Photo Courtesy of Taxi / Getty Images
For Canadians, the 3rd weekend in May, or the “May Long” (weekend is implied), is the unofficial start to summer. While technically this is the Victoria Day weekend — named in honor of Queen Victoria’s birthday — most Canadians are feeling victorious for surviving yet another cold northern winter. This is a nation where we break out the shorts at the first thaw; so, we’re pretty pleased to kick off the season with a weekend at the cottage or in our backyards with a barbecue. For tourists, here are 5 classic things to do in Canada this summer:
Salvador’s Pelourinho Neighborhood (Photo Courtesy of Embratur)
Salvador is known as Brazil’s “capital of happiness” because of its countless number of popular outdoor parties, including its street carnival. Its humble beginnings can be traced to 1549 when Portuguese settlers decided to colonize Brazil and make Salvador the capital of the country. As a result, this coastal city quickly became the main port of call for ships from all over the world that would dock and import their goods into South America. Salvador is no longer Brazil’s capital, but it is a magnificent city with unique architecture, historic museums, chic gastronomy restaurants and African-inspired music, which makes it a unique host city for the 2014 World Cup soccer games.
Salvador, the City of Music
Bahia is the musical state of Brazil. Its rich mixture of Brazilian, African and European cultures birthed genres and rhythms like axe, pagode and samba.. The state’s capital, Salvador, marches to its own beat. People here sing and play special percussion instruments like the berimbau, agogos and atabaques.
Christ the Redeemer overlooking Rio de Janeiro (Photo Courtesy of Embratur)
Rio de Janeiro is a magnificent city for travelers looking for a well-rounded experience of Brazil. Rio is more than a popular backdrop for countless movies. It’s home to iconic soccer players like Pelé, the popular Christ the Redeemer, the classic bossa nova, the most beautiful beaches in the world and the world’s most entertaining carnival. Rio de Janeiro’s laidback culture and natural beauty will leave a lasting impression to adventure seekers, soccer fans and history lovers making their way to Brazil for the World Cup.
Rio de Janeiro, The City of Yellow, Green, Blue Through and Through
In 1950, Brazil hosted the World Cup, which left the country heartbroken and disappointed when the championship title was awarded to Uruguay after the team won the final game by 1 point in Rio de Janeiro. Since then, the sport and the country of Brazil have drastically evolved, and locals are ecstatic to experience with visitors the fruits of their labor after more than 4 years of preparation for the 2014 World Cup. It all ends here in Rio de Janeiro, and only 1 team will win the title of 2014 FIFA World Cup champions.
Photo Courtesy of Phil Keoghan
He’s traveled the world as the TV show host of The Amazing Race. Now Phil Keoghan shares a few helpful tips he’s picked up along the way that travelers should know when planning their own next great travel adventure.
Tip 1: Always bring important documents and information. This should go without saying, but in the craze of packing it’s easy to forget the essentials: your passport, emergency funds, a second form of ID, credit card and a list of emergency medical numbers. Keep this info in a safe place, like a money belt, while you’re traveling.
Tip 2: Pack items for the moments you’ll want to kill time. Pick your choice of one or all of the following: a good book, a good movie, puzzles and/or your favorite tunes.
Mardi Gras in New Orleans (Photo: Getty Images)
The final countdown has begun to “Fat Tuesday” 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
(Photo Courtesy of Embratur)
Recife will set the scene for the much-anticipated USA vs. Germany World Cup game, scheduled for June 26. In addition to being an entertaining host for the big game, Recife is also an ideal destination for a relaxing vacation full of adventure, culture and beaches just waiting to be explored. Recife is a popular city that is no stranger to grand celebrations and festivals. In the upcoming months, travelers can experience various events with the locals.
Recife, the City of Many Bridges
Recife is referred to as the “Brazilian Venice” because of its 50 bridges, which cross over various waterways and rivers similar to the ones in Venice, Italy. These bridges serve the purpose of connecting the city’s smaller surrounding islands like Santo Antonio, Sao Jose and Bairro do Recife. Nestled in Recife’s modern metropolitan style, the city also has an “Old Recife,” known as Recife Antigo, which is the oldest, most traditional district in the state of Pernambuco. Visitors can appreciate the city’s cultural and historical landmarks, all while enjoying its modern attractions, like the dozens of restaurants and craft fairs that are attended by locals and visitors alike.
Photo Courtesy of Thinkstock
We’ve all done it before… Just moments before the plane takes off, we watch the airline attendants go through their routine of demonstrating the proper procedures in case of an emergency. So, where is your floatation device stored? Should you or your child receive an oxygen mask first? And where are the emergency exits near you?
Well, if you don’t know the answers to those questions, you are probably one of several people who “zone out” by thumbing through the latest SkyMall magazine or you’re one of those passengers who has to focus on wrapping up that last-minute text before the plane takes off.
Samantha Brown and Mysteries at the Museum host Don Wildman
UPDATE: Todd Carmichael can no longer attend the Travel and Adventure show. Don Wildman will be speaking in his place on Saturday at 2:45 p.m.
This weekend the Los Angeles Travel and Adventure Show is in town — along with Samantha Brown, Don Wildman, Todd Carmichael and yours truly — in fact, you’ll see lots of Travel Channel faces. On Feb. 8 and 9, get advice from veteran travel experts, climb a rock walk, take in cultural performances, and sign up for giveaways all under one roof at the Long Beach Convention Center.
What not to miss:
Who: Samantha Brown
What: “How to Travel Better” Seminar + Autograph Signing
When: Sat. 1:30 – 2:30 p.m., Sun. 2:30-3:30 p.m.
Who: Don Wildman
What: Mysteries at the Museum Host Talk
When: Sat. 2:45 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., Sun. 1:30 – 2:15 p.m.
It’s not too late, buy your tickets now and find your next vacation. See you there!
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Dangerous Grounds Tues @ 9|8c
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Ponta Negra Beach (Photo Courtesy of Embratur)
The city of Natal is “painted” with the same organic colors proudly displayed on the Brazilian flag: blue skies, golden-yellow sand dunes and green palm trees. During the FIFA final draw, it was announced that the USA team would be playing against Ghana in the Arena das Dunas for their first game on June 16, 2014. Even though the USA is in Group G — which is considered one of the hardest group’s in the 2014 World Cup — fans really hit the jackpot with having Natal as the perfect host city to cheer on the US team.
Waikiki Beach (Photo: Reuters)
Congrats, you survived the holidays. Now it’s time for a real vacation, and here’s the good news: The first few weeks after the New Year are a great time to snag some killer travel deals, says travel deals expert Johnny Jet.
“Not only is it cheaper, but all the resorts are going to be empty — you won’t have to fight for a beach or restaurant chair,” says Johnny Jet. (The other good window for travel deals is the week after Thanksgiving, he adds). “Everyone is offering huge discounts,” says Jet, whose site offers up-to-the-minute listings of post-New Year’s travel deals.