When I was a kid, the image that came to mind when I heard “bed and breakfast” was one of an old house filled with antiques, soft four-posted beds, a wandering cat or an old sleepy dog on the property, maybe run by a sweet elderly couple.
While this image certainly has its own kind of rustic charm, it should be said that the bed and breakfast has evolved significantly in the last several decades. In fact, many B&Bs today provide all of the plush luxury of a hotel — plus the added bonus of more privacy, more personal attention, and lip-smacking homemade meals, often in the tradition of the country or region where you’re staying.
You can find exquisite B&Bs all over the US, of course. In addition, inns throughout the United Kingdom, Ireland, Wales, Italy and beyond offer a wonderfully personal way to experience Western Europe. What might surprise you is to find this same intimate tradition in places like Cambodia, Thailand, Brazil, and New Zealand. They really are anywhere you want to go.
In these unique spaces, you don’t just get a plate of pancakes and some coffee in the morning. You can get multi-course meals with complimentary wine service in the evenings, plus easy accommodations for dietary needs. You can find top-of-the-line spas, in-room fireplaces, gorgeous swimming pools, breathtaking views, and peaceful grounds to walk. Just like at a big hotel, you can choose to interact with other guests, or you can opt for private room service. You can be in the heart of a busy city like Amsterdam or Chicago, just steps away from main attractions — or you can rest in total quiet in the green Irish countryside or overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
Perhaps best of all, when you stay in a B&B, you are one of a handful of guests staying in a place that is owned and operated by someone who is personally invested in your enjoyment. You’ll feel personally taken care of — which you are. As one happy reviewer put it: “The thing that made our stay was the personal touches. We now have a problem, though – nothing else will compare!”
If you want to jump start your imagination with some unbelievable photos, you can check out this 2016 Traveler’s Choice Awards for B&Bs .
And when you’re ready for your next romantic, cozy getaway, I’d love to help you plan it down to the last perfect detail. I might even be able to find you a place with a friendly old dog if you like.
When it comes time to buy a travel-loving friend a gift, it’s easy to feel stuck on what to get. Journals are great — but not all travelers are journalers, and those that are often have at least a few blank ones on hand. Here are unique takes on classic ideas for the various kinds of travelers in your life.
For the foodie: send delicious global flavors right to their doorstep. Try The World with top chefs from Argentina to Morocco and assembles gorgeous boxes filled with curated delicacies from each country. Delivered every month, each box contains descriptions for how to use the tasty and exotic flavors in your own recipes.
For the well-accessorized: customize a favorite map to make cufflinks, bracelet, or pendant. Have a special place you want to commemorate? Maybe the place of a first date, or a favorite childhood destination? This can be a beautiful and deeply personal way to show your traveler that you know what matters to them most.
For the crafty commemorator: check out this simple, beautiful way to re-trace steps and wonderful memories with a map and thread. The maps can be titled, as well. Imagine a wall decorated with these minimalist representations of adventures!
For the traveler who has everything and wants to give back: Why not make a donation to a favorite cause in your traveler’s name? You can choose organizations that support environmental stewardship, advocate for people in crisis, promote education, or help bring beauty.
For the traveler who’s always up for adventure: I’ve written before about how experiences pack the biggest punch, happiness-wise. At Experience Days you can give the gift of a lifelong great memory to someone you care about. Try everything from hang gliding to art lessons throughout the United States. What a great surprise for honeymooners or a friend’s next big adventure!
For the gadget-junkie: this funky, color-coded 4-in-1 adapter is perfect for the tech-savvy traveling family and will help ensure everything stays running smoothly. For the hardcore gadget-junkie, what about these stylish vests, hoodies, and jackets with interior pockets (for men and women) to hold everything from smartphones to keys to water bottles?
For the photographer: If your friend is never without her smartphone or camera, why not make it easy for her to create beautiful, lasting photo albums, calendars, or prints of her best shots? At Artifact Uprising, she can connect directly with her Instagram account and assemble her most gorgeous memories.
If you need help planning the next adventure to fill an album, stitch on a map, or wear around your neck — contact me today! Let’s get started!
Australia is a vast country, with so many amazing places to explore and iconic monuments to see. Your trip to the land down under is sure to be unforgettable and the memories you make along the way will be treasured forever. However, if you want to make your trip as special as possible, it's important to do your research. Here are five things you need to know before embarking on your Australian adventure.
1. The weather is more varied than you might think
Australia is known for its dry climate and scorching temperatures. Many think that the entire country experiences temperate weather all year round, but this is not the case. The weather is incredibly varied, depending on the city you choose to visit.
Cities in Western Australia, such as Perth, typically experience drier summers with warmer weather while southern territories, like Tasmania, experience cooler weather. Many people don't realise that you can actually go skiing in the Hobart region of Australia and their resorts are just as amazing as European skiing destinations
2. Australia is huge
This might seem obvious, but have you really stopped to think about how big the country really is? It's the world's largest island, 32 times bigger than the UK, and has more than 7 million km² of land to explore. You should take this into account if you're planning to visit as many cities as possible during your journey, as it can take hours or even days to get from place to place. Flying from Sydney to Perth can take more than five hours, and it takes almost three days to drive if you're on a road trip.
3. The exotic animals aren't all scary
One thing that puts people off visiting Australia: the critters and creatures. But Australia isn't just home to giant snakes and crawling spiders waiting to pounce. There are so many other amazing animals to see; cute and fluffy animals are also in abundance. Embark on an Australian safari, where you might be able to spot a kangaroo in its natural habitat or even an adorable stubby-tailed wombat. You could even get the chance to cuddle or feed an Australian koala bear. Surely that has to make enduring the scarier animals worth it?
4. Travel insurance is a must
While travel insurance isn't mandatory in Australia, it is strongly recommended, even if you're already overseas. 38% of people aged 25-34 traveled without taking out insurance, which is a risky decision to make if the worst should happen. A reciprocal healthcare agreement exists between Australia and some countries (such as New Zealand and the UK), but this only covers you against very basic medical care and should not be considered a substitute for health insurance. Make the right decisions and cover yourself against theft, damage and last minute travel cancellations if you want to enjoy a carefree Australian holiday.
5. The people are very laid-back
It’s a stereotype, but there might be a grain of truth to this one – Aussies are famously laid-back! Whether it’s because of the climate, the miles of beaches, or the barbecue culture, one thing’s for sure: people in Australian love nothing more than kicking back and having a good time. If you’re travelling to Australia, you should definitely follow suit! Don’t take things too seriously when you’re there. Relax with the friendly locals, and let all the stresses of your life back home float away.
It takes a lot of work to get ready for a family trip, even if you have a travel agent doing the planning and booking for you. Choosing the right places and activities, all while trying to maintain some semblance of your normal routine, especially if you have younger kids — can be a real challenge.
In the hectic pace of everything, it can be easy to forget the bigger reasons families choose to travel with their children: to enrich their lives, expand their emotional and cultural horizons, and help them become better global citizens.
So it’s great to encourage kids to be involved in the planning and to participate in family activities — but what are some ways that you can really get your child curious about your travel destinations without adding yet another list of to-dos to a parent’s already-long list?
Here are some ideas for sparking the love of travel in your child on your next vacation.
Use your child’s natural interests to make a destination come alive. Does your kid love painting? Music? Dance? Sports? Animals? Have your child research ahead of time about activities or places that might speak to his existing passions. Maybe the place you’re headed has an incredible soccer culture, or was the home of a famous photographer. Maybe it’s known for a certain kind of food, or has some quirky museum. Have him gather as much info as he can, and let him choose a way to dig deeper into that interest — a play, an exhibit, a match, a festival.
Use a travel journal. If your child likes to write or draw, this can be both a wonderful way to document experiences and a way for kids to have alone time if they need it, or wind-down time in the evening before bed. Set aside even just 10 minutes for them to write down or doodle something from the day. A journal can be used before leaving, too — it can be a place where a child documents questions she has about where you’re going, things she wants to learn, a place to glue in pictures of places she wants to see, things she’s excited to try.
Try a scavenger hunt. How many kinds of gelato can you try? How many colors of cowboy boots can you spot? Can you track down all the famous buildings built by a favorite architect? Make a list of landmarks that were important to a local band? This is something that can be adjusted for younger and older kids, and can be an effective way to engage older kids especially. It keeps them tuned in more, and there can be a reward when a “list” is completed — dinner of their choice, for example.
Use photography as a way to help them pay attention. For a kid who loves photography, the lens can be an excellent way to help ignite curiosity and help them be present to the travel experience. For younger children especially, an inexpensive disposable camera works just great and can make them feel very grown up; older children might have access to a simple digital camera or a phone with a built-in camera. They might choose to just photograph whatever strikes their interest, and that’s fine — but they can also decide ahead of time to keep an eye out for something specific: interesting flowers, unique doorways, motorcycles or scooters they like, desserts, street signs, gardens, markets, sunsets. Being aware of and respecting cultural etiquette around taking photographs, of course, there are tons of incredible creative opportunities. This can be a wonderful way for a child to discover a new interest he didn’t even know he had.
If you choose to go the digital route, you can even set up an Instagram account specifically for your trip if you like, and your child can use a smartphone as her camera. This is a great way to visually and verbally record what they’ve seen and experienced. They can use it to build vocabulary in a new language by photographing an object, asking a local what it is, and then labeling the image with the word and its translation. If your child doesn’t enjoy traditional journaling as much, this can be an alternative way to have time set aside each day for remembering, documenting, and processing in a different medium.
Having an Instagram account also offers a wide variety of ways to print off and use selected favorite images — photographs, magnets, prints. And your child can use the Postagram app to instantly and inexpensively send postcards of the trip to friends, family, or back home again.
Use a recorder to capture new sounds, voices, and music. If your child is more aural and visual, you can use a small digital voice recorder to capture the unique traits of your destination. Car horns, street music, sounds of natural surroundings, food cooking, traditional ceremonies, language, laughter — all of these paint an auditory picture of your vacation that will spark wonderful memories for years to come. Again, if your child doesn’t enjoy traditional journaling, keeping a recorded journal might be just the thing that will really spark his interest.
Use the power of compare and contrast to sharpen curiosity, create awareness, and start good conversations. Have as a goal each day — and this can be something the whole family can do — to note one thing that’s similar to what you do at home, and one thing that’s different from what you do at home. Do kids play similar games? Eat different foods? Drive the same cars? Wear the same kids of clothes? Listen to different music? Have the same kinds of pets? In addition to observing similarities and differences, talk to them about their thoughts around what they’re noticing. What questions come up? What’s comfortable for them, and what feels totally unfamiliar? Do they see things that they wish kids did more of back home? This can be a powerful tool for kids to be present to what’s happening around them, and can help them process the culture shock that can accompany the newness of various environments, as well. It can be a way for you to get to know them better, and it can be a way for them to understand more about themselves, too.
An added bonus with these ideas is that they don’t really require any additional management or planning on the part of a parent. As with any other trip, each family will have to establish ground rules and be aware of the cultural expectations of the places they’re visiting. But other than setting aside some quiet time each day, which most families need, anyway, these activities are largely child-driven and executed. Yes, you’ll likely have to help your kid plan or reserve tickets for a chosen activity or event — but that’s something you would be doing for that day, anyway. The difference here is that your child will be a part of the process. And, yes, you’ll likely be stopping a little more as your child notices, points out, and talks about everything she’s taking in — but in the end, that seems like a wonderful opportunity for connection with your child, and a chance for parents to slow down and absorb a little more, too.
Traveling with your children provides a one-of-a-kind educational experience for them, and a powerful bonding experience for the whole family. I would love to help you design the perfect travel experience for your family! Click this link to schedule a “Let’s Get Acquainted Session” with me let’s plan your family’s next great adventure.
Have you ever considered a non-Holiday holiday? With November, December, and January stuffed with Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s, sometimes it doesn’t occur to people to take a break around this time.
But in the travel industry, the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the week after New Year’s, are considered “dead weeks,” with a big drop in demand. And in the travel market, a drop in demand = a great time to grab a fantastic deal on a trip. So if you have some flexibility in your holiday plans — or better yet, if you have adventurous family members who would love an unusual way to spend this time together — then put me on the hunt for some fabulous last-minute bargains and pack your bags.
Go off-peak for bigger savings. The days right before and right after major holidays tend to be the busiest (and most expensive), so opt for off-peak and you can save considerably, sometimes 25-50% off.
Off-peak savings also apply to destinations, not just travel times. Consider this advice from Tim Leffel, author of The World’s Cheapest Destinations:
Cities that regularly host conventions can be good places to find last-minute hotel deals over the holidays. Sometimes you can find a last-minute deal in cities like Orlando or Las Vegas just because there are so many hotels to fill and no conventions going on (at this time of year).
And for beachside lounging, don’t limit yourself to Florida. Consider sandy (and cheaper) spots in other warm destinations along the Georgia and Texas coastlines, including towns like Tybee Island near Savannah and Galveston. Many hotel rooms in Galveston sell at or below $100 per night in November and December.
Consider a vacation rental. Especially at resorts, prices can be as steep as the slopes. If you’re willing to drive a few extra minutes, you can often rent a larger space for much cheaper. There are hot deals available on luxury apartments, homes, condos, and cottages. Other advantages: your own space, more room for larger families or groups, no noisy hotel patrons to keep you up. (For help scouting out the perfect space for your family or group, schedule a phone chat with me by replying to this email.)
Don’t rule out Europe for a pre- or post-holiday escape. TravelChannel.com author Valerie Connors says, “During the winter, roundtrip flights to Europe can be as much as 20% cheaper than during summer months, when hordes of travelers descend on popular European cities like Paris, London and Rome. In winter these same cities can be blissfully quiet, with short or no lines to enter major attractions like the Louvre or St. Peter's Basilica.” Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it?
Don’t be afraid of traveling during the Holiday season — when you know where the deals are, the holidays can be better than ever!
Working with a Travel Professional is one of the best ways to get the most value on your dream vacation! I would love to help you plan your perfect getaway this Holiday season. Click this link to schedule a “Let’s Get Acquainted Session” with me today.
Almost all travelers have a Nightmare Luggage story. You spent a lot of money on a fancy brand-name bag that broke on the first leg of the trip. Or you skimped on the spending and got exactly what you paid for. Or the bag that you thought would be comfortable and versatile turned out to be neither as you dragged it over the cobblestones of Florence or humped it on aching shoulders through the crowded, narrow streets of Kathmandu.
Choosing the wrong luggage can waste precious travel time and energy and can cause a lot of aches and pains. Choosing the right luggage will free you up to enjoy your trip without any unnecessary aggravation. To help you pick the best possible bag for your next adventure — here are five simple questions you can ask yourself to help you decide which type of bag is best for you.
What are the baggage restrictions and limits of all the airlines I will be traveling with? Some countries have more restrictive guidelines that are more stringently enforced. Smaller airlines in Europe, for example, require smaller and lighter bags than in the US. Make sure you know what the requirements will be so you don’t get stuck having to pay hefty fines or finding new luggage at the last minute. I am always happy to answer your questions regarding airline baggage restrictions and will advise you on the requirements of all the airlines you will be flying with.
Am I an over-packer or a shopper? If you know that you tend to bring more than you need and buy when you get there, opt for an expandable bag as your carry-on, and slip in an empty, durable nylon bag to bring back new things with you. (Note: be prepared to pay any additional fees that might apply for additional bags, or if your bag becomes too large/heavy as a result of over-packing!)
How much attention do I want my luggage to get? Yes, sometimes it’s tempting to get the stand-out, fashion-forward luggage set in fuchsia — but if you’re heading to a destination that’s known for theft, sometimes the better option is to pick a suitcase that blends in with the crowd. There are always things you can do to help with identification — a colorful ribbon, a sticker, a unique tag — but if you don’t want your luggage to be a target for opportunistic thieves, just opt to keep it simple.
How much transferring will I be doing on this trip? Are you heading to one main location that will be your “home base” of travel operations? Or will you be constantly on the move from city to city, hopping trains, getting taxis, taking buses? Will someone be available to help you lift your bags if you need assistance (partner, children, tour assistant), or will you be the one fully responsible for handling your luggage at all times? The more you’ll be moving and hefting, the more you should aim for simple, lightweight, durable, and versatile. Pack only the essentials, and look for bags that offer more than one transport method — for example, a carry-on with hidden pull-out straps and can be transformed into a comfy backpack for hands-free movement.
And in that vein of questioning: Does my luggage match the type and terrain of the trip I’m taking? Wheeled suitcases are great — if you have lots of flat floors and smooth sidewalks along which to roll them. But after two days of lugging a heavy suitcase through bumpy streets, broken sidewalks, dirt paths, or up endless flights of stairs in old, gorgeous elevator-less buildings, you’ll be praying to the luggage gods for a simple backpack with padded shoulder straps.
The last thing you want to be focused on while you’re on the trip of a lifetime is some annoying, avoidable luggage irritation. With a little investigating and preparation before you pack up and head out, you can make sure your luggage fits seamlessly into your travel plans.
Ready to plan your dream vacation? Want an experienced Travel Advisor to advise you about the best luggage for your upcoming trip? I’ve got the knowledge and passion for great travel to help make this a year to remember. You can set up a consultation with me now by clicking here.
In the air, under the sea, on the ice, in a tree: a look at some incredible hotels
Travel is meant to transport you — to other places, obviously, but also sometimes to other times, other worlds, other possibilities. These four utterly unique hotels are full of the magic, mystery, and wonder that travel embodies. These are places you might never want to leave!
The Taj Palace Resort, Lake Pichola, Rajasthan, India is for the person who’s ever wondered what it was like to see the world in the Golden Age of travel. This is the place (or palace) to get a glimpse of what it feels like to be royalty. Built in the middle of a lake, this huge marble resort features opulent 1930s rooms with intricately carved archways and rooms draped in sumptuous fabrics. You can dine al fresco with a view of the surrounding mountains and the warm lights of the shoreline, and then hop on a traditional sunset boat ride with your own personal oarsman.
If you’re a serious nature lover who also appreciates the finer things, then staying at one of the luxurious lodges on the Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve will ignite your love of the natural world in a whole new way. Located in the mountainous jungles of Chile, not far from the Argentinian border, Huilo-Huilo features four main lodges on the property that are all intimately a part of the gorgeous natural surroundings — including one that’s built right into a mountain. Spacious rooms look out over lush green canopies, pristine rivers, and the bright, elaborate ecosystem of the Patagonia rainforest. Take advantage of spa facilities after a day of hiking and exploring, and enjoy 5-star meals that draw their inspiration from the surrounding jungle. Best of all, you get to be part of a sustainable tourist destination that’s committed to preservation and conservation of the world it inhabits.
The Ice Hotel® in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, is a gorgeous, temporary palace of ice, located north of the Arctic Circle. Each year, the hotel commissions artists to create original masterwork rooms using snow and ice. Giant sculptures and huge vaulted rooms of carved snow surround fur-covered beds. Each room serves as a canvas for designers from all over the world. Get married in a church made entirely of ice, or spend a night watching the breathtaking aurora borealis from your room. But don’t wait too long: each Spring, the Ice Hotel® disappears.
If cold weather isn’t your thing and you’re more into sandy beaches and mind-blowingly clear waters, then your dream resort might just be Cocoa Island by COMO in the Maldives. This is a private island resort with 33 “overwater” suites. What that means is that you can literally walk out the door of your private villa and just slip into a warm turquoise lagoon for a swim. Each room has a personal terrace, with a view out onto the sea and of the sugar-white beaches nearby. Indulge in the holistic wellness treatments at the spa, take an incredible diving tour, and enjoy top-tier food prepared with a nod to the South Indian culinary influences.
What kind of places do you like to stay? If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind resort or hotel, I can help find a place that will totally transport you, for an experience you’ll remember forever! If you’re ready to dive in, you can get in touch with me by clicking here.
We all know how it is. Any mention of the state of airport travel today — especially the lines and the TSA — will inevitably elicit groans of frustration, eye rolls, and a raft of stories of security nightmares.
It’s true in many ways that traveling by plane in 2018 lacks much of the glamour and carefree effortless elegance of, say, 50 years ago. We live in a different world with much more complex problems that need to be addressed.
But since you have to go through the lines and security no matter what — how about making it as painless as possible? Here are some easy tips to help you breeze through your next security screening.
4. Get Zen – or whatever your version of that is. When you have everything organized, and you know you’re ready to go, and all there is left to do is wait in line, make the most of it. Focus on the excitement you feel about your trip. Talk to your kids. Take deep breaths. If you’re not self-conscious, do some pre-tiny-airline-seat stretches. Strike up a conversation if you feel like it. Listen to a podcast. Get your mind in a place that’s positive and productive and set the tone for your trip to focus on what’s working and what you’re thankful for.
And, we know it’s tough sometimes, but don’t forget the one travel essential you cannot live without: patience. Everyone is in the same boat; everyone wants to get through. A smile and a “thank-you” never hurt, either. I’ve known many people, including myself, who’ve gotten unexpected happy surprises (baggage fees waived, bump up) just for being polite when everyone else was falling apart. See where it gets you!
Are you looking for help planning your next trip? Not only can I help you with security line advice – I can help you with everything that leads up to it and everything after! Contact me today and we can get started planning your best trip yet – to reach me, just click here.
It seems like every few months, a new travel app comes out, or some new website pops up promising the best deals ever.
And while certainly technology can make many things about travel more organized, the secret to the best trip of your life has been around much longer than aggregate travel sites. Because the secret to an awesome trip isn’t an app — it’s a human being.
Your Travel Agent has got the experience, the know-how, and the connections to help you design and plan a vacation that will create the best memories of your life. Here’s just a few of the things that make your certified Travel Agent the key to the perfect trip.
Your agent can save you time — as in, hours and hours of research, phone calls, emails, and online searching. She’s the one who knows the best spots to catch that breathtaking sunset on the beach. He’s got the inside scoop on which resorts give the best bulk discounts. She’s tracked the best time to look for plane or train or ferry tickets to your dream destination. She’s the one who knows when the crush of tourists will let up enough to allow you the most authentic experience possible. He’s got the answers to all those nitpicky questions about openings and closures, vaccination requirements and necessary documents, local customs and dress codes.
Your agent has access to deals and bookings that are not available to the general public, and sometimes can even snag free upgrades for you. People often assume that using a Travel Agent is more expensive than planning a trip on your own, and they are skeptical that hiring an agent can actually save them money. But this is the key: your agent has connections that you don’t. They have the inside track. The deals you spot on a website might be great — but they are also hit-and-miss, and they may or may not be in the sweet spot of what you’re looking for. So you might get a great deal on a hotel, but it might also be miles away from where you most wanted to stay. Your agent knows exactly where to go to find the deals — and has access and the ability to find bargains that line up with your ideal vacation.
If you’re planning a group trip, your agent is indispensable. Who else can find a way to accommodate health concerns, a variety of dietary preferences, and the needs of children, adults, and seniors on one amazing trip? Who else can make sure that the aunts who are best friends get adjoining rooms? Who else can ensure that all 16 of you get an unforgettable experience? All the details that give most of us headaches — these are the very things that a good agent thrives on taking care of and providing.
Many agents are on call 24/7 while you are traveling. There really is no price you can put on this kind of assurance and help. If you find yourself in Munich and you left your medications on the train, your agent can help you get set up again. If your passport gets stolen, your agent can help you get a replacement. If an emergency comes up and you need to re-route your trip, your agent is the one who can make those arrangements so you don’t have to stress about it.
For most agents out there, planning trips is so much more than just a job. They love what they do. They’re genuinely passionate about great travel. They love people, and they love creating the vacations that live on and on in fond memories and family conversations. I would love to help you plan the trip of a lifetime, click here to head over to my website and send me an email or give me a call and let’s get started!
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You’d think after millennia of people traveling, not to mention how quickly the world has shrunk with access to the Internet, that we would have seen it all.
But here are four beautiful and intriguing highlights from places that might not be as familiar. If you’d like a full list from National Geographic of the best trips for 2018 – some familiar, some not – check it out here.
If you’re craving a break from busy-ness and noise, Haida Gwaii will give you the silence you’re longing for. A 180-mile-long archipelago off the coast of British Columbia is the ultimate getaway for nature lovers. May-September is the summer season, with more tourist services available, and a greater chance of seeing spectacular wildlife like the Orca migration. But if you’re into surfing, try October-May for the best waves.
To get a feel for what life was like for the Vikings, hop a ferry from Denmark or Iceland and check out the Faroe Islands. Located about 400 miles off the coast of Northern Europe and accessible by flights and ferries year-round, the Faroe Islands are ringed with dramatic green cliffs that plunge into the ocean, sparkling bays, and breathtaking Nordic scenery. In the city of Gjógv, stay in an authentic sod-roofed hotel and take hikes up into the mountains with a spectacular view of the gorge below. Go in July or August for mild temps and long days.
A hidden travel gem lies in the Western Baltics, which is already a somewhat-unknown region that is brimming with breathtaking scenery and a proud cultural heritage. The Via Dinarica is a year-round adventurer’s wonderland. Love gorgeous summer hikes and biking tours? May-September, this trail stretches through 1,200 miles of varied terrain and eight different countries. If you’re into skiing and snowshoeing, hit the Via Dinarica from January to mid-March for a pristine wonderland. Stay in remote mountain shelters, or immerse yourself in centuries-old tradition by staying with local host families.
We see a lot of Japan’s bustling cities, its towering skyscrapers, its industry, its bright lights. But if you’re interested in reclining into the contemplative heart of Japan, seek out Koyasan, a pristine monastic complex two hours south of Osaka by train and the seat of Japanese Shingon Buddhism. Many temples here offer guest rooms, and you can get a feel for what monastic life is like in the lush, misty mountain interior. Savor the simple flavors of clean Buddhist eating, take in morning rituals, or hike by lantern and moonlight along winding green mountain paths. After the intense and amazing sensory experiences that the large urban areas of Japan provide, Koyasan really is the perfect retreat into silence, simplicity, and mystery.
One of the many reasons I love what I do as a travel agent is that there is just so much to see, to take in, and to learn. We all have the amazing opportunity to launch out into new places, to find some new adventure that will change us forever — and I love getting to be a part of that process.
If you’re feeling that pull to places that are new to you, contact me today and let’s start planning your next adventure!
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