Travel News: Rebel With a Cause Edition

Dramatic exits, Guatemalan bargains, free national parks, and nudity notions

By: Sophie Gilbert

It’s hard to believe that this time last week the world had never heard of Steven Slater. The plucky JetBlue attendant has his place in the history books guaranteed for doing what everybody has wanted to do at some point in their lives: quit their job, scream profanities at everyone, and leave via an improbably dramatic escape route. The Weasley twins achieved this pretty well in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, as did Bill Murray in Stripes. But this may be the first time a real human being in real life has pulled it off with such finesse. Steven Slater, we salute you (and good luck with your upcoming criminal trial).

If you, too, are itching to get away—but without the accompanying arrest, trip to Rikers Island, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees—Gate 1 Travel has a deal this week offering a Guatemala trip for $486. The price includes four nights in a hotel with breakfast, round-trip flights from Washington, all ground transportation, and sightseeing trips on a coach with a guide. The trip is valid for all of 2011 but can be booked on additional dates for charges of $40 and up.

Closer to home, this weekend is one of only four times a year when entrance to all national parks across the country is completely free. For August 14 and 15, you can visit Assateague Island National Seashore, Great Falls Park, Shenandoah National Park, and more, without paying any entrance fees. For more information and a list of national parks in DC, Maryland, and Virginia, go to nps.gov.

If you haven’t had crabs yet this summer . . . you’re probably not from Maryland. To mark the end of the season, the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay is celebrating with Crab Week, which includes activities, crab-themed dishes, cooking demos, and even a trip to an all-you-can-eat crab feast at J.M. Clayton’s (the world’s oldest crab-processing plant). For midweek rates of $159 a night and weekend rates of $199, ask for the Summer Sizzle package, or enter the code SUMSIZ when booking online.

And finally, Rick Steves has an amusing post this week about the discomfort prudish Americans can feel when confronted by Europe’s laissez-faire attitude toward nudity. Best line: “With tattered towel around my waist, I walked gingerly across slippery marble into a steamy world of shadowy Turks under Byzantine domes.” Luckily, in Washington, we can walk around most of the time pretty secure in our knowledge that everyone will be safely clothed—that is, unless one happens to walk by the Library of Congress.

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