United States Travel Guide

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Do You Know How To 'Find Your Park'? We Bet You Will Soon

April 13, 2015 at 10:40 AM | by | Comments (0)

There’s a whole weekend of free national parks coming your way as complimentary admission is part of the first few days of National Park Week April 18-19. That’s all fine and dandy, but what if you’re not able to figure out the best park for you? Well, that’s where the National Park Service steps in with their new promotion and marketing spinFind Your Park.

First lady Michelle Obama and former first lady Laura Bush will partner with the park service as part of the promotion, as everyone goes all in to show what America has in her backyard.

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How to Get Tickets to The Big Fight Between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao

April 10, 2015 at 9:10 AM | by | Comments (0)

The fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao is nearly a month away and already the bout is mired in controversy.

The trouble started this week when Pacquiao's promoter, Bob Arum, announced there was no contract between MGM Grand Las Vegas, where the fight will take place on May 2, and the promoters, which caused Mayweather's rep to hit back, saying the idea that the might be in jeopardy was "ridiculous."

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What to Know About Visiting Santa Cruz in the Channel Islands

April 9, 2015 at 3:30 PM | by | Comments (0)

View from the Cavern Point Loop of Scorpion Bay

Yesterday, we showed you a glimpse of what it's like to hike around Santa Cruz Island in the Channel Islands National Park. We continue that showcase today with more photos, but also with some practical information on how to make a visit a reality. Because of its location off the coast and the lack of services available on the island, all visitors, both overnight campers and day trippers, must be prepared and aware of what to expect.

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Where Art Lovers Should Be Spending Their Days and Nights

April 9, 2015 at 12:35 PM | by | Comments (0)

It’s common for hotels to have a special identifier. Most highlight hospitality – the staff, level of service, amenities, etc. Some emphasize their food and beverage offerings with restaurants run by celebrity chefs and bar menus crafted by master mixologists. There’s even a Nairobi-based hotel that prides itself on giraffes.

But rarely do we experience lodging with an overt dedication to contemporary art. However, this particular infusion has become a priority for a handful of hoteliers these days.

Such is the case with the 21c Museum Hotels, a small chain of boutique properties launched by philanthropists/entrepreneurs/art collectors/overall badasses Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson.

Check out this short video with Brown and Wilson below, and you’ll instantly see why they also get our vote for being the most adorable artsy folks in the whole wide world:

Our big sis, HotelChatter, has been keeping up with 21c's recent expansion plans (a fourth hotel just opened in North Carolina the other week), but for you dear Jaunted readers who aren't familiar with the brand, allow us to tell you why each of these 21c Museum Hotels are worth a shot for the art minded travelers out there. Well, if you ever find yourself in one of these four sorta random cities.

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How to Fly From Seattle to San Juan Island to See Orcas

April 8, 2015 at 4:30 PM | by | Comments (0)

If you have a day to kill in Seattle and want to get out of the city--and into nature--check out Kenmore Air’s Whale Watching Tour.

For $345, you can fly rock star style from South Lake Union to San Juan Island in 45-minutes to go whale watching. The seaplane ride itself is super scenic – we’ve seen whales, seals and porpoises on past trips. Passengers get dropped on the dock in Friday Harbor, within steps of shops, cafés, restaurants and the whale watching outfitter, San Juan Safaris.

Travelers get to choose their flight times for the one-day getaway. We like to book the earliest and latest flights in and out of Friday Harbor to make the most of the day.

San Juan Safaris takes guests out on its 55-foot MV Sea Lion, a boat that accommodates roughly 40 guests. The three-hour trip is led by marine-savvy naturalists who point out whales, seals, bald eagles, porpoises and geological features along the way. If you want to see orcas (killer whales) in the wild, San Juan Island is one of the best places in the world to see orcas in the wild.

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Delta Keeps Their Baggage Guarantee, Sticks Around Indefinitely

April 8, 2015 at 2:35 PM | by | Comments (0)

So remember when Delta started offering up that baggage guarantee on a trial basis a while ago? Well apparently they like what they saw, and they are considering it a hit because it’s going to stick around.

This week Delta announced that things would continue permanently. As a refresher, the airline is guaranteeing that checked baggage will make it all the way from the belly of the plane to the baggage carrousel within 20 minutes. If not they’ll give you 2,500 miles for your troubles, but just remember that you need to fill out a form online and call them out on it.

There are some rules to follow and what not, but for the most part things are pretty straightforward. Your journey’s last leg must be a domestic one, you must be signed up for their frequent flyer program, and you can only score the miles once each way no matter how many checked bags you have.

Alaska Airlines has done a version of this for years and years, so we’ll just have to wait and see if other carriers offer something similar now that Delta has thrown themselves into the ring.

[Photo: Doug Waldron]

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Airbnb Required to Charge Guests a 'Hotel Tax' in Malibu, But It Ain't Slowing Them Down

April 8, 2015 at 10:00 AM | by | Comments (0)

Heads up Airbnb users planning your summer trip to Southern California.

The LA Times reports that the city of Malibu has negotiated with Airbnb for them to charge their guests 12 percent hotel tax starting on April 20. At the same time, Airbnb has pulled listings from vacation rental companies in Los Angeles from their site as contention grows about the taxes and fees that hosts and the vacation rental companies are able to avoid paying.

This struggle is GDFR in many cities all over the world, but it hasn't slowed down Airbnb's expansion

. The company has recently announced properties in Cuba as well as that it is the "official alternative accommodation services supplier" for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Airbnb is also responsible for making love connections.

So yeah, we don't think "little things" like taxes will stop the company from being everywhere. But bad experiences--for both hosts and guests--might. Here are just a few to read through.

What do you love or hate about Airbnb? Sound off in comments below!

[Screengrab: Airbnb]

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Wish You Were Here: Visiting California's Channel Islands 25 Miles Off the Coast

Where: Santa Cruz Island [map], Channel Islands, California, United States
April 7, 2015 at 5:30 PM | by | Comments (0)

California's Channel Islands are a group of five islands about 25 miles off the central coast, most dramatically visible from the shores of Santa Barbara County. Preserved as a National Park, outdoor recreation is the big draw for visitors to the chain. Hiking and kayaking are the most popular activities, and camping is permitted on all five of the islands.

This past weekend, we made our way to the largest island, Santa Cruz, and set up shop at Scorpion Bay camp site. With no services on the island, visitors must bring everything they need for the length of their stay. This week, we'll walk you through what you need to know: How to get there, what to bring, and what to see and do.

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10 Things to Do on Molokai in Hawaii

April 7, 2015 at 4:51 PM | by | Comments (0)

We've covered the teeny tiny island of Molokai in Hawaii extensively before on Jaunted, but today, contributor Charyn Pfeuffer has a well-rounded list of what to see and do.

Moloka’i is sleepy. The Hawaiian Island, population 7,500, has no traffic lights, two bars and one hotel (There are a handful of condo complexes and private residences available to rent.) It's a far cry from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki Beach on Oahu, or even Maui. Still, there is plenty to do.

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How to Get Tickets to the One World Trade Center Observatory

April 7, 2015 at 1:56 PM | by | Comments (0)

Add May 29 to your iCal. That's the date the One World Trade Center's observatory opens to the public, for 100th-story views from the tallest building in the western hemisphere.

Entry won't be cheap, at $32 for adults 13-64 and $26 for children 6-12 (children under 5 are free), but it is significantly more affordable than tickets for the Burj Khalifa's Observatory, which run $55 for adults during peak visitation hours.

The very first batch of tickets will go on sale tomorrow, April 8, at 10am EST. Of course complimentary admission is extended to family members of those killed on 9/11, and to the rescue and recovery workers who worked at the site in the months following the tragedy.

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Aloha! Virgin America Announces New (Real) Flights to Maui and Honolulu

April 7, 2015 at 11:00 AM | by | Comment (1)

Last week, Virgin America tried to prank us with their new flights to Branson, Missouri but we nipped that gag in the bud pretty fast.

However, today, they have announced REAL new flights from San Francisco to Maui and Honolulu. Whee!

Even better, Virgin America says the flights will be on new Airbus A320 jets that they are expected to receive later this year. New routes, new planes, new reasons for a Hawaii vacation.

We got so excited by the thought or riding a moon-lit Virgin America plane to paradise, we immediately headed over to Virgin America to start the booking process but our roll was slowed down by the fact that the new service won't start until November 2. That's for daily round-trip flights to Honolulu, starting at $199 one-way. The flights to Maui will begin on December 3. Because that's prime holiday vacation time, the rates are rather insane. There are a few flights at $199 one-way, but most of the flights are going for $782 in mid and late-December. Yes, that's one-way.

And of course, these new routes only serve the folks in the Bay Area, and people who fly themselves to the Bay Area, not Los Angeles which is another big market for Hawaii flights. But perhaps if all goes well, both San Francisco and Los Angeles will get lei'd by next year.

[Photo: Virgin America/Facebook]

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In Molokai, The Difference Between Being a Tourist and a Guest

April 6, 2015 at 7:11 PM | by | Comment (1)

What does it mean to be a guest versus a tourist? The difference became clear to me during a recent trip to Moloka’i. During my five day stay in this oft overlooked Hawaiian island, I had the opportunity to visit Hālawa Valley. In ancient times, it was estimated that 5,000 people lived in what’s said to be the oldest settlement in the state of Hawaii.

Hālawa Valley’s cultural leader, Anakala Pilipo Solatario, was chosen at the age of five (!!!) to carry on the legacy of his people and heritage. Now 75 years old, he’s the last living Hawaiian descendant that was born, raised and still lives in Hālawa Valley.

When you visit Hālawa Valley, visitors are encouraged to follow proper cultural protocol. Protocol is an offering, in this case, asking for permission to enter private, sacred land.

We wrapped our offerings in ti leafs, first removing the spine to create a more flexible surface. My gift was salmon jerky, an item reflective of my home in the Pacific Northwest.

After a greeting and overview of Hālawa Valley from both Anakala and his son, Greg Kawaimaka Solatario (the second youngest of five children), we were led a short distance to Anakala’s house for protocol. As we lined up, songs were sung in Hawaiian with the utmost of reverence. One by one, we walked up to Anakala and placed our offering on a nearby stone. Then, we pressed our noses together and inhaled to exchange hā, the breath of life. We were then granted permission to continue on the cultural hike of the valley.

From that moment, that strange unspoken exchange of spiritual power, I no longer felt like a visitor. Instead, I felt like a welcomed guest and part of the Solatario family. It’s hard to describe the inclusiveness this ritual provided, but I felt similar warmth in all of my interactions across Molokai. People were welcoming, in an authentic, we genuinely hope to see you again kind of way. Never did I feel like I was a one hit wonder tourist passing through any shop, attraction or restaurant. I think Greg summed it up best during his talk:

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