One of the great dualities of Florida is the presence of spectacular natural places and wildlife within easy striking distance of the most people-packed urban areas. And Everglades National Park - covering more than 1.5 million acres in South Florida - is as off-the-charts-wild as U.S. parks get. While the most remote areas of the park are largely inaccessible, there are plenty of spots within a stone's throw of Miami and Naples (around the small towns of Florida City and Everglades City) where you can get a real feel for the "River of Grass."
The Everglades was originally given protected status in 1947 in order to preserve its extreme biodiversity, and the vast sub-tropical wilderness here continues to flourish as a habitat for alligators, Florida panthers, manatees and crocodiles as well as hundreds of species of plants and birds. For one of the wildest Florida escapes, this is the place.
Travel insurance can protect you in such situations. But what happens if you haven't taken out coverage on vacation logistics and are forced to cancel in a hurry?
I see you cruising down I-95 in the family station wagon. You're wrestling with Janet and James and crying out, "Are we there yet?" Your parents are in the front seat singing along to Bob Dylan and blocking out the mayhem.
You don't know it now, but this is the start of a life full of adventures. Relax, settle in and enjoy the ride.
Those summer trips to the Outer Banks were your first step into the greater world. For a young girl raised in the privileged suburbs of Washington D.C., North Carolina was a wonderland of beaches that breathed danger and adventure with frothy riptides and tow-headed surfer boys from faraway places like Florida.
The margaritas flowed as we left land behind and the Solmar V scuba-diving boat morphed into a party cruise for the 18-hour crossing from Baja, California. There was a lot to celebrate: we were heading out to the land of great white sharks and planned to dive with the ocean's most feared predator. It was something I'd long wanted to scratch off my bucket list, and, after talking to the other passengers, I learned I was hardly the only one.
But in the morning, when Guadalupe Island finally appeared through gauzy layers of marine fog hovering above the horizon, I felt the hollow in my stomach outgrowing my courage. The mood among my fellow passengers had changed, too. The previous night's party vibe had stilled into something more reverent and wary as we all quietly took in the striking scenery and let our minds settle on what was lurking below the water's surface.
You know the types: the over-chatty seatmate, the pre-teen blasting LMFAO at full decibels through his headphones, the log-sawing snorer who doesn't realize he's depriving you of a good flight's sleep. Traveling often means finding yourself exposed to sounds, sights, and stomach-turning stenches you'd rather avoid. Here are a few tips on how to deal with common travel annoyances.
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