Becoming a #BossBabe: 5 reasons you should read more…

We all dream about being successful….

We discuss it over wine with our homegirls, stating that “one day when I become the next Oprah….”

We hope, think, obsess, and wish for it, not to mention Googling the hell out of it. Even though we attempt all of these tactics the first time someone suggests a book recommendation to get there our reply is….

“No, I’m good girl you know I don’t read like that…..”

miss-jay

Most of the answers that we search for lie between the pages of a book. But because we are too cool for school or too busy searching for a quick fix, we pass by the very answer that we look for.

(And don’t you dare say that you don’t have enough time because if Ted sent you a text saying that he wants to see you….just watch as your busy schedule magically opens up….but that ain’t none of my business though.)

Here are 5 reasons you should pick up a book a little more often.

Ease your mind

As life comes at us ten million miles per hour, it can be tough to sit down and just relax. Seriously when I go to bed my mind is already half way through the next day with thoughts of what I need to do.  Don’t let me watch ratchet TV before bed; I’ll be up analyzing Mimi from Love and Hip Hop’s new relationship; is she really in love or is it just an attempt to extend her story line for another season?

A study conducted by the University of Sussex found that when you read it can reduce stress up to 68%; working faster than other relaxation methods such as listening to music or a drinking hot cup of tea (2009).

When I read I am no longer focused on the hustle and bustle of the day but in tune with whatever book I have opened up. If it is bedtime it never fails.

Boost creativity

You know that moment when you attempt to create a catchy slogan or the perfect end to a research paper but nothing and I mean NOTHING comes to mind. If drawing a blank was an art you would be Picasso. When you read it boosts your brain power; the scientists over at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis reported that just by reading it engages 17 regions of your brain, which makes sense when you think about how certain ideas have the ability to just come to you after you put down a book.  Let’s refer to it as a wake up call for your brain!

use-your-brain-gif

Enhance what you know

We all have that one friend who thinks they know everything.  That’s ya girl, but if you try to put her onto something new it is dismissed before you even can finish the sentence (and if this sounds foreign to you, you may just be that friend…) When we feel as if we know it all we close our mind to new information. By reading it allows us to build on the expertise that we already know for sure; to consider a different angle and insights that we never would have thought of before.

Because if I ran a mile with a time of 7:30 in high school and I never ran again since then; I bet the end result would look a lot different now because I didn’t try to be better, just banked on what I already did a looooooong time ago. Knowledge is no exception to this rule.

Carry an adult conversation

When I was in college I always heard a particular professor say that they could tell how much a person read by just having a conversation with them. To me, at the time, it sounded like when I was younger and my grandma would have all of these country sayings that didn’t make any sense. But as I grew up a light bulb went off: grandma wasn’t crazy, it actually makes perfect sense.

Yeah, that happened to me.

It’s almost as if readers think differently; conversations can be deep without even knowing the person. You are able to expand your vocabulary as you are always facing new words outside of your everyday life. The context of various topics can be discuss, because, face it, what you saw on BallerAlert can only take you so far in a professional setting.

LEVEL UP

One of the major characteristic to just about EVERY successful woman is……they READ….and they read A LOT.  How can you want to be successful but neglect the most important factor to get you there? Reading has the ability to take you to the next level. I remember when I was fresh out of undergrad and my networking skills weren’t the best….actually they were terrible. I was just the person who would follow around my classmates to say that I did something. One day I came across a book called Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi and thought I would give it a try. Ever since that day my networking skills have been on FLEEK! If you don’t know something read about it. It will stretch your thinking to take you to where you want to be. If you mind is never stretched you will most likely stay where you are.

Even though this list could go for days, it is very important that we pick up a book and cancel out all of the excuses about why we don’t.

Knowledge is power.  But you can’t gain the power if you never allow yourself access to the knowledge (Tweet This). 

If you read one book every year, challenge yourself to two. And if you’re an avid reader share this article with someone you know that doesn’t pick up a book (tell them you’re not being shady…just honest…)

Quotation:http://www.lifehack.org/

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How to Sleep Well and Stay Safe on a Night Train…

Despite competition from low cost airlines, there are still a large number of night trains operating around the world, particularly in Europe — and for good reason! While it may take around 8 hours to travel overnight, taking a night train is a very time-efficient mode of transport. Why waste time travelling during the day when you can be whisked to your next destination while you sleep? In this post, we’ll discuss how to make the most of your trip by night train, while ensuring you stay safe in the process.

Always book a sleeper compartment or couchette, never a seat

Night train accommodations typically come in three variants: sleeper cabin, couchette, or a seat. A sleeper cabin is the best way to travel, giving you a private cabin to share with a friend — or a stranger if you’re going solo — plus a washbasin and the most personal space you can get on a sleeper train.

Inside a sleeper compartment

Moving down the ranks, the next best is a couchette, where you’ll find four to six bunks in each compartment. The bunks aren’t quite as good as the beds you get in a cabin, and there’s no washbasin. However, you will at least be able to lie down.

That sounds like a downright luxury when compared to what you get in a standard seat. This is the most basic form of accommodation, and usually consists of a carriage with reclining seats. In the worst cases in certain European countries, this carriage may just be a standard daytime carriage, in which case you’d be lucky to get any sleep at all.

The reclining seat option may save you some money, however it comes at a different type of cost. Do you really want to turn up in a new city feeling incredibly tired after an uncomfortable all-nighter? Because of this, it’s always best to opt for one of the slightly pricier options.

Secure your belongings

Security should be your number one concern on a night train. While robberies are rare, you’re a prime target when you’re asleep, especially on routes with intermediate stops.

If you have your own private cabin, security is tight, as your compartment can only be unlocked from the inside. Each carriage has its own attendant who will recommend you keep your door locked at all times, and this is well worth doing.

If you’re sleeping with others in a cabin or couchette, then politely ask everyone to keep the door locked once everyone’s inside. However, it’s a good idea to take extra precautions if you’re travelling solo, as you won’t know how reliable your companions will be.

Your best bet is to grab a top bunk and keep your valuables on you in a money belt. Sleeping on top means you’ll be out of reach of any unwelcome visitors. If you’re in a reclining seat, keep your money belt below a layer or two of clothing so they’re safe.

Next, think about where you put your backpack. Many night trains will have a shelf inside the compartments above the corridor. This is an ideal place to keep your luggage, as it is harder to get at and more noticeable if someone tries to remove your things. There’s also likely to be a bar to stop bags from falling down, which makes for a handy point to attach your bag to. If your backpack has a waist strap, attach this around the bar, making it harder for anyone to take the bag. You can even take it a step further by locking your bag to the bar.

If you’ve chosen to travel in a reclining seat, then locking your bag to your chair or the luggage rack is a good idea, as it will be within easier reach of any thieves than if you were in a compartment or couchette car.

The Warsaw to Budapest night train approaches

Prepare your bag for bedtime

There’s nothing worse than having to unpack your entire bag in your cramped couchette cabin to get your toothbrush while everyone else is trying to get into their beds and go to sleep. Avoid annoying your companions and plan ahead. Put everything you need for the train in an outside pocket before you reach the station so you can access it with ease.

Not only will you want to access your toothbrush and towel, it’s also a good idea to bring a sleeping mask and earplugs. These are really worthwhile if you’re in a carriage with strangers who may be leaving the train at an earlier stop or have a tendency to get up regularly to use the loo.

Night trains are usually quiet as they speed through the night, however you can get woken up when your carriage is uncoupled, shunted around, and recouped to a different train to get you to your destination, as night trains tend to be split up as carriages are taken to different destinations. If you’re a light sleeper, this is likely to wake you up, so earplugs really do make a difference.

Quotation:http://www.lifehack.org/

5 Of Europe’s Best Cities for EDM Lovers…

The American EDM (electronic dance music) scene has continued to thrive for the last few years. But we should never forget that at the end of the day, EDM was popularized in dance clubs and raves throughout Europe. And Europe continues to be where the very best EDM clubs, festivals, and DJs live, further showcased through festivals like Tomorrowland and the Electric Love Festival.

So where are the best spots in Europe for a good night of dancing? Here are five cities which represent the epitome of EDM culture, and where an enthusiast can have the best time. We look at cities with a rich history of EDM music, a thriving culture with great clubs and DJs, and are generally attractive tourist spots.

Berlin

Berlin is an obvious choice, but it still must be mentioned. EDM has been part of Berlin culture all the way back to the days of the Berlin Wall, whenLoveparade began in 1989 and ran for 14 years. There is no city in Europe which has as many EDM clubs as Berlin, whether it is Tresor, Golden Gate, or Berghain. DJs flock to Berlin in order to ply their trade just as classical musicians came there in the 18th and 19th centuries. Some of the top DJs include Paul van Dyk, PanPot, and AndHim.

If that was not good enough, there are a great deal of music festivals outside of Berlin that are only a short car or bus ride away. This year, the annual Fusion Festival will last from June 29th to July 3rd, with the Melt Festival occurring a few weeks later.

Prague

Even if you ignore music altogether, Prague is one of the most underrated tourist cities in Europe. It may not have the reputation of Paris or London, but it is cheap and has a fantastic nightlife full of bars, clubs, and anything else you might want.

And there are at least half a dozen clubs I know of which open all night and play great beats. Karlovy Lázně is one of the best-known clubs in Europe, featuring any kind of music that you might want. But if you’re interested in a true EDM experience without running into a lot of silly tourists, I would recommend Club Roxy. It’s a bit expensive by Czech standards, but compensates with a great dance floor and light show.

Amsterdam

I could begin and end this section by noting that this is the home of the Amsterdam Dance Event every October, and that alone should be enough to attract any EDM lover.

But there is so much more to Amsterdam’s EDM scene than just that fact. Amsterdam has a rich electronic and techno history since the 1980s, and this influence continues to be felt with clubs like Paradiso and Melkweg. Amsterdam’s clubs are also unique in that many of them were abandoned buildings before being picked up for music, giving them a unique flair.

And if you want to visit Amsterdam sooner than October, there are a myriad of electronic festivals to pick from. There is the VOLTT Koningsdag in about two weeks, which will include Undercatt, Young Marco, and Adam Beyer. There is the outdoor Awakenings Festival featuring Pan-Pot, Dave Clarke, and Maceo Plex.

But no matter when you go, there will always be an event for any EDM fan to go to and have a great time.

Copenhagen

This may seem to be an odd choice, but Copenhagen belongs on this list. Danish people are some of the friendliest in Europe, and the city is small enough that it is easy to find your way around. But best of all, electronic dominates the music scene there. If you’re lucky, you may be able to hear the Pegboard Nerds or the Blue Foundation, some of the best electronic DJs in Denmark.

Copenhagen’s clubs are primarily in the Meatpacking District, and the crowds don’t show up until around midnight. But once they do, then head to the Culture Box, a club which has every kind of electronic music you could be interested in hearing.

Ibiza

Copenhagen and Prague may be underrated, and Berlin and Amsterdam may be well known; but none are as famous just for their EDM scene as Ibiza. Ibiza is known for some of the top EDM events in the world like the International Music Summit and the Ultra Music Festival. You can always count on the best of the best DJs to come here to some of the best clubs in the world like Space Nightclub. And on top of it, when you’re not partying at night, you can enjoy the great weather and beaches during the day.

It should be noted that Ibiza is not for those with light wallets, though you can save money through hostels and buying tickets in advance. But if you can afford it, this is a terrific destination both for music and to party in general.

Quotation:http://www.lifehack.org/

St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne….

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Patrick (colloquially St Patrick’s Cathedral) is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia, and seat of its archbishop, currently Denis Hart.

In 1974 Pope Paul VI conferred the title and dignity of minor basilica on it. In 1986 Pope John Paul II visited the cathedral and addressed clergy during his Papal Visit.

The cathedral is built on a traditional east-west axis, with the altar at the eastern end, symbolising belief in the resurrection ofChrist. The plan is in the style of a Latin cross, consisting of a nave with side aisles, transepts with side aisles, a sanctuary with seven chapels, and sacristies. Although its 103.6-metre (340 ft) length is marginally shorter than that of St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney, St Patrick’s has the distinction of being both the tallest and, overall, the largest church building in Australia.

History

In 1848, the Augustinian friar James Goold was appointed the first bishop of Melbourne and became the fourth bishop in Australia, after Sydney, Hobart and Adelaide. Negotiations with the colonial government for the grant of five acres of land for a church in the Eastern Hill area began in 1848. On 1 April 1851, only 16 years after the foundation of Melbourne, the Colonial Secretary of Victoria finally granted the site to the Roman Catholic Church.Goold decided to build his cathedral on the Eastern Hill site.Since the Catholic community of Melbourne was at the time almost entirely Irish, the cathedral was dedicated to St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.

William Wardell, Melbourne’s foremost ecclesiastical architect was commissioned to prepare plans for a cathedral, but the project was delayed by severe labour shortages during the Gold Rush of 1851, which drew almost every able-bodied man in the colony to the goldfields, and the foundation stone was not laid until 1858. An earlier building by stonemason David Mitchell (father of Nellie Melba and later partner of John Monash) was demolished for the cathedral. The cathedral was designed in the Gothic style of early Fourteenth Century, based on the great medieval cathedrals of England, a style at the height of its popularity in the mid 19th century. The nave exhibits ‘curvilinear traceries’ in the principal windows of circa 1300 to 1350s; the transepts have traceries in Geometric Decorated, a style of the immediately previous thirty years in England. The eastern arm with its chevet of chapels in the French manner is still principally in the English late Thirteenth Century style, giving the most complete essay attempted in that style during the Nineteenth Century. William Wardell was a remarkably ambitious and capable architect; he went on to design the second St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney in a similar style, even larger than St Patrick’s, but with a completely English square East End.St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne. The statue in the foreground is of the Irish nationalist leader Daniel O’Connell. In 1974 Pope Paul VI conferred the title and dignity of minor basilica on it. In 1986 Pope John Paul II visited the cathedral and addressed clergy during his Papal Visit.

 
My dear friend Miriam said me the this church. I shared for her. This church is awesome. Thank you Miriam 🙂    https://outanabout.com/

“Forget the past and look to the future…”

Actually I wanna tell lots of things about this topic. There is a moment we can not forget the past. While some of them make you happy, some of them can make you sad. The question is “Why do you still think that in the past?” or “Why are you still living in the past?”. I want to explain by myself….

-Why do you still think that in the past?:There is a connection with the past events that have now.If you remember  a little thing at a time, which means that you live in the moment again. Even the slightest little thing comes to your mind. They are in constant questioning. etc….

-Why are you still living in the past?:You don’t forget.You live in that beautiful memories. Your happiness, loneliness, sadness, the joy. Or the person you lost.Unforgettable people. You’re still living with their. etc…Never forget that people live in the past.

-Look to the future: What do you expect the future life? Honestly This should be is important for your life. Ok don’t for get your life history. If you forget about the time you would have spent in vain. I think what makes living things do powerful people. Focus on the future back to the past rests.Don’t forget the past Just You should leave to live with. And now you should have plan in your future. Life is so short. You should know to live. You leave everything in the past.

I know. This is not an easy thing. If you want to good future you should do it.Believe yourself and trust yourself. Now you should choose your way. Your turn 🙂

With love Melody...

10 Most Famous Churches In The World…

1. Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain – A large Roman Catholic churchin Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926). Construction began in 1882 and it is incomplete till today. Although incomplete, the church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Most Famous Churches In The World: Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

2. Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow, Russia – Located in Moscow’s Red Square, this is a RussianOrthodox church built from 1555 till 1561 on orders from Ivan the Terrible. St. Basil’s marks the geometric center of Moscow and is an UNESCO World Heritage Site

Most Famous Churches In The World: Saint Basil's Cathedral, Moscow

3. Notre Dame de Paris, Paris, France – The Notre Dame cathedral is one of the most singular and beautiful cathedrals of Europe. The cathedral’s dramatic towers, spire, stained glass and statuary are most impressive. The Notre Dame was the heart of medieval Paris and took over than a century to complete
Most Famous Churches In The World: Notre Dame de Paris
4. St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome, Italy – Constructed during the years 1506 and 1615. The dome itself was designed in 1547 by Michelangelo that took into consideration a previous design that was made for the same dome. The dome of St. Peter’s rises to a total height of 136.57 meters (448.1 ft) from the floor of the basilica to the top of the external cross. It is the tallest dome in the world and the basilica is one of the most famous and visited monuments in Rome and ItalyMost Famous Churches In The World: St. Peter's Basilica, Rome (source: wiki)

6. St Paul’s Cathedral, London, England – A Church of England cathedral, the seat of the Bishop of London. It sits at the top a hill at the highest point in London. The original church on this site dates back to 604 AD, and it was dedicated to Paul the Apostle. The current church is from the late 17th century, and it received the same name as its predecessor

Most Famous Churches In The World: St Paul's Cathedral, London

7. Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, Palestinian territories – A basilica located in Bethlehem, The church was originally commissioned in 327 AD by Constantine and his mother Helena over the site that is still traditionally considered to be located over the cave that marks the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth. The church is a World Heritage Site

Most Famous Churches In The World:Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

8. Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem, Israel – Also called the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, or the Church of the Resurrection, it is a church within the Christian Quarter of the old city of Jerusalem. The site is located on the Hill of Calvary (Golgotha) where Jesus was believed to be crucified, and is said also to contain the place where Jesus was buried (the Sepulchre). For many Christians the site is the most important pilgrimage destination since even before the 4th century. The church is one of the best attractions in Jerusalem

Most Famous Churches In The World: Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem

9. Saint Mark’s Basilica, Venice, Italy – The most famous of Venice’s churches and one of the best known examples of Byzantine architecture. It is one of the icons of the city and thedestination of every tourist in Venice. It was constructed in 1650

Most Famous Churches In The World:Saint Mark's Basilica, Venice

10. Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey – A former Greek Orthodox patriarchal church, later an imperial mosque, and now a museum. From the date of its construction in 537 until 1453, it served as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral and seat of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire. The building was a mosque from 1453 until 1931. It was then secularized and opened as a museum in1935 as it still is today

Most Famous Churches In The World: Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

Good luck bracelet…

Actually I am so lucky. I believe in my destiny. If you wanna be lucky believe yourself. And find someone good for you. I found. He gave me a luck bracelet and than he said me ” You’ll be lucky in your life.” And than I thought and decided.  I’ll be lucky. And now I am so lucky. Because I have good person in my life. I don’t wanna lose my lucky bracelet and my luck. 🙂 Who knows, maybe now you’re so far away. Maybe you’re too close. But Thank you for everything. Thank you so much you’re in my life._20160414_162303

                                                                P.S.: I will never forget you 🙂

The cognitive benefits of language learning…

The cognitive benefits of language learning

Steffanie Zazulak reveals why the side effects are (almost) as valuable as the main effect.

Most people endeavor to learn a new language for the inherent benefits of being conversant or fluent in such tongue—the ability to better communicate with other people who do not speak their native language, whether it is in the context of business, tourism, politics, cultural learning, or academics. The British Council estimates that by 2020 over 2 billion people will be learning English around the world. And that huge volume of English learners makes so much sense, especially now in our connected world—only by sharing a common language can cultures come together and learn from one another.

Despite the fact that most learners begin their journey with a new language for tangible and practical benefits, there is a sizeable portfolio of research that points to a secondary advantage for learners of a new language—the significant and pervasive cognitive benefits of language learning. Similar to the effect of physical exercise on our muscles, learning a language makes the brain function better by improving connections among its various parts, which can result in honing overall decision-making ability and boosting our ability to learn in any subject. And these benefits are not limited to young learners—adults learning a new language gain similar benefits too!

Specifically, some of the cognitive benefits include…

  • Being a better listener: Being bilingual requires your brain to discern between two sets of very distinctive sounds and to accurately identify those speech sounds.
  • Being less distracted: Speaking in a foreign tongue requires the active suppressing of the other language(s) that one knows, showing to better inhibit overall distractions.
  • Becoming a better multitasker: For someone who knows multiple languages, it’s a common occurrence to switch rapidly between tongues, effectively an exercise in quickly and efficiently switching between different tasks.
  • Better ability to problem-solve and be creative: Speaking in a foreign tongue inevitably requires creativity when one is faced with unfamiliar words or phrases in order to communicate effectively. Studies have shown that bilinguals have an advantage in overall problem solving and creativity.

All of the above are related to what researchers refer to as “executive control” —the ability to manipulate and control our attention: to inhibit responses, ignore irrelevant stimuli, and flip between tasks. Having this linguistic flexibility results in better control in non-linguistic tasks as well.

The cognitive benefits are not just intellectual (if that weren’t enough!); language learning has potential medical benefits as well. A study from the University of Edinburgh found that those who spoke two or more languages had significantly better cognitive abilities in later life and had effectively slowed the brain’s aging, with potential to even delay the onset of dementia. The same researchers found that bilingual people are twice as likely to recover from a stroke than those who speak just one language. Dr Thomas Bak, one of the researchers, said that switching between one language and another “offers practically constant brain training which may be a factor in helping stroke patients recover.”

Improvements for the learner

In our experience, learning a language significantly and quickly improves performance that is relevant for one’s schooling and one’s career, while at the same time enhancing the ability for all of us to understand each other. In a world where the barriers of time and distance are constantly shrinking, overcoming the language barrier creates endless possibilities. However, the good news is even better with potentially other long-term benefits for the individual learner, for companies, and for society as a whole. This “side effect” of language learning is effectively healthy exercise for the brain, and the benefits of these cognitive and medical improvements accrue to the learner as well as global employers and communities that are now able to better harness the increased aptitude and creativity of these learners. The value to society from these benefits may be more difficult to measure, but it is undeniably powerful.

Quotation:http://www.english.com/blog/cognitive-benefits-language-learning?utm_source=outbrain&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=tl

9 Vacation Spots That Are Better (and Cheaper) Than the Places You Want to Go…

 

  • La Paz, Mexico

    Design Pics Inc / AlamyOn the water off Espiritu Santo Island.
    INSTEAD OF: Los Cabos

    WHY HERE? La Paz is located on the Sea of Cortez on the Baja Peninsula, and it has the same laid-back vibe as California’s West Coast beach cities. The landscape is spectacular, from the marine-mammal-rich waters to a desert worthy of an Ansel Adams photo. The culinary scene is growing too, with enough upscale restaurants to rival those in Los Cabos, 87 miles (and a $25 shuttle ride) away. One caveat: Go before mid-July. Even the locals flee the August heat.

    Average summer hotel rate: $117 vs. $257 in Los Cabos

  • La Paz, Mexico: Where to Stay & What to Do

    Aurora Photos / AlamyFruit for sale on Tecelote Beach.
    STAY: A simple room at Hotel Perla, a 1940s landmark with bay views on the Malecón (boardwalk), goes for $75 a night. If you want amenities such as daily room service and an infinity pool, try the Costa Baja Resort & Spa (from $243), which runs 45%-off specials when you book more than 90 days in advance. Overall, the average double-occupancy hotel room in La Paz is $117, less than half what it costs in Los Cabos.

    DO: Sign up for a day dive with PADI diving center Cortez Club ($140). Nearby Los Islotes is known for its sea lion colony; you might even spot schools of hammerhead sharks at Marisla Seamount. If snorkeling is more your speed, bring your gear to the turquoise waters and sandy coves of Balandra, 15 minutes from downtown.

    La Paz offers an increasingly diverse menu of restaurants, from daring fusion to old-school Mexican street food, says editor Tomas Zyber of BajaInsider.com. Get a table for two at Las Tres Vírgenes, where dinner—wood-fire-grilled octopus and expertly prepared steaks—paired with wine costs under $100, Zyber notes. For cheap eats, line up with locals at Chino Tacos (dinner, $4 per person) on Antonio Navarro Street at the corner of Belisario Dominguez. Try the tacos al pastor (spit-grilled pork with cilantro, onions, and pineapple), carne asada, or spicy chorizo.

  • Dublin

    Mikel Bilbao/FirstlightThe Temple Bar in the city’s cultural corner.
    INSTEAD OF: London

    WHY HERE? Looking for some foreign culture but don’t want to brave a second language? There’s always London. But since it’s the most visited city in Europe, you’ll also find some of the continent’s most expensive hotels there (average cost: $268 a night). And then there’s Dublin. With its small-city feel and Irish charm, the capital is as easy to drink in as a smooth pint of Guinness. Best of all: The dollar is even stronger against the euro (up 23%) in the past year than it is vs. the pound (13%).

     

  • Dublin: Where to Stay & What to Do

    FirstlightThe perfect Irish pairing: shellfish and Guiness.
    STAY: The hip new Dean Hotel (from $138), located downtown, is capped by a beautiful rooftop restaurant. If you don’t mind a 20-minute walk or a cab ride to the city center, opt for a private room ($80) at the Generato Dublin, a design-forward hostel housed in a former Irish folk-dancing hall, located across the River Liffey in Smithfield.

    DO: The Irish will tell you that their literary legacy is every bit as distinguished as the Brits’, and they’ve got the names (Yeats, Beckett, Wilde) to make a case. If you’re in Dublin on June 16, you’ll be lucky enough to see the entire city celebrate native son James Joyce, who set his classic novel Ulysses here on that day.

    You can celebrate a different kind of artistry in the Creative Quarter—South William, Drury, Wicklow, and Exchequer streets—home to many boutiques and a great place to find authentic keepsakes. “Try the Irish Design Shop for tea towels and porcelain birdhouses or, 10 minutes away, Jam Art Factory, where you’ll find prints, artwork, and pottery,” says Emily Westbrooks, author of Delightful Dublin.

    When you’ve worn yourself out, you can rest your feet and your shopping bags at the recently opened Woollen Mills Eating House, serving Roaring Bay mussels and Howth cod (lunch, $25). If you’re looking to splurge, Dublin also has five Michelin-starred restaurants. Jonathan Epstein, president of travel company Celebrated Experiences, suggests Chapter One, where chef Ross Lewis serves up rabbit with Parma ham and cured salmon with Atlantic crab. A four-course dinner is $75. A year ago you’d have paid $97 for the same feast.

     

  • Palm Springs

    Hal Bergman/GettyA classic vista.
    INSTEAD OF: Los Angeles

    WHY HERE? During the winter this city serves as Los Angeles’ playground, filled with weekenders taking advantage of the posh resorts and haute design scene. At this time of year you can have it almost to yourself. Summer in this desert oasis isn’t for everyone: The average June temperature is 87° F and highs can hit 110° (115° in August, when you really don’t want to visit). But there are plenty of ways to beat the heat, says Françoise Rhodes of TravelingwithFrancoise.com, whether it’s a morning hike through the nearby canyons or a lazy day by the pool.

    Summer hotel rate: $105 vs. $156 in Los Angeles

  • Palm Springs: Where to Stay & What to Do

    Lisa Corson/GallerystockCabazon Dinosaurs Park.
    STAY: At the Triada Palm Springs, a Spanish-hacienda-style property with a cabana-lined pool, rooms start at $109 a night, 48% less than in high season. The Avalon Hotel Palm Springs, fresh from a major renovation, is set amid palm-dotted courtyards, burbling fountains, and three swimming pools, and has a top-notch spa. Rooms start at $150; at the hotel’s sister property, Avalon Beverly Hills, they start at $279 for the same dates.

    DO: The Indian Canyons, known for their stunning rock formations, make for a great morning hike, says Katy Carrier, founder of Palm Springs Style magazine. For shopping, head to the Uptown Design District, where you’ll find furniture and home decor items. Bon Vivant is known for its vintage glassware, while Just Modern has a large selection of mid-century-inspired furnishings and artwork, Carrier says. Palm Springs has also established its own film scene. The main film festival is in January, but from June 16 to 22 is the International ShortFest, which showcases more than 300 short films from more than 50 countries. When you’re ready for dinner, try the lobster ravioli at the decades-old Johnny Costa’s Ristorante (dinner, $50), says Rhodes. If you’re hungry for some true California roadside kitsch, pack a picnic and head to Cabazon Dinosaurs, about 20 miles west of the city.

  • Naxos, Greece

    Age Fotostock/AlamyThe Temple of Apollo arch on Palatia Islet.
    INSTEAD OF: Santorini or Mykonos

    WHY HERE? Naxos is anchored in the Aegean about halfway between Santorini and Mykonos, but it might as well be on another planet. The biggest of Greece’s Cycladic islands, Naxos is studded with lush mountains and valleys polka-dotted by white-washed homes, all surrounded by a ribbon of gorgeous beaches. It’s the kind of place that’s still rural enough to spot the occasional donkey trotting down a cobblestone street, not to mention acres of tiered vineyards and olive groves. Of course that means that just about every restaurant you find has a legitimate claim as a farm-to-table outpost.

    Cruise-ship dockings a year: 16 vs. 512 in Santorini

  • Naxos, Greece: Where to Stay & What to Do

    Kartouchken/AlamyA local pottery store in the town of Apiranthos.
    STAY: Accommodations start at $25 a night, topping out around $360, whereas Santorini’s prices start at $90 and skyrocket to over $1,000, on Expedia.com. Rooms at the Pension Sofi, a cheerful blue-and-white guesthouse draped in bougainvillea vines, cost only $39 per person (two-night minimum). The 30 spacious rooms at the four-star Lagos Mare Hotel, with a pool, bar, and sea views, are a steal at $120, says Mina Agnos, a Greek travel expert with Travelive.

    DO: The best way to explore Naxos is on foot. Agnos can set up a Naxian Apollo walking tour (from $38), which tracks the island’s history from ancient times to the present and includes town visits, archaeological sites, and a trip to the island’s collection of kouros statues, which date back to the 8th century B.C. Afterward, grab a waterfront table at Geomilo, which serves traditional Naxian dishes such as Kleftiko of Za, made with local lamb, and cod with a garlic puree (dinner, $20).

     

  • Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

    Aaron Peterson/AlamyKayaking under one of the park’s famous arches.
    INSTEAD OF: Traverse City, Mich.

    WHY HERE? There are 407 national parks, and while it’s not the most celebrated, Michigan’s Pictured Rocks was the country’s first National Lakeshore. The park sits on 42 jaw-dropping miles of Lake Superior coastline that’s studded with eerie sand dunes, romantic waterfalls, and a stately lighthouse. But it’s the multicolored sandstone cliffs, which seem to change color with every flicker of sunshine, that are the main attraction. That and the price of admission: It’s free.

  • Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore: Where to Stay & What to Do

    Terry Donnelly/AlamyThe Au Sable Light Station is still in use.
    STAY: Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is rugged territory; enjoy the park by roughing it. Pictured Rocks has three main camping grounds. Twelvemile Beach ($16), the most popular, features lake views through the trees. If you’d rather rest your head in a room with four walls, Munising, Mich., is about two miles away and features several family-owned properties. The Sunset Motel on the Bay (from $89) has free Wi-Fi and rooms with kitchenettes. In Traverse City hotels average over $150 a night.

    DO: Get your bearings on one of Pictured Rocks’ iconic hikes, suggests Susan Reece, the park’s chief of interpretation and education. On the Chapel Falls trek, you’ll weave through beech and maple trees en route to cascading waterfalls and Chapel Rock, which looks like an open-air temple (albeit one with a pine tree growing out of the roof). You can also follow the 1½-mile hike to the Au Sable Light Station, on the edge of a picnic-worthy beach. Keep an eye out for deer, beaver, and other critters. The best way to see the park’s dramatic coastline is from the water: On a three-hour tour with Pictured Rocks Cruises ($37), a local park ranger will explain the area’s geology and history as you pass stunning formations such as the Painted Coves and Lover’s Leap.

     

  • Hanoi

    Kaaarel/GettyOne of the city’s many ancient temples.
    INSTEAD OF: Bangkok

    WHY HERE? At a time when so many Southeast Asian capitals are banking on what’s new, Hanoi still embraces its rich history and communist roots. True, the bustling city has its share of skyscrapers and mopeds, but you’ll also find French-inspired architecture and food—bonjour, bánh mì baguettes!—in its large Old Quarter. This year also marks the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, making a visit to Ho Chi Minh’s stilt house or the National Museum of Vietnamese History especially timely.

    Annual tourists to Vietnam: 7.8 million vs. 16 million in Bangkok

  • Hanoi: Where to Stay & What to Do

    Jonathan Siegel/GettyPreparing CafÉ NÂu DA, traditional Vietnamese coffee.
    STAY: Rooms at the recently renovated 80-room Boss Legend Hotel start at $82. The five-star Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi (from $225), housed in a sumptuous 1901 French colonial–style building, has hosted Charlie Chaplin, Graham Greene, and “Hanoi Jane” herself—Jane Fonda.

    DO: Make the city’s Old Quarter, which dates back to the 11th century, your home base. At Q Cafe—or one of the hundreds of other coffee shops—you’ll find locals sitting on squat stools sipping café phe da, or Vietnamese iced coffee ($1) made with espresso and condensed milk. From there you can window-shop along the bustling city streets, where vendors sell anything from hardware supplies and birdcages to fine art. Stop in Ginkgo for graphic-printed T-shirts before slurping down a northern Vietnam staple, beef-based pho, at Tuyen Pho Cam ($3).

    When you’re ready to see a bit of the coastline, head to Ha Long Bay, three hours east of the city. Ha Long means “descending dragon,” and the 1,600 islets jutting out of the Gulf of Tonkin do look like the moss-covered spikes on a submerged water beast. Most hotels offer day or overnight excursions; Boss Legend’s day trip (from $45) includes lunch and kayaking.

  • Salt Lake City

    John Pulsipher/FirstlightDowntown, framed by the Wasatch Mountains.
    INSTEAD OF: Denver

    WHY HERE? Salt Lake isn’t just a jumping-off point for skiers. Those snowcapped Wasatch Mountains also frame an urban playground that’s become home to a lively art, restaurant, and cocktail scene.

    Daily rental car rates: from $28 vs. $45 in Denver

     

  • Salt Lake City: Where to Stay & What to Do

    150528_TRA_SLC_FlyFishing
    A. BarberFly fishing near Salt Lake City, Utah.
    STAY: Downtown has the best hotel selection. The Inn on the Hill (from $150) features 12 unique rooms and serves a complimentary hot breakfast. The Marriott Courtyard doesn’t have the same boutique charm, but it was just renovated this year and rates start at $99. Hotels in Salt Lake are a bargain in general: $106 a night vs. $136 a night in Denver.

    DO: To sip your way through the city, head to the up-and-coming Sugar House neighborhood, full of early-1900s cottages and bungalows. The Sugar House Distillery, which makes small-batch vodkas and rums, offers free tours. Shades of Pale, a popular Utah Brewery, also opened a new facility three miles west in SoDo (South Downtown). If you’re looking to do some shopping, the Local Colors of Utah gallery is a co-op where you’ll find pottery, photography, jewelry, and paintings from area artists. When you’ve worked up an appetite, try the Fresco Italian Cafe (dinner, $35), where dishes such as seared polenta and sun-choke agnolotti are complemented by a spot-on Italian wine list, says Josh Rosenthal of TheSLCFoodie.com.

    There are also plenty of worthy day trips. New or expert anglers can sign up with Western Rivers Fly Fisher (from $315 for two), on the Provo River, about 50 miles to the southeast. The drive through the Wasatch Mountains alone is well worth it, especially when the wildflowers are in bloom. On Kayak.com cars rent for $28 a day in Salt Lake. In Denver, the average is $45 a day.

  • Cape Breton, Canada

    AlamyOne of the residents of Highlands National Park.
    INSTEAD OF: New England

    WHY HERE? Cape Breton, a 4,000-square-mile island that juts out into the Atlantic about 650 miles northeast of Portland, Maine, is known for its untamed coastline, charming inns, and deeply rooted Celtic culture. The island receives about 365,000 visitors annually; Cape Cod alone squeezes in more than 4 million. Just crossing the Canadian border will fatten your wallet, as loons have dropped 14% in value against the U.S. dollar over the past year.

    Average hotel rate: $89 vs. $192 on Cape Cod

  • Cape Breton, Canada: Where to Stay & What to Do

    Barrett & MacKay/CorbisIt’s easy to see how the Bras d’Or (arms of gold) lake got its name.
    STAY: The waterfront town of Baddeck makes a great launching point for the surrounding countryside. Hospitality options include cottages—from $67 a night onNovaScotia.com—and cozy family-owned properties such as the Baddeck Heritage House (from $91), built in the 1860s.

    DO: Get out on the water. On half-day trips (from $55) with North River Kayak Tours, you’ll paddle alongside the giant sugar maples and peer up to scout for American bald eagle nests. If you’d prefer to stay on land, drive the cliff-hugging Cabot Trail, the 185-mile road that makes a loop around the island’s northwestern region and offers prime whale-watching pit stops. Want to get even closer to a great ocean mammal? Sign up for a snorkeling trip with Captain Zodiac (from $40) in Cheticamp, located on the island’s northwestern border, to bob alongside minke, pilot, and fin whales.

    For dinner, Angelo Spinazzola of North River Kayak suggests the Bitehouse, a 12-seat restaurant located in a converted farmhouse that serves seasonal dishes such as scallops with caramelized cauliflower and grilled zucchini with local cheese ($40).

    Average hotel rate: $89 vs. $192 on Cape Cod

  • Aruba

    Courtesy of boardwalk small hotel ArubaBoardwalk Small Hotel Aruba.
    INSTEAD OF: Cayman Islands

    WHY HERE? While Aruba has long been on Caribbean travelers’ radars, its 66% hotel occupancy rate (in summer) is much lower than the rates for St. Lucia (84%) and the Caymans (76%). The island is also undergoing an impressive $1 billion investment in new hotels, public works, and an energy plan to be fossil fuel–free by 2020. Aruba is increasingly accessible too, with Houston recently becoming the 12th North American city to introduce a direct flight to the island.

    Average summer hotel cost: $197 vs. $257 in the Caymans

  • Aruba: What to See & What to Do

    Courtesy of Boardwalk Small Hotel ArubaBoardwalk Small Hotel Aruba
    STAY: Aruba’s range of accommodations means you don’t need to break the bank to stay in a lovely place, though an ocean view might cost you. You could opt for the Tamarijn Aruba (all-inclusive from $450 for two; three- night minimum) on Divi Beach, a waterfront property that also has a spa and a golf course. Further inland, at the charming Boardwalk Aruba, located in a coconut grove, casita rates start at $195 a night, says Susan Campbell, a senior writer for Aruba Nights. Guests also have free access to Moomba club on Palm Beach, as well as free lounge chairs and snorkeling equipment.

    DO: In capital city Oranjestad, you can fuel up on empanadas stuffed with Gouda and ham at Mi Boca Dushi (lunch, $5) before renting bikes from Aruba Active Vacations ($25 per day). Cycle along the waterfront’s new 10-mile boardwalk or, if you’re looking for an empty stretch of sand, pedal to windswept Arashi Beach, close to the California Lighthouse.

    On the island’s south side, you can pair sunset views with the catch of the day at Zee Rover’s ($20), a fisherman’s hangout turned restaurant, suggests Matt Boland, the executive chef of Aruba’s Divi Resorts. Specialties include red snapper and wahoo served with plantains, pan bati (a cornmeal pancake), and hot sauce made with papaya and peppers.

    Quotation:http://time.com/money/3859342/summer-vacation-without-crowds-cheaper/