THIS WEEK IN TRAVEL (ISSUE NO 17)


Memorial Day weekend has arrived along with the traffic...which is not exactly shocking, AAA forecasted a projection of over a million more Americans will be travelling this year. The first long weekend after a long, bitter winter has inspired some much-needed travel. Canada celebrated the Victoria Day holiday last week accompanied by sunburns—But hey, we aren’t complaining! For our fellow Americans, be prepared to travel early!

As it is an American holiday, it is only fitting to mention a couple rather underrated bucket list travel destinations in America including Houston, Texas and Minneapolis Minnesota. Both affordable and unexpected, these cities offer an array of activities indoors and outdoors from green parks to museums without the packed crowds in cities like New York or Chicago. This long weekend may be the best time to venture somewhere new without the traffic. And cause you know we just could not help but mention, making it 8th on the list, and us Canadians a little proud, is Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Canadian locals will sure welcome you across the border. 

Not so undiscovered, but beautiful Oregon is a must-see especially for outdoor enthusiasts. Travel and Leisure highlight nine points of interest in Oregon that you need to see other than Portland—a Kosan favourite. Hike up “The Sisters” summit to view the spectacular view of other volcanic peaks and valleys, spot Crater Lake, or stroll along the iconic, rocky shoreline at Cannon Beach. There really are endless amounts of activities for travellers to enjoy.

No plan to travel to Cuba in the near future, Miami's Little Havana is the perfect, little alternative. As a bonus, travellers will rejoice at the news of the area’s first museum set to open at the end of 2017. El Museo de Little Havana will focus on the history of the neighbourhood and the history beyond just Cuban immigrants. History, travel admirers watch out for the opening.

Miami's Little Havana. Photo courtesy of Lonely Planet. 

This Airbnb listing has caught our attention: Sweden has listed its country, making it’s home available for everyone. Why? Visit Sweden is encouraging all tourists the “freedom to roam”, as they say, and explore the countryside. Swedish law protects this principle, Allemansrätten—the freedom to roam—and grants the rights for all to be free in Swedish nature. Although no official bookings to stay in the outdoors can be made, you can look for recommendations for areas to explore and directions to these different areas in Sweden. See films from Sweden and discover Swedish nature.

Sandön on the west coast of Sweden. Photo courtesy of Condé Nast via Visit  Sweden.  

Back to the bucket list (let’s be honest, it’s ever growing), TripAdvisor has announced the world's best landmarks to visit. First place winner goes to Angkor Wat in Cambodia as the world’s most visited site. If you are in the U.S. this weekend, check out TripAdvisor top 10 landmarks in the United States. Spoil Alert: San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge makes the cut as number one.

After 10 years, Thailand’s famous lotus bloom, a sacred symbol, has returned on the Khao Sam Roi Yot swamp. Although their beauty is like no other, tourists are being asked to stay away right now since the last single lotus bloom was seen in 2007 due to pollution and drought. For now, you can observe from a far until the national park is ready to open to the public. 

Thailand's lotus bloom on the Khao Sam Roi. Photo courtesy of Condé Nast. 

From beauty to death (kind of), tombstone tourism is apparently a thing. May be a little disturbing to some, but visits to the graveyards of the famous has become quite the tourist attraction. One UK tour group has changed the way people view cemeteries by bringing the legendary stories of the well known to life. Tours have started around Hampstead Cemetery recently for those interested in visiting the dead. 

In other news, New Zealand's yellow-eyed penguins are in threat of extinction. One of the world’s most endangered penguin species, their very survival depends on the Otago Peninsula, which unfortunately is threatened by rising ocean temperatures. A popular tourist spot, travellers are called to help save the iconic yellow-eyed penguins from extinction by limiting human impact. 

Yellow-eyed penguin. Photo courtesy of Thomas Mattern via Lonely Planet. 

A few weeks back we highlighted and praised the initiatives for LGBT travellers taken by Mexico’s most inclusive destinations, Puerto Vallarta, it pains us to read the inhuman actions taken against two individuals for their own personal sexual choice. Two men were publicly caned in Indonesia for having gay sex on Tuesday with hundreds of spectators cheering and shouting insults. This is an awful realization that equality of man is far from here. It’s important to discuss these issues affecting both LGBT travellers and locals. We need to put our efforts towards strengthening our respect, understanding of differences and equal treatment for all no matter your race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.   

In other sad news, after the suicide bombing at Manchester Arena leaving 22 dead and 60 injured the U.K. has raised its terror threat level to critical, which was last raised to that level back in 2007. Solidarity in terror is key during this time and people are showing their support for the victims by tattooing the city’s worker bee symbol representing Manchester’s hard working past during the Industrial revolution. Launched by tattoo artist Sam Barber, artists are offering tattoos of the “busy bee” emblem for 50 pounds in which all the profits will go to the Crowdfunder appeal. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims. Show your support for the victims of the attack here

But as Gandhi said " You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty,  the whole ocean does not become dirty." 

So as you embark on your long weekend travels remember do so with a wide open heart. Embrace the people you meet, remember the impact your foot prints, choices and words have. Find patience...even in the midst of the worst traffic and just enjoy all this great world has to offer! 

Safe Travels! 

The Kosan Team