3 Examples of when you do not need to apply for ESTA

The Electronic System for Travel Authentication works alongside the Visa Waiver Program to check that citizens from participating nations in the program meet requirements to enter the United States of America. The system affectively works as a pre-authorisation system to access the Visa Waiver Program for the entitled individuals.

ESTA holders may stay in the country for 90 days upon entry, however the prescreening process does not guarantee the right for individuals to enter the country which is still down to the US Customs and border protection securities discretion.

It is recommended to apply for ESTA at least 3 days beforehand. Those without an ESTA will be denied entry when flying into the country. In many cases at check in, airlines will refuse passengers on the spot who do not have ESTA approval. It is therefore very important to get your ESTA approval on time.

In some cases however ESTA approval is not a requirement and therefore applying for the ESTA approval would be complete waste of time. You may find that through your point of entry or current USA Visa status that you do not need to apply for ESTA approval even though you are from a country which is part of the Visa Waiver Program.

To avoid wasting your time it is always worth checking in advance. It is not easy always easy to find out this kind of information on your next travel destination. But the following are examples of when you need not apply for ESTA before travelling to the United States of America.


Arriving by Land

ESTA is only required for those who enter the United States of America via plane or sea. Citizens from nations on the Visa Waiver Program that enter by land from Canada or Mexico are not required to apply for ESTA. Also another exception is when VWP citizens travel from Vancouver and Victoria by ferry also from BC by ferry to Washington State. This way of entering the United States of America is treated in the same way as when entering by land.

You have a Permanent Residence Permit in United Status

If you are from one of the VWP countries but you are already a lawful resident of the US, then on no occasion would you require applying for ESTA. Since you already legally live in the United States of America this is simply not applicable to you. So don’t worry, this is your home now no need to mess around with things like ESTA!

You Already Have a Visa

This is common sense really.

If you have a business visa such as the B1 Visa, or any other type of Visa then you do not require ESTA Authentication. The sole purpose of the ESTA system is too ensure that citizens eligible under the Visa Waiving Program can securely visit the United States without the need to apply for a visa. If you already have a visa, then the system is irrelevant to you since your visa has already provided you with the authentication and allows you to enter the United States of America.

5 nice places for families to visit in Florida

Florida is a really nice place, it is beautiful and sunny, the people are nice, and there is a lot to do and see for families. Each city in Florida has its own special flavor and things to do. You can do what you want and have as little or as much excitement as you can handle. You can ride roller coasters or just walk along the beach. Florida is the place to go. Take an amazing family holiday to Florida. Here is our take on a few of the cities.

Sanibel Island

This is one of the more quiet places to go when you like to commune more with nature. This is where you go for the flora and fauna. You can hike or bike through the various trails, watch dolphins, look for manatees, or take kayak tours. For the eco- adventure family, this is the place to go.


On the opposite end of the spectrum from Sanibel is Orlando. This is where the majority of the theme parks are. Legoland, Universal, Disney, SeaWorld, and on and on. You can go to a different attraction every day and still not make it through all of the attractions in 2 weeks. Most of the individual attractions themselves you could not make it through in a single day. This is an ultimate location for families that love theme parks.


Miami is more of a big city filled with a lot of nightlife. During the day you can spend time at the beach, swim, surf or other beach activities. You can go to the zoo or the sea aquarium, all great things to do with kids. At night the adults can go out dancing and to some of the hottest clubs on the east coast.


If your family trip is filled with little ones, then this is a good choice for a destination. Many things in Tampa are structured towards children. There are various amusement parks in Tampa as well as the Lowry Park Zoo which was voted the number one family-friendly zoo in the United States. There are a lot of things to do in Tampa for you and the kids.

Fort Lauderdale

Most famous for spring break, Fort Lauderdale has changed over the years to a much more upscale place. There are lots of museums and marinas and many things for tourists to do. It is well known for good hotels, shopping and golf courses. A really nice place to visit is what is called the strip. This is a strip of restaurants that run along the land side of the beach road where you can sit and watch the world go by.

There are many other cities and places in Florida to go to. These are just some highlights, and travel tips, of some of the places to take your family. Each city is like a layer of an onion; once you get there you can keep peeling away skin after skin to see more and more. There’s something for everyone in each of the cities. Come visit Florida, have a look around, and fall in love with the place, then you’ll know why so many people retire here. See you on the beach.

5 reasons to take a cruise to the Canary Islands

The Canary Islands have a long history of friendship with the sea. The Canary Islands are basically a volcano chain of islands. As a fun fact, there’s even a restaurant that has a hole cut down to the volcano and the grill is powered by the heat from below. They never have to use any electricity or gas to run it. How cool is it that you can have your meal cooked by a volcano? There’s a lot of good history on the island and they were colonized at the same time as the Americas. The Canary Islands are also not named after the canary bird, as would seem obvious. The highest held belief is that it was named after the Latin word Canaria, which means dog. Seals were often called sea dogs so the locals believe that this is why the islands are called what they are. Here are some of the reasons to go to the Canary Islands on a cruise.

Great sailing 365

The Canary Islands are said to have the best climate and temperatures in the world. There is no real change of seasons, and the temperatures stay at a fair constant throughout the year. Sailing these islands is a joy as there are always reliable winds coming from the Gulf Stream. You can rent a sailboat locally and spend the time sailing the waves as others have hundreds of years before you did. It is just beautiful and peaceful.

Eco de version

With volcanoes and a 2-mile high mountain in the middle of beautiful water and landscapes, there are some very diverse eco-systems. In fact, there can even be snow on top of the mountain. Making this one of the few places in the world where you can go play in the snow and come down the mountain and get a suntan while lying on the beach, all in the same day. There are green jungle like areas as well as there are desert areas. There is just a diversity that has to be seen to be believed.

Ports of call

The 7 main Canary Islands boast 36 ports, each port having its own feel. You can take an island hopping cruise and visit multiple ports and get a feel for the diversity of the whole area. You can travel through the various ports, and it will take you a long time to see them all and pick your favorite.


One of the most amazing and often scary things to see is a volcano. If you visit Fire Mountain in the Canary Islands you can learn all about the volcanoes in this chain. There is still enough heat near the surface to turn areas into a desolate moonscape.


The Canary Islands have a mix of beaches. There are regular beaches with the normal sand that you can see on most beaches, and as it is a volcanic chain, there are also beaches with volcanic sand. These are the black beaches, similar to the black beaches in Hawaii. It’s just a sight to see.

You really should come see the Canary Islands; it’s an experience that you take with you for life. If you love to sail or even would like to learn how to sail, there is not a better place in the world that you can do that. We hope that these travel tips helped you. Come visit us and become an honorary Canary Island sailor. May your winds be fair and your seas as smooth as they always are here.

Great Reasons to Take a Cruise to Alaska

When you think about memorable vacations you can take, your mind probably runs wild. You can go run with the bulls in Spain, you can travel the Maldives and stay in a villa on the ocean. You might travel to Ibiza and have a non-stop party, or even go backpacking though Eastern Europe staying at hostels and eating local food. All of these trips would definitely produce life-long memories that you would treasure.

This article contains a suggestion for a trip that is as amazing as those listed above, but also is not one that immediately comes to mind. However when you think about it, you begin to realize that it has more benefits than most memorable vacations. How about you go on an Alaskan cruise? Here are the great reasons why:

Before we talk about an Alaskan cruise, let’s dispel some of the commonly held beliefs about cruises.

Cruises are for Retirees: Throughout their time cruises have welcomed people of all ages and families with young kids as well. The cruise industry works tirelessly to create trips that appeal to all age groups. In fact, today there are even cruises for young singles who want to mingle. The entertainment options for people on cruises are just like those of a great vacation town; great restaurants, swimming pools, discos, and cafes and many have lots of additional amenities like casinos.

I Get Ill on the Water: Most cruise ships are so large that you can barely feel any movement. New stabilizing tech also makes smooth any rough waves that might be present in the water. So you hardly ever know you are on water. And just in case, there are tablets that are very effective at quelling any seasickness.

Here are great reasons to take an Alaskan cruise:

You Can Experience the Beauty of Alaska in Safety and Comfort

Alaska is a beautiful country with thousands of sights and sounds that delight the senses. It is also rugged and unexplored and taking a trip through its rough terrain is very challenging. A cruise allows you to see much of Alaska from a distance and appreciate its raw beauty from arms- length. The cruise ship will stop are several towns where you can disembark and get face to face with the wilderness, but it is all controlled so you are always safe. The cruise ships contain every conceivable amenity, so you can get your dose of Alaska but remain in the highest levels of comfort.

Cruises Save You Money

Most people mistakenly think that cruises are more expensive than conventional vacations, but they are not doing the math properly. A cruise is an all-inclusive experience that includes the cost of your accommodation, transportation, entertainment and your meals. In some cases discounted airfare is even added to get you to your home city if needed. When you look at the costs from this perspective, you can see how there is a cost savings over a comparable traditional vacation. Also you can pick the quality of cruise you like, therefore meeting your vacation budget.

Alaska is a beautiful place to reconnect with nature and find undiscovered wilderness. Taking a cruise takes you to Alaska in a manner that allows you to go in style and safety. Have a look into taking this once in a lifetime adventure.

5 French Locations Away From Paris

I have lived in France, well Paris for just over 2 years and it was only in the last 6 months that I decided to venture away from the capital and see a little more of my adopted nation. Spending time in some vacation rentals in France and visiting all four corners of the country really opened my eyes and made me realize just how little is spoken about some of the regions in France which in all honesty, blew me away.

Ever since then it seems that every travel blog or piece of travel news that I read is so incredibly Paris-centric and I wanted to do my bit to put things right. Don’t get me wrong, Paris is an outstanding city, elegant, artistic, full of sights and attractions and it truly is the city of romance and I am not for one second saying that you shouldn’t travel there. What I want to say is that after Paris, you should go and see the rest of this incredible country and here are 5 places that I love which will hopefully convince you to broaden your horizons the next time you visit France.


Widely considered as the wine-capital of France, Bordeaux is a beautiful region which is situated in the south west of France in the Gironde region. Bordeaux sits on the Gironne river and is around an hour form the coast. This region is not only famed for its wine-grwoing climate, rolling valleys and vineyards but also for its rich history and its outstanding cuisine. Much of Bordeaux should be explored on foot and the number one attraction that any tourists should go to is the beautiful cathedral which overlooks the river.


When I headed out of the city I really wanted to find that side of France which is drenched in nature, the tranquil and green areas which would give me the perfect chance to decompress after living in a bustling capital. I found exactly what I was looking for in Auvergne, a forested, volcanic region right in the heart of France which appears as though it has been untouched by the changing hands of time. I spent over a week in this region hiking up to volcanoes, bathing in hot springs and even managed to do some skiing whilst I was there. If you want to enjoy a relaxing break in isolation then look no further than Auvergne.

Les Gorges du Verdon

The miniature and younger sister of New York’s Statue of Liberty in Paris is not the only similarity between the two nations and in Les Gorges du Verdon you will find France’s answer to the Grand Canyon. Set in south east France between the Alpes-de-haute-Provence and the Var this 15 mile long, 700 meter deep canyon is finished off with the glistening, turquoise waters of the river Verdon which flows through the heart of the crevice. This wild region of France is rarely talked about and a visit here will allow you to see a very different side to the country. This who are looking for adventure can hike around the canyon or even raft and kayak along the choppy waters of the Verdon.


Bretagne or Brittany as it is widely known is a rigged coastal region on the west coast of France that feels as though it is a country within a country. Everything is different here, the food, the weather, the locals and even the history and it makes for a truly eye-opening place to visit. Here you will find thick forests to hike through, choppy seas to sail on and medieval towns to learn about. In my opinion you will find the very best seafood that France has to offer right here in Brittany and you can wile your days away exploring the dramatic coastline and take in the seemingly forgotten towns of Roscoff, Quimper and Vannes. There is much to see and do in Brittany from the natural to the man-made and it should most definitely be a place that you visit at least once during your time in France.


My favorite fRench city is Nice, set on the French Riviera this city offers all of the razzmatazz of Paris with the addition of beautiful weather and the glorious sea. A 30 minute ride from Cannes and not too far down the coast from the likes of Monaco and St Tropez, Nice is perfectly situated for a nice break in the warm Mediterranean sun. The city is very trendy and there are plenty of students who call Nice their home, this gives the city a very ‘hip’ feel to it and gives tourists a great location to unwind and enjoy themselves.

Do you have a favorite French destination? Let us know if so and why in the comments section below and share it with the World.

Learn All You Can About Your Next Travel Destination

This is the village of Oia, perched on a clifftop at the end of the island of Santorini. Our cave house was near the bottom of the developed part of the hillside.

If you have an upcoming vacation in mind, is it all planned out and ready to go?

For countless travelers, reaching that next travel destination may seem like a major task at first (finances, planning etc.), but it certainly does not have to be the case.

For example, the Internet gives you so much information these days when it comes to where you might want to visit next.

Whether those destinations will be spots you visit for the first time or over and over again, there is always something to learn about them.

Keep in mind that many vacation spots like to upgrade their offerings over time, so things will in fact change. From new offerings to changing prices (typically higher), you need to stay up to speed on what is occurring.

So, how knowledgeable will you be the next time you starting thinking of getting away from it all?

Turning to the Travel Pros

In order to better appreciate and enjoy your next vacation, having travel professionals working with you is certainly a good idea.

For instance, are you interested in learning about and exploring one or more regions of the United States, jet-setting across Europe, or perhaps discovering more about specially curated Brazil vacation packages? No matter where your travels will take you this year or down the road, being as educated as possible about your destination/s is crucial.

Secondly, ask the travel pros if there are any regions of the world where travel is not highly recommend at this time.

While there can be myriad of reasons for such travel advisories, some of the more common ones include factors such as political upheaval, devastation from weather happenings, poor economic conditions, threats of terrorism etc. By having as many details in-hand, you are better suited to decide where you want to go.

Do You Research

For starters, you can do lots of your own research before you ever sit down to talk with a travel company.

Among the areas to cover:

  • Do they have customized packages available? If so, what all do they include?
  • How do their rates compare to other travel companies, some of which you may be interested in dealing with?
  • Do they have any money-back guarantee offers regarding their trips?
  • How far in advance should you typically book a major trip?
  • Do they recommend travel insurance for your vacation?

Whether you have a travel addiction or you’re just the occasional traveler, do your best to be educated on where you’re going and how you are arriving there.

Best Times to Travel?

Certain worldwide destinations are better off going to during particular times of the year.

For example, someone wanting to see all of Alaska’s beauty is not typically inclined to go there in the wintertime. Not only can many of the roads be impassable, but transportation just getting there can prove quite difficult.

Meantime, are you currently in a cold weather region of the U.S., looking to escape that for a week or two? If so, heading south of course is your best option.

If you like crowds, heading to Brazil for the famed Rio Carnival may very well get your attention. Not only are you sure to fine lots of people and entertainment, but the weather should be rather ideal for snowbirds needing a break from cold and snow.

Also look at what the expenses will be in going to a site that is in particularly high demand from travelers.

Although some area may not be your first choice, going there may save you some dollars, money saved while other travelers have flocked elsewhere.

At the end of the day, knowing all you can about your next travel destination is what should be your top priority.

By knowing all you can about it, you can determine if it is truly where you want to go.

If it isn’t, then turn your focus elsewhere, allowing you to get to that place you will remember for years to come.

Important things to know before traveling to the USA


Planning on traveling to the USA on holiday for the first time this year? While there is much to see and do in this exciting country, there are a number of things that you should keep in mind as you plan your trip to America … check out our list below:


1) Apply for a visa waiver before packing your bags

Unlike many other nations in the developed world, entry into the United States of America is tightly controlled, even for western nationalities.

Even Canadians, who have the easiest requirements to meet, are routinely grilled with questions by eagle-eyed border guards trained to sniff out individuals with less than noble intentions.

As long as you look into visa waiver programs before booking your ticket (which will allow you 90 days of travel in America for business and/or pleasure), and remain calm as you answer the queries that Homeland Security asks of you, everything will be fine.

2) The United States is a massive country

The USA is not like the United Kingdom or France – measuring 4,314 kilometres east to west, and 2,514 kilometres north to south at their widest points, this country is impossible to experience in its entirety during the standard two week holiday.

Even if you use the maximum 90 day allotment that your visa waiver provides you, you’ll be constantly rushing around, which will make it hard to soak in your destinations.

As a result, it is best that you confine yourself to one or two geographical regions during your stay in the USA.

3) Tipping culture is pervasive

Throughout much of the Western world, gratuities for workers in the service industry are either included in the bill, or wages are at a rate that makes leaving a sizable one unnecessary. In America, the choice of whether to leave a tip is left up to the consumer.

Most citizens opt to do so for even sub-par service though, as wages for many jobs in this sector in the USA are very low ($2.13 an hour, though servers that don’t make enough in gratuities in a given month are topped up to $7.25 an hour over the amount of time that they worked).

For acceptable service, 15-20% is standard, and locals are more than happy to tip more than that for an exceptional experience.

4) Units of measurement are in imperial units, not metric

Just drove away from the airport in your rental car, and are shocked at how slow freeway speed limits are in the USA? Unless you are from Germany or Italy, you might be mistaking miles per hour for kilometres.

Units in America are still in imperial units, despite most other nations switching to metric more than a generation ago. Other things to watch for: temperature is in Fahrenheit, petrol/gas is sold by the gallon, and product measurements are in ounces and pounds.

5) Travel to the US can be a costly affair

It’s good to start pre-planning a while in advance as flights can be anywhere up to $600 one way depending on where you are flying from. Expedia often run deals, sometimes you get upto 60% off last minute offers, these can be found on mamma.com. Make sure you look out for various deals and get saving well in advance.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Romania

Romania is not a country that makes the news too often. It’s hidden on the Eastern outskirts of Europe, trying to catch up with its Western neighbors when it comes to democracy, economy and technology. But it is ignored by many, which is a pity – it has some of the best mineral waters of the continent, it has lands mostly untouched by industrial farming, and one of the cheapest and fastest internet services in the world, allowing its people to play mobile casino games, read the news, stream videos and communicate wherever they are. But there are several more reasons why the country is worth a visit, both during the summer and in wintertime.



Romania is a melting pot of multiple civilizations. Its Western parts were mostly influenced by Austria, France and Italy, while its East bears signs of a Turkish, Slavonic and Balkanic influence. This mix results in an amalgam of traditions, spread across its multiple regions, which show in its time-honored attire, its foods, wines and wont.


Romania has everything from an untouched mountain wilderness inhabited by bears, boars and wolves, to the largest rivel delta in the European Union. While its Black Sea shoreline is mostly covered in resorts and beaches, it has mountains barely even seen by the eye of man. And hidden among these mountains you can find small villages, tarns and caves, and picturesque places to relax.

Dracula’s birthplace

Don’t expect to find the undead, not even skeletons chained to the wall, in the dungeons of the Sighisoara (Schabburg) Castle. But it’s a place of great significance, as it is most likely the birthplace of the most famous Romanian ruler of them all, Vlad Tepes – also known as Dracula. Schabburg was for years the place of residence for Vlad II Dracul, father of the famous Impaler.

The Sighisoara Citadel was built in the 12th century, and is inhabited even today. A UNESCO World Heritage sight since 1999.


While Romania is a country with hardly any freeways, lacking the basic infrastructure at times, it is also known for being the country with the most beautiful highways ever (according to the guys from Top Gear). The Transfagarasan is a highway crossing over the Southern parts of the Carpathians, and the second highest road in the country, with an altitude of over 2 kilometers. Surrounded by an incredible, arid landscape, driving there is an out of this world experience.

The Bran Castle

Back to the most famous Romanian brand, Dracula. The castle, built in the 13th century, represents the border between Transylvania and Wallachia. It was never actually the dwelling of the feared Impaler, but it has served as an inspiration to Bram Stoker to describe the vampire’s castle in his famous book. A landmark and a museum, the Bran Castle is open for tourists and visitors all year long.

We hope this post and tips will help make your visit to the top tourist attractions in Romania a memorable one!

Tropical travel destinations that offer gaming excitement

Atlantis on Paradise Island makes the Bahamas one of several tropical travel destinations that offer gaming excitement ... photo by CC user WPPilot on wikimedia commons

Seeking out some tropical travel destinations to take you away from the pit of despair that the darkness of early winter can be, but also looking for some gaming excitement in the process? Book your ticket for one of the following hotspots:

The Bahamas

Home to the world famous Atlantis Casino on Paradise Island, the Bahamas is an excellent place to have a Caribbean holiday that includes the possibility of placing a few wagers during the course of your stay.

From picture perfect beaches in and around Nassau, to tasting some of the world’s best rums, a trip to this archipelago that lies southeast of the Floridian coast will be one that will prove memorable for you and your travel companions.

When on the premises of Atlantis, enjoy one of the world’s most thrilling water slides, and if you plan your trip during early to mid-January, you’ll get a chance to watch or play in the Pokerstars Caribbean Adventure, which is one of the most prestigious live poker tournament series during the course of any given year.

Costa Rica

Have a thing for ziplines, trekking, and paddling out to catch the morning’s biggest waves? If all of things appeal to you, then Costa Rica is a wonderful place to escape from the cold for a couple of weeks.

If gaming is one of your hobbies as well, many resort towns offer casino gaming when the sun has sank beneath the horizon. Jaco Beach is one of them, as it has two casinos within town limits that offer various stake levels for those with different risk tolerances.

A little rusty at some of the standard games? No shame if it has been a little while for you – just practice with a small bankroll at netbet casino – 100% bonus on first deposit, and you’ll be placing bets like its second nature to you in no time.

Goa, India

While many of Asia’s conservative culture take a dim view on gaming, the attitude of those in the state of Goa in India is far more liberal than those in the rest of the region, making it an ideal place for those that love risking their money in pursuit of more to take a vacation from their vacation.

When you aren’t working on your tan, exploring the colonial structures in Old Goa, or shopping for hippie trinkets in this state’s many markets, there are a variety of resorts and riverboat casinos that will gladly take your bets.

Those looking for more options should go for the floating casinos, as the land based ones are only allowed to offer electronic gaming only. Whichever option you choose, make sure you have set up an international bank account to make the most of your winnings. You can find a wide variety of options here: https://aaacreditguide.com/best-banks-international-travel/

Museums in Florida for the whole family

Orlando’s central location makes it the perfect hub for families who want to explore all that Florida has to offer. Since flights to Orlando are often rather affordable, your family can fly to Orlando, rent a car, and start your adventure. If you stick to a schedule, you could see many of the state’s best cities within less than two weeks.

As you travel, make sure you visit these museums in Florida. They offer unique views that you won’t find anywhere else. They can also act as cultural anchor points that will help you balance Florida’s amazing restaurants and beaches with something more educational than snoozing the day away on the sand.

Orlando Science Center

City: Orlando

Hours: Closed Wednesdays, open all other days from 10 AM to 5 PM

Admission: $19, discounts available for children, students, and seniors

You  might as well start your educational tour of Florida in Orlando. The Orlando Science Center will give you time to relax after your flight while you visit some of central Florida’s finest science exhibits.

Orlando Science Center has several permanent exhibits as well as some traveling exhibits and special events. It’s suitable for kids and adults. You’ll learn about the natural world, biology, weather, and space. It’s interesting but doesn’t get too technical, so don’t worry that it will all go over your head.

Take some time to visit the Crosby Observatory and its 10-inch lens refractor telescope. It’s the largest telescope in Florida, so you will get a view of the planets, nebulae, and stars like never before. The observatory has some night hours. Check the website so you can schedule your visit on a day with hours after dark.

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

This place is one of the better museums in Florida

Photo by foun10head via Trover.com

City: Miami

Hours: Open from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM every day except Tuesday

Admission: $18, discounts for children, students, and seniors. Military personnel get in free.

Vizcaya is a sprawling estate built by Miami businessman James Deering. The villa sits on 50 acres of preserved gardens and native forest. About ten acres are devoted to immaculate gardens designed to mimic the style of those owned by royalty and wealthy merchants during the Italian Renaissance.

While the formal gardens are spectacular, anyone who loves nature will want to visit the native forest. Miami’s growth has removed most of the native forests along Biscayne Bay. The native forest was a barrier to commercial and residential developments, so most of it was replaced with buildings. Vizcaya is one of the few places where you can see what’s left of the forest. Standing along the water, it’s possible to imagine the dense trees stretching along the bay.

The villa has been turned into a respectable art museum. It was actually the Dade County Art Museum in the 1950s.

You’ll want to spend the night in Miami before making the drive to Key West. I recommend Hotel Urbano. It’s close to Vizcaya and has beautiful rooms affordable rates.

Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum

Photo by via Ashley via Trover.com

City: Key West

Hours: Open from 9 AM to 5 PM every day

Admission: Adults: $13; Children: $6; Children five and under get in free.

It takes about three and a half hours to drive from Miami to Key West. Take your time and enjoy it. Hopping from island to island is a great experience unlike any other drive in the USA. During the drive you can feel your mindset switch from the hustle of Miami to the relaxation on the Keys.

Make reservations at The Gardens Hotel to make the trip even more enjoyable. You can’t really choose a bad hotel in Key West, but this is one of the best options for privacy at modest rates. It’s not exactly the cheapest hotel in the world, but nothing is really cheap in Key West. Besides, it’s worth splurging a little. Unless you decide to move to Florida, you probably won’t make the trip to Key West again in the near future.

The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is one of the area’s most historically significant buildings. Hemingway wrote “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” while living there. It’s a spectacular house purchased for him and his wife by a wealthy relative. While visiting, check out Hemingway’s extensive library to get an idea of what he was reading while working on some of his most popular stories.

Salvador Dali Museum

Photo by Bill Dillard via Trover.com

City: St. Petersburg

Hours: Thursday and Friday: 10 AM to 8 PM, 10 AM – 5:30 PM all other days

Admission: $24, discounts available for children, students, and seniors

Every aspect of the Dali Museum honors the passion and humor that made Salvador Dali one of the 20th Centuries most celebrated artists. The museum displays several of Dali’s artworks. Anyone who loves art should visit the Dali while passing through St. Pete.

The building itself is a wonderful tribute to the Spanish artist. The large helical staircase symbolizes Dali’s fascination with DNA sequences. There’s even an outdoor sculpture of Dali’s trademark handlebar moustache.

Try your best to visit the Dali Museum on a Thursday or Friday, when it stays open late. The outdoor garden offers a wonderful view of the sea as it sets into the Gulf of Mexico.

If you want to spend the night in St. Petersburg, stay at Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront so you can reach the Dali easily. It’s less than a mile away.

Florida Aquarium

City: Tampa

Hours: Daily from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM

Admission: $23.95 with discounts for children and seniors

It only takes half an hour to drive from St. Pete to Tampa. You can easily make Tampa part of your stay in St. Petersburg or visit it on your way back to Orlando. Just give yourself plenty of time if you plan to board your plane on the same day.

Make a stop at the Florida Aquarium while you’re in Tampa. The Aquarium recently opened a new exhibit called Ocean Commotion that has a huge collection of strange sea life. It’s pretty amazing to see how these creatures adapted to their underwater environments.

You will also want to visit the Coral Reef exhibit. It does a good job simulating a 60-foot dive into the ocean. It’s as close as it gets without suiting up and jumping in the water.

Matthew Thompson is a writer and blogger based in Louisville, KY. You can follow him on Google+ or check out some of his latest travel writing on the Hipmunk website.