Earth Vacation

Nature Lovers Now Have 270,000 Acres of Land Open in California

Many people looking to get back into nature have a hard time finding places that are pristine, open, and ever so natural to unwind and just have a great time.

Nature lovers now have a new area in California to view breathtaking mountains, an abundance of wildlife, ancient old oak trees, fields and streams, along with so many hiking trails.  You might just discover your next excellent vacation spot without ever having to leave the country!

Tejon Ranch has donated a great deal of land so visitors can enjoy nature in the most wonderful way.  Tejon Ranch has been around since 1843 and the owner, Fitzgerald Beale, has partnered with an online travel company, Explore Ranches, to allow their members access to 270,000 acres of private land.

About Tejon Ranch:

The ranch is located 60 miles north of Los Angeles and 30 south of Bakersfield.  It is the largest, continual expansion in California offering 422 square miles of land. Tejon Ranch has joined other natural environments in the state, Mojave Desert, Sierra Nevada, San Joaquin Valley, and Coastal Range.  The spans of land is larger than New York City.

There are hundreds of miles of trails and roads to hike along, fields of grass, coniferous forests, ancient oak and Joshua trees, a huge diversity of wildlife, and many reservoirs and streams.

Their partnership with Explore Ranches allows visitors to choose their accommodation from 4 separate lodges that will hold 4 to 12 people at three different locations, including the Venado Cabin.

Located at the foot of the mountains, Venado Cabin offers incredible, endless views from the porch of the cabin.  You can see red-tailed hawks, an occasional condor, eagles, and deer roaming freely along the hillsides.

You can also enjoy a game of horseshoes with their private horseshoe pit.  For those who want to explore the ranch, there are miles of trails for hiking, going on driving tours, or biking.  Just below the cabin, there is an incredible fishing pond loaded with bass and bluegill and a massive meadow with huge oak trees.

If you want a really wonderful vacation away from your hectic lifestyle, visiting this property will give you access to so many activities including mountain biking, hiking, fishing, picnicking, and the incredible opportunity to take photos of wildlife and breathtaking landscapes. What an idyllic way to totally unwind!

Many people looking to get back into nature have a hard time finding places that are pristine, open, and ever so natural to unwind and just have a...

Tech News Vacation

The TSA is Working to Keep Your Laptop in Your Bag

The TSA is finally testing a screening method that will allow passengers, even those without a TSA PreCheck, to keep their laptops in their bags during the process. This new screening method is being tested in Las Vegas, and if it works, it will expand throughout the nation.

This month the TSA announced the opening of a new facility on the lower level of Terminal 3 at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. The new method being tested is under the Advancing the Checkpoint Environment program, or ACE, for short.

The Innovation Task Force

The director of the Innovation Task Force, Jose Bonilla, stated that this new facility will allow them to assess the new technology and processes being considered.

It will also make it easy for them to make a demonstration of the unique network of capabilities without having an effect on current operations.

The usual TSA checkpoints at Terminal 3 are found in the upper level of the building, while the ACE facility can be found downstairs. For the moment, only domestic passengers flying United Airlines will be able to go through ACE lanes.

However, this will soon be expanded to other domestic and international airlines. The ACE checkpoint is open for 4 hours every day, from Sunday to Thursday.

Passengers that go through the ACE lanes can leave their laptops in their bags even if they don’t have a PreCheck and they will be able to bypass traditional checkpoints. This process also provides faster security screening because fewer passengers are processed on these lanes.

The main ACE trials involve advanced imaging machines that make use of CT tech to look into the carry-on bags of passengers.

The images are more detailed than the traditional images produced by X-ray scans, which is why it will no longer be necessary for passengers to get their things out of their bags.

Similar machines are also being tested on other airports in the country, such as JKF Terminal 7. As ACE continues being used, newer technologies and procedures will be introduced to guarantee its evolution.

In fact, one of the main objectives of the ACE facility is to allow the testing of different types of tech and processes in conjunction with each other.

Passengers going through the ACE lanes will still have to remove liquids from their bags as well as their shoes, but it may not always be the case. The procedure will evolve alongside the technology, so many more upgrades to the screening process will follow.

The feedback from passengers who have used the ACE lanes and from the agents who manage them is important to evaluate these new processes and technologies, which will help the TSA roll out these new procedures and machines more broadly.

So far, the feedback is great on the introduced innovations, so we expect to hear more about this very soon as it will eventually appear on other airports in the country.

The TSA is finally testing a screening method that will allow passengers, even those without a TSA PreCheck, to keep their laptops in their bags...

Inspiring Stories Vacation

Beaches Resorts Embraces Everyone on the Autism Spectrum

Autism has become more common than ever before. Year in and year out, more and more children are being diagnosed with it. Some of the symptoms that make autism so distinguishable are sensory overloads, random outbursts, and overwhelming bouts of anxiety.

These symptoms can come out of nowhere, making family vacations quite stressful, which defeats the point of taking a vacation in the first place.

The good news is that many industry giants have taken the time to learn how to accommodate people on the autism spectrum, and Beaches Resorts is a great example of that.

In fact, the family-friendly resort is no stranger to autism, being the fist resort to complete the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) Autism Certificate (AC) training, thus becoming a Certified Autism Center (CAC) in April of 2017.

Remarkable Company

In April of 2019, Beaches Resorts continues working for more. Two years after becoming a CAC, the company has taken their commitment even further by becoming an Advanced Certified Autism Center (ACAC).

This is the very first company to obtain this designation, so it’s quite remarkable how seriously they’ve taken the issue.

However, at the end of the day, these are just credentials. What matters is what they’ve done with the knowledge they’ve acquired to ensure that families who choose their resort can receive the level of compassion and care it’s difficult to find in other places.

When you’re on vacation, you don’t want your family fun to be limited by concerns about safety or the ability of the staff to respond and interact with your children.

At Beaches Resorts, you don’t have to worry about this, which means your vacation will truly be exactly that: a vacation you can all enjoy together.

The moment you step foot in the resort, you’ll receive personalized care. This is possible because families can fill out a questionnaire with a Special Services team before traveling so they can be aware of specific preferences and requests.

If you need a private check-in or a sensory toy to keep your child busy and happy while you check-in, Beaches Resorts will provide exactly that.

Friends on Sesame Street

Beaches Resort have also partnered with Sesame Street to create an environment specifically designed for kids, which characters such as Cookie Monster, Elmo, Oscar the Grouch, and more, walking around the resort.

What this means is that your family will have fun the second they arrive at the resort, which is not something you can say of every resort out there. They have even introduced a new muppet named Julia, who’s on the autism spectrum herself.

This muppet is of course exclusive to the resort and with activities such as Amazing Art with Julia, children will enjoy their time thoroughly.

Children on the autism spectrum often have trouble communicating with words, that’s why Julia encourages self-expression through art. Through this activity, your children will be able to explore themselves in an easier, better, more exciting way.

Because Julia is on the spectrum as well, some things must be noted. For example, taking pictures without her permission is a no-no. This is meant to encourage both the understanding and acceptance of autism.

Another wonderful thing about Beaches Resorts is that they’re not limited to activities for children. This year, they were allowed to include their water sports operations in their ACAC certification.

Children on the spectrum will be handled by dive team staff that has been trained on accommodating, interacting, and keeping them safe during these activities. Thus providing the opportunity for them to enjoy diving in the Caribbean, something that no other result can offer.

If you have a child on the spectrum, it’s never easy to plan a vacation. Not knowing what your options are is crippling and limiting, so knowing about the one Caribbean resort where you will absolutely have the safest, most exciting and fun experience is a joy.

Beaches Resorts will help you show your child that there’s nothing they can’t do, provided they have the support they need to explore new things and be comfortable doing what they like.

For parents, it’s a relief to know you’re child is in good hands, so your vacation will be amazing for everyone involved.

Autism has become more common than ever before. Year in and year out, more and more children are being diagnosed with it. Some of the symptoms that...

Category - Vacation

travel articles

Lifestyle Vacation

Top 7 Rooftop Bars to Visit in Berlin

If you want to experience Berlin in a whole new way, it’s a good idea to visit some of the most unique and coolest rooftop bars you’ll ever set foot in. Berlin’s skyline is amazing, but these rooftop bars have a lot more to offer, so here are the top 7 options to visit in Berlin!

  1. Amano Hotel Rooftop Terrace

If you want to see the TV Tower up close, the Amano Hotel Rooftop Terrace is the right spot for you. Here you can sip on drinks such as Moscow Mule or a Dark and Stormy and enjoy the view of the city rooftops.

Drinks are a bit more expensive here than in other places, but that view is 100% worth it.

  1. Deck5

Deck5 has earned the honor of being the highest beach bar in Berlin. During the winter, the sand disappears and the entire space is decorated with Christmas ornaments and it becomes the highest Christmas market in the city.

It doesn’t matter which season you visit in, Deck5 is sublime year-round.

  1. Gallery Rooftop bar

The Gallery, located at the rooftop of the Hotel Indigo, offers breathtaking views of what used to be East Berlin, the longest standing stretch of the Berlin Wall, and the Spree River.

The cocktail menu is full of creative options and get ready, because they’re strong! Try not to fall apart after a few.

  1. Hotel de Rome Rooftop Terrace

If you want a more swanky option, the Hotel de Rome rooftop terrace is the right one for you.

This one offers incredible views of the St. Hedwig Cathedral and the opera house, so it’s definitely worth a visit. The drinks are a bit expensive, but when you consider where you are, you won’t mind splurging a bit.

  1. House of Weekend

House of Weekend is the right spot for people who want to club and still enjoy a jaw-dropping view up high. This techno club, located near Alexanderplatz, is 17 floors up in the Haus des Reisens.

It’s open from Thursday to Sunday morning, so keep that in mind when you plan your visit.

  1. Klunkerkranich

Klunkerkranich is an interesting option because there’s no sign or way to find it on your own. This rooftop bar is on the top of a parking garage and it’s one of the hippest options on the list.

It’s the perfect spot to have a cold beer and enjoy the view of the city below. Sometimes there’s even live music!

  1. Monkey Bar

Last but not least, the Monkey Bar is a fashionable place to visit during your stay in Berlin. The bar is set on the rooftop of the 25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin and it takes its name because you have a full view of the monkeys at the zoo, making this a truly unique experience.

It’s super fun to watch them play, but if that’s somehow not your thing, you can also enjoy incredible views of West Berlin, so it’s a great place to visit.

If you want to experience Berlin in a whole new way, it’s a good idea to visit some of the most unique and coolest rooftop bars you’ll ever set foot in. Berlin’s skyline is amazing, but these rooftop bars have a lot more to offer, so here are the top 7...

City Life Inspiring Stories Vacation

Sleep in a Legend: Bauhaus School Opens to Guests

It was the early 1900s when Walter Gropius pioneered a new form of functionalism and minimalism that continues even now to shape architecture, graphic industrial, furniture, and interior design.

One of the most iconic parts of this movement was Bauhaus, a school in Germany that combined an arts-and-crafts ethos with an industrial aesthetic. The institution attracted potential artists and architects from all over Europe, molding and influencing their minds.

Teachers like Vassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee taught around 200 students creative ways to form ideas from all sorts of disciplines, such as construction, advertising, manufacturing, and, of course, art. The building feels like some of today’s Modernist designs, but, at the time, it was the beginning of a movement, especially its innovative curtain wall system.

Form Follows Function

While the institution moved from Weimar to Dessau and Berlin then back again, it has been renovated in Dessau to look and feel the way it did in 1926. The school is complete with student rooms available to rent that are small and minimally appointed with private balconies.

The rooms were designed to be spaces not only for sleeping and hanging one’s clothes, but also to be a workspace with a chair and desk. They’re formed, mainly, to draw people into collaborative studio spaces.

Studios and sleeping spaces are now open to the public for around $50 a night, so now both fans and designers have the ability to revel in this iconic space designed by both teachers and students and enjoy the proto-Modernist architecture that so influenced what we have today.

It was the early 1900s when Walter Gropius pioneered a new form of functionalism and minimalism that continues even now to shape architecture, graphic industrial, furniture, and interior design.

One of the most iconic parts of this movement was Bauhaus, a...

Lifestyle Vacation

10 Best Surfing Beaches

There’s nothing quite as free, independent and cool like surfing. Originated in Hawaii and the South Pacific in the 1800s, it has become one of the most popular sports in the world.

Surfing has its own culture, it’s own lexicon, and it definitely requires you to love the sea, the challenge of dominating the waves and the excitement. If there’s a reef, wave or break, you bet there will be a surfer riding it. If you want to figure out what are the best spots in the world, here’s a list of the 10 best surfing beaches. So let’s get into it!

  1. Hanalei Bay, Hawaii

This is one of those magical places on earth that make you feel like you’re in heaven. It offers tubed waves and you’ll also have the majestic view of waterfalls. Professionals and amateurs will equally enjoy this wonderful spot!

  1. Cloud 9, Philippines

This surfing spot, which takes the name of the most famous wave on the island, offers some of the most dramatic waves and razor-sharp coral in the world. That means that it’s best for professional surfers who can handle themselves. However, amateurs will find that surf lessons are available.

  1. Troncones, Mexico

Troncones is a great spot that accommodates surfers of all levels and you’ll find waves of all sizes available all year-round, which makes it a popular spots for surfers from all over the world because of the wonderful availability.

  1. Muizenberg, South Africa

Muizenberg is actually historic in South Africa because it’s considered to be the birthplace of surf culture in the country. This surfing spot offers beautiful breaks and it’s also a great spot for spotting Great White sharks from the cliffs. It’s incredible!

  1. Shikoku Island, Japan

Shikoku is the smallest island in Japan and it has many wonderful things to offer, including some top-notch surf. It’s also home to a pilgrimage route of 88 Buddhist temples and the feudal Matsuyama Castle, which makes it a great touristic destination.

  1. Byron Bay, Australia

Byron Bay is one of the most well-known spots in the world. This chill town has everything a surfer dreams of:  Waves ready to ride, warm water, and even interesting spots for diving with shipwrecks and everything. Do be aware of sharks, though, even if there are shark nets in place.

  1. Killer Point, Morocco

Killer Point, which is located in Taghazout, a small fishing village in Morocco, has been a popular spot for surfers since the 1960s. It takes its name after the killer whales that live in the area and it’s the perfect place to ride powerful breaks.

  1. Fernando de Noronha Island, Brazil

Located to the north, this island offers incredible reef breaks and huge breaks. The beaches here are super clean and it also offers incredible opportunities for scuba diving as well. Get ready for breaks of up to 15 feet high!

  1. Carrapateira, Portugal

If you’re a beginner and you need a more controlled and less wild surfing experience, this is the spot for you. Carrapateira beaches offer manageable waves and they’re usually empty, which means you’ll be alone with the sea.

  1. Malibu, California

And of course, a list of surfing spots wouldn’t be complete without Malibu. Famous for its wonderful waves and breaks!

There’s nothing quite as free, independent and cool like surfing. Originated in Hawaii and the South Pacific in the 1800s, it has become one of the most popular sports in the world.
Surfing has its own culture, it’s own lexicon, and it definitely requires...

Vacation

The Top 10 Destinations to Travel to This Summer, According to Airbnb

Summer Vacation. These two words fill us with the excitement of traveling, relaxing, seeing new places, meeting new people, and more.

Some of us envision a glass of rose by the sea while others of us long for something more foreign and adventurous, explorations in Asia or the mountains somewhere.

The world is an incredibly vast place, and there is no end to the places we could travel to.

If you’re having a hard time choosing where your summer getaway should be in 2019, Airbnb can help with their definitive ranking of this summer’s must-see summer travel destinations.

Airbnb used internal booking data to see which are the hottest and most desirable locations this summer, and the options are quite various. Some focus on nature, like Bragg Creek, Canada while others display the coast, like South Korea’s coastal city of Yeosu.

Two cities of China made their way on the list of top 10 destinations, and it also seems like Puerto Rico has become increasingly popular.

The number one destination was claimed by a commune in northern France right next to the Belgian border and on the Scheldt River – Valenciennes.

Time to Choose!

Those vacation days are almost upon us, so if you haven’t managed to land on a location for you this summer, let Airbnb’s top global destinations help! They are as follows:

  1. Valenciennes, France
  2. Changsha, China
  3. Matsudo, Japan
  4. Marigot, St. Martin
  5. Wuhan, China
  6. Dorado, Puerto Rico
  7. Vieques, Puerto Rico
  8. Río Grande, Puerto Rico
  9. Yeosu, South Korea
  10. Bragg Creek, Canada

Some of you are planning a trip for you and a significant other, and for most popular trips booked by couples, Airbnb has a whole other list.

You’ll be surprised at some of the destinations that trend the most, like Munising in Michigan, but others are headed to Argentina, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. We’ve listed below the top five locations for those booking for two:

  1. Nanterre, France
  2. Nanjing, China
  3. Williams, Arizona
  4. Courseulles-sur-Mer, France
  5. South Uist, Scotland

Summer Vacation. These two words fill us with the excitement of traveling, relaxing, seeing new places, meeting new people, and more.

Some of us envision a glass of rose by the sea while others of us long for something more foreign and adventurous...

Cool Stories Vacation

Airbnb Enters the Adventure Travel Market

Airbnb remains the leader in home-sharing holidays and is now adding to its range of offerings by venturing into the adventure-travel arena – a market that is currently worth around $683billion.

The holiday and travel platform is now offering customers access to experiences as well as accommodation through the new “Airbnd Adventures”.  Customers can take the change to build some amazing memories.  Some of the offerings include time in Arizona to hunt for UFOs or heading off to Oman or the Galapagos Islands.

Airbnb Adventures is a spin-off from the popular Airbnb Experiences.  Where the Experiences would only last between for a few hours up to a full day, Adventures brings an immersive experience which lasts for days and up to a week.  Along with the adventure, of course, comes food and lodging.

Try the Road Less Traveled

At present, there are around 200 Airbnb Adventures on offer.  Some are exclusive to Airbnb but others are run through local operators advertising exclusively on the Airbnb Adventures platform.  By signing up the traveler can enjoy a fully immersive experience along the road less traveled where they are free to experience, explore and create lifelong memories.

There is no problem with quality either; Airbnb has been advised by the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) in order to maintain the high quality and safety standards people expect.

For the more adventurous there is an opportunity for a Warrior boot camp in Kenya, hiking in Petra or a fully accessible trip to Easter Island.  There is also a special Jules Verne inspired”Around the World in 80 Days” trip.

A small and intimate group will travel the world taking in the Nile and the Northern Lights, exploring Nairobi where they will meet the elephant singers and taking part in a Samurai pilgrimage near Osaka.  These and other one-off opportunities are available to commemorate the launch of Airbnb Adventure and are available for the sum of $5,000 per person.

For those who want a more sedate pace Airbnb Adventures offer something a little more laid back – how does a weekend on an Anabaptist Farm in Indiana sound?  The owners are happy to share the experience of collecting eggs, making jam and tending their garden as they renovate their 100-year old farm.  A perfectly relaxing adventure.

Airbnb remains the leader in home-sharing holidays and is now adding to its range of offerings by venturing into the adventure-travel arena – a market that is currently worth around $683billion.

The holiday and travel platform is now offering customers...

Humans Are Awesome Inspiring Stories Vacation

Travel Trend That Every Lady Should Try Out

When it comes to traveling around the world, most of us see it as a social activity. Something to do with a friend or a family member. And it makes sense. A lot of us would rather go traveling with someone; it feels safer, and we can find it easier to connect.

When you travel alone, you often worry that you spend your time traveling in isolation. However, many women are taking to the art of traveling on their own instead of traveling with others. So much so that it has become the go-to form of travel for many females the world over!

And you will know why if you have ever been on holiday with your friends or family. Everything from deciding what you want to do that day, to where you want to go, to what food (and what time) you’ll eat, can be a nightmare. It just becomes hard to do what you wanted to do. You are on holiday, so you should be in more or less complete control about the time that you spend doing things.

When that is not the case, it’s time to act and do something about it. what, though, should you do if you wish to make this the case? Easy: you should look to try and go for a trip on your own.

Start somewhere small, maybe. Don’t travel too far on your own until you know that you like it. You could set a local place in your own country – even your own region – and go there for the day. It would give you a chance to see if you like mingling with strangers, walking around on your own, doing your own thing. Some of us like the idea, but not so much the reality.

A growing trend in female travel

This is, though, one of the biggest trends in modern female travel. Many women are getting to enjoy just spending their time going around and seeing the world at a pace they can enjoy and rely upon.

They are never forced into doing things at a pace they feel uncomfortable with. They are also going to be able to enjoy having total control over what you do. If you want to go and see the sights, you can. Want to just sit on the beach instead of tourist traps? Now you can.

For many people, the appeal stems mostly from having nobody telling you what you can and cannot do for the evening. That is an excellent feeling and will often go a very long way to making sure you can enjoy the wider traveling experience.

There’s a reason why a lot of people just enjoy seeing the world on their own terms. If you want your days to be decided what you want to do, then you should look to try traveling alone. As we say, try going small and then slowly building it up: the results can be rather impressive!

When it comes to traveling around the world, most of us see it as a social activity. Something to do with a friend or a family member. And it makes sense. A lot of us would rather go traveling with someone; it feels safer, and we can find it easier to...

Animals Vacation

How to Do Wildlife Tourism Right

Nearly all travelers love the thrill of getting up close and personal with animals – and the wilder they are, the better. However, what they often don’t consider is how these animals are treated in order to make animal encounters, such as elephant rides and photo ops with tigers, a reality.

The ethics of wildlife experiences is one of the many controversial issues covered in National Geographic magazine’s feature story “Suffering unseen: The dark truth behind wildlife tourism.”

It’s not easy to figure out how to humanely observe animals, but one way you can assess the way a facility treats its animals is by referring to the standards recognized internationally in the “five freedoms” which were inspired by the U.K. in 1965. Here are some tips for how to go about viewing wildlife on your next venture.

Do your research

Research ahead of time to discover what facilities seem to care for their animals ethically. Just because a zoo has a high rating on TripAdvisor doesn’t mean that it’s humane. Read reviews to see if the animals have been well-fed and have access to clean water at all times.

Scan the space

When you’re at the facility, keep your eyes open and look around you to see what the space provides. Do the animals seem comfortable and happy? Are their environments appropriate? Do they have ample space, somewhere to get away from the crowds, and a comfortable resting area?

Watch out for buzzwords like “sanctuary” and “rescue,” especially if a facility is making these sorts of claims while also offering extensive interaction to large volumes of people. Most likely, it’s not true!

Look for red flags

Some things will be hard not to notice, like visibly injured animals or ones that have been cajoled into participating in entertaining activities that could be potentially harmful. Any time an animal that is meant to be wild is giving rides to the tourist is chained, or anything else unnatural to it, it’s just not right. Also, simply observe whether or not their enclosures are kept up and cleaned.

Tread lightly

Do your part in treating the animals with dignity. Large crowds and unnatural noises cause them distress, so be cautious and considerate while you are around them, especially those ones that have experienced some sort of trauma.

Keep it wild

Do your best to encourage and participate in experiences that take place in an animal’s natural environment.

It takes each of us to change the industry of global wildlife tourism. Every one of us that makes a conscious decision to only support facilities that treat their animals ethically helps to transform the industry for the better.

Nearly all travelers love the thrill of getting up close and personal with animals – and the wilder they are, the better. However, what they often don’t consider is how these animals are treated in order to make animal encounters, such as elephant rides...

Vacation

Visiting Italy? Here’s Some Places to Look At Outside of the Eternal City

When it comes to visiting the continental delight of Italy, there’s a lot to enjoy. Many people, though, keep it simple; they go to Rome.

While a stunning city, and a true capital of the country, it’s not all there is to Italy. From trips to Florence and Turin to Milan and Genoa, there’s a hell of a lot to see in this beautiful country. It’s a nation steeped in history and culture, and one of the most amazing places on the planet to visit.

Where else, though, might you find some inspirational places to see outside of the capital?

Piedmont

First on our list is a trip to the beautiful and irreplaceable Piedmont. This amazing place is one of the most impressive in the country. Sitting on the border between France and Switzerland, it’s home to many amazing ski resorts and amazing vies of the Alps. You’ll find many amazing places to visit here – not least Turin, the city mentioned above.

It’s a fine place to visit for those who like stunning views, serene sports and tremendous food.

Puglia

We’d recommend that anyone with some time on their hands make the opportunity to go and see Puglia a priority. It’s become a major part of the Italian cultural scene outside of its big cities. A great place for foodies in particular, you’ll find the whole place awash with foods that you have never tried before.

It’s also a place where you can find some great cities and sights to enjoy, not least in the city of Lecce.

Palermo

If we wanted to find a place that sells a vintage and romanticized idea of Italy, we would pick Palermo. It’s the Sicilian capital and the kind of city that makes it easy to see why life here is so special. From the amazing cathedral to the Palatine Chapel, there is much to enjoy about a trip to this city.

Also, you’ll also get amazing views of some natural sights, including Mount Pellegrino. If you like sport and happen to arrive in the city, try and pick up tickets for the Palermo football team: their pink and black kits are striking, and the fans are some of the most raucous in Italy.

Matera

Last by but no means least, a trip to the stunning Matera is a must-see for many people. It’s listed by many top locations as a ‘must-see place to travel’ to and has won numerous awards for its beauty from the likes of National Geographic.

Here, you’ll find one of the most stunning selections of natural cave structures anywhere in the world. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site; one that makes it exceptionally easy to see why.

So there you go! With the above list, you can see why Italy has so much hidden beauty. We even mentioned a few cities at the top of the article who are more than worth your time. This makes it easy for you to engage with the whole country, not just the capital. On your next trip through Italy, then, remember there is more to enjoy here than just the capital!

When it comes to visiting the continental delight of Italy, there’s a lot to enjoy. Many people, though, keep it simple; they go to Rome.

While a stunning city, and a true capital of the country, it’s not all there is to Italy. From trips to Florence and...

Vacation

New ‘Visa’ Process for Americans Traveling to Europe

What Need to Know:

The freedom of hopping on a plane and arriving in Europe at any time with just a passport and a ticket is coming to an end. With the world as it is and security becoming more and more of an issue, many European countries are heightening their security system.

Don’t panic, however. All they’re requiring as of 2021 is a little extra paperwork and a small fee before you travel. The European Travel Information and Authorisation System will charge €7 (about $8) potential travelers from “visa-free” countries to complete the required application online, and once you are approved, it lasts for three years.

The application is expected to only take up to 10 minutes, and 95 percent of the applicants should be approved within minutes, according to the European Commission.

Which Countries?

The countries adopting this new security regulation are those in the Schengen Area, named such after a treaty made in 1985 allowing for easier travel between countries.

The area contains the following countries: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

If you’ll notice, Britain is not included in this list, so traveling to and from the U.K. should stay much the same as it has been.

Over 60 countries including the U.S. have not needed a visa to visit the EU, but once the ETIAS is set in place, they will need to apply before traveling anywhere in the Schengen Area. However, ETIAS has been very clear that this is not a visa.

While there has been some confusion, the European Commission states firmly in a fact sheet on its website that “the ETIAS authorization is not a visa” (emphasis theirs). Americans will still not need to apply for visas to go to Europe.

There has been one site, so far, that has become misleading ― ETIASVisa.com. This so-called travel agency refers to the process as a “visa” application, but again, it is not.

The ETIAS does not require biometric data or any of the complex information required to apply for a Visa. The whole process was approved in 2018.

All-in-all, the change is not so drastic. The EU only hopes to set in place a new security measure to conduct “pre-travel screening for security and migration risks of travelers benefiting from visa-free access to the Schengen area,” as two European Commission leaders said in a statement last year about the proposed change.

This process is much like an existing U.S. system called the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, which requires people from any of 38 other countries to seek approval prior to arrival in the U.S. and to pay a $14 fee.

What Need to Know:

The freedom of hopping on a plane and arriving in Europe at any time with just a passport and a ticket is coming to an end. With the world as it is and security becoming more and more of an issue, many European countries are heightening...

Vacation

5 Beach Hacks to Prepare You for an Awesome Spring Break Trip

Going to the beach is one of the most relaxing experiences, but sometimes those small annoyances or extra items you need to bring along can entirely ruin the experience. Or maybe you love the beach but hate how the sand spreads – all over you and in your phone. With spring break upon us, here are five simple, cheap hacks to keep your beach time worry-free.

Cell Phone Tip

Leaving your cell phone behind is basically not an option – it’s communication, entertainment, music, etc. But what about all the sand that gets stuck in the crevices? And the possibility of water damage? All you need is a plastic sandwich bag. The touchscreen still works through the plastic, you’ll find that it stays untouched by water and sand!

 A Useful Beach Towel

You might be saying, “Duh, who wouldn’t bring a beach towel?” But we’re not talking about just any beach towel. This is something you can create on your own or buy ready-made, but a towel with pockets does wonders. First of all, it’s great storage space for things like your phone, books, glasses, etc., and second, the filled pockets weigh it down so that it doesn’t blow away!

 Take Baby Powder

Sand gets everywhere, and it’s pretty determined to stay everywhere, too. Most often, we rinse off one last time in the ocean before we leave the beach, but by the time you’ve gotten off the beach, you’re basically covered again. Two words: baby powder. It’s almost magical in its ability to remove the sand from your body!

Extra Storage

Once you’ve gone through the pills in a pill bottle, hold onto that bottle. It’s the perfect little container for rings, earrings, bracelets, hair ties, and other small trinkets you don’t want to expose to the sand and water. And it barely takes up any space in your beach bag.

Emergency Sunburn Relief

If you’re like me, sunburn is almost inevitable at the beach. And if you’re like me, you don’t always remember to take aloe vera with you on your trip. Well, this is just the trick for you. Spread plain cold yogurt on your sunburn, and let it sit for ten or so minutes. It will bring huge relief!

Going to the beach is one of the most relaxing experiences, but sometimes those small annoyances or extra items you need to bring along can entirely ruin the experience. Or maybe you love the beach but hate how the sand spreads – all over you and in your...

Vacation

Watch: Your Next Bucket List Item

Banff National Park’s legendary Moraine Lake is a dream vision that lives up to its reputation. The glacial waters are a light turquoise, set against an alpine backdrop of Canadian Rockies. Two friends ply the placid water in a bright red canoe. The scenery could not be more impressive.

We can see the glacier runoff at the other end of the lake, where ice turns into a mass of alluvial deposit. This is nothing other than ice pulverizing a mountain in gravel. The process takes thousands of years, but nature is in no hurry.

A buffer of pine trees has found its zone along the lake. The alpine line clearly defines where vegetation may exist, and above that, no more. In fact, it is the variety of definitive lines of color and texture that make Moraine Lake so impressive.

Each zone is clearly defined. The lake, the tree line, the alluvial zone, and the craggy monolithic peaks reaching up to the azure blue of a rarefied atmosphere each come together in a grand composition that only the creator of all things can orchestrate.

The video comes to us from global travel vlogger Sarah Brown. “The two people in my video are my best friends. We take lots of adventure trips together. This day on Moraine Lake was one day during a week-long trip in the Canadian Rockies,” Sarah writes.

“It is actually even more beautiful in real life because the water is so blue. It almost seems unreal because it’s so electric looking. Here, at Moraine Lake, there are lots of beautiful hikes to do as well as canoeing,” she said.

For such a popular tourist attraction, the lake sure is quiet. We see only one other canoe on the lake, and that one is at a distance. Of course, there is probably a canoe behind the one we see, since somebody seems to be operating the camera. There is plenty of space to wander peacefully along the lake.

Superlatives and clichés are in order here: It is so utterly beautiful. Even though the video was taken on February 5, our travelers are dressed in light clothes, and the man with the paddle is wearing a short sleeved green shirt.

There is a remnant of snow perched between mountain and alluvial spill, possibly a holdout from winter, or maybe it’s permanent. Neither is there ice on the lake. It’s winter, and yet the video feels like summer, or if not summer, at least late spring full hikes to do as well as canoeing.”

Banff National Park’s legendary Moraine Lake is a dream vision that lives up to its reputation. The glacial waters are a light turquoise, set against an alpine backdrop of Canadian Rockies. Two friends ply the placid water in a bright red canoe. The scenery...

Vacation

Getaways To Escape The Snow

If you have worn layers on top of layers and shoveled snow until you are absolutely tired of it, then it’s probably time to take a break. Traveling to somewhere that it sunny and warm may sound quite expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.

There are so many countries and cities around the world that you can explore during the months of winter without breaking the bank. Take a look at these affordable locations and prepare to swap your mittens out for a nice cool umbrella drink.

Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok is very balmy and hot during the summer, but luckily for you, the temperature drops to an easy average of 80 degrees between the months of November and April. If you’ve been looking to go on a vacation to Asia, the city of Bangkok is much more affordable than other, more popular locations.

Taxis will charge less than $2 a mile and a meal at a restaurant is usually about $1.50. Hotel prices are also exceptionally low, with an average ranging from about $20-$100. Another plus is that you can take part in the beautiful Chinese New Year festivities they have in December.

Peru

Peru is a gorgeous, exotic and affordable place to have a warm getaway in the winter. The village is located a couple of hours southward of Lima. It has lush cliffs, incredible wildlife and blue water all around it. Here, you can explore miles of amazing tree lines and sand dunes.

Meals, as well as cocktails, are very fresh and incredibly affordable. An entire day of eating out will cost you about $20, complemented by drinks that cost below a dollar on average. It costs about $25-$125 to stay a night in Peru.

Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

The Yucatan Peninsula is Mexico’s hidden gem. It has beaches of white sand and the water extends further than the eye can see. You will completely forget about the snow at home. This island has a very slow-paced vibe which is completed by the fact that there are no vehicles that move faster than golf carts because cars are not allowed there.

There are miles and miles of coast just waiting to be explored either by snorkeling or kayaking. There are also a lot of amazing deals on dining and hotels because it isn’t as much of a tourist attraction as other places in Mexico. You will save a lot on transportation because you will most likely be walking everywhere.

An average meal ticket costs about $12 and on average, a night a hostel costs about $115.

Galveston, Texas

If you want a tropical getaway but do not want to leave the United States, then Galveston Island, Texas is just what you need. Galveston is about 50 miles from Houston so it is easy to find affordable plane tickets.

It never snows in Galveston as the average temperature in winter is 65 degrees. This small island is just 27 miles long, there’s just enough for you to explore through an extended weekend. Because the coastline is so long and the temperature is perfect, you will believe that you’re in the tropics. It costs about $150 a night to sleep in Galveston and about $10-$45 to have a meal.

Hawaii

If you are looking to travel within America, Hawaii is a great option for you. Some cities in Hawaii are quite expensive, but there are also some sweet and more affordable cities and beaches. Also, you will save some money by traveling between the months September and December, before the holidays, because after that, the prices of flights and hotels will rise considerably.

The prices of plane tickets in Hawaii and 40% more expensive during the peak season than they are during the offseason; hotel prices can rise up to 50%.

If you have worn layers on top of layers and shoveled snow until you are absolutely tired of it, then it’s probably time to take a break. Traveling to somewhere that it sunny and warm may sound quite expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.
There are...