Travel Briefs

Milan, Italy, is hosting a "Milan and Leonardo" program in 2019 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci's death. Visit for a list of events.

One significant event is the "Leonardo e la Sala delle Asse tra Natura, Arte e Scienza" exhibit, May 16-Aug. 18, at Sforza Castle (Piazza Castello, 20121 Milano; phone +39 02 8846 3703,, where visitors can witness the restoration of a vaulted ceiling...


Using the app Refundit, free on Apple and Android, travelers can easily apply for and receive VAT refunds in Belgium, with other EU countries to be added soon.

To be refunded, a user first takes a photo of his receipt, then uses the app to upload the receipt along with a photo of his passport and boarding pass. A confirmation should arrive within minutes. There is no need to visit a Customs desk or fill out any forms at the airport.

Using Refundit incurs a 9% handling fee on...


Travelers with a layover of more than six hours at Atatürk Airport (IST) can take a private guided tour of Istanbul’s Sultanahmet district, including Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar and more, in a Mercedes van. The “Istanbul Layover Tour” must be booked in advance, costs $275 for up to six people and includes transfers from and to the airport but not entry fees or food. Visit to book. A custom tour can be...


The Federal Aviation Administration upgraded its safety rating for the air authority of Vietnam to "Category 1," meaning Vietnamese carriers now can be granted approval to fly to the US and any of its territories. The upgrade also allows Vietnamese airlines to enter into codeshare agreements with US-based airlines.

The flight- and hotel-booking sites and stopped offering air tickets and hotel rooms for Venezuela on their websites without announcement in early February.

At press time, American Airlines was the only US-based airline with flights to Venezuela (Caracas), along with only six other international airlines: Copa Airlines, Aruba Airlines, Caribbean Airlines, TAP Air Portugal, Iberia and Air France. Venezuelan airline Avior operates one route to the US, servicing...


United Kingdom-based budget airline flybmi filed for bankruptcy on Feb. 17, immediately canceling all of its future flights. The sudden bankruptcy caused a number of passengers to become stranded throughout Europe. At press time, flybmi had refused to offer any refunds on canceled flights.

The Australian travel company The Good Scout Travel Company ( specializes in helping travelers with impaired mobility plan trips and activities Down Under. Anyone who signs up for the free email newsletter will receive a link to download the PDF book "101 Accessible Australian Adventures." In the PDF, the title of each adventure links to the webpage describing the activity.

The stem segment of the Renaissance-era English ship Mary Rose, along with a pump and an anchor, were put on display with the rest of the ship's remains at the Mary Rose Museum (Main Road, Portsmouth, England; phone +44 23 9281 2931, on Feb. 20.

The Mary Rose was one of the largest warships in King Henry VIII's navy. It was sunk in the Solent, the strait that separates the Isle of Wight from England, by French ships in 1545. Rediscovered in 1971, it was...