As a big fan of Alaska travel and someone who’s written about the state a fair amount, I realize I’ve been amiss in not previously mentioning one of the 49th state’s premier events: Summer Solstice in Fairbanks.
Just 140 miles south of the Arctic Circle, the city of Fairbanks is the top spot in Alaska to celebrate the Solstice on June 21. The Solstice is the apex of the Midnight Sun season, which runs there from April 22 through August 20.
During the Solstice, the sun never dips below the horizon and the sky never gets dark. So on June 21 or thereabouts, Fairbanks residents and visitors can either pull down the blackout shades when it’s time to go to bed or give into reality and just decide to stay up half the night.
Three Sun-Illuminated Events
Thanks… Continue reading
How many days in advance should you book a cruise to get the best price?
In part that depends on your destination, according to the website Cruisewatch.com, which uses artificial intelligence to study trends in worldwide cruising. In this case, says a Cruisewatch press release, they undertook a “massive study [that] examined 18,983 sailings by region with departures in 2017.”
They also conducted an “intensive analysis of over 18 million data points” (which are, of course, too numerous to detail in a press release or just about anywhere for that matter, but we are nonetheless grateful for modern technology).
Cruisewatch says the massive study found a “surprising trend: as the date of departure approaches, cruise prices fluctuate to a greater extent.” Some regions, they note, show as much as a 71… Continue reading
Our family has long tried to celebrate milestone birthdays and anniversaries with a major trip.
I won’t specify which birthdays or anniversaries, but these celebratory trips have taken us to Paris, Alaska, Norway, Greece, and Antarctica, among other far-flung destinations.
Sometimes you just need a good excuse to travel. (Other times, not — whatever works.)
So I was intrigued to come across this list of suggested milestone birthday celebratory trips from the folks at Wilderness Travel, which has been taking adventurous travelers to remote regions of the globe since 1978. (It was named AFAR Magazine’s World’s Best Tour Operator for 2017.)
Baby boomers have… Continue reading
What are the best seasons to travel?
I’m tempted to answer that FAQ with a one-word answer: Anytime. You’ll almost always find something positive in any trip, even if it rains every day.
But that’s the easy way out. A lot depends on where you’re going and what your specific interests are in that place. And a few destinations are limited to one particular season of the year.
Weather is often — though not always — the key factor.
A trip to Finland in summer, for instance, is very different than a trip to Finland in winter. Both have their charms — as do the fall and spring seasons there, for that matter. But you might as well be traveling to two different countries in the Finnish July and January.
Most travelers… Continue reading
One of the best perks for turning 62 — if you’re a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident — is the “Senior Pass” that allows those aged 62 and over to enter any of the U.S. national parks, monuments, and recreation areas for all of ten bucks. Let me repeat that. That’s a “ten” with one zero.
And that’s not all, fellow baby boomers! The pass is good for life. It never expires until you do (and if you never expire, so much the better!).
And wait, there’s more! You can get your pass as you drive into many of those same parks and recreation areas. Just ask the attendant at the gate, show some proof of age (driver’s license is good), and you can usually get your pass on the spot. For $10.
Those under 62… Continue reading
I’m in the process of cleaning out the rest of our possessions from our house in upstate New York to complete our move to Tucson, Arizona.
Our house in Tucson is maybe half the size of our house in New York, and therein lies a problem: what to do about the hundreds of books that we no longer have room for and can’t afford to move anyway?
The problem is particularly acute with one genre of books that dominate my old office: travel guidebooks.
To say that I have a sizable collection of them would be a bit of an understatement. They date back to my earliest trips abroad in the 1970’s and continued proliferating in the decades since, reaching a crescendo in the early 1990’s just before the Internet began turning print guidebooks into dinosaurs.
Still, being a baby boomer… Continue reading
“The Savvy Path to Breathtaking Travel, Without the Hassle”
“Less Planning, More Experiencing”
“A Journey of a Thousand Smiles Begins With a Single Click”
These are some of the taglines that express the essence of the new travel website, StrideTravel.com, where I worked for more than a year as Content Director. (My job is now in the capable hands of Content Coordinator Samantha Scott, who, together with co-founders Gavin Delany and Jared Alster, comprise a formidable team.)
In practical terms, Stride aspires to be — and in many ways already is — the best place on the Web to survey the wealth of multi-day, pre-planned trips that are now available from hundreds of travel suppliers around the world.
“Pre-planned trips” may encompass guided group or private tours as well as independent journeys… Continue reading
No matter where you go in Alaska, you’re guaranteed to see sights you’ll see nowhere else in the United States.
But the way you see them – the vantage point and the experience – can vary greatly, depending largely on which type of ship you choose, particularly its size.
Alaska cruise ships range from small yachts that carry a dozen passengers to mega-ships capable of hauling 2,500 people or more. For many cruisers, the larger ships — operated by Carnival, Celebrity, Norwegian, Holland America, Princess, Disney, and Royal Caribbean cruise lines — have a lot to recommend. (Disney, by the way, is geared toward adults as well as kids.)
Averaging around 2,000 passengers, they’re geared toward satisfying a wide variety of tastes — visiting the most popular ports and serving up near-round-the-clock food and entertainment — and are loaded with abundant shipboard… Continue reading