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Lauren Monitz is a travel/food writer and social media influencer specializing in offbeat adventures you didn't even know were on your bucket list. From becoming a certified viking in Iceland to blackwater rafting in New Zealand, she always seeks out the most insane adventures wherever she goes. On a mission to see all 50 states and at least 50 countries before 50, she has bylines across the web from MSN and the Huffington Post to Eater and USA Today, has done Snapchats for the Food Network, and Instagram takeovers for Forbes.
She has collaborated with 75+ brands in over 20 states and founded the Influencer Institute to teach others how to grow their following and turn their online brand into business opportunities while educating brands on best practices for working with influencers.
Each key has its own appeal, and with just two hours separating Key West, the outermost island, and Key Largo, the closest, there’s no reason why you ca The Lower Keys are a natural paradise, home to two national wildlife refuges, a national marine sanctuary, and a state park, while Marathon appeals more to families for abundant kid-friendly attractions and slower, “Old Florida” lifestyle. Best Scuba Diving on the Florida Keys Key Largo is the self-proclaimed dive capital of the world, home to Vandenberg Artificial Reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, one of the largest of its kind in the world. Some of the best eating experiences on the island include Hogfish Bar & Grill, Senor Frijoles, Hobo’s, Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen, Harriette’s Diner, Islamorada Fish Company, and The Island Fish Co., but you really can’t go wrong with any of the colorful tiki shacks you stumble upon.
With only three days of warning, you’re not left with much time to prep, yet feels like an infinite amount of time to worry, which is why you must rely on your own instincts and formulate your own set of guidelines for when to act. We made the decision to leave late Tuesday night prior to the mandatory evacuation being issued Wednesday morning as the storm was predicted to hit Wednesday night around midnight. Whether you choose to stay or choose to go, prepping an emergency kit in blue skies feels like you’re overreacting until you see everyone else panic buying and stripping the shelves with the most Texas rules ever –two briskets per person and four cases of water. If there isn’t a mandatory evacuation issued, you’re on your own in terms of using PTO to cover however long you’re gone, essentially burning through vacation days.
How’s dry January going for you? Do you believe in doing a New Year’s cleanse / reset? Thankfully, with 0 calories, 0 sweeteners/sugar and 0 sodium @drinkpresent is a guilt-free indulgence and a great recovery drink. I have a new blog on my favorite CBD products for jet lag and travelers -- check it out and use promo code MonitzPresent for free shipping through March. #drinkpresent #beherebeyou
As one of the most iconic, recognizable sites in America, the Grand Canyon is on almost everyone’s travel bucket list and one of the country’s most visited national parks. Called one of the US’s natural wonders and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, here’s everything you need to know about planning a trip to the Grand Canyon. The trip takes about two hours each way through the scenic Ponderosa pines, which gives you about 3-4 hours to explore the park before it’s time to depart. You can catch a ride from the South Rim, Las Vegas, or West Rim if you want to combine it with a trip to the Skywalk.
As the oldest national park in the country (although Hot Springs was technically the first) and the largest, Yellowstone is one of the most sought-after vacation spots in America for its unique landscape and insane wildlife viewing opportunities. There’s both an upper and lower boardwalk, and the area is home to the park headquarters if you’re looking to get a bit of a history lesson. The largest high elevation lake in North America and the park’s largest body, a day at the lake is a great place to escape the crowds and find some serenity. If You Have Extra Time Grand Teton National Park is less than an hour away from Yellowstone’s south entrance or add in a drive through Montana’s breathtaking Beartooth Highway.
I showed you the nighttime view of this place, but here it is in the daytime. Hamilton Island, you’re a stunner 24/7 😍 and while I’m relieved the Australia fires are finally getting the media coverage they deserve, the entire country isn’t closed like they’d have you believe. 👉🏻 Don’t let it deter you from visiting this magical place but be safe and smart about it. Your tourist dollars are just as important as donations for rebuilding small towns and communities. If you want to go down under, educate yourself on the situation and use your best judgement to mitigate risk.