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October 2012

October 29, 2012

Our Favorite Travel Signage from the Wide (and Wacky) World of Travel

We know we're lucky here at Away Blog Central to live and breathe travel, but let's face it, it's not all play and no work around here. However, today we were in need of a little mental vacation, so we let our mouse do some walking to find a handful of travel signs around the world that interest, amuse, and inspire us. We'll let the pictures do the talking (along with a bit of editorializing).

Beautiful beach in Bermuda... but shouldn't someone tell that guy what it says on the sign? (Andrew Currie/Flickr)

Ah, the venerable curio shop. Besides, what's wrong with a bit of antiquity looting to drum up some tourist dollars? (Asiatic League/Flickr)

Continue reading "Our Favorite Travel Signage from the Wide (and Wacky) World of Travel" »

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Related Topics: From Around the Web · Travel Photography

October 24, 2012's Great Escapes Videos Receive the 2012 Travel Weekly Magellan Award

By awayblog

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Travel weekly_magellan award_silver_logo_2012We are excited to announce that’s Great Escapes travel videos have won a 2012 Travel Weekly Magellan Award. Over 550 entries from around the world were submitted for the Magellan awards this year. “In 2012, creativity reached new heights among marketers and designers in the travel industry,” said Arnie Weissmann, editor in chief of Travel Weekly. “This year’s Magellan entries were inspiring overall, and those who ended up in the winner’s circle truly represent the best of the best.”

The Great Escapes videos are created to provide travelers with travel advice and unique ideas for trips across the United States and the world. They cover everything from how to pack your suitcase to which cities are great for family vacations. 

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October 18, 2012

The Guide to a Non-Skier's Ski Season

By Guest Blogger

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Snowshoeing (Hemera) 99684336

The first question people usually ask me when I tell them I live in Denver, Colorado, is, "Do you ski or snowboard?" This is generally followed by a bewildered look when I tell them that I don't do either. But just because I'm one of the few Denverites who doesn't have plastic crates of bindings, boards, and out-grown snow pants in my garage, doesn't mean that I don't enjoy visiting ski towns and taking advantage of all they have to offer. With ski season quickly approaching, here are my favorite ways to pass the time when visiting some of Colorado's most popular mountain-resort towns, for those of you who prefer to skip the lift lines.

Channel Your Inner Child
Tubing is a fantastic way to hit the slopes, okay, hills, without asserting any athletic ability. On a recent trip to Breckenridge, I decided to try out the Frisco Adventure Park tubing hill. I had a blast screaming down the 1,200-foot tubing lanes. A magic carpet takes you back to the top of the hill so you can repeat the fun. Tubing is offered at most Colorado ski resorts and is generally open to all ages.

Continue reading "The Guide to a Non-Skier's Ski Season" »

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Related Topics: Skiing & Snowboarding · Trip Ideas

October 12, 2012

Hotel Spotlight: The Muse, New York City

By awayblog

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The Muse is the definition of an urban oasis—if you're here, you're in the heart of New York City. Located just blocks from the bustle of Times Square, The Muse keeps to the signature quirk of Kimpton's famed boutique hotels and is one of four Kimpton properties in the city. Taking a cue from the lively culture that surrounds it, The Muse is characterized by sleek furnishings with a bit of whimsical flair—from leather headboards and plush animal-print robes to a chimerical "forest of trees" in the hotel lobby and the head of a stone statue reminiscent of Greek mythology adjacent your suite's flat-screen TV. Holding to the Kimpton philosophy of style and comfort, each bath is outfitted with luxurious Etro products, and each bed is tucked with goose-down feather bedding. In addition to spacious rooms (in a city where space is coveted), The Muse stays on trend with the desire to stay fit while on the road by housing a 24-hour fitness center with cardio machines, free weights, balance balls, and yoga mats. And if you want to explore the city on foot, ask the front desk for mapped running routes from the hotel's front door, or, as a guest of The Muse, take advantage of a complimentary day pass to Bally Total Fitness for the offerings of a full gym. Want to stay put? Ask about "Mind. Body. Spa.," an in-room spa service that also offers yoga or Pilates instruction in the comfort of your cozy digs. The Muse is one of the rare hotels that not only accepts pets but caters to them with no additional charge or deposit--treats, water, and food bowls are placed in your room upon check-in. If you're looking for personalized service down to the detail, The Muse is a gem in an area of New York where quality is often lost to quantity.'s New York City Travel Guide


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Related Topics: Places to Stay

October 10, 2012

Away Announces the Winner of the European Destinations Photo Contest

By awayblog

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Germany _32586_austria_ID 3b54ab1cb3326018ccee0544e18b8f59

In early September, travelers submitted their most inspirational photos of European Destinations. Seven finalists were selected by Away editors and then released to our readers for their own review and ranking. With a final average rating of 4.11 (out of 5), the winning photo was of the Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany, sent in by Becky Wise of South Carolina. Becky won a $100 VISA gift card toward her next dream vacation! The Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most visited in all of Europe, with nearly 1.3 million people gawking at the massive estate per year. It was built in the 19th century by King Ludwigg II of Bavaria, but legend has it that he spent only 11 nights in his new home before his death. This medieval-style castle is the inspiration for Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom.'s Bavaria Travel Guide

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October 05, 2012

Hotel Spotlight: Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort

Aerial view of Amelia Island Plantation Resort (Visit Florida)

This well-regarded resort in Northeastern Florida underwent a change of ownership several years ago, yet the measure of Amelia Island Plantation Resort's quality is that it remains an excellent destination resort regardless of which brand logo hangs over the moss-shaded reception center. The reason? Spread over 1,350 acres of oceanfront real estate, threaded throughout with miles of biking and walking trails, the resort and its amenities blend into a landscape that immediately puts you at ease. The beach never feels crowded, and several on-property pools allow you to mix it up. (Note that the property is in the midst of continuing upgrades that mean the main pool and beach club facility will be closed until spring 2013; the resort has waived its daily resort fee for guests and upped activities and recreation equipment on the beach.) First-class tennis and golf facilities offer other recreation aplenty, while families will appreciate the nature programs and wildlife center. A variety of accommodations are available, from standard hotel lodging to self-catering villas and apartments. Before booking, be sure to check the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort's website for seasonal packages with discounts on activities such as spa treatments, golf, and dining. Our one knock on this resort, as with many others, is the expense of resort dining (including its more casual market and deli). To hold down costs significantly, make a run to the nearby Harris Teeter to stock up on groceries for meals in one of the self-catering units.

For more of the world's most stunning destination resorts, check out's Best Resorts & Lodges Guide.

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Related Topics: Beach Vacation · Family Vacation · Places to Stay

October 02, 2012

Travel Taxes: How Much Is Your Trip Really Going to Cost?

By Kate Chandler

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Honolulu, Hawaii, has relatively low travel taxes (Corbis)

So you scored a great price on a hotel room in New York City? Or a killer rate on a rental car in Boston for your tour of New England? Or maybe you have all your meals budgeted out "just so" for a trip to Washington, D.C. Of course you know that you’ll have to pay sales tax on all these carefully researched purchases. But did you know that “travel taxes” can cost you an average of 57 percent on top of sales tax? Better get back to your trip-planning calculator!

Chicago tops the charts this year as the city where travelers will pay the most taxes, according to Global Business Travel Association’s recently released “Travel Taxes in the U.S.” report. When factoring in sales tax, plus additional specific taxes on hotel stays, car rentals, and meals, you can expect to spend an extra $40 per day in Chicago. That really starts to add up over a week-long stay! New York City and Boston were the next most-taxed cities, with travelers racking up nearly $38 and $35 extra per day, respectively.'s Chicago Travel Guide

Destinations such as Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Portland, Oregon; and Honolulu, Hawaii, have some of the lowest overall travel-tax burdens, coming in at $22 to $24 extra per day. Ironically, Portland, Oregon, actually taxes travelers at the highest rate of any U.S. city, but because Oregon has no state sales tax, the overall tax burden on Portland visitors is still favorable when compared to other major destinations.

Continue reading "Travel Taxes: How Much Is Your Trip Really Going to Cost?" »

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Related Topics: Travel News · US Travel

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