Travel Hosts Exposed, Week of March 30, 2011

Aaron "Big Steps" all over Universal Studios, Andrew finds some new snacks, and Bert continues to freak out the cleaning staff.


Traveler of the Week: "This was our first trip to meet the children that have now joined us on Humanitarian Parole due to the earthquake [in Haiti]. This photo is of my husband and Yonelson who was very ill due to malnutrition. He spent the entire week laying on my husbands chest and we were very fearful that we would lose him as you can see on my husbands face. After a week of feeding and hydrating him he finally started to feel better." - Candice Aitken 960 1280


"There are lots of different ways to get to Machu Picchu, but I would say the best way is to do it as the Incas did--walk! I did the classic Inca Trail trek myself last summer ... four days worth of hiking through the beautiful Peruvian Andes (fantastic scenery!), exploring old Inca ruins along the way, meeting awesome people from all over the world...the journey is very rewarding and we made it to Machu Picchu in time to watch the sunrise--a very memorable experience. :)" - Stephen Alvarado 960 1280


"African wild dogs chasing a leopard....exciting to watch. This was in the Londolozi Game Reserve in South Africa." - Judy Guffey 960 1280


"Mojave Sunset. I highly recommend stopping by the Beanery @ Kelso Depot for the best Veggie Sandwich in the Universe!" - Lymaris Roman 960 1280


"Shrine in Kyoto. Take your time here. It's a culturally rich city with over 400 Shinto shrines and 1600 Buddhist temples. Make sure to indulge in their 'too beautiful to eat' sweets (wagashi), matcha tea, and delicious sake. If you are up for it, take a late night walk to Kiyomizu-dera. The view is worth the hike. Kyoto offers pure serenity and glimpse into traditional Japan." - Spencer Neustadt 960 1280


"I was on a 3 week trip in Peru, and took a tour to the Colca Valley from Arequipa - as far as I remember we stopped by a village because we were looking for Condors, or maybe just to look at the fantastic view. But I managed to get a shot of this lovely lady, wearing the most stunning colours. I love the way she's gripping onto the rope holding the llama - and what a beautiful llama!" - Debra Hayman 960 1280


"Cape Coast, Ghana. This was taken during a semester abroad in Ghana. I took a weekend trip to Cape Coast and this was the view looking out the 'Door of No Return' at the Cape Coast Castle." - Justin Bush 960 1280


"The Plitvice Falls [in Croatia] are truly beautiful, it is hard not to take a good picture. Make sure if you are there to go down to the bottom of the falls." - Ross Cooper 960 1280


"Bled Castle, Slovenia. Little known fact...visit the wine cellar and resident monk in Bled Castle...he might just invite you to join him in his demonstration! Spring is a very nice season in Slovenia especially April and May when colourful wild flowers bloom everywhere on the lush highland meadows. If you're budget conscious then this time of the year is perfect for a visit because of off-season rates." - Wendy A. Cooper 960 1280


"this is a sand dune in Namibia made by wind and time. [It took] several hours to climb & when we started it was freezing but when we made it to the top it was very hot." - PurrplePam Carter
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Thousands of fans flock to Coachella, a multiday music festival in California, to see big-name acts like Jay-Z. Other popular US music festivals include Bonaroo in Tennessee, Lolapalooza in Chicago, Ultra in Miami and Jazzfest in New Orleans. 960 1280


The internet has made it easier for moviegoers to visit the locations of some of their favorite movies, including Petra in Jordan, one of the major locations in the movie 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.' Even 'Star Wars' fans can visit places that seem light years away by traveling to the Mayan ruins of Tikal and the endless deserts in Tunisia. 960 1280


Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie -- aka Brangelina -- inspire travelers to trek the globe like the rich and famous. Fans following Brangelina in 2010 ventured to Venice, the backdrop for Jolie's movie 'The Tourist' and Budapest, where she made her directorial debut on a Bosnian war epic. New Orleans and Aix-en-Provence, France, are also popular travel destinations for the celebrity power couple. 960 1280


New Zealand became a travel hot spot in 2010 after news in October that production on the movie adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Hobbit' was underway. Fans continue to visit the Hobbiton movie set, which is located on a working sheep and cattle ranch in Matamata, New Zealand. 960 1280

Picasa 2.0  

Thousands of people have already made plans to be in England for Prince William and Kate Middleton's royal wedding. Good luck if you're still making plans. Most hotels in London are already booked solid the last two weeks of April 2011. 960 1280


In Ken Burns' 12-hour DVD series, 'America's Best Idea,' he reminded us that great travel spots are just around the corner. Wonderful US National Parks, including the Grand Canyon, are inspiring travelers to hit the road and check out America's natural wonders. 960 1280


In the movie 'Eat, Pray, Love,' actress Julia Roberts inspired travelers to seek out their own transformative journey in 2010. Hip travel agencies like STA offered 'Eat, Pray, Love'-inspired packages, featuring food in Italy, spirituality in India and romance in Brazil. 960 1280


Vampires and zombies inspired several travelers to cure their blood lust by retracing the steps of popular fictional characters. Twihards invaded the tiny town of Forks, Washington. True Blood fans visit Shreveport, located near the fictional Louisiana town of Bon Temps. Fans of AMC's Walking Dead and the movie "Zombieland" searched for the undead in Atlanta. 960 1280


The young and old flocked to see The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando. It didn't hurt that the blockbuster movie, 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' helped generate more interest in the theme park's newest attraction. Be sure to try the butterbeer at The Three Broomsticks pub. 960 1280


The Titanic's 100th Anniversary cruise is sold out. More than 1,300 passengers will board the Balmoral, a ship that will sail from Southampton, England, on April 8, 2012. It will follow the Titanic's original route to New York. The trip will include a memorial service on the morning of April 15, 2012, in the exact location where the Titanic sank. 960 1280


Thailand is home to many affordable attractions, including jungle treks, ancient temples, flour-soft beaches and an entire island of ravers. While 2010 saw civil unrest in Bangkok, the effect on tourists was minimal, if not advantageous, as businesses tried to woo tourists with discounts. New direct flights into the Trat Islands near Cambodia, and several new resort developments, opened up this once inaccessible area. 960 1280


In the last few years, Marrakech has seen an explosion of small Riads or boutique hotels around the ancient city, catering to niche markets, including luxe, gay and family travelers. In November La Mamounia, the grand dame of Marrakech hotels, reopened after a five-year, $176-million redesign by Parisian designer Jacques Garcia. 960 1280


South Africa took advantage of the 2010 World Cup to build new stadiums, hotels and safari lodges. Cape Town, already famous for spectacular beaches, upscale nightlife and food, added several new hotels, including the Taj Cape Town. Luxe travelers can splurge on a safari trip to Richard Branson's Cliff Lodge, a new luxury hotel at Ulusaba, the billionaire's private game reserve. 960 1280


Vancouver was host to many winter-sports enthusiasts during February's Olympic festivities. The city and surrounding areas had a ton to offer fans of the Winter Games as well as regular travelers. There's world-class skiing at Whistler-Blackcomb, one of the best destination ski resorts in the world. At nearby Ucluetet on Nanaimo Island, the new Wild Pacific Trail follows a rugged shoreline. Kayakers love the area for beauty and a chance to spot gray whales during their annual migration. 960 1280


Los Angeles is a hot spot for art and museum hounds. The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) celebrated its 30th birthday in 2010 with special exhibitions. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art unveiled a Renzo Piano-designed addition to its campus. Several prominent galleries have opened outposts in LA. 960 1280


The dramatic collapse of Iceland's economy over the last couple of years has been a boon for budget travelers in 2010. The value of the kroner plunged against numerous currencies, and the once expensive destination became much more affordable. 960 1280


Once a shunned country for travelers, Colombia is Latin America's affordable, new hot spot. The capital of Bogota has been slowly transforming since the late 1990s, adding bike paths, a new bus system and sidewalk cafes. The coastal city of Caragena experienced a renaissance, sprouting stylish new boutique hotels and spas. JetBlue's new nonstop daily service to Bogota from Orlando made a trip here even more affordable. 960 1280


Bike paths line Copenhagen's streets where locals and tourists ride the free bikes available around the city center. The Danish capital also boasts new cultural buildings ' an opera house, library and concert hall ' as well as a booming arts district. A public bath is the newest addition to the harbor district, the city's burgeoning summertime center. 960 1280


Las Vegas was hit hard by US economic woes as business travel and group bookings evaporated, so hotels went into overdrive to attract budget-conscious travelers with discounts and deals galore. On the other end of the spectrum, several developers amped up the luxury despite the downturn, including MGM's massive resort complex, CityCenter. 960 1280


Savvy travelers knew that 2010 was the year to see the town's once-every-decade performance of the Passion Play. More than 2,000 actors, singers, instrumentalists and technicians, all residents of the village, brought the story of Jesus of Nazareth to life in an extraordinary community event. The Oberammergau Passion Play was first performed in 1634. 960 1280


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