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Unpacked by AFAR

Author: AFAR Media

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Unpacked by AFAR unpacks one tricky topic in travel each week. We're here to help you navigate the travel world, whether you want to hack your points and miles, figure out where to travel next, or need advice on an ethical dilemma. Because the world is complicated. We're here to help you unpack it.

62 Episodes
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Puerto Rico has had a huge impact on the world's music scene, in comparison to its size. And on this week's episode, host Aislyn Greene travels to the island to find out why. She explores bomba and plena, two of the earliest forms of music that emerged from Puerto Rico’s African ancestors. Discovers jibaro music, or “hillbilly” music, though this style of music is incredibly complex and improvisational. Found the source of danza music, watched salsa musicians urge people to their feet, and met with reggaetón artists. And though we couldn’t possibly capture all of the complexities of the island’s music in one episode, we hope it does reveal what she found: a place that is singularly committed to art and music. As one of her guides, Nory, put it: “We are artisans, we are painters, we are all musicians. That’s actually the identity of a Puerto Rican.” Meet this week’s guests Margarita “Tata” Cepeda, owner of Puerto Rico Is Bomba, a dance and music school Maribel Martinez, guide at House of the Troubadour Luis Miranda “Pico de Oro” Melina Aguillar, owner of Isla Caribe Tours Norymar Maldonado, Isla Caribe tour guide Angelina Villapiano Luna, musician, dancer, and salsa teacher Petra Rivera Rideau, author of Remixing Reggaetón: The Cultural Politics of Race in Puerto Rico RaiNao, urbano musician  Herson Guerrero, professor, photographer, and musician  Resources Read the full transcript of the episode.  Listen to the playlist. Read Petra's Bad Bunny Syllabus Listen to the La Brega podcast. Explore club 58 at La Concha resort. Follow the podcast to ensure you don’t miss an episode.  Subscribe to Afar’s YouTube channel for a full video of the conversation.
What happens to suitcases that can’t be reunited with their owners? It’s not something we think about that often, but for Bryan Owens, it’s an entire business. He’s the CEO and now-owner of the Scottsboro, Alabama–based Unclaimed Baggage, the only store in the United States that sells lost luggage. As you’ll hear in today’s episode, his dad launched the business more than 50 years ago with an old Chevy pickup and $300. And now the business stocks more than 7,000 new items a day.  The company recently released its first annual Found Report, a deep dive into the more than 2 million items that came through its doors in 2023, including including the aforementioned live snakes and fancy handbags. Host Aislyn Greene talks with Bryan about where these bags come from, how the company makes decisions about what to sell and, more interestingly, what it does with everything else: Donations and partnerships with organizations like Wheels for the World are critical to its mission.  Meet this week’s guest Bryan Owens, CEO and owner of Unclaimed Baggage Resources Read the full transcript of the episode.  Check out Unclaimed Baggage.  Follow the podcast to ensure you don’t miss an episode.  Subscribe to Afar’s YouTube channel for a full video of the conversation.
It’s easier than ever to earn travel points and (sometimes) miles through credit cards and loyalty programs. But when it comes to actually using those points to book travel, things can get complicated. While there are people out there who love to geek out about those complications, it’s not for everyone. Enter companies like Award Magic, which uses their expertise to book award travel using your hard-earned points. In this week’s episode, Award Magic owner and CEO shares shares his backstory (shocker: he was a math teacher), his vision for the business (it involves really affordable around-the-world tickets), and why we should all be flying business class more than we do. Plus, he works his magic to book a Japan flight using host Aislyn Greene’s Chase points. Meet this week’s guests Brian Cohen, CEO and owner of Award Magic Resources Read the full transcript of the episode.  Check out Brian’s Award Magic services.  Listen to our episode about the best programs to earn points and miles.  Explore Point.Me, another award-booking service. Follow the podcast to ensure you don’t miss an episode.  Subscribe to Afar’s YouTube channel for a full video of the conversation. Be sure to subscribe to the show and to sign up for our podcast newsletter, Behind the Mic, where we share upcoming news and behind-the-scenes details of each episode. And explore our second podcast, Travel Tales, which celebrates first-person narratives about the way travel changes us.
With summer travel on the horizon, it's an excellent time to talk about everyone's favorite subject: Travel insurance. It's not the sexiest subject, is it? And yet, it can play a huge role in saving you money, time, and even sanity. In this replay episode of Unpacked by AFAR, we speak with five experts to help you understand how to decided if and when you need insurance, the different types of policies you can buy, and how to use travel insurance if something goes wrong on your trip. Meet this week’s guests Wendy Perrin, travel expert Christina Tunnah, general manager of marketing and brands for World Nomads Beth Godlin, President of Aon Affinity Travel Practice John Gobbels, vice president and COO of Medjet Nick Cavanaugh, founder and CEO of Sensible Weather Resources Read this episode’s show notes, including a full transcript of the episode. Read our primer on travel insurance.  Explore Wendy Perrin’s website.  Use sites like travelinsurance.com or insuremytrip.com to help you decide on the right policy.  Learn more about World Nomads. Discover more about Aon Affinity Travel Services. Learn more about Medjet. Find out more about Sensible Weather. Be sure to subscribe to the show and to sign up for our podcast newsletter, Behind the Mic, where we share upcoming news and behind-the-scenes details of each episode. And explore our second podcast, Travel Tales, which celebrates first-person narratives about the way travel changes us.
Last November, while reporting our “Unpacking Albuquerque” episode, I spent a day at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. It’s this huge complex that takes up a city block, and it serves as the gateway to New Mexico’s 19 pueblos. Part of my tour included an interview with Monique Fragua, the center’s COO (and a woman with great taste in jewelry, as you’ll hear in the episode).  We talked about why the cultural center exists, beyond just sharing pueblo cultural life (and food—the restaurant is a must-try). Monique explained that many travelers are interested in visiting the pueblos but are either unsure of or unaware of the etiquette around visiting. For example, some pueblos are completely closed to the public and have no interest in developing tourist infrastructure and others have “more formalized experiences like visitors’ center or organized hiking tours,” Monique says.  So the IPCC serves as a kind of training ground as well, where visitors can ask questions like, “What’s the proper terminology?” and receive guidance around photography, attending cultural events, and more.  It got me thinking more broadly about Native tourism, which has expanded in recent years. And with the explosive success of True Detective: Night Country, there’s more attention than ever on Native issues. So we put together an episode on why to visit these communities—there are more than 500 tribes in the United States, each with totally different histories, customs, and experiences—and how to do so in a way that’s mutually beneficial.  There’s one line that’s stuck with me since Monique and I talked: She says that if we remember that we’re experiencing Native life “through a lens of a living community, a breathing culture,” we’re on the right path. Meet this week’s guests Sherry Rupert, CEO of the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association Garan Coons, communications officer for the Winnebago tribe Kirby Metoxin, council member for the Oneida nation Monique Fragua, COO of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Resources Read this week’s show notes, including a full transcript of the episode. Listen to the “Unpacking Albuquerque” episode. Follow the podcast to ensure you don’t miss an episode.  Subscribe to AFAR’s YouTube channel for a full video of the conversation. Be sure to subscribe to the show and to sign up for our podcast newsletter, Behind the Mic, where we share upcoming news and behind-the-scenes details of each episode. And explore our second podcast, Travel Tales, which celebrates first-person narratives about the way travel changes us.
This week on Unpacked, we travel north to Toronto, Ontario, one of the world’s most diverse cities to explore what’s made it that way—and how we as travelers can best engage with it. That includes eating a peameal bacon sandwich (and learning what that is) at the St. Lawrence Market, visiting the city's most unusual museum, exploring its diverse parks and gorgeous waterfront, and eating (and eating and eating). Meet this week’s guests Bruce Bell, St. Lawrence Market historian and tour guide Matthew Jordan, founder of Hidden Rivers walking tours Elizabeth Semmelhack, curator at the Bata Shoe Museum Karen Carter, cofounder of BAND Chef Nuit Regular, founder and co-owner of 11 Thai restaurants  Jusep Sim, chief epicurean officer of Chopsticks and Forks  Resources Read this week’s show notes, including a full transcript of the episode. Follow the podcast to ensure you don’t miss an episode.  Subscribe to AFAR’s YouTube channel for a full video of the conversation. Be sure to subscribe to the show and to sign up for our podcast newsletter, Behind the Mic, where we share upcoming news and behind-the-scenes details of each episode. And explore our second podcast, Travel Tales, which celebrates first-person narratives about the way travel changes us.
Summer is coming. And while it's not looking like this season will be as insane as summer 2023, it's still best to begin planning now. So on this week’s episode of Unpacked, AFAR's mighty destination teams discusses what's to come. They share the best places to visit this summer—think Southern Hemisphere—and what you need to tackle now to stay ahead of the came. Plus, we unpack the best visa expeditors and the best way to use those points and miles. (Hint: It involves outsourcing.) Meet this week’s guests Mark Ellwood, freelance travel writer Chloe Arrojado, associate destinations editor Tim Chester, deputy editor Resources Read this week’s show notes, including a full transcript of the episode. Listen to our episode on travel insurance, where we discuss Sensible Weather. Learn more about Award Magic, the point booking service, and ItsEasy, the visa expediter. Follow the podcast to ensure you don’t miss an episode.  Subscribe to AFAR’s YouTube channel for a full video of the conversation. Be sure to subscribe to the show and to sign up for our podcast newsletter, Behind the Mic, where we share upcoming news and behind-the-scenes details of each episode. And explore our second podcast, Travel Tales, which celebrates first-person narratives about the way travel changes us.
The best hotels are a destination unto themselves. On this week’s episode of Unpacked, AFAR senior deputy editor Jennifer Flowers reveals the 31 properties that made our 2024 Best New Hotels list and why booking a hotel is the most important choice you’ll make for your trip. The list is a collection of the best hotels that opened in the past year, but these hotels are much more than just a place to sleep and store your clothes. There are places where you can literally touch history, like at the Raffles London at the OWO, where Winston Churchill once presided. If you love design, you can book a few nights at the Violino d’Oro in Venice, where everything you might touch was made by local artisans. Or, if you want to get off the grid and outdoors, there’s the Shinta Mani Mustang in a remote corner of Nepal that doesn’t see many tourists.  Jenn joined the podcast to talk about how she put together the list, what she looks for in a great hotel, and how—as she puts it—“when you check into a hotel, it can actually be the destination.”  Meet this week’s guest Jennifer Flowers, AFAR senior deputy editor Resources Read this week’s show notes, including a full transcript of the episode. Read the full list of the 31 best new hotels.  Follow Jenn on Instagram and LinkedIn.  Subscribe to AFAR’s hotels newsletter.  Follow the podcast to ensure you don’t miss an episode.  Subscribe to AFAR’s YouTube channel for a full video of the conversation. Be sure to subscribe to the show and to sign up for our podcast newsletter, Behind the Mic, where we share upcoming news and behind-the-scenes details of each episode. And explore our second podcast, Travel Tales, which celebrates first-person narratives about the way travel changes us.
Hot tip: Don’t listen to this week’s episode of Unpacked hungry. Because we’re traveling to a surprising Midwestern city to explore what makes it one of the most fascinating food cities in the country. Last June, host Aislyn Greene traveled to Madison, Wisconsin, and was surprised by what she found: A refreshingly progressive, highly bikeable, very outdoorsy, and (best yet), delicious city.  If you're a food-motivated traveler, you're likely always looking for the next great spot. And as she ate her way through Madison, Aislyn wondered: Why aren't more people talking about Madison? So in today’s episode, that’s exactly what we’re doing. We'll explore Wisconsin's agriculture scene, meet the city's most interesting chefs, and look at what to do when you're too full to eat any more. Meet this week’s guests Shilpa Sankaran, founder of Kosa Lindsay Christians, food editor and arts writer at the Capital Times Sean Pharr, chef and owner of Mint Mark Itaru Nagano, chef at Fairchild Shaina Robbins Papach, co-owner of Harvey House and Butterbird Dan Bonnano, chef and owner of Pig in a Fur Coat Jamie Brown-Soukaseum, chef and owner of Ahan Garret Olsen, co-owner of Madison Adventure Tours Resources Read this week’s show notes, including a full transcript of the episode. Check out the latest season of Top Chef: Wisconsin Read my guide to the culinary scene there.  Follow the podcast to ensure you don’t miss an episode.  Subscribe to AFAR’s YouTube channel for a full video of the conversation. Be sure to subscribe to the show and to sign up for our podcast newsletter, Behind the Mic, where we share upcoming news and behind-the-scenes details of each episode. And explore our second podcast, Travel Tales, which celebrates first-person narratives about the way travel changes us.
If you travel to a remote island resort, where do the people who work there live? Because of course, if we are traveling to a remote location, it’s highly unlikely that it’s an easy place for hotel staff to commute to and from. Typically on an island resort, staffers are housed in the middle of the island and don’t have access to the beach, the walking paths, or any of the amenities that make these destinations so appealing to travelers.  But there’s a new type of staff housing pioneered by the Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands, which created an entire island for its employees—one where they can also snorkel, swim, relax, eat, work out, and just generally soak in the Maldives. This week’s guest, Sally Kohn, traveled to the resort last year to get a peek at the island and see if it’s really as impressive as it seems. She was surprised by what she found—happy employees included. Meet this week’s guest Sally Kohn, activist, speaker, and author of the book The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide to Repairing Our Humanity. Resources Read this week’s show notes, including a full transcript of the episode. Check out the Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands. Read some of Sally’s other AFAR stories, including her essay about traveling as a queer family, and her podcast episode about exploring tolerance in Amsterdam.  Buy Sally’s book.  Follow the podcast to ensure you don’t miss an episode.  Subscribe to AFAR’s YouTube channel for a full video of the conversation. Be sure to subscribe to the show and to sign up for our podcast newsletter, Behind the Mic, where we share upcoming news and behind-the-scenes details of each episode. And explore our second podcast, Travel Tales, which celebrates first-person narratives about the way travel changes us.
Where will you be on April 8, 2024? In case that date isn’t burned into your brain, it’s the day the sun, Earth, and the moon will completely align, creating a total solar eclipse that will sweep over a section of the United States. It will plunge cities around the U.S.—from Austin, Texas, to Buffalo, New York, into darkness for up to four minutes and 27 seconds and, according to our guest today, will be “the greatest science event in human history.”  That’s because it’s going to be one of the most accessible celestial events to happen in recent times: The path of totality crosses some of the most populated areas of the United States, and astro-tourists will flock to places like Texas in droves. Scott Roberts, today’s guest, will also be there, guiding a small group of people through the event at a ranch in Leakey, Texas.  To be honest, I wasn’t planning on traveling for the eclipse, but after interviewing Scott, I started to wonder if I’m missing out: He likens viewing an eclipse to some of his peak life experiences, nearly up there with witnessing childbirth. He’s seen four solar eclipses since he started photographing them as a young man, and now he’s a kind of eclipse evangelist.  Maybe you, like me, didn’t make plans to see the eclipse. Or maybe you’ve had your plans locked in since 2022. Either way, Scott has a nugget of wisdom for you, from how to view your first solar eclipse (hint: just enjoy it) to the reason we should all celebrate the sun’s rise every day.  He’s also an avid Airstreamer and has been traveling around the country in a 1968 Overlander named Barbara Jean after his travel-loving mom. He shared how he downsized to the Airstream lifestyle and how this kind of travel allows him freedom to follow his celestial obsessions.  Resources Read this week’s show notes, including a full transcript of the episode. Check out Scott’s website, Explore Scientific.  Explore Scott’s eclipse trip in April (or just buy a pair of glasses).  Learn more about seeing the eclipse.  Follow the podcast to ensure you don’t miss an episode.  Subscribe to AFAR’s YouTube channel for a full video of the conversation. Meet this week’s guest Scott Roberts, founder of Explore Scientific, and eclipse enthusiast Be sure to subscribe to the show and to sign up for our podcast newsletter, Behind the Mic, where we share upcoming news and behind-the-scenes details of each episode. And explore our second podcast, Travel Tales, which celebrates first-person narratives about the way travel changes us.
Unpacked, and host Aislyn Greene, are in Toronto this week! So we're resharing one of our most popular episodes from last season, because who doesn't need help sleeping from time to time? We’ve all been there: Tossing and turning on a long-haul flight, or in an unfamiliar hotel bed. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Enter Anne Bartolucci, a licensed psychologist and a certified behavioral sleep medicine specialist. She’s the founder of Atlanta Insomnia & Behavioral Health Services, P.C. and the author of Better Sleep for the Overachiever. In other words, she knows her sleep—and she specializes in helping people improve their sleep without medication.  In this week’s episode, host Aislyn Greene chats with Anne about the one thing everyone should bring on their next flight, the proper use of melatonin (turns out most of us don’t use it correctly), and yes, how to get a decent night’s sleep in a new destination.   Resources Read this week’s show notes, including a full transcript of the episode. Buy the neck pillow that AFAR editors swear by! (And go down our neck pillow rabbit hole.) Explore Anne’s work at the Atlanta Insomnia & Behavioral Health Services, P.C. Buy Anne’s book, Better Sleep for the Overachiever, on Amazon or Bookshop, or listen to it via Amazon.  Meet this week’s guest Anne Bartolucci, a licensed psychologist and a certified behavioral sleep medicine specialist.  Be sure to subscribe to the show and to sign up for our podcast newsletter, Behind the Mic, where we share upcoming news and behind-the-scenes details of each episode. And explore our second podcast, Travel Tales, which celebrates first-person narratives about the way travel changes us.
Have you ever gotten stuck in indecision? Maybe it was around where to travel, or when to book your tickets, or even something as small as where to eat when you’re on the road. Well, this week’s guest is an expert at cutting through the noise and helping her clients—and now you—make fast, solid decisions. Her name is Nell McShane Wulfhart, and she’s a professional decision coach.  Does it sound like a made-up job? Nell is the first to admit that it is in fact a made-up job. But one that she is uniquely qualified for, especially when it comes to travel. I’ve known Nell for about a decade now—as a travel writer. She has lived all around the world, from South Korea to Uruguay to Switzerland. A couple of months ago, I got an email from Nell about her new Audible podcast, The Decision Coach. And I learned that for the past decade, she has also been (in her words) a “professional bossy boots.” That means that she sits down with clients who are stuck and helps them get unstuck. Some are chronically indecisive and need help getting out of that rut. Others are usually good decision makers but are stuck on a big life decision, like whether to have a baby, or take a new job, or move to a new country.  So I sat down with Nell to talk about how she makes decisions, how we can make better decisions, and how we can apply all of that to travel. Meet this week’s guest Nell McShane Wulfhart, podcaster and travel writer Resources Read a full transcript of the episode.  Listen to Nell’s podcast, The Decision Coach. Check out her website for tips on making decisions and to sign up for her newsletter.  Follow the podcast to ensure you don’t miss an episode.  Subscribe to AFAR’s YouTube channel for a full video of the conversation. Be sure to subscribe to the show and to sign up for our podcast newsletter, Behind the Mic, where we share upcoming news and behind-the-scenes details of each episode. And explore our second podcast, Travel Tales, which celebrates first-person narratives about the way travel changes us.
Money is often a taboo subject in our culture, but it has a huge impact on our lives, our futures, and yes, our travels. Danielle Desir Corbett—our guest this week—works to dispel myths and encourage transparency on her podcast, The Thought Card, and her website, thoughtcard.com, where she even posts breakdowns for the many trips she's taken. In the episode, she shares her annual travel budget, her tips on budgeting in a way that is in alignment with what you truly value, and tools that can help you navigate finances without getting totally bogged down. Best yet: She’s found that by using these tools over the years, she’s been able to travel more than ever before—and still accomplish her financial goals.  Meet this week’s guest Danielle Desir Corbett, podcaster and author  Resources Read a full transcript of the episode.  Listen to Danielle’s podcast, The Thought Card. Check out her website for tips on personal finance and travel, plus posts about trip costs around the world. Be sure to subscribe to the show and to sign up for our podcast newsletter, Behind the Mic, where we share upcoming news and behind-the-scenes details of each episode. And explore our second podcast, Travel Tales, which celebrates first-person narratives about the way travel changes us.
Unpacking Albuquerque

Unpacking Albuquerque

2024-02-1530:14

In season three of Unpacked, we're introducing "Unpacking," a series that explores some of our favorite destinations around the world. First up: Albuquerque, land of hot air balloons, chiles, and some fantastic outdoor spaces. Join host Aislyn Greene as she unpacks the Southwestern city's outdoorsy roots. Meet this week’s guests Sarah Sheasley, director of marketing for Los Poblanos Elaine Briseño, journalist and historian  Terry Brunner, the Director of the city of Albuquerque’s Metropolitan Redevelopment Agency Justin de la Rosa, a local food writer and director of outlets for the Sawmill Market Dylan Storment, director of wine and spirits at Los Poblanos Missy Begay, cofounder of Bow & Arrow Brewing  Bill Stimmel, the entrepreneurial director at Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Murray Conrad, hot air balloon pilot and owner of World Balloon My Albuquerque itinerary Where I ate, stayed, and played. Hotels Book a stay at Los Poblanos Book a stay at Hotel Chaco Restaurants El Patio Mesa Provisions Coda Bakery Campo at Los Poblanos Level 5 at Hotel Chaco Farm & Table Bow & Arrow Brewing  Old Town Farm Activities Take a bike and taco tour with Routes Tour the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Visit the Paseo del Bosque Take a tram up Sandia Peak Fly with World Balloon If you want to hear more of the flamenco episode you hear at the top of the episode, see a show at Tablao Flamenco Be sure to subscribe to the show and to sign up for our podcast newsletter, Behind the Mic, where we share upcoming news and behind-the-scenes details of each episode. And explore our second podcast, Travel Tales, which celebrates first-person narratives about the way travel changes us.
The issue of homelessness—or being unhoused, or facing housing scarcity—isn’t something we often talk about when it comes to travel, unless it’s in a negative sense. In this episode, however, we’re going to meet a London-based tour company that’s working on bringing homelessness into the tourism narrative.  It’s called Unseen Tours, a nonprofit founded in 2010 by Jayni Gudka. It offers London tours that touch on many of the city’s most popular sites and neighborhoods—Soho, King’s Cross—with a twist: They’re led by individuals who were once homeless. But the tours are not poverty tourism. They’re history-rich, city-focused walking excursions led by people with a very special kind of knowledge. Meet this week’s guests Rachel Parsons, journalist Nic Shaw, guide with Unseen Tours Jayni Gudka, CEO of Unseen Tours Resources Read a full transcript of the episode.  Book a tour with Unseen Tours. Follow the podcast to ensure you don’t miss an episode.  Subscribe to AFAR’s YouTube channel for a full video of the conversation. Be sure to subscribe to the show and to sign up for our podcast newsletter, Behind the Mic, where we share upcoming news and behind-the-scenes details of each episode. And explore our second podcast, Travel Tales, which celebrates first-person narratives about the way travel changes us.
The world of travel loyalty programs is . . . complicated. Last year, Delta made waves when it announced that it was making radical changes to its SkyMiles program. People very quickly—and this is the technical term—freaked the eff out. So, Delta swiftly (and wisely) backpedaled.  But as I learned from this week’s expert, Paul Rubio, this isn’t the only airline that has made less-than-positive changes. Delta just took the heat. Drama! It’s just the first of many (many) things related to travel loyalty programs that we'll learn about from Paul, a points and miles wizard. You may remember him from season two, when he shared his vast knowledge about the world of travel credit cards. And in today’s episode, he does the same for airline and hotel loyalty programs.  We start off exploring why it’s worth joining these programs—and it definitely is, and it definitely doesn’t have to take up your whole life—and which programs are best for both airline and hotel points. Then we dive deeper into how to maximize them, and how best to use them, including when you should buy points and when you should not.  It’s a pretty complex topic, but Paul has done all the legwork so that we don’t have to—as you can tell by the very long list of resources below. Meet this week's guest: Paul Rubio, points and miles expert. Resources The recent changes to American Airlines' reward program. The recent changes to Southwest's reward program. The recent changes to United's reward program. Delta's amended changes to its award program. Paul's Tumi and Rimowa suitcase reviews. Our guide to the World of Hyatt program. How and when to buy points for hotels. When to buy points for airlines. How to get VIP rewards for credit cards. How to use loyalty points for charitable donations. How to use Points.Me. Be sure to subscribe to the show and to sign up for our podcast newsletter, Behind the Mic, where we share upcoming news and behind-the-scenes details of each episode. And explore our second podcast, Travel Tales, which celebrates first-person narratives about the way travel changes us.
There’s a special magic to being at sea. Watching a port retreat as a ship begins to sail, the sensation of gently (or not so gently) rocking waves, the expansiveness of open water. This week’s episode is all about that magic, whether you would label yourself a “cruiser” or not. To get the scoop on the high seas, we’re hearing from Fran Golden, who covers the cruise world for AFAR. Fran is a bonafide cruise expert. She’s been on more than 170 ships (at times, she’s taken up to 12 cruises a year), she’s written several books on cruising, and she loves every minute of it.  She shares her favorite itineraries for 2024 (including a sail along the western coast of Africa), the best cruise lines for every traveler (from small, casual sailboats to luxurious ocean liners), and tips and tricks for finding a good deal, even if you’re a solo traveler.  There are plenty of surprises, too: Fran gets seasick, for one. So she has excellent advice for anyone who goes green around the gills at the thought of stepping on a ship. And she talks a lot about sustainability, which is a key focus for the cruise industry right now, and for us here at AFAR. Meet this week’s guest Fran Golden, cruise expert Resources Explore Fran’s cruise stories on AFAR.com. Follow Fran on Instagram. Read the transcript of the episode. Subscribe to AFAR’s YouTube channel for a full video of the conversation. Be sure to subscribe to the show and to sign up for our podcast newsletter, Behind the Mic, where we share upcoming news and behind-the-scenes details of each episode. And explore our second podcast, Travel Tales, which celebrates first-person narratives about the way travel changes us.
We're three weeks into the new year. Maybe you're a freshly minted, idealized version of yourself. Or maybe your new year's resolutions are as distant as the icebergs of Antarctica. But no matter what your life looks like, there's one thing you can count on: travel. And today, we're going to talk about the best places to travel this year, whether you want to chase eclipses, drink Uruguayan wine, or discover the coolest cities in Europe. Every year, AFAR puts out an annual "Where to Go" list in the magazine and online. And this year is no exception. From the peat bogs of Estonia to the kite festivals of Weifang, China, to the waters of Fiji, this year's list of 25 places is robust, thoughtful, and deeply inspiring. (Not that we're biased or anything . . . . ) In this episode, the three editors who helped craft the list join host Aislyn Greene to talk about how and why they chose the places on the list, which ones they have personally visited, and their predictions for the year ahead. Meet this week’s guests Sarika Bansal, AFAR editorial director Billie Cohen, AFAR executive editor Tim Chester, AFAR deputy editor Resources Explore all 25 destinations on our “Where to Go in 2024” list. Read the transcript of the episode. Subscribe to AFAR’s YouTube channel for our *brand new* podcast videos. Read our local's guide to Toronto. Check our Toronto guide. Listen to our episode about travel insurance. Explore our feature story about Oman. Be sure to subscribe to the show and to sign up for our podcast newsletter, Behind the Mic, where we share upcoming news and behind-the-scenes details of each episode. And explore our second podcast, Travel Tales, which celebrates first-person narratives about the way travel changes us.
It's a fresh new year! And we all know that this also means that there's a fresh year of travel to plan, discoveries to be made, and adventures to be had. And Unpacked by AFAR is here for you every step of the way. AFAR editors will share the places they're dreaming of visiting this year. A cruise expert will unveil the best places to cruise in 2024, as well as the best cruise lines to sail with, even if you're not a cruiser. (And a little hint: These companies are more sustainable than ever.) We'll reveal the best ways to use and accrue air and hotel rewards, how to build a travel budget, deal with awkward plane encounters, and so much more. And this season on Unpacked by AFAR, we're going farther than ever (literally) in our new series "Unpacking." Host Aislyn Greene is visiting some of our favorite places in the world and reporting back, meeting with the locals who define these places and sharing tips on how to best explore them. So join us every Thursday beginning January 18th. Because the travel world is complicated. We're here to help you unpack it. Be sure to subscribe to the show and to sign up for our podcast newsletter, Behind the Mic, where we share upcoming news and behind-the-scenes details of each episode. And explore our second podcast, Travel Tales by AFAR, a series of first-person stories about the trips that change our lives.
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