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jan 06 2015

What It Feels Like to Do a Polar Bear Plunge—And Where to Find One Near You!

Man at Polar Bear Club Plunge in Coney Island

This, friends, is what victory looks like. The 2015 New Year's Day Swim on Coney Island.

(Gabrielle Pedriani)

On New York City's Coney Island—once home to infamous freak shows—the bizarre tradition of sprinting directly into the icy-cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean, then submerging yourself, baptism-style, goes way back. All the way back, in fact, to 1903, the year that the Coney Island Polar Bear Club was founded by a kooky bodybuilder with more machismo than you'll see on all the episodes of The Sopranos combined. He was convinced a wintery ocean dip could increase stamina, virility, and immunity. (Hey, if a sissy juice cleanse is supposed to do that, who are we to argue with this guy?)

apr 25 2014

Five Unforgettable Vacations for Under $100/Night!

Charming Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, is one world-class destination that won't break the bank!

(Mike Clime/Dreamstime)

Here at Budget Travel, we know nobody wants to skimp on vacation—it’s the time for great food, luxurious surroundings, and breathtaking scenery. But what if we told you that all that can be yours for less than $100 a day? Contributing Editor Darley Newman joined Today show hosts Kathie Lee and Hoda to share five “real” budget destinations:

mar 26 2014

Take a Maple Syrup Road Trip!

Beautiful, old-world Montreal is a great place to stay on a maple syrup sojourn this spring. In fact, Quebec province produces 80 percent of the world's maple syrup.

(Mario Beauregard/Dreamstime)

Ready for a unique April road trip? Explore the short—but sweet—maple sugar season in the great north!

Maple sugar season is short because there are just a few weeks each spring when sugar maple farmers—known as "sugarmakers"—get just the right weather (mid-20s at night, mid-to-high 40s and sunny during the day) for their maple trees to start producing the sweet sap that goes into maple syrup, maple sugar, and other products (even some adult beverages like Tap 357 Canadian Maple Rye Whisky). This year, sugarmakers are about three weeks behind because of colder-than-usual temperatures.

feb 07 2014

Top 8 Places to See the Northern Lights

Northern Lights from Norway

The Northern Lights, as seen from Norway.

(Courtesy GuideGunnar - Arctic Norway/Flickr)

This article was written by Zoë Smith on behalf of Viator.com's Travel Blog.

One of the world’s most dazzling natural phenomenons, few vistas can top the Northern Lights, officially known as the Aurora Borealis (signifying the meeting of Aurora, Roman goddess of the dawn, and Borealis, the Greek North Wind). Created by solar winds interacting with charged particles in the earth’s magnetic field, the Lights appear as otherworldly streaks of green, red, yellow, and purple light dancing across the arctic skies. Visible throughout the so-called ‘Northern Lights Oval,' countries lying in the far-northern latitudes, optimally between 10 and 20 degrees from the magnetic North Pole, are most likely to catch a glimpse of the spectacle, which occurs predominantly between late-September and late-March, often close to midnight. While travelers flock to the world’s northernmost countries for a glimpse of the Northern Lights, seeing them is no exact science and there’s no guarantee that you’ll get a good look. From the snow-enveloped wilderness of Siberia to the northernmost tip of Canada, here are some of the best places to see the Northern Lights. So wrap up warm, pick a crisp, clear night, and cross your fingers.

nov 01 2013

Is Travel the Secret to Living to 100?

Polar Bear in Churchill

Elsa Bailey finally got to see polar bears in the wild, checking off another ambitious travel bucket list item after her 100th birthday.

(Courtesy Natural Habitat Adventures)

This article was written by Emily Deemer of Natural Habitat Adventures.

Elsa Bailey made national headlines last May by celebrating her 100th birthday at Colorado’s Arapahoe Basin—on skis. She may have hung up her ski boots for good that night, but she sure didn’t hang up her thirst for adventure.Bailey is still crossing items off her ambitious travel bucket list, which until recently included a dream of seeing polar bears in the wild.

mar 15 2013

5 Great Ski Resorts For Families

Squaw Valley Family Ski Resort

There's something for everyone in the family at these five family-friendly ski resorts.

(Courtesy Hank deVre)

We've already shared where to go this season whether you're a ski-lover or still a little hesitant to hit the slopes. But what about a good old fashioned family ski adventure? We've got five family-friendly resorts around the U.S. and one in eastern Canada where there are plenty of snow activities to keep everyone busy.

nov 30 2012

The Next Great Food Destination

Toronto is the place to go in 2013 for great restaurants and markets.

(Klaus Lang / All Canada Photos / SuperStock)

If you spend as much time researching restaurants as researching hotels, then you'll probably want to consider Toronto for your next trip. The editors at Epicurious.com have named it the top Food City for 2013, according to their list of food trend predictions. That's because of new outposts by chefs David Chang and Daniel Boulud, plus amazing markets and places like the restaurant Victor that concentrate on local cuisine (check out the Toronto Tasting Menu). Even better, Toronto made our list of 2013's Best Budget Destinations, not only for the amazing food scene, but also because the average hotel price didn't increase at all in the first half of 2012. So we'll see you there!

sep 26 2012

A New Kind of Culinary Treasure in Toronto

Boneless back rib burgers with smoky tomato jam and maple mustard BBQ at Bannock (Photograph by Renee Suen)

Toronto's new breed of chef is sticking close to home, calling on centuries of Canadian culinary tradition. Take a cross-country trip—from the seafood shacks of Nova Scotia to the prairies of Alberta—without ever leaving the table.


Those Cajuns didn't always live in the bayou. French-speaking settlers (Acadians) actually lived on the rocky shores of maritime Canada before they were expelled in 1755 by the British. Chef Matt Blondin invites them back above the border: His dishes dress North Atlantic seafood (like Yarmouth albacore or Northmberland Strait scallops) in the soulful flavors of the South (pickled watermelon rinds, chicken cracklings, and blackening spices). 50c Clinton St., acadiarestaurant.com, albacore $23

jul 20 2012

Four Towns That Have Their Own Currency

The currency in Salt Spring Island, British Columbia is decorated with maritime scenes (Courtesy CKGolfSolutions/Flickr)

Credit and debit cards may win over travelers for their universal use, but there’s something to be said about the complete opposite—currency so unique that it’s only used in one town. These four towns each have their own monetary units, accepted at local shops and restaurants, and reflective of each location. They’re so unique, in fact, that you might be tempted to save them as a souvenir. But it’s better to spend them. Unlike U.S. dollars, which circulate far and wide, local currency keeps money close to home and spurs the town’s economy.

may 10 2012

New York City Bike-Sharing Program To Debut This Summer

Biking in New York City just got easier. (Courtesy Smart Destinations/Flickr)

As New Yorkers, we like to think we set the trends. Yet there was one thing this city didn't have that most other major cities already feature: bike–sharing. But pack your helmets—starting this summer, locals and travelers alike will easily be able to take a two–wheeler for a spin.

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