Bentley Hotel

Red South Beach Hotel

Average rating: 4 stars
Stylish boutique hotel with lush gardens, a nightly hosted wine hour & beach cruiser bikes.

Address: 660 Washington Ave.


Hotel Riu Plaza Miami Beach

Penguin Hotel

With smartphones at our fingertips we’ve all become travel photographers these days. There’s no escaping the urge to snap that colourful backstreet in Cuba, or take a full panorama of those incredible cityscapes in New York.

But if you want to take your photos a little further, consider using some of these great photography apps. Whether you want to edit, share or just have fun with your pictures, these are the best photography apps we’ve used on our travels.

For photo editing
Snapseed (iOS/Android)

​There are hundreds of photo editing apps out there for Android and iOS, but none are as powerful and easy to use than Snapseed. Open an image in the app and you can fine tune the basics like contrast and brightness, but also things like ambiance, structure and sharpness.

There are also a bunch of brilliant presets: the HDR-scape preset boosts clarity, colour and sharpness to create super-striking images; the Retrolux setting gives your pictures old-school vibes and the Face filter gives you extensive control over skin tone and eye clarity for those essential travel selfies. For quick, effective edits on the go, Snapseed wins out.


VSCO is the app of choice for many professionals and bloggers, though its interface isn’t quite as user-friendly as Snapseed’s. There are a host of popular presets and manual editing controls, plus you can take images directly in the app.

It also doubles up as its own social network, where professionals and amateurs alike share their snaps. However, the app can sometimes be slow and recent interface changes have ruffled the feathers of dedicated users.

Adobe Lightroom & Photoshop Express

These two apps come from professional creative suite software giant, Adobe and are both pretty good. Photoshop Express is essentially a dumbed-down version of the computer software with far fewer options and some rudimentary auto-enhancing, while Lightroom has a much broader range of controls, including the tone curve.

For social media sharing:

If you’ve not heard of Instagram then you’ve likely been living under a rock. This is the app for photo and video sharing, with tens of millions of pictures uploaded every day. There are in-built editing controls, fun but basic filters and now you can use Stories to share ephemeral pictures adorned with emojis and stickers.

Boomerang from Instagram (iOS/Android)

Once you’ve got your head around Instagram, download Boomerang. This extension to the popular photo sharing app takes ten shots at a time to create a looping video, making for some seriously funny travel memories. For ultra-ease, you can shoot and upload directly in the Instagram app.


Snapchat is for those of you who want to share your holiday moments without having them forever engraved in your social media history. Send a Snap to a friend and it’ll only appear on their screen for up to ten seconds (you decide) and then it’s gone forever.

Snapchat coined the “stories” function that Instagram now uses, too: you can add Snaps to your story and they’ll stay there for 24 hours for all to see. Perhaps the best bit about the app, though, is its filters: you can turn yourself into a rainbow-spewing unicorn in that mountain-top selfie, or use its face-swap function to break the ice with new friends.

For video
GIF Cracker (iOS only) / GIF Maker (Android)

There’s a gif for everything these days, so why not make one for your holiday? Apps like GIF Cracker for iOS or GIF Maker on Android allow you to turn videos from your trip into short gifs instantly, ready to share on your favourite social channel.

Adobe Clip (iOS/Android)

If you want to cut together basic, short videos while on the road, Adobe Clip is essential. The app allows you to drop images and video from your phone onto a timeline to create a simple sequence. You can choose options like crossfades between shots, add a soundtrack and add filters to each clip.

You can even just select the clips you want, choose a soundtrack and the app will cut the sequence to the music for you.

For the planner
The Photographer’s Ephemeris

If you’re serious about your shooting, invest in The Photographer’s Ephemeris. The app tells you all you need to know for the day ahead, including what time you need to get out for sunrise and sunset, and the position of the moon in relation to your location.

You can save favourite locations to a map and can even find out when the moon or sun will be rising from behind nearby hills and mountains.*

Majestic Hotel South Beach

Suites on South Beach

7 travel apps that you might actually use!

The Princess Ann

Average rating: 3.5 stars

​This iconic art deco boutique hotel, with its signature 1955 Oldsmobile parked out front, is an Art Deco icon.

​Address: 700 Ocean Drive


Room Mate Lord Balfour

Avalon Hotel

Average rating: 3.5 stars

​Evoking 1930s' vintage style in Miami's famed Art Deco District, this is one of the best-kept secrets in South Beach.

​Address: 1650 James Avenue


The Colony Hotel

Average rating: 3 stars

​Built in 1948, this art deco hotel is ecorated with full-wall, nature-inspired art.

​Address: 1418 Ocean Drive


Average rating: 4 stars
Airy rooms with colorful accents floors, some rooms with balconies & ocean views.

Address: 3101 Collins Avenue


Grand Beach Hotel Miami


The Standard

Average rating: 4.5 stars
This upscale boutique hotel dating to the '40s features elegant Georgian Revival architecture and walnut floors. Address: 1440 Ocean Dr.


Clevelander South Beach

Hotel and Restaurant


Shelborne Wyndham Grand

South Beach

Average rating: 4.5 stars

​Arguably the most luxurious hotel on Miami Beach, it oozes elegance at every corner.

Address: 4441 Collins Avenue


Fontainbleau Hotel

Average rating: 3.5 stars

​Stylish rooms & suites at an upscale art deco hotel with an outdoor pool, cabanas & a private beach.

​Address: 1741 Collins Avenue



Average rating: 3.5 stars

this vintage-modern boutique hotel was named for Britain's eccentric former prime minister) is a block from the beach.

​Address: 350 Ocean Drive

Courtyard Cadillac Miami Beach/Oceanfront

31 Free Things to Do in Las Vegas

When you're a Las Vegas local, the clanging of slot machines in the McCarran Airport arrivals area signals you're home, but for everyone else it's a reminder that the city is engineered to liberate you from your dollars from the moment you land. Surprisingly, though, there are plenty of ways to entertain yourself free-of-charge in Las Vegas. Keep this list of free vegas attractions handy: It's great for both visitors who come on a budget and those who suddenly find their credit lines tapped out.

​Join the Circus

1. You can't actually join Cirque du Soleil—which currently has a mind-bending eight resident shows on the Strip—unless you can turn yourself into a pretzel or swing from vertiginous heights aided only by a few pieces of silk. But beginning in late August, the KA Theatre in MGM Grand opens its doors to the public every Tuesday between 11 a.m and 11:30 a.m. for the ultimate insider tour of the mechanics of this $165 million production.

2. The world's largest permanent circus can be found at Circus-Circus. Rides aren't cheap, but you can watch death-defying stunts by unicyclists and acrobats high above the casino floor at no charge every half hour.

3. On weekends starting at 7 p.m., join the Carnival-like parade of dancers and acrobats in fabulous costumes that dance down the Rio's main course hourly during the Masquerade in the Sky at Rio.

Look at Other People's Money

4. As you might expect, the largest gold nugget in the world is right here in Las Vegas—at The Golden Nugget. Found in Australia in 1980 and sold to the casino for more than a million dollars, the 61-pound "Hand of Faith" can be found right by the Gold Tower hotel lobby.

​Eat Chocolate—So Much Chocolate

5. Local chocolatier Ethel M sits right in one of the largest botanical cactus gardens in the world, and you can take factory tours (free samples!) after a stroll of the unusual gardens. Bonus: In November, they string the cactus with a half-million holiday lights, which stay up until New Year's Day.

6. Don't want to leave the strip? Don't miss M&M's World, a four-floor chocoholic's haven, with a free 3-D movie starring Red and Yellow.

7. Right across the street, Hershey's Chocolate World has opened in New York-New York, a two-story flagship featuring an 800-pound chocolate Statue of Liberty. Warning: Both places are free to enter, but you likely won't get out without a purchase, unless you have tremendous willpower.

​See Incredible Art

8. Incredible public artworks on the 67-acre CityCenter campus include 15 works by artists such as Nancy Rubin, Claes Oldernburg and Coosje van Bruggen.

9. Within Crystals, CityCenter's high-end mall, light artist James Turrell has installed Shards of Color—four recessed geometric shapes lit in neon.

10. But the best secret in Crystals is Turrell's Akhob—an enormous permanent installation inside the Louis Vuitton Maison flagship. It's a womblike installation flooded with ever-changing light. It's free with an appointment made through Louis Vuitton.

… and More Art

11. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas houses some of the best free art around: there are the so-called Wallworks—murals by artists like Kenny Scharf and Shepard Fairey—on the concrete walls of the parking garage; the eight light columns at check-in with constantly changing videos; and a residency space right on the mezzanine level of the hotel.

12. P3 Studio has hosted artists from Fab 5 Freddy to Shelter Serra, who work there for several weeks; passersby can wander in and often take part in an interactive art piece.

​13. At Wynn Las Vegas, look for the 7-foot-tall, 2,000-pound Popeye sculpture by Jeff Koons right on the shopping esplanade that Steve Wynn purchased for $28 million, and the giant, mirror-polished stainless steel Tulips (Jeff Koons, $34 million) that sits outside the Wynn Theater.

Indulge Your Secret Pawn Star Fandom

14. Love Pawn Stars? Line up early to get a look inside the real Gold and Silver Pawn Shop in Downtown Vegas.

15. This fall, Rick Harrison opens a kingdom for his devoted followers in the form of Pawn Plaza, a giant shopping center made out of shipping containers with retail and restaurant tenants like a barbecue joint, tavern, Italian ice place, and a poutinerie. New residents just announced for the opening: Inna Gadda di Pizza and Pawn Donut & Coffee.

Get a Side of Free Pancakes with Your Wedding

16. You could visit one of the many small wedding chapels around Downtown Las Vegas, or you could hold your dream nuptials at Denny's, on Fremont Street. Splurge for the $95 wedding in the wedding chapel the around-the-clock pancake house has conveniently installed (it comes with a cake made of pancakes), or just gawk at it with your family between the hours of 4 p.m. and 10 p.m., when kids eat free.

Drink for Free

17. Kidding—you'll never drink for free in Las Vegas, despite the fact that drinks are complimentary on most casino floors. (Depending on how you're doing at the tables, you either just spent $1000 for a gin and tonic, or you got your drink free and a losing stranger subsidized it.) The best way to drink for (nearly) free is to play the slots at older downtown casinos, such as El Cortez, Golden Nugget and The D, where the play amounts are lower. (Still, make sure you tip, or your server will mysteriously become unavailable.)

Visit the Strip's Famous Soothsayer

18. The 9-foot-tall chrome Lucky Cat at the Cosmopolitan dispenses fortunes free to those who put their hand on his paw. They vary from fortune cookie messages to free drinks and room nights.

Pretend There's no Drought in Nevada

19. You'll inevitably end up at the Fountains of Bellagio, which recently added a three-song electronic medley by Tiesto to its lineup of Celine Dion, Andrea Bocelli and Tony Bennett.

20. But some of the best gawking in Las Vegas happens inside the Bellagio's 14,000-square-foot, skylit conservatory, where 120 horticulturalists, engineers and designers create incredible displays for each season, plus Chinese New Year, with more than 10,000 flowers, which are switched out every two weeks.

21. Similarly, the waterfall atrium at Palazzo, with a two-floor waterfall and seasonal flowers, is a great place to experience imagineered nature, at the entrance of the Grand Canal Shoppes.

22. and 23. Inside the Forum Shops at Caesars, the newly revamped Fall of Atlantis show's giant talking statues and pyrotechnics are fun to watch, but the nearby 50,000-gallon aquarium is even better. Enjoy this water-tainment without guilt: Vegas resorts account for just seven percent of the Las Vegas Valley's water use: overall, some 80 percent of the Strip's water is returned to Lake Mead.

Stroll the Strip

24. Starting next year, when The Park and other urban oases open on the Strip, it will become one of the best pedestrian zones in the world. Still, there's plenty to do for free on Las Vegas Boulevard. The open-air Grand Bazaar Shops has opened across the street from Bellagio, mashing up the outdoor dining and retail concepts from Seattle to Marrakesh.

​25. Don't miss the massive new Swarovski Starburst, a 14-foot LED-lit crystal starburst that lights up the shops at night.

26. Nearby you can stroll along the new LINQ entertainment corridor, which runs perpendicular to the Strip, all the way to the High Roller.

27. Don't miss The Polaroid Fotobar, one of the best free hidden gems in Las Vegas—a museum open until 2 a.m. on the weekends, and midnight on other days, that showcases great work of photographers working in the format.

28. On the south end of the Strip, the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign, a symbol of excess once perched on a perilous median, is now solar powered and has plenty of convenient parking.

29. There's the spewing volcano in front of the Mirage—now with flame shooters, a soundtrack, and water and lighting effects. It starts each night at 5 p.m., erupting every 30 minutes until 11 p.m.

…and Head Downtown

30. Check out the Downtown Container Park, a retail, dining and play park made entirely of shipping containers (look for the 55-foot-tall fire breathing praying mantis outside). Find the free entertainment calendar, including a new outdoor family movie series, on the park's website.

31. Make sure you stay until it's dark to do a self-guided tour of the Fremont East Entertainment District, whose refurbished vintage neon lights include the famous horseback rider from the Hacienda Hotel, a red slipper and a martini glass—and the newest addition: a new neon sign of a 30-foot-tall Pabst Blue Ribbon.*

Average rating: 4 stars

Ultra cool and stylish, this boutique hotel and spa is a 10-minute drive to the beach.

Address: 40 Island Avenue


Average rating: 3 stars
An art deco hotel dating to 1929, this budget oceanfront property is within easy walking distance of restaurants, shopping & more.

Address: 600 Ocean Drive


Average rating: 4 stars

This all-suite hotel overlooks white sand beach from its location on Millionaire's Row.

Address: 4835 Collins Avenue


Eden Roc Miami Beach

Beach Paradise Hotel

​Disney's Magic Kingdom Fireworks Show Is Making a Few Big Changes

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If seeing fireworks was a quintessential part of your Walt Disney World vacation, be prepared for a change. Starting May 12, evenings at the Magic Kingdom will be completely anew when Happily Ever After replaces Wishes as the evening fireworks spectacular.

Wishes has long been a crowd favorite during its 13-year run, with guests flocking to the Magic Kingdom and its surrounding hotels to witness the stunning show every night, but nostalgic guests need not be concerned. With Walt Disney World Resort overhauling its most popular evening entertainment to include new storylines, music and visuals, it’s bound to be unlike anything guests have ever seen.

Some mainstays will remain—Tinker Belle will continue to fly across the Magic Kingdom in forthcoming performances—but Disney itself boasts Happily Ever After as featuring more lasers and lights than any fireworks show in the history of the park. And, given the high-tech projection mapping of the Star Wars-themed show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, projections onto Cinderella Castle should be unparalleled.

To make room for all the additional pyro and fireworks, Happily Ever After will have six more minutes of entertainment than its predecessor, making it a full third longer than Wishes. (Just imagine, too, the technological differences—wishes debuted four years prior to the very first iPhone!)

Also exciting are the movies that will be included in the new nighttime offering. Frozen is a given, but new blockbusters like Moana and Zootopia will be featured, as will characters from beloved Pixar stories like Toy Story, WALL-E, The Incredibles, and Up. Recent Disney films like Wreck-it Ralph and Big Hero 6 will make appearances alongside Disney animated classics such as The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, and Aladdin. There appears to be a changing of the guard when it comes to Disney princesses, too: Cinderella and Snow White are not slated to be included, but the stories of Mulan, Jasmine, Merida, Tiana, and Ariel are.*

Average rating: 4 stars

This luxury resort provides some of the most spacious hotel suites on the beach.

Address: 4525 Collins Avenue


The world of travel apps is saturated. There are apps for almost everything these days, from the planning stages right through to post-travel reminiscing. Some of them are fun, some are seriously handy and others are just gimmicks.

With all the tech that’s out there, it can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack if you want find something genuinely useful for your travels. Here are 7 apps and websites we rate for 2017.

1. For European rail adventures: Loco2

If you’re planning a rail trip around Europe this summer, Loco2 is a must-have. Whether you’re going to Lyon for the incredible food or want sun, sea and sand in Barcelona, Loco2 is on hand to help you book your trips.

You can search for in-country and cross-border routes throughout Europe and reserve tickets in either euros or GBP. Plus, you can set up alerts for when booking opens on routes you’re planning to use in future. There’s a desktop site and both a free Android and iOS app for booking on the move.

2. For savvy travelling: Hopper

Flight prices are notoriously unpredictable – one day they’re up and the next they’re down, with seemingly no logical or predictable pattern. This is where Hopper comes in. Enter your travel dates and Hopper will predict when your flight is going to be at its cheapest.

If it tells you to wait, you can watch the route and receive notifications when prices drop, or you can book there and then through the app (available on Android and iOS) with no added fees.

3. For a bit of fun: PolarSteps

Not all travel apps need to be practical. We’re intrigued by PolarSteps – the app (on Android and iOS) that tracks your travel using GPS (no data required) and turns it into an instant photo album.

Using only 4% extra battery power, it’s a good way to keep a log of your holiday without having to update social media or write notes on your phone (making your digital detox even easier). Over time it tallies up your number of trips, countries and total number of miles covered, giving you some serious bragging material. There’s also a public area where you can see how others have spent their travels – great for inspiration.

4. For a European epic:

GoEuro touts itself as “a single tool to get you anywhere in Europe” and it pretty much delivers. Whether you book through the site or not, it’s a really handy tool for figuring out your best route from A to B.

If you need to get from Bucharest to Budapest, or you want to travel from Paris to the Greek islands, GoEuro offers a rundown of your best transport options. You can sort by cheapest, fastest or “smartest”, and choose which method of transport you want as your main vehicle.

There’s a website and mobile apps for Android and iOS.

5. For photo fun: Boomerang for Instagram

If you’re a keen Instagrammer but your feed looks a little static, get Boomerang. This Instagram add-on lets you take a few seconds of video in the app, which it then loops by reversing it too. It’s fun, creative and can have hilarious consequences when you’re photographing your friends.

6. For the budget traveller: Hitchhiking Maps

Hitchhiking, when done safely, makes for a cheap, unpredictable and always memorable adventure – but it’s not always easy. App Hitchhiking Maps has thousands of thumbs-upping users adding hitchhiking hotspots to their maps of Europe and Asia.

The hotspots often contain notes from previous hitchhikers and, where there is enough data, the average wait times for a ride.

7. For staying sane on the road: podcast apps

Podcasts are a great way to keep entertained on those dreaded long-distance bus journeys. There are millions to choose from, covering everything from mind-bending facts to in-depth personal stories of real people all over the world.

You could spend hours learning about the complicated art of tipping in the USA, or listen to that famous crime investigation that had the world on the edge of their commuter train seats.*

Cruise Travel Packing Tips When Flying

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Average rating: 3.5 stars

The Clevelander is an icon among Ocean Drive Hotels, South Beach bars, and entertainment venues in Miami Beach.

Address: 4835 Collins Avenue


Average rating: 3.5 stars

This trendy boutique hotel with red and white roomslies a block from the beach and 1.2 miles from the shops and cafes of Lincoln Road.  Address: 3010 Collins Ave.

Average rating: 3.5 stars

​Across the street from Lummus Park, this all-suite oceanfront hotel occupies 5 art deco buildings and massive suites.

Address: 1052 Ocean Drive


Sanctuary South Beach

From boutique to budget, mom-'n-pop to luxury, you'll find everything under the bright Florida sun on Miami Beach when it comes to hotels. Here are a few of our favorites, in no particular ranking or order... they're just places that we've frequented, rated, reviewed and recommend to anyone in search of high-quality lodging. RATINGS by

Mondrian South Beach

The Betsy - South Beach

4.1-star hotel

​​Great hotel, great location and great/clean strip of the beach... city view, oceanfront, and poolside suites. 

Address: 1685 Collins Avenue


Congress Hotel

South Beach

Packing for a cruise is not as easy as it once was. Mostly because of airline restrictions on bags, gone are the days of bringing multiple suitcases coming or going weighing more than 50 pounds, unless of course, you are traveling from a homeport without the need to fly to embark the ship. So, for now, let’s look at packing tips requiring airfare before and after a sailing.

Bag Quantity and Weight

Before considering anything else, it’s most crucial to check with your airline to see what limits apply to you in regards to how many suitcases you can take, at least for free if at all, and what weight restrictions are in place for each. Some airlines are more lenient on first bag fees than others, and loyalty levels will get you the furthest with extra free luggage and even weight limits closer to 75 pounds. Also, consider buying a small looping bag scale to ensure you’re always within the numbers. There’s nothing worse than discovering you’re over at the airport. If you do happen to have the chance to bring more than one bag, consider packing an empty duffel for any non-fragile souvenirs to bring with you on your return too.

Dress Codes

As far as outfits are concerned, you’ll want to consider the dress codes of your specific cruise line next. Fewer expect formal wear than in the past, but some still expect it. If you’d rather not bring suits and cocktail dresses, most brands offer casual dining options on the very few evenings when formal is the designation.


If you are keen to bring the greatest variety of outfits as possible to be well prepared for any event, you can wear the same base formal clothing, for instance, while changing up the accessories like ties, scarves and jewelry the next time. 

For daily casual options, my wife recommends a mix-and-match wardrobe in which all tops work with all bottoms. As far as weight distribution is concerned, also be mindful of packing heavier items like shoes in a carry on versus a checked bag.


It’s fairly easy to pack enough clothes for a weeklong cruise in a single suitcase. Once voyages get longer, however, laundry starts to become necessary. When cruises exceed seven days, consider still packing only a week’s worth of clothes and then plan to either self-launder or pay for full-service cleaning. Some cruise lines occasionally offer a special flat rate for stuffing a single laundry bag with clothes which is a much better value than a la carte pricing.

Plastic Bags

A helpful thing to bring that does not take up any more room or weight are plastic bags—trash or resealable ones. 

For any laundry that is left upon your return home, trash bags are ideal to keep them separate from any remaining clean clothes. Also, resealable bags are great to take anything that might leak like sunscreen as well as for to bring home any wet items like swimwear that did not have a chance to dry before flying again. 

Additionally, they can be a great way to protect delicate electronics from moisture on shoreside beach outings or in inclement weather.

Fragile Items

If ever you have any fragile items, it’s always best to pack them in a carry-on, but if you have something like a bottle of wine, liquid restrictions require that they are checked. The best case scenario would be to ship such items home, but if you must have them with you, keep them as far away from the edges and sides of the suitcase as possible and pad them to the center with plenty of shock-absorbing clothes. Just be sure to also put them first in a sealable plastic bag to avoid unintended merlot colored t-shirts upon arrival.*

Average rating: 3 stars
This 49 room boutique hotel located in the heart of the Art Deco district and close to the fun.

Address: 660 Ocean Drive


Average rating: 4 stars
Plush, contemporary quarters, ranging from studios to penthouse suites and is steps away from dining and nightlife.

Address: 510 Ocean Drive


Average rating: 4 stars

​This chic art deco-style boutique hotel has a scenic rooftop pool and an on-site Latin-inspired restaurant. 

​Address: 1745 James Avenue


Average rating: 4.5 stars

​Featuring bold, modern decor, it offers an ideal, exceptional location with bay view rooms.

​Address: 1100 West Avenue


Loew's Miami Beach Hotel

Average rating: 3.5 stars
This modern hotel features boutique rooms with balconies on the ocean & art decor.

Address: 3925 Collins Avenue


The Angler's Hotel

Average rating: 2.5 stars
Set 1 block from the ocean, this modern boutique hotel in South Beach’s Art Deco District is a 5-min. drive from Lincoln Rd. Mall

Address: 920 Collins Avenue


Average rating: 4.5 stars

​​Vintage chic design, dining and private beach at their luxury South Beach boutique hotel and lifestyle resort.


Average rating: 4.5 stars

​The Loew's  offers luxury guestrooms and suites, resort-style pool, and flexible meeting space in the heart of S. Beach.

​Address: 1601 Collins Avenue


Albion Hotel South Beach

Average rating: 3 stars

​It offers the rare combination of spacious accommodations, a prime location, and outstanding value. 

Address: 1330 Collins Avenue


Marseilles Hotel

Editor's Picks: Top Hotel Picks, Miami Beach, Florida

Delano South Beach

Some must-have photo apps that you should definitely consider

Average rating: 3 stars

​Hip rooms with pine floors and art deco style furnishings, one of the most photographed hotels.

​Address: 736 Ocean Drive