Shermanstravel Blog

Food & Wine

Barcelona - Flickr_Ferran BCN

Flickr/Ferran BCN

With the euro now in favor of American travelers for the first time in many years, European cities with chic, cosmopolitan flair are an attractive travel option this summer. Barcelona is one of our current favorites, with its world-class architecture, museums, abundance of tapas restaurants, and seaside ambiance. Sure, flights are still seasonally priced — we found round-trip fares of $1,300 for mid-July between New York City and Barcelona — but what you’ll pay on the ground can easily make up for the flight. Here are five ways to explore Barcelona on a budget.

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Auckland photo1

Leah Still

When you arrive in Auckland to start your New Zealand vacation, your first thought may be to head straight out of town for the North Island’s greener pastures. But don’t make that mistake — the country’s largest city is often overlooked, allowing its lovely waterfront, revamped historical centers, and islands of Hauraki Gulf to go unvisited. If you have one day to spare, fill it with this on-foot itinerary (and don’t forget to pack those walking shoes!).

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desert landscape around mesa, arizona

Visit Mesa

Located in south central Arizona, less than 20 miles east of Phoenix, Mesa has all the diversions a traveler would want from the Southwest. You’ll find everything from outdoor playgrounds to fine dining to an “agrihood.” Standing guard nearby, Superstition Mountains provide plenty of natural adventures, too, with jagged peaks separated by rock-filled canyons and covered with saguaro cacti that reach tree-like heights. But perhaps the most compelling reason to make this destination your base is that a visit to Mesa costs just a fraction of a visit to its big-city neighbors. Lodging rates here, for starters, are 60 percent lower here than in Scottsdale.

Here’s what else you need to know about a great Mesa escape:

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tippy's - pineapple fields resort

Pineapple Fields Resort

Sinking your toes into pearly sands and sipping on a festive cocktail qualify as essential ingredients for enjoying a beach bar. But Caribbean joints require an extra component: music. After all, lounging beachside in the Caribbean isn’t quite complete without languid reggae rhythms, upbeat dancehall, or punchy cumbia notes — and all that music, more often than not, inspires some fun dance moves for a night. Here are the bars to hit up for the liveliest dancing.

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BWCI-winecountry-biking-11

www.backroads.com

Bicycling through wine country may have a few unexpected challenges — but it comes with oh-so-many rewards. Never been on a wine country cycling adventure? These six tips can get you on your way. Read more

All Aboard! 5 Dinner Cruises We Love

Facebook.com/TheWaterTable

Sure, they may be a little cheesy, but what’s wrong with combining a delicious dinner with exploring new sights? This is especially true when you consider the recent renaissance in culinary quality, service, and atmosphere in recent years. Here are just five favorites we love hopping onto for delicious eats and smooth sailing.

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Mai Tai Halekulani - best Hawaiian cocktail in Honolulu

Gillian G. Gaar/Mai Tai Halekulani

One of the great pleasures of being in Hawaii is sitting outside in the sun, sipping a tropical drink, while contemplating the gorgeous views on offer. Happily, there’s no shortage of cocktails to sample. And while rum is nearly as ubiquitous in a Hawaiian drink as a wedge of pineapple, a fresh orchid, or a small paper umbrella, it’s not the only ingredient you’ll find when you step out to imbibe. Here, five cocktails not to miss — and where to find them in Honolulu — on your next tropical trip.

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Pujol

Anne Roderique-Jones/Pujol

From dive-y taquerias to five-star restaurants, here’s where to eat best in Mexico City.

1. Pujol: Chef Enrique Olvera opened Pujol nearly 15 years ago, and the restaurant remains a cult favorite among foodies, both in Mexico City and beyond. The sleekly designed space, serving elegant takes on Mexican cuisine, is among the best in the nation, holding court to the 50 World’s Best Restaurant list each year. Don’t miss the dinner tasting menu — a steal at $90. Guests will experience six courses, including Olvera’s playful take on street snacks and a signature “happy ending.”

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American Bar at The Stafford Hotel in London

American Bar at The Stafford London

If you’ve ever tried to get a same-day reservation for afternoon tea in London on a weekend, you’ve likely found yourself out of luck. Places like the very trendy Sketch or the opulent Wolseley offer stellar teas with plenty of atmosphere, but they book up weeks in advance. Here, our favorite spot for sipping afternoon tea in London on a whim.  Read more

South Carolina Historical Society in the Fireproof Building, by Charleston's Washington Park

Walk up and down King Street in Charleston and it’s easy to see that money flirts with charm. So many cobblestoned paths lead to high-end hotels, wine bars, antique stores, restaurants, and apparel boutiques. But no worries, you can still carve out a quality weekend at this Southern hotspot without blowing a lot of cash.

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montreal street art tour - Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

With non-stop festivals and foodie delights at every turn, Montreal attracts hordes of tourists eager to sample the culture and style of this sophisticated metropolis. But after you’ve viewed a Cirque Du Soleil performance and munched on a St. Viateur bagel, it’s time to dig into Montreal’s more unexpected experiences. Here are some alternatives to the big-ticket attractions.

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lajollacove1

Connie Hum

La Jolla is often referred to as the “Jewel of California.” With its perpetual sunshine, white sand beaches, and aquamarine waters, it’s not hard to see why. The popular tourist destination isn’t just for beach bums, either. La Jolla boasts an eclectic mix of world-class cuisine ranging from street tacos to fine dining, as well as a thriving art and music scene. Here’s how to get the most out of this beach town — all for less than $75 a day.

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SouthIndia

Charu Suri

Practically its own sub-country with several vernaculars, South India is flanked by the natural bookends of the Eastern and Western Ghat mountains. Within this plateau heartland lies a nexus of rivers, dialects, and manmade wonders in the form of more than 30,000 temples. All in all, the peninsula encompasses the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala — as well as the often forgotten islands of Andaman and Lakshadweep.

It’s easy to see why the Tropic of Capricorn needs its own in-depth guidebook. But to start, for those who might be ambivalent about skipping South India in favor of more well-known gems in the north like the Taj Mahal, here are just three reasons to pause and reconsider.

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Rajasthan Farm Life - farm stay - I Like Local

i-likelocal.com

These days, travel is more and more about immersive experiences that help you truly connect with the destination’s culture. For those who love meeting the locals, here’s the latest resource to catch our attention: I Like Local, a website that offers local-led tours and activities in developing countries to help you head down the path less traveled. We like that the site gives 100 percent of the fees to the most important people involved — the expert guides — without charging them a service fee. For a taste of what’s offered, here are five adventures we’d love to embark on for glimpsing how another part of the world lives:

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Cabaret the Musical on broadway nyc

Cabaret the Musical

This post is sponsored by NewYork.com.

Planning a visit to the Big Apple? You’ve picked the perfect time to visit. After a long winter, things are kicking back into high gear all over the city. And for those who are looking for a single, easy way to organize the trip, NewYork.com is a one-stop shop where travelers can book a number of tours, shows, hotels, cruises, and more. If you’re already in the city or in the know? Score high on NewYork.com’s series of four New York IQ quizzes, running now through April 3, and be entered to win up to $2,000 worth of gift certificates good for any tickets and services on their site.

From the hottest restaurants to the best in Broadway, here are 10 great reasons for you to book a ticket to NYC right now.

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