The Blog

Countdown to our LeafCanoe Kickstarter Campaign!

It’s an exciting time here at LeafCanoe! We have some new developments in the works for the coming months, including an awesome LeafCanoe Kickstarter campaign. If you have been enjoying the LeafCanoe app so far, you’ll love some of the changes we’ll be bringing on to the platform.

LeafCanoe Kickstarter

Our latest change has been the launch of our Expert Program. Over the last several months, we’ve been growing our list of travel experts – those folks who really know a lot about a particular style of travel – and have worked with them to be part of our Expert Program. Under the Expert Program, travel experts have the opportunity to create travel guides, and earn money for their guides. What’s more, they will be known in the LeafCanoe community as experts on their particular style of travel. There are still plenty of spots left under the Expert Program, so if you’re interested in being one of our travel experts, now is the time! Or if you’re interested to see who our current travel experts are, read about them on our blog post, Get to Know Your Travel Style.

If you’ve been following LeafCanoe, you may have seen that we will soon be launching a LeafCanoe Kickstarter campaign on July 9th. The campaign will help turn LeafCanoe into a marketplace to create and sell personal smart travel guides. Our travel experts will play a big role in this big change, so if you haven’t signed up to become a travel expert, this is one more reason to do it now.

LeafCanoe Kickstarter

At LeafCanoe, we are all about building a travel community, beyond just the creation and sharing of travel guides. With the LeafCanoe Kickstarter campaign launch just a month away, we’ve created a Facebook event to get you excited and revved up about the campaign. Now you can get updates on the latest developments of the Kickstarter campaign, be introduced to our LeafCanoe travel experts, and share this event with friends in your travel circles.

If you’re interested in more ways to get involved with our travel community, then you’re in luck. With our Facebook event page, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to engage with the LeafCanoe travel community through our daily themes. They’re geared to help spread the word about our Kickstarter campaign, and build excitement.

LeafCanoe Kickstarter

Each Thursday is #leafcanoehometown day. Share what you love about your hometown with the LeafCanoe community.

Friday is #leafcanoeexpert day, where we’ll be introducing you to our LeafCanoe Travel Experts, and give you a chance to get to know who they are and their travel style.

On Saturdays, we’ll have #leafcanoefriendship day. This is an opportunity for you to share the LeafCanoe Kickstater Facebook event with your friends among your travel circles.

Sunday is #leafcanoetravel day. This is when we’ll share our upcoming travel plans, and invite you to join in on the discussion.

And finally, on Mondays we’ll be having #leafcanoesneakpeak day. This is our most exciting day of the week, because we’ll be giving you exclusive sneak peaks about our Kickstarter campaign.

LeafCanoe Kickstarter

This is an exciting time for LeafCanoe, and we want to share that excitement with you. As always, you can always share with your friends this great tool by having them download the LeafCanoe app and see for themselves. But as we countdown to the launch of our LeafCanoe Kickstarter campaign, the biggest thing you can do is join the event on Facebook and share it with your friends. Spread the word and spread the excitement! Help us create a community of travelers. And most importantly, help us make LeafCanoe the best marketplace for travelers!

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Meet a Travel Expert: Amanda Tiffany of Gallivant Society

In the world of travel, becoming a travel expert is something that almost every traveler aspires to become. Travel experts know the secret spots in a particular locale, they are a wealth of knowledge when it comes to travel tips and advice, and they are always the ones with the most interesting stories to tell.

This week, we are highlighting travel expert, Amanda Tiffany, a nature lover and traveler extraordinaire. Amanda’s leaves, including “Explore the Untouched Beauty of Southern Belize” and “The Possibilities for Adventure are Endless in Cayo, Belize” all draw from her experiences living overseas and experiencing nature. Having lived and traveled abroad for many years, Amanda has plenty of stories to share with the LeafCanoe community.

Amanda pic 3

We recently caught up with Amanda, and asked her to share some of her travel experiences with us.

When and why did you start the Gallivant Society blog?
Gallivant Society was established last year in 2015. Right now it’s a side project that I hope will eventually lead to a full time, location independent source of income.

What do you look for when you travel?
When I travel the two big things I look for is nature and culture. I love hiking, spelunking, and scuba diving. Basically I’m up for any activity where I get to enjoy the great outdoors. For this reason, I can’t say I’m a city person. But I do love the diversity that cities provide. I truly enjoy trying new foods, visiting museums and other exhibits, and going to festivals that aren’t as readily available in small towns.

Amanda pic 4

What’s your travel motivation and goals?
My goal is to be able to work wherever my travels take me.

Wanderlust is a true affliction I suffer from. I have a strong desire to see everything and go everywhere. I’m always planning for the next trip. Even while I’m on holiday, the next adventure or 20 is already in the planning stages. My goal is to be a slow traveler. To me, this means I would like to live in a different location every few years, fully immersing myself in the local culture and experiences available. I enjoy really getting to know a place and the local people. Not that I’m opposed to the weekend blitz vacation, by any means.

Amanda

What has been your favorite travel memory so far?
This is a really hard question as every trip has its own unique set of memories. The most rewarding memory I have was volunteering in Belize for four years. I’m fluent in American Sign Language and worked with deaf individuals and their families, helping them to be able to communicate and interact better with each other. New Zealand, however, is by far the most beautiful memory I have so far. I spent two breathtaking weeks driving around the South Island in a caravan seeing the most indescribable beauty.

What leaves can we expect next from you?
I’m currently in Northern Michigan for the summer working on my ASA. I just spent a week in the Keweenaw Peninsula on a geology field study. Traverse City and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore are among a few of the gems Good Morning America voted to be the “The most beautiful place in America” in 2011. I would like to complete a series of guides from a local perspective so future visitors can enjoy Northern Michigan to its fullest.

Amanda pic 1

With experiences in Belize, New Zealand, and all throughout North America, Amanda is certainly quite the travel expert. If you love her nature-loving style of travel, check out the rest of her leaves on the LeafCanoe app, available for download at the App Store.

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Get To Know Your Travel Style

The wonderful thing about travel is how each experience can be unique and different. Just as each person is a unique individual, each traveler has their own travel style. With LeafCanoe, you can find leaves that suit all sorts of travel styles. From adventurous exploration in the outdoors, to a peaceful retreat on the beach, travel can be what you want it to be.

Over the past year, our expert LeafCanoers have created leaves that represent the wide spectrum of travel styles. If you’re looking for ideas for travel, they’re a great resource to start with. Take a look at these travel styles and see which one suits you the most.

Slow TravelDan McElroy
Do you enjoy living in the moment? Do you prefer to get to know a destination in depth, rather than moving quickly from one destination to another? For some travelers, going at a slower pace is the way to go. This means spending more time in a particular destination, and really understanding the ins and outs of that place. Or it can also mean using forms of transportation that aren’t as fast, such as cars or bikes. Dan McElroy from Searching for your Zen, knows this quite well. He spent several months road tripping around the United States, really taking the time to get to know the country. If you’re looking for travel experiences that showcase the ins and outs of a destination, check out some of his leaves, such as “Jaw Dropping Scenery at Glacier National Park” or “Washington DC – In A Day!

travel style

Budget TravelLaura Studen
If you’re not careful, travel can get pretty expensive, especially if you do a lot of flying overseas. Fortunately, travel doesn’t necessarily have to be pricey. If you love to travel but have limited resources, then you might fall under the category of a budget travelers. Budget travelers know how to get the most travel value out of what they have. Rather than staying at a luxury resort, they choose more simple accommodations like a hostel or a guest house. Instead of eating out every night, they occasionally cook dinners from home. And when it comes to choosing destinations, budget travelers will choose cheaper countries rather than more expensive ones. As a student, Lauren Studen, of Girl x Departure, has a lot of experience with budget travel, and her leaves focus on how to get the most out of a destination. Check out her leaves about Turkey, such as “10 Free Things to do in Istanbul” or her leaf about Bangkok called, “15 Things To Do in Bangkok.”

travel style

Intellectual TravelKathryn Damicone
Travel isn’t always just about the destination. For some travelers, it’s about learning the history of a place, or diving deep into the social and cultural aspects of that destination. Intellectual travelers enjoy the educational aspects of travel, the opportunity to enrich the mind with historical knowledge or a cultural context.  These are the type of travelers who will spend months learning the language before visiting a new place, or who will immerse themselves in the literature of a particular country. At the heart of it all is the desire to connect with other cultures. LeafCanoer, Kathryn Damicone, also known as SocioKathy, loves focusing on the human to human connections that comes with travel. Her leaves, such as “Destination Dresden” or “Maui’s Must See List,” focus a lot on cultural exploration, so typical for the intellectual traveler.

travel style

Adventure TravelDaijie Huang
On the other end of the spectrum is adventure travel. This type of travel is centered around people who love fast paced environments, and who love to test the limits of what their body can or cannot handle.  Adventure travel oven involves activities that are physically challenging or are in a unique location. Those who love adventure travel are happy when they are doing things such as climbing hills, ziplining through a forest, or riding ATVs through the sand dunes. LeafCanoer’s founder, Daijie Huang, has traveled to some very exciting travel destinations with her family, and for those with a more adventurous travel style, her leaves are the perfect travel inspiration. Check out her leaf, “Visit Machu Picchu,” or “18 Day Kenya Safari Itinerary” for some wanderlust worthy adventure travel ideas.

travel style

Pop-Culture TravelToni Frazer
Like the intellectual traveler, the pop-culture traveler doesn’t always focus on the destination. However if that destination is related to something in a movie or a tv show, than the pop-culture traveler is sure to seek it out. These types of travelers are the ones who like visiting a landmark because it was featured in a film. Or they enjoy creating trips that are inspired by a movie, book, or tv show.  LeafCanoer, Toni Frazer, of Enchanted Serendipity, loves visiting filming locations. Her leaf, “The Notebook Filming Locations” showcases several spots in North Carolina where the movie was filmed. Another leaf of hers, “Chicago, Illinois Filming Locations,” highlights filming locations of famous John Hughes movies.

travel style

Nature Travel – Amanda Tiffany
For some, the wonders of nature are what inspires them to travel. Nature travelers love exploring the natural surroundings of a destination. They are drawn to the beaches, the forests, the mountains, and lakes. They focus on the beauty that surrounds them in nature, and they love taking pictures to showcase this natural beauty. Amanda Tiffany from Gallivant Society, has plenty of experience with nature travel. Her leaves about Belize, such as “Explore the untouched beauty of Southern Belize” and “The possibilities for adventure are endless in Cayo, Belize,” all showcase the wonderful natural beauty that can be found during your travels.

travel style

Local TravelAstrid Vinje
Like the slow traveler, those who enjoy local travel often opt to get to know one particular destination really well, rather than hopping from one destination to another. For the local traveler, the focus is on taking the time to live like one of the locals. Local travelers love activities such as cooking classes or city tours, because it gives them a chance to really get to know the local culture. They also enjoy doing activities like visiting a local park, or going to the city market. LeafCanoer, Astrid Vinje, of The Wandering Daughter, loves exploring the local scene during her travels. Check out her leaves such as “A Tasty Tour of Seattle” or “Day Trips From Seattle” for ideas on local travel.

travel style

Responsible TravelLaura Fairbourn
Traveling the world brings with it a sense of social responsibility. Many travelers want more from their travels than just seeing the tourist sites. They want to leave the world better than when they found it. For the responsible traveler, travel is about making sure that your activities do not have a negative impact on the environment or the cultures of the places you visit. They love doing volunteer activities, and are drawn to destinations that exemplify sustainable travel. For LeafCanoer, Laura Fairbourn, of Grassroots Nomad, travel is about having a positive impact on the world. Her leaves, “Petra” and “Savamala Street Art – Belgrade,” offer a unique perspective to travel that focuses on understanding the local culture and history.

travel style

Every traveler has their own unique travel style, and LeafCanoe has a leaf for almost every type of travel style imaginable.  Some of the travel styles not highlighted here include luxury travel, which focus on staying at luxury resorts and pampering yourself on your travels, and food travel, which seeks out to find the very best meal.

If you’re looking for inspiration on where to travel next, think about your travel style, and follow one of our LeafCanoe experts! If you want to become an expert, check out our expert program!

To get started on exploring the different travel styles, download the LeafCanoe app.

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Jumping Into Local Culture: An Interview with Lauren Studen

For most people, travel is the perfect way to explore another place. No matter what the destination, travel affords us the opportunity to experience the local culture, to get out of our comfort zone and try something new and different. At the very least, it gives us a chance to step into another life, even if it is momentary.

Here at LeafCanoe, we love talking to other travelers and hearing about why they travel. Recently, we chatted with LeafCanoer, Lauren Studen, who writes about her travels on the blog, “Girl x Departure.” Lauren is a student living and studying in Istanbul, and writes about her experiences traveling abroad. She also has some great reviews of destinations and hotels in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, and provides plenty of helpful tips and resources to get you started on your own travels. Lauren’s blog has been featured on other blogs, including Tripoto and Perrero Travel. She certainly has a lot to share when it comes to travel!

local culture

In addition, Lauren has written several great leaves on the LeafCanoe app, including her most recent one, “15 Things to do in Bangkok.” In it, she shares her suggestions for temples to see and things to do, as well as the perfect place to get the best view of the city or the best street food. It’s a great leaf to refer to for anyone interested in a trip to Bangkok.

When we reached out to Lauren, we wanted to hear about what it that is she loves about travel, and how she experiences the local culture during her travels. Here’s a snippet of our interview:

When did you start to travel and get the travel bug?
I started traveling as a child due to my multinational background (my mom is from Poland and my dad is from Serbia), but I really got the travel bug after living a year abroad in the US at the age of 16.

What do you look for when you travel?
I love to get a sense of how the people actually live in their countries. I try to have a local experience by trying the country’s foods, exploring local spots and learning about their culture.

local culture

How many countries have you visited, which one is your favorite and why?
I’ve been to probably 18 countries and it’s so hard to pick a favorite. I think I have to go with Thailand and Turkey. Both countries have amazing landscapes, the nicest locals and delicious food!

What’s the most amazing travel experience you have had so far?
I really loved flying in a hot air balloon over the otherworldly scenery of Cappadocia in Turkey, bathing an elephant in Thailand, swimming with dolphins in the Red Sea and living abroad in the US and Istanbul.

What leaves can we expect next from you?
Definitely leaves about my hometown Berlin and my current location Istanbul.

We loved the insight that Lauren gave us about experiencing as much of the local culture as possible. This is most certainly the best way to learn about any country that you’re visiting. Besides her leaf about Bangkok, Lauren also has a leaf called “10 Free Things To Do in Istanbul,” as well as “Things To Do In Cappadocia, Turkey.” In these leaves, she gives us plenty of helpful suggestions to experience Turkey when you’re on a budget, as well as beautiful pictures to fuel your wanderlust for travel. To read more about these leaves, check out our posts, “How to Explore Istanbul for Free” and “The Best Way to Experience Cappadocia.”

local culture

Ready to do your own exploring? Download the LeafCanoe app to get more ideas of how to experience the local culture in your next travel destination.

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Pamper Yourself With Luxury Travel Experiences

Nothing says vacation like traveling in style, being pampered and waited on while you kick up your legs and relax. This type of travel, also known as luxury travel, is a growing travel trend, and with strengthening economies in countries throughout the world, it is no longer limited to only a select few.

These days, luxury travel is theoretically available to anyone … as long as they are willing to pay. Prices for many of these experiences can be pretty steep, but for what you receive, they are most certainly worth the price. There are a number of ways to experience luxury travel. Here are our top five picks.

Fly first class
The epitome of luxury travel is flying first class. Some of the airlines that offer the best first class experiences include Emirates Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airways. Standard perks include seats that recline fully into a bed, touch screen TV, and even your own set of pajamas. Both airlines also offer your own private room, so you can fly in comfort and privacy. Cathay Pacific also provides hand-prepared meals and wine. Now that’s traveling in style, albeit at a price of $20,000 to $36,000 a flight!

luxury travel

Go on a safari
For a more adventurous travel experience, consider going on a safari. Today’s luxury safari companies offer accommodations that are far from rustic, at prices ranging from $500 to $1,200 per night. From the Lake Manyara Tree Lodge in Tanzania, that provides luxury tree houses with free-standing bathtubs, to the Royal Malewane in South Africa, whose safari camps include private infinity pools and personal butlers, these places will give you a taste of the glamorous side of Africa.

luxury travel

Take a cruise
If you prefer not to stay on land, how about taking a cruise? Luxury cruises let you travel to exotic locales, in regions like the Mediterranean and South America, all while enjoying the comforts and style of first class travel. Cruisers can enjoy amenities like spas, personal butlers, and even private dining. Some of the top luxury cruise companies include Regent, which offers all-inclusive fares, Paul Gauguin, whose ships feature all cabins and suites with an ocean view, and Crystal Cruises, known for their impeccable service. When you do go, expect to pay around $500 to $1,200 a night for your cruise experience.

luxury travel

Dine in style
If a literal taste of luxury is what you’re after, then why not head to a luxury restaurant? For many travelers, the best part of travel is experiencing the food, and when you’re doing luxury travel, the food can definitely define your experience. Places like El Celler De Can Roca (in Girona, Spain), Osteria Francescana (in Modena, Italy), and Noma (in Copenhagen, Denmark), have all been named some of the top restaurants in the world. These places experiment with food in ways that are sure to provide you with an unforgettable gastronomic experience. Expect to pay at least $200 to $500 a meal for this luxury experience.

luxury travel

Book a private jet
By far the best way to engage in luxury travel is to hire a private jet. This offers you the freedom and convenience to travel to virtually any place in the world, at any time you want. Plus, you don’t have to deal with long lines at airport security! Private jet charters can run from $4,000 to $18,000, depending on the length of the trip. A common alternative is to hire a private jet for an around the world trip. These trips can range anywhere from $129,000 per person, to upwards of $700,000 per person.

luxury travel

If you’re interested in seeing what other LeafCanoers are saying about luxury travel, check out “A Few Kid Friendly Activities in Las Vegas” by hengli, or “Sleepless in Seattle: Baltimore and NYC” by tonifrazer. Or you can download the LeafCanoe app to post your own suggestions and experiences for luxury travel.

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Dare to Explore! Six Extreme Travel Destinations

For those who follow travel, extreme travel is fast becoming one of the most popular travel trends in recent years. As people are becoming more exposed to the world around them, there is a growing need for travelers to seek out the undiscovered places or test their limits.

extreme travel

We at LeafCanoe are all about seeking out and sharing unique travel experiences. For us, extreme travel fits the bill for an experience that is unique and worthy of sharing. Here are our picks for extreme travel destinations.

Petra
This ancient city in Jordan is high on the list of places to visit for many adventurous travelers. Characterized by its buildings carved directly into the sandstone rock, Petra personifies the idea of extreme with its location in the desert, with rugged canyons and mountains. Petra is considered a UNESCO World Heritage site, and is a great destination for travel buffs. For more ideas about what to see in Petra, check out the leaf, “Petra,” by LeafCanoer, grassrootsnomad. You can also read our blog post about Petra, called “Six Reasons to Visit the Ancient City of Petra.”

petra-376205_1280

Antarctica
Nothing can be more extreme than the South Pole. With temperatures that can drop down to -80 degrees Celsius, and no indigenous cultures that exist in the area, Antarctica can be quite the difficult place to be. Yet, despite the hardships, people still visit Antarctica, fueled by their desire to witness nature at its most extreme. For those wanting to visit Antarctica, the best option is to go through one of the many cruise companies that travel there. But travelers, be warned! These cruises do not come cheap, with prices ranging from $3,000 for budget cruises, to upwards of $20,000 and beyond for luxury ones.

extreme travel

Iguazu Falls
For another taste of nature at its extreme, visit Iguazu Falls, the world’s largest waterfalls, located in South America. Iguazu Falls is part of the Iguazu River, which forms a border between Argentina and Brazil. The falls are approximately 2.7km in length. A number of little islands dot the edge of the falls, which help to form smaller separate falls and cataracts. The falls are accessible by either going through Brazil or Argentina.

extreme travel

Machu Picchu 
If you’re in the mood for some adventurous hiking, set your sights on Machu Picchu. Located in the mountains of Chile, a visit to this ancient Incan city is a great way to test your endurance and strength. Many of the buildings at Machu Picchu no longer stand, but there are plenty of the ruins to explore. For ideas on what to do in Machu Picchu, check out LeafCanoer, daijie’s leaf, “Visit Machu Picchu.” You can also look at our blog post on Machu Picchu, titled “Out of the Box Travels: Explore Machu Picchu.”

machu-picchu-588634_1920

The Himalayas
These mountains, spanning across India, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, and Pakistan, are a great starting off point to exploring the region. Many visitors come to the Himalayas to climb its peaks, the most popular of which is named Mount Everest. But the sheer beauty of the landscape is worth explore on its own, despite its close proximity to Mount Everest.

extreme travel

El Capitan
For the avid climber, El Capitan is the ultimate test of your climbing skills. Essentially a veritcal piece of rock, El Capitan is one of the most challenging mountains to climb, and few climbers have been able to complete it. The mountain, which rises almost 1km from the ground, is located in Yosemite National Park in California, and is visited by dozens of tourists each year.

extreme travel

Although extreme travel has been gaining in popularity and interest, it is more than just staying on top of the latest travel trend. For many, extreme travel is a way of life. It has the potential to shape who you are, and can help make your travel more meaningful and enriching.

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Monetize Your Travels With the Expert Program

Have you ever wondered how you can earn money through your travel stories? With the new Expert Program on LeafCanoe, you will soon have the ability to monetize your travels. The new program is set to launch in November 2016, but LeafCanoers have the opportunity to sign up early and start earning money sooner.  Share what you know about the world, and get money for it. That sounds like a pretty great combination!

monetize your travels

What it’s all about
As travelers, we all love sharing stories and tips about our travels. The LeafCanoe app is the perfect outlet for travelers to share their experiences, because it allows them to record and share their travels directly on their phone, where ever they may be. But the LeafCanoe app is also a great resource for travelers looking for ideas for places to visit. In a sense, each leaf is like a mini travel guide that travelers can refer to from anywhere in the world. It can serve as a valuable resource for travelers to really understand a new place like a local.

But not all leaves are created equal. We here at LeafCanoe have found that some LeafCanoers go above and beyond to create leaves that provide great insights and information on a particular destination. And it’s time we start rewarding them for that effort.

monetize your travels

How it Works
With the launch of the Expert Program, LeafCanoers can sign up to become experts, and provide premium smart guides for the app. These smart guides are full of information and advanced functions that users can pay to unlock. This new program is tied to our upcoming Kickstarter campaign to allow backers to pre-purchase smart guides. Those who sign up now as experts will have the opportunity to create smart guides and start earning from them before the official launch of the program.

How Much Will Experts Earn?
The virtual currency for LeafCanoe are flowers. With the new Expert Program, users will need to spend flowers to unlock additional information found in the smart guides. Each unlock is worth $1, and experts will earn $0.70 for every unlock. During the Kickstarter campaign, only backers will be able to unlock smart guides, but once the Expert Program is officially launched at the end of 2016, all users will able to unlock by spending flowers.

For experts, this is a great opportunity to make as little or as much as you want from your leaves. The more opportunities for unlocking you provide in your smart guides, the more you can potentially earn.

monetize your travels

How To Sign Up
Signing up for the Expert Program is easy to do and can be done right now. To get started, go to the LeafCanoe home page and click the “Work With Us” link. You can then scroll to the bottom of the page to fill out the enrollment form. You will need to provide information such as your email and social media profiles in order to enroll.

Once enrolled, you can start creating your smart guides. From now until April 24th, you will need to create three smart guides and post them to the LeafCanoe app. For tips on how to create a leaf, refer to our post, “How to Create the Best-Ever Leaf on LeafCanoe.”

monetize your travels

Once you’ve posted your smart guides, you will need to let our team know, in order for them to review your leaves. Notification can be done by sharing the leaf on the LeafCanoe app and tagging @GoLeafCanoe on Twitter or @LeafCanoe on Facebook. If the LeafCanoe team loves your smart guides, you will be entitled as a LeafCanoe expert, and you can start earning money for your leaves!

It’s now easier than ever to monetize your travels. With the new Expert Program at LeafCanoe, you can earn money by sharing your travel expertise to your fellow travelers. Think of it as being rewarded for helping someone out.

monetize your travels

Ready to get started? Sign up to be an expert today!

To learn more about the Expert Program, visit the LeafCanoe website for more details.

And if you aren’t on LeafCanoe yet, download the LeafCanoe app to get started on sharing your travel stories.

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Five Ultimate Mountain Town Retreats in America

For those who live in the city, the mountains offer the perfect place to take a retreat. Out among the hills, you can fully take in nature with a hike, a bike ride, or even a climb. Fortunately for the mountain lover, the United States has a number of beautiful mountains and mountain ranges, from the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachian Mountains. These places are perfect for the ultimate mountain town retreat.

mountain town retreats

Leafcanoer, Kim Fish, recently posted about her visit to Gatlinburg, TN in the leaf titled, “Gatlinburg: The Gateway to the Smokey Mountains.” It’s full of interesting tid bits about the area, as well as tips and tricks related to travel in Gatlinburg.

If you are looking for a place to spend a mountain retreat, we’ve compiled a list of five of the ultimate mountain town retreats in the United States.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee
The town of Gatlinburg is undoubtedly the quintessential American mountain town. Located 39 miles southeast of Knoxville, the town is a common starting off point for a visit to the Great Smoky Mountains. Gatlinburg has a number of popular attraction including a Ripley’s museum, as well as Dolly Parton’s Dollywood, located near the town.

mountain town retreats

Taos, New Mexico
In the heart of the New Mexican desert is a mountain town like no other. The mountain town of Taos offers a beautiful setting and a thriving community for artists. Near the modern town of Taos is a traditional Native American Pueblo that has been occupied for over a thousand years. Visitors can come to Taos Pueblo and learn about traditional Native American culture, as well as catch a glimpse of how life is like in a pueblo.

mountain town retreats

Estes Park, Colorado
Colorado in general is an excellent place to spend a mountain retreat. But the town of Estes Park is by far the most beautiful and most popular among visitors to the Rocky Mountains. One of the highlights of the Estes Park is the historic Stanley Hotel, which offers panoramic views of Lake Estes, and was also the location for the famous horror movie, The Shining.

mountain town retreats

Stowe, Vermont
The town of Stowe offers a number of picturesque views. In addition, it is a popular spot for arts and craft shows, festivals, and car shows such as the British Invasion, a showcase of British cars held annually in the month of September. Stowe is a known for its skiing, and some of the points of interest in the town include the Trapp Family Lodge, owned by the famous von Trapp family, and the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum.

mountain town retreats

Leavenworth, Washington
For a quirky mountain town experience, head to Leavenworth, a mountain town with a decidedly Bavarian feel. The town of Leavenworth was officially incorporated in 1906, but it wasn’t until 1962 that members of the community decided to give the town a Bavarian theme. Since then, many of the buildings have been remodeled to resemble a German town in the Alps, and Leavenworth now hosts an annual Oktoberfest celebration. It’s also home to the Nutcracker Museum, which holds a large collection of nutcrackers. The perfect time to visit Leavenworth is actually in the winter, when the whole town is decked out in holiday decorations.

mountain town retreats

No matter where you are in the world, sometimes it’s nice to take a retreat into the mountains to reconnect with nature. In mythology, mountains symbolize strength and stability, and spending time in the mountains can certainly help you channel your own strength and stability. With these five ultimate mountain town retreats, the mountain experience is now well within your reach.

Looking to discover your own perfect mountain town retreat? Download the LeafCanoe app for more travel ideas and inspiration.

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Eight Amazing Thailand Destinations to Put on Your Radar

When most travelers think of Thailand destinations, the places that often come to mind are Ko Samui, Chiang Mai, or Phuket. In actuality, the land of smiles has a lot more to offer than just these three destinations. LeafCanoer, Kim Fish, recently shared her experiences traveling to Nong Khai in her leaf titled, “A Weekend in Nong Khai.” She describes how there is so much more to explore in Thailand, when you’re willing to go off the beaten path.

Thailand destinations

Like Kim Fish, we believe there is so much more to see in Thailand than just the top three destinations. Here are our picks for eight amazing Thailand destinations that you should put on your radar:

Nong Khai
The city of Nong Khai lies in the north-eastern part of Thailand, along the Mekong River. Since local legend speaks of giant serpents, called nagas, inhagiting the Mekong River, Nong Khai is often known as the Naga City. Nong Khai is also located close to the Laos-Thailand border, and a popular attraction is the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge, which spans the Mekong into Laos.

Isan
The north eastern region of Isan, of which Nong Khai is a part, is worth spending a few days exploring. The region contains 20 provinces, making Isan the largest region in Thailand. The culture of the region is greatly influenced by Thailand’s neighboring country, Laos, and the region is most known for its indigenous folk music and food, which is quite distinct from the more commonly found central Thai cuisine.

Thailand destinations

Kanchanaburi
Moving down to the western part of Thailand, you will find the town of Kanchanaburi, which sits 123 kilometers west of Bangkok. There is a lot of history associated with Kanchanaburi. The town is known as the birthplace of the Buddhist monk, Phrabhavanaviriyakhun. But more notably, it is the site of the Burma Railway, also known as the Death Railway. This railway, which also consists of a bridge, was built under the orders of the Japanese, who controlled the town in 1942.

Krabi
Further south along the western coast is the town of Krabi. Several national parks are found near Krabi, and its proximity to at least 80 smaller islands makes it a popular destination for yachters, scuba divers, and snorklers. Nearby Ko Lanta National Park has a number of well-known diving sites. Kayaking and sailing are also popular activities for visitors to Krabi.

Sukhothai
Another popular historic place to visit is the town of Sukhothai, which was the capital of the first Kingdom of Siam in the 1200s and 1300s. The name Sukhothai means “dawn of happiness” in Sanskrit, and is well worth a visit for its historic temples and monuments. The town has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1991.

Thailand destinations

Koh Lipe
If you’re looking for the perfect island experience, skip Phuket and Ko Samui, and head over to Koh Lipe. Located along the Andaman Coast in southern Thailand, Koh Lipe features beautiful beaches with clear and calm shallow water. It is still relatively unknown among tourists. Sea Gypsies occupy part of the island, so you can get a taste of the sea faring culture that permeates throughout this region.

Ko Chang
If a more remote and rustic experience is more to your liking, then visit the island of Ko Chang, also known as Elephant Island. The second largest island in Thailand, Ko Chang has a wide range of wildlife living on its shores, including snakes, birds, deer, and of course, elephants. Jungle hiking is a popular activity, as well as snorkeling and diving.

Trang Islands
CNN recently named the Trang Islands the next big island-hopping destination for Thailand, and it’s not hard to see why. With crystal clear waters and a number of small resorts popping up throughout the islands, the Trang Islands can be a nice retreat for those wanting to get off the beaten path. Islands within this island chain include Koh Libong, Koh Mook, Koh Kradan, and Koh Ngai.

Thailand destinations

These eight under-the-radar Thailand destinations are the perfect places to have an amazing traveling experience. Since the country is still relatively inexpensive to travel around, you can easily have a world class adventure for a fraction of the price. Travel is about stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new. These Thailand destinations can help you do just that.

Wanting to learn more about Nong Khai and other destinations in Southeast Asia? Download the LeafCanoe app.

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How to Write the Best-Ever Leaf on LeafCanoe

For a traveler, the LeafCanoe app is one of the best apps you can have in your back pocket. With user-generated content, you can have access to first hand experiences of other travelers in the destinations you’re interested in. And if you’re a traveler who wants to share an experience in a destination with other travelers, LeafCanoe is the perfect medium to do this. In a way, LeafCanoe is like the hostel lounge for the digital age, serving as a place for exchanging travel experiences.

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But not all leaves are created equal. Some are more helpful and informative than others. If you’re struggling to create leaves that make an impression, have no fear. Here are some tips to help you create a high quality leaf on LeafCanoe.

Share something unique
People want to hear about the interesting things you’ve done on your travels, so make sure your leaf is about something unique. If you’re writing a leaf about New York City, avoid simply writing about the tourist destinations. Instead, take the time to explore and share some of the off-the-beaten-path destinations like Greenwich Village or East Village. Or, you can make a theme for your leaf, like what LeafCanoer, travelfreak, did in his leaf, “The Ultimate Guide to Eating and Drinking in NYC“.

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Use photos that entice
In this day and age, the cameras on our smart phones are just as powerful as regular cameras. So why not use it to your advantage? Take some great photos of the destinations you are visiting, and use it on your leaf. People are drawn to visual stimulation, and a wonderfully shot photograph will help draw interest to your leaf, as well as provide a much better picture of what your experience was like. Make sure your photos are edited to your preference before uploading them to the LeafCanoe app.

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It’s all in the details
A good quality leaf is one that provides a lot of details about a particular destination. Travelers who are reading your leaf want to know the things that make a place special, so go ahead and provide those details. Is there a particular museum that is open only at certain times of day? Mention it in the description. Are there perfect spots to catch the sunset in a particular city? Share them in your leaf. Your fellow travelers love hearing about these insider tips.

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Location, location, location
Just like in real estate, location is everything. In the case of the LeafCanoe app, it’s more about putting down an accurate destination for your leaf. Since part of LeafCanoe’s functionality includes a map feature for you to pinpoint exactly where your leaf took place, it’s important to be as accurate as you can about the physical destination on the map.

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Get personal
The most important aspect of a high quality leaf is the personal aspect. Rather than provide a generic description of a place, get personal. Explain why that place is significant to you. Describe a funny moment that occurred in that place. Share some tips that you picked up while visiting that place. Give other travelers a sense of your personality.

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The LeafCanoe app is fast becoming one of the go-to apps for travelers. With its use of crowd-sourced information, it can prove to be quite a powerful tool, both for researching destinations and sharing stories about your travels. With the tips provided here, you are now well on your way to creating the best-ever leaves on LeafCanoe, ones that will serve as valuable resources for travelers in years to come.

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Ready to get started on your own leaf? Download the LeafCanoe app and start sharing your experiences with the LeafCanoe community.

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