Choose These Underrated Travel Spots For Your USA Vacation


Massachussetts
*Massachussetts Lake - Photo credit

This post is contributed by Ellie Jo for Blissful Snapshots. 

When you think of a vacation in the USA, you probably think of the Hollywood hills of Los Angeles, the well-trodden streets of New York City, the majesty of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and old big ears himself, Mickey Mouse, dazzling young and old at Disneyworld in Orlando. 

Wonderful places all, but there is more to the USA than the usual tourist spots, so if you’re planning a visit to America any time soon, perhaps you should look for those under the radar places that are definitely worth a visit. We have listed a few of them here, so after you have climbed the Empire State Building, shaken hands with Mickey and Donald (Duck, not Trump), and caught a glimpse of the Hollywood razzle-dazzle, add some of these destinations to your holiday itinerary.

Visit the state of firsts, and if you are unsure where we are talking about, then you probably haven’t been here before. We are talking about Massachusetts, one of the most underrated states in the US, and that’s surprising. Sports lovers should be interested to know this was the place where basketball and volleyball were invented. 

Foodies might like to know Dunkin’ Doughnuts originated here. And perhaps more importantly for smartphone addicts, you need to know this is the place where Alexander Graham Bell first demonstrated the telephone. 

There’s a first time for everything, so when you have finished gawking at the Statue of Liberty, jet over to this great state - check here for how to fly from New York to Massachusetts by private jet - and enjoy the incredible beach paradise of Cape Cod, engage with the history of the Boston Tea Party, visit the picture postcard villages that inspired Norman Rockwell, and spend time relaxing on the idyllic island of Martha’s Vineyard.

*Maine Fishing Village - Photo credit


Overcome your fear of Maine, as no matter how many Stephen King books you have read using this state as their location, there really aren’t any clowns hiding under drain covers, or vampires taking root in tiny towns. Still, if you are a lover of the horror author, you may want to visit some of the locations made famous in his works of fiction, and if you head over to Bangor, you may even meet the great man yourself. 

There are other reasons to visit Maine, of course. The state is an outdoor mecca, with acres of forestland to explore, unspoiled lakes to bathe in, and mountain hikes aplenty. Entwine yourself in the ebb and flow of the small fishing communities, walk through the charming streets of Portland, and if you visit in the winter, know that Maine contains premiere peaks for snowboarders and skiers. You see, no matter what Stephen King has told you, there is nothing to worry about on your visit to Maine, and despite his tales of horror, this is truly a relaxing place to be. 

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Know that Utah is anything but boring. Unfairly stereotyped for having baron deserts and dull landscapes, the truth is anything but. Monument Valley’s sandstone mesas are more likely to encourage oohs and aahs than bored whispers. The Bonneville Salt Flats are perfect for artists and photographers with its dazzling white plains and magnificently coloured skies. 

There is much to explore, whether you traverse some of the longest canyons in the world, kayak along Lake Powell’s gigantic oasis, or mountain bike along Salt Lake City’s diverse paths and trails. And if you fancy a taste of Hollywood? Who needs LA, when you have one of the greatest film fests in the world, the wonderful Sundance Film Festival. Catch the brightest and best of today’s talented directors and performers with some of the best independent cinema has to offer. 

There’s all that, plus the grand heritage of Native American culture, white water rafting across the incredible riverscape, and 185 million-year-old dinosaur footprints at the dinosaur quarries in Kanab. Boring? Never use that word again, unless you actually are boring into the historically rich landscape.


*Beautiful Wisconsin - Photo credit


It’s not all cheese and dairy in Wisconsin, despite its reputation for agriculture and farming. Remove from your mind the relaxed overtones the state suggests, and think thrills and spills instead. The state has the country’s biggest waterpark, there is much scope for outdoor adventures amongst the hills, lakes, caves and mountains, and the wildlife is breathtaking to behold. 

You are guaranteed to see at least one bald eagle if you climb the peaks. And if you’re a party animal (or just a music lover), then you have to visit Summerfest, the world’s biggest music festival! And yes, Wisconsin is home to the world’s smelliest cheeses, and you can indulge in a smorgasbord of tastes at the farmers markets, but there is so much more to the state than cheese curds!


So, we hope we have whetted your appetite for those parts of America that are often overlooked by modern tourists. Let us know what you think, and if you know of any other underrated places around the US, be sure to let us know!




Panorama Holiday: West Coast Sailing



With a total of 2,448 miles, Route 66 is one of the most iconic tracks across the United States. Countless songs, films, and books tell the tales of this extraordinary journey through the country, like an explorative immersion through history, time, and also a lesson of self-discovery. But if you’re after an adventure that takes you through a variety of landscapes, challenges and wildlife, you need to give up your drips of a road trip. 

Instead of driving miles, take a look at nautical miles, the distance between Seattle and Mexico matches almost in nautical miles the mileage of the infamous Route 66. If time isn’t an issue – you need to have more than a couple of days off, you should be looking at a few weeks to sail and visit, which could be ideal for a late summer break – you should consider a west coast sailing holiday that will take you back to the route of former trade sailors. 


From Seattle To Mexico

While the east coast of the U.S. gives you plenty of tropical islands — just south of Florida for instance with the Bahamas and Cuba to name but a few–, accessible little nooks and plenty of shallow water, the sailing conditions on the Pacific side are entirely different. Miles of exposed cliffs and the absence of small harbors between the major ones make up for an adventurous route that brings you closer to the elements

Be warned that this will not be an easy time, but you will love to get to understand the seak the wind and the rocks as you sail. It is a challenge for someone who has found their sea legs; otherwise you might not enjoy the journey. The views between Seattle and Mexico are magnificent, and you can definitely remember the feeling of freedom of a road trip when you feel the wind in your hair. 


You don’t have to be an expert

Don’t worry about sailing a boat in challenging conditions. While the Seattle to Mexico route is one of the least accessible at first, you can hire a team of professional sailors with a Yacht charter, so that there is nothing to worry about. For long trips, it’s best to hire the services of experts to accompany you safely to your destination. 

However, if you want to learn how to sail a boat, you can also take lessons ahead of the departure so that you can sit down with the sailing team and have a chat about what they do, how and why they do it. It’s a great way of learning more!


Stop and make memories on the way

A sailing vacation doesn’t mean that you can’t take regular breaks and visit cities on your way down to Mexico. San Francisco is an obvious stop, and you can even spend a night in town. You should also spend a couple of days in San Diego if you need to relax on a sandy beach before heading back onto the Pacific. You can kill some time in the zoo too, as you can be sure that you’ll be seeing only sea life once you’re back on the boat. 

In short, if your family is ready for an adventure, sailing the west coast down to Mexico can give you all the exciting and breathtaking views you dream of. A word of warning, though: It’s not a vacation for you if you haven’t found your sea legs! 




Keeping Your Promises with Sun Life Financial


Sun Life Financial

Relationships are built on promises: the promise to love, to care, to secure, to protect, and to provide. This is something that Piolo Pascual knows all too well, committed as he is to the promises he has made to his family as a son, a sibling, and a father.

But when financial troubles arise, bringing such promises to life becomes a challenge.“Like any other person, I want to give my family the best life possible. I am a man of my word, that’s why I work  hard and seize every opportunity that comes my way,” Piolo said.

“But more than just earning money, it’s how you manage your finances that makes a difference.

Fortunately, I have the guidance and help of one very special lady: my very own sister, Chiqui Pascual-Gonzales, who also happens to be my Sun Life Advisor.”

According to Piolo, Chiqui has been instrumental in ensuring that his dreams for his family will all come true. “It’s a partnership through and through. With her help, I’ve been able to make it all happen while still pursuing my own passions and advocacies,” he said.

Piolo and Chiqui’s story is but one of many in Sun Life Financial, where lifetime partnerships are developed and nurtured through the years. In fact, this has inspired Sun Life’s latest campaign, at the forefront of which is a new TV commercial highlighting Sun Life’s presence in a client’s life throughout the different stages of her life. It represents the many promises that Sun Life has helped bring into fruition for the past 123 years of its existence.

Sun Life hopes that the campaign, as well as Piolo’s own story, will inspire more people to take the same path in their financial journey. “As the longest-standing life insurance company in the Philippines, we have witnessed many promises being fulfilled throughout the years and have served generations of clients. It is an honor for us to serve all our clients and help them secure their future and those of their loved ones” Sun Life Chief Marketing Officer Mylene Lopa said.

“The promises we make to our loved ones are sacred, and Sun Life knows this. That’s why it’s committed to helping its clients achieve their goals, no matter what happens,” Piolo said. “You can’t ask for a better lifetime partner than that!”

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About Sun Life Financial

Sun Life Financial Inc. ("SLF Inc.") is a leading international financial services organization providing insurance, wealth and asset management solutions to individual and corporate Clients. Sun Life Financial has operations in a number of markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda. As of December 31, 2017, Sun Life Financial had total assets under management ("AUM") of $975 billion.

For more information, please visit www.sunlife.com.

Seeing The World In A Different Way: Off The Cuff Ideas And Where To Find Inspiration



*This post is contributed by Ellie Jo for Blissful Snapshots. 

As someone who has traveled extensively, and as I help so many wonderful people plan very special trips, I can understand the real need to start seeing the world differently these days. The world is no longer the big place that we used to imagine it was many years ago. We can travel from one side to the other in a day, we can explore unspoilt islands and beautiful places easier than ever before, and because of that, more people are wanting to be a little more adventurous with their travel plans. 

So if you find yourself in a bit of a conundrum of how to spend your vacation, and want to avoid the standard resort with a beach and hotel pool to enjoy, then here are some of the ways you could see the world a little different and some of the places I think you can find inspiration to help you do it. 

Read blog posts and articles

One of the best things to do when you have a destination you want to see in mind, but not really sure on where to go, what to do, or how best to experience it, is to look online. These days there are so many blogs, such as my own, full of wonderful insights and information about many different locations. These are people talking about real experiences, which often means you are getting the facts and the information you want to know. They can be an excellent resource and also be full of inspiring ideas. 

Use social media like Instagram

We can all use social media for different things, but in actual fact, the main use of it would be to be a wealth of information, up to date news and advice. So use the platforms in this way. Searching a location as a hashtag on the likes of Twitter and Instagram will bring up an array of posts. Some might be linking to articles; others like Instagram posts, sharing pictures, tips, and advice. 


Go against the normal mode of transport

Most of the time when it comes to booking your vacation, you consider grabbing your passport and jumping on a plane, but there are other modes of transport you could consider. The road trip is fast becoming a new way to explore, especially when it comes to the country you live in. Having the right equipment in your vehicle, an awnings added to your vehicle maybe so that you can take advantage of good weather and scenery, places like 4WD Supacentre and loading up the boot with camping gear. 

It could be that you like the idea of sailing off into the sunset, and so more people are choosing to arrive in different countries by cruise ship or boat. If you look around, there are many ways you can get somewhere, and although a plane can be fast and easy, is it really your only option?

Finally, my only other tip would be to consider seeking advice from experts, planning and researching a lot, and also consulting your own bucket list for destination ideas. After all, there is a reason why we mentally bookmark those places, isn’t there?