An up and coming trend this year is strangers getting together to share a meal in someone’s home or even a restaurant. It is occurring both here in the United States, as well as internationally. It provides a way to get to know someone on a level you otherwise couldn’t. Should you be abroad, it helps a great deal with allowing yourself to be immersed in a new culture and way of life. We’ve created a guide to help you find out exactly what meal sharing is, as well as some resources to help get you started.
photo credit: Didricks
Just like it sounds, meal sharing means to sit down with a group of people to share food. Be it a big or small group, it will undoubtedly be a one of a kind experience. Many Americans traveling overseas are embracing this trend to better understand the true cultures, languages, and traditions of foreign lands as well as to make new friends. Even some chefs are jumping on the bandwagon and preparing meals in their homes for an experience unlike any other.
There are many easy to use resources to help you find a group to dine with. Several of them require that you create an account or profile, but this helps to ensure that everyone is safe and happy with their experience.
Have you ever shared a meal with strangers in your own hometown or while abroad? Let us know how you went about organizing it and what your experience was like in the comments down below!
Wise words from our favorite authors and philosophers often inspire us to take leaps in our lives, especially when it comes to travel. Who doesn’t want to have their own quote-worthy experience? Whether helping you to realize that it’s never too late to start your adventure, or to encourage you to be more accepting of other cultures, ideas, and outlooks, sometimes a sentence or two is all you need to help shed some light. We’ve taken a few well-known quotes that we’ve found to be especially eye opening and listed them below for those in need of a little travel inspiration!
Did we miss any of your favorite authors or a travel quote that you live by? Let us know in the comments down below!
Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you have to totally give up on your exercise regime or health goals. There are plenty of helpful travel gadgets to keep you on track during your trip. We’ve listed a few of our favorites down below.
photo credit: Karlis Dambrans
Many people like to keep track of their exercise even while they’re on vacation, which is where fitness bands come in. They’re a great way to find out how many miles you’ve walked exploring a new city for the day and keep yourself accountable.
Use them during your flight to cancel out the sounds of crying babies and snoring passengers, and then hit the gym with them to give you a burst of energy while listening to your favorite workout playlists.
Finding the motivation to workout while you’re on vacation can be tough, especially when you’re so tempted to just sleep in or lounge an extra hour or so by the pool. Having helpful accessories from home just may be the kick you need to hop on the treadmill for some cardio.
With airlines becoming more and more strict regarding weight restrictions and the number of bags you’re allowed to check without additional fees, most of us try to pack as lightly as possible. However, that doesn’t mean you’ll have to leave your favorite workout equipment at home. We’ve found compact and lightweight solutions!
No matter where you’re vacation destination is or what amenities are provided at your hotel, you can always find ways to stay fit and active while you’re away from home. What’s your favorite way to workout during a trip? Let us know in the comments down below!
Travel expenses can add up quickly, and what usually takes the biggest chunk out of a budget is the price of airline tickets. Shopping around for different flights is certainly way to find the best price, but it can be time consuming. We’ve put together a list of airlines that provide flights within the U.S. that won’t break the bank as well as some of the money-saving features each of them provides.
photo credit: Magalie L’Abbé
It’s always important to shop around when booking airline tickets to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. Different airlines offer different deals depending on the time of year you’re traveling. Did we leave out any of your favorite budget-friendly airlines? Let us know in the comments down below!
Once you’ve decided what type of cruise you’d like to take, you have to go about booking it. The most popular way to go about doing so it to utilize a travel agent that specializes in booking cruises, but doing it yourself is always an option as well! We’ve weighed the pros and cons of each to help you make a decision for the next time you book a cruise vacation.
photo credit: Platform London
Travel agents are a great tool for those who have never booked a cruise or planned a vacation. They can also just make all of the planning much more simple. They do, however, add to the cost of your vacation. Do your research on various booking agencies and read reviews for individual agents before deciding on one. Good travel agents should be able to answer all of your questions about your trip and find the best deal possible. Many are able to throw in added bonuses like complimentary bottles of champagne waiting for you in your room and can offer deals that aren’t advertised on travel booking sites. Travel agents will also keep in touch with you even after your trip is over. They tend to offer deals they feel you may want to take advantage of as they arise, which can help to plan future vacations early on. Make sure you’re looking into each of the options they offer you; the more expensive your trip, the higher their commission.
The process of booking a cruise can seem daunting if you’ve never done it before, but it is possible. The majority of cruise goers do utilize travel agents simply because it’s more convenient and they are known for finding good deals if they’re from reputable companies. Do your research on all the different types of cruises and the activities they offer to find one that best suits you and your traveling companions. Book your cruise as early as possible and put down a deposit to guarantee your spot. You can always upgrade later if better deals arise, but you’ll at least know the exact dates of your trip. If you can be a little more flexible in terms of vacation days and rooming options, last minute deals are a great way to save money. Depending on what you find to be easiest and most convenient, you can either book directly through cruise line websites, or you can use travel sites such as Expedia, Travelocity, and Orbitz.
Whether you’re using a travel agent or booking on your own, timing is crucial when planning a cruise. Ideally, you’ll want to get the plans in motion as early as possible. Booking a cruise during the “off-season” will always be less expensive than during busy vacation times like spring break or summer vacations for kids in school. It’s also likely that they will be less packed. Some destinations have limited cruise time as well. For example, cruises to Alaska only run between May and September.
Have you ever book a cruise through a travel agent or on your own? Which did you feel was the most convenient? Let us know in the comments down below!
In the wintertime, you’re likely to see me sporting a blanket instead of clothes. All that appeals to me is the warmth of my bed, so if the bears are hibernating, then why can’t I? With the lack of daylight and increase of wind chill, going outside doesn’t sound fun in the slightest. However, we managed to find 5 places that have activities actually worth leaving your bed for!
photo credit: AJ Feducia
Ditch the snow and hit the waves with the world’s best surfers in Hawaii. On the Banzai Pipeline during the wintertime, you’ll find waves roaring onto the shore and soaring higher than 20 feet! These are the waves every surfer wants to conquer and, when the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing competition is held, everyone flocks to the shoreline to watch these surfers shred. “When it comes to surf, it all comes back to the Banzai Pipeline!”
Both the name of the town and the ski resort, Jackson Hole is a winter wonderland. With at least 459 inches of snow and 1250 acres of terrain, the Mountain Resort is a haven for advanced and beginner skiers alike. With Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks nearby, the opportunity to view majestic landscapes and roam among protected wildlife is within your reach. From natural spectacles to thrilling activities, Jackson Hole makes the outdoors a place for everyone to enjoy.
Alaska is close enough that you feel at home yet far enough away to experience an exotic land. Dogsledding is a common way to get around in this snow-covered paradise, and you can experience it while taking in the mountain scenery and forest frontiers. For a worldwide acknowledged display, the awe-inspiring dance of the Northern Lights in a night sky will draw you in and hypnotize you. Trek on to the northernmost point of America and breathe in the cool crisp northern air.
Stretching across six million acres and ⅕ of New York, the Adirondacks is the “largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States.” We will focus on the Lake Placid region, which is filled with snow-capped mountains at least 4,000 feet high, miles of frozen lakes, and, of course, the Lake Placid Winter Olympics. Fun for the whole family, the Olympic Site hosts a bobsled ride, a 30 foot ski jump onto an airbag, and the chance to Skeleton, a sport that lets you slide down an icy chute on your stomach at 30 mph. Cultivate the relationship with your loved one’s in the middle of nature at Lake Placid Adirondacks.
Now that we’ve covered the beach, natural phenomenons, and outdoor fun, we can’t forget the best thing in the world: food. Named as the #1 Food City, Providence has a week designated to celebrating their food scene. The Winter Restaurant Week happens every January with a myriad of different restaurants from oyster bars to mediterranean food, here is a list of participating establishments. For a fixed price, you get to enjoy a 3 course meal, so you’ll get to eat enough to last you all of winter!
Don’t let the cold intimidate you into staying inside, watching movies all day, and waiting for summer. This winter season, avoid cabin fever and go out for an adventure! What your favorite thing to do when it’s cold out?
The Tampa Bay Area is home to countless theme parks and activities that are loved by not only the locals, but by visitors as well. We’ve come up with a list of all the must-see places and events you can participate in whether you’ve lived here your whole life or are just stopping by!
Whether you’re interested in riding roller coasters or learning more about the vast vegetation that thrives in Florida’s warm climate, Tampa Bay is a great place to explore and enjoy activities for all ages. If you’re a resident of Tampa, what are some of your favorite places to go? Let us know in the comments down below!
While all of us want to get to our vacation destinations as quickly as possible, there are ways to save big bucks on travel fare if you’re willing to spend a little more time in airports. Many think that both nonstop flights and direct flights both go directly to their final destination, but it isn’t the case. Most of us try to avoid connecting flights because of their sheer inconvenience, but more often than not they’ll be your cheapest option. We’ve created a quick guide to help you understand all the different types of flights so you can make the best decision for your travels!
photo credit: Jonathan Percy
Nonstop: A nonstop flight is exactly what it sounds like; the plane takes off from one airport and lands in the destination airport without making any stops. These flights are typically the most expensive, but also the most convenient.
Direct: Direct flights are similar to nonstop in that you don’t have to get off your plane when it lands in a random city and then scramble through the airport terminal in an attempt to catch your next flight. Although the plane does land, you remain on the same one and there is only ever one stop. It can add at least an hour to your travel time, but is often less pricey than nonstop flights.
Connecting: Connecting flights tend to be the least desired of the three simply because of the stress that often comes from trying to make a second flight in time, or having to wait hours at an airport during a layover. Most tend to avoid having to take a connecting flight, but they can be much cheaper than a nonstop flight.
When choosing the type of flight you want to take, keep your budget and your ability to remain flexible in mind. The best way to figure out what will work best for you and your travel party will simply be to shop around. Check different airlines for what’s available and at what price. If you’re traveling with small children, a nonstop flight is probably best for you. If you’re on your own or traveling with just adults, looking into direct and connecting flights can save your group a significant amount of money. However, be sure to remember to account for the added travel time, which can sometimes take up an extra day or two of your vacation.
During your travels, do you tend to lean towards a significant type of flight? Let us know down in the comments below whether you prefer convenience, or saving money!
While some of us may want to spend our entire vacations lounging on the beach with a book in one hand and a cold drink in the other, crave vacation adventures that are as exciting as possible. Daredevils seek out their adrenaline fix in countless ways, and we’ve come up with a great list of things to try all around the world.
Great White Shark Diving in South Africa
Swim alongside great white sharks of the coast of the Guadalupe Island. You’ll be inside a metal bar cage but still inches away from the faces of curious powerhouses. When you utilize the White Shark Diving Co., you’re able to have a party of 20 people on board, but can have smaller groups for a more private shark encounter as well.
photo credit: Stephanie Watson
Volcano Sledding in Nicaragua
Make your way to Bigfoot Hostel and prepare for a 45 minute trek up an active volcano just to slide back down! Sledding down volcanic rock and ash isn’t quite like sliding across smooth snow, but it’s definitely an adrenaline junkie’s dream. Once you get to the volcano, you get gum, water, a cookie, and beer. Once you’re ready to sled you’ll be given a safety suit, gloves, goggles, and a board and the chance to slide down a volcano for just $31. Once you make it back down to the bottom you can cool off and soothe your nerves with a refreshing mojito that’s also included.
photo credit: Pete
Storm Chasing across the United States
Storm chasing is extremely unpredictable and can be very dangerous. State of the art equipment is utilized by the team in order to make your tour as action-packed as possible as you traverse across several states chasing down tornadoes and storms. At the end of your trip you’ll receive a complimentary DVD of highlights of all the dangers you encountered.
photo credit: Dave Malkoff
World’s Fastest Roller Coaster in Abu Dhabi
Formula Rossa is the fastest roller coaster in the world reaching speeds of up to 150mph at Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi. The ride is so fast, guests have to wear safety goggles as they twist and turn around a track resembling that of what a profession racecar driver would find themselves on.
photo credit: Rafael Oshiro
Cave Diving in Florida
Inexperienced cave divers beware; The Devil’s Springs has many caves and caverns that are off limits for those who don’t have the proper training. Ginnie Springs is one of the more popular diving locations in the U.S. for both beginners and veteran divers alike, but many areas don’t allow lights to prevent those who don’t know what they’re doing from getting lost within the complicated maze.
photo credit: Natalie Gielen
World’s Highest Bungee Tower in Macau
Take a 764 foot plunge in Macau, Hawaii off the world’s highest bungee tower. It’s accessible 7 days a week, every week as long as the weather permits. Those wanting to make the jump even more thrilling can plunge into darkness during nighttime jumps. If you manage to successfully complete the jump, you’ll receive a complimentary certificate and t-shirt to showcase your bravery!
photo credit: deming131
Heli-Skiing in Canada
For avid skiers wanting to up the stakes, heli-skiing in Canada is a great option. You literally jump out of helicopters in order to reach heights and locations that otherwise aren’t accessible and make your way down complicated courses. Your flight will also provide you with gorgeous views of Canadian landscapes that you couldn’t otherwise see in person.
photo credit: Rita Jung
Zip Lining in New Zealand
Soar through the sky nearly 575 feet over Gravity Canyon in New Zealand at 100mph on the Flying Fox zip line. Up to three people can ride together, just in case you need take a friend or two along to help with the nerves. The course is a little less than a mile long and the first one of it’s kind to be designed anywhere around the world.
photo credit: Sally
Ride in the Olympic Bobsled in Utah Park
Spend the afternoon like an Olympic athlete during a ride in the Comet Bobsled. A certified pilot takes teams of guests on rides down the 2002 Olympic track. It features ten curves, and reaches speeds of up to seventy miles per hour. The course is open from December to March, but can be subject to closing if weather gets too severe.
photo credit: Chris Coleman
Pilot a Jet Fighter in South Africa
Thunder City in Cape Town, South Africa, is home to more than a dozen different fighter jets that civilians can ride in, and even fly! You can choose from several different types of jets that specialize in different flight types, such as vertical flying, low flying, and aerobatics. You can steer alongside a pilot with side-by-side controls, or ride along beside a pilot without any controls of your own, but the task of navigator falls on your shoulders.
photo credit: Wesley Nitsckie
Have you gone on a wild vacation adventure that we didn’t cover? Let us know about your death-defying experience down in the comments below!
photo credit: Arthur
So, you’re busting out of your routine and venturing forth into the world of travel. The first step toward your destination is booking your flight, followed by weeks of fantasizing about all of the fun you’ll be having, and, before you know it, the impending moment of takeoff is upon you. Whether you’re a first time flyer or a glamorous jetsetter, whether it’s for business or pleasure, the airport is a hustlin’ and bustlin’ hub of movement, but there’s a sense of calmness in the storm if you do it just right.
Common scenarios on the day of your flight: hitting the snooze button 15 times in your sleep, a quick chat on the phone with your mother turned into a long-winded story about her eating habits, your dog looked cute so you had to pet him for 45 minutes, or you just lost track of time. Despite these factors, preparing for the inevitable will alleviate any stress.
Here’s a checklist to make running late to the airport an easygoing experience:
Check in early. Walk into that airport holding your boarding pass like a trophy and bypass the initial wait in line.
Strategic packing. Pack your carry-on in such a way that will make for a breezy security check, such as bunching together the liquids and placing the electronics in a TSA approved bag.
More bunching. Keep your ID, eBoarding pass, and wallet in an easy-to-reach area and whip it out special agent style.
Plan your transportation. If you’re driving yourself, then have a place in mind to park (like, you know, your local Discount Park and Ride partner), or let a reliable friend know about your trip in advance.
Weigh your bags at home. Weighing and measuring your bags at home will ease the blow on your curbside check-in, and will remind you to pack light.
Download helpful travel apps. TripIt, GateGuru, iFly Airport Guide, and FlightBoard are all great! TripIt will allow you to check the status of your flight, while GateGuru and iFly provide maps of the airport with checkpoint wait times. Lastly, FlightBoard lists the times for arrivals and departures for over 4,000 airports. Keep in mind that some big time airports have also launched their own apps.
Dress accordingly. We all know it’s coming, so we might as well brace ourselves for it – the security check. If you’ve got your ID handy, along with your liquids and electronics, then all you have to do is be mindful of everything you’ll have to take off when you get to screening. Better yet, if you wear slip-on shoes and keep your accessories in your carry-on, then you’ll be golden.
Be charming! A little bit of charm goes a long way, folks. If you need to come up with a story to tug at TSA’s heart strings, sweeten your tone, or flash that crooked smile, then don’t hold back. You might get a representative to pull some strings and lend you a hand.
Run. You’re on a mission here, travel warrior! Throw a jive here, a spin move there, and finish off with a slide – the only shame you’re willing to face is missing your flight. (But we know that is not going to happen now, is it?)
If all else fails, here’s some advice from the experts:
“Many major hubs like Dallas/Fort Worth have smartphone apps: Download a map of your connecting airport and flight schedules for alternative routes.” —Rick Seaney, CEO of Farecompare
“Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the best days for domestic and international travel—lines are shorter and fares are lower. Some airports have peculiar peak times: lines at Miami International Airport run out the door on Saturday mornings, when the cruise ships dump their passengers.” —George Hobica, president, Airfarewatchdog
“Dress up! People wearing impressive clothes are treated better.” —Simon Doonan, Creative Director, Barneys New York
“Use a TSA-approved laptop bag—you just unzip it, lay it flat, and send it through the scanner.” —Bill Miller, Senior VP of Strategic Partnerships, CheapOair