2013September10

Photo Of The Day: San Antonio Riverwalk

Nan Palmero, Flickr

Entitled, “Skip The Puddles,” today’s featured photo was submitted by Flickr user Nan Palmero to the Gadling Flickr Pool. Palmero shows off the Johnson Street pedestrian bridge in San Antonio, Texas — the shallow depth-of-field and overcast skies highlight some of the turn in weather starting to affect the nation as fall sets in.

We’d love to feature your photos and videos on Gadling, so please add them to our Flickr Pool (with Creative Commons licensing!), tag @GadlingTravel on Instagram or email us at OfTheDay@gadling.com.

The Joys of Traveling Solo

woman with suitcase
Rob, Flickr

As travel writers, taking solo trips goes with the territory, so to speak. Sometimes, we’re able to take along significant others or friends, but that’s the exception. For my part, I prefer to travel alone, be it work or pleasure (which, given my occupation, generally turns into work in some form).

I just returned from a two-week-long solo assignment in Hawaii; it was my 15th visit, 14 of which have been made solo. In the early and mid-90s, I lived on Maui, and those experiences are what really cemented my love of traveling by myself, even in a place marketed to, and dominated by, couples. Sure, it can be lonely or a bit depressing at times to be a lone nomad, but I prefer to focus on the numerous advantages:

  • You generally get more of a cultural immersion when you’re by yourself. Depending upon where you are, locals may either pity you or find you an object of curiosity. This results in invites to dinner in private homes or to local events, and other experiences not easily had when you’re a twosome or in a group.
  • There’s no one to get pissed off at you when you inevitably get lost.

Salar de Uyuni
Laurel Miller, Gadling
  • You’ll likely get more out of your trip, because you can focus on your interests.
  • Even without someone to watch your luggage while you purchase train tickets or run to the bathroom, it’s usually less stressful to travel alone. Bickering is inevitable, no matter how great your relationship, be it romantic or platonic.
  • Locals are usually happy to show you the sights. Again, this depends upon where you are, but by way of example, on a recent trip to Paraguay, I encountered palpable national pride among every single person I met. Everyone was eager to show me why their country is incredible (and it is).
  • Per the above, you’ll see things “tourists” don’t, like hidden waterfalls, swimming holes, sacred sites, rituals, festivals, etc. As with accepting an invitation to someone’s home, you need to use good judgment so you don’t compromise your safety, but without question, my best travel experiences have come about in this manner.
  • Watching a sunset alone on a deserted beach is highly underrated.
  • You may save money; single rooms can be less expensive and cover charges are often waived for women.
  • While I don’t often go out alone at home, I usually love to grab a drink at a dive bar when I travel. It’s a great way to meet locals as well as like-minded fellow travelers (who are always happy to share tips).
  • I find I push yourself more when I travel by myself. My friends aren’t as adventurous or outdoorsy as I am (they might use the term “dirtbaggy“), so hostels, janky buses and ferries, extreme sports, weird street foods and backpacking are out. I happily partake in these activities on my own, which has also been a big confidence-builder.

Newlywed Shoves Husband Off a Cliff in Glacier National Park, Charged with Murder

dancingnomad3, Flickr

What better way than to spend your honeymoon in the great outdoors? And if you don’t have time for a honeymoon, how about a nice weekend hike?

Unfortunately, when newlyweds Jordan Linn Graham, 22, and Cody Lee Johnson, 25, headed to Glacier National Park on July 7 for a hike, their week-old marriage had a tragic ending. After an argument on the Loop Trail, in a moment of anger Graham pushed Johnson and he fell face-first off a cliff.

After the dispute, Graham failed to call police, and it was not until Johnson did not show up at work the next day that he was reported missing. A few days later, Graham reported that she had found the body, claiming that she knew of the location because “it was a place he wanted to see before he died.”

That seemed suspicious, and when she was questioned by authorities later in the month she admitted that the two had begun to argue while on the trail and, as stated in the affidavit, “due to her anger, she pushed Johnson with both hands in the back, and as a result, he fell face first off the cliff.”

The charging documents suggest that Graham was already having reservations about her new marriage, and that she texted a friend on July 7 indicating that she was off to have a chat with her new husband about her concerns. Graham is now facing second-degree murder charges.

Pig in Australia Steals 18 Beers from Campers, Gets Drunk, Fights Cow

Craig ONeal, Flickr

Forget crocodiles and snakes, the real animal threat in Australia is wild pigs. At least if you’re camping.

At a campground in Western Australia over the weekend, a feral pig guzzled down 18 beers that had been left out improperly secured. And just like anyone 18 beers in at a rural dive bar, the pig got big-headed and decided to start a fight with a cow, resulting in the cow chasing the pig around a car.

“In the middle of the night these people camping opposite us heard a noise, so they got their torch out and shone it on the pig and there he was, scrunching away at their cans,” said a visitor.

The pig was later reported sleeping his hangover (and shame of trying to take down a cow?) off under a tree.

While feral pigs are considered an invasive pest in many parts of the country, it’s also a reminder to keep food and drink secured when camping. Just imagine if it had been a drunk kangaroo.

Groupon Will Now Make Last Minute and Spontaneous Europe Trips Super Cheap

Pepe Pont, Flickr

You know the adrenaline rush that comes from snagging a last-minute travel deal.

The internal dialogue goes a little something like this:

“A 3-day weekend in [insert awesome place] for only [insert low price]? Leave tomorrow? I would have to cut out of work early to get to the airport in time? I’m in!”

And while Palm Springs, Vegas and Miami are fun and all, thanks to a recent acquisition by Groupon you might just be adding last-minute European adventures to your travel list. The daily deals company, which expanded to Europe in 2010, just acquired last-minute hotel booking app Blink, which offers deals at more than 2,000 hotels in Europe.

While Groupon isn’t new to the European market, it hasn’t necessarily done well, but adding European travel to Groupon Getaways might be the boost the company needs. The app will be rebranded as “Blink by Groupon,” adding same-day booking to the array of travel deals that Groupon already offers.

While booking a hotel in Europe for the same day when you’re currently in New York might make getting to your night’s stay a little difficult, it could be a great opportunity for travelers in Europe looking to live a little more spontaneously and see where they end up instead of planning far in advance. A night in Paris anyone?