Travel Tips

This post originally appeared on Yahoo! Travel

As much as we would all love to pack our bags and fly off to some remote corner of the world, the reality is that the majority of Americans won’t be leaving the “Land of the Free” any time soon. In fact, as of last year, a study showed that more than half of Americans have never left the country. A full third does not have a passport. When asked why, many of those Americans who participated in the study said they felt everything worth seeing was already in their own backyards. While we’d like to contest the veracity of that statement, we have to give credit where credit is due. The States DO have lots to offer travelers. From crystal clear waters that rival those in the Caribbean, to insurmountable mountain peaks that wow even the most experienced adventure traveler, the geography of America is as varied as the citizens that call it home. By that logic, you technically don’t have to leave the States to feel miles away. This summer, explore the far corners of America and discover just how diverse your country — you won’t even know you’re still on your home turf.

Getaway: The Florida Keys 

florida keys

The Florida Keys are as close to the Caribbean (and its nice weather) as you can get in the U.S. Formerly thriving on the loot from wrecked ships, the Keys now thrive on tourism. Visitors flock to the area during the winter and spring to soak up the year-round heat and swim in the beautiful, calm waters. Situated on the third largest barrier reef in the world, the Keys are a great destination for snorkeling and scuba diving, and there are tons of other outdoor activities, too — tennis, golf, kayaking, fishing…the list goes on.

Stay: Little Palm Island Resort & Spa

Reachable only by boat or seaplane, Little Palm Island Resort & Spa is located on a private island where wild key deer roam. It includes 30 luxurious suites, many with private oceanfront verandas. A favorite getaway for celebrities, it provides a secluded place to unplug from the world (use of technology is discouraged) and experience a romantic vacation in a lush, tropical environment. Read More »

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Forget no-frills lodging; today’s new brand of hostels offers cool decor and plenty of perks. Sounds too good to be true? Well, we’ve got the scoop on hostels that pack a wow factor with upscale amenities, contemporary comforts, prime locations, and good food. Plus, with fun social scenes and affordable rates, they have all the ingredients for a pleasant stay without breaking the bank. Join us as we step into the (little-known) world of modern hostels.

Hostelling International – New York

hostelling_intl_nyWithin walking distance of Central Park and numerous subway lines, Hostelling International in New York City offers an affordable stay on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. This well-run property has both private and shared rooms, free Wi-Fi, a theater room, game room, café, several lounges and a private patio/garden. To keep guests (mostly in their 20s and 30s) entertained, the hostel organizes daily events like city tours, pub crawls, and in-house comedy shows.

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When the going gets tough, the tough are of tempted to stop going – or going on vacation, that is! But the exact opposite should be true: travel inspires and relaxes us. It takes us to new creative heights. It is refreshing. It’s exactly what we need when we’re in a rut, or going through a rough patch, or simply sick of gray skies and piles of snow. So if you’re yearning to get away from it all but don’t want to break the bank in the process, these six budget destinations come through with incredible deals and plenty of sun-dappled relaxation.

Mexico

Hotel B Cozumel

The rules of supply and demand certainly appyl in Mexico, where thousands of hotel rooms mean competition for tourist dollars. And that means great deals on some of the country’s most scenic towns, including towns along the Yucatán Peninsula, the Riviera Maya, and major destinations like Puerto Vallarta and Cancún. Great deals can be had for every type of vacation style, so don’t settle for merely a good price: If you’re a water lover, go for an all-inclusive (or large resort) that bundles jetskis, snorkeling gear, and other amenities into your vacation package. For a more sedate getaway, look for a small hotel or guesthouse where you can escape the crowds.

Stretch your hotel dollar: The Hotel B Cozumel is a steal along the famed Riviera Maya, with a natural snorkeling bay, gorgeous views, and rooms that ooze personality.

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Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland

Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland

There’s a lot to love about Ireland. The lush green landscape, the charming small-town pubs (serving up plenty of Guinness, of course), the sheep that can be found roaming the hills, and the narrow winding roads. And now that St. Patty’s Day is nearly here, we’re dreaming about all things Irish — specifically, about all of our favorite things to see on the Emerald Isle, from the Ring of Kerry to Kylemore Abbey to the Giant’s Causeway. These 10 attractions are must-sees for any lover of Ireland — even if you’re only able to visit them through your computer screen.

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If you want to plan a family vacation with wow factor, look no further: Picking a hotel with one of the following kid-friendly attractions will earn you major points with your kids. And with activities this fun, you just may end up acting like a kid yourself.

Water Parks

Water park at the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel and Spa

Water park at the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel and Spa

Hundreds of resorts around the world feature a water slide or two in their pool complex, but a few exceptional properties take it to a whole new level. For example, the Aquaventure water park at the Atlantis features two slides with vertical drops over 50 feet, a mile-long lazy-river pool, a tube that gushes past sharks, and a plethora of other scenic slides. The Grand Wailea water park in Hawaii includes four waterslides, whitewater rapids, caves, a lazy-river pool, rope swings, and a “water elevator” inside a man-made volcano.

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Bryggen is home to quaint -- and colorful -- 17th-century buildings.

Summer is a terrific time to take in the sights in Norway. Whether you’re most excited to taste test the local food or check out the best hotels, it’s worth exploring every nook and cranny of this gorgeous country. Which of course includes the major attractions: Though Norway may be known for its beautiful fjords, it has a lot more the offer than just that. Check out our slideshow of the top 10 attractions in Norway — and convenient places to stay nearby!

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Jamaica is a popular Caribbean getaway, with brilliant reggae, delicious jerk chicken made in an oil-drum pan, beautifully rugged cliffs, blue lagoons, and overwhelmingly pleasant — if a bit flirtatious — locals. We’ve found just the spot to stay for almost every kind of traveler, so whether you’re planning a romantic getaway or want to take the kids along, Oyster has a hotel for you. We brought them to you all week on Captivate elevator screens, so see the full roundup below!

Hotel for Families: Beaches Negril Resort & Spa

Playground at the Beaches Negril Resort & Spa

Playground at the Beaches Negril Resort & Spa

Partnered with Sesame Street, the Beaches brand of resorts offers Muppet-led activities for kids. Beaches Negril comes with a great water park, a pristine, calm beachfront, an extensive, supervised kids’ club, and enough entertainment to keep kids totally occupied.

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With the motto “Beautiful by Nature,” it’s no wonder that Turks and Caicos‘s tourism focuses on the islands’ quiet, natural beauty. A 37-mile chain of islands, Turks and Caicos radiates a particular Caribbean-ness, with dreamy blue waters, golden beaches, excellent snorkeling, and bioluminescent glow worms lighting up the water at night. We’ve found just the spot to stay for almost every kind of traveler, so whether you’re planning a romantic getaway or want to take the kids along, Oyster has a hotel for you. We brought them to you all week on Captivate elevator screens, so see the full roundup below!

Hotel for Couples: Point Grace

Beach at Point Grace

Beach at Point Grace

Its remote location on the point of the beautiful, 12-mile Grace Bay beach makes this hotel the perfect place for couples to escape. Property highlights include a lovely, tranquil pool, personal beachfront service, a small but spectacular spa, and one of the Providenciales’ most romantic dinner spots.

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We’ve all fantasized about a month-long trip to Europe — but the time to fulfill this dream is not always easy to come by. Fortunately, a ton of time isn’t necessarily required if you want to explore the other side of the pond. With just a few days, you can visit numerous areas of the continent and hit up top destinations, and there are a few attractions you just can’t miss. We’ve picked one in each of Europe’s most popular cities, and paired it with a nearby hotel so you can get the most out of your flash trip. These nine sights are all must-sees — don’t miss out!

Must-See #1: Tower Bridge, London

The Tower Bridge was designed by Sir Horace Jones in 1884.

The Tower Bridge was designed by Sir Horace Jones in 1884.

Some of you might say, “What about Big Ben (excuse us, the “Elizabeth Tower”)? And the British Museum?” Well, yes, those are top spots of course, but if there is one place that makes London recognizable, it is the Tower Bridge. Built in the late 19th century and painted blue in 1977 for Queen Elizabeth II’s silver jubilee, the bridge is crossed on foot, bike, car and double-decker bus by thousands of Londoners and visitors daily, making it one of the most visited places in all of London. On a rainy day, you can get great views of the bridge from the glass-enclosed City Hall, and on a sunny day, head to the Tower of London for the best vistas.

Stay: Apex City of London Hotel

Spacious rooms have warm lighting and free Wi-Fi.

Spacious rooms have warm lighting and free Wi-Fi.

The Apex City of London Hotel is a contemporary, mid-size chain property located just a 3-minute walk to the Tower of London, the Tower Bridge, and the tube. All 179 rooms have warm lighting, big flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and bathrooms with separate soaking tubs and walk-in showers. The sleek interior design continues in the lobby and in Addendum Restaurant, which serves seasonal fare and has outdoor seating. Small touches (such as a rubber ducky for the tub) make this property feel like more than a typical chain hotel.

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A collection of islands, Hong Kong attracts tourists with its many things to do; from shopping to eating to visiting museums and historic sights, visitors are always busy. We’ve found just the spot to stay for almost every kind of traveler, so whether you plan on bringing the kids along or want to take a bite out of the best Asian cuisine, Oyster has a hotel for you. We brought them to you all week on Captivate elevator screens, so see the full roundup below!

 Hotel for Foodies: Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong

Man Wah at the Mandarin Oriental

Man Wah at the Mandarin Oriental

With not one, not two, but three Michelin-starred restaurants on-site, the Mandarin Oriental is the ideal spot for foodies. Guests can also munch on tasty bites at the hotel’s bakery and popular lounge.

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