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Planning Summer Vacations

Another summer is upon us, and if you haven't already done so, it's time to plan for your summer vacation. GoNOMAD is a great place to start, with thousands upon thousands of stories about fun and exotic destinations.

Kate Cosme with Nathan and Sofie
Kate Cosme with Nathan and Sofie

When you find a place that sounds interesting, check out airfares and hotel reviews for that destination. It's a good way to get information and help your favorite travel website.

This month Associate Editor Stephen Hartshorne writes about GONOMAD's top ten family vacation destinations, from Egypt to Toronto to Utah -- even a family excursion to the gates of Hell.

David Rich writes about splendid adventuring on New Zealand's South Island, and, closer to home, Emily Grund writes about budget-friendly attractions in Baltimore.

Kate Cosme lists the many advantages of a family cruise to Bermuda (no schlepping luggage through airports is a big one), and Jim Reynoldson goes hiking and snorkeling in Kauai and Oahu, Hawaii.

GoNOMAD Editor Max Hartshorne writes about the Azores, nine friendly green islands in the middle of the Atlantic, and Senior Travel Editor Kent St. John writes about St. Martin, where there are lots of opportunities for adventure, but you can also have a lobster delivered right to your beach chair.

Ben Barnhart takes a surfing lesson in Costa Rica, and Jean Miller Spoljaric roots for the bull at a corrida in Valencia, Spain. Alexandra Alden descends to the dusty depths of the Cerro Rico mine in Bolivia and and the doyen of GoNOMAD writers, Habeeb Salloum, 86, ascends China's Yellow Mountain like the emperors of old -- in a sedan chair!

All in all it's just another month of top-notch travel writing on GoNOMAD.

Stories published in April on GoNOMAD:

Surfboards in Hawaii Surf & Turf in the Aloha State: Exploring Hawaii by Land and Seaa
On the islands of Hawaii, sun and rain often seem to dance –- gliding by one another and exchanging places with quiet grace. Such was the case on our visits to Kauai and Oahu, with heat often giving way to cooler rain, then cycling back again. Ironically, my first stop on my first visit to the state of Hawaii was not a beach straight from a postcard, but a canyon that seems to be transplanted directly from the Desert Southwest....

A statue in the Azores The Azores: Nine Green Islands in the Atlantic
A recent trip to the Azores gave us a glimpse of a very young place. Created by volcanic eruptions a mere 250,000 years ago, parts of these nine islands are among the youngest land masses on the earth. Just 3000 meters below the earth, the cauldron bubbles, so in many areas people can enjoy hot springs and the government generates their own renewable electricity using geothermal heat to turn turbines...

A camel ride near the Pyramids at Giza, Egypt GoNOMAD's Top Ten Family Vacation Destinations
What makes the perfect family vacation? It depends on the family, of course -- the ages of the kids and the kind of activities they like. Relaxation is important, but so is exploration and discovery. And what if kids and parents have different interests? In her story on Toronto as a family destination, Cathie Arquilla says it's important to strike a balance: "The trick is to create the overlap in your itinerary -– things that kids and parents will both enjoy."

Sailing in St. Martin St. Martin: Paradise With a French Twist
While the Dutch side handles massive numbers of casino-loving visitors, St. Martin caters more to the lover of all things French, done here in a slower Caribbean mode. Small villages and gendarmes dressed with kepis fit with the tri-colored flags that dot this French paradise. The towns have names such as Marigot and Orleans, yet strong African and Creole flavors are a wonderful addition to the mix. St. Martin is the more natural and quieter side of the island...

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A bullfight in Valencia, Spain Spain: Cheering for the Bull in Valencia
Many parts of Spain take you back many centuries, but don’t be misled, as Spain is one of the most modern and progressive countries in all of Europe. Half of the government cabinet are women, including the defense minister, and even the mayor of Valencia is a woman. There is gay marriage, quickie divorce, and legalized abortion. WIFI is abundant. How the archaic, horrendous, ancient, blood sport of bull fighting fits in, I’m not exactly sure...

A cruise ship Cruising From New Jersey: An Easy Departure for Families
It took me all of five minutes onboard to realize that the benefits of a cruise as a family vacation are endless. Shockingly, the ship never felt crowded, even when we were standing in line to board. The staff onboard the ship were beyond friendly. It was as if every time we walked into a room we were the first guests to ever set foot aboard. Everyone we met greeted us with a jolly “Good Morning! How are you today?”

Surfing in Costa Rica Learning To Surf in Costa Rica: You're Never Too Old... Right?
Maybe it is the beer and the heat, or the exhaustion of travel, but surfing actually begins to look fun. Even the ungainly novices who dismount their rides with feet-up-in-the-air gracelessness seem to be enjoying themselves. My only experience on a surfboard was thirty cold, miserable minutes at Cape Cod where I was drubbed by the waves before limping out of the water a broken man. Molly has never been on a board so her memories of the sport are fonder than mine....

Huangshan Mountain in Anhui Province, China China: Climbing the Yellow Mountain Like the Emperors of Old
Properly the most famous of China’s mountains, the Yellow Mountain is much sought after by painters, photographers and poets. With six large scenic areas filled with beautiful panoramas, it is a wonder of nature for all those who come to Shanghai and the surrounding area. Within 154 sq km (60 sq mi) were 72 mountain mist-shrouded peaks that dominated the landscape. As it is often described, it truly appeared to be the ‘home of clouds and fog.’


The Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore Baltimore Attractions Won't Break the Bank
On my recent trip to Baltimore, I paid close attention to the value of each experience and was pleasantly surprised to find several activities and events that kept me and my wallet happy. From museums, to attractions, food, transportation, and even festivals, Baltimore is booming with inexpensive and free things to discover. Plus the city has something to offer for everyone, whether you’re a college kid like me interested in art or a family of five crazy about science...

Blue crabs in Baltimore Budget-Friendly Food with Flair in Baltimore
Sometimes when people travel on a budget they miss out on the food a city has to offer and settle for fast food or hotel buffets instead. I highly suggest you don’t do that in Baltimore. No matter the meal time of the day, Baltimore has a unique restaurant with appetizing food for an affordable price. Trying out the diverse food is just as fun as exploring all the sights, and an important part of understanding Baltimore’s diverse culture...

Children in Ghana Ghana's Hopeful Hospitality: A Breath of Fresh Air
We skip the organized tour of the massive castle, and wander on our own. We enjoy seeing a plaque dedicated by President Obama and First Lady Michelle during their visit to Ghana. Down in the frightful slave dungeons, we receive a dose of harsh history. When we walk through massive wooden doors, and see an engraving above the door that reads, “Door of no Return,” I feel a rush… an insight that neither one of us can begin to comprehend...

Picking tea in Sri Lanka Sri Lanka: In Search of the Perfect Cup of Tea
My quest is to find the perfect cup of tea. Surely Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon under the British, ought to be an excellent place for such a challenge. After all, the interior Hill Country – on an island regarded by Marco Polo as the finest of its size in the world – is replete with tea plantations. But as I was soon to discover, the majority of the high-grade tea is exported; I was told I’d be better off drinking the stuff in London than in Kandy, Sri Lanka’s second city...

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Max Hartshorne
Fly with me as I meet, read and listen to the world.
Mridula Dwivedi
Travel Tales From India
Professor Mridula looks at travel from India
Kent E. St. John
Be Our Guest
Share the trips and travails of the travel writer's life
Kelly Westhoff
The Er Files
Kelly is a writer, reader, traveler, speaker and editor.

Sony Stark
Pilotgirl Travel Blog
She quit her steady job and struck out to make travel videos.

Emily Grund
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Great travel writing in short bites from the best travel websites.
Stephen Hartshorne
Travel Tech Guru
A veteran traveler tests the latest in cool travel gadgets.
Stephen Hartshorne
Armchair Travel
A literary gadfly writes about books he finds at tag sales.
Travel News Notes
The latest news and trends in the travel industry.

A flameworking demonstration at the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York Glass Wonders and Downtown Attractions in Corning, New York
Corning's history and economy have been shaped by the corporate headquarters of Corning Incorporated, a world leader in specialty glass and ceramics. Making glass since the 19th century, Corning Inc. has since moved from consumer products to hi-tech components for consumer electronics. Nearby is the Corning Museum of Glass. In the middle of the Finger Lakes region, it has done its share for the city by promoting the glass industry.

A crab in Cambodia A Taste of Cambodia’s Resourceful Cuisine
Hidden among Apsaras and multi-armed Vishnus on the eight-hundred-year-old temple walls of Angkor are carvings of cooks holding skewered fish over fire. That’s right, barbecues side by side with celestial maidens and gods. Cambodia has carried its penchant for barbecue and other glorious forms of cooking through dark times, enduring war and genocide a generation ago, and has emerged stronger than ever....

A painting of El Tio in the Cerro Rico Mine in Bolivia Bolivia's Cerro Rico Mine: Entering the Inferno
Bolivia is the poorest country in South America, and Potosi, located in the southwest, is no exception to this rule. However Potosi is different in that, as a drunken miner told me, its streets were once paved in silver. The Cerro Rico (Rich Hill), a striated yellow, gold and orange mass rising 800 meters (2,600 feet) above Potosi’s already stunning altitude of 4092m (13,400 ft) is home to the mine that during the 1500s provided most of Western Europe with its silver.

A tower in Old Panama City Eight Cool Things to Do in Panama City
Panama City is pretty much defined by the Canal, an engineering feat that's been in operation since the early 1900s. But I opted to search out the city's other treasures, which ended up satisfying my need for cultural and nature-focused delights. Here are eight cool things to do in Panama City, aside from transiting the Canal. One look at Amador Causeway and I'm hooked. Here I find welcome breezes in otherwise stifling Panama City.

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A statue at the train station in Maputo, Mozemabique Mozambique: A Cultural Tour of Maputo
Maputo, the capital city of Mozambique, is a welcoming city of contrasts with a lively, yet laid back appeal; its old style Portuguese buildings sit alongside faded retro buildings or tucked away next to modern skyscrapers. The long, wide avenues entice you to take leisurely strolls to the background of Mozambican beats that play out from street corners where locals hang out and vendors peddle their wares.

Cherry blossoms in Japan Hot Springs and Cherry Blossoms: Experiencing Japan’s Cultural Icons
Perhaps none of Japan’s numerous cultural icons are more endearing or significant to the Japanese people than the famed onsen (hot springs) and springtime sakura (cherry blossoms). Visitors will find much of Japanese culture in spring tied into the sakura season, signifiying the renewal and celebration of life. Throughout Japan, parks and streets are lined with row upon row of bright, colorful trees sprouting pink, white or light yellow cherry blossoms.

The Esplanade on the southern tip of Manhattan A Walk for Everyone: Around the Lower Tip of Manhattan Island
Everyone has heard the phrase, “New York City is a great place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.” For me, a longtime New York City resident, it’s the only place I would want to live. That’s because no matter where you are in this energetic city, you are surrounded by diversity, a sense of history, and more to experience than any one individual could ever hope to accomplish in a lifetime. Boredom never enters the equation.

A castle in Cordoba, Spain Córdoba: A Center of Culture and Learning Through the Centuries
Originally founded in Roman times, Córdoba went on to be one of Europe’s largest cities and one of the first to reach one million inhabitants. It was the capital of Al-Andalus and a center of culture and learning which was largely considered to be the spiritual heart of Islamic Spain. Centered around the imposing Mesquita (Mosque), the largest in Spain, Córdoba’s historic streets are an eclectic mix of the many different cultures and religions.

A funny sign from a new book called the Titanic Awards The Titanic Awards: Celebrating the Worst in Travel
Traveling is hard work. An infinite number of disasters potentially await you the minute you book your flight and oftentimes some sort of disaster actually does happen. But despite the inevitable bumps along the road, or turbulence in the air, so many people chose to travel again and again. It is to those people that the hilarious Titanic Awards are dedicated. The Titanic Awards is a new book filled with hundreds of quick stories, all 'celebrating the worst of travel.'


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