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jul 21 2014

World's Most Dangerous Flyover Regions

Some beautiful regions of the world, such as Syria, are subject to FAA flight restrictions or warnings because of ongoing conflicts on the ground.

(Antonella865 / Dreamstime.com)

Our hearts go out to all those who lost loved ones on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on July 17.

While the events in Ukraine and the ongoing investigations, and diplomatic and political consequences, are beyond the scope of Budget Travel's mission, we have been getting questions from those who wonder, "How could a commercial airliner fly over a dangerous region such as eastern Ukraine?"

feb 07 2014

Top 8 Places to See the Northern Lights

Northern Lights from Norway

The Northern Lights, as seen from Norway.

(Courtesy GuideGunnar - Arctic Norway/Flickr)

This article was written by Zoë Smith on behalf of Viator.com's Travel Blog.

One of the world’s most dazzling natural phenomenons, few vistas can top the Northern Lights, officially known as the Aurora Borealis (signifying the meeting of Aurora, Roman goddess of the dawn, and Borealis, the Greek North Wind). Created by solar winds interacting with charged particles in the earth’s magnetic field, the Lights appear as otherworldly streaks of green, red, yellow, and purple light dancing across the arctic skies. Visible throughout the so-called ‘Northern Lights Oval,' countries lying in the far-northern latitudes, optimally between 10 and 20 degrees from the magnetic North Pole, are most likely to catch a glimpse of the spectacle, which occurs predominantly between late-September and late-March, often close to midnight. While travelers flock to the world’s northernmost countries for a glimpse of the Northern Lights, seeing them is no exact science and there’s no guarantee that you’ll get a good look. From the snow-enveloped wilderness of Siberia to the northernmost tip of Canada, here are some of the best places to see the Northern Lights. So wrap up warm, pick a crisp, clear night, and cross your fingers.

dec 03 2013

This Dude Visited Every Country on Earth—Without Flying!

(Tenyo Marchev / Dreamstime.com)

Sure, you're well traveled. You've got pages of brag-worthy passport stamps and amazing true stories from the road.

mar 13 2012

And America's Best Beach Is…

St. Pete Beach, FL (Courtesy Tripadvisor)

Even after a warm winter, there's nothing like early–onset spring to get the mind in beach vacation mode. And from sea to shining sea, America's not short on beaches to brag about. But which of them ranks supreme among public opinion? Surprise: it's not in Hawaii or California. It's in Florida, but—surprise, again!—it's not Miami or the Keys.

aug 05 2011

Five myths about Moscow

The Revolution Plaza metro station, Moscow (Courtesy Michelle Baran)

Moscow is a city that carries with it a whole host of associations — some good (soaring ballerinas at the Bolshoi, anyone?), some not so good (brutish oligarchs with flashy cars, maybe?), some merited, and some not.

The tourism industry that works to bring travelers to and through the city is aware of its perception and is addressing these "myths" systematically in order to improve both the way Moscow is perceived and the actually tourism experience on the ground, according to Sergey Shpilko, chairman of the committee on tourism and the hotel industry in Moscow, whom I met with while visiting the Russian capital last month.

jul 15 2011

Why your Russian river ship shouldn't sink

Viking's Pakhomov (Courtesy Viking River Cruises)

The tragic sinking of a Russian riverboat on Sunday that killed at least 113 people, many of them children, brings to question the safety standards of river cruise ships, especially those operating on Russia's Volga River.

But the ships that U.S. river cruise operators deploy between St. Petersburg and Moscow are much larger and safer than the ship that sank much further east on the Volga, those operators say.

feb 09 2011

2011, the year of river cruising

Uniworld's Duoro Spirit (Courtesy Uniworld River Cruises)

It may be the year of the rabbit, but what few may realize is that 2011 is also gearing to be the year of river cruising.

After a relative slowdown in new ship launches spurred by the downturn, the increasingly popular travel style is back in action with a cornucopia of new ships launching this year on rivers across Europe, Russia, China and Southeast Asia. For everyone from the novice to the consummate river cruiser, here are some highlights of what the reborn river cruise market has to offer:

feb 02 2011

Riots in Egypt: How much can travel insurance help?

The Sphinx in Egypt (Courtesy Michelle Baran)

It's times like these that make people think twice about the value of travel insurance. The question is, how much can it actually help with situations such as the escalating political tensions in Egypt, the suicide bombing in Moscow or flooding in Australia?

We decided to find out. It turns out that the answer really depends on the type of travel insurance that you have. Most travel insurance providers have an option that allows travelers to "cancel for any reason," which offers the most comprehensive coverage.

jan 07 2011

New Dali Museum Opening in St. Petersburg

The new Dali Museum (Courtesy Visit St. Petersburg Clearwater)

Big news for St. Petersburg, Fla.—its spanking-new Salvador Dali Museum will open on Tuesday. The museum will double its size with the new $36 million building, dedicated to the famous Spanish surrealist artist.

St. Petersburg (recently one of our favorite winter beach retreats) will be home to the most works by Dali outside of Spain—2,140 in all, including the "The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory."

oct 02 2009

Russia's new high-speed trains cause a commotion

The Sapsan, departing regularly from Russian stations this December (Courtesy pavel-ms/Livejournal)

Moscow and St. Petersburg are about to join the ranks of major European and Asian cities linked by high-speed rail service. Russian Railways has purchased Siemens' cutting-edge trains—dubbed Sapsan, Russian for a peregrine falcon—at a cost of $52 million each. Instead of a traditional locomotive, the Sapsan has electric motors attached to wheels all along the train cars. It's also been modified to contend with notoriously frigid Russian winters.

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