10 Free Things To Do In Las Vegas


Las Vegas is known as the place to spend big and win big, but if you’re traveling on a budget, there’s plenty of activities in Sin City that don’t cost you a dime!


1. Aquarium at the Silverton

In this 117,000 gallon aquarium, you’ll not only see 4,000 species of exotic fish, but the rarest fish of them all — mermaids! At the Silverton Aquarium, trained swimmers and ballerinas entertain kids and adults alike with their mermaid shows in this massive tank.  If Ariel wasn’t your favorite Disney Princess growing up, stick around for trainers to demonstrate live feedings of the live-in stingrays.

2. Bellagio Conservatory

Nearly 15,000 visitors a day come to revel in the Bellagio horticulturists’ masterpiece garden. These conservatory shows are more like a Broadway production than a typical botanical garden.

3. Circus Acts at Circus Circus

A free circus? Count us in! At Circus Circus, 60 seats on a first-come-first-serve basis are filled by guests eager to witness expert jugglers, unicyclists, acrobats and trapeze artists, to name a few. On the Circus Midway, guests can play more than 200 arcade games of skill and chance.

4. Fremont Street Experience

Vintage Las Vegas paired with high-tech entertainment makes the shows on Fremont Street a close contender to the Vegas Strip. A canopy the size of a football field projects one the best light shows you’ll ever see, while ziplines, music and dance pave the way for you to create your own fun in an incredible atmosphere.

5. M&Ms World

Four floors of your favorite colored M&Ms greet visitors with a chocolate craving in Vegas. Learn about the history of this iconic candy while participating in interactive exhibits and films, as well as grabbing a personalized souvenir!

6. Sunset Stampede

A lush forest in the middle of the desert makes for one of Vegas’ most unique free attractions. At the Sunset Stampede, an animatronic show of forest creatures, babbling brooks, windy trees and more has been entertaining guests since 1994 — with plenty of incredible high-tech additions since then.

7. Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo

For the live inspiration behind the iconic Flamingo neon sign on the Strip, the Wildlife Habitat at the grand hotel brings you up close and personal with not only hundreds of flamingos, but exotic ducks, birds and koi fish as well. Bring your camera fully charged, because these friendly creatures might just walk up to you and say hello!

8. Volcano at the Mirage

The massive electronic volcano at the Mirage is the closest you’ll ever get to molten lava without being in any actual danger. $25 million worth of updates have made this one of the most iconic attractions on the Strip, filled with fire, music, choreography and amazement. Be careful if you arrive early enough for a front row spot — things tend to get a little toasty.

9. Fall of Atlantis at Ceaser’s

For 11 incredible minutes, guests inside the Ceaser’s Shops will be thrust into a recreation of roaring fires, splashing waters, thunderous sounds, and a 20-foot-tall beast accompanying the tale of King Atlas and his jealous children who destroy an entire kingdom.

10. Hershey’s Chocolate World

Need a break from the glitz and glamour of Vegas, paired with a sweet treat? Hershey’s Chocolate World invites visitors to a magical world of chocolate and creativity. Ever wondered what a 800 pound replica of the Statue of Liberty looks like? Probably not, but you are now!


7 Food Delights to Try in New Orleans

New Orleans is all about flavor. The people, the music, the parades, and the history in NOLA are anything but bland — and neither is the food. Here are seven of the best restaurants in New Orleans, and the dishes you have to taste to believe.

1. Clancy’s

French-Creole classics and a nearly religious devotion to local seafood powers the menu at Clancy’s.

Food delight: Veal chop with roasted tomato and herb demiglaze

clancys veal chop

via nola.com













2. Cochon

Cochon’s chefs focus on the most important characteristics of Cajun food: seasonality, terroir and powerhouse flavor.

Food delight: Cane syrup glazed pork cheeks with mushrooms and roasted corn grits

cochon pork cheeks

via nola.com









3. Commander’s Place

Dubbed “haute Creole” by critics and fans, Commander’s Place has a much friendlier atmosphere than you’d guess from its title.

Food delight: Couchon de Lait Po Boy with forever braised shoulder of pork with crispy onions, autumn mushrooms, pecan pesto grilled French bread and sticky pig trotter


via nola.com










4. Coquette

Blending flavors from Memphis and Saigon to Napa Valley and Tel Aviv, the dining at Coquette has the feel of multiple restaurants all in one.

Food delight: Black mission figs with raw cheddar, marconas, honeycomb

via nola.com

via nola.com









5. Domenica

If you thought Italian food had no place in NOLA, think again. Domenica’s traditional style pizza is enough to blow the socks off Julia Child.

Food delight: Pizza margherita


via urbanspoon.com










6. Gautreau’s

This American-style upscale restaurant will make you proud to come from the land of burgers and hot dogs (though you won’t find any of those on this exquisite menu).

Food delight: Citrus poached shrimp with heirloom tomatoes and horseradish creme fraiche

via nola.com

via nola.com













7. Herbsaint

The renowned chefs at Herbsaint effortlessly splice Louisiana ingredients and dishes with the French bistro and Italian trattoria canons. 

Food delight: Lamb and mushroom lasagna

via nola.com

via nola.com

What Groups Do We Serve?


While our sister company, Adventure Student Travel, focuses mainly on student group trips, we expand our services to a wide variety of potential travel clients. Curious if your group could book with Group Tours? Here are just a few of the types of groups we serve.

Business Travel – We know the importance of work away from home, and we are determined to relieve as much stress for your group as possible.  Our travel team works hard to get you to your destination and on the ground so you can get the work done. We can do as much or as little as required to be sure your business trip is a smooth transition from the office to working out in the field. Accommodations will likely require work space, wireless internet, and quick access to a meal or reservations for a working dinner with a colleague or client. Our travel team will take the leg work out of finding the best hotel properties for your meetings and conferences. Leave the travel worries to us while you focus on your work.

Group Cruises – Group cruises offer the amazing perks of only unpacking once, and seeing countless destinations. Some exciting group cruises we’ve planned in the past have left from ports like Miami, New Orleans, Galveston, Texas, andLos Angeles. You’ll soon discover a cruise ship is a getawaA reunion with the members of your military unit can be a moving experience, a time to reflect on all you’ve been through together and to catch up on the lives you’re building today. It can be combined with great military sites around the nation, creating a powerful tribute and a bridge from yesterday to today.y in itself, and the journey is the destination. Here’s where you begin to try new and exciting things – from surfing to on-deck sports and activities. Inside, you’ll enjoy entertainment, buffets, cinema, shopping, and even more activities. Each day, you’ll have the opportunity to stop off on a new destination. The variety of destinations for your cruise is almost limitless, but we’ll help you narrow down the many exciting choices.

Family Reunions – No matter if your family is large or small, call us and we’ll plan a reunion you’ll be talking about for years to come. We’ll deal with the tricky details of where to stay and what transportation to choose, and you can spend your valuable time finding out what new destinations your loved ones want to explore. We know that traveling with family means making tough choices — an adult could walk around a museum all day, but a child may only last an hour — so we’re here to talk you through it using our years of experience as a guide.

Military Reunions – A reunion with the members of your military unit can be a moving experience, a time to reflect on all you’ve been through together and to catch up on the lives you’re building today. It can be combined with great military sites around the nation, creating a powerful tribute and a bridge from yesterday to today. Whether you visit Washington D.C. or a war memorial of your choosing, we’ll handle all the details so you can enjoy the experience.

Sports Team Travel – Sports team travel can be extremely complicated. Getting a team together is exciting, but when the dust settles and it’s time to make arrangements for traveling to the next big event, a travel professional is a good person to have on speed dial. Coaches don’t typically have time to make all the arrangements necessary to ensure every detail is taken care of so all the team has to do upon arrival is play ball. The soccer mom who helped with the schedule and arranging the refreshments can’t be expected to do it all. Our friendly and professional travel operators are here to meet the unique requirements of traveling with a team. Call us whether you need flights arranged around your competition schedule or motor coaches reserved within your budget. We are here to help.

Dont have an official organization, but just a big group of friends who want to go somewhere fun? Call us today or email us here.

The Best Tips For Traveling in Large Groups

best group tipsGroup travel, as you may be able to tell, is our company’s passion! We believe in group travel for a wide variety of reasons, but mainly because we know traveling with friends, classmates and loved ones is the best way to make memories to last a lifetime. However, group travel can occasionally get tricky if you don’t go about it the right way — so let us share some tips to make your trip a smooth sailin’ good time!

1. Discuss your plan in-depth before the final booking. Our travel coordinators will walk your group representative step-by-step through your itinerary choices, but it’s a really good idea to have a sort of public-forum for your group to discuss choices — a Facebook group or email chat usually works well for this. Be sure everyone is in agreement on where to visit, where to stay and what the budget will be like — or you may have some unhappy campers.

2. Think about the types of discounts groups are offered. One of the big perks of group travel is the money you’ll save booking for large groups! We have all the right connections to get you the lowest travel costs, but remember — usually, more is more in this industry! So gather up all your closest friends and save big on the trip of a lifetime.

3. Stay organized and informed. We’ll be in close contact all throughout your booking process, so hopefully this step won’t be too difficult. Just be sure to return all forms, sign every last document, and keep your group updated with any changes made so that you’re all on the same page once the trip begins.

4. Don’t overplan! This can be a tough one to break away from, because you naturally want to stuff as much as you can into your trip! It’s crucial to include some extra time for transportation, little hold-ups, and most importantly, relaxation! Plan an hour longer than you thought you’d need at the beach, or push back the start of your day to sleep in just a tad longer, and you’ll stay happy and rested.

5. Communicate. Not only with your group, but with Exploring America! We’ll be available on-call with any questions or troubles you may run into during your trip.

6. Most importantly — have a blast!

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.

via divasinc.co

via divasinc.co

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

via tripadvisor.com

via tripadvisor.com

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 thelandofmaps.tumblr.com

Most Popular Beers By Country via thelandofmaps.tumblr.com

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