The Current State of American Vacation Time

skift travel habits

via Skift

By Skift’s research, half of America has not taken a single vacation day this year.

Using Google Consumer surveys, Skift came to the conclusion that since the beginning of 2014, 51 percent of American’s claimed they have not taken a day off work. 15 percent of Americans say they’ve taken more than 10 vacation days this year, while the rest is split between those who took fewer than 5, and those who took between 5-10 vacation days this year.

Overall, less women have taken vacations than men, and more Western regioners have taken time off than those in the Northeast. Interestingly enough, the income-range with the least amount of vacation time is right in the middle, at $50,000 to $75,000, with the highest income range ($150,000+) taking the most vacations.

Many researchers and industry experts conclude that America needs to reform its vacation policies in the workplace. Some possible reasons for American’s lack of vacation time include feeling trapped by work, needing standards for paid time off, and having a collective identity of overworking.

What does all this mean for Exploring America fans? — it’s time to take some time for yourself to travel.


The 4 Best Rock n’ Roll Hotels in the U.S.



Are you a rock n’ roller at heart looking for a cool enough hotel to jam out in on your next tour? Here’s America’s coolest rock n’ roll themed hotels.

Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas – With more than 300 live music events annually, there’s bound to be a show at the Hard Rock during your visit. If memorabilia is your thing, check out one of the biggest collections in Sin City — $5 million worth of memoribilia, to be exact, ranging from iconic stage costumes and star guitars to weird personal items and vintage records.

Heartbreak Hotel, Memphis – Deemed the “holy grail” of the Elvis fandom, this Memphis lodging is a stone’s throw from Graceland, and each room is decked out in Elvis memorabilia, along with four extra-special PIP suites named after the King’s best songs. No Elvis fan should miss it.

Sunset Marquis Hotel, Los Angeles – If this 3.5 acre Mediterranean style villa doesn’t make you feel like a rock star, we’re not sure what will. Feel like laying down a few tracks? The hotel’s in-house multi-million dollar recording studio has housed artists such as Aerosmith, Backstreet Boys, Justin Timberlake, Madonna, Sheryl Crow and more. Be sure to stroll through the gallery of iconic rock photography when you’re finished with your next platinum record!

Andaz, West Hollywood – If classic 70s rock is more your style, the Andaz is your place. A self-proclaimed “home away from home” for legends like Led Zeppelin and The Who, this hotel was appropriately given the nickname “The Riot House” after its rock star occupants spent night after night reveling in debauchery. It’s a bit more tame nowadays, but photographic evidence of it’s past and a luxury rooftop for the hippest in Hollywood keep it cool as ever.



Best U.S. Islands



While the United States may not be everyone first pick for an island paradise, you’d be suprised at how many beautiful beachy escapes reside within our territory! Check out this list for the top picks.


San Juan Islands, Washington – Just a ferry ride away from Seattle, this island gives the unique experience of being close to a big, urban city AND a beachy, secluded paradise.


Coronado Islands, California – Take the Coronado Bridge from San Francisco straight over to this island packed with great local bars and restaurants, as well as opportunities for nature hiking, biking and golf.


Kauai, Hawaii – With mountains reminiscent of Jurassic Park, friendly seals, beginner’s level surfing, local art and entertainment, and sweet local eateries, Kauai is the place to be.


Nantucket Island, Massachusetts – Go clamming, grab a coffee, hang out on the sandbar, kick back in the library, visit a whaling museum, or tour a lighthouse during your sure-to-please visit to this Massachusetts treasure.


St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands – With casinos, malls, cruise ships and remarkably clear sands and waters, St. Thomas certainly is one of the U.S.’ more glamorous islands.


Palm Island, Florida – For the best views of sea turtles coming onto shore and nesting, Palm Island can’t be beat.


33 Maps To Change The Way You Look At The World

Most Popular Beers By Country via

Most Popular Beers By Country via

Matador Network has compiled 33 maps from various sources that single out very interesting facts about each demographic. Curious what beer is the most popular in each country? How about which American NFL teams are the most hated by state? Wondering which countries have safe tap water? Ever considered what your country looked like before Pangea? Take a gander at these!

5 California Food Fests in September

cali food

via Sacramento Visitors Bureau















September is here and Autumn is in the air! Bring in the new season with some fabulous food fests from the West Coast.

1. Farm to Fork Festival, Sacramento

This festival kicks off with attendees purchasing one meal for themselves and one for a family in need. Proceeds from local chefs go to local charities. Mini events within the festival include a wine tasting, and a free day of tastings of locally grown food and drink.

2. Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest, Big Bear Lake

For log-sawing, stein-toting and yodel contests, the 44th annual Oktoberfest has you covered. Enjoy two authentic polka bands and a five-course meal. Sausages, German beer, pretzels and more will also be served.

3. California Beer Festival, Ventura

Blues and craft beer make the perfect pairing at Mission Park, Ventura. With a different theme each day, visitors can enjoy beer, food, music and delectable pairings sure to please the masses.

4. Sip LBC, Long Beach

At Sip LBC, a weekend-long whirlwind of wine, cocktail and beer samplings await thirsty patrons. Various events include a mixology demo, Tequila Tuesday and sessions on gin and whiskeys from around the world.

5. Sunset Savor the Central Coast, Santa Margarita

Top Chef Fabio Viviani and San Francisco’s Tanya Holland are featured talent at this year’s festival, which includes cooking and wine seminars, evening wine tastings at Hearst Castle and a Friday night Winemaker Dinner with Holland and others. The main events are held at the historic Santa Margarita Ranch.

20 Best Road Trip Tunes

TOP TEN (1)Needing a new mixtape for your next long car ride? We’ve got the best mix! Kick back and pump up the jams.









1. Send Me On My Way – Rusted Root


2. Highway To Hell – AC/DC


3. Life in the Fastlane – The Eagles


4. I’ve Been Everywhere – Johnny Cash


5. Red Dirt Road – Brooks and Dunn


6. Born to Be Wild – Steppenwolf


7. Shut Up and Drive – Rhianna


8. Start Me Up – Rolling Stones


9. Mud on the Tires – Brad Paisley


10. Mustang Sally – The Commitments


11. I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) – The Proclaimers


12. Life is A Highway – Tom Cochrane


13. Route 66 – The Rolling Stones


14. A Thousand Miles – Vanessa Carlton


15. Fun, Fun, Fun – The Beach Boys


16. I Ran (So Far Away) – Flock of Seagulls


17. Runnin’ Down A Dream – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers


18. Hit the Road, Jack – Ray Charles


19. Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol

20. Home – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

5 Best Florida Tours

cool key west



Many think Florida is all about the ocean, but 12,000 miles rivers and streams make the Sunshine State an excellent destination for boat tours, where you can reach beautiful views invisible to any nearby road or hotel deck.


1. Tarpon Springs

Heading off from the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks, you can tour the Anclote River and hear Tarpon Springs history, hang near the gulf to spot dolphins, or hop off on Anclote Key, a white sand island reachable only by boat. The Park also has an 1887 lighthouse to explore!


2. Miami Beach Celebrity Spotting

Love tabloids and crave the latest gossip on your favorite stars? With a Miami Beach tour, you’ll get a chance to pass the shores of Fisher, Hibiscus, and Star Islands, home to Rosie O’Donnell, Shaquille O’Neal, Sean Combs, Gloria Estefan and many more. You’ll also get a great view of the Port of Miami and the giant cruise ships and massive skylines you’ll only see again on a postcard.


3. Water Taxis

To get to Halifax River and Ponce Inlet in New Smyrna Beach, a water-taxi is a must — but it also doubles as a do-it-yourself tour, letting riders hop on and off at their leisure to create their own mini-tour. Stop where you please for meals or sightseeing, such as the Ponce de Leon Lighthouse, the Marine Science Center, and many waterfront restaurants, shops and galleries.


4. The Loxahatchee River

For another destination unreachable by land, this tour starting off at Jonathon Dickson State Park in Hobe Sound takes riders  to the home of Trapper Nelson. Nelson started out living off the land as a trapper and fur trader in the 1930s, but soon turned himself and his home into one of the region’s first tourist attractions, “Trapper’s Zoo and Jungle Gardens.”


5. Key West Sunset

The daily sunset in Key West has turned into a celebration best celebrated from an offshore cruise. Choose from “all you can drink” parties with fabulous DJs and dancing, a pirate-themed swashbuckling good time aboard the Jolly II Rover schooner, or a historic ride on Florida’s “The Western Union,” built in 1939.


Secrets of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Emmy-award winning filmmaker Ken Burns spent over six years filming national parks for his new PBS series America’s Best Idea: The National Parks. 


In a recent interview with USA Today, Burns shared in a short clip his favorite aspects of the Smoky Mountains. Burns said there is “great drama” behind the park, and that it has “a human element” unlike any of the others, due to it’s history of removing towns to preserve the land.


He also states that the park’s intimacy is more rare than any others. “All you “need to do is park and get off the many, many roads of this large park and see that blue mountain haze that is part of this beautiful mythological place,” he states.


Other elements mentioned are the park’s contribution to country music and myth, the two best trails (Indian Creek & Tom’s Branch), and that famous smoky fog that allows visitors to disappear.


Watch the full video here!

Visit the Childhood Home of Johnny Cash



The Arkansas State University Heritage Sites have opened up a new attraction for those who want to walk the ground of one of the world’s greatest country musician’s childhood home.

The Johnny Cash Childhood Home will open this Saturday, August 16 to the public after much restoration. The home will be a step back into the 1930s, with antiques and original family artifacts preserved. Many other furnishings were donated, but were based off the time period and old photographs from the family’s home. Much of the funds for the restoration were raised by the annual Johnny Cash Music Festival in Jonesboro, contributing almost $2 million. 

Situated in Dyess, Arkansas, Johnny himself had stated that many of his songs were based off growing up in the small town. In his 1997 biography, Cash stated “Back in Arkansas, a way of life produced a certain kind of music.”

For more information on the museum, check out their website here.


National Geographic’s Traveler Photo Contest Winners

Each year, National Geographic holds a contest for all travel photographers to submit their best work to compete to be featured in a new Nat Geo issue. While thousands of incredible photos were submitted, Nat Geo has whittled it down to the best of the best. Here are some of the top shots:


“The Independence Day” via NatGeo

“Mea Shearim, Jerusalem” via NatGeo

“Diver in the Magic Kingdom” via NatGeo

“Light Source” via NatGeo

“End of the World” via NatGeo


For the full list of winners: National Geographic Traveler