Try these off-beat honeymoons

Wanting something different then your typical Mexican beach resort honeymoon but too stressed with wedding planning to plan more? Check out these off-beat alternatives.

Your honeymoon is the perfect opportunity to travel. It's a great excuse to splurge on one (or more!) of your bucket list destinations and experience a new place for the first time as Mr. and Mrs. So often do I see couples opting for the standard Mexican beach vacation and I can see why. It's a reasonable price, most options are all-inclusive, and it's a great way to kick back after a year of stressful wedding planning. Though it's a great option, I wanted to explore some other options for every kind of couple out there, that could compare with the standard Cancun post-nuptial getaway. I did a little research and on average a week long Cancun honeymoon will run you about $4,500 together. Broken down, that's about $450 a night for accommodations that include food and drink, around $600 each person for roundtrip flights, and I tacked on an extra $150 for various other expenses like shopping and excursions. Here's how my alternative options compare:

Adventure Aficionados

For the couple that loves to be outdoors and to adventure, I recommend Iceland. Because wedding season and their light season line up, it's a perfect getaway for exploring around the clock (seriously, when I was there I barely slept).

There are plenty of cool places to stay in Iceland, but for an adventurous trip with the flexibility to see the most of the country you can, opt for a camper. When I was there at every major national park, I saw so many campers parked. Turns out, that's the way to do Iceland. Though one company seems to have a monopoly on the rentals due to their clever branding and user friendliness, I discovered another company that has better pricing. From Northbound you can rent a Dacia Duster Camper that sleeps two complete with a mattress, pillows, bedding, sleeping bags, storage, camping chairs, a camping table, cutlery and dinnerware, a gas stove, pots and pans, an aux port, usb connection, bluetooth, a radio and a CD player for around $1,100 for the week. Compare that with a nightly all inclusive resort and that's less than half the nightly price. Of course, that adds food and drink as an expense.

For this kind of trip, I would recommend doing a $100 grocery shop at the beginning of the trip and stocking up on a cooler along with your essentials for an active trip: granola bars, peanut butter, bread, hamburgers, etc. You and your new spouse will have a ton of fun cooking and enjoying the great outdoors.

There are endless things to see in Iceland and this Dacia Duster Camper can go on F-roads which other vehicles are warned to avoid, which means you can experience the most secluded and unique parts of the Icelandic highlands. Some of my favorite spots to visit were: Mount Esja just outside of Reykjavik for stunning hiking and views, Jökulsárlón which is the glacier lagoon on the opposite side of the country, Gamla Laugin which is a secret hot spring in Fludir, Iceland, and Seljalandsfoss, one of Iceland's most majestic waterfalls. Most of these natural wonders are free to see, but I would budget about $300 for excursions, like if you want to take a boat ride in the Glacier Lagoon or a dip in the hot springs. I would also budget $100 for one or two really nice meals! With airfare, I'd estimate this trip costing about $2,600 for both you and your spouse!

Culture Cravers

If you and your honey are craving some culture on your honeymoon, opt for the surprisingly affordable Prague, Czech Republic. We're often scared away from vacation in Europe because it sounds expensive, but round trip airfare to Prague is only about $500 each person. Accommodations are even cheaper. Save some money and gain comfort by staying in an AirBnB private home. Apartments seem to go for between $30 and $100 a night. I found this amazing steal that's right near town center for only $30 a night. This apartment includes wifi, a fully equip kitchen, and TV. There is an additional $22 cleaning cost, but the reservation is 100% refundable if you need to cancel within 24 hours.

There is a ton to do in Prague, most notably the archaic architecture. Be sure to check out Wenceslas Square, Old Town Square, Tyn Church, and Palace Kinský. Step inside Palac Kinský to view paintings and drawings a part of their National Collection and head over to The National Museum for more stunning artwork. There are also an abundance of gardens to see in Prague such as the Wallenstein Palace Garden, Franciscan Garden, and more. I'd budget about $200 for attractions because some museums and historic sites may require a fee.

I would do a little grocery shop at the top of the week, so you could retreat to your accommodation for a few meals throughout the week and get some rest from all of the walking. Expect to spend about $75. Other than that, I would budget $500 since Prague is definitely the kind of place you'd want to indulge in the food, wine, and beer. After all, food is a huge part of culture! Even while majorly splurging on food, this trip will only set you back about $2,007.

Beach Bums

Still want to bum it on the beach for a week, but wanting to go somewhere unique? Cuba is a great alternative to Mexico! Flights are only about $200 round trip each and accommodations are quite inexpensive as well! Though there are plenty of resorts to stay at, those who have traveled to Cuba recommend staying in a casita. Their casitas range from $25 to $35 a night and most serve you an authentic Cuban breakfast in the morning. Between accommodations and authentic Cuban food every day, you can expect to spend around $40 a day per person.

Don't miss Havana when you visit Cuba as it is thought to be the heart and soul of the country. In Havana, be sure to visit the San Jose Market, the National Capitol Building, and The Cathedral Havana. You can't miss Trinidad either. Their Playa Ancon is one of the loveliest beaches in the country and the city boasts a nightclub in a cave called Disco Ayala. I would budget an extra $300 for local travel and excursions setting the total cost for this honeymoon alternative at only around $950.

Want a different kind of honeymoon but drowning in wedding planning? I planned it for you! If you try one, tell me how it goes @anie_delgado

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5 Countries to Visit This Fall

As the weather starts to chill out, we're just getting warmed up to travel

It's not winter yet!

So that means, we're all about that fall travel. It's a beautiful time of year to be outside in many countries, soaking up the colorful landscapes and fresh air. Here are our picks for the top places to visit this fall.

1. Germany

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Burg Eltz Castle is a magical step back into the Middle Ages that's been here for more than 850 years.

2. Switzerland

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The red leaves in Bern are absolutely striking.

3. Italy

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Nothing like the sheer beauty of the formidable Italian alps.

4. Peru

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Machu Picchu beckons visitors from near and far this fall.

5. Mexico

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It's not too cold to skip the beach!

Everyone has heard of the murder-hotel where dark shadows creep at the edge of your vision, or the abandoned house where the furniture moves each time you leave the room.

But sometimes the places set up to capture the fun and fright of the Halloween season for paying customers can be far more horrifying than any ghost stories. These "fake" haunted houses will leave you genuinely haunted.



Pennhurst Haunted Asylum

So spoooky!

Thomas James Caldwell

Pennhurst Asylum was in operation from 1908-1987 in the small town of Spring City, Pennsylvania. While we don't have all the records of the residents' experiences there, it doesn't take much imagination to realize that this building was home to true horrors. In many ways, 1908 wasn't that long ago, but in terms of mental health treatment—especially in small-town Pennsylvania—it was absolutely the dark ages. This was the time of lobotomies, straight jackets, and shock therapy. Whatever the jump scares and fake blood contribute to the fear you will feel walking through Pennhurst Asylum's aging, echoing halls, they can't come close to the deep, sinking feeling caused by the deep history of torment that has left its imprint on the very fabric of the place. Four spooky skulls out of five.

💀💀💀💀/5

Haunted Trap House

Like this, but less 90s

In Centreville, Maryand, in the year 1989, a group of visionaries were struck by a bolt of inspiration. What if—instead of zombies and werewolves and demons, and all the stuff out of children's nightmares—what if they filled their haunted house with the real-world nightmares that were actually infesting their city, killing their residents, and generally afflicting every corner of the entire nation. Thus, the Haunted Crack House was born. Since renamed the Haunted Trap House, it's ostensibly an educational experience on the dangers of drug use, it features simulations of overdoses, arrests, and shootings, as well as actual former convicts who are paid to draw on their real experiences to make your visit as terrifying as possible. This kind of fetishizing of human misery to capitalize on the Halloween season is as despicable as it is spooky. Four-and-a-half skulls out of five.

💀💀💀💀/5

McKamey Manor

He technically consented to this

A $20,000 reward? A 40-page waiver? These figures have garnered a lot of attention in recent headlines. Supposedly this is the "scariest" haunted house experience in the country. Who could resist the temptation of that once-in-a-lifetime experience, combined with the chance to win a big cash prize? Unfortunately, that is exactly what Russ McKay wants. There's a reason he's put so much work into the legal side of his operation. Rather than gassing up neutered chainsaws and chasing you around in a hockey mask, McKay has opted for producing actual, real, straight-up torture. You may not find the decorations and costumes that scary, but you will absolutely fear for your life when you consent to be water-boarded with fake blood. For being operated by a man who is clearly an unhinged psychopath, McKamey Manor ties the Haunted Traphouse, with four-and-a-half spooky skulls.

💀💀💀💀.5/5

Donald Vann's House of Horrors

Donald Vann murdered eleven people. Happens to the best of us, but it does present a problem. How do you dispose of all those bodies? Donald's solution was to open a haunted house and put his victims' decaying remains on display as props. Props to him. For eight months he prepared his fetid, malodorous horrors, before debuting on October 1st. Unfortunately, you won't be able to visit his house of horrors, because he has since landed in some legal trouble—board of health, maybe?—but I'm sure for the lucky few who were able to visit during its brief tenure, and witness Vann's "psychotic smirk," I'm sure the nightmares they're left with keep on spooking.

💀💀💀💀💀/5

Every Hell House in America

realitypod

In the same vein as the Haunted Traphouse, Hell Houses are church presentations intended as educational experiences that warn kids and teens away from the path of sin. Their methods for achieving this obviously vary, but according to The Washington Post, you can generally expect the following: "A devil ushers a gay man dying of AIDS into the fiery pit. A teenager who is raped at a drug-filled rave commits suicide and also goes to hell. A young girl hemorrhaging from an abortion repents at the last minute." Awful. Truly sickening. What kind of trauma are they inflicting on these children to prop up their outdated ideologies? Six spooky skulls. Where'd that extra skull come from?? Nobody knows…

💀💀💀💀💀💀/5


Destinations

The 10 Best Ethically-Conscious Zoos Across America

From coast to coast, these zoos are doing their part to help wildlife.

With fall weather making us all eager to spend more time outdoors, it's the perfect time of year to pay a visit to the zoo.

Just about every major city has a zoo where visitors can get up close and personal with wild animals, but of course, not all zoos are created equal. Particularly if you've watched Tiger King, you probably already know that some zoos do much more harm than good.


Thankfully, there are also many zoos who are doing great work in conservation efforts and creating the best environment possible for their animals and the animal lovers who want to visit them. Below, we've rounded up just a few of the most ethical zoos in the United States.

San Diego Zoo

As one of the most popular zoos in the country, the San Diego Zoo specializes in endangered animals and focuses on saving them from extinction. They also partner with other zoos around the world to share their research in rehabilitation and conservation that would be difficult, if not impossible, to conduct in the wild.

Austin Zoo

Located on the outskirts of Austin, Texas, the Austin Zoo started as a goat ranch and has gradually grown into one of the state's most animal-friendly zoos. Now boasting over 300 animals from over 100 species, the Austin Zoo operates with a mission to assist animals in need, taking in exotic animals that need to be rescued or rehomed due to a variety of reasons.

Indianapolis Zoo

With a strong commitment to conservation, the Indianapolis Zoo supports efforts around the world to save endangered animals and their land. They are home to over 1,400 animals in habitats that closely mimic those of the wild and have been adopting more eco-friendly practices in addition to their conservation efforts.

Woodland Park Zoo

Located in Seattle, Washington, the Woodland Park Zoo is one of the country's most ethical zoos. They focus on recreating their animals' natural habitats as closely as possible, and the zoo also has conservationist breeding programs on-site to help grow the populations of endangered species.

St. Louis Zoo

Not only is the St. Louis Zoo free to visit, but it's absolutely massive; here, you'll find 19,000 animals from 600 species over a sprawling 90 acres. According to their website, the zoo has "witnessed dozens of cheetah births, hatched and reared endangered Micronesian kingfishers and returned Puerto Rican crested toad tadpoles to ponds in their native homeland—to name only a few successes." The St. Louis Zoo also has a program called the WildCare Institute, which takes a holistic approach to healing troubled ecosystems.

Bronx Zoo

The Bronx Zoo might not be the first attraction you think of when it comes to New York City's outer boroughs, but it offers a much-needed slice of wildlife in the concrete jungle. This zoo is home to award-winning habitats that span over 265 acres. Outside of the city, the Bronx Zoo employs thousands of conservationists who work to protect endangered exotic animals in the world's most threatened environments.

Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

In addition to impressive worldwide conservation efforts, the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium—located in Omaha, Nebraska—features the world's largest geodesic dome. This dome creates a realistic desert environment that acts as a home to countless animals and plants.

Columbus Zoo

Ohio's Columbus Zoo houses over 7000 animals from over 800 species. They've made great strides in breeding endangered animals, such as the three polar bear cubs who were born at the zoo in 2016. The Columbus Zoo also boasts a massive 100,000-gallon coral reef tank, and some of the country's best primate habitats.

Alaska Zoo

It should come as no surprise that the Alaska Zoo is a fantastic place to see your favorite arctic and subarctic animals. Located in the city of Anchorage, this zoo focuses on arctic creatures you won't find at your zoos in the continental United States. They especially focus on polar bear rescue.

Denver Zoo

Colorodans are known for their love of the great outdoors, and their appreciation for Mother Nature translates into the practices at the Denver Zoo. They were the first zoo in the country to go above and beyond usual conservation efforts by getting rid of traditional enclosures, creating realistic habitats for their 4,000 creatures from over 600 different species.