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As the days get shorter and the air becomes crisper, traditional summer foliage trades in its greenery for fall’s signature, golden hues. It’s during this time that many travelers take pleasure in traveling the countryside to view colorful displays at their favorite destinations. Here are several great places to enjoy the scenery this season.
As one of the most well-known places in America to see fall foliage, Vermont offers particularly breathtaking views in the central and southern parts of the state. Places near Burlington, Lake Champlain Islands, and the Green Mountains typically offer the best views.1 To learn about the recommended areas to drive, visit Vermont’s tourism website, which offers a printable list of more than 20 drives around the state. The map includes drives of 30-210 miles and showcases points of interest and historical markers along the way.
When you think of New York state, you may think immediately of its largest city, with all the concrete buildings and sidewalks. But if you travel upstate, you’ll have the opportunity to see many orchards and bodies of water that offer outdoor activities for enjoying the vibrant colors of fall. Kayaking on Lake Otsego and hiking at Glimmerglass State Park are just two of the activities most enjoyed by travelers who wish to see what a New York autumn has to offer.
The Cascade Mountains are already a grand place to quench your wanderlust, but when you add fall colors, the destination borders on breathtaking. Boasting cottonwoods, big-leaf maples, and Oregon Ash, this beautiful backdrop can be witnessed during a drive along the Columbia River, a hike on the area’s trails or a rafting trip on the river.
Tennessee and North Carolina
Scarlet oaks, maples, sweetgums and hickories show off their colors with 800 miles of scenic roads and hiking trails that go deep within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Travelers can get lost in the wonder of color during the day and then take in all that Gatlinburg, Tenn. has to offer at night.
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
“Take your pick” is the name of the game in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Michigan’s state forest system, encompassing approximately 4 million acres,2 is the largest in the eastern United States. This vast acreage includes 20 state parks and the beautiful Great Lakes. Brilliant fall colors are a sight to behold when reflected in the varying tones of blue lake waters. Remember to visit one of the area’s popular, historic light houses. Fodor’s Michigan Travel Guide will point you to fall foliage viewing you will never forget.
Hosting the expansive Lake of the Ozarks, central Missouri has a lot to offer when it comes to great fall colors combined with pleasant temperatures. Enjoy leaf peeping via a horseback ride through the rolling, colorful hills or opt for a workout by mountain biking on trails through the large state park. The area also offers yacht rides, plenty of wineries and great golf courses where travelers can get their fill of the vibrant countryside.
Whether you are an avid traveler or the occasional trip-goer, you love to travel. The sights of unfamiliar places spark curiosity in you and the sounds of new cities excite you. But no matter how seasoned of a traveler you are, do you know what to do if natural disaster hits while you are on vacation?Do you have a plan to get home safely?
Although the possibility is small, natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, tornadoes, or earthquakes can happen while you are traveling. Think about April’s earthquake in Nepal or Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Natural disasters can seriously injure large numbers of people, contribute to the spread of some diseases, disrupt sanitation and interrupt normal public services.1 Travelers should be familiar with risks for natural disasters at their destination and local warning systems, evacuation routes and shelters.
Here’s a few recommendations from the Center for Disease Control to get you started:
- If you are in another country, follow rules put forth by the local public authorities and/or seek advice from the nearest U.S. embassy. Be sure you have the contact information for the nearest embassy in your cell phone or wallet. For a list of U.S. embassies and their phone numbers, click here.
- If you are traveling out of the country, be aware of that country’s equivalent to 911. For example, in India the emergency number is 102.2 For a list of emergency numbers by country, click here.
- Be aware of where the local hospitals, police and fire departments are, in case you need to reach them in an emergency.
- Does the area to which you are traveling have an evacuation route in the event of a disaster? Research where this might be before you leave on your trip.
- Identify a “safe spot” in the area to which you will be traveling and then discuss an emergency travel plan with your family or whomever you will be traveling with.
- Be sure to travel with a list of emergency contact numbers. This will serve as your “go to” document in case of an emergency. Include names of close relatives or friends back home and don’t forget to include the phone number of your travel insurance plan provider. Travel Guard® travel insurance plans include 24/7 emergency assistance services that can coordinate efforts on your behalf to get you medical attention when you need it and many include cover to transport you safely home.
- Travel with a first aid kit.
Travel is meant to be invigorating and fun, but remember to be prepared in case disaster strikes. For in-depth detail and resources about what to do during and after a natural disaster, click here.
Looking for something a little scarier on your next vacation? October is a great time to hit haunted spots across the United States. Take your friends and family and see who can last longest at these ghostly hot spots. Below we’ve compiled some tips on the best haunted destinations around, so check them out (if
Ash Cave at Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio
Ash Cave is known for beautiful landscape, waterfalls and caves. While that’s worth a trip itself, those out for a scarier visit may be interested to know that it’s also haunted by a ghostly woman who walks the trails dressed in 1920’s clothing. Tours offered during October take visitors through the trails at night to try and catch a glimpse.
Hotels in Savannah, GA
The southern city of Savannah, GA claims to be America’s most haunted city.1 If you’re after thrills this
city won’t disappoint. Hotels like The Marshall House and Olde Harbour Inn offer the chance to sleep
with the spirits as many hotels in the Savannah area claim to be haunted.
Winchester House in California
Spurred by a psychic’s prediction, Sarah Winchester (of the Winchester rifle fortune) built a maze-like house filled with hallways that end abruptly, walled off rooms, and stairways that lead to nowhere. Every Halloween people flock to this strange house to experience the oddity.
One if by Land, Two if by Sea in New York
This upscale restaurant located in the West Village of New York City is said to be haunted by former Vice President Aaron Burr and his daughter Theodosia.2 But not all ghosts are out for a scare. Employees at this restaurant claim the ghosts are practical jokers. Earrings of female patrons have been known to go
missing and plates have gone flying for seemingly no reason.
Purchase Travel Insurance
Don’t find yourself in a scary situation without help. Be sure to pack a travel insurance plan from Travel Guard. A travel insurance plan with 24/7 assistance can help to take some of that stress off your mind so you can focus on the hauntings at hand. Travel Guard’s around the clock assistance can go to work on your behalf re-booking flights and hotels, finding lost luggage and more. Plus a travel insurance plan can cover you for things like travel delays due to inclement weather, trip cancellation/interruption and
medical expenses so you can book your vacation with confidence. To find out more simply ask your travel agent, call Travel Guard at 800.851.0048 or visit http://www.travelguard.com.
As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, it’s easy to let our minds wander towards the many festivities of fall. This is a time of year when thoughts of the past can reign supreme and join with the present to make some spectacular cool-season memories with friends and family. During this spectacularly spooky time of year, we thought you’d enjoy a good read about how the past and present come together at these supposedly haunted places around the world.
It was a time when Christianity flourished in France’s history and the practice of burying the dead came to halt when the city’s most popular burying grounds couldn’t hold any more bodies. So, what was the city to do? Exhume the dead, of course, and place them in underground tunnels which are known today as the Paris Catacombs. In all, 6 million Parisians were buried in the catacombs in the late 1700’s. Angered by the disturbance of their bodies, hostile spirits are said to roam the tunnels. Visitors who tour the catacombs sometimes report supernatural cold spots, seeing shadowy figures and the feeling of being followed.1
The Tower of London
It was once home to Great Britain’s Royal family – and many of them were hung or beheaded on the grounds. You may have heard of one of them: Anne Boleyn. She met her ill fate by King Henry the VII after she failed to produce a male heir. Many visitors to the Tower of London (commonly referred to as the Bloody Tower after Anne’s death) report seeing a headless ghost. The Salt Tower where the grizzly deed occurred is the only area of the castle where no dog will ever enter. 2
The ghost story of Italy’s Landi Castle sounds a lot like the story of Romeo and Juliet. The couple was Moroello, captain of the knights, and Soleste, daughter of the castle Lord. Moroello went away to fight in battle and Soleste waited for her love’s return, sitting on the edge of the fortress. One day she saw horses with men atop, galloping back from battle, but the men were wearing enemy colors. Thinking that Moroello had died, she threw herself off the castle’s edge. Sadly, it was Moroello and his men who were approaching the castle. They had put on the enemy’s clothing to boast of victory.
Moroello was overcome with grief upon learning of Soleste’s death and killed himself. To this day, the ghost of Moroello is said to haunt the castle. 3
In a time where castles were built to keep evil out, this castle was built to keep something IN. Located just north of Prague, the Houska Castle was built in the
13th century atop a fabled bottomless pit from which, it was said, winged creatures and beasts exited. Legend has it that nearby prisoners were granted pardons to help seal off this bottomless pit but the first prisoner to be lowered into the pit let out a yell and when raised up was said to have appeared aged over 30 years and died just days later.3 Fast forward a few centuries and the Nazis were said to use this location to conduct occult experiments. Years later several Nazi remains were found at the location. Ghosts said to haunt the premises include that of a headless black horse and a woman in dress who peeks out of the window on the top floor.
Do you know of additional haunted places around the world? Share them with us.
1 http://matadornetwork.com/nights/7-of-the-most-haunted-places-in-the-world-pics/ 2http://travel.ca.msn.com/10-real-life-haunted-houses-around-the-world#image=8 3http://www.gadling.com/2012/06/04/the-worlds-10-scariest-haunted-
It may not look like it yet, but the holidays are just around the corner. According to Forbes.com, the best time to book a flight for the winter holiday season is 62 days prior to departure and Cheapair.com hails September as the best time to book a flight for Thanksgiving week.1,2 If that holds true, it’s time to start researching flight tickets to get to this year’s holiday destinations.
- Buy now:
The sooner you purchase tickets, the more you will save, as, on average, booking in September will save you $37 more than people who book in October and $107 if you wait until November according to Cheapair.com.1 During one of the busiest travel times of the year, finding last-minute deals often gets harder and harder. Start looking for ticket deals now.
- Price seats in different configurations:
On the presumption that you’ll have travel companions for your holiday trip, you have one additional consideration regarding cost savings: While sitting next to each other on a flight home for the holidays might seem ideal, there is reason to give pause. Some airlines charge to select a seat in advance and also charge more for seats in the first few rows of economy class, potentially making any group trip more expensive than it has to be. To help find affordable choices, investigate the cost of seat prices throughout the plane and consider searching seat prices on different flights.
- Check fares several times a day:
Airline “inventory control” teams and systems have become quite nimble at sensing and reacting to market interest. The fare for a particular flight may actually go up or down multiple times in a single day. If you see a price that’s lower tonight than it was this afternoon, consider locking it in.
- Travel on the holiday itself: Traveling on the holiday itself could keep money in your According to Cheapair.com, Monday, November 19 will be the cheapest day to depart and Friday, November 23 will be the cheapest day to return for those traveling for Thanksgiving.1 You may also consider traveling on the morning of the holiday and if you can’t do that, consider the Monday before the holiday.
- Forego checked bags:
Although many people choose to travel with gifts and other holiday items in their checked bags, consider traveling with carry-on luggage only. With many airlines charging $25-$50 or more for each checked bag, each way, bringing only carry-on luggage is cost-efficient – especially as you may be able to ship your gifts to your final destination for less than the checked-bag fees.
- Check routes through major airports:
Your hometown airport may be the most convenient one from which to fly, but the convenience may come at an extra cost – perhaps, to the tune of a few hundred dollars per person. That’s why flying between major airports may make good economic sense. The fact that competition is fierce at large airports sometimes equates to lower prices for travelers who choose those gateways. The silver lining? If you fly in and out of key airports, you’re less likely to need to make a connection, saving time and hassle during peak travel periods.
- Learn about alternate gateways, too:
While fares may be less expensive for flights between major airports, sometimes those gateways aren’t actually the closest to your final holiday destination. If you have to rent a car or hail a ride from an app on your phone to bridge the distance, you might end up having less money to make merry with. A quick search of the web for “alternate airports” will bring up a list of options to consider. Whether you choose to book your holiday travel now or to try to find a last-minute deal, consider how obtaining travel insurance with 24/7 travel assistance services may come in handy and help cover you financially.