If your New Year’s resolution is to travel more, get ready to feel inspired. With technology and air travel connecting our world more than ever before, it’s not as tough as it may seem to turn your “Places To Visit” Pinterest board into a reality. To prepare to get up close and personal with the world around you, take a look at these tips from travel expert Adam Richman, host of Travel Channel series like Man vs. Food and Secret Eats. Richman also recently teamed up with Capital One’s Priceless Surprises program to surprise four lucky Massachusetts cardholders with trips to Rome, London, Paris, and Hong Kong. Now, he’s ready to help SELF readers plan out dream adventures of their own with the below travel secrets. Happy exploring!
1. To avoid crowds, be picky about which travel times you choose.If you have enough schedule flexibility to fly on off-peak hours, take advantage of it. Popular travel dates and times (like Saturday mornings, Sunday nights, and pre-holiday rushes) lead to congested airports and flights, which is no fun for anyone. “Choose your travel times carefully, ” Richman suggests. “[See] if you can take a red-eye [flight] out the night before a desired date.”
2. Be kind at the airport, no matter what.“Keeping a level head is extremely crucial,” Richman explains. Nobody loves the tension that comes with long lines in crowded airports, but treating others with respect is one way to keep things in check. “Being kind and polite has helped me as much as any kind of traveling savvy,” Richman says. “Also, have your boarding and your deplaning routine fairly down to a science, so you can get on and off the plane with ease.”
3. Strategically coordinate the outfits you pack.The best way to save space in your suitcase is to make sure everything you pack matches. “A friend of mine who works in the fashion and magazine industry recommended that I always pack in the colors of black, white, blue, and brown,” Richman says. “That way, everything goes with everything. I’s kind of a classic combination, and then you have the opportunity to go to multiple venues.”
4. Pack healthy snacks on the go.You ever know when you’ll be stranded someplace without any healthy eating options, so it’s always wise to pack your own fuel. “It’s very funny that at 30,000 feet people with the most strict dietary rules just let them go,” Richman says. “Normally when I sit down to dinner, I don’t have rolls, I don’t order bread, but suddenly I’ll have an in-flight meal with bread and butter. It just doesn’t make any sense.” Richman suggests fighting this phenomenon by stashing snacks like chicken jerky, turkey jerky, healthy granola bars, and raw almonds. “If I’m going to get [food] in an airport, I’ll usually get something like some kind of salad with chicken or some kind of simple turkey sandwich,” he explains.
5. Arrive with a sense of curiosity.“You know that expression that every gym teacher told us that made us roll our eyes, ‘You get out what you put in’?” Richman says. “It’s so true though. Ultimately, if you have an open heart and an open mind, and a willingness to go beyond the typical tourist places, and you do so with respect towards the environment around you, then you’re often rewarded by some of the most remarkable finds.” Don’t be afraid to (safely) push past your comfort zone. “Be humble, stay curious, stay hungry, and don’t get complacent.”
6. Be open to wherever your adventure takes you.Travel has the uncanny ability to bring out parts of our personalities we rarely display at home. “There’s that line from the song ‘Bittersweet Symphony,’ where he sings, ‘I’m a million different people from one day to the next,'” Richman says. “The thing about travel is that there are different places that elicit different sides of us that we might not necessarily be able to access in our day-to-day.”
Check Out This Proposed Trail Across America!
This epic proposal promises a coast-to-coast trail for the ultimate outdoorsman.
Come one, come all, but especially come cyclists and hikers. There is a new project proposal of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), the nation’s largest trails organization. that offers the possibility of the greatest trail in America. For the first time in American history, “The Great American Rail-Trail” will be the longest and most ambitious trail project of its kind. Only the highest trail quality types are suitable for this project. From long-distance cyclists to casual explorers, to runners, all will be able to appreciate the journey set forth by this proposal.
Stretching over 3,700 miles, the trail will reach between Washington DC to Washington state. Foot-based travelers will traverse over 125 existing trails, greenways, and additional multiuser paths through 12 states: Washington D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and finally Washington. At the moment, over 52% of the route is pre-existing.
Criteria set forth by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy demand that a minimum of 80% of the trails are initially separated from vehicle traffic. Eventually, 100% of the trails are expected to be separated. Once the proposal, funding, and expected successes are in place, 90 trails gaps between these pre-existing trail will be completed.
For over 30 years, the RTC has had their mind of this incredible new project. They have worked with several dozen state agency representatives and hundreds (if not thousands) of trail partners to accurately assess and plan out the preferred trail routes.
The trails featured on this national treasure will represent the beauty and trail priorities of the states that contain them and as well as their local jurisdictions that host and maintain them. Plus, this project will be an unbelievable catalyst for local economic development and provide new services and routes for long-distance travelers.
The RTC has partnered with state and local trail officials to define the premier and preferred route for this “first-of-its-kind” trail. A comprehensive route assessment was established after a 12-month long analysis using detailed GIS (geographic information system) database with information from more than 34,000 miles of existing routes. Reviews from 300 state and local trails were explored to plan future trail additions as well.
“We have the chance to create from that vision a national treasure that unites millions of people over thousands of miles of trail… This trail is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to provide – together – an enduring gift to the nation that will bring joy for generations to come,” stated Ryan Chao, the president of the Rail-Trail Conservancy.
Don’t Believe Everything You Hear: Debunked Caribbean Myths
There are a lot of myths out there about the Caribbean. And we’re here to debunk every one of ’em!
When you hear “the Caribbean” what do you think of? Most people stop after pirates and nice beaches. And while there are plenty of beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, you certainly won’t be running into Jack Sparrow while you’re there. And that’s just one myth about the Caribbean!
There are actually a lot of other myths and assumptions floating around these days about the Caribbean. Some of them are true, and some of them are most certainly false. So we thought we’d help you out and break down the more common myths that are definitely not true. It’s time to learn the truth and put the Caribbean back on your list of future vacation destinations!
IT’S TOO EXPENSIVE
I think many people assume that, because it’s an island getaway kind of place, the Caribbean must be expensive. Just getting there must cost a fortune because it requires landing at weird airports or traveling by water. And for some places in the Caribbean, this can be true. But there are plenty of options that are pretty cheap!
If you fly out of Fort Lauderdale on Spirit Airlines, you can find flights as cheap as $200. And as long as you visit in the quieter seasons, it’s very easy to find cheap enough lodging. Not to mention, in places like Cuba and Haiti, the exchange rate will make you feel like a millionaire with all those precious U.S. dollars!
YOU HAVE TO HAVE A PASSPORT TO VISIT
Nope! You definitely don’t need a passport to check out parts of the Caribbean. Specifically, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are official U.S. territories. So you can take a trip to either of those same as you would take a trip to visit Grandma in Ohio! It’s starting to sound pretty easy, isn’t it?
YOU BASICALLY CAN’T ISLAND HOP
Another common assumption is that it’s basically impossible to hop from one island to the other. At least in terms of cost, let alone anyone actually having the physical ability to do it. But this couldn’t be farther from the truth. There are a bunch of ferries that go from one place to the other that can give you a round trip for the same cost of a cheap flight.
And if you have a few extra bucks, it’s really not that hard to charter your own boat! There are plenty of catamaran owners in the area that are more than happy to take a lower-than-you’d-think rate to take you and your family or friends around the Caribbean. And especially if you’re with a group of friends, splitting the cost will make it feel like you’re practically a pirate yourself.
THERE’S NOTHING TO DO EXCEPT SIT ON THE BEACH ALL DAY
Come on now, people… you’re smarter than this! Of course, there are still lively communities and culinary traditions in the Caribbean! So, while relaxing on a beautiful beach is probably at the top of the list of things to do while you’re there, there is still plenty of other things to enjoy in many parts of the Caribbean.
There’s the annual Carnival in Trinidad, The St. Lucia Food and Rum Festival, the Barbados Concorde Experience (where visitors can experience what it feels like to fly a French jet), and the amazing Museum of Art in San Juan, Puerto Rico. So don’t be so foolish as to assume the Caribbean is only a bunch of beaches.
THE HURRICANES IN 2017 BASICALLY DESTROYED IT ALL
While it’s true that the numerous hurricanes that hit the are in 2017 did their fair share of damage, the Caribbean is still alive and well. There are plenty of hotels that have still unfortunately been unable to reopen in places like Antigua, Barbuda, Dominica, and Puerto Rico. There are plenty of others in places like Aruba and Jamaica that were basically untouched.
And even places like St. Barts that were hit pretty hard have seen many of their local business rebuild and reopen and are quickly returning to their former glory.
What else do you need?! It’s as good a time as any to visit the beautiful Caribbean. Because it’s always been a good time to visit the Caribbean!
Why You Should Live in the Rivertowns
If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of New York, a quick jaunt upstate to the Rivertowns is the perfect place. The Rivertowns, straddling the Hudson River, is a collection of picture-perfect villages that combines laid-back living with the convenience of amenities and easy transport options.
The Rivertowns in Westchester County consist of cozy and picturesque towns. It is resplendent with typically 19th-century architecture, stunning views of the river, and thriving centers full of creative and artistic individuals. As more people look to make the break from urban living in New York and trade skyscrapers for tree-lined streets and spacious homes and gardens, interest in the Rivertowns has grown.
In this blog post, we will look at four communities in the Rivertowns to consider moving to. If you’re looking for a quaint and historic community in which to raise a family, grow old in comfort, or get back to nature, you’ll find it all in the Rivertowns.
Further out from the city than many of the other communities within the Rivertowns but if it’s good enough for Don Draper and his family, it’s good enough for us. This stunning community is famed for its architecture and historic buildings. Ossining is an affordable location within Westchester, which has drawn many young professionals from the city.
Ossining features a wide selection of houses, from historic to new constructions. Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or looking to upgrade or move location, Ossining has it all.
2. Sleepy Hollow
A 40-minute train journey from the city, Sleepy Hollow is known worldwide for its connection to The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. A mixture of new constructions and historic homes, the charming community is popular with creative types, history buffs, and people looking for a more laid-back environment that is still close to New York.
The city’s sixth borough, with a population of around 200,000, has excellent education options, easy transportation to Grand Central, and recreation options (including Untermyer Park). The largest of Westchester’s cities, Yonkers has an urban feel that offers the benefits of suburban living. There is a wide mix of Victorian homes and luxury apartments on the market in Yonkers.
With a creative and environmentally conscious ambiance, Hastings-on-Hudson boasts a lively downtown and impressive views of the Hudson. 35 minutes by train to Grand Central, this community is packed full of high-regarded amenities, including restaurants and public parks. Popular for families due to its excellent schooling options, it has a close-knit population of around 8,000.
Click here to learn more about the Rivertowns and its appeal to those looking to move out of the city.
Find a New Lease of Life in the Rivertowns
Experience the benefits of suburban living with easy access to New York City. Embrace your creative and artistic side in the Rivertowns. Choose from stunning 19-century homes to new, luxurious apartments and condos.
Did you like this blog post? For other great articles on travel, living, and food, check out our blog.
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