Travel Guide 2013

    There isn’t much time to travel. The average life expectancy of a U.S. citizen is 77 years, and getting past 65 means retirement. For the first 18 years of your life, you have something called “parents,” and when you’re out of college, it’s a dive right into adulthood. So when are you going to see the world, if not now?

    It’s college. This is the time to make mistakes, to grow and adapt and find yourself. You’re finally old enough to remember the places you go, but not so old that those treks around the city or to historical sites are going to wear you out by the end of the day. There’s the issue of money, and traveling shouldn’t always require crashing on your friends’ couches or having more-than-slight trepidation about that hostel you booked. Win yourself a low monetary scholarship and use it towards educating yourself … on the world. Spread your wings of hard-earned cash and fly, young one.

    — Vincent Pham


    If China is the big dragon lying in the East, Australia would definitely be crowned the sparkling pearl of the southern hemisphere. If you want to have a wild, unforgettable summer, Australia is the perfect place to go. There’s nothing cooler than wandering in the forest and unexpectedly running into a kangaroo or koala. After you get off the plane, the bright sunshine and the leaping azure waves of the Gold Coast welcome you with a refreshing sea breeze. There’s surfing, parachuting and diving in any direction you look. Walking on the shimmering golden sand, this surfer’s paradise will capture your heart with its beautiful natural sceneries and dynamic entertainment activities. Australia has a fascinating aboriginal culture and amazingly delicious seafood to boot.

    Although the traditional travel sites, like the Sydney Opera House or the Melbourne Zoo, are great, one of the better and lesser-known places to visit is Port Arthur in Tasmania, an “open-air museum” that offers insight into Australia’s history.

    — Katherine Shi


    There is a debate between “NorCal” kids and “SoCal” kids that has persisted since California’s statehood in 1850. Although the competition is fierce, NorCal has San Francisco.

    The novelty of San Francisco lies within what you can’t find anywhere else. Stop by Golden Gate Park, which covers more than 1,000 acres of public land, and do as many tourist things as possible. Surrounded by iconic eateries like Bi-Rite Creamery, Golden Gate Park is the place to get a sundry taste of San Francisco. Visit the Ferry Building Marketplace for some delicious artisan treats, and top your day off with a stroll down the piers of SF. With notable streets to visit, like Haight-Ashbury and Castro, and the expanse of the Embarcadero to feel the metropolitan side of San Francisco, it’s easy to get swept off your feet and really fall in love with this city.

    — Vincent Pham


    Countless shows, songs and movies are based on the city that never sleeps, and there’s a reason for it. NYC is a cultural Mecca like no other, and once you learn your NYC geography, you’ll learn not to waste all your time in the touristy Times Square.

    The borough of Manhattan is loosely divided into three sections: downtown, midtown and uptown. In downtown, you can hit up the trendy bars in Chelsea, grab a cup of coffee in the Village or bargain shop in Chinatown. Check out the Upper East Side in uptown — here, you’ll find the “Museum Mile” and plenty of nannies shuttling children around in strollers in Central Park.

    Plan a full day in Midtown, starting with breakfast at Tiffany’s on Fifth Avenue. Catch a show on Broadway, visit the top of Rockefeller Center and watch the sun set over the NYC skyline. You’ll leave NYC with a lighter wallet, a new profile picture and a longing to go back as soon as you can.

    — Shelby Newallis


    If being in the city that was the former home of Freud, Beethoven and Mozart doesn’t trip you out enough, simply walking around Vienna and soaking up the sights might do the trick. The city’s architecture doesn’t hide its marvel, and a stunning mix of historical structures, like Schonbruun Palace (which rivals France’s Versailles), and modern works, like the expressionistic Hundertwasserhaus, paints the cultural landscape.

    Make sure to do your shopping at Mariahilfer Strasse, where your standard H&M store sits alongside shops set up by local Viennese artists on the ground level of historical buildings. Grab lunch at Naschmarkt, where fresh global cuisine is prepared in a beautiful open market. Don’t forget to try the quintessential Austrian dishes: Cafe Mozart serves schnitzel and tafelspitz exquisitely, and trying some famous sachertorte — Austrian chocolate cake — at the adjacent Hotel Sacher afterward is mandatory. After you check off all the tourist must-dos, be a local and walk down Ringstrasse, Vienna’s boulevard that encircles some of the world’s most iconic landmarks. It is a walk that Freud took daily.

    — Jean Lee


    Whether or not Psy’s viral hit “Gangnam Style” brought Korean culture to your attention, a trip to Korea will offer dynamic experiences for visitors, especially young and vibrant college students. Seoul, the capital of Korea, is a city, surrounded by great mountains and through which the Hangang River flows from east to west. If you want to experience the lively and vigorous outdoor cultural spaces in Seoul, Myeongdong and Hongdae are must-visits. Myeongdong is all about fashion, as it is Seoul’s primary and most famous shopping district. Make sure to look out for the street shops for good bargains. Myeongdong is without a doubt a true tourist attraction, while Hongdae is a favorite among locals. Though the area is known for its artsy boutiques, young people often go there for live music bars and dance clubs. For those who fancy “Gangnam Style,” visit Apgujeong and Cheongdamdong, the centers of the affluent Gangnam District, to see the number-one trend-setting neighborhood of Korea. To learn the traditional history of Korea, Bukchon Hanok Village is the perfect destination where you can enjoy the beauty of Hanok, the traditional Korean-style home.

    — Ashley Kwon


    Not every tourist attraction worth visiting in the nation’s capital is a white government building. While the word “museum” brings back memories of elementary school trips to view dinosaur bones, the newer, more fascinating museums in the D.C. area provide a different take on the word. The Smithsonian Institution, which has 19 Washington-area museums and zoos, contains a timeless collection of the nation’s most significant artifacts and gardens.

    The more hands-on Spy Museum is now home to a “50 years of Bond Villains” exhibit, which has over 100 props and costumes from the James Bond franchise. The exhibit, free with museum admission, includes “Vilify Me,” an experience in which visitors can turn themselves into a bad guy from the films.

    As journalists, the Guardian is also partial to the six-floor Newseum, a celebration of international news. Home to exhibits of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs, a 9/11 memorial seen through media coverage and a 4-D theater, the Newseum is in the heart of D.C., just down the street from the capitol building. The Newseum also offers visitors a chance to become television news reporters, investigative journalists and website content managers through a variety of interactive multimedia exhibits.

    Other D.C. highlights include the Verizon Center, where masochistic basketball fans can watch the painfully bad Washington Wizards, as well as the Obama residence and the famed monuments and memorials for the first, third and 16th presidents, among others.

    — Zev Hurwitz


    Nashville — or Nashvegas, as it’s known as to its natives — is the country garishness that is “Music City USA.” Once you land, you are indeed greeted by an array of twang, from Shania to Dolly (thankfully, even we don’t view Miss Swift as country anymore). Yes, everything you’ve seen on that ABC music drama of the same name is true — for the most part. While there is a strip on Broadway that is reserved only for light-up guitars, giant cowboy hats, bad karaoke and every kind of grits you never wanted to try, the heart of the city is really where its charm lies. Sure, you can spend your days perusing the Country Music Hall of Fame or taking a tour of the Grand Ole Opry (it really is grand), but to genuinely experience this city, do as the Romans do. Whitewater rafting is a favorite, but if you’re feeling more audacious, take a day trip and camp out in Adams, home of the Bell Witch Cave. Locals have stories for days about that crazy bitch. Not outdoorsy? The food is fattening as hell, and it’s damn good, too — for a great burger, check out The National Underground. The music scene isn’t just whine dogs and beer, either — there’s a soul to the sounds of this city that will pull you in, guaranteed. Underneath all the lights and southern hospitality is a living, breathing community that plays hard and works harder.

    — Jacey Aldredge


    “Dolce far Niente” is the lifestyle to which Italians subscribe, and it translates to “the sweetness of doing nothing.” On the Amalfi Coast, this way of life is as sweet as the Amalfi lemons that are turned into limoncello, the delicious post-dinner drink of the South.

    Traveling along the Amalfi Coast, you’ll learn how to eat like an Italian by enjoying regional dishes. Swap your boring Caesar salad for a caprese salad made with all locally grown ingredients: fresh tomatoes, basil, olive oil, and mozzarella di bufala. Go to a local seafood market, and you can pick out any fresh catch and watch the cooks prepare your meal right in front of you.

    Take a day trip to Positano to shop for handmade sandals and artisan jewelry. Even if the thought of sitting in a beach chair with a chilled glass of wine and a book sounds more enticing, you’ll feel like you’re in paradise either way.

    — Shelby Newallis


    If you’re looking for a nice beach destination that still has the feeling of a rustic mountain town, Cambria, Calif. is the place to go. It’s six hours from San Diego and three hours from LA. The weather is usually in the 70s, except during slightly colder winters. It’s a small town that’s used to tourists, but that doesn’t take away from its authenticity. The locals are friendly, and there are flourishing local businesses, such as The Squibb House, which sells Amish furniture, or The Gourmet Gift, which sells delicious fudge.

    The beaches are gorgeous in Cambria, and they’re great for surfing. A popular beach activity is searching in the sand for the local gemstone, moonstone. There are hikes all over the town that lead hikers through the pine tree-covered hills while overlooking the ocean. All of the beaches are off of U.S. Route 1. A few miles north of Cambria is a beach, Piedras Blancas, where there is a colony of elephant seals that you can watch. And if you’re interested in 20th-century architecture, newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst’s infamous mansion, Hearst Castle, is only a 20-minute drive from Cambria. It encompasses over 90,000 square feet, and there are zebras grazing the estate left over from Hearst’s private onsite exotic zoo.

    — Rebecca Horwitz


    Although you may not be a history buff when you first visit one of the biggest players in the American Revolution, you will become one by the time you leave.

    With the neoclassical architecture, brick roads and the occasional revolutionary figure giving tours, you’ll want to see what the big hubbub is about. Go on the Freedom Trail if you can commit to the seven-mile time machine. After you familiarize yourself with the past of the city, get into the present.

    When traveling around Boston, you will quickly learn that the subway is your best friend. A Charlie Card will take you anywhere and everywhere in Boston, and it provides a good way to explore the city at a low cost. Hit up Blunch in the South End for the sandwich you’ve always been looking for and Hungry Mother in Cambridge for a taste of real Southern style cooking. Boston is that perfect balance between a cozy town and a big city — it’s the best of both worlds.

    — Vincent Pham

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