ALL POSTS IN [Holidays]

Fourth of July

We want to know: How are you celebrating the most patriotic day of the year? Will you be commemorating America’s independence by taking in one of the best fireworks displays in the US? Are you lucky enough to be spending the holiday at one of the best hotels for 4th of July celebrations? Whether you’re celebrating with a picnic, a party or plenty of pyrotechnics, we want to see! Instagram your photos with the hashtag #TCJuly4th, and we’ll feature some of our favorites on the blog.

Here’s to the red, white and blue!

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We asked our Instagram followers to send us photos of their Memorial Day weekend trips, and after browsing all your awesome shots … we have a serious case of wanderlust! Our fans did everything from participating in a Color Run to visiting the USS Constitution Museum to exploring the island of Oahu. We’re impressed! Check out some of our favorite photos, and follow us on Instagram for more chances to be featured on our blog.

Top Row, Left to Right
USS Constitution Museum- Jordanraynor; Tampa Color Run- cheryllwebb; Stamford, CT-mdonuk

Second Row, Left to Right
Colombia- bb_heartbeat; Portland Head Light- Jordanraynor; Solelydefined

Third Row, Left to Right
Santa Barbara- dcg; Old Mission Santa Barbara- ckmercier; Pipes Beach- hedder02

Fourth Row, Left to Right
Ocean City, MD- Teddyburr; Oahu, Hawaii- mskabukimono; Pat’s King of Steaks in Philly- rachel_haan

Last Row, Left to Right
Galenaonthefly; Cape Hatteras- fofagacademy; Mt. Shasta- natsten

Mother's Day Travel Ideas

You read that right. So don’t find yourself standing in a grocery store Sunday morning staring blankly at the picked-over cards and flowers. Whether you meant to get her a gift last week, just made a brunch reservation yesterday or completely forgot (whoops), we’ve got you covered.

Does your mom already have the travel bug? Help her take her yoga practice on the road with a eKO SuperLite Travel Mat or stay warm on the plane with the Sofia cashmere travel set. Our Mother’s Day gift guide is chock full of travel products sure to bring a smile to her face.

Or treat her (and yourself) by planning an escape you’d both enjoy. What better way to spend time together than on a gourmet chocolate tour of San Francisco or at a formal tea at the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia?

And those of you who are mothers yourself, our hosts have a very special message for you:

April Fool's Quiz

Did you hear Richard Branson announced Virgin Atlantic is launching the first-ever glass-bottomed plane? That there are plans to turn 5,000-year-old Stonehenge into a glorified billboard at night. Or that YouTube is shutting down after 8 years? Here at Travel Channel we’d never stoop so low as to play a cruel April Fool’s joke on you.

In fact, in honor of this fun holiday we’ve rounded up the wackiest, most bizarre travel stories we could find. Are they true or false? You tell us and if you get them all correct you’ll win a $100,000 trip of a lifetime …

April Fool’s! We already did that. Sorry, we’re not above the fray after all.

However, ace our quiz and you can stand taller with the smug satisfaction of knowing that you’re smarter than your travel-starved peers. Good luck!

With St. Patrick’s Day falling over a weekend this year, parades, festivals and celebrations are planned across the US. Here are 5 cities with uniquely Irish-themed soirees in the works.

Boston

If pretty much everyone you walk by is wearing a scally cap or a Dropkick Murphys shirt, then you must be in Boston. More than 600,000 people line the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade route as it winds through South Boston – (but call it Southie if you want to sound like a local). Plus, scores of the political and politically-connected will gather for the infamous St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast at the Boston Convention Center (a chance to roast one another in the spirit of the day).

Best Craic: The World Championships of Irish Dancing at the Hynes Convention Center, March 23-31.

Chicago

Each year, 40 pounds of green dye are added to the Chicago River, turning it a bright emerald green – head to the east side of the Michigan Avenue bridge for the best viewing. Hundreds of thousands of people also show up at the parades that wind through Chicago’s streets, including the Southside Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, March 10, and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 16. This year, city leaders are working to have the Windy City named as the US headquarters of St. Patrick’s Day as part of its ShamROCK Chicago campaign.

Best Craic: Celtic punk by the Tossers at Metro, Saturday, March 16.

New York City

Plenty of cities claim to have the best, but there’s no question as to whose parade is the largest. New York City’s annual procession up Fifth Avenue, started in 1762 by Irish soldiers in the British army, will draw nearly 2 million spectators. Step inside Molly’s Shebeen (287 Third Ave) after for some renowned lamb stew or shepherd’s pie. A white stucco exterior topped with shingles, sawdust floors and a warm fireplace make this watering hole one of New York’s most authentic.

Best Craic: McSorley’s Old Ale House at the 8 a.m. opening – everyone is still sober, friendly and excited about the day at this point.

Washington, DC

The Shamrock Festival is a massive celebration of all things Irish. On Saturday, March 16, visitors will jam the RFK Stadium Festival Grounds in Washington, DC, to experience more than 40 bands across 9 stages, beer trucks spanning the length of 2 football fields, a pub row and strolling entertainers. The Irish Village will provide step dancers, pipers and games. The city’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade steps off the next day and will make its way up Constitution Avenue at noon.

Best Craic: Legendary traditional Irish group The Chieftains at the Kennedy Center, March 14-16.

San Diego

Swarms of revelers are expected to squeeze into San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter on St. Patrick’s Day to celebrate the 18th annual shamROCK. Live Irish bands will perform on the main stage – including this year’s headliners the Young Dubliners – and a 150-foot Irish pub will be accessible streetside on F Street between 5th  and 7th avenues. Plus, there’ll be 80,000 square feet of green turf covering the streets of San Diego.

Best Craic: The Smiling Irishman contest at the St. Patrick’s Day Festival in Balboa Park on Saturday, March 16. The winner takes home a special hat and a Blackthorn walking stick.

- Bill Burke 

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St. Patrick’s Day
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How is the rest of the world celebrating Valentine’s Day? While we might think of Valentine’s Day as an American holiday, it’s celebrated (or protested) around the world with the same vigor as it is here. And in some places, it’s celebrated with a twist.

Japan’s Twisted Tradition

Men have it easy on Valentine’s Day in Japan – it’s the women who are expected to give chocolates on this day. And the chocolate giving is not limited to just significant others. “Obligation chocolate” is given to coworkers, friends and family in Japan. But the object of the ladies’ affection gets a more expensive or elaborate chocolate-themed gift. One of the latest trends is for Japanese ladies to give a chocolate mold of their face to their beau.  Don’t worry, the men get their turn to reciprocate the love on March 15, White Day.

Love Locks Banned

From China to Venice, you’ll the see the tradition of love locks adorning bridges, especially around this time of year. All around the world, couples show their adoration by linking a padlock with their lover’s name on it to a bridge. How sweet, right? But the sentiment isn’t always shared by the authorities of these romantic places, who have starting fining and even banning love locks from their cities. Authorities in Rome have banned love locks from the Ponte Milvio, a famous bridge on the Tiber River. And we thought all Italians were romantics.

Valentine’s Day Under Attack

And, no, we’re not referring to bitter singletons attacking Valentine’s Day. While Valentine’s Day is openly celebrated in some Muslim countries like the United Arab Emirates, in others it is met with heavy resistance. Conservatives in Pakistan are demanding a boycott of Valentine’s Day, saying it’s a Western holiday that’s spreading vulgarity around the country. Similarly, in Indonesia, government officials are urging young people to skip this day as well, saying it’s an “excuse for couples to have forbidden sex.” But romantics in these countries are still finding ways to show their love on this day, with what else, but heart-shaped balloons and flowers.

 

Need your own ideas on how to celebrate? Check out all our Valentine’s Day ideas.

Love is in the air, and we’re celebrating all things Valentines Day here at Travel Channel. Whether you’re looking for a unique way to celebrate with your sweetie, or all this talk of Cupid has inspired you to pop the question – we’ve got you covered.

Valentine's Day

1) Forget the red roses and prix fixe dinners – this Valentine’s Day, celebrate with an adrenaline-filled adventure.

2) Nothing says romance quite like a rich, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth artisan chocolate. Get a taste with our picks for the World’s Most Decadent Chocolate Tours.

3) Relax by your private outdoor plunge pool, or fall asleep to the sound of water lapping below your overwater bungalow – splurge on a trip to one of our picks for 2013’s Most Romantic Honeymoon Destinations.

4) It’s a story you’ll tell for the rest of the life, so you’d better make it a good one! Consider popping the question at one of these Most Memorable Places to Propose.

5) Need to spice things up a little?  Get out of town with a Sexy Weekend Getaway.

6) Imagine you’re Downton Abbey’s Lady Mary, and exchange vows with your own Matthew Crawley in a Romantic Castle Wedding.

7) Cuddle close to your sweetheart, and watch the sky bloom with reds, yellows and purples at one of the world’s Most Romantic Places to Watch the Sunset.

8) Hiding the ring in a slice of cake is so last year … or, a few years ago, actually. Get inspired with these new Proposal-Popping Trends.

Our Favorite Valentine's Day Products

There’s just 1 day left until Cupid’s favorite holiday is upon us, and we’ve scoured the web for some of the very best gifts for your globetrotting valentine. Whether it’s love, lust, or just a case of wanderlust, get even more gift ideas with our Valentine’s Day Gifts for the Traveler or our Valentine’s Day Travel Gift Guide.

Valentines Day Travel Products

1)   Remember the romance with a few snaps from this (pink!) Lomography Honeysuckle Camera.

2)   Let your sweetie cycle in style with the foldable TOKYO Citizen Bike.

3)   Share the love … and music … with this heart-shaped headphone splitter.

4)   Harken back to that romantic weekend in Charleston, or reminisce about that jaunt in Tuscany with an Excursion Candle Tin.

5)   Get in a foodie fight with this trivia game for food lovers – then make up afterwards.

6)   Pen a love letter on this Air-Mail Stationery Set, and seal it with a kiss.

7)   Never pass up the opportunity to pop a bottle – take your favorite bottles of wine on the go with this neoprene tote.

8)   Warm her heart … and her hands … with this rechargeable hand warmer.

Photo Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Lodge

Like it or not, V-Day is right around the corner (just a month away, to be exact). So, if you really want to impress your sweetie, it would be a good idea to start planning now.  But if you’re still in the dark about what to get that special someone, there’s a good chance they only want to spend some quality time with you.

Sex and the City Zoo 4: Sexy Beast
Say what? Stay with us for a second. The Los Angeles Zoo is holding an “adults-only affair” on Feb. 9  with an enlightening talk by actress and interpretive naturalist of zoology Joleen Lutz. a reception featuring desserts and wines, “animal walk-abouts,” (including chats with keepers and the chance to observe small animals up close) and an optional 4-course dinner at Reggie’s Bistro inside the Zoo.

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Where will you be ushering in 2013? Show us by Instagramming your photos with the hashtag #TCNewYear. Whether it’s the ball dropping in Times Square or fireworks illuminating the River Thames — we want to see! We’ll feature our favorites on our blog.

New Year's Photo Contest

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