Top Ten Travel Destinations for the Savvy and Cultured

There are so many places on earth, so choosing the top destinations is really up to personal preference. Depending on whether you like tropical places, or rainy locations, or camping, or hiking, there are so many options to choose from. Below are ten places throughout the world that may be exciting and interesting to visit.

1. Costa Rica

If bird watching is something that you would like to experience, Costa Rica is a must for your top ten travel destinations list. In 2009, Costa Rica obtained a new birding route and it has over 500 bird species. With all these birds, it is important that you remember either your favorite birding binocular or, at a minimum, your compact travel binocular or monocular. The landscape is a must-see for naturalists. With its rainforest canopies, tropical biological research facilities, and family – fun reserves, this place is incredible.

2. Seoul

The capital of South Korea is known for its glamorous cafes, glorious galleries, and great fashion. As of 2010, it was referred to as the World Design Capital. If you are interested in art and fashion, and glamorous scenery is your motivation for travel, this would be a great place to visit. It’s also renowned for cultural and shopping opportunities and you can take advantage of low prices for SLR cameras and lenses, for example, during the day while attending cultural performances during the evening. Korean cuisine is excellent and, if you’re not handy with the flat, metal, Korean-style chopsticks your host or hostess will likely graciously provide a spoon and fork for you.

3. Sri Lanka

If you desire a setting that is filled with animals, and natural beauty, then sightseeing in Sri Lanka must be on your to do list. For more than two decades Sri Lanka experienced low tourism, as the country was plagued by a civil war. But, with civil peace, the natural beauty has once again become evident. Whether you want to see gorgeous beaches near seaside villages, or monkeys swinging from trees; this is the place to be.

4. Copenhagen

If you are trying to go green, Copenhagen may be a good place to include in your top ten travel destinations list. Copenhagen residents have bicycles paths around the city and tourists can ride free bikes, revealing the attitude behind why this city is known as a very “green” place. Scandinavia has historically been a conscientious steward of its ecology without being strident about it and you’ll enjoy the easy-going atmosphere.

5. Antarctica

This continent should definitely be one of your top ten travel destinations. The tourist boom is posing a threat to the environment, so it is important to visit before the continent is closed to more casual visitors. If you want to view some amazing landscape, and have first class access to views of some of the world’s last remaining glaciers, then Antarctica is a must. If you’re interested in sharing awe-inspiring vacation pictures when you return, you can’t go wrong with the rare beauty of Antarctica.

6. Shanghai

China is an interesting place to visit. If you want to travel through Shanghai, then you can always use the Maglev, which is a train that can reach speeds of 430 km/hr. Getting to see this city, and what it is has to offer definitely earns this place a spot on the top ten travel destinations. Whether you want to see museums that showcase 5,000 years of history, enjoy the delicious soup dumpling that they have to offer, or experience massage with yoga, or Chinese acupressure, then Shanghai is a travel destination worth exploring.

7. Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California, is a city that many people have heard a variety of things about. For those who desire to explore museums, or go shopping in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles is the place for it. For those of us who have long aspired to meet someone famous, spending a day in Los Angeles is the one of the better things you can do to change your luck. You can also check out Venice beach if you want a more tropical setting, or Disneyland or Universal Studios if you are with the kids. Whatever the case, Los Angeles is a magnificent place to include as one of the top ten travel destinations.

8. Leipzig

If you want to visit a cultural destination, then Leipzig should be a destination to consider as part of your top ten travel destinations. With the numerous museums, you will be able to learn about German cultures and ways of life. The glorious churches, the magnificent buildings, and the parks and gardens make this city even more glamorous to explore. If you are a true history buff, then the Battle of Leipzig Monument may be a nice review. If visiting with a family, then the Leipzig Zoo will be a delightful destination. Whatever your interest, this is a nice German city that may be interesting and stimulating culturally.

9. Koh Kood

These luxurious islands in Thailand are for outdoorsy people who enjoy nature. Since more than half of Koh Kood is covered by tropical rainforests, and the seas offer crystal clear water accompanied by beautiful beaches, this is a tropical paradise. Whether you want to snorkel or scuba dive in the sparkling seas, or view the beautiful imagery of the sunset, or waterfalls, this island can be a breathtaking experience for beach lovers everywhere. You’ll regret it if you forget to bring your camera and travel binocular or monocular! Koh Kood certainly deserves a spot in your top ten travel destinations!

10. Mumbai

Have you ever wondered about the legendary Bollywood? You’ll want to include Mumbai in your list of the top ten travel destinations and here’s why. Mumbai is the capital of the film industry in India, and if you choose to visit this destination, you will get to indulge in some of the culture that goes along with this domain. In this dynamic city, you can even see the Taj Mahal resort, which is a must for history enthusiasts. If that’s not your area of interest, then there are always museums and art galleries to free your creative side. If you want to go shopping for the day, then there are a plethora of markets where you can shop for just about anything. How about visiting the famous tourist spot known as Powai Lake? This is a famous spot that attracts people from all over the world. But beware; the rumor is that the lake is infested with Crocodiles.

Wine Travel – Washington’s Eastern Region Shines

If you’re a wine travel lover, Washington is an especially rewarding destination. Practically everywhere you turn, there’s an interesting winery to discover, not to mention vibrant cities, natural wonders galore, and a pleasing four season climate.

In our estimation, many Washington wines are becoming as well known as California’s. It’s not surprising, as Washington is the second largest wine producing state in the country. To illustrate the importance of Washington’s wine industry, over 500 Washington wineries add almost $3 billion to the state’s economy, and employ more than 29,000.

There’s so much to discover about Washington wine, so let’s focus on Washington’s eastern area, known as the Inland Empire, and in particular the strikingly beautiful city of Spokane.

Introducing Spokane

One of the first things you’ll notice about Spokane is how the great outdoors literally snuggle up to this friendly city. Bisected by the Spokane River, white water rafting, skiing, cycling tours, and hiking opportunities abound. And yet, the vibrant pulse of this high tech city is always on display, with live music and fantastic restaurants just steps away no matter where you turn.

The city itself is wonderfully walkable, interspersed with historic architectural gems that have been restored and reinvented. Our first evenings discovery was the Davenport Arts District, a lively arts and entertainment area.

The Davenport Arts District is really where you’ll feel Spokane’s pulse. Historic buildings house galleries, restaurants, and unique shops. This is an ideal late afternoon and early evening stroll, with extra time the next day to fully appreciate all the District has to offer.

Just a few of the shops we discovered were Simply Northwest, which features specialty foods, wines, and regional gifts, and the whimsically named Spokandy, a local candy making institution since 1913. Next, it was time for dinner at the Steam Plant Grill, housed in an historic handsome landmark former steam plant.

This was dinner as it should be. Steam Plant Grill focuses on local ingredients, hearty portions, and reasonable prices. Try the planked salmon, beer cheese soup, and the basil cream ravioli. Don’t miss dessert … the vanilla bourbon stout float is made with the onsite brewhouse’s oh-so-delicious dark stout beer and creamy premium vanilla ice cream.

Spokane Wineries

Twelve wineries call Spokane and the surrounding area home. Spokane itself is compact enough, so driving distances aren’t burdening. Many of the wineries are clustered fairly near downtown, with others just slightly farther afield. Conveniently, 12 of the 14 are quite near the Spokane River, which bisects the Spokane area as it meanders east/west.

Wineries East Of Downtown

Arbor Crest Wine Cellars: Wine Spectator named Arbor Crest one of “50 Great Producers Every Wine Lover Should Know”. It’s located in the Cliff House, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Located high on a bluff overlooking the Spokane River, the view is almost better than the wine here. Look for award winning Cabernets in particular.

Knipprath Cellars: Located in a handsome old red brick schoolhouse, Knipprath boasts an impressive selection of Port wines, a favorite of ours. Have you ever tried a Vanilla Port or a Chocolate Port? You can here! We also loved the Moonstruck Merlot, with its notes of brown spice and plum.

Latah Creek Wine Cellars: If you like Rieslings as we do, you’ll enjoy Latah Creek. The extensive gift shop here is one of the nicest we visited on this trip. Also be sure to try a Washington specialty, the Huckleberry d’Latah. This wine is a blend of huckleberries, a small blueberry-like fruit, with Riesling.

Nodland Cellars: What a wonderful small boutique winery this is. Just like many European estate wineries, Nodland produces only one red and one white wine. These wines are aged in French Oak barrels, adding to the smooth complexity of the finished product.

Wineries North Of Downtown

Mountain Dome Winery: Located in the foothills of Mt. Spokane, Mountain Dome is something of a change of pace, as they are Washington’s premier sparkling winery. One of the key differences between production of sparkling wines vs. regular wines is the lengthy bottle aging, thereby producing a secondary fermentation. These wines are fun to drink, and add a new dimension to a wine lovers palate.

Townshend Cellar: This small winery north of Spokane offers small lots of quality wines, many of which have been praised by the wine press. The reds are the star here, especially the rich dark fruit taste of their Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Wineries In And Near Downtown

Barrister Winery: We literally walked right into this winery, housed in a early 20th century brick building in the heart of the Davenport District. It’s red wine heaven here. Barrister produces limited quantities of Bordeaux style reds and Syrahs.

Grande Ronde Cellars: Wine Specator loves Grande Ronde Cellars, having raved about their Cabernet and Merlot. The real star for us, though, was the creamy Chardonnay. The bouquet of apricot and peach truly was the forebearer of great things to come.

Lone Canary Winery: This was our personal winner of “best winery name” in the Spokane area. But Lone Canary is more than just a name, although the logo is eye catching and named after Washington’s state bird, the wild canary. The wines here have great depth and complexity, from the deliciously fruity Cabernet Sauvignon to Bird House Red, a red blend.

Robert Karl Cellars: Located in the heart of Spokane’s historic warehouse district, Robert Karl Cellars specializes in premium Cabernets. These wines are ideal to cellar for a time to bring out their true mature flavor. In particular, we recommend the rich red Syrah and the Claret.

Vintage Hill Cellars: This downtown Spokane winery is a very comfortable and pleasant place to stop and taste. We bought a few bottles of Vintage Hill’s Sauvignon Blanc and the Riesling.

Of course, eastern Washington and Spokane are just a part of Washington’s wine scene. In the meantime, don’t overlook Spokane! This is an appealing destination whether you crave outdoor activities, historic architecture, city life, or all of the above!

Tips on Finding the Best Corporate Travel Agency

Have you heard of deals for discount first class airfare? You might wonder how “discount” and “first class” can be in one phrase when talking about air travel. It is possible to get affordable deals while getting the same first class treatment. If you are finding it difficult to believe, you might not be looking at the right places. You can get your way around soaring prices through simple techniques. Most people who have gone on first class flights follow these simple steps:

Reserve your seats early.

Airline companies offer tickets in lower price range if you reserve your seats one or two months prior to your planned flight. As there are fewer seats in the first class section, you might easily run out of available seats.

First class seats are more comfortable and have additional benefits unlike the business and economy class. There are more legroom, large reclining seats, a mini-bar, workstations, personal television, and sparkling clean lavatory when you travel first class. Comfort and privacy are common reasons why some people choose first class seats. You do not have to be wealthy to experience all of these, as some airlines offer affordable promotions during off-season.

You may quickly book your tickets through online travel websites. On the day of your trip, you can head straight to a special check-in counter for the first class section.

Compare prices.

Go online and check the prices airlines offer. They will have varying prices when it comes to first class flights. Carefully check the benefits you will get from each flight and decide which will be a more cost-effective option. Never settle for the deals they advertise. There might be hidden charges so make sure to inform yourself well on the packages they offer. Contact the customer service for clarifications on specific deals. It is not enough to rely on your own research, especially when you are new to purchasing first class tickets.

Be a member of travel websites.

You may get notifications or newsletters for discount first class airfare when you sign up on travel websites. As a member, you are the first to know when the airline cancels a flight. You may also get exclusive deals during holiday seasons.

Hire a corporate travel agent.

Travel agents can book you for a discount first class airfare whenever you need to travel. They can negotiate more affordable deals and take care of the necessary paperwork. Most people who go for first class are business executives who want a more comfortable flight experience. They hire a corporate travel agent to help them maximize corporate discounts.

If you are worried you might spend so much on your luxurious flight, a corporate travel agent can help organize a budget for you. They can also find discounts for hotel accommodations and car rentals. If you experience problems with your flight, they can assist you with rescheduling.

Knowing these techniques can help you get better deals on any type of airline travel.