Insider advice on ways to make traveling easier.

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Learn A New Language For Free With Gamified Duolingo

If you’ve ever wanted to learn a new language or bone up on an old one you haven’t spoken since high school, free,  addictive, “gamified” Duolingo will see that you get the job done.

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FREE & ADDICTIVE | Last fall my husband and I took a group of enthusiasts to tour private gardens in the south of France. He was the landscape expert in charge, and I, along with a local tour guide/translator, was responsible for everything else.

I once lived for a year in Paris and spoke only French on a daily basis so I knew I would be able to get by linguistically on our trip, but I wanted to do more than that—I wanted my proficiency back. Read more

Rodney Graham

Get Better Photos With Your Digital Camera

This surprisingly inexpensive introductory class will teach you how to take much better pictures with your digital camera.

Rodney Graham

 

SUPER VALUE  | There’s no way my snaps will ever match the cinematographic style of Jeff Wall, Rodney Graham (featured above) or Ian Wallace, three stellar members of the internationally acclaimed “Vancouver School” of photography, but recently I learned how to get a better than average shot with my compact digital camera. For the surprisingly low price of just $25, I received two hours of solid instruction in alternatives to Automatic Mode, the most commonly used setting (and my former personal fave) on the mode dial of digital cameras. Read more

Four Seasons Georges V Hotel, Paris

Get Memorable Hotels At Enviable Rates

Contrary to popular thinking, the best rate for a room in a high-style hotel isn’t always the one found online.

Four Seasons Georges V Hotel, Paris

 

TRAVEL ADVISORY | Many people we know who stay in memorable hotels for enviable rates direct dial the reservation desk at the actual property they want to visit. They do not book online or through off-site call centres where the wiggle room on rates may be minimal. Before dialling direct, they check hotel’s current rates, what Internet-based travel reservation websites (Expedia, Orbitz, et al) are showing and what rates the hotel’s direct competition is charging. Read more

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Out Of The Ordinary Vacation Rentals

This curated catalog of VRBO (vacation rentals by owner) is an invaluable resource for chic nomads wanting cool places to hide and play.

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TRAVEL ADVISORY | If you are a great fan of architecture and interior design and want to stay somewhere visually interesting when you travel, you’re going to love boutique-homes.com, a website that features a collection of thoughtfully designed accommodations (both private homes and wee hotels) that you can rent around the globe for a wide range of prices.

“Temporary housing for the incurably stylish nomad” is how Californians Heinz Legler and Veronique Lievre describe their curated cache of creative digs—everything from a trailer in Texas to a palace in Italy—which you can view and book online. The couple’s handpicked assortment of VRBO (vacation rentals by owner) is a testament to their impeccable taste and investigative eyes.

CLICK THROUGH to see a few of the awesome lodgings they’ve discovered both near and far away. You’ll want to start packing now. We know we do.—Eds Read more

Oosterdam Holland America

Baby Let Me Take You On A Repo Cruise

How to get from here to Seattle and back on a highly original, supercool mini vacay for a shockingly low price.

Oosterdam Holland America

 

TRAVEL ADVISORY | It doesn’t take career counselling to conclude that all work and no play leads to burnout. If you want to take a quick break before this occurs, we’ve got just the ticket, a micro-mini vacay involving glamorous accommodation, all you can eat and multiple modes of transportation. And did I mention the best part? This adventure is priced so shockingly low you might even want to treat your partner or BFF. Read more

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Rent Your Castle When You Take A Holiday

Rent out your home/castle when you go away—you’ll get both a house sitter and extra cash for your vacation.

TRAVEL ADVISORY | One major perk of being married to a university professor is that we can go on extended summer holidays when school is out. Last summer, our family took off for Europe, spending time in London, Paris and the south of France as well as all over Sweden. It was an expensive vacation, but we were able to offset the cost by renting out our house. For two months, a quiet and incredibly tidy family from Oman enjoyed a holiday in our city while helping us bankroll our good times abroad. We’ve done this for several years now, and overall, the transactions have been smooth. There are a few sites on which you can list your home (do a search for vacation rentals or holiday homes – you’ll have no trouble finding them), but we like SabbaticalHomes.com. Read more

Spa Salish Lodge

Steal Away: Luxury Hotels for Pennies

Online auction buffs can scoop up ultra luxurious accommodations for pennies on the regular price.

Spa Salish LodgeTRAVEL ADVISORY | Ever dream of staying at a luxury hotel on a backpacker’s budget? Then Off and Away could be for you. This new hotel room bidding site features only the very best properties with all the luxuries and amenities you could ever dream of. What the site doesn’t have is a price tag. Read more