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Stories by Valerie Middleton

Ascona, Switzerland

In Ascona, one of Lago Maggiore’s many lakeside gems, foodie and sailing fanatics alike are sure to find bliss. Located on the Italian-speaking Swiss side of Lago Maggiore in the canton (state) of Ticino near ...

Southeast Alaska: Craig and Klawock

You arrive at the Ketchikan Airport and quickly transfer to the Island Air Express counter. You excitedly secure your seatbelt and headphones inside the tiny nine-passenger aircraft. Within five minutes you’re soaring with the eagles ...

Liquid Gold in Munich, Germany

Oktoberfest may be the annual climax of Germany’s love of hops, hefs and everything in between, but Münchers worship their golden beers year-round. Begin your journey at Hofbräuhaus (Platzl 8), the unofficial headquarters of Munich ...

Kobe, Japan

While Kobe is most commonly known for its tender, succulent cuts of beef, it’s also famous for its remarkable recovery after the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake of 1995. This massive earthquake, which reduced the city to ...

Lake Tahoe, California: Summer or Winter?

If it came down to visiting Tahoe in the winter or the summer, I’m not sure I could pick one over the other. While Tahoe is commonly praised for its impressive winters, I’d argue that ...

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) Do's and Don'ts

Vietnam’s largest city, Ho Chi Minh City, is full of traveler do’s (and a few don’ts). For instance, DO know that Ho Chi Minh City was called Saigon until it was renamed in 1975. DON’T ...

Refined Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh, capital city of Scotland, proves that there is much more to Scottish culture than kilts, clans and haggis. In fact, Edinburgh hosts a trendsetting modern culture while still embracing its Caledonian roots. From swanky ...

East Meets West: Istanbul, Turkey

The gateway between Asia and Europe, Turkey is a cultural bridge between East and West. This transcontinental country has a dual cultural ambiance, and offers those who visit a chance to step into both Eastern ...

Quito, Ecuador

Nestled on the eastern slopes of the Pichincha Volcano lies Quito, Ecuador’s mountainous capital city. This Andean jewel is rich in culture, history and life, making it a can’t-miss destination for South America-bound travelers. Getting ...

Koh Phangan, Thailand

Remember Leonardo DiCaprio in that late-'90s flick The Beach? You’re in luck, because The Beach is not only more realistic than you thought, but more accessible and more affordable than you’d imagine. Here’s where to ...

Egypt (Cairo, Giza, Luxor)

Camels, pyramids and mummies, oh my! This ancient civilization features some of the most famous attractions in the world. Consider these tips from my itinerary and you’ll be walking like an Egyptian in no time. ...

Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

The Galápagos, the islands that inspired Charles Darwin during his voyage on the HMS Beagle, are a tropical mecca of unique wildlife. My journey there was unforgettable; here are some tips on how you can ...

Essential Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok is a bustling, balmy city that stretches along both sides of the Chao Phraya River. Thailand’s capital has much to offer; here are some recommendations on what not to miss (and what to avoid): ...