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27 2016 Jul

Hot Spots In Chi Town For Architecture Buffs

Among the many things I enjoy doing while I’m traveling is gazing in wonder at local architectural marvels. No matter how many times I visit my hometown of San Francisco, I am always awestruck by the Golden Gate Bridge.

Chicago is another great American city that enjoys incredible buildings and structures. Among them is the legendary Willis Tower that is one of the tallest buildings in the world.

The Huffington Post has put together a great list of 5 architectural wonders to check out the next time you’re in Chicago:

Board of Trade
The walk from the Metra commuter rail station takes us past this National Historic Landmark, soaring relic of Art Deco greatness.

board of trade

Chicago Water Tower
Who can resist the charm of this Gothic revival sandcastle tower in the middle of the Mag Mile? Add to that its history and use, and this structure always gets a vote in our best-of lists.

Poetry Foundation
We love this sophisticated home of Poetry magazine for its underplayed elegance and hushed presence among bustling River North. It’s not shouting, “Look at me!” in any way or trying to be the biggest or tallest; it’s just quietly doing its job.

Marina City
One such building is the iconic Marina City. Completed in 1964 and lovingly referred to as the Corn Cobs, these 65-story twin structures along the river were the brainchild of Bertrand Goldberg, who hoped to keep post-World War II city dwellers from retreating to the suburbs by creating a city-within-a-city, complete with parking lot, restaurant, grocery store, dry cleaner, bowling alley, theater, bank and more. Each condo unit is wedge-shaped with rounded balconies. 300 N. State St.

marina city

Lake Point Tower
A curvaceous condo building, Lake Point Tower lies just north of the river, the only skyscraper in downtown Chicago east of Lake Shore Drive. Created in 1968 by two students of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, it was the world’s tallest apartment building at the time. Famous residents have included Scottie Pippen, Goldie Hawn and Alice Cooper. 505 N. Lake Shore Drive

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26 2016 Jul

Watch: Amazing Surfing In Tahiti

I encourage you to watch the entire video, but it gets really good @ :40. Tahiti is one of those travel destinations that everyone has on their bucket list. Situated about half way between Australia and Chile in the Southern Pacific Ocean, Tahiti is the kind of place that comes to mind when you think of a tropical paradise.

Unfortunately I’ve never taken the time to learn how to surf, but I think I’d still have a hell of time body boarding!

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24 2016 Jul

Watch: Top 5 Places To Dive

Royal Caribbean has put together this amazing video showing us some of the top spots in the world to go diving and snorkeling. I’ve never taken the time to become a certified diver, but I really enjoy snorkeling in crystal clear water whenever the opportunity presents itself.
diving

I didn’t see either my two favorite spots on the list though. I love Catalina Island and Lake Tahoe! I guess the relatively colder water of both locations makes them less desirable though!

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23 2016 Jul

Hawaii Travel Destinations To Close As Storm Approaches

As Tropical Storm Darby makes its way towards the Hawaiian Islands, authorities are closing down a number of popular tourist destinations out of an abundance of caution.

hawaii closuresThe storm is expected to reach the islands late Saturday evening.

Experts also predict very large and unsafe surf conditions throughout the duration of the storm.

More from the LA Times:

A spokeswoman at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park said, as a precaution, access to the recent flow of molten lava from the Puu Oo vent will be severely restricted beginning at 5 p.m. local time (8 p.m. Pacific) Friday.

See the most-read stories in Life & Style this hour >>

Visitors will not be able to reach the end of Chain of Craters Road inside the park or Hawaii County’s Kalapana Lava Viewing Area along Highway 130.

Volcanic activity can still be seen, however, from the observation deck of the park’s Jaggar Museum.

“Although we aren’t closing Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in its entirety, we strongly encourage visitors to consider changing their plans if they were planning to visit Friday afternoon or this weekend,” the park’s Chief Ranger John Broward said in a news release.

The park is closing access to the back country, including coastal areas, media reports say. Closures will remain in effect until the storm ends.

Big Island Video News on Friday morning reported that camping reservations at county parks on the Big Island from Friday to Sunday nights have been canceled.

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23 2016 Jul

What You Need To Know About The Zika Virus When Traveling

Taking that hard-earned vacation should be about nothing more than relaxation and great experiences. Along with the excitement of traveling comes the need to make preparations to ensure your journey is safe and enjoyable. Today, the most pressing matter requiring travelers attention is the spread of the Zika virus.

It’s a huge bummer to many when they realize how serious the situation has become. Experts are warning women who are pregnant or may become pregnant to avoid many people travel destinations.

However, with proper planning and precautions, we should all be able to enjoy our time off this summer.

The most important information to know is that the Zika virus is spread by mosquitos and by sexual contact with an infected partner. The virus is commonly found in Latin American and Caribbean countries.

zika virus

More from the New York Times on where Zika is spreading and steps you can take to prevent infection:

(Zika is spreading in) Most of Latin America and the Caribbean. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains a list of affected countries. But the tally has been criticized for tarring many nations too broadly: Not every region in every country has seen Zika infections.

In particular, the yellow-fever mosquitoes that carry the virus don’t survive at elevations higher than 6,500 feet. So if your plan is to visit Mexico City or go mountain-climbing in Argentina, the odds of being bitten there are close to nil.

Sadly, there’s no easy way to judge the risk of infection region by region. And even if you’re headed to a high-altitude destination in Latin America or the Caribbean, the C.D.C. has warned, you may be at risk of mosquito bites if you fly in or out of an airport below 6,500 feet in elevation.

The travel situation will become more complicated if locally transmitted cases are discovered in the continental United States. As of Friday afternoon, two possible cases are under investigation in Florida.

All travelers can reduce the likelihood of getting mosquito bites by using insect repellents with DEET, picaridin or IR3535, and by booking accommodations with air-conditioning. (Those heading to Brazil might want to check out the military-grade repellent available there.) Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants as often as possible.

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22 2016 Jul

Free Gas In Las Vegas Courtesy Of Google Maps

Free stuff is always awesome. Google is offering free gas to travelers transiting between Las Vegas and Los Angeles this week as part of a promotional campaign for the Google Maps app. It is only two pumps at one gas station along the major highway between the two larger cities, but it’s still free. I’m guessing the lines will be enormous. But hey, if you’re headed on a road trip in the area this weekend and you have some extra time, why not?

Google is also offering a slew of other freebies as well!
las vegas

More from the LA Times:

To promote its app, Google Maps is offering a series of freebies along Interstate 15 between L.A. and Vegas from noon to 8 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday.

To get up to 10 gallons of gas per vehicle for free, go to the Shell gas station at Exit 272 on Cima Road in Nipton, Calif., about 25 miles southwest of the California-Nevada state line.

Two pumps will be set aside for those seeking free fuel, a Google representative said. Drivers don’t have to show that they’re using the app, but expect long lines as word of the freebie spreads.

(As of Thursday afternoon, Google Maps showed unleaded regular at the Cima Road Shell station selling for $4 a gallon.)

But wait, there’s more!

Free hamburgers – one per guest – will be offered at Peggy Sue’s Diner in Yermo, Calif. Its website says it’s an original roadside diner, built in 1954 with just nine counter stools and three booths. The restaurant is located at Exit 191 east of Barstow.

For a free cup of iced coffee, chilled using liquid nitrogen, head another 55 miles east to Baker, Calif., home of the world’s tallest thermometer.

Beneath the towering landmark, look for the pop-up coffee shop shaped like an igloo. Baker is reached by Exits 246 and 248.

By the way, expect roasting hot temperatures on that tower in Baker. Weather.com predicts highs of 115 degrees on Friday and Saturday.

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22 2016 Jul

Travel Gadgets: The Butt Suitcase (Yes, It’s A Thing)

For the busy traveler who needs to make use of every single second, behold the butt suitcase. Technically the device is more of a suitcase accessory. It allows the wearer to clip the handle of a wheeled suitcase to their belt in order to pull their luggage hands free. I’m a bit mixed on whether or not this is a genius or just another gimmick.

Luggage hutch

More from Mashable:

The device clips onto your waistband and provides a hook from which your suitcase handle will hang, leaving your hands open to hold everything you scored from Hudson News — an US Weekly, 8 dollar bottle of SmartWater and Larabar you’ll forget about before landing.

My Hitch was designed by Robert Lian, an airline pilot who was tired of pulling his suitcase with his hand. Realizing there were no options for hands-free travel, he decided to create one himself.

Lian says that you can “walk for miles like this,” and that it’s designed to carry a roller board less than 25 pounds. While using My Hitch, you should either wear pants with a tight waistband or a belt to ensure your pants stay where they’re supposed to be.

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15 2016 Jul

This Ship Will Be The Largest Cruise Liner In The World

As the race for more and more luxury in the Cruise industry heats up, one ship will stand above the rest as the largest in the world. In May of next year, MSC Cruises will  welcome the massive Meravigilia to their fleet. The vessel weighs nearly 170,000 tons and holds almost 5,000 passengers.

The deck plan shows the kinds of guest rooms you would typically find on most cruise liners and is in keeping with the ships stated target market of family cruisers. While the ship does not offer an all-suite experience found in other ships, it hits the nail on the head for it’s target demographic.

MSC_Meraviglia-630x357

More from Express:

Onboard entertainment will include performances by Cirque Du Soleil At Sea – an exclusive partnership with Swiss-based MSC Cruises.

Two unique Cirque du Soleil shows will be performed six nights per week in the purpose-built Carousel Lounge with dinner for up to 50 of the 450 passengers who book to watch the shows.

The Carousel Lounge will feature a 180=B0 circular glass wall and cutting edge equipment using the latest technology.

Family facilities will be increased and, for the first time on any MSC ship, all the children’s and teens’ activity rooms will be together in one amusement park-like space.

Families can get to know each other in the DOREMI Studio Lounge, with children’s activities in the DOREMI Tech Lab and other facilities designed in partnership with LEGO and Chicco.

An onboard Aqua Park will feature four water slides, a splash pool and champagne bowl.

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15 2016 Jul

New App Links Travelers With Local Chefs For Dining Experiences

File this under the “why didn’t I think of this first?” category. A new app called EatWith links hungry travelers with local chefs willing to provide them with a taste of the local cuisine. Getting a truly authentic dining experience can be difficult when exploring a new city. EatWith makes it easier than ever to get a taste of the local flavor.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 5.26.29 PM

More from LifeHacker:

EatWith helps you find local hosts, who range in experience from at-home cooks to professional chefs, who want to cook you a memorable meal while you visit their city.

EatWith has hosts in over 150 cities worldwide, although some cities have more hosts than others so your options vary depending on where you go. You can filter out dining events by date, cuisine, event type (cooking class, dinner, cocktail party), and venue (someone’s home, outdoors, close to the city center) to find offers that fit the kind of experience you want.

Besides meeting the host and getting a taste for local life, you’ll probably meet other travelers, since most of the events are group dinners. When choosing between events, you can see the proposed menu, location, profile of the host, and ratings from past attendees so you get an idea of what you’re paying for. This kind of experience isn’t for everyone, but if you’re interested in meeting both locals and other travelers on your next vacation, EatWith is a low-effort way to do so.

To find out more about the EatWith app, check out their website here.

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15 2016 Jul

Watch: Bangladesh Is Beautiful #BucketList

St. Martin’s Island Of Bangladesh; simply stunning. I’m adding this to my travel bucket list!