July 14, 2011 at 11:45 am , by Lauren Piro
With the summer heat wave sapping New York, I can hardly wait for next week, when I’ll be relaxing in the surf, sand and sun (with sunscreen! I promise!) on . . . the Jersey Shore! Actually, it’s lovely—you see, I’m going to this Jersey Shore, not this one. Still, part of me longs for adventure.
Luckily, I’ve been able to indulge that yearning (albeit vicariously) with the Best Women’s Travel Writing of 2011. The essays in this anthology blow me away not only with their language, but also with the amazing experiences they describe: leaving body issues behind in a public bath in South Korea, dining at cabbies’ favorite restaurants in Argentina, scoring a souvenir soccer jersey on every trip, to name just a few. There are no sunbathers among these intrepid travelers.
Inspired, I asked the book’s contributors to share their top tips, destinations and vacation fantasies.
What is your number-one summer travel tip?
When in Europe, take the trains. Rent a car if you like for a few days of poking around villages, but for distances, trains are fast, fun, romantic and relaxing.—Diane Covington, “Finding Gilbert”
Take a “digital sabbatical,” and let go of the Internet for a few days or weeks. It’s liberating even if you’re staying home.—Aubrey Streit Krug, “Going Underground”
There’s nothing worse than flying after a stressful all-nighter of packing, so I make sure I have a peaceful last evening before a trip. A good night’s sleep not only gets me dreaming about my trip, but it also leaves me with a great memory of home.—Kelly Hayes-Raitt, “Tongue-Tied”
The San Francisco Bay area is the best place to escape heat and humidity. (Lucky me—I live here!) One summer when I couldn’t afford a vacation I visited a different Marin County beach every day! It was glorious. Limantour Beach in Point Reyes goes on for miles. —Marianne Rogoff, “Common Tongues”
January 20, 2011 at 11:26 am , by Jennifer Castoro
Close your eyes and picture this: a warm breeze, sand between your toes, nothing to hear but the sound of the waves and your masseuse asking if you’re comfortable on your cushy bed overlooking the ocean. No, you have not died and gone to heaven. You’ve won our romantic getaway sweepstakes and gone to St. Lucia!
We’re giving away a 4-night stay at the dreamy, couples-only Rendezvous resort that’s guaranteed to relight your marital fire just in time for V-Day. (Okay, that part isn’t really guaranteed, but how could you not be in the mood in such a gorgeous place?) You and your hubby can go scuba diving, play tennis, walk on the beach or park your rear in a lounge chair and only get up to eat.
Who needs a box of chocolates?
September 30, 2010 at 11:19 am , by Mandy Hendrix
No? You better hurry! We’re giving away seven amazing prizes, including trips to U.S. and international spa resorts so you can relax and be pampered. Here’s the catch: You must enter by midnight tonight, E.S.T. in order to win.
Fall is one of my favorite times to make a spa appointment, as holiday excitement–and streams of guests–always seems to kick up right after Labor Day. (I assure you that scheduled R&R is the cure.) Here’s some tips from Mayra Ramirez at the YHI Spa in Paradisus Punta Cana, to help ease the summer to fall transition, in case that spa appointment gets bumped for yet another family gathering.
- Get rid of parched summer skin with a sugar body scrub. Follow with a rich moisturizing cream so that skin stays supple.
- Forget the shower and take a warm bath instead. Add a few drops of olive or coconut oil, which helps skin retain moisture.
- Aloe vera isn’t only for sunburns. Use it raw on your face or body or look for it in creams to help reinforce the skin’s natural protective barrier.
- Dry outside air can wreak havoc for your skin. Make sure to cover any exposed body parts when the temperature drops.
August 18, 2010 at 12:44 pm , by Megan Finnegan
LHJ is giving away seven different spa getaway packages to some amazing destinations:
- Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort, St. Lucia
- Chocolate Spa at The Hershey Hotel
- Maroma Resort and Spa, Riviera Maya, Mexico
- Paradisus Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
- Westin Diplomat, Hollywood, Florida
- Taheima Wellness Resort & Spa, Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico
- Joy of Spa
Check out what each spa has to offer and then click here to enter the sweepstakes!
July 22, 2010 at 5:38 pm , by Jennifer Castoro
Just hearing the words “summer vacation” is enough to make you smile, right? Unless of course you’re thinking about all the time you’ve spent packing and unpacking, hunting through your bag for your wallet (where’d you put that thing?) and taking horribly aligned, too-close self-photos while trying to fit in the scenery/people/interesting things behind you. That’s where these pretty nifty travel doodads from Dynomighty come in.
The Bottle Cap Tripod is a pocket-size attachment that screws on to the top of a water bottle for an instant hands-free camera stand. No more balancing your digital on the side of fountains, atop precarious rocks or on rusty railings that are just as likely to obliterate your camera as they are to be useful props. $10 at dynomighty.com
Pickpockets begone! Super-slim Mighty Wallets are cleverly designed to look like random items (like an airmail-envelope inspired option and the one that could pass for a page of newspaper, at right) that thieves would be much less interested in investigating than anything resembling a wallet. They’re also ecofriendly, water-resistant and perfectly pocket-size. There’s more than 45 different designs, too, including some cheeky ones with beach scenes and gorillas. $15 each at dynomighty.com
The colorful Mighty Tote is a seriously lightweight 1.6 ounces, so you can feel free to stuff it full of whatever junk you carry around with you while sightseeing or beaching that you always regret bringing later, after your shoulders hurt. $15 at dynomighty.com
May 25, 2010 at 12:20 pm , by Amanda Wolfe
If you’ve ever tried to travel with your cat or dog, you know that it can be tricky to find hotels along your route (or at your destination) that accept your furry travel buddies. Whether it’s a vacation or a road trip to visit family, it’s important to do a little research before you leave to make sure your pet is welcome. First step: watch our adorable pet-friendly hotel review video with Sophie, assistant food editor Khalil Hymore’s super-cute pup. Ok it’s not really a necessary step, but it is a cute video so you should watch! Then use these tips to plan your trip.
* Most national chains have pet-friendly programs. We visited the Muse (part of the Kimpton group of hotels) and the Hilton New York. Both of these companies have pet-friendly hotels across the country. The key is to call the hotel at your specific destination to make sure they’ve opted in to the pet-friendly program (some don’t).
* Ask if there’s a fee for Fido to stay. Some hotels charge a flat rate and some fees are nightly. Prices vary, so definitely check before you book because you could save a bundle (or get stuck with some hefty “hidden costs”).
* Ask about what kind of amenities are provided for your pet. Some hotels hand out pet beds, bowls, treats and even super-cute toys. Some just accept pets but don’t provide any extras. The extras can, of course, be fun and convenient—but if you’re charged more for them they’re not always worth it.
* Find out what the policies and rules are. Lots of hotels with restaurants or bars attached don’t allow pets in those areas, and some hotels prefer that you keep pets in their carriers or on their leashes when you’re in public areas.
* Search online. There are several sites that help you pinpoint the right hotel for you and your pet. Petswelcome.com has a great database with amenity and fee info, plus websites and phone numbers. Pet-Friendly-Hotels.net also has a good search.
* Last but not least, if you can’t find a traditional hotel at your destination, check out B&Bs and vacation home rentals. Policies are set by the individual owners but we’ve found that “mom and pop” places often welcome pets.
May 5, 2010 at 5:26 pm , by Amanda Wolfe
Editor’s Note: Our tech guru Sara Haines of NBC’s Today show is back to share her favorite sites for researching and booking travel. Whether you’re going on a weekend getaway or a longer vacation, these sites make it easier (and cheaper) to plan a great trip.
Too busy to scour the internet for deals? Kayak.com and Sidestep.com are great one-stop shops. These sites search hundreds of airlines and travel sites (such as Orbitz, Travelocity, and many others) to ensure you get the best prices. You can also check for hotels, car rentals and more. No need to book your trip from lots of different sites, because you can find it all here.
If you’re going on a longer trip or really want to do your homework while you’re planning, Lonelyplanet.com and Frommers.com are good options. Although these sites may not always offer the best deals, these are great places to go when you want to read up on a destination and learn how to get around, where to stay, what to eat, and what attractions you can’t miss. They also offer user reviews, so you can get the inside scoop from people who have been there and done that.
Want to go a little farther off the beaten path? Iexplore.com is geared toward adventure travel. Just plug in a region, country, activities you’re looking to do, the length of your trip, and a budget and then it generates trip ideas. It may not be the answer for someone who just wants the beach and a book, but if you are up for an adventure, hit the “find trips” button and let the fun begin.