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    “Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother’s house we go!” For so many the holiday season means battling bad weather and traveling by car, plane, or bus to visit family that may be spread out all across the country. But these days more and more families are opting to travel to tropical locations rather than spending the holidays in the cold. As the days are starting to get shorter and the temperatures are dropping all too quickly, a family trip to a sun drenched hideaway can be just what everyone needs to get into the holiday spirit.

    Your family might enjoy one of these beautiful destinations over the holidays:

    Bali, Indonesia
    Bali is the most visitor-friendly island of Indonesia[1]. Known for vibrant colors, enchanting dance performances, and stretches of beach that go on for miles the little Island of Bali has a lot to offer. You’ll be able to get in plenty of holiday shopping at the Kuta Art Market or any one of the traditional markets all over the island of Bali. These markets are filled with hand crafted items and local treasures. You’ll have a hard time leaving empty handed!

    St. Lucia
    Celebrate the holidays with white sand instead of white snow. St. Lucia, an extremely lush Caribbean island, might be just what you are looking for. In mid-December St. Lucia hosts the Festival of Lights which includes light sculptures and lantern contests[2]. You’ll also find the countryside dotted with bonfires to celebrate the holiday season. Take in the exquisite snorkeling, food, and festivities in St. Lucia and you’ll find yourself dreaming of palm trees and beaches all year round.

    Puebla, Mexico
    What holiday feast is complete without chocolate? Puebla, just a short two hours from Mexico City, is home to the Mexican delight called mole – a spicy chocolate sauce flavored with chili peppers, cinnamon, and fruit. And if chocolate sauce isn’t your thing, there’s always chiles en nogada – a delicious concoction of a chili stuffed with meat in a nut cream sauce[3]. With so many new and vibrant flavors you probably won’t miss those canned cranberries you left at home!

    San Juan, Puerto Rico
    If festivals are your thing, Puerto Rico offers a holiday season filled with fun and excitement! Held in the third week of January the San Sebastián Festival is an enormous outdoor party in San Juan with food, music, arts, and shopping. Then in late February you can check out the Casals Festival. The Casals Festival celebrates cellist Pablo Casals and is considered one of the premier classical music events in the entire Caribbean.

    Big Island, Hawaii
    With an average temperature year round that hovers in the 80’s, Hawaii is a tempting travel destination during any season. But travel between September and November and you’ll hit the Big Island during the off season, which means fewer people and more beach. And if you find yourself missing snow, head over to Mauna Kea, or “white mountain”, -where skiing and snowboarding abound.

    [1]: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/bali
    [2]: http://away.com/features/top-ten-christmas-vacation-destinations-1.html?page=2
    [3]: http://away.com/features/top-ten-christmas-vacation-destinations-1.html

    Holiday Travel? There’s an App for That!

    Story 2 Image November

    Holiday travel is hard enough. Take a look at these apps that can make your travel easier. Whether you’re just going down the road or across the country these apps are here to help!

    TripIt – A must have itinerary app. No matter where you book your flight TripIt will keep it organized for you. Know where you’re going, where your connecting flight is, and alternative routes if you miss your flight. Simply forward your flight confirmation emails to TripIt and TripIt takes care of the rest!

    GasBuddy – With gas prices on the rise, GasBuddy helps you locate gas stations and see their current gas prices.

    Yelp – Part of the exciting thing about being in a new city is trying new restaurants and foods that you don’t have access to at home. Yelp helps you find those restaurants! Yelp functions as a social networking/restaurant review app. You can trust that you’re getting the inside tips on where to eat from locals and other travelers alike. As a bonus, Yelp also gives you turn-by-turn directions to your destination – so there’s no getting lost on the way to your dinner!

    HotelTonight – Flight cancelled? Got a flat tire? HotelTonight helps you book a hotel last-minute at a serious discount.

    FlightBoard – Instantly turn your phone into an airport arrival and departure board. You can see in real time if flights are delayed or on time. This app comes in handy if you are the one traveling or if you are picking family up at the airport.

    Hailo – You got through the airport in one piece, but as you wobble to the curb with luggage, carry-on’s and holiday gifts, you wonder how to hail a cab without putting everything down. With the Hailo app, it’s easy. Rather than drop everything to hail a cab – Hailo’s ‘pick me up’ button uses your phone’s GPS to make a cab come to you!

    Waze – Enter your destination and Waze will help you avoid traffic and get you the quickest route for the current traffic conditions.

    Where in the World?

    Where in the World November

    Where in the world is this red sand beach located and what is it called?

    It is Kaihalulu Beach in Maui, Hawaii. Tucked in a small cove near Hana Bay is where this blood red sandy beach can be found. The sand gets its red coloring from the iron-rich crumbling hills surrounding the bay. 

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