Albuquerque is still ‘Bad’
You would think that the conclusion of Breaking Bad would be a bad break for Albuquerque. You’d be wrong. Tourists hooked on the AMC show continue to inundate the city where the show was shot, wallowing in themed tours, food, bath products, T-shirts and more. You’d never know that the show about a meth-cooking high school teacher and his sidekick ended in September. If you’re suffering from withdrawal, consider the “Breaking Bad” package at the Hotel Albuquerque (hotelabq.com). For rates starting at $127, the package includes your room, free Wi-Fi and a show-themed gift bag containing stickers, coasters, postcards, matches, buttons, bath salts and crystal blue candy — with coupons for more. The hotel can also help you download a Breaking Bad app and set up tours.
— Helen Anders, Cox Newspapers
Vermont is for snowmobilers
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It’s December, winter is on the horizon and Vermont’s snowmobile season is set to open Monday, if there’s enough snow. Snowmobile clubs across the state are putting up signs, fixing bridges and trimming brush on the 4,700 miles of groomed corridor trails and 1,500 miles of less-well maintained feeder trails. Snowmobile season is legally timed to start after the last possible day of the fall deer hunting season and the December muzzleloader and archery seasons, which end Sunday, Dec. 15. About 24,000 people registered to use the trails last year, according to the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers. Get more snowmobiling information at www.vtvast.org.
— The Associated Press
Gear: Power on the go
The Jackery Giant
What it is: An external rechargeable battery for backing up portable devices, such as smartphones and iPads, when you run into a power desert. The Giant has two USB output ports (1 amp and a 2.1 amp) for powering two devices at once.
The good: I normally wouldn’t care what a battery looks like, but this one is Space Age gorgeous, and its slick aluminum body, measuring 4.3 by 3.1 by .08 inches, slides easily into a carry-on pocket. This is one powerful beast, and I never fear losing power while traveling. For phones or MP3 players, you would have a seemingly bottomless pit of power. Jackery makes smaller versions, such as the Jackery Mini ($19.95), a little bigger than a roll of Lifesavers but rectangular.
The bad: Though the battery delivers its power quickly, the Giant takes awhile to charge fully; it seemed to average about 12 hours for me with a wall charger, not included. Also, the Giant is a bit weighty at slightly more than 10 ounces.
Cost: $39.95, in orange or silver.
Available from: jackeryusa.com or amazon.com.
— Ross Werland, Chicago Tribune via MCT
Tipping at hotels
The debate on what to tip a hotel maid was part of a classic Seinfeld episode from the 1990s. Now the American Hotel & Lodging Association is putting an end to the debate. The group recommends a tip of $1 to $5 a night, left in a marked envelope. For a concierge, tip $5 to $10 depending on the service offered, the group said. If you ask a hotel staff member to bring something extra to your room, such as a blanket, tip at least $4. But no tip is required, the association says, if you ask staff to come to your room to fix a leaky sink or broken television or to replace a missing item.
— Los Angeles Times