04/12/2011 | | Travel Writer | Travel

That Los Angeles is a car town — perhaps the consummate U.S. car town — is taken as a given by travelers, whose queue at the LAX car rental counter is a time-honored ritual.

But with gas around $4 a gallon and soul-crushing traffic jams, fed-up locals and savvy visitors are increasingly bucking convention, and taking the bus.

04/05/2011 | | Travel Writer | Travel

Deep in Scotland’s wild and craggy north, Aberdeen is a springtime destination that’s evergreen.

This is a region that is timeless in its wide verdant expanses, its year-round drizzly chill, the awesome history in its forbidding stone castles and their awesome history, and its cheery corner pubs.

It’s a corner of Europe — literally — that manages to be both stoic and warmly welcoming. Even in a place where the all-time record high temperature is 85 degrees Fahrenheit, there’s plenty of fun to be had amid the misty Scottish gloom.

03/29/2011 | | Travel Writer | Travel

There’s no spring quite like a Southern spring — and no better city to bask in magnolia blooms and warm afternoons than Charleston, S.C.

This spring promises to be particularly lively in Charleston, where a host of upcoming events are planned for the sesquicentennial commemoration of the Civil War. It was right here at Fort Sumter that America’s defining conflict broke out, 150 years ago this April.

03/15/2011 | | Travel Writer | Travel

For me, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts has long been the best place on earth to experience American art, in all its breadth and historical context.

And with the recent opening of the much-anticipated Art of the Americas Wing, designed by Foster + Partners, the MFA offers a compelling new argument for visiting Boston. If you do nothing else here, the America wing’s 53 new galleries are worth the trip — and with Harvard’s collections largely closed for renovation, art lovers can spare the extra time.

03/08/2011 | | Travel Writer | Travel

As New Yorkers were rummaging for umbrellas and trench coats last weekend, the coming summer’s first enthusiasts were sunning themselves on the pebbly beaches of the Côte d’Azur. March afternoons in the 70s are why Nice, France’s sunniest city and the capital of the fabled Riviera, has been popular with hedonists since Roman times — and with Jews for at least 800 years or so.

03/01/2011 | | Travel Writer | Travel

I remember how amazed I was, many years ago, when it first dawned on me that a plane between cities could be the cheap option.

It was around 1999, the dawn of European discount air travel, and I had to figure out the cheapest ride between Paris and Nice. The train cost over $200; the flight, about 20 percent less, and it shaved six hours off the trip.