Category Archives: Random

6 Cool Vacation Spots To Beat The Heat

There’s no denying that it’s extremely hot outside, and it will only continue to get hotter as we make our way deeper into summer. To beat the heat, or at least take a break from the high August temperatures, check out our list of some great cool weather vacation spots. Stay a week or maybe even a month in some of these locales, and enjoy the crisp and refreshing weather!

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1. A Cross Gulf Cruise of Alaska

What better way to beat the heat than by spending two weeks traveling through the icy waters of the Gulf of Alaska? Besides getting to stop in at Alaska’s main port cities, cruisers get to spend a lot of quality time exploring Alaska’s glacial landscape. To get there, travel first to Vancouver or Seattle, and then hop on board one of the many available cruise ships. After a few days of soaking in the cool sea breeze while standing on the ship’s deck, it’ll be hard to remember the scorch of summer heat.

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2. Camping at Glacier National Park

For outdoor enthusiasts, there’s no better place to enjoy cool temperatures than at Glacier National Park in Montana. Snowfall persists late into the hottest parts of August, which means that hikes and camping in this park are guaranteed to be chilly and refreshing. And if the cold air of the mountains gets to be too much, visitors can always retreat to the mild warmth of the park’s meadows and creek beds.

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3. A Stay in Reykjavik, Iceland

A trip to Iceland’s beautiful capital city is a no-brainer solution to beating summer woes. In fact, Reykjavik is the world’s northernmost capital city, which means that temperatures are guaranteed to be low and cool. Venture out for a snowy hike or simply enjoy being able to walk outside in a city without having to be on the constant lookout for AC.

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4. An Antarctic Cruise

Though travel to Antarctica is not cheap, a once-in-a-lifetime excursion to the land of ice, polar bears, and penguins might be just what some travelers need to recoup after sweltering summer temperatures. Grab passage on an Antarctica cruise and trade in those swim floaties for some warm fur gloves.

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5. Hiking in Patagonia

While it may be deep summer for countries north of the equator, there’s a whole world of pleasant and temperate weather waiting way down south. One great destination to visit below the equator is the Patagonia region of South America, which straddles the border of Chile and Argentina. A popular site for backpackers, spend a few weeks or a month traversing the cool, icy landscape. Make sure to check out the Perito Moreno Glacier and the Argentine Lake District.

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6. A Restful Visit to Lunenberg, Nova Scotia

Lunenberg is the perfect spot for the tourist looking to escape the heat for weather that is cool, but not frigid. This beautiful waterfront town in Nova Scotia is a UNESCO World Heritage sight and boasts a bevy of exciting water activities and quaint B&Bs. Temperatures in the summer hover between sixty and seventy degrees, which makes for a calm and serene atmosphere.


How To Be A Respectful Tourist Anywhere In The World

One might think carving your name on the Colosseum or posting graffiti in America’s national parks might be inappropriate vacation activities, but these are real things that real tourists have done—and they’re hardly the end of the list of egregious decisions tourists have made over the years. Indeed, tourists have come a long way since the United Nations declared 1967 the International Year of the Tourist—and not always for the better.

With approximately a billion tourists traversing the globe, many natural, cultural, and historical sites have become threatened by frequent—and at times destructive—visitation. While recent trends suggest today’s tourists are more likely to prioritize environmental sustainability and social responsibility (and that’s good news), the future of tourism lies with the choices we all make as individual travelers. Here’s how to be respectful everywhere you go.

Do some research.

Before traveling anywhere, read up on local customs including expectations for dress, bargaining, tipping, public displays of affection, and offensive gestures. Also develop a sense for the area’s geography, currency, language and dialects, and major cities and towns. Not only will it be easier to navigate a new place, but it’ll demonstrate that you cared enough to invest in learning about the region.

Go local.

Don’t be the person ordering room service or grabbing a Big Mac when there’s a new world of culinary adventures to be explored. Presumably, you traveled to a place for a reason—so get out there and see what it has to offer. Whether savoring Scottish cuisine or eating out in Shanghai, valuing local foods (and arts, crafts, and customs) is a great way to express appreciation for a foreign land. As an added bonus, your money will go directly toward sustaining local people and establishments.

Remember that people are people.

Sure, some people may not look, dress, talk, or act exactly the same as you—but humans are humans everywhere in the world. That means it’s inappropriate to treat anyone like a sightseeing object or fodder for Instagram. Don’t stare at locals, don’t take photos without people’s consent, and try to keep an open mind.

Take the “sustainable tourism pledge.”

Created by the World Monuments Fund, the pledge asks travelers to commit to responsible tourism through actions such as conserving natural resources, visiting lesser-known attractions, offsetting their carbon footprints, leaving things as they’re found, volunteering, and educating friends and family about responsible tourism.

Learn some of the local language.

Even knowing a few basic words or questions (“Where is the nearest bathroom?” is always handy) can signal that you care enough to make an effort to meet people where they are. When talking in any language, be sure to speak quietly, kindly, and without judgment.

Mind your surroundings.

Don’t peruse a city map in the middle of a crowded sidewalk, don’t block a street vendor loaded up with fruit, and don’t take 15 minutes to place a food order in front of a line of hungry locals on their lunch break. Be mindful of other people and try to stay out of the way of people going about their daily routines.

Keep politics at home.

While our travel habits may say something about our political affiliations, it’s best to be subtle about politics abroad. You may not agree with local customs or religious beliefs, and that’s fine. But remember these things may be very important to people, and it’s worth showing respect for that reason alone. This goes doubly at holy sites—turn cell phones off, speak quietly (or not at all), and aim to be as discreet as possible.

Own that you’re a tourist.

There’s no need to pretend to be a seasoned expat when you’re just passing through. It’s perfectly okay to be a tourist. Acknowledging that you don’t know everything about a place and seeking input from people who live there can open up opportunities for connections and give the inside scoop on what places to visit when. Humility may also save you from being pranked by locals, as in these lies Londoners tell tourists.

Don’t assume that merely possessing a modicum of common sense automatically makes for a respectful tourist (although it certainly helps). Instead, keep these strategies front of mind while planning a trip and adventuring around the world. We all have a part to play in preserving environmental, cultural, and historical heritage for generations to come. Take responsibility for yours.

The Takeaways


  •      Research your destination before you go
  •      Support local restaurants, artists, craftspeople, and shops
  •      Learn some of the local language
  •      Keep an open mind
  •      Take the Sustainable Tourism Pledge (and stick to it)


  •      Bring politics abroad
  •      Treat locals like sightseeing objects
  •      Pretend to be an expert on a place that’s new to you
  •      Interfere with locals’ comings and goings
  •      Leave behind trash, graffiti, or other evidence of your stay

The History Of Flight Attendant Uniforms

When people imagine a flight attendant uniform, they might conjure up images of neck scarves, flattering knee-length skirts, and perhaps a pillbox hat set slightly askew on a perfectly coiffed head. Though these imaginings are hardly false, they’re also not entirely true. We did a little research and found out exactly where uniforms came from.

The first flight attendant uniforms were actually quite plain. In the 1930s, when commercial flying first began, many customers were rightfully fearful of the new technology. To assuage these fears, airlines hired nurses to come on board to help calm the nerves of their passengers. The uniforms they wore were long and dark-colored, most often in shades of hunter green, navy, or slate. Through the thirties, forties, and fifties, uniforms remained simple and professional, with crisp lines, conservative skirts, and practical shoes.

It wasn’t until the sixties and seventies that airlines began using the flight attendant uniform as a springboard for expressing the creativity and personality of their brand. As flying became more popular, and the interior designs of planes became more fantastical, and so did the clothing worn by the women serving customers food and drink. Designers such as Balmain, Halston, and Pucci lined up to design the new uniforms, which were colorful and sexy, and reflected the mod stylings of the time.

During this time, restrictions for hiring flight attendants became stricter, with a large emphasis placed on physical appearance. Airlines crafted minutely detailed guidelines for how they wanted their flight attendants to look and be: young, fresh-faced, thin, single, reasonably attractive. Flight attendants on the most popular airlines (such as Delta or American Airlines) were meant to be as breathtakingly gorgeous as models, which resulted in a highly-glamorous period of flight. The images of flight attendants through the sixties and seventies are iconic and might still be what many people think of when they think of airline stewardesses.

As we enter the eighties and nineties, though, uniforms shifted once again to a more practical and professional design. Colors returned to the dark neutrals of the first days of flight, and though many flight attendants were still considered beautiful, the overall aesthetic was less glamorous. Near the end of the 20th century, flying became a more practical, and commercial, means of transportation, so the luxurious fantasies of early flight dissipated into something that was more mundane and cost-effective.

This has persisted into the present day, where flight attendants mostly look like the people they’re serving in flight. Their uniforms are simple and neutral, and there is less emphasis placed on age or physical appearance. There is greater diversity, too, especially with the number of men who now serve as flight attendants. However, though the everyday coach passenger may never get to experience the ultra-luxe stylings of those early sixties and seventies flights, those with thick wallets or enough frequent-flyer miles can still enjoy the pleasures of airborne fantasy.

Why Flying Is Cheaper and Greener Than Ever

In the 1960s, the air travel might have seemed a little more luxurious, but it was a pretty crummy experience in a lot of ways. Longer travel times and fewer direct flights meant aerial travel could be protracted, expensive, and really bad for the environment.

But as decades passed, we’ve seen a combination of rising oil prices, improved fuel efficiency (and technology), an increasingly crowded marketplace, and an apparent willingness to sacrifice roominess for cheaper air travel. Somewhere along the way, flying has become one of the more environmentally friendly ways to travel.

In fact, jet aircrafts today are around 70 percent more fuel-efficient than their 1960s counterparts, to the point that flying might even be greener than driving. An April 2015  eport published in the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute found driving today is more “energy intensive” than flying if you consider the amount of energy needed to transport one person a given distance. The fact that today’s bustling airliners can fly dozens or even hundreds of people at a time simply outweighs the carbon footprint of trundling across the country in an automobile.

There are a lot of variables to consider, of course: People usually drive shorter distances than they fly, and the shorter the distance you fly, the more energy the plane uses per person per mile. But the study’s conclusion is still sound, and it’s not the only one to reach it.

Probably the biggest and the best known investigation is a 2013 study published in Environmental Science & Technology, which took a broader view of a vehicle’s “greenness” by looking at not just the amount of energy used but also at a range of pollutants like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and water vapor. It also measured a slew of related factors, like how long the gases remain in the atmosphere and how culpable each gas is in the onward march of climate change.

This verdict was pretty similar. After five years of research performed by 45 teams around the world, it was found that the greenest forms of travel for individuals are rail and bus, and that in the long term (think a 20-year time frame), cars contributed more to global warming than planes on a kilometer-per-passenger basis – even for trips as short as New York to Boston.

The airlines seem to be doing their part to cut down on flying’s environmental footprint. Want to do something yourself to make air travel a little greener? Check out our quick tips:

  • Planes burn through a disproportionate amount of fuel during takeoff and landing. If you can swing it, it’s a lot greener to fly non-stop.
  • Hate running through all those little plastic water bottles? Bring your own to fill up — once you’re past the TSA, of course!
  • Pack light to reduce the weight of the plane. (And avoid any potential additional baggage fees!)
  • Try to find a greener airline. Some airlines, like Southwest, have been retrofitting their planes to improve their fuel efficiency, while others are designing newer, greener planes that are in use now. A recent study by the International Council on Clean Transportation might have done the ranking for you; check out their list here.
  • Finally, remember to turn off and unplug all electronics before you leave for the airport!

Travel is no longer for the rich, it’s no longer for the childless (or petless!), and it’s certainly not for people who don’t care about the environment. Fortunately, the drive to be greener and more fuel-efficient is finally in the interests of both the consumer and the airlines themselves. Time to get flying!

Mile-High Cocktails: The History of Drinking on Planes (and How to Get the Best Deals)

After the plane reaches cruising altitude and the seatbelt sign switches off, many of us sigh with relief upon seeing the beverage cart move through the aisle. The lucky business class connoisseurs usually get unlimited, free alcohol, while those in economy can swipe a credit card to get their vodka tonic.

Of course, it might not be the first drink of the day — perhaps the only time people don’t feel ashamed to be found sitting at a bar before breakfast is at an airport.

But to back up: Why are cocktails (and beer, and wine) a thing on flights?

We can thank the 1950’s and 60’s for setting the trend: Alcohol used to be free flowing on planes largely because air travel was such a luxury event. It could’ve cost you a month’s salary to take a cross-country flight from New York to San Francisco, whereas now they’re way more affordable. People dressed up in their finest attire to board the plane and dine on fresh fish and caviar, ordering scotch after scotch.

The “but why so much booze?” is a little less clear, though without in-flight movies and WiFi, there’s a good chance a fancy cocktail, aside from its association with class, simply kept people entertained. And when speaking about the “Golden Age” of flying, liquor and fancy cocktails took a front seat. Today, that’s still the norm: Liquor is the most popular drink of choice (34%) followed by wine (13%) and beer (10%).

Flying has since turned from an industry that screamed “luxury” to one that says “commercial.” Passengers are found in their pajamas instead of their best suit, and the in-flight food is not a four-course meal.

Booze is still a must-have for many travelers. There are a great number of airlines that offer free beer, wine, and liquor — especially international airlines like Air Canada, Cathay Pacific, and Air France (which also touts the fact that it provides prestigious champagne in all cabins — cheers!). Even when traveling overseas, however, complementary drinks still depend on if the flights is domestic or international.

But when flying in the U.S, there’s at least one airline people can count on. American Airlines just announced economy passengers will receive a three-course meal (how does cheese and crackers, Tuscan ravioli, and chocolate mousse sound?) with complimentary beer or wine. This holds true for passengers on transatlantic and transpacific flights, as well as ones from the U.S. to Argentina, Brazil, and Chile.

Many still pay the price and order alcohol through the flight attendant (they average at around $7). In fact, it’s a leading revenue source for airlines. Another option is to BYOB. The TSA allows people to bring alcohol on in a carry-on; as long as it is in a 3 oz. bottle, in a quart-sized clear zip-lock, it will breeze through security. Plus, there are recipes for DIY drinks people can make, even 36,000 feet in the air.

So sit back, relax, and keep the sky-high tradition alive: Have a good flight with drink in hand.

Where Would You Go?

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For those in America, happy thanksgiving — be thankful for what you have today. Much of the world’s population aren’t blessed with the luxuries you have.

Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is the co-founder of Horizon & Oh Hey World. He worked for Zillow from September of 2005 to January of 2010 on the marketing team managing Zillow’s API program and various online partnerships. Founder of Geek Estate Blog, a multi-author blog focused on real estate technology for real estate professionals, and, a blog devoted to exploring the world of microfinance. As passionate as you get about travel.

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The Travel Itch

I’ve been stateside since late November. I’ve traveled a bit within the USA since I got home (NYC, Vegas, Southern California), but I’ve got an itch for another trip somewhere abroad. Working is fun, but an international vacation is needed and in the works. Anyone have any thoughts on the best places to visit in the Caribbean? I’m thinking about Saint Thomas, but would love your thoughts on the best islands down there.

Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is the co-founder of Horizon & Oh Hey World. He worked for Zillow from September of 2005 to January of 2010 on the marketing team managing Zillow’s API program and various online partnerships. Founder of Geek Estate Blog, a multi-author blog focused on real estate technology for real estate professionals, and, a blog devoted to exploring the world of microfinance. As passionate as you get about travel.

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My Most Needed Christmas Gift

Let’s just say my old pair of flip flops didn’t make it off the island of Santorini with me.

Here is my brand new pair!!

Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is the co-founder of Horizon & Oh Hey World. He worked for Zillow from September of 2005 to January of 2010 on the marketing team managing Zillow’s API program and various online partnerships. Founder of Geek Estate Blog, a multi-author blog focused on real estate technology for real estate professionals, and, a blog devoted to exploring the world of microfinance. As passionate as you get about travel.

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One Thing I Do NOT Miss About Santorini

I departed Santorini on Thursday morning for London after pretty much being a complete beach bum for two and a half months — since mid May, I haven’t put on long pants, have been to the beach all but about 5 days, and haven’t put on a long sleeved shirt. And I’ve absolutely loved it. However, one thing I can tell you for certain that I do NOT miss — AT ALL — the salt water that comes out of the tap in Santorini. Not simply because it means you can’t drink the tap water, but mostly because showers are salty. I’m used to washing my face and eyes in the shower water, and I found myself unable to do that without making my eyes sting ever since I arrived in Santorini in May.

So, yes, I’m enjoying my showers with FRESH water here in London!

Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is the co-founder of Horizon & Oh Hey World. He worked for Zillow from September of 2005 to January of 2010 on the marketing team managing Zillow’s API program and various online partnerships. Founder of Geek Estate Blog, a multi-author blog focused on real estate technology for real estate professionals, and, a blog devoted to exploring the world of microfinance. As passionate as you get about travel.

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