Trip Coach: May 16, 2006

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Holly Morris, co-founder of "Adventure Divas, Inc.," answered your questions on Adventure Travel

Holly Morris: Hi there, Holly Morris here. Fire away with your questions!

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Redmond, WA: Will be traveling to AZ the end of June with our two teenagers, 12 & 15. One week in Tucson, 1-2 days up in Grand Canyon, and three days in Phoenix. What would you suggest are the MUST SEE & DO there? Also, my son is very interested in rocks & minerals- is there anywhere he can actually go digging? Thank you.

Holly Morris: Hiking with your teenagers is a great bonding experience. If you're into a more dramatic, rougher hike, the Kaibab is supposed to be the route for you. It's 3 miles round-trip - so bring your water bottle. Near Mathers point there's an excellent lookout and visitors center - and I bet your son could get his fill of info on rocks and minerals there. The Bright Angels trail - which is less rough than Kaibab - will mostly likely bring a visit from the California Condors...

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Aspen, CO: I'm an Aunt to a wonderful nephew & niece. I love to travel, so for their college graduation "gift" I'd planned on taking them on a trip overseas. Thanks to information I found in "Budget Travel" 3 years ago, I was able to take my nephew to Florence, Italy for 6 days. It's now my niece's turn! She'd love a destination which involves a BEACH; I've been looking at Greece, but am open to suggestions. Due to my job (I work in a winter/summer resort town) and the need to save some money, travel must be in the spring or fall of 2007. I'm single, work full-time, and of course will be paying for 2 people - HELP Budget Travel!

Holly Morris: What a wonderful tradition Auntie. If you're feeling sporty, I'd recommend going to the amazing beaches and delicious culture of Bahia, Brazil. There's a wonderful fishing village called Itacare that has a range of accommodations. And you two can go to surf camp - no experience necessary. and not too expensive. Check out easydrop.com and I think the town of Itacare has a site too. You can google it.. Hang ten.

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Canton (Atlanta), GA: Next year, I and several of my friends will be turning 50 years "young." Rather than looking at this milestone negatively, I would like to make it an event to look forward to. I would love to go on a group (girls) trip to experience someplace and something out of the ordinary (such as the zipline thru the jungles of Costa Rica or Belize), yet be able to relax and be pampered as well - all of this on a relatively low budget of course! Where would you suggest, and what time of year would be best? Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks -Cathy

Holly Morris: Georgia Ladies -well I am biased - but I think you should go on an Adventure Diva tour trip! We're taking groups of women to India, Peru, Brazil and New Zealand throughout 2007. Check out adventuredivas.com And a few literary companions? How about the anthologies of Seal Press' Adventura series - books by and about women travelers. Or, the classic girl roadtrip book 'Bad Girls Guide To The Open Road'.

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Albuquerque, NM: My husband and I are seeking a romantic destination for celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. Any suggestions?

Holly Morris: If you would like to stay relatively close to home, how about a romantic houseboat trip on Lake Powell? A little bubbly while bobbing on gentle waters at sunset? And plenty of privacy.

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Spring Lake, MI: My husband and I will be celebrating our 40th anniversary this summer and would like to plan a rail trip "Out West". We have traveled all over the world, but have never seen the Grand Canyon. Any suggestions for an itinerary? Thank You for your consideration, Ann

Holly Morris: I hear there's a train that goes right INTO the rim lodge area of the Grand Canyon. Stay at El Tovar - the original oldest hotel. Make your reservations at their fab restaurant well in advance. Go to Xantara's website to make all your reservations for the Grand Canyon....Happy anniversary Ann.

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Sierra Vista, AZ: Mom and I want to go on a European Cruise. If we could only go once in a lifetime, which one should we do?

Holly Morris: Sorry I am not up on European cruises - but - I know 3 sisters who took their mom to Alaska on a cruise and gave the trip rave reviews. Spirit Cruises go up the Inside Passage in Alaska are supposed to be the best. They're a bit smaller, and the food is better than the rest of the cruise fare. As for the landscape - stunning, pristine, unique. Might want to read a book about the AK experiences of author Jonathan Raban to get excited....

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Santa Fe, NM: What is your definition of an "adventure diva"?

Holly Morris: Dear Sante Fe, Glad you asked. An Adventure Diva is a woman to chases her passions fully, and fearlessly - and has a healthy sense of humor. She can be an activist, artist, a politico, a filmmaker etc. Has more to do with her approach to life as an adventure and a commitment to changing the world around her. For the expanded idea (and in a bit of shameless self-promotion) check out adventuredivas.com or my book Adventure Divas.

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Sandusky, OH: My husband and I are driving to S. Dakota in November. We will be at Ft. Pierre on Nov 6, to see the buffalo and also where Dances with Wolves was shot. Since we are drving we can go anywhere in the area. What should we not miss? Anything else to see along the way from Ohio to S. Dakota? Thanks for your help.

Holly Morris: Badlands Nat'l park, the Black Hills,
Consider reading Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.
Of course Mt. Rushmore (see North by Nortwest before you leave)
And perhaps MOST importantly - Wall Drug is a must.
(and even though it's the other Dakota, watch Fargo before you head out. The pregger cop/hero is a major Adventure Diva!)

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Ventura, CA: I'm a 40 year old single woman who has a 2 week trip to Fiji planned in July 2006. Airfare is already paid but my travel partner suddenly can't go. I don't want to hang out in resorts the whole time, but what are safe options for traveling alone in Fiji? Lucy

Holly Morris: Lucy - I've not been to Fiji so I can't offer specifics but I would offer the general advice of GO AND ENJOY. Your partner's dropping out of the picture may be a great opportunity to have an entirely different, self-determined, unexpected adventure.
And as for safety - just apply the same rules on the road as you do at home. Be smart, aware and don't let fear restrict you.
I agree that you might want to limit your time in resorts. Court the unexpected!
For connections and specific advice on that area look at Lonely Planet's Thorntree Forum.
bon voyage -

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New York, NY: Every June, in celebration of our wedding anniversary, my husband and I travel abroad. This year our son (he'll be nine months old come June)will be accompanying us. Any suggestions as to where we might go? We've been warned to keep it simple especially since we have a little one now but we refuse to sacrifice adventure and the opportunity to discover hidden gems. All inclusives and cruises don't suit our taste. We're exploring the possibility of staying in a beachhouse (or something comparable) somewhere in Panama or Honduras. Any recommendations that you may be able to provide would be greatly appreciated.

Holly Morris: Good for you for not curbing your adventurous spirit due to baby. That's what slings are for, eh? Check into Tulum for beach and archeology. The area is kid-friendly and not too touristy (though there are plenty of services).
Costa Rica or Panama for nature hikes, bird-watching and beach.

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Madison, WI: Dear Trip Coach, I just finished my Ph.D. after 11 long years in college. My boyfriend is treating me to an all expenses paid week long vacation at a location of my choosing.
We have quick access to the major airports in Detroit or Chicago and would like to spend less than 8 hours getting to our destination. We like urban areas with interesting shops and restaurants, but also enjoy outdoor activities such as bike-riding, swimming and day hiking. We plan to go for 5-7days between August 1st and the 13th.so we have a little flexibility in our dates. I know there are some great areas to visit in August but, honestly, I can't think of where to go. I'm failing my vacation final! We appreciate any ideas we could explore. Thanks. Stacey

Holly Morris: Two places come immediately to mind: Seattle, WA and Vancouver BC
Seattle is a hip, cosmopolitan city with great shopping (including vintage stores to die for if that interests you), live music and narcotic grade coffee that will keep you perky. AND it is nestled between the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges which would offer you all the outdoor adventure you could ask for. And August is gorgeous there - no rain.
2 and a half hours north (driving) of Seattle is the city of Vancouver - which is more of an international city than Seattle and offers better nightlife (clubs etc). Vancouver, like Seattle, has great outdoor adventure opportunities - there's Stanley Park where you can rent bikes, and mountains and sea are at your doorstep. Great Native American culture & art - the anthropology museum in Vancouver is amazing. Good Indian food and Chinatown. And shop on Robeson street. alrighty then - book your tix and enjoy.

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Holly Morris: Thanks for all your great questions! Signing off, Holly

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