The 10 Most Unfriendly Cities in America 2015

When people talk about travel, a lot of the discussion will focus on the best places to travel—and there are certain places that rank high on the list of great places to visit. But what about places that are, according to some, better avoided by curious travelers? These 10 cities are considered to be some of the unfriendliest places in the U.S., best avoided by novice and casual travelers. Despite their reputations, however, these places still have their charms—which are left to the intrepid explorer to tease out.

10. Baltimore, MD

Located virtually right next to the District, Baltimore is sometimes characterized as being something of a bedroom community for those who work in the nation’s capital. Baltimore also struggles in the tourism arena since it has to compete directly against the sights of DC, with its museums and numerous other attractions. The city’s downtown core has begun to fall into disrepair and other key cultural attractions, such as the Inner Harbor shopping area, are beginning to deteriorate. Nonetheless, Baltimore offers travelers opportunities to take in Orioles baseball games, visit the Visionary Art Museum or go sailing on Chesapeake Bay. Some suggest that, like other “unfriendly” American cities, Baltimore is best enjoyed with someone who knows the area well—whether a friend who has visited before or a local who knows the city like the back of their hand.

grafitti ally Baltimore

9. Los Angeles, CA

The City of Angels is probably one of the most hyped cities in America, but plenty of travelers find this destination overrated. The city is swathed in smog and the streets are dirty and crowded. The culture is variously described as being “plastic” and “snobbish,” with too many people getting caught up in the bright lights of Hollywood—and too many businesses willing to cater to would-be starlets and star-struck fans. Let’s not even get started on the congested roadways—some of the worst in the U.S.—and the aggressive drivers that clog the city’s arteries. (Public transit is considered a sketchy-at-best alternative.) And while it might sound almost cliché or even borderline hipster, LA is rich in rewards for those who go looking: getting off the beaten path or garnering advice from locals will yield the city’s hidden gems to the discerning traveler.

View Apart / Shutterstock.com
View Apart / Shutterstock.com

8. Reno, NV

Reno, the capital of Nevada, is usually ignored in favor of the bright lights of the state’s Sin City, Las Vegas. The two metropolises are virtually on top of each other. People looking to stay somewhere quieter and cheaper than Vegas might think Reno is a great option for that reason—it’s not Vegas, but still offers easy access—but they might be sorely disappointed if they think Reno is just a discount Vegas. Those who hit the casinos should be prepared to feel the city is “old” and “tired,” despite ongoing revitalization efforts. If you want to enjoy Reno, skip the lure of the slots and get outdoors: the city’s proximity to the mountains offers plenty of recreational opportunities for hiking and kayaking, among other activities. There are also plenty of golf courses around, so hit the greens instead of the card tables.

Reno Nevada

7. The Hamptons, NY

The Hamptons have been enjoying a higher profile thanks to the likes of celebrities such as the Kardashians—but that should immediately tell you one thing about this vacation spot. Once a favorite among old money, the Hamptons have become the go-to vacation location for the “nouveau riche.” That means you need to have money to burn if you want to get anywhere near the Hamptons. During the summer, restaurants and accommodations will be booked and busy, and travelers have begun to decry the “see-and-be-seen” atmosphere that now pervades the area. If you want to avoid the snobbish crowd—and paying top dollar—book your trip during the off-season, when the beaches will be deserted and you can revel in the area’s natural beauty, instead of bumping elbows with superficial beauty queens.

Photo by: Montauk Blue Hotel
Photo by: Montauk Blue Hotel

6. New Haven, CT

One might think that New Haven, as home to one of the country’s Ivy League schools, would land on the list of “unfriendly” cities for being too much like the Hamptons—rich and snobby. Unfortunately, despite Yale’s presence, much of New Haven suffers from stark poverty, which has led to plenty of rough neighborhoods and a reputation as an unsafe place. Some have even commented on the sharp contrasts between the rich at Yale and the poor in the rest of the city. Still, visiting Yale’s historic campus can be a great starting point for a trip to New Haven. The “nine squares” are home to museums, theaters and stunning architecture. The campus is also renowned for its restaurant scene, which is a far cry from the run-of-the-mill cafeterias you’ll find on so many university campuses.

Yale New Haven

5. Boston, MA

Beantown might be rich in history and culture, but the citizens are rich in something else apparently: rudeness. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, really, since Bostonians have always had something of a reputation as being a little snobbish, something that actually stems from their city’s long history and importance as a cultural center. Even though Boston’s given way to cities like New York and LA as the cultural leaders in the U.S., the Athens of America still likes to think of itself as a more sophisticated alternative. There’s no denying the history that still lines the streets here, though, and you can find local artists at the Greenway Open Market every Saturday from May to October. If studying history works up an appetite, you can grab a bite at any one of the city’s many gourmet eateries.

fmua / Shutterstock.com
fmua / Shutterstock.com

4. Detroit, MI

Detroit has always had a bit of a reputation as something of a “rough” city; Motor City was historically full of blue-collar workers and a mixed population. Lately, though, things have been even worse in Detroit, with the bankrupt city cutting services and jobs migrating elsewhere. Abandoned houses have sold for as little as a dollar. In this climate, it seems little wonder that Detroit ranks as one of the unfriendliest places in the U.S. Despite this, Detroit still attracts plenty of sports enthusiasts, as it is the home of the Lions, the Red Wings and the Tigers. Those who know their way around or are willing to do their research will find a thriving culture, one where plenty of restaurants and shops are opening their doors to unique experiences in this post-industrial destination.

LouLouPhotos / Shutterstock.com
LouLouPhotos / Shutterstock.com

3. Seattle, WA

Portland, Oregon, might now be the epicenter of snobbish coffee culture and the mecca for hipsters, but Seattle still ranks high on the list. The home of coffee giant Starbucks, Seattle is also home to a number of indie cafes and microbreweries, as well as a center for foodies, locavores and others who rebel against corporate consumerism. All that can mean that the locals can seem stand-offish or rude, especially if you ask them where the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts is. While it’s easy to get the brush-off for being too “mainstream,” you’ll find Seattle natives are passionate about their interests—and more than happy to share. If you’re looking for something off the beaten path, ask them for recommendations about the city’s best and most unique, and you’ll quickly see a different side.

Pike Market Seattle

2. Oakland, CA

A second entry from California, Oakland still hasn’t shaken the bad rap it earned in the late 20th century as a hub for crime. The East Bay city is perhaps one of the most notorious in the country and that alone is enough to keep most people away; the fact that crime rates are still high provides further incentive. The city is working hard to shed its “bad boy” image, however, introducing First Fridays in Uptown and offering support to the city’s exploding arts and culture scene. Temescal Alley is considered one of the hippest parts of the city, featuring a number of one-of-a-kind local shops (like a retro barbershop), and the restaurant scene has been experiencing a new vibrancy. Some have even suggested Oakland might be the new Portland, Oregon.

Oakland California

1. Newark, NJ

Almost nobody goes to Newark, New Jersey, willingly. The area is a stop on a lot of travelers’ itineraries where they wait for connecting flights, maybe weathering an overnight stop before continuing on. Despite being a major travel hub, an easy connection to New York and a city with its own draws (like the Prudential Center and the New Jersey Center for the Performing Arts), Newark is used by most travelers as a stopover to other destinations—seemingly for good reason. Newark has plenty of rough neighborhoods, so visitors need to be wary when they’re out and about, and the city itself is characterized by some as being dirty or even trashy. Despite this, Newark can be a pricey destination, partially because so much traffic does come through from New York and the airport.

LEE SNIDER PHOTO IMAGES / Shutterstock.com
LEE SNIDER PHOTO IMAGES / Shutterstock.com

The 10 Busiest US Airports at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a crazy time for Americans, they take this holiday seriously, sometimes even more so than Christmas. Like the more holly-jolly holiday, Thanksgiving is about taking time to share a meal and be with family and friends, but since Americans are pretty spread out, this often requires a quick (or maybe not so quick) flight. If you’re lucky enough to live within driving distance of your family, you can sit back and smile at the rest of this article, taking satisfaction in the fact that you won’t be one of the millions who must brave the following 10 busiest airports over Thanksgiving (as reported by Orbitz travel data):

10. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International -Atlanta, Georgia

2015 marks the first year that Atlanta’s international airport has landed on the ‘most busy’ list for the Thanksgiving travel period and with travel during this holiday period up an estimated 6% over last year, Hartsfield is likely to stay in the top 10 for a while.

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

9. Dallas-Fort Worth International -Dallas, Texas

Another newcomer to the top 10 list, Dallas-Fort Worth is sure to see its infrastructure put through a pressure test. Recent years have seen more than two million passengers served by this airport during the entire Thanksgiving holiday period.

Frontpage / Shutterstock.com
Frontpage / Shutterstock.com

8. Newark Liberty International -Newark, New Jersey

New Jersey’s Newark airport is a frenzy of activity on a good day, let alone one of the busiest travel times of the year. Last year during the entire month of November, Newark saw a total of nine million travelers through its doors and this year that number is only going to rise.

EQRoy / Shutterstock.com
EQRoy / Shutterstock.com

7. Orlando International -Orlando, Florida

Orlando airport is also making its debut on the top 10 list and enters as the 7th most busy airport in America for the Thanksgiving travel period. Perhaps with air fares dropping, more travelers are taking advantage of visiting relatives in the country’s warmer southern states.

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

6. John F. Kennedy International -New York, New York

New Yorkers have a bit of a reputation for being impatient but for those that plan to travel through JFK airport during Thanksgiving should expect to have to wait, and wait, and wait. JFK is the 6th busiest airport in the country for this travel period, so maybe opt for LaGuardia instead since it’s not in the top 10 list.

Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com
Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com

5. Boston Logan International -Boston, Massachusetts

Be prepared for delays and make sure your travel plans are somewhat flexible if you’re using Boston’s Logan airport this Thanksgiving. Previous years on-time data for this travel period show that only about 30% of all flights into the airport land on-time.

Leena Robinson / Shutterstock.com
Leena Robinson / Shutterstock.com

4. Denver International -Denver, Colorado

Of all the new additions to this years top 10 list, Denver International Airport makes the biggest splash as it enters the charts as the 4th busiest in the country. Last year the airport released a statement of “Tips for Navigating Denver International Airport This Thanksgiving Holiday” advising travelers to bring carry-on luggage only, arrive hours early and check-in online ahead of time. All pretty much common sense.

Arina P Habich / Shutterstock.com
Arina P Habich / Shutterstock.com

3. San Francisco International -San Francisco, California

With a total of 38.8 million residents no one should be surprised to see a California airport on this list. One way that San Francisco airport is helping passengers cope with the stress of holiday travel is with their Yoga Room in Terminal 2. The Yoga Room offers complimentary mats and pillows so passengers can chill and get a little more aligned while waiting for their flights.

Photo by: Altego
Photo by: Altego

2. Chicago O’Hare International -Chicago, Illinois

Chicago’s O’Hare International airport is going to be the second busiest in the country during Thanksgiving, but this airport has taken into consideration the fact that Thanksgiving is all about family time, meaning lots of children are going to be taking to the skies as well. Families can enjoy the Kids on the Fly play area inside Terminal 2 which features child-sized model planes and an air traffic control tower to keep them occupied while awaiting departure.

Photo by: Visit Flyover Country
Photo by: Visit Flyover Country

1. Los Angeles International -Los Angeles, California

The number one busiest airport in the country for Thanksgiving will be none other than LAX, and this probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise, however this airport has taken a creative approach to helping passengers cope with the stress. LAX PUPS which stands for Pets Unstressing Passengers is a dog therapy program where dogs and handlers are positioned at various gates to give love to stressed out travelers. Because after all, who can resist those puppy eyes.

Photo by: LA Times
Photo by: LA Times

10 Foods That Make the State  

Every single one of the American States has its own quirky food scene and signature dish. Whether you are devouring a fresh lobster roll or chewing on a piece of saltwater taffy; these foods all have a history that ties them to a particular state. From the west coast to the east, from delectable marionberry pies to the famous Louisiana gumbo; these 10 foods and states go hand in hand, and it wouldn’t be a visit to any of these states without trying these foods.

10. Marionberry Pie, Oregon

Zigzag Mountain Art / Shutterstock

This hybrid berry is responsible for this awesome pie that Oregon is so greatly known for. The Marion blackberry, marketed as the marionberry is a cross between the ‘Chehalem’ and ‘Olallie’ blackberry and was developed by the USDA ARS breeding program in cooperation with Oregon State University. The berry has somewhat of a tart flavor, larger, sweeter, and juicier compared with an evergreen blackberry. Oregon produces between 28 million and 33 million pounds annually of these berries and the result is some incredible pies. There are thousands of recipes out there for these pies but the best have been handed down generations and every year at the State Fair there is a Marionberry Pie Contest. Many people are now adding cream cheese to the pie in addition to the berry filling, to add a little something extra. It wouldn’t be a trip to Oregon without filling your belly with at least one slice of this delicious pie.

9. Philly Cheese Steak, Pennsylvania

wsmahar / Getty Images

The Philly cheese steak is a passionately defended local institution, and rightfully so as this gooey sandwich is absolutely delicious. The cheesesteak was developed in the early 20th century but the identity of the inventor and exact process is the subject of spirited debate but Philadelphians Pat and Harry Olivieri are often credited with inventing the sandwich by serving chopped steak on an Italian roll in the early 1930s. Today the sandwich consists of a crusty roll filled with juicy thin-sliced beef and topped with fried onions, peppers, and Cheez Whiz. The best two places to get yourself one of these amazing sandwiches are either Pat’s King of Steaks or its rival Geno’s, they have been across-the-street rivals for nearly 50 years.

8. Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, Illinois

Morten Falch Sortland / Getty Images

Whoever invented deep-dish pizza, we wish they were alive today so we could give them a big old hug, or at least a high five. It was the year 1943 when this style of pizza was invented. Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo opened Pizzeria Uno in Chicago’s North Side neighborhood and served up a new style of pizza with a deeper dish, crunchier crust, and inverted layers. The deep-dish style pizza was invented and Chicago and the rest of the American world never looked back. What exactly goes into this process though? The cake-like pan in which the pizza is cooked is first coated in olive oil and then topped with a flour dough mixture. Before hitting the oven, a layer of sliced mozzarella is covered with vegetables and meats, typically Italian sausage, and then topped with a sweet layer of crushed tomatoes. The inverted layers of ingredients prevent the cheese from burning, while the meat, vegetables, sauce, and crust marry their flavors, leading to one incredible pie.

7. Crab Cakes, Maryland

Joff Lee / Getty Images

The Chesapeake Bay is known country-wide for its sweet-fleshed blue crabs and crab cakes quickly became the state food here. Before they became popular though, crabs were not widely eaten as they were considered too dangerous and difficult to eat. However as time went on fisherman began to master the technique of getting the meat out of the shell, and thus crab meat was in abundance. The term “crab cake” was first coined by Crosby Gaige in the 1930s. In his cookbook titled, New York World’s Fair Cook Book, he finally gave the popular recipe a name: “Baltimore Crab Cakes”. This fishcake is composed of crab meat, bread crumbs, milk, mayonnaise, eggs, seasoning, and may contain red or green peppers. The cake is then sautéed, baked, grilled, or broiled, turning it into a delicious seafood treat.

6. Lobster Roll, Maine

Photo by Cathy Scola / Getty Images

Maine lobster is celebrated from sea to table all over the state and one of the favorite ways to eat this delicious seafood is in the famous sandwich, the lobster roll. Like a lot of other incredible dishes on this list, the history of who actually did the lobster roll first is under much debate. Many locals view Bayley’s Lobster Pound at Pine Point as the inventor of the famous seafood sandwich. Then there are the out-of-state claimants. Some say that Harry Perry first offered lobster rolls out of his Milford, Connecticut, restaurant in the 1920s. Others claim the Nautilus Tea Room in Marblehead, Massachusetts, as the original purveyor of lobster rolls. Lobster rolls in Maine have several distinct characteristics starting with the bun. The roll is baked slightly different from a hot dog roll, the sides are flat so they can be buttered, lobster meat is actually served cold in the roll and there is a light spread of mayonnaise either spread in the roll or mixed in with the meat.

5. Hotdish, Minnesota

Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock

This interesting variety of casserole is actually produced as “hoddish” and is commonly found at large gatherings and family events. What makes up a hotdish is a variety of ingredients including potatoes, ground beef, green beans, corn, and canned soup. The potatoes can either be hash browns, potato chips, or the most widely used tater tots. Usually served with a side of ketchup, this dish remains popular, to everyone’s surprise, that doesn’t live in this state. The history of the hotdish goes back to when budget-minded farm wives needed to feed their own families, as well as congregations in the basements of the first Minnesota churches. Since then, the state has embraced this dish and even runs an annual hotdish competition.

4. Salt Water Taffy, New Jersey

jskiba / Getty Images

Salt water taffy evokes the Jersey Shore, more than any other candy or food out there. Considering the ingredients in this candy include things such as sugar, cornstarch, corn syrup, glycerine, water, butter, salt, natural and/or artificial flavor, and food color; it is astounding that this candy has remained the food we associate with New Jersey. Joseph Fralinger is said to be the one who popularized the candy when he started boxing it and selling it in Atlantic City. Shriver’s, the oldest business on the Ocean City boardwalk – it opened in 1898 – offers a staggering 70 flavors of taffy, with chocolate the overwhelming bestseller. Funny enough, the entire salt water taffy business in this state is owned by one family.  In 1947, four brothers named Glaser bought James and in 1990 they bought Fralinger’s. Today, the two famous taffy names are made in the same production rooms, with red collecting pans marked “James” and gray pans marked “Fralinger’s.”

3. Chimichanga, Arizona

Lew Robertson / Getty Images

The history of how the chimichanga became a dish is much debated. According to one source the founder of the Tucson, Arizona, restaurant “El Charro”, Monica Flin, accidentally dropped a pastry into the deep fryer in 1922. She immediately began to utter a Spanish curse-word but quickly stopped herself and instead exclaimed chimichanga, a Spanish equivalent of “thingamajig”. Woody Johnson on the other hand claims he invented this dish in 1946 when he put burritos into a deep fryer as part of an experiment at his restaurant, Wood’s El Nido. This delicious deep-fried monster is made up of a flour tortilla filled with a wide range of ingredients, most commonly rice, cheese, machaca, carne adobada, or shredded chicken. Fold it into a rectangular package, drop it in the deep fryer and serve it up with salsa, sour cream, and guacamole.

2. Gumbo, Louisiana

LauriPatterson / Getty Images

Of all the dishes in the repertoire of Louisiana cooking, gumbo is absolutely the most famous and one of the most loved dishes of the state. Gumbo is found in the houses of both the rich and the poor, across restaurants, and at every single special event. Generally speaking, gumbo is a thick, dark soup containing a mixture of rice, vegetables, and meat or seafood. Yet when it comes to ingredients, the one constant in gumbo is variety. There are just two hard and fast rules: a gumbo must always contain rice, and it must always be thickened with something. The history of this dish is quite a mystery as it has been a staple in Louisiana kitchens long before written records of the dish existed. No one is certain whether the dish is Cajun or Creole in origin, but only one thing really matters; how delicious it truly is.

1. Shrimp and Grits, South Carolina

LauriPatterson / Getty Images

Shrimp and grits are the typical breakfast for many of the Charleston area fishermen during the shrimping season, which ordinarily runs from May through December, but was discovered as a dish long before these fishermen started eating it. Grits actually originated from the Native Americans and were used as a way to communicate with the white people before they learned how to speak the same language. An important event happened in 1584 when Native Americans gave some of their grits to Sir Walter Raleigh and centuries later, in 1976, grits were declared the official state food of South Carolina and noted for their vital contribution to the culture and the economy of South Carolina, as well as to the sustenance of the people living there. Essentially this dish is Grits (thick ground corn) that form a bed for fresh-from-the-sea shrimp and other mix-ins, like bacon, garlic, and lemon.

6 U.S. Rollercoasters Every Thrill Seeker Needs to Ride

First they’re up, then they’re down, they’re fast and they’re rarely slow – coming in all combinations and themes, rollercoasters are known as one of the most popular attractions across the country. There’s just something about the thrill of plummeting at incredible speeds – with strangers, of course – that brings people to pay money and stand in line. Sometimes for hours at a time – just to make their way to the top of the ride. Even those who “aren’t rollercoaster people” still get in on the fun, visiting theme parks and watching (likely in terror) as so many others strap themselves to gigantic pieces of metal and take incredible plunges. All in the name of a good time.

But which coasters are labeled as the best? And what makes them as such?

6. Millennium Force, Ohio

Force is the key word behind this monster – with a max height of 310 feet, riders reach a whopping 93 miles per hour throughout their ride. And if that’s not enough to get your blood pumping, since its induction in 2000 (hence the name), it’s broken six world records. It was the first coaster in the world to reach higher than 300 feet, and before dethroned, was once the tallest and fastest ride in the entire world. It’s steepest point is a 45-degree drop, just one of the features that has earned it nine awards for being the number one steel roller coaster. For anyone stopping in Sandusky, Ohio at its home in the Cedar Point Amusement Park, it’s a must-ride.

Photo by: Jeremy Thompson via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by: Jeremy Thompson via Wikimedia Commons

5. Intimidator, North Carolina

Another steel contraption, this version is held in Carowinds Plaza near Charlotte, North Carolina. It was built in 2010 and gets its name from the late Dale Earnhardt, who has known for intimidating his opposing NASCAR drivers with a single glance. And trust us, all it takes is a single glance at this coaster and you’ll be questioning your decision to ride it. Its crowning points include a 232-foot hill, reaching speeds of 80 miles per hour, and hitting more than 5,000 feet of track. At just over five years old, this coaster has been ushering in guests since its induction and doesn’t look like it’s slowing down anytime soon.

Photo by: Carowinds
Photo by: Carowinds

4. Nitro, New Jersey

Any Six Flags fan knows these parks go the distance with each of their coasters, and Nitro is no different. Located in New Jersey at the New England Six Flags, this ride is listed as the fastest in the entire Northeast and the tallest in the state of New Jersey. To date it’s earned 11 top-five awards since its opening in 2001, and hitting top-15 achievements every year of its lifespan. Top speeds reach 80 miles per hour, which keep riders rushing for more than two solid minutes of movement. For anyone loving speed and the thrill of a new coaster, Nitro is a must stop on the coaster list.

Photo by: Six Flags
Photo by: Six Flags

3. Cannibal, Utah

Despite its name, Cannibal is a safe – albeit, still thrill-worthy – coaster. Lagoon Amusement Park in Farmington, Utah is its home, serving up guests a whopping 116-degree drop, a stat that lists it as one of the steepest drops in the entire world. And get ready to hold onto your pants – this coaster is so new it’s not even open yet. Keep your eyes open the next time you’re in Utah – or make a special trip just to ride this thing. It’s that incredible. Folks are already planning a coaster-based trip – all they need is for Cannibal to open its doors!

Roller Coaster

2. The Voyage, Indiana

Riding this wooden coaster will certainly feel like a voyage – the thought of putting together such a ride makes us exhausted just thinking about it. (Seriously, it’s made from wood!) Speeding riders along since 2006, this attraction holds the record for most air time on an all wooden ride, with 24.3 entire seconds under its belt. It also won an award for “best new ride” in 2006. Since its opening year, this coaster has earned multiple “best wooden roller coaster” titles. It’s a must try for Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari guests, located in Santa Claus, Indiana. (With a town name like that it has to be fun, right?!)

Photo by: Holiday World & Splashin' Safari
Photo by: Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari

1. New Texas Giant, Texas

Since 2001, the New Texas Giant has been offering steel rides in replacement of its wooden predecessor, which was first dubbed Texas Giant. New construction was announced after the original became rough and brought in fewer riders. With steel tracks, however, rides are smoother, albeit just as fast (if not faster) and just as extreme. The New Giant is known for its 147-foot drop, vertical angles of 79-degrees, and lasting for nearly three and a half minutes. Whether or not Six Flags at Arlington, Texas in already on your coaster radar, it certainly should be!

Photo by: SixFlagsTexasGiant-3988 via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by: SixFlagsTexasGiant-3988 via Wikimedia Commons

The 14 Best Theme Parks in the World  

Theme parks are known for their thrilling drop towers, exhilarating rollercoasters, exceptional shows and breathtaking attractions. For anyone who loves to visit theme parks, it is good news to know that they are only getting bigger, better and even more exciting. New technology is making roller coasters faster, taller, scarier and smarter. These parks invite you to take a ride on the tallest coaster in the world, see if you are brave enough to ride the rails backwards, and spend the day with the entire family having fun. Prepare yourself for a serious adrenaline rush and discover the best 12 theme parks in the world!

14. Europa Park, Germany

The largest park in Germany and second most popular behind Disneyland Paris lies in Rust, south-western Germany. Europa Park which is currently celebrating its 40th anniversary, features a total of 12 rollercoasters plus tons of other thrill rides, water rides, entertainment and shows. Kids will definitely enjoy such attractions as the Panorama Train which takes passengers on a ride around the entire park, or the 4D Magic Cinema. The 17 unique areas of the park represent different European countries offering both fun and education for your young ones while exploring this incredible park.

S. Kuelcue / Shutterstock.com
S. Kuelcue / Shutterstock.com

13. Carowinds, North Carolina

This amusement park is actually part of both North and South Carolina; originally built to try and bring the two states closer together. The newest ride in 2015 is by far the most thrilling ride in the park. The Fury 325 reaches a height of 325 feet making it the tallest Giga Coaster in the world. Riders will reach speeds up to 95mph and enter into both North and South Carolina on this three minute and twenty second mind-bending ride. Other epic rides include a sling shot that shoots riders 300ft into the air reaching speeds of 65mph and the first stand up roller coaster in the South. A wonderful kid zone complete with rides and coasters completes this awesome family theme park.

Photo by: Mike Burton via Flickr
Photo by: Mike Burton via Flickr

12. Kings Island, Ohio

This adventure park is full of record breaking rides and controversy and still today remains one of the most thrilling parks around the world.  It is hailed as the largest amusement park and waterpark in the Midwest and has received an award for having the world’s best kids area complete with over 18 themed ‘Peanuts’ attractions. It is also home to the longest inverted roller coaster in the world along with the longest wooden coaster, making it perfect for adrenaline junkies. Sadly the one and only wooden coaster with a loop was shut down in 2012. Visitors to this park shouldn’t miss out on Dinosaurs Alive; an attraction that features over 65 life sized dinosaurs in a Jurassic Park setting. Offering over 80 rides, a newly renovated waterpark, 14 coasters and a slew of family fun activities; this Midwest Park is not to be missed.

Photo by: Jeremy Thompson via Flickr
Photo by: Jeremy Thompson via Flickr

11. Belantis, Germany

Although this theme park has only been around since 2003, it is quickly becoming one of the best in the world. Favorite thrilling rides at this park include a log ride through Europe’s only pyramid that stands at 38 metres high and a super steel coaster that is among the world’s tallest. Control your own destiny rides are a unique twist to this park with boats and airplanes being steered by the riders; choosing how exhilarating of a ride you want to take. The park already features over 60 attractions in eight themed worlds, complete with two picturesque lakes. Belantis also happens to be the only theme park in the world where you can get your Segway driving license. It also boasts the only off-road quad course at a theme park and Europe’s only tilt tower. With plenty of room to expand and plans to bring even more attractions, this theme park is one to keep an eye on as it gets bigger and better.

Photo by: Micha71 via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by: Micha71 via Wikimedia Commons

10. Hershey Park, Pennsylvania

This is one of the best theme parks for the entire family and features some of the best chocolate in the country. The grounds are well kept, the rides are top of the line and there is something for everyone to experience. A waterpark, many thrilling rollercoasters and enough chocolate paraphernalia to keep your mouth watering all day long is what awaits you here. New in 2015 is the much anticipated Laff Trakk coaster, the country’s first indoor, spinning, glow-coaster. The Laff Trakk takes families through a vibrantly colored modern fun house in a spinning car that reaches speeds up to 40 mph. As an added bonus when you visit this park you also get free admission to the nearby ZOOAMERICA, definitely worth checking out.

Photo by: Michael Bentley via Flickr
Photo by: Michael Bentley via Flickr

9. Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari, Indiana

Part theme park and part waterpark, this is Southern Indiana’s thrill destination. This theme park boasts that it was the first of its kind, opening in 1946 as Santa Claus Land. Here you will find family friendly service, complete with free soft drinks, free Wi-Fi, free parking, free sunscreen and Santa Claus; every single day. Did we mention that is also has the two longest water coasters in the world? Don’t forget about the nation’s first launched wing coaster and the fact that this park has been voted for ‘Cleanest Park in the World’ for more than a decade. This park truly focuses on family with lots of shows and rides that cater to the little ones but they don’t forget about the thrill seekers; making it the best of both worlds for visitors.

Photo by: Leigh Caldwell via Flickr
Photo by: Leigh Caldwell via Flickr

8. Six Flags Magic Mountain, California

A whopping 19 roller coasters gives this park the world record and it doesn’t disappoint in terms of excitement and thrills. Bigger and better is the motto at this park and in 2015 a new wooden steel hybrid coaster will be the first of its kind; allowing riders to race from start to finish on dueling tracks and features a Zero G Roll during this thrilling four minute ride. Over half of their coasters are rated at the top of the thrill intensity meter but that doesn’t mean there is a lack of family activities as well. The park is separated into 9 zones each with their own distinct rides, attractions, and food service venues. This is one busy park and it’s best to try and visit mid-week to avoid long lines and crowds.

Six Flags, California

7. Beto Carrero World, Brazil

Beto Carrero World makes this list as it’s the largest theme park in all of Latin America. The sprawling 14 kilometer park sits in Penha Brazil and was brought to life by Brazilian businessman Beto Carrero. The park is divided into 9 sections, each with thrilling rides and vibrant entertainment and shows. Part of the allure of this theme park is that it also features a zoo where children and animal lovers alike can get up close and personal in the petting zoo or check out the horse show. In 2012, this facility formed a partnership with Dreamworks and Universal Studios, bringing some well-known favorites to the park in the form of the Madagascar Circus Show and you’ll also find your favorite characters like Shrek and Kung Fu Panda roaming the park ready to take photos with fans.

Photo by: Julio Cesar Mulatinho via Flickr
Photo by: Julio Cesar Mulatinho via Flickr

6. Knoebels, Pennsylvania

This free entry park welcomes families of all ages, including four legged friends to have a day of fun without breaking the bank. It remains to be one of the best theme parks in the world with its old fashioned feeling, powerful coasters and homemade apple dumplings topped with vanilla ice-cream. A high end steel coaster was added in 2015 that features four upside down twists and a 90 degree free fall, adding to the already thrilling line up of rides. A day of fun is guaranteed for the little ones in the family with plenty of gentle rides, carousels and swings. Rides here are priced individually and range from $1.00-$3.00 or visitors can purchase a ‘ride all day’ pass that gives them access to all the rides, all day long. Old meets new here in this ultra family friendly park that offers affordable fun, without sacrificing any of the excitement.

Knoebels, Penn

5. Six Flags Great Adventure, New Jersey

Part amusement park and part safari attraction; this huge theme park offers exciting fun for the whole family. Daredevils will want to head to the Golden Kingdom section to try out the Kingda Ka; the world’s tallest roller coaster as of the year 2015. The Drop of Doom; the tallest drop ride in the world is also housed here and on clear days the skyline of Philadelphia can be seen from the top. A unique aspect of this park is the Safari Off-Road Adventure where you can get up close and personal with over 1,200 animals from six different continents. Visitors will have the chance to feed the giraffes or take a zip line adventure at Camp Aventura, the main stop on this ultimate safari. Great live shows, music concerts, family rides and a visit from the Looney Tunes makes this an ultimate adventure.

Six Flags Adventure

4. PortAdventura, Spain

The largest theme park in Spain is full of exhilarating roller coasters, towering waterslides and home to the future Ferrari World. The park is divided into six different themes complete with coasters, family rides, shows and restaurants. Visitors come from all over the world to experience this theme park as it is the largest and most visited in all of Spain.  For those brave enough to try the Shambhala: Expedición al Himalaya expect to whip down at 83 miles per hour on the tallest hyper coaster in Europe. Or head to the water park where the tallest free fall waterslide sits at a whopping 31 metres tall. This park just announced that in 2016 FerrariLand will be coming and featuring the highest roller coaster in Europe along with amazing attractions and exhibits. Parades, fireworks and incredible shows round out this awesome theme park.

Photo by: tico_24 via Flickr
Photo by: tico_24 via Flickr

3. Cedar Point, Ohio

Known as the roller coaster capital of the world it is no surprise this exhilarating park offers much in the way of fun and adrenaline. It is often cited as the best park for ‘grown up kids’ as one can spend the entire day riding the coasters. This park has won numerous awards and set many records for having the most coasters over 200 feet, most visited seasonal amusement park in the US and more. Eleven out of their seventeen coasters are rated at the highest thrill level including the highest and longest steel wing coaster in the world. Drop towers, screaming swings, log flume rides and upside down twisty thrillers are all part of the appeal here.

James Marvin Phelps / Shutterstock.com
James Marvin Phelps / Shutterstock.com

2. Universal Studios, Florida

Universal Studios has long been known for its amazing rides, shows and attractions that are growing bigger and better with each year that passes. Harry Potter, The Simpsons, Men in Black, Shrek and so many other characters appear at this park in thrilling rollercoasters, hilarious 3D rides and live shows. Visitors to this park should be sure to check out Orlando’s tallest roller coaster, the Rip Ride Rocket. Not only can you pick your own music but this coaster also features several exciting, “never been done” elements, including the world’s first non-inverting loop. This theme park can be explored for days on end and by bundling your ticket with the next park on this list; you can explore the top two best theme parks in the world over a matter of days.

Kamira / Shutterstock.com
Kamira / Shutterstock.com

1. Universal’s Island of Adventure, Florida

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened back in 2010 and remains one of the most popular attractions in the world, thus making this theme park number one on our list. Fans can jump aboard one of the many rides that brings Harry Potter to life or have a sip of Butter Beer in the replica tavern. Besides Harry Potter though, this theme park offers other amazing rides, shows and attraction. Escape the jaws of a T-Rex, ride high through Dr. Seuess’s imagination and swing above the streets in 3D with Spiderman. The cutting-edge rides and attractions bring magic to life for anyone of any age. Cheer on the heroes of the shows, get splash happy on one of many water rides and ride on the famous Hogwarts Express in a land full of imagination, creativity and the most fun you will have in your life.

Universal's Islands of Adventure

10 Unexpected Kid-Friendly Vacation Destinations

Beyond the Disney World’s, the aquariums, the all-inclusive resorts and the cruise ships; there is a whole other world of vacation destinations that are kid-friendly. Although at one time these destinations may have catered to only adults, in recent years they are encouraging families to visit and making it more affordable and easier to do so. From the mountains of Argentina to the coast of Wales to the heart of Brazil; these 10 unexpected kid-friendly destinations will have you booking your flights in no time. But hurry, before everyone else realizes what really awaits families here.

10. Patagonia, Argentina

Patagonia has always been known as an incredible adventure destination but in recent years more and more families have taken to traveling here. It could be that the breathtaking landscapes that boast mountains, lakes, fiords and glaciers beckon to both kids and adults alike, or perhaps parents are discovering this destination which encourages kids to switch off their electronics. There is an abundance of guided walks, boat rides and horseback rides that are designed with kids in mind. The landscape here is rich with wildlife including gray foxes, cougars, whales, sea lions and eagles and if you are traveling with older kids mountaineering is a popular option to see some of these.  To get the kids excited about traveling here make sure to let them watch Ice Age before you go, where glaciers and fiords come to life. Plenty of family lodges and restaurants make this destination perfect for your next family vacation.

Penguins Patagonia, Argentina

9. Croatia

One wouldn’t necessarily think of traveling to Croatia for a family vacation, as it is well-known for two things; its line-up of music festivals and a romantic seaside getaway. Families should be happy to know though that this breathtaking landscape is the perfect spot to bring the kids. Croatia boasts many family-friendly hotels that include kids clubs, private pools and planned activities. Even though this country is known for its elegant cuisine, kids here will find plenty of pasta and pizza on the menus, along with ice cream parlors on every corner. The long stretches of beaches are one of the biggest reasons to head here with the kids. Many of them boast facilities such as restrooms, snack bars and even lifeguards. This country loves children and while traveling here with them, you will be welcomed into every restaurant, museum or any other activity you want to explore.

Beach Dubrovnik Croatia

8. South Africa

Whether you are looking for a beach vacation or something more along the lines of a safari; South Africa is the perfect place to do so with the kids in tow. The excellent weather, breathtaking scenery, accommodations that fit your budget and a variety of activities to be had; the long flight is definitely worth it. Hotels that are specially geared towards families are speckled throughout the country and come with amenities such as kids clubs and experienced babysitters. These hotels often offer discounts for kids and many of them even offer ‘kids stay free’ promotions. Wildlife safaris can be planned on malaria-free reserves with all-inclusive lodges and an exciting kid’s program. Some even offer horseback riding and cycling safaris; which prove to be popular with kids. First-world amenities make it easy for the whole family to enjoy this country with kid’s menus in the restaurants and excellent road infrastructure.

Cape Town South Africa

7. Panama

It is one of Central America’s hottest new destinations and the biggest decision that families face when visiting this country is deciding where to go. This country is packed with wildlife, jungles, a remarkable canal system, fascinating islands and impressive history. A good tip in this exotic location is the fact you can drink the tap water safely, a bonus for families with kids who need plenty of hydration! Discover the jungle and wildlife with one of many family friendly guided tours, charter a boat around the islands or play in the surf at one of the many beaches. If you are looking to explore Panama City, it has never been a safer option than now and families will love strolling through the historic neighborhoods, biking along the paths, tasting unique fruits from the markets and enjoying one of the many ice-cream stands that are always nearby.

Panama

6. Sedona, Arizona

This vast natural playground provides the perfect setting for a family destination, whether you want to explore the red rocks and their geology, slide down a waterslide or pick out constellations in the night sky. A jeep tour through Sedona that caters to families is the perfect way to start your vacation as guides will educate you on the land, the rock formations and point out flora and fauna you will see throughout your visit. A visit here must include time spent at Slide Rock State Park where kids and adults will slide down the natural water chute, swim in the pools and enjoy a day of hiking. Camp Verde is also a must do on this family vacation with its zoo, zip lines and a close up look at Montezuma Castle. Plenty of kid-friendly accommodations and restaurants make it easy to plan your next family vacation to Sedona.

Wollertz / Shutterstock.com
Wollertz / Shutterstock.com

5. Hong Kong

If you can overcome the idea of taking your kids on quite a long flight, Hong Kong is perhaps one of the most underrated kid friendly destinations in the world. Underneath the modern skyscrapers that dot the landscape lays an array of kid-friendly activities, hotels and restaurants. The two theme parks here; Ocean Park and Disneyland Hong Kong are a huge hit with families and unlike other monstrous theme parks, these are small enough that kids can walk around and are less crowded than other theme parks. The people of Hong Kong love children and everywhere you go you will find someone willing to lend a hand, give up their seat and make your experience even more memorable. The luxury hotels here cater to families which means you won’t have to give up first-class amenities; some of the features for kids include kiddie pools, playgrounds, babysitters and baby equipment.

Hong Kong Observation Wheel

4. Wales, U.K.

If you are looking for a family vacation in the U.K. but don’t want to pay the high prices and fight the crowds in London, Wales is the absolute perfect solution. Only a two hour drive away from London is a world full of natural wonders, kid-friendly bargain accommodations and enough activities to fill your days for weeks. This destination is for families who love to camp or stay in cottages as there are an abundance of options, from ‘glamping’ in a yurt to staying in a self-catering cottage on the coast. If exploring the outdoors is on your list of things to do, Wales has you covered with its numerous mountain climbs and loads of nature reserves complete with boardwalks that make pushing a stroller a breeze. For the families that are seeking a little more excitement make sure to check out the zip lining adventures, underground trampolines and white water rafting.

Jason Batterham / Shutterstock.com
Jason Batterham / Shutterstock.com

3. Las Vegas, Nevada

It has long been known as the ultimate playground for adults but Las Vegas is surprisingly kid-friendly. This city may just offer more entertainment and activities for children than anywhere else in North America, other than Orlando. Staying here is a breeze as many of the hotels cater specifically for families and if you are looking for something a little quieter, many of them are located just a short shuttle trip away from the strip. Amenities such as kid’s pools, babysitting, playgrounds, camps and organized activities are all found in the hotels. Despite popular belief, a family vacation here can also be quite affordable with the many free attractions including free shows, street performers and admission to certain attractions. The best part of taking the kids to Vegas might just be watching their reaction as they see life-sized replicas of some of the most famous landmarks in the world.

Jorg Hackemann / Shutterstock.com
Jorg Hackemann / Shutterstock.com

2. Atlantic City, New Jersey

It may be known for its casinos and entertainment but Atlantic City certainly shouldn’t be thought of as an adults-only destination. This city has in recent years has put a big push on promoting itself as a family-friendly city which means you can score great deals on hotels which are catering to families. Choose a hotel that has a pool, kid’s programs and restaurants within to make your trip even easier. Many families are now choosing a non-gaming hotel when they visit here. Beaches line the Atlantic Ocean complete with surfing and kayaking opportunities. The Steel Pier is located on the boardwalk and features many rides and attractions for families, with even a kiddies-ride area. The Atlantic City Aquarium, the IMAX theater and historic landmarks are all just a short drive away.

Pier Atlantic City, New Jersey

1. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio is often known for its beautiful people and beautiful beaches but underneath all of that is an extremely kid-friendly city that absolutely loves children of all ages. Restaurants that have attached playgrounds are the norm here, as are kid-friendly beaches and an abundance of family activities. Some of the beaches have organized kids activities, along with a slightly calmer feel than many of the popular crowded, beats-pumping ones. A train ride to see the iconic Christ the Redeemer Statue, aerial cable car rides, a walk in the rainforest and enough fresh juices, ice cream and pastries to keep the kids happy all day long proves that Rio can be just as fun for kids as it can for adults. Enjoy the hotels where kids stay free, the restaurants where they eat free and the welcoming arms of the people who will gladly juggle your screaming baby when you are trying to enjoy your meal.

Filipe Frazao / Shutterstock.com
Filipe Frazao / Shutterstock.com

The 15 Worst Airports For a Layover

While the increase of people flying means more flights, it also means more stops and connecting flights, which can be a good or bad thing depending where you stop. Having a layover is most people’s worst nightmare. There are often long lines to clear customs and security and scarce food choices along with overpriced Wi-Fi and uncomfortable seating. The following 15 airports are the absolute worst for layovers in the world. Next time you are booking a flight you may want to avoid flying through any of these airports even if it means spending a few extra dollars. Trust us, you’ve been warned.

15. Paris Beauvais-Tille International Airport, France

This airport is mainly used by budget airlines and is often found at the top of the list of airports to avoid at any cost. This is in due part to a number of different factors. To start with the airport is located a long and slow 88 km away from Paris, therefore count on not leaving during your layover. The airport looks more like a bus station rather than an airport and the building is run-down and dirty. It is often cramped and crowded with passengers who are unloading and trying to leave as quickly as possible. The airport also closes at night so you will want to avoid an overnight layover here, as you will be asked to leave. In saying all of this, the airports in Paris are not known for being first-class so if you are looking to save a few dollars, flying in here may be worth your while.

Paris airport

14. Dulles International Airport, Washington, D.C

If you were expecting to enjoy your layover at the Dulles International Airport, think again. With one of the worst on time performances in the US, this airport often keeps passengers waiting far longer than necessary. If you think your layover was long already, expect to tack on even more time. What really irks passengers who are on a layover here is the lack of amenities and shops that can keep you entertained. If you were looking for options when it comes to dining, think again and realistically your best bet may be to slide up to the airport bar and have a beer. The good news is that the Dulles International Airport at least offers WiFi throughout the terminals; the only problem will be finding an available plug.

Steve Heap / Shutterstock.com
Steve Heap / Shutterstock.com

13. Miami Airport, Florida

The biggest thing about having a layover in Miami is making sure it isn’t a long one. The reason being is that this airport moves at a ridiculously slow pace and if you need to rush to make your connection, you aren’t going to make it. Expect security lines, baggage claim lines and a frustrating lack of amenities. Shops and restaurants are limited and highly overpriced and don’t let the “free WiFi” signs fool you, it isn’t actually free to browse the net. If you are planning on spending the night here, one will be hard pressed to find a floor that is carpeted, a place where the lights are dimmed and the announcements stop. Instead sleepers are privy to noisy cleaners, brightly lit areas and chairs that have armrests, thus ensuring you have to lie on the floor. The only saving grace this airport offers is that South Beach is just 15 minutes away, therefore if you can store your bags and leave the airport, we highly suggest hitting the beach.

Daniel Korzeniewski / Shutterstock.com
Daniel Korzeniewski / Shutterstock.com

12. Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris, France

It is one of the world’s busiest airports and although it is improving it is still one of the worst airports to have a layover in the world. If you want to use the internet while you are here, plan on paying big bucks to connect to WiFi. One can also plan on disorganization, chaos and rude staff who absolutely refuse to speak to you in English. You won’t find first class shopping, nice lounges or attractive dining options here either. Many complain about the size of the restrooms quoting they are ‘dirty and too small’ while others have frustrations in the all too often terminal corrections. Food here is also quite pricey and if you are planning on eating, we suggest bringing as many snacks with you as possible from outside the airport.

pio3 / Shutterstock.com
pio3 / Shutterstock.com

11. Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi

It is not surprising that Africa has some of the worst airports in the world, due to the impoverishment of the country, the overwhelming heat and questionably effective security processes. Having a layover in any of these airports can often be long, tiring and downright boring. Passengers seem to expect more from this International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya, but instead are faced with long lines that have been referred to as ‘cattle markets’, overcrowded lounges, dirty and run down restrooms, shabby stores and overpriced food. It is currently undergoing a multimillion dollar renovation which hopes to be open in 2017 and capable of handling 20 million passengers. For now though, when you have a layover here expect to pay loads for the WiFi, food and drinks. Expect the bare amenities and cross your fingers you are not there during a threat as that is when things really go downhill.

Photo by: Arthurbuliva via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by: Arthurbuliva via Wikimedia Commons

10. London Luton International Airport, England

You are most likely flying into this airport if you have booked on a budget airline but expect to spend even more money once you get here. If you stuck here on a layover everything will cost you more. If you want access to WiFi, expect to pay. If you need a plastic baggie to put your liquids in to go through security again, you will have to pay for one of those too. If you want to buy something to eat, expect to pay higher than normal airport prices. Because of the slew of budget travelers that are flying into here seating can be limited, as well as sleeping space. The carpet is hard and cold, the announcements boom day and night every 10 minutes and it’s freezing cold, all the time. Do we need to say anything more about the layover life here at Luton?

ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com
ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com

9. Chicago Midway Airport, Chicago, USA

If you get stuck on a layover here and it’s unexpected it is most likely due to weather. Both Chicago airports are notorious for cancelling and delaying flights because of weather and unlike O’Hare, the Midway Airport lacks in pretty much all amenities to keep you occupied while you wait. If you do have to have a layover here we suggest doing it overnight. In Concourse C this airport actually sets up cots, military style for a few hours, until 4am when they wake you up and tear down the cots as the airport is opening. It is actually your only option here as the concourses close from midnight until 4am. If you are stuck here during the day it is good to know that WiFi isn’t free, the food is bearable and you may have to fight someone for an electrical outlet.

Photo by: Chicago Midway International Airport
Photo by: Chicago Midway International Airport

8. Honolulu International Airport, Hawaii USA

A layover at this airport is almost always inevitable if you are visiting one of the Hawaiian Islands but it’s not exactly the greatest welcome to Hawaii. If you are planning to sleep there overnight it is important to note there is no real good sleeping area other than the floor. As well, many layover passengers complain about the constant Hawaiian music that plays on repeat all night loud, except for when one of the many announcements comes on. There are a few dining choices at the airport, but everything closes by 10 pm. A lot of boarding gates do not open until right before flight time which leaves many passengers roaming aimlessly around the halls as the seating is very limited. WiFi will cost you, plugs are a hot commodity and it can get quite hot in this open air airport.

cleanfotos / Shutterstock.com
cleanfotos / Shutterstock.com

7. Frankfurt Hahn International Airport, Frankfurt, Germany

First off let’s be clear in saying that this airport is not in Frankfurt, despite the official name. Don’t depend on leaving the airport and spending a few hours in the city during your layover because the city is actually located over 120 km’s away. The best way to describe this airport is downright depressing. The low ceilings, the plastic chairs, the lack of artwork or anything of color and the overall feel. The floors are dusty and dirty and if you plan on sleeping here we suggest laying some newspapers down on it. Nighttime layovers tend to be loud with lots of young people who are flying on budget airlines and if you can muster up a quiet space, the good news is security won’t bother you. Dining options are nil after about 10 pm and expect loud cleaners and announcements all night long.

Photo by: Tadekptaku via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by: Tadekptaku via Wikimedia Commons

6. Los Angeles International Airport, California, USA

It is safe to say that most people hate flying through this airport. It is a stark contrast to the many Asian airports it connects with and needs serious updating to compete with them. An overall lack of signage and unfriendly staff is what people complain about most. Being the fourth busiest airport in the world, this airport gets crowded quickly and not knowing where you are going becomes quite frustrating. An overall lack of cleanliness is also a major complaint and it is best to avoid staying here overnight. The food options are scarce and overpriced, the chairs are uncomfortable with armrests on all of them and the charging stations throughout are placed in areas where there are no seats. Combine all these things with the fact that some terminals close at midnight and the security lines are atrocious and you’ll understand why people hate this airport.

Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com
Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

5. Bergamo Orio al Serio Airport, Italy

This airport although cheaper than the others that service Milan can be a big pain if you have a layover here. A lack of electrical outlets is a major source of irritation amongst tech savvy travelers, as well as a lack of seating. Due to the number of backpackers and other budget travelers who fly in here, there are many people trying to sleep and waste hours upon hours on layovers. It means there is not enough space for everyone. The security staff and cleaners can often be short tempered and if you were hoping for a restful sleep think again. Sleeping passengers are often woken up to move for cleaners and otherwise. The lack of WiFi is annoying and there is often loud, drunken travelers spending the night alongside with you.

Photo by: Luigi Chiesa via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by: Luigi Chiesa via Wikimedia Commons

4. LaGuardia International Airport, New York, USA

This worn out airport is at the top of the list for the worst airports in the US, layover or not, year after year. Even Vice-President Joe Biden compared LaGuardia to the likes of a ‘third world country’. So what makes this airport so awful for a layover? To start, the ridiculous long lines you have to wait in, to clear security, to recheck your bags, to even get a coffee. Speaking of coffee, the restaurant choices are mediocre and unfriendly at best. The décor doesn’t help out matters as it is downright depressing, as are the metal and plastic seats that don’t have any cushions. This airport isn’t overly clean either. The amount of delays this airport faces is almost embarrassing so one can expect a long layover here, even if it wasn’t scheduled to be. Spending hours in this airport is a total mind numbing experience that will have you avoiding it like the plague for the rest of your flying life.

Photo by: La Guardia Airport
Photo by: La Guardia Airport

3. Islamabad Benazir Bhutto International Airport, Pakistan (ISB)

This airport has been referred to being more like a prison than an airport and having a layover here is definitely not recommended. If you do happen to be stuck here, it is recommended you don’t leave the airport as taxi drivers and touts like to loot the unknowing customers. This airport is often overcrowded and there is seemingly no crowd control throughout the entire place. Complaints range from corruption to aggressive security checks to an overall lack of cleanliness to non-existent technology. Officers will outright ask for bribes and this is generally just not the place to be stuck on any type of layover. Filthy, crowded, and hot are all words used to describe this awful airport. The good news, apparently they are building a new airport that will be finished in 2016, let’s hope it’s not as corrupt as this one.

Asianet-Pakistan / Shutterstock.com
Asianet-Pakistan / Shutterstock.com

2. Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey, USA

Passengers can’t say enough bad things about the Newark airport. It is awful being stuck here on a layover, whether it was scheduled or a result of weather delays. The biggest complaints are about the unfriendly staff who work at this airport, from security that kicks you out of the terminal at ungodly hours to the service staff at the restaurants. Using the WiFi here will cost you, although it probably won’t work or be too slow for your liking. We also suggest bringing along a heavy sweater as even during the summer it seems this airport is freezing. Chairs with solid armrests force travelers to sleep on the floor and make sure you watch out for cockroaches as they constantly roam the terminals. And don’t even think about trying to make it into NYC to waste some time, it’s at least an hour and half by public transit, and that’s on a good day.

Tupungato / Shutterstock.com
Tupungato / Shutterstock.com

1. Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Manila

This is by far the worst airport in Asia and has been continuously at the top of that list for years. Luckily they are doing things to improve conditions but clearly not fast enough. First off passengers will want to fly into terminal three and only terminal three, but if you have the problem of being stuck in any other terminal on a layover than this is what you can expect. Dirty, filthy, cramped toilets that smells awful. This is one of the most widely-known complaints about this airport. Metal seats, spotty WiFi and a lack of dining and shops are some of what passengers can experience. Plan on waiting in lengthy lines and be sure to grab any seat available as they don’t come up often. Don’t plan on sleeping on this layover as the announcements every 10 to 15 minutes will keep going all night long, along with the three beeps before and after, just to make sure you are listening.

Photo by: Mithril Cloud via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by: Mithril Cloud via Wikimedia Commons

10 Must See Sports Stadiums in North America

While travelling many people make sure to get to all of the biggest attractions and talked about places at their destination as these are often the deciding factors on choosing where to take their trip. While this is understandable, many people overlook the fact that some of the most amazing structures in modern society revolve around local sports teams, especially in North America. With sports being such a huge part of culture, teams are making more money than ever meaning they are building stadiums that are amazing to behold. So whether you’re a sports fan who likes to travel or a traveler who doesn’t mind taking in a sports game in order to experience the amazing features stadiums have to offer, here are the 10 Must-See Sports Stadiums in North America.

10. New Yankee Stadium, MLB

New Yankee Stadium is located in New York, New York and is home to the New York Yankees of the MLB and will be the future home of the New York City FC of Major League Soccer. This stadium is relatively new, as it opened in 2009 and cost 1.5 billion dollars to construct. One of the best things to see in this massive structure is the “Great Hall” which is located between the outside and inside walls and runs between gates 4 and 6. This huge space displays banners of Yankee star players as well as massive LED screens. If all of that is too modern for you, there’s also a New York Yankee Museum located at Gate 6 which features Yankee memorabilia and highlights major New York Yankees moments through the years. If you’re visiting New York, this stadium is clearly a spot you’d want to check out, with lots to see before even getting to the actual baseball game.

eddtoro / Shutterstock.com
eddtoro / Shutterstock.com

9. Fenway Park, MLB

If you are a traveler who loves to experience the true local vibe and feel of the place you are visiting then Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, is definitely somewhere to go while in Boston, Massachusetts. Unlike many of the stadiums on this list, Fenway is not new, in fact it is the oldest stadium in the MLB although it has undergone almost continuous upgrades and renovations to keep it in working order. It’s still a perfect place for those who enjoy the history of their travel destination as Fenway is now officially on the National Register of Historic Places. Make sure to check out the numerous activities that shut down the streets and bring everyone together before and after games to get a true Boston experience. As well, if you’re visiting the stadium you can’t miss the iconic “Green Monster” which is the left field wall and is one of the few manually operated scoreboards in the game today. If you’re not one who is easily impressed by the glitz and glam of big buildings and stadiums then Fenway’s historic charm and atmosphere is sure to be a great experience.

Joyce Vincent / Shutterstock.com
Joyce Vincent / Shutterstock.com

8. CenturyLink Field, NFL

This massive stadium located in Seattle, Washington opened in 2002 and is home to the NFL’s 2014 defending Super Bowl Champions the Seattle Seahawks as well as the Seattle Sounders FC of Major League Soccer. Aside from the champions who play here, this complex also boasts the WaMu Theater, a public plaza and is a place of major concerts and trade shows aside from major sporting events. To get an all-around CenturyLink experience one can take the train from Seattle’s King Street Station right to the stadium. Of course what’s most talked about with this famous stadium is not something you can see, but something you can hear. If you’re checking out the stadium during a Seahawks game get ready to cheer or cover your ears as this stadium broke the Guinness World Record for loudest crowd roar which is amplified by the structure itself with the seating decks and roof trap resounding noise back to the field, giving a definite home-field advantage. This stadium is every travelling sports fan’s dream come true.

f11photo / Shutterstock.com
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

7. Bell Centre, NHL

The 270 million dollar Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada is a great stop while visiting beautiful Montreal due to its ease of access and proximity to many other places to visit. Best known as the home of the Montreal Canadiens of the NHL, this complex is also one of the world’s busiest for non-sporting events. With the old charm of Montreal mixed with the excitement of the world of sports and entertainment, it’s a great place to experience the NHL and even has a section of lower priced seating for children known as the Family Zone. The Bell Centre is connected to both major metro stations as well as to the underground city of Montreal and is across the street from the 1250 Rene-Levesque skyscraper, putting it right in the middle of many things you’d like to see so you can enjoy the best of the major attractions while also getting to see one of the best hockey stadiums in North America.

meunierd / Shutterstock.com
meunierd / Shutterstock.com

6. PNC Park, MLB

Like many other baseball stadiums, PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is a must-see not only because of the structure itself but because of the experience it offers as a whole. Home to the Pittsburgh Pirates, this baseball park has many features to make it a must see while in Pittsburgh. Its location alone is amazing, so even if you aren’t that into watching baseball, just go for the spectacular view of downtown Pittsburgh premised by the Alleghany River; on a beautiful day of baseball, the view steals the show. There are also many great food experiences to be had with the “Tastes of Pittsburgh” that includes traditional baseball foods, Pittsburgh specialties and exotic choices, making sure to have something for everyone and anyone who wants to be adventurous while visiting a new city. While the park itself is great to visit, just getting there is also exciting for those wanting to see the city. You can take a water limo service on the Alleghany or take a walk across the Roberto Clemente Bridge as vehicular traffic is prohibited on game days.

jessicakirsh / Shutterstock.com
jessicakirsh / Shutterstock.com

5. Lucas Oil Stadium, NFL

The still very new Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana gives fans a great experience. Home to the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, Lucas Oil replaced the RCA Dome in 2008 and consequently utilizes the best modern technology and engineering techniques to create an amazing stadium. Some of the best features include two massive HD scoreboards, a retractable roof that divides in two, and the second largest movable glass window-wall which allows for light when closed and a great view of the Indianapolis downtown when open. Lucas Oil is a great experience and a great example of when the best of modern technology and the world of sports come together.

Alexey Stiop / Shutterstock.com
Alexey Stiop / Shutterstock.com

4. MetLife Stadium, NFL

New York is a tourist hot-spot so why not take a break from the main city and check out East Rutherford, New Jersey, the location of MetLife Stadium. What’s most distinguishable about MetLife is the fact it’s home to two NFL teams, the New York Giants and the New York Jets and has interior lighting that switches colors based on which team is playing. Along with changing lights, it also boasts twenty massive LED Pylons at the North and East entrances which play videos of whichever team is playing. In 2014 MetLife became a whole lot more popular when it was the first ever stadium with no dome, in a cold weather climate to host the Super Bowl.

Jai Agnish / Shutterstock.com
Jai Agnish / Shutterstock.com

3. EverBank Field, NFL

EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida is home to the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars and has had a long history since it opened in 1995. After poor attendance and issues due to age of the stadium, the location has recently underwent $63 million of improvements and renovations now making it a must-see stadium in North America. The new and improved Everbank is looking a little like a Las Vegas resort as it now includes two wading pools in what is known as the “Party Deck” at the stadium’s North end zone. Other features include two new scoreboards which are the largest of their kind, enhanced food and beverage options and numerous interactive activities. The grandeur of this stadium makes it a must-see, what could be better for a sports fan than playing in a pool in Florida while watching a live NFL game?

Rob Wilson / Shutterstock.com
Rob Wilson / Shutterstock.com

2. AT&T Park, MLB

It’s obvious that many baseball parks are amazing to see, but AT&T Park in San Francisco, home to the San Francisco Giants of the MLB is a must see spot for sports fans visiting the spectacular city of San Francisco. Like PNC Park, this stadium’s location and the view it offers is one of its best features. With the backdrop of San Francisco Bay, overlooking McCovey Cove, named after former Giant Willie McCovey, the atmosphere is unrivaled. The park includes a giant Coca-Cola bottle with slides as well as bubbles and lights that go off when a home run occurs and next door sits an equally massive Four Fingered Baseball Glove. The park is perfect for the young and young at heart, with great food, great atmosphere and a great view that no one would want to miss while in San Francisco.

Eric Broder Van Dyke / Shutterstock.com
Eric Broder Van Dyke / Shutterstock.com

1. AT&T Stadium, NFL

Arlington, Texas may not be the first on your list for traveling destinations but if you’re a serious sports fan, it probably should be. Opened in 2009, AT&T Stadium is the proud home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys and is a testament to what happens when enormous amounts of money and brand new technology collide, having also been called “Jerry World” playing off the grandeur vision Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones had for the stadium as an all-around entertainment mecca. The outstanding feature of this incredible stadium is its enormous HD television screen which was the largest in the world at the time of the stadium’s opening. For fan experience the stadium also includes a Party Pass section which is a series of platforms that offers standing room for 25,000 people in addition to the 80,000 seats in the stadium. There are also over 3,000 LCD TV screens to ensure no fan misses any play no matter where they are, as well as a retractable roof allowing for the best of conditions at all times. Stepping into this stadium is like stepping into a party in the future, which will amaze any visitor to Texas.

Katherine Welles / Shutterstock.com
Katherine Welles / Shutterstock.com

World’s 10 Most Dangerous Dive Spots

Scuba diving is a popular recreational activity among adventure seekers world-wide. The isolation, serenity and calm of the dark quiet waters offers an unusual escape from the world above.  Many recreational divers are quite content to remain at shallow levels exploring reefs and other interesting sea life. Some dive enthusiasts will attest to the desire to dive deeper to chart new unexplored places underwater and see things that have never been seen before. It’s this very desire that drives divers to take on some terrifying and dangerous challenges like the ones featured here.

10. Jacob’s Well, Wimberley Texas

On the surface, Jacob’s Well located southwest of Austin Texas just looks like your average back country swimming hole. Below the surface there’s an entirely different story. A deep network of at least 4 main chambers offers some of the most dangerous cave diving in the world. Diving to the first and second chambers isn’t usually a problem, except for a few tight passageways. It’s the loose gravel and small space of the network’s third chamber that has caused many problems. Once gravel and silt are stirred up it’s almost impossible for divers to know which way to go causing them to panic and use up their air tanks faster. At least 8 people have sadly lost their lives in these chambers.

diving, texas

9. Coco’s Island, Costa Rica

One of the main reasons this Costa Rican diving destination is so dangerous is its remote location. The Island which is entirely designated as a National Park lies 340 miles off the Pacific coast of the country and takes over 35 hours by boat to get to. The other reason for its dangerous reputation is the high number of sharks in the waters around the island. The many species of sharks including hammerhead and white tip reef sharks as well as giant manta rays, dolphins and sea turtles are a main attraction for divers from all over the world.

Coco's island costa rica

8. Blue Hole, Lighthouse Reef Belize

The Blue Hole in Lighthouse Reef off the coast of Belize offers beautiful clear waters, marine wildlife and some of the deepest diving around. With a depth of 407ft, divers who visit this site push to challenge themselves and go deeper, trying to see things previously unexplored. This is where the danger sets in. The walls of the hole are sheer until a depth of 110ft after which, divers will encounter jagged stalactite formations on the hole’s limestone walls. In 2012, the Blue Hole in Belize was named #1 on Discovery Channel’s “The 10 Most Amazing Places on Earth”.

Blue Hole, Belize

7. Cenote Esqueleto, Tulum Mexico

Cenote Esqueleto or more commonly known as “Temple of Doom” is another popular and dangerous cave diving site. This one lies just beyond the famous Tulum Ruins in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. This site features numerous caverns and tight passageways which can all spell danger even for experienced divers. There’s no ladder down into the cave network so the only way down is to just jump right in. Once below it’s easy to get disorientated, lost and run out of air down here, as was the case for a father and son dive team in 1996.

Temple of Doom

6. Devil’s Caves, Ginnie Springs Florida

Ginnie Springs is a popular cave diving destination about 35 miles northwest of Gainsville Florida. The temperatures in these crystal clear waters are a balmy 72 degrees Fahrenheit year round removing the need for a thick wetsuit. Little Devil, Devil’s Eye and Devil’s Ear are the most notable and dangerous sites in the springs. Beware, this serene looking spring has a very deceptive and strong flowing current, making for some dangerous diving. Especially at the vortex opening to the Devil’s Ear where divers gear is often shifted around.

cave diving

5. German U Boat, New Jersey

60 miles off the coast of New Jersey lies a remarkable World War II relic, a German U boat that was first discovered in 1991 by an American diver who had learned about the vessel’s possible location. The remains of U-869 were discovered at a depth of 240ft (73m) which is a dangerous depth for any diver. 3 Divers involved in the discovery of the boat actually died while exploring the area soon after it was found. The deep depths coupled with cold water temperatures and strong currents all make this an extremely dangerous dive spot.

diving with wreck

4. The Shaft Sinkhole, Mount Gambier Australia

Mount Gambier in South Australia is home to some of the best (and most dangerous) cave diving around. The area is full of freshwater lakes, caves, caverns and sinkholes that tempt brave adventure divers from around the world. The Shaft is a notorious sinkhole dive spot aptly named as the entrance is a tiny manhole that leads to a 25ft decent to the water. Beneath this long, dark entrance lies a huge network of clear water passageways. Unfortunately, there have been many fatalities in this dive site due to its depth and complexity.

cave diving australia

3. Eagle’s Nest Sinkhole, Weeki Wachee Florida

Another dangerous dive spot in the Sunshine State is Eagle’s Nest Sinkhole. Located in the remote western area of Weeki Wachee, this site is reportedly 1035ft (315m) in depth, making it dangerous for even the most skilled divers. The deeper scuba divers go, the more they start to experience Nitrogen Narcosis which causes them to experience a sense of euphoria and disorientation which can cause divers to lose track of their tank levels or become lost. Such has been the case at this Florida dive spot where several divers have lost their lives pushing the limits.

cave diving florida

2. Samaesan Hole, Samae San Islands Thailand

Samaesan Hole in the Gulf of Thailand is a popular deep diving spot. It’s also a very dangerous one for a few different reasons; first of all, the depth. At 280ft (85m) this should only be attempted by deep dive professionals with all the right equipment. Another danger is the strong currents of this dive area. One diver recounts a time where he surfaced from his dive miles away from the hole and had to be rescued by a passing deep sea trawler. The last and maybe most dangerous aspect of Samaesan Hole are the unexploded bombs littering the sea bed all around this area as the site is a former military explosives dumping ground.

Cave diving thailand

1. Blue Hole, Dahab Red Sea

The notoriety of this dive site amongst the diving community gives it the top spot the list. It’s also earned the title of “World’s Most Dangerous Dive Site” because of the high number of fatalities that have occurred here, giving it the ominous nickname “Divers Cemetery”. The Blue Hole itself is a submarine sinkhole approximately 463ft (130m) deep. The draw of this treacherous dive site is reaching “The Arch” which divers can swim through to open water. The issue here is The Arch is 184ft (56m) down, which is well beyond the PADI maximum recreational dive limit of 131ft (40m). At these depths many divers become confused causing them to miss the opening and swim down even further beyond safe limits.  An estimated 150 people have died while diving The Blue Hole in the last 10 years.

Blue Hole, Red Sea