It would be a shame to visit the Great Smoky Mountains region of Tennessee without ever venturing outside to admire the scenery, but that’s almost what happened to us when my family booked a stay at the Wilderness at the Smokies resort. With so much to see and do—not to mention a fun, family-friendly atmosphere that rivals the hotels at Disney World or Universal Studios—you might have a hard time luring your kids outside for a hike or a nature walk. Don’t worry about them turning into couch potatoes, though, because the resort’s activities will keep the kids on the move all day long.
Cancun has plenty of romantic resorts for couples. Finding one that’s good for families is a little tougher. And finding one that’s perfect for both adults and kids—with plenty of activities for both, which can be enjoyed together or separately—would be nearly impossible if not for Crown Paradise Club Cancun.
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Las Vegas is fun, exciting, and one of the most popular tourist spots in the USA—but it’s also a town that can empty your wallet faster than a skilled dealer shuffles a new deck of cards. The lights may be dazzling, the rattle of chips hypnotic, but all that sensory overload comes at a price. Fortunately, though, Las Vegas does have a soft spot for its guests. Many of the hotels and malls offer totally free shows and attractions, which can really come in handy when the slot machines have just eaten your last quarter.
Start spreading the news; New York may be one of the hottest tourist spots in the United States, but it’s also one of the most expensive. For example, you can search high and low but you’ll never see the words “affordable” and “hotel” side-by-side there. A drink in a trendy bar can cost double or triple what you’re used to paying. And a full evening’s entertainment—dinner for two, a Broadway show, and any cab rides or extras—can easily set you back $300 or more. The bottom line? When you visit the Big Apple, make sure to bring a big wallet.
The good news, though, is that buried beneath all that glitter are dozens of free entertainment opportunities. They may not be well-advertised but they do exist, and taking advantage of one or two each day can give your tired, aching credit cards a well-deserved rest.
Amazing architecture, a unique setting, and close ties to famous figures from the past are only a few reasons why so many people seek out historic hotels whenever they travel. Forget the beige carpet and mass-produced art on the walls—these buildings have as much personality and character as the guests who have filled their rooms for decades or more.
They say Christopher Columbus was lured to Jamaica in 1494 by rumors of gold, and that the famous explorer was disappointed not to find any. Today’s visitors would argue that Columbus, dubbed “Jamaica’s first tourist” by the locals, simply arrived 500 years too early. A modern treasure map of Jamaica, with its wealth of natural attractions and amazing new resorts, would be covered with Xs from coast to coast, with each one marking something bright and shiny to discover.
Sometimes location really is everything. But if you don’t have to sacrifice quality or comfort to enjoy that perfect location, you might just feel like you’ve landed in heaven—and in Athens, home of the ancient gods and goddesses, that feeling couldn’t be more appropriate.
Guests of the AVA Hotel & Suites couldn’t ask for a better spot to lay their heads each night. Situated on the edge of the trendy Plaka district, the AVA is within easy walking distance of many of the city’s best attractions.
When I think of Europe, Prague is the first city that pops into my mind. Cities like Paris and Rome may have more glamour—and more tourists—but the Czech Republic’s capital truly captures the spirit of the entire European continent. Its cobblestone alleys, ornate buildings, and stalwart castles create a fairy tale atmosphere where the spirit of Old Europe still lives and breathes, beckoning visitors to take a journey into the past.
“Don’t forget the map” was a good piece of travel advice back in the old days. But in 2012, you better change that to “Don’t forget the app.” Travel-related apps now make it much easier—and more enjoyable—to wander the globe. Here are three of the newest and best.
TriPnMeet - There’s nothing worse than finding out that you and a friend were in the same place at the same time but didn’t connect because you weren’t aware of each other’s vacation plans. The new Facebook app TriPnMeeT is a free and simple way to find out where your friends and family are now, and where they’ll be later. Just add your own itinerary to see both current locations and future travel dates for others on your list. You can also meet new friends by messaging other app users in the same vicinity. A handy map-based interface and communication tools make it easy to coordinate your rendezvous. FIND OUT MORE
HipGeo - Keeping a travel diary has never been easier with HipGeo, a mobile app that converts your photos, videos, blog posts, and other media into a real-time digital journal. A bevy of built-in functions organizes all the data for you, so all you have to worry about is seeing the sights and having fun. Friends and family can virtually tag along with you on your trip, and you’ll also have a handy digital scrapbook to help you relive your adventures once you’re back at home. FIND OUT MORE
CityHook - Ever landed at an airport for the first time and had no idea which was the fastest or cheapest way to get to the city center? Or ever been stuck with a long layover but you weren’t sure if you had time to go into town for a little sightseeing? The new mobile app CityHook gives you all the info you need to plan that journey from the airport, including prices, travel times, and drop locations for a variety of different transportation methods. Only European airports are covered at the moment, but the company plans to branch out to other locations in the near future. FIND OUT MORE
Bulgaria's capital city is fun, fascinating, and affordable, with plenty for travelers to see and do. From Roman ruins to rocking nightclubs, Sofia has it all—with the exception of massive crowds. Come visit now, before the tourism industry finds out about it. READ MORE