Shown here are passengers boarding a Ryanair flight in Dublin. The airline faces investor protest over the directors it has backed to be on its board. Bloomberg
Shown here are passengers boarding a Ryanair flight in Dublin. The airline faces investor protest over the directors it has backed to be on its board. Bloomberg
— Sean O’Neill
A man looks on as soldiers float a dinghy through floodwater on July 8, 2018, in Kurashiki near Okayama, Japan. Over 70 people have died and dozens are missing in Japan as torrential rain caused flash flooding and landslides across central and western parts of the country while more than two million people have been ordered to evacuate. Carl Court / Bloomberg
— Sean O’Neill
Since we last wrote for TBA, we have visited 15 new countries and have had some pretty romantic experiences. Last year we even got married in Bora Bora! For our first blog back with the team at TBA, we wanted to share some of our favorite romantic things for couples to do in Thailand.
We recently spent 2 weeks in Thailand and had the opportunity to island hop and see the gorgeous mainland of Thailand from the city streets of Bangkok to the countryside of Chiang Mai.
Koh Phi Phi is one of the most beautiful islands in Thailand and is world famous for a couple of reasons: The Leonardo DiCaprio movie The beach and the 2004 tsunami that struck the island.
Since 2004 a lot has changed; volunteers and aid workers helped bring the island back to life and then investment fueled the development of the island. It has, admittedly, become a bit touristy, but there are still loads of places on the island where you’ll feel completely alone with your significant other and the locals.
Couple the heat and humidity with a ton of stairs and you’re sure to be a bit sweaty when you reach the top. Don’t worry though; the view will completely overshadow your partner being a bit smelly.
We have traveled to over 30 countries together as a couple and have had the opportunity to engage in some pretty incredible activities that have been romantic, exhilarating, and just plain fun. Of all of these activities, bathing elephants at a sanctuary in Chiang Mai might top the list.
We spent the day hiking around the Elephant Nature Park feeding and bathing elephants. We had the opportunity to learn about the damage humans do to elephants and educate ourselves on these incredible creatures. Elephants are just HUGE puppies.
They are smart, loyal, and love playing.
Take note of places in Thailand (as well as India, Africa, etc.) which allow you to ride elephants. These places invariably harm the elephants to train them to give rides to tourists. Elephant Nature Reserve and other similar parks are sanctuaries that rescue elephants.
For those of us in the “Western” world, Thailand is an incredibly affordable destination to visit. You’ll love being able to have romantic and “fancy” dinners with your partner on the cheap.
Sure, meals can reach $100 or more at nice resorts, but you’ll find loads of incredible restaurants where you and your partner can dine in style for $20-30. Heck, we can’t even go to Chipotle for $20 here in the States.
When you have a private pool at your villa, there is absolutely no reason to wear a bathing suit. We enjoyed a villa with a private pool and sunbathing deck while we were staying on Koh Samui.
The island, itself, is gorgeous and romantic, but spending the afternoon swimming and lounging nude with your significant other can really elevate the romance.
Or come inside and take a nice bubble bath when it starts pouring rain outside!
Speaking of that incredible exchange rate….you can hire a private long-tail boat and explore the coastline as well as other islands for about $50 USD a day. Some of our favorite days in Thailand were spent on a boat exploring the Phi Phi Islands or the coastline of Krabi.
The boats are super cute and provide you the opportunity to reach remote areas of islands and secluded beaches that you might otherwise not be able to reach by foot.
You don’t need a yacht or a fancy boat to have an incredible time with your partner on the sea. These long-tail boats are quite romantic and charming in their own right.
The men who sail them happen to have a lifetime of experience and a wealth of knowledge of the area. They can be your personal tour guide for the day!
Maya Beach is the famous beach on Phi Phi Lee where Leo shot the movie The Beach, but the best parts of the island are actually on the back side of the island. Maya Beach has been closed to tourism over the last year or so because of litter and damage to the surrounding reefs.
Unfortunately, many tourists treat this gorgeous oasis as a garbage can. Head around the back of the island on a boat and snorkel with the locals (the many species of fish) and the gorgeous coral reef.
To explore all that Phi Phi Lee and Maya Beach have to offer, wake up early, hire a long-tail boat, and explore for the day. The crowds don’t usually show up until after 09:00, so if you’re an early riser like we are, you can have the beach to yourself.
There’s a reason so many of our photos have no humans in the background…we don’t edit them out…we explore before they’re awake.
Railay Beach is one of the most famous coves and stretches of beach in Krabi. To reach the beach, you’ll need to hire a long-tail boat and sail over.
Once here you can explore the surrounding area, rock climb, or swim in the gorgeous water and lay on the beach and relax with a good book as we did!
The cliffs that encompass Railay Beach are the steep, ubiquitous, cliffs seen throughout the Krabi province. They’re lush and green while simultaneously steep and rocky. The scenery at Railay is absolutely breathtaking, and you can reach this beach quite easily from the nearby town of Ao Nang.
The Thai are fantastic masseuses. One of the best benefits of traveling in Asia – especially Thailand and Bali – is the prevalence of massage parlors and the incredibly affordable prices of massages. While in Thailand we got a couples massage almost daily because they are often as cheap as $5/person.
When we “splurged,” our massages were about $20-30/person.
Too bad even mediocre massages in the US are usually $100! When we lived in Bali, we got massages on a regular basis, and we would absolutely do the same if we lived in Thailand. So take advantage of the affordable therapy and pamper yourselves.
We trained with a professional Muay Thai fighter and got our asses kicked! The workout was strenuous, but the experience was awesome. Neither of us had ever practiced Muay Thai before our trip to Thailand, but we had an absolute blast. We even wore the traditional Muay Thai boxing shorts for fun.
Many resorts offer Muay Thai classes as an added amenity, and there is a myriad of Muay Thai gyms around Thailand that would be happy to welcome you as a guest and provide an introductory training.
If you’re looking for an affordable and extremely romantic destination, Thailand would be a great place for you and your partner to visit in 2018. As we approach the fall, flights will inevitably get cheaper as well.
You should be able to fly round-trip from the west coast of the United States for around $700. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to ask us in the comments below. We will get to as many of you as possible!
We had the chance to go white water rafting on a river near Chiang Mai. Just as we were about to get into the boat, the heavens opened up, and we had a massive, torrential, downpour of rain. Subsequently, we were soaking wet before we even got in the boat.
The rafting experience was an excellent way to see some more remote areas of Chiang Mai, get a good workout, and enjoy an adrenaline rush.
A Ryanair aircraft. Kenya is trying to persuade the airline and rival EasyJet to start flights. Bloomberg
— Patrick Whyte
The Ace Hotel New York. A new report from Morgan Stanley Research finds that hotels in the top 25 U.S. markets saw an uptick in the number of peak nights so far this year. Eden, Janine, and Jim / Flickr
— Deanna Ting
Former Southwest CEO Herb Kelleher hams it up on a jet. Free Enterprise
— Tom Lowry
U.S. Travel and other travel industry CEOs met with President Trump and his staff at the White House on Tuesday. Prayitno / Flickr
— Dan Peltier
I only had 2 days to explore, but I instantly fell in love with this picturesque city. After checking into the gorgeous Ritz-Carlton, Budapest, we headed out to see the view from Fisherman’s Bastion. We continued exploring throughout the day and ended the night with cocktails and a tour of the iconic ruin bars.
The next day we took the trolley around the city, walked through the public plazas and wound up at the beloved, Széchenyi thermal bath. We stopped for a quick hot chocolate at the New York Café which is renowned for being the most beautiful café in the world.
Finally, we made our way down to St. Stephen’s Basilica to watch the sunset from the tower. Once the sun was down, we walked through the bustling Christmas Market and enjoyed some delicious holiday treats!
Budapest has some of the most beautiful architecture and city-scapes in the world! I can’t wait to go back one day with more time to explore.
What to pack for a backpacking hiking camping trip! Tips on backpacks, gear, food, clothes etc.
Thank you to Visit Scotland for inviting us to experience Wild Camping in the Scottish Highlands!
I saw the sign on the side of the highway as I rolled into the small city of Chattanooga. Two days later, I drove past the sign again. I saw it a third time when I tried to find a gas station the next day.
And each time I saw the sign, I shook my head, admittedly, with some internal laughter at what I thought was a silly, silly idea for a museum.
Today, I stand, or sit, here before you and with a straight face and a renewed appreciation for life’s surprises, I declare that I was wrong.
What seemed like a museum worth ignoring proved to be a museum well worth visiting.
Of none other do I speak than the International Towing and Recovery Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Actually, let’s be official. The full name is the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum.
While I still feel strongly that the full name could use some tweaking, or at the very least, some shortening, I implore you not to let that lengthy and rough title prevent you, as it almost prevented me, from stepping inside the halls of this intriguing shrine.
Pay the $10 entrance fee and feel the texture of your ticket in hand. Chat with the kind fellow at the front desk and watch the 5-minute intro film. At that point, I (almost) guarantee that you’ll be ready and eager to dive deeper into the world of towing and recovery.
You’ll simply walk through the back door of the film room and suddenly you’ll stop in your tracks as you behold the wonders of this industry. You’ll probably say something like, “Holy crap” or “Are you kidding me?” as you look around.
While the towing and recovery industry might not be your preferred topic to explore, or in your top 1000 topics of interest, I understand. I think it was #2429 on my own list.
But I will tell you this. I thought it was a very cool museum and well worth the $10. I loved the unique experience. It might not be an industry that many of us spend too much time thinking about but like anything, it does have a history. And that history is full of ideas and impressive innovations, mistakes and experiments, and the occasional absurdities. It’s also full of good people trying to change the world for the better or make our lives easier and safer.
After spending an hour learning the history, examining the various towing and recovery vehicles, admiring the equipment and techniques used over the past 100 years and reminiscing alongside the infinite number of towing-related toys that have shaped the youths of so many…I actually wanted to know more.
By the time I reached the Hall of Fame section at the end, which consists of two hallways filled with photos of ‘outstanding individuals in the towing and recovery industry worldwide’, I wished there was additional information about why each person was recognized. I really did.
So, I’m a changed man. I went from laughing at the sign to welcoming any chance to sit down over a cup of coffee and talk some towing and recovery with anyone who will listen.
If you’re ever passing through Chattanooga, Tennessee and you have an hour to spare, you’ll most likely be pleasantly surprised as well if you spend that hour at the International Towing and Recovery Museum.
Also, you won’t be alone. There were about 8 other visitors inside when I was there. After talking with the man at the front desk, it seems that the museum is far more popular than I ever would have imagined.
It turns out this city is considered the birthplace of the tow truck. The tow truck was invented in 1916 by Ernest Holmes. He then started the Ernest Holmes Company right there in Chattanooga, and it was the first major tow truck manufacturing operation.
Website: Towing and Recovery Museum
The post The International Towing and Recovery Museum. I Loved It. appeared first on Wandering Earl.
I just returned from an 8 day trip to Las Vegas. It was my fourth time there.
As always, I spent half my time in this city shaking my head. There is no other place quite like it and regardless of any pre-conceptions, it’s worth seeing at least once in my opinion.
The main reason I was in Las Vegas was to attend the Star Trek Convention. And while I’m not a big Star Trek fan, a friend of mine had invited me to attend and I figured, why not? I’ll be writing a separate post soon about that bizarre experience.
As for the city itself, I get a kick out of being here. And while I don’t really gamble and I’m not much of a party person, I always manage to have a good time. If you look hard enough, there really are some awesome things to do in Las Vegas, the kind of experiences that have little to do with the ‘Vegas’ that we think about.
During my 8 day trip, I went to the ‘Strip’ only once and I gambled for about an hour total.
So why was this such a great trip?
Let me tell you all about it…
Upside down, right side up, flip over again. Nose dives, barrel rolls, hammerhead stalls, loops and a backwards free fall. Those are some of the stunts you can experience when you step into the front seat of an advanced Extra 330LC stunt plane at Sky Combat Ace.
It’s absolutely wild.
Here’s how it works:
After a thorough orientation, you board the plane, get strapped in and off you go. Over the next 12-15 minutes, your ex-Air Force fighter pilot (in command of the plane) will take you up in the air and start doing insane stunts. He’ll make sure you get up to speeds of almost 250 mph (400 km/hr) and if the barrel roll doesn’t cause you to vomit into a bag, your pilot will then take it up a notch.
What does that mean? You’ll get to experience a Gravitational-force of around 6 or higher. As a reference, at a G-force of 7-9, most people apparently pass out.
While I didn’t vomit and I didn’t pass out, when we hit close to 6, I felt as if my body and brain were sucked into a black hole and were melting away into infinity from the pressure. It was a most bizarre and intense few seconds, and I loved it!
With the Explorer package, you’ll do about 3-5 stunts depending on how you feel up there. You can also choose other packages that include more stunts or allow you to fly the plane or where you can learn what it’s like to be in the midst of an aerial dogfight.
Of course, they offer a video package as well, with cameras on the wings and in the cockpit recording all of your crazy reactions to every twist and flip and roll.
My favorite moment was when my plane climbed straight up, completely perpendicular to the ground. Once it hit an altitude of about 5000 feet, the engine was cut and we entered into a free-fall straight back down…backwards. It’s as big of an adrenaline rush as you could ever imagine.
Good luck and enjoy one of the best things to do in Las Vegas!
Once you’re finished being a stunt person, you’ll probably want to take it easy for a couple of hours until your body adjusts from all the intensity.
But as soon as you’re feeling better…
Head over to the Venetian Hotel and walk through the Grand Canal Shoppes until you almost reach the far end. That’s where you’ll find a most excellent Virtual Reality experience awaiting your arrival.
The Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire VR experience takes you straight into a surreal world where your commander gives you a mission to complete. You’ll go undercover, interact with Star Wars characters and do your best to achieve your objective.
Wearing a computerized backpack, helmet, microphone and headset, the adventure is detailed and incredibly realistic as you wander through several different scenes and situations. Within a few seconds of putting the VR gear on, you’ll absolutely forget about the outside world.
We came out of this with big smiles on our faces. To put it simply, it’s super fun.
*You should make a reservation as only 5 people can go at a time and there are time slots every 15 minutes until about 11pm. The VR experience itself lasts approximately 15 minutes.
Now that you’ve been upside down in the sky and you’ve fought off some Stormtroopers, you’re probably a little hungry…
This is my favorite place to eat in Las Vegas. It’s not on the Strip. It’s not a sit down restaurant. It’s nothing fancy or overly impressive from the outside.
Viva Las Arepas is a simple, local Venezuelan eatery near downtown Las Vegas.
Their famous arepas are served up nonstop, day and night, to a growing crowd of both locals and travelers who have heard about the place. It’s reputation is spreading, and for good reason.
They have about 12 different kinds of arepas (the arepa cachapa and arepa reina pepiada are my favorites) and they also serve up empanadas. Each arepa only costs around $6 and it’s best to go there hungry because you’ll absolutely want at least two!
You order at the counter and if you have any questions about the food, the staff are more than happy to assist.
I took my friends here on our second night in Vegas and I was not surprised when they wanted to go back a few nights later. It’s worth the short trip from the Strip (less than 10 minutes away), especially if you’re tired of buffets and expensive meals. This stuff is as good as it gets!
*Address: 1616 South Las Vegas Blvd, #120, Las Vegas, NV 89104
With stomach full, surely you’re thirsty…
It’s time to make your way over to the unique Frankie’s Tiki Room. This Tiki bar is an institution. The bar itself has been around for 60 years and it’s been a Tiki bar since 2008.
It’s also not on the Strip. It’s also close to downtown Vegas, right next to a gas station. However, don’t let that fool you and don’t let the fact that this local bar doesn’t have any windows stop you from going either.
This is the real deal, designed by a famous Tiki bar designer, and unlike anything you can imagine.
When I took my friends there last week, here’s how it went:
– We entered.
– My friend said, “What on earth is this place? Looks like a crappy bar.”
– We hung out for an hour and a half, drinking a couple of their unique cocktails.
– We left.
– My friend said, “That was awesome! I love that bar.”
Sure, it might have been the cocktails talking but this is what happens every time I go there. What starts off as a weird experience, turns into a favorite bar. EVERY TIME.
The atmosphere is laid-back, the lighting dark and there’s only room for about 40 people in the place. There are totem poles, carved wooden furniture, original artwork, torches and of course, their strange, yummy cocktails that everyone comes for.
It’s a very welcoming place, even if you completely look like you’re not from the area. Nobody minds, just come on in!
And that’s what makes it one of my favorite things to do in Las Vegas.
Oh, it’s also open 24 hours.
(The Wai’anae Wipeout is my favorite drink – a mix of rum, mango and ginger.)
*Address: 1712 West Charleston Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89102
After a couple of drinks, you’ll probably have a good night’s sleep. Hopefully, the next day you’ll also have enough energy for an unforgettable day trip to…
I was always curious about Death Valley and on this trip, I finally made it. Unfortunately, we went in the middle of summer. The day we were there, the temperature hit a ridiculous 123F (50.5C). It was brutal.
However, it was also beautiful and well worth the trip.
Only 2 hours away from Vegas along the scenic NV-160, Death Valley National Park offers a chance to see canyons, mountains, salt flats, hot springs, waterfalls, a Timbisha Shoshone Native American community, the lowest point in North America and one of the hottest spots in the world.
We stopped at Zabriskie Point, the village of Furnace Creek, Artist’s Drive and then we went for a short hike out to the Salt Flats at Badwater Basin. That last one is where the temperature reached 123F and we all almost passed out during the 30 minute hike.
However, despite the burning nostrils and my shorts being soaked in sweat all day just from standing outside, it was all mesmerizing and stunning.
Awesome day, highly recommended!
Just please bring a ton of water, a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and anything else that will help you handle the heat, especially if you go during the summer.
*The entrance fee per vehicle is $30 that you pay at a little kiosk as you enter the park.
With Death Valley out of the way, how about something a little more chill?
Located only 30 minutes outside of Las Vegas, you won’t believe that you’re so close to a city once you enter this conservation area. It’s all incredible nature, in every direction.
Set at the edge of the Mojave Desert, once you’re inside the Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area, there is a 13 mile scenic drive that loops all around.
You’ll be able to stop at the Calico Basin and Bridge Mountain, check out the Joshua trees, sandstone formations and short trails that wind along the hills. There are plenty of longer hiking trails as well, ranging from 1 to 11 miles in length, and there are also opportunities for climbing.
The red rocks are brilliantly red, the rocky mountains are imposing, the desert spreads out as far as you can see…you get the idea.
Again, being only 30 minutes from the city, this peaceful location is the most ideal mini-escape from the madness and one of the best things to do in Las Vegas as a result.
The photo at the top of this post is also from Red Rocks.
*The cost to enter is $15 per vehicle. There are also picnic areas in case you want to bring some food. We spent about 2 hours going around the loop but you could easily spend half a day out there without even doing any major hikes.
Are you ready for this kind of Vegas? Any other recommendations for cool things to do in Las Vegas?
Travel Leaders Group, one of the largest U.S.-based travel agencies, has settled a lawsuit against the company alleging sexual harassment, discrimination, and wrongful termination. Travel Leaders Group
— Sarah Enelow-Snyder
We are glad that you preferred to contact us. Please fill our short form and one of our friendly team members will contact you back.