Travel Briefs

More than 30 gardens in Amsterdam, Netherlands, can be visited, including private gardens usually closed to the public, during Open Garden Days weekend each year, starting the Friday before the third weekend in June (in 2019, June 14-16).

A ticket, valid for all three days, is required to visit the gardens and can be purchased for €18 (near $20) in advance online at or €20 day of. For info and ticket-purchase locations, visit www....


Taking place on an outdoor platform with views of Uluru (Ayers Rock), the "Sounds of Silence" dinner, in its 26th year, can be booked by guests at Ayers Rock Resort (phone +61 2 8296 8010

The 3-course meal, served as a buffet with canapés, main entrée and dessert, features Australian ingredients such as kangaroo, crocodile, pepperberry and bush tomato. During the meal, an Aboriginal "star talker" will point out constellations and relate their...


Starting in July 2019, Rembrandt's "The Night Watch" will be restored, in situ behind glass, during museum hours at Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum (Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam, Netherlands; phone +31 20 6747 000,

The painting, dating to 1642, was last restored in 1975 to repair knife-attack damage. The restoration will be streamed live on the website.

From Feb. 15 to June 10, 2019, the painting will be the centerpiece of an exhibit of the museum...


At Grand Motte mountain in Tignes, Savoie, eastern France, a cable car with a roof terrace has been introduced.

After taking a funicular from the village of Val Claret to the cable car base station (alt. 9,954 feet), passengers board the cable car, which can hold up to 100 people. As the cable car climbs to the top station (11,338 feet), reaching heights up to 1,640 feet, passengers can take the stairs to the roof terrace, which holds about 30 people, for 360-degree views of the Grand...


Any traveler entering New Zealand, if asked by a Customs officer to hand over his cell phone and pass code, must do so, according to a law (the Customs and Excise Act 2018) that went into effect on Oct. 1. Anyone refusing to do so will have his phone confiscated, be fined NZD5,000 (near $3,330) and face arrest and/or deportation.

Customs officials say officers must have "reasonable cause" to suspect a device or its owner before asking to view the contents of a phone, so not all...


Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific revealed on Oct. 24 that a data breach in March 2018 exposed the personal information of more than 9 million passengers. Information from passengers of its partner airline, Hong Kong Dragon Airlines, also was compromised.

The data accessed included names, nationalities, dates of birth, mailing addresses, phone numbers and email addresses. At least 860,000 passport numbers also were stolen. At press time, Cathay Pacific was in the process of...


Starting Jan. 1, 2019, JetBlue will begin offering "basic economy" fares on its flights. Details had not been revealed by press time, but it is expected that basic-economy passengers will still have all the in-flight amenities that full-fare passengers have (snack, soda, free Wi-Fi) and will be allowed one free carry-on. However, it is anticipated that fees will be charged for services such as checking baggage and picking a seat.

A new animal-welfare law on the Greek island of Santorini limits donkey rides to people weighing under 100 kilograms (220 pounds). Visitors often ride donkeys up the steep stairways from the port to the town of Fira, atop the island's caldera at 1,300 feet.

The law was instituted after images were shared of donkeys with serious saddle sores that were at least partly caused by the animals' having to carry particularly heavy tourists.

Fira can also be accessed via cable...