Category Archives: adventure travel

Explore Alaska’s Most Scenic Wonders in Winter

Alaska Awaits

Alaska is open, y’all, and it’s ideal for families and friends who dream of exploring America’s greatest wildernesses free of crowds and against a pristine white canvas. Imagine skiing through forests, wildlife spotting, flightseeing above multicolored geysers and glaciers cresting on the snow, and a vastness only available in the quiet of winter. Abercrombie & Kent’s U.S. Luxury Tailor Made itineraries, which can be customized to your private party’s interests, feature handpicked local guides, fun activities that naturally lend themselves to social distancing, and luxurious accommodations. You can even book with confidence knowing you can reschedule your journey due to COVID-19, and that they have enhanced protocols in place to safeguard your health while travelling. This is numero uno in my book since I’ve been sheltering in place for almost a year and need to know things are on the up and up.

Our recent travel dream favorite is their Call of the Iditarod series because I’ve always been obsessed with riding a husky driven sled through the snow like a Russian Bond Girl.

You too?

Well, we can celebrate Alaska’s famed Iditarod dogsled race, watching the participants prepare and depart from Anchorage on their 1,000-mile trek, witnessing their arrival at an important checkpoint near your remote wilderness lodge. You can dogsled yourself along the rugged Iditarod trail on this independent journey filled with the splendors of Alaskan wilderness.

The skinny:

  • Join Anchorage’s Fur Rendezvous festival, giving the Iditarod teams a ceremonial send-off
  • Take in the buzz of Iditarod mushers and their teams arrive at a remote checkpoint
  • Choose from an array of outdoor activities, including the option to drive your own dogsled team
  • Discover the history of Alaska’s indigenous culture and art in Anchorage

Itinerary at a Glance

DAY 1

ARRIVE ANCHORAGE, ALASKA 

DAY 2

ANCHORAGE | CELEBRATING THE IDITAROD

DAY 3

WINTERLAKE LODGE | SCENIC WILDERNESS FLIGHT

DAYS 4–5

WINTERLAKE LODGE | IDITAROD MUSHERS’ ARRIVE

DAY 6

WINTERLAKE LODGE | DOGSLEDDING & THE GREAT OUTDOORS

DAY 7

ANCHORAGE | EXPERIENCING INDIGENOUS CULTURE

DAY 8

DEPART ANCHORAGE
INCLUDED WITH EVERY LUXURY TAILOR MADE JOURNEY
  • One-of-a-kind Itinerary Designed for You
  • Driver-guide and vehicle
  • Hand-Selected Accommodations
  • Exclusive Insider-Access Opportunities and Inspiring Sightseeing
  • English-Speaking Local Guides
  • Airport Meet and Greet with Private Transfers
  • Full Breakfast Daily
  • Entrance Fees and Taxes
  • 24/7 A&K On-Call Support

Want more info? I don’t blame you.

Check this link and get on it: https://www.abercrombiekent.com/tours/luxury-tailor-made-travel/2021/alaska-call-of-the-iditarod

Winter Vacation Ideas

With temperatures already dipping below freezing in parts of the United States, it seems like an appropriate time to address the “winter blues” and how a safe vacation can often be the cure. Everyone has a different goal when it comes to a winter getaway – some want to embrace a snowy environment, while others prefer to follow the sun. For those who, like me, aren’t ready to fly until the vaccine is widely available, here are some top winter vacation ideas for destinations across the country.

Sonoran Desert Bike Tour, Tucson

1. Desert Cycling Getaway: Escape Adventures offers a five-day winter cycling retreat in America’s Southwestern prize – Tucson, Arizona. Rated as the country’s second most bike-friendly city, this velo dreamscape offers an ideal escape with seemingly endless backroads through vast expanses of desert and world-class ascents like Mount Lemmon. https://escapeadventures.com/tour/arizona-tucson-and-the-sonoran-desert-road-bike-tour

Red Reflet Ranch, Wyoming

2. Wintertime Cowboy Retreat: Venture to Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains for a retreat at Red Reflet Ranch that combines limitless outdoor recreation and gourmet food with remote winter splendor. Step outside your luxurious accommodations to explore 30,000 stunning acres of wilderness by snowshoe, snowmobile or horseback. The local ski hill is only 45 minutes away and offers great skiing and snowboarding. https://red-reflet-ranch.net

The Wilson Hotel, Yellowstone

3. Ski Big Sky Country: On the edge of Yellowstone National Park in Big Sky, Montana, find one of the largest ski resorts in North America. With 5,850 acres of terrain descending from the 11,666-foot summit of Lone Peak, Big Sky Resort offers plenty of space to spread out. A stay at The Wilson Hotel in Town Center provides ample accommodations and easy access to the slopes, as well as to ice skating, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, dogsledding and Yellowstone tours. https://thewilsonhotel.com

The Blacksford

4. Explore National Parks by RV: Each summer, millions travel to visit our national parks. Yet these warm-season sightseers are missing what might be the parks’ best-kept secret – winter. Once-crowded trails turn into tranquil getaways. Quiet winter wonderlands showcase nature’s calm beauty. Blacksford is a new RV rental business offering an all-inclusive pricing model that includes unlimited miles, 24-hour roadside assistance and a free annual pass to national parks. https://www.blacksford.com

Fireside Resort, Jackson Hole

5. Tiny House Ski Retreat: Just minutes from Jackson Hole, Fireside Resort capitalizes on the tiny house craze and the classic appeal of rustic cottages by offering 25 pint-size, luxuriously outfitted tiny house rental units designed by Wheelhaus. Each has its own outdoor fire pit and deck. And the resort is located just a stone’s throw from Jackson Hole’s ski slopes. https://www.firesidejacksonhole.com

6. Cycling the Sunshine State: Leave the winter riding gear at home and follow Adventure Cycling Association’s Florida Connector route for a loop around the Sunshine State by bike. Pedal south from St. Augustine past orange groves and sinkholes, skirt Orlando and arrive at the Gulf of Mexico at Fort Myers Beach. Turning east, watch for alligators on the way to Lake Okeechobee, then join the Atlantic Coast route in Fort Lauderdale and return north to the start. https://www.adventurecycling.org/routes-and-maps/adventure-cycling-route-network/florida-connector/

Devil’s Thumb Ranch

7. Cross-Country Ski Getaway: Ranked #1 Cross-Country Ski Resort in North America by USA Today, Devil’s Thumb Ranch offers 120 kilometers of classic and skate-ready cross-country ski trails. Only 75 miles west of Denver and 15 minutes from Winter Park, Devil’s Thumb recently unveiled a private enclave of 24 custom homesites for those who want to live on the award-winning guest ranch full-time. https://www.devilsthumbranch.com/ranches

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Around the World on a Private Jet

Cartagena Colombia to Easter Island… Private

I’m not gonna lie. When I started going stir crazy, but I didn’t want to fly with a bunch of strangers, I started checking out private jet companies. Then, I went even deeper a few months later and looked into private jet and yacht vacations. A girl got desperate. A girl needs a dream. That’s when I came upon a big wild trip from one of my favorite travel purveyors, Abercrombie & Kent.

A private Boeing 757? Don’t mind if I do.

Most don’t know that Abercrombie & Kent was a private jet pioneer, introducing the first Royal Air Tour in 1989. Today it is one of the most experienced companies in the private jet business, having designed and operated dozens of programs on a variety of luxury aircraft to destinations all over the world, as well as custom-designed jet itineraries for multi-generational families and private groups.

Travellers who have had to put their passport away will appreciate their newest Private Jet journey taking off at this time next year, Around the World with Geoffrey Kent: An Inspiring Expedition by Private Jet (Oct 14-Nov 8, 2021). This one-of-a-kind adventure offers 48 guests the opportunity to explore the far reaches of the world alongside A&K founder Geoffrey Kent and discover lesser-known destinations on one expertly planned itinerary featuring insider access.

Vietnam, Ha Long Bay to Danang (Travel Day)
  • Discover Kanazawa, “the other Japan”, known for its rich cultural offerings, alongside a renowned Japanologist
  • Explore remote villages along the Irrawaddy River
  • Marvel at the natural wonders of Ha Long Bay
  • Meet with artisans at a private exhibit of ethnic textiles at a former royal residence in Luang Prabang
  • Relax in the Maldives
  • In Benin learn the secrets of African Vodoun (Voodoo) at an authentic private ceremony
  • Explore the white sand dunes and crystal clear waters of Lençóis Maranhenses National Park in Brazil

To travel on an A&K Private Jet Journey is packed with insider access, fine dining, and invitation-only cultural celebrations. Sample local street food at festive neighborhood in Hanoi hosted by a celebrity chef; explore Kenroku-en Garden accompanied by its chief landscape designer, followed by a private tea ceremony. and learn the ways of African Vodoun at a private ceremony in Benin.

South America, Brazil, Lençois Maranhenses

You can also personalize the journey with a choice of Design Your Day® activities. In Hanoi, cycle around West Lake, meet traditional handicraft makers on an ethical artisan tour or visit a private art collection, hosted by the curator. In Brazil, explore Lençóis Maranhenses National Park by 4×4, boat or horseback; learn to kite-surf or paddle board; or simply relax on a pristine beach.

For hotels, you can expect classic luxury like the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi and lesser-known gems like the Porto Preguiças Resort, gateway to Brazil’s Barreirinhas region and Mitsuno-Midori Ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn featuring its own private onsen, as well as the luxe ‘Sanctuary Ananda,’ an intimate all-balcony river cruiser on the Irrawaddy River.

Japanese Geisha

For those who want someone to carry our bags from start to finish, you also have A&K’s Travelling Bell Boy® which ensures that luggage is waiting in guest rooms at each hotel and complimentary laundry service. Prior to departure, save time with A&K’s White Glove Visa and Passport Handling, a concierge service that expedites visa and passport applications.

For this epic private personalized around the world 26-day tour, it’ll cost you, but it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. So, if you have the money, why not spend it on a once-in-a-lifetime experience?

$160,000 per person, double occupancy

Now who’s payin?

https://www.abercrombiekent.com/private-jet

Getting There: Customizable Go Carts and Electric Cars are Calling

Moke America. Get Moke.

Winter is callinnnngggg. Good thing I live in Cali (and yes, I call it Cali and I’ve called it Cali since the 80s. I’m allowed). For everyone else outside of this great state, people are seeking sunshine elsewhere. With the kids remote learning, mom and dad working from home offices, and the thought of outdoor dining in 30 degree weather, thousands of families have opted for palm trees instead. And what do you need when you have the outdoors? Good outdoor amenities and toys, if you can afford them!

Hot Pink

During the pandemic, people have left the cities for more space. With this, has come an increase in sales for farmhouses outside the city, cabins, beach shacks, boats, and trailers. When looking at new rides and ways to live my own best shutin, but not shut outdoorsy life, I came across Moke America. The reinvented throwback cruisers are loved by the celeb lot like Kris Jenner, Joe Jonas, and Katherine McPhee because they have the space and like to enjoy hopping around using fun eco-friendly rides. Plug in your Moke America and you’ll get about 40 miles of fun. I’d call it a pimped out golf cart meets a mini (pared down) Bronco.

Baby Blue

Carbon free, steel and fiberglass chassis, four-wheel drivetrain, hydraulic steering, the modern touch of a backup camera, and a kickin’ sound system. The best part for the individual in all of us? Moke America is fully customizable with 11 rainbow bright colors, camo (yes, camo!!) and additional customizations for the bumper, grill, rollbar, rims, seats, and top. It’s good vibes all around so that families can enjoy the little things like taking a short drive around the neighborhood in warm weather to keep the staycation going every day.

Prices starting @$18,975

www.MokeAmerica.com

What You Need To Know Before You Travel To Thailand

 

thailand mg cthu
(c) Mg Cthu

 

If images of the Buddha and pristine beaches come to mind when you think of Thailand, you aren’t alone, and you aren’t wrong either. This unique Asian country has seen a large growth in tourism in recent years, with more than 32 million travelers making their way there in 2016.

Before you plan your trip to Thailand, though, there are a few things that you should know before you go. Check out the helpful information below to discover a few things about Thailand so you can make the most of your vacation.

Why is Thailand amazing? 

In addition to being beautiful on its own, Thailand is conveniently located, so you can gain easy access to other nearby destinations that are just as unforgettable. In just a few hours, you could travel from Thailand to Bali, Singapore, and Hong Kong, as a few examples. 

– The locals in Thailand are welcoming and friendly. You may notice that they are quite happy, helpful, and polite. Travelers often feel safe as they make their way through the country and see the sights. 

– Nature lovers will find an array of outdoor spaces to explore during their time in Thailand. From picture-perfect beaches, to lush jungles filled with wildlife and waterfalls, the natural beauty of Thailand can’t be replicated. So don’t forget to pack your camera and make sure the battery is charged! 

– Many people ask, “Is Thailand affordable?” The simple answer is: yes! If you are traveling there with U.S. dollars, for example, your money will stretch very far. You could stay at a hotel or a guesthouse for less than $20 per night, so you can probably imagine that even the top-notch resorts will be surprisingly affordable. And when it comes to food, you could eat yummy Thai food at a restaurant without breaking the bank, or you could even get some food from the country’s famous street vendors for about $1. 

– Sure, there are plenty of things to do during the day in Thailand, but what about at night? Well, you needn’t worry about that either. The country is home to a thriving nightlife.

 

thai nightlife florian-wehde
Thai Nightlife (c) Florian Wehde

 

What are some of the must-see places in Thailand? 

There are a lot of must-see places throughout Thailand, so creating an itinerary to follow once you arrive could certainly be helpful. Here are a few of the top picks for visitors who are going to be checking out Thailand for the first time:

– Doi Inthanon National Park: Perfect for exploring the great outdoors and the stunning landscape, this park is also home to the highest peak in the country, Doi Inthanon. Throughout the park, you will also have the opportunity to catch glimpses of various wild animals that you can’t find anywhere else. 

– Sai Yok National Park: Another perfect spot for nature lovers, this is where you can spot some rare wildlife while also exploring caves and basking in the beauty of waterfalls. 

– Khao Yai National Park: This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the biggest monsoon forests in Asia, and it is also the second biggest national park in the country. You will find everything from valleys and waterfalls, to mountains and myriad species of mammals and birds. 

– Phanom Rung Historical Park and Phimai Historical Park: Perfect for history buffs, these parks feature ancient Khmer ruins that date back to the 12th century. 

– Bangkok: The capital of Thailand has plenty to offer travelers. Check out the incredible Grand Palace, which is one of the most famous landmarks in the nation. It dates back to the 1700s and boasts intricate details and stunning architecture. Then head over to the city’s famous floating markets, where you will find people in little boats selling a variety of fruits and vegetables, local food, and coconut drinks. And don’t forget to also visit Wat Pho, the well-known Temple of the Reclining Buddha. 

– Similan Islands: The Similan Islands were designated as a Marine National Park back in 1982, so this is an undeveloped natural haven for those who truly want to get away from it all. Snorkeling and diving in these waters will give you access to an array of coral and fish, so if you love spending time in the water, this is the place to be. 

– Phi Phi Islands: These popular islands are easy to access, as you can take a ferry or speedboat from Phuket. Once there, you will find breathtaking rock formations, pristine water, and perfect beaches for sunbathing and swimming with colorful fish. 

– Chiang Mai: Another popular city in Thailand is Chiang Mai, which is found in the mountainous northern part of the country. One of its many attractions is Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, which dates back nearly 700 years and is one of the most important spiritual and historical spots in Thailand. But another popular historic attraction in Chiang Mai is the Wat Chedi Luang, which was built between 1385-1402.

 

phi phi island shifaaz-shamoon
Koh Pi Phi (c) Shifaaz Shamoon

 

What are the best beaches in Thailand?

To help you narrow down your many choices, here are some of the country’s top beaches:

– Kata Beach in Phuket

– Lamai Beach in Koh Samui

– White Sand Beach in Koh Chang

– Klong Dao Beach in Koh Lanta

– Donald Duck Bay in Similan Islands

– Railay Beach in Krabi

– Thong Nai Pan Noi and Yai Beaches in Koh Phangan

– Buffalo Bay in Koh Phayam

– Laem Thong Beach in Phi Phi Islands

– Pattaya Beach in Koh Lipe

Are Thailand’s tigers drugged? Are the elephants abused?

Unfortunately, as is the case with so many other places around the world that use animals for profit and entertainment, the wildlife in Thailand isn’t always treated well when they are used in tourist attractions.

Take the famous Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi as an example. For years, this establishment was accused of illegally breeding and trafficking endangered tigers. Visitors could pay to feed, pet, and even bathe the tigers, who were strangely calm. Reports surfaced that the tigers were drugged in order to keep them docile enough to interact with the visitors. Then, in 2016, more than 100 live tigers were confiscated by officials, and many tiger carcasses, including those of cubs, were also found in the facility before it was shut down.

When it comes to the elephant parks in Thailand, you should do your research before visiting one as well. Remember, a place could easily call itself a sanctuary without really functioning like one. It is best to steer clear of establishments that give you the option of riding elephants, taking a selfie with them, or watching them perform. These animals are captured from the wild, abused, and confined in severely cruel conditions, according to experts.

Ultimately, whenever you travel anywhere in the world, the very best way to view wildlife is in their natural habitat (and there is no shortage of truly wild places to view animals in Thailand). The second best way to view them would be within a reputable sanctuary that has a clean record of keeping their animals wild, free, safe, and well cared for. If an establishment is letting visitors take pictures with the animals, feed them, etc., this is a sign that it likely isn’t a place that truly respects the animals.

When is the best time to go to Thailand?

Thailand is a tropical destination, so you could travel there at any time of the year and enjoy hot temperatures and sunshine. But the best months to go are between December and March. Just keep in mind that an unpredictable rainstorm could occur even on an otherwise sunny day.

The west coast and its islands (Koh Lanta, Krabi, Phuket, and Koh Phi Phi) have the best weather in December and January, when there tends to be just a small amount of rain and loads of sunshine. The islands of Thailand that are found within the Gulf of Thailand typically receive less rainfall even during the rainy season than other parts of the country. Experts recommend visiting the islands of Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, and Koh Samui between the latter part of January and the middle part of March. February will usually be the driest month.

The wet season in Thailand runs from May through October, and this is the season during which monsoons are possible. While you might get some good deals and smaller crowds if you’re traveling during that time of year, it may not be worth it if the wet conditions keep you from enjoying the beauty of the islands.

It is a good idea to have some cash on hand at all times, as some shops, guesthouses, and small hotels may only accept cash payments. Other establishments, such as major shops, airlines, and larger hotels, may accept credit cards like Visa and MasterCard.

Which electrical outlet adapter do you need for Thailand?

Power sockets in Thailand include types A, B, C, F, and O. The standard frequency is 50 Hz, while the standard voltage is 220 V. Therefore, you might need to pack the appropriate power plug adapter and voltage converter to use your appliances during your stay. 

Do you need vaccinations to go to Thailand?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the risk of contracting Zika virus is high in Thailand. So if you are pregnant or you are planning on becoming pregnant, your doctor may recommend postponing your trip, as infection with the virus could lead to birth defects. Also, all travelers should take the appropriate steps to prevent both mosquito bites and sexual transmission of Zika.

Before going to Thailand, talk to your doctor to be sure that you are up-to-date on routine vaccinations, such as the polio vaccine, flu shot, varicella vaccine, measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, and diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine. The CDC also recommends receiving vaccinations for typhoid and hepatitis A, as both of these could be contracted through contaminated food and water in Thailand. Tell your doctor about where you are going in Thailand, what you plan on doing, how long you plan on staying, and if you are visiting other countries during your trip. This will help him or her decide if you need additional vaccinations, such as those for hepatitis B, cholera, malaria, Japanese encephalitis, yellow fever, and rabies.

Ready to dive into Thai culture?

Thailand truly is a country like no other. You could spend one day exploring a lush forest and the next one lounging on a sandy beach and swimming in crystal clear water. And in between exploring temples, ruins, and markets, you can sit down to indulge in some authentic Pad Thai and Thai iced tea. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your next exciting trip to this exotic and unforgettable destination!

Melita DeHazes is Marketing Director, North America, for cross border payments provider OFX. In this role, she is passionate about educating North American businesses and individuals on how to lower their fees on cross border currency payments. https://www.ofx.com