Viking River Cruises was recently named Best River Cruise Line in the 10Best Readers' Choice Awards – and for a very good reason. The "Cities of Light" tour from Paris to Prague, down the Moselle and Rhine rivers and past some of Germany's most famous and historic cities and towns, is the consummate travel experience. The numerous city and cultural tour excursions, led by informative local guides, as well as the on-board amenities are top-notch.
Lodi California is nestled between San Francisco Bay and the Sierra Nevada mountains, and boasts the perfect Mediterranean climate for the production of outstanding grape harvests. As a result, the region is fast becoming one of California's true wine stars. Lodi's wine country offers a rural atmosphere and relaxed pace to enjoy its beautiful vineyards and exceptional vintages. Its wine trail boasts more than 85 boutique wineries. Couple this with outstanding restaurants that feature true farm-to-table cuisine, an historic downtown, recreational opportunities such as biking and kayaking, family activities, shopping, regional festivals, and you've got a perfect, exciting new wine destination to enjoy.
Check our our USATODAY 10Best.com travel page for a detailed photo gallery of all there is to see and do in Lodi California.
Rhode Island may be the smallest state in the nation in land area, but it packs a mighty wallop when it comes to activities and attractions for travelers.
Providence, Rhode Island's capital, is a hotbed of history, culture, art and dining. What's more, it has the cosmopolitan vibe of a major metropolis while maintaining the intimate feel of a New England town.
The charming town of Newport boasts a history that dates back to 1639, and its well preserved historical buildings and cobblestone streets reflect this heritage. Miles of pristine beaches, museums and galleries, eclectic shopping, outstanding cuisine, vineyards and wine-tasting, and a vibrant nightlife await the visitor.
See more images of Rhode Island's amazing visitor attractions on my USA TODAY 10Best photo essay.
Frankfurt, Germany is a bustling metropolis in the heart of Europe and a global financial and trade hub. The city is an interesting visitor destination in its own right, but most travelers don't realize how many historical and charming towns are within an hour's drive from the city center.
Explore a photo essay that was published recently on USA TODAY/10Best describing this awesome adventure.
It's hard to imagine the history and German "Gemütlichkeit" that is so readily accessible from the hip and vibrant "big city" of Frankfurt. Stroll through Medieval villages, raise a glass of Riesling in the famous town of Rüdesheim on the Rhine, immerse yourself in history in the cities of Aschaffenburg and Darmstadt, luxuriate in the mineral spas of Bad Homburg, and enjoy a unique wine tasting experience in Hochheim. There's a wealth of experiences awaiting the visitor to the Frankfurt Rhine Main region of Germany.
Interested in seeing some stunning photos of this entire adventure? Please log on to my Germany photo gallery page.
Ever wonder what it's like to take a river cruise through Europe's waterways? You can follow our recent journey from Paris to Prague on a magnificent Viking River Cruise that brought us to some of Europe's most stunning towns, landscapes and cities. Welcome aboard!
CLICK ON EACH DESTINATION NAME FOR A FULL PHOTO GALLERY OF IMAGES
First Stop on the "Cities of Light" Adventure:
THANKS FOR TRAVELING ALONG WITH US AND COME BACK OFTEN, AS MORE GALLERIES WILL BE ADDED REGULARLY.
The Smartest Piece of Luggage You Will Ever Know
My quest for the perfect airline carry-on bag for traveling seems to be never-ending. Since my husband and I travel with only carry-on bags in tow, regardless of how long our trip is, finding the perfect bag can be a challenge.
When I discovered the Genius Pack 22”, I knew I had found the ultimate in carry-on spinners.
I tested it out on a recent 10-day trip, and it emphatically earned 5-Stars in my book. Made of quality materials meant to hold up well on the road, this spinner looks as good as it performs. What sets it apart from other carry-on bags is a long list of bells and whistles that can make living out of a suitcase more of a pleasure than a curse, especially on longer trips.
One of the coolest features is a removable laundry bag with a built-in compression system that neatly compacts your dirty clothes by expelling unwanted air through an integrated air valve. Your dirty laundry is stored away from your clean clothes. When your trip is done, just unzip the laundry bag and take it straight to the laundromat or cleaners. This is certainly a welcome convenience for the traveler on the go.
Other ingenious organizing conveniences are the built-in underwear, socks and electric chargers compartments, which eliminate the need for packing cubes for these items. These are located in the top cover, leaving ample room in the body of the spinner for your bulkier clothing items.
In all, the bag comes with 17 “genius” features, which include a zippered expander that adds up to 25% more packing space; an external jacket wrap (I used it to carry my bulky raincoat as I rushed through the airport); convenient external compartments to store your water bottle, umbrella, and magazines/portfolios; and a built in add-a-bag strap, which I used to cart my camera gear.
As if the above weren’t enough, the bag also has a portable battery pack integrated in the luggage so you can recharge your device wherever your trip takes you. The ability to juice up your phone from your carry on is an amazing convenience, especially in busy airports where finding a charging station not shared by the masses is a rarity.
For those travelers who can’t live without music in their ears, another feature integrated into the luggage is a compact mini speaker so you can listen to music while you unpack, or just about anywhere your journey takes you. Both the battery pack and speaker system are sold separately.
All this smartness is contained in a bag that measures 22” x 14” x 9”, so it is compatible with current size restrictions for most airlines.
A UPF 50+ Protection Hat That Makes a Fashion Statement
In preparation for a recent trip to Hawaii, I knew I needed a packable hat with major UPF protection. My dilemma was to find a hat that would take me from hiking through the trails to sipping a Mai Tai on a luxury hotel veranda. I knew I had to replace my tried-and-true khaki hat which, while it did the trick to block out the rays, was hardly a fashion statement.
My online search for a stylish, packable, large-brimmed hat with maximum UPF protection led me to the Wallaroo Hat Company website, where I found my dream hat: the Savannah. I am a lover of large brimmed hats because they offer the most protection from the hot rays of the sun and, in my opinion, are also very fashionable and flattering.
This hat has lots of features I love, including the fact that it fits my larger-sized head perfectly (an internal drawstring makes it adjustable, so it is a true one size fits all). It also rolls up nicely in my carry-on and immediately pops back into shape.
It was a good feeling to know that I was receiving UPF 50+ protection, as Wallaroo hat fabrics are tested by the Australian Radiation Protection Agency and block 97.5% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
My only recommendation for improving the hat would be to add an adjustable drawstring to keep the hat from blowing away. I almost lost mine walking on the windy trails of Kauai and it was a challenge to keep it on my head. I would have been very distressed to have lost it!
Wow--a Waterproof Daypack That Fits In Your Pocket
As photo journalists, my husband and I are always on the lookout for a super lightweight daypack to serve us during our travels around the world.
We were happy to discover Matador’s Freerain 24 backpack, as we realized we would need such a product on our recent 25-day, carry on only, adventure through Europe.
It was hard to believe that such a road horse packs away into a 6 X 3 inch travel bag, but it does. It actually took less room in my carry on than my travel umbrella, and weighed less, too (an unbelievable 5.5 oz).
The day bag itself is water resistant (with comfortable, breathable straps) and it protected our equipment and contents during a few light rainfalls. It has a 24-litre capacity, which means you can pack quite a bit into its folds. It is superbly constructed and its sleek grey exterior is quite classy, and serves the traveler well under any circumstance.
Together with a base layer photo protector bag, which Matador also offers, I felt confident bundling up my extra camera in the well-padded pouch on our day trips through Europe’s cities. Filled with protective down and sturdily constructed, the camera base layer fits most DSLR cameras with common lenses. It can be used in a variety of ways to protect your equipment while on the road.
We’ll be using this bag again and again not only on our travels, but also on our local hiking excursions. You can’t beat its versatility, and it is as light as a feather and stores away in your pocket!
Check out Matador's entire line of products.
Tech Tip for the Traveler: Find Your Stuff While on the Road
Here's my tech tip for the traveler, especially if one is forgetful and misplaces everything from car keys to cell phones and even a “lost” rental car in a parking lot.
The Nonda compact triangular shaped tracker is a mere 1.5 inches per side and .25 inches thick Once you download the free app to your Android or iPhone, it performs several handy operations.
Finding your keys in a hotel room: With the device attached to your key chain a tone will emit when you are near the location.
Finding your phone: This happens to all of us, especially while traveling. It actually calls your phone. The ringtone will lead you there.
Finding your rental car: This feature is linked to Google Maps and will display a location map and arrow to direct you to your lost car.
You can also take cell phone photos with the “Camera Shutter” feature to remotely control the phone’s camera. It’s been fun running through the various features of this tiny giant. I can think of other applications (child, pet and lost luggage locator) when it would come in handy.
5 Stars to NONDA for a clever and useful travel tool. And the price is right!
Learn more about this device HERE
Protect Your Valuables While On Travel....In Your Scarf or Around Your Tummy!
Protecting your valuables, especially in big city crowds, is something you may not think about until it’s too late. During our recent trip to Europe, my husband was robbed of his wallet (carelessly placed in his zippered pant pocket) on a super crowded Parisian bus. While he lost some cash and his credit cards, we were relieved that we did not have our passports stolen.
Why? I was carrying them (as well as my wallet, phone and Euros) in an ingenious product called Sholdit. It can be best described as a scarf that serves as a hidden purse. It has a generous zippered compartment that will keep your valuables safe, especially in heavily crowded areas, since no one (even a thief) would guess that your scarf is actually a sort of money belt.
I wore it double wrapped around my neck, so that my valuables sat in front on my chest (the safest place on your body) but were indiscernible to the casual observer. The scarf can be worn a variety of ways and can even transform into a clutch bag, if desired.
Alas, it was too late to retrieve our losses from the theft, but I did put quite a bit of research after our trip in finding a money belt my husband would wear on our next adventure to parts unknown. He gave a total thumbs up to the TravelGenixx money belt, available for $14.95 on Amazon.com. It is extremely well made, especially considering its reasonable price, and boasts a sturdy, and adaptable, belt system. With his valuables safely on his tummy, no thief will get the best of him again!
There's a smaller version available for ladies, too.
Flip Out Over the Flip Belt
Speaking of keeping your items secure, especially during a hike or run, the Flip Belt is a must-have for those of you who embrace an active lifestyle.
I chose the larger, Zipper Edition of the belt. The belt fits snugly but quite comfortably around your waist or upper hip. A front zippered pocket holds your phone or passport. There are three other access points built within the belt, one of which has an internally secured key hook.
It’s a great feeling when I am walking or hiking to know that my personal items will not inadvertently fall out of my pocket onto the trail. The belt is available in a variety of sizes, depending on how you wish to wear it.
My only suggestion would be to make the front zipper pocket an inch or so wider to accommodate the super large cell phones that are popular today. I have a Samsung Note 5 in a protective case, and while it fits (very snugly) in the zippered pocket, it is difficult to remove to answer a call. Otherwise, this product gets my thumbs up!
Give Your Legs A Break While Traveling: Fashionable Compression Socks
I’ve written about them before, but I also wanted to mention yet again how much I depend upon RejuvaHealth stylish line of compression socks. I wore my fashionable pair of black dot knee highs on the long flight to Europe, and again realized what a difference they made in my comfort as I sat for hours in my cramped airline seat.
I also wore them on our long city walking tours. I’m convinced they made a significant difference in that I didn’t get any soreness in my calves after trekking for miles on Europe’s cobblestone streets.
A Refillable Water Bottle That Fits In Your Pocket
Finding the perfect water bottle for travel is not as easy as you might think. I’ve carted all sorts of shapes, sizes and configurations on my travels but never really came up with one I thought might be a winner---until now.
The Hydaway Collapsible bottle is an ingenious device which folds down easily to fit in your bag, carry-on, or even in your pocket. It's perfect if you are traveling light. The 21 oz. bottle carries around the same amount of liquid as your standard plastic water bottle. I’d love to see an even larger version of this versatile and convenient carrier.
Disclaimer: Please note that the opinions expressed regarding these travel products are strictly my own. I was not compensated by the companies represented in my reviews, nor will I receive any future compensation based on sales arising from my recommendations.
My goal is to share regular, unbiased reviews with my readers for products that make travel more comfortable and efficient.
Thinking about taking an Alaskan cruise? You might want to consider a boutique small ship expedition cruise: the perfect combination of comfort and adventure.
It's an unforgettable experience, as I hope my travel article Alaskan Mystique, featured recently in the San Diego Union Tribune Travel section, conveys.
Since a picture is known to be worth 1,000 words, please check out our travel galleries (©Joanne and Tony DiBona) on Juneau and our experience sailing through Alaska's Inside Passage to Glacier Bay National Park.
Please enjoy my 10BEST/USA TODAY photo essay on the beautiful city of Juneau, Alaska.
Juneau's colorful history and incredible scenery began drawing visitors back in the early 1900's. Today, the picturesque city, which is the capital of Alaska, is a popular cruise port and a favorite destination among adventure travelers.
Cruise ships of all sizes make their way down the Gastineau Channel from Juneau to explore Alaska's Inside Passage and Glacier Bay National Park. Juneau itself offers a wide variety of visitor activities and amenities. It is home to the breathtaking Mendenhall Glacier, one of the world's few urban, "drive up" glaciers.
It's happened to all of us. We come back from a vacation, start to unpack our luggage, and wonder why we burdened ourselves with clothing and items we never used.
There is an art to packing smart. As travel journalists and photographers, my husband Tony and I have years of experience exploring destinations around the world, weeks at a time, with nothing but a small backpack and one wheeled carry-on bag in tow.
I’ve been asked many times to write an article outlining my tips for carry-on only travel, especially when encountering a variety of possible weather scenarios. I’ll use a recent 25-day press trip to France, Germany and the Czech Republic (from April 24 to May 18) to outline how I managed to avoid the expense and burden of carrying excess baggage through Europe, while having everything I needed to survive the fluctuating weather conditions we encountered.
CHECK THE LONG TERM WEATHER FORECAST FOR YOUR DESTINATION
This may seem obvious, but it is an important first step in knowing what weather conditions may greet you. Of course, if you are going to Hawaii at any time of the year, you'll only need your bathing suit, sarong and a few Aloha shirts, but if you are heading to Central Europe in spring, you need to be prepared for any weather condition.
Our first destination was Frankfurt, Germany and we learned that snow flurries were in the forecast the first few days of our trip. That meant we needed winter hats, gloves, and warm jackets (the ubiquitous quilted jacket popular around the world is ideal, as it can stuff down to nothing in your carry on, but will keep you nicely protected from the elements when you need it).
We also packed a few silk undergarments, which weigh nothing but, in a pinch, can also protect you from the cold even under a lightweight top. Needless to say, we also packed two travel umbrellas. Lightweight, waterproof rain jackets with hoods are also a great option if you have enough layers packed to keep you warm enough should the temps drop into the 30s, as they did during part of our trip. Just note that they should be “waterproof” and not just “water resistant.” It makes a difference in a real deluge. The same holds true for your walking shoes. They should be cushioned well to protect you from the romantic, but rough, cobblestone streets of Europe and should also be waterproof. There is nothing worse than walking along in rain-soaked shoes, trust me.
We recommend IT LUGGAGE which works well for us as they are very lightweight and pack an amazing amount of wardrobe items for their size. Weight, and size, is important when you have to lift your bag into your plane's overhead bin. Before you travel, do check your airlines' carry-on size and weight restrictions. This spinner, which measures 22" x 14" x9", is pretty much the standard measurement across all airlines. Our IT bags are not waterproof (we learned this the hard way when we were caught in a torrential rainstorm in Naples and our clothing was soaked through for days), so be sure to bring along rain resistant covers (even 30-gallon trash bags will work in a pinch).
My large cashmere black shawl, as well as a colorful Pashmina wrap, came to my rescue numerous times on this trip. I used the cashmere shawl as a soft blanket on the long flight and as a welcome head and shoulder scarf during the snow storms of our first days in Germany.
The key to getting this bulky clothing transported is to wear it on your flight. You can always store it during the flight in the overhead bin. Don’t forget to pack a light tote in your carry on to transport these heavier items when the weather warms (since they won’t fit in your luggage as you wore them on the plane). You will have to don them again on your return flight, but then again, they can be placed in the bin and stuffed in your tote upon disembarkation.
MIX AND MATCH TO GET THE MOST FROM YOUR WARDROBE
Okay, now you are protected against the elements, but there is again the question of what you should take along to cover all your fashion needs.
In Europe, times have definitely changed. In recent years, Europe became as casual as America and you can't really point out an American from a European anymore (we were once very obvious with our white tennis shoes, printed T-shirts and baseball caps, but no more!) I noticed the Europeans are now wearing these very same clothing items that once screamed "Americans".
I found the best clothing choices for my trip were two pairs of black leggings (lightweight and washable) that I could pair with a variety of washable, quick-dry tunic tops.
The key here is quick-dry. There are a variety of companies that offer such options (including ExOfficio , the king of washable underwear that dries completely overnight). I added a pair of heavier stretch “jeans,” which looked the part but were much quicker to dry than the real thing. I did pack a black pullover, but found that I didn’t really need it, as my silk underwear (and shawl) kept me quite warm even on the coldest days.
I also included a lightweight no-iron black dress and a TravelSmith black pant suit in my luggage, since part of our trip included a river cruise and there were occasions when we wanted to “dress up” a bit on board. In this case, scarfs are your best friend! I packed five scarfs in my carry on: one Pashmina for warmth and color and four feather-light silk scarfs of various designs and colors.
I also packed a lightweight sundress which I actually wore on the four or five days during our trip when the temps soared into the ‘80s. A pair of cushioned black slip on shoes took little room in my bag, but looked nice with my dressier outfits (as my normal hiking shoes would definitely NOT have made a fashion statement).
For some reason, men seem to get by with significantly less clothing than us ladies, which allowed me to stuff a few things of mine in Tony’s bag!
His needs were easily met. He practically lived in a pair of black, quick-dry Columbia Silver Ridge cargo pants. In retrospect, I should have purchased a second pair for him in another color as they seemed to keep him comfortable no matter what the temperature.
I also packed a pair of Banana Republic black washable wool pants and a black suit jacket for a few occasions on the cruise, but most travelers wouldn’t need this, as casual is king, even in Europe.
I also included two lightweight wool sweaters which he wore over his silk underwear on really cold days, as well as a selection of those quick-dry, moisture wicking tops (both long and short-sleeved) he could wash and wear throughout the trip. He also carried a supply of quick dry undershirts and underwear, and a lightweight pair of slip on black shoes. His black lightweight quilted jacket served him well, keeping him warm and comfortable on the cold days.
Socks are also one of the most important items on such a trip as this, which involved miles of daily walking. We both elected to purchase Thorlo socks with their specialized padding to avoid any foot problems. They worked!
On a cautionary note, but important to add to this article, is the fact that Tony fell prey to a pickpocket on a very crowded bus in Paris. He thought his wallet would be safe in a zippered pocket in his Columbia pants, but that was not the case. Lesson learned.
We were advised that the SCOTTeVEST company offers excellent anti-theft solutions, and we will research some options and report on our findings in an upcoming blog.
THE NOT SO PRETTY PART
If you are going to master the art of traveling with a carry on, you also must accept the fact that you may have to use your bathroom sink to hand wash your underwear (there is always the disposable option, which we don't prefer but some travelers love) and other items. You'll find laundromats in bigger cities, too, and many hotels and cruise ships offer laundry service.
I bring along a supply of Forever New powder soap, which does an excellent job. I also don't travel without collapsible hangers. As you probably have experienced, there are never enough hangers in any hotel closet. These lightweight hangers are invaluable for hanging the drip-dry items you need to wash from time to time, as well as allowing you to hang your wardrobe when the supply of hotel hangers is exhausted.
ZIPLOC® BAGS—A TRAVELER’S BEST FRIEND
You can't have enough Ziploc® bags in your luggage. They take up no space, but they are incredibly useful in a variety of occasions. Stuff them somewhere in your carry on, and you won’t regret it.
I label them prior to travel to organize my cosmetics, medications, and sundry items. I use my trusty label maker to identify each baggie, so I know where to reach when I need a particular item.
This also helps with the few liquids I carry along. Remember, with carry-on baggage, you have to be careful about liquids, sharp objects such as scissors, and other items you could otherwise store in checked baggage but may not be admissible in carry-on luggage.
LABEL EVERYTHING YOU CAN FOR AN EASY FIND
I go even further to help organize and find my items during a trip. I purchase small screw on jars and put a calculated dose of cosmetics and skin creams I need for the time I am traveling. The trick is to label them properly. I use my label maker to make certain I know what every jar contains.
To save luggage space, I use a purse organizer to carry all my cosmetics for the trip in my backpack (which, by the way, is a nice large black quilted bag that looks more elegant than your average hiker backpack, but does the job!). By using the jars, you can pack your entire arsenal of creams, cosmetics, medications and vitamins into this bag, and you will always know where to find it for easy reach.
Our backpacks, by the way, are used almost exclusively to transport our cameras, computers, lenses, batteries, chargers, etc. Most leisure travelers wouldn’t need to devote so much space to equipment, so extra items can be carried in your second carry-on of choice, be it a purse, small duffle or backpack. Again, check with your airlines to see what size restrictions apply to your second carry on item.
TIP: Recharging all our equipment, including our cell phones and camera batteries each evening, was made easy thanks to the purchase of the European iFer charging strip, available at a very reasonable price on Amazon. Do check to make sure that you are charging items that can accommodate voltage inputs from 110 to 220 volts. Most computers, photo accessories, hair dryers and curling irons, etc. have this range, but do be certain yours does as a plug in without the 220 volt capability will fry your appliance.
It’s not easy to stay healthy in an airplane, train or bus where dozens of people are sneezing and coughing, but I do have my tips on keeping healthy en route, which seem to have worked well on my last two international adventures.
Definitely take along a supply of sanitary wipes. When you enter your aircraft, use a wipe to disinfect the tray, seat belt attachments, monitor and even the light switch above. Disinfect everything around you that a previous passenger could have touched.
I can’t say enough about Dr. Bronners lavender hand sanitizing spray. Tony and I used it continuously, not only on the plane, but also during our many bus and walking tours on land. After grabbing handrails, punching elevator buttons, using public toilets without soap, and in so many other situations when we knew we were surrounded by germs, but needed a hand cleanse, this sanitizing spray came to the rescue.
I attribute the fact that we did not get ill on our last two international trips, thanks to the diligent use of this product. The spray is non-GMO, certified organic, smells wonderful, and is definitely our go-to for keeping healthy on our travels.
Thanks for your patience with this relatively long article, but I hope you find this information, gleaned from years of practice traveling with carry on only, of value. Please feel free to add your suggestions to the list, as we look forward to hearing your ideas and implementing them.
Disclaimer: We were not compensated for our recommendations by the companies mentioned in this article, nor were we given any gratis samples, having personally purchased all items highlighted in this report.
If you haven't thought about visiting Lompoc while touring California's Central Coast, think again.
Lompoc is known as the City of Art and Flowers, and it delivers on those promises and much more.
Nestled just one hour northwest of Santa Barbara California, Lompoc is an emerging destination that offers a rich historical past, a picturesque wine trail and local tasting rooms featuring award-winning varietals, nationally-renowned civic murals, the awe-inspiring historic La Purisima Mission, rugged ocean vistas, hiking and biking trails, and just about any activity you have come to enjoy in other Central Coast locations.
Please enjoy my USATODAY PHOTO GALLERY of this beautiful destination.
Conveniently located halfway between Houston and Austin on Hwy. 290 in Washington County, the historic and quaint town of Brenham Texas offers the visitor a variety of experiences. An historical downtown features a wide array of antiques and specialty shops, as well as a variety of lodging and dining options.
The nearby Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site features a state-of-the-art visitor center and is the location of Independence Hall, where founding fathers signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. The George Bush Presidential Library is located in nearby College Station.
In Spring, Brenham is a popular destination for travelers who descend upon the region to view the bluebonnets that proliferate in the fields and pastures.
You can travel to Healdsburg, California any time of the year to enjoy its small-town ambiance and proximity to Sonoma's wine country. The culinary scene is vibrant and renowned, with an emphasis on farm-to-table freshness. Wine is the predominant attraction in the area, and wine tasting is a favorite visitor activity.
Enjoy my USA TODAY/10Best.com photo gallery to get a glimpse of the delights awaiting the visitor to this charming wine country destination.
Explore Healdsburg and Sonoma Valley on this link to my PHOTO GALLERY
The stunningly beautiful and pristine Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska is one of a handful of our national parks that is only accessible by boat or small plane. Several major cruise lines depart from Juneau for this adventure during the late spring/summer season. However, for an unforgettable experience that will provide a truly unique and personal encounter with the beauty of this national park, consider a small, boutique adventure cruise, such as Un-Cruise Adventures.
The relatively small size of the ship allows entry into fjords and inlets not accessible by larger cruise ships. An added bonus is the ability to enjoy off-ship excursions daily, which include kayaking, skiff boat tours, and bushwhacking experiences: not to speak of gourmet dining and spectacular scenery right outside your cabin door.
Please view my photo gallery of this unforgettable adventure currently running on the homepage of USA TODAY's 10Best.com. For more photos of this cruise, please log on to my Alaska Photography link at www.joannedibonaphotography.com
In the winter months, Catalina Island, located just 22 miles off the coast of Southern California, is a perfect winter visitor destination, especially during the holidays. A photo gallery is currently featured on USA TODAY's 10Best home page.
I am proud to announce that my travel article, Natural Selection…An Enchanting Cruise through the Galapagos Islands, has won First Place in the recent 42nd Annual San Diego Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards in the category of Daily Newspapers & Websites: Travel.
Travel is always a tight and crowded competition category, which makes this award especially significant.
Fall and winter are the perfect seasons for a visit to Catalina Island, located just 22 miles off the shore of Southern California. Summer crowds are gone, and Catalina is relaxing, romantic, and filled with all sorts of activities and events for every taste. Read how my husband and I spent our December birthdays on this magical island. San Diego Union-Tribune, Catalina Without the Crowds, October 18, 2015.
See a complete PHOTO LIBRARY of all the images of this trip to Avalon and the Catalina Backcountry.
Since I was a little girl, I've always dreamed about visiting Japan. I finally made it to my enchanted land and discovered it in a uniquely adventurous way: on foot. Enjoy an account of my trek through the heart of central Japan on the ancient Kiso Road and Nakasendo Way.
If you haven't thought about visiting Lompoc while touring California's Central Coast, think again.
Lompoc is known as the City of Art and Flowers, and it delivers on those promises and much more. Nestled just one hour northwest of Santa Barbara California, Lompoc is an emerging destination that has it all: a rich historical past; a wine trail and local tasting rooms featuring award-winning varietals; nationally-renowned civic murals; the awe-inspiring historic La Purisima Mission; scenic back roads; rugged ocean vistas; hiking and biking trails; and just about any activity you have come to enjoy in other Central Coast locations.
Visit EXPLORELOMPOC.COM for information about lodging choices and recommendations for places to see and things to do in this fascinating, and yet-to-be-discovered Central Coast destination.
The slide show below will give you a quick taste of what Lompoc has to offer the visitor. For a more in-depth look at this destination, visit my Lompoc Scenic Photo Site. All photos on this site: © Joanne DiBona/ © Tony DiBona
Click the arrow to the right below to start the slide gallery.
While San Antonio, Texas is deservedly proud of its iconic landmark, The Alamo, the city offers a wide variety of attractions and activities for visitors of all ages. The recent expansion of the world-famous River Walk has also stimulated renovation projects of historical sites along its way, as well as new construction. A cultural tourism mecca, San Antonio's history can be seen today in its 18th century Missions and historic downtown, as well in its many outstanding museums. Recreational activities abound along the river and in the city's parks and neighborhoods. Colorful festivals year-round, a rich ethnic heritage, a vibrant dining scene, and a convention center expansion are just some of the reasons visitors continue to make their way to San Antonio for business and pleasure.
All photos © Joanne DiBona © Tony DiBona, All Rights Reserved
CLICK ON ARROWS AT RIGHT TO VIEW A PHOTO GALLERY OF SAN ANTONIO
It’s no secret that San Diego is one of the nation’s most appealing vacation destinations--for so many reasons. Combining year-round, near perfect weather with a spectacular natural setting, the region is home to exciting theme parks, world-class arts and culture, unlimited outdoor recreation, a vibrant downtown, eclectic dining options, top-rated resorts and spas, a rich history dating back to the 18th century, a dazzling variety of shopping opportunities, and 70 miles of glorious beaches, just to name just a few of its attractions!
In fact, San Diego is home to such a plethora of exciting things to see and do for persons of every age and budget, it can be overwhelming for a potential visitor to choose from such a wealth of options. To put some fun and ease into the planning process, check out some sample itineraries in the PHOTO GALLERY below and enjoy my recommendations for a fun-filled day or two (or more!) in beautiful San Diego.
Photos, All Rights Reserved © Joanne DiBona CLICK ON ARROWS BELOW FOR SLIDE SHOW