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Medieval village & Abbey Saint Foy in Conques, Midi-Pyrénées, France

iStock

In the southwest region of France, the Midi-Pyrénées attracts throngs of French visitors each year. Yet, the area is unknown to many international travelers, and others who come through treat the area as a stopover on the 1,000-year-old Way of St. James pilgrimage. We think it’s time that that changes. After all, those in the know come here in search of a new experience — and are rewarded with gastronomy, history, and contemporary attractions. Here, a guide to the off-radar gems in the Midi-Pyrénées:

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Air France

Air France

With the summer winding down, it’s the perfect time to get a jump on fall and winter travel plans. Air France’s sale on business class airfare might provide the perfect incentive to get you to travel across the Atlantic to London, Paris, Amsterdam, or Rome in the coming months.

With the sale, round-trip flights from a number of U.S. cities like New York, Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, and Seattle are priced from $2,289. Fares require a minimum seven-day stay for travel between this November 1 and January 4, 2016, and you must book by September 3.

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Beach read

Flickr.com/keepitsurreal

Is there anything more exciting than deciding what books to take on vacation? What you’d read on a flight may not be what you’d want to read on the beach — and what you read on the beach may not be what you’d read when you’re camping. Plus, a good book can put a vacation into perspective. Whether on the Atlantic, in the forest, or road-tripping across the country, here are some travel memoirs that’ll have you covered for any adventure.

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Coco taxis, a motorbike-type taxi, is great for getting around in Havana Cuba

iStock

“Welcome to José Martí International Airport.” You’re here, finally, in Havana. The door of your plane has opened and the Caribbean humidity has wrapped you in its cloying embrace. Now what?

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Ibiza1 courtesy of Consell Insular d'Eivissa

Consell Insular d’Eivissa

The jetset island got its rep for a reason — this is the spot where the rich and famous flock once June rolls around. With a club scene that’s turned global, Ibiza attracts world renowned DJs and celebrities to its shores. But beyond the house music and electro there’s a whole other side to the Spanish island. The Old Town is teeming with tucked-away tapas bars; rock climbers scale the sides of 16th century fort-like towers; and untouched beaches draw snorkelers to their crystal clear water. Sure, you could spend your entire trip soaking up the party scene, but Ibiza also boasts incredible food and beachside resorts perfect for more low-key island retreats.

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Animator's Palate, Disney Magic

Christine Dayao/Animator’s Palate, Disney Magic

Disney Cruise Line is known for being kid-friendly, but contrary to popular belief, adults without kiddos can enjoy themselves on a Disney ship. From experience, we’ve been one of the many childless adults on board and have seen a number of families with fully grown “kids.”

So why are grown-ups opting to cruise with Disney? The food quality, entertainment, staff, and itineraries place the line on par with many premium cruises and certainly way above the budget ones. What’s more, there are so many activities for children, in parts of the ship designated for them, that you might not even notice them. In fact, grownups can even relax in their own special areas of the ship that are off-limits to kids — a policy that is strictly enforced.

Here, seven ways to get the best adult vacation on a Disney Cruise.

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Gothenburg Harbor, Sweden

Göran Assner for sweden.se/Gothenburg Harbor

Stockholm gets all the attention from travelers, thanks to its chic cafes and trendy restaurant scene. But those in the know are heading out west to Sweden’s second-largest city, Gothenburg, that’s equal parts university town and seaside retreat. Known as the Gateway to the West Coast, it’s the perfect starting point for sailing trips past thousands of islands and fishing villages along the coastline leading up to the Norwegian border. While Scandinavians make their way here during the summer holidays — renting homes along the coast — the city itself is a mecca of culture for travelers from all over. Most times of the year, you can spend a few days roaming in the city before heading to one of the nearby destinations. We set off exploring the city center by foot and tram to find out where the locals eat, play, and party — while still living on a budget.

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Some grumpy reviewers on TripAdvisor have no problem taking the world’s greatest travel attractions down a notch. (Photo: iStock)

By Sid Lipsey for Yahoo! Travel

They may be some of the most famous, most-visited landmarks on Earth. But not all of the world’s awe-inspiring sites inspire all visitors all the time. Maybe it’s long lines, maybe it’s rude staff, or maybe it’s the underwhelming attraction itself — whatever the reason plenty of places tourists put on their “must-see” lists end up on some travelers’ “wish-I’d-skipped-it” list.

Fortunately, their loss is our gain, in the form of cutting, often hilarious, reviews these disappointed travelers post online. Just for grins, we went through some of TripAdvisor’s one-star reviews of of the world’s most popular tourist attractions. Here are the best bad reviews we found  — proof positive that you really can’t please everybody.

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jetblue a321

JetBlue Airways

If you aren’t a business traveler who flies frequently on your company’s dime, it can be really, really difficult to achieve airline status — especially at a time when most companies have started to award points based on fare rather than mileage traveled. But there’s good news for JetBlue fans this week: The airline has launched what it’s calling a 90-Day Challenge that’ll let you get Mosaic status a bit more easily.

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Bay St. Louis Beach

Melanie Warner Spencer/Bay St. Louis Beach

After two or three days in the picturesque seaside town of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, don’t be surprised to find yourself sorting through condo and beach house listings. One of the hardest hit areas by Hurricane Katrina, this sleepy Gulf Coast treasure is back 10 years later better than ever. The colorful clapboard houses and Craftsman bungalows overlook the Bay, and there are shops, eateries, and nearby casinos. Here, your guide to a long weekend in the Bay — chock-full of laid-back, beach-y fun.

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royal caribbean international harmony of the seas - new water park slides

Royal Caribbean International

Which cruise lines are making headlines this week? Travel journalist Donna Tunney — ShermansTravel’s cruise expert — has all the latest news. Check back every Tuesday for trends, new amenities, and money-saving ideas that help you plan a perfect vacation at sea.

A 10-story water slide with a 100-foot plunge is coming to the seas.
More specifically, the “Ultimate Abyss” will debut onboard Royal Caribbean International’s new megaship Harmony of the Seas next May, complementing other waterpark features — like the trio of slides and an interactive “waterscape” with water cannons and a huge drench bucket. (See the cruise line’s cheeky photo that shows where the huge slide will go.) The 16-deck ship will cruise its first summer season in Europe before arriving in Fort Lauderdale next November.
A five-night Western Mediterranean cruise next June starts at $686 per person, based on double occupancy.

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Instagram wall at Hotel Lucia, Portland, Oregon

Hotel Lucia/Instagram wall

Saving on travel just got a whole lot easier. Well, if you’re a social media addict, at least. Hotel brands like Kimpton and Marriott are already rewarding active social media users, with a slew of boutique accommodations following suit. Goals vary, but it’s safe to assume that properties are aiming to increase visibility on social media and to ultimately garner more bookings. So, the next time you’re tempted to scour the web for hotel deals, consider Tweeting instead for points and perks.

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Vancouver skyline aerial

Tourism Vancouver

We love the cosmopolitan excursions in Vancouver as much as the next traveler, but we’re also huge fans of the fact that it’s a great gateway to surrounding outdoorsy adventures. After all, the city is flanked by mountains, forests, and the Pacific coast. Best of all, plenty of these escapes are accessible as day trips.

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Heathrow VIP, which includes car service to plane on tarmac

Heathrow Airport

We’re kicking off this week with a little daydreaming: When money is no object, the airport experience can actually be pretty sweet. Every large carrier offers rather luxurious perks to top-tier passengers, ranging from private check-in to car service to your plane on the tarmac, most often found at the airline’s hub or home airports. Here, seven of the ultimate airport VIP experiences to add to your bucket list of dream travel experiences.

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whereto travel app shermanstravel

Dear Reader,

Travel should always inspire us. But who hasn’t stared blankly at an airline website, or faced the daunting set of choices in a hotel booking engine, hoping that they’re making the right decision? The time spent away from the bustle of our daily lives is so precious, and travel is such a complicated, expensive endeavor. No wonder we’re all feeling a little overwhelmed at the number of options out there. Plus, isn’t travel supposed to be fun?

We here at ShermansTravel believe that it should always be fun — and that the process of discovering and booking your next trip should come with a little bit of its own wonder and excitement. Enter our new vacation recommendation app, WhereTo.

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