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It’s easy to just think of President’s Day as a day off, but this year, why not skip shopping at those blowout sales and take a step back in time? Instead, explore the homes and learn about the lives of America’s former presidents. Whether you’re a history buff or just want to pay tribute to America’s famous leaders, these National Park Service sites are a great way to discover more about our nation’s history. READ MORE

Reuters

Chinese New Year falls on Sunday, Feb. 10, but you don’t need to cross the ocean for the party. The most widely celebrated Chinese festival is a time to welcome longevity, wealth and prosperity into your life. Spot a dragon, the bearer of good luck, or set off some firecrackers to chase off evil spirits in one of these cities – our picks for the best cities to ring in the year of the snake! READ MORE

Love is in the air as February approaches, and what could be more romantic than a trip to paradise? Travel + Leisure has just released a list of the world’s most romantic islands — here are some of our favorites, and a few we think they missed.

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Tonight on Super Bowl Tailgate Takeover at 9|8c, Adam Richman heads to New Orleans, home to Super Bowl XLVII. The special will also showcase tailgating at its finest, as witnessed by Texas Texan fans in Houston, Miami Dolphin fans in Miami, New York Giants fans in New Jersey and more!

Go behind the scenes with our Super Bowl Tailgate Takeover slideshow. And get information on what to do in New Orleans, whether it’s for the Super Bowl or any day of the year, in our Super Bowl Travel Guide.

This week, Super Bowl XLVII officially kicks off and Travel Channel is celebrating the only way we know how: We’re crisscrossing the United States looking to trick out someone’s tailgate experience on Super Bowl Tailgate Takeover premiering Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 9|8c. Our very own Adam Richman (Man v. Food, Best Sandwich in America), alongside his team of tailgate techs, will post up in New Orleans to build 2 of the biggest, most incredible NFL tailgate rigs in honor of this year’s Super Bowl.

From massive 90-inch, 3D swivel-mounted TVs, to the biggest grills ever to char a steak — and a giant custom smoker that needs a truck to pull it — Adam presents an unbelievable assortment of game-day gadgets, fun games, big toys, custom decorations and everything else needed to enjoy the tailgate in style. In addition, Adam invites former players to share their tailgating tips, recipes and traditions … and they even help Adam put some finishing touches on the ultimate tailgating rigs!

Can’t get enough of the tailgating experience? Check out our Extreme NFL Tailgating and Food Paradise: Tailgating slideshows.

Planning a trip to New Orleans for the weekend? See our Super Bowl Travel Guide full of everything New Orleans, including: Taste of New Orleans, New Orleans Weekend Guide, Where to Escape Super Bowl Crowds in New Orleans and much more!

Are you ready for the vacation of your dreams? A getaway worth $100,000 could be yours. Here’s everything you need to know about Travel Channel’s first-ever Trip of a Lifetime television special and sweepstakes.

When: This Sunday, Jan. 27 at 8|7c
What: The ultimate 2-week, $100,000 dream vacation
Where: The beautiful coasts of Italy and Croatia on the Adriatic Sea
Who: Your favorite Travel Channel stars Samantha Brown, Adam Richman, Bert Kreischer and Anthony Melchiorri reveal the trip’s highlights and YOU could win it.

How: During and after the show, customize your own itinerary and enter for a chance to win your dream vacation with 3 friends or family members in tow. Watch the video to find out more about the incredible prizes:

Tonight at 10|9c, Steve and Amy visit a family home in Westminster, CO. While Steve uncovers a century-old murder mystery, Amy comes across a potentially dangerous entity. Can Amy and Steve help the single mother and her children who call this hotbed of paranormal activity home?

See behind-the-scenes photos from tonight’s episode, and don’t miss our brand-new look at a typical day in Amy’s life.

Photography by Getty Images

Can you imagine anything worse: You’re in the middle of a crowd of people lined up along Pennsylvania Avenue — eager to see President Obama walk a portion of the inaugural route — when, all of a sudden, Little Johnny starts tugging at your sleeve, because … he’s REALLY GOTTA GO! Sure, every president since Thomas Jefferson has walked a portion of this inaugural route, but right now you’ve got something more important to think about – the nearest port-a-potty.

First, relax — we at the Travel Channel have got you covered. While Monday’s Inauguration isn’t expected to reel in the nearly 2 million people who descended on the nation’s capital 4 years ago, it will still be pretty darn packed. Streets will be closed off. Metros are running at special hours. And, well, when nature calls, the nearest museum or store may not be open. Here’s the lowdown on what you need to know.

Know Before You Go

First thing’s first – bathrooms. Yes, several media outlets have reported a shortage of port-a-potties about town for Monday’s inauguration. None other than Charmin is encouraging attendees to download the SitOrSquat app to find clean public restrooms.

But phones die, and apps can still be unreliable. So it never hurts to mentally catalogue places you know will be open. Many of the Smithsonian museums on the National Mall will open early come Monday, Jan. 21 – specifically, the Freer and Sackler galleries, and African Art and Hirshhorn museums will all open at 8 a.m. and stay open until 5:30 p.m. The Smithsonian Castle will be open from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. However, all of these museums, as well as the Air and Space Museum, will close all Mall-side entrances – the only way to access them will be via Independence Avenue. Plan accordingly.

Not all museums will be open, however. These include the American Indian Museum, which will be closed all day (due to its proximity to the swearing-in ceremony on the Capitol steps). The National Gallery of Art will close its East Building Monday but keep its West Building open – this means there will be no handicapped entrance. The Renwick Gallery will be closed all day Monday.

Looking for Food?

All the political festivities got you hungry? If you’re looking for something quick – plus a chance to warm up – these museum concessions will be open: Air and Space (McDonald’s McCafe, Boston Market, Donato’s Pizza); Natural History (Atrium Café, Café Natural, Fossil Café); American History (Stars and Stripes Café, Constitution Cafe); Smithsonian Castle (Cafe and Coffee Bar).

Getting Around Town

If, for some odd reason, you’ve decided to drive into town — keep in mind areas with vehicle restrictions. Check out this full map of vehicle restrictions, courtesy of the US Secret Service. And if you plan on hoofing it on foot, print out this map of pedestrian walking routes.

For a full look at public transportation options over Inauguration Weekend, check out our Escape DC’s Inauguration Crowds — scroll to the bottom, where you’ll find everything you need to know!

Things to See

So you couldn’t land a front-row seat to the swearing-in ceremony — big deal! You’ve still got plenty of options. Swing by the American History Museum at 11:30 a.m. Monday – they’ll broadcast the ceremony in the Flag Hall. (However, if you were lucky enough to score tickets – be sure to check out the official Inaugural app that will guide ticket-holders to their seats.) Afterward, be sure to check out the ever-popular “First Ladies” exhibition on the museum’s third floor – you’ll see 2 dozen gowns worn by First Ladies of eras past, including Jackie Kennedy and Laura Bush.

Be sure to check out the National Portrait Gallery’s new display – a collaged portrait of President Obama by American contemporary graphic designer and illustrator Shepard Fairey, as well as Chuck Close’s sprawling 2012 tapestries of the president’s likeness. And don’t miss these presidential hangouts in DC.

Additional Inauguration Resources:

http://www.wtop.com/1220/3184000/WTOPs-Inauguration-Day-survival-guide
http://inauguration.dc.gov/
http://godcgo.com/inauguration-2013.aspx
http://washington.org/topics/inauguration
http://www.secretservice.gov/presidential_inaugural.shtml

Samantha Brown had her twins! She announced on Facebook, “The babies are here! Please welcome Ellis James, 6 lb. 10 oz. and Elizabeth Mae, 5 lb. 12 oz. Everyone is healthy and doing great! Pics soon!”

Our girl-meets-world sweetheart, Samantha Brown has been hosting shows on Travel Channel for the last 13 years. And now she’s embarking on her biggest adventure yet – motherhood!

When she first announced her pregnancy, we asked our globe-trotting gal — who’s traveled to dozens of countries, hundreds of cities and countless hotels around the world — how life on the road will change with the new additions.

“One thing’s for sure, these 2 will be the most well-traveled babies. We already have on schedule in May a 9-day trip planned through Germany. So one of the first things on our to-do list after they are born is to get baby passports,” says Samantha.

While we know motherhood is going to change Sam’s life, we’re sure she’ll be taking fans along for the ride.  Stay tuned for more from Sam (and babies!)…

And be sure to catch Sam when she hosts Travel Channel’s first-ever “Trip of a Lifetime” special premiering on Sunday, Jan. 27 at 8|7c. 

Tonight on Baggage Battles: Grand Theft Auto, the auction specialists are in Tampa, FL, for a one-of-kind car auction. Every year, over 7 million vehicles in the U.S. are abandoned, repossessed or seized and sold at auction. The Tampa Machinery Auction is the largest auto auction in the southeastern corner of the country, and it attracts buyers from all over the nation. Billy, Sally, Laurence and Mark go head-to-head over a classic Corvette beauty. Once the bidding is complete, the real tests begin: Does the car even run? Will the buyer make a profit? Watch tonight at 9|8c to find out.

Rediscover Tampa

A trip to Tampa without enjoying the sights and sounds isn’t a trip at all. See what else the auction specialists got into in the Tampa Travel Guide!

And speaking of classic cars, learn all about the Detroit Auto Show and the newest Corvette!

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