Here's how to see the sunrise at Haleakala crater without a tour group and make reservations with ease.
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"It is the sublimest spectacle I ever witnessed.'' This was Mark Twain's impression on the Haleakala summit sunrise and millions of travelers since have shared his sense of awe. Sunrise here is unlike anything else on earth. It all starts with some very unique land; Mount Haleakala is a dormant volcano which makes up 75% of the landmass on the island of Maui, Hawaii. Haleakala National Park encompasses a large portion of that volcano and, at Haleakala summit, you can look inside the slopes of the crater or even hike portions of them.
It's a unique and beautiful place at any time of day but a Haleakala sunrise visit is truly sublime. I have no doubt Twain would be thrilled to learn that modern travelers like Ryan and I loved the experience just as much as he did - but logistics have changed a bit over the years. Here are our best tips to see Haleakala sunrise without a tour group.
We're retracing some of our favourite travel memories along Oahu's North Shore.
The North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii's most populated island, is one of the world's most famous surfing spots. But I am one of the world's most famous wimps - how is it possible that I fell head over heels in love with such a daredevil destination?
Sometimes opposites really DO attract. I've been telling people by word of mouth just how much I love the North Shore for years now. It was one of the very first trips Ryan and I ever made together and we often get asked for recommendations. How can it be that we've never written it all down? So here it is - a story of love at first sight, sandy feet, gourmet treats, and a little bit of everything for everyone.
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....
How can the average person afford a trip to Hawaii? Is Hawaii travel affordable for the average family?
Ten thousand dollars. That's how much a friend told me they thought it would cost to go to Hawaii. Ten thousand dollars - EACH.
This breaks my heart. Hawaii is one of my favourite destinations. We've just returned from our third trip and I don't think we've spent ten thousand dollars on all three excursions combined. And we're not slumming it either - no illegal camping on the beach, no stealing fruit from private gardens!
Is Hawaii a bargain-basement priced destination? No. Are there plenty of expensive temptations at every turn? Yes.Is Hawaii travel affordable? YES. Can the average person, on a modest budget, still afford to go there? YES. YES. YES! Here's how Ryan and I travel in Hawaii without breaking the bank.
Porter Airlines now flies to Orlando Melbourne International Airport, Florida - where kayaking and oceanfront adventures await.
Did you know that the trick to not spooking a pelican is to calmly talk to it... almost like it's a dog? I'm not entirely sure this information is completely accurate, but it worked for me as my kayak glided towards a mooring post in the lagoon of Indian River, part of Florida's Sebastian Inlet State Park.
The pelican - much larger and broader than I had imagined while on land - showed no signs of abandoning his perch as the boat drifted closer but he did fuss about nervously. "Good pelican" I purred. "Who's a good bird? You are. Yes you are. You're a good bird and you have very handsome feathers". The cooing and coaxing worked; the pelican settled down and relaxed, and I breathed a sigh of relief that I another travel day had passed free from animal attacks.
Death Valley National Park is unlike any place you've ever been, ever.
With neighbors like Hollywood, the Vegas strip, and the Grand Canyon, it's easy to understand why people don't always take the opportunity to visit Death Valley National Park - there is just so much competition when it comes to nearby amazing sites and experiences. But there is literally nowhere on Earth that is quite like it and, if you're one for making travel lists, Death Valley crosses off a lot of milestones. It's the driest place in North America, as well as the hottest - and, with older records from other countries disqualified, it holds the record for the hottest recorded natural temperature in the world. Let's just go ahead and declare that Death Valley reigns supreme! Which is exactly why I went there in July!
Update: This business is now closed. If anyone has information on a possible reopening or relocation, please let me know. I wish Mike all the very best and I hope readers still enjoy this post and having the chance to read about a Kona legend.
When you think about Hawaiian food, what comes to mind? Chances are, you envision beautiful fresh fish, flavorful tropical fruits, and maybe evenexquisite coffee - three of my favourite things! Hawaiian food is all of those things and much more; hand pounded poi, savory roasted breadfruit, and gooey, sugary malasadas are also on my list of Hawaiian loves. But when I'm on Hawaii's Big Island, it's a prosaic pretzel I'm after - and only one place will do.
We found real value in one of the toniest spots in the United States.
Cape Cod is a tiny spit off Massachusetts, just an hour from Boston, where everything seems endless and open and large. There are massive beaches, gorgeous mansions, endless expanses of blue sky. And the friendliness is larger than life too!
I met my new friend Kelly, a former Cape Cod resident, at a cooking class in Prague. We bonded over a mutual appreciation of all things dumplings and goulash and she gave me invaluable advice for exploring Cape Cod. Thanks to her sage insider's perspective we had an unforgettable trip - plus a long list of activities to consider for next time.
In the spirit of travel friendships, I feel it's only appropriate to pass along our favourite (affordable) Cape Cod recommendations - and I can't wait to hear if you have any to add to the list!
We faced new budget challenges in New Hampshire. Here are our favourite cheap things to do in Portsmouth.
When we first conceived of the$200 Challenge - can two people travel for two days and spend just $200? - we knew a key factor in our success or failure would lie in our ability to target the right destination. We needed destinations that were slightly overlooked in favor of more popular neighbours. We needed destinations that were a little less trendy and a little less touristy. We needed destinations where our dollar would go just a little bit further. And Portsmouth, New Hampshire ticked all those boxes - and a little bit more.
Occasionally in the shadow of its neighbors, Boston and Portland, Portsmouth had been described to me as a city with an actual working port, not just a waterfront attraction. A city where the shoulder season moves at a slow, leisurely pace. A city with loyal fans but also one that plenty of people haven't even heard of.
I was immediately drawn to this combination of seaside town, working city, and slowly emerging tourist magnet. I knew I would love Portsmouth - but would my budget? And could the $200 Challenge possible succeed in pricey New England?
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