the HoliDaze

the HoliDaze

Powered by copious amounts of caffeine and a neverending sense of wanderlust.

Walking to many different landmarks and attractions in a city can be a bit tiring. This is especially true for people who are not in the best of shape. Luckily, there is an easy way for people who are on vacation to enjoy all of the great sights that a city has to offer. A bus tour gives a person a very comfortable way to see many important things in a city. You will also be able to see these things in a very short period of time. This is helpful if your time is limited and you will not be in a certain city for very long. Here are a few of the tips you can use to make your bus tour as enjoyable as it can possibly be:

1. Take your bus tour on a weekday.

A tour bus that is packed with tourists is not the most enjoyable place to see the sights. It is much better to be on a tour bus that has some empty seats that allow you to have some elbow room. You want to avoid a situation where you and the other people are packed into the bus like sardines. One of the easiest things you can do in order to prevent this situation from occurring is to schedule your bus tour on a weekday. Avoid the weekend at all costs. It does not take a genius to figure out that NYC bus tours will be much more packed on the weekend.

2. Get on the bus early.

The location of your seat on the bus will determine how well you are going to be able to see various things during the tour. The people who get on the bus early will obviously take all of the seats that are located by windows. They will also fill up the top deck of the bus. This is why you should always get to the place where your bus tour will depart as early as possible. Being one of the first people to get there will guarantee that you will get one of the best seats on the bus. This will mean that you will be able to take photos that are unobstructed by other people on the bus.

View from the front of the upper deck on a bus in Hong Kong
Unobstructed view from the front of the upper deck on a bus in Hong Kong last month

3. Look at the weather forecast far in advance.

Mother Nature can sometimes wreak havoc on your bus tour plans. Going on a bus tour on a rainy day is bad for several reasons. First of all, you will get soaked if you are sitting on the top deck of the bus. The pictures you take will be dreary and depressing because of the dark skies and the rain obscuring the thing you are taking a picture of. You should only take a tour of a city when it is looking its best. You do not want your memories of the city you went to on vacation to be of bad weather. This is why you should keep tabs on the weather forecast and schedule your bus tour of the city accordingly.

4. Avoid taking a bus tour during rush hour.

Not many people enjoy being stuck in rush hour traffic. Make sure that you book your tour in the middle of the day so that rush hour traffic will not be an issue.

It seems everybody and their mother has a travel blog nowadays, but the question of how to successfully monetize your travel blog is more common than ever. Sure, because travel blogging is becoming more widely accepted as a legitimate career, but at the same time the influx of new travel bloggers has really made it much more competitive. It's harder to stand out, and even harder to make enough money off your blog to fund your travel lifestyle 100%.

This is how I did it.

Earlier this year I ended my life as a nomad after 2,700 days -- nearly 7-1/2 years -- when I got a condo in Thailand. When I first started traveling, travel blogging was still in its infancy. I was just blogging to blog. Then it became my career. And eventually it led me to a more lucrative career. But we all have to start somewhere.

Affiliate Links & Programs

There are an endless number of affiliate programs and platforms out there, however Amazon Associates is undoutedly the best of them all. Given that Amazon.com and all their international stores (like Amazon.in and Amazon.ca) are already well-known and well-used in countries around the world, people are already used to making online purchases via Amazon. So why not recommend the products you actually use to your readers?

Boxes from Amazon.com

Never endorse anything that you do not use or believe it. Everyone who knows me or reads my writing knows how much I love my a7Rii camera. Sony didn't pay me to say that. They didn't even give me a discount on my camera. But I love the thing, it is amazing, and when I mention this I include the Amazon link. Why not? It's an easy $130 commission each time someone buys one, simple as that.

Vary the price range but focus the products. Don't affiliate link everything. Stick with your niche but find items of vastly different prices within that category. You might see a higher sales conversion rate with lower-priced products, but high-priced products earn impressive commission rates, especially if you are able to more than a half dozen a month.

It's not just Amazon, either. There are platforms like Commission Junction which represents tens of thousands of brands from diverse industries around the world. Test a few out of the period of a few months and see which works best for you.

Up-Sell & Self-Promote

If you have a travel blog, then you are pretty much guaranteed to have an About page. Unfortunately one that people forget is a media/PR page. Something that says "work with me, this is what I can do, this is what I have done, and this is what I will do for you."

It doesn't matter how people found your travel blog, all that matters is why are they there. Obviously there will always be readers, but more and more you find brands, agencies and PR companies searching for blogs that fit a particular niche. Their needs can vary greatly so be sure to put whatever useful abilities you have.

For myself, I would "up-sell" different services over the years as my skills and areas of focus shifted. At first it was web design and freelancing writing. Then I added in photography and SEO services. Next came consultant work and video production. But that was just me. Your services could be anything. You could be a traveling tattoo artist or diving instructor or ESL teacher. Whatever your hobbies, skills or passions are, the only way to find interested clients around the world is to mention this stuff. Of course it helps if you don't just mention this on the "hire me" page but that these same passions form a recurring theme to your blog.

Never put any prices online. This should be a given. If a marketing company from Singapore or London approaches you, you are going to want to charge them more than say a marketing company in India or Vietnam. Your rates should be based on the value that the brand receives, not your expenses. Make sense?

I've turned countless readers into friends and some into clients. Even a couple readers into assistants. It doesn't matter how or why people found your blog so much as the relationship you form with them. So be honest. Just don't be afraid to promote yourself a lit bit either, if you know that you are no one special. (Just know where to stop because no one likes a braggart.)

Write eBooks

The only different between blogs and ebooks is that blogs are free because the content is more scattered. eBooks cost a little bit of money but will cover everything you want to know about a topic -- often times more.

Write a lot about Indonesia? Take your 10 best articles, update and fine-tune them, then put them all together and sell it as an Indonesia eBook.

Bali sunset
Sunset in Bali

Take a lot of stunning photos? Find a common theme, or several themes, and put together an eBook series with the photos, behind-the-scenes information on the photos (how/where it was captured, even technical details) and a few tips for someone wishing to photograph the same place, or mimick the photograph style at a new location.

The only limit is your imagination and creativity.

Create A Store

Nowadays there is no shortage of marketplace software and e-commerce platforms that allow you to create your own store online and begin selling things directly to your web site visitors. This is especially popular with professional photographers, as quality photos can be turned into anything from stationary to apparel or even sold as stock photographs.

Using platforms like Photoshelter or marketplaces like Etsy and Zazzle to create an additional revenue stream without having to do any extra work. Plus there are more new options available every day.

Honestly, monetizing your blog is not about making $1,000 week doing any one thing. It's about having a variety of different income streams so that if something ever stops working, you are still working. Some methods will earn you more than others. Some will work better with you or your brand's personal style and/or needs. And some might end up being a waste of your time. But if you never do any research and never test anything out for yourself, well then you will never learn.

For me travel blogging started as a hobby and then became a career. Now I find myself writing less and producing videos more. But I would never have gotten here without learning how to monetize my blog and fund my nomadic lifestyle.

New travelers might be tempted to leave small town America off of their travel wish list. It's easy to think that lesser known cities don't have the draw that larger ones do. However, small cities offer more than meets the eye. Here are a few cool spots that I've recently discovered. I think you'd enjoy a visit to any one of them.

Geneva Lake, Wisconsin
Photo by Sarah via Trover

Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Fire-breathers, glass walkers, and human pretzels. If you thought Wisconsin Dells would be your average city, you're mistaken. Along with the extraordinary wonders that you'll find here, visitors will be delighted to discover many other attractions.

From indoor water parks to wildlife adventure parks, you won't run out of things to do in Wisconsin Dells. Stay at the Cedar Lodge & Settlement for a spectacular view of the Wisconsin River and lots of fun at its indoor water park.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

If you're a beer lover, Milwaukee won't disappoint. For everyone else, you'll find plenty of places to visit beyond the breweries. Borrow one of the bikes available through the local bike share program, and enjoy a day exploring Milwaukee in a new way.

A few places of interest include the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Milwaukee Public Market. For an unforgettable stay, book at the Brumder Mansion Hotel. Guest rooms are in limited supply, so don't wait too long to make a reservation!

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

You'll have around 21 miles of lakefront to explore if you're lucky enough to vacation in Lake Geneva. Visitors can enjoy sunbathing at one of the many beaches or participating in water sports on the Lake.

Other not-to-be-missed attractions include museums, theaters, and wineries. Stay at the Timber Ridge Lodge and Waterpark. Not only do guest rooms feature fireplaces, whirlpools, and kitchens, but your reservation also comes with water park entry.

Wheeling, West Virginia

Without droves of tourists to crowd the major attractions and skyrocket prices, Wheeling is the perfect town to live as a local. Take your time exploring your surroundings at your leisure, and connect with those who call Wheeling home. From Oglebay Park to the Suspension Bridge, visitors will not tire of scenic attractions to traverse.

The Wheeling Island Hotel is a sure bet for a stay that will never get boring. Enjoy on-site attractions, including a racetrack and casino, for nonstop fun and entertainment.

Herndon, Virginia

Located 24 miles outside of Washington, DC, Herndon is a welcomed reprieve from the extreme business of urban life. Not only will you find enough restaurants to maintain variety in your trip, but you'll also enjoy a wide selection of novel attractions, like the Herndon Escape Room and the Perils of the Lost Jungle Miniature Golf.

The Candlewood Suites Washington, Dulles Herndon isn't your typical airport hotel. Guest rooms are well-equipped and include a spacious kitchen and workspace.

Even though these towns aren't featured on many folks' top ten lists, lesser known cities can surprise you with their unique attractions and fun accommodations. Carve out some vacation time to see what everyone else is missing!

  This article was originally published on Awe Inclusive by Michaela Hall on September 7th.

By means of a strange acculturation process while growing up, I'm more connected to the American culture than I am to the Portuguese. As a result, the United States is high on my list of countries to visit (and the list of offbeat attractions grows with it). I'm still in the romancing phase, but I'm already liking my odds in Arizona and in Pasadena. I have my eye on several attractions in these areas and more, and I'm interested in the best hotels in each area.

1. Experience Space, the Final Frontier

  Flagstaff, Arizona

I love a good alien story, especially if it mixes an “X-Files” vibe with some futuristic storytelling like H.G. Wells' “War of the Worlds”. However, you can visit some “other-worldly” attractions without leaving this planet. The Lowell Observatory and the Cinder Lake Crater Field are two offbeat must-sees in Flagstaff. I wonder if I can find an alien-themed hotel in Flagstaff? Or at least one with a mysterious alien story behind it.

Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona
Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona via James Jones

2. The Most Famous Canyon in Arizona

  Page, Arizona

The Antelope Canyon is hardly a secret and it's very high on my list of beautiful sights. The most photographed rock formation in the American Southwest is one guided tour away when you visit Page. To continue exploring the scenery beyond the canyon, check with your hotel in Page for tour recommendations.

Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona
Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona via Todd Petrie

3. A Bridge (Not) Over Troubled Waters

  Yuma, Arizona

Do you know the Talking Heads' song “Road to Nowhere”? Well, in Yuma, things go a little further with a “bridge to nowhere”. No, it's not a metaphor. The Gila River was diverted in 1968, and today the McPhaul bridge crosses (oddly) over sand and rocks. I have a series of postapocalyptic-themed photos for that bridge in mind, meaning the visit could be emotionally draining. Finding a hotel in Yuma for some well-deserved R&R would do the trick.

4. A London Bridge in Arizona?

  Lake Havasu City, Arizona

Did London Bridge really fall down like in the nursery rhyme? Technically, it was sinking due to structural problems, and in the late 1960's, the city sold the bridge to the highest bidder — a local entrepreneur in Lake Havasu City. Booking a romantic stay at a Lake Havasu City hotel and a stroll on the bridge shipped overseas, block by block, sounds like a great story to tell.

London Bridge in Lake Havasu City, Arizona
London Bridge in Lake Havasu City via Ken Lund

5. Doc's House and Strange Sodas

  Pasadena, California

Hoverboards are not a real thing (yet) but Dr. Emmet Brown's house is. Fans of “Back to the Future” wouldn't the Gamble House be an offbeat must-see? This could (probably) only be topped by a Buffalo Wing soda. I'm not entirely sure I would handle the sugar rush at the Rocket Fizz, the place where these strange soda flavors come from. Tasting wouldn't be a problem; narrowing down the weirdest ones to taste would. How do you top this off? Perhaps with a stay at a Hollywoodesque hotel in Pasadena, where you can pretend to be a star with a quirky taste for strange sodas.

The Gamble House in Pasadena California
The Gamble House in Pasadena, California via Ken Lund

  Cover Photo by Ken Lund via flickr.
  This is a post written in collaboration with the Hipmunk Hotels campaign. It was originally published on Tripper by Sandra on June 29th.

There are many difficulties in regards to owning a business. In the current day and age, there are millions of other companies out there all trying to get the attention of the public. The best way for you to make a name for yourself is by making sure that you take advantage of what the age of the internet can do for your company. Social media is going to be your best asset when it comes to generating awareness about your business. When you know how to handle the various social media platforms out there, you will find it much easier to get in touch with your customers. Here are a few points to keep in mind when you are just beginning in the world of social media for your business.

Know the Medium

Social media is an encompassing term. There are tons of different websites that fall under this umbrella, and each one is going to have a very specific way of allowing you to post. Twitter is known for being a great way to connect with others all around the world, but you have to do it with 140 characters or less. There are, of course, ways around this such as shortening links with the right applications or posting several tweets in a row that follow one thought. Still, you will need to know how to use Twitter the right way to get people to pay attention to you. Facebook allows you to post more than 140 characters, and you can share pretty much anything that you would like. The downside of posting on Facebook is that people can easily hide your page, or a lack of proper promotion can keep your information from coming up on the correct feeds.

Instagram is an excellent platform to explore because you can get your message across simply by posting one image at a time. This allows you the chance to cultivate a look that is specific to your brand, making it easily recognizable to the public. Hamptoncreek, the tech food company behind the eggless product “Just Mayo,” is a great example of how to use Instagram to develop an individual style. The posts on this account are bursting with bold colors that aid in drumming up interest in the various products that the company offers. If you are going to use Instagram for your business, be sure to have a method to how you go about the process.

Interaction Satisfaction

One of the biggest reasons to utilize social media for your business is because it gives you a unique chance to interact with your consumers and the public in general. Be aware, though, that this will not always be the most constructive of conversation. When you open yourself up to the public, you get what the public has to say. If you have ever been on social media and looked at some of the comments that people leave on posts, you know that there can often be unjustified and harsh criticisms. The best way for you to handle this is to positively interact with those that have something to say. Do not ignore those who have something to say. Instead, choose the ones that you will interact with wisely.

When you are able to balance how you interact with fans on your social media accounts, you are easily able to cultivate the right image for your business. Consumers like knowing that companies listen to what they have to say. Prove that you are willing to respond to criticisms by actually doing so on social media. Be sure not to engage when something gets too crazy, but do not feel like you have to ignore these comments either. It is your social media and you can do with it what you wish.

Find Your Voice

When it comes to using social media to your advantage, there are a lot of different ways for you to go about the process. Be sure to find your own voice. When you infuse a bit of yourself into your attempts at connecting with others on the internet, you will find that you are able to handle everything that is thrown your way. Take your time, figure out what you want to post, and be sure to get out there and make it happen. Once you do, you will be ready for a whole new way of conducting business.

The U.S. has many wonderful cities in the Northeast that should be visited at least once in a lifetime. They offer several entertainment options, as well as educational attractions. Here are five great places to discover, whether you travel for business purposes or you take a leisure trip: Ithaca, New Haven, Dover, Braintree, and Gaithersburg.

  Braintree, Massachusetts

As the birthplace of John Quincy Adams (the sixth President of the United States), William Rosenberg (founder of Dunkin' Donuts), and of many other people – sport players, artists, and more – Braintree, Massachusetts has several attractions that will make your stay here pleasant. You can visit the Blue Hills Reservation, go to the South Shore Plaza, see General Sylvanus Thayer's birthplace, admire the Monatiquot River, and more. For a stay that won't break your bank, choose some affordable hotels in Braintree such as the Comfort Inn Boston-Rockland or theBest Western Rockland.

  Ithaca, New York

Ithaca, New York
Ithaca, New York by Sam Pelts via Trover.com

Ithaca is one of those lesser-known destinations that are definitely worth (at least) one visit. You'll find here a vibrant tourist trade, but make sure you don't miss the Ithaca Waterfalls: 150 waterfalls within 10 square miles, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (a leader in the study and conservation of birds), and the wineries and breweries. For cheap accommodation in Ithaca, take into consideration The Ramada Ithaca Hotel and the Best Western University Inn. Meadow Court Inn and Rodeway Inn & Suites are also worth a look as the most affordable hotels in the area.

  Gaithersburg, Maryland

Easily accessible by train, car, or plane, Gaithersburg, Maryland, is a place that offers various activities that are ideal for all types of travelers. The museum lovers will like the RIO Washingtonian Center and the Gaithersburg Community Museum, while those who want entertainment and fun activities can try the Gaithersburg Miniature Golf or the Bowl America Gaithersburg. Hilton Washington, DC North/Gaithersburg and the Hampton Inn & Suites Washington, DC North/Gaithersburg are all great options for affordable lodging in the area.

  New Haven, Connecticut

New Haven, Connecticut
New Haven, Connecticut by Courtney via Trover.com

Famous for being the hometown of the Yale University, New Haven is a lovely city in Connecticut that offers relaxation and educational attractions. You won't want to miss the Knights of Columbus Museum, the Yale University Art Gallery, the Peabody Museum of Natural History, walks in the Green, the East Rock Park, and the Lighthouse Point Park. As you can see, there are plenty of things to see and do here. Choose La Quinta Inn & Suites New Haven, Days Inn-New Haven, or Super 8 West Haven if you're looking for cheap hotels in New Haven.

  Dover, Delaware

If you want to experience the best of Kent County, Delaware, add Dover to your travel list. The city features a multitude of attractions – museums, parks, beautiful mansions, festivals, etc. – and lures many tourists each year. The Red Roof Inn & Suites Dover, the Days Inn Dover Downtown, and Dover Downs Hotel & Casino are three cheap hotels in Dover.

  This article was originally published Travel: Moments In Time by Lori on June 13th.

Make some late summer or early trip plans to explore Amarillo, McAllen or Irving, Texas or skip over the ocean to Puerto Rico for an adventurous time in Fajardo.

Amarillo, Texas

Start planning the perfect fall trip to Amarillo. This time of year brings much more mild temperatures in the Panhandle town. Driving on Route 66, horseback riding, and visiting the Texas Air and Space Museum are just a few activities to get you started in this exciting city. If you plan ahead far enough, you can score a great Airbnb location. But if that's not your thing Amarillo has traditional luxury hotels and a smattering of cheap hotels. Fifth Season Inn has pretty good ratings and is consistently under $50 a night. Even the Marriott is under $100 per night.

The Mustangs of Las Colinas by The Wonders of Back Roads via Trover.com
The Mustangs of Las Colinas by wonders of back roads via Trover

Irving, Texas

If visiting Cowboy stadium is on your list, consider staying at Irving instead of Dallas for a more affordable trip. Spend a day watching football and stay a while to explore Irving; don't miss the plethora of outdoor activities along with the sites and landmarks like the Mustangs of Las Colinas. The Hotel Las Colinas is centrally located and has a pool to cool off. Plus, they've got a free cancellation policy, if needed.

McAllen, Texas

Unless you're a big bird watcher, chances are you haven't heard of McAllen, Texas. The most popular stop is Quinta Mazatlan, a bird and nature center located in an old historic mansion. You'll find other family-friendly activities around town in their malls, golf courses, and more. The Best Western Garden Inn & Suites along with many other budget hotels run around $50 or $80 per night.

Round Rock, Texas

It's not hard to find a great hotel deal in Round Rock, Texas. Most good-to-great rated hotels will run you between $75 and $100/night. The Austin Marriott North ranks top of the list, boasting amenities like spas, pools, a business center, and child activities. When you're out and about the city, experience Flix BrewHouse, America's first cinema brewery, or take the kids to the Play for All park for a memorable day in the sun.

Fajardo, Puerto Rico

Puerto Rican beach vacations are often overshadowed by California, Hawaii, and Mexico for most Americans. But what most travelers don't know is that visiting a city like Fajardo, on the Eastern side of the island, is completely affordable and luxurious. Visitors most memorable experiences are full of beauty and adventure: kayak along Bioluminescent Bay, explore Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve (day or night), or ride horseback on the beach. Airbnbs are a great option for large groups and families. But even the local Waldorf Astoria hotel is around $200/night.

  This post was originally published on Project Domestication by Becky on June 15th.

Disclosure: Thank you for supporting posts like this with partners I believe in and who allow me to pursue creative content for this blog. I am currently writing for Hipmunk, and would love for you to check out their helpful site and articles! They have great resources for traveling domestically and abroad.

Palm Springs is a modern oasis in the desert of Southern California, a jewel that beckons to all those looking for a hip yet laid-back retreat from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles. The city is known for its breathtaking beauty, natural hot springs, stylish hotels, gorgeous golf courses, and amazing spas. But it isn't all luxurious resorts and high-end lodging. There are several amazing boutique hotels in Palm Springs that offer affordable luxury, such as:

Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs

Hard Rock is synonymous with great music, hip style and good times. Guests of their hotels and restaurants know what to expect. Thankfully the Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs maintains this level of superiority and does not disappoint. Their spacious rooms feature hand-picked artwork, custom-designed furniture and luxurious amenities and toiletries. Plus the entire property is full of the obligatory nostalgia-inducing musical memorabilia that guests have come to expect from Hard Rock.

Vagabond Inn Palm Springs

Vagabond Inn in Palm Springs, California

Vagabond Inn is a budget hotel chain that first started in California in 1958. Now they have locations in a half dozen states throughout the West Coast, however the Vagabond Inn Palm Springs is one of my favorite locations. Why? As a solo traveler and with most of the accommodation options in Palm Springs are geared towards expensive romantic getaways, finding an affordable, comfortable place to stay always makes the journey easier -- both on myself and my wallet.

Alcazar Palm Springs

Opened in 2011, Alcazar Palm Springs is a sleek 34-room boutique hotel perfect for those who want a quiet, comfortable stay without having to spend excess money on unnecessary luxury frills. Their rooms feature a minimalist design with a focus on unique, modern artwork and stylish furnishings. Italian linens, flatscreen TVs, fireplaces and mountain views, the rooms here have everything you need! Complimentary pastries from Cheeky's and bicycles plus a pool, jacuzzi and pet-friendly rooms seal the deal.

Royal Sun Inn

Discreetly tucked away in a quiet residential neighborhood in downtown Palm Springs, Royal Sun Inn is the ideal hotel close to the action but away from the loud, busy streets. Their comfortable rooms come standard with a flat screen TV, private balcony or patio, free Wi-Fi and free breakfast. It's also a great place to stay for families because of the large outdoor pool and barbecue pits. The best part, however, is the price. Royal Sun Inn is one of the least expensive hotels, given its many amenities, making it the perfect choice for budget conscious travelers.

Caliente Tropics

Palm Springs ... or Polynesia? Why choose between the two when there's the unique fusion that is Caliente Tropics. Staying here is like stumbling into a lush tropical oasis at the edge of the desert. Sure, it may take you by surprise — but 5 minutes later you are calling it home and never want to leave. Guests can partake in less stereotypical Palm Springs activities such as shuffleboard, frisbee, or a backyard barbecue. All the other activities are still around, but for those who crave the laid back island lifestyle, this is the place.

  Featured image by docentjoyce via Flickr

Few cities in America are as photogenic as Sedona, Arizona. Here majestic red rocks rise up from the lush pine forests like sand castles carved by a race of giants who have long since disappeared. It is a photographer's dream destination, as well as an ideal place for destination weddings.

The next time you find yourself planning a trip to Sedona, soak up the scenery from one of these amazing hotels:

Sedona Real Inn & Suites

For a really different experience from all the other nearby properties, check out Sedona Real Inn & Suites. This boutique hotel is family owned and is a great way to support locals, instead of international hotel chains. In fact, the place feels so much like home, I loathe to even call it a hotel. They have a variety of room and suite options for both romantic couples getaways and family vacations, plus a swimming pool and playground. And yes, they are pet-friendly as well!

Ridge on Sedona Golf Resort

Coming to Sedona solely for the world-class golfing, but having a hard time finding a golf resort that is budget-friendly? Look no further than Ridge on Sedona Golf Resort in the gentle rolling slopes of southern Sedona. In addition to the 18-hole golf course, the Ridge on Sedona boasts a variety of amenities designed to maximize your outdoor activities, including secluded trails, mountainside hot tubs, heated outdoor pool, BBQ facilities, and picturesque picnic area.

Poco Diablo Resort

Poco Diablo Resort in Sedona, Arizona

Nestled between Highway 179 and Oak Creek on the southern side of Sedona, Poco Diablo Resort is an ideal choice for anyone wanting to bask in the natural beauty of Sedona. With four tennis courts, an outdoor swimming pool and spa, heated for year-round enjoyment, nine-hole golf course spread across eight acres, and plenty of hiking trails located just a few minutes away from the resort, what more could you want?

Los Abrigados Resort & Spa

If it's romance among the red rocks that you are searching for, consider the amazing Los Abrigados Resort & Spa, a Diamond Resorts property. Diamond Resorts, with a proven record of world-class resorts, now has locations in over 30 countries around the world. Their expansive Sedona property has 22 acres of walking trails filled with fountains and benches, all situated against the breathtaking scenery of Sedona. After an afternoon stroll, the spa at Los Abrigados Resort is a soothing way to wind down. Plus they even have cottages available, which off a bit more privacy than their basic hotel rooms.

Sedona Rouge Hotel And Spa

The expanded Sedona Rouge Hotel And Spa in the western side of Sedona is a great option for families on vacation. Their spacious rooms are both kid- and pet-friendly, plus the concierge can help arrange babysitting services if parents need some time to themselves, or want to spend a couple of hours getting rejuvenated at the spa. Additional amenities such as a refrigerator, coffeemaker, and free DVD rental service make your family vacation that much easier.

  Featured photo by Don Graham via Flickr.

New York City has no shortage of hotels. Unfortunately, many of them are rather boring, and a boring hotel can make for a boring trip. So I'm on the hunt around NYC to find the coolest unique boutique hotels the city has to offer.

YOTEL New York at Times Square

YOTEL is a fresh, modern take on what a hotel should be, and the YOTEL New York at Times Square is the chain's most popular location. The rooms are smartly designed, and the entire hotel process has been refined, thanks to its electronic check-in process. The NYC property even has a robotic luggage concierge that has become a tourist attraction of its own. Seriously, you have to see it to believe it!

Robot luggage concierge at Yotel Hotel in New York City
The robotic luggage concierge found in the Yotel lobby has become a tourist attraction on its own. Photo by Jason Paris via flickr.

Martha Washington

When the Martha Washington Hotel first opened in 1903, it was exclusively for women. Thankfully, nowadays all people and all types of travelers are welcome here. In 2012 the hotel was even dedicated a New York City historical landmark. That sense of history is still evident in the rooms, which feature the same seamless fusion of vintage and modern luxury that can be found throughout the hotel. Marta, the Martha Washington's Roman-inspired pizzeria, has delicious food and even offers in-suite dining. You'll also find a sleek 24/7 fitness center to burn some calories should you find yourself over-indulging on food and want to burn off some of those calories.

Omni Berkshire Place

Omni has a reputation for offering luxurious stays at affordable prices, and Omni Berkshire Place is no different. The hotel first opened in 1926, but it has had several massive renovations over the years to maintain a modern level of comfort and style. However, one thing has not changed over the years: Berkshire Place was originally loved because of the size of its rooms, and it still offers some of the most spacious rooms in all Manhattan.

Pod 39

If all of these hotels are sounding a bit excessive, then Pod 39 is your answer. Cool and quirky, this hotel refers to its cute little rooms as "pods." These pods come in several variations, such as single, full, bunk and double, yet each offers maximized features and functionality in minimal space. By curbing excess, Pod 39 was also able to trim the price — it is one of the cheapest hotels in New York City. The entire property has a unique, funky, artistic feel, and the visual element of that is a treat all by itself. Did I mention the rooftop bar and lounge?

The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel

The Carlyle Hotel in New York City
Photo by Arvind Grover via flickr.

For those who have come to New York to shop, look no further than The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel located right in heart of the action on Madison Avenue. All the high-end brands have shops located mere steps away, and thankfully, The Carlyle has spacious rooms that can handle all the extra shopping bags. Another of New York City's historic hotels, The Carlyle just celebrated its 85th anniversary last year. But as with all great things, it only gets better with time!

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