ALL POSTS TAGGED "[Tips]"

Photography by John Moore/Getty Images

Think the only way to avoid an airport meltdown during the holidays is to stay home? Fear not, it is possible to snag a cheap flight during the holidays, breeze through long airport lines, keep the kids happy during the entire flight, and not lose your cool (or dignity) in security.

We asked an air travel expert, Mark Drusch, Chief Supplier Relations Officer for CheapOair.com, to reveal his secrets for flying through the airport during the holidays. With over 20 years of experience in executive airline roles, Drusch shared with us his forecast for the holiday travel season, how to glide through security lines, and what he never gets on a plane without.

So before you take off this holiday season, take in Drusch’s expert travel advice:
Traveling Type: What’s your forecast for this holiday travel season? What trends are you seeing?
Mark Drusch:  Higher traffic than last year, however the peak days (Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and the Sunday and Monday after) may be marginally less full because the other days around the holiday are seeing very strong traffic. But planes will still be very full. We see an increase in customers celebrating their Thanksgiving in vacation spots, particularly the Caribbean, Mexico and Costa Rica.

READ MORE

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!

No matter where you are in September — at home or on the road — you can celebrate National Yoga Month all over the US. Thousands of studios across the country are participating in National Yoga Month and offering a free week of yoga. This is a perfect time for newbies who want to see what all the fuss is about or for Vinyasa veterans to try out a new studio. (See which studios in your area are participating at yogahealthfinder.com.)

We caught up with traveling yogi Kelly Newsome, owner of Higher Ground Yoga, a boutique yoga and wellness practice in Washington, DC. Newsome teaches simple self-care strategy and private yoga so that busy professionals can take their yoga — and wellness practices — with them no matter where they go.

Check out our Q&A with Newsome, who shares her tips for practicing yoga on the road.

 

Traveling Type: How can people take their yoga (beginning or advanced) with them on the road?

Kelly Newsome: My clients travel constantly, especially for work, and their biggest challenge is staying committed to their practice when their schedules change. To combat this, I give them 3 easy ways (“the 3 Cs”) to stay on track:

No. 1, calendar it! Put 5 to 15 minutes of yoga practice in your physical schedule. If possible, practice in the morning before the day kicks in (but a few restorative poses before bed are great, too). You can always add on more time, but you’re more likely to succeed if you shoot for consistency, not duration.

No. 2, create a super-simple sequence. Don’t try to create that amazing Vinyasa flow series you took a couple of weeks ago with your favorite teacher, or worry about having the perfect playlist or even your special yoga clothes. Instead, start with a few rounds of sun salutations to warm up, then add 3 to 5 favorite poses that you simply, slowly open into. Hold them for a few breaths to deepen their effects. Eliminate unnecessary distractions. Just move, and be in your body. Inhale. Exhale.

Finally, carry a travel yoga mat with you. You don’t actually have to have a mat to practice, but it does make postures easier (hotel towels aren’t as easy to use as you might think — I’ve been there). Plus, not only does a simple travel mat keep your feet and hands from slipping, it can also serve as a valuable visual reminder. Roll it out next to your bed when you arrive at your destination, and let it be your cue to start stretching!

Kelly Newsome practicing yoga in Indonesia.

What are the benefits of combining yoga with traveling, in your opinion?

First, yoga is a perfect complement to traveling because it grounds you, whereas travel actually shifts the ground right from under you! In yoga, you practice conscious awareness of your feet on the earth, the relationship of your body to space, the minute details of the physical environment (for instance, with a gaze point or “drishti”). When my clients are traveling, they’re speeding through time (whether on a train, airplane, car, etc.) and their heads spin, but yoga helps keep their senses from skyrocketing.

Second, traveling can be tough on your physical body because so much sitting is involved — my clients always have grumpy hips, back and shoulders. But yoga’s perfect for that. Its history even tells us that poses were specifically designed thousands of years ago to help meditating yogis sit comfortably for longer periods of time! Many postures take care of those common problem areas.

Third, yoga is low maintenance and available worldwide. I always remind my clients that they really only need their bodies (and, if possible, their travel mats). They use our private podcasts while traveling, but you can find classes just about everywhere these days. Even if you don’t have a physical teacher nearby, though, instruction is available online, by podcast, phone apps or magazines and books you can toss in your bag.

Where are your favorite places to practice yoga away from home?

I’ll pull out a mat anywhere! Still, most of the time my mat stays in the comfort of my home, near my sanctuary table and the fireplace (yep, I even turn it on in the summer — it’s like India!). I also love going to classes in my old home where I did all of my training: New York City. My all-time favorite practice was in Indonesia, though. I was volunteering at an ashram, teaching kids yoga, and they had this massive, dark grey stone plank that jutted out into the middle of the ocean. I went out one evening with my mat and my camera, and saluted the sunset for hours.

Why is September’s National Yoga Month a good time for beginner (or advanced) yogis?

September is a month that symbolizes new beginnings. Nearly all of my clients, for instance, have children starting the school year. It’s a time of possibility and fresh, crisp energy!

Kelly Newsome owns Higher Ground Yoga, a boutique wellness practice in Washington, DC,  for busy women. Her business story has been featured in Bloomberg Law, and the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling book, The $100 Startup, and she was voted as one of the top 3 yoga teachers by the Washington City Paper’s “Best of DC 2013.”  Before her wellness work, Kelly was a business attorney and, in between careers, she spent time traveling, eating, consulting, riding elephants and teaching her yoga craft in Cambodia, Indonesia, France, Italy and the United Kingdom. 

You May Also Like:
Best Places to Go “Om”
Fitness Tips from Jennifer Aniston’s Yoga Teacher
Wanderlust Oahu: Yoga, Music and Surf

Writer Patty Hodapp on a solo camping trip with her dog Pele along Lake Superior’s north shore in Minnesota.

Camping alone as a woman might sound crazy. Uncontrollable variables like weather, wackos and wild animals give credit to the old adage “safety in numbers”. But if you’re comfortable in the outdoors and want to camp solo, don’t let fear stop you. It takes common sense, good instinct and adaptability. Yes, it’s risky, but so is driving a car or stepping out your front door. The good news? There are a few things you can do to sleep outside alone, safer. Here are 7.

1. Know Your Gear

Test your camping gear before you pack — especially if it has been sitting unused in storage for a while. Bring extra batteries, matches, a lighter, tinder and paper in a plastic bag so they don’t get wet. Own a tent you can pitch by yourself (sounds obvious, but believe me, shelters with complicated pole structures are tough to set up solo).

2. Be Accountable to Someone

If you’re sleeping outside alone, tell someone where you are. Text a friend or relative your location, loose plans and end game, so someone knows when to worry and where to look for you. If you want to get specific, try SPOT — a sweet little GPS device that beams your location via text, email or emergency notification to those at home.

3. Stay at Family-Friendly Campgrounds

If you’re nervous about sleeping outside alone, splurge on a site at a family-oriented campground. Ask the park ranger or do your research online before you set up shop. Better to neighbor-up next to a couple with small kids than a rowdy group of partiers who might trash your gear or give you trouble.

4. Stick to the Trail

It’s simple: When you take day-trip hikes, stick to marked trails. That way, if you need help, you’ll be in a higher trafficked area so you’re more likely to get it. Bushwhacking is fun, but leave it for camping trips with friends. Also, invest in a backpacker’s first-aid kit or build your own, and keep it in your daypack always.

5. Skip the Booze

Sure it’s fun to have a brew around the campfire, but when you’re alone stick to water, sports drinks, coffee or anything that won’t impair your senses. You’re the only one out there to watch your back, so don’t get tipsy.

6. Bring a Dog

Some people argue that dogs provide a false sense of security. I say it depends on the dog. If your dog is used to the woods and alert, chances are it’ll hear, smell and respond to approaching animals and people faster than you. It was only because of 2 dogs that I survived a run-in with a mountain lion in New Mexico. Or so a professional lion hunter told me when I called him up the next day. I believe him.

7. Leave Room for Error

Think ahead and anticipate problems. Have a backup water supply; learn how to change a tire and use bear spray (don’t hose it upwind); master map reading. No trip ever goes as planned, but if you expect error it won’t catch you off guard.

Sleeping alone under the stars? Here are the best campgrounds for solo travelers who want a last-minute summer getaway.

 

You May Also Like:

Backcountry Survivor Skills
Camping Dos and Don’ts
Camping Tips and Tricks

 

by Patty Hodapp

Patty Hodapp is a freelance writer and solo traveler reporting from the intersection of fitness and adventure. Her slew of expat addresses runs deep — most recently, a tropical Spanish island in the Mediterranean. She covers endurance sports, outdoor gear and adventure travel. Besides Travel Channel, she has written for Outside, Men’s Fitness, Shape and several other publications.

The Trans-Mongolian train makes its way through the Mongolian countryside.

At the top of many people’s bucket list is a trip on the Trans-Siberian Railroad.  A trip on the railroad allows riders to experience the never-ending forests of Siberia, the lonely valleys of Mongolia, and the Gobi desert in one trip. However, with a trip that can span a third of the globe and take up to 7 days to complete, special preparations are definitely necessary.

The first step in preparing for your journey is to figure out which of the 3 routes you want to take. The classic line is the Trans-Siberian from Moscow to Vladivostok on Russia’s far eastern coast. On the other hand, the most popular route with travelers is the Trans-Mongolian, which crosses through Siberia before veering off the main rail line, traveling through Mongolia and ending in Beijing, China. Lastly, you can take the Trans-Manchurian line, which runs from Moscow to Beijing, but bypasses Mongolia.

The marker on the train indicating its major stops in Chinese, Russian, and Mongolian.

The second step in preparing for your journey is to get the appropriate visas. Nearly every nationality requires a visa for travel to both Russia and China, and while you can obtain them yourself, both are time consuming. To make the process easier, consider using a visa service to like Invisa Logistics for Russia and CSCA for China, both of which are recommended by the respective embassies.

Americans can enter Mongolia visa-free, but most others will have to secure a visa to travel there as well.

It’s also a good idea to arrange your tickets prior to leaving. While you will pay a surcharge for this service, it beats turning up at a Russian train station and discovering that your train is sold out or that the ticket seller doesn’t speak any English (a problem you’re likely to encounter). For trains leaving from Russia or Mongolia, you can obtain your tickets from Real Russia. For trains departing from Beijing, CITS is a reputable agency with English-speaking agents.

Buying your ticket ahead of time also requires you to plan your stops. All 3 train lines pass through Irkutsk, which is a very popular stop close to the mid-point of the journey. This Siberian city is also the gateway to the must-see Lake Baikal. The largest lake in the world by volume, Lake Baikal is so clean that you can drink directly from its frigid waters. There’s no better place to see Siberian culture or nature than the peaceful shores of the lake.

The sun sets over China’s Gobi Desert in Inner Mongolia.

On the Trans-Mongolian Line, many like to stop in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, as well, to experience this amazing country. While the city itself is nothing special, a trip to the countryside gives you the chance to stay with a nomadic family in a traditional ger (felt-lined tents) and view the sweeping vistas of beautiful green grass and impossibly blue skies that go on for as far as the eye can see.

The interior corridor of the Trans-Mongolian.

 

Lastly, you need to prepare for the trip itself. Since you’ll spend a total of 6 or 7 nights on the train, make sure that you have plenty of reading material and batteries. Also make sure to pack some wet wipes for cleaning yourself (there are no showers onboard), a thermos and instant coffee or tea (hot water is provided in each car), and some ear plugs.

While you’ll have a nice bed on your trip, most people will share a compartment with others, so a phrasebook will be very helpful in getting to know your travel companions. Even if you opt for a private compartment, having a Russian and Chinese phrasebook will help you figure out when the train is leaving each station and how to order food in the dining car.

The Trans-Siberian Railroad is the journey of a lifetime, and with a bit of preparation, you can ensure that you’ll have the time of your life as you traverse the Far East.

 —–

All photos by author Jim Cheney.

The author onboard the Trans-Mongolian train.

Jim Cheney is a freelance travel writer and photographer based in Harrisburg, PA. Jim spent over two years in Asia traveling and working prior to settling back in America. His writing focuses mainly on travel planning advice and unique travel destinations throughout Asia, Europe, and North America.

To find more of his work, visit his site, Tripologist.com.

 

 

You May Also Like:

World’s Most Jaw-Dropping Train Rides
Andrew Zimmern Travels to Mongolia
Relive Russia With Anthony Bourdain

 

Each year, half a million spectators line the streets of 8 consecutive Massachusetts towns to cheer on the 25,000 runners attempting to finish the winding, hilly 26.2 miles that make up the Boston Marathon. Held on Patriots’ Day — a Massachusetts holiday commemorating the beginning of the American Revolution — Boston’s marathon is the oldest and one of the most famous in the world.  

But the marathon, in recent years, has obscured some other – much older – Patriots’ Day traditions.

Friday Freebie- Patriots' Day

Get a free dose of history this weekend at one of the many battle reenactments and demonstrations going on in the picturesque towns of Lexington and Concord. This Saturday, watch as 300 British and Colonial troops demonstrate the “Bloody Angle Battle.” Or get an up-close look at Parker’s Revenge when the Lexington militia company ambushes a group of British soldiers. Hartwell Tavern and the Captain William Smith House –2 historic sites that have been restored to revolutionary-era glory — will also be free and open to the public this weekend. READ MORE

Communities are cleaning up today, after a string of tornadoes ripped through the Midwest and South on Wednesday. The stormy weather claimed 13 lives, and more twisters may be on the way.

Tornado Damage in Harrisburg, Illinois

According to the Washington Post, meteorologists warned that another line of storms set to strike the same path and potentially grow stronger than Wednesday’s system.  Authorities at the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, OK, said that about 10 percent of tornadoes strike between midnight and 6 a.m., a time when storms are harder to spot, and it’s harder to get the word out.

In case you didn’t know, more than 1,000 tornadoes, many of them with little or no advance warning, touch down in the United States every year. So we have few travel tips to help you stay safe when twisters strike while you’re traveling. Take a look at our travel safety tips for how you can recognize the danger signs of a tornado; how and where to take shelter; and the importance of owning an emergency weather radio.

More Weather-Related Content:

Flash Flood Safety:  5 Must-Ask Questions
Tips for Earthquake and Tsunami Preparedness
Weather and Flight Apps
Prepare for Flight Problems

By  The Lost Girls

The Lost Girls in Time Square

Soaring ticket prices, delayed/canceled flights, bumper-to-bumper traffic and misplaced luggage—all part of the festive homecoming experience—can turn even the most put-together Lost Girl into a cheerless Grinch.

Here are just a few of the ideas that we’ve tried and traded amongst ourselves…all of which have helped us sidestep the most frustrating seasonal travel hassles. And if you wouldn’t mind sharing your own tips and strategies in the comments below, we’d consider it your holiday gift to us! 

Amanda’s Tips

Holiday Saver #1:  Don’t accept the first price—from any online source: For the longest time, I figured all airline ticket search engines, spit out the exact same fares for identical flights. Not so! After finding the “lowest-possible” (but still expensive) fare on a round-trip flight over Thanksgiving weekend on my favorite booking engine, I did a little more digging—and realized I could save nearly $100 by booking a series of one-way tickets on my airline’s own website. Because you can also cancel online reservations, penalty-free, within 24 hours of booking, I was able to make the change—and book the least expensive flight home. READ MORE

Latest Pins on Pinterest

  • Danby, Vermont

  • Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

  • San Francisco, California

  • Today's Daily Escape is from Necker Island, British Virgin Islands.