The Great American

kjAmerica is big. Life is short. And whether you’re the kind of traveler who strays off the beaten path or one who hits the biggest damn tourist trap no matter the number of selfie sticks, you have to admit that some places across this great land of ours absolutely MUST be visited before you die. Even if you’re not starring in a buddy movie with Morgan Freeman.

But where are they? And what should you do when you get there? From national parks and monuments, to baseball stadiums, beaches, and amazing road trips, we narrowed down the most iconic, popular, beautiful, historic, fun, delicious, awe-inspiring (should we go on?) parts of the country to 50 must-do places/activities. And while, sure, some are obvious and others may be a little cliche — they’re all still distinctly, 100% America. Now, how many have you ticked off your list?

Walk the Freedom Trail in Boston

Even if you fell asleep repeatedly

Pura Vida – Costa Rica

tierza-yoga-e1472293428801The first thing you may notice about Ticos is the, “Pura Vida”. This symbolizes a way of thinking or an idea of letting things go, and simply enjoying life. After everything I had heard of Costa Rica, the people (Ticos) and the beauty, it’s not hard to understand why I have wanted to visit such a place for many years.

Our itinerary for our first visit to this wonderful country, came from simply researching online and playing the safe route. If I were to visit this country again, I would definitely do things differently. With that being said, I hope you will be able to learn a little from our mistakes, and hopefully you will be more knowledgeable if you are planning a trip this way.

From where our flight landed in San Jose, we took a shuttle to the car rental company. Mistake number one for the budget traveler. After all the add-on costs such as insurance, car upgrades and gas, we spent about $350 to $400 for transportation for one week. This seemed worth it at the time,

See Kauai’s Na Pali Coast

0000156982Have you dreamed of visiting the Garden Isle of Hawaii? Kauai is home to stunning natural wonders including Waimea Canyon, Hanalei Bay and Wai’ale’ale Crater, but no visit to Kauai is complete without visiting the majestic 17-mile stretch of the Na Pali Coast.

You have three options when visiting the Na Pali Coast — hiking, helicopter tour and boat ride. I’ll go over each of these options below, but if you only have time for one of these activities while visiting Kauai, book a helicopter flight!

By far, the best way to view the Na Pali Coast is by Helicopter because most of the areas are inaccessible by land or sea. I booked a flight with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters — the same company we used for a helicopter tour of Maui — and from start to finish, the service was top notch.

If you plan to take any photos, Blue Hawaiian’s pilots fly on the left of the aircraft which means there’s more seating for the best views of the Na Pali Coast. All of the helicopter tours fly from the south, up

The Airport Scams You Can Avoid Now

For many travelers, their journey begins and ends at the airport – making it a comfortable and familiar place where guards may be dropped. With signs are printed in multiple languages and police officers posted in high traffic areas, many travelers feel safe and secure while waiting at the airport.

However, travelers aren’t the only ones who feel at home at the airport. Scam artists also feel a sense of security while visiting different departure points, looking for unknowing travelers to target. As a result, smart scam artists and pickpockets have found ways to part travelers from their valuables without their knowledge. When a traveler lets their guard down even for a moment, it can result in the loss of wallets, passports, and even luggage.

Prior to arrival, every traveler needs to make sure they stay safe from pickpockets and other scam artists. Here are three common scams every traveler needs to watch out for at the airport.

Airport security checkpoint scams result in lost luggage

It is no secret that airport luggage theft is a problem in airports around the world.

From unscrupulous security officers stealing from luggage, to items being stolen

Small Cruises For An Offbeat Voyage

For some travelers, bigger isn’t always better. If you’re looking to take a cruise trip but don’t want the crowds or the tourist hot spots, you can book a spot on a number of smaller boats that offer a different kind of voyage. There are small cruises for all types of vacations, from super-cozy river rides to yacht-like trips through warm seas. Below, I’ve rounded up four small cruise ships that are worth looking into.

1. Lord of the Glens
Cabins: 26
Destination: Scotland

This small ship brings passengers through the Scottish highlands and coastal islands. Spanning just 150 feet, Lord of the Glens is “uniquely sized to fit through the network of locks and canals that cut through the heart of the Scottish highlands,” according to cruise line Lindblad Expeditions. Once you’re ashore there are bikes provided to explore the Scottish countryside, and there are also kayaks available for paddling on Loch Ness.

Lord of the Glens is actually one of several small cruise ships that Lindblad Expeditions offers with destinations from the Galapagos to the Pacific Northwest to the Arctic

2. UnCruise Safari Endeavour
Cabins: 42
Destinations: Alaska; Sea of Cortez

This small cruise ship has a focus on

Avoid Restaurant Scams

How can travelers make sure they pay for just their meal, without getting skimmed on the side? There are many ways travelers can avoid unscrupulous restaurant scams as they travel around the world. Here are three easy things to look for when avoiding restaurant scams.

Restaurant Scam: Ordering Without A Menu

Every restaurant owner is always happy to see guests arrive. Once situated, those same restaurant owners may be even more pleased to recommend the house special before a guest has the opportunity to open menu. What may be omitted is the final cost of that same special.

Before accepting the hospitality of the restaurant server or owner, make sure to request the full menu.

 In many countries, restaurants are required to post their full service outside of their restaurant, including the prices, for public inspection.

Although travelers may feel pressured to order the house special, this may be just one of many restaurant scams a guest may face. If the server or owner won’t show you the menu, or doesn’t want to wait for your order, then simply walk away: having a good meal shouldn’t come at the cost of a

Your Passport Color Really Means

Travelers don’t have a lot of say in how their passports look. It’s hard to take a flattering picture (unless you’re Prince), you can’t choose which inspiration quotes frame your stamped pages, and you can’t choose the color of your passport cover.

“Most passports in the world are based on blue and red primary colors,” said Passport Index Vice President of Marketing Hrant Boghossian, though there’s an enormous degree of variation in hues. And while geography, politics, and even religion come into play when a country selects its passport cover, there are no guidelines or regulations dictating the color of these national documents.

“There’s nothing [that] stipulates the cover colour,” confirmed Anthony Philbin of the International Civil Aviation Organization, which issues passport standards on cover size, format, and technology.

So what can we infer about passport color? Boghossian says it’s a matter of national identity.

Red Passports

Burgundy passports are used by members of the European Union (sans Croatia), and countries interested in joining (think: Turkey) have changed their passport colors to match. The Economist called this a “branding exercise.” The Andean Community (also known for past EU-ambitions) of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru also has

Book a Cruise Ship Balcony Room

Deciding whether a balcony fits in your budget depends on how you value your time on the ship.

It’s hard to imagine a hotel charging extra for a room with windows, but when it comes to cruising, fresh ocean air comes at a premium: Typically, the coveted outdoor balcony space on a cruise costs at least $100 per person, per voyage more than an interior or porthole stateroom. But with budget and savings in mind, are cruise balconies actually worth the extra fee? We explore.

Yes, the balcony is an essential aspect of cruising.

Best-in-class balconies at sea feature upscale amenities like whirlpools with a flat-screen television and panoramic views, though the most obvious benefits of nearly every stateroom balcony start with the floor-to-ceiling windows that provide plenty of sunlight. After all, think of waking up to a peaceful sunrise and closing out the day with serene sunset cocktails—not to mention the coveted access to fresh air. Verandas are also a prime spot to enjoy a meal al fresco, with a notable standout being Crystal Cruises, which features in-stateroom course-by-course dining during lunch and dinner. On some of the larger suite balconies, namely,

The Hottest Restaurants to Try in Miami This Fall

From Doral to Downtown—and even 40 floors above sea level—Miami’s newest and best restaurants and bars are catering to locals on the mainland.

STK
Get your fix of STK favorites (Lil’ Brgs, anyone?), plus soon-to-be-new favorites like kale Caesar, beef carpaccio, and slow-roasted prime rib, at the steakhouse’s second Magic City outpost, nestled inside the ME Miami hotel. Finish things off with the Bag o’ Donuts. 1100 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, 305-722-7888

Sugar
With the sweetest views in Miami (40 floors up), this rooftop lair is the place to sip cocktails (ask for the off-menu spicy margarita with mezcal) and Instagram the city’s skyline. While you’re at it, treat yourself to the steamed prawn and scallop dumplings and a lychee crème brûlée that’s just as sweet as the sights. 788 Brickell Plz., Miami, 786-805-4655

Zuuk Mediterranean Kitchen
The guys behind My Ceviche have gone Mediterranean with their latest fast-casual eatery, which lets you make your own pita roll, bowl, or salad with up to three types of dips or spreads, a protein (such as spiced lamb kefte or baked falafel), and toppings. 1250 S. Miami Ave., Miami, 305-200-3145

Glass and Vine
On his nights off

5 Ways The New Trump Hotel is Trying To Make DC Great Again

One way or another, Donald Trump is about to arrive on Pennsylvania Avenue.

The Trump International Hotel, Washington D.C. has its soft opening on Monday. Located in the historic Old Post Office Building at 1100 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, it’s just a few blocks from the house Trump hopes to reside in come Jan. 20.

The Old Post Office, a Romanesque revival building that opened in 1899, has undergone a $200 million renovation to become a hotel.

Here are the five of its top amenities and features.

An opulent inaugural weekend package.

Even if he loses the election, Trump will make out big on Jan. 20 if a traveler books the hotel’s $500,0000 inauguration package. A stay in the 6,300-square-foot Trump Townhouse will include dinner for 24 in the duplex suite’s dining room (with the opportunity to select dishes from favorite presidential meals of past inaugural galas), 24/7 car service and two round-trip first-class tickets from anywhere in the United States

Wine by the spoon.

Many on Twitter lambasted Trump for eating pizza with a fork. Now it’s Trump’s use of spoons that could draw traditionalists’ wrath. According to Travel Weekly, the

It’s a Great Travelling to Australia Zoo, Maroochydore, Australia And Cabarita

Australia Zoo

Beerwah is about 15 minutes from the Australia Zoo, so after our creepy night in a run down caravan park we got an early start to go see some crocs! I wasn’t expecting much from our visit to the zoo since most of the times I have been to a zoo I go home disappointed when I realize the most interesting animals are sleeping during the day. Or I can’t see through the cages to get a good picture.

We had planned to only spend a few hours, but ended up spending 5 without even scratching the surface of what they have to offer. We were very impressed with the crocodile show that was performed by the Irwins. I’ve never seen a live show with crocodiles and I was honestly afraid for the people on stage. They could have been taken down at any moment if something went wrong!! Definitely a highlight of the trip.

The other animals were equally impressive because they all seemed so much happier than they do at a lot of zoos. We really got the feeling like the animals are well taken care of and that they enjoy

About Hoi An, Vietnam

Hoi An is a place that can put your senses on overload. We found this city to be intensely charming and full of life. The city is brimming with lavish hotels accompanying pools, intoxicating aromas from restaurants serving every type of cuisine imaginable, and prowling shopkeepers looking for their next sale. You better get used to the phrase, “you buy!” The shopkeepers show no mercy when they see foreigners walking through town, they even follow you with motorbikes and beg you to come to their stores!

Things To Do in Hoi An

If shopping is your passion, then Hoi An may be the place for you. You can bargain your way to happiness. If your desire is to sample foods from every continent, Hoi An will not disappoint foodies. We tasted some exceptional cuisine while visiting this energetic city. A favorite of ours was the little Italian Restaurant, Don Tien. In addition to the fish, pasta and dessert dishes that transported us back to Italy, we also learned that the owner hires only young Vietnamese who come from a disadvantaged background, including orphans, and this good deed gave the Don Tien restaurant another plus in our

Beautiful Greece

Winning tip: Walking on Sifnos, Greece

Sifnos, in the Cyclades, provides a mix of beautiful beaches with a few cafes, restaurants and bars. There are great hiking trails that will lead you to remote, quiet beaches; and delightful hilltop villages with independent boutiques and tavernas. The hiking trails of over 100km are well signposted and maintained by the authorities with a website that provides details of each trail (difficulty level, point of interest, distance and more) and detailed, downloadable GPS maps. We particularly liked trail 4, a loop that offers great panoramic views, solitude, and two beaches to ourselves at Fikyada. For a sundowner and dinner, head to Apollonia and don’t miss the bakeries that offer traditional Greek pastries and baked goods. Melopita, a cheese pie with honey, is a must. I stayed at Villa Antoniadis (from €50 a night) at Platis Gialos: it’s a B&B five minutes’ walk inland from the beach. It has a large pool and friendly owners, who serve delicious and indulging breakfasts.

Astypalaia, Greece

This butterfly-shaped island in the Dodecanese is the true arthropod of the Mediterranean. Three minutes away from Livadi beach is Kalderimi “hotel” – actually a group

Protection Tips for Summer Travel

To help prepare for your upcoming travels, Raid® has asked us to share our best tips for bug protection. They’ve recently launched a new product, the new Raid® Bed bug Detector & Trap, to expose evidence of bed bugs before an infestation occurs.

As frequent travelers, bed bugs are a huge concern for us. Whether we’re temporarily renting an apartment or staying at a hotel, it’s something we definitely think about. We’re happy to see the Raid® bug experts have provided consumers with tools that can help prevent a more costly bed bug infestation.

Here are some tips to protect yourself from bed bugs, mosquitoes, and ticks during your upcoming travels.

Bed Bugs

Unfortunately, not all insects live outside. Bed bugs can live in any climate and urban travel-hotspots are particularly susceptible to spreading them. Checking into a hotel with bed bugs can ruin a summer vacation; even hard-to-spot bed bug larvae can cause itching and welts, as bed bugs must bite their hosts at every stage of growth. Worse, it’s tough to perform thorough inspections on the go.

To keep from being eaten and bringing home unwanted guests, use an early detection

Your Guide to Cabo, Mexico

Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo make up “Los Cabos,” a resort corridor with exclusive beaches, preserved natural spaces, and an adventurous nightlife. If you’re planning a trip to this luxury destination (and you should!), here’s everything you need to know to get started:

Typically, it’s easiest to fly into the Los Cabos airport (SJD) unless you are already in Mexico. Some hotels offer shuttle service to and from the airport, but to really see the best of Cabo, you’ll want to rent a car. We have found the best rental car prices on RentalCars.com, which searches all of the rental car agencies.

Keep in mind that liability insurance is mandatory when renting a car in Mexico. Loss Damage Wavier (or collision damage) is not mandatory, but before you decline this insurance, make sure your auto insurance or credit card insurance will cover you in Mexico.

If your hotel does not offer shuttle service and you do not want to rent a car, Transcabo offers airport shuttle service starting at $29 USD per person. If you are adventurous and on a very tight budget, it is possible to take the bus from the

Gorgeous Island For Honey Moon

Vid is sitting in his winter living room among the large model boats he has carved from driftwood – everything from galleons to the Titanic. “This is not a job,” he tells me. “This is a lifestyle. I came here five years ago to escape the world of business and city life. There are only three rules: no politics, no assumption of status and no grumpiness.”

On this Croatian road trip we have reached, it seems, the furthest possible point from cities, politics and grumpiness. Vid is an avuncular presence, gently supervising his hostel-campsite-taverna on the island of Kornat, the largest in the Kornati archipelago, a chain of 140 limestone outcrops off the port of Zadar. Vid has forgotten to mention another rule, actually a necessity, of his kingdom: you cannot drive or walk to it. The only access is by boat or kayak.

“It’s like a filter,” he says. “Paddlers and sailors are more likely to be good people. They’re friendly and don’t look down on other people.”

For us, that has meant paddling. The journey begins when we leave our vehicle in a car park in Zadar. (My question, “Will my laptop be

Great Place Must Be Visit

I was just “a wee scrap”, as my father would say, when we left the north east coast of Scotland for the south coast of England. Dad is from London, but after six years living in Dundee he was pretty much bilingual.

Then he joined the army and for the next decade my brother and I were shunted around various military bases, clocking up schools and fighting over bedrooms, but the one thing that grounded us was the fact that we came from Dundee.

I learned how to be Dundonian by listening to my mother (Dundee born and bred), and from highly anticipated trips back. And I pored over The Broons and Oor Wullie: iconic cartoon strips written in broad Scots that first appeared in The Sunday Post in 1936 and still come out as annuals every Christmas. My language is, I’m told, peppered with words and phrases from mid-century Dundee. “It’s like talking to my granny,” said a friend when I was last up.