Unforgettable Travel Experiences

Hello, Good morning, Good Afternoon, Good Evening, or even possibly goodnight. No matter what time zone you are in or where you are reading this, it is about that time for our Weekly Travel Blog. With the release of the 4th annual 2014 LonelyPlanet.com Top Travel Destinations, it got us thinking, what if your ready to travel, but not quite ready to go out of the country? Maybe you’re new to traveling and excited about the prospect of a first time experience, maybe your New Years Resolution was to see more of the USA, or maybe you just simply want to get a break from your regular routine. Whatever the reason we applaud your adventurous spirit, we would like to reward your travel tenacity by sharing  our list of the Top 7 Domestic Destinations to check out in 2014, So sit back, relax, enjoy and remember “A Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” -Lao Tzu 

*Insider Traveler Tip: Buy Tickets in Advance to save hundreds on ticket cost

1. Boston, MA

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Starting off in the North East, Boston Mass, has been one of the most influential and exciting cities in the USA since the 1700’s. A big tourist destination for a large number travelers, Boston is particularly special to fans of American history, American baseball, the story of our Independence, and of course, for people who want to see the biggest St. Patricks day Party in the States. 2014 however, marks the year of Boston Strong. This mantra was adopted by the city after the tragic events that occurred during the 2013 Boston Marathon. In honor of the tragedy and the deaths of 3 innocent victims, Boston is planning on holding the 2014 Race to showcase the city’s fighting spirit, toughness, and most of all to show the world that they will never let anyone take away their freedom in the city they love and call home.

2. Central Coast, CA

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Coming in second, is the beautifully diverse and unspoiled Central Coast of California. Long been seen as a fly over location due to being almost directly between LA (200 Miles away) and San Francisco (220 Miles away), the Central Coast has been growing each year due to its beauty, culture, weather, and of course, the friendly people.  Beautifully laid out, the central coast has something for everyone no matter what kind of scenery you enjoy. Described by the locals as half beach bums, half cowboys, with a nice mix of winery fans, the central coast is a great melting pot of many differing cultures. For the beach lovers, Pismo and Avila Beach are great options for some fun in the sun for the entire family. Looking for a more rural setting,  Paso Robles, Lopez Lake, and Huasna Valley are all great places to see scenery and enjoy the great ranches California has to offer. See Edna Valley for the best Wineries in California next to Nappa.  Many travelers have even gone so far as to say that they prefer Edna Valley due to the friendly culture, lack of pressure on tourism, and especially the lack of traditional wine snobs. Avoid the big city bustle, and instead come check out the Laid Back atmosphere California is known for.

3. New Jersey

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Looking to bounce back in a big way, New Jersey seems to be pulling out all the stops in 2014 to get travelers to the Garden State. Kickoff 2014 Literally, and metaphorically, with Super Bowl XLVIII in Metlife Stadium home of the New York Giants in East Rutherford. Not a big sports fan, no problem, for fun for all ages look no further than the legendary Jersey Shore. Trying to rebuild after two years of heartbreak courtesy of Hurricane Sandy and a blaze that almost destroyed the boardwalk, The Jersey Shore is using 2014 to show off their cities resilience and dedication to the boardwalk they love. Affordable, easily reachable by plane or car, and fun for the entire family, be sure to put New Jersey on your list of places to see in 2014.

4. Yosemite National Park, CA

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2014 marks not only the year of the Horse, but it also marks the 150 year Anniversary of the Yosemite Grant Act first enacted in 1864. The Grant, which established the boundaries and protected the wild land for life, is one of the most historically significant grants ever established and is a testament to our love of the outdoors. Come see the events, programs, and fun filled activities that are planned for the celebration and be happy you broke away from your traditional routine this year. Put down the tech and let mother nature show you why the greatest images in life, never come off a computer screen.

5. Washington DC

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Still feeling the sting from the recent government shutdown, Washington DC is looking ahead to 2014 as a chance to start fresh and bring some new and positive energy into the Nations Capital. No longer the cellar dwellers of the past, DC Sports today have been on the upswing in recent years, The Capitals, The Wizards, and the new upstart Washington Nationals are all sure to be competitive this season. An affordable sporting event to see live, You can catch a Capitals NHL Game and see one of the worlds best players, Alexander Ovechkin, while not breaking the bank to get good seats. Not a sports fan, check out The Smithsonian Museums and National Monuments to touch up on your American History. See the Iconic Lincoln Memorial, Climb to the Top of the Washington Monument, and even get a White House Tour by the Secret Service, you can do it all and much more in 2014 in our Nations Capital.

6. Denver, CO

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One of the most forward thinking and progressive states in the country, Colorado is bracing itself for a huge year in 2014. Making headlines for their recent passing of the law for the legal sale of Marijuana, Colorado is much more than simply a place to go for new laws. Cited as one of the most important cities in the Beer Renaissance of today, Colorado is a Craft Beer lovers Mecca. Due in large part to the many craft breweries that line downtown, Denver is also the site of the annual Great American Beer Festival held each Fall. Looking for activity, Denver not only hosts some of the best sports teams in Colorado, they are hosting the 2014 International Lacrosse Championship. Come see one of America’s fastest growing sports host it’s Annual Championship and see best in the world talent, at bottom of the barrel prices.

7. Florida

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Make 2014 the year to enjoy the beautiful beaches, great people, and phenomenal cuisine that makes the sunshine state of Florida one of a kind. More affordable than ever for a family vacation, the average hotel rates in 2014 are down 7% compared to 2013. Be the first to check out brand new rides at the two most popular parks in the United States. Disney World & Universal Studios, both plan to roll out brand new additions to their parks in 2014 that are sure to excite even the most experienced thrill seeker. Too old for parks, Ultra Fest in Miami Florida is known as one of the, if the THE biggest electronic music festival in the world. Too old for those, Don’t worry, Florida still has some of the best beaches in the world to see. Take a stroll down the shore and take in all the amazing sights an sounds that world famous South Beach has to offer. Just be sure to keep your eyes in front of you, with some of the most expensive Super-cars lining the streets, the beautiful people in beach wear, and the bright colors of Miami’s fashion all on full display, be careful you don’t walk into a palm tree by mistake.

*Insider Travelers Tip- If planning to visit Miami, Fly to Ft. Lauderdale Airport to save money and avoid the large crowds that are sure to be at Miami Airport. Located less than 30 miles from each other, This Author Saved $100 on a flight from LA to Miami by switching to Ft. Lauderdale Airport, Same Day, Same Time, Same Carrier, But A Much Better Price!

Have a safe and happy 2014 from all of us here at Luggage Base!

Photo Credit:

http://handicapthis.com

http://www.centralcoast-tourism.com

http://www.wildwoodsnj.com/

http://cdn.nationalparks.org/

http://images.fineartamerica.com

 

“Sudan is not really a country at all, but many. A composite layers, like a genetic fingerprint of memories that were once fluid, but have since crystallized out from the crucible of possibility” Jamal Mahjoub a Sudanese novelist

 

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South Sudan, it seems like a world apart to most of the western civilization. Most modern media push only the hot-button issues, completely underselling and overlooking the plight the Sudanese people face. Groups like SELF Sudan strive to bring education and a better life the the Sudanese. Luggage Base is proud to partner with SELF Sudan and their continued drive to be one of the most influential and effective groups in the region.

 

South Sudan is a country located in North West Africa bordering the Red Sea. Years of war, unstable governments, and corrupt allocation of resources all have resulted in South Sudan being one the most underdeveloped countries in the entire world. The Sudanese people and citizens however have persevered, by their spirit, their heart, and their dedication to building a better future for themselves and their loved ones. Like most of Sudanese people they only wish for a day when they can receive better education for their families, the Sudanese people and groups like SELF Sudan are doing everything in their power to try and achieve this goal.

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Doing everything they can to help, groups like SELF Sudan are at the forefront of advocating aid to help the Sudanese help themselves. These brave men and women help South Sudan by becoming real life change agents for the greater good. Self Sudan’s belief “that meaningful transformation is inspired from within, rather than imposed from without” is what makes them unique and special. Reaching for Community stability within 6 years, SELF Sudan is realistic in their expectations and ambitious with their approach. Their objectives are straightforward and simple; providing families in South Sudan with education, building literacy among those effected by the conflict, cultivate gender equality in South Sudan, and establish sustainable, community-based, high-impact education models that can be scaled in other communities throughout South Sudan.

 

SELF Sudan has seen great success in the past and we are happy to announce they have opened up their first school in 2012, Malualdit Ayeit Academy. Located in the heart of Ayeit community on the Malualdit Cattle Camp, enrollment opened in August, the school currently has 70 students and 5 teachers. With only 2 classrooms currently, 8 additional classrooms, an administrative office, public bathrooms, and a storage room are all factored into the long term plan for Ayeit Academy.

 

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LuggageBase understands the need for global thinking in today’s modern world. We are proud to partner with SELF Sudan and provide assistance to the Sudanese in their attempt to build a better future from inside their own country. Luggage Base donates 104 backpacks and some heavy duty Eagle Creek Duffel Bags for transport to South Sudan.  This small gesture to SELF Sudan is our way of helping students transport heavy books and supplies, but mostly to provide a dependable bag for these kids who are in need of a bag that will not break down easy. We value the work  SELF Sudan does for not only the Sudanese people but the entire world, we would like to thank them for their continued commitment to doing the right thing and helping South Sudan catch up with the rest of the developed African nations.

 

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IMG_2872Joe Williams has personally worked with the Director and founder of SELF Sudan Nyuol Tong in packing Backpacks to send to South Sudan. Nyuol Tong, a former South Sudanese refugee uses his past experience to fuel his continued drive to bring education and prosperity to South Sudan. His desire to help his fellow man is a shining example of how anyone can make a difference and help those in need.

There’s no denying it: Florida has a reputation. A Google search for “crazy Florida news stories” yields nearly 40 million hits, ranging from freak tragedies like the Miami “Face Eater” to hilariously bizarre crimes of passion, like the story of diaper-clad astronaut Lisa Nowak. With characters like manatee-rider Ana Gloria Garcia Gutierrez running amok, it makes sense that vacationers would seek refuge in the controlled environments of Disney World, Islands of Adventure, Busch Gardens, and other theme parks. But with ticket prices reaching unprecedented highs, it’s worth exploring the Sunshine State’s other offerings–and there are plenty.
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FarmstayThere’s been a push in recent years to get closer to our food. “Eat local” has segued from gimmicky buzz phrase to familiar mantra, and thanks to the efforts of writers, chefs, farmers, and other visionaries around the world, today’s consumers are far more knowledgeable than they’ve ever been about the origins of their food.

It’s no surprise, then, that the tourism industry has caught on to this newfound awareness. Agritourism, sometimes referred to as a farmstay, provides visitors with an opportunity to spend their next vacation on a real, working farm. For rates comparable to a typical B&B or inn, visitors receive room, board, and, often, hands-on demonstrations of activities specific to their farm. At a dairy farm, for example, you may learn how to make cheese or milk a goat. At a berry farm, you might spend a leisurely afternoon picking blueberries and enjoying them later that evening in a delicious dessert that you helped bring to fruition (pardon the pun).

Hundreds of farms across the US offer a farmstay option, so there’s something for everyone–from an active family with young childrenZero Whirl 24 Red to a retiree who’s long overdue for a relaxing weekend. Whether you choose to rise with the sun and help with chores or spend your visit at your own pace, there’s never a shortage of things to do, see, and learn during a farmstay.

Find a farm close to you at farmstayus.com.

Packing for a farmstay, however, offers its own unique set of challenges. Rugged conditions, bulky clothing, and puddles of dubious origin can all wreak havoc on luggage that’s not up to the task. Zero Halliburton, a brand synonymous with toughness, passes the “farm test” with flying colors. Continue Reading »

Another new year, another set of resolutions that’ll be toast by Valentine’s Day. Swearing off carbs or cola? Admirable, for sure, but not particularly interesting or realistic. Why not deviate from the norm and make some resolutions you can actually look forward to keeping? This year, we’re resolving to make 2013 unforgettable–by hook or by crook (or plane, train, or rickshaw). Here are six travel resolutions to get you started.

1. Go it alone. We’re not saying you have to take six months to backpack through Europe or hike the Appalachian Trail to “find yourself.” (Though how cool would that be?) A weekend getaway to somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit can be just as illuminating. What would you do if you only had to worry about yourself? Linger in a museum, take a long walk to nowhere, try a crazy new food, or experiment with the settings on your camera–the possibilities are fabulously overwhelming. If vacationing on your own just isn’t in the cards, take a couple hours for yourself on your next family trip. You’ll return relaxed, refocused, and hopefully with a great story to share with your loved ones.

2. Use your vacation days. Though Americans receive fewer vacation days than other industrialized nations–only 12 on average–we actually use even less. It could be because we’re worried about how the boss will respond; or perhaps we just don’t think we can swing it financially. But those days are there for a reason. How you use them is up to you–just don’t spend them at work!

Invest in a swanky new luggage set for your year of adventures–the American Tourister POP 3-Piece Luggage Set and the Swiss Army Luggage Spinner Lite 3 Piece Set are solid choices. Durable and attractive, three pieces of luggage instead of just one ensures that you’re ready for anything, whether it’s an overnight at a B&B or two weeks in Australia. (And we love the color options of the American Tourister set. A bright blue suitcase is hard to miss on the luggage carousel!)

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Why do we travel? To relax, to unwind, to get away. To return home rejuvenated, having rekindled our marriages or our relationships with our children. Some travel to try new food and drink, to see how the locals live, to be immersed. Some of us just want to be elsewhere, anywhere, to break up the monotony of daily life.

But some of us crave seeing the un-see-able. We want to challenge ourselves in the midst of history. We want to have a great story to tell. We want to know that we were there. Luckily for us, there is still some mystery left in the world–and one of the best places to explore it is in North Korea.

It’s formally known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or the DPRK, and it’s referred to as such within the country without a trace of irony. Though the tiny dictatorship has been cloaked under self-imposed isolation since the Korean war, outsiders know a bit. Defectors have talked of unimaginable human rights violations taking place in its prison camps, of widespread, years-long famine exacerbated by government corruption,  and of systematic, lifelong brainwashing initiated by the late Kim Il-sung. (His son and grandson, Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un, have carried on the tradition.)

On a trip like this, your luggage should have the strength to stand up to the unexpected. The Briggs & Riley Baseline 27″ Wide Body Upright is made of 1680 denier ballistic nylon and sized generously to haul your souvenir propaganda posters back home. Ballistic nylon was originally developed to be used in jackets for World War II airmen, but these days it leads a much more low-key existence as material for high-end luggage. If ballistic anything seems like overkill when it comes to luggage, consider that the Korean War isn’t officially over–it’s simply in the midst of the world’s longest ceasefire.

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Winter’s coming, and though the holidays are stressful, the slushy months following them can be downright depressing. Relatives go home, work resumes, and Christmas trees, carefully selected only weeks prior, meet their fate on the curb. A mid-winter tropical getaway may just seem like the stuff of fantasy, but it’s not as difficult as you might think if you head to ultra-accessible Puerto Rico. Though it’s not a full state yet (though that could change soon, based on a Congressional decision), no passport is required, and English is an official language.

Like you, the Kipling Fundamental 25th Anniversary Large Backpack was not made to sit at home, counting the days until summer. With enough room for a guidebook, a water bottle, souvenirs, your wallet, and sunscreen, it’s the perfect companion for a rum-buzzed stroll around Old San Juan. But it shines off the beaten path, too, with plenty of space for a set of dry clothes should you happen upon a secluded waterfall on a hike through the El Yunque Rainforest. The backpack’s crinkle nylon is lightweight and durable, and comes in cheerful, bright colors to match Puerto Rico’s beloved architecture.   Continue Reading »

All aboard, for the most luxurious train trips in Europe.

Sophisticated travel calls for superbly styled luggage. Briggs & Riley Baseline 24″ Expandable Upright Spinner with its ability to increase in space over 15 percent, making it simple to pack a week’s worth of dress to impress outfits.

The four-day Polish Express, with the Danube Express, begins in Budapest as passengers first gather at a reception in the Royal waiting room of the city’s Nyugati station. Leaving Hungary’s capital the train follows the immortal river towards Bratislava, 124 miles northeast.

Windows filled with views of old castles and vineyards set in the excitement for arrival into the capital of Slovakia by early afternoon. Tour Old Town and its ancient castle located high above the city.

As the train speeds into the Moravian night a delight of locally produced ingredients create an unforgettable dinner accompanied by fine Hungarian wines. Continue Reading »

Home to tundra flora, fauna, and polar bears Churchill, Manitoba, on the shore of Hudson Bay, is a destination outdoor enthusiasts journey to for almost every season.

Pack everything from parkas to binoculars in your Samsonite xSpace 3 piece set required for making a unique Canadian travel connection. Due to Churchill’s remote location – no roads exist – the best way to get there is with Via Rail from Winnipeg. Continue Reading »

Time has come to fill the Samsonite Maneuver 21″ Carry on Spinner with bathing suits, shorts, tops, and sun block and say “Aloha!”

Packed with wondrous pursuits for everyone the Hawaiian island of Oahu is today’s destination. Known as “the gathering place”  the island, 26 miles long and just 44 miles in diameter, it is a diversity of tropical oasis, big city living and a surfer’s paradise.

Honolulu serves as the state’s capital and ranks up with New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles with having the most hi-rises. Among the stunning views seen from those towering windows are the Ala Moana district with its business and shopping streets, the beaches of Waikiki and the striking Diamond Head. Continue Reading »