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Travel Tips Around The World

Sep 25 2017

Things to Do on Kauai's North Shore

Category: Best Of | Favorites | General | Itineraries | Lists | Sightseeingkmaxwell @ 05:23

Known as "the Garden Isle" thanks to the lush tropical forest covering much of its 562.3 sq mi of terrain, Kauai has been featured in more than 70 Hollywood movies and TV shows—in large part for the breathtaking beauty of its dramatic peaks, scenic waterfalls and stunning canyons.

If you're lucky enough to visit this peaceful island in the middle of the Pacific, consider adding the following sights and activities to your itinerary:

Kilauea Lighthouse

This century-old lighthouse situated on a rocky peninsula 180 ft above the ocean is located in the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, a protected breeding ground for many Hawaiian seabirds. Placards along the walkway provide information on wildlife visible from the point, including the red-tailed tropicbird (koa'e 'ula), Layson albatross (moli), great frigatebird ('iwa) and more.

Tours are offered, but times vary based on availability of staff and volunteers. The refuge is open 10 am-4 pm Tuesday-Saturday.

Kilauea Lighthouse from the lookout point

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Aug 7 2017

A Day in Austin, Texas

Category: Best Of | Favorites | General | Itineraries | Sightseeingkmaxwell @ 09:34

As the fastest-growing large city in the United States and the second most populous capital city (after Phoenix, Arizona), Austin has much to offer – from finger-lickin’-good barbecue to honky-tonk dance bars to large cultural events, such as the annual South by Southwest festival.

A day is not nearly enough time to experience all of Austin’s gems, but if it’s all you have, check out these highlights to get a feel for the city. And along the way, don’t forget to join the locals in “Keeping Austin Weird.”

Texas State Capitol

Start the day with a visit to the Texas State Capitol. Completed in 1888, this pink-granite structure, designed in Italian Renaissance Revival-style, features wood wainscoting and an impressive rotunda, along with nearly 400 rooms. Its surrounding grounds, decorated with various statues and monuments, provide plenty of photo ops.

Guided tours are free and available throughout the week. They generally depart every 30 to 45 minutes and last approximately 30 minutes.

Texas State Capitol building

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Jun 12 2017

Portland's Finest Roasters

Category: Best Of | Cafes | Favorites | Listskmaxwell @ 04:19

In a city known for its specialty coffee, it can be hard to choose among the dozens of micro-roasteries and cafes that dot the downtown streets. But choose, you must. This coffee mecca takes its java-sipping seriously, and it’s one of the best ways to get a true taste of Portland. Skip the Starbucks for now (especially if your time in the Pacific Northwest includes a stop in Seattle, where you can visit the original Starbucks), and check out these local standouts instead:  

Stumptown Coffee Roasters

Although this roaster and retailer has been recently acquired by powerhouse Peet's Coffee, it began as a grassroots operation that popularized a new type of cafe experience—one that elevated coffee from commodity to craft. There are now multiple locations throughout the city, as well as sites in Seattle, New York, Los Angeles and New Orleans.

Head to the headquarters on Salmon Street for free public tastings, where you can sip samples and learn from one of their knowledgeable baristas.

Stumptown Coffee cafe in Portland, Oregon; photo via Wikimedia Commons

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Nov 30 2016

Top 5 Hikes in Phoenix, AZ

Category: Best Of | Destinations | Recreationtravel42 @ 11:33

Phoenix is one of the very best cities in the country for hiking with tons of trails that are easily accessible from the metropolitan area. Grab your hiking shoes, friends, lots of water, and head out on one of these awesome hikes.

1. Camelback Mountain

Whether you've only visited Phoenix or you're a long-time local, you must've seen Camelback Mountain - it's pretty hard to miss. It's a challenging hike that will get your heart pumping for sure, but the views from the top are more than worth it.

Photo Credit: Dru Bloomfield

2. Tom’s Thumb

Tom’s Thumb is a super fun, popular hike in the Scottsdale McDowell Mountain Sonoran Preserve. The infamous “thumb” can be seen from most places in the valley – a white burst of rock jutting skyward out of the desert ridgeline.

Photo Credit: Al Hikes AZ

3. Pinnacle Peak

This serene slice of Sonoran Desert is home to a wide range of wildlife including bobcats, Gila monsters, desert tortoises, antelope ground squirrels, cactus wrens, and rattlesnakes.

Photo Credit: Pinnacle Peak Locals

4. Piestewa Peak

Piestewa Peak, formerly known as Squaw Peak and conveniently located in the heart of the Phoenix metropolitan area, is a relatively short hike that yields impressive views of the city and is a perfect spot to watch the sunset. Piestewa Peak is a popular spot for locals who do not want to drive or hike for hours to fit in a good workout, so be prepared to encounter some crowds if you visit on a weekend.

Photo Credit:Eric Vondy

5. Hike Siphon Draw to Flatiron Summit

Whether you turn around at the rock basin, make it to the Flatiron Summit, or venture all the way to the top of Superstition Peak, you will not be disappointed by the ever changing rock formations, beautiful views, and rigorous workout!

Photo Credit:David Porter

Looking for other great adventures in Phoenix?  Check out our recently updated destination guide here

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Aug 2 2016

travel42 Best Of: Top 10 Hawaii hotels

Category: Best Of | HotelsMegan Leader @ 04:49

The heat of summer is in full effect, but it's already time to start planning winter getaways. One of our top hotel correspondents spent spring in Hawaii reviewing the islands' finest hotels. These 10 stellar properties top the list for searches among our travel agent subscribers, and we can see why.

1. Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, Lahaina. This property has amenities galore. Widlife tours, lei-making More...

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Apr 6 2016

Five must-see temples in Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto, Japan is a city of seemingly endless temples and shrines, and it is easy to begin to feel as though one has seen it all—there are so many that even several days in Kyoto wouldn't allow for visiting nearly all of them. A few temples stand out for their intricacies and idiosyncrasies, and we highly recommend checking them out.

1. Fushimi Inari. This temple is famous for its red torii gates—there are thousands of them crawling up the hillside to the temple, with more being added all the time: Wealthy businesspeople donate them for large sums of money as tribute to the shrine of the god of rice and money. The shrine itself, at the top of the mountain (a long hike, and not really a necessity), isn't much of an attraction; you come for the gates. It's a great place to visit at night as well.

                                                                                    

          Just a small sampling of the thousands of gates at Fushimi Inari; photo via Wikimedia Commons

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Feb 5 2016

travel42 Best Of: Top 10 winter escapes

Category: Best Of | DestinationsMegan Leader @ 10:45

The groundhog has spoken: Apparently we're in for an early spring, but for many of us, that sunny weather can't come soon enough! That's why we have rounded up 10 of our favorite go-to escapes for warm weather in winter. Join us on a bright, cheery tour of some of the world's loveliest destinations.

1. St. Lucia. The island's twin pitons are More...

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Jan 29 2016

The Most Luxurious Hotels in Spain's Balearic Islands

Category: Best Of | Destinations | HotelsChristine Norris @ 07:37

The Balearic Islands are home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, along with one of the wildest party scenes for the rich, famous and beautiful. Given its reputation as a deluxe getaway, it's no surprise that hotels on the islands of Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera are sumptuous, often with lengthy lists of spa treatments, award-winning restaurants and up-to-the-minute designs in the rooms. While any accomodations on these islands are sure to please, these are a few of our favorite resorts to tempt your imagination on this wintry day.


Cap Rocat, on the island of Mallorca, stuns guests right away with its fortress facade; but it really packs a punch with its adults-only policy, proximity to the beach (a quick five-minute walk) and truly remarkable private infinity pools that come with each of the Sentinel suites—all of this capped with gorgeous mountain views. The hotel is light on spa treatments, and dining is good, Mediterranean food, but not particularly notable—still, this place offers every possible comfort for those seeking sun and relaxation in a historic yet modern setting. The charm of the grounds and the many options for alfresco dining make this a great place to soak up some sun.

                                      

                A private plunge pool and terrace at the Cap Rocat; photo courtesy of the resort.

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Jan 22 2016

The 10 best places to see the Northern Lights

Category: Best Of | Destinations | HotelsMegan Leader @ 06:51

Watching the Northern Lights is certainly a bucket-list-worthy experience. Who wouldn't want to see the sky glow, shift and dance, reflecting hues of green and purple onto the snow below?

We've rounded up 10 of our favorite places to travel for the Northern Lights. Pair these destinations with a great hotel, and you've got a getaway unlike any other. 

1. Alaska. For U.S. and Canadian citizens hoping to stay close to home, Alaska is a great place to travel for a Northern Lights adventure. If you're choosing a hotel, Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge is a basic but comfortable lakeside base in one of Alaska's best cities to see the aurora borealis.More...

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Sep 15 2015

travel42 Best Of: Top 10 mountain lodges

Category: Best Of | Hotels | ListsMegan Leader @ 06:49

By this point in the year, we're all getting ready to say our goodbyes to summer and embrace the fall (and holiday?!) travel season. That means warm hearths, cozy beds, world-class comfort food, and bright foliage giving way to snow-capped peaks.

To celebrate the season and make the most of the chilly weather around the corner, we've rounded up our favorite hotels around the world that capitalize on their gorgeous mountain settings. Grab your camera and bundle up: Let's go exploring!

1. Four Seasons Resort Vail, Vail, Colorado. This Four Seasons is one of a growing number of FS properties with a low room count and large pool of amenities anchored to a More...

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