The Best Of The Best In The Great U.S.

You might already know that you want to see the United States, but America is a huge place. Where do you even begin when traveling to this part of the world? There are so many fantastic places to see and so many iconic locations both natural and manmade. If you’ve seen any film in human history then you’ve seen some aspect of America. It’s hard to resist the urge to experience this great country in person. But there’s no need to fear. If you want a little inspiration for your trip then let’s discuss the best of the best in the great U.S.

 

 

Arkansas.

Arkansas is a beautiful state with so much to offer in terms of both stunning scenery and an exciting cultural background. You should head to the Ozark Mountain if you’re looking for somewhere to begin. This underground adventure will take you through a trail of gorgeous rock formations, limestone caves, and even underwater lakes. There’s a beautiful world lying right beneath the state of Arkansas and that’s not even scraping the surface of what there is to see here. You should see the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville if you want to see some of the best pieces of art from American history, never mind the history of Arkansas alone.

 

Louisiana.

If you get bored of Arkansas then you should head to the state directly south of it: Louisiana. There’s a lot to see here but you should definitely start with a history lesson at the National WWII Museum. There’s something humbling about hearing the tales of that terrible part of history. You should find somewhere comfortable to stay whilst you’re in Louisiana, of course. The Sleep Inn in Jonesboro should suffice for a few days to a week if you want luxury and comfort. And the city of Jonesboro has fascinating things to see, such as the beautiful Craighead Forest Park.

 

 

California.

There’s no denying that California is one of the most popular states in America. It has sun, culture, and a vibrant array of people hailing from all over the world. Obviously, this is most prevalent in a city such as Los Angeles. The home of many of the most famous people in the world, L.A. is a wonderful place to visit. Seeing Hollywood for yourself is a beautiful and bizarre experience, simultaneously. You’ll see all the glitz and glamor and the surface of your favorite films and see all the intriguing things that lie behind the veil. Of course, once you’re done touring Beverly Hills and the surrounding area, there are things to enjoy in this city other than streets paved with gold. The Grand Central Market in downtown L.A. is a great place to visit for some authentic food. You can delicious oven fired pizza and see great live bands play. And don’t forget to see Venice Beach whilst you’re in the city.

 

Of course, there’s more to California than L.A. You’ll probably get bored of the fun and excitement after a few days, as blasphemous as that might be to say. Another fantastic city to see along the west coast is San Francisco. It’s very different to Los Angeles in an equally beautiful way. San Fran is an intriguing city, whether you’re soaking up the culture of Japantown or traversing rocky water to reach the island of Alcatraz. In the case of the latter, you’ll be surprised to see not an abandoned rock but a flourishing and vibrant island with its own ecosystem and colorful gardens. San Francisco is a really unique city. There’s nowhere else like it in the world.

Tips for a First-Time Traveller

 

The travelling culture has really gained momentum over the past decade or so. People are embracing the “you only live once” approach and seeing as much of the world as they can. If you are thinking about going travelling for the first time, it may be a little bit of a shock to the system. This is especially the case if you are used to staying in a five-star hotel for two weeks whenever you go abroad. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some top tips for travelling success.

  1. Take out comprehensive insurance – It is important to take out travel insurance, and to choose a policy with care. Some plans will exclude certain countries, so you need to make sure that you will be covered for every point of your trip.
  2. Read accommodation reviews – While travelling, it is likely that you will stay in a diverse array of hotels, hostels, B&Bs, and other accommodation options. There are many quirky and unique accommodation types, as you will discover in one of our previous blog posts at imsoaringsolo.com. However, it is important to read reviews before you determine where you are going to stay. By doing this, you will find out if the place is cheap and cheerful, or whether it is cheap and simply awful. You will also be able to find out whether the place you are considering is a hotspot with travellers or not. It is always good to stay in places whereby the other lodgers are going to be in the same boat as you. Not only will you feel safer and more comfortable, but also it can really enhance the fun of your worldwide trip.
  3. Challenge yourself – Going travelling is a bold statement. So, give yourself a gentle push to try new things while you are abroad. This can mean different things to different people. If you’re not someone for action-packed activities, try something that will give you an adrenaline rush. If you are a fussy eater, make an effort to try local delicacies in every country you visit.
  4. Pack sensibly – When going travelling, you are only going to have a limited amount of things with you. After all, you can’t lug a suitcase around from place to place. This is why it is pivotal that you pack with care. You can find out more about this at everstrykematch.com. You will find out some of the bare survival elements you will need for your trip.
  5. Do your homework – There is no such thing as too much research when travelling abroad. It is important to do your homework. This does not mean that you should rely on guidebooks. While they are great, it’s also good to hear opinions from people that have visited the places you are going to. If none of your friends have done so, why not join a traveller’s forum online? There are plenty of them to choose from.
  6. Always prioritise safety – This is so important! It is easy to assume that other countries are safe, or to take for granted how things are in your home country. However, there are risks in every country, and you need to be aware of them. Don’t put your safety at risk, and travel with another person whenever possible.
  7. Learn about the culture and customs before you depart – Of course, you are going to be doing most of your learning during your trip. However, it is advisable to do a little bit of research beforehand. After all, the last thing you want to do is end up offending the local people unintentionally, or ending up on the wrong side of the law for doing something you didn’t realise was frowned upon.
  8. It’s okay to feel uncomfortable – A lot of people go travelling, and they feel really uncomfortable on the first day, which sends them into a panic. They worry that they are now stranded abroad and travelling isn’t for them. Don’t worry. It’s only natural to feel uncomfortable. After all, you are in a completely new environment, in a country you have never visited, and a long way from home. Embrace this, though. And, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it – even if you have to use a mix of charades and sign language to communicate.
  9. Do things your way – A lot of people get sucked into the whole “what travellers should do” lark, i.e. you’re meant to stay in the cheapest hostel you can find, avoid all touristy spots, and stay off the beaten path. There are no rules that say what travelling should be like. It’s all about planning your own adventure and enjoying a trip that is completely catered to you. If you want to visit a tourist spot, visit it!
  10. Be open – One of the most important things to do when you are travelling is to be open. You need to have your eyes wide open and you need to be open to learning new things. If you’re not, then you will miss out on so much during your experience. Be friendly with the locals, embrace new things, and make sure you’re always looking at the beauty that is around you.
  11. Be prepared for a reverse culture shock – Last but not least, when you return home, be prepared for a reverse culture shock. This is something that a lot of people don’t anticipate. Nevertheless, you have been used to the travelling way of life for so long, it becomes the norm.

Hopefully, you now feel better equipped for your travelling adventure. No matter where in the world you are planning to go to first, it is important to have all of your essentials with you, to be safe, and to respect the traditions and cultures of the places you are visiting. If you do this, you are bound to have a trip to remember for all of the right reasons.  

 

Making Your Hotel Room Feel Like Home

If you travel for business a lot, you are probably used to sleeping in strange hotel rooms, and moving around all of the time. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean you enjoy it. Staying in a luxury hotel room for a few nights with friends or family is fantastic. A great chance to relax and unwind, or to take the chance to visit a new place. But, traveling for business isn’t the same thing. The rooms you stay in might be boring and dull, you probably don’t unpack at there’s no point and it can be tough to relax when you are spending your time in meetings or in your room.

It doesn’t need to be like this. You can easily make your hotel room feel homelier. A place that you can relax and unwind after a stressful day working. OR where you can organize your thoughts and prepare before going in to make a significant deal.

 

Stay Somewhere Nice

 

Your location and budget may be set by your business, but you can still stay in a good hotel. Staying near the airport can be a good idea as it’ll give you more free time when you land. Protea hotel could be just what you need.

 

Unpack

 

Your room will never feel like a home if you are living out of a suitcase. Even if you are just staying for a night or two, unpacking your bag can make the room look more lived in and make getting ready in the morning much easier.

 

Take Some Home Comforts

 

Take a few things from home to make yourself more comfortable. This could include a pillow or blanket, your favorite pajamas, some photographs and your favorite snacks and drinks. Sometimes it’s these little touches that make all of the difference.

 

Go Out

 

When we’re away for business, we’re often guilty of confining the trip to business, like we’re not allowed to do anything else. But, you are. Eat out, go for a run in the morning, use the hotel spa or pool or just head out for a walk once your meetings have finished. Make the most of your time away. These things will help you to relax, enjoy yourself and get a better night’s sleep. All of which will make you feel more at home.

 

Take Family

 

It’s of course not always possible to take people with you on your trip. Finances, school and work, can get in the way. But, if you can take your spouse away for the odd night occasionally you can turn a business trip into a romantic break.

 

Change the Smell

 

Hotels have a very clean, impersonal spell. This is good; you don’t want a smelly room. But, it’s not very homely. If you’ve got a scented candle or air freshener that reminds you of home, pack it and take it with you.

 

Stream Some Shows

 

Most hotel rooms TVs today have an HDMI port. This means you can hook them up to your tablet or laptop and watch any streaming services, like Netflix that you are already paying for.

 

Do whatever you need to feel more comfortable in your room. Especially if you are staying for more than a few nights. It’ll stop you feeling homesick and make the whole trip more fun.

Going On Holiday? Alternative Accommodation Ideas You May Not Have Considered

Could this be your next holiday home?  

Are you going on holiday soon? Yay! We hope you have a lovely time. However, we can almost guarantee what kind of accommodation you are looking for. Is it by chance any of the following?

 


A hotel, with all it’s home from home luxuries. The cooked breakfast may be nice, and the linen on the bed may be top quality, but the price? It probably blows away your holiday budget.

A motorhome, with all the flexibility it gives you when planning your next road trip. We love Pacific Coachworks Travel Trailers for example, but you will need to face the busy traffic.

A tent, for that wonderful camping experience. You might love spending time in nature, but nature loves spending time with you. Let’s hope you bought the bug spray!



Were we right? Well, why not try something a little different? There are alternative ways to house yourselves on holiday, some of which may also save you some money. Read on, and consider these alternatives.


– Stay in a college dorm! While the idea of living with other students probably doesn’t appeal to you, especially if you have already lived that lifestyle, you may be able to rent a dorm when they’re empty. Over the summer and during term breaks, many colleges and universities make a little extra money from tourists like you. So, if you’re heading to a town or a city with a place of academia, check out their website or contact the campus directly. Don’t worry, the rooms will have been cleaned, and the student smell should be long gone by the time you get there!

– If you practice a particular religion, you may find accommodation at a monastery, convent or synagogue. Many of them offer spiritual retreats, which may be just the thing for a weary traveller. They may also offer accommodation to other holidaymakers, but you will need to abide by the order’s rules. Alcohol and parties are going to be out of the question!

– Get a taste of culture by staying in somebody else’s home! We aren’t talking about house swaps (but that could be an option). Rather, go for a homestay holiday abroad where you live with a host family. Many homeowners rent out a room to tourists such as yourself, though it is still common courtesy to interact with your host and share something from your own culture. Learning the language is probably a good idea too unless you are heading to an English speaking country; otherwise, you may end up in the host’s bedroom when you’re trying to find the toilet!


Looking for more ideas? Well ever thought about living in a prison cell, without having committed a crime to secure your stay? Wondered what it would be like to live the life of a Hobbit? Ever wanted to live the life of a Lord or Lady in a castle? There are a plethora of ideas out there, some of which are found on this quirky website, for a completely different kind of holiday. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it! Hotels? So last season!

 

Four European Resorts For First-Time Skiers

 

The world is a truly epic place, but the notch would be turned up to eleven if we could all strap on a pair of skis for the first time and be good enough to tackle the world’s toughest resorts without any need to ease into it. Alas, the world does not work that way, skiing requires practice and finding your snow feet is a journey. The good news is, there are some resorts where this is a whole lot easier to do for those that are less experienced standing on two sticks with the hope of descending a mountain.

 

So, whether you have never before been introduced to a set of skis, you consider yourself relatively new to the slopes or you’re going as a group of newbies, we have handpicked some of the resorts that will make you feel right at home in snow time at all.

 

 

  1. Morzine, France

Twelve years ago, if you said you were going to Morzine, most people would have hurled a blank expression your way. Today, however, most people will reply with, “me too, when are you going and are you staying with Ski Harrington too?” That is how incredible this place is; it is the jewel in the crown of Europe’s second largest ski area, known as Portes Du Soleil or Doorway To The Sun. Head to Avoriaz, take it easy in Les Gets and head over to Switzerland. Mmm hmmm. Thanks to this size, there is a huge amount of pistes to ski with more beginner options available almost everywhere. There is also an incredible amount of ski schools to book onto as well. Just do a few days to begin with and then enjoy tackling the runs solo in the latter half of your trip. The one thing to consider is Morzine’s altitude, which is quite low, so make sure you check the snow reports. Oh, and what makes this place really special, is the amount of activities there are away from the slopes, from ice hockey games to Aquariaz, delicious restaurants to lively bars. It’s no wonder it has just been nominated for the best European Ski Resort 2018.

 

 

  1. Niederau, Austria

When people think of Austrian skiing, they tend to think of one place and one place only, St Anton. But Niederau is one of the most fantastic ski resorts anywhere in European, especially for beginners. That’s not only because it offers great skiing and a well renowned ski school, it is one of the most incredible places to be during the festive period. We’re talking merriment like you have never seen before as the snow-covered streets become a hive of activity, Christmas markets and sleigh rides making this one of the most amazing winter wonderlands going. It doesn’t take long for a new skier to learn that skiing is only part of it; the rest is enjoying yourself away from the slopes, and they sure know how to do that in Austria.

 

 

  1. Claviere, Italy

There is a reason why this Italian mountain resort is often referred to as the Milky Way ski area and that is because it is truly magical. The snow is thick, fluffy and amazing quality, the scenery is second to none, and the traditional mountain vibe makes this one of the most charming places anyone can learn how to ski. Thanks to its plethora of easy and intermediate runs that will fill you with confidence faster than a barman can fill a half-pint glass with beer. This place really is the best friend of first-time skiers. It is perfect for developing you on your skis and helping you perfect your technique, and what more could you want than that?

 

 

  1. Soldeu, Andorra

You’ll be amazed at how many skiers you know that first stepped on a slope in Andorra. But there is a reason why they took to this part of the world in order to learn and it is to do with the friendly prices and even more friendly slopes. Part of the Grandvalira ski area, it is also quite the ski area too, with El Tarter and Pas De La Casa neighbouring the more laid-back town of Soldeu. Of course, if you are into more of a lively scene, then we recommend you stay in the latter town, but if you have kids or are just looking to get your ski legs then Soldeu is the one for you. Oh, and we really did mean what we said about the prices because for just €153 you can get three hours of tuition a day for five days. That is incredible value, and it is even less for children.

The Highlights to See and Experience in South Africa

South Africa is a country with a lot to offer visitors. From its natural expanses to its modern cities. If you do decide to take a trip to the country, you certainly won’t be short of things to do. But which of them are actually worth your time and energy? You’ll find out about South Africa’s main highlights for tourists by reading on. Each of these ideas will provide you with an experience you won’t forget in a hurry.

 

Go On an African Safari in Kruger National Park

 

It would be a shame to take a trip all the way to Africa without experiencing the natural wonders the continent has to offer. One of the very best safari experiences you’ll find in South Africa is at Kruger National Park. It’s a location that’s brimming with life, and you will be guided by conservation experts. It’s incredible to see these majestic animals in their natural habitat, safe in the knowledge that they’re being protected.

 

See the Cradle of Humankind

 

You’ll find a few UNESCO World Heritage Sites in South Africa, but if you have to choose just one to visit, it should be the Cradle of Humankind. It’s found 50km north of Johannesburg, and it’s made up of caves made from limestone. It’s where fossil skeletons of an extinct form of hominin were found, hence the name. It’s thought the species lived roughly 300,000 years ago. If you’re interested in the history of the planet, you can’t miss this site.

 

Head to the Top of Table Mountain

 

Table Mountain is one of the most famous mountains on the continent, and hiking it is one of the best things to do in Cape Town. Because of its location, you won’t have to travel far into the wilderness to see it. If you want to do a little more than just look at it, you could hike to the top. The hike isn’t too gruelling, so it can be taken on by amateurs. However, there is also a cable car that goes to the top if you simply want the stunning views.

 

 

Try Cage-Diving in Mossel Bay

 

If you’re looking for a thrill and the chance to see even more of South Africa’s natural side, head to Mossel Bay in the Western Cape Province. There, you’ll have a chance to see sharks up close and personal, while staying protected in a diving cage. It’s certainly an experience you won’t forget if you’ve never done it before, and it is perfectly safe.

 

Find Out More About the Country’s History

 

South Africa has a fascinating history, and there are museums around the country that allow you to find out more about that history. In Cape Town, you can take a tour of Robben Island, which is where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years. Monuments are found at Blood River too. That’s where the Dutch colonists fought the Zulus many decades ago.

 

Make the most of these ideas, and most importantly of all, make sure you enjoy your trip to South Africa. You’ll probably leave wanting to come back again soon.

The Secret Scenery Of The United States

Us travelers have a habit of getting carried away when planning trips. We want to see all the things and experience all the places. Money, practicality, and possibility go fresh out the window most of the time.

But, now and then, you may get that wanderlust tingle and realize that your finances won’t stretch to another big trip. It’s always a harsh blow to take and can lead to feelings of claustrophobia and despair. But, fear not. Limited funds don’t mean you can’t go anywhere. They just mean that you might have to stick a little closer to home.

 

It may not be the round the world trip you crave, but staycations are underrated. They’re quick, cheap, and can still lead you to some breathtaking experiences you never knew were waiting for you.

Here in the USA, we’re incredibly lucky to have some stunning scenery. In fact, many of the sites here could rival anything you’d see abroad. For proof, we’re going to look at three states with sights which are sure to take your breath away.

Arizona

Naturally, Arizona had to come first on this list. If you’ve never visited before, you’re missing out. Most notably, this state is home to the world-famous Grand Canyon. If you’re after life-changing views, it doesn’t get much better. Every American should pay a trip here at some point in their lives. The layered bands of red rock are a history lesson in themselves. And, education aside, they look pretty damn amazing.

 

And, the sights don’t stop there. You could keep your education going with a visit to the meteor crater in the Arizona desert. Or, you could head to Oak Creek Canyon, little cousin of its grander counterpart. The stunning scenery here is sure to transport you to other worlds.

Oregon

 

 

Another state worth a mention is Oregon. Known for its diverse landscapes, this is an area sure to have mass appeal. Mount Hood, a potentially active volcano, makes for a stunning day out. The same can be said for a trip to Crater Lake National Park, the namesake of which, Crater Lake, came from the collapse of former volcano, Mount Mazama. If you want to get a panoramic view of Oregon’s diversity, you could book into somewhere like University Inn & Suites Eugene, and take a hike up Spencer Butte. With an elevation of 2,055 feet, the views are guaranteed to take your breath away.

Wyoming

 


And of course, we couldn’t forget Wyoming. The most notable stunning scenery here is Yellowstone National Park. This nearly 3,500-sq.-mile wilderness hosts hundreds of animals. There’s also remarkable scenery for miles around. Yellowstone is even home to Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest natural hot spring in the United States, and the third largest in the world. And, that’s not all Wyoming has to offer. Here, you can also find stunning natural monuments like Devil’s Tower in The Bear Lodge Mountains. If breathtaking scenery is the aim of your travels, this is the place to be.