Travel Briefs

McDonald's restaurants partner with US Embassy in Austria

Thanks to a deal struck between the US Embassy in Austria and the restaurant chain McDonald’s, US travelers to Austria now can visit the nearest McDonald’s if they need assistance, such as replacing lost or stolen passports. Each of the country’s 194 McDonald’s outlets has a 24-hour hotline direct to the embassy, and restaurant staff have been instructed on how to help US travelers in distress.

This agreement is not in lieu of a staffed embassy or...


On May 20, the United Kingdom announced that travelers from the US, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and New Zealand are now eligible to use ePassport gates when arriving at airports. The ePassport gates are unmanned, automated passport checkpoints that allow for quicker entry into the country.

To use an ePassport gate, place your passport, open to the photo page, onto the scanner and look into the gate’s camera. Facial-matching technology will compare your face to your...


With Holland America Line’s smartphone app Navigator, introduced on May 3, passengers can book shore excursions, review onboard restaurant menus and make reservations, view account statements, receive activity reminders and more. It’s available for free for Apple and Android.

At press time, the app and its functions were only available once the ship had been boarded. However, HAL plans to expand access so guests can review cruises before taking them.


As part of its 300th-anniversary celebration, Liechtenstein opened the new, cross-country Liechtenstein Trail on May 26, 2019. Though the nation is only 24 kilometers (near 15 miles) in length, the trail is 75 kilometers long, reaching 3,600 feet in altitude and passing through 11 small villages. The trail runs between the villages of Schaanwald, in the north, and Balzers, in the south, and takes roughly 21 hours to complete.

Signs on the trail mark 147 “points of interest....


On the shore of Salhusfjord en, near Bergen, a former textile mill (1859-1989) now houses the Norwegian Knitting Industry Museum (Salhusvegen 201, 5107 Salhus, Norway; phone +47 55 25 10 80,

A visit begins with a film about the factory, including interviews with former workers. On a guided tour, visitors see antique knitting machines producing scarves and socks to be sold in the gift shop.

Each year on the last weekend of...


Travelers with a layover at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport (NRT) can take a free tour with a volunteer, English-speaking guide through the airport’s Transit & Stay Program (

For travelers with more than three hours free, four guided tours are available: a visit to the Shinsho-ji Temple, dining at a Japanese buffet, a countryside bike ride and cosplaying (role playing) at a reproduction Edo-period town. For those with more than six...


In Dudley, West Midlands, England, visitors can take a subterranean boat tour through a former limestone quarry, seeing fossils embedded in the quarry’s walls (from the area’s distant past as a coral reef) and reconstructions of the once-thriving mine. Tours are aboard one of two boats built in the 1930s.

The 45-minute tour is offered hourly, 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m., Wed.-Sun. £8 (near $10), adult; £7.50, senior, or £6.50, child (3-16). The canal entrance is...


Forty miles north of Rome, a restaurant that seats only two people, Solo per Due (Via Villa di Orazio 2, Vacone, Italy; phone +39 0746 676873,, is located in Vacone. It’s housed in a 19th-century home, with the remains of a Roman villa on the grounds plus a palm garden.

Reservations for lunch or dinner can be made only via email (, and guests choose their arrival time.

During the meal, the waiter is summoned with a silver bell. The...