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It’s no surprise that vacation rentals have stolen the hearts of savvy travelers everywhere. Great savings, extra amenities, even the chance to get some local advice…what’s not to love? The fact that HomeAway has hit one million listings — making its inventory almost twice the size of other similar companies — just comes to show how this once-alternative means of accommodation is going mainstream. To celebrate, we’ve rounded up five affordable rentals that you can book this summer and beyond, for a taste of something different:
1. Santa Teresa, Costa Rica: $80/night
For the design enthusiast, this Costa Rican rental delivers on one-of-a-kind digs with a futuristic, geodesic design. Sleeping four to five with two bedrooms spread over two floors, this villa is less than a five-minute walk to Santa Teresa Beah and the area’s shops and cafes. We recommend getting out early to beat the heat, then settling in for an afternoon siesta if the rain hits. And, don’t worry, the AC units are well-equipped to keep you cool. 4-night minimum.
Vacation rental properties have been a complete game changer for travelers looking for homey, affordable places to stay. They’re a great way to save money, especially for families and larger groups, and they offer all the amenities of home. You can often cook your own meals and wash your laundry at no extra charge.
Summer’s the time to get out and get on the trail – but why share a popular hike with the massive crowds when there are more serene paths to follow? For an outdoors experience that truly allows you to appreciate nature in all its glory and in ultimate peace, here’s where you should go:
Summer means open-air movies in many of the world’s cities, but not all open-air cinemas are created equal. Here’s a roundup of eight of the very best al fresco movie theaters where the surroundings rival the drama on-screen. Read more
Talk about elevated views. We thought Canada’s Glacier Walk was exhilarating, but a new program in Colorado is taking daredevil adventures to new heights. Kent Mountain Adventure Center is helping visitors camp out up to 500 feet off – not on – the side of a cliff near Estes Park.
Here’s how it works: Groups of one to three can choose from three elevations of 100, 300, or 500 feet. You’ll learn beginner-friendly climbing basics for getting there, then help your guide set up a “portaledge” to hang over the side of the cliff, overlooking the mountains of the Roosevelt National Forest. Stay for a few hours and enjoy lunch, or even stay overnight. While the platform doesn’t have a railing, not to worry – you’ll be tethered the entire time, and your guide will be nearby in case you need help. Lunch and overnight rates are, respectively: $500 and $1,000 for one; $400 and $800 per person for two; and $300 and $600 per person for three.
Of course, you don’t have to be a fearless thrill-seaker to enjoy the great outdoors in Estes Park. Just a 90-minute drive from Denver, the region offers endless outdoor activities. Here’s what else you can do in Estes Park this summer:
There are lots of reasons to take the train: amazing views, no security lines, no need for GPS, and you can even stretch your legs or get a snack. But a big pitfall is that tickets can be pricey. That’s why we’re happy to see these Amtrak deals, which are available right now:
Not to be confused with Mexico’s Independence Day on September 16, Cinco de Mayo traditionally commemorates Mexico’s freedom from France. Today, May 5 remains one of the most notable occasions for recognizing the country’s rich history – and people use the day as a good excuse to celebrate Mexican heritage in all its finest forms, from mariachi to margaritas. Here, five cities across the U.S. with festive (and mostly free) celebrations.
Foraging is a culinary trend that isn’t going away, and it’s only getting bigger in travel. Many credit the movement to chef René Redzepi of Noma, the Michelin-starred restaurant in Copenhagen that frequently tops “Best in the World” restaurant lists. And it makes sense, especially at a time when travelers are seeking local and immersive experiences, the appeal of foraging for your own food is clear. It’s a fresh way to connect with a destination; it’s wonderfully tactile; and it’s a reminder of the wonders that nature has to offer.
These days, foraging in travel goes beyond reserving tables at a restaurant with an adventurous chef. More and more foraging tours and excursions have popped up in many locales. Here, we’ve rounded up some ideas and destinations to get you started. Just keep in mind that there are dangers in gathering your own food – including risk of illness if you eat the wrong thing – and the issue of sustainability in the harvesting process. That’s why we suggest that you always connect with a local expert or company that specializes in foraging; you’ll also want to know the local regulations and best practices. Read more
It’s no secret that Denver brews good beer, and lots of it. From Great Divide, to Oskar Blues, to New Belgium, the front range of the Rockies is calling itself the “Napa Valley of beer” these days. And given that it hosts one of the world’s largest beer events every year in October, we’d have a hard time disagreeing. Hitting a few pubs should be on the list of every traveler to the Mile High City, and these lesser-known city breweries taste something you can’t get elsewhere. Plus, you’ll earn bonus points with the locals. Read more
Skiing can be glamorous and exciting, and unfortunately, expensive. But as the season wears on, discounts start to pop up for both lodging and lift tickets. Since it looks like most of the major ski destinations will have snow through the beginning of April, here are a few deals to consider for a March trip. This is only a selection, so if your favorite destination isn’t listed, be sure to dig deeper at your favorite area or mountain to see what’s on offer.
Not that anyone has ever accused Aspen, Colorado of not having enough restaurants, but we’re excited about chef David Burke’s new venture in town — his first restaurant in the western U.S.. Debuting in late March, David Burke Kitchen Aspen is set to be one of the hottest openings of the season. We recently chatted with the restauranteur and former Top Chef contestant about dry-aged beef, his favorite hotels, and why a Sam Adams at a local bar is the best beer you’ll have in Aspen. Read more
Plenty of resorts promise to leave you feeling “relaxed and refreshed,” but none are as likely to recharge your batteries as thoroughly as a body-and-mind-centering yoga retreat. Against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains, or the beach, or, heck, the Chicago skyline, gorgeous surroundings can help boost your inner calm. And plush accommodations and endless options for indoor and outdoor activities don’t hurt either. To help you sort through the pile, we’ve narrowed down the list into two categories, “splurge,” and “save.” Now, breathe in, and say “Ohm…”
Knot-busting Chinatown massages in New York City have all our love, but the biting cold of this blustery winter has us dreaming of a little extra pampering. That’s why we’ve focusing on spas with stellar amenities, stunning views, and other extras that make the treatments truly worth the indulgence. Go ahead, dive in… Read more
It’s the first day of the rest of the year, and for us, that means only one thing: time to start making new travel plans! We’ve got about a million and one ideas cooking, but to narrow the playing field a bit, we’re taking a closer look at where we can go on the cheap. Here, a sampling of the best deals to be had to kick off 2014 – better hurry, though, some of these expire in just a few days! Read more
For most concertgoers, heading to a local venue is a chore accomplished for one reason: to see a band or artist. The venue itself almost never plays a role in one’s decision to purchase a ticket, but as travelers, we know that the occasional venue speaks just as loudly as the act that’s filling it. For music lovers, there are a handful of venues that are routinely placed on a higher pedestal, and for good reason, whether for their acoustics, scenery, or sheer ability to attract concert-goers to such remote locations as: Read more
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