2021 Holiday Gift Guide: The Best Gifts for Travelers

2021 holiday gift guide the best gifts for travelers

 

Looking for the perfect holiday gift for that traveler in your life?  Buying for travelers can be a hard task.  What do you get for someone that is always on the go?  In my experience, most travelers like to pack light and we like to only take those things that are useful or will make our trip easier. 

 

So, skip the money belt this year and buy your modern nomad something they will actually love and use.  Here is a list of the best travel gifts for wanderlust travelers, no matter what your budget.

 

Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas: Not Just the Other Big Bend

big bend ranch state park texas not just the other big bend

Featuring some of the most stunning scenery in West Texas, Big Bend Ranch State Park is a Texas sized item for any bucket list.  Winding along the Rio Grande, Big Bend Ranch State Park is the largest state park in Texas by far.  With the motto of ‘The other Side of Nowhere,’ any explorer can easily escape into this wild west landscape. 


scenery big bend ranch state park texas
One of the many amazing views along FM 170 in Big Bend Ranch State Park.

Big Bend Ranch State Park is an overlooked gem in West Texas.  Often passed up for its more well-known neighbor, Big Bend National Park, this state park offers a list of itinerary options that could put any park in its place.  Being overshadowed by the neighboring national park means that the hundreds of miles of trails are left for you to explore in solitude.  So, bring your hiking boots, your camera or palette, and enjoy the wide-open spaces of The Other Side of Nowhere. 

 

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands: Travel Guide

 

st thomas us virgin islands travel guide

St. Thomas, one of three islands in the US Virgin Islands, is one of the most beautiful and picturesque places in the world.  This lush tropical island is dotted with white sandy beaches, wrapped in warm turquoise water, and has a near perfect climate year around.  It is easy to see why it is one of the most desirable island vacation spots in the world. 

 

7 Important Things to Know Before Visiting the US Virgin Islands


7 important thing to know before you visit the US virgin islands

 

So, you are planning a trip to the beautiful US Virgin Islands? You undoubtedly have a few questions about passports, packing, and an array of other things. Visiting a new destination naturally comes with questions of the unknown, especially one that is outside of the US. To help I have put together a guide of important information about the US Virgin Islands addressing everything from travel questions to packing tips. Here are my top 7 important things you need to know before visiting the US Virgin Islands.



Tortola, British Virgin Islands: Comprehensive Travel Guide

tortola, british virgin islands travel guide

 

Tortola’s dramatic tropical landscape is an image straight from a postcard. Its mountainous interior, draped in a lush green forest, dominates the island while also protecting the numerous bays with their white sandy beaches and still turquoise water.



Tortola is the British Virgin Islands (BVI for short) largest island and home of its capitol. Although it is the largest island, it is still small (only 21.6 sq. mi), so nothing is out of reach for the avid explorer. Whether you want to bask on one of the many beaches, explore the tropical forests, discover the many historical sites, or splash around with the sea life, Tortola has so much to offer.



Virgin Gorda, BVI: Travel Guide

virgin gorda british virgin islands tour guide


The British Virgin Islands have been nicknamed "nature’s little secrets" and Virgin Gorda exemplifies this title perfectly. Virgin Gorda, BVI’s third largest island, is the quintessential island getaway. This idyllic island is home to protected nature sanctuaries, amazing national parks, and beautiful unspoiled and uncrowded beaches.


spanish town virgin gorda british virgin islands
The Valley and Spanish Town

Explore the rugged trails of Gorda Peak or 99 Steps, learn about the history that brought this island where it is, or soak up some of Virgin Gorda's remote beaches. The spectacular landscape, turquoise waters and coral reefs, and unforgettable people make Virgin Gorda an idyllic island getaway that is sure to captivate visitors at every turn.



Mount Monadnock: A Hike in Vivid Fall Foliage

mount monadnock hike in vivid fall foliage

Rising out of the rolling hills of the Monadnock Region is Mount Mondadnock, a towering 3,165 ft bare-topped mountain. Stretching from its slopes to the rolling hills the encircle it are thousands of acres of rich, thick forest; who’s leaves in the fall turn to a magnitude of colors and create a landscape of poetic beauty. There is a reason Mount Monadnock is one of the most climbed mountains in the world, has a whole region was named after it, and was even featured in the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.



lost farm trail fall foliage mount monadnock new hampshire
Colorful foliage on the Lost Farm Trail.


Designated as a National Natural Landmark, almost the entirety of the mountain is encompassed within a collaboration of reserves. There is 40+ miles of trails that crisscross the mountain, with 6 trailheads leading to the summit; the most visited being from the Monadnock State Park. Although not exceptionally tall, the mountain hike is still relatively steep (with some bolder scrambling involved), providing a good workout for hiking experts and the less experienced alike. Once at the top the view overlooks dense forest, snaking rivers, and sparkling ponds, and on a clear day you can see as far as the Boston skyline to the southeast and Mount Washington in the north.


19 Must Try Foods: Dominican Republic

19 Must Try Foods: Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is a Caribbean country that is known for its beautiful beaches and tropical weather, but something far more enticing is its food. If you really want to get to know a country then you should start with its food, and the Dominican Republic is no different!


Though many of Dominican Republic’s recipes are unique, like many Latin American countries, the Dominican Republic cuisine is a mix of indigenous Taino, African, and Spanish culture. There is so much to taste and experience in this amazing country. Here are 19 foods from the Dominican Republic that you should try!

White Sands National Park: Travel Guide

white sands national park travel guide new mexico


White Sands National Park rises from the heart of the Tularosa Basin with great wave-like dunes of white gypsum sand, engulfing 275 square miles of desert. The rolling dunes stretch out before its visitors as far as the eye can see forming the largest gypsum dune-field in the world. 

 

Carlsbad Caverns National Park Travel Guide


Carlsbad Caverns National Park offers breathtaking desert landscape, backcountry primitive recreation, and some of the most beautiful and largest cave systems in the United States. Below the park’s hiking trails and scenic overlooks sit more than 119 known caves, all formed from the surrounding limestone and all awaiting exploration. Of these caves, only a handful are open to the public – but they are world famous caverns offering spectacular views of the hidden world.

Gaudí Architecture

Gaudí Architecture


Antoni Gaudí was inspired by nature, a genius architect, a creative artist, and far ahead of his time. He made his mark on the world never-before-seen building systems that were as brilliant as they were unique. For 43 years Gaudí would make unprecedented and symbolic buildings that would define the streets of Barcelona.


Barcelona: Travel Guide

barcelona travel guide


Barcelona covers it all, from the historic alleyways of the gothic Quarter to the bizarre and colorful architecture of Antoni Gaudí. With its cosmopolitan feel, relaxed pace of life, unbeatable climate, breathtaking architecture, and fantastic food, it is a city that has everything. Barcelona really might be the most perfect city in the world. It is no wonder it is one of the most visited cities on the planet and gains a spot on almost everyone’s itineraries.


Where Can U.S. Tourists Travel?

Where Can U.S. Tourists Travel?


For Americans eager to continue their traveling outside of the States, there are a number of countries that have opened their borders to U.S. citizens.


With the number of corona cases in the United States  going down and the number of vaccinations going up, many countries are no longer flat out saying 'No' to American tourists.  Many of those that had closed their borders have recently reopened, though still with  restrictions and requirements.  Although many are allowing unvaccinated tourist into their country, they are doing so with greater restrictions than their vaccinated counterparts.


Additionally, the State Department categorizes most nations as Level 3, or "reconsider travel." 
As of January 26, all airline passengers to the United States must provide a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of departure.
 

Whether travel to "open" destinations is responsible or advisable is up to individuals to decide. 
For those who do choose to travel, it is strongly encouraged to check local government restrictions, rules, and safety measures related to COVID-19 before departure - as things are continually changing. 

Santo Domingo: Travel Guide

santo domingo travel guide

 After multiple tries, and failures, to settle in the New World, Columbus’s crew finally perfected the recipe with Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Still today, Santo Domingo is a lively metropolis where the old and the new meld. A stroll through these historic cobblestone streets will thrill the senses with merengue music, sea salt breezes, and colorful life.


Zona Colonial: A Walking Tour

gateway zona colonial santo domingo dominican republic


At the heart of the Dominican Republic's capitol, Santo Domingo, is the Zona Colonial; a historical gem of the Americas. This historic neighborhood consists of a maze of narrow cobblestone streets banked by a plethora of 16th to early 20th century architectural wonders. As you walk these age-old streets it is easy to travel back in time to the first colonization of the Americas.


Christopher Columbus tried a few times to settle the New World, but it was his brother, Bartolome Colombus, that finally succeeded with the founding of Santo Domingo in 1498. Bartolome was followed by Diego Colombus (Christopher Colombus's son), the Dominican Order, and Nicolás de Ovando, all of which would make their mark on this already historic city to build many of the firsts in the Americas.

How to Travel Safely During the COVID-19 Outbreak

how to travel safely during the covid-19 outbreak


In 2020, travel spending declined an average of 46% overall, with international spending taking the biggest hit at about 76%. The COVID-19 pandemic has redefined travel and has most people rethinking where to go, how to get there, and what precautions to take along the way. While globetrotting might not be feasible, there are still plenty of ways to get away while protecting yourself from COVID-19. Here are a few tips on how to stay safe while traveling during COVID-19 outbreak.


Chalchuapa, El Salvador: Travel Guide

chalchuapa el salvador travel guide


Chalchuapa may not be as popular as other cities in El Salvador, but don’t let that fool you. Chalchuapa is a regional archeological power house that anyone with a love of history should commit to visiting. Once a regional epicenter for Mayan ceremonial sites, the archeological zone of Chalchuapa exhibits over 2000 years of Mayan occupation. With eight individual sites within this zone, there are two that stand out above the others; El Tazumal and Casa Blanca.

San Salvador: Travel Guide

san salvador travel guide



San Salvador might not be on everyone's "to do list" when visiting El Salvador, but this capital city has a lot to offer the would be urban explorer. Those willing to venture just outside the capital will find stunning natural beauty, incredible volcanoes, historic Mayan ruins, and some great craft breweries.

Trekking the Wild Jungle of Laos

souvit guide nam et phou louey national protected area laos



Lying on a log platform with nothing but a mosquito net between me and the vast darkness of the jungle, I was surrounded by the sounds of a living forest. Insects scurrying through the leaves that had fallen to the ground, birds of prey calling in the night, unknown animals rustling through the underbrush not far away, and straining in hopes to hear a lonesome tiger roar in the far off distance. Rainy season was starting to be in full swing, the park was closed, but here we were - trekking through the wild jungle of northern Laos.

Rio Celeste: The Turquoise River

rio celeste costa rica

Legend has it that Rio Celeste got its distinctive turquoise color after God, finished painting the sky, dipped his paint brush into the river. With spectacular turquoise blue waters, magnificent waterfall, and jungle trails, Rio Celeste is one of Costa Rica’s best kept secrets.


La Fortuna: A Travel Guide

la fortuna a travel guide


La Fortuna is undoubtedly one of Costa Rica's top tourist destinations. A place where the natural environment and adventure meet, La Fortuna brings together all of the attractions you would expect to find in Costa Rica into one place. You will find yourself exploring the rainforest's canopy and wildlife, detoxing in the thermal hot springs, or viewing the volcano in this small and idyllic town.

How to Explore the World Virtually in 2021

 

 

The Corona-Virus pandemic has changed how we live and interact with other people. Global lockdowns have seen people stay indoors, and there is no end in sight. However, this does not mean we cannot enjoy the things we used to do, albeit virtually. Here are some things you can do from the comfort of your living room sofa. Virtual travel is here to stay while we wait and see how the Covid situation pans out.

A Guide to Free Camping in the USA

backroads last dollar road colorado

They say the best things in life are free, and when it comes to camping, it still stands true. When it comes to getting some fresh air, there is no better option than camping. There is nothing like camping in the great outdoors; especially when it is free! Whether you are going on an epic road-trip or just an outing for the night, enjoy some of the free primitive camping spots across the US to make your trip a true adventure.


Wide Open Spaces: Road Trip Across the American Southwest

Wide Open Spaces: Road Trip Across the American Southwest

The American Southwest, best known from the old Western films, often has a reputation of being the wild west or for its very, very barren landscape.  

 

lost mine trail big bend national park texas
Lost Mine trail at Big Bend National Park, Texas.
 

And it is true - the landscape of the American Southwest is very empty.  But its vast emptiness lends to an amazing beauty not witnessed in most place in the world.  This seemingly limitless scenery of dry barren plains and wide open blue skies, dotted here and there by flat plateaus and rugged mountains, contributes to a landscape that is unimaginably beautiful.

Some Travel Restrictions Are Being Lifted. But Should You Travel?

madagascar ile aux nattes signs


Restrictions on travel are slowly being eased, allowing tourism to start back up in a growing number of countries. But is it safe to do so and should you travel at all?


After months of staying home, many Americans are yearning for a vacation. And although there is still a rapid growth in coronavirus cases in the United States (there have been over 15 million cases and over 289,000 deaths), some countries around the world are slowly beginning to reopen to American tourists.

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