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5-Star Hotels in Las Vegas for Only $50?! Hello, Hotwire Million Dollar Sale!

5-Star Hotels in Las Vegas for Only $50?! Hello, Hotwire Million Dollar Sale! | CosmosMariners.com

On our massive Western U.S. road trip this summer (#wildwestmariners), we spent a mere day in Las Vegas. While we tried to pack in as much as we could, the few hours we were there before heading off to the Grand Canyon and lands beyond just weren't enough.

How to Give Your Old Travel Cameras New Life: A Review of KEH.com

How to Give Your Old Cameras New Life: A Review of KEH.com | CosmosMariners.com

This post is sponsored by KEH.com. As always, all opinions are my own. This post does contain affiliate links; if you choose to purchase through one of the links below, I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you.

I’m one of those people who is obsessed with taking pictures when I’m traveling (and when I’m home and at family gatherings and…well, you get the idea). For me, photos of my adventures in London or that boat ride we took in the Bahamas are the perfect souvenir.

It should come as no surprise that I’m a little picky with the camera that I use when traveling. I was always a point and shoot kid until one of my friends in college bought a Nikon D80, and I discovered what possibilities awaited me with a higher end camera.

When Traveling Is Unpredictable (and What You Can Do about It)

When Traveling Is Unpredictable (and What You Can Do about It) | CosmosMariners.com

Vacation is supposed to be the time when we recharge our batteries. It's an escape from the regular ins and outs of life: the bills, the commute, the school run. It's a chance to explore the world around us and experience life in one of the many beautiful places around the globe.

Traveling is fun. Until it's not.

No one wants something to disrupt their carefully planned and budgeted trips, but sometimes things happen. I've been traveling since I was a little kid, and the majority of our trips have been wonderful. They've gone exactly as planned, and generally exceeded expectations.

But there have been a few that have gone south for a variety of reasons, all of which were completely unpredictable.

The Easiest Way to Turn Your Travel Pictures into Photo Books

The Easiest Way to Turn Your Travel Pictures into Photo Books | CosmosMariners.com

This post was sponsored by Blurb. I was provided a complimentary photo book of my choice and compensation in exchange for my honest review.

Fun fact: I was the yearbook nerd in middle school (my claim to fame was that I was the editor of my yearbook in both 8th grade and 12th grade). When you consider that I spent most of my lunches during my senior year pouring over layouts, it's no wonder that I still love travel photography and editing and creating photo books.

Yet, with all of the craziness of day-to-day life, those photos seem to stay backed up on my hard drive. My older child is going to be 4 in just a few short weeks, and I've only made photo books that cover up to her 2nd birthday. I'm 2 years behind at this point.

8 Historic Houses to Add to Your Italy Itinerary

8 Historic Houses to Add to Your Italy Itinerary | CosmosMariners.com

Although I love learning about history while traveling, not all history-themed attractions are created equal. If you find museums are impersonal or overwhelming, consider visiting a historical home or two on your next visit. Not only are they more personal since you get to learn about the people who lived there, but they also give you a much more approachable way to learn about history since you can see (and sometimes touch) the things that made up life decades or centuries ago.

FlightHub’s Top Reasons why Montreal is Magical

FlightHub’s Top Reasons why Montreal is Magical | CosmosMariners.com
{photo via flickr | creative commons}
Today, I'm handing the blog over to the editors at FlightHub for their take on Montreal, Canada. Located in the providence of Quebec, Montreal is Canada's second largest city and is the second largest French-speaking city in the world after Paris. With its unique mixture of French and English cultures, its stunning natural surroundings, and its thriving cultural scene, there's something for everyone in this beautiful place.

12 Ways to Soak up Culture in the Algarve, Portugal

12 Ways to Soak up Culture in the Algarve, Portugal | CosmosMariners.com

Since the Algarve is Portugal's most visited summer vacation spot, you expect to find gorgeous water, sandy beaches, and plenty of warm weather. The Algarve has all of these in spades, but this region of Portugal (which draws its name from the Arabic word for "west") has plenty more to offer visitors when they tire of the sun, sands, and crowds.

From incredible meals to Roman ruins to the weird chapel you've ever visited, here's how to experience culture in the Algarve on your next visit to Portugal.

Celebrating Island-style: Festivals of the Bahamas

Celebrating Island-style: Festivals of the Bahamas | CosmosMariners.com

Year-round sunshine, crystal clear waters, and hundreds of white sand beaches: welcome to the Bahamas! This island chain is only a short plane ride from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but the tropical scenery makes it feel like a world away.

While most people head to the island chain for relaxation (and rightly so!), there's another reason why you should check your calendar before you make your vacation plans here: the festivals of the Bahamas. 

7 Ways Travel Allows Me to Be My Best Self

7 Ways Travel Allows Me to Be My Best Self | CosmosMariners.com

As far back as I can remember, traveling has been a major influence in my life. It wasn't until I was in college that I began to realize just how much a part of me traveling was, and I began to take steps to keep travel as a priority. That's not always easy when you're a broke college or grad school student, but I did manage to study abroad both in London for a summer and in the Bahamas as a part of a semester-long course (thanks to working 3 jobs).

Kicking off the Holiday Season with College Football + New Shoes

Kicking off the Holiday Season with College Football + New Shoes | CosmosMariners.com

Although I love traveling (which is no big surprise since I run a travel blog), I also adore my home state of South Carolina.

For many others, the holiday season kicks off with Thanksgiving and then leads into Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year's.

As a proud South Carolinian, I know that the holiday season really starts when the weather gets chillier and the words "college football playoffs" are beginning to be bandied about. This past weekend, my husband and I headed back up to our alma mater, Clemson University, to see a football game and get into that holiday mood right before Thanksgiving.

When Motion Sickness Hits on Vacation

When Motion Sickness Hits on Vacation | CosmosMariners.com

It's one of the worst possible situations. You've planned, you've gotten excited, you've embarked on your vacation, and you get sick.

No one wants to sit inside a hotel room feeling awful while the rest of your friends or family enjoys the adventure that you're all on. Whether your motion sickness started because of plane turbulence, a bumpy bus ride, too many roller coaster rides, or rough seas on a cruise, the experience can leave you weak, nauseous, and exhausted.

I know all too well the drain that motion sickness can take on a vacation. When my parents took my sister and I on our first cruise several years back, I had a wonderful time--for the first day or so. Then, we got into rougher seas (courtesy of a hurricane that was blasting through the Bahamas at the time), and I got to experience sea sickness for the first time in all of its awful glory.

Since I'd always been able to handle just about anything thanks to what my parents call my steel stomach--crazy roller coasters, long car rides, the bumpiest of plane rides--they weren't sure why I was so sick. My mom and dad first assumed I'd gotten food poisoning (thanks to my shellfish allergy), but, unlike my shellfish reactions, this sickness didn't get better in 12-14 hours.

After two days of being completely limp and horribly nauseous, my parents made the decision to take me off the boat for our scheduled shore excursion in Cozumel, Mexico. Ever the history buff, I'd been so excited about visiting the Mayan ruins in Tulum, but the reality left me sitting with my dad on a stone wall while I morosely watched an iguana scurry up part of the ruins and tried not to hurl.

We finally realized that what was causing me to feel so bad was sea sickness when I began to feel better on shore, but immediately got worse again when we returned to the boat.

I can say, without a doubt, that sea sickness ruined an incredible experience for me. From that moment onward, I made sure not to let something avoidable like motion sickness interfere with the fun on my vacations!

When Motion Sickness Hits on Vacation | CosmosMariners.com
When Landon and I headed off on our Western Caribbean cruise a few weeks ago, you'd better believe that I had some Dramamine Non-Drowsy Naturals in my bag. No way, no how was I going to miss a moment of the fun that we had lined up!

More than fifteen years after I first visited Cozumel, Mexico, I returned--and this time, I was trying to puke into my dad's hat.

When Motion Sickness Hits on Vacation | CosmosMariners.com

I've tried many anti-sea-sickness products on the cruises I've taken, and most of them leave me passed out in the stateroom while everyone else heads up to the pool for some fun in the sun. I didn't go on the cruise to sleep while my family leaves me!

The Dramamine Non-Drowsy Naturals, which I took as soon as we got onto the boat, kept me from missing a moment of the pool parties, dancing, dining, and shore excursions. I liked that it had a clinically-proven dosage of ginger to settle my stomach, but the dosage is gentle enough that I could use it throughout the cruise.

I might not be able to stop getting the flu, pneumonia, or a cold while on vacation, but you'd better believe that I'm going to do everything in my power to keep sea sickness at bay!

Are you one of the 50% of the population that gets sea sickness or motion sickness? What have you had to miss because of motion sickness? Have you ever been sick on vacation?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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6 Reasons Why You Should Visit Tunisia

There's something about the cooler weather that makes me want to venture off to somewhere exotic. Maybe I'm missing summer (and all of the warmth that comes with it) or maybe it's because I'd rather do anything that think about all of that holiday shopping that I still have to do. 

Whatever the reason, I've been dreaming of places like Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia--you get the picture. While Egypt and Morocco are pretty well known, I haven't known too many people who've actually been to Tunisia (other than my uncle, but he's very well-traveled!). Though I haven't been, here are six reasons why I want to visit (and why you should, too!):

1) It's got a Mediterranean-like climate. 

With summer highs in the high 80s and low 90s (or around 32 Celcius), and winter temperatures in the 60s (or high teens Celcius), it's mild enough to sightsee year round without worrying about heat stroke or packing an overcoat. 

2) There's history everywhere.
El-Jem Coliseum

In Hammamet, you can walk in the footsteps of Hannibal, the Phoenicians, and the Romans. Visit the Antonine Roman Baths backdropped by the Mediterranean, the Roman ampitheatre, the sacrificial site of Tophet, and the Bardo Museum (which boasts the world's largest collection of ancient Roman mosaics). 

3) Beautiful beaches are the norm. 
Sousse Beach

Tunisia is known for its gorgeous view along its coast; the country borders the Mediterranean and is warm enough to swim nearly year-round. From the cliffside beaches in the north to the desert-backed beaches of the south, the crystal clear water will entice swimmers and scuba divers of all ages. 

4) Tunisia is a globally-inspired country.
With influences from the Spanish (who once held many of the coastal cities in the 1500s), the French (who ruled the country from the late 1800s to the mid-1950s), and the Middle East (with whom Tunisia has identified in recent years after it sought its own independence), you're as likely to find a croque monsieur on the menu as you are couscous.

5) It's less known than Egypt or Morocco.

If you're an "off-the-beaten-path" kind of traveler, Tunisia still has plenty of hidden spots to discover. Since the tourist trade has flourished only since the country's Arab Spring, it's been a kind of secret destination for those in the know. There's enough infrastructure within the country to support safe touring while still allowing Tunisia to keep its exotic, mysterious flavor. 

6) It's small enough to tour around via car.
Though it packs a punch culturally and historically, Tunisia has less land mass than the United Kingdom. You won't have to pick one spot to stay for your entire holiday; since it's compact, you can use one area as a base and visit multiple places each day. Visit Sousse, a UNESCO World Heritage site, one day, head out to Djerba for some sun the next day, and then visit the souk in Tunis to round out your trip. 

Have you ever been to Tunisia? Is this country on your travel bucket list?