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Balabanova All Over

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Many of the national parks in the West offer amazing accommodations – historic hotels and lodges built at the beginning of the 20th century. Many from the list below were coming of age at this time. Train travel made America’s national parks more accessible, creating the need for accommodations within or nearby. Spending the nightat a national park lodge isn’t cheap, and the amenities one might expect at that price point are… Read More

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After 20 years of lots of long haul flights between Europe and the US, I’ve perfected comfort in an economy seat. Deciding what to take and even what to buy among the many choices out there can be overwhelming, so I thought I’d share the 5 essentials I always pack with me when I fly long distances. Ear Plugs This seems like a no-brainer, but not all earplugs are made equal! My… Read More

[May 25, 2018] The Kilauea eruption on the Big Island of Hawaii is in its third week. The majority of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is closed, and many people are worried about safety if they go. In this blog post, I will share why I think it’s still safe to go, provide resources for those who need to research on their own, and share my favorite activities on the island. Should You… Read More

[Last Updated Feb 2020] One of the most useful things I picked up from Rick Steve’s Italy guidebook during my trip to Italy in 2015 was how valuable museum passes are. Museum passes are also sometimes known as “city cards”, e.g. the Firenze card for Florence. They give you either free or reduced-price entry at a pre-determined list of museums for a specified amount of time (usually two or three days). The… Read More

One thing I’ll try to do more of with my blog is to synthesize my experiences into tips for other travelers to use when they are planning their own trips to the places I’ve been to. Since my recent trip to Phantom Ranch at the Grand Canyon is fresh on my mind, here are my top tips for making your Grand Canyon/Phantom Ranch experience a good one as well as hard-to find… Read More