Best Things to Do on Your Trip to California

Home to nearly 40 million people, California is a sprawling state that’s even bigger than England. And given its varied landscape, you definitely will not run out of things to do on your California trip. There are endless beaches, sprawling vineyards, lush farmlands, incredible deserts, charming villages and bustling metropolises. On any given day, there’s a wide variety of activities waiting for you to do, from surfing to hiking and even rollercoaster riding! Given the many options, deciding what to do on your trip is no easy task.

So to make things easier for you, here’s a list of the best things to do on your trip to California, whether you are visiting for the first time or have been there many times before.

1. Visit the Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is a must-stop for everyone visiting Northern California. Connecting San Francisco to the Northern California counties, this iconic structure is known for its mesmerizing view. The best way to admire this famous attraction is to roam along its eastern walkway, drive over it and stop at the viewpoints on both the southern and northern sides of the bridge.

There are several other activities that visitors can do while exploring the Golden Gate Bridge. Visit the Fort Point Historic Site, a national historic site at the southern side of the bridge. If you love hiking, conquer the Batteries to Bluffs Trail, a 2.2 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located close to the Golden Gate. You can always get updated information about the area, as well as viewing the historical exhibits, at the Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center.


2. Try the Californian Wineries

California is home to some of the United States’ best wineries. There are so many of them that it can be hard to decide where to go. If you only need to visit one region, make it the Sonoma Valley. The area is home to nearly 60,000 acres of vineyards and more than 400 wineries. Rent a car and drive through the picturesque winding roads lined with sprawling vineyards. The area is also home to charming country inns and tranquil parks everywhere, making it a very pleasant destination.

The Mendocino Wine Country is another popular wine destination known for its breathtaking landscapes. It’s one of the least crowded wine regions in the state and home to some of the best winemakers. Most of them use sustainable techniques in producing the tastiest wines in the region. 

With 240 wineries in a 30-mile stretch, the Napa Valley is the most densely concentrated winery region in the world. A visit to the Napa Valley is a must for wine lovers of all kinds. For an authentic experience, check out the Castello di Amorosa Winery, which features an authentically styled 13th-century Tuscan castle built using medieval building techniques.

While it’s possible to visit these California wineries on your own, joining winery tours is highly recommended. These guided tours cater to everyone, from total newbies to wine connoisseurs hoping to discover the best Californian wines.


3. Hike Up to the Hollywood Sign

Your visit to California won’t be complete without getting your photo taken in front of the famous Hollywood Sign. The best place to catch a glimpse of the Hollywood Sign and have your photos taken is at Griffith Park. But if you want to hike up to the sign, you can take any of the Mount Hollywood hiking trails that start from the back corner of the parking lot. 

The trail from Canyon Drive is a popular route and caters to easy to moderate hikers. However, since it’s a very popular trail, parking can be difficult, and the area can get very crowded. If you’re a more experienced hiker, take the Griffith Observatory trail. It’s a bit difficult, but it’s not too crowded. The hike is about six miles round trip, and it’s ideal for the more adventurous tourists.

4. Take a Road Trip to Santa Barbara

California’s diverse landscape makes it one of the best places for a scenic road trip in the States. The 120-mile Highway 101 from Malibu to Lompoc is a famous route for those who wanted to experience an incredibly scenic drive. This stretch of Highway 101 offers the most incredible views of both the beach and wine country.

Starting in the iconic city of Malibu, the highway runs along the rugged mountains of Santa Monica before reaching Oxnard, Ventura, and ending at the beautiful Santa Barbara road trip completion destination.  Look over to the west and make a stop at the Channel Islands National Park to visit one of its beautiful beaches, such as El Capitán, Refugio, and Gaviota. From here, the highway will take you inland through the rolling ranch lands before reaching the beautiful city of Lompoc. Aside from its gorgeous flower fields, Lompoc is also known for its beautiful golf courses, charming Old Town and an exquisite collection of locally-grown wine.


5. Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey is, no doubt, one of California’s most beautiful towns. It’s home to beautiful beaches and wineries and a quaint downtown. But perhaps the most popular attraction here is the Monterey Bay Aquarium. This massive aquarium first opened in 1984 and features a wide variety of sea creatures such as penguins, otters, sea turtles, and sharks.

Monterey Bay Aquarium is a great place to visit, especially if you’re traveling with kids. This aquarium is so huge that it can get overwhelming to explore, so make sure you come prepared.

You do not need to see all the attractions in one visit. But there are a few exhibits that are truly worth your time, such as the Jellyfish and Open Sea. Here, you will find different types of tiny sea creatures, such as the jellyfish, shrimp and sand dollars, alongside halibut and sharks. The Giant Pacific Octopus is also fun to visit. As the name suggests, this attraction features giant octopuses that are about six feet long. And if your kids are big fans of sea otters, then check out the Sea Otters Feeding area where they can interact and feed these adorable sea creatures.

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Best Things to Do on Your Trip to Italy

Italy is, no doubt, one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Whether you’re looking to explore beautiful architecture, discover stunning natural landscapes, swim at pristine beaches or feast on delicious food, this country has it all. But with so many things on offer, deciding what to do on your trip to Italy can be daunting. So, to help you with this, check out this list. From eating pizza in Napoli to chilling at the beach in Amalfi, this list can serve as your guide for planning a trip to one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

1. Eat Pizza in Napoli

Naples (or Napoli) is a city in the southwestern Italian region of Campania. Known for its delicious cuisine, Naples is a must-visit for food lovers. Said to be the birthplace of pizza, sitting down for a traditional Neapolitan pizza is a must while in the city. Of course, there’s more to Naples than its delicious cuisine. This bustling coastal city has many things to offer for all kinds of travelers, whether that’s exploring underground tunnels, lounging by the sea, browsing contemporary art or watching an opera. 

Escape the hordes of tourists and explore the Bourbon Tunnel, a secret tunnel built as an escape route for the royal family in 1853. You can also check out the city’s many incredible museums, such as the  Donnaregina Contemporary Art Museum. After all the sightseeing and eating, head to the beach and relax under the Neapolitan sun. The Miseno And Miliscola beaches are some of the top beaches in Naples. With beachside bars and cafes lining its shores, these beaches are the best places to relax while enjoying refreshing cocktails.


2. Hike the Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Italy’s most visited destinations, especially for those who love to hike. It consists of five towns perched along a dramatic coastline, just north of Pisa. With colorful houses stacked on top of one another, these beautiful villages are easily recognizable. Hiking Cinque Terre is the best way to explore these villages.

You can hike Cinque Terre through various trails, but the most popular is the Blue Trail, an 11 km trail connecting Riomaggiore to Monterosso al Mare. Most portions are easy to walk, especially the paved section along Riomaggiore to Manarola. However, some would require a climb uphill. But you’ll be rewarded with the most spectacular views along the coast, so it’s worth it.

The trail would require about five hours to conquer, excluding the time needed to explore each town. You need to purchase a ticket to hike this trail and make sure you keep it since you’ll be required to show it at a checkpoint in every town you pass through.


3. Visit the Colosseum in Rome

The Colosseum in Rome is Italy’s most iconic landmark. Therefore, your trip to Italy won’t be complete without a visit to this famous attraction. You can explore it on your own or join a guided tour. Constructed in 72 AD, the Colosseum is considered the largest surviving structure from ancient Rome. This building has survived various calamities, including earthquakes and fire. 

The Colosseum has three entrances, but the only entrance currently in use is the entrance for individual visitors known as the Sperone Valadier. If you join guided tours that include a visit to the arena, then you’ll be taking the other entrance, known as Stern. While most visitors would head to the Colosseum during the day, visiting this magnificent structure at night is a must. It looks even more magical at night as the massive amphitheater is illuminated from the inside. Another advantage of visiting at night is that there will be fewer tourists so you can admire this iconic building with less distractions.

4. Chill on a beach on the Amalfi Coast 

Home to Italy’s most beautiful beaches, the Amalfi Coast is a popular seaside holiday destination. Since the majority of the towns are situated high above sea level, a visit to the beach will require climbing long flights of steps. Yet your efforts will be rewarded with crystal clear waters and relaxing views of the sea.

To make it easier for you to visit the beautiful beaches of the Amalfi Coast, consider renting a beachside villa with direct access to the beach. These wonderful large Italian villas overlook the gorgeous Bay of Salerno and are in immediate proximity to the sea. You will have plenty of options for beachside villas on the Amalfi Coast. There are holiday villas with large private pools and gardens, and there are also smaller villas suitable for couples and small families. 

Aside from chilling on the beach, staying at a beachside villa in the Amalfi Coast will allow you to hike the various trails in the area and witness the magnificent beauty of the Gulf of Salerno.


5. Experience the Italian Grand Prix 

Whether you’re a fan of Formula One or not, witnessing the Italian Grand Prix is highly recommended if you visit Italy during the Formula One season. First held in 1921, the Italian Grand Prix is part of the European Championship, and it was given the honorary designation of the European Grand Prix seven times between 1923 to 1967.  The Italian Grand Prix is held from September 6 until September 8 and takes place in Monza, a racing circuit just outside of Milan. 

Milan is the closest city to Monza, so this is where you should start your journey and if you want to get a hold of Italian F1 tickets for the Italian Grand Prix you need to book well in advance. Before the racing event, take time to explore Milan, Italy’s fashion capital. This modern city offers many things for visitors to see and do. Here, you’ll find the magnificent Duomo Cathedral, one of the largest churches in the world. Aside from being Italy’s fashion capital, Milan is also home to some of the country’s top museums and art galleries, such as the Pinacoteca di Brera. After a whole day of sightseeing, relax at the Piazza del Duomo and treat yourself to a scoop of gelato.

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Best Adventure Travel Destinations for Animals Lovers

For animal lovers, traveling the world while spending some time among furry friends is like a piece of heaven. Thankfully, there are so many destinations that will allow you to interact with your favorite animals. Of course, as an animal lover, you don’t want to visit places that exploit animals or force them to work in stressful conditions. Therefore, you must choose those places that will only allow you to interact with animals in a natural environment and not subject them to any form of exploitation or torture. 

If you’re an animal lover and you’re planning to embark on a fun adventure, check out these adventure travel destinations for animal lovers. From cozying up with the gorillas in Rwanda to exploring the Galapagos Islands, these adventures are perfect for animal lovers of all kinds. 

1. Rwanda 

Seeing the mountain gorillas in Rwanda is a dream for many animal lovers. Rwanda has a diverse ecosystem with a wide variety of wildlife spread across volcanoes, mountainous forests and plains. But the most popular of these are the mountain gorillas. These primates mostly live in the Volcanoes National Park in the northwestern part of the country, and there are around ten groups of mountain gorillas in the area. About 10% of the revenue earned from gorilla treks goes to the conservation of these beautiful creatures. So, by joining these treks, you are directly contributing to the protection of the gorillas.

Seeing the gorillas up close in their natural habitat is such a wonderful experience. If you are a diehard animal lover, this is one of those wildlife encounters that you should experience at least once in your life. Sure, trekking is not always an easy feat but with a group of rangers to guide you, you’ll be able to brave through the dense and slippery jungle. Also, Rwanda is one of the safest countries in Africa, adding to the appeal of this destination.


2. Thailand

Thailand is one of the most popular destinations for animal lovers who want to experience the rare opportunity to pet elephants or witness tigers up-close. Unfortunately, most of these places don’t give value to animal welfare. Some of them keep the animals captive, while others have subjected them to torture. As an animal lover, you should avoid visiting these kinds of places. So where should you go instead?

The Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai is a true elephant sanctuary that serves as a shelter for abused and orphaned elephants. Here, the elephants can roam freely and play with each other. They offer tours that give visitors a chance to see the elephants in their natural habitat and in a manner that contributes to their welfare rather than abuse. The Wildlife Friends Foundation in Petchaburi is another destination that’s worth a visit for animal lovers. This foundation is dedicated to educating the public about animal welfare and provide awareness about animal abuse. They also give visitors a chance to volunteer for the foundation, which is a great opportunity for animal lovers.


3. Botswana 

Botswana is one of the most popular destinations in Africa for animal lovers. Here, you will find an abundance of nature parks and habitats in which wildlife is free to live and roam. To make the most of your visit, consider taking part in an elephant safari that offers the most ultimate wildlife experience. For instance, the luxury Botswanan elephant trail safari is a 10-day wildlife experience that follows the route of the elephants as they make their way to Linyanti from Kalahari. You will also have the opportunity to spend some time with the San Bushmen, an indigenous group in Botswana with a vast knowledge of the Kalahari Game Reserve.

Another interesting way to discover the wildlife of Botswana is to paddle a canoe along the remote Selinda Spillway that links the Okavango Delta to Linyanti and Kwando rivers. During your journey, you’ll come across a variety of wildlife, including herds of buffalo and elephants, as they head towards the river’s edge to drink.

4. Greenland

More and more adventure-seekers are discovering Greenland, one of the most isolated places on Earth. And if you’re an animal lover, then Greenland is even more interesting to visit. The island’s massive arctic landscape offers endless opportunities for animal lovers seeking a unique wildlife experience. 

Dog sledding is one of the most exciting ways to experience Greenland’s unique environment while providing a great adrenaline rush for adventure-seekers. For thousands of years, dog sledding was the only mode of transport in Greenland. Today, only a few Greenlanders use dog sleeping, and mainly for fishing or hunting. If you want to experience dog sledding in Greenland, schedule your visit between December and April. But if you come here in summer, there’s only one place where you can experience dog sledding, and that’s on Disko Island. 

Whale watching among the icebergs is another activity for animal lovers to experience in Greenland, in the island’s Arctic Riviera. During summer, pods of whales can be seen along the island’s iceberg-filled fjords. You can witness different kinds of whales up-close, such as humpback, fin whales, and minke whales. 


5. The Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands is the ultimate dream destination for many animal lovers. Here, you will have an exciting opportunity for close-up encounters with a wide variety of wildlife, including iguanas, Galapagos snakes, fur seals, and giant tortoises. The best way to experience the wildlife of the Galapagos Islands is to book a cruise-based tour of the region that offers walking excursions on the islands you visit.

Such cruise-based tours, such as those offered by Rainforest Cruises, provides better wildlife coverage compared to doing it on your own and usually includes a visit to several different islands, including remote areas within the National Park. You will also have the opportunity to partake in kayaking and snorkeling, offering a different perspective as you observe the vast amounts of marine life that the Galapagos is known for.

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Can This Controversial Former Thomas Cook Exec Really Build the Next Travel Giant?

Benjamin Gremler  / Unsplash

Manny Fontenla-Novoa became president of Logitravel in 2018, which now plans to to merge with Spain’s Viajes El Corte Ingles. Benjamin Gremler / Unsplash

Skift Take: Many people will be watching the next chapter in Manny Fontenla-Novoa’s career closely. Can he restore his reputation with this new pan-European travel agency?

— Matthew Parsons

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Travel Advisors Find River Cruises a Bigger Opportunity Even With Hurdles

Alexxx1979  / Wikimedia Commons

The Viking Truvor on the Volga River in Russia Alexxx1979 / Wikimedia Commons

Skift Take: Travel advisors would do well to thoroughly explain the differences between ocean and river cruises. While some travelers have concerns about getting on any kind of cruise, travel advisors could attract a lot more bookings if they quell any concerns travelers have about river cruises.

— Rashaad Jorden

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Hyatt Explores Brand Acquisitions to Fuel European Growth


Hyatt is considering smaller brand acquisitions across Europe to fuel growth (pictured: the view from the Hyatt Place London City East). Hyatt

Skift Take: Seizing smart, strategic opportunities coming out of the pandemic is top of mind at Hyatt, of course. But the Chicago-based company shouldn’t expect any bargains in its potential European brand hunt. The competition is too fierce.

— Cameron Sperance

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MGM Resorts Plans to Offload Bulk of Its Real Estate Trust for $4.4 Billion

Håkan Dahlström  / Flickr

MGM Resorts plans to sell a majority stake in its lodging trust, MGM Growth Properties. Håkan Dahlström / Flickr

Skift Take: The sale to VICI Properties is the latest example of MGM Resorts following the hotel industry’s “asset-light” business model and stepping back from real estate ownership. Some of the company’s biggest landmark resorts, like the Bellagio, have already been sold off to Blackstone.

— Cameron Sperance

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Marriott Rides China and U.S. Travel Strength to $422 Million Profit

Tyler Vigen  / Wikimedia

Marriott vaulted into profitability thanks to strong domestic travel demand in China and the U.S. Tyler Vigen / Wikimedia

Skift Take: Hotels are not out of the woods yet. Marriott notched the best financial showing of hotel earnings season so far, but the Delta variant threatens the recovery everywhere — even in China, the company’s best-performing major market last quarter.

— Cameron Sperance

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