Shermanstravel Blog

Arts & Culture

Alaska - Columbia Glacier - Prince Williams Sound - 620 - by Nomadic LassBelieve it or not, there are many ways to see Alaska without taking a cruise, lovely and hassle-free though they may be. Whether you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to cruising, want to see the land up-close, or simply want more control during your trip, here are three excellent, affordable ways to travel through the “Last Frontier.”

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Skellig MichaelBarcelona has its Sagrada Familia. Sydney has its white-hooded Opera House. And other places? Well, they’ve got steps – lots and lots of them. As the examples illustrate below, epic staircases aren’t just a way to reach higher ground. They can be major attractions unto themselves. From the fabled Ha’iku Ladder in Hawaii, to Norway’s never-ending Flørli Steps, these jaw-dropping ascents aren’t for the faint of heart. But once you get to the top, we think you’ll agree the views more than make up for the effort. Read more

ReichstagCompared to most of Western Europe, Berlin is a bargain. Hotel rooms cost about half the price of rooms in Paris or London, and it’s easy to fill your belly for fewer than five bucks. The city’s affordable activities and creative spirit make it a budget traveler’s dream. And there are plenty of free things to do — from museums and monuments, to public parks and open-air karaoke. Here are some of the best free things to do in Berlin. Read more

SantaCruzBest-known as a home to college kids, surfers, and hippies, the California town of Santa Cruz has a few less stereotypical, newsworthy attractions to boast of this year. Best of all, most of these are cheap (or even free) and you’ll spend less than $25 on gas to make a round-trip from San Francisco. Here’s what to do on a day trip. Read more

havana - cuba 1For a minute, let’s remove those Cuban stereotypes – you know, Castro, communism, and Teddy Roosevelt riding through Santiago, Cuba like the mustached maven portrayed in Night at the Museum. For decades, while America upheld its embargo on Cuba, millions of tourists from Canada and western Europe have flocked to the white sandy beaches at Jardines del Ray, or strolled the cobblestone streets in colonial Trinidad.

But things are rapidly changing: already, in the first third of 2014, Cuba’s seen more American tourists than Germans, Brits, and French visitors from all of last year, accounting for the second highest tourism earnings behind Canada. But that doesn’t mean traveling to Cuba from the U.S. is suddenly easy: the U.S. still holds a fifty-year trade embargo on the communist nation, and, without the guise of a foreign passport (or perhaps a fake Canadian accent), navigating those 90 miles south of Florida requires careful planning. Here’s how to do it… Read more

i-stockThere are many reasons to visit Cartagena, Colombia’s Caribbean gem, from its stunning old town, to its proximity to tropical islands and white-sand beaches, to its incredible Creole cuisine. For lovers of stylish boutique hotels, this fairy-tale city impresses with a wealth of affordable options, all of which offer great style (from traditional to quirky), impeccable service, and great rates.

Here are our three favorite Cartagena boutique hotels that won’t break the bank:

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OjaiOften lost in the shadow of coastal spots like Santa Barbara, Paso Robles, and Los Angeles, the inland orchard town of Ojai is a remote hideaway popular with spa-happy travelers with their hearts set on real R&R. The name means “Valley of the Moon” in the Ventureno Native American language, and the land is considered by many to have powerful healing properties. Despite the small-town feel, the experience of staying there doesn’t necessarily come at a discount, partially because it’s become a favorite among Hollywood stars. Here are a few ways to experience Ojai without breaking the bank:

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Wild DunesYou put in an order weeks ago to make sure mom gets flowers on Mother’s Day.  We even did a roundup of great travel deals, so you can whisk her away on vacation. But what about Dad? The latter holiday, which falls on June 15, tends to get lost in the shuffle between graduation season and the beginning of summer. This year, take advantage of off-season travel deals to take Dad on a trip he’ll never forget. From a beachside resort in the Caribbean, to a golf-themed southern getaway, here are five affordable itineraries you can book right now:

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StockholmSweden’s capital may have a reputation for being expensive (restaurant prices are 15 percent higher than in New York), but those who live in the city full-time know how to hang onto their Krona. Here are some tips on low prices go, straight from the mouths of in-the-know locals…

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aPPTourists can’t be expected to hit the pavement, explore all the important neighborhoods, and line up outside museums all day long. Even with travel, it’s good to squeeze in a little down time. That’s where technology comes in pretty handy: between tablets, smartphones, apps, and streaming digital video, we can now summon pretty much whatever entertainment we want, whenever we want it, wherever we are. The next time you’re relaxing in your hotel room, or stuck at the airport, consider these five apps as a fun way to while away a few hours.

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bronson gate 1From Superman stopping the Earth’s rotation, to locals fending off a twenty-foot great white shark, Hollywood has given us plenty of moments where we scratch our heads and wonder, “How’d they do that?” Most of the time, that on-screen magic is simply the result of hard-working studio technicians, cameramen, and a well-equipped sound stage. And for movie lovers vacationing in California’s entertainment capital, it’s possible to take a spin around the studios where the magic happens. Here are five tours that’ll take you backstage on Tinseltown’s most famous sets: Read more

BeverlyHillsBeverly Hills has a lot more to offer than meets the eye.  And of course, what immediately meets the eye is the Beverly Hills Hotel; the 90201 TV series; Rodeo Drive; and the entire movie industry. But few visitors realize that Beverly Hills, which celebrated its centennial in January, was originally known for its ranches and rodeos, as well as agriculture — rather humble beginnings for a city that is now synonymous with money and flash.

And if you’re looking for the glitz, it’s certainly there for the taking: In honor of the 100th anniversary, five luxury hotels (The Beverly Hills Hotel & Bungalows, Montage Beverly Hills, The Beverly Hilton, L’Ermitage Beverly Hills, and The Peninsula Beverly Hills) have created the Suite 100 initiative in which each property decorates a suite so that guests can experience luxury in a particular era. From the Film Noir suite at the Montage Beverly Hills to the Golden Age Inspired by Marilyn Monroe room at the Beverly Hills Hotel, each of the properties will serve up period-inspired decadence for a steep price (around $1,900 per night).

For those of us who want to travel here without spending like an heiress, here’s how to do it:

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bordeaux-fromagerie-deruelle-christine-wei-3Wine. Cheese. Seafood. These are the hallmarks of local cuisine in Bordeaux. But that doesn’t mean you need to spend a year’s savings to eat and drink well. Here are the best, affordable places to tuck in, plus some additional advice on where to stay and what to do when you’re in town.

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AkkoWith its small land mass and relatively easy public transportation system, Israel lends itself to quick, mad-dash side-trips for those intent on seeing as much of the country as possible in a short amount of time. Of course, you could easily spend weeks leisurely making your way up and down the Mediterranean coast, stopping in at desert-surrounded kibbutz-style hotels and remote mountain towns along the way. Or book a vacation package, like the one featured in our Top 25 this week, which takes you all over the country. But for those who find themselves in Tel Aviv, here are three easy day trips reachable in 45 minutes, 1 hour, or 1.5 hours from the bustling capital:

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Last month, a report claimed that a fifth of the 720 UNESCO World Heritage Sites could be at risk of drowning due to climate change and rising sea levels. In the spirit of not taking these sites for granted, we’ve rounded up a few of the landmarks on the list that may not be as well known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa or the Statue of Liberty – but are just as stunning and worthy of any traveler’s bucket list. See them while they still exist…

Kinderdijk - Lucas Hirschegger - 620

Kinderdijk-Elshout Mill Network, Netherlands
Kinderdijk, a low-lying town in the Netherlands, had been kept dry since the 1940s by a network of 19 windmills together with more modern pumping stations, storage basins, and sluices. The risk of flooding for the still-operational mills is obvious. While you can, we highly encourage driving along the neighboring trail – it feels like stepping onto the set of a perfectly scenic Dutch movie. Read more

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