Travel Tips Around The World

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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Nov 3 2016

Skiing in Marrakech

When people think of Marrakech, Morocco, the image conjured up usually involves sun, sand and heat—but just 45 miles from Marrakech is Oukaimeden, a ski resort that boasts Africa's highest slopes. It seems like an anomaly, but truly, there's some pretty fine skiing in Morocco. The slopes usually open in December and stay open until about April, but January and February are the best months to go.

                                                 The slopes at Oukaimeden; photo via Good Health blog.

There are only five runs, so even for the biggest ski enthusiast, Oukaimeden works best as a day trip from Marrakech, or potentially as an overnight stay. A guide is advised, since the slopes aren't well marked, and the snow won't be as well pressed and smooth as you're used to. Though a bit bumpy, the slopes are fun, and exciting simply for the fact that you might wake up in the heat of a riad and end your day covered in powder high on a snowy hill. Experienced skiiers will do best there, since the slopes can be a bit difficult.

Lifts and equipment rentals are very affordable, but remember, this is Morocco, so don't expect the sophistication of your favorite Colorado resort. Still, Oukaimeden makes for an interesting day trip from Marrakech. For something totally different from the bustling souks and winding streets of Marrakech, try a day of skiing! The village at Oukaimeden is small but charming, with enough restaurants, shops and accommodations to make a visit easy and attractive.

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Sep 30 2016

Beer Spa Bernard: A thoroughly Czech experience in Prague

Category: Destinations | RecreationChristine Norris @ 09:51

The city of Prague seems to run on beer; there are bars everywhere, and people sipping from bottles on the cobblestoned streets. A strong drinking culture is woven into the history of the city, and it's no wonder, since the beer is certainly some of the best you'll ever drink. One spa in Prague has taken the malt mania a step further, offering beer baths—and unlimited beer to drink, too.

                                                                      Photo via


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Jun 23 2016

Get in the FLOW with Adventure Flow Tours

Category: Destinations | Favorites | On The Scene | Recreationbhicks @ 07:15

Juneau is a popular stop on almost every Alaskan cruise, with shopping, sight-seeing, and whale watching being just SOME of the amazing options to choose from while in port. This blogger, though, set his sights on something a little more... ADVENTUROUS!

Adventure Flow offers outdoor small group tours that focus on providing the optimal Alaskan experience. The most attractive feature of Adventure Flow is the promise that their passionate guides will take you a step away from the crowds—most guided hikes in the area are highly populated, but Adventure Flow takes your small group on an intimate hike together. With walking, hiking, and smartphone photography tours they have something for everyone to enjoy the Southeast Alaska splendor. Adventure Flow tours place you in the moment and maximize your experience, giving you a unique opportunity not offered by any other tour operator. 

Here I am, preparing to embark on a Smart Phone Photography Tour. I was very excited to get started! The description of the tour promised that More...

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Jun 15 2016

A Tour of Halong Bay with Indochina Junk

This post comes from two of our hotel correspondents, Meghan Mirchich and Daniel Doyon, who are spending a year traveling the world. Check out their adventures at

Junk boats with sails

Indochina Junk is a luxury cruise line operating a variety of traditional junk boats in the scenic waters of Halong Bay. Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage site in northeast Vietnam. Tourists come from around the world to see Halong’s unique emerald waters punctuated by limestone towers covered in rain forests. Given its popularity, More...

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May 19 2016

Wellington, New Zealand: The perfect starting point for day trips and tours

Wellington is the capital of New Zealand, yet is is much less frequently visited than its northern neighbor, the thriving metropolis of Auckland. Still, Wellington is worth the visit, not only for the sights within the city, but for it prime position as a jumping-off point to explore some of the more remote areas of New Zealand. From there, you can easily travel to the areas of Martinborough and Cape Palliser, or join in on a Lord of the Rings-themed tour.


                                         Seal pups at Cape Palliser. Photo courtesy of Rolf Hicker.

Cape Palliser is a gorgeous spot not far from Wellington, at the very southern tip of the island. It boasts a lovely lighthouse (the climb is steep and tiring, but worth it) and a large population of fur seals that sun themselves on the coast. Visit in summer to see seal pups—they're insanely adorable, and playful, too. The drive out to Cape Palliser itself is worth the trip, as the approximately hour's journey takes you along some sheer, but stunning, rock cliffs. For nature lovers, the cape is not to be missed.


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Apr 13 2016

Bornholm Island: Your next Danish destination

Bornholm Island, off the eastern coast of Denmark, has long been a favorite vacation spot for Danes; tourism is an important part of the economy there, as are fishing, farming and arts and crafts such as glass work and pottery. The island's strategic position in the Baltic Sea means it has been inhabited for centuries, and is rich with history—there are 15 medieval churches on the island, for starters. And there's almost endless recreation, with a forest in the center of the island and plenty of beaches and cycling options. If you want to really get away (it's a one-hour ferry from Ystad, Denmark—a three hour drive from Copenhagen), this island has a wealth of things to see and do in a gorgeous and relaxed atmosphere; this blog is only an introduction to the many fascinating things the island has to offer.


                                   The coastline of Bornholm Island; photo via Wikimedia Commons


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Jun 9 2015

Asheville, NC: Seeing the City the Way Locals Do

Asheville, NC has long been associated with tourism: the area that was once chock full of sanitariums for the recovery of the rich and famous (like Zelda Fitzgerald) is now the playground of well-to-do New Yorkers and Californians searching out an artistic, bohemian vibe in a small mountain city. Exploring downtown Asheville is a must, and it's great fun to have a drink at the Grove Park Inn and take in the spectacular view from the terrace, but we suggest stepping outside of the mainstays of touristdom and see the city a little more like a local. There's great beer, food, music and nature to be found in Asheville: here are our top picks.


 The building that houses The Wedge is right across the street from the French Broad River. Photo courtesy of

The Wedge Brewing Company. The Wedge is a cultural institution of Asheville in more ways than one: It is on its own a fantastic brewery, well worth the trip considering its brews can be found nowhere else; it serves as the anchor for the building it occupies, which is filled with artists' studios and sits right on the French Broad River; and, it almost always has some delicious food trucks out front and in summer it shows movies outside. Maybe the best part of the location? Right across the street is an access point for the French Broad, which is a great place for tubing. We recommend hopping in the river there (there are several tube rental spots nearby, or you can bring your own) and floating down for a mile or two until you reach an exit point at the Bywater, an outdoor bar with local beers on tap and plenty of grills open to the public (bring your own food, and feel free to bring the kids—the bar sits on a whole acre of land).


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Sep 5 2014

5 scenic hikes in the North Carolina mountains

Category: Destinations | RecreationKaren @ 09:57

My husband and I spent our Labor Day weekend visiting friends who own a house near Mount Mitchell in the Black Mountains of North Carolina. We spent most of the weekend enjoying the scenic views of Mount Mitchell and the surrounding peaks from our friends' front deck, but ever since we left, I've been going through some serious mountain-country withdrawal. All I can think about is going back again to take advantage of the many hiking opportunities in the area. More...

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Jun 6 2014

World Cup stars and their dreamy hometowns

If you're in the market for a summer boyfriend, you might as well find somebody who can take you on a nice end-of-summer trip. And if you don't mind competing with fashion models and pop divas for his attention, you could do worse than dating an international football star. True, he'd be fairly tied up starting June 12 with the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, but come August he'll be in the mood to take you home to meet Mom. Or July, if his team doesn't survive the group matches; you could help him find the upside of defeat. More...

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