In 2013, we created the most incredible reward trip with Aeroplan, circling the globe with Star Alliance. And in 2018 we're doing it again!
TurnipseedTravel debuted nearly six years ago (and does anyone else remember our very first green and grey template?). Nearly 18 months later, that debut became a fully fledged launch when Ryan and I took our readers along for the journey of a lifetime.
We cashed in all our points for what was technically a trip to Australia but instead embarked on an amazing round-the-world trip fueled entirely by Aeroplan. See, we had learned about all the reward flight loopholes needed to "hack" our travel plans and create a mini round the world trip with Star Alliance partners. With stops in Europe, Asia, North America (and, of course, Australia), we had 9 flight segments on Star Alliance flights (and visited about 15 different locations) and paid about $300 each for taxes and fees. As you can tell from our nostalgic photos, thanks to Aeroplan, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Or so we thought....
Luxury travel in Budapest comes at a very low price at the Hungarian State Opera House.
Who doesn't want to add a little bit of luxury to their lives? Budapest may just be the perfect destination for opulence, romance, and grandeur, all on an affordable budget. During our visit, we discovered a destination that loves chocolate, wine, and fine living as much as paprika and goulash, and all at a much more economical price point than Western Europe. I'll count that as a travel win any day!
There's so much in Budapest that will sweep you off your feet but the Hungarian State Opera House may just be the finest embodiment of luxurious living. Here are three bargain priced ways to elevate your travels that will have you singing a sweet song!
Discover the secrets of the centuries-old Charles Bridge in the timeless city of Prague.
We've adapted a new mantra when we're asked for travel advice these days and it goes something like this. When people say that they want to visit Paris, we always pause and ask if they're sure they don't mean Prague. It's no slight against Paris, but I think when it comes to European beauty, charm, romance, and cobblestones, most would-be visitors are craving Prague (and they don't even know it!)
The city is home to fine bakeries, delightful public squares, and, of course, is no stranger to beautiful bridges. Plan your trip to Paris all the same. Just consider adding Prague onto that itinerary! We were fortunate to spend 4 days in the heart of the city, next to the legendary Charles Bridge, and we found reason after reason to starting recommending "The Golden City" along with "The City of Lights".
On Hawaii's Big Island, you won't find a 'hotter' hangout than Pahoa and Lava Tree State Monument.
If I told you that Pahoa, Hawaii, was one of the hottest spots on earth, you'd probably think I was exaggerating or that I was describing a spot with a lot of buzz. But Pahoa, on Hawaii's Big Island, is indeed one of the world's hottest spots and it's all thanks to its neighbour, Kilauea Volcano.
Kilauea is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and, as recently as 2014-2015, lava flows threatened to destroy part of the town of Pahoa and surrounding communities. Fortunately, the lava stopped just in the nick of time, but local residents were right to be wary. This region bears the scars - and the beauty - of centuries of volcanic power. From delicate wildflowers to the toughest "trees" you've ever seen, nearby Lava Tree State Monument (sometimes called Lava Tree State Park) is a captivating tribute to the prowess of mother nature.
Step inside Ryan's trip to the Turkish cities of Urfa and Mardin
It's unlikely that you're familiar with the southeastern Turkish cities of Urfa and Mardin. I'm ashamed to admit that we hadn't heard of them ourselves until a few weeks before Ryan visited the region. But like most of our readers, we had seen these cities dozens of time before on the news without really realizing it, for this part of Turkey is within a stone's throw of the Syrian and Iraqi borders.
The tragic circumstances of its war torn neighbours have thrust Urfa and Mardin into the spotlight and it was with some trepidation that Ryan went to see the area for himself. What he discovered was a region that prides itself on old fashioned hospitality and tolerance, and extends a hand of welcome and generosity to all its guests.
And to say the hospitality is old fashioned isn't just a cliche. This is one of the oldest inhabited regions on earth, the birthplace of agriculture. Once the home to Abraham and virtually every religious and ethnic group in history, it's now home to thousands and thousands of refugees seeking safety and sanctuary.
So what was it like to step into a real life news story? Here's an insider's look at Ryan's visit.
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