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Best Things to do in Lisbon and Porto That Aren’t Touristy

Since I’ve been to Lisbon more times than I can count (and lived there!), I wanted to share some of my favorite things to do that are a bit more off-the-beaten-path.  I still recommend visiting all the popular sites like St George’s Castle, the Jeronimos Monastery, or wandering around the Alfama neighborhood, but here are my personal favorites if you have visited previously or like to get off the beaten path a little bit – or want suggestions for a rainy day!

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What to do in Central Portugal

Central Portugal is one of the most visited areas on day-trips from Lisbon, but it deserves much more than a cursory eight hour tour in just one day.  History and church lovers will delight in visiting the monasteries, cathedrals, and castles that abound in this lush, beautiful area.  If you’re interested in the history of the Knights Templar (and their Portuguese successors, the Order of Christ), this area is rife with locations built by/for the Templars – your imagination will sure to be inspired!  I’ve visited this area more times than I can count, and there’s still something new to be discovered each time.

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8 Best Scenic Train Rides in Switzerland

There is no better way than traveling by train, especially when there are so many options and routes and every route worth exploring. Some of the most scenic train rides in Switzerland are very easy to incorporate into your itinerary planning. Beyond their sharp punctuality, surplus scenic routes, friendly service, the Swiss rail system provides you with an amazing experience and panoramic views that you can’t get enough of.

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Where to see bears in Alaska

If your goal is to see bears in Alaska, you need to choose an itinerary that visits these specific areas. These remote regions are home to hundreds of bears who all congregate during salmon season and are practically posing for pictures.  You can do this as a day trip and fly roundtrip back to Anchorage the same day, or for an amazing experience you can stay the night in nearby wilderness lodges to get extra bear-viewing time.

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Seven things NOT to do in Hawaii

There is so much to do in the Hawaiian Islands – a wide range of activities and experiences – however I always like to share my top things NOT to do when visiting this fantastic vacation destination.   Here are seven things to avoid on your next Hawaii trip. 

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How to choose an African safari

When you choose an African safari you need to look beyond just the dates and the pricetag. Choose an African safari by looking closely at the value, not just the price-tag. Avoid disappointment by carefully examining these four things to consider before making your decision.

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Portugal’s Alentejo Region: A Place Where Time Stands Still

The Alentejo is one of Portugal’s best kept secrets, often referred to as “Tuscany before the tourists arrived.” You’ll fall in love with its rural scenery, farm to table cooking experiences, sweeping plains of olive groves and cork trees, horse riding on traditional ranches, and stays on gorgeous estates with wine-tasting, bird watching, hiking, and other activities included.

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Best hotels and resorts in the USA to replace your international vacation 

There are an incredible number of fantastic vacation options right here in the continental USA. If your nest-egg for your annual European vacation has gone unused this year, why not think about making reservations at one of these American properties instead?
In this article I’ve assembled a list of some of the most fantastic properties for all styles of travel – seaside escapes, rural retreats, wellness-focused getaways, desert ranches, mountainous adventures, and more.

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When is the Best Time to Visit Croatia?

To help you figure out when to schedule your trip, I’d like to share a local perspective on the advantages and disadvantages of each season as well as some travel tips for that time of year.  Here’s a summary of what each season offers, with more details and ideas for your itinerary below. 
Summer is best for: beaches, watersports, festivals, and island hopping. 
Fall is best for: land and water-based outdoor activities, national parks, sightseeing, and food tourism. 
Winter is best for: holiday festivals, Carnival, winter sports, and spas.
Spring is best for: land-based outdoor activities, whitewater rafting, national parks, and sightseeing.

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New: Rocky Mountaineer USA Route – The Rockies to the Red Rocks

This luxury train trip in the Southwest USA with Rocky Mountaineer is a fantastic option for travelers wanting an extraordinary American vacation. From vast canyons and chromatic deserts, to red sandstone landscapes that twist through the bright blue sky, this stunning rail route is filled with highlights best seen from the fantastic expansive glass-dome coaches.  The two-day train journey travels between Denver, Colorado to Moab, Utah with an overnight stay in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. 

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What Resorts Are Doing to Keep You Safe in Pandemic Times

I wanted to share some photos of the safety measures and current protocols in place for hotels. Some of these practices are truly impressive and a testament to the tourism industry’s ability to pivot and adapt. During our stay so far, it has been so easy to social distance and to be completely in control of how much we interact with others each day.

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Morocco Travel Tips

These Morocco travel tips may help to make your next trip just a little bit better! Find out why I recommend reserving dinner ahead of time on your first night and other useful tips for your Moroccan adventures!

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4 Incredible Countries You’ll Explore on the Rhine

Whenever I advise my travelers on choosing a river cruise, I pay special attention to their interests, such as art, culture, food, active or wellness programs, history, and destination wishlist. Do you want to spend more of your time in Switzerland, Germany or France? What about the Netherlands? Let’s take a closer look at some destinations on the Rhine River and you’ll see why my clients keep coming back for more.

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10 Reasons Why Ocean Cruisers Will Love River Cruising

To all cruise-lovers, perhaps it’s time to shake up the ocean liner experience for an entirely new way to explore the world’s waterways. You might think that the words “inland” and “cruise” are incompatible. Well, let me show you on AmaWaterways just how superbly well they go together. AmaWaterways river cruises combine all the comfort and convenience of an ocean cruise with the excitement of European excursions at each port of call.

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Where to Go in Australia

Australia is often a “bucket list” travel destination for my clients but they keep putting it off! “Maybe one day…” or “Someday I’d like to…” are some of the phrases they send me. I’m here to encourage you to stop thinking of Australia as a “someday” destination and urge you to make it a “this year” destination. Sure, the flight is long (let’s talk about the elephant in the room!) but once you’re there, you will fall in love with Australia and want to return again and again. I’ve helped clients plan trips to Australia with a variety of travel styles: a luxury train trip across the country, a self-drive itinerary, a romantic honeymoon focused on relaxation and wine-tasting, and an animal lover’s route to some of the best kangaroo destinations!

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My Alaskan Day-Cruise in Prince William Sound with Lazy Otter Charters

We spent the day exploring Prince William Sound, found a young female whale feeding, spotted a rare Golden Eagle, photographed lots of birds, raced dolphins in the water, saw many families of sea otters, and got to see Cascade Glacier calving. The small boat got us so much closer to the glaciers than any large cruise ship could – I highly recommend a Lazy Otters Charter day cruise!

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Itinerary: Prague, Budapest, and Dubrovnik

3 nights in Prague, 3 nights in Budapest, 1 night in Zagreb , [12 day G-Adventures tour], 3 nights in Dubrovnik. Includes:
-10 hotel nights, -First class train tickets between cities; -Food tour in Prague; -Food tour in Budapest; -Geopark Bohemian Paradise hiking excursion from Prague; -Dinner cruise on the Danube in Budapest; -Cycling and kayaking in Dubvrovnik

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How to Visit Alaska in 2021

You don’t need to be on a mega-cruise to visit Alaska. This is one of the most awe-inspiring states I’ve ever visited, and it’s my belief it’s the perfect match for so many travelers’ wishlists. Here are 5 ways to visit Alaska without a mega-cruise.

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Iceland Honeymoon Itinerary

Iceland is a fantastic destination for a romantic trip, so when my clients asked me to put together an Iceland honeymoon itinerary, I was thrilled to do so. Their top priority was to see the Northern Lights and to experience many hot springs,  so I catered the itinerary towards this goal,  leaving additional time for romance and adventure!

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A Trip to Normandy with Bayeux Shuttle

I recently assisted guest poster Sophia Curcio with her trip to Paris, France. One of her bucket list items was a trip to Normandy to see the D-Day Beaches. Here’s her review of her wonderful experience! “It’s one thing to read in a history book the facts about what happened – it’s another to hear story after story of 19-and-20-year olds (and younger!) displaying remarkable acts of courage…”

Why Travel Insurance Is So Important

I’ve seen first hand the benefits of travel insurance, which I’ll share in this article. The key to travel insurance, I’ve found, is to build it into your trip costs ahead of time so that you do not make decisions based on financial cost but rather on the peace of mind and your specific needs.

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Trip Review: Weekend in New Orleans

New Orleans far exceeded our expectations, and we certainly had a wonderful long weekend there. The people-watching, the joie de vivre, the delicious food, stunning old architecture, historical plantations, and complete differentness from any other city we’ve visited in the USA makes New Orleans a great destination if you’d like a weekend getaway!

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How to Visit the Galapagos Islands

I’ve planned several trips to this destination for my clients and the most commonly asked question is first, “How to visit the Galapagos Islands?” The second question is, which way is best? There is no right answer, although I work with you to pick the best travel style for your needs, so I’ve assembled a few highlights of my favorite cruises and hotels to share below. This can be an incredible itinerary for travelers who wish to experience nature and exploration at its finest.  If you’ve already done an African safari or an Alaskan wilderness cruise, consider adding the Galapagos to your bucket list!  

6 Trip Ideas for Discerning Travelers from the East Coast

6 Marvelous Trip Ideas from the East Coast

I have a long time client, who trusts my travel style, who emailed me and asked for trip ideas. Here were the parameters: something reasonable from the Pittsburgh area (no 12 hour flights, but plane rides are still acceptable); something a little unusual (“I don’t want a three day cruise to the Bahamas”); and must expose his family to new cultures and sightseeing.
Here are some fabulous suggestions I came up with. What do you think?

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Hotel Review: Hotel Bantu, Cartagena, Colombia

Some say “a hotel is just a place to sleep,” but I maintain that staying in the right hotel can enhance and complement your travel experience! Hotel Bantu did exactly that.   The friendliness and helpfulness of the staff, its wonderful location in the old city, beautiful courtyards, rooftop pool, and of course Tado the Toucan all combine to offer an extraordinary experience in the Old City.   I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this hotel to any of my friends, family, or clients.

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Anchorage: What To Do Before Your Alaskan Cruise

Overall, I really liked having an extra day in Anchorage to start relaxing and get a small taste of the area before our cruise, and I would recommend it to anyone, regardless of whether or not you are visiting Denali before your cruise. Although we didn’t squeeze them into this trip, there are a variety of other things we could have done, including a trip to Aleyska Ski Resort, a cruise on Portage Lake, a trek on Matanuska Glacier, and even booking a charter tour to see Denali via plane in one day! If we had more than 2 days, I wouldn’t choose to stay the whole time in Anchorage, but for one extra night, it was a great beginning to a wonderful trip!

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5 Ways to Explore Iceland

Confused about how to plan a trip to Iceland? Here is a cheat-sheet of all the different ways you can travel to this amazing destination! Many people don’t realize just how many options there are for a trip to Iceland – matching every conceivable budget, travel style, and level of comfort.