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may 24 2016

We Dare You to Resist Katmai National Park's Amazing Live "BearCam"

(Courtesy Explore.org/bears)

We've been having a blast checking out the Live "BearCam" at Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park, Alaska. The live web camera sends streaming video to an ever-growing body of fans who are as ravenous for up-close views of Alaska brown bears (gigantic relatives of the grizzly) as the bears themselves are for the salmon they catch at the falls.

may 23 2016

Why FlightCar Will Transform the Way You Travel

The FlightCar station at SFO, one of the 12 U.S. airports where the company offers a unique auto-sharing program that can save car owners and renters money and hassle.

(Courtesy FlightCar)

"Imagine that next time you drive to the airport, you don't have to pay for parking and at the end of your trip your car will be returned to you freshly cleaned." FlightCar CEO Rujul Zaparde sure got my attention when he posed that travel scenario to me the other day.

may 19 2016

7 Destination Pubs In South Wales

Raglan Castle in Wales

Visit Raglan Castle in Wales after a trip to the Raglan Arms pub.

(Courtesy Steve Slater/Flickr)

This article was written by Zeneba Bowers and Matt Walker and originally appeared on their blog, littleroadseurope.com.

If someone asked you to think about great cuisine and traditional culinary culture, which foods would you think of first? Italian, French, Vietnamese, Indian? Many come to mind. We're here to offer an unexpected alternative: Welsh. Specifically, South Wales. It is a magical country with sweeping farmlands, forested hills, and beautiful rocky coastlines. Everywhere the countryside is covered with crop fields, or dotted with flocks of sheep and dairy cows. With so many farms of all types of production, it is easy to eat fare that is fresh, local, organic and delicious. And in recent years there has been a surge in Welsh gastro-pub culture, as more and more diners crave a food experience that is seasonal, locally sourced, and memorable. Here's our list of seven fine pubs in south Wales, plus, we've paired each with a nearby site of scenic or historic interest.

The Plough and Harrow & Old Beaupre Castle

may 18 2016

Confessions of a Singing Tour Guide

There's no place on earth quite like Amsterdam, and there's no tour guide quite like "Amster Jan."

(Lonely Planet)

Jan Tervoort, known as “Amster Jan,” will lead you on a walking tour of Amsterdam and serenade you with traditional Dutch folk songs along the way. Here, his insider hints for visiting the uniquely gorgeous city.

Q: What inspired you to become a singing tour guide?
A: I fell in love with Amsterdam when I moved here 12 years ago and started giving tours to friends who were visiting, then decided to go professional. The city’s tourist industry is very competitive, so I needed something to stand out. I brought along my guitar and sang old folk songs. I’m still the only singing tour guide in the city.

may 17 2016

Dumb Things Tourists Did This Week

Tourists with Selfie Stick in Spain

Selfie sticks: sometimes OK...sometimes a disaster waiting to happen.

(Ocusfocus/Dreamstime)

This has been a banner week for stupid tourist stunts, and we're calling them out. From putting a wild animal into a hatchback to defacing precious natural wonders, here's what the unenlightened have been up to in some of our favorite places to visit:

1. Two tourists in Yellowstone National Park put a baby bison in the back of their SUV because it "looked cold."

may 16 2016

And the Best Travel App Is...

Smart phone. booking.com screen.
(Sonechka/Dreamstime)

Now this is the kind of study we love: The Application Resource Center, an editorial and research arm of the app quality and testing company Applause, analyzed close to 3 million app store reviews of 122 travel apps and crunched the numbers based on user feedback.

may 12 2016

Baker City, Oregon, Is in the Lead in Our Coolest Small Town in America Contest

Just another cool day in Baker City, Oregon, the current leader in our 11th annual Coolest Small Town in America contest.

(Baker County Tourism)

We love the way Baker City, Oregon, has jumped to the head of our Coolest Small Towns contest.

Of course, there are weeks remaining until our 11th annual Coolest Small Town in America contest closes (at 11:59 p.m. on June 6), but we're impressed that Baker City (bordered by the Elkhorn and Wallowa mountains in northeast Oregon at the intersection of three Oregon Scenic Byways) has grabbed more than 40 percent of all votes so far to take a commanding lead.

may 11 2016

You've Been Taking Travel Photos All Wrong!

Stop! If you want your pics to stand out from the crowd, put down your camera or smartphone long enough to read these easy pro photography tips.

(Courtesy PaulB/myBudgetTravel)

Cathy Bennett Kopf is the editor of The Open Suitcase.

I fully intend to take dancing lessons before the first of my kids gets married. It’s one of my self-improvement goals. I have others, including “learn how to host an excellent dinner party” and “master intermediate plumbing” – I consider myself an advanced beginner, having repaired many running toilets.

may 10 2016

16 Picture-Perfect Small European Towns

this picture was taken early in the morning at hallstatt, austria on november 12th, 2008.

A beautiful morning in Hallstatt, Austria.

(Courtesy tgreuter/myBudgetTravel)

This article was written by Zeneba Bowers and Matt Walker and originally appeared on their blog, littleroadseurope.com.

Europe is full of small towns that look like they're lifted right from a postcard rack: Sweeping vistas; cobblestone streets; thatched-roof cottages or terracotta-roofed villas; idyllic parks; quaint storefronts selling meats, cheeses, flowers, and crafts; restaurants and pubs full of local flavor, in their cuisine and in their people. Some of these, like the villages that surround Italy's Lake Como or dot the landscape in England's Cotswolds, are dauntingly pricey and crushed with tourists during high season. However, there are many places, if you know where and when to look, that offer dining, shopping, and admissions to sights for very reasonable costs; lodging, too, is significantly less than you'd expect, especially in the off-season. Here are 16 picture-perfect European towns that we've discovered over the years.

Hallstatt, Austria

may 09 2016

Hotels' Dirtiest Secrets

(Evgeny Glyanenko/Dreamstime)

The data hounds at TravelMath.com have done us all a favor, undertaking a study of how clean (or, make that unclean) a typical hotel room may be. Prepare yourself for a gross-out: After studying the remote controls, bathroom counters, desks, and phones at nine different three-, four-, and five-star hotels, TravelMath reports that the typical hotel room is way dirtier than your house (you read that correctly) and even dirtier than some airplane cabins.

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