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Gambia

Up the river in West Africa

The radiant sun was starting its late-afternoon descent, and I was gliding on glassy water through a Gambian archipelago of tropical rain-forest islands in a brightly painted boat, a converted ferry with an upper deck and even a soft-drink bar. Propped against pillows with my feet up, I was as comfortable as Cleopatra on her royal barge.

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A communal area of the lodge at the Bivvi in Breckinridge, Colo., which opened in December.

    Travelwise

    Wow. Are you sure this is a hostel?

    On my first night in Cleveland last year, I fell asleep spooning my backpack. I maneuvered my laptop beneath my pillow and leaned my favorite red boots against the wall by my feet. For the first time in more than a decade, I was overnighting in a hostel, and I didn’t know what to expect.

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Clouds over the Amargosa Range at Furnace Creek in Death Valley National Park.

    California

    Spring in Death Valley

    There’s beauty in this desolation, especially before summer’s fiery heat arrives

  • Hunting Island

    A family explores historic lighthouse and isolated beaches

    The three-bedroom beach rental house on this barrier island is dark and quiet, except for a few cellphone alarms that go off before the sun hits the sand. Someone has — thankfully — started the coffeepot, and we see that the sun again will rise with a flourish over the Atlantic Ocean and white sandy beach.

  • The travel troubleshooter

    Where’s the refund for my Air France ticket?

    Q: I’m a graduate student at the University of Texas and I was recently awarded a fellowship to conduct research for two months in Ibadan, Nigeria. Believing that I would be departing from New York and then returning to Austin, Texas, I booked the trip in two legs. However, knowing that this could change, I reviewed the refund policies for both legs carefully to make sure the tickets were refundable.

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