For true beer lovers, the highlight of any vacation is hoisting pints of the local stouts, IPAs and lagers of their vacation destination. They will not be disappointed at these destinations, where the quality and variety of the beer attracts millions every year.
Munich, Germany - No beer bucket list would be complete without Munich, the place where millions of barley buffs converge every year for the 16-day festival called Oktoberfest. But even if you can’t make it during that time, you can still enjoy the city’s legendary beer gardens and the famed 425-year-old brewery Hofbräuhaus.
Montreal, Canada - For decades now, Montreal has been a mecca for brewpubs, perfecting the art of microbrewery. Beer brewed here is often defined by its color—blonde, rousse, ambrée or noir—than by its style at such places as the world-famous Le Cheval Blanc.
Amsterdam, Netherlands - Home to globally popular brands Heineken and Amstel, Amsterdam is a town steeped in beer history. Locals like to linger long over their pints of pils at neighborhood watering holes called brown bars, where the darkened interiors inspire profound conversations.
Dublin, Ireland - Guinness. Need we say more? Fine…inside the Guinness Storehouse, Ireland’s top tourist attraction, you’ll get a grand history lesson along with a perfectly poured pint. Afterward, soak in the city’s thriving pub culture at The Porterhouse, Dublin’s first brewpub, to sample their homemade porters.
Brussels, Belgium - This is the capital of Belgian beer, the award-winning ale that has been traditionally brewed by monks since the Middle Ages. Here, beer aficionados debate over the quality of their lambics at charming café-bars called estaminets.
The pros and cons of taking a red-eye flight are obvious: you arrive at your destination in the morning and you don’t lose a whole day traveling. However, you’re too exhausted to be productive because you spent the previous night shifting positions in your uncomfortable airline seat. Here are a few tips to make sure you leave your next red-eye flight somewhat rested so you can work the next day.
Beat Jet Lag in Advance – Try to advance your body clock when traveling eastbound. You will have to wake up earlier and go to bed earlier than you normally would. Do the reverse when headed westbound. Try this before your trip so you have a better chance of being into the right time zone when you deplane.
Choose Your Seat Carefully – The right seat is critical. Avoid seats located near the restroom and the seats that don’t recline. Sitting in the aisle makes it likely you’ll get an elbow injury. If you sleep on a certain side of the bed at home, choose a window seat on the side of the plane that provides you with a more comfortable experience and maybe some additional time to sleep.
Eat Light & Right – Look for the healthiest, leanest meal you can find, preferably at the gate before you board. Avoid spicy foods that might cause an upset stomach. In-flight meals are overly processed and salty, so they may make you feel bloated or more dehydrated during the flight.
Hydrate Like It’s Your Job – Drink water, and skip the alcohol and caffeine. The pressurized cabin usually leaves passengers a little dehydrated, so buy a large bottle of water at the gate before you board the plane and drink water steadily throughout the flight.
Come Prepared to Sleep Well – Bring a comfortable travel pillow, sleep mask, earplugs or noise-canceling earphones—worth every penny to frequent fliers. Take off your watch and accessories to remind yourself that it’s bedtime. And be sure to buckle your seat belt over your blanket so that the flight attendant doesn’t need to disturb you to check it.
Freshen Up – Bring a toiletry bag with all of the usual items you use to get ready in the morning, including a toothbrush, mouthwash, deodorant, hairbrush and a fresh set of clothes. You will feel mentally more prepared to tackle the new day after freshening up.
Book through Us – Of course, the best way to sleep on an airplane is to get one of those roomy seats up front. Our agency has all the right connections to improve your air travel experience, so contact us before your next flight.
While there’s little doubt that the dining inside your hotel or resort will be top-notch, you should experience the full range of culinary experiences Mexico offers. This country is home to arguably the greatest culture of street food in the world, and tasting it is as simple as a quick stop between shops or museums. While there isn’t enough room in your stomach to try every single cart or stand, here are a few quintessential antojitos you need to savor.
Tacos - Perhaps nothing is more iconic of Mexican cuisine than tacos. Of course, these aren’t the mass-produced replicas of chain restaurants; here they’re the real deal. While variations exist based on which state of Mexico you’re in, every taco will likely consist of a warm corn tortilla (often hand-made), tender meat, and a smattering of fresh vegetables, fruits and salsas.
Tamales - Originating in Oaxaca, tamales today can be found and enjoyed all throughout Mexico. Composed of a thick steamed corn dough wrapped in either banana leaves or corn husks, the true treat of tamales is the stuffing: you can find anything from chicken mole to cheese to sweet pineapple inside.
Sopes and Gorditas - Sopes and gorditas are essentially two sides of the same coin: the same delicious corn dough with slight variations in preparation. Gorditas are when the corn dough is fried, then stuffed with meats, beans and cheeses and topped off with delectable salsas and creams. Sopes are the exact same thing, except all of the stuffings go on top of the corn patty, thus making them “toppings.” It may seem like a trivial difference, but you’ll be surprised at how difficult it is to choose between the two!
Tostadas - At first glance, Tostadas look like a mix between a taco and a pizza, but there’s more flavor there than meets the eye. The base is a crisp, salty tortilla that is gratuitously topped with anything from pork to cows’ foot to ceviche or fresh fish. Those traveling to Oaxaca should be sure to try a tlayuda, a huge tostada smothered in chocolate mole sauce, then topped with a salad and meat of your choice before finally being sprinkled with world-famous stringy Oaxaca cheese.
Elotes and Esquites - Elotes and Esquites are essentially the same food, prepared differently. Elotes is sweetcorn, served on a stick and smothered in mayonnaise, cream and chili. Esquites is sweetcorn cut from the cob, mixed with cream, lime juice, mayonnaise and chili inside a plastic cup. Either version is by far and away one of the tastiest options for enjoying Mexican street food.
Comotes - If you’re in Mexico City, you’ll want to try camotes fresh from a stand or cart. Camotes are plantains and sweet potatoes steamed, and then served with strawberry jam and condensed milk. If you can’t tell where they are by the crowds they draw, then listen for the distinct whistle of steam escaping the pot.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Megan Chapa of Travel Radio Podcast again. This time we spoke about little things every traveler can do to travel more responsibly.
I'm excited to announce that I have joined Pledge 1%, a philanthropic movement dedicated to making the community a key stakeholder in every business. Pledge 1% empowers companies to donate 1% of product, 1% of profit, 1% of Equity, or 1% of employee time to improve communities around the world.
I first heard about this movement several years ago at Salesforce's Dreamforce conference and thought it was a wonderful idea. As I started my own travel business, I've been quietly donating a percentage of my earnings to various organizations that inspire me throughout the year. Now I've decided to officially make the pledge and join the PledgeOne movement. Not only will I donate 1% of profits, I'll also donate 1% of my time volunteering in the community and will use an additional 1% of profits towards travel experiences for deserving individuals.
To experience as many attractions and museums as possible at the destinations you visit, you often must stick to a strict schedule. While this is ideal for checking boxes off your to-see list, it leaves little room to be spontaneous. Which is a shame, since spontaneity can lead to magical moments you would have never experienced on an over-scripted vacation.
Here are four tips to add a sprinkle of spontaneity to your next travel adventure:
Location, Location, Location - Many of the tour operators we work with know the importance of staying at a hotel that’s located in the heart of your destination. With numerous attractions, restaurants, museums and public transportation options within walking distance, a new adventure awaits every time you step out the hotel’s front door.
Rank Your "Must-See" - Put a value on all of the attractions you think you “must see” and rank them. Then delete some of those that fell to the bottom of the list. This will free up time better spent to see where the day takes you.
Sight See Early - Once you have your list of “must see” attractions, make it a point to visit them early in the day. This gives you the freedom and flexibility to spend your afternoons however you want.
Enjoy a Plan-Free Day - Several cruise itineraries feature a day at sea, where passengers have no choice but to relax and let the salty ocean breeze gently guide them from activity to activity. On your next journey, be sure to plan one of these plan-free days for yourself. Your spontaneous spirit will be better off for it!
I had the opportunity to join Megan again on the Travel Radio Podcast to talk about my recent trip to Cancun. I visited about a dozen resorts and found three of them to be a notch above the rest. All for very different reason.
On this episode we talk about:
If you’re itching for a fresh new destination to visit this winter, browse our top picks for an unforgettable far-flung escape.
From traversing the rolling red-hued sand dunes of the Gobi desert on camelback and sleeping under the stars in a luxurious yurt tent, to experiencing pristine alpine forests, ancient monasteries and enlightening museums, you will discover that Mongolia’s secrets are well worth investigating. This country is not just a step off the tourist path; it’s a leap back in time to a destination far from the trappings of the Western world. A place where spectacular Naadam festivals showcase amazing feats of horsemanship, dancers spin in a flash of vividly colored garb, and throat singers croon just as their ancestors did hundreds of years ago. No visit is complete without a stay in a traditional yurt, which come in a surprising range of styles to make the most nomadic traveler feel right at home.
By definition, a remote destination is not easy to get to. That’s why for spellbinding scenery unrivaled by the most exotic destinations, the extra time spent traveling to the more remote areas of the Alaskan outback—oftentimes requiring a combination of shuttles, chartered flights and float plane transfers—is well worth the journey. The wild corners of Alaska can be daunting to explore. Layers of steep mountains, razor-toothed pines and rushing rivers dominate the expansive landscape, making it simply too vast to conquer on foot. From the air, though, the possibilities are endless. To access the state’s numerous remote refuges, take a flight safari deep into the Alaska Range for a private backcountry ski trip, or settle onto a sandbar to explore land that scant few have ever stepped foot on. It doesn’t get more remote than that.
While most tourists enjoy the view from their bus tour of Ireland’s famed Ring of Kerry, others sneak off to the peninsula’s western shore in search of one of the most isolated and historic places in the world: the Skellig Islands. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the two rocky peaks of Skellig Michael and Little Skellig rise majestically from the sea, boasting sweeping panoramic views of the Atlantic horizon. Over 600 hand-carved steps ascend the peak of Skellig Michael, towering nearly 750 feet above the crashing waters below. At the summit sits an oratory surrounded by a curious cluster of beehive huts. Ferries depart Portmagee Marina from May to September, anchoring briefly on the rocky shores where barking grey seals welcome the adventurous as they begin their ascent.
Looking for something new to download on your e-reader for your next big trip? Browse our favorite travel-themed titles for a healthy dose of wanderlust.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – An Andalusian shepherd boy sets off on a journey from Spain to Morocco and finally, Egypt. What he experiences is not just an incredible adventure, but symbolic of the nature of life itself.
The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton – This philosophical examination of why and how we travel goes around the world and throughout history to describe, in poetic detail, the pleasure of anticipating a journey, the magnetic allure of the exotic and the value of observation.
Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure by Sarah Macdonald – A woman who vowed never to return to India again returns to India again. The resulting story is one of discovery and adventure in this land of beauty and chaos.
Travel as a Political Act by Rick Steeves – Nearly every day we’re hearing of another disaster in a far-off land. But is this really an accurate depiction of the world’s destinations? One of the most renowned and experienced travel guides debunks the myths of “dangerous” destinations.
Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts – This is more than a how-to manual on independent travel (which needs good travel agent advice just like any other form of travel!). It’s also an essay on experiencing the world in your own unique way.
As a certified Good Travels Advisor, I'd like to take some time as we head into the holiday season to share some tips we can all follow to become more responsible travelers.
During my time in the Peace Corps, I learned quickly how even a short time in a foreign land can affect the lives of the people you meet. I lived in Bratsigovo, Bulgaria, a small town near the Rhodope Mountains in Eastern Europe for two years. While I spent a considerable amount of time integrating into the community and local way of life, I saw other volunteers visit for as short as a week. They still left a very indelible impact on the people they met, especially the children they encountered. I spent much of my time helping children translate letters to these volunteers so they could continue to keep in touch.
So no matter how long or short your stay, click here and consider these 4 tips.
Sharing my travel experiences and insights