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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  • Merida, Mexico
  • Marrakesh.
  • sea | surf

Posts by Sara Gilliam


Still wondering what to get the seasoned travelers in your life? Here are some of our favorite new travel books — and if your traveling friends and family are anything like us, come Christmastime they’ll happily make room for these travel books on their coffee table.

For the Foodie: Where Chef’s Eat
This handsome food guide brings you the favorite restaurants of those who know food best — 400 of the world’s top chefs. Inside you’ll find personal recommendations from the likes of Rene Redzepi and David Chang.

For the Culture Vulture: Humans of New York
In 2010, photographer-blogger Brandon Stanton began photographing complete strangers and sharing their life’s secrets on his website, Humans of New York. Some 1 million fans later, the eponymous book-cum-intriguing photographic census of New York has become an instant best-seller.

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Photo Courtesy of Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort

Hawaii became the 15th state to legalize gay marriage on Monday, which should draw even more happy couples to the Aloha State. The law also allows couples to register for a license and be married the same day, a move that is sure to appeal to plenty of tourists.

How much of an appeal? Sumner La Croix, an economist at the University of Hawaii -Manoa, tells NPR that the legalization of gay marriage in Hawaii could boost tourism in the state by as much $217 million over the next 3 years.

“Same-sex couples will be attracted to Hawaii for the same reasons that opposite-sex couples are attracted to Hawaii,” said La Croix. “It’s the great weather, it’s the warm water, it’s the beautiful scenery. And it’s also the aloha spirit.”

We couldn’t agree more at Travel Channel. We’ve lauded combining your wedding with your honeymoon on the Hawaiian Islands thanks to the year-round warm weather, beautiful beaches and stunning sunsets.

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Think twice about that elusive 99-cent iPhone, people. Pushy crowds, endless lines and bitter cold can make you second-guess whether that deal is really a steal once Black Friday rolls around. Don’t even get us started on the whole sales-starting-on-Thanksgiving backlash. Here’s a better idea, several in fact, that can be ordered from the comfort of your own home.

At Travel Channel, we’ve been busy rounding up the ultimate gifts for all the globetrotters on your list – check out some of the best gear, gadgets and luxe travel essentials this holiday season below. Then enter for a chance to win some of our favorites as well as $10,000 cash in our Gift of Travel Sweepstakes!

Travel's Best Gifts

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This Week in Photos
Oprah in the White House? Horse and buggy rides disappearing from Central Park? See why both are turning heads in this week in photos. If you’re looking for more fact vs. fantasy, turn your attention to our weekly news roundup where we learn that traveling from DC to NYC in an hour is possible and whether or not Middle-earth exists.

For all you Hobbit fans out there, Google mapped J.R.R. Tolkein’s fantasy world Middle-earth, in advance of the Dec. 13 release of The Hobbit: The Desolation of  Smaug. Head on over to WSJ’s Speakeasy for more details – and video!

Fast Company’s eloquently titled “Why Airline Food Sucks” suggests the passengers are to blame – or at least their sense of taste at 30,000 feet. But don’t take our word for it, Co.Design explains how the lack of humidity affects taste buds – and what airlines are doing to solve the problem.

This week the Dreamlifter, as opposed to the Dreamliner, made headlines when the cargo jet landed at the wrong airport – and was stranded for hours on the too-small runway. Kansas City, the “Air Capital,” was especially captivated by the wayward plane.

From DC to NYC in an hour? Gadling, or rather the U.S. Travel Association, says it’s possible, but we can watch this video together and dream.

Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission announced it would soon consider letting people make cell phone calls on airplanes. You read that right. And as the Huffington Post pointed out – people really hate that idea.

The Zócalo

Photo by Getty Images

Today People Magazine revealed the Sexiest Man Alive … and surprise! It’s Adam Levine, 34, the Maroon 5 singer-turned-The Voice-host-turned actor and entrepreneur. Levine is joined on the “Sexiest” list by some serious eye candy, including Justin Timberlake, David Beckham, and HGTV’s Property Brothers Jonathan and Drew Scott (our personal faves).

But before People Magazine’s 2013’s Sexiest Man Alive was announced, we here at Travel Channel revealed the Sexiest People Alive. Our globetrotting writers and bloggers looked outside of Hollywood to find out where the sexiest locals live. And we’re not going to lie — our experts seem partial to South America. Check out the full list and vote on your top pick below!

 

You May Also Like:

World’s Sexiest Beaches
See the 9 Sexiest Hotel Beds
Oyster’s Top 10 Sexy Hotel Spas

Travel's Best Travel Gifts 2013
It’s the most wonderful time of the year — wherever you are in the world! And if we do say so ourselves, this year we’ve outdone ourselves, with an amazing sweepstakes giveaway, high-tech gadget prizes and awesome travel gift ideas, handpicked by leading travel experts. How can you get in on the celebration? Let us count the ways …

Gift of Travel Sweepstakes

1. Gift of Travel: $10,000 Sweepstakes
That’s right, Santa’s elves can rest easy in the case of one lucky winner, because he or she will find $10,000 under their tree. And that’s just the grand prize! Every day between now and Dec. 31, we’re also giving away awesome travel gifts, including a Fujifilm waterproof camera, Nintendo 3DS, GoPro Hero 3, Apex HD Video Snow Goggles and a Kindle Fire HD! For more chances to win, make sure to enter on Travel Channel and again on our Facebook page!

2. Travel’s Best Travel Gifts 2013
Stumped on what to get friends and family for the holidays? Consider this roundup your holiday shopping made easy. Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for the adventurer, techie or jetsetter in your life, you’ll find no shortage of ideas here. Travel Channel has assembled an expert panel of advisors — including adventure traveler Matthew Karsten, aka the Expert Vagabond, and our own gadget guru, Rob Pralgo — to put the “Travel’s Best” stamp of approval on the year’s top 10 travel gifts.

3. All-New Travel Channel Shows
On Sundays this December, tune in for all-new holiday specials, including Xtreme Xmas and Jingle Brawls, as well as day-long marathons featuring amazing escapes that will be sure to make any recipient shout with glee. Downside? Your travel “wish list” may grow by a mile.

Just remember, it’s better to give than to receive — but this season it’s best to win it all for free. So enter to win our Gift of Travel giveaway now!

You May Also Like:

Meet the Travel Gifts 2013 Advisors
Editors’ Picks: Holiday Wish List
Travel Hosts’ Holiday Wish Lists


From the sexy (Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, anyone?) to the serious (2 solemn anniversaries in Berlin) — see this week in photos around the world. For another dose of sexy (as in hotel rooms) and more, read on for this week’s travel roundup.

Pearl furniture, white linens and bright curtains surprisingly helped a hotel in London recently earn the title of “world’s sexiest bedroom.” Blakes Hotel won the honor from travel publisher Mr. & Mrs. Smith in the announcement of their annual “Smith Hotel Awards.” The “fantasy cocoon” at the Ca Maria Adele Hotel in Venice, and the Secret Cay Resort in Dominica were runners up in the contest.

Imagine sitting on an airplane and hearing the pilot say over the intercom “we’re going down” moments before the plane takes a nose dive. That’s what happened on a recent Southwest Airlines flight where, according to a passenger, the pilot panicked and made the frightening statement over the intercom. The airline says the pilot accidentally broadcast the crisis to the entire plane rather than just his crew. The FAA is investigating the incident.

Not into the stigma that goes with the definition of a “tourist?” The Huffington Post has put together a guide to tell you the difference and help you become less of someone who “plops” themselves into a new area, and more like an explorer seeking new adventures. One of the major tips? Stop posing with statues.

If you’re traveling through Los Angeles International, Chicago O’Hare International, or one of the other airports expected to top of the busiest passenger list over the Thanksgiving holiday, you might want to check out this list of “10 Ways to Get to Your Gate Faster” from USA Today. Make sure to plan ahead before you head to the gate if you want to get the Grandma’s house on time for dinner.

Photography by Paul Giamou / Aurora Photos

The rugged abandon of California’s Central Coast has been given the cinematic treatment in Sundance darling and newly released Big Sur, starring Kate Bosworth. Based on Jack Kerouac’s eponymous novel, the film highlights the haunting beauty and isolated wilderness that drew the Beat writer to retreat here in the first place.

Relive it for yourself, or discover the splendor of the serpentine coast for the first time, on one of America’s most beloved road trips.

Nowhere is the Pacific Coast Highway’s winding roads more magnificent than along Big Sur’s craggy cliffs and crashing surf some 30 miles south of Carmel, CA.

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This Week in Photos is full of twists on tradition: A Halloween surf competition, a Zombie Walk to commemorate the Day of the Dead … and more. Expect nothing less from our travel news roundup, where you’ll meet an inspiring 100-year-old and go on a record-breaking cross-country road trip.

We all have ideas of trips we’d like to cross off of our “bucket list,” but one 100-year-old adventurer is showing us it’s never too late to follow your dreams. Elsa Bailey recently traveled to Churchill, Manitoba, Canada to see polar bears in their natural habitat. She said it’s something she’s always wanted to do, and when the opportunity came, she “jumped at it.”

In other adventure trip news…an Atlanta man took “road tripping” to a whole new level this week, setting a record for the fastest cross-country drive from New York to California in just 28 hours and 50 minutes. Ed Bolian started planning about 18 months ago, adding gas tanks to his Mercedes Benz and purchasing high quality radars to avoid police – something that he says he doesn’t endorse. Find out more about his journey here.

If you’re travelling this Thanksgiving, you might want to prepare yourself for some long lines. Between Nov. 22 and Dec. 3, more than 25 million people are projected to board flights for the holiday. The total number would be a 1.5 percent increase over last year’s travelers, according to Airlines for America.

Before you leave on your trip this holiday season, Johnny Jet says there’s an important step you need to take in order to protect your money. He says notifying your bank and your credit card company that you’re traveling out of the country can put an end to suspicious activity that comes through from your hometown. Safe travels!

This Week in Travel

There are not 1, not 2, but 3 Guiness World Record attempts in This Week in Photos – find out who’ll set the next record. There’s some history-making in our travel news roundup as well, at least where your smartphone or tablet is concerned on your next flight.

Soon you won’t have to put down that book on your iPad as your plane hits the tarmac thanks to a decision by the FAA to allow the use of electronic devices for the duration of flights. While this does mean you can play games and work on drafting a blog post about your trip, it does not give you the freedom to pass time by calling Grandma or texting a friend – voice calls and use of data plans will remain banned aboard flights.

Virgin Airlines is joining the recent trend of high-quality in-flight safety videos (if you haven’t seen Air New Zealand’s video featuring Betty White you must catch up), releasing an information music video led by G.I. Joe and Step Up 2 director Jon M. Chu. The video brings together dancers, singers and choreographers from American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance, and is a little catchy (I may or may not be humming the tune as I write this).

Gadling reports that the Leaning Tower of Pisa, isn’t “leaning” as much as it once was. The iconic bell tower is standing up a little straighter these days due to a massive restoration project. A new study out this week says that the tower has straightened by 1 inch (2.5cm) since 2001.

Still haven’t booked Thanksgiving travel? It’s not too late, but you’re going to need to be creative. Johnny Jet has rounded up 10 ways to find cheap Thanksgiving travel that could be your key to saving some money this holiday season.

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  • Lake Placid, New York

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