Category Archives: Travel

Exceptional Houston Time

As one of the largest cities in the U.S., Houston doesn’t lack exclusive entertainment or cultural and educational sites. This is a city nationally recognized for historical Space Center, fantastic and growing art scene, and family-friendly outdoor attractions.

Be sure to check out this Houston Travel Guide to ensure that you are staying at one of the best hotels in Houston as you plan your trip. Then keep reading to find attractions you won’t want to miss for an exceptional Houston trip.

NASA Space Center

https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2831/13255447143_b01e86b76b.jpgImage via Flickr by Vlad Busuioc

How many cities across the nation can brag that they have the NASA Space flight and space centers? Only a rare few. Houston became synonymous with National Aeronautics due to its Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center and Space Center Houston. As the supreme center for NASA’s human spaceflight programs, since the Gemini IV flight in 1965, the Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) successfully pursued a mission to explore the space providing the first-class astronauts.

At the same time, visiting Space Center Houston is an opportunity of a lifetime, not only to experience but also to learn about all wonders of space from real NASA astronauts and simulations of their missions. Visit the shuttle replica, Independence, seated on top of the historic and original NASA 905 shuttle carrier aircraft, or start the journey with Mission Mars virtual tour and exhibit.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Image via Flickr by eschipul

The great thing about The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is the fact that if you are an art lover, it is a world-class museum, and if you’re not, you can also delve into it and have the time of your life. The place consists of 19 museums and more than 65,000 displayed works of art, representing different cultures and art collections from ancient to modern art, and presumably everything in between.

In addition to the permanent collections they accompany, some of the interesting touring exhibits are The Glamour and Romance of Oscar de la Renta, Pixel Forest, Paint the Revolution: Mexican Modernism 1910–1950, and many other worthy of your time. So keep an eye on the promos of this fascinating place.

The Cockrell Butterfly Center

Image via Flickr by urban.houstonian

As a part of the Houston Museum of Natural Science, The Cockrell Butterfly Center is a true living butterfly habitat and memorable place for family entertainment. Learn about amazing bug species and butterfly life-cycle. A variety of beautiful butterflies flying around the area make you feel like you are in a fairy tale land; maybe you’ll be lucky enough and they’ll land on you! Kids love doing interactive games and quizzes offered at the center.

Also, at the Cockrell Butterfly Center is a simulated tropical rain forest where you can enter three-story glass structure built around a 50-foot waterfall. Plenty of exotic plants and hundreds of gorgeous live butterflies imported from around the world, found their home here.

Houston Street Art

Image via Flickr by dandeluca

City of Houston is heaven for the street art. Each corner of the city, even the smallest neighborhoods, has its own recognizable artistic style and a unique story. There are giant murals, colorful mini murals, and striking culture graffiti. Some of these vibrant works of street art are permanent, and you can see them at any time, but others may be replaced tomorrow, so check them out right the way.

It would take a plethora of time to get around all buildings, stairwells, train car,s and bridges decorated with public art. Spend a day taking some awesome shots and getting to know artists of the murals in Montrose, The Heights, East Downtown, and Midtown.

Houston adventures offer something new each time making tourists come back for more unforgettable moments.

The Ultimate Guide to the Best New York City Parks

New York is a cosmopolitan city that’s perfect for a visit any time of the year, especially because visitors of all ages and interests can enjoy more than 1,700 parks, playgrounds, and recreational facilities. Use this New York City guide for great ideas for spending a whole day in the city and check out NYC’s best parks below.

Central Park

Image via Flickr by m01229

The history of Central Park dates back to 1871, when landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted and architect Calvert Vaux created this iconic 843-acre gem. No matter what you’re in the mood for, the park offers hundreds of exceptional attractions for solo visitors or families. Don’t miss outstanding sights like Bethesda Fountain, the Belvedere Castle, alluring botanical gardens, and the many small lakes and bridges.

Try inspiring activities, such as renting a rowboat from the Loeb Boathouse, attending New York Symphony performances, and catching the summer Shakespeare festival at the park’s outdoor amphitheater. This isn’t a typical park that offers only amazing landscapes. Instead, Central Park is the ultimate cultural and entertainment spot in the largest city in the nation, and it’s open all year round.

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Image via Flickr by dumbonyc

Nestled along the East River in Brooklyn, Brooklyn Bridge Park is an 85-acre green oasis where you can play sports, have a picnic on the grass, roller skate, or have a nice walk along the waterfront trails. Every year, this park offers something new to the many visitors from around the world. Some possibilities include boating, fitness classes, basketball clinics, stargazing, history tours, movies, concerts, and author talks.

It’s a great place to visit any time of the year, as you can revel in all the free cultural, educational, and recreational happenings that the park offers. You can also explore two historic sites, the Civil War-era Empire Stores and the Tobacco Warehouse.

Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Image via Flickr by pdstahl

As New York City’s second-largest park, Flushing Meadows Corona Park holds cultural and recreational surprises for adults and kids alike. The iconic Unisphere is an unbelievably large globe and a great photo opportunity. Situated next to it is a lovely cultural escape, the Queens Museum of Art.

Flushing Meadows Corona Park also has two big sports institutions, USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, which hosts the U.S. Open tennis tournament, and Citi Field, the home of New York Mets baseball team. Throughout the park, you’ll find plenty of green space to explore, as well as a lake for boating, a skate park, a picnic area, and an aquatic and hockey center.

Prospect Park

Image via Flickr by Mon Œil

Prospect Park is to Brooklyn as Central Park is to Manhattan. The two parks even share the same landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted. In Prospect Park, you can barbecue and picnic, play baseball and softball, take one of the cultural or historical tours, or visit the Lefferts Historic House and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. You can also complete your day with bird-watching or boating to enjoy the 585 acres of nature to the fullest.

There are so many amazing parks in New York that attract millions of visitors every year. These four are the most outstanding, and they’re definitely worth your time during your next visit to New York.

 

Beautiful Night at Grandiose Mediterranean Villa Perast from the XV Century

1Renovated in 2016. Vila Perast is an exceptional 4-level house which is strikingly beautiful, absolutely charming and will tickle your fancy. The building’s original charm has been preserved and enhanced by the hotel’s sophisticated exterior design, and the Vila has preserved a characteristic in common with other houses in Perast: a broken base. The exterior walls are bonded exclusively with blunt and sharp corners because it is believed that this keeps evil spirits from entering. The contemporary and pleasant interior details of this Vila are a mix of stone and wood. It is a Mali hotel with the warmth and charm of a bed-and-breakfast. It is a heaven of tranquility caught somewhere between the sea and sky.

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3The ground floor is comprised of a magnificent entrance opening onto a spacious living area consisting of a contemporary kitchen fully equipped with modern appliances and a dining area spacious enough to fit a large dining table. Vila has a state-of-the-art entertainment system and this floor is also easily transformed into a beautiful, spacious entertainment room dedicated to art where you can find a trendy ambience and enjoy the special night. It is open to non-hotel guests as well. In front of the Vila there is a terrace, which has preserved the charm of the time period when it was originally built. It is suitable for a rest with a view of the bay shaded under an amazing Wisteria, which in Montenegro is often called “blue rain” – a grandiose climbing plant whose charm is difficult to resist. In front of this terrace you can enjoy a swim with Vila’s private access to the sea and move back to the terrace in the afternoon when swimming and the sun have drained your body of its endless reserves of pure pleasure.

4567The hotel has 19 different rooms, most of which have a sea view. As this bay enjoys more than 240 sunny days a year, you can enjoy the early sun’s warmth and how it angrily blisters the land as it rises from most of the rooms on the first and second floors in which ever season you choose to visit us. On the second floor there is also a shady, stone-clad terrace perfect for lounging during hot summer days. A few steps away there is a staircase leading one more floor up to the rooftop, where there are two hidden attics and a laundry room. Vila Perast allows you to feel the peace of this amazing, petite city, which excels in pride and dignity, and the architectural perfection of its Baroque palaces. It can allow you to feel its silence, calmness and simplicity. This is the perfect place where a caress of wind through the window, the smell of the sea and the sound of waves can awaken you. It may impress you so much that you forget about the hours, days, months, and other rags of time.

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A mountain-stay for all seasons

Located in the midst of the natural splendour of Northern Montenegro, Four Points by Sheraton Kolašin is accessible for 12-months of the year. Ideally located as the region’s up-and-coming winter ski resort, it is also a draw for those keen on hiking, fishing and cultural activities that prevail in the summer months. Newly opened, the hotel combines quality accommodation with intuitive service and welcome extras, attracting both local and international guests.

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The 72 chalet-style guestrooms and 15 larger suites provide the perfect base for an activity-packed adventure in the great outdoors. Rugged, wooden surfaces and cosy furniture create welcoming interiors, whilst the signature Four Points by Sheraton Four Comfort Bed, dressed in 350-thread count sheets, set guests up for a great night’s sleep.

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Restaurants & Bars

From the upscale Blanche with its amazing view across the surrounding mountains, to the more informal Flame, where delicious, freshly-cooked pizzas are available for all the family. Best Brews™ offers guests the chance to quench their thirst after an active day, with a great choice of local brewed and international craft beers.

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Fitness & Spa

Whether it’s for après-ski or a summer break the contemporary spa is kitted out with a Hammam, jacuzzi, treatment rooms and fitness center, making it the perfect spot to unwind and relax. Offering something for everyone, skiers looking to hone their skills can make use of the dedicated ski room, whilst children are entertained in the colorful playroom.

Turkish bath
Finnish sauna
American whirlpool
Fitness Center
Spa treatments
Ski Room

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This is a post published in collaboration with the Four Points by Sheraton Kolašin.

When to Go 2017: 120 Top North American Destinations

This post is originally published on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog by , on January 11, 2017.

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It’s a new year, and with it comes the endless possibilities for the adventures, experiences, and memories that travel brings. But with uncertainty abroad, many Americans may choose to stay closer to home this year. Yet domestic travel can be just as challenging to plan as excursions abroad. And while most travel data analyses concentrate on when to buy or where to go, just as crucial is when to go. Indeed, at Hipmunk we get asked all the time when the best time to travel to a particular destination is (read: the cheapest). So this year, we decided to expand on last year’s When to Go Monthly Index, increasing the list to include 120 North American cities (with dedicated ski and Hawaii charts below), concentrating solely on low-cost airfare, and adding our most popular Canadian destinations to round out the list.

We dug through 18 months of Hipmunk flight bookings to find you the average monthly airfare to each of these 120 cities (103 US, 17 Canadian) when departing from the US, highlighting the least expensive times of the year to go to these top destinations.

So consider this your yearly guide: pin it to Pinterest, download one or more of the charts to your computer for easy reference, or simply print and put it on your fridge.

Let’s jump in! And don’t forget to check out our When to Go 2017: Canada, Hawaii, and Mountain indexes following our US breakdown below.

When to Go

*Average monthly airfare departing from US 

It’s pretty obvious that the best times to travel domestically is either Jan/Feb or Shoulder Season (Aug/Sep): a whopping 66 percent of the cities listed above named January as one of their two least expensive times to visit. Indeed, this maxim holds true even for Hawaii vacays, where four out five cities analyzed returned January as one of its “when to go” months.

When to Go: Hawaii*Average monthly airfare departing from US 

And while better deals may be found in the fall, there’s still ample time to take advantage of winter and spring ski season savings:

When to Go: Mountains + Ski

*Average monthly airfare departing from US 

Rounding out our When to Go 2017 list is our neighbors up north (a few of these cities were included in our ski chart, above). Celebrating its 150th anniversary of confederation this year, Canada has seen a boost in popularity for Americans lately thanks in part to a strong exchange rate. Here are the best times to maximize the dollar’s spending power:

When to Go: Canada

*Average monthly airfare departing from US 

Of course, the best way to ensure you purchase the lowest flight prices in any month is to book about six weeks in advance and to set a fare alert.

Tell us in the comments below: where are you planning on going this year?

Methodology: Hipmunk analyzed prices for round-trip flight booking made from July 1, 2015 – Dec 31, 2016, departing from the US and arriving in either US or Canadian cities from Jan 1, 2016 – Dec 31, 2016. 

The Most Remarkable Places to Visit in NYC

The post below was originally written by Mila Bozic and published on Oct 30, 2016.

Did you know that New York City has 375 museums, 96 orchestras, and 24 performing arts centers? As one of the most diverse and multicultural cities in the United States, New York City always flourishes and brings something new worth experiencing. This cultural capital is also the world’s leading lodging and dining destination. Treat yourself with the finest hotel rooms and bargain deals in New York.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Among the greatest places to see in the city that never sleeps is, of course, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. An impressive collection of more than 2 million works of art are sorted in 17 curatorial departments and represents one of the greatest acquisitions in the world; covering 5,000 years of art from classical antiquity of ancient Egypt, master pieces of European artists, as well as the great American and modern artists of today. The Metropolitan Museum of Art proudly carries a title as the largest art museum in the United States. In the heart of New York City, located on Fifth Avenue across from Central Park, the museum houses the world’s most famous works of art.

Image via Flickr by Phil Roeder

The American Museum of Natural History

One of the most interesting museums in the U.S., that kids also love, is The American Museum of Natural History. Situated across the street from Central Park on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, this museum is placed in a beautiful neighborhood. As one of the most notable scientific and cultural institutions, with many years of discovering, interpreting, and publicizing artifacts of human life, nature, and the universe. It offers 45 permanent exhibitions in more than 2,000,000 square feet of space. Choose exhibitions according to your interests, and you will absolutely look at the world and life with a different perspective.

Image via Flickr by donjd2

Museum of Modern Art

Be ready to boost all of your visual perceptions walking through The Museum of Modern Art. Located in midtown Manhattan, the museum houses some of the world’s finest modern art that will surely intrigue your imagination and blow your mind. Since it was founded in 1929, this valued institution was dedicated to educate and apprise people with the best of contemporary and modern art of all time. Founding director of MoMA, Alfred H. Barr Jr., started with eight prints, one drawing, and a vision to give New York a grandiose collection of modern art. Eventually, with dedication and hard work, nearly 90 years later, the museum collection contains over 150,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, architectural models and drawings, and design objects of the highest value.

Image via Flickr by hannibal1107

The Morgan Library & Museum

Spending an afternoon sipping tea or having lunch, and walking around the divine setting of The Morgan Library & Museum  is definitely a must-do when visiting New York City. This Italian Renaissance-style palazzo, completed between 1902 and 1906, is situated on Madison and 36th Street. This wonderful place stores the world’s most sensational collection of manuscripts, rare books, music, drawings, and various works of art. Primarily, it was a private library of the financier and cultural benefactor Pierpont Morgan. Eleven years after Pierpont Morgan’s death, the library was transformed into a public institution of great importance.


Image via Flickr by aljuarez

All those remarkable places are the reason why New York City is on the world’s top travel destination with 12.23 million international tourist arrivals per year.

 

 

Outstanding Miami Delight

The post below was originally written by Mila Bozic and published on Oct 7, 2016.

Tourists from around the world visit Miami, Florida, for its exciting nightlife and fun at the beach. Also, Miami’s boutique hotels and restaurants are some of the best in the nation, where guests can enjoy exquisite cocktails and savor delicious meals from popular chefs and culinary artists. But there is so much more that Miami has to offer, such as mid-century Art Deco architecture that dominates South Beach, contemporary museums, galleries, countless music festivals, lush botanical gardens all over the city, exotic animals, and endangered species that cannot be seen anywhere else on the planet. Whichever type of entertainment you choose during your visit, make sure to acquire your room in advance for the best hotel deals in Miami.

The Ultra Music Festival

The Ultra Music Festival is a constant three-day electronic dance music party that takes place in a spectacular location, the heart of Downtown Miami overlooking Biscayne Bay. All throughout the park, on eight stages, perform diverse lineups. Performers range from the biggest names in the music industry to new emerging talents. Live artists play disco, techno, dub-step, house, trance, hardcore rock, pop, and industrial music for more than 70,000 fans each day. From a one-day event in 1999 until 2006, the festival eventually evolved into a three-day celebration during the sunny month of March. Its founders Russell Faibisch and Alex Omes symbolically named this festival after the 1997 Depeche Mode album Ultra. In recent years, Ultra’s main stage has been occupied by top music artists like Tiesto, David Guetta, AVICII, Skrillex, Swedish House Mafia, Moby, Fatboy Slim, and The Chemical Brothers. Ultra Music Festival has become an extremely recognized event that has spread worldwide to incredible places like Ibiza, Spain; Seoul, Korea; Tokyo, Japan; Hvar and Split, Croatia; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Miami Seaquarium

Miami Seaquarium is a top-notch 38-acre sealife entertainment park with marvelous skyline views. It is also a rescue center with rehabilitation achievements. The fundamental purpose of Miami Seaquarium is education. Seaquarium offers many educational programs convenient for families with kids such as home school programs, field trips, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and much more. Swimming with dolphins and seals is a fun activity, but having a chance to encounter endangered sea turtles and unique sea creatures like Florida Manatees will make you feel so special. Beauty and intelligence come to the forefront with the extraordinary bond between animal and trainer, and visitors get to experience just that through eight different marine animal-shows that are available. The three top shows are Deck Dolphin, Golden Dome Sea Lion, and Killer Whale & Dolphin.

Image via Flickr by sapienssolutions

The National Tropical Botanical Garden

As a part of The National Tropical Botanical Garden, the Kampong is a true gem and a hidden oasis in the urban part of Miami. You will entirely fall in love with this beautiful conservatory, which is abundant with unique collections of botanicals and displays of botanical history. For the complete experience of this Southern Florida green area, tours are available for every age and curiosity level. Lush tropical arrays and fragrant fruits and flowers are at every step. Especially captivating is an 80-year-old baobab tree from Tanzania that weighs almost 50 tons. Most importantly, by taking tours you are contributing to meaningful work toward plant research, conservation, and education.

Miami Art Deco District

One of the most authentic parts of Miami Beach is the Art Deco District. The National Register of Historic Places acknowledges 800 unique buildings of historical significance built between 1923 and 1943. This 20th-century neighborhood is rich with architectural and historic heritage. Guided daily tours are exciting not only for adult art and history enthusiasts, but for kids and teenagers as well.

Image via Flickr by Noel Portugal

Miami is a holiday destination perfect for all generations, tastes, and preferences.

Enjoy Cultural Events in Louisville, KY

Many people would agree that their best trips involve visits to festivals and cultural events. If you enjoy gathering with fun-loving people, this is the right article for you. The beautiful city of Louisville, Kentucky, comes alive many times per year, and that is all thanks to its famous events.

So you can enjoy a city with many annual cultural celebrations, we’ve shortened the potential selection to just a couple events that we deem “must-attends.” This  useful guide will help you to take advantage of the greatest accommodation deals in Louisville. Read on to learn how to plan a trip designed for your travel style.

St. James Court Art Show


Image via Flickr by frankieleon

One of the most notable art festivals in Louisville that you can visit with family or friends is the St. James Court Art Show, which is held on the first weekend of October. This is a fine arts and crafts show with a professional artist selection jury, so be ready for lot of positive and creative energy. The story behind this show is amazing, and has earned it an excellent reputation.

The St. James Court Art Show was founded on October 12, 1957 by the St. James Court Association president. Initially, it was meant to serve as an art exhibit that could welcome anyone who wanted to see great art. The hosts strung clothesline from tree to tree and hung the pictures from the line.

Today, according to an annual survey of artists by the trade journal Sunshine Artist, the St. James Art Show was voted the best art show for many years. It gathers nearly 750 exhibitors and more than 300,000 attendees in all.  Primarily, the St. James Court Art Show continues to praise the history of St. James Court to date.  Plaques on the former homes of poets, authors, and mayors signify and give tribute to their memorable lifetime achievements. If you want to be part of this magnificent story, book your accommodation ahead of time.

Garvin Gate Blues Festival

Every year in October, historic Old Louisville welcomes one of the most famous and influential blues festivals  between Chicago and Mississippi: the Garvin Gate Blues. This part of the Louisville is the largest Victorian preservation neighborhood in the U.S. and creates a special ambiance worth experiencing. From the very beginning, the foundation of Garvin Gate drew numerous leading blues musicians to perform at this two-day music event. Since 1988, the Garvin Gate Blues Festival has promoted local and national performers in the blues music industry and the arts industry as well, and has drawn the attention of a multicultural audience.

Open Studio Weekend

Art admirers who ether appreciate the imaginative and technical skills of talented individuals or are eager to collect artwork can attend the Open Studio Weekend Festival every year in November. In their studios, artists from all around Louisville welcome visitors, and the guests have a chance to capture beautiful moments of art-making in person. This event is a perfect opportunity to acquire unique pieces of art from favorite artists during studio sales.

Meeting up-and-coming artists serves as an experience of its own. What makes this festival significant is that the Open Studio Weekend (OSW), in a collaboration with the LVA and University of Louisville Hite Art Institute, raises funds for LVA’s signature program, Children’s Fine Art Classes, and the Hite Art Institute’s Mary Spencer Nay Scholarship program. This means that all the funds collected from the sold artwork go toward supporting local talent. Who wouldn’t want to participate in Open Studio Weekend?

Kentucky Derby

Image via Flickr by Bill Brine

Would you like to be part of one of the nation’s top celebrations? The Kentucky Derby Festival is an exciting event, and it lasts from mid-April to May. With more than 1.5 million visitors, this is Kentucky’s largest annual event. Many of the 70 entertainment options will bring you mind-blowing memories. From spectacular fireworks shows to concerts, marathons, races, parties and much more, this is a ceremony that is as diverse as it is unique. The Kentucky Derby Festival received the notable International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA) World Festival & Event City award five times for compelling input in the community and constant work on improvement of the community’s culture, education and economy.

What festival type are you?

Hipmunk Hotels: Economical Stays in Richmond, Harrisonburg, Arlington, Alexandria, and Reston

The post below was originally written by Mila Bozic and published on Sep 25, 2016.

Virginia is a unique area in many ways. The undeniable charisma of the Old Towns, wonderful waterfront sceneries, and culinary delis are something to look forward to. Once you feel the groovy spirit of Deep South cities like Richmond, Harrisonburg, Arlington, Alexandria, and Reston, you would never want to leave.

Hotels in Richmond, VA

If the “National Geographic” refers to Richmond as the place to travel for good food, you don’t have to think twice about your next stop. Choose one of the countless accommodation options, and discover why this eclectic city is among the best travel and leisure destinations. Among the hotels in Richmond, you can find bed and breakfasts in the historic district, such as The Museum District B&B on Grove Avenue, built in 1922, modest Airbnb accommodations, and momentous buildings with luxury embrace like The Jefferson, open since 1895. Experience this city by going places and taking part in activities that are popular with locals.

Image via Flickr by taberandrew

Hotels in Harrisonburg, VA

Harrisonburg, as a multicultural city with traditional hospitality and alluring natural surroundings, covers all. Thanks to the many hiking trails, all the treasures of this city, from art and culture to farms and vineyards, are easily accessible on foot or by bike. If any part of the city becomes your preference, comfortable lodging in Harrisonburg is at a nearby corner. The city offers various bed & breakfasts and inns, for those who prefer cozier, more personal accommodations or simply have a smaller budget. And on the other side, there are major national hotel brands, like Sleep Inn and Suites and the Best Western, with moderate prices of around $85 per night that are also available.

Image via Flickr by taberandrew

Hotels in Arlington, VA

If you choose to stay in Arlington, VA, while visiting Washington, D.C., you will benefit in many ways. Hotels in Arlington are located within 3 miles of downtown D.C. and just minutes away by bridge or metro.  All major national historic attractions and fun places are easily accessible from both locations. There are many convenient hotel offers in Arlington that you won’t find at the downtown hotels, with up to 20 percent discount on daily rates; just to mention a few with excellent reviews and reasonable prices, you can check out Holiday Inn Arlington at Ballston and Le Meridien Arlington.

Image via Flickr by m01229

Hotels in Alexandria, VA

From the time when Alexandria was part of Washington, D.C., the amazing Old Town Alexandria offers a preserved historic district. If you want to take a tour around the city and visit its historical landmarks, like George Washington Masonic Memorial or even hop over to the D.C. side, there are numerous public transportation outlets that are accessible and practical. The city has something for every travel purpose and budget. Choose from a wide selection of boutique or chain Alexandria hotels, such as Crowne Plaza Old Town Alexandria, from $77 per night, and Hilton Alexandria Mark Center, from $79 per night, or consider many historic century-old bed and breakfasts and other accommodations.

Image via Flickr by Ron Cogswell

Hotels in Reston, VA

The city of Reston is situated only 20 miles from the nation’s capital, and due to its closeness and good connection to many major roadways and rail systems, Maryland and other destinations in Virginia are effortlessly reachable. It’s possible to find hotels in Reston for under $100 a night, which makes playing golf in the off season in this area very affordable. Hotels like The Westin Reston Heights and The Sheraton Reston Hotel offer rates of approximately $110 a night. For business people, downtown accommodations with leisure facilities are the best option, such as Hyatt Regency Reston. Or, if you’d like to spend a night near the airport, Crown Plaza Dulles Airport has great deals all year round.

Image via Flickr by Payton Chung

This is a post written in collaboration with the Hipmunk Hotels campaign.

 

 

Carry On with Bravo TV’s Tour Group Host Brandon Presser

The post below was originally published on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on March 4, 2016 by .

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As a travel expert, TV host, and writer, Brandon Presser is no stranger to life on the go. Presser, who has visited more than 100 countries, has penned over 50 travel books, and is a regular contributor for such publications as Afar, Travel + Leisure, The Daily Beast, and National Geographic Traveler. And while he may be well known in the travel industry, he’s about to experience a whole new level of recognition: Presser is the lead host of Bravo TV’s new travel-based reality show, “Tour Group“, which tags along as 11 travelers search for the ultimate vacation. (10 p.m. EST/PST on Bravo.)  We got Presser to stay in one place long enough to give us his best travel advice, his favorite places to go, and the items he can’t leave home without. 

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Hipmunk: So, tell us. What’s in your carry-on?

Brandon Presser: A dopp kit with some small essentials like eye drops, moisturizer, a travel toothbrush, Advil, and Ursa Major face towelettes; a small pouch with some lucky charms (a few pebbles I’ve collected from different beaches around the world–I’m a little superstitious!); a good book (that I never finish); an iPad fully loaded with some of my favorite movies; Bose headphones; and Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter Granola Bars.

H: Carry on bag of choice? 

BP: If I’m hauling some serious carry-on luggage and want the flexibility of bringing more things home, I go for the Dakine Over Under bag, which can grow and shrink in size. For quick trips I’m obsessed with Fjallraven’s safari duffle.

H: How often do you travel?

BP: I’ll travel through roughly 15 countries a year, which has me on one or two large trips a month. Last year’s highlights included everything from Tahiti to Portugal, and leading 11 strangers on a world tour through Africa and Asia while making “Tour Group.”

H: First, business class or coach?

BP: Each travel project I work on has different travel parameters–sometimes I’m in coach, other times I’m in first. I can tell you that it’s super hard to do a long-haul flight at the back of the plane after being treated to the flat beds up front.

H: Ok, now that we’re warmed up, let’s play a game of favorites. Favorite city to visit for work? Why?

BP: Tokyo is the best canvas for my work–whether it’s researching and writing articles and guidebooks or leading travelers through the incredible neighborhoods. The city is an endless well of oddities and curious fads. (Read Brendon’s articles on Tokyo’s oddities and fads here and here, respectively).

H: Favorite city for play? Why?

BP: Luckily, my work life and play life are closely intertwined. And Tokyo never stops inspiring me to get out there and explore with its thousands of cool restaurants, bars, shops and public spaces.

H: Favorite hotels?

BP: I’ve stayed in more than 2,500 hotels worldwide, so this is definitely a tricky one to answer. In the last 12 months some of my hotel highlights have included: Four Seasons Bora Bora, Twin Farms in Vermont, and Roch Castle in Wales.

H: Favorite airline? Airport? Airport Terminal?

BP: I’m really loving JetBlue’s newest aircrafts right now–the entertainment system is bigger and better than ever, the coach seats really aren’t bad, and there’s an endless supply of snacks. Portland’s PDX wins domestically for making a promise to its traveler to not price gauge on snacks and supplies. And Hong Kong wins internationally for Cathay Pacific’s awesome business class lounge with delicious food and state-of-the-art shower facilities.

H: Any travel tips before you take off?

BP: Change your place; change your luck.

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