Photography by Walter Bibkow / The Image Bank / Getty Images
Cuba has long been the holy grail of travel destinations for many American passport holders, tempting them with the difficulty — or, for many, the near impossibility — of ever traveling there. For decades, US citizens who wanted to visit the island had to apply for special licenses, justify their travel to government agencies, or avoid the law altogether by entering Cuba via other countries.
But starting Friday, things get a whole lot easier. Under the new standards, travelers can visit Cuba without applying for a license if they qualify under one of 12 categories of authorized travel, which include family visits, research, education, public performances and humanitarian projects.
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“Travel more.” It’s one resolution that tops our list every year. We think it has more lasting impact on our quality of life than going gluten-free or cleaning out our closet — and we imagine it’ll give us much better stories, too.
Here are 7 more resolutions to make the most out of your travels in 2015.
Live like the locals.
Take advantage of the growing trend of travel companies offering opportunities to connect to local tastemakers such as chefs, musicians and artists. Not only will you dig deeper into the culture and learn where the tourist-free bars are, but you might even bring home a new recipe or piece of art that’s attached to a great story. And with sites such as OneFineStay.com, you can even stay in locals’ homes when they’re out of town and live out your fantasy of being a New Yorker in a historical brownstone or a Londoner in a posh pied-a-terre.
Connect with limits.
If completely unplugging on vacation seems like an impossible feat, you’re not alone. As more technology is developed to make traveling easier, including keyless hotel rooms and smartwatches that let you book travel, it becomes harder to see the advantages of disconnecting on a trip. We find it more realistic to give ourselves limits, such as checking email only at a certain time of the day and not inundating our followers with humblebrag Instagram photos of every stunning sunset we encounter. Savor the fleeting moments of travel, revel in the experience, and keep your smartphone tucked in your bag instead of in your hand.
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.
Photo Courtesy of Clint Johnston
We appreciate world travelers who fly for free and never pay full price. That’s why we decided to talk to Clint Johnston, author of The Art of Travel Hacking and blogger for his website, Triphackr.com. Clint enjoys sharing tips and money-saving advice after traveling to more than 60 countries. In addition to writing for TravelChannel.com, Clint has had work appear on the Huffington Post and in Wired.
It’s clear when talking to Clint that he is a savvy, immersive traveler who enjoys unusual experiences such as kite-surfing in Brazil, meeting a Haitian voodoo priest and witnessing everyday life in Palestine firsthand. Clint doesn’t travel to add another fresh stamp to his passport; he relishes the priceless culture experiences and off-the-beaten-path excursions that really define travel.
You’ll be surprised to find out what sparked Clint’s love for travel, what’s next on his bucket list, what travel gear he never leaves home without, and what advice he has for first-time travelers.
Photo Courtesy of W Fort Lauderdale
Cyber Monday, the post-Thanksgiving day of online shopping discounts, is lurking around the corner. You may have made your holiday wish list and even checked it twice, but did you remember to include a fabulous vacation for yourself and your family? Start imagining your travel fantasies today, and click fast on Dec. 1, when these amazing deals are in effect.
Photo courtesy of John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images
Located on the shore of the Chesapeake Bay, Annapolis, MD, is one of America’s hidden gems. Better known as the home of the US Naval Academy, Annapolis is a quaint coastal town with a rich history that stretches back to Colonial America. In fact, Annapolis was the capital of the United States for a short time in the 1700s. And while the ever-growing suburbs have turned the capital of Maryland into a modern mini-city, the heart of Annapolis has never lost its Colonial charm. READ MORE
We might not have a magic broom for you to get to London this Halloween weekend, but if you’re planning on being in the big city anyway, why not go all the way? No costume needed for this Hogwarts experience: Stay at London’s Georgian House in the residential district of Victoria. The Georgian House is a beautiful hotel that has created a special space for its Wizard Chambers. It’s as if you’ve come to Hogwarts Castle for the weekend. This, my friends, is where your Harry Potter package begins. The chambers are designed with rustic wood paneling and an Old-English-style bed frame with clever accent pieces from floor to ceiling. The Harry Potter package also includes complimentary tickets for an exclusive Muggle walking tour; see firsthand where Harry Potter was filmed, hear stories of London’s rich history and explore the secret places once known only to Harry, Hermione and Ron. READ MORE
Photography by Robert Churchill / iStock / Thinkstock
Airline tickets can be ridiculously expensive. But plan your trip right this time, and you can save big. These nuggets of travel wisdom are the best-kept secrets on airfare deals. Keep them close at hand when planning your next big adventure.
Maybe it’s the end-of-summer blues or the back-to-school stress, but with 3 incidents involving airplanes’ dwindling legroom over the last 2 weeks, something is putting travelers on edge these days.
Photography by Aaron Goodwin
There’s no better time than summer — the air is warm, the sun is shining and vacations are tempting you to explore America. Get out and experience your hometown again — like Adam Richman explores Brooklyn — or stop by Sam, Andrew and Bert’s favorite beaches for a barbecue. While you’re on your great All-American vacation, don’t forget your camera to snap the perfect shot.
If you’re not confident that you have the skills to take The Perfect Shot, join Ghost Adventures’ Aaron Goodwin on this new video web series to learn the craft behind taking the perfect photo. Aaron travels around Las Vegas with professional photographers to learn how to use different cameras, from the professional dSLR to the consumer point-and-shoot to the ubiquitous smartphone. READ MORE