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Courtesy of Barcelo Bávaro Beach Resort

All-inclusive resorts take the effort out of vacationing—you pay upfront, you don’t have to make an itinerary, and you have access to great food and entertainment onsite. But, all-inclusive resorts have a few other advantages over the traditional resort experience. Here are five things that might surprise you about all-inclusive resorts.

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By Jennifer Billock for Yahoo! Travel

The Sámi watched the northern lights with reverence. Traditional beliefs among northern Scandinavia’s indigenous population say that the aurora is actually the energy of departing souls. According to folklore, if someone whistled underneath the lights, the aurora would swoop down, pick them up, and carry them away into the swirling colors.

But while a whistle may not really spark a show, we thankfully don’t have to go arctic to see the fire. That’s right — you can view the aurora’s dazzling display throughout the U.S., too. As long as conditions are right, the night sky will be ready to wow you.

Find Your Spot

How to Be Wowed By the Northern Lights in the U.S.

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Backyard_Firepit_in_Snow_Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe

Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe

If your husband, girlfriend, friends, or family members love to ski and snowboard — but you’d rather have a root canal than slide down a steep hill with plastic sticks on your feet — you just need to rethink what a vacation to a snowy, slope-y destination can truly entail. Many resorts these days offer gourmet food, trendy bars, and spas galore, and the destinations below allow you to turn a ski trip into a getaway you’ll actually enjoy.

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Will McGough

While Papua New Guinea may be a burgeoning destination, it certainly isn’t cheap. Due to the mining industry and the presence of Exxon and WHO, rent prices in the country’s capital, Port Moresby, are on par with those in some of the world’s most-visited cities like Paris. Though the cost of living decreases once you get out of the capital and into other areas, traveling within the country will cost you due to the lack of infrastructure and high fuel costs. This means flying or doubling-up with a car and a boat — so know that if you want to travel through the country, transportation costs will be your biggest burden. For this reason, most people who visit the country pick a place and stay put.

The good news is that one of the most popular landing spots, the coastal town of Alotau, is one of the more affordable once you actually get there. It’s a 45-minute flight from Ports Moresby and a launching point to explore WHAT Bay, highly regarded for its scuba diving, seaside villages, and historical islands. Alotau is unique in that’s its been able to offer what the rest of the country cannot: High-value lodging and easy access to a wide range of experiences.

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620 - British Museum - Kaitlin Larese

Kaitlin Larese

Even with the dollar gaining strength, visiting London can still be expensive for Americans. But this capital city is no less an easy and memorable trip. While we certainly recommend popular paid attractions like the London Eye and London Aquarium for first-timers, there are also plenty of free things to do for hours so that a trip here won’t cost a fortune. With multi-generational travel on the rise and London being a popular extended vacation — perfect for those school breaks — here’s an affordable guide to the city for all ages.

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Matt Harrington

TV host and cookbook author Katie Lee loves to travel: St. Bart’s for surfing, shopping markets in India, and browsing bazaars in Morroco. One place she hasn’t been? Machu Picchu. Before she makes it to Peru, though, she’ll host a lot of out of town guests in her home (something she loves to do). In our one-on-one interview, Katie talks to us about her carry-on items, traveling routines, and her favorite place to visit abroad (hint: it’s in Africa)!

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The Evelyn, A Triumph Hotel_ Executive Suite

The Evelyn, A Triumph Hotel

From refined Midtown luxury to chic downtown style, Triumph Hotels — which debuted just in February 2014 — is a collection of six boutique Manhattan hotels, with one more joining by the end of the year. Currently,  The Iroquois New York, Hotel Chandler, Hotel Belleclaire, The Cosmopolitan, The Evelyn, and The Washington Jefferson each offer a distinct take on the city experience, with its own history, architecture and design, services, and notable locations. Here, six more reasons to stay at one of these affordable luxurious hotels in New York City.

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Caroline Eubanks

It may seem exotic to visit Thailand and hop on the back of an elephant for the perfect Facebook profile pic. Or to hold a primate in the wild. But it’s important to practice responsible tourism as you seek new experiences. Here, three companies that allow any animal-lover to immerse themselves in wildlife, all while still supporting the beloved creatures.

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Alpino Vino

Telluride Ski Resort

Great food? Check. Incredible views? Check. Easy access? Well… you’ll have to work a bit for it. These seven back-country restaurants require patrons to board a snowcat or step into a pair of skis — but the effort will be totally worth it.

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1 MGM Grand Hotel and Casino

Each year, countless Americans make the New Year’s resolution to work on their wellness and get healthier. We’ve already told you about the ways you can stay healthy on vacation, but for those who’d like to incorporate a healthier lifestyle right down to their hotel stay, check into one of these wellness-and-fitness-focused rooms to maintain that resolution.

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Green ghent

When you think “green” cities in Europe, Ghent — the medieval Belgian city with a population only slightly bigger than it was during the Middle Ages — probably wouldn’t even be a blip on your radar. But just last month, the city approved the construction of what will become the world’s largest bio plant, just one part of the many eco-friendly initiatives the city’s enacted over the past decade. Here’s how to see the Ghent’s eco side:

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first aid kit - travel medicine essentials - what to pack - pixabay

Pixabay

Getting sick while traveling is no fun. Not only can it slow you down and keep you from enjoying your destination, it can also be a costly expense. Visiting a doctor in a foreign country, after all, probably isn’t part of your health plan — and buying medicine cabinet essentials in a resort gift shop or on a cruise ship isn’t going to be budget-friendly either.

The good news is that most of what you’ll ever need will fit into your carry-on. These simple lifesavers are tiny and lightweight — and none of them are in liquid form, so they won’t take up precious room in your TSA-approved quart-sized bag of toiletries.

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Go Turkey

Istanbul might be snowy during the winter, but visiting in low season means more discounts, fewer crowds, and time for (warm) pleasures like historic museums and contemporary art galleries. While it’s not too cold to shop your way through Istanbul’s famous street markets during the day, it’s easy to relax in cafés like the renown Mado Café when the sun sets, snuggling up to traditional drinks like Turkish tea, Turkish coffee, and sahlep — a sweet, milky, and cinnamon-y beverage. Here’s a guide:

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D Hotel del Coronado – Facebook

Facebook/Hotel del Coronado

We love lacing up our skates in the winter — it’s a great way to stay active and warm up even as the temps drop below freezing. Even more, we love doing so at rinks with great views, whether it’s mountain vistas, starry skies by the beach, or historical monuments in the background. Here are some of our favorite places to try to land that triple axel. (Remember to layer up and bring some thick socks!)

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Hotel Lincoln - Chicago

Hotel Lincoln

It’s not too late to make holiday travel plans — especially when you can score a great hotel deal. Two Chicago hotels are offering sub-$200 rates right now, encouraging visitors to enjoy the best of the Windy City’s twinkling lights and steaming cups of hot cocoa. Whether you’re looking to do some shopping or some ice skating, these themed packages will hit the spot.

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