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Flight: booked. Hotel: reserved. Language podcasts: Completed. What else do you need to prepare before jetting off on vacation?
Most of us would probably never think that feeding pigeons in parts of Venice could get us fined as much as our plane tickets there cost. Likewise, while we always leave a substantial tip after dining at a restaurant in North America, the practice is a foreign concept to many international visitors. Needless to say, very diverse cultural customs abound around the world. Here are a few quirky ones that we love and think are useful to know for preventing cultural mishaps abroad.
Ice is melting, your heavy coats are finally put away, and that urge to get outside is starting to come back. After a brutal winter, spring has finally arrived. But instead of gently easing out of winter, we suggest diving in, head-first.
Shoulder season, that sweet spot between spring and summer, is an excellent excuse to travel, for two reasons: first, a wide array of beach destinations are already warm enough to enjoy in your bathing suit. Secondly, most travelers are waiting for the official start of summer to get away, which can lead to tremendous savings on lodging and meals for those who go now. Below, we offer ten outstanding, freshly thawed beach destinations – places where the crowds have yet to flock, and the prices have yet to hit their summer highs.
Huge, high-rise hotels have their benefits, but sometimes you just want an escape from the crowds, and a more intimate experience. Mexico’s Pacific Coast has a number of small, secluded boutique resorts where you can limit your exposure to others without limiting your choices of things to do. For your next trip, here are a few places to check out:
Whether it’s a packed cruise ship unloading throngs of boisterous passengers, or a mob of thirty college students tearing through town, an excess of tourists can make a destination go from in-demand to insufferable, just like that. Consider avoiding these played-out locales and shift your attention to nearby spots that are lesser-known, and more worthy of the term “vacation.”
Stuck forever in the era of boat-sized convertibles, Elvis memorabilia, and red-checkered tablecloths, these American-themed diners offer a nostalgic ride into ‘50s Americana while satisfying rumbling tummies. Although commonplace throughout the fifty states, you don’t tend to come across these neon-lit, chrome-plated structures anywhere else in the world. So if you happen to be abroad and craving a burger and a milkshake, here are twelve diners around the world that’ll transport you back home.
Visit the full slideshow here.
All-inclusive resorts are great at keeping their guests busy. Included yoga classes and dance lessons are a fun way to spend a less-than-sunny day, and free-to-use kayaks and snorkeling gear can get you away from the pool and into the ocean. But many resorts also offer additional activities and day-trips that aren’t covered by the basic all-inclusive rate. (Usually the division between included and not lies with the type of activity. If the activity is “non-motorized,” it’s probably included. If it requires a ride off the property or a heavy piece of equipment, it probably requires an additional fee.) The good news? In many cases, that additional fee is worth it.
The eight itineraries listed below will give you a sense of what’s available, and how much these day-trips cost. And keep in mind that these are just examples to show you the breadth of resort offerings. There are many other resorts that offer similar excursions.
Depending on the size (or existence) of the check coming your way post taxes, you could be looking at extra vacation money. And if you’re anything like us, money like that burns a deep, deep hole in your pocket. We thought you’d appreciate a few tips on ways to blow your tax refund on a trip in late April/May. Consider it a reward for getting them done in the first place. Read more
The Easter holidays are coming up, and if you’re searching for a budget-friendly family getaway, take a look at this offer from MSC Cruises, the only cruise line in which kids sail free year-round. Read more
To make the most of Cabo’s newest boutique hotel, El Ganzo, we suggest a minimum four-night stay, for purely practical reasons. To start with, the list of on-site activities is too long to be adequately covered in just one or two nights. From free bike rentals to kayaking in the Sea of Cortez to the full-service spa, the site is equipped with dozens of ways to keep guests entertained without ever having to leave the premises.
Second, the hotel is currently offering a round of value-loaded deals – exclusively for ShermansTravel readers – that each requires a four-night minimum stay. So why short-change yourself? Read more
On vacation, we tend to keep different schedules. That’s why, at 1 a.m., with all the regular restaurants closed and the bar having stopped serving food, you may decide you’re ready for dinner number two. Offering unique insight into local culture, late-night eats can enhance your travel experience as much as they can satisfy your craving. For a few bucks, you can fill up on local dishes like tacos, oyster omelets, and crepes, and get a candid glimpse into a city’s after-hours culture. Every country has a specialty; here are the best bites served past midnight in cities all over the world. Read more
With freezing temperatures across the country and what seems like an endless amount of snow this winter, it’s high time you treated yourself to a warm-weather escape at a reasonable price. Swap the white snow for the white-sand beaches of the Bahamas, unwind under palm trees on a week-long sail to the Caribbean or Mexico, traverse the famous Panama Canal while visiting tropical Aruba and Curacao, or island hop through Hawaii, all for under $1000. If slow cruising in luxury is more your speed, travel through the translucent waters surrounding the Seychelles on a yacht, visit ancient Mayan ruins on a cruise to Central America and the Caribbean, or drop anchor in exotic marvels of the South Pacific. So dig out of that snowbank and try one of these 10 warming cruises this season:
- $219+: 3-Night Bahamas Cruise w/Credit, Save 30%
- $299+: 7-Night Caribbean Cruise from Miami w/Credit
- $369+: 7-Night Caribbean Cruise Incl. Cayman Islands
- $494+: 7-Nt Pacific Coast Cruise on Princess w/Oceanview & More
- $789+: 10-Nt Panama Canal Cruise on Holland America w/Oceanview
- $969+: 7-Night, 4-Island Cruise to Hawaii in March
- $1650+: 7-Night Seychelles Yacht Cruise in March, Save 25%
- $2398+: 10-Nt Caribbean Upscale Cruise w/Air, Save 50%
- $4849+: 13-Nt Luxury South Pacific Cruise w/Oceanview & $125 Credit
- $4999+: 10-Night Luxury Bahamas & Bermuda Cruise
We’ve got something to lift your spirits today: As we move into spring break season, resorts throughout the Caribbean and eastern Mexico are likely to be either booked solid, or selling at a premium. Come April and early May, however, we’ll start to see those prices go down. For an early spring getaway, plan on kicking back on a remote island in South Carolina, St. Croix, or enjoying a stay at one of New Orleans’ most historic hotels. Read more
Ah, Mexico. In a country known for beautiful beaches, delicious food, and lively street festivals, it can be hard figuring out just where you’d like to spend your time. Perhaps a villa in Riviera Maya? Or a walkabout through historic Mexico City? Or maybe it’s a week hiding out in enchanting San Jose del Cabo, the “gateway to the Los Cabos Corridor,” as well as the town nearest to Los Cabos International Airport. Though lesser-known than its nonstop-partying neighbor to the west, Cabo San Lucas, it turns out the scenic coastal stretch of San Jose del Cabo is ideal for leisurely bike rides, seafood feasts, and carefree drives up the coast. All on a budget, of course. Here’s how to do it… Read more
Like a beautiful beach, margaritas come in all shapes and sizes. Some are poured like a martini, some are rimmed with a spicy-salt mixture. And some forsake the traditional ingredient, tequila, altogether in favor of more experimental spirits. This National Margarita Day (yes, that’s a holiday that exists, and where would we be without it?), which happens on February 21, we’re not looking to get tipsy on just any old cookie-cutter cocktail. We want to be wowed by some of the most inventive margaritas out there. Without further ado, here are 9 infusions guaranteed to wow your taste buds and satisfy your sense of adventure at the same time… Read more
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