Shermanstravel Blog

San Francisco

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

Musee MechaniqueTuck your wallet back into your pocket, because these San Francisco experiences are either completely free, or are nearly so. If you’ve already seen the city’s tourist icons on your San Francisco vacation, check out these six offbeat budget attractions for a different take on the city: Read more

American AirlinesA newly-launched service on American Airlines makes travel between New York and Los Angeles easier than ever, thanks to a compact, efficient in-flight experience aboard the Airbus A321T. Earlier this year, the airline introduced the planes to its fleet in an effort to cut down on fuel costs (the A321 is small, with only 66 seats) and offer a more intimate flying experience for the many travelers shuttling between East and West coasts.

At $472, a roundtrip Economy ticket is comparable to similar flights on Delta and United. What makes the A321T special – aside from the super sleek interiors, free WiFi, and the fact that it’s specifically designed for the transcontinental route that it flies – is its seat configuration. It’s currently the only domestic carrier offering three cabin options for flights between new York and Los Angeles, as well as New York and San Francisco.

So how does this benefit you, the traveler? Read more

Blue SmokeAfter the ride to the airport and the wait to get through security, the least you can expect from your airline of choice is a decent meal. But it rarely gets better than watery stir-fries or flavorless salads in the air. Maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ll get a good cookie. So we were pleasantly surprised to learn that a few airlines are making a concerted effort to bolster their food options by teaming up with reputable restaurant brands that seriously know their food. Here’s what’s being served up in the skies right now: Read more

FlightCarOne of the best things about boarding a plane to…well, anywhere, and getting away from it all, is leaving behind the nagging concerns of daily life. But a new peer-to-peer website is offering a way for travelers to make a little extra cash while they’re on the road by renting out one of their most basic domestic necessities: their car. Read more

Helsinki AirportAh, airport layovers. Few of us will ever actually look forward to them, but there are some airports where top-notch facilities make waiting for a connection much easier. Here’s a list… Read more

South AfricaIn recent seasons, ABC’s long-running series The Bachelor and The Bachelorette have quietly turned their attention from catfights, crying, and ill-fated proposals to routinely showcasing some of the world’s most beautiful destinations. Of course, there’s still over-the-top drama, but more and more, it’s set against a backdrop of bucket-list adventures in far-flung locales. So far this season, Juan Pablo and company have bungee-jumped off a bridge in Los Angeles and eaten insects at a food cart in Seoul, South Korea.

But you don’t have to have a harem of romantic hopefuls in tow – or ABC’s travel budget, for that matter – to enjoy some of these experiences. Here are a few ways travelers can enjoy some of the show’s around-the-world adventures. Who knows? It just might be your Most. Dramatic. Trip. Ever.

Read more

SONY DSC

We’re all huge fans of turning to social media for savvy travel tips, and Twitter is the first place we go for breaking news or obscure knowledge. But who knew that Quora is also rife with brilliant travel hacks? When this social media network first launched in 2009, it was poised to be the anti-Facebook. Today, it’s not so much that as it is an intellectual, knowledge-focused forum, and one apparently filled with wanderlusters. This past week, we discovered this thread with creative tips that will save time, save money, and even help you figure out where the locals go, nestled in Quora’s travel section. Below, some of the true gems from the conversation – no “bring an empty water bottle to the airport” here.

Read more

Hotel Healsburg SpaWhile the rest of us are busy planning our sun-filled spring break, a few travelers – perhaps wisely – are weighing their options and thinking of ways to save on a quick, rejuvenating getaway that won’t involve too much hassle. For west coasters, this is as easy as getting into your car. San Francisco in particular has a wealth of easy-to-get-to, ideal-for-a-quick-weekend wellness hotspots. Here are three places to consider if you happen to find yourself in the Bay, in need of some quality hot tub soaking, massaging, and yoga-induced bliss. Read more

transitappIt’s no secret that Google Maps is a lifesaver if you’re traveling without a car. Generally, this, and similar sites like Hopstop, are incredibly reliable for planning your travel route on public transportation. But what if you want more precise information – like when to leave for the station in order to make the next train, for example, or detailed schedules that tell you how often buses and trains arrive?

This is where locally-based transit apps come in. A whopping 246 public transit systems across the nation make schedule and GPS-generated location  data accessible to developers so they can incorporate them into new programs. Here are some of the best free transit apps for iOs and Android that are worth downloading before your next trip… Read more

Museum of Natural History - WhaleWe’re big fans of museums, wherever we go. And we’d never begrudge an amazing exhibit due support, particularly at smaller institutions that could use the help. But there’s no reason why travelers shouldn’t take advantage of free nights at various museums across the country. And there are more museums that offer suggested, donation-based entry than you might think.

Two notes before jumping into our roundup of free and pay-as-you-wish museum programs: First, this is not a definitive list, though we do plan on updating it regularly. Second, if you’re a Bank of America credit or debit card holder, don’t forget to check out the Museums on Us program. Flash your card (and ID) at 150 museums and cultural institutions across the country and you’ll get in free on Saturday and Sunday during the first full weekend of every month.  Read more

top_of_the_rock-620Ever used a CityPASS booklet? These bundled tickets for museums and attractions in tourism-heavy cities can save you lots of money – possibly. They claim to offer 50 percent savings on major attractions in 11 North American regions. But what’s included? And are these places that you’d actually want to explore?

The answer isn’t always straightforward, but it boils down to what your interests are and who you’re traveling with. Here, we explain how the CityPASS program works and assess the ticket value for some popular cities.  Read more

edinburgh.orgAre you ready for Burns Night? Celebrated every year in Scotland and throughout the Scottish diaspora, this January 25 holiday is a celebration of the life and work of Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns.

This year marks the 255th anniversary of  the poet’s birth and, as is the tradition, the day will be honored by people across the world sitting down to a Burns Supper. This is an occasion that follows a time-honored series of observances. First, guests are welcomed with bagpipes. Then, there’s the recitation of Burns’s pre-meal prayer, the  Selkirk Grace. Finally, there’s the “Address to a Haggis,” which was written by Burns in 1786 and is the centerpiece of the Burns Supper today. The poem was composed entirely in the Scots language, so you may need to get out your Scots-English dictionary in order to follow along. Read more

Air B&B PropertyIntrigued by the cost-saving hallmarks of vacation home rentals but haven’t yet taken the plunge? Let this sweet limited time deal on Airbnb sway you. For first-time users only, the site is offering a night free (up to $300) when you book a stay for two nights or more.   Read more

Moonrise

Like it or not, a big part of being a tourist involves waiting in line: at the hotel check-in desk, at the museum entrance, waiting for their tour guide to show up. But when it comes to seeing jaw-dropping views, here’s a more efficient use of your time: instead of one-stop observation decks, why not head to a high-up restaurant for lunch or dinner? You might not consider these traditional tourist attractions, but for the quality of the views (not to mention the meal itself!), these places will have you whipping out your camera in no time: Read more

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