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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Posts by Sara Gilliam

This Week in Photos

Photography by REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

You won’t see this kissing contest and undie run in the Olympics, but you will find them and more in this week in photos. Get more travel news with a side of Sochi in our weekly travel blog roundup.

Check your baggage and book a pre-flight massage? DCist reports Ronald Regaen National Airport is undergoing a $37 million upgrade by spring 2015, including a full-service spa.

Skift answers the age-old question: When’s the best time to book a flight? The answer could save you $256.

Business Insider posted Gallup’s annual ranking of the happiest states in the US. A surprising state stole the title from longtime frontrunner Hawaii.

HuffPost Travel discovered there are more problems than leaning for the Tower of Pisa … tourists have to climb 300 seriously-wavy steps to get to the top.

Because it’s still that time of year, CNTraveler has ice skating savant Johnny Weir’s surprising Sochi tip.

 

The Trip: 2014

Travel Channel is giving away the trip of a lifetime — a 2-week vacation for 2 to Spain and Morocco worth $100,000! To see everything you and friend could experience, check out The Trip: 2014 Prizes. We’ve highlighted some of our personal favorites below. Enter for your chance to win twice a day, on TravelChannel.com and Facebook, until March 24. Good luck!

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The White House

Photo by Thinkstock

Chances are if you’re reading this post you spent a good part of your long weekend binge-watching House of Cards Season 2. Those of you who have been sucked into Netflix’s Emmy-award-winning political thriller know the simple truth: It’s the Underwoods’ world and we’re just living in it.

Location manager Patrick Burn did a wonderful job of capturing Washington’s well-known landmarks and neighborhoods, while shooting almost exclusively in nearby Baltimore due to its tax incentives. He told Variety, “I scouted all over DC to see what we needed, and then we created our own DC in Baltimore.”

In fact, the viewers’ only glimpse of the real DC is mostly relegated to the show’s opening sequence, which features the White House as well as North Capitol Street and Nationals Park. Ironically, when Frank Underwood takes the mound it’s at the Baltimore Orioles’ Camden Yards. Wait – you haven’t watched that far yet? We promise no more “spoilers.”

Since all of this drama and deception takes place in Travel Channel’s own backyard, we couldn’t help but wonder which real destinations could have inspired the DC you see in House of Cards.

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#TCBEACHWEEK

Beach Week is coming! The snow and ice can’t melt fast enough for most of us — so starting Mon. 2/24 until Sun. 3/2, TravelChannel.com is celebrating the best in beaches. Stay tuned for our Best Beach Award winners, the hottest oceanfront resorts, exclusive video with beach babe, Marianela, and more.

Until then dip your toes in the sand (pun intended) and dig up your best beach photos. Share them with us on Instagram with hashtag #TCBEACHWEEK for a chance to be featured. We want to see your favorite beach!

All submissions are subject to our Terms of Use.

This Week in Photos

REUTERS/Stringer

The Sochi Olympics are in full swing, Westminster crowns “Best in Show” and more in this week in photos. To see the Olympics from space — or get a date at 36,000 feet — read on for our favorite travel news of the week.

In need of a Wingman? The Daily Traveler reports on a new dating app being heralded “Tinder for airplanes.”

Want to see what the Sochi Olympics look like from space? WSJ has the stunning photographs.

Skift reports on what female business travelers want out of airport lounges — and we hope airlines listen.

Dreaming of retirement? HuffPost Travel has 15 Warm Weather Cities to consider. They’re not all in Florida.

If you’re looking to check something off your travel bucket list this year, Budget Travel has the top 8 places to see the Northern Lights, from Canada to Siberia.

 

Sochi Olympics 2014

Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks, Punxsutawney Phil and more came out to play in this week in photos. While the Seahawks dominated the big game, all eyes are on the Olympic Games thanks to some bad press. Let’s hope things look up for Sochi after today’s opening ceremony.

Journalists were the first to arrive — and describe some hilarious and gross hotel experiences. WashPost rounded up their tweets, our personal favorite being from @StaceyStClair about the shoddy plumbing, “Also on the bright side: I just washed my face with Evian, like I’m a Kardashian or something.”

Possibly the most documented of all the @SochiProblems has been it’s interesting bathrooms, which are both lacking privacy and displaying confusing rules. Does that sign say don’t go fishing in the toilet? Your guess is as good as ours, Buzzfeed.

More alarming, Dateline reports that Sochi visitors face an internet minefield, often being hacked within minutes. Furthermore, the US State Department has told Americans coming to Sochi that they should have no expectation of privacy, even in their hotel rooms.

On a lighter note, CNN has 9 ways Sochi Surprises — including dacha, chacha and a gay bar. While you’re at it, check out our list of Sochi’s surprising sights.

Last but not least, today’s Google Doodle is garnering attention for its support of LGBT olympians, pointing to a section of the Olympic Charter that defends all athletes. The CSMonitor has more.

More Olympics Coverage:

Sochi 2014 Trip Planner
Where to Stay in Sochi
The Olympics: A Look Ahead

Todd Carmichael and Samantha Brown

Samantha Brown and Mysteries at the Museum host Don Wildman

UPDATE: Todd Carmichael can no longer attend the Travel and Adventure show. Don Wildman will be speaking in his place on Saturday at 2:45 p.m.

This weekend the Los Angeles Travel and Adventure Show is in town — along with Samantha Brown, Don Wildman, Todd Carmichael and yours truly — in fact, you’ll see lots of Travel Channel faces. On Feb. 8 and 9, get advice from veteran travel experts, climb a rock walk, take in cultural performances, and sign up for giveaways all under one roof at the Long Beach Convention Center.

What not to miss:

Who: Samantha Brown
What: “How to Travel Better” Seminar + Autograph Signing
When: Sat. 1:30 – 2:30 p.m., Sun. 2:30-3:30 p.m.

Who: Don Wildman
What: Mysteries at the Museum Host Talk
When: Sat. 2:45 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., Sun. 1:30 – 2:15 p.m.

It’s not too late, buy your tickets now and find your next vacation. See you there!

You May Also Like:

Enter to Win a $100,000 Trip
Dangerous Grounds Tues @ 9|8c
Mysteries at the Museum Thurs @ 9|8c
More From Samantha Brown on Travel

What does a $100,000 vacation in Spain and Morocco look like? It starts with 2 first-class tickets to Barcelona, followed by $25,000 spending money and a whole lot more. Already sold? Enter to win The Trip: 2014 now! Then picture yourself…

Stay:
Tagomago
Out of all the luxurious accommodations, your night on the private island of Tagomago might top The Trip: The villa has 5 luxury suites, private jet skis, a yacht, a masseuse and more at your disposal.

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This Week in Photos
The Idiotarod of … Brooklyn, Chinese New Year, the Grammys and more festivities roll into this week in photos. Meanwhile our favorite travel bloggers are in search of the elusive perfect dive, the Lock Ness Monster and more this week.

Stuck on a plane Super Bowl Sunday? Some airlines will ease fans’ pain by airing the big game live and stocking up on hot-buffalo-wing-flavored pretzels, skittles and extra libations according to Skift.

Our pal, the Expert Vagabond, went in search of Scotland’s fabled Lock Ness Monster. Did he find it?

Camels & Chocolate prolonged her stay in Anguilla — and we’re happy she did. Just check out her amazing dive photos.

For those already thinking about Valentine’s Day, Fathom rounded up romantic ski hotels in the Rockies and the Alps.

Finally, we’ll leave you with a blast from the past — Delta’s new 80s-inspired, in-flight safety video:

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Stranded commuters took to Instagram to post photos of their (mostly abandoned) commutes home. From left to right, top to bottom: @theycallmejethro, @themuaalex, @trishthedish512, @t4vista, @somethingintheroad, @millakilluhh, @hwellj13, @crystal_2246, @scharlesquinn.

The Deep South has been in a deep freeze since yesterday, when a winter storm left some commuters and students stranded overnight and flights canceled at the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

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