Amanda DiGiondomenico

Amanda is an Interactive Producer for TravelChannel.com and considers herself a resident of both Baltimore and Washington, DC. She loves taking road trips up and down the East Coast, but looks for any excuse to escape to California. She’s perfected the art of traveling with just a carry-on and finds airports oddly relaxing. When she’s not blogging for the Traveling Type or keeping the Ghost Adventures website buzzing, Amanda spends her time learning how to build apps and writing for her personal blog, The Spendicate.

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Posts by Amanda DiGiondomenico

By Mommy Points

There’s only a little time left until the Olympic torch reaches London and marks the beginning of the 2012 Summer Olympics, so it isn’t surprising that hotel prices in London this summer are high. Not only is the British pound a pretty strong currency against many other currencies (such as the US dollar) but demand is obviously higher than normal because of the Olympics.  You could say that the whole world is converging upon London!

However, if you collect miles and points from your travels, or even just through your credit card spending, you can still use those points to book some free rooms in London during the Olympics.  There are several very nice hotels in London that still have standard reward night availability from July 27 – Aug. 12 when the Olympics are in full force.  In fact, using your hotel points for free nights when the going rate is very expensive, such as during the Olympics, is actually the best way to redeem them.  It ensures you are getting the best value for your hard-earned points.

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Every week we scour the travel blog universe to see where people are going, what they’re seeing and if they know something we don’t about their favorite destinations. From preparing to run with the bulls to capturing breathtaking photos of colorful Panama, travel bloggers have been busy.

Presumably, your local fireworks went off without a hitch this week — not true for San Diego residents. Gadling shares a video of the Big Bay Boom — with all of the city’s fireworks exploding at once.

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We’re in the midst of summer and that means one thing: time for family vacations. Well, cookouts, too, but it’s mostly a chance for busy families to pause and spend precious moments together in between the routines of a normally hectic schedule.

But with endless possibilities for family getaways, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the prospect of schlepping the kids somewhere new. Travel Channel is here to make it easy on you with tips to plan a trip everyone can enjoy.

Want to avoid the hassle of airports while having a little more control over your budget? There’s a reason why road trips are a classic family adventure — read our tips on road-trippin’ in the US.

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Staycationers and vacationers alike, rejoice! This weekend, Travel Channel premieres Extreme Waterparks and Insane Coaster Wars, in addition to our summer lineup that includes Trip Flip with Bert Kreischer, which premiered last week and Top Spot, starting next week.

These shows might be too adrenaline-pumping for certain New York Times’ writers, but for those of us looking for a vicarious thrill and perhaps some ideas for our next thrill-seeking adventure, it sounds like the perfect way to spend a Sunday night. Insane Coaster Wars will pit the best and scariest rollercoasters against each other in categories like “G-force Giants” and “Speed Demons,” while Xtreme Waterparks will give viewers a peek at the world’s craziest water attractions.

As far as we’re concerned, journalist Neil Genzlinger’s idea for “Insanely Xtreme Top Shot” sounds pretty entertaining, but we wouldn’t recommend shooting rabbits with a hose or attempting to make a waterslide on your roof. So instead watch videos of insane coasters and extreme waterparks to prepare yourself before buckling down for the jaw-dropping premieres.

Catch double episodes this Sunday, July 8th, of both Xtreme Waterparks at 8|7c followed by Insane Coaster Wars at 9|8c.

Can you believe tomorrow is the Fourth of July already? It’s not too late to make your holiday plans. From Boston to San Francisco, we rounded up the best fireworks the Fourth has to offer. And to make your planning even easier, we even found out which cities will have the best and the worst weather for pyrotechnics. Get out your picnic blankets – it’s time to get patriotic!

Check to see if the weather is going to ruin your fireworks with our friends at WeatherTrends360.com.

Get in the mood with photos of the best fireworks displays in the nation.

Impress your friends when you show them where the best viewing spots are for fireworks  around the country.

Where will you be catching the fireworks this year? Let us know in the comments!

If you’re anything like us, you were pretty excited about US sprinters Allyson Felix and Janeba Tarmoh’s runoff scheduled for today. So we were bummed to find out that the runoff has been postponed … for now, anyway. But until the race actually happens — if it happens — here are some other venues to satisfy that adrenaline-rushing need for speed displayed on the track … or the streets.

Check out our gallery of the World’s Wackiest Races or read about Extreme Races.

Watch people race in rather unconventional contraptions.

Learn more about Oregon, where the Track and Field Olympic trials are taking place up until today.

Finally, see everything we have on the Olympics in London, from galleries of London’s major attractions to David Beckham’s Guide to Britain.

We spend time trolling the travel blogosphere so you don’t have to! Well, not trolling … more like, blissfully absorbing. Anyway, turns out the Olympics is on everyone’s minds — as it will be for the next couple of months — and we found tips on eking as much enjoyment as possible out of the remaining summer days. Check out what we found on Travel Channel’s blogroll.

Looking to get to London on the cheap? Mommy Points debates taking a discounted trip to the Olympics.

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Yesterday, the world lost the queen of romantic comedies: Nora Ephron. The movies that she wrote and directed are not only romantic movie staples, they are also about the cities where the relationships blossomed.

Although Nora Ephron is best known for writing and directing Sleepless in Seattle, which highlighted the waterfront communities of Seattle and Baltimore, her other movies celebrated another equally exciting place: Manhattan. When Harry Met Sally, Ephron’s first big hit, and You’ve Got Mail, which reunited actors Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan via dial-up internet, are both romantic comedy classics, as well as love letters to the city that gave her a voice — New York.

Relive Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan’s cross-country romance with our photos of Seattle’s sights and our gallery of Extreme Houseboats, which features homes like Tom’s in the movie.

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Hurricane Season

Tropical Storm Debby has made national headlines as we begin to make our way through hurricane season. Since weather is a big factor when you consider travel plans, we have a few resources to help! Learn about hurricane safety, make some adjustments to your vacation plans, or find travel alternatives in case you’d rather avoid the sketchy weather altogether.

Check out Travel Channel’s resources to help you figure out your next move:

Let the forecast be your guide with Weather Trends: Best Weeks to Book a Summer Rental …

Head a little further north with our tips on North Carolina Beach Rentals …

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What happened this week in the travel blogosphere? Well, retro is in, cleavage is out. Here’s what else grabbed our attention on Travel Channel’s blogroll.

Opening today, the new Disney film Brave is sure to be a hit – set in Scotland, it’s already inspiring trips to the country, including those with a special itinerary designed by Disney. Gadling explains… READ MORE

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