Archive for August, 2013

Meet Matt Long — he’s Our Type of Traveler. An experiential traveler at heart, Matt shares his adventures with thousands of readers every day through his site LandLopers.com. As someone who has a big case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer. Based in Washington, DC, Matt has been to more than 60 countries and all 7 continents. Check out his blog, and follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Traveling Type: How did you get started travel blogging?

Matt Long: At the time I was working as a lobbyist for a trade association and just didn’t find my job fulfilling. I started the site as a way to help friends and share my adventures, and now it’s my full-time job and undeniable passion.

What’s your blog about?

Like most blogs, my blog is about me and the way I like to travel. I love adventure and experiential travel, but I also like coming back to a comfortable hotel room. Luxury adventure is usually how I describe it, but with an emphasis on adventure.

How many countries, cities and continents have you traveled to?

I’ve been to around 60 countries, who knows how many hundreds of cities, and 7 continents.

What’s your favorite place you’ve traveled to?

Hard question and it depends on “favorite” for what. Paris is my favorite city, New Zealand is my favorite place for adventure travel and Jordan is a great place for foodies. But most countries I visit hold a soft spot in my heart.

What’s your favorite place to get away from it all?

The Bahamas, there is just something so peaceful about the islands and with so many Out Islands to explore it’s never the same trip twice.

What’s your must-have item that you never travel without?

Other than my passport and camera? My battery pack to keep my iPhone always charged is a must-have for me.

What’s your favorite travel app?

I swear by TripIt, it keeps all of my travel information stored in one place and is indispensible for trips.

 

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten while traveling, and where was it?

Simple meal of chicken and fried basil at a riverfront restaurant in Bangkok. I go every time I visit and it has some of the best food in the city.

What’s the best hotel/resort/hostel you’ve stayed at?

Yikes, hard question! I’ve stayed at some great ones, but the 2 Four Seasons resorts on the Hawaiian island of Lanai are  hotels I love and never get tired of visiting.

Where’s “home”?

Washington, DC, but it’s also whenever I’m with my loved ones and my 3 furry kids, Siberian huskies that are always hard to leave behind when I travel.

What would you recommend to travelers visiting your hometown?

To plan an evening at the beautiful Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts. It’s the only national park of its kind in the US and an evening listening to great music under the stars is a quintessential DC moment that we locals usually keep to ourselves.

What’s No. 1 on your bucket list? 

Not usually a fan of bucket lists, but I really want to explore India. I’ve never been, I’ve heard mixed things but I have to admit that it really intrigues me.

 

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Photography by Hotel Fasano Las Piedras

Photography by Mystique

At just 22 rooms and 2 villas, the intimate property invites resort-goers to frolic in the infinity pool overlooking the catena (volcanic crater) sea. More »

Tonight on at 9|8c, Adam Richman heads to the Indy 500 for a full dose of Fandemonium! Since the first running of the race in 1911, the Indy 500 has become the largest single-day sporting event in the world, with a staggering 600,000 fanatical race fans making the pilgrimage to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, aka the Brickyard, each year.

And as Adam finds out first-hand, the tailgating scene is equally massive. From an out-of-service ambulance turned into a rowdy party vehicle to Bret Michael’s own rocked-out RV, the Indy 500 superfans take their parking lot parties to new levels.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway holds race events year-round, so if you’re jonesing for a little race action of your own, check out our Indianapolis travel guide for a few tips!

 

This Week in Photos

On the anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death, no one paid better tribute to The King than fans in Denmark at the opening of Graceland Randers, a copy of his mansion in Memphis, TN. But wait, there’s more Elvis and extraterrestrials in This Week in Photos – and in the travel world at large — so let’s get to it.

A 60-foot-wide Florida sinkhole swallowed parts of a resort near Disney World, CNN reports. In what sounds like the plot of a scary movie, guests of the Summer Bay Resort in Clermont were forced out of their rooms as one 3-story building collapsed and another slowly sank.

Privacy advocates may be less than thrilled that Google search will pull information from your email for smarter results, but as Mashable explains it could especially benefit travelers. For example, a simple search for “What’s my flight status?” will yield real-time information about your flight based on data from your email, Google Calendar and Google+.

Think we couldn’t pack in more conspiracy theories this week? Think again. The CIA finally acknowledges the existence of Area 51 in Nevada in newly-released declassified documents. ABC News has more on Area 51 from the CIA spy plane documents.

The Frugal Traveler has the inside scoop for Memphis on the cheap. He only had to eat through 8 BBQ joints, search for the best Elvis souvenir under $10 and take in a minor league baseball game to find it.

And for more “on the nose” travel news, Gadling has a roundup of the top 10 most outrageous hotel fees, including an “energy surcharge” and a fee for an extra set of clean towels or sheets (seriously?!).

“Bubble Cheeks” by Susan

Who could resist those “Bubble Cheeks?” Certainly, not us.

This week’s winner in the “Travel Fun for Less” category is Susan, who says “I was enjoying a fun afternoon in the pool with my 4-year-old nephew, who is learning to swim. He was showing me how to make ‘bubble cheeks.’”

Congrats, Susan, on winning a $500 Choice Hotels voucher to use at any location!

See the other finalists from this week below, and remember we have 3 grand prizes left! Upload your best vacation photos now for a chance to win.

“African Dream” by Rochi

“Midnight Sun in Iceland” by MikelDallas

“Hiking up High” by MANelson

For more information — or to size up the competition — check out our 2013 photo contest.

Get ready for the lockdowns to return when the Ghost Adventures Crew heads to Goodsprings, NV – just outside of Las Vegas – to investigate the Pioneer Saloon on tonight’s season premiere at 9|8c!

The Pioneer Saloon is not only a historic landmark with over 100 years of history, but it also has ties to Hollywood. When Clark Gable’s wife, Carole Lombard, died in the 1942 plane crash on nearby Mount Potosi, he awaited the news of her death at the Pioneer Saloon. The saloon even has a wall of photos dedicated to the Hollywood couple. And the guys are here to find out: Does the spirit of Carole Lombard continue to haunt the Pioneer Saloon?

If you want to make your own trip to the haunted Pioneer Saloon, check out our travel guide for tips on where to stay and what to do when you hit the Nevada desert.

And if you have something you’d like to say to the guys, submit your shout-out video here and show your love for the GAC!

History buffs rejoice: Don Wildman is back with an all-new season of bizarre, confounding, creepy and downright shocking museum mysteries. Thursday at 9|8c, travel the country with Don as he examines the relics at the heart of the country’s most interesting tales. On tonight’s episode, Don examines a failed invention that helped create a multi-billion dollar industry, the bell of a ship whose crew vanished at sea, and a footprint of a lizard-like creature that roam the swamps of South Carolina.

Need to catch up before the new season begins? Flip through Don’s picks for the Most Shocking Museum Mysteries from the past 4 seasons. Then, head over to Museumist.com to read all about Don’s experience hosting one of Travel Channel’s most thought-provoking shows.

Photography by Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

Visit some of Elvis’ favorite spots on the property, including the Jungle Room den and the Meditation Garden. More »

 

American-US Airways merger

Grounded: American-US Airways merger (Photo: Getty)

Lower competition and increased ticket costs. That’s the charge being leveled by antitrust officials about the proposed US Airways-American Airlines merger. On Tuesday, the Justice Department, 6 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia filed the suit in DC.

“By challenging this merger, the Department of Justice is saying that the American people deserve better,” said Attorney General Eric Holder in a statement. “This transaction would result in consumers paying the price — in higher airfares, higher fees and fewer choices.”

The lawsuit puts on hold what would have become the world’s largest commercial air carrier — and the DOJ action surprised the bejesus out of the airline industry.

“We Will Fight Them”
“We and our counterparts at US Airways have been working with the DOJ staff for months to ensure that they had an informed view of the merger,” says American CEO Tom Horton, in a memo yesterday to employees. “We have maintained that the merger is complementary (only 12 overlapping routes), that it provides significant customer benefits and that it enhances competition in the airline industry.”

US Airways chairman Doug Parker was even more direct. “We are extremely disappointed in this action and believe the DOJ is wrong in its assessment … we will fight them.”

Costs to You
Whatever the outcome of DOJ’s suit, the larger issue remains: The current business model for domestic airlines is seeing the industry bleed red ink. Increasing jet fuel costs and the investment needed to modernize an aging fleet are the big industry expenses that won’t go away anytime soon. (Learn how to save big on airfare.)

Whether this merger goes through or not, we may all expect to see higher ticket costs in the years to come. Stay tuned.

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