ALL POSTS IN [Holidays]

Photo Courtesy of The Hotel Zamora

Elbowing your way through crowded stores on Black Friday is a thing of the past. The best holiday shopping deals now live online, available on Cyber Monday, which falls on November 30, 2015. This year, give the gift that keeps on giving: a vacation of a lifetime. Head to your computer on November 30 (when most of these deals take effect unless otherwise noted), and click fast. We’ve sourced our top picks for hotel deals around the globe.

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

Courtesy of WHOA Travel

In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, we’re highlighting fearless female travelers around the globe who are celebrating the transforming power of travel and what women can accomplish together.

From climbing (and dancing) to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro with women from around the globe to featuring the leading ladies in travel at the Women’s Travel Fest to supporting local women finding work in India, here are the ways women are closing the gender gap and encouraging sustainable travel, ultimately opening the world for other women all over the world.

Courtesy of WHOA Travel

High-Altitude Dance Party on Top of Mount Kilimanjaro

Whoa, these women don’t just talk about moving mountains — they climb them together! WHOA Travel (Women High on Adventure) is leading its second annual Mount Kilimanjaro International Women’s Day climb. About 30 women from 10 different countries, including the US, Sweden, Estonia and Kenya, will summit the roof of Africa together at sunrise on March 8.  WHOA founders Allison Fleece and Danielle Thornton met while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro together in 2013. Knowing firsthand that no one climbs the mountain alone, the travel-loving duo believe in the power of showing the world what women can accomplish together. They also believe there’s always time for a little dancing and keep morale up on the 7-day trek with high-altitude dance parties.


Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Mardi Gras in New Orleans (Photo: Getty Images)

“Fat Tuesday” is observed around the world, but only in New Orleans can you celebrate with the true flair of a party-ragin’ Cajun. There’s plenty to do during one of the biggest annual celebrations in America. And in a multilingual city with a rich French colonial history, there are myriad options for Carnival fun. It’s no coincidence that The Big Easy is sometimes referred to as the “most unique in the United States,” and this annual bead-begging bash shows exactly why.

A direct flight from New York to New Orleans is about 3 hours. From Los Angeles it’s just 1 hour more. And from Washington, DC, it’s only a 2 1/2 -hour jaunt, all of which makes it easy to jump right into the Mardi Gras mix. Once you arrive in New Orleans you’ll want a comfy place to rest up and energize from the day’s travels. Here are a few suggestions for enjoying Mardi Gras in New Orleans that will fit almost any budget. READ MORE

La Mer Restaurant, Honolulu, Hawaii (Photo Courtesy of OpenTable)

Hey, lovebirds, don’t forget that Valentine’s Day is just a few weeks away, and if you haven’t made your plans yet, you better get cracking! Need ideas? OpenTable just released its list of 2015’s Most Romantic Restaurants in America.

Whether you want to woo your S.O. over swoon-worthy seafood or hope to rekindle a relationship with a fireside meal, these restaurants are sure to stir up a little romance. This year’s list of winning restaurants with decadent dishes and come-hither ambiences spans more than 31 states and the nation’s capital and is based on more than 5 million restaurant reviews.

It must be the dreamy ocean views, because California boasts the most romantic restaurants, followed by New York, Texas and Virginia.  And the cuisine that, for the past 6 years, has been the favorite for flirting over? Fondue.


Photo Courtesy of The Lake Placid Holiday Village Stroll

It’s beginning to look a lot like, well, Christmas for one, but also that time of year when visions of Downton Abbey‘s new season premiere dance through eager viewers’ heads. Now, fans of the holidays and the show can combine their passions in Lake Placid, NY, at the Holiday Gala Inspired by Downton Abbey on Dec. 13, which culminates with a viewing of the Season 5 premiere — 3 weeks before its PBS broadcast Jan 4.

Barbara Helgason/Hemera/Thinkstock

The biggest travel day of the year just got a bit more stressful, thanks to the winter nor’easter in the forecast. It’s inevitable that the day before Thanksgiving will include record-long lines at the airport and headache-inducing traffic — and now, add likely hazardous roads and delayed flights.

Take a deep breath and keep these tips in mind to avoid a holiday travel meltdown.

Take advantage of an airline weather waiver.
With winter weather in the forecast for Wednesday, big airlines such as American Airlines, Delta and United are waiving change fees and relaxing their rebooking rules, even allowing fare differences to be waived. Look carefully at the rules; most include the note that rescheduled travel has to start by Friday.


Rockefeller Center, New York, NY

Photography by Allan Baxter/ Stone/ Getty Images

Whether you’re going home for the holidays to be surrounded by extended family (and, potentially, tiny childhood furniture), looking forward to a “friendsgiving” or using the valuable vacation days to escape from it all, WalletHub has calculated the best cities for winter holiday travel, at home and abroad. Using metrics such as average airfares, flight times and hotel costs, it determined the best destinations to celebrate the holidays without the hassle. Without further ado … READ MORE

Frosty The Snowman ICE! sculpture at Gaylord National Resort

Photo courtesy Gaylord National Resort

It’s beginning to look, and feel, a lot like Christmas. Bundle up this weekend and visit the annual “ICE!” exhibit at the Gaylord Resort and Convention Centers in Maryland, Texas, Florida and Tennessee, which all officially open their doors to the display this weekend.

In a steadily 9-degree room, the “ICE!” exhibit features larger-than-life ice sculptures from the beloved story of Frosty the Snowman (at Gaylord National in Oxon Hill, MD, and Gaylord Texan in Dallas), ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (at Gaylord Opryland in Nashville) or The Nutcracker (at Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee, FL). Each display is perfectly crafted from more than 2 million pounds of ice by 30 artisans from Harbin, China, the ice carving capital of the world. Don’t worry about running out to L.L. Bean or the like: Cozy parkas are provided for all attendees — children and adults — so they can fully enjoy the exhibit.

Carving out 2.6 million pounds of ice — the most ever for Gaylord National — is no small feat. During an exclusive tour of its “ICE!” exhibit, public relations manager Rachel Dinbokowitz provided insider details on what visitors can expect this holiday season. READ MORE

Bruce Springsteen (Photo Courtesy of Andrew H. Walker/ Getty Images)

Thousands of people are expected to converge on the National Mall in Washington, DC, for the Concert for Valor to honor veterans, active-duty service members and their families. The event — scheduled to start at 7 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Nov. 11 — is free to the public. Concertgoers can snag a spot on the National Mall when it opens at 10 a.m. Televised live on HBO, the concert will feature big-name musicians including Bruce Springsteen, Carrie Underwood, Eminem, Jennifer Hudson, Dave Grohl, Rihanna and the Black Keys.


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