Sara Gilliam

Sara is a Senior Producer for Travel Channel.com. She has eaten her way through Thailand, sailed around the coast of Greece -- and thought she died and went to heaven in Paris (not literally). In addition to travel, she loves smart design, clever headlines and all things pop culture.

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  • Menorca, Spain.
  • Paros, Greece
  • Las Lajas Sanctuary,

Posts by Sara Gilliam

 Photo by Eric Purcell/Moment/Getty Images
It’s really a tale of 2 countries: 1 the land of opportunity, tolerance and freedom; the other, the land of insecurity, rudeness and the Big Mac. In which category does the rest of the world see us? That’s what author and journalist Rene Zografos set out to discover. He spent 7 years interviewing people on all 7 continents for his new book, Attractive Unattractive Americans. Whether they love us or hate us — or love to hate us — here’s a snapshot of what other countries think of America in 15 quotes.

On friendliness:
“In America you are, in fact, not considered weird if you talk to people you just have met on the street; it’s the opposite [reaction] where I come from.” — Theresa, Hungary

On our unique culinary tastes:
“The only time I eat ketchup is when I’m having pasta. The only time Americans don’t eat ketchup seems to be when they’re having pasta.” — Ellen, Norway

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Wet, hot American summer. That’s what’s expected of the Fourth of July weekend, but we’ll take 73 and sunny any day. And there are few places — our nation’s capital excluded — that are better suited for celebrating than Boston, where you can take in the brilliant Boston Pops fireworks display over the Charles River Esplanade. Whether you round out your weekend with requisite stops along the Freedom Trail or by witnessing Revolutionary War-era re-enactments at the annual Harborfest, here are some key pieces for a (not-so-subtly) patriotic weekend.

Photo by Bill Brett/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

Photo by Bill Brett/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

Clockwise from top left: A 2-pack of organic tanks for layering | Handsome navy duffle with a pocket for your shoes | Red boat shoes, because when else are you going to wear them? | Portable charger for when adding fireworks to your Snap story eats up your battery

Ah, Montauk, NY — its lighthouse, its Revenge-style manses and its gorgeous beaches beckon to city dwellers all summer long. Whether you go by plane, train or jitney, get thee to the Surf Lodge, where you can watch the sunset with a Montauk Storm in hand. But first, some essentials for your lobster-roll-filled weekend:

Photo by Oleg March Photography/The Surf Lodge

Clockwise from top left: Classic 1-piece that stays put but still looks cute | Colorful sandals for dockside fun | Gold studs that can go from the beach to drinks | Just-big-enough sturdy canvas overnight bag

All month long, we’ve been giving you the chance to be a high roller on a $10,000 getaway to Las Vegas. True, only 1 lucky winner will get VIP access to Vegas’ red-hot culinary scene or a bird’s-eye view of the Strip from a hot-air balloon, but there’s nothing stopping you from planning a last-minute trip to Sin City. Already picturing yourself lounging in a poolside cabana or testing your luck at the craps tables? Mentally add these Vegas weekend must-haves to your packing list.

The Weekender: Las Vegas

Clockwise from top left: Classic Panama hat to shield the sun | Thong sandal that’s as easy on the eyes as it is to slip on and off | Colorful carry-on that will stand out from the crowd | Abstract pouch for packing or poolside essentials | Metallic cat-eye shades to make a statement

Last week, Skift released a report that the majority of Americans will take little to no vacation this summer. We’d find that hard to swallow, but our friends at the US Travel Association echo the sentiment, stating that Americans failed to use 429 million vacation days in 2013. That’s 3.2 days of paid time off wasted per worker. We sympathize with the half of vacation-deprived people who say they simply can’t afford it this summer, but for the other half, we imagine the reasoning goes something like this:

Because you prefer to enjoy your coffee from the comfort of your cubicle.

Espresso in Mallorca, anyone? #LiveTravelChannel Photo by: @chubbychinesegirleats

A photo posted by @travelchannel on

And who craves more quality time with loved ones? Not you.

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While narrowing down the picks for Travel’s Best All-American Vacations 2015, you start to face facts: Our nation is both vast and wonderfully diverse, home to stunning white-sand deserts, towering redwood forests, snowcapped mountains and charming seaside towns. With so many natural wonders and man-made institutions, it’s impossible to distill the American experience into a single list. Each year, we try to show off the wealth of destinations that make it the US without repeating former picks such the Dakotas’ Black Hills and the island of Nantucket, MA.

El Yunque National Forest

Photo by Wade Eakle/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

So what just missed the cut?

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The scene may look familiar. Natalia Zakharova, wearing a fabulous dress, has a hand outstretched behind her toward photographer and partner Murad Osmann — but this time, she’s leading him down the aisle. The couple who became Instagram-famous with their hashtag campaign #FollowMeTo, which captured their travels with serious wanderlust- and aww-inducing photographs, tied the knot over the weekend at the Zhavoronki Event Hall in Moscow, Russia. In just 2 years, the couple’s hand-holding photographs have gained more than 2 million followers, as well as fans all over the world.

Where will the couple who have been everywhere (and we mean everywhere) together go on their honeymoon? We have a few suggestions. As we wait with bated breath, scroll through 10 of our all-time favorite destination shots.

Burj Al Arab, Dubai

#followmeto the helipad of @burjalarab in Dubai with @yourleo. Huge thanks to @beautifuldestinations

A photo posted by Murad Osmann (@muradosmann) on

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This Week in Travel


We sincerely hope you’re reading this by slowly scrolling your phone screen with your thumb while you’re lying on a beach somewhere. No? Here are 5 travel blog posts that will, at the very least, inspire a virtual vacation.

We never dreamed of traveling around Mexico for 6 weeks to learn to cook like a local — until now, thanks to Laura Hobbs and her beautiful essay over on Boat.

Everyone knows the importance of maps in our daily lives (Google or otherwise), but what about when they literally explain nothing? Vox rounded up 27 hilariously bad maps you have to see to believe.

Coming to Mecca in 2017? The world’s largest hotel, complete with 10,000 4- and 5-star rooms, 70 restaurants and a mall, plus several helipads and entire floors reserved for royals. Head over to Conde Nast Traveler to see renderings of Saudi Arabia’s planned $3.5 billion mega-hotel.

For all you recent college grads, BuzzFeed shares 34 underrated (and affordable) US cities you’ll actually want to move to.

In honor of Memorial Day, we’re featuring our hometown gal The Dining Traveler’s guide to Arlington, VA. Think: a tour of Arlington Cemetery, the Pentagon and beyond.

First of all, thank you to everyone who joined our Twitter chat on Wednesday! It was as entertaining as it was informative, and now, we could not be more ready for summer. Thank you for sharing your summer vacation secrets with us, from amusement-park picks to favorite camping spots to over- and underrated destinations — always with a good sense of humor (we’re looking at you, Bert Kreischer and Ryan Van Duzer).

For those of you who missed out, do not fear: There will be others. We’ll also be teasing out our favorite #TC_Chat gems here on the blog. First up, the best beachfront hotels. With Memorial Day weekend fast approaching, we can think of nothing better than an extended stay at one of these sprawling resorts. Read on for some of your and our recommendations.

Amanyara Resort

Photo by Amanyara Resort

“Amanyara Resort, Providenciales, Turks & Caicos. Who wouldn’t want to stay here? http://t.co/GvXwC78OVq #TC_Chat pic.twitter.com/x20jja3QFO

— Travel Channel (@travelchannel) May 20, 2015 READ MORE

#LiveTravelChannel

Here at Travel Channel, we like to say we live the brand — whether that’s flying to Stockholm, Sweden, for dinner, frequently volunteering in Haiti or making the most of a weekend in Palm Springs — and we know you do, too. That’s why we want to see your best travel photos in all of their (filtered or unfiltered) glory. Share your summer photos with us, and our favorites may be featured on TravelChannel.com, on our Instagram account or even on-air.

Here’s how to submit your photos:

1. Instagram your favorite summer travel photos. (Submit as many as you like!)

2. Use the hashtag #LiveTravelChannel in the description. (Note: See our Terms of Use here.)

3. We love emojis as much as you do, but be sure to tag your destination or mention it in the description. Please and thank you!

Get Inspired:
Tips for Shooting Summertime Photos
14 Enviable Spring Fling Photos
Your Best Photos From Last Summer

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