Escape the Cold: The Best Places to Warm You Up


If you’re not interested in a super-touristy experience, and want to head somewhere much less crowded but with the same gorgeous weather as the rest of Central America, you should consider Belize for your next vacation. There are tons of beaches along the Caribbean coast with the massive Belize Barrier Reef lying just offshore. This reef is a major draw for many scuba divers, and for snorkeling.

Another famous site that’s a major tourism draw is the Great Blue Hole, a massive marine sinkhole near Lighthouse Reef. Jacques Cousteau declared it one of the greatest scuba diving sites in the world when it was shown to him in 1970.

On shore, Belize has many beautiful beach locations like Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, and Placencia. If you get tired of relaxing on the beach, you can venture inland to some of Belize’s magnificent Mayan ruins like Altun Ha and Caracol, which are popular sites for day-trips.

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New Orleans

New Orleans is a great place to go over the holidays — it has mild temperatures, and a laid-back pace despite being a major American hub. Typically, New Orleans gets busier during Mardi Gras and the Carnival season, which happens in the spring. Christmas holidays are slower in New Orleans, and it’s more likely that you’ll find good deals on accommodations.

Check out the bonfires on the levees of the Mississippi River that happen at sunset, which are traditionally lit to guide Papa Noël through the river. In Louisiana, children have traditionally been taught about Papa Noël and his boat pulled by eight alligators instead of Santa Claus. The oaks of City Park are dressed up in lights, and you can wander through the brilliant display before heading out for a decadent Réveillon dinner.

Traditionally, Réveillon is the meal served after midnight mass, and is always a delicious feast full of Creole favorites. Many of the best Christmas events in New Orleans are free, which makes it easy to splash out on a hotel room and save cash on activities.

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Phuket, Thailand

If you’re interested in busy nightlife along with a healthy serving of beaches and outdoor activities, Phuket is the place for you. Phuket is Thailand’s largest island, and is covered in long beaches that look out over jutting rock formations dripping in greenery. Although Phuket has a reputation for being full of intoxicated young people on their gap year vacations, it’s easier than ever to find resorts and hotels that cater to a more upscale crowd.

Between days on the beach, you can visit Phuket Old Town, which is full of colorful historic buildings built in the Sino-Portuguese style, or take a long-boat out to one of the nearby islands like Surin or Similan for a day of snorkeling. If you’re in Phuket over Christmas, the larger resorts will have some sort of Christmas dinner celebration, which you may want to book in advance. It’s best to book accommodations several months in advance to ensure the best price, but you don’t need to worry about locking in excursions until you’ve arrived — December is their slow season.

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The World in Chili

Chili is one of those comforting fall dishes that just hits the spot on a cool, crisp day. A good bowl of chili is warm, spiced just right, and features enough protein to keep you full for ages. We can all agree on the merits of a bowl of chili, but for a lot of people, that’s where most agreements stop. There are so many different kinds of chili that are popular around the world — most centered in the United States, which has definitely become the world’s capital of chili.

The Best Comforting Drinks for Fall from Around the World

As the weather starts getting colder, we start looking for comforting drinks that will help keep us warm.  Some of the most popular options in America are also the easiest to find — there are more than 13,000 Starbucks locations in the United States alone, and they have a huge percentage of the market cornered already — people love their pumpkin spice lattes! However, there are a lot of downsides to visiting a café every day, especially if your go-to order is a sweetened latte or Frappuccino. It’s easy to make delicious warm drinks at home, which allows you to flavor them to your taste, saving both money and calories

Don’t Fall for These 10 Scary Traveler Scams

Hopping aboard a transcontinental flight on route to a new, ready-to-explore destination is a rush. Traveling teaches us about the world, sure. But, more than that, it teaches us about ourselves. You also probably already know that, unlike your comfort zone, traveling presents a lot of inherent risks. It’s a sad reality, but it’s a reality that rings true. You, as a tourist, are a two-bit criminal’s dream target. After all, you have absolutely no idea where you are, no idea where to go for help, and no clue what the scammers have in store.