Category Archives: Travel

5 Most Romantic Places in Miami

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, what better place to spend it than the tropical, breezy paradise that is Miami? There are so many romantic places to take your honey, it can be hard to narrow down. Here is a roundup of five of the most romantic spots in Miami.

  1. Area 31: Located in the swanky Epic Hotel in Brickell, the sophisticated Area 31 is a sustainable seafood restaurant and lounge. Most of the selection is organic, the menus are printed on recycled paper, and herbs are plucked from the outside garden. Enjoy a cocktail on the outdoor terrace that overlooks the turquoise waters of Biscayne Bay and glittering lights of Brickell Key.
  2. South Pointe Park: South Pointe Park is located at the very tip of the island of Miami Beach. During the day, it’s a great place to ride bikes, take the kids to the park, or lay out in the sun. In the evening, it’s the perfect place to bring your date at sunset. Pack a picnic, a bottle of red, and secure a grassy spot near the water. Watch the sun go down behind the stunning vista of downtown Miami. Bring an extra blanket to cuddle under; February nights conveniently mean cooler temperatures.
  3. Rouge: One of the prettiest spots in all of Miami, Rouge is a Moroccan-French style restaurant that permeates romance. Think brick walls, deep red accents, iron wrought chairs and multicolored tiled table tops. The true gem is past the bar and through a little hallway where the owner has transformed the backyard space to a secret garden-style dining area, with flourishing greenery, flowers, and a large brick fireplace. Call ahead and check what time the live piano music starts to really impress.
  4. Mondrian: Few things are sexier than watching the sunset together, especially if you are snuggled on a comfy bed with half-priced mojitos in your hand. The Mondrian Hotel is located on the bay with a sweeping view of downtown. Walk through the lobby to the back, where you will find lounge chairs and big, white beds surrounding a tranquil pool, overlooking the bay and Miami’s gorgeous skyline. Grab a fancy cocktail at the bar and relax to the chill-out music and fiery sky.5. Vizcaya Museum and Garden: Who says romance only comes out at night? February weather is perfect for strolling through Italian and Spanish-inspired gardens during the day. It’s a little piece of European heaven here in South Florida. Peruse the flowers, trees, fountains and sculptures hand in hand and enjoy the silence. Or browse the antique and art collections inside the mansion, once the winter residence of James Deering. Head to the Grove for a late lunch or early dinner after, as the villa shuts its doors to the public at 4.30pm.

Read more at MapQuest Travel

Things to do when it Rains in Miami

A good rain in Miami is equivalent to a blizzard up north. Exciting for the locals, bummer for the tourists. Official rainy season lasts from June through September. Dark clouds swell to a breaking point and pound the city with short, intense bursts of cooling rain. Showers often hit hard in the late afternoon, lowering the temperature during the brutally hot summer months.

However, rainy days can occur at any time of year, so be prepared. Pack a colorful umbrella and a camera to capture the weather’s dramatic effect on the sky. Walk when you can. Miami traffic slows to a near-halt when the roads get glossy.

Here are five ways to make the most of your time when the rain falls in Miami:

Read more at MapQuest Travel

We Are Yogis. How I Learned to Go Beyond My Comfort Zone and Speak the Language of Union

I’m late and I’m lost. Not completely, but its 9:53 and I can’t find the correct street. I ask a man for directions, which is so not like me. As an avid traveler, my rule of thumb is to find anything and everything on my own, no matter how long it takes, but under the current circumstance, I succumb to breaking it. With French instructions and a hand gesture, he directs me left. Gauche. I make a mental note to remember this for class, if I find the studio in time.

I rush to the corner and turn left. One more turn and I’m home free! My mind is jumbled and I’m too disoriented to decide if my next turn is right or left, so I go with my gut. I should know by now that 98% of the time going the opposite way of my directional gut is the better move. And sure enough, half a block down, it’s clear I am going the wrong way. It’s 9:57. I spin around and run to the other side of the street. People around me are walking with purpose, probably to work, but I’m too late to observe anything more than their clothing. It’s August in Paris and everyone is donning jackets and scarves. It is a chilly 65ish degrees and flat-out cold for a Miamian like myself. Despite the temperature, I am sweating and nervous.

Read More at Yoga International

Prepare for Poland

Poland is a triumphant nation with a tragic history, and now it is aggressively pressing its way into the forefront of the travel industry. Many travelers, mostly European, have been quietly perusing Poland for years, but only recently is it introducing itself to the West as a must-see. And for good reason! Vast green hills peppered with livestock, colorful religious altars adorning local roads, and small but vibrant cities bursting with energy combine to form one of the most complicated countries on the European continent.

Before making a reservation and heading across the pond, consider the key points below and prepare for a journey that will leave you wanting more.

Read more at TourMatters

Travel Temptations? Keep Fit on the Road

Fresh Italian pasta? Baguettes et chocolat? Barbeque wars here in the USA? Culinary adventures are a major (if not the) highlight of the best destinations. When you’re out on the road, is it possible to eat what you want and still button your pants?

While I am a full advocate of letting go of your restrictions and immersing yourself completely into the country and culture in which you are traveling, it can be hard on your health and your waistline. You can take care of yourself while still indulging in the local cuisine with a few mindful choices.

Go for active intensity.

Tours are often categorized according to level of physical activity. If you want to maintain your usual active lifestyle, or you want to balance your (over)eating with activity, choose a fast-paced tour. Look for itineraries that include a lot of walking, hiking, and extra options, such as biking excursions. Operators like Overseas Adventure Travel, AmaWaterways (partnering with Backroads), and Go Ahead Tours design their tours with a moderate amount of daily activity, with options to always do more.

Location can play a big factor as well. Local tours of ancient, Mediterranean cities are guaranteed to include a lot of walking, as buses cannot get to the center of these cities anyway. South American nature treks are sure to include a high level of physical activity. You might find that tours of modern cities, like many here in the USA, are bus-based. Insight Vacations’ or Road Scholar’s slower-paced programs, or Collette’s National Park’s tour, are a few examples.

Take the stairs.

In hotels, airports, even tourist attractions, if you have the option to take the stairs, do it. Avoid skytrains and motorized walking paths in airports if you have time before your connecting flight. Use these ride-along options only when you are dragging heavy luggage—or when you’ve got the 30th floor master suite penthouse!

Make it a point to stretch.

Bus tours involve a lot of sitting. It can be easy to settle in next to the window with your book and camera for hours without movement. Set your watch to beep every hour, or better yet every half hour, and remind yourself to move. Neck rolls, ankle rolls, a quick stretch of your arms and legs, and an easy torso twist will help keep your blood moving and your joints free.

And take every opportunity to get off the bus. Even if you have absolutely no interest in the photo stop, even if you have no desire to use the restrooms, just get up and off the bus. Walk in circles around the parking lot if you have to. Your body and your mind need it.

Drink water.

It’s hard to drink enough water on tour when you spend hours on the bus and even more hours meandering through foreign lands. Toilets may not be very accessible or comfortable. However, I can’t stress enough how important it is to stay hydrated. New food and spices, an excess of alcohol, air pollution, extremes in climate, and traveling on planes are all dehydrating. Drinking 2-3 liters of water a day will help keep your system clear. Find out if your driver sells it on the bus, ask about the safety of the tap water where you are staying, and stock up on bottles of water when in doubt.

Choose your vice.

Food and wine cruises, like Tauck’s A Taste of France, mean that on tour you are going to eat. A lot. You are going to try foods your body isn’t used to eating every day. If you really want to keep control of your diet, choose one thing to indulge in and cut another. For example, if you’re going to have dessert, pass on the bread. If you want wine, opt out of the cheese plate. Making the choice to indulge in one thing will ease the pain of foregoing another.

Follow the Leader!

As a yoga instructor, I bring my mat everywhere I go and practice for at least 10 minutes each morning to stay energized and feel fit. I encourage my guests to incorporate movement into their mornings, whether it be a quick run, walk, or simple stretch, before starting their touring day.

After long transfers on the bus, I also remind travelers to take a walk around the city or a nearby park to loosen the joints. If you work with a trainer or take classes at home, ask for some on-the-road exercises that you can do in your hotel room or the fitness center. Most hotels also have walking or running routes that they recommend for guests.

In short: Finding the balance between indulgence and activity will help you enjoy your tour more. It will make your adjustment to “the real world” easier when you get back home, too!

Read more at TourMatters