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.)

Where to Stay in Pennsylvania’s Most Memorable Cities

From beautiful scenery to bustling metropolitan experiences to niche getaways, Pennsylvania has it all. In today’s article, we’ll explore four of the state’s best destinations and some of the top hotels in each.

Pittsburgh: The Renaissance or the Fairmont

Pittsburgh is home to attractions like the Andy Warhol Museum, which is the largest American art museum dedicated to a single artist, as well as the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, a historic museum established by Andrew Carnegie himself. It’s also home to the National Aviary, which is the biggest aviary in the country.

While you’re in Pittsburgh, consider a stay at the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel. This historic hotel is in the Fulton Building, which was built on the riverfront in 1906. Today, you’ll find an on-site gym, pet-friendly rooms, and one of the best-rated restaurants in the city, Braddock’s American Brasserie.

Read more.

Stunning Hotels in Seattle’s Suburbs

Seattle is one of the most popular destinations on the West Coast, which also means its hotel rates are among the highest on the coast. One great way to save money and explore this region is to stay in one of Seattle’s beautiful suburbs. In this article, we’ll explore three of those suburbs and five of the area’s best hotels.

Seattle Area Attractions

Seattle has something for every type of traveler. Into museums? Check out the Seattle Art Museum, the Museum of Flight, or the Experience Music Project Museum. Like natural attractions? Head to the ocean shores or nearby Lake Union, explore the countless acres of green space, or head out to Seward Park or Mount Teneriffe. Like to visit the major icons? Head straight for the Space Needle or the Seattle Great Wheel. You won’t want to miss the city’s many fine dining options, music venues, theatres, or festivals, either.

Read more.

The Best Hotels and Sites for a Michigan Vacation

I need to return to Michigan. My only visit thus far was to Detroit, where my brother insisted that we go to 8 Mile Road to see the place Eminem grew up. It was a memorable trip, but Detroit probably wouldn’t be my top pick if I were to return. Rather, I’d want to go to Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor. In this entry, we’ll explore the best accommodations and attractions in those cities.

Things to Do in Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids is a beautiful city with an impressive historic district. It’s home to several buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and offers access to nearby lakes, rivers, and nature preserves.

What are the best attractions in Grand Rapids? The Frederick Meijer Gardens include miles of walking trails surrounded by beautiful flowers and outdoor sculptures. The Grand Rapids Public Museum features educational exhibits in a retired flour mill. Millennium Park is a sprawling nature area with multiple beaches.

Stay Downtown: The Holiday Inn

The Holiday Inn Grand Rapids Downtown will give you easy access to the major attractions of the city. In fact, it’s just a 15-minute walk to three of the city’s most famous museums. What’s more, this affordable hotel also features several key amenities. All guests receive free Wi-Fi, access to the pool, and a room with a flat-screen TV.

Read more.

The Most Luxurious Hotels in Columbus and Cincinnati

There is no such thing as a bad place to take a vacation. Sure, there are places with more risks or that are better suited to certain tastes, but you can get a great deal any place you go. Take Ohio, as just one example. While passing through on my last road trip, I discovered many things to do in Cincinnati and Columbus. In today’s entry, we explore the attractions and accommodations available in those two cities.

In the Columbus Polaris District: The Hilton

Near the Polaris District, you’ll find dozens of things to do. Check out the Magic Mountain Fun Center, which features go-karts, laser tag, golf, and more. Explore the Polaris Towne Centre for a day of non-stop shopping. If you’re strange like me, visit my personal favorite, the nearby Jungle Jim’s mega-store, an international grocery market with over 200,000 square feet of store space.

While visiting this district of Columbus, consider the Hilton Columbus/Polaris. This three-star hotel includes a pool, fitness center, and two on-site restaurants. Additionally, you’ll receive complimentary WiFi throughout the building and free parking.

Read more.

Millennials Share Their Tips for Working While Traveling the Globe

This post originally appeared on the Hipmunk Tailwind Blog by THEHIPMUNK on April 11, 2016 and is reproduced here with the permission of the content owner.

When you’re still new to a career and trying to make a name for yourself on the job, it can be stressful to take vacation time.

Heck, forget traveling for pleasure—even business travel can feel stressful. When you’re juggling delayed flights or bad cell service with the desire to make a good impression on your clients and coworkers, travel can feel anything but relaxing.

But take a deep breath, because we’ve got some good news for you: You can travel the globe and continue to rock out at your job. Here’s how four hard-working millennials make it happen.

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 3.33.56 PM

Jenn Hirsch. Photo credit Brandon Smith

Draw work inspiration from your travels.

As a surf retreat leader and a storyteller through (and founder of) Swell Story, Jenn Hirsch has learned firsthand that her travels can inform her work in big ways.

“My rule has always been to find inspiration from where you travel for whatever venture you have at present,” she says. “[My] work is highly creative yet grounded in the present—kind of like traveling to foreign countries and surfing in general.”

Communicate with your team before you leave.

Read more.

GoSeeWrite’s Great Budget Midwest Accommodation In Branson, Fort Wayne, and More

This post originally appeared on GoSeeWrite on June 28th, 2016, was written by Michael Hodson, and is reproduced here with the permission of the content owner.


The Midwest is a beautiful area of the country that has a wealth of different options for those who are looking for a destination for their next vacation. From the Ozark Mountains to the cosmopolitan cities, there are plenty of activities to enjoy, from outdoor pursuits to glamorous stage shows. If you are looking to travel on a budget, there are plenty of places that balance great attractions with affordable accommodation options, and here are a few suggestions for your next Midwest trip.


This lovely town in Missouri has a wealth of things to offer the visitor, with the riverboat cruises on the ‘Branson Belle’ having an old-time charm, while there are also great theaters for those who want to enjoy a show, and a series of excellent golf courses here too. In terms of good places to stay for those on a budget, check out these Branson hotels, with the Gazebo Inn being one affordable option that boasts an outdoor swimming pool.

Read more.

Carry On with Bravo TV’s Tour Group Host Brandon Presser

This post originally appeared on the Hipmunk Tailwind Blog on March 4th, 2016, was written by Kelly Soderlund, and is reproduced here with the permission of the content owner.


As a travel expert, TV host, and writer, Brandon Presser is no stranger to life on the go. Presser, who has visited more than 100 countries, has penned over 50 travel books, and is a regular contributor for such publications as Afar, Travel + Leisure, The Daily Beast, and National Geographic Traveler. And while he may be well known in the travel industry, he’s about to experience a whole new level of recognition: Presser is the lead host of Bravo TV’s new travel-based reality show, “Tour Group“, which tags along as 11 travelers search for the ultimate vacation. (10 p.m. EST/PST on Bravo.)  We got Presser to stay in one place long enough to give us his best travel advice, his favorite places to go, and the items he can’t leave home without.  


Hipmunk: So, tell us. What’s in your carry-on?

Brandon Presser: A dopp kit with some small essentials like eye drops, moisturizer, a travel toothbrush, Advil, and Ursa Major face towelettes; a small pouch with some lucky charms (a few pebbles I’ve collected from different beaches around the world–I’m a little superstitious!); a good book (that I never finish); an iPad fully loaded with some of my favorite movies; Bose headphones; and Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter Granola Bars.

H: Carry on bag of choice? 

BP: If I’m hauling some serious carry-on luggage and want the flexibility of bringing more things home, I go for the Dakine Over Under bag, which can grow and shrink in size. For quick trips I’m obsessed with Fjallraven’s safari duffle.

H: How often do you travel?

BP: I’ll travel through roughly 15 countries a year, which has me on one or two large trips a month. Last year’s highlights included everything from Tahiti to Portugal, and leading 11 strangers on a world tour through Africa and Asia while making “Tour Group.”

H: First, business class or coach?

BP: Each travel project I work on has different travel parameters–sometimes I’m in coach, other times I’m in first. I can tell you that it’s super hard to do a long-haul flight at the back of the plane after being treated to the flat beds up front.

H: Ok, now that we’re warmed up, let’s play a game of favorites. Favorite city to visit for work? Why?

BP: Tokyo is the best canvas for my work–whether it’s researching and writing articles and guidebooks or leading travelers through the incredible neighborhoods. The city is an endless well of oddities and curious fads. (Read Brendon’s articles on Tokyo’s oddities and fads here and here, respectively).

H: Favorite city for play? Why?

BP: Luckily, my work life and play life are closely intertwined. And Tokyo never stops inspiring me to get out there and explore with its thousands of cool restaurants, bars, shops and public spaces.

H: Favorite hotels?

BP: I’ve stayed in more than 2,500 hotels worldwide, so this is definitely a tricky one to answer. In the last 12 months some of my hotel highlights have included: Four Seasons Bora Bora, Twin Farms in Vermont, and Roch Castle in Wales.

H: Favorite airline? Airport? Airport Terminal?

BP: I’m really loving JetBlue’s newest aircrafts right now–the entertainment system is bigger and better than ever, the coach seats really aren’t bad, and there’s an endless supply of snacks. Portland’s PDX wins domestically for making a promise to its traveler to not price gauge on snacks and supplies. And Hong Kong wins internationally for Cathay Pacific’s awesome business class lounge with delicious food and state-of-the-art shower facilities.

H: Any travel tips before you take off?

BP: Change your place; change your luck.

Follow Brandon:

Website: brandonpresser.com

Twitter: @bpnomad

Instagram: brandpress