Category Archives: Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet: 20 Unmissable Extreme Sports

I’ve always been a big sports fan although currently baseball is the only sport that I only follow  closely. While traveling I love to check out local sports. I’ve been to soccer games in Europe, Aussie Rules Football in Australia, Rugby in New Zealand and Muay Thai matches in Thailand.

I also like to add a bit of adventure to our travels just a little less now due to a certain little 18 month old named Lucas.

I recently came across a list of 20 Unmissable Extreme Sports (and where to try them) from Lonely Planet. The list was a fun read and I was curious to see if I had done any of these so-called extreme sports.

Here is the list: (with where to do them and my thoughts on each sport)

  1. Volcano Boarding– Leon, Nicaragua (I’ve never done this but I did climb up and run down parts of a volcano. I’ve also done a similar activity, sand boarding!)
  2. Downhill Mountain Biking– Bolivia (I used to mountain bike but downhill is dangerous and definitely not for me.)
  3. Freshwater Cave Diving– Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula (Diving isn’t one of my hobbies but this sounds pretty amazing.)
  4. Heli-Skiing or Boarding– North America and New Zealand (I don’t ski or snowboard)
  5. Bungee Jumping– Vanuatu (I briefly considered this in NZ but am afraid that I’d just get sick.)
  6. Extreme Ironing– All over ( This one really confuses me!)
  7. Zorbing– Rotorua, NZ (I saw this being done while in Rotorua. This isn’t for me)
  8. Ice Climbing– Colorado, Canada (This sounds like fun and is probably an intense workout.)
  9. Kite Surfing– Windy beaches all over (I tried this in Cancun on a badly sprained ankle. Let’s just say that I didn’t go very far.)
  10. Cheese Rolling– Gloucester, England (Sounds like a fun and hilarious event to watch in person.)
  11. Skydiving– Australia, Swiss Alps (Not something on my list but considered doing it while in Namibia.)
  12. Bouldering– North America, Europe (Sounds extremely extreme)
  13. White Water Rafting– Zambia, Nepal (I went rafting on the White Nile in Uganda. It was a really fun and exciting time. I definitely recommend it if you are a strong swimmer.)
  14. Ice Swimming– Finland, USA (I did the New Years Day swim with the Coney Island Polar Bears in 2012. Amazing experience that everyone should try once)
  15. Flowboarding– Bangkok, NJ, Yorkshire, England (I think I tried this out at a water park in Dubai with little success.)
  16. Zip-Lining– Costa Rica, South Africa (I did a small zip-lining course in Brazil. Lots of fun!)
  17. Slacklining– Vancouver (Looks like a fun but frustrating activity.)
  18. Snowmobiling– Michigan, US, Canada (I definitely plan to do this eventually.)
  19. Canyoning– Europe, South America (We did canyoning (abseiling) in NZ. It was amazing and I’d love to try it again.)
  20. Coasteering– Wales (Doesn’t sound like fun to me.)
Has anyone tried an extreme sport from the list? If so, let us know what you thought about your experience in the comments below.

Find out about each of these extreme sports on Lonely Planet HERE

Lonely Planet: Extreme Cuises- Top 10 Exotic Tastes

I found this article from Lonely Planet online which was posted in January 2010 and thought that it would be of interest to some readers.

When traveling, I am always more open to trying and eating new things. Learning about odd and weird foods became much easier when Andrew Zimmern’s show Bizarre Foods came out on Travel Channel.

The funny thing is that I am a very picky eater. I’ll tell you the things that I don’t eat, rather than what I do eat. I don’t eat many vegetables. The only ones I eat are carrots, a couple of kinds of lettuce and certain types of olives. When it comes to fruits, I am even pickier, I only eat apples.

When it comes to meat, I will try pretty much anything. On trips to Africa I’ve eaten many types of gazelles, zebra steak & warthog. I’ve had kangaroo in Australia and also cooked my own ostrich hot dog on the barbie. In Cambodia I got to cook my own platter of meats table side. It included snake and goat among some others. 

Here is Lonely Planet’s list of Extreme Cuisine:

  1. Witchetty Grub, Australia 
  2. Testicle, Afghanistan 
  3. Stingray, Iceland 
  4. Sea Cucumber, China 
  5. Scorpion, Thailand 
  6. Pig Face, China 
  7. Guinea Pig, Peru 
  8. Grasshopper, Mexico 
  9. Fugu, Japan 
  10. Chicha, Latin America

To find out more about each of these extreme cuisines Click HERE

Lonely Planet: Win A Trip to Hawaii & Free Chapter Download

Lonely Planet is running one of my favorite kinds of sweepstakes- it’s the kind where everybody wins.

In the “Win the Ultimate Hawaiian Getaway” you can enter for a chance to win a trip to Hawaii and just for entering everyone gets to download a free Lonely Planet guidebook chapter for the destination of their choice.
Entering the sweepstakes is simple. All you have to do is enter your name, e-mail and zip code on the entry page. 

The Prize:

  • A four night stay for two at the DoubleTree Alana Waikiki Hotel at Honolulu, Hawaii-` Stay in a suite with one king or two queen beds. Breakfast is included for up to 2 adults and 2 children each morning.
  • $2,000 pre-loaded debit card to be used to purchase airfare for two adults to Honolulu.
Some Rules:
Trip must be taken by December 31, 2013
Open to legal residents of the United States
Must be at least 21 years of age at time of entry 

Sweepstakes ends March 10, 2013

Click HERE to enter for a chance to win a trip to Hawaii. 

***Within a couple of minutes of entering, you should receive an e-mail with a code good for one Lonely Planet chapter download.

Good Luck!

Lonely Planet Secret Sale: 50% Off Print & Digital Titles

When picking a travel guide, Lonely Planet is usually my choice. I find the guides to be a bit pricey in stores like Barnes & Noble so I usually buy them online for a decent savings.

Lonely Planet is running a Secret Sale for buying print & digital titles directly through their site!

    The Sale: For two days only Lonely Planet is offering 50% OFF on All Print & Digital Titles

      The Terms:

      • Maximum 10 products per order
      • Offer excludes delivery charges
      • Free standard shipping applied to all orders over $40
      • Offer not available for pre-orders or bundles
      • Sale ends Friday, January 25 at 12pm PST

      Use code: SECRETSALE to get the discount

      Check out all of the print and digital titles that Lonely Planet has to offer HERE

      Lonely Planet: Top 10 U.S. Travel Destinations for 2013

      In November I posted about a couple of Lonely Planet Top 10 lists:

      I just came across another fun list of places to visit according to Lonely Planet. This list covers Top 10 U.S. Destinations for 2013.

      I found it really cool that the #1 place to visit in the United States (according to LP) is a place that we are heading to for a quick visit on Thursday nightLouisville, Kentucky.  

      I’ll also be visiting the #4 place on the list towards the end of January- Philadelphia. I’ve been to Philly many times but when I found a deal for free seats from Megabus, I felt that another visit was worth the free ride! 

      According to LP: 

      We wanted to dig deeper and shine a light on 10 places in the US that travelers should add to their wish lists for the coming year. Our 2013 picks are literally all over the map: once-in-a-lifetime northern lights, new top-tier museums, moose trails, Polynesian paradise and barrels of bourbon.

      Besides Philadelphia and my upcoming trip to Louisville, I have not been to any other places on this list. I’ve been to Maine and California, but not the parts mentioned in the article. I’d love to visit American Samoa and Glacier National Park in the future. We’re also considering taking a trip to Minnesota at some point in 2013.

      Here is the Top 10:

      1. Louisville, Kentucky
      2. Fairbanks, Alaska
      3. San Juan Islands, Washington
      4. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
      5. American Samoa
      6. Eastern Sierra, California
      7. Northern Maine
      8. Twin Cities, Minnesota
      9. Verde Valley, Arizona
      10. Glacier National Park, Montana

      To find out about each of the destinations that made the Lonely Planet list, Click HERE.

      Jumping By The Elephant Cave- Bali, Indonesia

      While in Bali over the summer Kim, Lucas and I visited many interesting sites. 
      (Check out my SE Asia trip recap HERE)

      There was one site that I wanted to check out- mainly due to it’s name. (Definitely not the best reason to go out of your way to visit a site!)
      When I first heard of the Elephant Cave, I immediately added it to my list of places to visit. I did a little more reading about the site and decided it was worth a stop. I wasn’t really going to visit just based on it’s name!

      The Elephant Cave (Goa Gajah) is a short drive from Ubud. From what I read, it dates to the 11th century. It’s name comes from people believing the face at the cave entrance resembles an elephant. In my opinion the face looks nothing like an elephant. According to Lonely Planet the entrance to the cave is actually the mouth of a demon.

      Inside the cave- statue of Ganesha

      After paying the entry fee we were given sarongs to wear while visiting the Elephant Cave. To reach the entrance to the cave we had to walk down a bunch of steps and then pass by some bathing pools which had some interesting carvings.

      Lingam

      The Elephant Cave wasn’t a busy site which was really nice. However, we still had to wait to get photos at the entrance without other visitors in them.

      Inside the cave there wasn’t much to see. We did a quick walk inside and saw a few small statues. According to my Lonely Planet guide-one was of Ganesha and another of lingam” the phallic symbol of the Hindu god Shiva.

      Exiting the cave
      Nice Form!
      The main purpose of our visit to the Elephant Cave was to get to jump by the entrance.
      I wasn’t disappointed stopping by to check out the cave and get some fun photos! I felt that visiting the site was well worth it to see such an old and amazing carving. I’ve seen many old sites but this one was pretty unique and it was pretty cool that we could go inside the cave.
      The Michael W Travels Team

      Lonely Planet- Top 10 Cities For 2013

      Last week I wrote about Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Countries for 2013. I also came across a Lonely Planet list of Top 10 Cities for 2013. The list is made up of of cities located all over the world and doesn’t really favor any particular region.

      From the list I’ve only visited 3 places, #s 1,2 and 8. If I had to pick one city from the list to visit in the near future I’d most likely go with #9- Addis Ababa or #10- Puerto Iguazu. 

      1. San Francisco- “Darling of America’s west coast”
      2. Amsterdam- “Golden age charmer prepares to party”
      3. Hyderabad- “Old city recapturing old glory”
      4. Londonderry/ Derry- “Packed calendar for UK City of Culture”
      5. Beijing- “Capital on cusp of greatness”
      6. Christchurch- “Rising from the rubble with flair”
      7. Hobart- “Harbor town becomes hip”
      8. Montreal- “Melange of cultures marries brains and beauty”
      9. Addis Ababa- Ethiopian metropolis evolving at pace”
      10. Puerto Iguazu- “Much more than just a waterfall”

      Where would you like to visit from the top cities list in 2013?
      Check out more information about each city HERE

      Lonely Planet- Top 10 Countries for 2013

      Lonely Planet recently posted their list of Top 10 Countries for 2013 online. 
      The list is made up of an interesting group of countries. I’ve only been to a couple of places from the list (#s 5 & 8) and would love to visit all of the others in the future.

      I was wondering how LP came up with this list. The countries are spread out around the world and each location has a few areas/ categories mentioning what they are “Best for”. 

      Here is the list:

      1. Sri Lanka: best for culture, off the beaten track, value for money
      2. Montenegro: best for activities, adventure, off the beaten track
      3. South Korea: best for activities, events, off the beaten track
      4. Ecuador: best for food, off the beaten track, activities
      5. Slovakia: best for culture, adventure, off the beaten track
      6. Solomon Islands: best for adventure, off the beaten track, activities
      7. Iceland: best for activities, off the beaten track, value for money
      8. Turkey: best for off the beaten path, culture, food
      9. Dominican Republic: best for activities, value for money, events
      10. Madagascar: best for activities, adventure, off the beaten path

      From this list I am most interested in visiting Sri Lanka, South Korea and Madagascar. I‘ve been to Europe many times but have never to the Balkan region so I’d love to visit Montenegro. 
      I seriously considered going there this past summer but opted for a trip to Southeast Asia.

      Find out more about each place from the Lonely Planet Top 10 Countries list HERE

      Lonely Planet- Win the Ultimate Travel Library & Get a Free Digital Chapter

      Lonely Planet & Kayak are partnering to give you a FREE Lonely Planet digital chapter and a shot at winning the Ultimate Travel Library valued at over $800!
      (LP ran pretty much the same giveaway in February which I wrote about here) 

      I decided to use my free download code for the Eastern USA- Great Lakes chapter. I figured it would be worth downloading for free to read a little more about Chicago. I’m heading there on Thursday night for a very quick visit. (Check out the post about my upcoming trip here)

      To Enter: Sign up for Lonely Planet’s weekly newsletter and you will be entered to win the prize and also receive a free digital chapter that you can download right to your computer.

      The Prize: The Ultimate Travel Library- over 55 books

      • A dozen pictorial and gift titles
      • Any five country guides
      • Any five city guides
      • Any ten encounters guides
      • Any ten phrasebooks
      • All of LP’s Shoestring Travel guides 

      Open to residents of the United States
      Sign up for the newsletter by October 29, 2012
      You must remain signed up for the newsletter up until 11/15/12


      Sign up for Lonely Planet’s weekly newsletter HERE

      Lonely Planet: Top Tourist Hot Spots Worth The Crowds

      Back in April Lonely Planet had an interesting article online that I wanted to share. 
      The article is about top tourist hot spots worth the crowds. The list is made up of an interesting and amazing group of sites/ places. Odds are, if a site is overly crowded it must be worth visiting for one reason or another…

      Here is the list:

      1. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
      2. Prague’s Old Town, Czech Republic
      3. Eiffel Tower, France
      4. Florence, Italy
      5. Grand Canyon, USA
      6. Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and Zambia
      7. Pyramids, Egypt
      8. Taj Mahal, India
      9. Machu Picchu, Peru
      10. Uluru, Australia

      From the list above, I’ve been to 8 of 10 sites. I found all of them to be well worth visiting and some weren’t even so busy or crowded! The sites I have not visited are Victoria Falls and the Taj Mahal. Both are high on my list of places to visit in the future. I almost went to Vic Falls on each of my trips to Africa but it just did not fit into our itineraries. When I visited the Grand Canyon, I went to the area known as Grand Canyon West, home of the Skywalk. I would also love to visit the sections of the Grand Canyon that make up the National Park someday.

      Find out more about the tourist hot spots listed above in the full Lonely Planet article HERE