Compass
  • Mission Control celebrates as news of Apollo 13’s successful splashdown comes through. (Photo: NASA, public domain)

    After a harrowing four days, the ill-fated Apollo 13 shuttle safely landed in the Pacific Ocean on April 17, 1970. The mission was intended to be the third manned landing on the moon, but an oxygen tank exploded two days after launch. The damage crippled the craft’s normal supply of oxygen, electricity, and water, as well as the system that removed carbon dioxide.

    As has been extensively documented in movies and books, astronauts James A. Lovell Jr., John L. Swigert Jr. and Fred W. Haise Jr., had to shut down the command module because of limited power. They instead used the lunar module as a type of lifeboat, though it was only originally designed to sustain two people for a day and a half – not three people for four days.

    The Apollo 13 module splashes down in the Pacific Ocean (Photo: NASA, public domain)Mission personnel had to jerry-rig emergency procedures and create and a number of ingenious – and never before tested – fixes to bring the crew home. This included using the gravity of the moon to slingshot the shuttle back to Earth, creating a system to remove

    Read More »from April 17, 1970: Apollo 13 module lands in the Pacific Ocean after tense flight
  • (Photo: JMartinC / Flickr)

    Things aren’t all good in Antigua Guatemala. The UNESCO World Heritage Site faces an uphill battle against rising crime, dispiriting poverty and (surprise) political dysfunction. In September 2012, the mayor and several members of his family and staff were charged with stealing $3 million from the treasury of the city of only 53,000 people. The U.S. State Department ranks the country of Guatemala as having a “critical” risk of violent crime. American tourists are particular targets because they are thought to carry more dinero than the average Guatemalan…and that’s probably true.

    Despite all the bad press, Antigua — a crumbling jewel full of colonial Spanish architecture — still draws hundreds of thousands of American tourists every year, especially during Lent. Bottom line: stay in popular tourist areas and don’t go out alone at night.

    JMartinC photographed these women and children in Antigua.

    Do you have your own compelling travel photos to share? Join the Yahoo! Travel Flickr group

    Read More »from An uphill battle: Flickr photo of the day
  • With a span of about 225 feet, Sipapu Natural Bridge is one of America’s largest. (Photo: Jacob W. Frank/National Park Service)

    Natural Bridges is both one of America’s most fascinating national monuments and one of the most remote. From the entrance beside a usually empty stretch of highway on a desert plateau in south-central Utah, it's impossible to tell what lies just a few hundred yards away. There, a river is digging a canyon into the plateau’s surface—and carving giant natural bridges in the process.

    A natural bridge is a bit like the formations that populate Arches National Park (also in southern Utah). But while arches are created by wind and precipitation, bridges—true to their name—are undercut by water running below. The three bridges in the national monument’s White Canyon are impressively large. One of them, Sipapu, has the third-greatest span of America’s natural bridges, after Morning Glory and Rainbow natural bridges (both also in Utah).

    Ancient people built these structures, named Horsecollar Ruins, on a protected ledge in White Canyon. (Photo: Neal Herbert/National Park Service)Gold prospector Cass Hite stumbled upon White Canyon, named for the light-colored horizontal sandstone streaks that break up its red-rock canyon walls, in

    Read More »from April 16, 1908: Roosevelt establishes Natural Bridges National Monument
  • (Photo: © PJR Photography / Flickr)

    A modern pink plastic poncho is juxtaposed against an old green agave plant, stucco that may have been bright yellow a century ago, doors faded to the color of rich cinnamon for which Vietnam is famous, and a lintel that recalls years of French colonialism. A sliding metal-mesh door allows for ventilation (over privacy) on torpid summer days and nights when salty breezes blow in from the South China Sea, blanketing Hi An like hot, wet wool.

    Well known to Portuguese sailors of the 16th century as an important port, Hi An was already ancient when they arrived. Later the Japanese and Chinese regarded it as the best destination for trading in all Southeast Asia. Indeed, the Japanese believed the heart of all Asia lay beneath Hi An. Today, Hi An is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and popular tourist destination.

    Photograph by PJR Photography.

    Do you have your own compelling travel photos to share? Join the Yahoo! Travel Flickr group, or look us up on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest

    Read More »from Hello, Hội An: Flickr photo of the day
  • Soccer-mad Brazil will host the 2014 World Cup, making it a top summer destination this year. (Photo: Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

     

    The dawn of warmer weather already has travelers focusing on summer getaways. A Memorial Day and Summer Travel Trends study by travel-booking website Kayak reveals that when it comes to summer travel, winter-weary Americans choices are declaring: the hotter the better.

    “This Memorial Day, our data show Americans are headed south to the Caribbean, Mexico and to a few southern U.S. cities.” Kayak spokesperson Maria Katime told Yahoo Travel.

    Kayak analyzed flight and hotel searches on its site from January 1 through mid-March, gaining insight into where Americans are choosing to spend their summer holidays. The report also looked at the average costs of flights and hotels.

    Going international

    (Source: Kayak)When Kayak looked at flight and hotel searches combined, the 10 most searched destinations for Americans seeking to get out of town this summer were international.

    “Thanks to the World Cup, demand for flights and hotels in Rio de Janeiro is blowing up, making it the No.1 trending destination this

    Read More »from New data: Americans say bring on the heat for spring and summer travel
  • Rand McNally Road Atlas cover from 1926 (Photo: courtesy of Rand McNally)

    Before there were smart phones and Google Maps, people relied on road atlases and paper maps stored in their glove boxes. The most ubiquitous of these was the always-handy Rand McNally Road Atlas.

    It wasn’t until April 15, 1924, though, that the first Rand McNally Auto Chum – later to become the Road Atlas – was published. That auto chum included hand-drawn maps and no interstates (there weren’t any), and it came without an index. But it was still a landmark for auto travel, which had previously been relatively ad hoc.

    What began as a Chicago printing company in the 1850s quickly moved from producing railroad timetables to publishing railroad guides. As the company — founded by William Rand and Andrew McNally — moved into textbooks and globes, it only made sense for it to eventually print maps of the country’s new road networks as well. In 1904, it published its first automobile road map.

    With car travel on the rise, figuring out how to get where you were going became increasingly

    Read More »from April 15, 1924: Rand McNally publishes first road atlas
  • (Photo: Josh Merwin - CREATIVE CULTURE-ID)“Total bitch” is a term Alysia Reiner has given to describe her character, Natalie “Fig” Figueroa, on the Netflix hit “Orange is the New Black.” With the series return this summer, there’ve been hints of big surprises, including learning what drives Fig, and not just as prison administrator/assistant to the warden. Which leads us to wonder … When Reiner takes a break from her character’s “prison life,” what drives her travel-wise? Voluntourism? Spa treatments? Dining on insects? Check, check and check.

    What’s something you never fail to pack in your suitcase?
    My journal and watercolors.

    Carry-on or check-in?
    Carry-on only, baby, even for a month-long honeymoon. Even a ski trip. My new obsession is my LeSportsac Light as a Feather roller bag carry-on. It packs so much in so little space, and it’s super cute, too.

    Window or aisle?
    Window. God, I love daydreaming out plane windows.

    What’s your idea of the perfect vacation?
    For a weekend: beach, book, booze and my boy. For a week: European

    Read More »from Five Miles Up: Alysia Reiner of 'New Black' on her favorite travel bag
  • (Photo: Sergio Torres / Flickr)

    “The pictures taken that day in front of the glacier and over it during a 7 hours trekking reflect the best adventure in my life. It was a dream fulfilled...” Those are the words of Sergio Torres, of Barcelona, Spain; referring to the day he photographed the Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park in southern Argentina.

    Only 450 miles from the tip of the South American continent and Cape Horn, the glacier is one of the wildest and cleanest places ordinary vacationers can visit. Perito Moreno is part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the third largest reserve of fresh water on earth. You can take a two-hour bus ride from the city of El Calafate and go trekking on the glacier. While you’re crampon-ing around, grab a little bit of that blue ice for drinks on your trip back to the city and see if it’s everything it’s cracked up to be.

    Do you have your own compelling travel photos to share? Join the Yahoo! Travel Flickr group, or look us up on Facebook, Twitter, Google +,

    Read More »from Blue ice: Flickr photo of the day
  • Allegiant Air's Giant Seats are a roomier 25 inches in width, up from the standard 17.5 inches. (Photo: Allegiant Air)
    Allegiant Air passengers flying to Hawaii can now say "aloha" to "Giant Seats." The airline has supersized some economy rows on Boeing 757 airplanes for long-haul flights to Honolulu, Maui, and some western U.S. cities.

    Although they've only been offered for a couple of weeks, "generally we're seeing people purchase them, so there is a demand for them," Allegiant Air spokesperson Jessica Wheeler told Yahoo.

    The airline made the change to comply with FAA rules that require wider seats for crew members who need to rest during longer flights. The seats are a roomier 25-inch width, up from 17.5 inches.

    The airline decided that in addition to those required seats, paying customers might also enjoy (and pay for) a bigger seat on longer flights. Passengers can now reserve them on some flights to Hawaii and Las Vegas. The "Giant Seats" are available for a fee on all six of the airline's 757s, which fly the longer distances.

    Related gallery: Top 10 best airlinesFor those who want to stretch out, the seating arrangements also

    Read More »from Allegiant Air offers 'Giant Seats'
  • Replicas of Lincoln’s box seats are a prominent feature in the renovated Ford’s Theatre. (Photo: knight94 via Wikimedia Commons)

    Today, Ford’s Theatre stands as a memorial to the president who was shot there in 1865. But for decades, only government workers were allowed inside the historic building. And even though the public can wander through it again now, some believe the building is cursed.

    The redbrick structure on 10th Street in Washington, DC, was originally a church. When the congregation moved out in 1861, John T. Ford renovated it as a theater. Remodeled with plush fittings and decorative woodwork after a fire in 1862, Ford’s Theater was considered one of the city’s finest theaters when President Abraham Lincoln took his box seat to watch “Our American Cousin” on the fateful night of April 14, 1865.

    After Lincoln’s assassination, the U.S. government took over the building, using it for storage and administrative work and expressly prohibiting its use as an entertainment venue. When part of the building collapsed in 1892, killing 22 workers, some saw the accident as additional evidence that the building

    Read More »from April 14, 1865: President Lincoln is shot at Ford’s Theatre

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