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Unique Travel Options for Vacations in America

Best Travel Locations in the United StatesFrom the Atlantic to the Pacific, the United States has so many worthwhile destinations that planning a vacation can be overwhelming. But if you want to forget the beaches, forego theme parks and skirt the big cities, here are some suggestions that will yield lots of memories and whet your appetite for future off-the-beaten path travel. Guaranteed!

Ride the Rails

A century ago, elegant trains crisscrossed the North American continent. Today, most U.S. luxury trains have disappeared, but Canadian trains still travel a distinctive and breathtaking route through the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia and Alberta, with deluxe accommodations, food, drink and sights the entire way. The Rocky Mountaineer is not inexpensive, but it’s an unforgettable way to see glorious sights in total comfort. Even an Amtrak journey, however, can be fun for a family and is a relaxing alternative to a road trip

Visit a Working Farm or Ranch

Agritourism is a trend, not only in Europe and Australia, but also in the United States, where it is possible to experience a rural lifestyle on farms and ranches as diverse as a Florida alpaca ranch, a permaculture farmstead in western Montana, a Vermont dairy farm or a southern California orchard. Choose the type of accommodation you prefer—from bunkhouse to private cabin, and choose a farm when you participate in daily chores—or not. “Farmstay” opportunities can be tailored to the kind of vacation you have in mind.

Head for Outer Space

Family Camp at One Tranquility Base in Huntsville, Alabama, allows adults and children to participate in virtual missions, and even train with real astronauts. Three-day programs introduce children aged seven and up to the exciting world of science and space travel. Activities include simulated missions, rocket building, and lessons about the past, present, and future of the American space program.

Youth programs are also available throughout the year at NASA’s Space Center U in Houston for age groups 11–14 and 14–18. If there’s a space enthusiast in the family, the day camp format might be just the ticket for fun in conjunction with a family trip to Houston or Galveston Island. Cosmosphere, a flight and space museum in Hutchinson, Kan., has space-oriented family programs and educational exhibits.

Lend a Hand as a Volunteer

Help care for animals, build trails, plant gardens, repaint buildings or use your skills at a nursing home or shelter at locations throughout the country that accept volunteers. You’ll pay for the experience, but the benefit is the “feel good” feeling that comes from helping others. Like ecotourism and agritourism, voluntouring is the new way to plan an enriching vacation as a single or with the entire family. Find your match in budget and philosophy; be gone for few as three days or as long as 12 weeks.

Truly Unusual Options

There are some vacation destinations that defy description, but they’re certainly not for the faint of heart. There’s a “human nest” in California that offers a bare bones (or twigs) experience for those who want a one-of-a-kind night in nature.

There’s an undersea hotel in Florida where your only neighbors are fish, and you can order a room service pizza delivered via waterproof container. Or check out the Hobbit Huts in Tennessee that can be reserved for groups of up to eight people with a separate cooking and dining hut included.

Anyone looking for an unusual experience can also book Yurts and Teepees for upscale “glamping” vacations. They’re available on secluded mountaintops in Colorado or in the sunny Southwest.

For an unusual winter vacation in Alaska, head to the Aurora Ice Museum and Chena Hot Springs Resort north of Fairbanks. Visitors enjoy the “warm” and friendly atmosphere, although everything is carved from ice. The bonus is a chance to see the Northern Lights during a stay there.

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Space-Saving Packing Techniques for Travel

Space-Saving Suitcase Packing TipsHopping on a plane these days often calls for a great deal of attention to the space taken by a person’s luggage. With these tips, travelers can maximize the space and possibly have the ability to use smaller suitcases.

1. Try Different Clothing Packing Approaches

There are many different ways to pack clothing, and it all depends on the goals of the traveler. People could:

  • roll individual items for minimum surface area
  • bundle clothing types together, to minimize wrinkling
  • stack clothing as they would in a typical drawer

Each approach has its own benefits and disadvantages, and may make packing easier or more complicated.

2. Go Wrinkle-Free

Clothing that must be kept completely straight to avoid wrinkling may well take up the most space at all. Travel experts recommend avoiding clothing that wrinkles very easily. As an alternative, it may make sense to save the money paid to check an extra suitcase in exchange for dry cleaning or pressing services at the destination. People can also simply hang wrinkled clothing in a humid bathroom, as this approach will usually remove most minor wrinkles.

3. Consider Compression Bags

Sometimes, people pack items that are lightweight but bulky and could take up a lot of space in a suitcase. For these items, such as a heavy sweater, down jacket, or blanket, compression bags can save a great deal of space. These bags can often be rolled closed and will keep a vacuum-tight seal until they are opened. Although the bags that are designed especially for travel are often thicker and less likely to break, people may be able to use regular Ziploc-type bags for this purpose.

4. Pack Consumables for Travel

Anyone who has to take a lot of medications, or who uses many different lotions and serums while they travel, understands that even several small bottles could cut a suitcase’s space by a quarter or third. People can minimize medication confusion by bringing daily medication organizers and pictures of their current prescription bottles. Travel-size bottles for lotions and creams come in the smallest of sizes, making organization simple and efficient.

5. Stuff Solid but Bulky Items

Some bulky items, like shoes, take up space and cannot be compressed in any way. These things are ideal to stuff full in the empty spaces. People may be able to keep all their travel socks in an extra pair of shoes. Hard suitcases with a lining may have an opening in which soft, small items may be placed, ensuring that no inch of the suitcase is wasted. People might even fill these gaps with spare bags or snacks that they can use on the trip.

6. Pack for Organization

Ultimately, the goal of a space-saving suitcase packing technique is repetition. Any approach that requires a person to use tools they will keep at home in order to pack the suitcase full will be difficult to repeat for the trip home. In these instances, it might be more practical to consider a larger suitcase or simply pack fewer items, so that it is easy to pack the suitcase efficiently from anywhere.

Getting started on a trip demands a consideration of the suitcase that one might use. By trying out these space-saving packing approaches, people can cut down on the luggage they need without compromising on convenience they need while they are on holiday.

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