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Orbitz changes fee policy

October 04, 2009|Jen Leo; Leslie Anne Wiggins; Susan Spano; Judi Dash

Orbitz changes fee policy

Orbitz has dropped its $25 fees for changes and cancellations on hotel bookings. But if you are changing or canceling a hotel reservation, take note of nonrefundable rates or fees that the actual hotel still might charge. Since June, Orbitz has also dropped airline-booking fees and hotel-booking fees. The only fees Orbitz still charges are cruise bookings cancellations (up to $75) and flight cancellations ($30). It's worth noting that Expedia dropped nearly all its fees for changes and cancellations for hotels, cruises, cars and many vacation packages on May 27.

-- Jen Leo

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Pumpkin patch

Pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin ice cream and chicken-pumpkin sausages are all on the menu Oct. 17 and 18 for the 39th annual Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival. Three stages will feature live music -- blues, Latin rock, folk, country and reggae. "Farmer" Mike Valladao, the "Picasso of pumpkin carvers," will also be on hand. Need to work up an appetite? The fest will feature 5K and 10K runs, as well as a parade and haunted house. Admission is free. Info: (650) 726-9652 or www.miramarevents.com.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

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Try the tap

Venice, Italy, is trying to limit onerous plastic bottle trash by encouraging tourists and locals alike to drink water from municipal taps. Officials have given the local H2O a fancy moniker -- Acqua Veritas -- and have started to distribute glass containers with a logo to make the tap-water drinking experience more palatable. Of course, habits are hard to change, even among those who know that Venetian tap water is considered top-notch. Since the launch of the campaign, officials have noticed a decrease in plastic bottle trash but say the problem persists in stores and restaurants. So tourists can do La Serenissima a favor by insisting on Acqua Veritas from the tap.

-- Susan Spano

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Pet comforts

Your pet gets to lounge in an air-conditioned or heated crate with the Komfort Pets Carrier. The carrier has a built-in thermoelectric element that warms or cools a plate underneath a part of the floor to maintain a 56- to 70-degree ambient temperature. The system runs on wall or car power cords (included). The carrier is available in small (19-by-13-by-16 inches), and medium (28-by-19 1/2 -by-22 inches). Komfort Pets Carrier in small is $149; medium (available this month), $199, at www.komfortpets.com, (888) 929-0077.

-- Judi Dash

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