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The eastern states of the United States are packed with great attractions and things to do if you decide to take a vacation in this part of the country.

Here are some of the must-see sights and attractions that are well worth your attention when you are making your travel plans.

You will need a head for heights

Hiking at Grandfather Mountain in Linville is an adventure in itself but if you don’t mind looking down from a great height you must try the walk across the Mile High Swinging Bridge there.

Your reward for stepping out across the bridge is some awesome 360-degree views that you will remember for a long time to come.

Enjoy an easy route to the top of this mountain

Sticking to the theme of enjoying spectacular views from a great height you should also check out Chimney Rock State Park.

In addition to some enjoying some pleasant hikes that are not overly challenging you can also enjoy a unique experience here by taking an elevator ride inside the mountain that takes you to the top.

It has never been easier to make your way to the summit and enjoy the amazing scenery from your perfect viewing point.

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Visit a town steeped in history

Another great place to visit in the east is Greensboro.

This historic town was a key battlefield area in the civil war and you can find out all about those days with a number of sights and museums in the area.

If you stay at accommodation like the Greensboro Marriott Downtown you will be in a good spot for making a few trips to these places of interest in the area, before returning to the town itself and enjoying the attractive urban parks, art galleries, and restaurants, that visitors always seem to appreciate.

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Take a scenic drive

If you want to enjoy a scenic drive where there is always something interesting or beautiful to look at while you drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway fits the bill.

Described as “America’s Favorite Drive”, there are 469 miles to enjoy when you follow the roads that link Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Image result for DuPont State Recreational Forest.

Take a hike through the forest

If you enjoy the great outdoors the eastern states are a great place to satisfy your quest for getting a close-up view of what nature has to offer.

A good example of what the area has to offer would be the DuPont State Recreational Forest.

The forest covers 10,000 acres of cedar mountain in North Carolina and this is your chance to enjoy Mother Nature at her best.

A great city to visit

If you want to spend some time in the city as a contrast to your outdoor adventures Charlotte would be an excellent choice.

This city has a unique atmosphere that seems to appeal to all sorts of people, from families to couples looking for a romantic getaway.

With loads of lively and diverse restaurants and attractions within the city, you won’t be short of things to do for the duration of your stay.

If you take in some of the great attractions you are bound to create some great vacation memories.

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To quote Helen Keller, “Life is either a great adventure or nothing.” How many times have you stepped out of your comfort zone and dove into a new experience? In this crazy thing called life, there are millions of opportunities to learn and grow. Take a leap of faith and really challenge yourself. Discover these four cultural activities you need to experience at least once in life.

Taking a Cooking Class in Paris

Get your hands dirty with French cuisine in Paris, France. Most of the cooking classes are conducted in English, they are generally two to four hours long, and a variety of classes are available. Take a bistrot — yes, bistrot — lunch class and learn how to make crêpes, quiche, and soufflés. Or take a classe on gourmet dinners, poultry, sauces, and knife skills. However, the ultimate cultural class to enroll in is for pastries (it’s what the French know how to do best). Macarons, lemon tarts, croissants, and éclairs. When you return home, you can show off your new skills for family holiday gatherings.

Walk Along the Great Wall of China

Image via Flickr by gds

Emperor Qin Shi Huang came up with the idea during the third century B.C. to bar invaders from entering the Chinese Empire. A symbol of China’s strength, the Great Wall is considered one of the most intriguing architectural projects in history. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization deemed it a World Heritage site in 1987. Technically, you can only walk along parts of the wall because it is many thousands of miles long — the most popular section of the wall is Badaling, which is approximately northwest of Beijing. Trip Advisor gives it 4.5 stars, and thousands of tourists visit it daily.

See a Show on Broadway

Hamilton, Wicked, Chicago, The Lion King. These critically acclaimed shows on The Great White Way are the epitome of entertainment, art, and culture all rolled into one. But they only represent a few of the phenomenal shows available. Seeing a show on Broadway is an electrifying experience that you must have in New York City. Quality performances are seen there annually by over 13 million audience members. There is something there for everyone — comedies, dramas, historical pieces, and fantasies amaze and delight viewers of all ages.

Participate in a Tea Ceremony in Japan

Image via Flickr by blmurch

Traditional Japanese tea ceremonies, known as Sadō, date back to the days of the Emperor (and the rules are pretty much the same as they were then). It is considered one of of Japan’s most respected artistic traditions. Tea house masters host ceremonies that have influenced many elements of Japanese culture. In Tokyo, you can enjoy a full-course Kaiseki meal first — that’s a traditional upper class Japanese cuisine served with sake and then okashi, a Japanese confectionary. Finally, the tea is served in ceremonial style. Some tea houses supply kimonos and photos of your experience, too.

Once you have indulged in these cultural activities, you may be ripe for more. For a dose of true culture shock, visit a country whose primary language is foreign to you. Put yourself out there and navigate through the unknown. Now, that’s an experience.

A hot, crispy dosa was served on the banana leaf with oozed goodness— the kind of goodness that you want if you’ve navigated five hours of road journey which is full of potholes. However, it was only a few minutes into ordering that first dosa and seconds into dipping dosa into sambar when someone interrupted me. “Yes?”, I asked. “I ‘am sorry but are you alone?” one of them asked.

I nodded politely and turned to my dosa. “So, we will leave you with your meal”, they ventured. “See you around”, I replied with a smile. I successfully convinced the two men that I am more interested in enjoying the dosa made by Shiharan Bhayia than talking to them. They might be shocked to see a solo woman traveller.

You see, solo travelling is one of the most romantic chapters which you can add to your travel diary. Here’s a woman travelling alone, here’s a woman who is so liberating and here is a woman who agrees to fight her demons. All true and incredibly powerful.

It was my first solo trip to Bangalore and what I discovered—there is so much to do in Bangalore, even if you are travelling alone.

Having undergone a vast change over the past few years, Bangalore or Bengaluru is not merely the country’s IT hub. From local and international eateries serving lip smacking food, heritage spots showcasing the bright history of the city to swanky malls and nightclubs which are fun to explore, Bangalore as the city never disappoints travellers who come to soak in its charm. Then there is all-the-year pleasant weather of Bangalore, which augments its beauty. Above all, Bangalore is well-connected with nearby states and cities, like Goa, Mysore, Ooty, Chennai, etc.

So, why should you wait for someone to join you if you want to roam around the city? Let’s tell yourself— I am off to see the hills, mountains and beaches and that too solo!”

No matters how much I enjoy solo travelling, I take care of several factors to experience a hassle-free journey. From keeping your confidence high during the journey to travelling light, there are several tips to make your solo vacation to Bangalore fun and pleasing. Let’s talk about them=

  1. Be Confident= Even when you’re lost or in trouble, don’t bring it on your face. Be assertive and attentive at all times, no matter how painful the situation is. When you successfully deal with all adversities, believe me, you will be ready to face the worse situations in your life. Just remember, though the road has a few more hiccups than usual, everything will be fine at the end.
  2. Safety Comes First= Your safety is in your hands, so be vigilant while travelling. Make sure to carry basic things like a map, guide book, water bottle, first aid box, etc.
  3. Travel Light= Instead of burdening yourself with unnecessary luggage, pack, and travel light. Go for a backpacker and bon voyage. Hotels near majestic Bangalore are well-equipped with amenities and therefore, except basic toiletries and medications, you can leave everything at home and utilise laundry service available at hotels.
  4. Do Prior Research=Before taking a final plunge, gather all the information about your destination as much as you can. It will also help you in planning your travel itinerary and give a quick review of cultural background which will be like an added convenience.
  5. Choose a well-connected Hotel = Dig out the information about the hotels in Bangalore situated near to railway stations, bus terminals, etc. In this way, you will not have to waste time in commuting and you will have enough time for exploring the place. For finding good hotels in Bangalore, you can take the help of online travel portals like MakeMyTrip, Goibibo, Yatra, etc. Prices, especially airfares and hotel tariffs are much cheaper on online travel portals, like Yatra, as compared to what you can find offline.
  6. Travel during the day= It is obvious—travelling during day is safe as compared to evening and night when most of the assault and harassment cases tend to happen. Even if you are required to travel at night, choose a safe mode of transpiration.
  7. Keep your family members updated= Though you are travelling alone, it doesn’t mean you should sever all ties with your family. While travelling, keep your family members updated about your whereabouts through calls or texts. In short, leave a trail.

Embrace the beauty of your solo journey

Don’t be afraid, the world is inherently a good place. Go far, travel solo, and you will meet a new you—An independent, carefree, and yes, a confident girl!

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The world is full of places with scenic attractions that please the eye and a travel expert’s pocket, notwithstanding the wealth spent. Some of these locations are in remote areas of the world. Topping the list are the seven wonders of the world:

  1. Great Pyramids of Giza
  2. The Colossus of Rhodes
  3. Lighthouse of Alexandria
  4. Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
  5. Temple of Artemis
  6. Statue of Zeus
  7. Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Among these seven wonders, only the Great Pyramids remained intact for decades. The others were ruined either by natural or human-made calamities.

louvre artwork sculpture design statue figure museum antiques egypt landmark Source: https://stocksnap.io/photo/0CRPDGLB82

In today’s age of sophistication, people around the world can easily access the internet to search for unusual places of destination. However, some travelers are not aware of unpleasant facts, particularly, security threats that lie behind the excitement of travel. Most have decided to stop flying while others continue to do so.

Here are some unpleasant situations a travel expert need to know before he embarks to another future travel destination:

1) Don’t be in a hurry to board the plane

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When a person decides to travel, they get so excited that after paying the airfare tickets and hotels via credit/debit card, you forgot to counter check if the plane tickets are confirmed, and the hotel room you book is available.

What a disaster if upon arrival at the airport, you can’t board the aircraft because the details in your ticket are wrong or it was not confirmed. Same as when you arrive at your destination, no room is available in the hotel, all full. You might want to go into heated discussion with the concerned person, but it ruined your day, and all is left is a disappointment of what happened.

2) Be mindful of the weather

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You’re all set to travel, and then you got stranded in the airport because of a big storm you don’t know. It will be uncomfortable if you have to sleep sitting down on the airport benches because of close hotels. Also, you don’t know when you will be able to fly again or get out of that airport. You might get stuck for a week or two until the storm is out of the area.

3) Language barrier

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You traveled to a place nobody knows your tongue. You’ll end up trying to learn “sign language” to get what you need.

4) Be Aware of Travel Advisories

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The place is exotic and fresh with waterfalls cascading down from the top, crystal clear pool and trees dancing with the wind, birds singing melodiously. What a beautiful place, peaceful and so relaxing. You’re about to spread out your sleeping mat to lie down. Suddenly, you hear voices and footsteps, in a split of a second, you were captured by armed natives. You didn’t know; your Embassy issued a travel advisory on this place. “Travel to this area is restricted!”

5) Eating beside a Tourist Spot

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Never eat anywhere near a place where there is a tourist attraction. You will be paying an expensive menu but lacks taste. The food vendors are just after your money, not your appetite.

6) Never Avoid the Local Tourism Office

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Surprisingly, some travelers don’t visit a local tourism office. It should always be the first stop of your travel as they are familiar with travel advisories, current news and pathways or maps going to your destination. They also offer a discount card for food and accommodation. Further, they will be informed of your presence and can assist you when you need protection.

7) Stay Away from Taxis

car vehicle transportation highway urban city pedestrian taxi people shop mall store building establishment Source: https://stocksnap.io/photo/A2839E5GPW

Taxis are not right for a ride. They’ll drain down your pocket by turning you around and around one point to the other until you can’t do anything but pay the high rate they demand or get mugged. And it’s not safe. Best to ride a bus with many passengers. The other passengers can assist you better.

Aside from this, it is safer to be with many passengers when you travel from one place to another. Your visibility to everyone is imperative because when something happens, the people who saw you can relate where you went and where you have been. Besides, you build a friendship with the local folks as you continue to speak with them while aboard the public utility vehicle.

If you’re good with reading maps, you can also try car rentals. Or if you plan to stay longer in a place, you may even decide to invest in a car, even a second-hand one. You can check out car parts dealers so you can get the best parts to replace the old ones in your pre-loved car.

8) Check your Travel Insurance

people girl female woman reading book knowledge study education leather jacket clothing Source: https://stocksnap.io/photo/9LNS3XLF9Y

Better to check your insurance if it lapsed or not before you travel. Accidents always happen, you never know. What a big problem if you mixed up with some accidents and your insurance has expired.

9) Avoid Using Bank Cards with Interests

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Try to apply for an ATM card (debit or credit) that don’t charge international fees. If possible, use cash when paying things. You will not incur charges when you make some purchases. Don’t forget to change your money to the local currency. It will be added expense if you run out of local change as you have to find places to transact money changing.

10) Scrap Traveler’s Cheques

Traveler’s check is from banks given for a particular value that allows the holder to convert the check to cash anytime worldwide. It’s not advisable as you will be bringing with you cash which is dangerous. Better to use ATM because you withdraw money per necessity only.

Takeaway

Travel experts have lots of experiences compared to newbies. They are the ones who have gone through ups and downs of travel. However, traveling is a relaxation, and whether you have had this scary feeling of something unpredictable might happen, the love of the journey pulls you out of your house and lets you fly to some destinations.

If you have been working all your life, you would wish to get out from the humdrum of the city and find a place to relax. A place by the sea or a tropical island or mountain climbing – these are all places of serenity and peace – just don’t get caught with the unpleasant facts – and you’ll surely enjoy your travel and want more.

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Winter is a magical time. With the hint of frost in the air, the smell of roasting chestnuts lingering on city streets, and the twinkle of Christmas lights at every corner, it is imbued with a cosy charm indoors and a glacial glory outside.

 

It’s a time to be indulgent. You have worked hard the whole year through, and now is the chance to finally treat yourself. Every shop window offers dazzling displays to choose from, and the Christmas presents are piling up at home.

Image source Bolsover Cruise Club

Image source Bolsover Cruise Club

 

Yet sometimes the most delicious treat of all is escaping your everyday life for a while, and spoiling yourself on a sumptuous winter cruise. Here, we look at three of the best destinations for those in need of a warm weather pick-me-up…

 

#1: Chile

 

For those in search of somewhere out of the ordinary, Chile is transcendental. A breath-taking wonderland of ethereal fjords, its waterways look like a scene taken straight from the pages of a fantasy novel: beautiful, unreal, and striking. Take an excursion into the countryside to see towering waterfalls and unspoilt landscapes stretching away as far as the eye can see, before diverting to one of the nation’s famed cities. Valparaiso, in particular, must be visited. Chile’s largest city, it spans the length and breadth of 45 undulating hills, each of them covered by an exquisitely eclectic mixture of high rises alongside quaint, brightly coloured traditional homes.

 

#2: The Amazon

 

The ultimate playground for cruise-goers, the Amazon is magnificent, massive, and meandering, and a journey down it will take you along some of the most stunning waterways in the world. Begin sailing in Brazil and you’ll soon find yourself immersed in a mecca of exotic animals and tropical birds. Macaws, toucans, and hummingbirds will fly above you as you cruise, with over 1,300 indigenous bird species to spot as you travel through the teeming rainforest. Don’t forget to embark once you reach Manaus, or else you risk missing some of the best-preserved Portuguese colonial buildings in the region, as well as charming waterside markets with all manner of delicacies to try.

 

#3: South Africa

 

South Africa is a paradisiacal winter cruise destination, and Cape Town, with towering Table Mountain looming above it, shrouded in ethereal mist, has to be one of the highlights for visitors to the area. Take a trip up in a cable car, and look down at a vista that will take your breath away. Once you’ve had your fill of the views, journey to the beautiful beach, or else explore the enchanting city itself. A jumble of green spaces and sumptuous shops, it offers the perfect complement to the wilderness you’ll discover once you venture outside of its boundaries.

 

What are you waiting for? Contact a company like Bolsover Cruise Club today to book your journey of a lifetime.

 

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Africa has always been a magnet for travelers with adventurous spirit and for those eager of unique experiences. Over years some countries have gained the status of must-see tourist destinations (South Africa, Tunisia, Egypt, etc.), while other remained shadowed by them. Fortunately, with the power of Internet and changes occurring in the other countries, other destinations can finally get their moment under the spotlight. One of those yet to be discovered gem is Mozambique, a country with a relatively well developed tourist infrastructure that offers great accommodation options, from affordable backpackers’ lodges to world class luxury resorts. If you are headed to Mozambique and worry about accommodation, do not be, here are some of the best options the country has to offer.

Mozambique

Hotels in Maputo

As lifeblood of Mozambique, Maputo should be inevitable on the Mozambique itinerary, and if you decide to stay there you will have many accommodation options available, so you will surely find some that fits your need. The Southern Sun Maputo, for instance, offers you a pleasant experience reasonably away from the city noise. The hotel building tells a story about the country’s history, mixing the charm of colonial style with African heritage. The lack of terraces in the room can be quite annoying, but it is compensated by the large and lush yard. If you are searching for a more luxurious feel, be sure to check in in 5 stars rated Polana Serena Hotel, with an indoor pool, outdoor pull, full service spa, fitness center, and a jetted tub in every room. The hotel is located in a vivid neighborhood, near the Museum of Natural History and Eduardo Mondlane University.

Mozambique

Suburban Rentals in Maputo

Sure, hotels have their perks, like getting everything you need on a plate, but if you prefer your privacy and truly experiencing the spirit of a city like a local, you can try renting a house or an apartment in some of Maputo’s suburbs. You can find a vast offer of such options on property websites such as Casamozambique. You can even have some of the comforts of a hotel, e.g. a swimming pool. Suburban rentals offer you the possibility to live like a citizen of Maputo, discover different restaurants nearby, that are more likely more affordable than the tourist hotspots in the center of the city, communicate with locals, and get to know some of the authentic African bars and pubs around.Mozambique cathedral

The Country Lodges

If you would rather escape the city into lush nature, with a cozy accommodation, you are in luck, since Mozambique is filled with such options, throughout the entire territory. Kara O’Mula Country Lodge is located in Mulanje, and most of the units feature a terrace view on the green vivid garden, while others will also not disappoint with mountain views. In Harare, you can find the Wild Geese Lodge, for those tourists who prefer a truly apartment-like accommodation. Here, the rooms have their own seating and dining areas, and kitchenette equipped with basic appliances.

Mozambique

Island Resorts

The two most famous tourist destinations in Mozambique are Bazaruto Archipelago and Quirimbas Archipelago. Both of them have various options for tourists, both the backpackers searching to save some bucks and regular tourists just keen on enjoying at the beach. One of the most fascinating island escapes is located within Bazaruto Archipelago. The Azura retreat is a true luxury hideaway, with sublime view of the Indian Ocean and no other hotel or tourist spot for miles/kilometers away. Across the country, Quirimbas Archipelago hides its smallest island, Medjumbe, with pristine powdery white beach and turquoise blue sea. The size of the island instantly gives it an aura of exclusivity, while the lodges, on the other side, are quite modest, but still comfy.

scuba Mozambique

Wherever you decide to stay, the “Terra de Boa Gente” as Vasco de Gama called Mozambique, will not disappoint you, but dazzle you with its genuine kindness, staggering beauty and true desire to make the guests’ desires a priority.

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Rising from the depths of the lush forests of Central America, Costa Rica is at the top of the list of any serious traveler. An amazing experience anyone can enjoy, this destination will be a holiday escape like no other. With endless sights, sounds and smells, appreciating the beauty of Costa Rica will come natural, but to get the best action, here are a couple of tips once you venture into this realm of wonder.

Costa Rica Guide

Planning Your Trip

When visiting Costa Rica one of the first things you need to do is plan ahead. Do the necessary research in advance, so you know what to expect once you arrive. One of the deciding factors that might influence your visit is the weather. The difference between verano (dry season – December to April) and invierno (rainy season – May to November) is a real game changer for any trip to Costa Rica. Just to be on the safe side, your bag should always contain comfortable clothes, shoes with a warmer alternative, sunblock, and mosquito repellant. And to help you before and during your trip, load up on travel tools on your phone.

Costa Rica Guide

The Right Accommodations

Costa Rica is a tourist hot spot, so it’s no wonder that hotels won’t be hard to come by. Most of what you think of as classical hotels and resorts are situated in larger cities and towns such as San Jose, Cartago, Santa Cruz, Liberia and Limon. They provide tourists with both affordable and luxury accommodations to choose from. However, if you are travelling with family or friends for a longer period, and you want to balance out price and space for everyone, you should consider checking out property rentals in Costa Rica. Away from the towns in the more remote regions, you can seek out good accommodations, but services like Wi-Fi might be hard to get a hold of.

Costa Rica Guide

Moving Through Costa Rica

Getting around in Costa Rica is easy, since the exchange rate is great, and you can get amazing bus deals for as low as 3$ per person. Due to its relatively small size, all of Costa Rica can be easily accessed by road, although the environment defined the way they were built, so some trips may take longer than others. However, travelling in larger settlements on foot may prove to be challenging, as pedestrians don’t always have the right-of-way.

Costa Rica Guide

Health and Safety Tips

As a traveler, it is also good to know that Costa Rica has quality health standards, with excellent hospitals in all the major tourist destinations. It is also good to note that most of the taps in the country provide safe drinking water, so you can save up on the bottled stuff. While SIM prepaid cards are available throughout the country with great travel deals always on offer.

Costa Rica Guide

Flavors of Costa Rica

When in Costa Rica, always go for local food and ingredients. Owing to its tropical, rainforest location, the markets are an amazement of color and smell. Fruit and veg are available in enormous quantities, and if you have a chance try local varieties such as anona, grandilla, guava and rose-apples. As anywhere around the world, when searching for the best food in Costa Rica look towards the street vendors, and small tucked away dinners. Each region has its own twist on the classics, and apart from the Tamales and Empanadas, be sure to try the national dish Casado, Ceviche, Gallo Pinto, and Sopa de Mariscos.

Costa Rica Guide

Must-Sees

Hidden within the rainforests of Costa Rica, are of course, the reasons why this country should be at the top of your vacation list. For nature fanatics and especially bird watchers, one of the most beautiful forests of the world – the Monteverde Cloud Forest, is a must see. Closer to the water, Tamarindo’s world famous surf is a hot spot for water sport junkies, while Manuel Antonia National Park is an ideal family beach holiday vacation paradise. Finally, hidden among the inland volcanoes, is the surreal La Fortuna Waterfall, and the hike of a lifetime.

Costa Rica Guide

Original Costa Rica Tours

The appeal of Costa Rica is also highlighted through the unique travel tour offers. Exploring the depths of the rainforest and its wildlife, you might want to consider the Canopy Tour. High above the treetops, you will zip line, like a spider monkey, from one tree platform to the next, all the while witnessing some amazing vistas of endless forest. If you want to be more down to earth, but still seeking adventure, White Water Rafting will be your tour of choice. One of the most thrilling ways to encounter Costa Rica, you will zig-zag through the vast meandering river network, such as the Celeste River, going on a ride of a lifetime.

Costa Rica Guide

There you have it, the dos and don’ts of Costa Rica that will make the entire journey an amazing experience. Now, all that is left is to pack your bags, and make this paradise your next vacation destination. Vaya con Dios!

As the holiday season is just few weeks away, now is a great time to start booking that flight or hotel for your Thanksgiving or New Year’s celebrations.

According to Kayak.com, you’ll find the best deals on holiday flights when you book in mid-October. Fares will start to increase by as much as 25% the closer you get to the end of the year.

Whether you’re planning a cross-country trip or an overseas getaway, here are five tips to save on holiday travel this year:

1. Don’t count on last-minute deals. Taking advantage of last-minute deals can help you reduce travel costs during certain times of the year, but the holiday season isn’t a good for this strategy. Don’t wait until the last minute to book that flight, hotel or travel package because you run the risk of paying a premium for all travel expenses. Ideally, you will want to book your holiday excursions at least 6 to 7 weeks in advance.

2. Shop the airlines on your own. While it pays to compare prices on several third-party sites, you may be able to get a better deal if you shop around on your own. Keep tabs on average airfare prices posted on a discount airline websites and compare options with third-party travel site search results. (Just keep in mind that not all airlines show up on these sites.) If you book directly with an airline, don’t forget to take advantage of rewards credit cards that provide benefits like frequent flier miles or discounts on other travel-related expenses.

You wll find the best deals on holiday flights when you book in mid-October

You wll find the best deals on holiday flights when you book in mid-October

3. Fly on the actual holiday. One of the best ways to score a great deal on a flight is to fly when most people would rather not. If you can coordinate your holiday visits so that you fly on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day or even New Year’s Day, you may be able to save a significant amount of money on your inbound flight. FareCompare.com reports that the best money-saving days for travel are before December 17 and after January 3. Fares are also low on Christmas Day.

Consider booking an early morning flight so you don’t miss out on the festivities of the day, or just plan your holiday trip around a celebration that doesn’t take place on the actual holiday. Booking a return flight on the actual holiday can also save you some money. Kayak.com reports that travelers returning on Thanksgiving Day could save as much as 20% on fares.

4. Be smart about packing. If you’re planning to travel with lots of gifts and other holiday items, consider shipping them directly to your destination instead of packing multiple bags. You may be able to save money on checked baggage fees, and reduce the risk of having your bags lost or stolen, when you only travel with a carry-on bag and ship everything else. If you planned on packing those gifts in several suitcases, remember that you will likely pay to bring back empty suitcases after the holiday celebrations are over. Save the hassle and costs associated with extra luggage by packing only what you need in your carry-on bag and shipping everything else to your final destination.

5. Consider ground travel for domestic destinations. If you are traveling across a few states or just to another city, consider ground transportation instead of flying. Driving, taking the train or even traveling by bus may end up being cheaper than a flight around the holiday season. If you have the time and patience to coordinate a trip without flying, you may be able to reduce those travel expenses. Use the American Automobile Association’s fuel cost calculator to estimate fuel costs for your trip based on current gasoline prices. Amtrak has also started posting its holiday deals for train fares across the country, so make sure to compare prices before choosing your route of transportation.

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The capital of Tennessee and the country music capital of the world, Nashville, is a historic southern city with a hotbed of activities and sites. However, there is so much more in Nashville than meets the eye. If you’re on a limited stay to the city, here is a list of things to see and do so you don’t miss out.

Centennial Park

Beautiful Urban Setting

Image via Flickr by Powellizer

Just west of downtown is Centennial Park, a large, lush park in the middle of an urban setting. Go for a walk, jog, or bike ride and take in the various fountains and landscapes. Don’t miss the real gem in this park: a full-scale replica of the Parthenon, which is free to view and enter.

Loveless Cafe & Motel

Food to Melt the Soul

If you don’t mind a short scenic drive on the Natchez Trace Parkway for some of the best biscuits and gravy you’ve ever tasted, than the Loveless Cafe is well worth the trip. After breakfast or lunch, stick around and search the little shops and boutiques that surround the café.

Jack Daniel’s Distillery

Image via Flickr

Lynchburg’s Hidden Gem

Another short drive from Nashville is the town of Lynchburg, home of the original Jack Daniel’s distillery. If you’ve ever wondered how they make all the different types of whiskey and the process that goes into each, be sure and take the tour. You even get a few free shots at the end. So, enjoy the scenic drive, the liquor, and make sure to eat at Miss Mary Bobo’s on the way back to town.

The Hermitage

Andrew Jackson’s Legacy

You may not know what Andrew Jackson did, but just know that he’s important enough to be featured on the $20 bill. A president and war hero, Jackson made his home just outside of Nashville. This estate and surrounding plantation is now known as the Hermitage. Take a guided tour or simply walk around at your leisure; the museum and gift shop is open 7 days a week.

Grand Ole Opry

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The Mecca of Country Music

Whether you’re a country music fan or not, the Grand Ole Opry is a must see. The concert venue has had some of the most well-recognized names in all genres of music on its stage, and the history leaves you speechless. Travel nearby to the Grand Opry hotel and marvel at the lovely gardens that surround it, and if you feel like splurging, stay overnight.

Broadway

The Main Drag

Whether you want to sample a little taste of the nightlife, go shopping, eat, or hear some live music, Broadway has it all. Located downtown, this strip has some popular venues, especially for younger crowds. If you don’t feel like enduring the loud, young adults, walk around during the day. Listen to some street musicians and without a doubt go to Jack’s BBQ, arguably the best barbecue in the city.

If, after all these suggestions, you’re still unsure about what to do in Nashville, ask the locals; they are some of the nicest and most helpful people you will ever meet. Don’t try to cram too much into one short trip though. Remember, you can always come back. And if you find you like it so much you’re considering moving there, you’ll need a car. Check out DriveTime in Nashville for all your auto needs, and drive around the city at your leisure.