Archive for August, 2013

Labor Day weekend may already be upon us, but it’s not too late to rustle up some fun! So whether you want to head across the country or stay close to home, here are 5 last-minute ideas to make this Labor Day weekend one you’ll never forget.

1. Hit the road. Be spontaneous, get in your car, and go wherever the road leads you. Armed with an app like Hotel Tonight, you can figure out where you’re staying each night on the fly.

2. Stay-cation. Tour a neighborhood you’ve never been to before. Visit that restaurant you’ve heard so much about, try a new yoga practice, or spend an entire day exploring a park. You’ll discover hidden gems that make you feel like you’ve entered a whole new world (with the benefit of getting to sleep in your own bed).

3. Travel the world through your tastebuds. I challenge you: 3 days. 9 meals. 9 global cuisines. Go!

4. Spa retreat. Haven’t you always been curious about what those wacky spa treatments are like? Now’s your chance to find out what a fish-nibbling pedicure feels like.

5. Do one thing that scares you. Whether it’s sky diving over the Kennedy Space Center or biking across the city, push yourself to try something you’ve haven’t had the guts to do this summer, or in your entire life for that matter.

–  by Ruzwana Bashir

Ruzwana Bashir is co-founder and CEO of Peek.com, a site where you can find amazing things to do in your hometown or in a new destination, and easily book them online. Whether you’d like to explore underground street art, go swimming with sharks, or head to the top of the Eiffel Tower, Peek has handpicked the best activities from the highest quality operators. Bashir, formerly of Gilt Group, Art.sy, the Blackstone Group, and Goldman Sachs, is a self-proclaimed travel junkie, having navigated her way through 40 countries.

 

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Floating in Paradise

“Floating in Paradise” by Tiffaney

This week’s winner goes to the aptly-titled “Floating in Paradise” by Tiffaney. It’s safe to say her submission made the Travel Channel staff collectively wish were there.

Tiffaney says, “My husband took me to the beautiful island of Bora Bora on our honeymoon. Each morning, I would jump off of our balcony into the blue lagoon below. One morning my husband saw me floating and snapped my favorite shot of the trip!”

It was our favorite, too, Tiffaney! Congrats on winning a $500 Choice Hotels voucher to use at any location.

See the other finalists from this week below, and remember we only have 1 grand prize left! Upload your best vacation photos now for your last chance to win.

“Color-Splashed Sunset”

“Blondes Do Have More Fun” by Kimberly

“Mediterranean Marvels” by Sable’s Travels

Emerald Lake & Cilantro Cafe

“Emerald Lake & Cilantro Cafe”

 

 

Right outside of Yosemite National Park, sits the now empty Tuolumne General Hospital in Sonora, CA. Sonora was a Gold Rush boomtown in the 1800s, and due to the often violent practices of desperate gold miners, Tuolumne Hospital was opened in 1849. But the hospital finally closed just a few years ago, and now sits abandoned save for the spirits of a few miners who still may be roaming the halls.  Tonight on an all-new episode of Ghost Adventures at 9|8c, the guys visit this hospital to determine who is lingering. And in an extended lockdown that yields some terrifying evidence, the guys leave the hospital feeling more than a little shaken up.

Pay your own visit to Sonora, CA, and learn about its rich gold mining history, with tips in our travel guide. And don’t miss tonight’s epic episode!

This Week in Photos

It may be the last week of summer, but things didn’t slow down in This Week in Photos from the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington to the twerk seen ’round the world at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. While Miley successfully stole the spotlight in Brooklyn, here are some of the travel headlines that got our attention this week.

Gadling has a roundup of strange laws that can get you locked up abroad, which is entertaining and useful. At least now you know where it’s illegal to feed pigeons or chew gum on public transit.

Skift.com reports that we’re headed toward a regional pilot shortage — and why it may actually benefit business travelers.

CNTraveler brings us the wackiest travel accessories this week. Portable infrared sauna anyone? Hey, it’s only $400!

There’s a new restaurant critic on the block and it’s none other than rapper-turned-Yelp-reviewer Wale. DCist has some of his best reviews while on tour, including this gem about Mr. Chow’s in Beverly Hills, CA: “Pretty sure the Chicken Satay is made with crack.”

We’ll leave you with the most inspiring video we’ve seen this week. Watch Buzzfeed’s “Facts That Will Make You Want to Travel.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Writer Patty Hodapp on a solo camping trip with her dog Pele along Lake Superior’s north shore in Minnesota.

Camping alone as a woman might sound crazy. Uncontrollable variables like weather, wackos and wild animals give credit to the old adage “safety in numbers”. But if you’re comfortable in the outdoors and want to camp solo, don’t let fear stop you. It takes common sense, good instinct and adaptability. Yes, it’s risky, but so is driving a car or stepping out your front door. The good news? There are a few things you can do to sleep outside alone, safer. Here are 7.

1. Know Your Gear

Test your camping gear before you pack — especially if it has been sitting unused in storage for a while. Bring extra batteries, matches, a lighter, tinder and paper in a plastic bag so they don’t get wet. Own a tent you can pitch by yourself (sounds obvious, but believe me, shelters with complicated pole structures are tough to set up solo).

2. Be Accountable to Someone

If you’re sleeping outside alone, tell someone where you are. Text a friend or relative your location, loose plans and end game, so someone knows when to worry and where to look for you. If you want to get specific, try SPOT — a sweet little GPS device that beams your location via text, email or emergency notification to those at home.

3. Stay at Family-Friendly Campgrounds

If you’re nervous about sleeping outside alone, splurge on a site at a family-oriented campground. Ask the park ranger or do your research online before you set up shop. Better to neighbor-up next to a couple with small kids than a rowdy group of partiers who might trash your gear or give you trouble.

4. Stick to the Trail

It’s simple: When you take day-trip hikes, stick to marked trails. That way, if you need help, you’ll be in a higher trafficked area so you’re more likely to get it. Bushwhacking is fun, but leave it for camping trips with friends. Also, invest in a backpacker’s first-aid kit or build your own, and keep it in your daypack always.

5. Skip the Booze

Sure it’s fun to have a brew around the campfire, but when you’re alone stick to water, sports drinks, coffee or anything that won’t impair your senses. You’re the only one out there to watch your back, so don’t get tipsy.

6. Bring a Dog

Some people argue that dogs provide a false sense of security. I say it depends on the dog. If your dog is used to the woods and alert, chances are it’ll hear, smell and respond to approaching animals and people faster than you. It was only because of 2 dogs that I survived a run-in with a mountain lion in New Mexico. Or so a professional lion hunter told me when I called him up the next day. I believe him.

7. Leave Room for Error

Think ahead and anticipate problems. Have a backup water supply; learn how to change a tire and use bear spray (don’t hose it upwind); master map reading. No trip ever goes as planned, but if you expect error it won’t catch you off guard.

Sleeping alone under the stars? Here are the best campgrounds for solo travelers who want a last-minute summer getaway.

 

You May Also Like:

Backcountry Survivor Skills
Camping Dos and Don’ts
Camping Tips and Tricks

 

by Patty Hodapp

Patty Hodapp is a freelance writer and solo traveler reporting from the intersection of fitness and adventure. Her slew of expat addresses runs deep — most recently, a tropical Spanish island in the Mediterranean. She covers endurance sports, outdoor gear and adventure travel. Besides Travel Channel, she has written for Outside, Men’s Fitness, Shape and several other publications.

Photography by Marbella Club Hotel, Golf Resort and Spa

Perched on southern Spain’s sun-drenched Costa del Sol, Marbella has long been a vacation destination for the wealthy and glamorous. More »

Gearing up for a beach weekend to celebrate summer’s last hurrah? We hate to rain on your Labor Day beach plans, but with hurricane season in full swing there are a few beaches you might want to avoid. We checked in with the meteorologists at weathertrends360 to get their forecast for the holiday weekend – here are the beaches with the highest risk for storms:

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Showers and thunderstorms are in the forecast for the majority of the weekend. While there may be a day of drier weather, the forecast is definitely not in favor of a sun-filled weekend. If you do get rain, there are still plenty of things to do in Myrtle Beach with the family inside, like touring Ripley’s Aquarium.

Outer Banks, North Carolina

Like Myrtle Beach, the Outer Banks are expected to have more wet days than dry, which could put a damper on the holiday weekend. If you’re stuck indoors, feast on the area’s freshest seafood at Nag’s Head Austin Fish Company or cozy up with clam chowder at Roadside Bar and Grill, a restaurant tucked inside the oldest house in Duck.

Southern Florida

Taking a trip to southern Florida during hurricane season is always a risk, and it’s definitely one we would rather not take this year. With a forecast of above-average tropical activity, it’s best to leave the southern Florida destinations for another year (or another time of year). One of our picks for where to travel in November is Florida. If you can wait for the beach until then, you’ll be rewarded with picture-perfect skies and fewer crowds.

New Orleans

Showers and thunderstorms are in the forecast over the weekend, and like southern Florida, it’s always risky taking a trip to this city on the Gulf during hurricane season. If you are in the Big Easy with stormy weather, you can always head for cover and hear live music most hours of the day at New Orleans’ Coolest Live Music Venues.

South Padre Island, Texas

Planning a trip to South Padre Island over Labor Day? Wet weather over the weekend could keep beachgoers indoors more than they would like. If the weather is iffy, consider a weekend off the beach in Austin or San Antonio, where there’s plenty to do indoors.

 

But it’s not all bad news! Weathertrends360 also gave us their forecast for the best beaches this Labor Day weekend.  One of their top picks? The Jersey Shore. Show your support for the area that was devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Enjoy sunny skies on beaches that have been rapidly rebuilt with the “Jersey Strong” motto.

Where else has a low risk for strong summer storms? Check out weathertrends360 full list of the Best Beaches for Labor Day Weekend.

For more short and long-term weather forecasts, use weathertrends360′s forecast tool.

 

Photography by Hotel Cap Rocat

Hotel Cap Rocat bears only architectural similarity to its original purpose — a 19th-century military fort — but it does offer the same panoramic views of the Bay of Palma. More » 

The town of Laconia, NH, is usually quaint and quiet. But for a single week in June, hundreds of thousands motorcycle enthusiasts make their way to Weirs Beach to show off their custom choppers, indulge in some quality seafood and get down with their bike brethren.

In the mood for a $100 lobster pizza? How about a resort overlooking the waters of Lake Winnipesaukee? The 15,000-person town of Laconia has it all. Wanna get down and dirty with the bikers in Laconia? Check out our travel guide to find out what you can’t miss during this crazy week in June, and tune in tonight at 9|8c to watch Adam Richman join in on the madness on an all-new episode of Fandemonium.

Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. put the finishing touches on a speech in his hotel room before walking across the National Mall to deliver those words before a crowd of more than 250,000 people. On Wednesday, President Obama will be among the leaders gathered to commemorate the 50th anniversary of that late August day in 1963, when Dr. King shared his vision of equality for all Americans.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, events have been unfolding across Washington, DC, over the past week. Slated for Wednesday, Aug. 28, a “Let Freedom Ring” Commemoration and Call to Action will take place at the Lincoln Memorial, with featured speakers including President Obama joined by former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. Get the full list of events at MLKDream50.com. Due to the large crowds anticipated for the event, stay current on DC Metro details.

When you make your way to the Lincoln Memorial, think about its own dedication: Hard to imagine now, but when the Lincoln Memorial was completed in 1922, the dedication ceremony called for African Americans in attendance to sit in a segregated section. It wasn’t until 1939, when an African-American contralto, Marian Anderson, sang on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, after having been turned down at nearby Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution, that the memorial came to symbolize much more than the reunification of North and South. Then in 1963, Dr. King sealed its new standing as a place to come to reflect on the meaning of equality and freedom for all Americans.

Nearby, see the memorial that stands in dedication to Dr. King himself. More than 20 years in the making, the memorial’s construction effort was led by Dr. King’s fraternity brothers at Boston University. Located on the western rim of the Tidal Basin, Dr. King stands resolutely, arms crossed, looking out to the Jefferson Memorial just beyond — a symbolic statement since one man wrote the words “All men are created equal,” while the other fought to make sure those words were realized for all.

The MLK Memorial itself is based on a line from Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech: “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” While there, make sure to take a good look at the walls on either side of the sculpture. As you read the various quotations from Dr. King’s speeches etched on those walls, see if you can figure out the 2 most commonly used words. Chances are we still need to make good on them.

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