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Updated by Melinda K Crow on Nov 09, 2015
Headline for Melinda Crow on Yahoo! Travel
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Melinda Crow on Yahoo! Travel

Here's what I've been up to over on Yahoo Travel. Have a peek.

Learn From the Ultimate Expert: A Travel Guidebook Author's Top Tips and Tricks

You can bring your high-tech travel gear but don't forget your guidebook (Photo: Marc Volk/Getty Images) "Who even uses guidebooks anymore?" "Isn't there an app for that?" Travel guidebooks might seem low-tech these days. But think of them as really long TripAdvisor reviews with bonus driving directions.

Can You Do All Your Travel Shopping at Home Depot? Absolutely!

During my 20 years traveling as a guidebook author, I have discovered some ingenious ways to get myself and my stuff from place to place in comfort. I don't always have the luxury of shopping at high-end travel stores, so my go-to travel-gear source is a little unconventional.

Talk About Glamping! Go Inside a Million-Dollar RV

Camping is about connecting with the world in a way that is rarely possible in our everyday lives surrounded by steel and concrete. Data from the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association indicates that more than 9 percent of American households now own some form of RV.

Funerals, Prescriptions, and a Good Night's Sleep: The Most Bizarre Reasons People Go on Cruises

(Photo: Thinkstock) Not everybody cruises for the food, alcohol, and lounge chairs by the pool. Some of us have slightly weirder ideas in mind. My husband and I spend our summers working with guests at a lakeside resort. The hours are grueling, and by the end of the season we suffer from serious people fatigue.

The Romantic Allure of a Foggy Fall Getaway

A moody fall landscape. (Photo: Boris Jordan Photography/Moment/Getty Images) Poets write about it, horror movies thrive on it, and transportation officials work long hours because of it. It can delay your travels or add a visual dimension to a destination that you never expected.

The Worst Caribbean Ports of Call for Cruises

Ships lined up in the port of Nassau in the Bahamas (Photo: Roger Wollstadt/Flickr) It's dreary outside and you find yourself dreaming of an escape to the Caribbean. You long for turquoise water and sugar-sand beaches, with plenty of activities to take your mind off work.

Confessions of Cruise Ship Entertainers: What We Really Think of You

Let me entertain you. (Photo: Thinkstock) Entertaining people who are on their dream vacation may not be the dream job it seems. In recent years, there have been a number of scandalous allegations of cruise ship entertainers involving drugs, sex, and more.

Gorgeous Caribbean Beach Houses You Can Rent Right Now

(Photo: Sasha Weleber/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images) Stop staring at beach porn on your computer and do something about it. Rent a beach house! You'll have privacy, usually your own kitchen, and room to bring friends and family along. Prices start at under $100 per night.

Sniff Your Way to the Season's Best Gifts

Ever notice that some of the most interesting places to shop smell wonderful? Believe it or not, scent marketing is a thing. Researchers are constantly studying how fragrances affect our buying habits. Turns out that we are 84 percent more likely to buy a pair of Nike shoes and willing to pay more for them when the store smells of some mystery aroma.

Smackdown: Aruba vs Bonaire vs Curaçao

These three island jewels situated barely off the coast of Venezuela are as distinctly different from one another as diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. They share a common history of war, slavery, and occupation, and Dutch influence is unmistakable on all three. Join us as we spell out the differences between the "ABC" islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao.

Get Cozy: 10 Affordable Inns and Lodges Across the U.S.

Winter getaways come in two basic varieties. You can either attempt to run far from the cold and snow. Or you can find the perfect spot to snuggle up indoors. And a perfect cozy spot by the fire doesn't have to break the bank.

We Actually Fear for Your Life: Confessions of Adventure Guides

The lesson is: your guide has a lot to hide. (Photo: Thinkstock) Some of us travel purely for the adrenaline. We hike, climb, speedboat, jump from planes, and dive with sharks for pleasure. Somewhere in the back of our brains, we know that we are risking our lives.

Think It's Crazy to Go Camping in Winter? Let Us Prove You Wrong

Camping under the Northern Lights (Photo: Thinkstock) Think twice before putting your camping gear away for the winter. If winter sports are your thing, there are places where even a foot or two of snow won't crimp your camping style.

Buy All Your Travel Gear at IKEA Without Losing Your Mind

How can you tell when you're close to an IKEA store? All of the hybrid cars have little couches strapped on top. I actually saw two hybrids carrying sofas and one Smart car with a furniture box wedged between the driver and passenger on my recent IKEA adventure.

Airplane Insider: Secrets I Learned Sitting Next to an Airline Pilot

Your friendly airline pilot holds lots of industry secrets - and loves to talk! While boarding a recent early morning flight returning from a Caribbean island, I had a déjà vu moment of sorts. I qualify it because I wasn't reliving my own experience.

Cheap and Chic in the City? Yes, You Can. 10 Urban Hotels Under $150

Long Island City is just 10 minutes from Manhattan, but a world away from its high-priced hotels. We fell in love with the Paper Factory Hotel. Its eclectic, industrial-themed décor stays true to the roots of this 100-year-old paper factory. Paper, in the form of NYC newspapers and stacks of books, is the common thread.

Kidnapping, Rocket Shrapnel, and Human Trafficking: The World's Most Dangerous Cruise Ports

CIA's website says there is, "significant narcotics-related money-laundering activity, especially along the border with Colombia and on Margarita Island." Margarita Island is one of six ports open to cruise ships. In February, a passenger on the Carnival-owned AIDA line was shot and killed during a robbery attempt on the island.

Sure-Fire Ways to Spot an American on a Cruise

We Americans love our cruises! (Photo: ThinkStock) According to the Cruise Lines International Association, Americans make up just over 51 percent of all cruise passengers worldwide. The percentages on specific cruises obviously vary depending on the port of departure. Americans become the minority on ships that sail from non-U.S. ports.

The Worst Caribbean Ports of Call for Cruises

Ships lined up in the port of Nassau in the Bahamas (Photo: Roger Wollstadt/Flickr) It's dreary outside and you find yourself dreaming of an escape to the Caribbean. You long for turquoise water and sugar-sand beaches, with plenty of activities to take your mind off work.

The Most Ridiculous Landmarks in All 50 States

In the United States, we proudly display our history, our innovations, and our independence - often to the point of weirdness. We hoist gigantic bugs on top of buildings and erect monuments to the bizarre. At Yahoo, we salute that strange creativity. But let's face it, sometimes these things can get out of hand.

A State-by-State Guide to the 50 Coolest Things in America

(Photo: Design Turnpike/Corbis) Let's face it - no one state in the country has the corner on the awesomeness market. There are things in every state that make you go "Wow!"

50 Amazingly Adorable Animals From Every State

To help you put a little animal fun in your next trip, Yahoo Travel went in search of amazing animals in each state. Whether you like fur, feathers, or fins, here is our list of favorites. Alabama A most down-to-earth mayor, Stubbs (named for his short tail) enjoys spending his time hanging out with the locals at the local pub.

Spring Cruise Deals for Less Than $75 a Night. Seriously!

April and May could be the best months to cruise this year. Besides the usual seasonal bargains at both major and regional ports, there are some fantastic repositioning cruises at lower-than-expected rates. Throughout most of the year, cruises under $100 a night are considered good deals, but Yahoo Travel found a number of spring cruises - for under $75 a night!

A State-by-State Guide to the Most Hilarious (and Annoying) Slang Across the U.S.

Actually, it's only 49 funny sayings, from where I sit. Probably from where you sit as well. Let me start by saying that I am from Texas, and the rest of y'all talk funny. Now don't get riled up - we all sound funny to outsiders.

Dead Bodies, Meth Labs, and Taxes: What Hotels Don't Want You to Know

Hotels - what no one tells you. (Photo: Richard Seymour/Stocksy) What exactly took place in your hotel room before you arrived? How clean is your bed? And is the guy next door paying less than you? In most cases, the hotel doesn't want you to know. Yahoo Travel went looking for answers.

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    Travel writer, Falconguide author, Copyblogger-Certified Content Marketer, resort owner. Pushing people to go more, experience more, and enjoy it more. #scuba, #camping, #boating

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