Author Archives: Travel Expert
Summer is the most popular season for traveling, and with so many different options it’s not hard to see why. Summer is the time of year when you’ll find good weather just about anywhere you go, but remember – just because you may be experiencing tropical conditions in your own backyard doesn’t mean you can’t visit a new tropical destination.
Nothing beats a tropical destination, especially one that is outside of the hurricane corridor and that doesn’t experience the rainy season most other tropical islands do during this time of year. With miles of white sandy beaches and turquoise waters, Aruba is often thought of as the most beautiful of all the Caribbean islands. Don’t worry about it being too hot either; temperatures usually stay in the 70s or 80s.
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Cancun, Mexico offers all the same sandy beaches and relaxation that any tropical location will bring you, but it comes with the added benefit of having a ton of history attached to this piece of the Yucatan Peninsula. It’s here that the gateway to the Mayan World, the El Mundo Maya, is located; and you can even walk around ancient Mayan ruins. There are plenty of reasons why Cancun is ranked as the number one international destination year after year.
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Nice doesn’t really experience a winter, but the summer months are definitely when you’ll find the ideal weather here and lots of daylight – something not seen in the winter months. It’s also in the summer when Nice best blends its beautiful beaches with its busy hustle and bustle city lifestyle, giving you the best of both worlds. You can still have that secluded beach vacation, but still while going to local markets and designer boutiques, and experiencing a great nightlife!
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If you’re thinking of visiting France, there are lots of options and Paris is always one of the most popular. Summer is an especially great time to visit here as baristas throw open their doors to set up their patios, and you can spend an entire afternoon just people-watching. When it’s time to get up and about, you can visit the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame de Paris, or the Champs-Elysees.
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Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod
Massachusetts, the state in which Martha’s Vineyard is located, definitely sees a winter, and it’s often a brutal one. That’s why each year tourists come from all over the country, and the world, to take in the beauty and relaxation that Martha’s Vineyard has to offer – and in gorgeous summer temperatures. Breathtaking scenery, fishing expeditions, and strolls along the beach are just a few of the attractions Martha’s Vineyard has to offer.
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There’s really never a bad time to visit Amsterdam, a city that is rich in culture, history, and intriguing architecture. But the winter months do get very chilly here, and the Dutch people can’t wait to get out and celebrate once the warm weather comes – and celebrate they do! During the summer Amsterdam comes alive with many different festivals, sightseeing tours, and other events. Outdoor sports are very big in Amsterdam at this time of year too, as people want to make the most out of the weather so be prepared to hop on a bike and take your own tour of this incredibly vibrant city!
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Whether you want to take in a Mariners game, or just visit the birthplace of Starbucks, Seattle is a great place to visit and summer is a great time to do it. The rain has mostly left for the next few months, and there’s so much to see and do! The Space Needle is an obvious choice, especially for those who have never been to the city, and a visit to Pike Place Market will give you a chance to visit the very first Starbucks. Of course, the Seattle Aquarium and the Seattle Art Museum are also both reasons why tourists flock here every summer.
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Summer continues to be the perfect time to vacation for one reason – you can go just about anywhere in the world and know you’ll be met with beautiful weather. Whether you’re crossing international borders or sticking a little closer to home, planning a summertime trip is always a great way to get away from it all and see something you never have before!
July is a perfect time for a vacation. The kids are out of school, the sun is shining and Independence Day celebrations make it even more meaningful. Here are some fabulous places to hit in the month of July.
Our Nation’s Capital
What better place to be than Washington, D.C. on the 4th of July, with fireworks at the National Mall and an all-star concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building. For a memorable and historical 4th of July vacation, nothing beats Washington, D.C.
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Most people think of Aspen as a world-class ski destination; however, during summer months, you can take part in the annual Aspen Arts Festival and the Old Fashioned 4th of July Celebration, to really explore the culture and the patriotism of the region.
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St. Petersburg, Florida
With lovely white sand beaches, clear aquamarine waters and balmy summer afternoons, St. Petersburg is a most inviting location for those seeking a fabulous July getaway.
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Typically held on July 3rd above Grant Park and Lake Michigan, Chicago’s official fireworks show is not to be missed. Every 4th of July weekend brings the Taste of Chicago, one of the nation’s most outstanding outdoor food festivals.
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San Francisco, California
The city of San Francisco is literally buzzing with cultural and entertainment events during the month of July, from outdoor concerts and theater to jazz festivals, sporting events and treasure hunts. Whether you’re traveling solo or as a couple or family, you’ll find plenty to do in the City by the Bay.
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Las Vegas, Nevada
A premier year round travel destination, Las Vegas offers glamorous shows, exciting casinos and gourmet dining. For one of the most exciting and unique 4th of July fireworks displays in the nation, be sure to catch The Fremont Experience, combining fireworks, music and digital imagery.
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Rockaway Beach, Oregon
Rockaway Beach is a popular Pacific summer destination for families, couples and singles, with its white sandy beaches, warm Pacific waters and Old World country charm. Splendid natural attractions to explore are Nehalem Bay State Park, Tillamook State Forest, Oswald West State Park and a number of amazing lakes to the north and south of the city.
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St. Simons Island, Georgia
St. Simons is the largest of Georgia’s Golden Islands, and features a world-renowned resort offering sailing, fishing, golf and cycling, along with many exciting cultural, historical and educational activities. Don’t miss the 4th of July fireworks and the annual Sunshine Festival for a perfect July getaway.
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No matter where you travel in the Caribbean, you’ll be treated to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, along with tons of water and outdoor activities, as well as fine dining and nightlife. Still, each island and each little corner of the Caribbean brings with it something uniquely distinctive and unforgettable. With each being on equal footing when it comes to paradise, here are the top 10 in no particular order.
One of the things that makes the Bahamas stand out among all the other islands in the Caribbean is how clear the water is. While this makes for excellent swimming and water sports, it also allows for premiere sightseeing of what lies below the surface of the water; and you’ll see a lot of it! The water surrounding this group of islands are known for being an ecological paradise for all those in it – and those that visit. When it’s time to come up shore for a bit, visit the straw markets that are sprinkled throughout the islands, and be prepared to haggle. That makes up half the fun of it!
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The Dominican Republic is on the second largest of the island in the Caribbean, one it shares with Haiti. With such a huge amount of space and geography, the Dominican is one of the best places for nature lovers to visit as, in addition to the white sandy beaches, you’ll also have tons of forest area and different terrain to cover and explore by either hiking, biking, or four-wheeling. The Dominican is also one of the top choices for destination weddings year after year, and also includes one of the most diverse mixtures of culture you’ll find on any of the islands.
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If you want everything that the Dominican has to offer, but want to do all of it in a bit more lazy fashion, Punta Cana is the choice. Here you can hang out on a straw-covered boat, look for aquatic life in its see-through waters, or just have a cocktail on the beach. Punta Cana is all about doing nothing, so be prepared to come back fully rested!
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When you’re looking for outstanding nightlife to go along with those huge stretches of gorgeous coastline, Jamaica is the place you’re looking for. Jamaica has their own unique cuisine, great shopping in its two major city centers, Kingston, and Montego Bay, and is also known as the most colorful islands due to the tropical blooms that decorate just about every corner of it. Plus, if you’re into history, music or both, Jamaica is also the site of Bob Marley’s hometown, as well as his burial grounds.
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If sheer beauty, and a completely stress-free vacation is what you’re after on your Caribbean vacation, Aruba should be your destination. Not only is it known as the most beautiful islands in all the Caribbean, but weather will never be a concern for you. It’s the only island that doesn’t have a rainy season, and it’s also located outside of the hurricane corridor, leaving you rest assured that you won’t have to face anything but pure relaxation.
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Yes, you can still experience that busy city feel and fantastic nightlife when you visit the Caribbean, if you visit St. Maarten. Here you’ll find some of the finest food you’ve ever tasted, as well as all the shopping your wallet can handle – and duty-free at that! This island is also the smallest in the world to share two different governments –French and Dutch. Still the Treaty of Concordia, created in 1648, is still upheld today, it the longest length of time any two nations have shared a bordering.
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Nature, nature, nature, this is what you’ll find in Barbados. The topography of this land is unique, as it’s extremely flat and is also designated as a coral island. This is due to the way in which the island was formed, from a dried-up lagoon that filled up with coral sand. This gives this island some of the most pristine and gorgeous beaches you’ll view; but it’s not completely flat. Go further in and you’ll encounter many hills and ridges, and almost each one has a network of lakes and rivers below. If you love being outdoors, and love exploring while you’re out there, Barbados is a great destination.
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Grand Cayman is where you can have a little bit of everything. Its Seven Mile Beach makes for a great walk on its own, as well as some of the most breathtaking scenery you’ll ever see. If you want to get a bit more up close and personal with these waters and all the wonders within it, the Stingray City Sandbar allows you to be just inches from friendly stingrays. When it’s time to come back in for the day, there’s tons of great restaurants and shopping on shore.
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St. Kitts and Nevis
Are you looking to get away from the throngs of tourists and just enjoy some quiet beach time on your own? If so, St. Kitts and Nevis is the quiet destination you’re seeking. You’ll still be able to enjoy those turquoise beaches, just with secluded cloves and unexplored snorkeling sites to go along with them. And don’t be surprised if you come across a black sand beach every now and again. While quite rare, they’re something that’s quite common in St. Kitts and Nevis.
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When you want to see how the locals in the Caribbean really live, you need to head to Curacao. Here the culture is intensely rich and evident just about everywhere you turn. The architecture is not only distinct and beautiful, but it’s also some of the most colorful in the world, helping to further decorate this piece of paradise. The beaches here are also mostly secluded, great for those looking for a vacation with a bit more privacy.
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It’s true that no matter what corner of the Caribbean you visit, you’re bound to experience something unforgettable. Once you’ve determined what you want out of your vacation, it becomes easier to narrow down the choices of where to go.
There’s no place like home, and when it comes to hotel rooms, nothing could be closer to the truth. No matter how luxurious your hotel, you can’t escape the fact that it’s a place full of strangers, and many of them have been in the bed before you, and possibly done some very gross things. Here’s a list of things you should avoid doing in your hotel room at all cost.
Don’t Take Any Souvenirs
We’re not talking about the bathrobes, but the bedbugs. Bedbugs are a burgeoning infestation these days, in some of the fanciest of hotels. They’re just so portable; if you unpack your suitcase near the bed, a couple of hitchhikers jump in and the next thing you know, you have your own colony at home. Even well-heeled travelers can spread bedbugs from hotel to home to hotel.
Check the sheets and mattresses for any kind of small red or brown stains and always keep your luggage and clothing well away from the bed area. When you get home, unpack your bags in the laundry room and put your clothes straight into the wash to be on the safe side. Spray down your luggage with insecticide and store it well away from your bedroom.
Avoid the Remote Control
The towels and sheets may get changed, the bathroom surfaces wiped down and the floors vacuumed, but bedspreads have been found to contain a cornucopia of body fluids, and even worse is the surface of the remote control, which apparently never gets cleaned or disinfected at all. Consider packing some antibacterial wipes to clean the remote and the telephone as well, if you plan to use them.
Don’t Touch the Mini-Bar
It’s not the germs; it’s the exorbitant rip-off prices! It used to be fun to look through the mini-bar, just to see what was there. Don’t even think about it now! To prevent people from tampering with the goodies and replacing them with empties, hotels these days install super sensitive sensors that automatically charge you if you so much as touch something. Just stay away!
Don’t Leave Valuables in Plain Sight
You should never travel with expensive jewelry, but if you do have a nice watch or expensive necklace, keep them on your person or put them in the hotel safe when you go out. At the very least, stash them away somewhere rather than leaving them out in plain sight to tempt someone who might not otherwise be inclined to theft.
Don’t Give Away your Room Number
Write your room number on a bill rather than saying it out loud to the waiter, and avoid mentioning it anywhere someone might overhear. It’s just common sense, to avoid the weirdo’s as well as potential burglars.
Don’t Open the Door to Strangers
Your mother taught you this, and she was right. When someone knocks on your door, make sure you verify who it is before opening up. Even if you’re expecting room service, put the chain on the door and just open it a crack to make sure they are who they say they are. Tourists are attacked in hotel rooms all over the globe. Also, don’t leave your door ajar while you run out to get ice!
Don’t Forget the Do Not Disturb Sign
Whether you’re changing clothes, taking a shower, or sharing an intimate moment, make sure you put out the Do Not Disturb sign. Maids have a very bad habit of knocking and then immediately opening the door before you get a chance to answer.
Ever since airline deregulation – and now even more so with all of the security precautions – airplanes are no longer the leisurely playgrounds of the idle rich. In fact, they’re generally packed like sardine cans with travelers of all kinds and from all walks of life, from harried businessmen to vacationing moms with screaming babies, large sweaty people, irritated people, and people who don’t bathe frequently. It’s enough to put you off of air travel for good!
You can make your trip a little more pleasant by stocking your carry-on with little comforts that will help you survive the over-crowding, jostling and noise. Whether you check your luggage or stuff everything you need into an overhead-bin-sized suitcase, make sure you bring along a carry-on for under your seat with these items.
A Soft, Comfortable Throw
Face it, airlines are getting stingy with the blankets so bring your own; the softer, the better. It will keep you warm and cozy when they crank up the AC, and you can always fold it up and use it as a pillow.
Your Favorite Snacks
These days, airlines are charging for the yucky food you never ate anyway, so bring your own. Flying often leads to constipation, as well, so bringing some high fiber cereal bars is not a bad idea.
Travel Sized Toner and Moisturizer
Don’t just pack makeup to freshen up at the end of the flight; bring along a toner and a moisturizer too. The toner will take off dirt and makeup and freshen up your skin, and the moisturizer will combat the dry cabin air. You might also want a travel toothbrush and toothpaste to freshen your breath for that welcome kiss.
Lose yourself in a good book on a flight and before you know it, you’ll be at your destination. You can even save room by bringing along an eBook instead, which will make it easier to read when the lighting is dim.
Laptop or Other Electronic Gadgets
Instead of paying for the in-flight movie, which you’ve probably seen, bring along one of your own on a laptop or iPad. Make sure to bring your ear buds as well. You can also play video games and catch up on work or emails; save your replies in draft form until you get an Internet connection.
An Inflatable Pillow and a Soothing Eye Mask
Don’t hurt your neck doing the head-bob for hours on end; bring along one of those inflatable donut pillows and ride in comfort. Slip on a fragrant, lavender scented eye mask, put in your ear buds and play your favorite tunes on your MP3, and you can shut out all the noisy passengers, screaming babies and nosey neighbors, and just zone out until you reach your destination!