Allee Sangiolo

A Boston native and Washington, DC, resident, Allee has been growing her bucket list since she began working as an Interactive Producer for TravelChannel.com. When not playing with her Frenchie named Pearl, Allee can be found inputting destinations into Kayak.com in the hopes of finding a deal on a flight to visit friends or family -- she’s lucky enough to have couches to crash on in Boston, New Orleans, Miami, New York and more. No matter how far she goes or what incredible trips she takes, her favorite place on Earth will always be a little island off the coast of Massachusetts: Nantucket.

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Posts by Allee Sangiolo

 

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

The holiday season is officially in full swing — now that Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday have all come and gone (finally), it’s time to break the Christmas boxes out of the attic and get decorating! The National Christmas Tree in Washington, DC, will be lit this Friday, and the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is set to take place tonight at 8 p.m. — but what about your tree?

Want to show off your decorating skills? Or know someone who goes all-out with their spirited décor? We want to see your photos! Instagram them with the hashtag #TCHolidayLights, and we’ll pick our favorites to feature on the blog.

If you need a little inspiration, check out our photos of Dazzling Holiday Lights, the Travel Channel community’s best holiday lights photos, and our picks for the Most Christmasy Places in America.

Plus, don’t miss Sam Brown and Zak Bagans’ picks for their favorite lights displays:

Were you planning on pitching a tent in a national park, taking in the beauty of the national seashore, or examining the art and artifacts housed in any of the Smithsonian’s 19 museums and galleries this week?

If so, you’d better make other plans.

In addition to the 800,000 government employees who face unpaid days off now that the federal government has ceased operation, a shutdown spells a number of consequences for travelers, too. In his speech yesterday afternoon, President Obama put it bluntly, “Tourists will find every one of America’s national parks and monuments, from Yosemite to the Smithsonian to the Statue of Liberty, immediately closed.”

While air travel and Amtrak service is not expected to be impacted by the shutdown, a number of popular tourist attractions have begun closing their gates, locking their doors and barricading their entrances. Here’s a rundown of just some the locations that are currently affected by the government shutdown.

National Parks

All of the National Park Service’s more than 400 parks, national monuments and historic sites are currently closed as a result of the government shutdown. On the National Mall in Washington, DC, monuments have begun to be barricaded and fountains turned off — a huge disappointment not only to expectant travelers but also to the 24 couples who were scheduled to get married on the National Mall during the month of October. The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Alcatraz Island, Independence Hall, the Cape Cod National Seashore, Yellowstone National Park and Grand Canyon National Park are all be among the temporarily closed sites, which collectively average about 715,000 visitors per day in October.

As a result of the shutdown, all the parks have been closed today to visitors effective immediately, but travelers already camping in the parks have 2 days to pack up and leave.

Smithsonian Museums and Galleries

Visitors to Washington, DC, hoping to take advantage of the capital’s incredible array of free museums are out of luck today. Don’t count on seeing the Hope Diamond or Dorothy’s ruby slippers — all 19 Smithsonian museums and galleries have shut their doors, including the National Gallery of Art, the National Museum of American History and the Museum of Natural History. This also includes the National Zoo, leaving many upset at the new reality that the “panda cam” has gone dark.

So what should visitors to Washington, DC, do today? There are a number of museums not affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution – visit the International Spy Museum, the Newseum, the National Museum of Crime and Punishment, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the National Building Museum, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the National Geographic Museum or the Phillips Collection.

American Military Cemeteries Abroad

Twenty-four American military cemeteries spread throughout the world have also been forced to close as a result of the shutdown. Anyone looking to pay their respects at any cemetery operated by the American Battle Monuments Commission will have to reschedule their visit.

What Else?

Be sure to check with your local passport agency before showing up today – while agencies will remain open, those located in federal buildings have been forced to close their doors.

While you wait for some of America’s most popular tourist attractions to re-open, explore (virtually, of course, since you can’t actually visit) the incredible natural landscapes and historic monuments that make up our country’s National Park sites. Then, test your knowledge with our National Parks Quiz – you’ll be an expert by the time congress gets their act together.

 

Every October, normally family-friendly amusement parks transform into terrifying Halloween-themed attractions. Get your adrenaline pumping by taking a trip on an already-hair-raising ride – but in complete darkness. Then, try not to scream like a 14-year-old girl when a “scareactor” attempts to freak you out.

Scarywood

At Silverwood Theme Park’s Scarywood, parents are not encouraged to bring their children during the month of October because it’s … scary. Real scary. Watch out for the ghouls and other “scareactors” that roam the grounds, looking to frighten unsuspecting park-goers. For a particularly harrowing experience, hop aboard the Zombiewood Express, and watch as a group of “zombie killers” picks off the freaky creatures trying to attack the train.

Here’s what you can expect:

Howl-O-Scream

What’s freakier than a super-freaky haunted house? Going through it completely and utterly alone. Start your tour of Busch Gardens Tampa’s Howl-O-Scream with a terrifying tour of the Alone House. After the approximately 20 minutes of horror, you’ll be properly primed for your creepy experience at the Halloween-ified amusement park.

Check out the other thrills Howl-O-Scream offers:

For even more amusement parks-turned-Halloween-playgrounds, be sure to tune in for Halloween Night Frights, premiering tonight at 10|9c.

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.

Lola Akinmade Akerstrom

Lola Akinmade Åkerström is a Nigerian-American, Stockholm-based writer and photographer who has contributed to digital and print publications such as National Geographic Traveler (both UK & US versions), BBC, CNN, The Guardian, Travel + Leisure, Lonely Planet, AFAR, San Francisco Chronicle, Fodors.com, several in-flight magazines, and many more. She is featured in a South Africa vignette Through The Lens that airs on National Geographic Channel and her photography is represented by National Geographic. Check out her blog, and follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Traveling Type: How did you get started travel blogging?
Lola Akinmade Akerstrom: I’ve always had a travel website of some sort since 2002 when I volunteered as a field journalist with an expedition race in Fiji. I shared dispatches, snippets and photos so my family and friends could follow along, but it wasn’t until late 2006 — when I discovered Matador Network — that I fully began “travel blogging.” At that time, I was still working a full-time job as a GIS system architect developing cool interactive online maps, but by 2009, I officially left that life behind in pursuit of travel writing and travel photography.

What’s your blog about?
I developed my own travel blog to feature highlights from travels along with dispatches because I work primarily as a freelance writer and photographer. So my blog acts more as a showcase for my work — writing and photography — with the occasional service-y “how to” post and product reviews.

How many countries, cities, and continents have you traveled to?
I stopped counting countries after my 40th because travel to me isn’t about some arbitrary list of places that need to be checked off and conquered. That said, I’d probably be well over 50 countries by the end of this year. But who’s keeping count? :)

What’s your favorite place you’ve traveled to?
I don’t have a favorite place but I do have favorite experiences, ranging from volunteering in Cambodia and photographing the Northern Lights in Swedish Lapland to learning about Zulu culture in South Africa and soaking up the vibrant markets in Lagos, Nigeria.

What’s your favorite place to get away from it all?
We actually live on one of Stockholm’s islands so we have a favorite cliff by the water where we steal away to just relax and watch sailboats and ships cruise by.

What’s your must-have item that you never travel without?
Camera. I have a hard time traveling without one.

What’s your favorite travel app?
Skyscanner. I’m always searching for cheap tickets.

Tell us your funniest travel story/experience. 
Strong winds plus me in a skirt and you already know what happened. But what made it even more embarrassing was that I was boarding a full double-decker bus in London and was climbing the stairs to the upper deck when a gust of wind rushed in, lifting and wrapping my skirt around my waist in the process. So those seated in the lower deck definitely got a good view of my underwear.

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten while traveling, and where was it?
A tough call, but I can say the best pizza I have ever eaten was in the remote village of Gratteri in Sicily — the type of tiny village where the baker rides a small Vespa through narrow streets delivering bread directly to homes. We had to wait all day until 7 p.m. for the pizza maker to arrive into the village … and it was well worth the wait.

What’s the best hotel/resort/hostel you’ve stayed at?
Right now, it’s Les Jardins de la Medina in Marrakech. I really enjoyed its ambiance and would return in a heartbeat.

Where’s “home”?
Home is anywhere my husband and daughter are. Right now, they’re in Stockholm so Stockholm it is. But I was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, and it will always be my “true roots” home.

What would you recommend to travelers visiting your hometown?
When visiting Lagos, try to experience one of its open-air markets for a sensory overload and a true glimpse into what makes it such a vibrant city. When visiting Stockholm, take a boat cruise around the harbor. Better yet, take a brunch or lunch cruise so you can dig into local Swedish specialties like pickled herring and cured salmon while soaking up Stockholm’s stunning views.

What’s #1 on your bucket list? 
Mongolia. Oh, and the North Pole.

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Greece

Some may be jealous of their clothes, their fame, their money, but here at Travel Channel, we’re jealous of the Kardashian family’s epic family vacations. Maybe we’ll never be able to keep up with their globetrotting ways … but that isn’t going to stop us from gushing over their photos of luxurious white stucco villas overlooking the glistening Aegean Sea. As expected, the Kardashian-Jenner clan’s April Grecian getaway was about as over-the-top as their reality show — think: private villas, fish pedicures, and cruising the islands on a yacht worthy of the gods. Curious as to what they did, where they stayed … and how much it cost? We’ve got all the details.

Kardashians Yacht in Greece

Yachting
When in the Greek Islands, rent a 162-foot yacht. At least that’s what America’s favorite love-to-hate-them reality family did. You’ll need $195,000 per week, though. The 7-bedroom O’ceanos Yacht features a large Jacuzzi and multiple bars and spacious dining areas — overall, O’ceanos is the perfect backdrop for taking bikini-clad “selfies” for your various social media outlets. Like it so much you could live there? It’s your lucky day! For a mere $22,238,449, the yacht could be yours!

Mykonos
Kris, Bruce, Kendall, Kylie, Brody, Brandon, Leah, Kourtney, Khloe, Kim, Scott, Mason and baby Penelope took over the 3 drop-dead gorgeous villas that make up the Mykonos Retreat, located in the quiet southwestern tip of the island known as Aleomandra. The white stucco villas are built into the hillside with stunning views of the Aegean Sea and feature expansive stone terraces, infinity pools and crisp white décor. With amenities like a private chef and “superior travel assistance” including arranging “private planes, yachts, speed boats, helicopters and luxury cars” — you’ll be hard-pressed to find a reason to ever leave this private Grecian enclave. Unless, like Khloe, you’d rather go horseback-riding on Mykonos’ Fokos beach. So, what’ll your stay at the Mykonos Retreat cost you? Each villa ranges from approximately $15,000-25,000 per week, depending on the time of year.

Kardashians in GreeceSantorini
After their jaunt in Mykonos, the Kardashians headed to nearby Santorini, another island in the Cyclades. They stayed at one of the Volcano View Hotel’s private villas, perched high on a cliff, overlooking the Santorini caldera and the sparkling-blue Aegean Sea.  With film crews in tow, the family enjoyed a traditional Greek feast, complete with plate-smashing, “Opa!”-shouting and Zeimpekiko-dancing. While in Santorini, little sister Kendall and Kourtney’s baby-daddy Scott experienced a fish pedicure, and Kourtney toured (and shopped, of course) in the picturesque town of Oia — known for having one of the most breathtaking sunsets in Europe.

Oh, and there was plenty of drama, of course, but we’ll leave that to the gossip blogs!

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Photos by: Thinkstock, Thinkstock, Kylinejenner/Instagram

The Broadmoor

Have you ever dreamt of vacationing at a luxurious mountain resort, spending your days breathing in the fresh mountain air, golfing at a championship course, relaxing by the pool and taking a break from canoeing or fly-fishingto experience a top-notch spa treatment? Sounds pretty nice, right?

What if the trip was also completely, 100% paid for?

From now until the end of the month, enter daily to win an amazing Colorado experience. One lucky winner and 3 guests will be flown to Colorado Springs, where they’ll spend 4 days enjoying all the natural beauty Colorado has to offer.

First, you’ll spend 2 nights at The Broadmoor Resort — the longest consecutive winner of both the AAA 5-Diamond and Forbes Travel Guide 5-Star awards. The luxury resort also has a day spa, a 54-hole championship golf course, 6 tennis courts and 3 pools.Sunset at The Ranch at Emerald Valley

Then, spend a night at The Ranch at Emerald Valley, a cluster of cabins nestled within 100,000 acres of the Pike National Forest. Don’t worry, they have all the modern conveniences, plus wood-burning fireplaces and outdoor hot tubs.

If all that isn’t enough, the free trip also includes spa treatments, golf at The Broadmoor’s Championship East Course, paddleboating/canoeing, a train ride on Pikes Peak Cog Railway and complimentary access to The Broadmoor Movie Theater.

So, what are you waiting for? Enter now!

Meet Johnny Jet – he’s Our Type of Traveler. Johnny Jet travels around 175,000 miles and visits more than 20 countries each year. He and his website JohnnyJet.com have been featured over 3,000 times in major publications, including USA Today, Time, Fortune and The New York Times. JohnnyJet.com has been named “one of the best money-saving web sites for travel” by Budget Travel Magazine, while the LA Times calls it “one of the top 10 essential travel resources on the internet.” Sign up today for Johnny Jet’s free weekly travel newsletter at JohnnyJet.com and follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

Traveling Type: How did you get started travel blogging?
JohnnyJet: I kind of fell into it. I started before the word ‘blogging’ was even created. Back in 1995, I began emailing stories of my travels to my friends, along with useful travel tips. My friends started sharing it with their friends and when my email list grew to over 500 people, I created a website. A few months later, Laura Bly from USA Today featured JohnnyJet.com and it became my full-time job about 4 months later.

What’s your blog about?
My website chronicles my travels and includes useful travel tips and advice to help people travel better and smarter. You’ll also find travel news and great travel deals.

How many countries, cities, and continents have you traveled to?
I’ve been to 6 continents and roughly 100 countries according to the Century Club’s list.

What’s your favorite place you’ve traveled to?
That’s a tough call. It really depends on the time of year. I love Southeast Asia, Australia and the South Pacific in the winter and I love Europe and Nantucket in the summer.

What’s your favorite place to get away from it all?
A European cruise on Seabourn.

What’s your must-have item that you never travel without?
My passport! And my Acer Aspire S7 laptop, which has the new Windows operating system.

What’s your favorite travel app?
FlightAware

Tell us your funniest travel story/experience. 
I was at Club Med Opio in Provence, France, and had signed up for a massage. When I arrived for my appointment, the receptionists were giggling as they handed me a robe and showed me to the men’s locker room. When my masseuse showed up, she escorted me to the room and said something in French, which I didn’t understand. Then she said, “Voila.” Usually, after being led into the therapy room, the masseuse steps out so you can get your naked body on the table and under a towel so no one has to witness what’s beneath the robe. But when she said, “Voila!” again and motioned for me to get on the table, I gathered she was telling me to drop the towel and hoist my naked self up onto the table. I didn’t want to look like a prude American so I did as I was told and just … well, dropped the towel.

WHOA NELLY! You should have seen this scene. I don’t know who was more surprised — the masseuse or my reaction to her reaction! After I let it all hang out she let out a little scream and quickly turned around. I instantly grabbed the paper covering from the table and covered you-know-who. With her back to me and one hand over her eyes, she handed me some paper underwear. It turned out that the women at the front desk had ‘forgotten’ to give me this important cover-up.

What’s the best hotel/resort/hostel you’re stayed at?
That’s another tough call. But as of right now, I would have to say Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island or Richard Branson’s Mahali Mzuri Kenya Safari Camp.

Where’s “home”?
Manhattan Beach, California

What would you recommend to travelers visiting your hometown?
Rent a bike and ride along the Strand to soak up the views and the sun.

What’s #1 on your bucket list?
Vietnam.

See how some of the Travel Channel editors spent their Independence Day. Then, show us how you spent yours! Instagram your photos with the hashtag #TCJuly4th and we’ll feature our favorites on the blog!

Fourth of July

Top Row, Left to Right:

“Happy July 4th from Kensington, MD!” - Jessica Menk, Digital Editorial Designer

“Sitting on the steps of Department of Labor, waiting for fireworks to begin on the National Mall.” - Vanessa Mack, Photo Editor

“Here’s a shot of Mike Espenshade resting before the start of Civil War reenactments. He’s been a re-enactor for the past 30 years, and this week he’s joined 40,000 compatriots to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and a “new birth of freedom” – the Fourth rocked in Gettysburg!” - Lisa Singh, Interactive Producer

Bottom Row, Left to Right:

“There’s no better way to celebrate America’s birthday than by watching America’s favorite pastime! Cold beer, a great game and a cone of soft-serve vanilla ice cream made for the perfect Independence Day.” – Allee Sangiolo, Interactive Producer

“Even under repairs, the Washington Monument glows in anticipation of 4th of July fireworks on the National Mall.” – Robin Bennefield, Managing Producer

“No cookout would be complete without a patriotic blueberry pie! But the credit goes to a friend — I’m a terrible baker.” - Sara Gilliam, Senior Interactive Producer

Fourth of July

We want to know: How are you celebrating the most patriotic day of the year? Will you be commemorating America’s independence by taking in one of the best fireworks displays in the US? Are you lucky enough to be spending the holiday at one of the best hotels for 4th of July celebrations? Whether you’re celebrating with a picnic, a party or plenty of pyrotechnics, we want to see! Instagram your photos with the hashtag #TCJuly4th, and we’ll feature some of our favorites on the blog.

Here’s to the red, white and blue!

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