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nov 25 2014

Coolest Small Town Nominations End on TUESDAY!

Galena, Illinois, was one of our 2014 finalists for America's Coolest Small Town! You have until 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, December 2, to get YOUR picture-perfect American town nominated.

(Dustin88/Dreamstime)

We are thrilled tp see so many awesome towns toot their own horns during the online nominations for America's Coolest Small Town 2015! Congrats to Hillsborough and Washington, two towns in North Carolina that have done a truly magnificent job of rallying their supporters—and they sure have gotten our attention! But there's still time to get your town noticed—online nominations run until 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, December 2. Will your town join the ranks of Huron, Ohio; Delhi, New York; and Allegan, Michigan? Those burghs are some of the highest ranking in our nominations, and we have enjoyed getting to know a lot more about what makes them so, well, cool.

nov 24 2014

The Rich Flavors of Cambodian Cuisine

Typical Cambodian Breakfast
(Courtesy Andrew Kolasinski)

The waitress brought exactly what I ordered, but it still came as a surprise. Instead of a plate, my Fish Amok was served in a coconut shell. The classic Cambodian dish was presented made with freshly caught fish from the Gulf of Thailand.

Cambodia's culinary traditions are made with the bounty of the land and water, with influences brought by successive invaders and visitors that have given variety to the Khmer approach to preparing food. The annual monsoon floods enrich the soil around the Mekong and Tonei Sap. The river system is one of the most diverse habitats on earth, and fishing has always been central to the Khmer economy.

nov 22 2014

Don't Miss These Black Friday and Cyber Monday Travel Sales!

Copamarina Beach Resort in Puerto Rico

You can save 30 percent on a stay at the Copamarina Beach Resort in Puerto Rico thanks to their Cyber Monday travel deal.

(Courtesy Copamarina Beach Resort)

Check out these hotels, resorts, and travel packages that will be on sale for Black Friday and Cyber Monday—and one sale that takes place the Wednesday after Thanksgiving.

BEFORE BLACK FRIDAY

Starting Monday, Nov. 24th, you can score up to 87 percent off lift tickets at more than 120 resorts with Liftopia's Black Friday Preview sale. Liftopia gift cards are also available for every ski and snowboard lover on your list. Visit this website to see more than 117,000 deals with lift tickets starting at $7.50 a day.

nov 21 2014

Jet Lag: The Struggle Is Real

Airplane_skyscanner
(Courtesy ajjordan2/myBudgetTravel)

Just so you know, I originally started writing this post at 3 a.m. Why? Because I'm wired. Curse you, jet lag!

First of all, I want to say thank you to all our readers who chimed in with advice for surviving long flights a few weeks ago when I was preparing to take the longest flight of my life. I'm happy to report that I had a wonderful time traveling around Vietnam with World Spree, meeting the lovely and warm-hearted Vietnamese people, learning about the country's vast history, getting a chance to explore Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Hue, Hanoi, and Ha Long Bay—and, my favorite part, sampling spring rolls and other amazing Vietnamese food along the way.

nov 19 2014

The "Starry Night" Bike Path Is Like Nothing You've Ever Seen!

What's your favorite painting? Hold that image in your mind for a sec, then imagine the brushstrokes, shapes, and colors brought to life—so you could actually walk right in. Whoa. Right?

Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde has brought my favorite painting to life in a unique way that melds contemporary technology with a masterpiece of 19th-century art: Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Night." The Starry Night Bike Path, a winding half-mile in the city of Eindhoven that is illuminated by thousands of LED lights and special paint, interprets the swirling shapes and colors of Van Gogh's painting. I don't know about you, but for me the work of Van Gogh is highly personal—as if the artist, with his dramatic strokes and thick layers of paint, is reaching out to me across the years, teaching me a new way to see and feel. I'm psyched that a contemporary artist is attempting to transport an audience in a similar way. Roosegaarde has spoken enthusiastically about how the path, which opened to the public on November 13, makes a statement about technology and cultural history—and is also a popular spot for first dates. What's not to love?

nov 17 2014

"Secret Menus" of America's Favorite Fast Food Joints!

(Karsten Behrens/Wikimedia Commons)

"Off the menu" has an elegant ring to it, no? We associate the phrase with high rollers and celebs who are certain the chef has something up his or her sleeve that they're not broadcasting to the world. Well, it turns out you don't have to be on the A-list to order off the menu—and you don't have to be dining at a white tablecloth joint to make special requests. Our friends at Foursquare have compiled tips left by their users—always a great resource for real-life feedback—about some of America's favorite off-the-menu orders from affordable, quality chain restaurants. From imaginative and messy riffs on burgers to unusual twists on pizza, sandwiches, and burritos, there's a little something here for everyone.

nov 14 2014

Visiting Chiang Mai’s Flower Festival

Chiang Mai Flower Festival
(Courtesy Andrew Kolasinski)

In the hills of northern Thailand, lush jungle, farms, and fruit trees rolled past the train window. As we neared Chiang Mai a fellow passenger cautioned me that the Flower Festival would fill every room in town. I hadn't made a reservation. It was a chore, but eventually I found a room. My hotel was pricey, but right on Kotchasarin Road, on the eastern side of the Moat Road that encloses the old city, a 700-year-old defensive rampart and canal built against the encroaching Burmese.

nov 13 2014

It's Island Time, and Fiji Is Calling Your Name!

(Kelpfish/Dreamstime)

What's on your mind? If you're like most Budget Travelers, as the temps go down your thoughts turn to… islands!

We recently named Fiji one of the 10 Most Romantic Islands in the World, and we're putting our money where our mouth is by making the South Pacific paradise even more affordable than ever: We're giving away a trip for two. The winner will receive a flight from Los Angeles to Fiji and five nights' accommodations, including breakfast, at Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa on Denarau Island (where you can indulge in spa treatments, water sports, or just relax on a private beach). ENTER HERE

nov 13 2014

Bring Home a Taste of the Islands—With the Original Piña Colada Recipe!

Say "piña colada." It rolls off the tongue nicely, doesn't it? And you might as well have said "party!" Did you know that the iconic tropical drink was originally created at Caribe Hilton, in Puerto Rico, in 1954 by bartender Ramón "Monchito" Marrero? The creative mixologist whipped up the classic and continued to serve up the tasty blend of rum, coconut, and pineapple until his retirement in 1989. The drink is now the official drink of Puerto Rico (which is one of our favorite affordable indulgences in the Caribbean).

nov 13 2014

Eat, Drink, and Laugh in L.A.! A Whole Week of Comedy Shows and Dinner Deals

Los Angeles

You can see a wide variety of L.A.'s comedy talent firsthand for 10 bucks and under.

(Steve Allen/Dreamstime.com)

No big Hollywood-star budgets and pricey nightclub bottle service here! Yes, you can experience the talent and cuisine the City of Angels offers (hello, Mexican food) for cheap. Follow the calendar below for seven days' worth of dining and live-comedy options in Los Angeles—all within walking distance of each other. Reserve your tickets ahead of time, and consider your funny bone tickled.

Monday

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