8 Incredible U.S. Solo Travel Destinations to Book Now

 

Courtesy of Pearson's Pond Luxury Inn
Courtesy of Pearson’s Pond Luxury Inn

If pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is at the top of your agenda this year, booking a solo travel experience might be a good place to start. Friends weekends and romantic getaways are great—and, often, very necessary—but there’s something potentially life-changing about testing your own boundaries by exploring new places on your own.

“Solo travel makes you more outgoing, it requires you to engage with people you normally may not need to speak to, and can open your mind to all different types,” says Dr. Magdalena Swierczewski, the founder of ExplorerMD. “You also learn more about yourself, as you have time to observe, reflect and learn who you are and how you react to certain situations. Solo travel makes you feel strong.”

Where to start? Check out the full story on Glamour here.

 

12 Airbnbs That Will Give You Serious Wanderlust for a BFF Getaway

Chocolate, roses, champagne, candlelit dinners pour deux. Pfffftttt. Single or taken, there are some vacations where we just want to banish any hints of romance and trade it for koozies, culture, and craziness with our flock of best friends.

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But why stay at a cookie-cutter hotel when you can rent out one of these swoon-worthy abodes from airbnb? You’ll remember them for years to come and, when you tally up the final budget, you’ll probably save a few bucks along the way. Plus, treehouse living, anyone? All of these choices come loaded with cool extras, and are located in cities and towns around the world packed with fun breweries, live music, amazing park adventures and more. P.S. We’ll still take that chocolate and champagne, though.

Read the full story on Glamour here.

 

What to Do When Your BFF is Addicted to Her Phone

 

The Wharf harbor. Gulf Shores, Alabama.
The Wharf harbor. Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Last week, I experienced one of the most magical days of my life. While road tripping with a friend to the Gulf Shores (a true beach town gem in Alabama), we played music full-blast, caught up on the year since we’d last seen each other, and ate way too much fried everything. The Wharf was like some kind of adult Disney World: a hybrid of Rodeo Drive chic with Charleston charm, complete with palm trees and a light-up ferris wheel. Snap. Hell, let’s pause and take a video too. We giddily slurped up oysters and vodka-sodas at the cozy waterfront bar. Snap. Snap. Later that night, we went to a Miranda Lambert concert that happened to be in town. Basically, 24 hours don’t get much more magical than this.

And don’t worry, I have 78 photos, 5 videos, 7 PBR-infused snapchat stories, and too many texts to prove it. I say this to illustrate that I, too, fall guilty to the throes of over-documenting epic nights. And, that’s OK: We all have a night (or eight) where we realized we spent so much time tethered to our phone that we forgot to, you know, experience it…

Read the full story on Glamour.

 

Hip City Veg’s Burger Is Worth Two Hours on a Bolt Bus

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But really, though. It’s that good. One of my favorite things to do is eat. One of my favorite things to do when I’m traveling is eat more than I normally do. One of my favorite things to do when I’m traveling to see DMB is eat more than I normally do when I travel since I’m burning off all those calories dancing at concerts (I’m sure the added calories from booze don’t matter…).

This June, my friend Jess and I (I’ve known her since 2006 when I was in high school and she was 23 and not so tired of life….I think we met via IM through a DMB message board…), embarked on our annual when-we-can pilgrimage to DMB at Camden. As per usual, I made a detour to the incredible Hip City Veg, a take out, entirely plant-based not-quite chain in Philly (and DC too). Sure, I could be drunk and cheat with pizza or grilled cheese. But with a burger THIS good (the Ziggy Burger is made with organic smoked tempeh and special sauce)…why?

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My Best Moment In…Columbus, Ohio

If you know, me, you know I have an obsession with life’s little moments. In fact, I’ve had a one-sentence diary for the better part of a decade where I write down my favorite moment of the day. It’s a good reminder that on crummy days, there’s always a silver lining (like that friendly M102 bus driver waiting for you in the pouring rain), and on your best days, it’s often the tiniest of interactions and/or feelings/sights/sounds that mean the most.

At the start of March, I spent a great week in Columbus, Ohio. I soaked in (the views of) crazy, awesome waterfalls spilling over snow-capped peaks. I took a trapeze class where I flipped upside down enough times to fill every ad page in an Amtrak magazine. I yoga-ed, museum-hopped, ate, drank, shopped, hiked and concert-attended my way through town. I even ran into a few no-neck body builders in town for The Arnold Classic.

My absolute favorite instant? Settling into a bar stool at Denmark on High, watching the elegant tango of a wildly talented bartender, smoke, muddle, shake and stir our cocktails to perfection. I may have only arrived five hours before, but New York City and my ever-expanding inbox already seemed but a fuzzy concept, ages away. The bar was alive with suited fellas mingling with organic cotton tote bag touting locals. Tourists exchanged eager conversation with retired locals (or was it a fellow conference attendee?) as the bar lit up with a happy, carefree din. I was buzzing on just three sips of my delicately-designed (local, obviously) whiskey libation. It was 4:47pm. On a Tuesday. FullSizeRender (3)

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A Not So Vegan (Or Sober) Time in Cabo

This past week (ahem, two months ago by the time I found a moment to publish this), I got back from an absolutely unforgettable time in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico where I probably had some of the best meals of my life at Hilton Los Cabos. From romantic beachside barbecues (no hot dogs and hammies here, folks) to elegant wine tasting dinners and tequila pairings with experts whose palates can detect things like tobacco, peach, and leather, leading me to believe that I’m the most unsophisticated food writer I’ve met, given that I only could detect the delicate nuances of, well, tequila-tasting tequila, every meal suddenly became the best meal yet.

When I’m home, I’m pretty strict about eating vegan: I don’t buy anything that’s not plant-based to cook with in my own home, I’ll eat dinner before going out to meet a friend if I know vegan pickings will be slim, and I’m  sometimes guilty of being that girl who asks the waiter “Were those string beans sauteed in olive oil or butter?” before ordering. On vacation, my rules (and belt buckle) loosen up a bit. I realize some (most?) vegans would probably gawk at this, saying I’m “not a real vegan” (I don’t claim to be) but I’ve been doing this for the better part of five years and it works for me, so oh well.

The trip had way too many highlights to recall (Just ask me about the time I put on a harness and zoomed across a zipline dangling thousands of feet above sea level between canyons…), but here are a few of my favorite edible memories and for good measure, dolphin photos.

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Okay I swear this post won’t be all dolphin photos. Enter: Food coma. Photos courtesy of me and Hilton Los Cabos, the swoonworthy resort where we stayed.

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Did I say food? Clearly I meant margaritas…back to food. I mean farm…

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to table…(AKA that time Jake ate an entire display table of sushi on ice…)

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Until next time I’m met with infinite margaritas and pools…

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How to Eat Vegan on A Norwegian Cruise Ship

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If you’re gearing up for a cruise ship vacation, or even just toying with the idea, you’re probably thinking “There’s no way I can eat vegan on an all-you-can-eat cruise extravaganza.” And while that may be true, you can most definitely eat vegan when sober. Here’s how I did it:

1. These ships are typically equipped with about 20+ restaurants. Seek out the ethnic ones like Japanese (ours had its very own version of a knife-tossing, action-packed Benihana), Chinese and Indian (and at the buffets, steer clear of the never-ending options of carved meats and look for the abundance of international stations). Even the Italian spots should be able to dole out a simple pasta with veggies and olive oil or pasta with tomato sauce and freshly cracked black pepper.

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 Makeshift-dinner plate round two created from some international buffet stations like Indian and Japanese:photo 5

2. Explore the high seas in comfort by raiding the breakfast buffet for mini boxes of vegan-friendly cereal and fruit. Snack on them throughout the day to keep you fueled between meals.  Craving a bagel for breakfast? I regret to inform you, tofu cream cheese won’t be on any of the 29389283 decks. Instead DIY a boring bagel with the friendly help of a toaster, capers, onions, tomatoes, olive oil and vinegar and whatever other vegan-friendly options your heart desires.

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3. Just ask! You’ve spent lord knows how much money to be there (and don’t forget that $12 service fee per day per person. Thanks for the heads up, guys) so don’t be shy about speaking up to your waiter. See an eggplant dish on the dinner menu that looks intriguing but is doused in mozzarella? See if they can make you a special version sans cheese. See a salad that looks delectable but is topped off with slivers of tuna? Just ask if they can leave off the fish from yours.

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4. Anchors and…condiments away! Befriend toppings and sauces. Seriously. With the help of sriracha and toppings from the grill station like caramelized onions, mushrooms and horseradish, you can turn any blah meal into something quite tasty.  Yes, sometimes you have to think a bit creatively to make a full vegan meal in the main dining hall but its totally doable. At buffet style meals, I often utilized various stations to make a meal come together that otherwise wouldn’t stand on its own (i.e., for the pasta pictured below, I got ziti with tomato sauce, onions and mushrooms from the pasta area, and then headed over to the salad bar for flavor-boosters like olives and peppers and protein doses from chickpeas and peas. Then over to the pizza bar for red chile pepper flakes. Done!)

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5. Don’t get drunk and raid the soft serve machine. You’ll thank me later. But don’t worry about getting drunk and bingeing on veggie burgers loaded with guacamole, horseradish, jalapenos, spicy mustard, onions and waffle fries. It’ll make those $9 Dirty Shirley’s (it’s a thing! I thought I brilliantly reinvented this childhood favorite into a booze-infused libation myself but alcoholic Shirley Temples are a thing, who knew?!)

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