Chinese New Year (also known as Spring Festival), starts on February 16 this year and continues for 15 days.
It’s the most important festival time of the year in China — when millions of Chinese travel to their home villages and cities to be with family or friends for holiday reunions.
This is the Year of the Dog, which is one of the 12 rotating Chinese Zodiac signs.
Those born in the Year of the Dog are thought to be loyal, industrious, and courageous.
Chinese New Year is now celebrated by parades featuring dragon and lion dances and fireworks, family gatherings and feasts, and, on the 15th and final day, a Lantern Festival featuring illuminated red lanterns.
According to legend, Chinese New Year traditions stem from thousands of years ago… Continue reading
Mardi Gras — Fat Tuesday — falls on February 13 this year, and is celebrated in America most notably in Louisiana.
In my limited Mardi Gras experience, I’ve noticed that Louisianans like to dance to Cajun music, dress up and ride in Mardi Gras parades, catch beads, drink copious amounts of liquid refreshments, and eat crawfish.
I love seafood, but when I was presented with a heaping platter of boiled crawfish in Lake Charles, Louisiana, a few Mardi Gras celebrations ago, I was a little intimidated.
While crawfish look like little lobsters, they’re way too small to crack in the same way. So how do you eat them without making a fool of yourself in front of the locals?
If you find yourself in a similar situation, here’s what I was taught by a local expert (and it works!):
1. Pick up one fully boiled crawfish.… Continue reading
Is it time to hang up your backpack when you reach your 50s and 60s or even your 70s?
Certainly not — not if you don’t want to.
Sometimes carrying your traveling gear on your back can be easier than wheeling a suitcase through city streets as well as in the country.
So even if the term “backpackers” conjures up visions of 20-somethings bearing heavy loads of camping supplies and sleeping bags strapped on their backs, heading out onto forest trails or tramping around Europe or Australia, this article by Jenn Miller at Jen Reviews may change your mind.
Jenn provides a clearly written, comprehensive guide on how to pack for a backpacking trip, filled with practical tips and advice that will save you time, space, and help make your trip even more enjoyable.
Besides general packing… Continue reading
When my daughter, Lia, and her partner, Mike, traipsed into the wilds of North Carolina last August for an unobstructed view of the total eclipse of the sun, they also ventured into the rising realm of Astro Tourism — along with thousands of other Americans who journeyed near and far to find the ideal locales to witness that extraordinary celestial event.
Having just had cataract surgery, I wasn’t among them, alas, and here in Tucson the sky barely darkened during our partial eclipse, which was hundreds of miles south of the band of totality that swept across the U.S.
I was able to view the “super blue blood moon” eclipse on January 31, a lunar event that had not occurred in the United States since 1866. But that was visible right here in my front yard, and all it required was walking a few… 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
Today’s guest post is by financial expert Saleh Stevens, with timely reminders of why it’s crucial to obtain or renew a U.S. passport now if you need one — or even if you think you don’t.
By Saleh Stevens
The Early Bird Saves Money
The initial cost of a U.S. passport is $135 for an adult applying for the first time ($110 application fee and $25 execution fee). The cost of an adult passport renewal is $110.
Alternatively, you can opt for a passport card good for land or sea crossings only to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, or Bermuda for $30, but this card is not good for any international air travel. (Cruise passengers take note: if you have to fly to or from your cruise for some unexpected reason, you will probably be denied boarding your plane.)
However, if you… Continue reading
As a sequel to our posts on travel-related military discounts last year, we have a great new list of discounts for active duty and military vets thanks to the website dealhack.com. It covers a number of aspects of travel including transport, car rentals, hotels, museums and parks, restaurants, language learning, and military sign-up discounts.
You’ll find the complete list of dealhack’s military discounts (including clothing, cars and more) by going to their website; this one was compiled by writer Emma Lewis.
Amtrak: Amtrak offers an exclusive 10% military discount on the lowest available rail fare to active duty military personnel, their spouses, and dependents. All uniformed personnel and family members are also welcome to the front of any Amtrak line. Certain limitations apply (source).
Carnival Cruise Lines: Carnival Cruise Lines offers… Continue reading
Every once in a while some travel information crosses my desk (well, appears in my email) that I feel an immediate need to pass along. Such is the case with the floating Arctic Bath Hotel and Spa, which is due to open in the fall of 2018.
The six-room hotel and spa is said to sit in the ice during winter and float on the river during summer.
The location is in far northern Sweden in the area that’s renowned for having the best Northern Lights viewing in the world. The river is the Lule, which freezes in winter and thaws in summer, allowing for the above-mentioned sitting and floating.
According to the National Travel and Tourism Office, there was a four percent decline in the number of international visitors to the U.S. during the first six months of 2017 compared to the first six months of 2016.
And according to a recent International Trade Report released by the Commerce Department, spending by international travelers to the U.S. decreased by 3.3 percent through November 2017 compared to November 2016. Total spending by international travelers to the U.S. came to $246 billion, according to figures from the U.S. Travel Association (USTA), a trade group representing travel industry members.
That 3.3 percent decrease translates to a $4.6 billion loss to the U.S. economy as well as 40,000 jobs in tourism-related industries (hotels, restaurants, transportation, stores, tour operators, travel agencies, etc.)
But the ripple effects… Continue reading