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October 2009

October 30, 2009

Ski Season Starts Early!

By Kate Chandler

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Solitude Ski Resort, Utah (courtesy of the resort)

The pre-Halloween snowstorm that hit the Western states this week means that the much-anticipated start of ski season will be here sooner than we all thought.

Solitude Resort, in Utah, announced yesterday that opening day will be moved up one week to Friday, November 6. Season-pass holders can get on the mountain even sooner; Link Lift will be open for Halloween Day, October 31. Get your "pass-holder appreciation day" voucher here.

Keystone Resort, in Colorado, announced today that it will also open early this season. On Thursday, November 5, skiers and snowboarders can hit the mountain for top-to-bottom runs.

Also the pleased recipient of recent snows, many British Columbia resorts have upped their opening days. You can make tracks at Sun Peaks, for one, starting on Saturday, November 14.

Know of any other early ski-area openings? Tell us in the comments section below.

Check out's Ski Guide for profiles of the world's best ski areas.

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Related Topics: Skiing & Snowboarding

Adventures of a Lifetime: Sky2Sea International

By awayblog

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We're excited to welcome Sky2Sea International (S2Si) as the newest provider on, an sister site that provides comprehensive listings for the world's best active vacations and adventure-travel trips. With over two decades of bespoke expedition-planning experience, S2Si runs wilderness trips through landscapes as diverse as the pristine rainforest in Guyana to an amazing one-week multisport expedition through Chilean Patagonia. Check out the video below for a glimpse of what to expect! This film shows the first 24-hour crossing of Patagonia by river, which was completed by a team of paddlers including S2Si guide Jon Clark.

Visit to discover thousands more adventures of a lifetime, from rafting the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River to hut-to-hut trekking in the Alps.

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Related Topics: Outdoor Adventures · South America Travel · Travel Videos · Trip Ideas

October 29, 2009

Hotel Spotlight: Cedar House Inn, Dahlonega

Exterior of Cedar House Inn, Georgia (courtesy, Cedar House Inn & Yurts)

The contrast between the sprawling Atlanta 'burbs and this eco-friendly hideaway in the north Georgia woods couldn't be more complete. Just 70 miles north of the beating heart of the "New South," Dahlonega's Cedar House Inn & Yurts lives almost entirely off the grid and on the land. The three-room cedar inn features a passive solar design that maximizes heat from the sun, while quarry tile floors in the living area collect heat from the winter sun to cut back on heating costs. Two well-appointed yurts on the property's naturally landscaped grounds up the eco quotient, with composting toilets and low-wattage lighting. The list of environmentally friendly accolades and initiatives goes on. But don't think this is some austere hippie commune with nothing in the way of good living: organic breakfasts of fresh-squeezed orange juice, free-range eggs, and French toast with homemade seasonal syrup fuel even the hardest day out on the area's many hiking and biking trails. Or you could just grab a good book and relax in the inn's flower- and bird-filled garden amidst blazing fall colors or spring wildflowers.

Live the good life while doing right by the environment and by your wallet at these ten not-too-far-from-home eco-resorts.

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October 28, 2009

Getting Out There With Afar Magazine

Afar Traveling home from a conference in Québec last week, I picked up a copy of the premier edition of Afar, the newest travel magazine to grace an already crowded category on airport newsstands. An hour later after a thoroughly absorbing in-flight read, I can report that I was impressed. The magazine is "for readers who are curious about everything the planet and its people have to offer," according to founder and editorial director Greg Sullivan. In this day and age, when magazines seek to impress with the most luxurious travel experiences imaginable or cater to a budget-minded, close-to-home crowd, Afar bites off the essence of experiential travel with an honest, open, and upbeat appraisal of the world we explore. A bimonthly publication to start, each issue of Afar will be organized under the typical See, Connect, and Go sections; its first edition profiled everything from Japan's costume-play fetish to a local's guide to East London to the world's best treetop lodging. As someone who reads a pile of travel magazines each month for work, I'm happy to say that this is one travel magazine that will open your eyes, mind, and heart—not just your wallet!

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Related Topics: Africa Travel · Asia Travel · Beach Vacation · Budget Travel · Caribbean Travel · Eco-Tourism · Exotic Escapes · Outdoor Adventures · South America Travel

October 27, 2009

End the Ban on Travel to Cuba Today!

By awayblog

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The Pasarela Hemingway Pier extends out into the clear blue waters of Cayo Guillermo, located on Cuba's northern coast. (Jeremy Woodhouse/Digital Vision/Getty)

In May 2009, online travel agency (of which is a subsidiary) spearheaded a push to end the travel ban of U.S. citizens to Cuba. Today, the campaign has collected almost 100,000 signatures in support of a petition to end the ban. In addition, 180 U.S. Congressmen and 33 Senators have sponsored the bipartisan Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act, which seeks to open up travel to Cuba for all U.S. citizens. If you have not yet signed the petition, please do so today, plus be sure to encourage at least three of your friends and family to sign the petition via the easy-to-use "tell-a-friend" page. The petition is open to people from anywhere in the world and is not just limited to U.S. citizens.

Discover the many faces of Cuba in this photo gallery from

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Related Topics: Caribbean Travel · Travel News

October 23, 2009

Top Ten National Dishes

By Guest Blogger

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Ng-foodjourneys National Geographic has just released its beautiful new book, "FOOD JOURNEYS OF A LIFETIME: 500 Extraordinary Places to Eat Around the Globe," so we've partnered with them on an exclusive excerpt about the world's top national dishes. Let us know in the comments section if you agree/disagree with the picks below, plus about any of your favorite places or foods to eat around the world!

1. Hamburgers, USA

2. Ackee and saltfish, Jamaica

3. Coo-coo and flying fish, Barbados

4. Bulgogi, Korea

5. Kibbeh, Lebanon/Syria

6. Goulash, Hungary

7. Wiener schnitzel, Austria

8. Pot-au-feu, France

9. Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, England

10. Irish stew, Ireland

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Related Topics: Food and Drink · Top 10 Lists

Photo of the Day: Erbil Citadel

By awayblog

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Erbil Citadel, originally uploaded by pangur.

The Citadel of Erbil rises dramatically above the capital city of the Kurdistan Autonomous Region in Iraq. Until recently, it had been inhabited continuously for over 5,000 years, witnessing the rise and fall of such empires as the Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, and Greeks. In 2007, the government evicted and resettled the inhabitants of the Citadel’s dense warren of streets and houses in an effort to preserve this architectural and historical treasure.

Browse more cool photos from, plus contribute your own favorites, at's Photostream on!

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Related Topics: Travel Photography

October 21, 2009

Currency Exchange Travel Tips That Will Save You Money

By Guest Blogger

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Airline ticket and passport (Martin Harvey/Gallo Images/ROOTS)

When traveling, it's easy to forget that exchanging one currency for another country's currency is big business and the companies in the currency exchange market use different standards to set their profit margins. The currency trading market is constantly changing, so it's difficult to know exactly how much companies charge, because it is often masked by changes in the exchange rate. Newspapers and other publications post a daily rate of exchange for the most popular currency pairs, but the values posted may not be accurate. The rates that are published are not real-time rates; they just give you an idea of the value of the currency pair, not what they're worth now. Since all exchanges happen at a specific point in time, it's important to do some research before you pick a company to help you exchange currency. With some advanced planning you can develop an exchange strategy that will save you money every time you travel.

Today's global economy has made the currency exchange market a profitable enterprise for companies who use subtle marketing strategies to entice travelers to exchange with them. Banks, credit card companies, airport merchants, hotels, exchange houses, and brokers all now use the Internet to streamline exchanges through modern technology. Some banks are able to get special rates that increase their profit margins. Credit card companies add extra fees and surcharges to credit card transactions. Airport merchants and hotels add hidden fees to posted rates, which can add as much as 20 percent to the cost of an exchange.

With that in mind, here are a six important currency travel tips that will save you money:

- #1. Be aware of how the exchange market operates. Do some research online or contact a currency broker and ask how the exchange market works. For example, the posted rate for an exchange between the USD and the Pound may be $1USD equals £0.54.42, but the bank or exchange merchant may be getting £0.57.42 for the actual exchange. The £0.03 difference is profit, plus they also may add another 3 percent fee to the exchange, so the exchange can cost you 10 percent or more depending on the actual rate. Credit card companies do the same thing, and then add more fees to the exchange, so you may pay an extra 15 to 20 percent for every exchange.

Continue reading "Currency Exchange Travel Tips That Will Save You Money" »

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Related Topics: Travel Tips

October 20, 2009

Hotel Spotlight: Lapa Rios, Costa Rica


Lapa Rios has become a prototype of the successful eco-lodge, set under the verdant canopy of the Costa Rican rainforest and on a lip of land dropping dramatically into the country’s Pacific-side Golfo Dulce. The owners, Minnesota natives John and Karen Lewis, built the retreat in 1993 as a way to save hundreds of acres of rainforest from development. And by all accounts they’ve succeeded beyond even their initial ambitious dreams, crafting a tranquil retreat that comprises 16 thatch-roofed bungalows as well as a sustainable business that serves local community and conservation needs, including a lodge-funded school.

For more of the world's top resorts and lodges, visit's new guide!

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Related Topics: Beach Vacation · Eco-Tourism · Places to Stay

October 16, 2009

Photo of the Day: Lake Nakuru Flamingos, Kenya

By awayblog

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Lake Nakuru, located within central Kenya's chain of Great Rift Valley lakes, nourishes an incredible diversity of wildlife, including hundreds of thousands of pink flamingos that feast on the lake's abundance of algae. Part of Lake Nakuru National Park, founded in 1961, the park was recently expanded to provide habitat for Kenya's endangered black rhinoceros. It also home to white rhinoceroses, Rothschild's giraffes, baboons, and warthogs.

Planning a safari to Kenya? Learn about one company that has been leading the charge toward sustainable tourism in Africa for over 40 years. 

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Related Topics: Africa Travel · Eco-Tourism · Travel Photography

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