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August 16, 2010

Climb Kilimanjaro—For Free!


Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest peak in Africa, is widely considered the easiest climb of the seven summits—which isn't to say that the climb is a cake walk. But now you have a chance of at least getting to the base of the famed mountain—for free—thanks to a new sweepstakes brought to you from Polarmax and Backpacker Magazine.

The winner (and one guest) will receive round-trip airfare, ground transportation, four nights at a Tanzania hotel (meals included), and a six-day guided round-trip trek to the summit with author Macon Dunnagan. You also get a cache of technical base layers from Polarmax, featuring their new TransDRY wicking cotton fabric, a revolutionary move on the gear front that aims to bring all the tech-savvy features buttery soft cotton apparel.  (Editor's Note: We've tried the stuff—and this kind of cotton doesn't kill; it wicks and dries like the best of the synthetic varieties out there.)

Enter now through October 11, 2010, by visiting Polarmax.

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Related Topics: Africa Travel · All Inclusive Vacation · Free Stuff · From Around the Web · Outdoor Adventures

April 30, 2010

Abercrombie and Kent Offer Big Savings on Epic Summer Trips

Infinity pool in Sanctuary Swala Camp, Tanzania—one of the 18 trips soon to be on sale (Sanctuary Retreats)

If you've been longing to plot your way to the wild beyond this summer, but are wrestling with your economic conscious, relief may at hand. On May 6, Abercrombie and Kent—one of the best luxe tour operators out there—is having a killer sale on 18 different independent itineraries, each with a private guide, in such locales as East Africa, Jordan, Chile, and Europe. 

The auction-style sale starts at 9 a.m. Central on May 6, with five percent off these trips. Every 30 minutes, savings increase by another five percent, accelerating to a whopping max discount of 60 percent (provided trips are still available, naturally).  Better still, friend them on Facebook, and you get access to a private pre-sale event, which offers 25 percent savings on the same trips from 8 to 9 Central. 

The sale ends at 3 o'clock, Central, on May 6.  A small window—so take advantage. Who knows? You might end up booking the trip of your lifetime for far less than you'd ever imagined. That's a salve for almost any budget.

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Related Topics: All Inclusive Vacation · From Around the Web · Last Minute Trips · Travel Deals

March 18, 2010

See Cities With Local Guides, and Intrepid Travel

Thai local and Intrepid Travel guide Ae Thagoon biking in Bangkok (Nathan Borchelt)

With the near-constant scramble to achieve zero emissions and carbon neutrality, with off-set credits, slow skiing, geotourism, certifications, and the looooong list other eco-trends embraced by so many companies in the travel industry, it sometimes feels the allure of travel itself is getting scrubbed off by all the green washing. This ain’t no anti-environmental screed. I do “believe in” global warming, and applaud any and all pursuits to circumvent the damaging impact of long-haul flights, 4x4 safari excursions, and all the rest.  But to me the umbrella concept of eco-travel should speak to the larger concept of sustainable tourism as much as it does to the environment. It should incorporate both earth-friendly practices as well as a localist centralism that both stimulates the local economy where you’re visiting (good for your conscious), and provides interaction with the people who live there (good for your travel experience).

Continue reading "See Cities With Local Guides, and Intrepid Travel" »

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Related Topics: All Inclusive Vacation · Dispatches from the Road · Eco-Tourism · Travel Tips · Travel Trends · Trip Ideas

August 20, 2009

Guide to the World's Best Resorts & Lodges

Cayo Espanto, a private luxury all-inclusive in Belize (courtesy, Cayo Espanto)

For the past 12 months, I have been neck-deep in one of the toughest assignments a travel editor can expect: Scouring the globe for the world's best destination resorts and lodges. I know, it's a hard job gazing at images of unspoiled, faraway places (like the one above), but I wasn't alone for my journey. We assigned a crack squad of travel writers with clips in publications including National Geographic Adventure, Travel+Leisure, and Lonely Planet to track down the cream of the crop, including their selections for the best family resorts, beach resorts, national park lodges, all-inclusive resorts, and six other distinct travel categories. One year later, with my list of must-visit places in a state of morbid obesity, we're excited to announce the launch of's new Resorts & Lodges Guide, featuring 200 of the world's ultimate destination-resort experiences. If you're looking for inspiration about where to stay next, this is the place to start.

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Related Topics: Africa Travel · All Inclusive Vacation · News · Beach Vacation · Eco-Tourism · Exotic Escapes · Family Vacation · Hawaii Vacation · Mexico Travel · National Parks · Outdoor Adventures · Places to Stay · Skiing & Snowboarding

July 09, 2009

The Pros and Cons of Cruises

By Karen Chen

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A cruise ship in Ketchikan, Alaska (Brian Adams/courtesy, Alaska Travel Industry Association)

My family recently went on a cruise to Alaska, and if you're a traveler who likes to experience the most you can out of where you're traveling, you'll understand why "cruising Alaska" might sound like a sellout. Alaska is about wilderness, nature, and unfathomable expanses of mountains and ice fields and forests—man versus wild. I would think it's best experienced from on the ground, rather than by sailing past its shores. So it felt ironic to be confined to a boat—or more accurately, a resort-turned-water-vessel—when I probably should have been trekking a lung-busting trail or avoiding bears in the mountains somewhere.  Instead, I ate myself silly, watched movies, and bowled on a boat (cue joke souvenir T-shirt reading, "I went to Alaska and all I got was five extra pounds"). 

But I don't want to make cruises sound horrible.  Even though I don't think I'll be signing up for another cruise for a while, there are many great things about cruising.  Millions of people do it every year, and many are repeat customers.  Whether or not it's a good method of travel for you depends on where you're going, who you're going with, what type of traveler you are, and what you want to get out of your vacation.  Below are some things to consider about cruising before you book your first trip.

Continue reading "The Pros and Cons of Cruises" »

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Related Topics: All Inclusive Vacation · Cruises · Dispatches from the Road · Travel Tips

June 29, 2009

More Than Just a Package Trip: Fairmont Hotels Teams Up with National Geographic Society

African savanna (courtesy, Fairmont Mara Safari Club)

Fairmont Hotels and Resorts—one of the biggest players in properties that qualify as destinations in their own right—have teamed up with the National Geographic Society to present the Global Explorer Series, offering guests the opportunity to engage with Nat Geo experts in a range of activities. Three 2009 programs remain:

- Attend a gala event in Monte Carlo, including a private excursion with a marine ecologist on Prince Albert’s Tuiga, one of the world’s most beautiful historic yachts (July 19-19; $1,125).

- Join a Nat Geo wildlife photographer in Kenya for a multi-day luxury safari with tour operator Micato, which includes a hot-air balloon ride, a visit to a Masai village, luxe accommodations in Samburu National Reserve and Fairmont’s three East African properties, and a day-long photo safari drive (September 1-10; $7,690).

- Explore the pyramids of Egypt with the country’s head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities  (November 27-30; $960).

Our pick? The priciest of the bunch—but all would make for memories that would last a lifetime.

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Related Topics: All Inclusive Vacation · Exotic Escapes · Places to Stay · Travel Photography

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