I recently returned from an amazing destination immersion experience in the province of Guizhou, China. During my visit I explored the rich culture of Guiyang City – also known as “Cool Guiyang”.
Guiyang is not only rich in culture, but it’s also home to some of the most beautiful natural landscapes.
According to research conducted by the American Society of Travel Agents in their 2017 research report, “How America Travels,” 38% % of American travelers want to “see natural sights” as an important reason for leisure travel, and another 34% of American travelers want to “see historic sights” when they vacation. American travelers want more unique, off the path, experiences.
If this sounds like you – let me tell you about the Guizhou province in China and the capitol city of Guiyang. The Guizhou province provides what the increasingly demanding American traveler craves: some of the cleanest air in China, mild climate, outstanding historical and natural sites as well as being home to 44 of China’s ethnic minority groups. Guizhou is a foodie’s paradise as well! Not to mention the stunning geographical features like the Wangeng Forest and the Huangguoshu waterfall and Karst Mountains. This is a winning formula for any travelers who wants to go beyond traditional tourist hotspots in China’s east coast.
If you’re up for it, I’ll show you a different side of China: unique cuisine, unique cultures and unique natural landscapes. You’ll return home invigorated and inspired to explore more of the “Far East.”
Check out these pictures of a taste of the experience I had.
I love finding ways to do thing more efficiently. In fact, in another life-time I was a business analyst where part of my job was to help my co-workers work smarter. Here are three apps I've come across over the past year that have helped me travel better.
For those of you who want your photos organized, but don't want to spend the time actually organizing them, this is the app for you. It automatically sorts them by when and where you took them and includes a map view as well. Just explore the map as your photos pop into view. Not only can you search for photos by date and location, you can search by color too. Plus, it includes a feature that allows you to hide an album from prying eyes.
Learn more about this incredible app here.
I shouldn't tell you about this one, but here you go anyway. With airfare fluctuating constantly, it's hard to know when to buy your ticket to get the best rate. You check one moment and the next moment, the rate has already increased. Hopper has a data science team mining through trillions of archived flight data to spot trends and predict when it's time to book your flight to get the best rate. It tout's a 95% accuracy rate
Download it here.
I love Google and if you do too, then this app will change how you keep track of all aspects of your travel plans. It automatically pulls information from your Gmail account to build your itinerary for you. It stores your flight information, hotel reservations, car rentals, etc. in a concise way all by scanning through your email. Everything automatically appears in the app like magic. Plus you can add items to your itinerary that weren't found in your email.
Check it out here.
By Jason Casamina
It turns out that horse is a common protein option in Bulgaria. So it is no surprise to see it on the table instead of on the freeway. However I still have a lot of trouble even thinking about eating it!
We are in the middle of beautiful Plovdiv having a wonderful lunch near some Roman ruins at a wonderful restaurant called Хемингуей (Hemingway). At less than $20 per person for multiple courses it is for a wonderful price too! So who am I to complain?
The first thing you notice...continue here
By Jason Casamina
AmaWaterways is a member of La Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs so it is no surprise that their Chef’s Table experience is drool worthy. The best part about it is that it comes at no extra charge! Every AmaWaterways guest can dine at the Chef’s Table.
If you are familiar with tasting menus then this is the meal for you! If you are not familiar then expect tiny portions of well decorated dishes each with a distinct flavor, texture, color, and aroma. You might initially be underwhelmed by the portion sizes, but remember...continue here
Adventurous tourists and animal lovers may want to get close to exotic animals such as riding an elephant or visiting and taking photos of tigers in captivity. But by doing so, you can inadvertently encourage practices that cause abuse and suffering to the animals. Choose an operator or experience that has a protective animal tourism policy and carefully evaluate the options they offer. You can start by visiting TourismConcern’s Ethical Travel Guide listing for groups to work with. In addition, many destinations have responsible animal sanctuaries that can be a better option than a wildlife tour.
Souvenirs made from animals, such as fur, ivory, rhino horn and turtle shell products may be exotic and unique but many countries prohibit the purchase and transfer of animal products. To avoid confiscation, fines and possibly imprisonment by government authorities, it is best to avoid purchasing animal souvenirs when traveling.
By Jason Casamina
There are many wonderful culinary treats that come from soybeans. Natto is not one of them.
Japan is very good at fermentation and it is very good at using soybeans. So it is reasonable to put them together. After all, this is how we get soy sauce!
Soy sauce is uniform and easy to love. Natto is the opposite. Continue here...
I like making new traditions so when I first started travelling I came up with three things I always do to remember the places I've visited.
1) Save a Bill
I always keep the lowest denomination paper currency. several years later I found a clear frame on both sides. I placed all the bills I had collected and hung it on my wall. If you visit my home you can take it off the wall and check out the backside of the bills too.
2) Discover New Music
I love local music sung in the native tongue so when I hear a song I like, I ask someone nearby who's singing and purchase one of the muscians albums. I try to find contemporary music, classic, and traditional folk. When friends visit me, we'll talk about my travels, eat some traditional foods, and play some native music to set the mood.
3) Buy Art
I'm not looking for anything fancy. In fact I typically prefer something you can find from local street artists. I've purchased small sculpures, ceramics, freshly created paintings, and even some wooden carvings. Whenever I look at a piece of art I've brought back home, it reminds me of where I was, the person who created it, and how I felt at the time.
Consider adopting these three travel traditions or starting your own the next time you travel. It helps cement the experience within your memory and share it with others.
At home, many of us have a routine for reducing our environmental impact; we use energy saving bulbs and water efficient faucets, compost, buy local organic foods
and walk or bike instead of driving when we can. But traveling disrupts your routine and it may be difficult to figure out how to reduce your impact.
The biggest part of your carbon footprint from traveling is probably your flight. You can offset the flight by purchasing carbon offset with your carrier or ask your travel advisor to direct you to their trusted source. When you are at your destination, consider taking public transportation. Renting a bike or walking is also a great way to enjoy the sites.
Many destinations now offer eco-friendly lodging and if you are staying at a luxury hotel, check their corporate social responsibility (CSR) program. Do they minimize their impact on the environment and have a connection with the community they are in?
There are many other simple ways to reduce your impact, including: packing light and using baggies that you can reuse again; bring a small water filter that hooks up to the sink in your hotel room instead of buying bottle water; support local organic restaurants and shops.
I recently got certified as a good travels advisor. Coupled with my Peace Corps background, I'm ready to help those interested in volunteer travel, sustainable travel, and other ways of giving back to communities around the world. To start, I'd like to share one tip for being a responsible traveler.
Be conscious how you spend when you travel: Choosing well when making purchases in a destination can have a big impact on a community, as well as create a more authentic experience for you.
Travelers can shop at local markets or use local tour guides. This lets you interact with locals as well as infuse money into the local economy. Try to look at the bigger picture when bargaining with local vendors. In some cultures, bargaining is expected. But try to find a balance between a good price and one that is fair, or even generous, to the vendor.
With all kinds of travel related information at your finger tips, why would you need to work with a travel consultant? The great thing about the Internet is it gives you tons of information. The bad thing about the Internet is it gives you tons of information. I help my clients sort through all the information and make great travel decisions. In addition here are two other reasons why travelers love my service.
Find even more reasons to take advantage of my service here!