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April 2012

April 30, 2012

Purchase Your Round-the-World Ticket: Travel Tips for a Year-Long Honeymoon

By BootsnAll

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Tourists in France-92364612(iStockphoto,Thinkstock)
A couple sits in front of the Eiffel Tower, Paris, France (iStockphoto,Thinkstock)

When we think of round-the-world travelers, most of us probably envision young backpackers, just out of college, heading out to see the world before settling into "real life"--and certainly before getting married. But more couples are taking off on long-term trips these days, some who take a year-long round-the-world honeymoon.

Traveling with another person, even if it's someone you love more than anyone else in the world, has its challenges. It can also be an incredibly rich experience. Luckily, you can do quite a bit before you leave home to make sure it's more about riches and less about difficulties. Here's our guide on how to travel the world with your sweetheart.

Make Sure You're Both Involved in Planning
If one person plans everything, you run the risk of arriving at the start of the trail to Machu Picchu and having the other person say, "So, where's the bus that'll take us up the mountain?" Even if one of you is less interested in the planning process, make sure no one is left in the dark. Make wish-lists together of things you want to do and see. Figure out which of you is best at various travel tasks (navigating, translating, budgeting) and delegate. Ask questions to make sure you're on the same page--even if you think you know someone really well after living with them for years, traveling brings up a host of new potential road blocks you won't have experienced. Having both people involved at all stages of the trip-planning process means you're not forced to guess what your partner may or may not be comfortable with.

Continue reading "Purchase Your Round-the-World Ticket: Travel Tips for a Year-Long Honeymoon" »

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Related Topics: Travel Tips · Trip Ideas

April 20, 2012

Hotel Spotlight: Virginia's Homestead Resort to Debut New Water Park

LET'S PLAY!: Artist's rendering of The Homestead's Allegheny Springs (The Homestead Resort)

Thomas Jefferson, inveterate tinkerer and inventor of things, would have approved. The historic Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Virginia, has been undergoing a $25 million upgrade that will include the nation's first spring-fed water park, plus a new 18-hole miniature golf course. Jefferson himself took to the waters in these parts in the 1800s and would no doubt have enjoyed a ride down one of the three planned waterslides and 400-foot lazy river. Construction is nearing completion on the two-acre water park, which is scheduled to open around July 4th. Consider this just one more reason to take the kids to this tranquil retreat deep in the Allegheny mountains of southwestern Virginia. Beyond the 2012 additions, The Homestead is packed with dozens of family-friendly activities including an indoor bowling alley, movie nights, fishing pond, hayrides, falconry, archery, and more. The resort food is good, though if you want to hold down costs, wander into Hot Springs for a cheap nosh at Lindsey's Roost. Service is friendly and the food is cheap (though not exactly nutritious—think burgers and fried-fish sandwiches). Check out The Homestead Resort's website for the latest seasonal deals and packages.

For more of the world's top family resorts, check out's Best Resorts & Lodges Guide.

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Related Topics: Family Vacation · Places to Stay

April 18, 2012

Your Daily Dose of Armchair Daydreaming from the Shores of the Caribbean Sea

By awayblog

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Tulum and the Caribbean Sea on the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico (Rich Baum)

Believed by archaeologists to be a Mayan fort constructed to guard the coastline, Tulum's perch overlooking the Caribbean Sea along Mexico's easterly Yucatan Peninsula is certainly more than just eye candy. But for today's invading hordes—tourists flocking to the popular beach resorts of Cancun, the Riviera Maya, and Cozumel to the north—this may just be one of the region's defining photo ops. Snapped by reader Rich Baum of Fair Oaks, California, this evocative composition scooped the prize in our March call for your most inspirational Caribbean photographs. Thanks to everyone who shared their amazing pictures of beaches, sunsets, volcanic peaks, wildlife, and more from throughout the Caribbean region's medley of islands and mainland outposts.

Got a once-in-a-lifetime photo that captures your most inspirational national-park experience? Share it in our April photo contest for your chance to win over $1,000 in prizes, including fabulous outdoor gear and two nights at Zion National Park Lodge.

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Related Topics: Beach Vacation · Caribbean Travel · Exotic Escapes · Travel Photography

April 17, 2012

Visit the Space Shuttle Discovery at Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum

(Jennifer Maltba)

This morning, the Space Shuttle Discovery was carried on a Boeing 747 from its former home at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to its new home at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, Virginia (near Dulles International Airport). The decommissioned shuttle soared over the massive crowds that gathered on the National Mall to say farewell. As the longest-serving orbiter, Discovery took 39 flights over 27 years, with its last flight as recently as February 24, 2011. According to a press release from the National Air and Space Museum, Discovery orbited the earth 5,830 times, spent 365 days in space, and traveled a total of 148,221,675 miles. After 30 years, NASA has ended the space-shuttle program (for now) to focus on destinations beyond the Earth’s orbit. The Space Shuttle Discovery can be seen at its final resting place inside of a hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, located about 25 miles west of the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Admission to Udvar-Hazy is free, but parking is $15 (free after 4:00 p.m.).

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Related Topics: Trip Ideas · US Travel

Puerto Rico's Ultimate Culinary Festival

Saborea logo 2012Foodies now have another reason to welcome spring. In addition to an influx of warmer-weather produce, the season also triggers the start of food-festival season. Ironically, one of the country's best foodie events is staged in a place where it's always warm. This April 21 and 22, Puerto Rico's famed Escambron Beach will host Saborea, the island's premier culinary event.

The word Saborea derives from the Spanish word sabor, which means "taste," a perfect term to encapsulate the diverse flavors found throughout the 3,515-square-mile Caribbean island. Guests will enjoy samples from Puerto Rico's best restaurants, attend classes and get tips on the best ways to prepare the island cuisine at eight demo kitchens, and hop between such events as a decadent exhibit of desserts paired with Puerto Rico's world-renowned coffee, the Libation Station (which should need no explanation), and The Next Culinary Wave, where the island's best chefs link up with students of local culinary schools for an exclusive, hands-on knowledge exchange.

A daily pass, which is good from 11 a.m.-6 p.m., runs you $99. Escambron Beach lies within the Puerta de Tierra neighborhood of San Juan.

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Related Topics: Culinary Travel · Travel Deals

April 16, 2012

Get Outta Town: Top Ten Memorial Day Destinations

By Lacy Morris

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Bourbon St, Richard Nowitz_New Orleans CVB
New Orleans' Bourbon Street at night (New Orleans Convention and Visitor's Bureau)

Let's take our hats off to our country and those who have served for it. With the holiday fast encroaching, plan to head to any of our top ten Memorial Day getaways and enjoy what the long weekend is all about—good food, good friends, and celebrating freedom. Here is our guide of where to go, where to stay, and, perhaps most importantly, where to eat.

10. Kansas City, Missouri
Around Memorial Day each year, the Paris of the Plains hosts The Great American Barbeque Festival, where the savory juiciness of America's favorite meat is held high above all others. With events like a Sauce, Baste, and Rub Contest, the festival showcases the who's who of Kansas City BBQ.'s Kansas City Travel Guide

9. New York City, New York
New York celebrates the holiday weekend through fireworks, Hamptons' getaways, and Fleet Week. This annual event docks hundreds of sailors for a week off of their deployed ships in the Big Apple. The vast greenery of Central Park is open for picnics, bike rides, and outdoor concerts.'s New York City Travel Guide

8. Freeport, Maine
Surrounded by the Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park, Freeport is a tranquil retreat with a back-to-nature vibe. Take a drive down U.S. 1 Coastal Highway stretching over 200 miles from Freeport to Quoddy Head, Maine. The sites along Maine's coastline are breathtaking, and U.S. 1 is ideal for meandering off onto side roads leading down the coast for a closer view of lighthouses, rocky cliffs, fishing boats, and the shoreline.'s Freeport Travel Guide

Continue reading "Get Outta Town: Top Ten Memorial Day Destinations" »

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Related Topics: Holidays, Events, & Festivals · Trip Ideas

April 13, 2012

Run the Borders: Top Ten Destination Footraces

By awayblog

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Marathon de Paris in Paris, France (ASO/Maindru)

Some people’s idea of a vacation is a weekend spent stagnant next to an infinity pool—and there is nothing wrong with that. For others, it means logging some serious miles in crowded city streets, on pink-sand beaches, and through Kentucky’s Bourbon Country. Here are our top ten destination marathons (whether full or half, and even less) from New York to Paris.

10. Wineglass Marathon in Bath, New York
If you’re done with overcrowded marathons and overwhelmed host cities, get to Upstate New York’s charming Wineglass Marathon, and soon. Just hours from the largest marathon in the United States, Wineglass made this top-ten list for its small-town hospitality and immense history, gentle downhill course (a favorite for Boston qualifiers), and natural scenic beauty, which really pops in the fall.

9. Bermuda Triangle Challenge in Bermuda
Winter presents a challenge to many runners; we don’t always love the cold and the dreary scenery. We need diversion and sun, long runs, and an absence of arctic blasts to the face. This is precisely why January’s Bermuda Triangle Challenge is nothing short of a gift from the running gods.

8. Marine Corps Marathon in Arlington, Virginia
The ninth-largest marathon in the world and the only sizeable one to not offer prize money, the Marine Corps Marathon draws 20,000 participants each year for one reason: heart-thumping patriotism (that, and the fact that it is one of the cheapest marathons in the U.S., costing only $92 to participate). It’s called “The Marathon of Moments,” and you’ll succumb to the inspired feeling sooner or later, whether it’s upon witnessing military units running in formation or U.S. monuments like the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial.

Continue reading "Run the Borders: Top Ten Destination Footraces " »

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Related Topics: Top 10 Lists · Trip Ideas

April 12, 2012

Spring Skiing, Perfected at Mount Bachelor

The back porch of Mount Bachelor in November 2011… and the snow kept on coming (Mount Bachelor Resort)

The only evidence of winter we saw in our Washington, D.C., HQ this season was exactly three snow flurries (and one of those happened in October!). Otherwise, the winter of 2011-2012 has been more a prolonged foreplay into spring, and much of the country has witnessed the same, sad fate.

Except for places like Mount Bachelor.

While many of the country's ski resorts were quietly plotting ways to truck in snow (like Whistler/Blackcomb did for the 2010 Winter Olympics), this resort outside of Bend, Oregon, has seen near-steady snowfall throughout the season--so much so that the mountain now boasts a seasonal total of 447 inches...and counting, with three inches falling within the last 24 hours, and a 15-foot-deep base.

Continue reading "Spring Skiing, Perfected at Mount Bachelor" »

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Related Topics: Skiing & Snowboarding · Travel Deals

April 11, 2012

Q&A with the Father-Son Duo at Karell Travel Group

By Lacy Morris

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Lioni n the Okavango Delta,Botswana(iStockphoto,Thinkstock)
A lion in the Okavango Delta, Botswana (iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

Acquired in 1991 by Norman Pieters and his wife Kathy, the family-owned business of Karell Travel Group is named after the original two owners who were close friends with the Pieters. After Norman took over the company, he promised that he would never change the name and would use the original logo in all advertising materials. That same level of commitment and honesty continues 21 years later, as Karell is known for its high level of individual attention and orchestrating completely customized trips.

A year after Norman acquired the business, hard financial times hit when Hurricane Andrew swept through the Gulf Coast, leaving wreckage and a grim economic future for businesses that were in its path, including the Miami-based Karell Travel Group. A reinvention was in order, so Norman altered his business to specialize in one area: African travel. This was a novel idea at the time, but it worked, and today the company flourishes. Norman has been named for the fifth-consecutive year to Travel + Leisure magazine's A-List of the world's best travel agents, only two of which go to those in the business of safaris.

Continue reading "Q&A with the Father-Son Duo at Karell Travel Group" »

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Related Topics: Africa Travel · Exotic Escapes · Trip Ideas

April 05, 2012

The World's Most Interesting Underground Hotels

By BootsnAll

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Sala Silvermine Hotel in Sala, Sweden

One of the amenities most of us like to find when checking into a hotel is a room with a view. Opening the blinds to reveal a picture-postcard scene of a famous landmark or waves crashing on a pristine beach just makes the whole thing seem more vacation-y somehow—especially when the alternative is something like a view overlooking the neighboring building's rooftop heating and cooling system.

But what if your hotel room didn't have a view of anything, let alone a window?

Underground and cave hotels can be seen as a gimmick in some places, but in others they're part of the natural landscape. No matter the circumstances, these hotels are sometimes extreme, sometimes beautiful, and should always carry a warning for claustrophobes.

Looking for an adventure vacation? Here are some of the most interesting underground hotels in the world.

Sala Silvermine Hotel
Sala, Sweden

Turning a former mine into a hotel means you don't have to do any additional excavation to create underground rooms—although in this case, the Sala Silvermine Hotel only has one underground room. The Mine Suite is a whopping 508 feet underground (the world's deepest hotel room, the hoteliers claim) in a part of the former mine. Most of the mine is now a museum, and if you'd rather stay in a more well-lit room and just tour the underground caverns you can do that, too. The majority of the Sala Silvermine Hotel's rooms are above-ground, and even include budget accommodation in the form of the mine's hostel facility.'s Top Sweden Vacation Spots

Continue reading "The World's Most Interesting Underground Hotels" »

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