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What’s on your travel bucket list?

What exactly is a travel bucket list? Simply put, it’s a wish list of places to visit in one’s lifetime. After all, the world is big and life is short.

With an economy trending in the right direction, Americans are making time to fulfill their bucket list travel experiences. In fact, around nine million consumers travel with the 160 travel company brands of the United States Tour Operators Association each year. Travelers choose immersive experiences on all seven continents, making their bucket list dreams a reality whenever wanderlust strikes.

Have you been neglecting your travel bucket list? Good news: The world is literally on sale this September during Travel Together Month thanks to the tour operator members of USTOA. Starting September 1st, travelers will find more than 100 special offers on packaged travel to all seven continents. Featured offers take the hassle out of vacation planning by combining hotels, meals, guides, local experiences and often even airfare for both individual and group travel.

“The definition of a travel bucket list has evolved from a check-list of places to see into journeys that are life-embracing and even transformative,” said Terry Dale, president and CEO of the United States Tour Operators Association. “It’s more than checking a box. Bucket list travel experiences make people fall in love with a destination and yearn to come back again and again to discover more,” he said.

“Our members provide packaged travel options to fit so many desires for simple relaxation, multi-generational celebrations, honeymoons, adventure, cultural and spiritual exploration and, of course, once-in-a-lifetime experiences,” Dale continued.

Bucket lists are often filled with exotic destinations to once-forbidden destinations like Cuba, Vietnam or Iran, or adventurous experiences like swimming with sharks in South Africa, polar camping on the Antarctic Peninsula or hiking to see the Northern Lights in Norway.

But, they are also about travelers following their passions, whether it’s for fine wines and cuisine along a Rhine river cruise, exploring ancient cultures of Peru, shopping for handicrafts in European Christmas markets or rediscovering a family’s Irish legacy on the Emerald Isle.

Among the travel values featured during Travel Together Month in September are discounts on seven-day Europe trips, special buy-one-get-one airfare deals, per person dollar savings and value added extras such as complimentary room upgrades and wine dinners. The majority of offers are for travel throughout 2018 and are valid for booking from September 1st through September 30th, 2017. (Dates may be limited. Special terms and restrictions apply.) Here are a few offers to feed your wanderlust – and get you one step closer to completing your travel bucket list.

Europe: From city breaks to river cruises

What’s on your travel bucket list?

Explore Europe and save during Travel Together Month.   (Photo: Shutterstock)

Looking to complete a European capital bucket list? Some tour companies like Trafalgar and Globus are offering 10% savings on new Europe tours booked throughout 2018.



Historic and unusual mini golf courses around the USA

The mini golf course at Adventureland in Narragansett, Rhode Island, features an 18-hole vertical course with water traps, caves, uphill putts and more.



Vancouver's Cambodian-Vietnamese eatery is worth the wait


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The scene: Food-crazed Vancouver has long been a melting pot of Pacific Rim cuisine, so it is fitting that the most popular eatery on the main street in the city’s Chinatown is not Chinese at all, but rather a mix of Cambodian and Vietnamese. Since 1985, Phnom Penh Restaurant has been a very popular local favorite, with lines out the door much of the time, and so many local magazine, newspaper and readers' choice awards that the framed certificates overflow the walls of a small entry area where guests closest to being seated can wait.

The restaurant is one big deep room, with a bar at the back for cocktails, and the space and the walls are decorated with Cambodian, Vietnamese and other Pacific Rim art and souvenirs. The room is filled with a mix of regular two and four-person tables and large round party tables with rotating Lazy Susans in the center. That makes sense because Phnom Penh is very popular for parties, family outings and all sorts of group celebrations. For birthdays they flicker the lights and the staff sings, which can happen several times a day.

Great American Bites: Brooklyn pizzeria spreads across the Pacific Rim

It’s never slow but dinner is the busiest time, though lunch can see lines onto the sidewalk. If you have flexibility, mid-day is the best time to sneak in — many locals make it a point to shoot for late lunch from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., when the restaurant is mostly full but not likely to have much of a wait. There is a tremendous takeout service available, and the restaurant is open until 10 p.m., which is fairly late here. The city’s top chefs often come here when they are done cooking, and it is the sort of poorly kept secret you’d see on Anthony Bourdain’s television show, and well worth seeking out if you visit Vancouver.

Reason to visit: Fried chicken wings, Beef Luc Lac, buttered beef

The food:  The menu, self-described as specializing in “Exotic Cambodian and Vietnamese Foods,” is enormous, with nearly 100 items, not counting the impressive beverage and dessert menu. This offers an array of Vietnamese coffee specialties (made with sweet condensed milk), fruit shakes (mango is the most popular), and sweets that you won’t find in typical Asian eateries, including lotus seed tapioca pudding, durian (a famously stinky fruit that is banned on public transport in some Southeast Asian countries due to its odor and is definitely an acquired taste) with sweet sticky rice, and coconut jello.

The regular menu runs from the expected offerings such as Pho, a classic Vietnamese noodle soup, to the more offbeat, such as



Unusual and historic miniature golf courses around the USA


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Whether you know your way around the links or not, everyone can take a shot at a hole-in-one when it comes to miniature golf.

The history of miniature golf may in fact date back to the 1860s when a Ladies Putting Club was built in St. Andrews, Scotland. In the USA, the sensation began sweeping the nation in the late-1920s, and by August 1930, it’s believed than an estimated 25,000 miniature golf courses could be found throughout the country. Today, a fraction of those courses remain, yet they continue to delight both mini golf enthusiasts and those new to the game.

Here’s a look at some historic, fun and unusual mini golf courses that are found today around the USA:

Alabama: It’s a pirate’s life at Pirate’s Island Adventure Golf in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Board the “Queen Anne’s Revenge,” Blackbeard the Pirate’s flagship, and then search for pirate booty in the two caves you’ll explore while putting through the mini golf course.

Alaska: Tee off at the northernmost mini golf course in the USA at Mini Golf Fairbanks in, well, Fairbanks, Alaska. The 18th hold on this course features an old piece of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.

Delaware: Play a round alongside the Christina River in Wilmington, Delaware, at Riverwalk Mini Golf. The challenging 18-hole course was designed by some of American’s premier mini golf course architects, and features 9 birdhouses by nationally-renowned designer Tom Burke.

Florida: Caves, pirate ships, waterfalls and even live alligators are all part of the attraction at Smugglers Cove Adventure Golf in Madeira Beach, Florida.

Georgia: High above Ponce de Leon Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia, mini golfers can tee off at Skyline Park atop the recently-restored Ponce City Market. 

Illinois: Lincolnshire, Illinois’ Par-King Skill Golf touts itself as “the world’s most unusual golf course,” and it may just be. The two 18-hole courses have a combined 19 moving obstacles and seven water holes, which may just encourage you to tell the party behind you to play through.

Iowa: Take a tropical vacation without ever leaving Waterloo, Iowa, when you tee off on Lost Island’s 36 holes of adventure golf on two courses. The courses’ challenging 36 holes – 18 of which are handicap accessible – are set amidst waterfalls and island ruins.

Kentucky: Family-owned and operated since 1989, Maggie’s Jungle Golf in Gilbertsville, Kentucky delivers with a jungle-themed 18-hole mini golf course. Keep an eye out as you putt and you may spot any one of the 35 peacocks who like to wander the course to show off their plumes.

Maine: Maine’s maritime heritage takes center stage at Schooner Miniature Golf in Saco, just minutes away from Old Orchard Beach, Maine. One of the highlights of the course is the 75-foot schooner ship as the 11th hole.

Massachusetts: Cascading waterfalls and rope swing bridges, not to mention a challenging yet



Carnival pushes back Miami cruises after sunken sailboats found in channel


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Cruise giant Carnival late Monday said it would resume sailings out of Miami Wednesday, a day later than initially planned , citing uncertainty on when the channel into PortMiami would be clear in the wake of Hurricane Irma. 

"We are in close contact with port officials in Miami and have been informed that port assessment activities are partially complete. Additionally, we have learned that there are two sunken sailboats in the channel that must be recovered prior to the reopening of the port," Carnival said in a late-night post on its Facebook page. "Given the uncertainty, we have to further shorten our itineraries."

More:   Cruise lines to resume sailings from Florida on Tuesday — but you don't have to go | Irma affecting cruise ships as far away as Maryland, Texas  

Earlier Monday, Carnival had said three of its Miami-based ships — Carnival Glory, Carnival Vista and Carnival Victory — would depart Miami Tuesday on shortened voyages to either The Bahamas or the Western Caribbean.

Carnival now says Carnival Glory and Carnival Vista will sail Wednesday on voyages shortened by one more day. Carnival Victory's sailing has been canceled.

Also scheduled to sail from Miami on Wednesday on a shortened voyage, as previously announced, will be Carnival's Carnival Sensation.   

Royal Caribbean on Monday also had said it would resume sailings out of Miami on Tuesday with a departure of its Enchantment of the Seas. As of Tuesday morning, an Irma update on its website still indicated the sailing was on for later in the day.

In a late-night post on its Facebook page, PortMiami said the port would remain closed to marine traffic through at least 4 p.m. on Tuesday. 

As of Tuesday morning, both Royal Caribbean and Carnival still planned to resume sailings out of nearby Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades later in the day. Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas — at 226,963 tons, the world's largest cruise ship — and Carnival's Carnival Conquest are scheduled to depart the port on shortened voyages to the Western Caribbean. 

More:   Complete list of canceled, delayed sailings from Florida | Royal Caribbean expands commitment to Irma relief efforts | Lines to help evacuate St. Thomas  | Stranded cruises escape Florida on ... a ship called Escape   

The ships departing from the Florida ports on Tuesday and Wednesday are likely to sail far from full as many out-of-town passengers will be unable to make it to the vessels. While some flights into Florida resumed on Monday, air travel into the state is likely to be snarled for several days. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, used as a gateway by many cruisers, reopened early Tuesday. Miami International Airport also was expected to  reopen Tuesday for limited passenger service .

Both Royal



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