ALL POSTS IN [Photography]

Pardon the interruption to our usual programming, but while we hit pause for Thanksgiving (and lots of Turkey), the world continued celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas, a king’s birthday and a 3-month-old giant panda in this week in photos. For more holiday celebrations, toasts, and maybe some snow, check out our weekly travel blog roundup below.

NBC’s live broadcast of the the Christmas classic The Sound of Music got a lot of flack. “The acting was bad, the costumes St. Pauli-esque and the mountains … were fake.” However, Gadling went on to find one “winner” from the production — the city of Salzburg, Austria!

As snowfall threatens most of the country, bookmark this now: Johnny Jet shares 6 things to do in the face of weather delays and flight cancellations.

LoveTaza’s adorable family of 4 ventured to Amsterdam for the first time and posted some of the highlights of their trip, including an apple-and-bacon pancake we’ll be ordering next time we’re in town.

Our favorite Expert Vagabound came down with dengue fever! We’re glad he had a speedy recovery. If you find yourself snowed in or under-the-weather, check out one of his picks for the best travel movies of all time.


Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

The holiday season is officially in full swing — now that Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday have all come and gone (finally), it’s time to break the Christmas boxes out of the attic and get decorating! The National Christmas Tree in Washington, DC, will be lit this Friday, and the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is set to take place tonight at 8 p.m. — but what about your tree?

Want to show off your decorating skills? Or know someone who goes all-out with their spirited décor? We want to see your photos! Instagram them with the hashtag #TCHolidayLights, and we’ll pick our favorites to feature on the blog.

If you need a little inspiration, check out our photos of Dazzling Holiday Lights, the Travel Channel community’s best holiday lights photos, and our picks for the Most Christmasy Places in America.

Plus, don’t miss Sam Brown and Zak Bagans’ picks for their favorite lights displays:

Photo by Park City Mountain

What better way to welcome the holiday season than with family, festivities, and, of course, the perfect holiday portrait. Don’t just settle for mundane decorations or a white background for this year’s holiday card; head to one these locations to truly wow your loved ones – no Photoshop required.

There’s no need to scramble to deck the halls and put up the tallest Christmas tree for the perfect holiday portrait. Trade an ordinary fireplace backdrop for one of the country’s coziest hotel fireplaces – just find one near you.

Looking for something less formal … and posed? Get outside and take the kids to a nearby park for a photo shoot. For you city slickers, we’ve rounded up a list of some of our favorite urban parks. No excuses!

Capture their attention with breath-taking views of the ocean, coast, or mountains from your last vacation.  If your annual ski trip or beach house rental feels like a family reunion, why not use a photo from the last time you were all together?

Looking for more Everyday Escapes during the busiest travel time of the year? See our Holiday Tips for Family Travel.

Take a photo on your phone to share your family holiday spirit in a real Hallmark card with just a few clicks. Download the Hallmark Go Cards app to send real Hallmark cards to their mailbox from wherever you are. Download it now at

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 Photos

The US government shut down for the first time in 17 years, thwarting tourists’ plans in Washington, DC — but it was business as usual for the rest of the world in this week in photos. Whether you’re trying to salvage your vacation — or trying to forget the whole thing — our favorite travel bloggers came to the rescue.

If you had a trip planned to one of the nation’s nearly 400 national parks, historic sites and monuments in the near future, you’re most likely working on rescheduling your vacation. The Daily Traveler has put together a list of government shutdown alternatives featuring ways to visit historic sites and still get a dose of history to work around the indefinite closing of the nation’s national monuments and parks this week.

When it comes to planning your next trip, Nomadic Matt has 17 easy tips to help with the process. Stemming from his personal experiences, Matt’s helpful tips include everything from picking a destination and planning activities to automating your bills and telling your credit card companies you’re traveling.

When you’re tight on money for the trip you’re planning, Johnny Jet suggests that travelers remember there’s always a couch to stay on if you can’t afford a hotel. matches adventurous travelers with hosts that open their homes to strangers looking to explore the globe.

If you’re flying this fall and find that the airplane seats are a little too close for comfort, know you’re not alone. According to a post on Gadling, 9 out of 10 passengers would like to see reclining airplane seats banned. Next time, look behind before you recline.

Photography by Jeff Folger

Fall is here. And that’s means one thing – it’s time to get outside and photograph fall’s spectacular colors.  To help you on your way, we caught up with Jeff “Foliage” Folger, a New England fall foliage photographer and sage for over a decade, to get his tips and tricks for capturing autumn’s stunning scenes year after year.

An expert adviser on our Travel’s Best Fall Foliage Road Trips 2013, Folger has a passion for fall foliage and loves photographing autumn’s seasonal show. Folger also writes his own blog, Exploring New England’s Fall Foliage, where, in addition to showcasing his photography, he shares tips on planning and locating foliage, as well as tracking down peak times.

Check out our Q&A with Jeff:

Traveling Type: How did you become a “fall foliage sage” and photographer?
Jeff “Foliage” Folger:  The photography started when my father gave me a small camera back in the late ’60s and taught me how to develop black and white film in our basement. I kept up with cameras through the next 30-odd years, but only as a hobby. Then, when I retired from the Air Force and settled in Salem, MA, I set out to explore the fall foliage season — making all the rookie mistakes. Over the next 10 years, I would be on the road from late September until the end of October, and Yankee magazine asked me to be their first foliage blogger. My job was to drive all over New England and tell folks where I found the best fall colors.

And how did you get your moniker — Jeff “Foliage” Folger?
During my first year blogging with Yankee, my editor started calling me Jeff “Foliage” Folger during podcasts. A few years down the road, a local radio talk show host added the title “Foliage Sage” (and “Arboreal Oracle” which is my favorite).

Where is your favorite place to go leaf peeping?
My favorite place? Any place that I haven’t been before! I love discovering new places and sharing them with my readers. The most honest answer is a bit sappy, but when I have Lisa, my wife, with me and I can share a new place with her, that makes it special. My website lists locations by state. It will never be finished, but I load a few new places on that website each year.

What’s the biggest misconception about fall foliage?
There are so many misconceptions. Where to start? First: “peak fall color” … everyone comes looking for the “peak.” Most people would be so much happier if they never heard this term. You see “peak” is more an ideal, and it rarely happens – it’s when every tree in sight changes at the same time and at the same rate. In reality, if you see 80-90% of the trees in their fall colors, you will be blown away.

Photography by Jeff Folger. Route 112, New Hampshire.

You mention in your blog the art of getting lost” while leaf-peeping. What do you mean by this? 
The art of getting lost is nothing more than getting off the well-known routes, like the Kancamagus Highway. Everybody (including me) loves to travel Route 112 between I-93 and Conway, NH. But not many think to take Route 112 west away from the “Kanc,” where you’ll find Lost River Road and Kinsman Notch. From there you can travel up Route 16 and find red barns surrounded by sugar maples. I don’t want anyone to get lost, but I want you to look at a good map and look for interesting features and see where it takes you.

Why do certain places in the country, like the Northeast, have more vibrant fall foliage?
I’ve talked to the forestry officials and they tell me it’s because there are over 70 varieties of deciduous trees. And then the fact that New England has the highest concentration of sugar and red maples in the country. These 2 types of maples provide the most vibrant yellow/orange leaves and scarlet red leaves.

What’s your forecast for this fall — the best place and best spot to see fall foliage?
The best place to see fall color is wherever you find yourself. Just being out in nature and exploring the wonders of our world is the prize. If you happen to find a path with golden maple leaves above and a carpet of colors on the ground to go with it, then you have really found the best place.

Jeff “Foliage” Folger in his element photographing New England’s fall foliage.

How do you keep it fresh (photographing fall foliage every year)?
For me, there are places have become old friends that I like to stop in and see how they have changed. Also, New England is really a big place and every year I find new places to explore. Every turn of the wheel brings something I’ve never seen before. Until I have explored every road, it will remain fun for me. Plus, I get to meet great people working the land or in small stores and they all have great stories to tell.

What are the most essential tips for any aspiring photographer to know?
Shoot to make yourself happy. If you are shooting but it’s just a job, then you’ll learn to hate the photography after a while. I take the shots that make me happy and if I’m lucky, a few other people will like them, too.

What are the biggest gaffes you’ve made photographing fall foliage?
Not using a tripod and thinking that if I hold my breath I can hold the camera still enough to not blur the image. It doesn’t usually work.


What’s your favorite photo of fall foliage that you have taken?
There are so many favorites and all of them are tied to memories of traveling with my wife. One that sticks out in my mind was our first time to Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts. It’s a 1730s village brought to life by actors. Lisa and I took a boat ride on their little pond and it was cloudy and misting but the colors were so perfect.

Jeff Folger’s favorite fall foliage photograph, taken in Sturbridge Village, Massachusetts.

What are the top places you have yet to capture – that you want to?
This one is easy. I want to spend a lot more time in Maine looking for moose and other scenes. Then, I’d like to more completely cover Rhode Island and Connecticut. Not to mention the Berkshires and western Massachusetts. In 10 years I’ve only scratched the surface.


Get more tips in Jeff “Foliage” Folger’s Fall Photography Tips.

We want to see your photos of fall foliage! Take your best shot and submit your favorites in our community gallery.

Before you plan your leaf-peeping drive, check out Travel’s Best Fall Foliage Road Trips.  And don’t forget to vote for your favorite spot to see fall colors!

It’s that time of year again. One day you wake up and shiver, realize “Yes, I probably should have worn a coat to work,” and then notice the leaves are slowing changing color. But if you’re just not ready for fall — or you’d like to relive summer one last time — see all of our 2013 photo contest winners in one place.

2013 Photo Contest Winners

1. Bubble Cheeks: ”I was enjoying a fun afternoon with my 4-year-old nephew, who is learning to swim. He was showing me how to make ‘bubble cheeks.’” — Susan

2. A Day in Paradise: ”Hawaii is one of our top destinations. We love to go there every year. This picture was taken at Big Island, HI, on a beautiful day. Look at that sunset — it’s so peaceful.” — Annie L.

3. Mediterranean Marvels: “Sunshine over the Colosseum! My adventure to the Mediterranean this Summer was life-changing. I was captivated by the history and beauty of several of the amazing sites throughout Italy, Greece and Turkey!” — Sable’s Travels

4. King of the Jungle: ”Cute cub. Very aware of mom. We grabbed this close-up while on safari at Tanda Tula. Thought the cub was very cute. Noticed later that mom was much more observant than we initially believed.” — Patrick M.

5. Floating in Paradise: “My husband and I went to the beautiful island of Bora Bora on our honeymoon. Each morning, I would jump off of our balcony into the blue lagoon below. One morning my husband saw me floating and snapped my favorite shot of the trip!” — Tiffaney

6. Heavenly Thoughts: ”Tintern Abbey, is situated in the village of Tintern in Monmouthsire, on the Welsh bank of the River Wye, which forms the border between Monmouthshire in Wales and Gloucestershire in England.” — Tintern Abbey

See all of the finalists in our 2013 Summer Photo Contest slideshow.

Sun Catcher

“Sun Catcher” by Heather Buttelmann

Well folks, that’s a wrap. As we bring our first photo contest to a close, we’re overwhelmed with the amazing travel photos you’ve shared with us (all 5,582 of them) — so thank you!

Our final grand prize winner goes to “Sun Catcher” by Heather Buttelmann. Congrats on winning a $500 Choice Hotels voucher to use at any location!

Heather says, “My daughter was trying to net fish in a tide pool. She lost her balance on the slippery surface and Voila! I got the shot!”

See the other finalists from this week below, and remember, even though the contest is now closed you can still check out all of the impressive 2013 Photo Contest submissions.

“Tuscan Paradise” by Sybil

“Mingling With the Natives” by Danielle

“The Harbor”

“Beautiful Bryce” by Casper



Floating in Paradise

“Floating in Paradise” by Tiffaney

This week’s winner goes to the aptly-titled “Floating in Paradise” by Tiffaney. It’s safe to say her submission made the Travel Channel staff collectively wish were there.

Tiffaney says, “My husband took me to the beautiful island of Bora Bora on our honeymoon. Each morning, I would jump off of our balcony into the blue lagoon below. One morning my husband saw me floating and snapped my favorite shot of the trip!”

It was our favorite, too, Tiffaney! Congrats on winning a $500 Choice Hotels voucher to use at any location.

See the other finalists from this week below, and remember we only have 1 grand prize left! Upload your best vacation photos now for your last chance to win.

“Color-Splashed Sunset”

“Blondes Do Have More Fun” by Kimberly

“Mediterranean Marvels” by Sable’s Travels

Emerald Lake & Cilantro Cafe

“Emerald Lake & Cilantro Cafe”



“Heavenly Thoughts” photo by Tintern Abbey

Today marks the end of the first week of our month-long photo contest.  We asked you to proudly show off your camera skills and brag about your summer escapades.  Now it’s time to reveal the first Photo Contest winner! (Drumroll please)…In the category of Road Trips, the grand prize goes to “Heavenly Thoughts” by Tintern Abbey.  Congratulations on winning a $500 Choice Hotels voucher to use at any location!

We have 4 more grand prizes left, so make sure to upload your best vacation photos now for a chance to win.  You can enter as many times as you wish and take your pick from any one of the five categories: Outdoors & Adventure, Family Getaways, Road Trips, Romance & Honeymoons, or Travel Fun for Less.  You could also get your photo featured in a Travel Channel slideshow as an “Editor’s Top Pick.”  Travel Channel and Comfort Inn® are giving away prizes every week, and with 4 more weeks left, you don’t want to wait!

To get more information – or if you merely want to size up your competition – check out 2013 Photo Contest.

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