Help! I Need Travel Ideas for the New Year

The Open Suitcase needs travel ideas for the new year. Where’d you go in 2016? What did you love? Or hate? Leave your suggestions for places to visit, foods to eat, and things to do, or not do, in the comments section for a chance to win some travel inspiration.

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The calendar flips in a few days and I need travel ideas for the new year. It’s how I survive winter.

I’m inviting you to play a round of show and tell. Continue reading

Where to Stay in Zimbabwe: The Victoria Falls Safari Club

victoria-falls-safariDetouring north to visit Victoria Falls was a non-negotiable element on my recent South Africa trip. Mosi-oa-Tunya (“the smoke that thunders”) is the world’s largest waterfall, one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World, and a UNESCO Heritage site. To go halfway across the world and NOT visit would be something I’d regret forever. The problem was – how do I get there and where do I stay? Continue reading

Need A New Wine Pairing? Try Biltong With Shiraz.

Waterford-Estate-Stellenbosch

I’ll give you two guesses. Napa? No. Provence? Negative. It’s the Waterford Estate in Stellenbosch, South Africa, a destination brimming with magnificent vineyards. After days of intense touring in Cape Town, it was time to kick back and relax and let someone else handle the wine pairing. Continue reading

Why You Should Hire a Tour Guide When You Travel: Part 2

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My second day in Cape Town happened to be my birthday so I was keen on having a fantastic day touring the peninsula. But I was still bothered by the nagging dilemma about whether it’s better to guide or not to guide?

When I returned I asked my travel agent, Yvette De Vries of African Portfolio, if she arranges tour guides for all of her clients or if I was projecting some type of weird “help me” vibe during our planning stage. She assured me that she encourages guides for guests visiting Cape Town. “It’s the best way to optimize the limited time available in a 150 square mile city that’s spread out around a 3,600 ft mountain.” Continue reading

Why You Should Hire a Tour Guide When You Travel: Part One

Capetown-Bo-Kaap

“Is it okay if I take a few minutes and give you a little background about South African history? It’s not something most American schools teach.” That’s how Garth introduced himself and I bristled a bit. South Africa. I know about South Africa. There’s apartheid, Oscar Pistorius, the Sugar Man, and the Lion King. Heck. I participated in a sit-in during the 80’s to protest my college’s investments in South Africa, an effort that was abandoned after a few hours because I needed to get back to my apartment to host a party.

Okay.

I know nothing about South Africa.

But I hoped my guided tour of Cape Town would change that sad fact. Continue reading