Welcome to my scratch of virtual land. Here you'll find travel tips, travel narratives, destination explorations, and much more. To stay in the loop, join my crew by filling out the form below.

(Joining means you'll get a weekly email with new posts, happenings, and more. Find out more here.)

Packing Hacks Every Traveler Needs to Know

This post originally appeared on the Hipmunk Tailwind Blog on April 8th, 2016, was written by THEHIPMUNK, and is reproduced here with the permission of the content owner.

Gallivanting around Madrid or conducting business in San Francisco? Wherever you’re going—and whatever you’re planning to do there—you’ll need to pack a bag before you leave for the trip.

But even though packing is universal to travelers, packing well isn’t necessarily a skill that we all share. That’s where these packing hacks come in. Each of these smart tips comes recommended by master travelers and promises you an easier trip from start to finish.

luggage-1081872_640

Pack bubble wrap.

It might seem counterintuitive to fill up space in your suitcase with something you don’t actually need, but hear us out: Packing a few sheets of bubble wrap on the way to your destination means you can remove it and have extra space for carrying souvenirs on the way home. And if those souvenirs are breakable, then even better: Simply keep the bubble wrap and use it as protection.

Read more.


Tales from a Fork’s Spacious Hotels Near NYC

This post originally appeared on Tales from a Fork and is reproduced here with the permission of the content owner.

This post is part of the Hipmunk Hotels campaign.

If you’re traveling to New York City but want more space and amenities than the average Manhattan hotel, try opting for these accommodations. These spacious hotels are only a quick ride away from the Big Apple.

22662503780_427d9cfdbe_o

Photo of Manhattan from Weehawken by John Cunniff

Weehawken

Weehawken is one of the best destinations if you want to see a panoramic view of New York City, from the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to the George Washington Bridge. Once you’re done marveling at the expansive skyline from Hamilton Park or Gregory Park, you can head to New York City via bus, ferry, or train.

Read more.


How to Avoid Getting Sick on Your Next Flight

This post originally appeared on the Hipmunk Tailwind Blog by THEHIPMUNK on January 22, 2016 and is reproduced here with the permission of the content owner.

Forget snakes on a plane. Worry about the germs. Research shows that air travelers are at a higher risk for infection than people going about their daily lives.

Just how are illnesses spread on a plane? It comes down to two main factors: Airborne germs that are easily inhaled by people sitting in close quarters, or contact with germ-riddled surfaces on the plane. These factors are exacerbated by the dry conditions typical of airplanes, because viruses prefer low-humidity environments.

The good news is that, for the most part, airplanes’ air filtration systems function well enough that you’re unlikely to contract more serious illnesses. Instead, your greatest risk is contracting the common cold or a classic case of the flu.

While that’s all well and good, it may be little comfort to people who don’t particularly want to have a cold or the flu while trying to enjoy their vacation. Luckily, it is possible to decrease your risk of infection from germs on a plane. Here’s how to maximize the chances of disembarking the plane as healthy as you boarded it.

Don’t travel if you’re already sick.

If you know that you’re suffering from a contagious illness, do your immune system (and your fellow passengers) a favor and don’t expose yourself to any more germs by boarding a plane. In particular, the CDC advises that people avoid plane travel if you’re more than 36 weeks pregnant, have recently had surgery, have had a recent (serious) injury, or have a fever. In each of these cases, you’ll be traveling with a compromised immune system, which increases your risk of catching a contagious infection. Some airlines may be lenient with rescheduling fees if you can prove that you’re sick; contact the airline to discuss your options.

Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 8.30.16 PM

 

Ask to switch seats.

If you find yourself beside someone who’s hacking or sniffling, it’s okay (really!) to ask a flight attendant if it’s possible to switch seats. Even moving just a few rows away can help protect you from a sick person’s germs. If there are no other seats on the plane, donning a face mask might help.

Read more.


Stays in Minneapolis and Duluth for Metropolitan and Natural Attractions

Minnesota houses some of the most beautiful metropolitan areas in the nation, but it’s also home to some of the most gorgeous lake areas. No two cities better embody these different appeals than Minneapolis and Duluth. In today’s article, we’ll explore some of the best attractions and hotels for these two great cities.

For the Music World: Loews Hotel

The Loews Minneapolis Hotel is near the Minneapolis Warehouse District, which offers you easy access to dozens of nearby music venues. That includes the Dakota Jazz Club, the Target Center, the Nomad World Pub, First Avenue, Mill City Nights, Honey, Mayslack’s, Acadia Cafe, and many more.

Read more.


The Best Sites and Stays in North Carolina

From historic sites to gorgeous shorelines and beyond, North Carolina has attractions to suit every type of traveler. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most fascinating cities and most comfortable accommodations for your journey.

Asheville: Crowne Plaza

For history fanatics, the Biltmore Estate is a must-see. After your tour, head into the city to check out the Folk Art Center and the beautiful Basilica of St. Lawrence. If you want to spend some time in nature, you can head down Blue Ridge Parkway, which offers hiking trails, waterfalls, and unbeatable opportunities to see the autumn colors.

Read more.


Tripper’s Offbeat Attractions in Flagstaff, Page, Yuma, and More

This post originally appeared on Tripper and is reproduced here with the permission of the content owner.

By means of a strange acculturation process while growing up, I’m more connected to the American culture than I am to the Portuguese. As a result, the United States is high on my list of countries to visit (and the list of offbeat attractions grows with it). I’m still in the romancing phase, but I’m already liking my odds in Arizona and in Pasadena. I have my eye on several attractions in these areas and more, and I’m interested in the best hotels in each area.

1. Experience Space, the Final Frontier in Flagstaff (Arizona)

I love a good alien story, especially if it mixes an “X-Files” vibe with some futuristic storytelling like H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds”. However, you can visit some “other-worldly” attractions without leaving this planet. The Lowell Observatory and the Cinder Lake Crater Field are two offbeat must-sees in Flagstaff. I wonder if I can find an alien-themed hotel in Flagstaff? Or at least one with a mysterious alien story behind it.

Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff Arizona

Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff Arizona


Read more.


How to Pack for a Destination Marathon

This post originally appeared on the Hipmunk Tailwind Blog, is written by Kelly Soderlund, and is reproduced here with the permission of the content owner.

Traveling for a marathon? Great! Not only is training for and running a marathon its own reward, but choosing to attend a destination race is a great excuse to travel to new places.

There’s just one caveat: It can be easy to let pre-race jitters cause you to lose focus and forget critical gear. If you want to avoid feeling unprepared at the starting line, simply refer to this handy checklist whenever you’re preparing for a non-local race.

In addition to your usual running staples—including (but certainly not limited to) running shoes, a fuel belt, a GPS watch, hair ties or a headband, and so on—here’s what to keep in mind when packing for a destination marathon.

street-marathon-1149220_640

Squeeze it All in a Carry-On

You know the panic that sets in upon arriving at baggage claim and realizing your bag has been lost? Imagine how much worse it is when said bag contained your running shoes and marathon gear. Avoid this agony by packing everything into a carry-on. If you must check a bag with extra clothing and accessories, at the very least make sure that your race-day essentials stay with you at all times.  

Read more.