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Travel diary: How I found acceptance in a Spanish hospital

spanish granadaAvid travelers wear the title of "wanderer" like a badge of honor.

I know I do – I never completely related to my peers in my small Nebraska hometown. My brain was always dreaming, always scheming for ways to create the life I wanted – and that didn't include Nebraska.

I fell in love with Spain as a teen – the architecture and culture drew me in with its passionate allure and never let go. It seemed only natural that I'd spend a semester studying there.

I sent for my student visa, packed my bags and traveled to the Alhambra-lined horizon of Granada, Spain, in early 2004.

"You're living with Senora Cordon," the director told me as we arrived one rainy January night. My host mother -- a plump Spanish woman with perfectly-coifed blond hair and dozens of leopard-print scarves – was genuinely interested in my well-being. So far, so good.

My elation soon turned into a routine of class, class and more class. The school, an offshoot of the Universidad de Granada, was filled with American students -- not exactly the multicultural experience I envisioned.

[Photo: Flickr/*CezCze* (off-line)]

Expanded Delta Airlines seating options excite tall (and cheap) travelers

delta seating optionsThink about your last flight: Were you comfortable the whole time, or did you feel more like a sardine shoehorned into a tin can?I'm always the sardine – guess that's what I get for being six foot tall and cheap.That might be changing now, thanks to some old-fashioned airline innovation.

The Sydney-Morning Herald reports that Delta Airlines is getting ready to offer "economy comfort" seating that will offer four additional inches of legroom and 50 percent more reclining.

Better yet – the new seating class is offering free liquor.The price? An extra $80 to $160 each way. High-level Delta frequent fliers will receive the upgrades for free, according to the Herald.

Five aircraft models are set to get the new seating option, including the Boeing 767.This is probably the most exciting development since some airlines started handing out those delicious Biscoff cookies on early-morning flights. After all, airlines are finding any way to tack fees onto our fares, so why not spring for a little extra comfort while you're at it?

The price really isn't all that bad either – and this is coming from someone who has seriously considered hiding her dog in her purse to avoid the pet surcharge.Yes, I did think about it – and no, I didn't do it. Would you pay the added fee for the extra legroom on your next Delta flight?

[Photo: JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images]

Egyptian protests reinforce the importance of safety while abroad

EgyptianSome people run away from danger; others run toward it.

Multimedia journalist Rachel Anderson is one of the latter. She's lived in Egypt for six months and chose to stay after the highly publicized protests prompted an American evacuation. "Nope. Never!" Anderson said when asked if she's considered leaving. "[I'm] spreading the word of what the Egyptian people are currently enduring and am providing a voice to an audience who wouldn't otherwise be able to." That doesn't mean she's ignoring her personal safety.

"I'm staying in a hotel close to the protests so I don't spend much time on the street alone," Anderson said. "I'm not walking around outside the square by myself."

That's a good thing, said retired U.S. State Department anti-terrorism expert Ed Lee. Lee consults travelers on international safety and believes that civil turmoil – like what is currently happening in Egypt – is a good time to reinforce the pillars of travel safety.


British companies roll out royal wedding packages for the big day

royal wedding

The much-anticipated royal wedding is now less than three months away. We didn't receive a coveted save-the-date fax, so it's safe to say we won't be sitting between Elton John and Sarah Ferguson at Westminster Abbey on April 29.

That's OK, though – there are plenty of other ways to celebrate the Wedding of the Century without all the excessive bowing and curtsying. In the same predicament? Well, you could celebrate stateside with the Trump International Hotel's royal wedding package; or, you could skip the pond for the big day and take in all of the royal excitement. Need suggestions? Here are a few of the best packages thrown together in honor of Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding. Oh, and don't wait – packages are already selling out.

British Airways' Royal Wedding Weekend

British Airways is leading the royal wedding pack with several flight and hotel options for those hoping to catch a glimpse of the pomp and circumstance. Prices start at $820 for trips between April 27 and May 1, and hotel options range from the 2-star Pembury in London's Finsbury Park to the 5-Star Grange Holborn on the West End.

Play 'Radio Station Roulette' - Road trip tip

One game my friends and I developed during a few of our epic road trips is something we call "Radio Station Roulette." Here's how to play:

  1. Push the scan button on your car stereo.
  2. Wait until it stops on a station – the first to name the title and artist of the song playing on the station wins a point.
  3. Repeat as many times as you want. The person with the most points at the end is the 'Music Master.'
This game is a great way to boost energy during your road trip (and it might even inspire a little fun competition among music-loving friends!)

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