Great last minute flight deals

Sometimes your wanderlust is just too strong, and you need to get away right now. But last-minute travel is notorious for being super-pricey. However, plenty of sites and ways to get discounts on flights to far-off places at the drop of a hat.

Here's how to get last-minute flight deals to help feed your need to travel.

Google Flights

What makes Google Flights so great is pretty the same reason the search engine is so great; it is super fast and comes up with tons of options. Just plug in your dates and some destinations and let Google do the rest. Plus, if you don't know where you want to go, leave the destination box blank and then scroll through the results to find the best deal for the dates you have in mind.

However, it is important to note that it doesn't mean the flight options you get are the lowest price just because they are fast. In fact, sometimes you can find the same flight for way less on other travel sites. So, it is worth poking around to make sure you are getting the best deal.

Vayama.Com

This site focuses mainly on international flights for those who really want to run away for a while; plus, since they showcase low-cost flights on their front page, you will never have to search around wonder how to get last-minute flight deals on their site. They even have a trending deals area where you will see the latest sale prices if you are unsure where you want to go.

LastMinuteTravel.com

This site pretty much is exactly what you would expect from its name, a last-minute travel site. However, unlike the two options above, they also offer great deals on cruises, hotel rooms, and vacation packages. Plus, if you like surprises, you can book a mystery hotel for meager prices; the only catch is you won't learn the hotel's name until after you have booked.

This can be a great option if you need guaranteed approval-- when it comes to needing a great hotel room at a super discounted price.

Big Booking Sites

These are probably sites you are already familiar with, like Skyscanner, Travelocity, or Kayak. You plug in your dates, let the site know if you are a little flexible, usually by 1-3 days on either side, let it know where you want to go, and let the site work its magic. These sites tend to be aggregator sites, meaning when you are ready to buy, you will be directed to another site.

A Few More Tricks on How to Get Last-Minute Flight Deals

It should go without saying, one of the best ways on how to get last-minute flight deals is not to wait too long to book your flight. 21 days seems to be the perfect date as flights aren't likely to drop too much after then. Also, if you can search for nearby airports, do that.

For example, if you live in San Francisco, search for flights out of Oakland and San Jose.

For more travel hacks, check out the rest of our travel blog.

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5 things to do in Thailand

For many people, heading to Thailand is about the amazing beaches and fantastic party scene, thanks to its neatly 1500 islands and vibrant cities like Bangkok and Phuket.

However, there is much more to do and see in this Southeast Asian gem than just lazing all day on a beach and partying the night away. In fact, it is home to one of the richest and most vibrant cultures in the region.

So, let's take a look at 5 reasons you should consider vacationing in Thailand.

1. The Food

The food in Thailand is as diverse and varied as the landscape. In fact, visitors could easily go months without having the same dish twice. Part of this has to do with the fact food can differ from region to region and even sometimes, city to city.

So, this makes vacationing in Thailand a foodie's dream as they can sample a taste as many different foods and flavors as their tastebuds can handle.

2. The Temples

There are more than 40,000 Buddhist temples in Thailand. And with so many, spanning so many different architectural styles, visitors are bound to find one, or several, that pique their interest. Plus, since Bangkok has the most per capita, even if you are only visiting the capital, you can see some of the most unique offerings the Land of Smiles has.

For example, Wat Pho is the oldest and grandest of these temples and is located fairly centrally in the palace district, making it easy to visit.

3. The Diving

This one isn't surprising, considering Thailand has about 2000 miles of coastline. That means there is bound to be some spectacular diving and snorkeling. Plus, it regularly tops lists of great diving spots, thanks mainly to places like Pattaya, which is rarely affected by monsoons.

So, if seeing things like sea turtles and any number of beautiful sea life is on your to-do list, think about finding Thailand vacation packages with this as its selling point.

4. The History and Culture

While its cities may be full of urban decor and pleasures, Thailand's rich and vibrant culture and history are everywhere you look. From its dance performances and puppet shows to its temples and ornate ruins, the Thai people are still proud of and embrace their cultural heritage.

5. The Markets

While street markets may be a thing in other Southeast Asian countries, no one does the way Thailand does. Each one seems to be dedicated to a different theme, be it food or antiques or one of a kind souvenirs for the folks back home. You could easily spend your days wandering from one market to the next and never see the same wares twice.

And don't assume this is just a daytime activity. There are many nighttime markets, especially in Bangkok. So, if you want to sightsee all day and then shop all night, Thailand is the place for you.

Just a Few Reasons Vacationing in Thailand Is a Good Idea

These are just a few suggestions on what makes vacationing in Thailand a great idea for anyone looking for something beyond just sitting on a beach. However, there is so much more to do and explore in the Land of Smiles.

For reasons to explore different countries, check out our blog. It is chock-full of great travel tips for those looking for a little something extra.

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Things to do in Cambodia

When it comes to tourist destinations in South East Asia, Cambodia automatically comes to mind, which is a real shame. Home to some of the most beautiful ruins and vibrant nightlife in the region, it really should be higher on people's list of must-see places, especially the capital city, Phnom-Penh.

Here is a list of the top 10 things to do in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

1: The Killing Fields

In much the same way experiencing Dachau and Auschwitz are suggested in Munich and Krakow, this memorial to the Khmer Rouge regime's horrors is a must for anyone interested in modern history. When you arrive, you will be given a headset and lead on a tour of the fields, complete with compelling narration and stories from survivors. Silently take it all in as you learn about one of the most horrible acts to happen during the Cold War.

2: Wildlife Alliance

After spending a few hours at the Killing Fields, you will need a palate cleanser. And what better way to feel better about the world than visiting a non-profit organization working all over the world to educate people on the need to conserve animals, especially those at risk of becoming endangered? At the sanctuary in Phnom Penh, you will get to feed baby elephants, visit tigers, and play with monkeys, all while learning about ways you can make a difference when it comes to how to end animal trafficking.

3: Phnom Penh Night Market

Want to sample awesome Cambodian street food? Want to shop for great souvenirs for friends and family back home? Then head to the Phnom Penh Night Market.

The food court has stalled after stall offering everything from grilled meat on sticks to amazing noodle dishes to fruit drinks to wash it all down with. After you are done eating, head to the shopping area, shop after shop selling bags, dishes, trinkets, and so much more. You could easily spend an entire night just eating and shopping your way through this pleasure hall of Cambodian life.

4: Hard Rock Cafe Phnom Penh

Yes, it is true you could go to a Hard Rock Cafe in almost any major city in the world, but hear us out. This is one of the newer ones to open, and it blends the Eastern and Western cultures beautifully, with tons of classic Hard Rock fare and even a few samplings of local flavor. Plus, with the upcoming events clearly laid, you can plan your trip to watch a local band or catch a more international band.

5: The Royal Palace

This royal residence was built in the 1860s and has been the home to the royal residence since if you don't count when it was abandoned due to the Khmer Rouge. This beautiful palace is filled with golden temples, grand royal apartments, and splendid gardens you could spend hours strolling through. And since it is right on the river, when you get tired, find a spot to sit and watch the riverboats sail along.

6: The Silver Pagoda

This Buddhist temple is a stunning tribute to the official religion in Cambodia. Designed in a traditional southeast Asian style, once you approach, you will see why it is called the Silver Pagoda: there are 5,000 silver tiles on the floor as an offering to Buddha. Be sure to climb the stairs to the Emerald Buddha temple, where you will find a statue of him covered in 2086 diamonds.

7: The Russian Market

Don't let the name fool you. While you may be able to find a few Russian inspired souvenirs leftover from the 80s when there were tons of Russian ex-pats, the majority of what you will find here are traditional Cambodian wares. One of the larger markets in the city, head here if you want to get silk scarves, ornate wood carvings, and spices galore, and you don't have a lot of time to shop.

8: The National Museum

Home to artifacts from ancient times to modern-day Cambodia is a great place to learn more about this hidden South East Asian gem. They also do cultural performances by traditional Khmer dancers allowing visitors to experience a beautiful dance tradition, unlike anything they may be familiar with. This is easily one of the best things to do in Phnom Penh.

9: Phocea Mekong Cruises

The Mekong is the river that runs through most of South East Asia, starting in China and ending in Cambodia. Used as a primary waterway in Cambodia, it is one of the easiest ways to get from Phnom Penh to places like Siem Reap and Angkor Wat. However, if a multi-day cruise isn't in the cards, you can still take a dinner cruise and take in the cityscape as you dine on local cuisine and enjoy the view.

10: Wat Phnom

Phnom Penh isn't a hilly city. So, to have a gorgeous Buddhist temple, dating from the 1300s, on top of a large, grassy hill littered with trees is a special treat. As you climb the staircase, lined with Buddha and lion statues, the temple itself is home to not one but 4 statues on the Buddha. Once you are in the temple, you are bound to see plenty of students praying for good grades and gamblers wishing for luck.

Things To Do In Phnom Penh

This is just a small sampling of all the things to do in Phnom Penh. There are countless markets, temples, and even several non-profits dedicated to raising awareness about human trafficking. It really is worth visiting.

For more great ideas on travel destinations, check out our blog.

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Active vacations for adventure seekers.

Not everyone wants to sit on the beach or by a pool while on vacation. Some people dream of hiking, ziplining, and rounds of golf on challenging golf courses.

Here are 9 amazing active vacation ideas for daring travelers.

What Are Active Vacations

Active vacations are designed to keep you busy and moving, and not just in a touristy, sightseeing sort of way. They are all about going off the beaten path, being bold and adventurous, and sometimes pushing yourself to the limits. They can be the perfect way to take a time out and truly get away from it all.

Machu Picchu Peru:

This archeological wonder is perfect for people interested in the native cultures of the Americas or just love to wander through ancient cities. You can either take a day trip to the ruins or split your trip into a four-day hiking expedition. Just be sure to take some time to enjoy all the other amazing ruins in and around the area.

Black Hole Drop, Belize

If the idea of plummetting 300 feet into the basin of a cave doesn't phase you one bit, this might be perfect for you. Nestled in the Maya Mountains, this cave looks like a drop into pure darkness. However, once you are at the bottom, you will find yourself surrounded by a lush rainforest, amazing!

Travel The Silk Road

The Silk Road was the main trading route between The East and The West for centuries. This trek through history highlights everything from the Mongol invaders to the extensive trading of the Middle Ages and Renaissance to Communist USSR. It is an absolute must for history buffs and anthropologists who want to see how civilizations influenced each other.

Papua New Guinea

Getting to this remote island in the South Pacific is an adventure all its own. Located just north of Australia, it is the perfect place to flip-flop between relaxing on one of its many beaches or taking in some of its more daring activities. Whether you decided to snorkel in the crystal clear waters of the Pacific or hike Mt. Hagan, there is bound to be an adventure that appeals to you.

Southern Utah

If you love the idea of gorgeous rock formations and yoga retreats, why not considering heading to Southern Utah. Famous for its rocky desert landscapes, this gem located in the Southwestern part of the US has recently become a hotspot for health and wellness retreats as well.

So, go to marvel and some of the most magical desert sunsets imaginable while taking your yoga to the next level.

Scotland

Imagine exploring a gorgeous medieval city one day, hiking through some of the most beautiful mountain ranges the next, sipping whiskey on a remote island in the North Sea the next, and finishing up with a round of golf at one of the most famous golf courses in the world. Well, that is what a Scottish holiday could look like. Just make sure you take plenty of rain gear, as the weather can turn in a moment.

New Zealand

While it may be famous for Hobbiton now, New Zealand has long been a favorite of outdoorsy types who can't commit to land or sea adventures. With some of the best mountain walks in the world and plenty of ocean around it, those seeking any number of activities are bound to love this island nation nestled in the South Pacific.

Plus, with its relatively small population, you can easily steer clear of other people if you want to enjoy some quiet time away from civilization.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

This intricate religious monument is the largest in the world. Built sometime in the 12 century, it is some of the last remaining relics of the Khmer Empire of Cambodia.

While there is a bus service from the current capital, Phnom Penh, taking the six-hour boat ride lets you take in more of the scenery of this often-overlooked South East Asian gem. After you take in the marvel of Angkor Wat, be sure you head to Angkor City, the capital of the Khmer Empire.

Zambia

Zambia is home to the largest waterfall in the world, along with some of the most amazing safari and big game viewing in Africa. So if swimming at the bottom of one of the world's most majestic natural wonders sounds like your cup of tea or you want to walk with lions, this central African paradise is bound to be your dream destination.

Go Big or Go Home

Whatever you plan for your active vacation, there are more than enough places and adventures to be had. However, just like any vacation you plan, be sure to check for visa requirements and that you have an appropriate guide if need be. Because, no matter how epic you want it to be, safety should always come first.

For more great ideas on where to go and what to see, be sure to check out our travel tips. It is packed full of great advice on where to go and what to see no matter where the road takes you.

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Reasons to visit Georgia

Nestled on The Black Sea, this unsung country of the Caucasus region is an interesting mix of European and Asian cultures. It is also known for having some of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes in the area. However, if you plan on visiting Georgia, there a few things you should be aware of before you pack your bags.

Here are seven things to know before you head to Georgia.

1. Learn Some Georgian or Russian

Yes, in the larger cities you will find quite a few people who speak English. But if you plan to travel out into the country, which we highly recommend, you should learn at least a few phrases in Georgian. If that seems too hard, try to pick up a little Russian since most people will speak that.

2. Know When To Go

Knowing when to travel can help make your trip more enjoyable. Thankfully the climate is pretty diverse. The winters can get cold and snow, the summers warm verging on hot, and spring and autumn are lovely and temperate; so, it really just depends on your personal preference.

3. Transportation Can Be Interesting

Getting to and from the major cities shouldn't be too much of a problem. After all, the train system is pretty good. But if you want to venture into the country, you will need to take a minibus, and the stations can be disorganized and chaotic. This is where your Russian or Georgian will come in handy.

4. Churches and Monasteries

Georgia is a deeply religious country, following Orthodox Christianity. If you are a fan of architecture, you will love all the different religious buildings from different eras, since religion was first introduced to the country in the 4th century. Be warned, though, in the more remote areas, churches tend to be on hills, so be prepared for a bit of a hike to get to them.

5. It Is a Foodie's Dream

Because Georgia straddles both Europe and Asia, the food is diverse with various tastes to please any palate. Though it does tend to be more about meat and pastries, there are plenty of vegetarian options.

6. Carry Cash

In the larger cities, like the capital Tbilisi, you will be able to use your card a bit more often. However, much of the country is still cash only. So, to make sure you don't run into any hassles, keep a little money with you at all times.

7. Museums Are Cheap

Compared to other major European cities, Tbilisi's museums' entrance prices are beyond reasonable. In fact, the average price of a ticket is about 1.25. So, if you are interested in seeing amazing works of art for next to nothing, you are going to be over the moon.

Visiting Georgia

While it might not get as much press as Russia or Ukraine, this small but diverse former Soviet State is well worth visiting.

For more tips on inexpensive countries to visit, check out the rest of our blog.

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Tapas to try in Spain.

Spain is a tourist hotspot for a variety of reasons. From its long and rich cultural history to its laid-back beach resorts, it is easy to see why many people flock to this Southern European country. However, in recent years, Spain has gained a reputation as a foodie paradise.

With so many different types of tapas to sample, it can be hard to know where to start. Well, here is a handy list of 10 of the tapas you need to try in Spain.

What Exactly Are Tapas

Tapas are small appetizers served as snacks with drinks or together to create a meal. Thanks to their small, almost bite-size serving sizes, they tend to be fairly informal, and many people eat them standing up in bars all over Spain, but especially in the southern part of the country. They can consist of simple potatoes with a dipping sauce to more ornate, almost mini-meals of small cuts of steak with veggies.

They date all the way back to the 13th century when a law was passed that every tavern had to serve food with wine and beer. However, it is more likely that the tradition started because farmworkers would eat small snacks throughout the day to keep their energy levels up.

Now that we have a little background and history let's look at some of the types of tapas you are bound to find in your Spanish adventures.

1: Patatas Bravas

Patatas Bravas are the most popular, or at least the most recognized, tapas around the world. These potato bites are fried in oil and served with either a spicy tomato sauce up north or with an aioli sauce in the south. In Madrid, they serve these tasty treats with sweet and spicy pimenton sauce.

2: Croquetas

These tasty deep-fried bread treats are traditionally filled with meat, usually ham and cheese, most often a creamy b├ęchamel. However, as more restaurants are willing to experiment with new taste sensations, you will find them with crab, mushrooms, and various cheeses. Like Patatas Bravas, they are served with various dipping sauces, with the most typical being aioli.

3: Gazpacho

This cold soup is originally from Andalusia, the southernmost region of Spain but is now popular all over Spain and Portugal. It is made from raw vegetables and garlic and then blended with oil and vinegar to create a tangy, spicy flavor. It is often served over ice and is perfect for a refreshing treat during the hot summer months.

4: Tortilla De Patatas

This omelet dish is made with thinly sliced potatoes and bound together with egg. It also usually contains a little bit of red onion to add a bit of flavor. While it is traditionally presented in a large pie, it comes served in small, easy-to-eat wedges as a tapas dish.

5: Solomillo Al Whisky

Consisting of pork medallions marinated in whiskey or brandy and then fried in olive oil, this tapas dish is popular in Seville and the surrounding region. Packed full of smokey flavor, it is a great way to sample some of Spain's famous pork. It's often served with fries to sop up the tasty sauce allowing you to enjoy every last drop.

6: Cheese

While Spain may not come to mind when someone says "cheese," it really should. While manchego is famous and a staple of tapas menus around the country, there are tons of other great cheeses to ask for too. There are plenty of taste sensations for any palate, from mild cow's cheese to tangy sheep's cheese.

So, if you order a cheese plate, get ready to try some of the most popular cheeses Spain has to offer, as well as local ones. There will also be slices of bread or breadsticks to cleanse your palate, allowing you to enjoy each cheese.

7: Gambas Al Ajillo

Spain is known for its many seafood dishes, and one of the best and tastiest of these is Gambas al ajillo or prawns in oil. Consisting of fresh prawns cooked in olive oil, garlic, and chili peppers, it is a spicy offering that pairs well with beer to temper the heat. It is easy to see why this is one of the most popular tapas among locals.

8: Montaditos

These tapas are a staple of Spanish cuisine due to the ease with which they can be eaten. They are filled with everything from meat to pork to cheese to veggies, they resemble baguettes, just shorter, wider, and toasted. Traditionally they are served plain; however, more and more gastropubs have started using special sauces to enhance the main fillings' flavors to create a unique taste sensation.

9: Albondigas

These meatballs, smothered in sauce, can either be served by themselves or with any number of other dishes. Made from beef, pork, or a combination of the two and cooked in a garlicky tomato sauce, you eat these succulent meatballs with toothpicks.

10: Jamon

Spain is known for its various hams, most famously Jamon Iberico and Jamon Serrano. It comes from the hind leg of a pig and is dry-cured for many years before it is served.

It is most often paired with a sample of cheese to help bring out the subtle flavor of each of the regional hams on tapas menus. Stack it on a piece of bread for a little open-faced ham and cheese sandwich to nibble on while drinking tempranillo for an amazing taste sensation.

Types of Tapas

These are just a small sampling of the types of tapas available in Spain. There are plenty of others ranging from simple snacks to far more ornate offerings, so you get a better idea of Spanish cuisine one tasty bite at a time.

Geverny and San Malo

Less than two hours outside of Paris, Giverny seems to be a world away from the busy, hyperactive, insane beauty, which is France's capital city. There is still a sleepy, dreamy quality to this hub of Impressionistic creativity. Just walking down the street, it is easy to understand why a painter so obsessed with light and greenery would choose to make his haven and inspiration in this gem of a valley in Norman, France. However, the moment you enter the house and gardens, this understanding becomes complete. In his obsession with the natural world, Monet managed to create a garden that is in bloom year-round while being the most spectacular in late spring/early summer. It is truly breathtaking without being overwhelming. There is a simplicity in its over-abundance of flora, which somehow manages never to overwhelm the senses. It is beautiful, serene, and blissfully quiet, even with gads of people milling about, marveling at the highly orchestrated, yet a seemingly natural, testament to a man's love of nature.

Brittany is an entirely different thing altogether. It is somehow French, Celtic, and an entity all to itself, especially St. Malo, which seceded from France and Brittany as well, to be its own self-governing city-state in the 17th century. One British merchant described it as a town full of the depraved, thieving pirates of stories, and even today, there seems to be a local pride in this fact, despite the fact they seem to have settled down a bit play up the pirate thing, mainly for tourists.

The Bretons are insanely proud of their Celtic heritage; you are far more likely to see the regional flag flying than the French one. They are Breton first and French second, reminding foreigners Brittany didn't become a part of France until 1532. Around every corner is some reminder of their Celtic origins, their role in the Arthurian Legends (Lancelot de Lac was Breton after all), and examples of their regional dialect, which isn't French, but rather a Gaelic language resembling Welsh or, even more closely, Manx.

As for the town itself, it is charming in that walled fortress sort of way. Despite the height of the walls, the sea air envelopes everything, lending its subtle crispness to the already ever-present fragrance of crepes and seafood, which wafts everywhere. The streets twist and turn, almost encouraging the lone tourist to get lost, with only the distant sound of waves as a guide. Everywhere you look, there is a point of interest, whether it is an artist painting, a group of traditional dancers prancing, or a group performing French sea shanties on top of all the interesting architecture. It is ridiculously charming. Tourists and locals seem to blend together, with the only way to tell the two apart is in shops and the wait staff. Much like the people of Bath, England, the St. Maloians seem to understand how much of their prosperity comes from tourists and welcome them accordingly.