ALL POSTS IN [Special Features]

From secret spots in Australia to cheap vacations, check out where travel bloggers are encouraging us to go this week!

The Space Shuttle Atlantis’s $100 million home at the Kennedy Space Center is nearing completion! Gadling takes a look what the new attraction will have to offer — from high-tech simulators and interactive exhibits, we’re sure space travel fans will be eagerly counting down to opening day.

Cities like Sydney and Melbourne are known tourist magnets in Australia, but if you’re looking to discover an untouched beach or to swim with whales, check out these 10 best-kept secrets of the land Down Under.

What if you could splurge on a luxury hotel, dine on the best food, do whatever activities you want and still be able to stay under budget? Check out these  cheap and off the beaten path destinations that not only offer a spectacular experience, but are affordable and visitor friendly too.

Are you brave enough to try the world’s hottest pepper? Nomadic Matt shares his experience tasting a ghost pepper when he visits the Tears of Joy shop in Austin, TX.

Check out our This Week in Photos slideshow for more travel inspiration!

If you haven’t noticed, we’re in full Spring Fling mode here at Travel Channel. Whether you’re looking for a fun, carefree vacation, a romantic weekend away or somewhere to let your hair down — you’ve come to the right place. And check back every day for even more eye candy!

Spring Fling

1)   Explore Your Inner Wanderlust: The sun has emerged, the temperature is rising and everything feels renewed. Celebrate spring’s natural beauty with these 7 wonders.

2)   Experience Southern Charm: There’s a reason everyone is migrating to Charleston, SC, right now. It has picture-perfect wedding venues, a restaurant scene fit for foodies, top-notch golf courses and stunning ocean views. While you’re there, stay at one of our favorite hotels in its historic downtown.

3)   See Beautiful Blooms: While a freak snowstorm has delayed DC’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival, be patient and you’ll see them in full bloom soon. If you can’t make it to the nation’s capital, here are our picks for cherry blossoms around the country. Wherever you spot them, make sure to snap a picture and share it with us on Instagram.

4)   Say “I Do”: What would a spring fling be without a little romance? Check out the top 5 ways people are popping the question. While fiancés get creativity points for flash mob proposals, we think any of these ideas would be met with a resounding “Yes!”

5)   Take the Plunge: From Havasu Falls in Supai, AZ, one of the most visited waterfalls in the Grand Canyon, to Skógafoss in Skógar, Iceland, a 200-foot drop shrouded in folklore, take in the most awe-inspiring waterfalls around the world.

6)   Get Your Feet Wet: Why do we love the Grand Cayman? Let us count the ways. Seeing marine life up close on a submarine tour, snorkeling in Stingray City, and relaxing on the beautiful Seven Mile Beach all add up to an unforgettable vacation.

Spring Fling

Tulips in Amsterdam

Amsterdam may be famous for its red light district and its friendly stance on marijuana, but the capital of the Netherlands has much more to offer. A city steeped in history, Amsterdam is home to beautiful historic buildings, numerous parks, fields of tulips that bloom in the spring, about 40 museums, and a system of canals and bridges that rivals (and in fact, is larger than) the one in Venice.

Due to the city’s climate, most tourists descend upon Amsterdam in the spring and summer months. But while winter can be cold, no season in Amsterdam is unbearable, and many locals travel by bicycle all year long. Navigating the city can be tricky; it is divided into 9 districts that are divided further into neighborhoods — Jordaan offers funky boutiques and markets, Rembrandtplein is home to the nightlife, Leidseplein has all kinds of international cuisine, and De Wallen’s streets are lined with quaint bookshops (and in its famous red light district, brothels).

The Canal House is a gorgeous boutique overlooking the canals. A popular choice among couples, rooms feature rich décor and open floor plans. If you’re searching for something a bit more understated – and green – the Conscious Hotel Vondelpark is a solid value option. It’s a bit removed from Amsterdam’s main attractions, but rooms are cozy, bathrooms are sleek and up-to-date, and the breakfast bar serves a daily breakfast of organic goodies.

- Oyster.com Staff

You May Also Like: 
Seven Wonders of Spring
Signs of the City: Amsterdam
Anthony Bourdain’s Amsterdam Travel Guide
Biking Around Amsterdam

This Week in Photos

Did you know some Easter celebrations include dressing up in witch costumes? Or that you can buy a “vortex” in Brooklyn? This week our travel bloggers offer us a glimpse at some of the weird and wonderful things to do and places to visit around the world.

This week the world’s first edible hotel opened in London full of almost-too-cute-to-eat treats.  Condé Nast Traveler takes you inside the hotel, complete with fudge windowsills and cake pillows, giving a more literal meaning to “sweet dreams!”

In search of kryptonite or a can of “chaos” to defeat your arch nemesis? With a slogan like “if we don’t have it, a superhero doesn’t need it,” the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Store is exactly what it sounds like. Atlas Obscura writes why we will have to check this eccentric store out the next time we are in NYC!

Easter celebrations may mean chocolate bunnies and egg hunts to us in the US, but around the globe countries have their own unique Easter celebrations.  Children from Finland dress in witch costumes and people in India exchange colorful lanterns — read more on Uni Travel’s blog!

Oktoberfest isn’t the only festival you’ll want to experience in Germany. From a medieval-era celebration, to whiskey tastings or even finger wrestling, there is a wacky and weird festival to fit your taste!  Check out Europe A La Carte’s 10 Great Festivals in Germany.

Get more timely travel inspiration with our This Week in Photos slideshow!

Bermuda

Despite its proximity to the East Coast of the US, this tranquil archipelago oozes British tradition (judges still wear white wigs) with a touch of Caribbean pace: Speed limits are 15 mph in the busy areas, and 20 mph in the countryside. Narrow, winding roads will lead you to breathtaking pink-sand beaches with clear waters great for snorkeling and swimming, or to some of the world’s best golf courses.

Whether you stay in the city of Hamilton or decide to go parish-hopping (the islands are divided into 9 parishes for administrative reasons), you’ll see that there’s a lot to do besides sitting in the sun on one of the wonderful beaches: centuries-old sites, a long-abandoned railway trail where you can spot exotic wildlife, great shopping, bar-hopping in St. George … And all this without the crowds of more popular destinations farther south, like the Caribbean islands or the Bahamas. Cambridge Beaches, in Sandys Parish, is one of the most stunning properties on the island, located on a sprawling 30 seaside acres. It features several private beaches, beautifully manicured grounds, and a highly-rated restaurant. If you’re looking for something slightly more low-key and family-friendly, Grotto Bay is a fabulous option, often for a reasonable rate. Though kids enjoy exploring the on-site grottos, the natural caves also add a romantic element, and couples can enjoy massages under the stalactites.

- Oyster.com Staff

Charleston

It’s no wonder why some of the most popular romance novels – Dear JohnThe NotebookThe Last Song – have been set in or near Charleston. Between the horse-drawn carriages, the colorful gardens, and the constant ocean breezes, Charleston exudes old-world romance and quaint Southern charm.

Many visitors head to Charleston in hopes of exploring the numerous historical attractions. The Citadel, a historic military college, offers full dress parades, and Civil War sites can be seen throughout the city and in surrounding areas. Many of the city’s inns and B&Bs are housed in historic buildings. The Jasmine House Inn, for example, is a beautiful, antique-filled mansion dating back to 1843, that features a pretty courtyard. The Harbour View Inn is a historic landmark, and the only waterfront hotel downtown.

And, of course, visitors also come for the beaches. There are many different beach towns within a short drive from downtown, with Folly Beach perhaps being the most popular. Tides Folly Beach looks right out over the sand, and all rooms have balconies with fabulous views.

- Oyster.com Staff

Travel bloggers this week take a look at strange presidential sculptures, unique hotels, lesser-known spots in Rome and more.

Who would have thought you could find a 7-foot-tall Ronald Reagan statue in Budapest? Condé Nast Traveler’s slideshow takes a look at some of the strangest US presidential artwork around the world, including President Obama’s ice sculpture in Israel for his visit this week.

You might think hotels are just a place to rest your head at the end of the day, but these themed hotels chosen by Oyster offer up an adventure of their own!  Stay at an old 19th century jail, James Bond retreat and more.

From Barcelona to Ibiza, Spain is full of amazing cities to visit, but with so many to choose from, which destination is right for you? Whether you want to soak up some of the culture, take in the history or dance the night away, A Luxury Travel Blog knows the location that will be perfect for you.

Your typical trip to Rome would probably consist of visiting the Trevi Fountain and a tour of the Vatican, but make sure you don’t miss these lesser known treasures of the Eternal City! Tour a 16th century villa or view toys from various eras to get a break from long lines and crowds of tourists.

Get your fill of newsworthy travel inspiration with our This Week in Photos!

Palm Beach, FL, offers a mixture of old money and new-age sophistication, with an abundance of sunshine, grade-A golf courses, clean beaches, and even some cultural and historical exhibits. An enclave of the uber-rich, the beach destination caters to a well-established, traditionally upper-class crowd. Between Donald Trump’s exclusive spa, “Mar-a-Lago,” and the ritzy Worth Avenue, it’s safe to say that visitors need to be ready to shell out some serious green while vacationing here.

Most beaches are private, which means wide, uncrowded stretches of sand lined by beautiful oceanfront mansions and hotels. One of the most iconic spots is The Breakers, originally opened in 1896. This luxe hotel features 5 pools, two 18-hole golf courses, 10 tennis courts, 9 restaurants and 540 rooms. If you’re looking for something a bit more sleek and sexy, the Omphoy’s Asian-inspired décor, trendy restaurant, and beachside location attracts a fun, young crowd. Those looking to save some green may consider the Marriott. It’s not on the beach but amenities such as a heated outdoor, an on-site Starbucks, and a 24-hour fitness center make this hotel a solid value.

- Oyster.com Staff

Belize

Belize, a small country in Central America that shares a border with Mexico and Guatemala, is known for its lush rainforests and Mayan ruins. But it’s most famous for its snorkeling and scuba diving, which are among the best in the world: The barrier reef off shore is second only to the Great Barrier Reef off Australia, and visitors can see turtles (both green and leatherback), nurse sharks, stingrays, and a variety of tropical fish. Divers swarm the Blue Hole, a large sinkhole. The waters are clear and warm, but as in other reef destinations, the beaches are manmade; the reef prevents the breaking waves that create natural sand, and the seaweed can make swimming close to shore difficult.

Most tourists head to the Northern Cayes and Atolls, a string of small islands along the reef, where visitors will be a short boat ride away from world-class snorkeling and scuba diving. The Grand Caribe is a luxe family-friendly option in the area. Decor is high-end, and includes Brazilian tile floors, mahogany wood, and granite countertops. Plus, all units have private terraces with pretty pool or ocean views.

The inland Cayo District is the second most visited area, and home to beautiful countryside, lush rainforests, and perhaps the most impressive Mayan ruins in the country. When Prince Harry visited the area last year, he stayed at the rustic luxe Lodge at Chaa Creek. This eco-lodge sits on a private rainforest reserve, and myriad tours and outdoor activities are offered through the hotel. The more affordable Pook’s Hill also sits on a reserve, and offers on-site river tubing and bird watching.

- Oyster.com Staff

Jealous of your friends’ vacations? Find out how to combat this and more from this week’s roundup of our favorite travel blogs.

If you’ve been following recent tech news, you’ve heard about the new super-high-tech Google Glass prototypes. Could these headsets be a traveler’s best friend or a distraction? Peter Greenberg weighs in on these futuristic devices and how they could potentially help travelers.

You love hearing about your friends’ travel adventures, but at one point or another you’re bound to turn green with envy — especially when you hear about a friend’s sunny trip to Jamaica, when meanwhile you were digging your car out of the snow. Vagabondish offers their steps for overcoming this common travel problem.

It’s not often we get a glimpse of elephants, lions and zebras outside of the zoo. The Everwhereist took a once-in-a-lifetime safari through The Aquila Private Game Reserve in South Africa. She explains why it isn’t quite like The Lion King.

Spring is considered the best time for a ski vacation, so while many of us can’t wait for the warmer weather, skiers are looking forward to hitting those powdery white slopes. For the skiing enthusiasts looking to plan their next trip, check out the world’s best luxury destinations for spring skiing.

Get even more for your travel fix with This Week in Photos!

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