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active 2 days ago

Lilly Graves

Hello! I'm a freelance writer, photographer, and travel planner originally from Northern Michigan, affectionately known as Up North. My first gig was a freelance position for who sent me to photograph and review hotels in the U.S., Caribbean, Central America, South Pacific, and South Asia. Since 2011, I've covered 500+ properties around the world.

During that time, I also planned personal trips as a travel expert for members. Among other freelance articles and projects related to travel, I've helped open a restaurant in Chicago and a hotel in Brooklyn so food, wine, and hospitality are high on the list of things that make me smile.

How did you get involved in travel?

"I started a blog during a budget around-the-world trip to Australia, Asia, and Europe in my 20s and became hooked on travel writing and photography. A few years later, I moved to London to attend journalism school and (no surprise) stuck to the travel industry. I then completed internships with the London Times Travel Desk and the New York Times Frugal Traveler, which led to my first job out of college. From then on it's been all about travel and hospitality. "

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"While photographing hotels in the Bahamas, a leg of my tripod slipped into the water when I debarked a boat. I didn't realize it until after I got to my next hotel to take 360-degree panoramic photos only to realize it was missing. Yikes! My entire work trip hung in the balance, as I needed this tripod leg before I could take any photographs of this hotel and several more in weeks to come. A hotel driver rushed me back to the dock to see if we could find it. That's when we discovered it at the bottom of the clear blue water. Without another word, he dove in, fully dressed, and fetched it while others gathered around to see what we were up to. I tried to tip him when we got back to the hotel but he refused and said he was happy to do it. Talk about personalized hospitality!"

A group of feeding zebras in Serengeti National Park
Kenya & Tanzania Wildlife Safari - 7 Days

This exciting itinerary includes unforgettable game drives in Kenya and Tanzania for travelers who like to be on the move. Start with two nights in Nairobi for an introduction into Kenyan culture and wildlife conservation. Then, fly to Kilimanjaro, where you'll visit three beautiful safari destinations, including the Serengeti and UNESCO-listed Ngorongoro Crater. Enjoy the comfort of private transfers and unique all-inclusive lodgings for the ultimate African adventure.

Elephant sightings in Masai Mara National Park
7 Days in Kenya - 4 Unique Itinerary Ideas

Kenya is an excellent place to holiday in Africa, especially for safari-goers. With a full week, you'll get to experience the country's healthy national park and conservancy presence with loads of wildlife, mixed with possible cultural experiences, beach relaxation, and active excursions, including a multi-day trek. Below, we've listed several expertly crafted itineraries packed with iconic Kenyan adventures (and even one with neighboring Tanzania)—all with cool overnight options in eco-lodges and safari camps.

A giraffe at sunset in the Masai Mara National Park
5 Days in Kenya - 4 Unique Itinerary Ideas

With less than a week in Kenya, you can make the most of your time by visiting the vast landscapes within a three-hour radius of Nairobi. While it may be tempting to cover more ground, sticking to this geographical area gets you out of the car frequently for a plethora of activities and wildlife. Below, we've listed several expertly crafted itineraries loaded with iconic Kenyan experiences.

Sognefjord, nicknamed "King of the Fjords".
Norway Epic Family Tour: Oslo, Fjords & Bergen - 7 Days

This week-long family-friendly itinerary combines popular summer destinations and activities for a true Norwegian adventure. Start off in Oslo, where you can experience the capital's cool culture before taking a train to the mountain village of Geilo. From here, hop on a scenic steam train to Aurland, where a speedboat whisks you towards Skjerdal for hiking, goats, and spectacular fjord views. Sail through the magnificent Sognefjord to finish the trip in the picturesque port of Bergen, where you can explore its UNESCO-listed waterfront and take day trips into the surrounding fjords.

The charming village of Flåm on Norway's Sognefjord.
Norwegian Highlights: Oslo, Balestrand & Bergen - 7 Days

Experience jaw-dropping scenery and cool Scandinavian culture on this 7-day Norwegian itinerary. Start in Oslo, where you'll have two days to revel in the rich history, trendy cafés, and summer festivals of Europe's fastest-growing capital. Next, you’ll head west on the famous Flåm Railway to explore Balestrand and its majestic mountains. From here, take advantage of the warmer weather with a kayaking tour of dramatic fjords. Finish the adventure in Bergen, with a wander around its colorful wooden houses and a trip up Fløyen Mountain for panoramic views of the city.

Dining outside on warm summer nights is a Provencal staple
How Many Days Should You Spend in Provence?

The French region of Provence is made for explorers—and there's a lot of room to explore. For a solid itinerary, we recommend at least four days to experience a few villages and sun-drenched landscapes. Of course, you can get a taste of the elegant Provençal lifestyle in a day or two; better yet, rent a car and take a long, leisurely road trip through lavender fields, ancient olive groves, clifftop roads, and Mediterranean views. Below, find a range of itineraries ranging from 24 hours to a week (or more).