20 Ways to Save Money and Still Eat Out

There is an old American tradition called the “blue plate special” that originated in the 1920’s and was popularized in the 50’s. If you were looking for the best deal at any restaurant you knew to ask for the blue plate special.

Things are a little more complicated today with online deals and Facebook offers. But it’s still possible to find terrific dining deals, even if you’re not computer savvy. Here are 20 of our favorite ideas.

Fast Food chains


Ok, let’s get this out of the way up front. I know fast food chains have a bad reputation and for those who are concerned about health (and honestly shouldn’t we all be?) they may not be the best choice. Still, there are some great deals out there and these days fast food doesn’t necessarily mean grabbing a burger and fries from you local McDonald’s. There are fast food chains like Chipotle that offer a wide selection of meal choices made from fresh ingredients and at a reasonable price. Of course

sometimes you are just looking for plain old fashioned comfort food and a burger and fries may be just what you are craving. Fortunately, most fast food places and nearly all fast food burger chains offer some kind of value menu. So before you consider eating out at a pricey restaurant, take a look at what fast food places have to offer. You may be surprised!

Outback Steakhouse Food That Will Make You Drool

Photo by Mike Mozart

Who can’t spot an Outback Steakhouse from a mile away? The restaurant chain was started over 30 years ago, and has grown into one of the most popular chain restaurants in the U.S. With over 1,000 locations in 23 countries, this Australian-themed restaurant chain should be at the top of your dining list. Here’s why – the menu is brimming with a large selection of wood-fire grilled, tongue tingling, juicy fare that will satisfy the toughest of taste buds. Not a steak lover? No problem. Outback’s menu is broad enough to cater to the oh so fussy eater (steak and potatoes only, please!) as well as the I’ll have one of each eater.  

Photo by Steven Depolo

Are you in the mood for a perfectly plump Porterhouse seasoned to perfection, or something from the sea swimming in steaming garlic butter? Maybe you want to delight your taste buds and treat yourself to the seared filet medallions topped with succulent roasted garlic butter? Whatever your mood and appetite, rest assured, you won’t leave Outback Steakhouse disappointed.

Photo by Yuichi Sakuraba

Start off with Outback’s signature staple – freshly baked dark honey wheat bread served warm with delicately whipped butter. Whether you’re in for dinner or just drinks, I highly recommend you request at least half a loaf. Once you try this bread, you’ll want it on your own table every night.  

Photo by Mack Male

The Appetizer menu at the Outback Steakhouse, or “Aussie-Tizers” as they’re called, provides a pleasing beginning to a tasty feast. If you’ve steered away from sampling Outback’s original Bloomin’ Onion, don’t. A beautiful looking Aussie-Tizer, this hand cut sweet onion is cooked to golden perfection and served with Outback’s enticing signature bloom sauce for dipping. If you’re in the mood for something rich in protein, consider the Wood-Fire Grilled Shrimp on the Barbie. A blend of tantalizing seasonings tops this appetizer and is served with grilled artisan bread, savory garlic herb butter, and fresh tomato basil. Your senses will thank you.

Photo by 모나카

The Outback Steakhouse doesn’t stop short when it comes to soup and salads. A steaming cup of creamy clam chowder is the perfect prelude to your meal. If you want to go lighter, I highly recommend the Brisbane Caesar Salad made with a pleasingly tangy Caesar dressing. This Aussie-Tizer will leave you with room for the rest of your meal.

Not all steaks are alike. The Signature Steaks at Outback are bold, classic, and hearty. Outback has carefully chosen cuts of the most succulent beef you will find. With 7 delectable and tender cuts to choose from, there’s something for everyone. I challenge you to find a cut of meat that’s more luscious than Victoria’s Filet® Mignon. It nearly melts in your mouth. Perhaps you’re more in the mood for a ribeye? Seared on a wood-fire grill to lock in moisture and add subtle smokiness, the Outback Rib Eye drips with flavor. If you’re especially hungry, I recommend the 14-ounce portion of this superbly marbled and aromatic steak. Can’t handle 14 ounces? Outback offers steaks in varying sizes, depending on your appetite. So, go for it.

Photo by Felipe Neves

Have your heart set on something other than steak? Don’t worry. Outback Steakhouse offers an expansive choice of meats other than beef including moist chicken, luscious pork and heavenly lamb, all of which are as tender and divine as their steak options. If your taste buds are burning for flavor, try Outback’s Baby Back Ribs. They’re rubbed with 17 specially selected spices, grilled over wood for gentle smokiness, then finished with Outback’s homemade zesty BBQ sauce. Can you say flavor?

If you’re craving something from the sea instead, how about the Bacon Bourbon Salmon? This dish is grilled over a wood fire and layered with a smoky bourbon glaze, leaving yourself to ask “Should salmon be served any other way?”  

Please tell me you saved room for dessert? The Chocolate Thunder from Down Under screams chocolate in a way only chocolate can. But if you’re a cheesecake connoisseur, treat yourself to the New York-Style Cheesecake, topped with rich chocolate or tangy raspberry sauce. Be warned though, it’s colossal in size, so you may want to share this one.

We can identify four main tastes: sweet, sour, salty, and bitterness. Some experts claim there’s a fifth taste called umami (Japanese for ‘pleasant savory taste’). Umami is what the famous French chef, Escoffier, claimed was the secret of his renowned success. Surely, a restaurant chain with a history as lengthy and successful as this one, must know something about umami that the average person doesn’t. If you want to satisfy your umami taste bud, stop by an Outback Steakhouse. You’ll be delighted.   

20 Ways to Save Money When Eating Out

There is an old American tradition called the “blue plate special” that originated in the 1920’s and was popularized in the 50’s. If you were looking for the best deal at any restaurant you knew to ask for the blue plate special.

Things are a little more complicated today with online deals and Facebook offers. But it’s still possible to find terrific dining deals, even if you’re not computer savvy. Here are 20 of our favorite ideas.

Fast Food chains


Ok, let’s get this out of the way up front. I know fast food chains have a bad reputation and for those who are concerned about health (and honestly shouldn’t we all be?) they may not be the best choice. Still, there are some great deals out there and these days fast food doesn’t necessarily mean grabbing a burger and fries from you local McDonald’s. There are fast food chains like Chipotle that offer a wide selection of meal choices made from fresh ingredients and at a reasonable price. Of course

sometimes you are just looking for plain old fashioned comfort food and a burger and fries may be just what you are craving. Fortunately, most fast food places and nearly all fast food burger chains offer some kind of value menu. So before you consider eating out at a pricey restaurant, take a look at what fast food places have to offer. You may be surprised!

Senior Discounts

A common myth is that senior discounts are only allowed for those 65 and older. The truth is that many restaurants offer “senior” discounts for those as young as 55. Sometimes you will find these discounts advertised on the menu. If you don’t see a senior discount listed on the menu of your restaurant of choice, remember: it never hurts to ask. Just ask your waiter if they offer any discounts for seniors. These discounts can save you as much as 10-15% of the price of your meal.

AARP Dining Discounts

Are you a member of AARP? Did you know that as a member you qualify for a variety of discounts when dining out. For example, AARP members can get a free donut from Dunkin’ Donuts, a free cup of coffee at Burger King, 15% off at Denny’s or at Outback Steakhouse, as well as many other great discounts. 

Order From the Lunch Menu

Most restaurants offer a lunch menu with smaller portions at considerably less cost. What a lot of people don’t realize is that you can usually order from the lunch menu at any time of the day. There may be a small fee, usually a dollar or so added to the amount. But it’s almost always less expensive than ordering from the dinner menu for the same item.

Sharing a Meal

This is one of my personal favorites for several reasons. It’s a great excuse to meet up with a friend, a family member you haven’t seen in a while, or to spend some quality time with your significant other. It also cuts the calories from the meal in half. So if you’re watching your waistline it can be a real help! One word of caution however: some restaurants have started charging a fee for splitting meals. Be sure to check before you order.

Combo Deals

For those who would like to enjoy company for a meal, but aren’t comfortable sharing, many restaurants including Applebees offer a special combo meal deal which usually includes an appetizer and two entrees for one price. These can be great offers to take advantage of.

Daily Meal Specials

This is popular in both fast food chains and mom and pop diners. Ofen a sign will advertise the special of the day. A lot of restaurants offer huge savings if you order the daily special.

Skip the Drinks

We all know we should be drinking more water. And drinking a lot of caffeinated, carbonated, sugar-filled drinks isn’t good for us and can even lead to diabetes in adults. Those drinks can also hurt your pocketbook. Many restaurants including fast food chains count on drink sales to make a significant portion of their revenue. This is especially true if the restaurant offers alcoholic drinks on the menu. Skip the drink, opt for water, and save money as well as making a great choice for your health.

Take Advantage of Coupons and Deals

Look in your local newspaper for coupons and specials available at your local restaurants or go online to restaurants.com or groupons.com to find the best deals at national chains. There are a lot of great coupon deals out there. Take a little time and make a game out of finding these “hidden treasures”.

Make a Meal of Sides or Appetizers

Some of the best-priced items on the menu can be the appetizers or side dishes. When we eat out, many of us may not be all that hungry. Sometimes just a salad, or a bowl of vegetables or soup and a roll is enough. If you take a group, you can order one appetizer and split the check. This is a great way to combine saving money with socializing with friends.

Bring Your Own Wine

If you enjoy a drink with your meal, but don’t like paying restaurant prices for a glass of wine, consider bringing your own bottle. Many restaurants offer the option of BYOB and are happy to serve you drinks from your own bottle. In some cases you will pay the same prices for a glass of wine in a restaurant as you pay for the entire bottle. That means more for to share!

Order Pizza

This option works best if you are going out with a group of friends. There is no better option for feeding a large group on a small budget than ordering pizza. If you go out for pizza, be sure to ask about their specials. Chain stores like Pizza Hut offer deep discounts when you order more than one pizza. Bring a large group and the savings can really add up.

Save Money with Your Phone

There are a lot of great apps available for free that can save you money when you dine out. Here are a few you might want to try:

  • DealNews
  • Scoutmob
  • Groupon
  • Yelp
  • Living Social
  • Bite Hunter

It may take you a little time to download and figure how these apps work, but the savings are worth the effort.

Skip Dessert

It’s no accident that when you sit down at your table at your favorite Denny’s the first thing you see are photos of tempting desserts. Resist the urge to indulge! In many cases the cost of dessert alone can be nearly as much as the meal itself. Instead, stop by the store on the way home and pick up a gallon of ice cream and save your money for something important.

Value Menus

Many restaurants offer a special value menu. For instance, Denny’s offers a value menu that includes choices for as little as $2-$4. You just can’t beat those prices. So when you are deciding what to order, make sure you look for the value section of the menu first.

Get “Social”

Did you know many restaurants offer regular patrons special offers or discounts for liking them on Facebook? The next time you visit your favorite restaurant ask them if they offer any Facebook deals. Here’s another tip: Search for your favorite restaurants by name on Facebook. Go to the restaurants Facebook page and look for coupons or deals that they advertise there.

Discount Cards

Many places offer special discount cards where you collect point, punches, or stars toward rewards, often free food or drinks. My wife and I recently earned free drinks from Starbucks with their discount card worth approximately $10 for the two drinks. Be sure each member of your family gets their own card so they can start earning points and qualify for discounts as well.

Order to Go

How can ordering a meal to go save you money? When you order from the to-go menu you won’t be paying a tip or gratuity and you won’t be tempted to order drinks or desserts. I’ve found that I almost always spend less when I order take out instead of opting for dining in at my favorite restaurants.

Eat Out in Your Own Backyard

If you want to save money and at the same time enjoy the experience of dining out, why not create the experience yourself in your own backyard? Bring out the fancy table linens. Pour a bottle of wine or champagne. String lights and soft music can provide ambient atmosphere. Invite friends over and fire up the grill. Sometimes the best way to enjoy eating out on a budget it to stay home and do the cooking yourself!

Travel

 

THE PANAMA CANAL

A feat of American engineering in the heart of Panama.

Photo by Droneplcr

Panama’s so thin, both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans can both be viewed from a number of modest hills. It only took the construction of a 48-mile canal to save ships 8000 miles of time and gas if they were to sail around South America.

Via iowafarmvacation.com

Any traveler interested in history or engineering makes the Panama Canal a world highlight. Here you can learn about the history of the canal and see boats pass through the gigantic locks.

A “red devil” bus in Panama City; these buses are being phased out in favor of the Metrobus system. Panama. Photo: Gerardo Pesantez

If watching water slowly rise and fall is not your thing, nearby Panama City should provide enough excitement. With its long coastline of beach and nightlife, comparisons are often drawn to Miami.

Photo by Derek Itou

Panama has a number of amazing beach spots but the best experience is a sailing trip through the San Blas Islands, hundreds of uninhabited islands with pure white sand. You may then be able to convince your captain to sail you through the Panama Canal. Keep in mind, the average cost to cross the canal is $150,000.

Panama San Blas Islands, Photo by Marc Veraart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Collared Aracari, Photo by Billtacular

 

SAFARI IN ZIMBABWE

 

See the world’s biggest animals, uncaged.

Lion In Hwange National Park. Photo by Laura

Most any zoo has lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffalos. To see these animals in their natural habitat is something else entirely. Named “the big five” as the five hardest animals to track, experienced guides lead safaris in national parks around Africa, helping their guests hunt for once in a lifetime photos.

Elephants At The Water Hole, Photo by JackyR

A massive elephant and her babies drink from a water hole while a pride of lions attacks a crocodile. Buffaloes and rhinos roam through the grass while a leopard takes in the views from a tree.  

Via Zimbabwe Tourism

Though there are many amazing parks around Africa for a safari, Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe is one of the best for spotting animals.

Victoria Falls. Photo by DoctorJoeE

Not far away is Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world. At nearly twice the height of Niagara Falls, and in a well-conserved lush area, you’ll want to spend hours being refreshed by the views and the cool mist. Do as you please. Unlike the lions, Victoria Falls doesn’t bite.

 

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

Otherworldly beauty at every step.

Photo by ser_is_snarkish

Iguanas seem to rest on every rock. The centuries old tortoises roam at their slow pace. Seals play on the many beaches while dolphins jump through the air not far from shore. There’s nowhere in the world quite like the Galapagos Islands.

Seal on beach. Free commercial use.
Credit: Paul Krawczuk

Set way out in the Pacific Ocean, these volcanic islands spread across the Equator. Most fly here from Ecuador’s mainland and then take a week-long boat tour of the many islands.

Photo of a Saddleback Tortoise by Paul Krawczuk

It’s a long journey, but once you’re on board the boat you don’t exactly have to rough it. Many are luxury boats offering large staterooms and multi-course meals.

Via Reddit

But the dinner menu is secondary to the array of wildlife you’ll encounter on the island. The area is highly protected so you’ll only be able to visit any given island in a small group and guide. On your trip, you’ll encounter more seals than people.

Photo by Francesco Bandarin

 

 

ANGKOR TEMPLES, CAMBODIA

Dozens of ancient temples for you to explore.

Via Reddit

Angkor Wat, the 12th Century temple, is amazing. Many go at dawn to watch the orange sun hang above the towers, the colours and temples reflected in the still moat.

Angkor Wat Temple, Credit: Bjørn Christian Tørrissen

You’ll want to spend a few hours, likely on a guided tour, exploring the temple, admiring the Hindu gods carved into the white sandstone. Keep in mind that you and your group will be sharing real estate with thousands of others.

Angkor Thom Temple, Credit: David Sim

Many are drawn to the area for this manmade wonder without realizing that there are more than seventy other temples stretched out for miles, some of which will be yours alone to explore.

Ta Prohm Temple, Credit: CEphoto, Uwe Aranas

Certain temples are just as popular as Angkor Wat. Ta Prohm has twisting trees growing through, around and above the temple. The structure and jungle harmoniously blend together.

The Orange Line photo by Balint Földesi

You can set out seeing temples by foot, being refreshed by mothers and their children selling cold water, fruit and sticky rice in bamboo shoots. Otherwise, just about every bike and vehicle is for hire in the nearby town of Siem Reap.

 

MACHU PICCHU, PERU

Come for civilizations of the past. Stay for the vibrancy of the present.

Machu Picchu, Credit: Chensiyuan

High up in the Andes Mountains, the remains of Machu Picchu draw a million tourists to Peru annually. Despite being only five-hundred years-old, seemingly younger than the average church in Europe, tourists are mesmerized by this past civilization that existed on the tip of a high mountain.

Machu Picchu Llama, Credit: Robert Luna

Whether you take a multi-day hike or easy single-day tour, get to Machu Picchu at sunrise when quirky llamas are free to roam through the ruins in the thick morning mist.

Church of la Compañía in Cuzco. Credit: Cacophony

No doubt part of the allure of this manmade wonder are the spectacular views of lush green valleys way down below. Then beyond, in the nearby city of Cuzco, friendly locals sell handmade textiles and woodwork. Try at least a fork full of the deep fried cuy, otherwise known as guinea pig.

Via ellingjt from Reddit

While foreigners get a laugh out of this national dish, the food currently coming out of Lima right now is no joke. The capital city boasts two restaurants amongst the World’s 50 Best Restaurants: Central and Maido.

STROLLING LONDON’S LANDMARKS

 

See London’s greatest sites in an afternoon.

London is a world-class metropolis that needs no introduction. It’s a well-known fact that one terrible British impression occurs in the US every eight seconds.

 

The city’s vast and the London Underground system’s daunting but most of the iconic landmarks of London can be strolled in a day, or even a few hours.

After a lunch of fish and chips or meat pie in the Westminster area, it shouldn’t be hard to find Big Ben, and from there you can make your way to Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament.

Changing the guard at Buckingham Palace. Photo by Gabriel Villena

If you want to stay on course and gain more historical insight, there are plenty of walking tours available at a nominal price. In any case, the walk will only take a few hours. You’ll be just in time for four-o’clock tea at a high-end hotel or any o’clock beers in a basement pub.

 

 

SPIRITUAL AND COMPLEX JERUSALEM

Regardless of faith, the major western religions can all be felt in Jerusalem.

Israel, the most contested and controversial country in the Middle East, is also the most spiritually significant and possibly the most beautiful in the region. You can drive through this country in under seven hours and yet you’ll pass through lush forests with waterfalls and barren dessert.

Western Wall in Jerusalem, at night. Photo by Wayne McLean.

You’d also be passing through thousands of years of history. The stories behind the three major Western religions—Christianity, Judaism and Islam—all played out in this land.

Inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem. Photo by Scott Ableman

Jerusalem is the spiritual focal point, nation’s capital and a continually besieged city. In Old Jerusalem, you’ll see large groups representing all three major religions. Though divided, they walk the same streets. Shared streets and, for the most part, a shared hope for peace.

Air Force Fly By The Beaches of Tel Aviv On Israel’s 65th Independence Day. Photo by Avi Devor

Along the coast, Tel Aviv is where you’ll find the best restaurants and most laidback locals. Israelis party here seven days a week as if there were no tomorrow. You’ll see teenagers playing at the beach day and night, though never far from their long guns while serving in the army.

Dome of the Rock. Photo by Patrick McKay

Israel. It’s complicated, and enchanting.

 

 

BUNGALOWS IN FIJI

 

Sleep well above the ocean waves.

Photo by Jon-Eric Melsæter

Fiji, yes you’ve heard of it, even if you can’t find this small country on a map. This beautiful and exotic destination, comprised of 330 islands, is well-sought out by tourists.

Most find their way to the Nadi Island, where you can snorkel and dive along the soft coral reefs. The rows of palm trees lead to pure white sand and vibrant blue waters. But don’t stop there.

Via Down Under Endeavors

The most coveted real estate is not on the island but over the sea—overwater bungalows. Whether connected by a bridge to the mainland or only accessible by small boat, the bungalows provide solace and unspoiled views of the Pacific Ocean.

Photo by Neville Wootton

Let the days drift by spotting turtles and manta rays swimming around the stilts of your new happy place. Don’t worry about food and drink. They’re delivered at your leisure.

Photo by Paul D’Ambra

The most luxurious overwater bungalows are reserved many months in advance and flights can seem scarce or expensive but it’s a small price to pay for your own piece of heaven.

Photo by Andrew Massey

 

 

CROSS COUNTRY ROAD TRIP

From sea to shining sea.

Photo by derwiki

America the beautiful. This country’s best experienced by car or RV on a nice long road trip.

Though there are countless ways to dot the map, the most iconic journey is from New York to Los Angeles, Broadway Avenue to Rodeo Drive, the Atlantic to… you get the picture!

Photo by Anthony Quintano

To make the most of this drive, begin your journey in late October, as the vibrant orange and red leaves blanket New York State. Head southwest along the Atlantic Coast to visit the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia and Washington, DC. Pass through Louisville and Kentucky towards Nashville, where no matter your music taste you’ll be tapping your boot to bluegrass and country music day and night.

Dip down to balmier New Orleans and taste the French influence with a plate of fried, sweet beignets. Spend a few nights in Austin, a proudly weird music town. Drive through the deserts of New Mexico and Arizona until you hit the Pacific Ocean.

LA

You’ve reached Los Angeles, your final destination! Although, the best way to get your car home is by completing the clockwise circle through the states.

Grand Canyon

 

LONG SUNSETS IN NEGRIL

The best beach holiday in the Caribbean.

Sunset In Negril, Jamaica.

With year-round sunny skies and 85 degree temperatures, Jamaica makes for a great beach getaway anytime of year. The crown jewel of the country, Seven Mile Beach, is found in Negril.

Photo by guido1515

The richest aquatic life lives here, making for the best snorkeling and diving in Jamaica. Then at the end of the day, grab a drink, sink your feet into the fine sand as the warm Caribbean water rolls at your feet and watch the long sun slowly roll out of view.

Ricks Cafe Sign

You don’t have to go far to experience the Jamaica’s culture. Friendly locals can direct you to the best local eateries for spicy jerk-rubbed meats and Jamaican patties, with reggae music or the more upbeat dancehall playing somewhere from a speaker.

Part of Seven Mile Beach In Negril.

There are many Caribbean islands worth exploring but only Jamaica provides that traveler’s coveted combination of stunning beauty and unique culture.

 

ICELAND STOPOVER

A stopover worth making.

 

When planning a trip, we try to avoid stopovers. The thought of waiting in a crowded airport, surrounded by overpriced junk food has made stopover a dirty word in the world of travel.

 

But some stopovers are worth the wait.

 

A great way to break up a flight between the US and Europe is a stopover in Iceland. Icelandair provides cheap flight options that allow you to spend a few hours or several days exploring the small country.

 

Enjoy some halibut caught that morning, then travel beyond the small pastel-colored houses of the country’s capital, Reykjavik, and visit the the Blue Lagoon spa. The enticing milky blue waters are set in a lava field, surrounded by volcanic rock. The warm waters will sooth your wayward feet.

 

Take in the other-worldly volcanoes and stunning coastlines of Iceland. These beautiful landscapes may have you forgetting about your onward flight.

 

Blue Lagoon. Free for commercial use.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/greenlandtravel/15173524366

Photo by Greenland Travel

 

Colorful Reykjavik. Free for commercial use.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/giesenbauer/3407248026

Photo by Bjørn Giesenbauer

 

Iceland’s Beautiful Coast. Free for commercial use. No attribution required.

https://pixabay.com/en/iceland-beach-landscape-icelandic-1798948/

 

DOWNTOWN LAS VEGAS

 

The charms and history of Las Vegas’s foundation.

 

Most visit Las Vegas and never leave The Strip. Mega hotels feature gambling, amazing stage shows like Cirque du Soleil and world-class restaurants by renowned chefs such as Mario Batali.

 

While old hotels are replaced by newer and bigger buildings, the history of Las Vegas remains intact downtown.

 

Famous mobsters like Bugsy Siegel and the original poker sharks breathed life into this same casinos you see today along the bright Fremont Street—El Cortez, Binion’s and the century-old Golden Gate Casino.

 

Visit the Neon Museum, where broken-down signs of past hotels can be seen as they’re fixed and erected around the downtown area.

 

Recent investments are redefining the edges of the downtown area. Downtown Container Park features live music and plenty of dining and shopping options.

 

In charming downtown Las Vegas, just a short taxi from The Strip, you’ll certainly see why this is the go-to spot for local Nevada residents.

 

El Cortez Hotel. Free for commercial use.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:El_Cortez_Hotel_(8226787777).jpg

Photo by David Stanley

 

Fremont Street In Downtown Las Vegas. Free for commercial use.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fremont_Street_Binions_Golden_Nugget.jpg

Photo by John Walton

 

Neon Museum. Free for commercial use.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/korymatthew/14278148132

Photo by Kory Westerhold

 

EUROPEAN RIVER CRUISE

 

Castles and vineyards along the Rhine River.

 

River cruises appeal to seasoned travelers who have been to all the capitals of Europe and now want to see the countryside. Unlike ocean cruises, river cruises make daily stops, sometimes twice, to take in the towns and attractions. These smaller boats are able to park right in the middle of town for easy strolling.

 

With interconnecting rivers, you can travel almost all of Europe, from Romania to Amsterdam, or Paris to Zurich.

 

The Rhine River, stretching from the middle of Switzerland to the northern tip of the Netherlands, is a popular route. The Swiss Alps lead to vineyards filled with Riesling grapes, castles at every turn, onwards to the gothic Cologne Cathedral and up to the sailboats flagged along Holland’s coast.

 

Many cruise companies include a variety of tours, for active travelers as well as those who like a slower pace, but why even leave your comfortable bed? All the highlights along the narrow river can be seen right from your stateroom window.

 

Wine Vineyards By A Small Bavarian Town. Free for commercial use.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Franconian_vineyards_in_Autumn.jpg

Photo by Axel.

 

Katz Castle Above The Rhine River. Free for commercial use.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:St.Goarshausen_Loreley_Burg_Katz_2016-03-27-17-13-57.jpg

Photo by Alexander Hoernigk

 

River Cruise Past Cologne Cathedral. Free for commercial use.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vista_Prima_(ship,_2010)_042.JPG

Photo by Rolf Heinrich, Köln

 

INDIA’S GOLDEN TRIANGLE

 

The sites, sounds and smells will delight.

 

There’s an eclectic range of places to explore in the massive subcontinent of India, from the Himalayas in the north to the beaches and canals of Kerala at the southern tip. Some spend months traveling one of the world’s largest countries and only experience a fraction of the unique beauty, flavours and adventures that transform from state to state out your train window.

 

Many first-time travelers to India elect to visit the Golden Triangle of tourist destinations—Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.

 

Delhi, the country’s capital, has some of the country’s best cuisine, in both back alley food stalls and high end restaurants. Try the spicy vegetarian curries and the rich lamb stews. Agra is home to the Taj Mahal, one of the manmade wonders of the world. Then explore the royal architecture of Jaipur, also known as the “Pink City”.

 

This trip could be three days or three weeks and you’ll barely have scratched the surface.

 

Busy Street In Delhi. Free for commercial use.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Delhi_Jama_Masjid_Street_Scene.jpg

Photo by BazaNews

 

The World Famous Taj Mahal. Free for commercial use.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Taj_Mahal_inside_view_02.JPG

Photo by Rajesnewdelhi

 

Jaipur, the Pink City. Free for commercial use. No attribution required.

https://pixabay.com/en/india-rajastan-jaipur-1457055/

 

ALONG THE BORDERS OF KOREA

 

Seoul’s a modern and friendly travel destination.

 

Split from its brother to the north in a messy war, South Korea had to rebuild from the ground up over just the past half century.

 

They’ve done a lot with their blank canvas, turning themselves into an economic powerhouse. Their music and movies have gained worldwide popularity as has their cuisine, Korean Restaurants popping up across the US at a rapid pace.

 

Of course, there’s no better place to experience the culture than in Seoul. Some may feel it’s a volatile time to visit yet one of the most popular tourist attractions is the DMZ, bordering North Korea. Strictly guided tours departing from Seoul allow tourists to see into this infamously secretive country.

 

Seoul is a huge city, comparable to New York or London. Their modern subway system is equally as complex but there are plenty of friendly English-speaking Koreans willing to help out.

 

Spend the day exploring the various food markets, watch the kites along the Han River or partake in the national pastime, hiking.  

 

Be careful with the other popular pastime, drinking. Koreans at any restaurant will be happy to introduce you to soju.

 

Seoul By Night. Free for commercial use.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/doegox/478469027

Photo by Philippe Teuwen

 

63 Building Along The Han River. Free for commercial use.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jirka_matousek/8396905289

Photo by Jirka Matousek

 

The DMZ Separating North and South Korea. Free for commercial use.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Panmunjeom_DMZ.png

Photo by Henrik Ishihara

 

THE ALASKAN COAST

 

The best way to see Alaska is from the shoreline.

 

Glaciers on the side of volcanoes melt into millions of lakes, tucked away behind a forest of spruce and birch trees. Alaska’s landscapes are wondrous. The best way to navigate its vast lands, charming towns and 34,000 miles of shoreline is by boat.

 

Midsize cruise ships, with less than a thousand cabins, depart from laidback Vancouver, Canada almost daily in the summer months. These smaller ships are able to navigate right along the Alaskan shores.

 

From the deck, it’s not uncommon to see a mama bear and her cubs resting on a secluded beach. You hear the thunderous crack of a split glacier. Humpback whales jump through the water as if on proud display.

 

Most boats stop in Juneau, the state capital, only reachable by air or water. Though at one time you may have pitied the citizens of this remote town, once you experience the beautiful wonders of Alaska, you’ll likely want to take up residence.

 

The Tail Of A Whale. Free for commercial use.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/69487319@N00/2728807125/

Photo by Marshmallow.

 

Alaskan Glacier. Free for commercial use.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mack46/14228014417

Photo by Mack Lundy

 

The Remote Capital of Juneau. Free for commercial use.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/9702212@N03/2526197419/

Photo by Andrei Taranchenko

 

THE MAGIC OF IRELAND

 

Leprechauns and fairies in the land of literary giants.

 

Once you navigate the accent, you’ll hear eloquent debates on literature and politics around the coffee shops and pubs of Dublin. It’s understandable that you’re in the hometown of Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett and James Joyce, some of the greatest and most intellectual writers of all time.

 

Imagination blooms from these charming cobbled stone streets and out into the green hills of the countryside with dozens of medieval castles and steep cliffs looking out onto jagged rocky islands. Out in this expanse exists the legends of leprechauns and fairies.

 

You’ll see a few rainbows in this notoriously wet country but don’t go chasing the vicious leprechaun’s pot of gold. Fairies are said to protect the many stone ring forts left here from the Middle Ages.

 

Though the forts, or what remains of them, are charming to look at, entering is said to lead to evil curses! On the other hand, a four-leaf clover would be a fortuitous souvenir from your trip.

 

300 year-old Henrietta Street in Dublin. Free for commercial use.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:HENRIETTA_STREET_-_DUBLIN_(402556531).jpg

Photo by William Murphy.

 

The Cliffs of Moher. Free for commercial use.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/lethbridge/8154601224/in/photostream/

Photo by Christopher Lethbridge

 

One of the Many Ring Forts. Free for commercial use.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Multivallate_Ringfort_at_Rathrar_(Rathbarna_Enclosure_Complex),_Co_Roscommon,_Ireland.jpg

Photo by West Lothian Archaeological Trust (Jim Knowles, Frank Scott and John Wells)

 

THE GREAT BARRIER REEF, AUSTRALIA

 

Visit these coral reefs while you still can.

 

Fishing practices and climate change are affecting coral reefs around the world. These colourful towers are living organisms providing food and shelter to much aquatic life, so as we lose coral we also lose the beautiful fish that delight snorkelers and divers.

 

Luckily, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the largest coral reef system in the world, is largely protected. Here you’ll see a diversity of marine life like nowhere else in the world.

 

Snorkel, dive or swim amongst the many sea turtles as they slowly crunch at the coral before gliding up to the ocean surface for air. Seahorses bob along the ocean floor. Humpback whales cruise through the waters in the distance.

 

Despite protection efforts, the coral on the Great Barrier Reef are beginning to suffer from climate change. Go there soon for what may truly be a once in a lifetime chance to take in the vibrant towers along Australia’s coast.

 

Sea turtle on the Great Barrier Reef. Free for commercial use.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/liptoniceg/8634011239

Photo by Gjhamley

 

A Variety of Coral. Free for commercial use.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Coral_Outcrop_Flynn_Reef.jpg

Photo by Toby Hudson

 

Snorkeling Trip On The Great Barrier Reef. Free for commercial use.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Reef_Snorkelling_on_the_Great_Barrier_Reef.jpg

Photo by (WT-shared) Queensland at wts wikivoyage

 

MEDITERRANEAN CRUISE

 

Explore the warmest places in Europe aboard a floating city.

 

Many experienced cruisers lean towards traveling aboard smaller ships. However, the large ocean liners are still a great option for taking longer cruises at an economical price while also getting the many comforts of a big boat.

 

Cruise lines like Princess and Norwegian are geared towards couples. All the frills focus on fine dining, expansive casinos and beautiful pools. There’s even a wedding chapel if you’re looking to renew your vows or find love at sea.

 

Along the Mediterranean Sea, anything’s possible, where beautiful people grace the many great beaches of the region. Depending on your cruise itinerary, you may be salsa dancing in colourful Barcelona, exploring the marble streets of Dubrovnik, picking olives on the many islands of Greece or stepping off the beaten path in medieval Montenegro.

 

Though there are cruises of any length, a proper exploration will take several weeks, and why not? Let the blue coastline nourish your spirit while the cooks onboard nourish your belly.

 

The Magical Park Guell In The Middle of Barcelona, Spain. Free for commercial use.

https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Park_G%C3%BCell#/media/File:Park_G%C3%BCell_02.jpg

Photo by Bernard Gagnon

 

The Red Roofs of Dubrovnik, Croatia. Free for commercial use.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Costa_Serena_u_Dubrovniku.jpg

Photo by Timur V. Voronkov

 

Medieval Kotor, Montenegro. Free for commercial use.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:20090719_Crkva_Gospa_od_Zdravlja_Kotor_Bay_Montenegro.jpg

Photo by Ggia

 

ISLAND HOPPING IN HAWAII

 

Fly between islands to get the most out of your trip.

 

Hawaii is the tropical paradise in our backyard.

 

Honolulu, the state capital on the coast of Oahu island, is the gateway to the island set. You’ll want to try loco moco, a reinvention of American staples: white rice topped with a hamburger patty, fried egg and smothered in brown gravy. For dessert, feast on some of the sweetest pineapple you’ll ever taste.

 

There are memorials and museums related to Pearl Harbor and many beautiful resorts along white sand beaches, including the famous Waikiki Beach not far from the daytime bustle and nightlife.

 

Many travelers never leave Oahu but while in this faraway state you might as well take a short flight to some of the other islands. Both Maui and Big Island have many secluded white, black and red sand beaches, volcanic hikes and national park strolls.

 

There are no wrong turns in this stunning state, unless you’re along the ocean cliffs.

 

Waikiki Beach. Free for commercial use.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Diamond_Head_view_from_Waikiki.JPG

Photo by Cristo Vlahos

 

Red Sand Beach In Maui. Free for commercial use.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pleeker/5725591050

Photo by Matt McGee

 

Volcanic Sunset On Big Island. Free for commercial use. No attribution required.

http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com/Sunset-Volcano-Hawaii-Volcanoes-National-Park-Usa-1803865

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Snapsort  now speaks your language! Snapsort has helped nearly 70 million people around the world find the right camera for them. Snapsort lets consumers compare any two cameras head-to-head and understand which camera is best based on specs, reviews, benchmarks and features.

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