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3 Tropical Destinations To Beat A Long and Harsh Winter

After a long winter, it can be great to get away for a bit to a tropical, warmer destination. You might think you need to look outside the United States for a vacation spot warm enough, but believe it or not, you have plenty of options to choose from within the country. In fact, U.S. domestic travel increased by almost 2% in 2017.

There are over 19,000 airports, heliports, seaplane bases, and other landing facilities in the United States and its territories; with all of these options, one of them is sure to have your next vacation destination. Even without a passport and without leaving the United States, you’ll be able to plan a fun tropical vacation the entire family will enjoy. Check out these 3 tropical destinations for a fun vacation to beat the winter blues.

Hawaii

Always a classic for an island getaway, Hawaii has a few different islands perfect for vacationing depending on what you’re looking for. For a more nature-oriented vacation in Hawaii’s tropical forests, try visiting Kauai; a variety of movies are filmed on this island due to its picturesque landscape. If you’re looking for more of a traditional vacation experience, the Big Island could be right for you; with plenty of hotels and luxury vacation activities to choose from.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has tons to offer while still being close to home. Check out the wide variety of wildlife on this island while not being too far away from the mainland. If you’re looking for a slightly more secluded getaway, try one of the smaller islands off the coast of Puerto Rico; many of these islands haven’t had as many tourists, making them a bit quieter and off the beaten path. Don’t forget to check out all the ocean activities the islands have to offer; 19.6% of Millennials participate in water sports, and you’ll find plenty to get involved with there.

Catalina Islands

While you may have heard of the last two tropical destinations, these lesser-known islands are sure to help you beat back the winter blues. These islands are less than 50 miles off the coast of California but are the perfect tropical getaway. Look for all your summertime and tropical favorites, including zip lining, hiking, beaches, and more.

Even without a passport, you can make the most of these tropical destinations to help get over a long winter. Which of these travel spots can you see you and your family vacationing to?

 

What’s New for Spring and Summer Travel at Busch Gardens

Still wondering what to do over spring break? Busch Gardens may be the perfect place. Thrill seekers, beach bums, animal lovers, foodies, concert enthusiasts, and those looking for a bit of everything can find it in the Tampa theme park. We got a taste of it two weeks ago when animal ambassadors and representatives from Busch Gardens Tampa Bay came to New York armed with VR headsets and a lively presentation to give us the latest scoop on all the new and exciting changes happening.

Rollercoaster lovers rejoice—Busch Gardens is an adrenaline lovers’ dream. Named the Coaster Capital, it offers some of the most adventurous rides in all of Florida. Opened in the summer of 2016, the Cobra’s Curse features a 30,000-pound snake with a 70-foot vertical lift that takes riders around 2,100 feet of snaking, spinning, and sometimes backward barreling tracks at 40mph. If your motto is “the faster, the better”, then Busch Gardens’ three-launch homage to the fastest land mammal, the Cheetah Hunt, is your ride. Appropriately starting at the Cheetah Run, guests speed through 4,400 feet of track at 60mph careening racing over bystanders and actual cheetahs.

For those looking to get in touch with their wild(life) side, spend some time getting to know the unique residents of one of America’s largest zoos. Against the backdrop of Times Square, we were introduced to Ringo the ring-tailed lemur, Peaches the cockatoo, Willow the wallaby, Emmett the screech owl, and two Madagascar tenrecs, Spike (pictured) and Star.

We learned a lot about these animals—for example, tenrecs, which are not to be mistaken for hedgehogs, are shy nocturnal insect eaters who can hang on trees upside down using tiny sharp claws. Emmett the owl was so engrossed in the M&M billboard across the way, it was hard to get his attention and have him turn his head back 270-degrees to face our cameras. Likewise, park guests can learn more about the animals, their habitats, and conservation efforts from the many experts in the park. Additionally, park goers can also opt for a safari experience on a 65-acre open-air vehicle on the Serengeti Plain. Through a VR experience, we got a feel for the 30-minute tour that allows you to hand-feed giraffes, spot rhinos, and drive along galloping antelopes and zebras. On top of that, be ready to see some seriously adorable baby animals. The park has recently experienced a baby boom with two new giraffes, sloths, and orangutans.

If all that sounds a lot and you’d rather take it easy with some food, drinks, and entertainment, the Food and Wine Festival returns with a selection of over 65 wines, 50+ craft beers and cocktails, and delectable cuisine all while watching musical acts. The Festival runs through April 29th and will feature acts such as TLC, Flo Rida, and Boyz II Men.

And of course, what would a visit to Florida be without a trip to the beach? Luckily, St. Petersburg Clearwater beach is just a few minutes away. With plenty of hotel partners that provide daily shuttles to Busch Gardens, you don’t really have to choose between thrills and relaxation.

For more watery fun, there’s also Adventure Island—Busch Garden’s sister water park filled with water-drenched fun, combining excitement with a soothing Key West vibe. New this year is Vanish Point, a 70-foot speed slide challenging park goers to choose from one of two skyboxes that will determine how they go down 425 feet of spiraling tubes. Adventure Island also has the wet and swirling Colossal Curl, a children’s playground, raging rapids, and cabanas to relax in.

Spring Break isn’t the only time to plan your Busch Gardens getaway, there are plenty of events and themes to check out all year round. Aside from the Food and Wine Festival, there will also be a Jack Hana weekend, extended summer hours (when you can ride coasters at night), a Guy Harvey weekend, Bierfest, Christmas Town, and so much more.

Travel With Me | Last Post on Tokyo, Japan

Hi all, I just wanted to post some miscellaneous photos from my trip to Tokyo before I continue on with the event posts. Below are photos from the neighborhood of my hotel, the beautiful Shibuya Tokyu Excel, located in the heart of Shibuya. The first photo is the view from my hotel room.




Before I continue I must note that even though I didn’t get shoes in my size in Tokyo (Japanese women have small feet and shoes basically only went to size 8) and only not much clothing (boobs too big), I was on the hunt for a particular color of nail polish. While right now we are reveling in purple and Blue nail polish, I think one of the next hot colors is Grey, not Silver but Grey. Throughout my trip, I searched and searched all over. I had Matt go into every nail salon and any store that had a beauty section to no avail but on the day before I was to leave Tokyo, I hit the jackpot…..yea!!! Below is a photo of my Grey nail polish


Anyway, back to the tourist in me. As I stated before, Matt took me just about everywhere. We went to Harajuku, Shinjinku, ODaiba, etc. There was this place in Odaiba (also called Daiba) called Palette Town. It is a man-made island which has a huge shopping center, concert hall, Car theme park, etc. They even had a huge ferris wheel and believe it or not, a smaller version of the Statue of Liberty



We also did some walking along Japans version of 5th Ave. I didn’t take any photos of the actual stores but it’s exactly what you’d expect – Gucci, Valentino, Prada, etc but I did take some photos of the area



Including some interesting stuff like these this traditional wedding gift from a mother to newlyweds


…..and these two ancient warriors


On my last night in Tokyo, Matt, his friend Yumi and I went to a nightclub in the neighborhood of my hotel called Gaspanic (it was literally like a block from my hotel)


First thing, you can see a little bit of a Zima wall hanging there, yep Zima. It still exists, at least in Japan. They also LOVE, I mean LOVE rap and hip hop music. We spent about four or five hours dancing to mostly dirty south music (seriously). I had to ask the DJ to play some east coast hip hop.



I took some video of people dancing at the club (it’s a bit dark but bear with me). Both include a guy who came straight from the office – suit, briefcase and all; he took off his jacket and just started getting down

Anyway, Matt pointed out something crazy to me. It seems there are some men in Japanese who try to pick up women off the street, just regular women and pay them to have sex with them or try to get them to do pornos. I took a photo of two guys and they were trying to pick up women right in front of us (I have indicated them with yellow arrows in the photo below).


They were not even trying to hide it, it was all very out in the open. The crazy part was they were so polite and respectful about it. Matt said that this was a very normal thing in Japan……..crazy.