Kathleen Rellihan

Kathleen Rellihan is a digital producer, writer and editor for TravelChannel.com. A Washington, DC, resident, Kathleen's love for adventure travel has inspired her to go dog sledding in Quebec, search for the northern lights in Iceland, learn to surf in Costa Rica and give elephants a bath in Thailand. Kathleen’s next adventure is volunteering as an English teacher in Haiti. Follow Kathleen on Twitter @k_rellihan.

Posts by Kathleen Rellihan

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Ready for the busiest travel day of the year?  Ready or not, it’s inevitable that the day before Thanksgiving will include record-long lines at the airport and headache-inducing traffic. We checked in with Foursquare to get their insights on Thanksgiving travel patterns. Looking at more than 4.5 billion check-ins from last year, Foursquare determined the busiest airports, busiest rest stops and even the busiest restaurants (see full list below for busiest hours). Hint: You’ll definitely want to avoid Atlanta’s airport, ATL, at 6pm the day before Thanksgiving!

Bad news? It’s not likely this year will be any less busy for travel. Good news? There are heaping amounts of comfort food waiting for you on the other side.

Some interesting overall Thanksgiving check-in trends to note:

Turkey Pickin’
A 48% increase in farm check-ins suggests people are heading out to pick their own turkey. Get your gobble on at these turkey farms.

Small Town Pride
Travelers returning to small towns are much more likely to check-in and show off their hometown pride than those from the big cities. The most popular hometown destination in the nation for Thanksgiving? Detroit (based on largest percentage increase of check-ins).

Pit Stops
There is a 53% increase in rest stop check-ins during travel season. Nothing like a bit of caffeine and sugar to fuel a long drive.

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Photography by John Moore/Getty Images

Think the only way to avoid an airport meltdown during the holidays is to stay home? Fear not, it is possible to snag a cheap flight during the holidays, breeze through long airport lines, keep the kids happy during the entire flight, and not lose your cool (or dignity) in security.

We asked an air travel expert, Mark Drusch, Chief Supplier Relations Officer for CheapOair.com, to reveal his secrets for flying through the airport during the holidays. With over 20 years of experience in executive airline roles, Drusch shared with us his forecast for the holiday travel season, how to glide through security lines, and what he never gets on a plane without.

So before you take off this holiday season, take in Drusch’s expert travel advice:
Traveling Type: What’s your forecast for this holiday travel season? What trends are you seeing?
Mark Drusch:  Higher traffic than last year, however the peak days (Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and the Sunday and Monday after) may be marginally less full because the other days around the holiday are seeing very strong traffic. But planes will still be very full. We see an increase in customers celebrating their Thanksgiving in vacation spots, particularly the Caribbean, Mexico and Costa Rica.

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With Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the second installment in the The Hunger Games trilogy coming out this month in theatres, Hunger Games tourism is … well, catching fire again.  From tree hotels to bubble dome rooms, Booking.com shared with us the most Hunger Games-inspired hotels around the world. Whether you are a super fan or just have a taste for truly one-of-a-kind places to stay, you won’t believe these 5 spectacular hotels.

May the odds (of getting a room in these super hot hotels) be ever in your favor!

Treehotel

Treehotel – Harads, Sweden
While you might not need to hide from your fellow Hunger Games rivals, an escape to Treehotel, the world’s largest treehouse hotel, still will be a welcome reprieve.  Spending a night perched in the trees in Sweden’s Harads forest, you’ll feel on top of the world.  The tree rooms are all uniquely designed and suspended 13 to 19 feet above ground. We bet you’ll sleep better in the trees here than Katniss Everdeen ever did. After all, there are no distractions like flying arrows and tracker jackers impeding quality shut-eye.

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Ironman World Championships 2013 in Kona, Hawaii. Photography by Tony Svensson

Ironman “Kona Inspired” athlete Kelly Miyahara has learned through both extraordinary triumphs and devastating tragedy that anything is possible. Kelly felt like “the luckiest girl in the world” when, in 2005, she was given her dream job: Jeopardy! Clue Crew member, allowing her to travel the world for a living.

After the tragic loss of her fellow Ironman teammate and friend, Marisela (Mari) Echeverria, Kelly set out to prove, once again, that anything is possible. This past month, she competed in honor of Mari in the Ironman Word Championships in Kona, Hawaii.

We caught up with Kelly recently and found out what makes her such an inspiring athlete.

“Kona Inspired” Kelly Miyahara crosses the Ironman finish line. Marco Garcia – AP for IRONMAN

Traveling Type: What made you decide you wanted to compete in Ironman?

Kelly Miyahara: The Ironman World Championship is a very special event.  Think, the Super Bowl or World Cup of triathlons. It’s where the world’s best triathletes compete. Normally, the way to earn a slot there is to qualify by winning your age group at a “qualifying” Ironman event, win a lottery slot, or be invited as a special guest. My very special journey was as a Kona Inspired Contest Winner. I was 1 of 7 slot winners in an international contest that asked entrants to share inspiring stories following the Ironman mantra, “Anything is possible.”

 

What does it mean to be a “Kona Inspired” in Ironman?

Kona Inspired entrants submitted 90-second videos telling their stories fitting the mantra, “Anything is Possible.”  My story is heartbreaking, yet it fits the mantra perfectly. On the very day of the Ironman World Championship last year, October 13, 2012, my friend and teammate, Marisela Echeverria, was struck and killed by a bus on the California coast while training for her first Ironman. We had shared the last 2 years of our lives as part of TEAM in Training (LA’s IronTEAM) while training and fundraising for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The night before our big day at Ironman Canada in 2012, Mari received a devastating phone call. Her father had passed away. Needless to say, she left to be with her family and didn’t race her first Ironman with the team. Not giving up, Mari got back out there a few weeks later after securing a charity slot into Ironman Arizona in November. Just 4 weeks before the race was when tragedy struck again. The unthinkable happened, and it was with Mari’s loss that I learned that anything really is possible.

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Wildlife adventurer Jessica Pociask curls up with a Harp Seal pup on the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

With her passion for wildlife adventures, from jungle trekking in Uganda to see mountain gorillas or curling up with lemurs in Madagascar, Jessica Pociask is our type of traveler.

As the owner of WANT Expeditions — Wildlife and Nature Travel, a conservation-oriented, expedition-style adventure travel company — Jessica leads tours to see the most amazing natural phenomena on Earth.  Jessica has been to over 70 countries, leading expeditions all over the world, and has visited all 7 continents. She has studied climate change in Antarctica, and she was one of 50 women chosen from the US and Mexico for the Women’s Leadership and International Sustainable Development award by the National Wildlife Federation.

Jessica “photo bombs” a giant tortoise in the Galapagos.

A biologist by trade, Jessica recently spoke on a panel with distinguished conservationists and biologists regarding the impact of tourism on conservation at the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival.

And where is Jessica currently? Oh, just leading a tour in Ecuador to see the first new carnivore species found in the Western Hemisphere in 35 years — the olinguito.

Traveling Type: How did you get your start leading wildlife and nature tours?

Jessica Pociask: It’s a long, convoluted story that probably started when I made my first insect collection somewhere around the age of 7. Over the next 20 years, fueled by stories in my grandfather’s collection of National Geographic magazines, I was inspired with the idea of being an explorer and adventurer. I took my first trip abroad when I was 16, and I once traveled with an orchestra through Europe. From there on, I was smitten with traveling, so I began working for various conservation organizations and outdoor outfitters and started traveling abroad independently. READ MORE

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When we announced our Travel’s Best Fall Foliage Road Trips for 2013, we wanted to hear from our fans. We asked you what we missed on our list and for you to tell us your favorite fall foliage road trip. It was a landslide – The Great Smoky Mountains won out! Behind the Smoky Mountains, fans picked the Blue Ridge Parkway, between Virginia and North Carolina, as another popular spot for a leaf-peeping drive.

Unfortunately, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is closed due to the government shutdown, but you can’t let that stop you. Hop in your car and take in the scenery as you drive around Gatlinburg, a picturesque mountain town nestled in the scenic Smokies. Now is the perfect time — fall colors peak here in mid-October.

Gatlinburg offers more than just a spectacular autumn show. See what else there is to do in this boot-stomping town … other than ooh-ing and ahh-ing at the foliage, of course.

 

You May Also Like:
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Courtesy of Ballpark Boathouse

A week into the government shutdown, tourists and furloughed employees alike in Washington, DC, are asking, “What do we do now?” While we don’t have the answers for when the shutdown will end or what’s going to be the state of our country after, we do have some ideas to take our mind off the shutdown while it’s happening.

So for those who find yourself in DC with some time on your hands, here are a few things to do:

Churchkey

Enjoy Happy Hour … All Day Long
Drink your debt-ceiling worries away at the numerous bars and restaurants in the district that are offering shutdown specials. Nothing like a little comfort food or cocktails to ease stress and put a smile on your face. Check out Washington Post’s growing list of places to eat and drink for less during the shutdown.

See DC From the Water
Tourists and locals should take a chance to see the city from another angle  — from the water.  Ballpark Boathouse, the only public boat rental open during the shutdown, is extending their kayak rental season by staying open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays as long as the government shutdown continues (and until the water temperature hits 55 degrees).

Photo by Kathleen Rellihan

Check Out Other Neighborhoods
Tourists might normally stick to the Mall and downtown, but the shutdown of the National Monuments is the perfect excuse to see less tourist-trodden territory. Escape downtown and head to the eclectic U Street neighborhood for a taste of African-American history, indie shopping and inventive restaurants. And on Saturdays, you can check out the new District Flea for some wallet-friendly shopping.

Take Up a New Hobby
Out of work? Put those idle hands to use by learning a new craft. Fibre Space in Old Town, Alexandria, is offering free knitting lessons for federal workers on any day the government is closed. Or perhaps you have always wanted to try yoga, but didn’t have the time. STROGA yoga studio in DC is offering free noon classes to those with a government ID.

Get Snap Happy Outside of DC
While there might not be any photo snapping of national monuments for the time being, tourists and locals can see a different side of the area by taking a photo safari outside of the city. Shoot the barns and bridges in nearby Frederick, MD, or capture the morning light in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, just an hour’s drive away. Or head out on a leaf-peeping adventure outside DC now that fall foliage is starting to peak in the area.

No matter where you are in the US, don’t let the government shut down your vacation.  Here are travel alternatives outside DC during the shutdown.

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Photography by Jeff Folger

Fall is here. And that’s means one thing – it’s time to get outside and photograph fall’s spectacular colors.  To help you on your way, we caught up with Jeff “Foliage” Folger, a New England fall foliage photographer and sage for over a decade, to get his tips and tricks for capturing autumn’s stunning scenes year after year.

An expert adviser on our Travel’s Best Fall Foliage Road Trips 2013, Folger has a passion for fall foliage and loves photographing autumn’s seasonal show. Folger also writes his own blog, Exploring New England’s Fall Foliage, where, in addition to showcasing his photography, he shares tips on planning and locating foliage, as well as tracking down peak times.

Check out our Q&A with Jeff:

Traveling Type: How did you become a “fall foliage sage” and photographer?
Jeff “Foliage” Folger:  The photography started when my father gave me a small camera back in the late ’60s and taught me how to develop black and white film in our basement. I kept up with cameras through the next 30-odd years, but only as a hobby. Then, when I retired from the Air Force and settled in Salem, MA, I set out to explore the fall foliage season — making all the rookie mistakes. Over the next 10 years, I would be on the road from late September until the end of October, and Yankee magazine asked me to be their first foliage blogger. My job was to drive all over New England and tell folks where I found the best fall colors.

And how did you get your moniker — Jeff “Foliage” Folger?
During my first year blogging with Yankee, my editor started calling me Jeff “Foliage” Folger during podcasts. A few years down the road, a local radio talk show host added the title “Foliage Sage” (and “Arboreal Oracle” which is my favorite).

Where is your favorite place to go leaf peeping?
My favorite place? Any place that I haven’t been before! I love discovering new places and sharing them with my readers. The most honest answer is a bit sappy, but when I have Lisa, my wife, with me and I can share a new place with her, that makes it special. My website lists locations by state. It will never be finished, but I load a few new places on that website each year.

What’s the biggest misconception about fall foliage?
There are so many misconceptions. Where to start? First: “peak fall color” … everyone comes looking for the “peak.” Most people would be so much happier if they never heard this term. You see “peak” is more an ideal, and it rarely happens – it’s when every tree in sight changes at the same time and at the same rate. In reality, if you see 80-90% of the trees in their fall colors, you will be blown away.

Photography by Jeff Folger. Route 112, New Hampshire.

You mention in your blog the art of getting lost” while leaf-peeping. What do you mean by this? 
The art of getting lost is nothing more than getting off the well-known routes, like the Kancamagus Highway. Everybody (including me) loves to travel Route 112 between I-93 and Conway, NH. But not many think to take Route 112 west away from the “Kanc,” where you’ll find Lost River Road and Kinsman Notch. From there you can travel up Route 16 and find red barns surrounded by sugar maples. I don’t want anyone to get lost, but I want you to look at a good map and look for interesting features and see where it takes you.

Why do certain places in the country, like the Northeast, have more vibrant fall foliage?
I’ve talked to the forestry officials and they tell me it’s because there are over 70 varieties of deciduous trees. And then the fact that New England has the highest concentration of sugar and red maples in the country. These 2 types of maples provide the most vibrant yellow/orange leaves and scarlet red leaves.

What’s your forecast for this fall — the best place and best spot to see fall foliage?
The best place to see fall color is wherever you find yourself. Just being out in nature and exploring the wonders of our world is the prize. If you happen to find a path with golden maple leaves above and a carpet of colors on the ground to go with it, then you have really found the best place.

Jeff “Foliage” Folger in his element photographing New England’s fall foliage.

How do you keep it fresh (photographing fall foliage every year)?
For me, there are places have become old friends that I like to stop in and see how they have changed. Also, New England is really a big place and every year I find new places to explore. Every turn of the wheel brings something I’ve never seen before. Until I have explored every road, it will remain fun for me. Plus, I get to meet great people working the land or in small stores and they all have great stories to tell.

What are the most essential tips for any aspiring photographer to know?
Shoot to make yourself happy. If you are shooting but it’s just a job, then you’ll learn to hate the photography after a while. I take the shots that make me happy and if I’m lucky, a few other people will like them, too.

What are the biggest gaffes you’ve made photographing fall foliage?
Not using a tripod and thinking that if I hold my breath I can hold the camera still enough to not blur the image. It doesn’t usually work.

 

What’s your favorite photo of fall foliage that you have taken?
There are so many favorites and all of them are tied to memories of traveling with my wife. One that sticks out in my mind was our first time to Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts. It’s a 1730s village brought to life by actors. Lisa and I took a boat ride on their little pond and it was cloudy and misting but the colors were so perfect.

Jeff Folger’s favorite fall foliage photograph, taken in Sturbridge Village, Massachusetts.

What are the top places you have yet to capture – that you want to?
This one is easy. I want to spend a lot more time in Maine looking for moose and other scenes. Then, I’d like to more completely cover Rhode Island and Connecticut. Not to mention the Berkshires and western Massachusetts. In 10 years I’ve only scratched the surface.

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Get more tips in Jeff “Foliage” Folger’s Fall Photography Tips.

We want to see your photos of fall foliage! Take your best shot and submit your favorites in our community gallery.

Before you plan your leaf-peeping drive, check out Travel’s Best Fall Foliage Road Trips.  And don’t forget to vote for your favorite spot to see fall colors!

What’s not to love about fall? Crisp cool air, beautiful fall foliage, spooky sites and pumpkin-flavored food galore. There’s no shortage of ways to celebrate fall, but we whittled down our list to 7 of our favorite fall to-dos.

1.     Eat pumpkin … everything.

Ah, America’s favorite gourd — pumpkin! It’s everywhere and in everything this fall — pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin bagels, pumpkin fro-yo, the list is endless. If you’re gaga for this gourd, plan a day for picking your own pumpkins. Perhaps a 1,000-lbs. pumpkin will provide enough filling for your dishes this fall?

2.     Get lost in a corn maze.

Ever just want to get away … in a massive field of cornstalks? Now’s your chance to get lost in the coolest and creepiest corn mazes in the US. Can you make it all the way through 45 acres of twists and turns in the world’s largest corn maze? Just call us if you get lost.

3.     Get spooked at a vampire haunt.

The zombie fad may be passé this year, but the undead superstar that will never lose its appeal? Vampires. Sink your teeth into these vampire haunts around the world or follow the trail of literature’s greatest bloodsuckers with a vampire vacation.

4.     Take a leaf-peeping drive.

Nothing says fall more than leaf peeping, and what’s the best way to take in Mother Nature’s spectacular autumn show? On a road trip, of course. Get inspired with our favorite fall foliage drives and don’t forget to check the peak times before you go.

5.     Raise your steins for Oktoberfest.

Can’t make it to Germany for this annual beer-fueled fall festival? Get your brews and bratwurst at these Oktoberfest celebrations in the US or raise your steins at beer gardens around the world.

6.     Go apple picking.

If you gorged yourself on pumpkin and are craving another harvest favorite, head to these apple-picking farms.  Fun for the whole family, apple picking lets you enjoy the fruits of your labor at home with fall treats like apple pie, apple butter, cider and more.

7.     Make a campfire.

Instead of spending your nights staring at the TV (Breaking Bad is over after all this Sunday), take in a campfire. Fall is a perfect time for camping with its crisp, cool weather. Tell ghost stories and toast pumpkin s’mores over a raging fire (that you will safely put out before you go to bed, of course).

Tell Us: What’s on your fall to-do list?

 

Let’s say you get lucky and win this month’s trip to Monte Carlo … you’re going to need a whole new wardrobe, right? Lucky for us, the jet-setting editors at L-atitude, a site that offers travel and fashion lovers a way to shop by destination, provided us with a few things to pack for a luxe vacation in Monte Carlo. Just click on the shopping icon on the image above to see L-atitude’s picks for what to wear in Monte Carlo. The good news is that even if you don’t win this month’s trip giveaway to Monte Carlo, you can look like you just got back from the French Riviera anyway with these fashion finds.

And what’s one of the top things to do in Monte Carlo? Shop, of course. L-atitude also shares their favorite places to shop in Monte Carlo, from the super-luxe mall Galérie du Métropole to the funky flea market Les Puces de Fontvieille. There’s even some shopping for the men — try Formula 1, a boutique that has everything from racing helmets to model cars among its mementos of the Monaco Grand Prix.

So if you haven’t entered the Monte Carlo sweepstakes, now is the time before September ends! And remember, you’ll need something for the beach and casino that says “glamorous globetrotter,” so you better start shopping, too.

 

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