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Fourth of July revelers stranded by a wildfire in a mountainous California region that’s a top tourist destination have safely evacuated, but the fire is still chewing through forests. The Sierra Nevada Gold Country fire tripled in size to more than 4.7 square miles Tuesday. The fire erupted Monday afternoon at a recreation area packed with people. Between 85 to 100 celebrating at a river were forced to take shelter at Pacific Gas & Electric Co. facility. Amador County Sheriff Gary Redman says they were safely evacuated. Evacuations were ordered in Amador and Calaveras counties. Redman suggested fireworks or a barbeque as a possible fire cause.

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If you're an American visiting Italy, Greece or Spain this summer after a pandemic travel hiatus, you're in luck: Meals, hotels and tours are more affordable in dollars than they've been in years.

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Hong Kong’s new leader John Lee says he will work on easing restrictions for travelers while balancing the risks of a coronavirus outbreak overwhelming the health care system. He spoke at his first news conference since becoming Hong Kong's chief executive. Hong Kong and mainland China are among the few places in the world that still quarantine arrivals. Lee said Tuesday he was “conscious” of the need for Hong Kong to remain open to travelers. He also said Hong Kong had a “constitutional duty” to enact its own national security law. Enacting Article 23 of the Basic Law has been controversial. But the legislature is now filled with pro-Beijing lawmakers after a crackdown on dissent, and the laws are more likely to pass.

Road trip to intercontinental flight to cruise, no matter where your summer trip takes you, it's a good idea to check your plastic to make sure of what it does — and doesn't — do to minimize your risks. By "plastic" I mean the credit, debit, and travel-service organization membership cards which, collectively, offer a surprisingly wide spectrum of features and benefits.

Based out of Toronto, “The Hardy Boys” actress Keana Lyn hails from a multicultural background. Her father is Ecuadorian and her mother is French Canadian. Her most memorable trip this year? “I turned 24 back in March and flew home from London, where I was most recently traveling, to make it back in time to co-celebrate my birthday with my twin sister,” Lyn said. “We’ve never spent a birthday apart. As twins, we have quite the fixed rule about that.” Lyn, who portrays Callie Shaw on Hulu’s “The Hardy Boys,” is also a university student working on her degree in media production.

The villagers of the Swiss Alps have an endearingly intimate relationship with the nature that surrounds them, the history of their valley, and the folk legends that make that history even more interesting. And, taking a hike there with a local comes with as many cultural insights as it does alpine views. I’m spending my day walking with my schoolteacher friend, Olle, exploring the alpine landscape surrounding his home in Gimmelwald. Before we’re too far along, I realize I’m getting a blister.

The number of U.S. flights being canceled is slowing down, but plenty of travelers are facing long delays as they try to get home from trips over the July Fourth holiday weekend. By late Monday afternoon on the East Coast, more than 2,200 U.S. flights had been delayed and more than 200 were canceled, according to FlightAware. The good news is, that's fewer delays and cancellations than we've seen in recent days. Industry experts say airlines are struggling because demand for travel has recovered from the bottom of the pandemic faster than anyone expected. That's causing airports to be almost as crowded as they were in 2019, before the pandemic.

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A letter written by founding father Alexander Hamilton in 1780 and believed stolen from the Massachusetts state archives decades ago is being displayed publicly for the first time since it was returned to the state after a lengthy court battle. The secretary of state's office says the letter will be the featured piece at the Commonwealth Museum’s annual July Fourth exhibit this year. The letter was believed to have been stolen during World War II by a state archives worker. It resurfaced several years ago, and a federal appeals ruled in October that it belongs to the state.

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Egyptian authorities have closed off a stretch of the country's Red Sea coastline, a day after a shark attack killed an Austrian woman swimming near the resort of Hurghada. The closure is to last three days, starting on Saturday. That's according to a document from the local governor's office shared with The Associated Press. The 68-year-old woman lost a leg and an arm in the shark attack and died shortly after she was brought to the private Nile Hospital in Hurghada on Friday. A health official says attempts by medical staff to resuscitate her failed. Shark attacks have been relatively rare in Egypt’s Red Sea coastal region in recent years.

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The Fourth of July holiday weekend is jamming U.S. airports with the biggest crowds since the pandemic began in 2020. Newly released numbers show 2.49 million passengers went through security checkpoints at U.S. airports Friday, surpassing the previous pandemic-era record of 2.46 million reached earlier in the week. The increase is the latest sign that leisure travelers aren’t being deterred from flying by rising fares, the ongoing spread of COVID-19 or worries about recurring flight delays and cancellations. In an even more telling indication, the average passenger volume at U.S. airports for the past week is nearing the same level as in 2019.

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Tourism is booming again in France, and so is COVID-19. French government officials have “invited” or “recommended” people to go back to using face masks but stopped short of renewing restrictions that would scare visitors away or revive protests. From Paris commuters to tourists on the French Riviera, many people seem to welcome the government’s light touch, while some worry that required prevention measures may be needed. Infections are rising across Europe and the United States, but government data shows France had nearly 1,000 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 per day over the past two weeks. Local officials are contemplating new measures, including indoor mask mandates, but nothing that would potentially curb economic activity.

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Summer travel is underway across the globe, but a full recovery from two years of coronavirus could last as long as the pandemic itself. Interviews by The Associated Press in 11 countries this month show that the most passionate travelers are thronging to locales like the French Riviera, Amsterdam and the American Midwest. But even as safety restrictions fall, places like Israel, India and Rome are reporting only fractions of the record-setting tourism of 2019. For them, a full recovery isn't forecast until at least 2024. China, once the world's biggest source of tourists, remains closed per its “zero-COVID” policy. That's holding down the rebound in many countries.

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The fireworks are still a few days away, but travel for the July Fourth weekend is off to a booming start. The Transportation Security Administration said Friday that it screened more people on Thursday than it did on the same day in 2019, before the pandemic. Travelers so far seem to be experiencing fewer delays and canceled flights than they did earlier this week. But it's still early. Leisure travel has bounced back this year, offsetting weakness in business travel and international flying. Still, the total number of people flying has not quite recovered fully to pre-pandemic levels.

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South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has applied for a permit to hold a fireworks show at Mount Rushmore to celebrate Independence Day 2023. The National Park Service has denied her permit applications for the past two years, citing environmental concerns and objections from Native American tribes. In 2020, a fireworks display, featuring a fiery speech from former President Donald Trump, was held at the monument after a nearly decadelong hiatus. A federal judge last year rebuffed the Republican governor’s lawsuit that sought to force the Park Service to allow her to shoot fireworks over the granite monument. Noem has appealed that decision.

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