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Michaela Guzy Explores Botswana

Michaela Guzy Explores Botswana



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Local community lives in harmony with environment, respects wildlife

Michaela talks with locals to understand the respect they have for their environment.

Join Michaela Guzy, Founder of OhThePeopleYouMeet, as she explores the floodplains and river deltas of Botswana to uncover lush vegetation and wildlife. It's a true water world so why not take your safari from boat or macora, or by air in a helicopter. It is also home to Linyanti Reserve, one of the least visited areas of Botswana bordering Chobe National Park, a vast green land larger than the country of Belgium.

Botswana isn't just just about the animals. The community lives in peaceful coexistence with the wildlife and directly benefits from tourism. Michaela talks with locals to understand the respect they have for their environment and the comfort in which the animals find living in harmony. Watch to learn how local foundations work alongside local people to develop relevant and sustainable income generating initiatives.


Tampa: Republicans (and Democrats!) Are Welcome

Whatever your politics, when the Republicans picked Tampa for their 2012 convention, it was an alert to a city that’s worth discovering. Often overlooked in favor of Florida beach locations, Tampa is the thriving port and business hub of the big Tampa Bay area, some three million strong. It boasts some of the state’s best known attractions and restaurants and a colorful Cuban heritage. But while it offers the amenities of a much larger metropolis, Tampa remains an accessible city of 300,000 and it is easy to find your way around.

As I discovered on a recent visit, Tampa also is filled with great attractions for families, including the animal safaris and thrill rides at Busch Gardens, the fin-filled Florida Aquarium (flaquarium.org) and an award-winning local zoo (lowryparkzoo.com) The Museum of Science and Industry (mosi.org), the biggest science museum in the Southeast, has a separate interactive science center for young children, Kids in Charge, that is the largest of its kind in the country.

A new art museum opened in February and a children’s museum debuting this fall are further incentives for a visit. The busy international airport, served by almost every major airline, offers inviting fares, as do the many hotels nearby.

CIGARS AND VICTORIANS

Tampa began life as a cigar manufacturing center, based in the neighborhood named Ybor City for Don Vicente Martinez Ybor, who moved his cigar-making business here in 1886. The area became the most vibrant Cuban community in America and today is one of Florida’s few Historic Districts. Though the industry waned after the embargo on Cuban tobacco in the 1960s, Ybor City remains a colorful neighborhood and cigar makers are still at work hand rolling tobacco in several shops along Seventh Avenue, the main street. The Ybor City Museum State Park (ybormuseum.org), tells the story of the past with exhibits in a 1920s-era brick bakery building A master cigar maker demonstrate his craft in the museum shop.

About the time that Ybor City began to flourish, a gentleman named Henry B. Plant, who was building a railroad down the west side of Florida, planned to attract visitors by building the most magnificent hotel of the day, the Tampa Bay Hotel, a lavish mélange of Moorish minarets and domes filled with opulent furnishings from around the world. Today it is the centerpiece of the University of Tampa , with one wing set aside as the Henry B. Plant Museum (plantmuseum.com), preserving the Victorian lifestyles in Tampa during America’s Gilded Age with some of the hotel’s original furnishings, a video bringing the era to life and live performances offering vignettes of some of the staff and guests of the hotel.

ON THE WATERFRONT

Bound on one side by Tampa Bay, the other by the Hillsborough River opening into Hillsborough Bay, Tampa has taken full advantage of its extensive waterfront. Across the river from the University, the new Tampa Museum of Art and the city’s Center for the Performing Arts are among the prominent buildings along a growing scenic Riverwalk. Bayshore Boulevard on the west shore of the river, is a seven-mile promenade for walkers and bikers that is advertised as “the world’s longest sidewalk.”

The art museum was designed by San Francisco architect Stanley Saitowitz, with a dramatic 30-foot-high atrium, now adorned with a giant Alexander Calder mobile, Les Trois Barres. The building’s pierced aluminum exterior shimmers by day and is spectacular after dark, when it features 140 LED fixtures forming a light sculpture. One of the intriguing current exhibits featuring New Mexico artist Leo Villareal further explores the potency of light.

And the newly opened — and playful — Glazer Children’s Museum is a major addition for creative play in a city already filled with family fun.

DINING STARS

No one visiting Tampa should miss the Columbia Restaurant, occupying a whole block Ybor City. Columbia has branches now is several cities, but this is the 1905 original, the oldest restaurant in the state, filled with atmosphere, and it has managed to maintain the high quality of its food in spite of being a tourist mecca. It is always packed advance reservations are essential. Along with a traditional Cuban platter, two of the dishes are legendary: Snapper Alicante, baked in a casserole and topped with sliced roasted almonds and Arroz con Pollo “Valenciana,” the founder’s original recipe for this classic dish.

Bern’s Steak House is another landmark. A family-operated establishment founded in 1956, it is known as much for its ornate décor, upstairs dessert parlor and 6,500-selection wine list as for the succulent steaks.

Foodies make pilgrimages to Tampa for a newer star, Restaurant BT, recently moved to sleek expanded quarters in the city’s quaint Hyde Park Village. The female chef, B.T. Nguyen, serves Vietnamese cuisine with a definite French accent. The photos of customers on the wall includes a visitor named Barack Obama—at least until the Republicans come to town.

Tampa is a young town with plenty of nightlife. Seventh Avenue in Ybor City is Tampa’s answer to New Orleans’ Bourbon street, with music pouring from almost every doorway. Join the 20-somethings and turn into any bar where the music appeals. South Howard (Tampa’s Soho) is the place to be after dark. Ceviche’s Flamingo Bar pulses with Latin music, Mangroves a two-story seafood restaurant and bar, has a deck with private cabanas and doubles as a nightclub on the weekends. Things get lively also in the Channelside Bay Plaza complex, near the cruise port. The action is non-stop at Splitsville, a combination bowling alley and dining place, Stumps Supper Club serves up southern food and live entertainment on weekends and Howl at the Moon is a lively sing-along piano bar where the waiters sometimes perform on the bar.

Another entertainment complex with 15 restaurants. Awaits at Bay Street part of Tampa’s International Plaza, a big upscale shopping mall near the airport with 200 retailers. If you must have a beach, St. Petersburg and Clearwater beaches are 20 minutes away. But be forewarned: you may not want to leave this vibrant city.

Eleanor Berman, a New York freelance writer and award-winning author of a dozen travel guides, has covered 82 countries and all 7 continents. She has written for many national publications, including Travel & Leisure, Ladies’ Home Journal, Diversion, Robb Report, Boston Globe, Atlanta Constitution, Denver Post, Miami Herald, and the New York Daily News. Among her guide book awards are a Lowell Thomas award for Traveling Solo, Thomas Cook Book of the Year for Eyewitness Guide to New York, and Independent Publishers IPPY award, best guide of the year, for New York Neighborhoods.


Vetting Travel Organizations

While it can be difficult to vet organizations and truly know who’s doing the right thing, Duffy and Calomiris provided some tips. First of all, one can check Charity Navigator to see if the organization the tour company or hotel is supporting — if there is one — is legitimate. Moreover, travelers can contact tour companies and hotels and ask questions about what certifications they hold, where they source their food and if they employ 100% local staff, and fact check as much as possible from the answers. If the tour operator works with an NGO, contact them to see how much money is really being given and what services are being provided by the operator. Finally, TripAdvisor can be great for checking other peoples’ reactions to tours and hotel stays, as usually once on the trip a person can get a feel for what’s really going on.

Daisy and Hussain – Santana talked extensively about Learning AFAR, and how it not only provided opportunities to students who wouldn’t otherwise be able to travel and give back abroad, but how the experience affected them. I related to Daisy from my own voluntourism experiences when she talked about how she went into the Amazon thinking she would change these people’s lives completely, rose-colored glasses on her face. In the end, it was the people who changed her, as it opened her eyes to the world and other cultures, allowing for her to have a transformative travel experience. She traveled to South America with a purpose, and that purpose came with her back to New York as she continues to help the community, planting gardens, getting involved in projects and preaching conscious travel to those she meets.

Calomiris summed up the presentation nicely, stating that tourism can have a huge impact on a community by bringing money into the economy, as well as eliminating negative income sources. For example, a community dependent on money from rhino poaching can be completely transformed once you introduce tourism and create more sustainable jobs for the people, as well as put money into local hands by buying locally.


The 38 Cheapest Places To Travel In 2019

Looking for a budget trip? Check out the cheapest places to travel in 2019. Here, a view of Lisbon, . [+] Portugal, one of the places on the list.

Want to save money in 2019 and still travel the world? You're in luck. Every year, I tap into experts and influencers to find out their picks for cheap travel in the upcoming year. For 2019, I convinced a group of travel wizards to open their little black books and recommend their favorite places to travel on a budget. They also shared the smartest ways to see these places (affordable hotels, bargain restaurants), and they zeroed in on some money-saving ways to visit otherwise expensive locations. While experts like the Global Business Travel Association are predicting that travel prices will rise sharply in 2019, you don't need to worry. With this list of inexpensive places in hand, you'll be able to travel for less. See the full list below of the cheapest places to travel in 2019, and compare it to the best budget travel destinations for summer 2019, 2018 and 2017.

Decatur Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

Photo courtesy of Alexandra Baackes/@alexinwanderland Instagram

Where: New Orleans

Chosen By: Alexandra Baackes is the founder of Alex in Wanderland and Wander Women Retreats and the author of the Wanderland Guide to Koh Tao. Baackes has been addicted to storytelling since 2009, sharing the behind-the-scenes of her world travels, adventures in entrepreneurship and experiments in living abroad on her blog and social media channels.

Why: New Orleans is known for colorful nightlife, a bursting festival calendar and a decadent local cuisine — but the Big Easy is also an undercover gem for budget travelers. Let’s start with the basics. Most NOLA must-dos are free: people-watching in the French Quarter, house peeping in the Garden District and bar hopping the live music venues on Frenchman Street. But get creative. Need to cool off after all that strolling? Head to fun and flirty The Country Club, where entry to the pool out back costs a reasonable $15 a day and the bar provides a steady stream of frozen cocktails. Worked up an appetite? SoBou and Commander’s Palace are two of many local restaurants keeping the 25 cent martini weekday lunch alive. You read that right. Order lunch, and martinis are a mere quarter — though most enforce a limit of three, because, as the menu states, “that’s enough.” Need to work off all that indulgence? Head to one of the several free weekly fitness events thrown by Move Ya Brass. They have a calendar of running clubs, yoga classes and dance-based workouts heavy on local music and flavor. Need a place to recharge so you can do it all again tomorrow? Check in to the Catahoula Hotel, a chic boutique design hotel in the Central Business District with rooms starting at a mere $100 a night.

A view of Kingston, Jamaica.

Photo courtesy of Strawberry Hill

Where: Jamaica

Chosen By: Meagan Drillinger is a freelance travel writer based in New York City. She is also the founder of Vaera Journeys, a company for entrepreneurial women that uses travel as a muse to take women out of their comfort zones and help them network and build upon their individual brands and businesses. Vaera's next immersive retreat is in Puerto Vallarta in May 2019. Follow her on Instagram @drillinjourneys and @vaerajourneys. (You can also read Drillinger's tips on the 20 Best Cruises for 2019 here.)

Why: Though Jamaica is a legendary beach destination, 2019 will be the year to discover Kingston, an untapped, culturally rich capital of the Caribbean. Still rough around the edges but with a soul that is impossible to resist, Kingston is the place to experience the heartbeat of Jamaica, in ways simply not possible from within a beach resort — and for a much cheaper price tag. Rhythm rocks the streets from sunup to sundown. In fact, in 2018 Kingston opened the Peter Tosh Museum, which rounds out the city’s musical offerings, in addition to the Bob Marley Museum and the Jamaica Music Museum.

A panorama of Ocho Rios in Jamaica.

Experience the local dance halls, tour the Trench Town Culture Yard and see a side of the country that few Americans take the time to truly experience before they jet off to the beaches of the north. That said, with the recently opened high-speed highway that connects Kingston to Ocho Rios, visitors can easily make the trip north to weave together a city and beach vacation in one trip, especially with the new S Hotel in Montego Bay, a sleek-and-sexy, South Beach-style spot that will open in January. End your jaunt with a ride through reggae music history as you depart from Sangster International Airport. VP Records, the world’s largest independent reggae music label and publisher, is kicking off its 40th anniversary with an installation chronicling its indelible contribution to reggae music.

A view of Lisbon, Portugal.

Where: Lisbon, Portugal

Chosen By: Melissa Klurman is a travel expert, writer and editor and contributor at Reader’s Digest, Frommer’s Travel Guides and Parents, among other publications.

Why: Lisbon is the affordable European city you’ve been dreaming of visiting. It offers a rich history, incredible architecture and delicious local cuisine and wines, all without the high price tag of Paris and London. Bargains abound around every corner. Indulge in the city’s decadent custard-filled pastel de nata for just 1€ at the historic Pasteis de Belém café. A Lisbon city pass is 19€ and gives you 24 hours of admission to everything from modern museums to historic monasteries, as well as all transportation, including rides on the Lisbon’s scenic tram cars and stunning elevators that lift passengers up the steep city hills. Thirsty? Local wine bars charge less than 3€ per glass of wine even swanky restaurants offer bottles for under 10€ (try that in New York City, where you’ll be lucky to find a glass of wine for that price). Extra bonus: Lisbon is great for families. There’s a fabulous aquarium and science museum on the waterfront, not to mention a real castle to explore. Centrally located, family-friendly Martinhal Chiado offers full-service apartments with kitchens starting at around $150 a night. Included in the reasonable rate: free use of baby equipment, including everything from bottle warmers to strollers a complimentary kids club that runs late so parents can go out for dinner on their own and a free breakfast that includes made-to-order pancakes and those amazing nata tarts.

Rachel Martino at Ponce City Market’s rooftop amusement park.

Photo courtesy of Rachel Martino/@rachmartino Instagram

Where: Atlanta

Chosen By: Rachel Martino is a fashion, beauty and travel blogger based in Brooklyn, New York. Follow her on Instagram @rachmartino.

Why: Don’t sleep on Hotlanta. While Charleston’s charm usually steals the spotlight, Atlanta offers an alternative for Southern hospitality. You don’t have to go wild at Staplehouse for great food. Golden Eagle and Kimball House are personal favorite dinner spots, carving out an accessible middle ground between genteel Southern dining and locals-only joints. This capital city offers plenty to do between meals. I recommend Ponce City Market’s rooftop amusement park, which offers games, mini-golf and a stunning view of the city with affordable $10 admission or The High Museum with free admission the second Sunday of each month. To top it all off, finding a cheap flight is easy: Atlanta is Delta’s largest hub.

The rooftops of Tallinn, Estonia.

Photo courtesy of Lucie Josma/@missjetsetter Instagram

Where: Tallinn, Estonia

Chosen By: Lucie Josma, a native New Yorker, is a world travel photographer and social media manager working with some of the top brands in travel and tourism. Having traveled to over 60 countries, she's looking forward to focusing on lesser-known destinations throughout Africa, Eastern Europe and the Caribbean. Follow her on Instagram @Missjetsetter as she gears up for a busy 2019.

Why: Only a short ferry ride away from Finland, Tallinn is a cheap alternative to visiting Northern European cities such as Helsinki or Stockholm. Accommodations run for a fraction of the price compared to most of Europe, and public transportation is easy to navigate, as well as cost-efficient. Make sure to pay a visit to Tallinn’s UNESCO-protected medieval old town, a preserved walled area with many restaurants and shops. For an exceptionally special experience head to the restaurant Olde Hansa, located in the old town’s center. Providing medieval musicians performing nightly, meals prepared using 15th-century recipes and authentic medieval attire, this restaurant is reason enough to pay Tallinn a visit. To learn more about Estonian folk culture and art, make sure to add both the Estonian Open Air Museum and Kumu Art Museum to your itinerary.

Main Street in Cooperstown, a charming upstate New York town.

Where: Cooperstown, New York

Chosen By: Blakely Trettenero is the owner of the popular travel website Hungry for Travels, a freelance travel writer and a social media contributor. With traveling to 45 countries, her travels range from ultra-luxury to off-the-beaten-path locations.

Why: Although this charming town may be internationally known for being home to the iconic National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown has more up to bat than just baseball. Strolling down the historic main street you’ll find an array of cute shops, antique stores, cafes and my favorite — the bountiful Cooperstown Farmers Market, where you can find affordable (and incredibly delicious) bites made locally. During the day, you can find plenty of inexpensive fun, like a tasting at Ommegang brewery ($10 for a tour and tasting), a visit to Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard (complimentary tastings), a tour of the Farmer’s Museum ($12 entry) or a stroll around the Fenimore Art Museum ($12 daily pass). Even for those who aren’t baseball fans, make sure to visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame this year to celebrate its 80 th anniversary. With Cooperstown being situated in prime farming country, this town is home to some very tasty restaurants. Head to the greenhouse-chic Origins Cafe (entrees around $12) or splurge on dinner at the lakeside Blue Mingo Grill (entrees around $30). For an inexpensive yet historical hotel, stay at the Railroad Inn (rates starting at $85 a night).

A view of Barga, Italy, from the Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa.

Photo courtesy of Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa

Where: Barga, Italy

Chosen By: Harmony Walton is writer and founder of The Bridal Bar and host of the talk radio show, Bridal Bar Radio, on America's Talk and iHeartRadio. She travels the globe working with couples and companies in search of the best destination wedding locations and honeymoon hot spots. Follow her journeys at @bridalbar.

Why: Tucked within the mountainous Serchio Valley is Tuscany’s best-kept secret. Not yet overrun by tourists, Barga is a quiet medieval town that takes you back to old-world Italy where mama cooks for all and wineries are still run by families. The art scene is alive and well, the Duomo di San Cristoforo atop the town is worth the walk and the food, well, that goes without saying. A local highlight is the lunchtime tour at Podere Concori, a biodynamic winery with a passion for cultivating the purest of products. Winter season here is ideal for budget travelers rates at the Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa are as low as €112 per night. With views of the entire valley from your balcony, you might even catch snow falling as you marvel at the watercolor-like sunsets. Located just over an hour from Florence, you get the best of both worlds when you fly into the city for a stopover before heading to the countryside for mountain biking, hiking and thermal pools, too.

The Gathering Place, a new park in Tulsa.

Photo courtesy of Kaitlin Orr/@Carnivorr Instagram

Where: Tulsa, Oklahoma

Chosen By: A Los Angeles native with a well-stamped passport and an appetite for adventure, Kaitlin Orr (@Carnivorr) provides food and travel inspiration both in the USA and around the globe.

Why: I never thought I’d rave about “the Paris of Oklahoma,” but my trip to Tulsa blew me away. Not only are there lots of innovative yet affordable restaurants in town (shout out to Vintage Wine Bar and Glacier Chocolates), but Tulsa is also home to the Gathering Place, the coolest public park I’ve ever been to. The Gathering Place is more like Disneyland than a normal park — but it’s completely free. There are so many incredible play structures (a castle, a pirate ship, a slide in the shape of a banana), interactive art installations, free concerts and performances, a lake you can take free boat rides on and sports courts and skateparks for every activity you could imagine, bike paths and so much more.

Photo courtesy of Patricia Stone/@Global_Adventuress Instagram

Where: Valparaiso, Chile

Chosen By: Patricia Stone is the founder of Global Adventuress. She has traveled to 164 countries, seeking out unique, off-the-beaten-path destinations for solo, girlfriends, couples and families. Her site has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Toronto Star and USA Today. (You can also read Stone's tips on cruising in "The 20 Best Cruises To Take in 2019.")

Why: Valparaiso, Chile >is known as the “Jewel of the Pacific." Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this lively city displays street art with a bohemian beat on every corner. Highlights include exploring local life in the lovely parks and plazas, such as Italia, De La Victoria and Sotomayor. After walking a few of the city's 42 hills, you may want to consider taking one of the eight funiculars to the top, with panoramic views from Pleasant Hills, Cerro Concepcion or Cerro Alegre, where musicians, artists and poets flock. Visit La Sebastiana, the home of legendary Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. Or take a walk — on the Ruben Dario and the Carvallo, you can stroll the beach and see fishermen reel in the catch of the day at the fishing cove Caleta Portales. Hungry or thirsty? The iconic Bar Cinzano offers a fun setting with Latin American music, dancing porteñas cuecas and Creole food. Where to stay? You can find great deals at inns in Valparaiso for as low as $54 per night. Or drive north along the Pacific Coast to the small beach towns of Concon or Reñaca, where you can find charming inns for as low as $35 per night. There are also wine valleys within a 30-minute drive from town. How to get around? In Valparaiso, you can take the old buses or funiculars or rent a car. If you prefer a tour company, contact South Excursions, which offers day tour of Valparaiso and the nearby Casablanca Valley.

Oh The People You Meet founder Michaela Guzy in Cappadocia, Turkey.

Photo courtesy of Oh The People You Meet/@otpym Instagram

Where: Turkey

Chosen By: Michaela Guzy is a media executive, entrepreneur and on-air show host. She is the executive producer for two online television shows, Michaela’s Map OhThePeopleYouMeet. Based in New York City, she is also an adjunct professor at New York University School of Professional Studies, where she teaches a course called "Travel Storytelling: Creating Video Content."

Why: Turkey literally has something for everyone. The country is home to one of the oldest civilizations in the world, if not the oldest. There is so much history, art and culture to soak in, and I was surprised to learn how many adventure activities there are to be had. Now more than ever, it is cheap (and totally safe) to go to Turkey (last I checked, the exchange rate was 8:1). For first-timers, visit the Turkish trifecta: Istanbul, Ephesus and Cappadocia. Start in Istanbul: The largest city in Europe, the city is also half in Asia, divided by the Bosphorus. I took a baklava-making class, visited the Spice Market and did a spice-tasting test with the chef of Fairmont. I also went on an unbelievable behind-the-scenes arts tour with Raffles Istanbul: We explored modern applications of Ottoman influence in people’s homes, visited the Istanbul Modern, saw a famous jeweler's studio and took a historic walking tour with one of the most famous Turks on Instagram. Want to go beyond the big city? The adventure guide Hike n’ Sail will take you to the ancient Roman ruins of Ephesus. In Cappadocia, I took a pottery-making class, went horseback riding, met a cave dweller and saw the hot-air balloon spectacle at sunrise over this UNESCO World Heritage site. It was simply unbelievable.

La Grande Roue de Montréal.

Photo courtesy of Soheila Hakimi/Instagram @soheilaonline

Where: Montreal, Canada

Chosen By: Soheila Hakimi is a lifestyle content creator and international travel writer from Toronto, Canada. Always exploring and sharing, you can catch up with her via Instagram (@soheilaonline) and YouTube.

Why: From the romantic cobblestone streets of Montreal’s Old Port to its modern downtown core, Montreal is a city caught between two different moments in time. Montrealers are people who love to celebrate and preserve their French heritage while also continuing to welcome immigrants and embrace the youth who contribute to the city’s vibrant tapestry. When it comes to experiencing pure Canadiana, Montreal is where it’s at. With deep roots in rich French cooking, Montreal offers a dynamic culinary scene (their love for foie gras is just as strong as their love of maple syrup). You don’t have to go far to find a great restaurant in Montreal and dining out is surprisingly affordable. Adorned in murals, Montreal also loves to celebrate culture, with numerous art, comedy (the largest in the world) and music festivals happening throughout the year — most of which offer free activities. With a huge student population, the Airbnb options are plentiful and cheap. If you are willing to pay slightly more, there are small simple yet stylish boutique hotels like Maison & Co and Boxotel(I’ve seen rooms starting around $75-150 a night). Montreal, most of all, is a city that celebrates all that is good in life and its people sprinkle joie de vivre like fairy dust, captivating the hearts of all who visit.

Orhei Vechi Monastery in Moldova.

Photo courtesy of Kristin Amico

Where: Moldova

Chosen By: Kristin Amico is a travel and food writer who recently spent a year crisscrossing Europe and India on the cheap. Check out her site How To Travel The Globe for practical and budget travel advice.

Why: If you're looking for quirky, budget adventures in Europe, Moldova is an ideal choice. The small country, wedged between Romania and Ukraine, is one of the least visited places in the world. That's starting to change, thanks in part to wine tourism. The country boasts a winemaking tradition dating back centuries, and oenophiles can tour Mileștii Mici, the largest wine cellar in the world with more than 120 miles of tunnels holding two million bottles. The best part is the price tag: Most bottles cost less than $10. Food is inexpensive, too. Dinner with wine and dessert in the capital of Chișinău averages $8-10 per person. For history with a view, head to the 13th-century cave monastery, Orhei Vechi, perched high atop a hill. If you want to experience retro Soviet-style life, visit Transnistria, a breakaway region of Moldova that still flies a hammer and sickle flag. The unrecognized city-state has few sights but is home to the award-winning Kvint Brandy distillery — a bottle of this rare stuff is worth the relatively small splurge. For those who prefer budget-friendly group adventures, Intrepid Travel offers a small group tour that includes Moldova, Romania and Ukraine, including a tour of Chernobyl.

A view of Baltimore's Inner Harbor from Federal Hill.

Where: Baltimore, Maryland

Chosen By: Samantha Brown is a traveler, giver of great travel tips, an exhausted mom and host of "Places To Love" on PBS. Follow her on Instagram @samanthabrown, Twitter @samanthanbrowntravels and Facebook @realsamanthabrown. (You can read more of Brown's travel tips in "Airport And Airline Hacks: 9 Ways To Travel Like A Pro.")

Why: Baltimore has struggled with a tumultuous reputation, and yet, when you go there, the art is phenomenal, there's a do-it-yourself energy and there are plenty of reasonably priced gourmet restaurants. It's inexpensive because it's not Washington D.C., but it's right next to it. It's not New York City, but it still has high-end hotels. We stayed at an amazing, well-priced hotel called the Sagamore Pendry on the main pier, which is like their Ellis Island and later became the shooting studio for Homicide: Life on the Street. It has gorgeous views of the harbor. The place to eat is Ida B's Table, which is named after the journalist Ida B. Wells and is run by a couple who is elevating soul food and showcasing ingredients from local farms. Another place to check out is the American Visionary Arts Museum (AVAM), the only museum of its kind dedicated to outsider art. There's a real connection with humanity there that I don't think you get when you're seeing a Renoir or a Monet.

A view of St. George, the capital of the Caribbean island of Grenada.

Where: Grenada

Chosen By: Shnieka Johnson is a freelance writer specializing in family travel. You can follow her on Twitter (@shnieka).

Why: Whether you are seeking adventure travel, family fun, romance or a relaxing spa retreat, Grenada — known as the Spice Island — ticks all the boxes. And because the exchange rate in Grenada is favorable for those using U.S dollars, it is an affordable Caribbean destination. The weather is beautiful year-round, with average temperatures between the low 70s and high 80s, but expect some precipitation during the rainy season (June to November). Peak season runs January to April, but if you plan your trip during an off-peak time, you can find low airfare and luxury accommodations at discounted prices. The island’s culture is a blend of many influences, including African, British, French and, of course, Caribbean. There are a number of beaches, but my favorite is Grand Anse. It is home to several hotels and resorts, like the stunning Mount Cinnamon Grenada Hotel, which offers day passes for those that are not guests but want to enjoy the amenities during a day at the beach. Take a stroll down Grand Anse to find vendors selling cold drinks and souvenirs. For a taste of local fare head to the Dodgy Dock at the True Blue Bay Resort (a family-owned property that offers roomy accommodations, chocolate spa treatments and open-air yoga studio). Wednesday evenings at the Dodgy Dock are lively – locals, tourists and students all come together to try street food from local vendors and listen to live music. The Grenadian Oil Down (slow-cooked stew) cannot be missed. If you want to bring island flavors home with you, head to the House of Chocolate or the Market Square to buy the local spices that give the island its nickname.

Downtown Saskatoon, Canada, with the Bessborough Hotel and Saskatchewan River.

Where: Saskatoon, Canada

Chosen By: Stefanie Waldek is a New York-based writer and editor covering travel, architecture and design, and space. Follow her adventures on Instagram and Twitter at @stefaniewaldek.

Why: Take advantage of the strong U.S. dollar and head north to Canada for a fun, affordable getaway. But instead of visiting the heavy hitters of Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, make a beeline for the province of Saskatchewan, where the city of Saskatoon is quickly becoming a favorite destination of in-the-know travelers. An urban oasis in the heart of the rolling prairie, Saskatoon is a lively town with plenty of action: Art lovers will delight in the one-year-old Remai Modern, a museum with the largest collection of Picasso linocuts in the world spirits enthusiasts will enjoy Black Fox Farm & Distillery, which makes award-winning gin, vodka, and liqueurs and foodies will delight in the booming restaurant scene, with some standouts being the Asian-inspired Odd Couple, The Hollows, which highlights locally-sourced ingredients, and Italian hotspot Little Grouse on the Prairie by Top Chef Canada’s Dale Mackay. For a great boutique stay at a modest price point, pick the James Hotel, which overlooks the South Saskatchewan River in downtown Saskatoon.

Cruising around Cuba in a vintage car.

Photo courtesy of Kelly Lewis

Chosen By: Kelly Lewis specializes in women's travel and is the founder of Go! Girl Guides (travel guidebooks for women) and the Women's Travel Fest. She is also a cofounder of the new women's travel magazine, Unearth Women. Follow her on Instagram at @gokellylewis.

Why: Yes, Americans can still visit Cuba — and you should! Cuba is an incredible destination for travelers, and it’s also very affordable. Staying in casa particulares (houses where rooms are rented out) is a great way to experience the country and also fulfills the visa requirement for the “support of the Cuban people,” category. Though you can do it for less, budget $100 a day to ensure you have enough for accommodation, transportation and meals (and rum). I also strongly recommend going with a group or hiring a tour guide to better understand the place. Check out Damesly for upcoming tours.

A view at the Hyatt Centric South Beach in Miami.

Photo courtesy of Grace Dopico/@gracedopico Instagram

Where: Miami

Chosen By: Grace Dopico is a lifestyle blogger, content creator and Miami native. Follow her on Instagram at @gracedopico.

Why: If you’re itching for a Caribbean vacation but want to stay domestic, Miami is the place. But when it comes to where to stay, the costs can easily pile up — especially if you want to be amidst the action of South Beach. One of my favorite hotels right on Collins Ave is the Hyatt Centric South Beach. At an average cost of $150 a night, it’s one of the most affordable places to stay on the beach without sacrificing location or style. Steps from the water, this centrally-located escape is also just a hop and a skip to Lincoln Road, The Fillmore and a host of exotic restaurants and lounges. Can’t travel without your furry friend? No problem. Guests traveling with pets get a complimentary dog bed, water bowl, treats and access to the Wooftop Park, a rooftop dog park where your pup can roam free. Relax and recharge on Saturday mornings with complimentary yoga on the rooftop pool deck and whet your appetite with world-class Mediterranean cuisine and craft cocktails at Deck Sixteen, a rooftop bar and restaurant.

A gorilla eats leaves in the jungle in Uganda.

Where: Uganda

Chosen By: Melissa Klurman is a travel expert, writer and editor and contributor at Reader’s Digest, Frommer’s Travel Guides and Parents, among other publications.

Why: There are just 1,000 mountain gorillas in the world, and to see them, intrepid travelers need to journey to the Virunga Mountains that run along the border between Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo or to the aptly named Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda. Rwanda is currently the site of high-end luxury lodge development — we’re talking $1,500 per person per night kind of swanky rooms — and gorilla trekking permits that doubled in price recently from $750 to $1,500. Fabulously low key and friendly Uganda, however, hasn’t seen this influx of luxury tourism yet. Instead, peak season permit are $600, and rainy season permits go for just $450 a day. You’ll still have the same amazing gorilla experience, including well-trained guides who lead you through the dense forest to find the secluded primates. And you don’t need to give up a posh lodge experience to stay in Uganda. At Volcanoes Safaris Bwindi Lodge, you’ll have a private chalet, butler service, a post-trek massage and all meals for $340 per person per night in the offseason.

Photo courtesy of Logan Hill/ @loganrae_hill Instagram

Where: Cancun, Mexico

Chosen By: Logan Hill is a lifestyle and travel photographer based out of Los Angeles. Follow her on Instagram @loganrae_hill.

Why: Cancun is the perfect tropical destination on a budget. Whether you're with your family, on a girl's trip or on a romantic getaway, there’s something for everyone. The Marriott Cancun is a great affordable spot with a prime location, situated near all the water activities and snorkeling. We did a morning trip on speedboats from the docks that are right by the hotel. The property also features amazing restaurants, my favorite being Mikado Japanese Teppan Yaki, and La Capilla Argentina Steakhouse, where we had an unforgettable steak dinner. The resort is relaxing, with a huge pool and Jacuzzi, as well as beach cabanas that can be rented for even more relaxation.

A view of Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Photo courtesy of Luke Hiller/@lahillier Instagram

Where: Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chosen By: Katie Jackson is a travel writer whose work has been published by The New York Post, USA TODAY, Fox News and The Sunday Times. Cash poor but experience rich, she splits her time between Montana, Chiang Mai and Tenerife. Follow her misadventures on Instagram.

Why: According to the Backpacker Index I follow, Chiang Mai, my adopted hometown, was the fifth cheapest city in the world to visit in 2018. The index quotes the daily cost, including hostel accommodations, three meals and public transportation, as $20.11. While I don’t live that cheaply (I pay about $350 a month to rent a queen room at Vanilla Residence — a cute three-star hotel with AC and fast WiFi), I can still get by on about $20 a day including two meals at sit-down restaurants, snacks throughout the day and a one-hour Thai massage ($6). Although Chiang Mai is home to more than 300 Buddhist temples, the pastoral countryside is also worth exploring. Rent a moped for $6 a day, including insurance, and visit the surrounding elephant sanctuaries, hill tribes and national parks including Mae Taeng National Forest — home to the ridiculously fun and free Bua Tong Waterfall Park. When I really want to treat myself, I go to the rooftop, poolside bar at Akyra Manor, my favorite five-star hotel in Asia. During happy hour, when craft cocktails start at $6 and are buy-one-get-one-free, I watch the sun set behind the city’s sacred mountain, Doi Suthep. It’s home to the royal family’s summer palace, some of the best views in all of Thailand and my favorite fruit stand where $1.22 gets me two fresh mango and kiwi smoothies.

The coastline and coastal road in Lima, Peru.

Where: Lima, Peru

Chosen By: With nearly 30 years of travel experience, Beth Whitman is known as a women’s travel expert. She’s the Chief Wanderer at Wanderlust and Lipstick and leads tours through its sister company, WanderTours. She’s also the host of the Be Bold Podcast, inspiring and empowering women through, among other things, travel and adventure.

Why: Peru has become a huge draw for hikers, adventurers and foodies. Most arrive in the country’s capital, Lima, but few stop long enough to explore all the city has to offer. Spend more than a couple of nights and you’ll find free museums, beautiful architecture and restaurants serving up traditional and very affordable set-menu meals. Start with a free walking tour to get your bearings. These tours are indeed free (though you’re encouraged to tip) and are led by local English-speaking guides eager to share their knowledge and insider tips. There are free and inexpensive museums near the city’s main square and a countless number of restaurants from which to choose — many with menus featuring photos, in case your Spanish is a bit rusty. Head to Barranco, arguably Lima’s funkiest district, to check out the street art and to grab a coffee or meal at one of the many hip cafes in this part of town. While taking a taxi in Lima is relatively inexpensive, consider taking a Metropolitano bus, which is downright cheap (approximately 60 cents across town) and might even be faster as it uses dedicated bus lanes.

Merry Lerner in Chennai, India.

Photo courtesy of Prashanth Srinivasan

Where: Chennai, India

Chosen By: Merry Lerner is an award-winning TV producer and director, and the creator of Let’s Be Merry, a lifestyle blog and brand that focuses on travel and wellness. Follow her on Instagram (@lets_be_merry) for her latest travel adventures and wellness tips.

Why: When people talk about traveling to India, Chennai (formerly known as Madras) doesn’t often make it to the top of the list. But this seaside city on the southeast coast of India is worth checking out, and it’s amazingly affordable. Chennai has a rich culture and past that is best explored on foot. Try one of Storytrails' many walking tours including the Bazaar Trail and British Blueprints, to see the city’s history firsthand ($20 per person, per tour). Wander through Mylapore, the city’s oldest neighborhood, and take in the splendid Hindu Kapaleeshwarar Temple. If you’re a history buff, you’ll want to visit Fort St. George, the first British fort in India, built in 1644. The city also boasts an array of dining options. Feast on traditional dosas at Nithya Amirtham or try the Indian version of Tapas at Sera Tapas. Nasi and Mee offer up delicious Southeast Asian food, and The Marina has sustainably sourced seafood. For a respite from the crowds, head to Amethyst, a charming café in a colonial mansion with a garden oasis or Fisherman’s Cove, a resort with a relaxing spa and laid back beach vibes. Time to get some sleep? The Raintree Hotel has two locations in Chennai with Western-style amenities and rooms starting at $59 a night — it’s a steal.

Skyline of Mexico City, including the tops of the old Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the . [+] modern Basílica de Santa María de Guadalupe.

Where: Mexico City

Chosen By: Brooke Porter Katz is a freelance writer and former editor at Travel + Leisure and Martha Stewart Living who spent the last year living in Mexico City. Her work has appeared in publications like The New York Times, WSJ. Magazine, AFAR, Sunset and Bloomberg Pursuits. You can follow her on Instagram at @brookeporterkatz.

Why: Over the last few years, this high-energy metropolis has skyrocketed to the top of many travel lists — and for good reason. The exchange rate work in our favor (currently 20 pesos for every U.S. dollar), and most things you’ll spend money on, like food and Uber rides, cost less. But affordability is almost beside the point when you consider the city’s other qualities: rich history (including ancient Aztec ruins smack in the middle of downtown), world-class museums like the National Museum of Anthropology, a vibrant creative scene and — of course, the best food. Make your base in either Condesa — the stylish, 40-room Condesa DF is a classic, perfectly located choice — or artsy La Roma, where Ignacia Guest House is my favorite boutique property. (The homemade breakfast and proximity to chef Eduardo García’s Máximo Bistrot is worth the room rate alone.) Both areas are home to picturesque streets lined with parks, boutiques, cafés and restaurants. Design buffs should make reservations to tour Casa Gilardi, a private home built by modernist architect Luis Barragán. Advance tickets are also required to visit the Frida Kahlo Museum in the southern neighborhood of Coyoacán after, grab some chicken mole tostadas at Mercado Coyoacán. If you’re a creative-minded woman and want to leave the planning to someone else, consider the new travel company Wild Terrains. Each five-day itinerary supports women-owned hotels, restaurants, and businesses through insider experiences like mescal tastings, jewelry-making classes and market tours.

Flagstaff mountain in Arizona.

Where: Flagstaff, Arizona

Chosen By: After many years with NatGeo Travel, Barbara Noe Kennedy left in 2015 to fly solo as a freelance writer for a variety of national outlets, focusing on destinations, art, culture, food, and adventure around the world.

Why: Sometimes you can’t afford to jet set off to fabulous destinations across the ocean. Sometimes, you need to stay stateside. And there’s nothing wrong with that, especially if you’re exploring a place like Flagstaff, Arizona. This laid-back, historic town just 80 miles south of the Grand Canyon has amazing winter skiing and summer hiking in the surrounding San Francisco peaks, making it an underrated, super affordable outdoorsy paradise. But there’s more to it than that. A little-known fact is that before making a giant step for mankind, every single astronaut underwent critical training in the otherworldly geography of Flagstaff’s Meteor and Sunset Craters, including testing equipment, spacesuits, gear and rover prototypes. At Cinder Lake, Apollo’s exact projected lunar landing was created in 1:1 scale. 2019 marks the 50 th anniversary of the July 16, 1969, landing on the moon, and there are all kinds of events going on in town throughout the year, including lectures, exhibits and guided hikes — and most of them are free. Even the restaurants and bakeries are getting into the act with moon-themed dishes and pastries. How many people can say they’ve traveled to the moon and back?

Olivia Balsinger, shopping at the Souq Waqif in Qatar.

Photo courtesy of Olivia Balsinger/@ohlivitup Instagram

Where: Doha, Qatar

Chosen By: Olivia Balsinger has utilized her global perspective to manifest her career as a travel and broadcast journalist. Olivia has visited 96 countries, has been published in multiple international print and online outlets for travel and lifestyle, was honored as InterContinental Group's Latin America “Journalist of the Year” (2017) and has been a panelist or host for major travel conferences like New York TravFest. She is also a matchmaker/relationship coach and can be seen on Bravo.

Why: You’re thinking, “How did Qatar, which ranks year after year as the richest country on Earth per capita, make this list?” The reason is rather ironic, as it is the excess of wealth here that makes Qatar affordable to visitors, if you do it right. Until the discovery of oil in 1939, Qatar cultivated its greatest profit and recognition from pearl diving. But it has since grown, flourished and made its own substantial mark on the tourism map. Typically, accommodation is a significant cost on vacation. However, travelers alleviate this cost when they transit through Doha for a few days with Qatar Airway’s Stopover Program. This generous program waives visa fees from 80 countries and provides accommodation at luxury hotels such as InterContinental Doha or Souq Waqif Boutique Hotel for two nights — for a mere $100 booking fee. And once you’re here, prepare to be amazed by the unparalleled dichotomies: old versus new, tradition versus innovation, religion versus modernity. Cosmopolitan Doha is brimming with museums, nightlife and unrivaled architecture like the falcon-shaped Mondrain Doha luxury hotel. In contrast, the boggling landscapes of the deserts invite you to dune bash and overnight in a Bedouin camp, like the Regency Sealine Camp, under an array of constellations. In Qatar, you’ll experience Arabian hospitality, adrenaline-pumping sports and world-class amenities for a surprisingly affordable price tag.

A view of the Casco Viejo (old town) in Panama City, Panama.

Where: Panama City, Panama

Chosen By: Wendy Altschuler is a seasoned and curious travel and lifestyle freelance writer who covers adventures across the globe. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook @wendyaltschuler and visit her website.

Why: Panama, the crossroads to the Americas, is one of those indelible places that cuts to the quick and offers meaty cultural and ecological experiences. You’ll learn right away that the influences of Spain, France and the U.S. have extended to more than just the Panama Canal — an incredible feat of strength, ingenuity, engineering and courage. Stroll through Casco Viejo, the historic district of Panama City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and you’ll be rewarded with the sounds of kids kicking soccer balls down cobblestone alleys, cats yawning and stretching on the steps of churches built in French and Spanish colonial architecture — many of which have sealed-shut trap doors leading to 16th century tunnel systems — and the taste of passion fruit raspados (shaved ice), handmade at one of the historic plazas. Not to be missed is a trek to the Gamboa Sloth Sanctuary and Wildlife Rescue Center, where you can “oooh” and “ahhhh” while the sluggish and adorable vegetarians nosh on hibiscus flowers and carrots. All of these adventures are located near the Westin Playa Bonita (an Uber is under $10 from Casco Viejo to the Westin), a beach resort that has an all-inclusive option, rooms for $175 per night and views of the container and cargo ships that are waiting to enter the Panama Canal. Families can also take advantage of the Westin Executive Club Lounge, which includes free breakfast, snacks and drinks. Beach vibes, timeworn towns, syrupy treats, sloths…what’s not to love?

Photo courtesy of Patricia Stone/@Global_Adventuress Instagram

Where: Luang Prabang, Laos

Chosen By: Patricia Stone is the founder of Global Adventuress. She has traveled to 164 countries, seeking out unique, off-the-beaten-path destinations for solo, girlfriends, couples and families. Her site has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Toronto Star and USA Today. (You can also read Stone's tips on cruising in "The 20 Best Cruises To Take in 2019.")

Why: Laos has some of the most charming towns in Southeast Asia. Visit the capital city of Vientiane, then head north to Luang Prabang, an ancient royal town that has been recognized by UNESCO as a cultural center. Observe the daily sai bat, with 1,000 saffron-robed monks chanting ancient sutras as they walk barefoot collecting alms, food offerings from the local people. Join a bike tour around the old town and along the banks of the Mekong River. Walk the quiet lanes in this small town to the former Royal Palace and explore some of the 34 golden-spired temples. Climb the 328 zigzag steps of the holy mountain Phou Si and get a 360-degree panoramic view of the town and see the 60-foot Wat Chomsi gilded stupa. Visit the 16th-century Buddhist temples called wats: Xieng, Sene, Mai and Visounalath. Don’t miss the markets: The morning market at Talat Pakham is where you'll see vendors selling exotic fruit, live eels, chickens, rabbits, fish, green vegetables and hot peppers. The Night Handicraft Market is where you can buy ethnic handicrafts, local textiles, silk scarves, wall hangings, teas, spices and snacks from food stalls. Relax at a café along Sisavang Vong Road and enjoy a drink and bite at Ban Vat Sene Café in a chic restored colonial building. Pick up the best butter croissants in town at Le Banneton Café. Dine at Elephant Blanc and order the Prince Lao Feast with 10 Laotian dishes. Stay at the Maison Souvannaphoum once the former residence of the late Prince Souvanna Phouma, today it is a boutique hotel that blends French colonial architecture with Lao motifs and has prices as low as $103 per night.

Photo courtesy of Lucie Josma/@missjetsetter Instagram

Where: Guadeloupe

Chosen By: Lucie Josma, a native New Yorker, is a world travel photographer and social media manager working with some of the top brands in travel and tourism. Having traveled to over 60 countries, she's looking forward to focusing on lesser-known destinations throughout Africa, Eastern Europe and the Caribbean. Follow her on Instagram @Missjetsetter as she gears up for a busy 2019.

Why: Shaped like a butterfly, the small cluster of islands that make up lively Guadeloupe are a must-visit for 2019. Here you’ll find everything you’ve ever dreamed of in a Caribbean island, such as flavorful food, captivating music, lush rain forest, the most stunning white-sand beaches and shades of blue ocean for miles and miles. What makes this island an absolute gem — besides its already low tourist crowds — are the flight deals that can easily be scored through Norwegian from several East Coast airports. Flights run for as low as $79 one way. Guadeloupe is also a wonderful destination if you’re interested in island-hopping. Express ferries between the islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Lucia, and Dominica start at about $90 round trip, and are a great way of getting the most out of your time in the Caribbean.

Photo courtesy of Kristin Amico

Where: Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Chosen By: Kristin Amico is a travel and food writer who recently spent a year crisscrossing Europe and India on the cheap. Check out her site How To Travel The Globe for practical and budget travel advice.

Why: Within a few square miles is a thousand years of history. Cobblestone alleys that date back to the Ottoman Empire ring with the sound of metalsmiths in the old town (Baščaršija), while brightly painted Austro-Hungarian architectural gems decorate a nearby neighborhood, giving the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina high marks for cozy charm. The prices can't be beat, either. Sip strong Turkish coffee at one of the many cafes that spill out into the narrow streets for less than $1.50 or nosh on some of the world's best and biggest burek (flaky phyllo pastry stuffed with meat or cheese) for a few dollars. The city holds the unfortunate title of suffering the longest siege in modern history in the early 1990s during the Balkan War, but today it's on the mend, boasting craft breweries, retro cocktail bars (sip a glass of rakija) and the newly restored cable cars offering breathtaking views as you ride from the center of town to the top of Mount Trebević.

Amazing view of Egypt's pyramids.

Where: Cairo, Egypt

Chosen By: Kelly Lewis specializes in women's travel and is the founder of Go! Girl Guides (travel guidebooks for women) and the Women's Travel Fest. She is also a cofounder of the new women's travel magazine, Unearth Women. Follow her on Instagram at @gokellylewis.

Why: There’s no shortage of things to see and do in Cairo, but it tops the list of places to visit this year because of the recently constructed Grand Egyptian Museum, slated to open early 2019. The Egyptian government is reported to have spent over $1 billion on the museum, which will house relics, mummies and artifacts from ancient Egypt. It’s also a very budget-friendly country, which you can navigate on a shoestring. Budget for $100 a day and you’ll be in good shape.

Oh The People You Meet founder Michaela Guzy with the San people at Jack's Camp in Botswana.

Photo courtesy of Oh The People You Meet/@otpym Instagram

Where: Botswana

Chosen By: Michaela Guzy is a media executive, entrepreneur and on-air show host. She is the executive producer for two online television shows, Michaela’s Map OhThePeopleYouMeet. Based in New York City, she is also an adjunct professor at New York University School of Professional Studies, where she teaches a course called "Travel Storytelling: Creating Video Content."

Why: >Botswana not only has the world’s only inland delta, but also the 1,000th UNESCO World Heritage site: Okavango Delta. It’s also home to Linyanti Reserve, one of the least visited areas of Botswana bordering Chobe National Park. And it’s not just about the animals here. The San communities of the ancient Kalahari Desert live in peaceful coexistence with the wildlife and directly benefits from tourism. Travel with sustainable companies like African Bush Camps, Jack’s Camp, &Beyond and Belmond, which not only work to support wildlife, the land and the people, they also offer discounted rates for visiting during low season (December-March). You can save over $300-400 a night per person, and all the lodges offer an increased discount the longer you stay. Also check out Chobe Game Lodge, with its all-female guides in addition to offering a rolling discounted rate, it is owned and operated by Desert & Delta Safaris, which has seven other lodges in Botswana. If you stay at multiple properties, you can get discounted packages and sometimes even free airfare. Another thing to note: In Africa, all-inclusive is a good thing. If you break down what you get at these camps — where transfers, meals, sundowners, water, guides, amenities, laundry and heck, even bug spray, are all included — the cost per night isn't that bad.

A colorful street in Mérida, the vibrant capital of the Mexican state of Yucatán.

Where: Merida, Mexico

Chosen By: Patricia Stone is the founder of Global Adventuress. She has traveled to 164 countries, seeking out unique, off-the-beaten-path destinations for solo, girlfriends, couples and families. Her site has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Toronto Star and USA Today. (You can also read Stone's tips on cruising in "The 20 Best Cruises To Take in 2019.")

Why: Mérida is the capital of the Yucatán in Mexico, with central plazas, cathedrals and narrow streets with pastel-colored buildings. Its rich Mayan heritage combined with colonial influences of Spanish rule is evident throughout the town. Compared to the popular beach towns along the Riviera Maya, your pesos can buy more at restaurants, hotels and excursions. Think: tacos for 50 cents, a room at a small hotel or B&B for around $50 a night and car rentals for $11-13 per day. Stroll the Plaza Grande, the central square in town, and visit the Mérida Cathedral and Iglesia de la Tercera Orden. Admire the colonial architecture at the 16 th century Casa de Montejo Mansion. Shop at the local markets Mercado Santiago or Mercado Lucas De Galvez. Take day trips to explore UNESCO-listed Mayan temples and ruins like Chichén Itzá, Uxmal, Mayapán and Dzibilchaltun, or swim in Cenote Xlacah, one of the thousands of natural limestone pools in the region. Celebrate at annual festivals – January’s Merida Fest or early Spring’s Carnival or November Day of the Dead. Sign up for archaeological and cultural tours with a local guide from Mayan Heritage Tours. If you can stretch your travel budget, contact Catherwood Travels to arrange a private tour of the 17 th -19 th century haciendas or Pueblos Magicos (magic towns) nearby. Merida is also known for its rich dining scene. Don't miss the local Yucatan dish cochinita pibil, pork marinated in achiote and spices. Stay at Casa Mexilio, an historic townhouse downtown for only $57 a night. Or there’s Casa Azul and Casa Lecanda in the low $200’s. Or splurge and stay at Chable Resort, a luxury wellness resort on the outskirts of town.

The Great Arch in the Getu River National Park of Guizhou, China.

Where: Guizhou, China

Chosen By: Meagan Drillinger is a freelance travel writer based in New York City. She is also the founder of Vaera Journeys, a company for entrepreneurial women that uses travel as a muse to take women out of their comfort zones and help them network and build upon their individual brands and businesses. Vaera's next immersive retreat is in Puerto Vallarta in May 2019. Follow her on Instagram @drillinjourneys and @vaerajourneys. (You can also read Drillinger's tips on cruising in "The 20 Best Cruises To Take in 2019.")

Why: While everyone else is lining up for the Forbidden City or scaling crowded sections of the Great Wall, 2019 should be the year that you discover China’s Guizhou province. This southwestern province is one of the more untapped destinations in the entire country, and one of the cheapest, to boot. But its under-the-radar status does isn’t for lack of awe-inspiring things to do and see. In fact, Guizhou is one of China’s most naturally beautiful provinces. It is home to Huangguoshu Waterfall, which is one of the largest waterfalls in all of China. It is also known for its Forest of 10,000 Peaks, which is a veritable sea of rounded mountain peaks, which glow like soft green velvet as the sun sets behind them. Guizhou is also bordered by some of China’s most famous destinations for food, like Szechuan and Hunan provinces. Guizhou is equally known for its cuisine, especially its fiery hot pot soups, chili peppers, and the lethally potent baijiu smoked liquor. Visitors can fly into Guangzhou in nearby Guangdong province and change planes to fly into Guizhou’s capital, Guiyang, however, a new high-speed rail now links the two cities on a four-hour trip, cut down from the previous 22-hour journey.

Detroit's downtown skyline from above at dusk.

Where: Detroit, Michigan

Chosen By: Stefanie Waldek is a New York-based writer and editor covering travel, architecture and design, and space. Follow her adventures on Instagram and Twitter at @stefaniewaldek.

Why: Detroit’s renaissance is a well-documented, oft-covered topic, but there’s a good reason it’s been in the headlines of late. After decades of stagnancy, the city is shaking off the dust and once again lining its streets with small local-run businesses, stylish hotels and a noteworthy food and drink scene. And that’s not to mention Detroit’s long legacy of architecture, design and industry that’s still prevalent today, plus its three major sports teams that draw in thousands of Michiganders and visitors every season. Given that city is still in the early stages of its second coming, you’ll find that prices for everything from hotels to Lyft rides to sports tickets are quite affordable, and we’re sure they’ll rise as Detroit keeps growing. On a trip to Motor City, stay at the high-design Siren (don’t miss cocktails at Candy Bar behind the lobby) or the elegant Detroit Foundation Hotel dine at Takoi, a food-truck-turned-restaurant serving up Northern Thai cuisine with global influences and shop at POST, a hybrid handmade goods store and workshop space for local artists and designers.

A bird's-eye view of Tenerife.

Photo courtesy of Turismo de Tenerife

Where: Tenerife, Canary Islands

Chosen By: Katie Jackson is a travel writer whose work has been published by The New York Post, USA TODAY, Fox News and The Sunday Times. Cash poor but experience rich, she splits her time between Montana, Chiang Mai and Tenerife. Follow her misadventures on Instagram.

Why: Tenerife is the most famous island Americans have never heard of. For Europeans, the “Island of Eternal Spring” (thanks to 52 weeks of sunshine a year) is a quintessential holiday destination. The largest of the seven Canary Islands, located off the coast of West Africa, is only a four-hour, $200 direct flight from most major cities in Europe. From the U.S. it’s almost just as cheap. I fly Norwegian Air because it has one-way fares to Tenerife from Los Angeles starting at $250. Although Tenerife is a part of Spain, it’s significantly cheaper than the mainland. For example, when I visit in May and June, I pay about $300 a month for an Orcar car rental, including insurance, and $30 a night for an Airbnb apartment in a gated community with a pool and tennis court, just a five-minute walk from a beach with world-class snorkeling. Budget hotels start at $40 a night, but there are also affordable luxury options. Rates at the five-star Iberostar Anthelia — voted Spain’s best all-inclusive resort six years in a row on TripAdvisor — start at $200 a night. An English breakfast at a restaurant will only set you back about $4, and at 70 cents, the Spanish boxed wine I buy in the supermarkets is almost cheaper than water. For free, visit Europe’s most-visited national park, Teide — named for Spain’s tallest mountain and the third highest volcano in the world. Tenerife is also home to Loro Parque, the best zoo in the world, and Siam Park, the best water park in the world according to TripAdvisor’s 2018 Traveler’s Choice Awards.

Downtown skyline of Tucson, Arizona.

Where: Tucson, Arizona

Chosen By: Kelly Lewis specializes in women's travel and is the founder of Go! Girl Guides (travel guidebooks for women) and the Women's Travel Fest. She is also a cofounder of the new women's travel magazine, Unearth Women. Follow her on Instagram at @gokellylewis.

Why: Known affectionately by locals as “the old Pueblo,” Tucson is a true gem of the Southwest. It’s affordable, has a thriving artist community and is easy to navigate. Stay near downtown to be in walking distance of a ton of great restaurants and bars, many of which are newly opened in the past five years. A little goes a long way here, and you can have a great time on as little as $50 a day, not including your accommodation. January/February are great times to visit, when the International Gem and Mineral Show — the largest in the world — arrives in town.

The green hills of Ukraine.

Photo courtesy of Lucie Josma/@missjetsetter Instagram

Where: Ukraine

Chosen By: Lucie Josma, a native New Yorker, is a world travel photographer and social media manager working with some of the top brands in travel and tourism. Having traveled to over 60 countries, she's looking forward to focusing on lesser-known destinations throughout Africa, Eastern Europe and the Caribbean. Follow her on Instagram @Missjetsetter as she gears up for a busy 2019.

Why: Married to a Ukrainian, I’ve found Ukraine to be one of the cheapest countries I've visited, and surprisingly one of the most picturesque. A great start is the historic city of Kiev, with its stunning religious architecture, museums and bustling city center. For traditional Ukrainian cuisine, Taras Bulba Kiev is a must. Expect to pay about $15 to $20 for a hearty three-course meal with drinks for two (and I do mean hearty!). Venturing west for $10, book a five-hour train ride to the charming city of Lviv, whose city center has been designated as a UNESCO site. The centrally located Rudolfo hotel offers spacious rooms and suites for as little as $50 a night and is within walking distance to the Lviv Opera House. A real treat is driving into the Carpathian Mountains, which provides mountain views that rival Switzerland. For a steal, make sure to stay at the Sokilske resort complex, with cabin rooms ranging from $50 to suites including pools for only $160 nightly.

Photo courtesy of Patricia Stone/@Global_Adventuress Instagram

Chosen By: Patricia Stone is the founder of Global Adventuress. She has traveled to 164 countries, seeking out unique, off-the-beaten-path destinations for solo, girlfriends, couples and families. Her site has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Toronto Star and USA Today. (You can also read Stone's tips on cruising in "The 20 Best Cruises To Take in 2019.")


50 Reasons to Love the World (From Very Seasoned Travelers)

Take a minute to search through the #travel and #wanderlust hashtags on Instagram, and you’ll find a slew of photos from magical places all around the globe. But what you may not necessarily find is why, exactly, the people who posted those photos went there in the first place—and why they continue to wander their way through the world today.

The big question, then, is this: What is it that inspires travelers to travel?

We’ve seen wonderful lists in places like BBC Travel that have made us, seasoned travel vets, want to pack our bags and explore the globe.

We asked a group of very accomplished globetrotters—the Yahoo Travel Explorers, plus the Yahoo Travel staff—for their number one reason why they love the world. Some travelers went big picture some zeroed in on one specific world moment that truly changed them. But in the end, all of them hit on one basic universal truth: because the world is full of wonder. Read on for some amazing travel inspiration.

1. “Because making a last-minute decision to head West instead of East led me to a hidden monastery in the grasslands of an ancient Tibetan province, and made me realize that no matter which path you take, there is no wrong direction when exploring this world.” —Jarryd Salem, NOMADasaurus

The moment Jarryd realized there is really no such thing as a wrong turn. (Photo: Jarryd Salem)

2. “Because as a Buddhist monk in Litang, China, proudly showed me his gong—one of the only possessions he has and that he shares with all the other monks in his temple—it occurred to me that all you need to make you happy in this life is a positive mindset and a warm heart.”—Alesha Bradford, NOMADasaurus

Inspiration for a happy life. (Photo: Alesha Bradford)

3. “Because I saw the cherry blossoms bloom and fall in Japan, reminding me that all things—even the most beautiful ones—are impermanent. I can’t think of a better reason to appreciate our world, and do our best to care for it.” —La Carmina, La Carmina

Stop and smell the cherry blossoms. (Photo: La Carmina)

4. “Because now that I have a daughter, I can rediscover the world through her eyes.” —Laura Begley Bloom, Yahoo Travel Executive Editor

Laura’s daughter forging her own path in Jamaica. (Photo: Laura Begley Bloom)

5. “Because there are still places like Cappadocia, where you can start your morning with a hot air balloon ride.” —Christine Amorose, C’est Christine

Now that’s a view worth setting your alarm for. (Photo: Christine Amorose)

6. “Because the world is huge. No matter how long you spend traveling and exploring, you will never run out of new things to see and learn.” —Gary Arndt, Everything Everywhere

7. “Because lying on your back and listening to reggae music in the sun on pretty much any beach, anywhere in the world, at anytime, will always make you feel like things are gonna be alright.” —Annie Daly, Yahoo Travel Contributing Editor

Not worrying about a thing in the Dominican Republic. (Photo: Zoe Stopak-Behr)

8. “Because I grew up playing soccer in the streets of Brooklyn, stopping every ten seconds because a car was coming down the block. And at the same time across the world, kids in small villages high in the mountains of Nepal were playing soccer in the shadows of the Himalayas, breathing in fresh mountain air below majestic, snowcapped peaks.” —Alexandra E. Petri, The Write Way Around

Same game, (very) different views. (Photo: Alexandra E. Petri)

9. “Because I randomly ran into my classmate from high school on the top level of the Eiffel Tower one cool fall afternoon. The world is very big, but it’s also very small.” —Adam Groffman, Travels of Adam

10. “Because traveling gives my kids a huge heart for the world, and the boldness and confidence to explore it with or without me.” —Kim-Marie Evans, Luxury Travel Mom

Kim-Marie’s teenage daughter traveling Haiti by herself last summer. (Photo: Kim-Marie Evans)

11. “Because you meet the most amazing people. Spiro Panagiotopoulos began as my taxi driver in Athens, and then became the greatest tour guide two girls could ever ask for. Now I am proud to call him a friend.” —Jo Piazza, Yahoo Travel Managing Editor

Spiro selfie! (Photo: Jo Piazza)

12. “Because no matter where you are in the world, the smile of a child will always brighten your day.” —Meagen Collins and Tom Williams, Five Dollar Traveller and 5 Dollar Planet

An Indian child with a million-rupee smile. (Photo: Meagen Collins)

13. “Because the world has been the best education. I’ve learned how to navigate locales on my own, I’ve met some of the most incredible people around the globe, and I’m often just humbled by humanity.” —Stef Michaels, Adventure Girl

14. “Because there is nothing quite like waking up at 5 a.m. in the pitch black to get on the back of a camel in the middle of the Arabian desert with a Beduion guide to watch the sunrise.” —Cacinda Maloney, Points and Travel

Now there’s a way to start the day. (Photo: Cacinda Maloney)

15. “Because once while driving through the Australian Outback at dawn, a group of kangaroos started hopping alongside the car, like terrestrial dolphins through a sea of grass and scrub. It was a singularly special moment where I felt so connected to the world around me.” —Matt Long, Land Lopers

Well hello there! (Photo: Matt Long)

16. "Because meeting three young Buddhist monks on a cliff in Galle, Sri Lanka—and then having them ask me for my Facebook info—reminded me that travel allows us to connect with people we otherwise never would have crossed paths with, and technology allows us to nurture and grow that connection even more.” —Oneika Raymond, Oneika the Traveller

See you on Facebook! (Photo: Oneika Raymond)

17. “Because the world is beautiful—and so many people on it are beautiful as well.” —Chris Christensen, Amateur Traveler

18. “Because koalas exist, and I got to cuddle one.” —Leah Ginsberg, Yahoo Travel Lead Editor

Behold: a little ball of cuteness. (Photo: Leah Ginsberg)

19. “Because a quiet sunset in the middle of the South African bush reminded me that there is so much beauty and awe in the everyday.” —Tausha Cowan, The Globe Getter

It doesn’t get much better than this. (Photo: Tausha Cowan)

20. “Because you can eat like a duchess in Wroclaw, Poland, where schnitzel and a glass of vodka will set you back 9 zloty, or roughly $2.50.” —Cathy Bennett Kopf, The Open Suitcase

On the way to eat the entire menu. (Photo: Cathy Bennett Kopf)

21. “Because it’s a never-ending journey. I can visit the same place three times, and still find new things to see and do, all unrelated, which gives me the drive to continue on my travels.” —David Hogan Jr., Malaysia Asia

David getting ready to journey into the sea. (Photo: David Hogan Jr.)

22. “Because no two street stall foods are the same, and I want to eat all of them.” —Stephanie Yoder, Twenty-Something Travel

23. “Because there’s just no place that’s like another. Even the town next door is different than the one you just visited!” —Mike Morrison, Mike’s Bliggity Blog

24. “Because snorkeling with the whistling beluga whales in Hudson Bay, Canada made me truly humbled by the interconnectivity and simple beauty of all of Earth’s species.” —Marybeth Bond, Gutsy Traveler

Marybeth felt waves of joy when she was with the whales. (Photo: Marybeth Bond)

25. Because sometimes you get to surf in Hawaii, and it makes you feel like the luckiest person on the planet.” —Brittany Jones-Cooper, Yahoo Travel Editor

Hanging ten gets a ten in her book. (Photo: Brittany Jones-Cooper)

26. “Because it shows you there is compassion, kindness and beauty it allows you to open your eyes and see outside of yourself and realize this is a magical place we call home.” —Diana Edelman, D Travels Round

Love really is all around. (Photo: Diana Edelman)

27. “Because roasting marshmallows in the lava of a volcano in Guatemala is something I simply cannot do at home.” —Jackie Laulainen, The Budget Minded Traveler

Oh, just whipping up your totally average dessert. (Photo: Jackie Laulainen)

28. “Because no matter how much I travel, there will always be remote and untouched places that we barely know about, and they are often found in the shadow of the big well-known places, sitting there all unassuming, quiet, and beautiful. Sitting in the shadow of Bannf and Lake Louise National Park in Alberta, for instance, is nearby Kananaskis Country, which offers the beautiful Spray Lakes, plenty of adventures, and no tourists.” —Sherry Ott, Otts World

Take the road less traveled to the beautiful Spray Lakes in Kananaskis Country. (Photo: Sherry Ott)

29. “Because in Hangzhou, China, you see more similarities than differences in people.” —Karen Rubin, Going Places Far and Near

United by culture. (Photo: Karen Rubin)

30. “Because no matter where I go, I encounter genuine and kind people. I’ve literally made friends all over the world.” —Johnny Jet, Johnny Jet

31. “Because even the simplest of landscapes can be transformed by shadows and light.” —James Clark, Nomadic Notes

Shadow play in the Namib Desert in Namibia. (Photo: James Clark)

32. “Because the world is filled with beautiful landscapes, positive people, and interesting cultures. Of course there are rough days, but the good almost always outweighs the bad.” —Pamela MacNaughtan, Savoir Faire Abroad

33. “Because in the middle of the Serengeti, sleeping in a tent as lions are roaring in the distance, you remember how small you actually are, and find serenity in the fact that you can’t control anything. And then you let go.” —Lindsay Taub, Voyage Vixens

What a beautiful place to accept your own place in the world. (Photo: Lindsay Taub)

34. “Because traveling to Chiang Mai, Thailand to witness these mama elephants ‘fist bump’ reminds me that connection—be it among elephants or humans—is worth stretching out of your comfort zone to achieve.” —Lanee Lee, Voyage Vixens

Friendship first! (Photo: Lanee Lee)

35. "Because no matter how many frequent flier miles, hotel points and passport stamps I amass, there’s always a new exotic delicacy to taste, an unseen wonder to behold, an unfamiliar custom to try, a new friend to cherish. There will never be an end to fresh experiences.” —Angie Orth, Angie Away

It’s always a good idea to try scuba diving in the Bahamas. (Photo: Angie Orth)

36. “Because every new place I visit, every new unpaved road I ‘discover,’ every new food I eat, every sunrise and sunset I experience, they all make my heart happy.” —Charles McCool, McCool Travel

It’s a magical hour indeed. (Photo: Charles McCool)

37. “Because potential friends are always right around the corner. Example: I was recently a bridesmaid in Sydney, Australia, for a couple I met on a Contiki tour through Europe in 2007!” —Cailin O’Neill, Travel Yourself

What happens in Europe…doesn’t always stay in Europe. (Photo: Frank Farrugia)

38. “Because it’s an abounding source of inspiration that you experience and feel, but do not own.” —Megan Snedden

Wading into Israel’s Dead Sea made Megan feel more alive than ever before. (Photo: Megan Snedden)

39. “Because there’s treasure everywhere. Fischer’s Peak in British Columbia is just an hour’s drive and a hearty hike away from my home, but I didn’t discover it until I was 30.” —Matt Gibson, XPat Matt

Matt taking in the view of his sweet, sweet find. (Photo: Matt Gibson)

40. “Because there are meaningful, deep connections to be made everywhere around the world. The world really is all about the people.” —Michaela Guzy, Oh the People You Meet!

41. “Because a vital lesson our planet shares is how to put the American-style currency blues on the run. Some of the happiest people I’ve ever met were, by American standards, incredibly hand-to-mouth poor—and living under tarps or bridges. Hear this: Measure your wealth by how much you’d be worth if you lost all your money.” —Bruce Northam, American Detour

The Filipino farmhands may not have much, but they seem happy. (Photo: Bruce Northam)

42. “Because in the last 12 months, I’ve visited a crumbling ghost town in backwoods Mississippi, an abandoned mine in Death Valley, and an abandoned World War II Nazi compound in Los Angeles. And it reminds me to enjoy this moment, because all of life is temporary.” —Greg Keraghosian, Yahoo Travel Associate Editor

A visual reminder to appreciate life as we live it. (Photo: Greg Kheraghosian)

43. “Because after I spent a full day gazing into the changing hues of the Chandrataal Lake in Spiti, I looked up from the freezing cold and pitch black darkness around me and saw the Milky way swirling above me. That’s when I realized how futile and insignificant our worldly problems are, and how lucky I was to be there in that moment.” —Rishabh Shah, Gypsy Couple

The Milky Way showed him the way…to enlightenment. (Photo: Rishabh Shah)

44. “Because when I saw a double rainbow in the Mauritius sky after a freak shower in the middle of winter, I realized how the very storm that had threatened to spoil my honeymoon a moment ago had created something so beautiful which will stay with me for life.” —Nirali Shah, Gypsy Couple

In a Mauritius minute, everything can change. (Photo: Nirali Shah)

45. “Because you can cycle and hike your way through Kerala, India, and truly feel the pulse of the place, and understand the local culture.“ —Jessie Festa, Jessie on a Journey

A river sanctuary in Dewalokam, an organic farm where Jessie stayed in Kerala. (Photo: Jessie Festa)

46. “Because whether it’s a pint, a shot, a dram, or a tumbler, knocking back a nice beverage with the locals is a tradition in which you can partake all over the world. No matter what the local language is, a drink means the same thing: friendship and bonding. Cheers!” —Sid Lipsey, Yahoo Travel Contributing Editor

47. “Because you get the opportunity to seek the unexpected, like I did when I was hiking the Angels Landing Trail on a trip to Utah’s Zion National Park. I was holding onto the rails the whole time—it was quite the adventure!” —Carri Wilbanks, Catch Carri

Climbing to new heights in Zion. (Photo: Carri Willbanks)

48. “Because when I got lost on the way to Taipei’s Shilin Night Market, a student offered to help me, and proceeded to ride the subway with me and drop me off at the entrance. The whole endeavor probably took a good hour out of his evening, and it reminded me that people really are inherently good.” —Kelley Ferro, KF Traveler

She got by with a little help from…a stranger. (Photo: Kelley Ferro)

49. “Because it is a market of amazing tastes and conversations.” —Erica Firpo, Moscerina

This Sicilian market is a little microcosm of the world. (Photo: Erica Firpo)

50. “Because I’ll never find the end of it.” —Nadine Sykora, Hey Nadine

Embracing the world in Blyde River Canyon, South Africa. (Photo: Nadine Sykora)

WATCH: This Koala Half Eating, Half Sleeping Is So Unbelievably Cute! (Video)

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38 Cheapest Places To Travel

Want to save money in 2019 and still travel the world? You’re in luck. Every year, I tap into experts and influencers to find out their picks for cheap travel in the upcoming year. For 2019, I convinced a group of travel wizards to open their little black books and recommend their favorite places to travel on a budget. They also shared the smartest ways to see these places (affordable hotels, bargain restaurants), and they zeroed in on some money-saving ways to visit otherwise expensive locations. While experts like the Global Business Travel Association are predicting that travel prices will rise sharply in 2019, you don’t need to worry. With this list of inexpensive places in hand, you’ll be able to travel for less. See the full list below of the cheapest places to travel in 2019, and compare it to the best budget travel destinations for summer 2019, 2018 and 2017.

Chosen By: Alexandra Baackes is the founder of Alex in Wanderland and Wander Women Retreats and the author of the Wanderland Guide to Koh Tao. Baackes has been addicted to storytelling since 2009, sharing the behind-the-scenes of her world travels, adventures in entrepreneurship and experiments in living abroad on her blog and social media channels.

Why: New Orleans is known for colorful nightlife, a bursting festival calendar and a decadent local cuisine — but the Big Easy is also an undercover gem for budget travelers. Let’s start with the basics. Most NOLA must-dos are free: people-watching in the French Quarter, house peeping in the Garden District and bar hopping the live music venues on Frenchman Street. But get creative. Need to cool off after all that strolling? Head to fun and flirty The Country Club, where entry to the pool out back costs a reasonable $15 a day and the bar provides a steady stream of frozen cocktails. Worked up an appetite? SoBou and Commander’s Palace are two of many local restaurants keeping the 25 cent martini weekday lunch alive. You read that right. Order lunch, and martinis are a mere quarter — though most enforce a limit of three, because, as the menu states, “that’s enough.” Need to work off all that indulgence? Head to one of the several free weekly fitness events thrown by Move Ya Brass. They have a calendar of running clubs, yoga classes and dance-based workouts heavy on local music and flavor. Need a place to recharge so you can do it all again tomorrow? Check in to the Catahoula Hotel, a chic boutique design hotel in the Central Business District with rooms starting at a mere $100 a night.

Chosen By: Meagan Drillinger is a freelance travel writer based in New York City. She is also the founder of Vaera Journeys, a company for entrepreneurial women that uses travel as a muse to take women out of their comfort zones and help them network and build upon their individual brands and businesses. Vaera’s next immersive retreat is in Puerto Vallarta in May 2019. Follow her on Instagram @drillinjourneys and @vaerajourneys. (You can also read Drillinger’s tips on the 20 Best Cruises for 2019 here.)

Why: Though Jamaica is a legendary beach destination, 2019 will be the year to discover Kingston, an untapped, culturally rich capital of the Caribbean. Still rough around the edges but with a soul that is impossible to resist, Kingston is the place to experience the heartbeat of Jamaica, in ways simply not possible from within a beach resort — and for a much cheaper price tag. Rhythm rocks the streets from sunup to sundown. In fact, in 2018 Kingston opened the Peter Tosh Museum, which rounds out the city’s musical offerings, in addition to the Bob Marley Museum and the Jamaica Music Museum.
Experience the local dance halls, tour the Trench Town Culture Yard and see a side of the country that few Americans take the time to truly experience before they jet off to the beaches of the north. That said, with the recently opened high-speed highway that connects Kingston to Ocho Rios, visitors can easily make the trip north to weave together a city and beach vacation in one trip, especially with the new S Hotel in Montego Bay, a sleek-and-sexy, South Beach-style spot that will open in January. End your jaunt with a ride through reggae music history as you depart from Sangster International Airport. VP Records, the world’s largest independent reggae music label and publisher, is kicking off its 40th anniversary with an installation chronicling its indelible contribution to reggae music.


Also on Carte Blanche this Sunday, 24 May:

Sweden’s Road Less Travelled

In the midst of the global pandemic, countries in Europe have been locking down their citizens to slow the spread of the coronavirus, but in Stockholm, the streets are still abuzz and life seems almost normal. Against the grain, Sweden’s taking the road less travelled – keeping schools and businesses open while tolerating a slow spread of the virus. It’s a high-risk approach, but Swedish authorities are hedging their bets to keep the economy afloat while saving lives. Carte Blanche explores whether this strategy will spare the country from a second wave of infection. (PRODUCERS: SIMON STANFORD AND MARIKA GRIEHSEL | PRESENTER: MARIKA GRIEHSEL)

Watch the show overseas | Watch in SA on DStv Now

This Sunday on #CarteBlanche: #Sweden is opting to rely on the public to #SocialDistance, while keeping the country open for business. But with the highest death rate in Scandinavia, is the non-#lockdown approach working? Join us at 7pm on @MNet channel 101. #day56oflockdown pic.twitter.com/L58QoHu80C

&mdash Carte Blanche (@carteblanchetv) May 21, 2020


Meet the Publisher: Simon Dardick, Co-Publisher of Véhicule Press, on Publishing Translations of Francophone Literature and Social History

It’s wonderful working with translators. I love the whole complex process and appreciate how translators must have a foot in two cultures.

Véhicule Press is a Canadian publisher of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Located in the city of Montréal, where French is predominantly spoken, Véhicule has been publishing francophone authors in translation since 1980. In recent years, half their catalog has been dedicated to works translated from the French. Véhicule started out in 1973 on the site of the artist-run gallery Véhicule Art Inc. with a printing press and equipment inherited from one of its members. In 1975, they became the only cooperatively owned printing and publishing company in the province of Québec. Nowadays, the press is run by Simon Dardick, who stayed on when the coop broke up in 1981, and archivist Nancy Marrelli. From the beginning, Véhicule has focused on titles that celebrate and examine Canadian culture and society. Asymptote’s Editor-at-Large for Argentina, Sarah Moses, stopped by Véhicule’s office in Montréal to chat with Simon Dardick about publishing francophone literature in translation and some of the titles he’s excited about.

Sarah Moses (SM): I’d like to begin by asking you about the origins of Véhicule Press.

Simon Dardick (SD): It grew out of an art gallery called Véhicule Art. It was at a time when artists were renting large spaces—for performance art and for large-scale colour field paintings. Véhicule Art was an artist-run gallery—the second one in Canada the first was in Vancouver.The artwork was interesting—it was very international but also showed work from local people from Montréal and Québec. The press was situated at the back of the gallery. One of the artists had bought a huge printing press and printed, I think, one or two copies of a magazine called Beaux-Arts. The apocryphal story is that the printer got his hand caught in the press and it stood silent for many months until some people gravitated around it and decided to learn how to use it.

That was six months before I arrived in 1973. I became typesetter and general manager. We were all middle class kids, lots of long hair, who were involved in literary stuff. We were painters, writers, dancers, and video artists who came together. There was at various times seven or eight of us. We were incorporated in Québec as a cooperative printing and publishing company. We really wanted just to publish, but we would print our books on offcuts, the paper left over from jobs we had printed for other folks. We were the popular grassroots printer in town. We printed posters and invitations for artists and flyers for demonstrations and community groups. So essentially we started publishing more and more books of our own although near the end we still did jobs printing for people. The end was really 1980, 1981. The technology was changing—printing was becoming more electronic, rather than lithographic. We did low-end printing, except for our own books. We didn’t envision committing to a life of commercial printing. So we dissolved the printing company and my wife, Nancy, and I continued the publishing end of things. In 1981, we moved to a greystone in central Montréal—we live above the office—and immediately eliminated tremendous overhead in terms of rent.

Our approach has been very much influenced by visual arts—I was a painter. So for me the look of a book is important: the cover art and the text of the book has to work together. To this day I still typeset all our books, with the odd exception. We’ve been doing it here since 1981. We have a poetry editor and a fiction editor. My wife and I do the non-fiction.


Project Genesis: The Reveal

A screenshot of the e-mail notification the author received, alerting her that her AncestryDNA results were ready.

On May 4 th , I got an e-mail that informed me that my DNA results had been processed and were available to review. I was nervous, almost as you might be in anticipating the results of an exam, and anxious, like when you’re sitting in reception, waiting to be called in for an interview. Would I ‘pass’? Was I ‘good enough? Would I find out information I in fact wanted to know? I logged into Ancestry DNA, and the image below depicts what I found.

A percentage breakdown and map of the author’s ethnicity estimates. Percentages of 5% and higher are included here. Benin/Togo: 30% Nigeria: 23% Cameroon/Congo: 14% Senegal: 6% Great Britain: 9% Europe East: 5%

Eighty-one percent of my ancestry stems from West Africa, including people in regions that reside today in Benin, Togo, Nigeria, Cameroon, Congo, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Ghana. Also, nineteen percent of my ancestry is European, the largest region represented being Great Britain. The image is a recipe, in a sense, for who I am. I have generous helpings of the French and English-speaking African Gulf and a pinch of the United Kingdom. This data represents my ethnic background and I felt myself walking taller and prouder as I began to process what this new information meant. Wanting more from my latest revelation, I began to seek out people I trusted who were also of African descent to help me to make sense of my findings. Did this data merely confirm what I suspected all along? Or was there more to it? My investigation led me not only to amplify how ideas of identity and ancestry are interpreted, but also to uncover some of my own biases. I interviewed a series of people who helped me to understand the diversity of perspectives related to heritage and some of their nuances within.

Bust of an African Woman by Charles-Henri-Joseph Cordier, 1851. Photo Credit: Mary Harrsch

The first of these was Dr. Assata Zerai. She’s an associate dean in the Graduate College, a sociology professor and the new, incoming director of the Center for African Studies. Like me, she is African American, having been born and raised here in the United States, and shares not only the legacy of slavery, but also common phenotypic markers of Sub-Saharan African ancestry: brown skin, highly textured hair and full lips. When I asked her if she had ever considered requesting a DNA test like mine, her response was, “Not really.” As a self-identified Pan-Africanist, acknowledging a connection to the continent and its diaspora was more of a priority to her than knowing what specific regions represented her ancestry. Dr. Zerai’s research, professorship and mentoring, after all, regularly engage discourses regarding black populations. Some of her forthcoming publications, for example, address questions of healthcare in Nigeria, clean water in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda and masculinity in Zimbabwe. For her, blackness is not necessarily something one verifies via chromosome counts and markers it can manifest itself as a lifestyle through the people she cares for, the investigation she pursues and the scholarship she intentionally engages. For her, the likelihood of laboratory results meaningfully impacting the path she has already chosen is low.

A mosquito net draped over a bed. Photo Credit: Beatrice Murch

In the same effort of accessing my community to help me to interpret my results, I sought out Victor Jones, the Visiting Recruiting Specialist in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Victor is from the Southside of Chicago, and, aside from being a professional wrestler and a major R&B aficionado, he is also a Christian minister. The preservation of the black family is a continual concern for him and encouraging young people towards higher education is an integral part of his work. Interestingly, Victor says, “I don’t call myself African American. I prefer ‘black.’ I can’t readily trace my roots back to Africa.” Moreover, if any visit to Africa involves exposure to extremely high temperatures or sleeping under mosquito nets, he is simply not interested. “I don’t want to be outside of my comfort zone,” he said, claiming he would never live abroad. It was perhaps here that I began to realize that there were some myths in my mind that I had not yet confronted. Having spent the last 13 years on college campuses, I blindly believed that everyone wanted to go abroad and that the major obstacles were the price of plane tickets and short-lived vacation time. Learning that someone I knew opted to pass on opportunities to see the world stopped me and caused me to check my assumptions. While the African continent represents part of our shared historical past, the need to intimately know it is not necessarily pressing to all black peoples. For Victor, ministering to local populations and creating strong, reliable bonds with them takes precedence over international travel.

Sgt. Franklin Williams, home on leave from army duty, with Ellen Hardin. Baltimore, MD. 1942 Photo Credit: Black History Album

These two interactions reinforced the ideas that not only do African Americans—or blacks, depending upon one’s self-identification—eschew a monolithic set of preferences regarding what we call ourselves, but also the lack of information regarding our heritage does not necessarily make members of these groups feel less than whole. Some African American people are satisfied with their identities within a U.S. context. And, beyond that, a narrative that begins with slavery in North America is not necessarily a problematic one for those who ascribe to it. While understanding that there is an inextricable link to the “Motherland,” there is also a rich history and arguably separate identity here within the United States. Who am I to suggest otherwise? My reaching back into the annals (or lack thereof) of history in a search for self is just as valid as those who reach out and around them for the same purpose.

A depiction of “Sankofa,” a term from the Akan language that is used within many African American circles to symbolize the value of knowing one’s history. Photo Credit: Shannon Rose

My interviews, however, did not stop there. I wanted to get some feedback from some people who came from African countries. Surely their experiences were different and therefore their opinions, too. I next spoke with Dr. Maimouna Barro who is the Associate Director of the Center for African Studies. She teaches a course called Introduction to Modern Africa and, after making wudu (an Islamic cleansing ritual) and completing her afternoon prayers, she relayed to me her thoughts on seeking ancestry. While Senegal is the place she calls home, she clarified that “If you dig deeper, I’m not just from Senegal.” She then gave me a brief, multi-generational genealogy that included places of origin like Guinea-Conkary and Mauritania. These revelations highlighted another gap in my thinking. For example, if an ethnic group moves from home to a new site, much like with the displacement of Native American tribes along the Oregon Trail, are place markers a reliable source of ethnic identity? For example, I was born in Los Angeles, but that tells nothing of my father’s immigration from Costa Rica and my mother’s family’s migration from Louisiana or anything about our ethnic identities. So what does it mean, then, to submit one’s DNA to a laboratory and to pay for a map that matches one to places? Do we not really want a match to people? Not the imaginary boundaries we have assigned to land?

A map depicting the distribution and quantities of African people sold into slavery throughout the world. Photo Credit: Maddeler Halinde

Thomas Mukonde, a Zambian graduate assistant in the Undergraduate Library who works in both reference and instruction, was my last interviewee. He said that while tracing DNA seemed interesting, he would have to justify the cost. He knows, for example, that his parents represent the Mambwe/Lungu and Bemba ethnic groups and stated that he does not have a full need to explore his background as someone who is African American might. Moreover, based on his experiences as an undergraduate in Washington, D.C., he found that attempts to connect the African and African American student communities did not fully develop. “The only thing that unifies us is a history of oppression,” he said. “Africans in Africa were colonized. They were deliberately educated to become subjects or citizens. These education systems were very efficient. I don’t know how much Africa remains in the Africans who stayed on the continent.” Thomas suspected that within African American communities, despite and amidst centuries of deep repression, there was a preservation of African customs. Yet, history may have been overly effective in erasing some of these cultural manifestations on the African continent.

Work Author or Editor Available in our Library?
The Fire Next Time Baldwin, James Yes, as both an e-book and a print source.
Black Feminist Thought Collins, Patricia Hill A print copy is en route.
The Souls of Black Folk DuBois, W.E.B. Yes, as both an e-book and a print source.
Out of One, Many Africas: Reconstructing the Study and Meaning of Africa Martin, William G. and Michael O. West Yes, as both an e-book and a print source.
How to Be Black Thurston, Baratunde Yes, as a print source.
The Mis-Education of the Negro Woodson, Carter Godwin Yes, as both an e-book and a print source.
Slavery and Social Death Patterson, Orlando Yes, as both an e-book and a print source.

As with all of my intellectual inquiries, Project Genesis has brought me more questions and conversations than answers. What I found, however, was that at the same time that I was trying to dispel myths, I was working from a space of assertions I assumed to be true, and my investigation continually challenged them. How do I feel about my results? I was surprised that Benin and Togo factored in at all because in my mind, I had mistakenly ‘othered’ the regions as they are Francophone and not Anglophone I was expecting a large swath of my ancestry to be West African, and I was right I had an inkling that part of me was Nigerian, and that was correct I was also a little disappointed to not have any Native American group show up in my results as my family lore suggested, as it does in many African American families, that we shared a lineage with some group(s) indigenous to the Americas. Some lingering queries address many issues: If they were to submit DNA samples, would their results be identical to mine? If I am 19% European, does that mean I’m white? Were I to ‘return’ to West Africa, what would await me there? This process taught me anew that the words ‘history’ and ‘identity’ more often than not should take on plural forms, and also that speaking to trusted people is key to finding one’s truth. For more sources for research on black ancestry, as recommended by the interviewees in this article and the author, see the table above. Below you will find an advertisement for a University of Illinois course led by David Wright that explores some of the same issues raised in this piece. Click here on Project Genesis: The Quest to see the first half of this series and be sure to like the International and Area Studies Library’s Facebook page for more articles like these.

An advertisement for the cross-listed ENGL 274/AFRO 298 course with study abroad component that explores slavery and identity led by David Wright at the University of Illinois.