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July 11, 2012

Hot Spots and Highlights of Charleston, South Carolina

Historic Main Street at night, Charleston, South Carolina-80466001(Design Pics,Thinkstock)
Historic Main Street at night, Charleston, South Carolina (Design Pics/Thinkstock)

Every year, nearly four million tourists flock to Charleston, South Carolina, originally called Charles Town when it was settled in the 1600s. Charleston's entire downtown is considered a National Historic Landmark, and it's here where the visitors can take in a bit of history, as well as a plethora of dining, shopping, and cultural options. And that's not to say anything of the nearby beaches. If you're planning a trip to this charming southern gem, there are certain things to do/see/eat that are very Charleston and worthy of any traveler's "must" list. In no particular order, here are some of the highlights...

Take a carriage ride through historic downtown
Five carriage companies operate in the district, and many can be found lining North Market Street near their stables on Anson Street. In an effort to cut down on too much carriage traffic, the city instituted a lottery system to determine which neighborhoods and historic buildings a particular carriage ride will cover. So you may need to take a few rides to see everything on your list. Reservations are usually not needed.

Have a drink and appetizer at The Gin Joint on East Bay Street
You'll find a pre-Prohibition menu, so vodka is not behind the small bar, but locals say you won't even miss it. I recommend trying the Gin and Basil Smash drink with an order (or two!) of the homemade soft pretzels with sriracha cheese. Both of these items are delicious and addictive, so be careful!

Continue reading "Hot Spots and Highlights of Charleston, South Carolina" »

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Related Topics: Trip Ideas · US Travel

July 02, 2012

2012 London Olympics Preview: Eight Great British Trip Ideas

HOWZAT?!: Game of village cricket in England (iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

Choreographed by Oscar-winning British director Danny Boyle (of Slumdog Millionaire and Trainspotting fame), the opening ceremony for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London promises to be a full-on tribute to Britain's green and pleasant land—complete with live cattle, a village cricket game, and farmers plowing their fields. However, don't let the silver-screen impresario leave you thinking your work is done once the pageantry fades on Friday, July 27. Here's our guide to getting out and actually exploring this green and pleasant isle before, during, or after the 2012 Summer Olympics.

1. Watch a Real Village Cricket Game
Rain be dammed, sipping a hand-pulled ale while watching a game of cricket unfurl on some bucolic village green is one of England's summer rites of passage. Finding a game may require some legwork on your part, but they can be watched on parks and commons throughout the metro London region, mostly at weekends. Shoreham Cricket Club is one such local club, tucked amidst the picturesque fairways of Kent's Darenth Valley golf course.
Travel: Victoria or London Bridge to Shoreham
Duration: Day trip

Continue reading "2012 London Olympics Preview: Eight Great British Trip Ideas" »

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

May 30, 2012

Round-the-World vs. Point-to-Point Tickets

By BootsnAll

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Airplane travel-86482754(Thinkstock Images)
(Thinkstock Images)

Anyone who's in the early stages of around-the-world travel planning will testify that it can feel a bit like trying to drink from a fire hose. You can go from barely knowing the popular acronym "RTW" to learning the pros and cons of traveling East-West vs. West-East in no time at all—which means you'll hit information overload quickly. But one critical topic worth some extra attention is whether it's better to book round-the-world tickets or book point-to-point tickets as you travel.

For most simple round-trip flights, booking point-to-point is more expensive, so it's not an option most travelers are familiar with until they start learning about RTW travel. When it comes to multi-stop international trips, however, it can be cheaper—often by quite a bit—if you don't book official-sounding "round-the-world tickets" and just book one-way flights from city to city.

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Related Topics: Air Travel · Travel Tips · Trip Ideas

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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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

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

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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 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.

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Related Topics: Africa Travel · Exotic Escapes · Trip Ideas

March 26, 2012

A Walk to Remember: The Best Street Art Around the World

By Lacy Morris

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Oscar Romero by Juana Alicia, Mission District, San Francisco, California (Nathan Borchelt)

The world is your oyster, your baby, your litter box, your classroom—but to many, it's their canvas, which, for the rest of us, makes it our giant art gallery. From political statements to pop culture references and youth subcultures, street art is becoming more and more acceptable, as cities strive to preserve the artist's work instead of the whitewashing of previous years. To inspire the artist in you, here are some of the coolest displays of street art around the world.

San Francisco, California
San Francisco's Mission District is a neighborhood that has gone through many regentrifications over the years. Today, it is an eclectic mix of subcultures and easily one of the most vibrant areas of the city. The narrow streets are frequented by the youth of San Francisco, as questionable bars, food stands, and used clothing boutiques line the streets. Balmy Alley is particularly popular as one of the best streets to take in some street art. The collection of murals runs between 24th Street and Garfield Square, and serves as a way to express concerns, disagreements, and statements of support for religious and political struggles. More than 30 different paintings cover brick buildings, garage doors, trash cans, and basically anything with a hard surface. Organized tours can take you into the alleyways and offer a glimpse into the artist's life and some of their other work.

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March 23, 2012

The Best of Easter: Five Places to Seek the Golden Egg

Decorated Easter eggs(Thinkstock Images,Getty Images,Comstock)
(Thinkstock Images)

Easter usually brings a break for school, basket's full of Cadbury eggs, and of course Easter egg hunts! So to help you decide which way you want to hop, we've found some unique egg hunts and other fun activities along the bunny trail.

The Fabergé Big Egg Hunt
London, England
The world's largest Easter Egg hunt began on February 21st in London and will go through Easter Sunday on April 8th, hosted by Russian jeweler, Fabergé. Over 200 two-and-a-half-feet-tall eggs were designed by famous artists, designers, and jewelers and have been placed throughout 12 "Egg Zones" in central London. So grab your Easter basket (or more likely your cameras and your phone to text each egg's keyword) and get to hunting. At the end of the egg hunt, the eggs will be auctioned off for charity and one lucky egg hunter will win the Fabergé Tribute Egg: The Diamond Jubilee Egg. Travel Guide: Going to London

Continue reading "The Best of Easter: Five Places to Seek the Golden Egg" »

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

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