You set a goal, perhaps visiting every state, but follow-through is hard. Sometimes, all you need is a cheering section to get you going. That's where the site www.43things.com comes in. It's a digital to-do list with people to cheer you on.
The site is about life lists, travel-related and otherwise. But in the travel section, you'll find like-minded travelers who share your goals, think it's a good idea — or not — or who've done the activities you are planning. You can post your progress and get feedback and advice.
We love free attractions
The Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas were named the No. 1 free attraction in the United States by TripAdvisor.com.
In addition to the famed dancing fountains, the Top 10 list includes Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va.; Waimea Canyon, Waimea, Hawaii; Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco; Angel's Landing, Zion National Park, Utah; the USS Arizona Memorial, Honolulu; Pacific Coast Highway, Route 1, California; the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C.; the Freedom Trail in Boston; and Central Park in New York City.
New Mexico's CulturePass
The state of New Mexico's Department of Cultural Affairs and Tourism has partnered with Travelocity to produce the New Mexico CulturePass.
For $25, the pass provides admission to 14 state-run museums and monuments, a 50 percent savings over what it would cost if you visited them all and paid full-price. The pass is good for a year.
Some of the participating museums are the New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo, in the southern part of the state; the National Hispanic Cultural Center and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science in Albuquerque; and the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture in Santa Fe.
Details, including how to purchase the pass, are at www.newmexicoculture.org.
No hotel crunch in Beijing
Director of Beijing's Tourism Bureau, Zhang Huiguang, says the hotel shortage that was predicted for the Olympics doesn't seem to be happening.
She said that about 500,000 foreigners were expected for the games, a figure Beijing officials have long been predicting.
Only 77 percent of capacity at Beijing's five-star hotels have been booked for the Aug. 8 to 24 Olympic Games, and the four-star hotel rate is at only 44 percent. And it's even lower for three- and two-star hotels.
One reason could be China's crackdown on visa procedures, targeting students and others on short-term stays who might be activists intent on protesting during the Olympics.
A bronze tribute to the Fonz
Downtown Milwaukee will soon have a permanent reminder of the Happy Days television show.
A bronze statue of Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli, played by Henry Winkler, will be dedicated Aug. 19 along the Milwaukee River. Happy Days was set in Milwaukee and aired from 1974 to 1984. Most of the show's stars are expected to attend the ceremony, including Winkler, Marion Ross, Tom Bosley and the show's creator, Garry Marshall.
Books that take you there
• Around the World in 80 Dinners by Cheryl and Bill Jamison (Morrow, $24.95).
Billed as "the ultimate culinary adventure," this book is the record of an epic dine-around. Cashing in their frequent-flier miles, food writers Cheryl and Bill Jamison treated themselves to a worldwide gastronomic gallivant, with meal stops in 10 countries, including Thailand, India, South Africa and France. Their adventures are rendered in lively detail and transpire as often on the road as in the dining halls. In total, this edible odyssey serves up some 800 dishes, from Bali to Brazil.
• The Christian Travel Planner by Kevin J. Wright (Thomas Nelson, $16.99)
Faith-based travel is the choice of some 300-million tourists annually. This extensive compendium is targeted at those who are considering travel to Christian sites worldwide. The author, Kevin J. Wright, an authority on Christian travel and tourism, sees such vacations as "the newest ministry of the 21st century," and his listings are addressed to ministry leaders as well as individual travelers. There are chapters on travel to the Holy Land and revered Christian sites in Europe, but there are also detailed chapters on "fellowship vacations" that involve themed cruises, leisure vacations and adventure trips. Another chapter covers Christian retreats, camps and stays at monasteries.
Compiled from Times wires