8.

But these days, Russia seems to be reversing course. Politics have slipped back into near-authoritarianism under President Vladimir Putin. Moscow is striving to reassert the influence it once held over its neighborhood during Soviet days. Sanctions and ill-will are again isolating the Russian economy from the West. I recently bought a T-shirt in Moscow sporting a picture of Vladimir Putin karate-kicking Barack Obama. The ideas and attitudes of the USSR have proven hard to change.

That seems to be the case at Aeroflot, the nation’s main airline, as well. During Soviet times, the name Aeroflot was synonymous with gruff flight attendants and dilapidated aircraft. But the airline has mustered ambitions to become a major international carrier, and has made tremendous progress upgrading its fleet and modernizing its services. It joined the SkyTeam alliance, which includes Delta and Korean Air.

But as my wife and I found out, Russia’s national carrier, much like the nation itself, is apparently having some trouble shaking off its past.

A week ago, we arrived at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport to check into our flight back home to Beijing only to be told that we no longer had seats on the plane. The flight was overbooked and we had been bumped off. We are seasoned travelers, and in our experience, when flights are overbooked the airline usually asks for volunteers to surrender their seats, sweetening the request with some nominal financial benefit. If Aeroflot went through such a process, we weren’t involved, and when we raised the possibility of seeking volunteers, we were ignored. Apparently, the staff had determined who lost their seats in advance, and that was that.

Aeroflot’s decision, however, put us in a tight spot. Not only did we both have to be at work the next morning, but our visas were also expiring that night, so the delay would cause us to remain in the country too long. We explained our predicament to the Aeroflot staff, but nevertheless, they booked us onto another flight the next day. Then they demanded we sign documents agreeing to the change. When we continued to protest, one of the Aeroflot staffers told my wife we had 15 minutes to accept the new tickets or else he would call the police, have us thrown in jail for a visa violation and abandon us to deal with the consequences without the aid of the airline.

Left with the stark choice of prison or a delayed departure, we signed the papers and took our replacement tickets. However, what we weren’t told by Aeroflot is that we would not be able to move freely in the city, the airport or even a hotel until the boarding time of our new flight. The airline placed us in a special section of a Novotel hotel with a guard posted outside the door.

We were not allowed to leave the immediate area of our room, even to go to the hotel coffee shop, nor to order our own food. Breakfast boasted bread and spoiled yogurt but no coffee. Basically, we were locked away as if we had overstayed our visas, when we had not. The airline forced us into a situation in which we were treated as criminals.

We got a pretty good idea of how Edward Snowden must have lived during his first days in Russia. After arriving at the same Moscow airport, Snowden, too, was held in this travelers’ no-man’s land in a hotel not far from our own.

When I asked Aeroflot’s press officers about our case, they responded that “the procedure was completed in full compliance with the company’s rules and regulations.” The press managers added that “there were no offending words or any intimidations at your address [sic]” and that the Aeroflot staff employed “the persuasion approach” to resolve the problem.

As to the conditions at the hotel, they wrote that “there were no negative feedbacks received about the quality of service provided.” In addition, Aeroflot said that “we have taken the decision to organize additional training sessions for our ground personnel which will include the imitations of similar situations [sic].”

That might help. But if Aeroflot intends to shed its old reputation, it might want to ditch its Soviet practices along with its Soviet planes.

TIME How-To

The Best Sites for Booking Last-Minute Travel

Many great travel deals can be found by carefully planning in advance. But spur-of-the-moment trips can also be had for cheap if you know where to look.

That’s because hotels, airlines, resorts and more are looking to fill vacant spots at the last minute.

Here are our picks for the best sites to book a great trip on short notice without blowing a crazy amount of money.

Best all around last-minute booking site: Expedia.com

expedia-last-minute-deals-2014-510px
Expedia

Expedia.com’s last-minute booking page wins for layout as well as price and convenience. Three columns of deals under the headers of Tonight, This Weekend and Next Weekend show you top deals for the destination you select. You can further filter your results to see just flight, just hotels or package deals for both. Destinations include both major U.S. cities and foreign vacation spots.

Clicking on a deal will give you a page showing you pictures plus ratings, reviews and amenities. You will also see, in the case of a hotel, what other rooms are available and their prices as well. Flights work in a similar fashion. Find the destination and deal that appeal to you and you will be shown other flights leading to that destination in case you’re looking for alternatives.

Of course, the best deal is flight + hotel. Just mousing over the options will show you how much money you’ll be saving by booking them together. Just remember that the stated price doesn’t include baggage fees.

Best last-minute hotel: Hotel Tonight

hotel-tonight-app-270px
Hotel Tonight

This isn’t a site, but an app — and it’s a life saver. Need an extra night’s stay but your hotel has no more vacancy? Score a last-minute flight and need a place to stay? The Hotel Tonight app detects your location and shows you all the hotels in your area with vacancy. You can also set it to show you a city you haven’t arrived in yet.

The display shows you pictures of the property, the price, the quality of the hotel and how much you’ll save. Tapping on a specific hotel on the list will give you more images, user reviews and, most importantly, a Need to Know section under the Info tab. This lists the restrictions of that particular deal. Pay attention to limitations like the inability to book a specific type of bed until arrival or warnings about the neighborhood around the hotel.

Price: Free on iTunes and Google Play.

Best last-minute flight: Kayak

kayak-sidebar-200px
Kayak

Kayak pulls in data on more than 400 airlines and lets you compare multiple travel sites at once. Not only can it direct you to other travel deal sites, but it also shows you the current prices directly from the major airlines’ websites.

The sliders on the sidebar is what makes Kayak really shine. Adjusting the sliders and checking off the options you want will quickly show you the exact deals you’re looking for. You can upgrade or downgrade your seat, choose a different airline or select a new take-off/landing time.

Don’t forget to click on the “More Filters” button in the sidebar to narrow down the price range, layover options and, most importantly, planes with built-in Wi-Fi. Seriously, what did we do on planes before Wi-Fi?

Best last-minute room rental: Airbnb

airbnb-2014-510px
Airbnb

Though there’s no explicit LAST MINUTE DEALS CLICK HERE! button on the front of the site, Airbnb is still a great service for finding a last-minute room at a fraction of the cost of even a deeply discounted hotel room. Simply enter your destination and dates (even if it’s tonight) and the site will display all the rooms, apartments and houses that are available to rent by the day. (Note: There is a “Help! I need a place, tonight” search feature in the app for iOS and Android.)

Concerned about the safety of spending the night in someone else’s home? Every listing includes actual user reviews. There’s also a 24/7 hotline if you have any issues with your stay. It’s one of the best ways to find a place quickly and cheaply and to make a new friend along the way courtesy of your gracious hosts.

Pro tip: The best way to save money on last-minute travel plans is to have some flexibility. Can you take a plane with a layover instead of a direct flight? Are you willing to stay in a hotel in a new part of the city? Comfortable sleeping in an extra room of a welcoming host’s house? A little adventure can go a long way in saving you a lot of cash.

This article was written by Dan O’Halloran and originally appeared on Techlicious.

More from Techlicious:

TIME People

Missing Hiker Rescued After 3 Days in Washington Mountains

Paula Reuter was rescued after she was missing for 3 days in the Washington Mountains.
Paula Reuter seen here in this undated photo was rescued after she was missing for 3 days in the Washington Mountains. AP

Paula Reuter had set out for an 11-mile hike near but lost track of the trail

A stranded hiker survived on mushrooms and bark for three days until smoke signals led to her rescue in a Washington state mountain range late Thursday.

Paula Reuter had set out for an 11-mile hike near Snoqualmie Pass with her two dogs Monday morning but lost track of the trail, she told NBC News affiliate King 5. The King’s County Sheriff’s Office began searching for Reuter on Wednesday.

The 21-year-old hiker said she spent two days trying to rediscover the trail, but on Wednesday decided to stay put and ignite a smoke signal. “I had seen the helicopter and I…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Travel

World’s Creepiest Attractions

FRANCE-TOURISM-CATACOMBS
Photo taken on August 7, 2014 at the Catacombs of Paris shows bones stacked and arranged. These underground quarries were used to store the remains of generations of Parisians in a bid to cope with the overcrowding of Paris' cemeteries at the end of the 18th century, and are now a popular tourist attraction. DOMINIQUE FAGET—AFP/Getty Images

Whether you’re spooked by skeletons, ghosts, mummies, or murderers, get ready to cover your eyes at the world’s creepiest attractions

Capelados Ossos, Evora, Portugal

From the outside, the Royal Church of St. Francis, located in the picturesque Portuguese town of Evora, seems like any other shrine to piety. But looks can be deceiving. Inside is the Capela dos Ossos, or the Chapel of Bones. Short on space to bury the dead, enterprising monks in the 16th century moved the remains of 5,000 corpses into a consecrated chapel—and, like medieval Martha Stewarts, decorated the space with their bones.

Truly Creepy: Two rotted corpses, of an unknown man and a young child, dangle precariously from nooses.

Torture Museum, Amsterdam

This small and unabashedly lowbrow museum chronicles historical torture methods in displays that are not for the squeamish. Fans of Middle Age brutality can admire the agonizing “skull cracker,” the limb-dislocating rack, and that most efficient of killing machines, the guillotine.

Truly Creepy: The disturbing illustrations include one of a naked man hung from his ankles like a wishbone and being sawed in half lengthwise.

Port Arthur Historic Sites, Tasmania

This 19th-century Australian penal colony was once home to thousands of violent convicts sentenced to “hell on earth,” and the dissection rooms here are evidence to that. Awful conditions, vicious floggings and isolation in dark, dank cells led to as many as 2,000 deaths. Tragedy made its comeback in April 1996 when a deranged gunman killed 35 workers and visitors in the country’s worst mass murder to date.

Truly Creepy: The most-often reported ghost sightings are not of convicts but of a crying woman and young child.

The Museum of Death, Hollywood

This stomach-churning homage to murder, dismemberment, and rigor mortis houses (among other things) a collection of serial killer artwork, photos of horrific accidents and famous crime scenes, and the guillotine-severed head of the murderous Bluebeard of Paris.

Truly Creepy: The self-guided tour takes only an hour, but the truly gore-obsessed can linger over videos of autopsies and actual death footage.

Museo delas Momias, Mexico

This Guanajuato museum’s 111 remarkably preserved mummies were exhumed from the Santa Paula Pantheon between 1865 and 1989. Their facial expressions are especially scary—many seem to be shouting “No!”—and clenched fists protrude from the tattered clothes. It’s like the prop room for a zombie movie—only real.

Truly Creepy: The tiny baby mummies, dressed in local tradition as “Little Angels.”

Read the full list HERE.

More from Travel + Leisure:

MONEY Tourism

This Autumn Is Awesome for Foliage, but Rotten for Apple Picking

Golden delicius rotten apples on the ground
Jose A. Bernat Bacete—Getty Images

The success of your weekend plans for fall excursions in the countryside may be dictated by weather patterns that kicked off last January.

Much of the nation experienced a brutally cold winter in early 2014, followed by a surprisingly mild summer. According to the Weather Channel, Chicago had only three summer days when temperatures surpassed 90 degrees (it normally has 17 days of 90+ weather in August alone), while northeastern cities such as Boston, Philadelphia, and New York never crossed the 95-degree mark, which is also extremely rare.

Most recently, a relative absence of rain and strong winds, combined with weeks of mostly sunny days and chillier evenings, has helped create a scenario in which the fall foliage stands out as especially brilliant and long-lasting in spots known to attract leaf-peepers—the Appalachians and New England in particular. “It’s really what happens in late July to late September that sets the stage,” Michael Schlacter, a meteorologist at Weather2000.com, explained to Bloomberg News. “This is one of the most ideal two-month seasons you could have had; it has pretty much clinched the season.”

William Ostrofsky, forest pathologist for the Maine Forest Service, told the Portland Press Herald that largely thanks to the mild summer, this year’s foliage season is likely to rank among the top 10 best ever. “Everything is right on time and they’re going very brilliantly,” he said.

Likewise, Connecticut’s forests are expected to turn especially brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows in the very near future, with peak foliage reaching mid-state during the last two weeks of October, and peak colors along the coast in late October and early November. “Weather conditions have been advantageous this summer to set Connecticut up for a really nice foliage season with great colors,” Christopher Martin, director of the State Forester at Bureau of Natural Resources, said to the Middletown Press.

Yankee Magazine noted this week that “foliage has been boosted by a late spring, a mild summer growing season, and a bright sunny and dry autumn,” and that experienced leaf-peepers are on record saying this has “already been one of the best foliage seasons in recent memory.” The Connecticut River Valley along the Vermont-New Hampshire border should be experiencing peak foliage this holiday weekend, as should many lower-elevation mountain areas throughout New England.

On the other hand, some of the same weather factors that have led to terrific foliage are wreaking havoc on another traditional favorite fall pastime, apple picking. As the Boston Globe put it, “The winter was too cold, the summer not hot enough, and now comes an autumn of discontent for apple growers.”

Some orchards in Massachusetts are reporting that apple crops are down 50% this season, and many will have to shut down apple picking operations earlier than usual, if they haven’t done so already.

The bum year for apples isn’t limited to New England either. The Chicago Tribune reported that after long strings of frigid weather, orchards in Illinois have been forced to delay openings for apple pickings and perhaps even raise prices as means to cope. “It was as bad as bad can get,” one orchard owner said of the conditions. “It’s the worst crop we’ve ever had.”

Extremely dry weather in southern California, meanwhile, has compelled most apple orchards in the mountain town of Julian—known of hosting an annual Apple Days festival in early October—to shut down weeks before they normally do.

Perhaps this is all for the best. There’s a good case to be made that apple picking is a wasteful scam, in which tourists overpay for what’s often a mediocre product. They bring home far more apples than ever wind up using, and most bizarrely, they (OK: we) pay extra for the work of picking them.

MONEY Travel

3 Top Retirement Trips That Won’t Break Your Budget

Bartolome Island, The Galapagos.
Bartolome Island, The Galapagos. Ray Hems—Getty Images

That retirement dream trip may carry a harsh real-world price tag. Here's how save on costs and still travel comfortably.

Where is retirement going to take you? If you’re like most people, you’re dreaming of grand European tours, African safaris, maybe even Antarctica.

But even if you think you’ve budgeted generously for trips, you might get a harsh dose of reality when you see the actual price tag. A couple that puts aside $10,000 a year for travel may only be able to pull off one major trip per year, with maybe some left over for smaller jaunts.

What Patrick O’Brien, 71, and his wife Bobbie, 68, found out is that you can’t get too far on that. So what the O’Briens have done is a combination of lowering their expectations and raising their budget. They nixed Australia from their list, but over the years have done about 10 group tours, including two weeks in Alaska this year.

Here’s what three of the most popular trips for retirees will cost you:

GRAND EUROPEAN TOUR

How popular is the big European trip for retirees? Consider this: Viking River Cruises, one of the largest riverboat cruise operators, will carry more than 250,000 passengers in 2014 with a median age of 55, and 75% of them will do one of their European riverboat tours. The majority of those will sail from Amsterdam to Budapest, or some portion thereof.

Cost: A mid-tier balcony stateroom for an eight-day Rhine cruise in the spring will run about $8,000 for a couple, not including airfare, which can cost $600 a ticket from New York. Excursions and food are included, but not tips.

Budget tip: Off-season cruises are always cheaper, but on this route, Viking marketing executive Richard Marnell says the late-fall Christmas market specials are a big draw. “It has a feel and a vibe – they are an artisans’ heaven,” Marnell says.

GREAT WALL IN CHINA

Thelma Tiambeng-Bright’s dream retirement trip was to go to China, a feat she accomplished last year on a tour with YMT Vacations. The 70-year-old retired teacher, who lives in Duncanville, Texas, flew to California to join the group, which then flew to Beijing. From there, she saw the Terracotta Army, cruised the Yangtze River, saw the Great Wall and then Shanghai.

Cost: Tiambent-Bright’s 12-day trip cost about $4,000, including airfare. The current discount rate for a couple is $2,400, with $1,500 for airfare from a destination like Dallas.

Budget Tip: Travel with a buddy or significant other, if you can. Tiambent-Bright says she pays $600 to $800 extra on any trip she goes solo.

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

For Patrick and Bobbie O’Brien, their dream retirement trip was to see the extraordinary wildlife of the Galapagos Islands, off Ecuador. They took an 11-day journey with Road Scholar, which was previously known as Elderhostel, a popular nonprofit group that plans educational trips for seniors.

One important feature for their budget was that the trip was all-inclusive. “We want to know how much money we will spend, and the nicest part is that there are no extra costs—you don’t have to worry about tipping or side trips,” says Bobbie O’Brien.

Cost: $8,000 for a couple, not including airfare to Quito, which will add $1,700.

Budget tip: When you want to go on the big trip, set it and forget it, suggests Peg Walter, a 70-year-old retiree from New York. “I cringe when I see the amount, because you pay for the whole thing in one lump sum,” Walter says. But then by the time she goes on the trip, she’s able to just enjoy herself because there are no extras involved on most of her tours.

“I call them ‘SKI’ trips —Spend the Kids’ Inheritance,” Walter jokes. “We’re not rich by any means, but we say, let’s try to use wisely what we have so we have memories.”

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser