When Armchair Travel Isn’t Enough…

Australia State Library Melbourne

If you know me well, you know I love books and travel in equal measure. In fact, books often inspire my travels. So it was a great pleasure to research and write my newest travel story for Fodors, Beyond the Page: 10 Fascinating Destinations for Bookworm Globetrotters.

Given the ample options for our literary destinations, it was tough to narrow down the list to just 10 places, but my editors and I did it! Our literary locales include such far-flung places as Melbourne, nicknamed the City of Literature, and as close by as the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans, a favorite author gathering spot that’s also featured in many a novel.

Take a look and, if you’re so inclined, drop me a line and tell me your favorite literary-inspired destination!

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Photo courtesy s2art via Flickr Creative Commons

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Plan Ahead and Save: Book Next Year’s Vacation Now

This photo shows a camper van in the woods

Two years ago, my family and I took our annual summer beach holiday in a (then new-to-us) vacation rental on Cape Cod. We loved its huge and airy kitchen, the pool table off the living room, and the short walk from our favorite beach. In fact, we liked the house so much that, when I went to drop off the keys at the end of the trip, I immediately asked to book the house again for the same week the following year. I had the paperwork and deposits completed by the end of the month, securing our spot 12 months in advance.

Yes, booking a year in advance may sound a little extreme. But for budgeting Grownups, advance planning can really pay off. Here are just a few reasons when it can be beneficial to make your travel reservations (really) early.

Read the full story over on the Society of Grownups blog.

How to Put Together a Realistic Travel Budget

This photo shows a stack of vintage suitcases

Travelers often ask me about how they can save when planning a trip. Like the myth of travel bests, there’s no stock answer I can provide—the best way to budget for a trip is to really consider what you value when you travel.

Think back on your favorite trip. What stands out as particularly memorable? Was it an incredible hotel? A fantastic meal at a gourmet restaurant? Get really specific, zeroing in on what you especially loved. With your favorites in mind, you now know an area to budget—and maybe even splurge—for your upcoming vacation.

Conversely, think about a less-than-pleasant travel experience. Maybe it was a low-end hotel, an overrated pricey restaurant, or a rental car that didn’t suit your needs? Was it an area where, if you had spent a little more money, you would have had an improved experience? If so, you now also know an area where you’ll want to allocate a little more of your travel budget. If not, you’ve got an area to cut back—or something to avoid entirely on your next trip.

Let’s take a look at the major expenses of any vacation. Keeping your values in mind, let’s address where you should splurge or save.

Get the full story on the Society of Grownups blog.

Photo courtesy Natasha Mileshina via Flickr Creative Commons

Where Should You Go on Your Next Vacation?

This photo shows a man leaning out of a van window

I’m not a night owl. When I travel, I like to have early starts and active days, where I’m out exploring a destination’s cultural landmarks or outdoor trails, capped off with a low-key evening centered around a fantastic meal.

So a few years ago, I begrudgingly found myself in Las Vegas on a business trip, a destination I never would have sought on my own. My days were spent in business meetings, my nights in mixer events at nightclubs or casinos. I was ready to write it off as a one-and-done trip, when a few colleagues invited me to go hiking on our one day off.

And suddenly, I was enchanted with Nevada. Here, about a 35-minute ride from downtown Vegas, were landscapes utterly unfamiliar to my East Coast sensibilities: red rocks, ochre sands, sweeping cliffs, a few scrubby trees. After the buzz of the Strip, I relished the fresh air and quiet, as well as the chance to connect with my colleagues in a setting that appealed to me. It placed everything in a new light, and made me realize my first impression had been limited (and that I was too hasty to judge).

The next year, when I went back to Vegas for another conference, I was more prepared. I didn’t have time for a hike, but I prepped for what my schedule would accommodate: In my downtime, I sought out a cooking class, took long walks down the Strip to get “outdoor” time, and had several delicious meals. And I realized: Few destinations will disappoint if approached with the spirit of adventure and discovery.

Get the full story over on the Society of Grownups blog.