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February 2009

February 27, 2009

Where in the World?

By awayblog

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In what destination was this photo taken?  Leave your answer in the comments section, and if you've been to this location, tell us about it!  Check back next Friday for the answer and a new photo.


Last week's photo was of Temple du Lac Bratan in Bali, Indonesia. One of the most popular resort islands in the long Indonesian arghipelago, Bali is home to active volcanoes, dense jungle, stunning beaches, and a rich, ancient culture.  The best time to see a Balinese temple (a pura) is during its festival, which is generally only once a year. But with some 20,000 temples on an island only 87 by 56 miles large, you'll have a lot of opportunity to see temple festivals. No one guessed the destination correctly, but we're hoping some of you travelers out there have been to the location pictured today!

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Related Topics: Travel Photography

A Skier's Tribute to Hip Snowboarders

COOL MOVES: Snowboarder on a rail jib (courtesy, Snowbird Resort)

Of the hip snowboarder, I now rave.

Of wild, way-out-there lines, swooping parabolic tracks, and pants-down-to-the knees fashion; of a gangsta mountain lexicon, wildly colorful threads, and mothers that don’t want their daughters to grow up to be boarders; of snow rashes, twisted wrists, and face plants in crater-size halfpipes; of a uniquely American sport jammed in the face of the world, I rave. I rave of the hip snowboarder.

During the chairlift ride you wax eloquently on the pleasures of messing with iPod defaults. You know that mitts are better than gloves, and that 7Eleven makes the coolest hot chocolate. You guys wear faux fur collars and you girls wouldn’t be caught dead in them. The gaucho bandanna is de rigeur. Deer Valley won’t have you so neighboring Park City Mountain Resort welcomes you with the best terrain parks in the country. Even Old-World Taos Ski Valley wants you, after shunning you forever. And in the lift line, ambitious and sharp-elbowed skiers don’t bother you one bit. You know how to chill.

Continue reading "A Skier's Tribute to Hip Snowboarders" »

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Related Topics: Skiing & Snowboarding

February 26, 2009

Photographing Locals: My Conundrum

By Liza Prado

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Boy-in-Thailand  Most travelers have been there before. You're in a place that is completely different from home and what captivates you more than anything—more than the food, the music, or the sights—are the people. Their customs, their manner of dress, their hairstyles, the color of their skin, the shape of their eyes, their height, even the way they move. And all you want to do is take a photo, to remember the experience, and to share it with people back home.

At least that's what I go through almost every time I travel. But what also happens—and what I rarely share—is how conflicted I feel taking those photos. Every time I see the perfect shot, I think, "How would I feel if a random person—a tourist in my hometown, no less—put their camera in my face, and clicked away?" And I know, without a doubt, that I'd hate it. That I'd feel annoyed, disrespected, and objectified. So I'm often left deciding, "Should I? Or shouldn't I?"

Continue reading "Photographing Locals: My Conundrum" »

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Related Topics: Travel Photography · Travel Tips

February 25, 2009

Horseback Riding in Big South Fork, Tennessee

By Guest Blogger

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HIDDEN TREASURE: Winter panorama in Big South Fork (Amy Lissa)

My grandfather used to tell me to find my own "acres of diamonds," meaning that wherever life took me, I should seek out the beauty to be found. Many of us dream of visiting the most extreme and breathtaking places in the world, with some of us lucky enough to enjoy one or more of those big, life-changing trips. But even if we can't make it to such far-flung locales, we should still seek out and enjoy our own acres of diamonds.

This year I'm gearing up for my own adventure of a lifetime... two weeks of horseback riding in Patagonia, Chile. In order to get my "riding seat" ready, I went on the hunt for a scenic, reasonably priced place to ride each month before my trip. And in December, I discovered one of Tennessee's hidden treasures: Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.

Continue reading "Horseback Riding in Big South Fork, Tennessee" »

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Related Topics: Outdoor Adventures · Trip Ideas

February 24, 2009

Family Travel Deals & Expert Advice Delivered to Your Desktop

By awayblog

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Newsletter-thumb2There's a dizzying world of choice when it comes to planning the perfect family vacation. Do you go big and splurge on an overseas trip, stick close to home and hit the beach, or do the road trip thing to see family in a neighboring state? We get overwhelmed, too, which is why we’ve launched a monthly Family Travel Newsletter to help spotlight the best options. Sign up today to receive targeted, useful advice delivered right to your desktop, including tips from our panel of expert travel writers, breaking family-vacation travel deals, intel on the top family-travel hot spots, and much, much more! 

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Related Topics: News · Family Vacation

Travel Video: New Orleans Revival

By Karen Chen

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It's Fat Tuesday!  And the American epicenter of Mardi Gras revelry is, of course, the melting pot (or gumbo pot, if you will) of the South: New Orleans. Not only does the city host epic celebrations during Jazzfest and Mardi Gras, but its melange of French, African, and Spanish influences; signature Cajun cuisine; and jazz and blues musical legacy make it one of the country's most culturally interesting, stand-out cities—not to mention just a great place to let loose and have fun (another round of hurricanes anyone?).

To remind us of the city's ongoing reconstruction after the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and to honor the people of N'awlins' vibrant spirit and hometown pride, this week's video features an inside look into the city's revival.  Be sure to watch until the end of the video, when local Chef Paul Prudhomme explains what it is that makes New Orleans so special: "We produce an enormous amount of joy for people. And I don't think there's any other city that has so much devotion to making people happy... It's just a part of who we are."

As the kind supplier of the travel videos posted on our blog, is holding its First Annual "Trippy" Awards, where you can vote for your favorite travel videos. The winner of Filmmaker of the Year will be awarded an all-expenses-paid Yangtze River cruise in China. Check out the nominees and vote before March 1!

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Related Topics: Holidays, Events, & Festivals · Travel Videos

February 23, 2009

Travel Gear Hall of Fame: Windstopper Fleece

By Kate Chandler

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Seasoned adventurers know that waterproof- and windproof-breathable fabrics are a must-have for any journey. Even the most casual traveler probably owns something, a jacket or a pair of shoes, made with Gore-Tex fabric. And despite competition from other outdoor-apparel companies, Gore's Windstopper fabric is still the champ in terms of windproofing fleece jackets, soft shells, and the like.

So it should come as no surprise that Mountain Hardwear—which, in 1996, brought the first Windstopper garment to market—uses the technology in one of its most popular fleeces: the women's Lynx Jacket. This fleece is a standout performer for windy- and cold-weather activities like skiing, snowshoeing, and winter hiking. I wore the Lynx under a light shell on a recent ski trip to The Canyons in Park City, Utah, when they had warmer-than-usual weather. When I worked up a sweat on some of the resort's longer double-blues, the fleece breathed well thanks to strategically placed panels of Deflection Wind Fleece (a Mountain Hardwear proprietary fabric) along the sides and under the arms. I even took it for a spin when snowshoeing, on a real sweat-producer of a hike, and I didn't overheat.

Continue reading "Travel Gear Hall of Fame: Windstopper Fleece" »

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Related Topics: Skiing & Snowboarding · Travel Gear

February 20, 2009

Where in the World?

By awayblog

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In what destination was this photo taken?  Leave your answer in the comments section, and if you've been to this location, tell us about it!  Check back next Friday for the answer and a new photo.


Last week's photo was of the Jet d'Eau, an icon of Geneva, Switzerland.  The fountain, one of the tallest in the world, is located in Lake Geneva, and can be seen from all over the city.  It operates from late March to October, and shoots 132 gallons of water 459 feet into the air.  Congrats to Baja Gal for guessing it correctly!

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Related Topics: Travel Photography

Consider a Day Off From Skiing

Take a day off from skiing and keep the whole family happy—and sane (courtesy, Park City Mountain Resort)

Wednesday of this President’s Day ski week, most visitors to my home mountain were into their third or fourth straight day of skiing. I teach skiing on busy days, and believe me, these are busy days. Kids are crying, spouses are arguing, and there’s no way to determine just how much people's feet are hurting from being in ski boots day after day. Dads are walking around with keep-your-matches-dry earnestness, amped and jittery, like an alarm clock that won’t shut off. Why don’t vacationing families take a day off from the slopes?

Consider a non-ski day in the middle of a ski week—your body, your companions, and even your kids will enjoy the break. There are plenty of other things to do at resort communities; what you save on lift tickets you can spend elsewhere. Plus, you’ll ski better after a rest day.

Continue reading "Consider a Day Off From Skiing" »

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Related Topics: Family Vacation · Skiing & Snowboarding · Trip Ideas

February 19, 2009

Guadeloupe and Martinique Unrest May End Soon: Pack Your Bags?

By Kate Chandler

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The coast at Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe (courtesy, Guadeloupe Islands Tourism Board)

A month-long strike has plunged the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, and now neighboring Martinique, into riotous conditions during the height of tourist season. The strike has been waged by residents struggling against low salaries and the high cost of living. The riots have forced restaurants, hotels, and shops on both islands to close temporarily, and at least 10,000 tourists have canceled vacations to the area, according to the Associated Press.

But relief may be in sight. The French government today conceded to supplement the income of low-wage earners on the islands. It's not yet clear if the local unions have accepted the terms of the offer.

Continue reading "Guadeloupe and Martinique Unrest May End Soon: Pack Your Bags?" »

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Related Topics: Beach Vacation · Caribbean Travel · Travel News

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