'The tourists are coming!'


Houghton Mifflin / $15.95


In the old days, travelers used to plan their trips with the assistance of travel agents. Now, though, many do it all themselves. And that's where this guidebook comes in. It offers practical advice on planning, booking and navigating a trip: figuring out where to go (for those, that is, who don't have a particular destination in mind), researching their destination or even finding an organized trip that fits their needs and interests. Among the many topics that author Susan Stellin addresses are travel insurance, where and how to research plane fares, finding a place to stay, reserving a rental car and flying standby. Even the most experienced travelers are sure to learn a thing or two.



Do the fuel math before you go

Consumers are doing more research to estimate fuel costs, plan road trips and access discount information, according to AAA. Visits to AAA's Fuel Cost Calculator Web site -- -- increased from 43,250 visits in January to 748,829 visits in May.

The calculator uses current gasoline prices from AAA's "Fuel Gauge Report" and latest highway fuel economy ratings to estimate the amount and cost of gasoline needed to complete a trip based on the make and model of car.


Cruising back to the Big Easy

Cruise ships are finally returning to New Orleans, roughly a year after Hurricane Katrina hit the city. Norwegian Cruise Lines and Carnival Cruise Lines will start sailing in October, and Royal Caribbean will return in December. "We promised we would come back to New Orleans, and we have," said Jennifer de la Cruz, a spokeswoman for Carnival. Before Katrina hit in August 2005, cruising was a growing industry in New Orleans and a new terminal was being built. "Thankfully, it did not sustain much damage," said Gary LaGrange, president and chief executive of the port of New Orleans.


Secret bunker reopens to tourists


A once-secret Cold War-era bunker has reopened in West Virginia. The storied bunker lies deep underneath the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, where it remained hidden for more than 30 years until The Washington Post exposed the secret in 1992. The resort launched tours three years later, but the bunker was closed for renovations a few years ago. Reopened last week for public tours, it features a new exhibit gallery in a former dormitory with original artifacts, photographs and a video detailing its history. The top-secret 112,544-square-foot fallout shelter was designed to house Congress and some of its staff -- more than 1,100 people -- in the event of nuclear attack.