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The Best Fall Festivals In The Country

With the coming of Fall comes great Fall festivals all around the country! Check out this list of the best such festivals from around the U.S.

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Fall is right around the corner and, I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t be happier about it! I’m definitely ready for some colder weather and more opportunities to wear my favorite sweaters and jackets. But there’s another great thing that comes with Fall… and that’s Fall festivals! I just can’t get enough of the caramel apples, hot cider, and everything pumpkin flavored. So if you’re like me, you have to check out one of these great fall festivals before winter arrives!

NEW HAMPSHIRE PUMPKIN FESTIVAL

If there wasn’t any pumpkin stuff did Fall really even happen? I say no. The New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival takes place in the town of Laconia for a few days in October. It offers amazing live entertainment, plenty of pumpkin-based cook-offs and treats, and, their real claim to fame, over 20,000 carved pumpkins stacked into a 34-foot tall tower!

NATIONAL APPLE HARVEST FESTIVAL

Just like with pumpkins, what would Fall be without some delicious apples! And if you’re an apple lover, head over to Biglerville, Pennsylvania for the annual National Apple Harvest Festival. It happens every year during the first two weekends of October. Aside from all the delicious apple themed treats available, the festival also includes plenty of entertainment options including live dancers and even a petting zoo!

ALBUQUERQUE INTERNATIONAL BALLOON FIESTA

They almost seem like a thing of the past at this point, but I assure you, hot air balloons are alive and well! And the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is one of the best opportunities in the country to catch a glimpse of a bunch of them in the air at once. The Fiesta starts on October 6 and goes till October 14, and aside from all the breathtaking balloons in the sky, there’s also a lot of fun nighttime actives for the whole family.

NORTH CAROLINA PECAN HARVEST FESTIVAL

There’s just something about pecan pie. I just love saying it! And so do the people of North Carolina. In fact, they love pecans so much, that they celebrate them every year at the end of October and into November at the North Carolina Pecan Harvest Festival. It includes a parade, a 5k run, and, of course, a pecan baking contest. Maybe you’ll even get lucky enough to meet the Pecan Queen!

OKTOBERFEST ZINZINNATI

Personally, as a beer-lover, there are few words that get me as excited as “Oktoberfest.” And Cincinnati has one of the best Oktoberfests in the country. It happens every year in the last week of September (I know, I know, but this is technically when it happens in Germany!) and they proudly claim to be the largest Oktoberfest in the U.S. So if you’re a true Oktoberfest-head like myself, then get to Cincinnati at the end of September!

CRANBERRY HARVEST CELEBRATION

Cranberries are definitely down on the list of “Fall stuff” behind pumpkins and apples and pecans. But they’re still a huge part of everything Fall! That’s why the town of Warhead, Massachusetts holds the Cranberry Harvest Celebration every October. There are plenty of delicious treats for sale and cooking demonstrations to take in. And you can even wade out into the cranberry-filled water just like the cranberry farmers do!

SONOMA COUNTY HARVEST FAIR

If you’re a wine-lover on the hunt for a great Fall festival, then look no further than the annual Sonoma County Harvest Fair. It happens during the first weekend in October and has been going for over 44 years. Any event with that much history has got to be good. And once you taste the delicious food and get a little buzzed on all the amazing wine, you’ll know I’m right.

 

 

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Why You Should Always Learn The Language While Traveling

Here are some great reasons why learning a little bit of a language can go a long way when you’re traveling to a foreign country.

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When leaving the country a lot of people don’t usually bother to learn the language of the country they are about to visit. While it is true that you can get by pretty much anywhere just by speaking English, it is rude and a little presumptuous to not at least try. You don’t have to become fully fluent in any language before you visit their country, but if you just learn a few key phrases then you can at least appear to be trying and that will work wonders for you.

If you’re still not convinced, here are some great reasons why learning a little bit of a language can go a long way when you’re traveling to a foreign country.

YOU’LL MEET THE LOCALS

It is extremely hard to really meet someone if you don’t speak their language. Unless you’re an award-winning charades player, speaking the same language is the only way to connect with a stranger. Some locals will, of course, speak English, but then you’re limiting yourself to who you can meet and who you can hang out with based on who is able to communicate with you. When you speak the language, you will be able to communicate with anyone and you will be able to get a lot further than you would without the language.

Human connection is what makes life special, so if you enlarge the likelihood of your human connections then not only will your trip be more memorable, but you open up the opportunity for some unique and amazing experiences. Meeting locals is a must when you travel.

YOU MIGHT FALL IN LOVE

When you speak the native language, you open up the world of romance. Meeting a special someone is always fantastic when traveling abroad, or honestly, even when you’re at home. Don’t miss the once in a lifetime opportunity to experience foreign romance by not knowing a few key phrases in a different language.

If you can string together a few compliments then maybe cupid will strike and you’ll be sucking face in no-time. This obviously isn’t a guarantee for romance, but if you don’t speak any of the native languages then it’s almost a guarantee for no romance. So why not help give yourself a chance?

THE FOOD IS BETTER

The food is better because you actually know what is in it. Instead of crossing your fingers every time you order a dish and hoping you didn’t just order pig anus stew, learn a little of the language and order with confidence. When you don’t know what you’re saying, you will probably just order the same dishes you know and play it very safe at restaurants.

While you can still definitely get some great food this way, you will not be able to branch out and try something you’ve never tried before which is very limiting. My favorite foods have been dishes I’ve never heard of before and then once I tried them I was sent into culinary bliss. Let your palate explore the area in which you travel by learning a bit of the language before you venture off.

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Guides

The Best Backpacks For Your Next Adventure

If you’ve got an adventure coming up that requires a reliable backpack, look no further than these six great options. 

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One of the most important elements of any traveling experience is also the most frequently overlooked… the backpack. It’s with us at all times and typically holds our most important items. But more often than not, most travelers just grab that same raggedy old backpack they’ve had since high school.

But there are so many options out there! And certain backpacks are better for certain experiences. So read through this list and make sure you have the right backpack for your next adventure!

THE JANSPORT RIGHT PACK

It’s safe to say just about everyone has had a Jansport backpack in their life. It is the most popular backpack in the world and honestly one of the most durable. This particular model is known as the “Right Pack.” It’s very affordable, has a large main compartment, a sleeve specifically for laptops, and plenty of room leftover in the two front pockets. If you need a reliable backpack and you’re working on a budget, this is the pack for you.

THE PATAGONIA ARBOR PACK

This is a great option if you want something reliable and durable, but still don’t want to lug around something huge and heavy. This pack is water-repellent, compact, and has a significantly padded compartment for laptops.

TOPO DESIGNS KLETTERSACK

This is one of the toughest packs out there. It’s built from leather and nylon and is great for long trips on foot or camping and hiking. Thanks to the extra straps it can easily carry a rolled up blanket or heavy jacket. It also has a very cool look so you can still look hip while wearing it in the city.

CHROME URBAN EX 18 BIKE PACK

As the name suggests, this pack is ideal for the avid biker. It’s waterproof so you don’t have to worry about precious cargo getting damaged. And despite being relatively compact, you could still fit a laptop, camera, and a sweater or jacket with ease. If keeping your things safe and dry is a major concern, get this pack!

JANSPORT DRIVER 8

Surprise! The most popular backpack brand in the world is making a second appearance on this list! And this backpack is a fantastic option for a carry-on bag as it operates as both a standard backpack and a rolling suitcase. So this backpack will give you exactly what you need from airport to the top of Mount Everest and back.

OSPREY AURA AG 65

If you’ve got a backpacking trip across Europe planned after college to find yourself, this is the only pack you should be looking at. Osprey has long been one of the most trusted models for long backpacking trips, and this one is especially nice as it’s designed to fit naturally to the contours of the human body. It also includes a rain cover that can protect your all-important stuff no matter what conditions you may find yourself in.

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How To Prepare For The Nightmare That Is Sitting In The Middle Seat

Try these simple tips the next time you have to endure a flight in the dreaded middle seat. 

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Traveling, and especially flights, are almost always stressful. Did I forget anything? Are all the appropriate batteries properly charged? Are my toiletries too big or in the wrong bag? Oh no, I’m already late, I’m going to miss my flight! These are thoughts that have gone through all of our heads.

So the last thing any of us ever want to deal with is having to sit in the dreaded middle seat on the airplane! It’s the worst. Always has been, always will be. But have no fear! There are still a lot of things you can do to prep for your flight so your time in the middle seat won’t be the nightmare it usually is. So buckle up and take notes!

PREPARE YOUR BODY

Even if you’re some kind of maniac that doesn’t mind sitting so tightly between two strangers, you still could have an uncomfortable flight if your body isn’t right. So make sure you prepare for your flight by avoiding high-social foods, avoiding alcohol and caffeine (as best you can), and getting in some light exercise before and after the flight. Even if it’s just taking a couple laps around the terminal, it can make all the difference in making sure you’re as comfortable as possible in that middle seat.

At while you’re at, don’t forget to focus on your breathing. Slow, calm breathing can be a lifesaver in any stressful or annoying situation. More specifically, try taking in a deep breath, hold it for 5-10 seconds, then let it all out. Trust me, it’ll help.

STORE EVERYTHING IN THE OVERHEAD COMPARTMENT

Surprise, surprise… it’s gonna be cramped! You will have limited space to get comfortable in the middle seat. Hence the nightmare! That’s why you should make sure to pack light enough that all your carry-ons can fit in the overhead compartments. Having to stuff at your feet or hold one in your lap will only amplify your discomfort. All you really need is your phone/tablet, headphones, a book, and what we’re about to cover in the next paragraph.

BRING WHATEVER YOU HAVE TO TO HELP YOU FALL ASLEEP

This is key. One of the easiest ways to overcome the discomfort of sitting in the middle seat is just to sleep through as much of the flight as you can! There are a lot of products out there that can help you, too. Noise-canceling headphones, earplugs, and of course a neck pillow (make sure you find the perfect one for you!). I know it sounds crazy… but sleeping can actually help you avoid the nightmare!

GET TO KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS!

OK, I know this is a stretch. The last thing a lot of us want to do is force a conversation with a stranger. And most of us don’t want a stranger to force a conversation with us! But sometimes, if approached properly, a little polite conversation can really help time… fly (sorry). So while you shouldn’t force it and should, of course, leave them alone if they’re not into it, there’s no harm in giving someone a polite smile and trying out a few icebreakers.

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