Airmail in the Early Days

All over the USA, Seventy foot concrete arrows can be found in remote locations. Follow them, and they’ll point you out of the desert.

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They come courtesy of the US Postal Service’s Air Force and will point you all the way across the continental United States.

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They were constructed in 1924 to guide postal planes in the right direction as they carried mail from coast to coast.

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These old planes couldn’t rely on radio as much at the time, so they used these arrows, along with beacon towers, to navigate.
 
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The arrows and beacons bisect the United States
from San Francisco to New York City.
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The towers were 50 feet tall and fixed with gas lights
that could be seen from 10 miles away, in order to help
lost pilots find their way.
 
 
This is a model of the arrows and towers in their heyday.
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World War II brought new advances in radio technology effectively making the towers and arrows system obsolete. The towers were mostly dismantled.

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There has been an effort to restore and preserve some of them, however. Like this one in New Mexico complete with its generator shack.

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This is a pretty cool piece of history, even if it was short lived. To think of those early postal pilots navigating like this from coast to coast is mind blowing.

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New Orleans Summertime Blues? Try These Vacation Destinations

Summertime is full of barbecues, shorts and river walks. New Orleans is an exciting city this time of year. Everyone seems to have summer fever and is out and about. The only problem is that hot, sticky New Orleans summer weather! You might enjoy this year’s steamy months a little better if you took a break. A cost-conscious, fun-filled vacation is just the ticket if you want a month, week or even a long weekend away from The Big Easy.

The Everglades


Enjoy fishing, boating, hiking, eating and drinking in one of the most unique locations. Stay in Florida City’s Everglades International Hostel and enjoy breezy accommodations at great rates: dorm beds are $28 per person, and a group of six can book a private room with bathroom for $168, according to evergladeshostel.com. They can set you up with tours for any time of day. Prepare to share space with gators the size of tanks and heavy-artillery mosquitoes … it’s all part of the fun!

Everglades

Photo by Bogeskov via Flickr

Europe


Although it might seem like an ambitious goal, seeing 10 or even 20 countries in a summer is completely doable, as long as you know where the deals are. A Eurail pass for up to 3 months starts at $494, according to eurail.com. Save by staying in hostels and eating cheaply at markets and street stalls instead of restaurants. One of the best sites to check the cheapest flight deals is Skyscanner.com. Round-trip flights from New Orleans to the U.K. start around $1300.

Eiffel Tower

Photo by Terrazzo via Flickr

Charlotte, North Carolina


So you can’t be Katniss Everdeen, but you can at least travel to the state where much of “The Hunger Games” was filmed. Take a day trip to the ghost town of Henry River, where several District 12 scenes were set or catch a show at the Knight Theater, also a filming location, according to romanticasheville.com. Looking for adrenaline boosters? Check out the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Charlotte, North Carolina

Photo by James Willamor via Flickr

Carnival Dream Cruise


Set sail on the high seas with a cruise through Carnival Dream. Their all-inclusive packages include 24-hour room service and multiple dining options, among them a coffee bar, steakhouse, chef’s table and tasting bar. Entertainment doesn’t lack, either. Packages come with a comedy brunch, access to the art gallery, “dive-in” movies, concerts and an Internet café. If you have a sweet tooth, don’t forget the candy shop. And when you’re done there, head to a yoga or Pilates classes to work off the extra calories before hitting the pool. Depending on your room choice, cruises can cost as little as $40 per night, according to carnival.com. There are cruises departing from the Port of New Orleans year-round.

Carnival Cruise

Photo by El coleccionista de instantes

A quick word of advice: When traveling a lot, protect your identity with security measures while dealing with money or personal information. According to Lifelock, in 2011 there were more than 11 million victims of identity fraud. According to usa.gov, must-dos include keeping receipts or tearing them up, shielding your PIN with your hand while at ATMS and storing personal information in a safe place.

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Small Town USA Day Trippin' Itinerary

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When planning your next vacation, thoughts of New York City or Los Angeles often jump to the top of the list. While these large cities are popular destinations, visiting a small town often provides a better vacation experience. America’s small towns are its treasures, offering more affordable prices and unique experiences lacking in many bigger cities. Head off of the beaten tourist track to find charming small towns with plenty of sites to see.

Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin (Wisconsin Dells Hotels)

At first glance, Wisconsin might not seem like the most obvious state for a water park mecca. However, Wisconsin Dells (population 2,678) draws millions of tourists each year to its world-class resorts. Dells.com reports that Wisconsin Dells offers a variety of adventurous activities, including zip lines, fishing, spelunking, or jet skiing. One of the primary attractions in the town is Noah’s Ark, the largest water park in the United States. Although summer is peak season, off-peak visitors often find lower prices and can enjoy the Kalahari Resort, one of the largest indoor water parks in America.

Taos, New Mexico (Taos Hotels)

Anyone interested in early American history or different cultures is sure to enjoy Taos, New Mexico. The town of 5,716 is located in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in north-central New Mexico, providing stunning natural beauty. One of the main attractions is the Taos Pueblo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the oldest continuously inhabited community in the United States, reports Taos.org. Taos is an excellent place to learn more about the culture and customs of Native Americans in the Southwest. While you would think the desert would be sweltering in the summer months, the 7,000-foot elevation of Taos keeps it a cooler, pleasant place to visit year-round.

Camden, Maine (Camden Hotels)

If the sea is calling you, Camden, Maine, is the perfect destination. With just 4,850 year-round residents, Camden offers classic maritime charm. Many visitors come to Camden to stroll its beautiful streets, enjoy local art galleries and spend time sailing, according to Lonely Planet. Its close proximity to a state park provides opportunities to hike and camp. Prices rise in the summer months as visitors flock to Midcoast Maine. Visiting in the spring or autumn months brings gorgeous weather, fewer crowds, and more affordable prices.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming (Jackson Hole Hotels)

Many tourists pass through Jackson Hole, Wyoming, without spending time to take in its natural beauty. The town of 8,647 is found in west-central Wyoming near the Idaho border. In addition to being a natural jumping-off point to visit Grand Teton or Yellowstone National Parks, Jackson Hole is a tourist destination in its own right. The Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce recommends staying in a mountain lodge to enjoy white-water rafting, hiking, and world-class skiing.

Gulf Shores, Alabama (Gulf Shores Hotels)

If a beach getaway is your idea of a relaxation vacation, Gulf Shores, Alabama, is a fantastic option. Home to about 5,000 people, Gulf Shores offers some of the best quality public beaches in the United States, reports GulfShoresAL.gov. With recent tourism disruptions due to hurricanes and the BP oil spill in 2010, look for discounted prices at local resorts.

No matter what your idea of the perfect vacation, small town America is prepared to deliver. Although smaller towns may lack hot nightclubs or five-star restaurants, the smaller crowds and relaxed pace make them excellent choices for your next getaway.

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11,000 Airports Added

It has been a while but we have been working hard over here. We have recently added approximately 11,000 new landing facilities (airports, heliports, seaplane bases, etc.) to Airport Guide making this the world’s largest airport database at over 45,000 airports.

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Tips on Hiring Taxis at Airports

After a long and tiring flight, the last thing you want to worry about is the possibility of being defrauded by greedy, illegal and unscrupulous taxi drivers. Airports in unfamiliar countries are often vast and confusing places, even for seasoned travelers. It’s wise to learn as much about the value of the currency as possible, so look online to check the latest exchange rates and try to become familiar with the terminology. Looking after your spending money will obviously be one of your main priorities as a traveller, after securing your most affordable airfare, and sourcing the best possible accommodation for your money.


Groups of persistently hustling taxi drivers are to be found at all busy places, even at the world’s best airports and the most secured ones. It’s a good idea to avoid them at all costs, for your personal safety. Ask airport officials for location of the main taxi ranks. At Miami, for example, official advice is to find a taxi cab that is clearly marked with the words “taxi” or “taxicab” prominently displayed on both sides of the vehicle. The licence number must also be clearly visible in at least six locations within the car, as should the driver’s identification documents. This advice is valid for taxis in most cities, in the west.


Knowledge is power. It’s a good idea to prepare for the trip by reading accounts on popular travel websites, where other people review and write about their experiences. They can provide you with a wealth of useful information, such as how much to expect to pay for your journey. Most taxi firms are metered, although sometimes it can be a good idea to agree a flat rate at the start of your journey if it is some distance. Make sure you have plenty of cash in the local currency as your driver will find it annoying if you don’t have any, and you will find it stressful. Be polite and don’t forget to give a tip if you think he or she has done a good job. How much will depend on the location, but between five and ten percent should be adequate. Lastly, relax and enjoy your stay!

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