All posts by Karen Gardiner

Karen comes from a small town in Scotland and, before moving to New York City, lived in Japan, Chile, Australia, the Czech Republic and Iceland. Her writing has appeared at The Guardian, BBC Travel, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Bridal Guide and more. Find her at her website, on Twitter and at karenlgardiner@gmail.com
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Facebook/Barbados Tourism Encyclopedia
Facebook/Barbados Tourism Encyclopedia

For many of us, the long cold nights of winter inspire dreams of jetting off to someplace warm. But, this season, why not shake things up a bit? Instead of falling back on the tried-and-tested winter hot spots, choose someplace new instead. Popular Destination: Jamaica Go Instead: Barbados Often overlooked by U.S.... Read More

Hotel MidMost/Facebook
Hotel MidMost/Facebook

When Barcelona’s Hotel Inglaterra changed its name to MidMost this summer, the hotel owners kept the transformation a secret from the public. Guests who checked into Hotel Inglaterra the night before were surprised to be told that they had woken up in Hotel MidMost. Although the change was subtle... Read More

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LisbonTramPublicTransit
Lisbon Tram/Flickr: We Love Lisbon

Even if you prefer to avoid mass transit in your day-to-day life, there are a few places where riding a bus, tram, or ferry can be the highlight of your vacation. The following public transportation services offer views as good as or better than you would get on a... Read More

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 Black Forest/flickr/Roman Boed
Black Forest/flickr/Roman Boed

We’ve already made the case for why traveling through Europe by rail often beats booking with the budget airlines. But if that wasn’t enough to convince you, we think that images of some of the most beautiful train routes, all bookable with a Eurail pass, will seal the deal. The... Read More

Flickr/Shawn Harquail
Flickr/Shawn Harquail

A rite of passage for carefree teenagers and recent college graduates, the gap year is increasingly attractive to even those of more advanced ages. In 2013, The Independent reported that between 2012 and 2013 the percentage of career gappers in their mid-thirties and over jumped from eight percent to more than... Read More

Lisbon Oriente/Flickr: spbatt
Lisbon Oriente/Flickr: spbatt

From Brexit and the Greek crisis to the state of Spanish politics, Europe may be in a turbulent period right now but, for visitors, there is one travel service that reliably sews the continent together: the Eurail pass, now nearly sixty years old. Eurail was established at another critical time in... Read More

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Flickr/Steven Pisano
Flickr/Steven Pisano Flickr/Steven Pisano

We are not all lucky enough to have close and knowledgeable friends in every city we visit. Luckily, there are a handful of audio tour guides that can fill in. The following audio tours can discretely (and affordably) be downloaded onto your phone and offer experiences that bring you... Read More

Koh Samui/Flickr/Jin-in-Uk
Koh Samui/Flickr/Jin-in-Uk

The perennially popular Thai island of Koh Samui has been a mainstay on the backpacker circuit for quite some time now. Over the past decade or so, a broader swathe of accommodation options have opened up on the Central Gulf Coast island, leading to an influx of more discerning... Read More

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Geraldine Tso Artist Room/Courtesy Nativo Lodge
Geraldine Tso Artist Room/Courtesy Nativo Lodge

The rise of the art hotel has been one of the biggest, and most pleasing, trends over the past few years. More and more hotels are taking in-room artwork to the next level: from the 21c hybrid hotel/contemporary art museum chain, to artist-in-residence programming, and even a specially commissioned... Read More

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 flickr/Tatiana Avdjiev/nedim chaabene
flickr/Tatiana Avdjiev/nedim chaabene

As airlines get stricter with baggage allowances, travelers need to pack wisely. When flying from the U.S. to Europe, Delta, United, and American will only check your first suitcase for free, charging $100 for the second, and some European airlines like Swiss and Lufthansa charge a hefty $200. All the more reason... Read More

Wat Pho/Flickr/Justin C
Wat Pho/Flickr/Justin C

No one’s judging if you want to spend your entire Thailand vacation sunbathing, shopping, and drinking Singha. But if you’re the type of traveler who likes to return from a trip with a deeper understanding of the places you’ve been, Thailand offers that in the form of (affordable) classes in various Thai disciplines.... Read More

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Anantara Golden Triangle/Karen Gardiner
Anantara Golden Triangle/Karen Gardiner

Given the elephant’s association with royalty and Buddhism, and its historical role in battle and industry, anyone who has visited Thailand will be familiar with the Kingdom’s reverence for these gentle giants. Yet despite the strong bond between Thai people and their national animal, the situation of elephants in Thailand is... Read More

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Bath/Karen Gardiner
Bath/Karen Gardiner

Though long-famed for its exquisite Georgian architecture, historic sites, and Jane Austen connection, the English city of Bath (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) for a long time lacked the very thing that made it famous back in its Roman days. Access to the city’s naturally occurring (and purportedly healing)... Read More

Courtesy Timebased
Timebased

Every August when the world’s largest arts festival hits Edinburgh, the population of the Scottish capital more than doubles. For visitors, that inevitably means that hotels — if not already booked up months in advance — raise their rates accordingly. Take the limited-service budget brand Tunes Hotels. Their Edinburgh... Read More

Courtesy Design Hotels
Design Hotels

Renowned Dutch designer Piet Boon‘s eponymous hotel on the Caribbean island of Bonaire is a sleek collection of beachfront villas, each one individually designed in his signature sophisticated style. Bringing beautiful architecture to a dreamy island setting, Piet Boon Bonaire has been a favored nest on the tranquil island... Read More