Portugal, sergoua/Getty Images/iStockphoto

This week’s travel blog roundup with have you seeing things differently, from little-known destination hot spots to the death of an in-flight institution.

Forgo Croatia’s crowded beaches for a tranquil Portuguese fishing village outside Lisbon. Head over to PureWow for more off-the-beaten-path destinations to add to your 2015 bucket list.

There’s much made over seeing the world through a child’s eyes, free of cynicism, preconceived notions and prejudice. Now you can experience this IRL thanks to this photo essay — a toddler’s view of New York City — in The NY Times.

Lucky Peach has an appetite-inducing (and beautifully photographed) regional guide to ramen in Japan (h/t Fathom).

In breaking travel news, SkyMall has filed for bankruptcy. Let’s reflect one last time on 11 of the in-flight catalog’s most ridiculous items with Business Insider.

Last but not least, we’ll leave you with this fun Washington Post quiz. Can you name these cities just by looking at their subway maps?

 

Photo Courtesy of Travel Channel

It’s new and improved! TravelChannel.com relaunched Thursday with a cleaner design and better user experience. The Travel Channel Digital Team has been working long hours over the past year to find ways to improve the website and enhance specific features. Here’s a quick list of some of the changes Travel Channel users will notice when clicking around the new site:

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Havasu Falls (Photo Courtesy Thinkstock)

There’s a lot of eye candy and some eyebrow-raising discoveries in this week’s travel blog roundup. Beyond the beautiful photography of the brightly-colored Havasu Falls in Arizona, Brendan’s Adventures also boasts everything you need to know about how to get there, what to see, where to stay and to what to pack.

How can color theory up your travel photo game? Geotraveler’s Niche explains.

Detroit most likely isn’t on your travel to-do list, but Hecktic Travels makes a compelling case why it should be.

“Why are some croissants straight, and others curved?” The Everywhereist answers the age-old question, and yes, there is a law about it in France.

From exquisitely prepared food to truly picturesque train rides, Legal Nomads shares 77 photos of Japan.

 

Photo Courtesy of Robin Bennefield

The biggest parties of the year in New Orleans and Rio are Mardi Gras and Carnival. But in Puerto Rico, it’s the San Sebastian Street Festival, or Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian, when thousands of Puerto Ricans and tourists pack the streets of Old San Juan the third week of January for 4 days of parades and over-the-top revelry.

There are no revealing costumes or skin-bearing for beads during this family-friendly festival that kicked off Thursday and lasts through Sunday. It features Puerto Rico’s hottest musicians and DJs on stages in 4 of the city’s largest squares.
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Photography by Walter Bibkow / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Cuba has long been the holy grail of travel destinations for many American passport holders, tempting them with the difficulty — or, for many, the near impossibility — of ever traveling there. For decades, US citizens who wanted to visit the island had to apply for special licenses, justify their travel to government agencies, or avoid the law altogether by entering Cuba via other countries.

But starting Friday, things get a whole lot easier. Under the new standards, travelers can visit Cuba without applying for a license if they qualify under one of 12 categories of authorized travel, which include family visits, research, education, public performances and humanitarian projects.
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Kinga Philipps films in a swimming hole on Oahu

Courtesy of Kinga Philipps

TravelChannel.com Originals host Kinga Philipps is no stranger to Oahu, but for The Trip 2015 she really pushed her limits, both by free diving and spear fishing in the ocean and strapping on a parachute to do 360-degree loops in a glider. Her Hawaiian adventures will be captured in a 5-part web series.

What brought you to Oahu?

I’ve been to Oahu dozens of times, but it’s never the same experience twice, so I keep coming back. It’s relaxing, wild, peaceful, exhilarating — all rolled into one. This time, we came for Travel Channel’s yearly special The Trip to show off some adventures one can have on the island. We teamed up with locals to show us their idea of a good time, from spear-fishing to private hikes to glider rides and, of course, local grindz.

What were your expectations while filming/visiting Oahu?

I’ve learned to leave expectations behind when I travel — even to places I’ve been before. I did expect to have a lot of fun and eat a lot of good food, and that definitely transpired. It’s also a fact that people who are very good at a sport make it look easy, so I knew the spear-fishing and free-diving segment would exceed my level of experience, and I would have to push myself. I’m comfortable in the water and I’ve dabbled in free diving, but when Shaun Harada, my guide, said, “Make sure you take the snorkel out of your mouth when you dive deep, because if you black out, it acts as a funnel for the water into your lungs,” I knew I was in a bit over my head (pun intended). I don’t want to spoil the ending, but clearly I made it, or I wouldn’t be writing this — although I still can’t hear out of my left ear. Totally worth it.

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Ghost Adventures crew at John Bell

Zak Bagans, Aaron Goodwin, Jay Wasley and Billy Tolley return tonight on Travel Channel for an unprecedented investigation at Bell Witch Cave. Ghost Adventures was the very first paranormal TV show to film on the Bell property.

If you’re into haunted travel, then this is an episode for you. Situated in the backwoods of Adams, TN, is Bell Witch Cave and cabin, the former home of John Bell, who was mysteriously murdered by what many believe is an evil spirit that stills resides on the property today. Zak and his team are off to investigate what lies beneath the grounds in the Bell Witch Cave and see if they can communicate with this dark entity to find the truth behind John Bell’s murder.

In anticipation of tonight’s premiere, I asked Zak and Aaron a few questions about the Bell Witch Cave. Here’s what they had to say.

How excited were you to finally get into Bell Witch Cave and cabin?

Zak: We have been trying to get the Bell Witch Cave for years. They always shot us down and said they’d never let any paranormal TV show film there. When we FINALLY got permission to investigate there, it was an absolute HONOR to be chosen. READ MORE

This Week in Travel: Antarctica

Photography by Paul Souders | WorldFoto

Whether you’ve resolved to be more present in your everyday travels or take more risks in a far-flung adventure, this week’s travel blog roundup has both in spades.

The Red Bull Air Force is world-renowned for its amazing stunts. Head over to Adventure.com to see a pretty spectacular highlight reel, including a wingsuit jump over downtown New York and BASE jumping off Fisher Towers in Moab, UT.

We get it — it’s hard to motivate yourself to get out of bed in the morning during the winter months. But this Brooklyn Bridge sunrise series from C’est Christine might do the trick.

Lee Abbamonte has ventured where, we daresay, few of us ever will: the South Pole. Check out his real-life march of the (emperor) penguins in Antarctica.

Live vicariously through Candice Does the World, who stumbled upon an “ultra-secret” geothermal pool while on a road trip in Iceland.

If the Oscar buzz around Wild has you contemplating hiking for days on end, follow the Fearful Adventurer’s own unexpected and inspiring pilgrimage.

Anthem of the Seas (Photo Courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

Are you ready for a new year of cruise travel filled with new ships? Check out which ones are set for launch in 2015.

Anthem of the Seas from Royal Caribbean International
Already plowing the high seas as of 2014, the new, high-tech Quantum of the Seas set the stage for its sister ship, the Anthem of the Seas, to follow in April 2015. Special creature comforts include modular staterooms interconnected with varied layouts for large parties and virtual balconies to provide interior staterooms with a digital view of outside the ship.
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Last night on the 2-hour season premiere of the all-new Travel Channel series Expedition Unknown, host Josh Gates embarked on an expedition to investigate what might be the most iconic unsolved case in history, the disappearance of Amelia Earhart.

Josh began his exploration in Papua New Guinea, the last takeoff point for Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan’s plane. Before heading off to Fiji, Josh connected with a remote tribe, which helped lead him through the jungle in an attempt to recover potential pieces of evidence.

Once he arrived in Fiji, the real adventure began. Tracking down the latest and most shocking piece of evidence to date, Josh turned his attention to a small piece of aluminum that washed up on the remote island of Nikumaroro in 1991. Historians believe this could be a unique piece of sheeting installed on Earhart’s plane before her ill-fated flight.

Could Josh’s find, which led to a new article in this month’s issue of Smithsonian magazine, be the key to determining what happened to Earhart?

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