Travel blog

Coit Tower: The Best Views of San Francisco




While most may think first of the Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman's Wharf when they envision San Francisco, there are a number of other landmarks that make the colorful California city famous, including the strikingly white art deco Coit Tower. This slender structure stands tall at the top of Telegraph Hill in northeast San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood. Coit Tower is an important part of the city's history and the view from the observation deck is one of San Francisco's best.




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Topics: Americas, History


Is There a Real Southfork Ranch?



Glamorous magnets for drama, the impossibly wealthy Ewing family dominated television from the late 1970s through the early 1990s on the primetime tv series Dallas. Their constant scheming, backstabbing, cheating, and deception gripped viewers—350 million people around the world tuned in on November 21, 1980, to find out who shot J.R.—and one of the most popular characters was the opulent setting itself.




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Topics: Americas, History


Inside the Golden Nugget Las Vegas



The Golden Nugget is a staple of Downtown Las Vegas. Built in the 40s, it’s weathered all of Sin City’s ups and downs, witnessed its transformation from a seedy, sandy place for guests to jettison their morals, to its modern iteration as the family friendly entertainment capital of the world.




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Topics: Americas, History


Golden California: How the Gold Rush Began in Sutter's Mill



Sutter’s Mill sawmill is nestled in a peaceful valley in Coloma, California at the base of the Sierra foothills. Surrounded by ponderosa pines, on an average early morning in the late 1840s, all you’d hear would be the trilling of birds, the rush of the breeze, and the gentle roar of the American River winding its way through the property.




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Topics: Americas, History


10 Tips for Enjoying the French Concession--Shanghai's Most Charming Neighborhood




In a city of 20 million, there is always noise. The commotion never stops—the rumble of traffic, the familiar din of the metro line, the early morning staccato of jackhammers. But beyond the cacophony and bright lights there is another Shanghai—the Former French Concession.

When China lost the Opium Wars in 1842, it was forced to open itself to foreign trade, and to cede portions of its cities to colonial powers including the United States, Japan, and various European countries. Shanghai sacrificed much of its territory in a series of concessions where swaths of the city were leased, occupied and governed by these foreign governments. The occupying government’s citizens were given the right to freely inhabit, trade, and travel in these concessions—in some cases Chinese citizens were no longer welcome—making the areas effectively little slices of that foreign country, inserted in the middle of Chinese cities.




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Topics: Asia, History


The Best Places to Travel With Your Mom





We have a lot to thank our mothers for. They’re the ones who carried us, who nurtured us, who showed us right from wrong, how to get over heartbreak, and the key to choosing the best watermelon (does it sound hollow when you tap it?). Our mothers are some of the most precious women in our lives, and Mother’s Day is the perfect day to celebrate them.

This year, why not rethink your Mother’s Day gift? Cooking classes and flowers are nice, but if you want to really treat your mom, don’t overlook the power of a well-planned experience. We have a list of options your mom is sure to love. These are the best places to travel with your mom—whether she wants to take a Bucket List European vacation, or to finally stand at the rim of the Grand Canyon, we have something for every style of traveler.

Not sure where to start? We can help you narrow down the kinds of trips your mom would like by determining her travel style. Here are eight of the most common styles we’ve seen, and the best affordable tours for each type!




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Topics: Asia, Americas, Planning a Vacation, Europe, Rose Parade, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Balloon Fiesta, History, New Zealand, International Travel


A Trip for Every Mother



Mothers come in all shapes, sizes, and personalities. Some express their love quietly, while others shout it out for everyone to hear. All of them love us, and on Mother’s Day, we get to remind them we love them right back. 

This Mother’s Day, why confine yourself to gifts of flowers and brunch? Show the mom in our life you really care by giving her the trip of a lifetime. Perhaps she’d like a romantic cruise for two, or maybe a land adventure. It all depends on what type of mom you have.

While we can’t say for sure which trip your mom would like best, we do know a little about what certain types of moms like. So, here’s a list of the most common moms we see on our tours, and the type of tours we most often see them on.




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Topics: Asia, Alaska, Americas, Europe, Hawaii, Rose Parade, US National Parks, New England/Canada, Balloon Fiesta, River Cruises, History


The Rose Queen Turns 100: The Tournament of Roses History




It was 1905 when a dark-haired girl named Hallie Woods sat solemnly on top of a float adorned with roses. Surrounded by a group of her classmates, this serious-faced student from Pasadena High school made her way down Colorado Boulevard to the cheers of the city. It was the first time in history a Rose Queen would make the storied trip. Ms. Woods was selected as the first Queen of the Tournament of Roses from among 16 other contestants, all of whom rode alongside her on a horse-drawn wagon she decorated herself.





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Topics: Americas, Rose Parade, History


Exploring Cologne’s Cathedral and Other Must-See Sites



You may have to catch your breath a time or two as you climb the 509 steps to the dizzying heights of the Cologne Cathedral gallery. Housed in the 318-foot south tower, it is the highest church tower in the entire world, and once the tallest man made construction of any kind on the planet. 




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Topics: Europe, River Cruises, History


A Total Eclipse of the Sun: Cody, Wyoming in August




This August everything will go dark as the moon passes between the sun and the earth. The solar eclipse, slated for August 21, will the first to be visible from the continental U.S. in almost four decades.




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Topics: Americas, History