Trips & Trends

Travel 101: Beginner’s Guide To Costa Rica

By Laura Lippstone Why is Costa Rica so popular? Is there really some truth to its overhyped motto, pura vida (Spanish, basically meaning the good life)? I was always curious about this slice of Central America, especially after getting sucked into the cheesiest of flicks about a frumpy (of course) librarian who goes there and practically turns into Eva Mendes. I recently had a mere week to finally check it out. I nixed renting a car after being told driving could be treacherous. Very frustrating because there’s much to see. Beaches with varied hues dotting the Caribbean and Pacific coasts. Furious volcanoes. Jungle playgrounds for scads of...

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Discover Renaissance Hotels With Travel Channel’s Andrew Zimmern

By Gretchen Kelly The first thing you notice when you have dinner at a legendary dim sum restaurant with Andrew Zimmern, is that no matter how full your passport is, his is bigger. “How many of you have been to China,” he asks.  I raise my hand.  “How many of you have been to China twenty times,” my hand sinks to the table like a wilted wonton. But he doesn’t just leave it there. “How many of you have been to China twenty times and have spent more than two weeks there every one of those times?” After traveling...

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Swale, A Floating Farm, Returns To New York City Through The Fall

For the second year, a food forest sprouting from an 80-foot long barge will be floating around New York City through the fall. From Manhattan, to Brooklyn, to the Bronx, the sustainability project called Swale will drift by your neighborhood with specific stops through November 15th. In association with Strongbow, Swale brings nature’s bounty to New York’s concrete jungle, featuring an apple orchard and perennial garden, an oasis amidst skyscrapers that will be pushing off on April 20th. Swale’s first port will be Hudson River Park at Pier 25, through June 15th when it floats to Brooklyn Bridge Park...

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A Subscription Service Mails A Box Bursting With African Culture

Even with tablets and ipads galore, it can be challenging to find activities for young children that are both interactive and educational, especially when it comes to travel. Little Doebahyou  delivers a monthly activity box– bursting with cultural exploration of Africa and the Diaspora. The subscription service was founded by two sisters, Williette and Watchen Nyanue, who were born in Liberia and moved to the United States at a very young age. The Nyanue sisters were continuously reading about their heritage, yet were unable to completely satisfy their curiosity. Little Doebahyou focuses on a different country in Africa every...

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Five Ways to Enjoy Barcelona Like a Local

  By Jennifer Ceaser With its gorgeous seaside setting, fantastical art nouveau architecture and seriously tasty tapas, Barcelona is one of Europe’s most enchanting cities — and fast-becoming one of its most popular. More than 8 million visitors are expected in the Catalan capital this year — nearly half of them will queue up to enter Gaudi’s famed Sagrada Familia. And while you should definitely plan on seeing the city’s top landmarks — Park Guell, the Picasso Museum, Montjuic Castle among them — try getting off the tourist track and soaking up some local flavor. Here are five tips...

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Idea Floating Around Might Sink Iconic Ocean Liner For Good

Perhaps the final mayday call is sounding in the effort to save “America’s Flagship”, a 1950’s era ocean liner precariously clinging to life, incongruously docked across the street from an Ikea in Philadelphia. After Crystal Cruises nixed an idea to put the ship back into passenger service last year, there is renewed hope that it will survive as a $300 million mixed-use development, possibly towed back to New York, her historic homeport.  Another idea being floated, is sinking her as a man-made reef. The S.S. United States was a luxury passenger liner built in 1952 and subsidized by the...

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Norwegian Boosts Cuba Cruises While Air Travel Lags Behind

Norwegian Cruise Lines has extended its weekly roundtrip cruises from Miami to Cuba, adding 33 new departures through 2018. The Norwegian Sky begins its 2018 Cuba cruise season next March, sailing four-day roundtrip cruises from Miami, with 32 of the cruises to include an overnight stay in Havana, as well as a call on Great Stirrup Cay, the cruise line’s  private island in the Bahamas. In Havana, Norwegian is offering a selection of 15 half and full-day excursions, including a farm-to-table dining experience and a tour of the city in a classic car–an iconic experience in the city. These...

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Millennials’ Spring Break Destinations Are Full Of Surprises

By Lena Inglis & Sheila Haya When Jeongwoo Nahm recalls last year’s spring break recess, where he vacationed in the Pocono Mountains with a group of friends, plenty of fond memories come flooding back. The ease of travel, low overall cost of the trip and days of seemingly endless fun come to mind. So, it’s no surprise why this April, he is planning to go back.  “I went last year and had a lot of fun so my friends and I are trying to make it a yearly thing” says the 22-year-old student living in New York.   A...

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Accor Hotels Launches ‘Mood-Ring’ Style Matching For Guests

courtesy: Accor Hotels AccorHotels.com, the French hotel company with properties worldwide, has created the first “mood ring”  for hotel guests. “MoodMatch” is a spin on the new trend  to book “experiences” not trips, with a retro spin–a program that pairs you with a hotel that is evocative of your current “mood” (for Millennials and younger:  mood rings were a late ’70s trend). If you’re in a party, romantic, or chilled out mood, the system (powered by a tech company called Travelsify) will choose a hotel for you based on the “DNA” of that property.  The “DNA” is currently determined...

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Close Encounters of the Oregon Kind

  If you don’t think that Portlandia could get any cooler or more “alternative,”  look no further than the 18th edition of the annual McMenamins UFO Festival (May 18-21). The Festival began as a way to commemorate a UFO sighting by farmers Paul and Evelyn Trent, nine miles from McMinnville on May 11th, 1950. Courtesy: Paul Trent, Life Magazine Photos of a disk-shaped UFO were taken by Paul Trent and published in Life Magazine, becoming some of the most popular and debated UFO images ever published. The Festival, held every year 40 miles south of Portland at McMenamins Hotel,...

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Excursion Phobic? Why Cruisers Don’t Give Up The Ship

While the majority of cruisers can’t wait to line up for shore excursions, a new survey says that 34.3 percent of American passengers decide to stay on board for their entire stay.   The travel insurance provider, Allianz Global Assistance, conducted a survey that found over one-third of passengers staying on board their cruise ship primarily because of safety concerns (36.2 percent), followed by disinterest in the destination (17.7 percent), fear of not getting back to the ship on time (16.8 percent), inclusive food/drinks on the ship (9.4 percent), not having pre-booked an off-board activity (8.3 percent), having visited...

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Spring Colors Pop In Queens Hindu Festival of “Holi”

By Sheila Haya Clouds of powdered color fill the air, the banging of drums resonating through crowds of people gathering in celebration of the festival of color, otherwise known as Holi or Phagwah. I participated in the Holi celebration on March 12, 2017, in Richmond Hill, Queens, where there is a large Indian diaspora. The Hindu holiday, originating in India, starts with a parade featuring floats of people dressed as the Indian deities Radha and Krishna, and winds up at Smokey Oval Park for a colorful finale. Despite the frost on the grass, it feels like you are transported...

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