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March 2009

March 31, 2009

New on the Network: Travel Photos

By Kate Chandler

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Sea anemone in the waters off of Bonaire (Nathan Borchelt) just posted lots of awesome new travel photos on the site. We beefed up our Caribbean inventory (because we know you're all dreaming of sun and sand) with photo galleries of Bonaire Above Ground and Bonaire Under Water. Plus, you can now download screensavers of Bonaire, Grand Cayman, and Grenada.

Also in the spirit of warm, sunny places, we have new photo galleries featuring Kauai, Hawaii; Big Island, Hawaii; and smoking hot lava on Hawaii's Big Island

Our own Nathan Borchelt put together a great photo essay on the Hudson Valley Wine and Food Fest last fall in New York. This gallery is just one more piece of our blown-out guide to New York, where you'll find great trip ideas for the city and upstate.

We also captured the essence of Bangkok, Thailand, in both a photo gallery and a screensaver. If you're looking for something a little more serene, our new Temples of Cambodia screensaver will do the trick.

Like what you see? View more photo galleries and screensavers now!

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Related Topics: News · Beach Vacation · Caribbean Travel · Hawaii Vacation · Travel Photography

Photo Highlight: Skiing Japan


I took this photo at the base of a ski lift at the Japanese resort of Hakuba Happo last March.  The Buddha head sculpture was massive, about ten feet tall, and was one of the many snow sculptures that the lifties had built (others included SpongeBob and a variety of Japanese cartoon characters I didn't recognize). But what I found most interesting here was the use of the red coloring. In Japanese anime, blood dripping from the nose and mouth signifies sexual arousal—and to incorporate that kind of thing into an image of the Buddha is pretty damn sacrilegious, to say the least. My friend Dan, a U.S. expat who lives in Kyoto, was pretty surprised to see it—and to notice that no one else on the slopes seemed to be as disturbed as he was.

Check out my other photos of skiing in Japan, and download an exclusive screensaver of skiing in Japan.

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Related Topics: Asia Travel · Skiing & Snowboarding

March 30, 2009

Tips for Traveling Solo as a Woman in Latin America

By Liza Prado

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SAFETY FIRST: Traveling solo as a female can be challenging but also rewarding (David Epperson/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty)

Every time I've hit the road on my own, I've gotten a slew of advice from, well, just about everyone: "Don't leave your hotel room after dark," "don't accept drinks from people you don't know," "don't hitchhike," "don't talk to strangers…." But after 15 years of on-and-off travel on my own throughout Latin America, I think I've gotten it down pat. Here are a few rules of the (Latin American) road that I've come to live by:

- Take any unsolicited advice with a grain of salt. People tend to be alarmists, especially when describing the dangers of traveling in Latin America—that goes for locals and foreigners alike. I haven't taken any polls or anything, but in my experience, the reasons behind this are twofold: overly graphic newspaper stories about crime in Latin America and the paternalism (or maternalism) that people feel towards women, especially women traveling alone.

Continue reading "Tips for Traveling Solo as a Woman in Latin America" »

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Related Topics: South America Travel · Travel Tips

March 27, 2009

Great Swiss Skiing in Leukerbad

Leukerbad's scenic slopes (Gerry Wingenbach)

I want to tell you about Leukerbad.

Last Sunday I boarded a Swiss International Air Lines flight out of Chicago bound for Zurich. Nine hours later I was riding one of those set-your-watch-by Swiss trains rolling through Switzerland’s heroic scenery to the rugged Valais region, home to this cartoonishly magnificent country’s highest concentration of 13,000-foot summits.

The European Alps horseshoe their way around Switzerland, Austria, France, and Italy. But it is here, in Switzerland, where most of my best European ski days have been.

Continue reading "Great Swiss Skiing in Leukerbad" »

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Related Topics: European Travel · Skiing & Snowboarding

Photo Caption Contest: See Your Words in Outside Magazine

Outside magazine's Parting Shot for June 2009 (Photo by Norbert Wu/Minden Pictures)

The print version of one of our partner sites, the online edition of Outside magazine, has published some of the coolest, funniest, and... well, cutest photos on its final page each month for years. And now they're inviting readers to contribute to this feature by offering up their own photo captions for future Parting Shot images. If your entry gets picked, it will be printed in an upcoming issue!

So, what say you?  Enter now.

Regular service for our weekly photo quiz, Where in the World?, will resume next week. Last week's photo was of the iconic, sail-shaped Burj Al Arab in Dubai, home to an ultra-luxe 202-suite Jumeirah hotel.

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Related Topics: Travel Photography

March 26, 2009

Video: Best Family Travel Sites on the Net’s Family Travel Guide has been selected as one of the “Best Family Travel Sites on the Net.” Check out the video below (look for us at 1:59!), which is also packed with some other great family-centric sites like and the world-roving blog. Did Trip on a Deal overlook any other can’t-miss family-travel resources? Tell us in the comments section below.

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Related Topics: News · Family Vacation · Travel Videos · Travel Websites

Babymoon Boom: Four Great Package Trips

By awayblog

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FROM HERE TO ETERNITY: Let the babymoon soothe that transition (Digital Vision/Getty)

Whatever you think about the term "babymoon," PR's mot do jour, escaping on one last vacation before giving birth should be a rite of passage for all expecting couples. If you do qualify for the babymooners label, check out's recently published One Last Time, where writer Cameron Walker details her last hurrah down the California coast prior to the arrival of her newborn.

For more ideas, check out the following four packages that we recommend to whet your appetite. Check with the properties for specific pricing, as they vary by season and availability.

Continue reading "Babymoon Boom: Four Great Package Trips" »

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Related Topics: Family Vacation · Travel Deals

March 25, 2009

Travel Video: Southwest Airlines's Rapping Flight Attendant

By Karen Chen

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Let's be honest: No one ever pays attention when flight attendants do their spiel before takeoff. I've flown enough to know generally where the exits are (those are the rows where the seats now cost extra because of the added legroom, right?), that oxygen masks will pop down from the ceiling in the case of an emergency, and I've usually gotten my act together enough to know the destination of the flight I've just boarded. 

But add a rapping flight attendant to that scenario and I'm all ears. David Holmes, a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines, recently got his 15 seconds of fame when passengers posted cellphone videos on the Internet of his Will Smith-style version of the standard cabin announcements.  Now a YouTube hit, Holmes' was featured in an interview with the Wall Street Journal and a segment on CNN.  Like rap or not (Holmes says he gets the biggest applause on Thursday and Friday night flights into Las Vegas... figures), it's definitely a unique and interesting way to get people to listen up, and differentiates Southwest as a fun, down-to-earth airline.  And in an economic climate when fewer and fewer people are booking flights, PR like this is priceless.  Rest assured, Holmes says he won't do the raps on early morning flights (but, hey, I'd say it'd be a nice pick-me-up).

Here's the full video of Holmes' hip-hop take on the pre-flight announcements:


What do you think of the rapping flight attendant?  Have you been graced with his rapping presence on any of your Southwest flights?

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Related Topics: Air Travel · From Around the Web · Travel News

Photo Highlight: Skiing in Niseko, Japan

Snowboarder-Niseko,-Japan This photo was taken on the summit of 4,295-foot Mount Annapuri, home to three ski resorts that are anchored around the small town of Hirafu, one of many in the Niseko region on the northern island of Hokkaido. Reaching the summit is relatively straightforward though not easy: Lifts take you near the top of the peak, and then you can hike up for about 20 minutes of lung-burning snow stomping.

I made the climb a few times, to catch fresher tracks as the terrain is expert-only, but the first two days I was there, conditions were cloudy—and even rainy at times. My last day proffered bluebird skies, so I zipped out and made the ascent one final time—and did so quickly, as I was taking a midday bus back to Sapporo. 

The snowboarder here reflects both the exhaustion resulting from the climb up, and the almost ethereal feeling that envelops you when you reach the summit. The snow-clad volcano in the distance is Mount Yotei, which can be tackled by daring off-piste skiers and 'boarders. I didn't have the chance—which is precisely why I hope to return. And considering that the region gets over 500 inches of powder each year, I suspect I won't be alone.

For more photos of skiing in Japan, check out my photo gallery of Hakuba/Nagano, another of Japan's ski and snowboarding hot spots, and download our exclusive screensaver of skiing and 'boarding in Japan.

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Related Topics: Skiing & Snowboarding · Travel Photography

March 24, 2009

Thru-Hike the Tahoe Rim Trail

By Kate Chandler

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TOUGH TRAILS: Lake Tahoe on the border between Nevada and California (Photodisc/Getty)

Hiking a long-distance trail from end to end in one push, or thru-hiking, is a badge of honor for those who have accomplished such a feat. It takes a lot of planning to coordinate food, water, campsites, and the like. Plus, you have to be extremely fit to carry your lodging and all of your food on your back for days on end.

But there's a great way to get a similar experience without sacrificing all of your weekends to planning from now through May. The Tahoe Rim Trail Association, steward to the 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail in Nevada and California, is offering people the chance to participate in a 15-day guided thru-hike with support in the way of food and other supplies. You'll still need to be in good shape and carry a backpack with personal gear and one- or two-days' worth of food and water. But that's pretty cushy, by most thru-hikers' standards.

Continue reading "Thru-Hike the Tahoe Rim Trail" »

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Related Topics: California Travel · Outdoor Adventures · Trip Ideas

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