The holiday season is upon us and it can be tricky figuring out what to get your travel savvy friends. I’ve picked out some great items to make travel a little easier or inspire wanderlust for the traveler in your life. Here are my gift recommendations for the jet-setter on your list.
Normally when I’m travelling I have an entourage in tow; my husband, family, friends or coworkers. I love having the company, sharing my enthusiasm for exploring and giving experiences for those closest to me; but with each person comes new needs, wishes and perspectives. On a recent Wednesday afternoon, having arrived a day earlier than a coworker for some training in Austin, I found myself with four wheels and a half a day to do whatever I wanted.Being in Austin I was spoiled for choice; I could explore the city, have an impromptu spa day, or check out the live music scene. But I had a car and an itch to go exploring, Texas Hill Country it would be.
Austin, Texas is many things to many people. Whether you know it as the state capital of Texas, the Live Music Capital of the World or the home of the University of Texas; Austin has a little something for everyone. Simultaneously an oasis from the rest of Texas and proudly Texan, Austin is a city that marches to the beat of its own drum. Politicos and hippies, cowboys and musicians; there’s room at the bar for everyone. Here are a few of my recommendations for things to do in Austin.
Iceland is a land of beautiful extremes, from some of the Earth’s most active volcanoes to massive glaciers that dominate the landscape. With glaciers covering 11% of the country one is never far from ice, making Iceland one of the best places in the world where you can easily get up close to a glacier. Sólheimajökull, located 2 hours from Reykjavik and near the popular tourist route of the Golden Circle, is perhaps the most accessible of Iceland’s glaciers. Our adventure started as we pulled onto a gravel road from Iceland’s Ring Road, the vibrant greens of the coast giving way to the lunar gray of the volcanic mountains. Driving down the gravel road with nothing to either side and ice capped mountains in the distance we wondered if we were going in the right direction. A twenty minute drive delivered us with little fanfare to a parking lot and and a spartan building that in high season serves as a cafe.It was here that we got our first glimpse of Sólheimajökull and met our guide Sigurður of Icelandic Mountain Guides. The constantly changing topography of a glacier can be dangerous for the inexperienced so its always a good idea to use a guide when exploring this icy landscape. Each of us armed with a pair of crampons and an ice ax we were off to explore this otherworldly landscape.
Dear brother, as you embark on the start of your military career nearly twenty years after the start of my own I’d like to give you some advice.You are about to embark on one of the greatest adventures of your life, you may end up close to home or find yourself as far away as Germany, Japan or Afghanistan (though I personally hope its not the latter). You will find yourself changed not only in ways you expected but also in ways you never imagined. To succeed in the military takes not only strength, teamwork and perseverance, but also individual drive and patience; all qualities I know you already possess.It will bring out new qualities in you too, and you will emerge a stronger, more confident version of yourself. You have a few more years under your belt than the typical recruit, you bring to the table experience and a level of maturity that will serve you and the Army National Guard well.You will meet some of the best people you will ever know, your shared service and experiences will form the basis of lifelong friendships. You will encounter personalities that don’t exactly mesh with yours; these differences usually seem to rear their ugly head when you’ve been awake for 30 hours and your last nerve is nearly frazzled. But you know what? This is where patience comes in. You deal with it, compromise and hopefully they will too. At that point its not about either of you, its about getting the mission done.Being apart from your family will make your heart ache in a way you didn’t know possible, but this makes you cherish your time together even more.
Annapolis, Maryland has all the ingredients necessary for a great getaway; charming streets filled with history,a thriving restaurant scene and a prime location on the Chesapeake Bay all make for a perfect weekend break. Since I was in town for an event I was thrilled when my friend recommend I stay at the Loews Annapolis.Having recently stayed at the Loews Madison in Washington DC I knew I was in for a treat, the Loews brand focuses on easy luxury with a taste of the local destination.Located a few blocks from the bustle of Main Street, the Loews Annapolis is within walking distance of many of Annapolis’s best restaurants and popular sights but is quiet enough to be a true retreat to return to at the end of the day.
Mid-September is glorious time to visit the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwestern Virginia; the leaves are hinting at change, the days are bright and sunny while the nights are crisp but without the chill of October. In short its a perfect time to visit before the crowds arrive for the maroon and orange of Virginia Tech football and the crimsons and golds of autumn. When it comes to lodging in the Christiansburg/Blackburg area you basically have three options; camping (I like a hot shower at the end of the day,thank you), generic chain hotels (ok but only if I absolutely have to), and B&Bs.
When it comes to great fall travel the United States has some stiff competition from across the Atlantic. Cooler temperatures, fewer crowds and and a little festival known as Octoberfest draw visitors across the continent. From Glasgow to Budapest a few of my fellow bloggers share their best fall travel destinations in Europe.
As far as I’m concerned fall is the best season for travel. The air is a little cooler,summer’s crowds have died down and trees are set ablaze in yellows, russets and burgundies. Fall also brings forth a bevy of festivals and seasonal culinary delights. I asked a few of my fellow travel bloggers to share their favorite fall travel destinations in the US, from New England to California this list will surely have you packing your scarf and hiking boots for your next fall trip.
Simply put, Iceland is the Earth in its most raw and primal state.Visitors flock to Iceland to take in its natural splendors and no where is better suited to take them in than South Iceland. Easily accessible as a day trip from Reykjavik or as part of a trip around Iceland’s famed Ring Road; South Iceland packs in a bounty of natural sights, each one more spectacular than the last. Fire and ice, earth and wind; in Iceland the elements have combined to create one of the most varied and breathtaking landscapes on Earth. Here’s a look at just a few of the wonders you can take in during a visit to South Iceland.