50 Things You Must Eat Before You Die

If you love to eat, you'll want to check out our top picks for some of the best foods the world has to offer.

There’s no truer adage than “everybody eats,” and most of what we eat from day to day is pretty pedestrian; just fuel to nourish our bodies so we can get on to the next task. But every now and then there’s a food that makes us pause and appreciate more than the flavors. It becomes a moment that makes a lasting impression.

For many, the food that creates this sensation doesn’t have to be that amazing. Like scent memory, a particular food experience gets ingrained and the thought of it, even years later, hearkens us back to that moment in time and the feelings we had, even if it was just a simple ice cream cone on a beach, or fried clams and a beer on a ferry.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled some of our favorite food experiences and where to find them. Some of them are created by world-class chefs. Others are just a delicious combination of the humblest of ingredients. Most of them require a bit of travel, so you’ll want to plan your trip, look for good flight deals, and maybe even get a travel rewards credit card, before packing your bags. (Do yourself a favor and check your credit scores before applying for a rewards credit card so you can be sure you qualify.)

Here are our picks, in no particular order, of the 50 foods you need to try before you die.

1. Sunday Roast
Blacklock Soho, London

Tucked in the basement of a former brothel, this smart spot just around the corner from Picadilly Square is the place to be for a serious Sunday roast. There’s the requisite Yorkshire pudding, crispy potatoes roasted in duck fat, veggies and gravy to accompany your choice of beef, lamb, pork or a combination of all three. Arrive hungry because Blacklock doesn’t skimp.

2. Balmain Bugs
Fine seafood restaurants, Australia

We’re not suggesting you eat bugs — not yet, anyway — but if you ever find yourself in Australia, be sure to get your hands on some of these crustaceans. A species of slipper lobster, Balmain Bugs are like a cross between lobster and prawns, with a tender, buttery texture that is downright addictive.

3. Wellshire Farms Beef Franks
Sold at Whole Foods Markets

These dogs are everything you want in a wiener. They’re juicy, flavorful, have a nice snap and can stand up to whatever condiments you throw their way. Wellshire’s dogs even won a recent taste test conducted by The New York Times. These uncured dogs are a perfect addition to your backyard grilling this and every summer.

4. Grits
Husk, Charleston, South Carolina  

Chef Sean Brock is a locavore through and through, serving heritage vegetables, grains, protein and even coffee all from the South (“If it ain’t Southern, it ain’t coming in the door,” he says). Though his menu is ever-changing, the side of savory baked grits with cheddar are not to be missed.

5. Rainbow Seven-Layer Cookie Doughnut
Heartland Bagels, New York

This oversized, delicious dessert is nearly as big a small dog and is absolutely heavenly. The light and airy green, yellow and pink layers separated by thin layers of apricot jam melt in your mouth. Plus, the entire thing is covered in chocolate and topped with sprinkles and a smaller seven-layer rainbow cookie. It’s essentially a giant doughnut version of those seven-layer rainbow cookies that every Italian family enjoys during the holidays.

6. Garlic Oyster Po’ Boy
Liuzza’s by the Track, New Orleans

There’s a lot of amazing food in New Orleans. So amazing, in fact, it would be easy to put together a list of 50 things you need to eat in New Orleans before you die. But this no-frills diner in a quiet neighborhood in the Bayou St. John neighborhood is where you want to be for the city’s best po’ boy. Mix it up by ordering the half po’ boy and a cup of gumbo or turtle soup. Grab a bloody Mary while you’re there. You won’t be disappointed.

7. Chorizo Stuffed Squid
John Dory Oyster Bar, New York

Chef April Bloomfield’s deconstructed and utterly delicious nod to paella is still one of the best things we’ve ever put in our mouths. The tender squid, stuffed with a flavorful rice-and-chorizo mixture, sits atop a blend of white beans and créme fraiche, is drizzled with a smoked tomato vinaigrette and finished with fresh cilantro. It’s almost impossible to eat this dish slowly.

8. Stone Crab
Joe’s Stone Crab, Miami Beach, Florida

This place is simply a classic. It’s fancy in that take-your-grandparents-to-dinner kind of way, so you’ll want to look nice so your requisite bib can cover something you’ll potentially have to dry clean. While most places that sell stone crabs offer small, medium and large sizes, Joe’s does not mess around. There are only large and jumbo to be had here. Both are always market price. We recommend going for the large. They’re less expensive, easier to handle and tend to have a more delicate flavor. Oh, and don’t leave without having some key lime pie.

9. Franklin Barbecue
Austin, Texas

If you know barbecue, you know Franklin. And if you know Franklin, you know you’re going to have to stand in line. Early. Reeeaaaally early, even on a weekday in January. Folks start lining up for Aaron Franklin’s brisket, sausage, pulled pork, turkey and ribs around 7 a.m., and hang around playing cards, drinking mimosas and reading books until the restaurant opens at 11. The restaurant stays open until they sell out, which is typically within just a few hours. But that’s the way it is when you’re the No. 1 barbecue joint in the U.S. of A.

10. Red Chile Enchiladas
The Shed, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Oh, smoky, spicy, tangy, cheesy deliciousness that is the New Mexico red chile enchilada. There’s nowhere else in the world that does a red chile sauce the way they do in New Mexico, and The Shed does it as well if not better than everyone else. Their margaritas aren’t too shabby, either.

11. Chapulines
La Cocina de San Juan, Mexico City, Mexico

We said earlier we weren’t recommending that you eat bugs, but here we go: Eat some roasted or fried grasshoppers. They’re delicious, especially when prepared with a dusting of chile powder. And if you don’t want to trek all the way to Mexico for a taste test, you may be able to find a nearby restaurant that serves them. Or you can always head to Seattle where Safeco field has been selling them as a concession treat at Mariners home games and they keep selling out.

12. Smoked Shrimp
Vendel Kåseberga Hamn, Sweden

Just outside Ystad in the south of Sweden is a 1,400-year-old stone monument atop a windswept hill that was built by some very strong Vikings. At the bottom of that hill today sits a charming restaurant with expansive outdoor seating. It’s here that you’ll find whole, unpeeled shrimp smoked to tender perfection with their roe tangled within their swimmerets and walking legs. You just can’t beat them on a sunny, summer afternoon paired with a cold Swedish beer.

13. Macaroni & Cheese
Sylvia’s, Harlem, New York 

Yes, you’ve had macaroni and cheese, but if you haven’t had this macaroni and cheese, you’re missing out. Similarly, while you may think you know soul food, you’re just pretending until you’ve tried Sylvia’s. Founder and owner Sylvia Woods, the Queen of Soul Food, threw down in the kitchen, and her restaurant keeps her tradition, serving the gooiest macaroni and cheese you’ll have in your life. Warning: You may need a cart to wheel you out when you’re finished.

14. A New York Slice
Pretty much anywhere, New York

If there’s one thing on this list that will get people up in arms if we choose a particular location as the place to go, it’s the simple New York slice of pizza. So we’re going to chicken out and just say go somewhere, anywhere, that isn’t a chain. And by all means, do not use a knife and fork and do not blot any grease away. Sprinkle that slice with a little garlic powder, a little oregano, a little parmesan, heck, even a little salt if you think you need it. Then you gotta fold that slice like you mean it and stand there on the sidewalk in front of the store where you bought it and eat it like a New Yorker.

15. Marmite
Available online or at specialty groceries

Most Americans basically gag when they first try Marmite or its Australian cousin Vegemite. That’s because they tend to treat it like peanut butter and plop a giant gob of it onto some toast or straight into their mouths. If done right, Marmite adds a savory, salty quality to toast that is wonderful. Plus it’s full of B vitamins. Here’s your Marmite playbook: Spread a super thin layer of Marmite across hot, buttered toast, take a bite and see what you think.

16. Lobster Roll
Red’s Eats, Wiscasset, Maine

If you like sand dunes and salty air, quaint little villages here and there, you’re sure to fall in love with old Cape Cod. But if you want lobster rolls — the absolute best of the best lobster rolls — you gotta go to Maine. And if you’re in Maine, you gotta go to Red’s Eats. It’s just a simple shack on the side of the road, but you can’t miss it because there’s a line. There’s always a line. That’s because these rolls come packed with huge chunks of lobster and nothing else. That’s right. Nothing else. You can get drawn butter or mayo on the side, but the lobster is totally and completely naked, and possibly the freshest you’ve ever had.

17. Escargot
Allard, Paris

Honestly, there are a lot of really great places in Paris to eat escargot, but you simply can’t go wrong at master chef Alain Ducasse’s St. Germain bistro, which serves them in the traditional manner in their shells with herb butter. You’ll want to linger over more than just snails at this charming restaurant, though, so be sure your credit card has plenty of room.

18. Poutine
Casse-Croute Pierrot, Quebec, Canada

Poutine is to Canada what chili cheese fries are to the Southwest United States: drunk food elevated to a point that it’s acceptable to eat them in polite company as long as you keep your manners in check. French fries? Yes. Cheese curds? You bet? Hot beef gravy? Oh, yeah. We chose Pierrot as the place to get your poutine on for a couple of reasons: It’s open 24 hours, they deliver if you can’t crawl out of bed, and their ratio of fries to cheese to gravy is on point. Plus, their cheese curds are squeaky fresh and delicious. Time to go to Canada, eh?

19. Taylor Pork Roll
Available online and in grocery stores

There’s a lot of great food in New Jersey, but the one thing that is ubiquitous with the state is the Taylor Pork Roll. This processed meat, also known as Taylor Ham (some people insist this is the only thing to call it), was created in 1856 by John Taylor in Trenton and is widely available in New Jersey, New York, Delaware and parts of Pennsylvania and Maryland. It’s served most commonly for breakfast on a roll with a fried egg and cheese, but there are plenty of other ways to get your roll on (chocolate covered pork roll, anyone?), which is on display in grand fashion each year at the Trenton Pork Roll Festival.

20. Grilled Sardines
Pretty much anywhere in Greece

When most Americans think of sardines, they think of tins of tiny, pungent fish in oil that their grandfather used to eat on crackers with mustard. While some of us actually like that stuff, tinned sardines can be off-putting for those who don’t like “fishy” fish. If that’s you, and you haven’t had fresh, grilled sardines, we encourage you to give them a try. They’re the stuff of legend when prepared properly, and there’s no better place in the world to have that happen than some little café in Greece. They’ve been preparing and eating sardines for thousands of years and really know what they’re doing. Opa!

21. Kelly Oysters
Galway Bay, Ireland

These oysters have a big ocean flavor and are considered by many leading chefs to be the best in the world. The Kelly family still harvests these oysters from natural beds with little need for intensive farming. In fact, these oysters can be traced back more than 1,000 years to the first kings of Connacht. They’re available around the globe in some of the finest dining establishments, but you’ll get them freshest if you head to Galway Bay.

22. Spam Musubi
Pukalani Superette, Maui

Why do Hawaiians love Spam so much? We don’t know, but they eat more of it per capita than anywhere else in the world. So it’s probably not surprising that Hawaii makes one of the most delicious dishes around using the canned pork product. Musubi is not fancy. It’s a food of the people, easily eaten on the go by office workers and surfers alike. It’s essentially fried Spam sushi that’s brushed with a sweet and savory ginger sauce. If your travel budget doesn’t allow for a personal trip to local favorite Pukalani Superette, try making it at home. The ingredients are readily available in the lower 48.

23. New England Clam Chowder
Chatham Pier Market, Chatham, Massachusetts

There are as many versions of clam chowder in New England as there are versions of barbecue in the south, but if you want seriously old school clam chowder, Chatham Pier Market in Chatham on Cape Cod, makes one of the best around. The simple ingredients of bacon, potatoes, onions cream and chopped clams makes for a deeply satisfying lunch or dinner treat. And if it’s nice weather, grab one of the nearby picnic tables with a view of the water (and follow these tips for an even better, frugal picnic).

24. Softshell Crabs
L.P. Steamers, Baltimore, Maryland

For those who don’t know, softshell crabs are those that have been caught within 12 hours of molting their shells. Since their exoskeleton is still “soft,” they can be prepared whole and eaten shell and all without all the arduous picking that comes with eating hardshell crabs. We chose this decidedly unstylish storefront as a great destination because they simply have some of the best, freshest crabs around. Plus, if you’re visiting Baltimore, it’s just a short stroll from Fort McHenry. Try the stuffed softshell crabs for a real treat.

25. Pastéis de Belém
Pastéis de Belém, Lisbon, Portugal

This bakery near the banks of the Tagus River in Lisbon has been making its namesake pastries for nearly 200 years. The Pastéis de Belém appears to be a simple egg custard, but it contains multitudes: creamy, sweet, savory and crispy all at once. They are best consumed fresh and warm, so book your flight.

26. The Bahn Mi Taco
Tacodeli, Austin, Texas

You literally can’t throw a stone in Austin without hitting a taco place. Whether it’s a food truck, a roadside shack or a full-fledged restaurant, tacos are basically a sixth food group in this capitol city. Tacodeli’s bahn mi taco though, currently available only on Tuesdays (hello, taco Tuesday!), stands a pork shoulder above the rest. The cooks here marinate their pork shoulder in a green chili and tomatillo sweet-and-sour sauce, then grill it and serve it in a fluffy, homemade tortilla with carrot-and-daikon escabeche, cilantro and basil. You’ll never want a bahn mi on French bread again.

27. Paczki
New Martha Washington Bakery, Hamtramck, Michigan

If you aren’t of Polish descent, Catholic, or both, you may have never heard of the Lenten treats called paczkis (pronounced poonch-key). If that’s you, we feel bad for you. How have you lived without these sugary, fatty treats? Originally made to use up all the ingredients in the pantry that were verboten during Lent (sugar, flour, lard) paczkis are basically extra rich doughnuts filled with jelly, pastry cream or other yummy, gooey deliciousness.

Most bakeries only sell paczki around Fat Tuesday, but New Martha Washington has them available year-round in a wide variety of flavors, and they’re some of the best around.

28. Pastrami Salmon
Barney Greengrass, New York, New York

Among New York’s myriad Jewish delis, Barney Greengrass, “The Sturgeon King,” has to be at or near the top, and part of the reason is for its amazing selection of fish. If you go for breakfast or brunch, get there early because this place gets packed, and order the eggs with pastrami salmon. It comes with a bagel or a bialy served with your choice of butter or cream cheese. If crowds aren’t your thing, order a take-out pastrami salmon sandwich. A shady Central Park bench is just a couple of avenues over.

29. Gelato
Ciampini, Rome, Italy

When in Rome…eat everything, but especially the gelato. This place has been around for decades and still does everything the old-fashioned way. You won’t find trendy flavors at Ciampini, just tried-and-true gelato favorites like pistachio, coffee and chocolate. It’s a great stop to make before heading over to view the Pantheon.

30. Falafel
L’as Du Fallafel, Paris

There’s falafel and then there’s falafel. And while the best are probably found somewhere in Israel, there are more than a few shops in Paris that can stand their ground. In fact, there’s a lot of competition when it comes to really good falafel in the Marais, but the sandwiches at this tiny shop with the walk-up window is worth your time. Fluffy, warm pita is filled with perfectly crisp, tender balls of falafel and heaped with salad, pickled turnips, tahini and more.

31. Currywurst
Dönninghaus, Bochum, Germany

For the uninitiated American, currywurst is probably best described as a sausage that has been fried, cut into chunks and topped with something akin to a curry-flavored barbecue sauce or ketchup. It’s typically served with a side of fries and mayonnaise. While it may sound awful, it can actually be quite tasty, particularly if you buy it at a well-known shop like Dönninghaus. And particularly after several large, German beers.

32. Oysters & Pearls
The French Laundry, Yountville, California & Per Se, New York

Maybe these two restaurants run by super chef Thomas Keller aren’t at the pinnacle of fine dining any longer, but they’re still among the best in the world. And one of the most notable dishes on the menu is Oysters and Pearls, a simple but lush combination of oyster liquor sabayon, tapioca pearls and fresh oysters. Yuck, you say? No, you’re wrong, just accept that, and the opportunity to taste this extravagance is going to cost you. Neither restaurant offers an ala carte menu, and the tasting menu runs $325 per person at Per Se and starts at $310 per person at French Laundry, so apply for your rewards credit card now and book your trip when you’ve saved up enough for a truly memorable dining experience. Ease the cost of this luxury meal by earning rewards with some of the best credit cards for dining out.

33. Wot With Injera
Dukem, Washington, D.C.

If you haven’t eaten Ethiopian food you’re basically missing out on the historic basis for much of Southern American cookery. The hearty, flavorful stews known as wot served with the spongy bread called injera are the backbone of a wide variety of meat and vegetable dishes that will leave you craving more. While there are plenty of seriously good Ethiopian restaurants around the country, Washington, D.C., has the largest Ethiopian population outside of Addis Ababa, so we’re sticking with our choice of Dukem as one of the best places to get your first taste of wot.

34. Bulgogi
Madangsui, New York

You can compare bulgogi to beef fajita meat, but that’s really doing a disservice to this delicious Korean dish. Thinly sliced sirloin is marinated for hours in a soy sauce-based concoction that is simultaneously salty, sweet and spicy, then it’s seared in a skillet or on a grill until there’s a nice char on the outside. We recommend checking out Madangsui for your first taste of this delicious treat.

35. Ramen
Ramen Tatsu-Ya, Austin, Texas

Sure, you practically lived on ramen noodle packets while in college, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. Not at all. Ramen has become wildly popular in many cities around the country in recent years, and for a good reason. Hearty broths, noodles and a wide variety of meats and vegetables make ramen a great meal option for big and little eaters alike. It’s also pretty inexpensive as restaurant foods go, so it’s a great choice for folks on a budget. We really like the ramen at Ramen Tatsu-Ya in Austin, considered by many aficionados as the best in the country.

36. Pho
Pho Binh, Houston

Like ramen, pho is really just a humble soup elevated to sublime deliciousness when done right. That means a clean, flavorful broth, the freshest herbs, slippery noodles and expertly cut meats. You’ll find all that in yet another Texas city – Houston – at one of Pho Binh’s popular locations. Houston has a very large Vietnamese population and this is where pretty much everyone comes when they have a craving for Pho. You can’t go wrong with any of their options.

37. Menudo
Los Tres Cochinitos, Los Angeles

This family-owned, cash-only restaurant in LA’s Montecito Heights neighborhood is nothing fancy, but it’s the place to go for huge helpings of the spicy tripe soup known as menudo. Yes, it’s intestines, but the flavors are amazing and the B vitamins are a sure-fire way to get rid of a lingering cold or hangover from the night before. Expect a line unless you get there early.

38. Pecan Pie
Magnolias, Charleston, South Carolina

Chances are you’ve probably had pecan pie, especially if you grew up anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon Line. But if you want one of the best around, head to Magnolias. This downtown restaurant is billed as upscale southern cuisine, and rightly so, given its classy decor and genteel crowd. One taste of their southern pecan pie, drizzled lightly with caramel, and you’ll be whisked back to childhood days of helping grandma in the kitchen. (Yes, it’s that good.)

39. Iberico Ham
Sampler, Dean & Deluca, Online

Considered the absolute best pork in the world, Iberico ham and other cuts come only from pigs that are at least 50% black Iberian. These pigs are “finished” by grazing in pasture and oak groves to feed naturally on grass, herbs, acorns and roots, which gives the meat its distinctive flavor. We’re not saying it’s the best Iberico you can buy, but if no one near you sells Iberico products and getting to Spain or Portugal right away doesn’t fit into your plans (or budget), check out Dean & Deluca’s sampler, available online for $55. You’ll get 2 ounces each of Fermin’s best-Ibérico Jamòn, Chorizo Iberico, Salchichon Iberico, and Lomo Serrano.

40. Full English Breakfast
Most Pubs in England

If you love a hearty breakfast and haven’t had a full English breakfast, also known as an English fry-up or the full Monty, well, simply put, you’re doing it wrong. This breakfast to end all breakfasts comes with a few essentials including bacon, sausages, fried eggs, fried bread (not to be confused with toast), grilled tomato and baked beans. Variations on these basics can include the addition of sautéed mushrooms, blood sausages, roasted potatoes and even kidneys. Served up with a “cuppa” hot tea and some HP sauce, it’s a great way to start your day.

41. Oyster Pan Roast
Grand Central Oyster Bar, Grand Central Station, New York

This dish is where velvet and brine meet. A deceptively simple combination of cream, butter, clam juice, toast and oysters combine to create one of the most deeply satisfying and soothing dishes The Big Apple has to offer. Plus the ambiance is pretty amazing. Grab some to go if you have a train to catch.

42. Cuban Sandwich
La Carreta, Miami International Airport

It’s pretty rare to find airport restaurants on a list of foods you need to try, but that’s how good this place is. Miami’s venerable La Carreta restaurant chain is a favorite among locals and tourists alike for classic and authentic Cuban cuisine. The reason we’re mentioning the airport instead of one of the restaurant’s other locations is simple: It offers the same delicious food, and you can grab a sandwich if you’re just connecting through Miami, arriving or departing. We recommend eating one there and taking one (or maybe a few for your loved ones) home with you if you’re flying out. These sandwiches are the real deal, made with fresh Cuban bread, thinly sliced ham, perfectly roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles (get extra, trust us) and a light dressing of mustard. Plus, use the right credit card for that airport and you can even earn rewards for eating a delicious sandwich.

43. Gado-Gado
Jakarta, Indonesia

We realize we haven’t chosen many vegetables on this list so far, so we’re going to dedicate the rest of it to some of our favorite vegetables and vegetable dishes. At the top of that list is gado-gado, an Indonesian salad of blanched vegetables, boiled eggs and potatoes, fried tofu or tempeh or both, rice and a rich peanut sauce. You may be able to get a good facsimile of gado-gado in the United States, but to truly appreciate how all these ingredients come together, a trip to Indonesia is really the way to go (See? We just gave you an excuse to travel.).

44. Fava Beans
Seasonally available in select markets and groceries

These beans have been celebrated for centuries, and rightly so. The beans used to grow Jack’s stalk to the sky? Likely fava beans. There’s evidence they’ve been a part of the human diet since as far back as 6,000 B.C., so if you haven’t tried them, you’re waaaaay behind the curve. Favas are only available in early spring, and they’re a pain in the butt to prepare, so you may want to seek them out at a restaurant for a first try before you spend hours hulling, skinning and cooking these beauties.

45. Mezze
Make at home, or order at a restaurant

If you like Middle Eastern and Mediterranean foods you’ve probably had at least one of the items found on a mezze plate, but pairing all of these things together is like bringing all your favorite people together for a party. It’s literally the more, the merrier (or mezzier in this case). Put together your favorite hummus, baba ghanoush, beet dip, feta cheese cubes or mozzarella balls, a little prosciutto di Parma, some olives, marinated artichoke hearts, figs, tzatziki sauce, warm pita bread, sliced cucumbers and bell peppers — heck, even some taramasalata, and you’ve got the makings of a party on a plate.

46. Kimchi
Korean restaurants or groceries

If you like pickles or sauerkraut, you’re probably going to like kimchi. If you don’t, you probably won’t. This Korean staple is served as a side dish along with most meals. It’s made of salted, fermented cabbage and Korean radishes and has a nice, spicy kick from chili, garlic, ginger and a small amount of jeotgal, or fermented seafood. Try it the next time you’re grilling meat (or making bulgogi!).

47. Salmorejo
Córdoba, Spain

This soup from the Andalusia region of southern Spain is a close cousin to the better-known gazpacho, but is pureed to a smooth consistency. Served chilled in warm weather and warm in cooler weather, it’s traditionally made of tomatoes, bread, garlic and olive oil, but there are many variations with additional vegetables. You’ll find the best in Córdoba, where it originated.

48. Seaweed
Japanese restaurants or specialty groceries

If you pay attention to such things, you probably know that seaweed has a lot of health benefits and is heralded as a super food. But it also tastes good, especially as a salad the way the Japanese prepare it. Check it out next time you’re in a sushi restaurant, or, if you don’t like sushi, go in just for seaweed. C’mon, it’s good for you and it’s very affordable!

49. Okra
Restaurants and groceries nationwide

Okay, we know a lot of people don’t like okra. It’s slimy, they say. But we love okra. If you’ve never tried it, you can buy it affordably by using money saving grocery hacks. It’s found in traditional foods all across the world, and especially in Indian and Persian cooking, where it’s often stewed with onions, tomatoes and spices. Some of our favorite preparations include okra pickles, fried okra and the Afghan preparation called Bamia.

50. Vegetable Thai Curry
Thai restaurants nationwide

If you’ve had a red, green or jungle Thai curry, it’s probably come with shrimp, chicken or some other protein. But that delicious, coconut-milk-based sauciness is equally as good on vegetables, so if you’re not a big veggie eater, it’s a great way to ensure you get your “five a day.” Thai curry is exceptionally easy to make and the ingredients are readily available online if you can’t find them in your local market, so give it a try.

Image: mactrunk

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11 Amazing Destination Restaurants You Need to Try

They aren't easy to get to, and most aren't cheap, but you'll want to add these restaurants to your culinary bucket list.

If you’re an adventurous traveler and eater, this list is for you. We’ve rounded up a list of restaurants that are among the remotest, have the best views, are among the most unusual and have some of the best food the world over, and put them into one tidy list.

Some are expensive and offer world-class standards while others are just a good example of local cuisine. Still others have food fit only for those looking for an extreme dining adventure. All, however, are going to require some travel. So plan your travel budget, grab your passport and your travel rewards credit card (go ahead and check your credit scores while you’re at it), and get ready for some culinary adventures that will last you a lifetime.

Here are 11 of our favorite destination restaurants that you really should try now.

1. Faviken Magasinet, Järpen, Sweden

It takes more than a long drive or boat ride to get to this two-Michelin-starred restaurant tucked deep within Sweden’s ski country near Järpen. Open from July 1 through Dec. 21, the restaurant is an hour’s drive from the nearest airport, a seven-hour drive from Stockholm and an eight-hour drive from Oslo. Plus, with just 16 seats for dinner, you’ll need reservations months in advance (at the time of this writing, the restaurant is fully booked until November 2017), and you’re going to want to find a place to sleep after reveling in your multi-course $350-per-person meal (without wine pairing), which changes daily. So why do you want to go? Chef Magnus Nilsson’s farm-to-table concept is about as real as it gets.

“During the summer and autumn, we harvest what grows on our land as it reaches the peak of ripeness, and prepare it using methods we have rediscovered from rich traditions, or that we have created through our own research to maintain the highest quality of the end product,” the restaurant’s website says. “We build up our stores ahead of the dark winter months. We dry, salt, jelly, pickle and bottle. The hunting season starts after the harvest and is an important time, when we take advantage of the exceptional bounty with which the mountains provide us. By the time spring and summer return to Jämtland, the cupboard is bare and the cycle begins again.”

Budget option: The restaurant’s new pop-up concept in Åre, Hoon’s Chinese, is open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday and offers a family-style menu of Singaporean-style Chinese food, run by Faviken’s sous chef, Ethel Hoon.

2. The Willows Inn, Lummi Island, Washington

Situated on a small island in Puget Sound about a two-and-a-half hour drive north of Seattle, The Willows Inn is celebrated for its natural setting, use of vegetables from nearby farms, foraged herbs and wild game. Chef Blaine Wetzel won the James Beard Award for best chef in the Northwest in 2015. The inn also provides rooms for those dining at the restaurant. If you plan to stay, expect to make reservations at least a couple of months in advance for both dinner and lodging. And be sure to budget about $195 per person for the dinner menu ($90 per person for wine pairing; $40 per person for juice pairing), which changes regularly. Rooms can run around $400 per night.

Budget option: Make it a day trip. Explore the island, and then have a light lunch of salad, soup, charcuterie, cheeses and freshly baked bread on the restaurant’s front deck, available until 4 p.m.

3. Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Maldives

More than 600 miles off the coast of Sri Lanka, Maldives is a destination that takes more than a little effort to get to. So once you’ve traveled all that way, the last thing you need is a huge trek to get to dinner, right? Good thing Ithaa Undersea Restaurant is simple once you’ve arrived. It’s just a quick stroll from the Conrad Hotel.

Ithaa (meaning ‘mother of pearl’ in the Maldivian language of Dhivehi) is the world’s first all-glass undersea restaurant. Dining 16 feet below sea level, you’ll be surrounded by aquatic life swimming all around you. It costs $325 per person (all prices USD) for the opportunity to have dinner in this elegant bubble; $195 for lunch and both meals come with a complimentary glass of champagne.

Budget option: If you stay at the Conrad Hotel, you can receive a $50 voucher per person for dinner when you book your restaurant reservation upon in advance or upon arrival.

4. Beano’s Cabin, Beaver Creek, Colorado

Open seasonally (June 14 through Sept. 23 for 2017), Beano’s Cabin is an outdoor adventurer’s dream restaurant. That’s because, as the Beano’s website says, “Getting to Beano’s Cabin is half the fun!”

Diners have the option of getting to the restaurant by taking a 10-minute shuttle van ride, a one-hour horseback ride ($40), or a 20-minute wagon ride pulled by a John Deer diesel tractor ($27.50). In winter, the restaurant is accessible by open-air sleigh pulled by a snowcat.

Once you’ve arrived, you’ll be greeted by a wide variety of menu choices that make up Executive Chef Kevin Erving’s five-course dinner menu. It runs $107 per person (not including beverages). There’s also a three-course menu available for children 12 or younger that costs $59.

Budget option: Take the free shuttle.

5. Sounds of Silence at Ayers Rock, Australia

If you’ve made it all the way to Australia, you might as well go to Ayers Rock. And if you’ve made it all the way to Ayers Rock, why not dine in the desert with the outback stars sparkling above you?

For roughly $150 US per person, you’ll start your four-hour dining experience with canapés and chilled sparkling wine served on a viewing platform overlooking the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. “As the sun sets and darkness falls, listen to the sound of a didgeridoo” as you enjoy a “bush tucker” inspired buffet and guided tour of the night sky.

6. At.mosphere, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

If achieving new heights is your thing, At.mosphere is the restaurant for you. Sitting on the 122nd floor of the world’s tallest building in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, At.mosphere is officially the world’s highest restaurant. As you might expect, it also has some seriously high prices, but its seafood-heavy menu features some of the best products available from around the world. There are three prix-fixe dinner options: seven courses for $240, $417 with wine pairing or $539 with signature wine pairing.

Budget option: Make a reservation for lunch or an early dinner and dine on some of the restaurant’s luxurious ala carte options.

7. Grub Kitchen, Pembrokeshire, Wales

If the idea of eating bugs nauseates you, stop reading now. There are plenty of other options available for you. If not, you’re in for a treat!

Grub Kitchen, situated on an award-winning Pembrokeshire farm, promotes sustainable local produce and entomophagy, or the eating of bugs. The farm itself has been operating for more than 300 years and has a number of different areas, including an invertebrate “zoo” a gallery and shop, wildlife walks and guided bug safaris. It’s also a first-class academic research center. In other words, this is more than just a dining destination. Ultimately, though, you’re going to want to try the food.

Chef Andy Holcroft offers tasty options like sweetcorn chowder with basil oil and a grasshopper crumb; zesty black ant and olive crusted goat cheese with a chicory, fennel and fig salad and warm honey mustard dressing; and caramelized apple crumble with a toasted bug and shortbread topping and vanilla ice cream.

If you’re all alone in your dreams of eating bugs, never fear. The restaurant also serves plenty of non-entomophagic options like lamb shoulder, filet of hake and chocolate mousse. And unlike most of the other restaurants on this list, prices are comparable to a typical high-end restaurant, with dinner mains running around $20 to $25.

8. 229 Parks Restaurant & Tavern, Denali National Park, Alaska

Located in the shadow of North America’s highest peak, 229 Parks is the place to go if you’ve just finished your outdoor adventure and are hankering for some finer dining.

Chef Laura Cole has been nominated twice for a James Beard Award for Best Chef Northwest, and she and her team have a strong commitment to locally grown, freshly harvested ingredients and sustainable cuisine. Here you’ll find menu items like pappardelle pasta with reindeer sausage and leeks, or pan seared Alaskan king salmon with sweet mustard glaze with warm German-style potato salad, crisped prosciutto and haricots vert. The restaurant doesn’t list prices on its website, but dinner mains run in the $25 range. Call ahead for reservations and pricing as the menu changes regularly.

9. The Rock, Zanzibar

Perched on a rock outcropping in the shallow waters of the Indian Ocean just a few meters off Zanzibar’s Michanwi Pingwe beach is a restaurant that seems to have leapt from the pages of an Ernest Hemingway novel.

Originally a fishing cottage, The Rock is an open-air dining destination that can be reached by foot at low tide or by boat service offered by the restaurant. There’s a large outdoor patio to enjoy a cocktail or even have dinner, but there are amazing ocean views even from inside. The Rock specializes in seafood, and while the fare is simple and fresh, it’s the experience and the view that you’re really coming for. Also note that while The Rock is very informal, don’t expect an inexpensive meal. Mains can run you up to $25. That said, the dress code is super casual, so it’s a great way to end the day after relaxing on the beach.

Budget option: Have a drink or two and a snack instead of a full meal. There’s a great wine list.

10. The Three Chimneys, Island of Skye, Scotland

This world-renowned Scottish restaurant is located on the sea shore on the Isle of Skye, just off the coast of Scotland. Opened in 1985, it has made many best-of lists over the years. Chef Scott Davies keeps the kitchen humming with a focus on seasonal dishes using local ingredients such as seaweed cured salmon, Soay lamb and ewe and local oysters. Prix-fixe dinner runs about $90 per person without beverages. And if you’re feeling like you might be drowsy after dinner, you may want to consider booking one of the inn’s charming bedrooms with en suites.

11. Icehotel Restaurant, Jukkasjarvi, Sweden

One of the nicest things about staying at the Ice Hotel in Sweden’s Arctic Circle is that the dining room and cocktail bar are warm spots to escape the sub-zero temperatures. With a nod to some of the local cuisines of the Lapland region, you’ll find menu items like reindeer carpaccio served on blocks of ice; elk with almond potato puree, chanterelles and lingonberries; Arctic char and other delicacies expertly prepared by chef Alexander Meier and his team. There’s an ala carte menu, or you can pre-book a special dining experience such as the chef’s table, ice dining or the wilderness dinner. Pricing is, of course, not cheap. A simple burger runs about $20, while the four-course ice menu runs about $105 per person.

Image: Constance Brinkley-Badgett

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7 Luxury Travel Perks You Can Actually Afford

Get the most out of your airline travel with these tips.

[DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]

Modern-day travel may be fast, but unless you’re doing it in a premium class, it’s typically less than enjoyable, especially when flying. There’s security, long lines, cramped seating, delays, crying babies, abusive passengers (and sometimes crew), lousy food (if there’s any at all) and of course, jet lag if you’re going anywhere long distance.

While you may not be able to afford to fly first class, or even business class, there are things you can do to make your time on the ground and in the air more enjoyable. Heck, you might even feel pampered with these seven travel perks you can definitely afford.

1. Buy a Good Carry-On

Unless you plan to stay at home most of your life, a sturdy carry-on that’s built to last will pay for itself after a few years. It’s actually possible to buy luggage that could last you a lifetime. A stylish bag that can carry your essentials for before, during and after your flight can make a bad trip better (you may want to consider a good luggage set in general if you plan to travel a lot). Compare manufacturers that offer lifetime warranties, like Briggs & Riley, for example. Their warranty covers repair of all functional aspects of your bag. Did the airline damage it? Not a problem. Your dog chewed it up? It’s covered.

2. Pay for More Legroom

Some airlines offer seating with more room for a small charge (usually $50 to $65) that will put you closer to the front of the plane, but more importantly, especially for the long-legged among us, give you more legroom. That extra charge also ensures you’ll have an earlier boarding, plenty of room for your carry-on, quicker access to the forward restroom and a quicker time getting off the plane.

3. Invest in a Travel Kit

People who fly first and business class, especially on international flights, usually get a handy kit including a toothbrush and toothpaste, eye mask, ear plugs, lotion and other niceties. You can assemble your own to help you sleep better and feel fresher upon arrival.

4. Get Free Flights & Upgrades

If you have a favorite airline, it pays to sign up for the mileage program. You can earn a free ticket or upgrade on most airlines starting at around 20,000 miles (keep in mind you’ll still have to pay taxes and some other fees), which means you can typically begin reaping rewards after a few flights.

5. Get More Miles for More Perks

If you’re serious about getting free travel and upgrades, you’ll want to earn miles faster. You should consider a travel rewards credit card. You can sign up for a card associated with your airline to maximize your earning potential. For example, if you regularly fly Delta, you may want to sign up for the Gold Delta Skymiles card from American Express, which comes with a signup bonus of 60,000 miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases within your first four months of qualifying. Plus you’ll earn a $50 statement credit after making a Delta purchase within your first four months (offer expires July 5, 2017, see the card agreement for details). After that, you’ll earn two miles on every dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta, and one mile for every dollar spent on all other eligible purchases. This card comes with a $95 annual fee, which is waived the first year.

6. Earn Miles on Every Purchase

If you’re not loyal to any particular airline, a general travel rewards card may be a better option for you. One of our favorites is the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard. It comes with serious kickback — 2% miles back on all purchases, plus a 5% rebate when those miles are redeemed that you can use toward your next redemption. While it also comes with an $89 annual fee, that’s waived for the first year. All of this adds up to making free upgrades or free flights a real possibility.

7. Get a Luxury Travel Rewards Card

If you’re looking for luxury when it comes to travel perks, signing up for a card like the American Express Platinum Card can pay off. Yes, it comes with a steep annual fee of $550 and you’re going to need seriously good credit to qualify, but the cost is offset by a $200 annual airline credit, up to $200 in Uber credits, an $85 or $100 credit every four years for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck (reimbursement amount depends on which program you apply for), access to more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide and no foreign transaction fees (see the card agreement for full details).

Remember, before applying for any credit card, it’s a good idea to check your credit scores to see where your credit stands. You can get your two credit scores, absolutely free, right here on Credit.com.

At publishing time, the Gold Delta Skymiles card, Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard and American Express Platinum Card are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for these cards. However, these relationships do not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

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9 Ways to Get the Most Out of Shopping at Your Local Farmers Market

Not all farm-fresh products are created equal. Here's how to make your farmers market work for you.

Farmers markets certainly aren’t anything new, but they have seen a major renaissance over the last several years, with literally thousands popping up all over the country, particularly in urban areas.

That’s great news for folks who love fresh produce and supporting local — or at least local-ish — businesses and farmers. (Don’t know where your nearest market is? The USDA has a handy farmers market locator.) The typical products available usually were grown within just a couple of hours of your market’s opening and harvested within the last 48 hours, as opposed to things you buy at the grocery store, which are frequently shipped across the country for days on end.

That’s great for the environment, but is shopping at a farmers market really a good deal for your budget? Similar to the grocery store, it really all depends on how you shop. Here are nine ways you can make the most of shopping at your local farmers market.

1. Shop Early

It’s a good idea at the typical grocery store, but it’s imperative at the farmers market if you want the very best selection, so grab your coffee and get yourself to the market within 30 minutes of opening to ensure you get the day’s best, especially when it comes to your local fish monger, if you have one.

2. Compare Prices

Just because supplies are limited doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check out a few vendors before making your purchase. Quality and price can vary dramatically from stall to stall, so taking a stroll through the market can pay off. Likewise, some markets tend to be more expensive than others, so if you have several in your area, you may want to check out which has the best offerings at the best prices.

3. Take Cash …

Most vendors don’t accept credit cards, so you’re going to need to grab a bunch of cash before you head out.

4. … And Your Own Bags

Yes, farmers market vendors do typically have bags available, but they appreciate it if you have your own, as it helps keep their costs down (which, in turn, keeps yours down as well).

5. Avoid the Ready-to-Eat Items

Yes, those cinnamon buns look delicious, and, yes, that coffee smells amazing, but is the price worth it? A lot of these items are sold at a considerable markup. So, while a splurge every now and then may be fine, making that $4 coffee and $5 bun a weekly routine can obviously add up quickly.

6. Consider the Proteins

Most meats, eggs and cheeses you’ll find at farmers markets are offered by small farms that tend to treat their animals humanely, use organic, vegetarian feeds and no hormones. They also tend to carry a pretty hefty price tag because they aren’t mass producing these items and have to cover their costs. If your household tends to eat a lot of protein, you may want to consider talking to the farmer about buying in bulk — like a side of beef — at a considerable savings. (Want to save even more? Here are a butcher’s secrets to saving money on meat.)

7. Get to Know the Vendors

Shopping at your farmers market is a lot like living in a small town. If you go regularly and get to know the farmers, those relationships can pay off. They’ll point you to the items they’re particularly proud of that week or that they know you’re going to like. They may even slide you a few freebies now and then.

8. Ask for Recipes & Preparation Ideas

These folks know their products and probably eat them regularly themselves, so don’t hesitate to ask for their favorite preparation or recipe. They’ll probably be excited to talk about it if they aren’t overly busy, which is another good reason to show up early.

9. Visit the Farm

If there’s a vendor you’re particularly fond of, why not head to their farm some time during the week to see their operations up close? A family trip to a working farm can be an amazing experience, especially for kids. It’s a great way to give them an appreciation of where their food comes from and why being a good steward of the land is important. You may also be able to pick up some of the farmer’s products at an even better price.

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5 Things That Can Make Your Business Plan Fail — & How to Avoid Them

If you don't believe in your business, how can anybody else?

Creating a business plan is an essential step in getting a new company off the ground. Writing this document helps founders not only evaluate their goals, but also communicate them to other people, especially investors. A good business plan can be the difference between funding your dreams on business credit cards and personal savings or getting support from a financial institute or business partner. Unfortunately, many business plans fail in this aim. Understanding common pitfalls and how to avoid them ensures you get the backing you need to develop your business idea.

Here are 5 things that can make your business plain fail — and how to avoid them.

1. Failing to Define What Your Specialty Is

Thousands of startups and small businesses pitch their business plans, and it’s important to stand out in the crowd to improve your chances of securing an investment. An effective way to do this is by clearly defining what makes your company unique, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. This requires being clear about what your company offers in terms of products, services, unique skill sets, and experience. For example, if you’re starting a new restaurant, do you cater to specific types of clients, or do you have a renowned chef in the kitchen? When you can identify a niche in which you excel, you improve your chances of success.

2. Omitting Vital Information

The process of writing a business plan is as important as the plan itself, according to SCORE, a nonprofit association that works in partnership with the SBA to provide free services and advice for entrepreneurs. Writing the plan encourages you to think about your business in a systematic way. The SBA recommends covering the following areas:

  • An executive summary to give an overview of your plan
  • A company description, including what makes your business unique
  • Market analysis to show you’ve researched the industry and your competitors
  • Details of your business and management structure
  • Details on what products and services you provide
  • Marketing and sales strategies
  • A funding request, with financial projections to support that request and an explanation of how these figures impact the business

3. Insufficient Understanding of Finances

Investors need to feel confident their money is in the hands of someone who understands the world of business and finance, and not just their particular line of work. If you don’t understand terms such as APR or lack a thorough grasp of sales figures, potential investors will balk no matter how good the business idea is. Solid business plans include significant research and budgeting and cover sales strategies, contingency plans for additional funding, and firm details on how much it costs to start the business and keep it running. Any funding requests need to be backed up with detailed financial projections to help investors understand the sources from which the return on investment will come, and a clear definition of how long that will take.

4. Failing to Maintain a Living Document

A business plan projects three to five years ahead and acts like a roadmap that defines a company’s growth and development. Creating the document is an important first step for a startup, but once the business is established, the plan becomes no less important. The plan can help generate extra funding, develop new business arrangements with other companies, take on high-level employees, or identify and rectify inefficiencies in your company structure.

That’s why it’s necessary to make changes to the plan by creating new goals or correcting mistakes. A truly valuable plan evolves along with the company, according to Harvard Business Review. Making changes when necessary keeps the plan alive and helps to drive the business forward.

5. Lack of Determination

If you want someone to invest in your idea, it’s important to invest in it, too. Giving up the first time a pitch falls on deaf ears doesn’t lead to new opportunities. If an investor refuses to get on board, it’s a good idea to ask them exactly why and then use that information to your advantage in a subsequent pitch. That kind of input can be invaluable to achieving your business goals.

Remember, most business credit cards require a personal guarantee, which can affect your personal credit. You can view two of your scores for free on Credit.com.

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The 50 Best Beaches in America

Here are some of our favorite beaches in America.

If you’re planning a beach getaway this year, you may still be wondering where you want to go and what destination will offer the most bang for your buck. Or sand for your dollars. Or just sand dollars.

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of 50 of our favorite destinations from all over the country. (Beaches in Arizona? You bet!) There are party beaches and remote beaches, white-sand and pebble beaches, great beaches for snorkeling and great beaches for ogling. Whatever your preference, chances are there’s a beach here for you.

Just remember, before planning any vacation, it’s a good idea to make sure it fits into your budget. There’s little worse than stressing over money the entire time you’re trying to relax and unwind. We have plenty of tips for budgeting for your next vacation, and also some comparisons of travel rewards credit cards that can help pay for your next holiday. (Pro tip: Rewards cards often require really solid credit, so check your credit scores for free on Credit.com before applying.)

Now, without further ado, here are 50 of our favorite beach destinations in America and U.S. territories, broken down by East Coast, West Coast, Gulf Coast, freshwater and island beaches.

East Coast

With a plethora of urban and rural beaches, picking our favorite East Coast beaches was tough, but we narrowed it down to these eight.

1. Montauk, Long Island, New York

On the far end of Long Island’s South Fork sits the town of Montauk. Its numerous beaches, crystal-clear-albeit-cold waters and plenty of nearby restaurants and accommodations make it a favorite destination for New Yorkers, especially surfers. In fact, Montauk has made numerous lists as one of the best places to surf in America.

2. Fort Lauderdale Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 

This beautiful city beach is not only easy to get to (it’s right on the road), it’s relaxed and beautiful. It can get a bit crowded, but the people watching can be part of the enjoyment.

3. South Beach, Miami Beach, Florida

If laid-back isn’t quite your thing, South Beach is an endless party with endless Atlantic views. And once you’ve had your fill of sun and sand, there are trendy restaurants, shops and unique hotels to enjoy just across the street.

4. Hilton Head Island, South Carolina 

Hilton Head is a great family destination that can be very budget friendly. And don’t even get us started on the delicious low-country cuisine you’ll find here.

5. Coney Island, New York

More spectacle than beach experience, the boardwalk, pier and amusement park make for a uniquely interesting day trip if you’re visiting the New York area. The beach is typically very crowded with local New Yorkers wanting a break from the heat of the city, and the water isn’t particularly nice. In fact, it’s kind of gross. Still, if you want a memorable New York City beach experience, this is the place to do it.

6. Asbury Park, New Jersey

If you like a good boardwalk, look no farther than Asbury Park. A wide expanse of beach, plenty of people watching, shopping and eating options make this a favorite among locals and tourists.

7. The Cove, Cape May, New Jersey

Farther south on the Jersey Shore, Cape May is more quaint than Asbury Park and offers an abundance of outdoor activities like birdwatching, surfing, kayaking and more. It’s a great family-friendly option.

8. Ocean City Beach, Ocean City, Maryland

Another great spot if you love a good boardwalk, Ocean City has 10 miles of sand and plenty of activities to keep the whole family entertained.

9. Race Point Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

As Patti Page once sang, “If you like sand dunes and salty air, quaint little villages here and there, you’re sure to fall in love with old Cape Cod.” Situated at the very tip of the cape near Provincetown sits this lovely stretch of beach. It’s accessible by car and even bicycle, and don’t be surprised if you spot some seals or even whales in the chilly waters.

10. Ogunquit Beach, Ogunquit, Maine

Farther north, the waters get even colder, but this sandy beach is a beautiful place by the sea. In fact, that’s exactly what its name means in Algonquin, “beautiful place by the sea.” You’ll find charming villages, plenty of delicious fresh lobster and gentle rolling waves.

11. Hollywood Beach, Hollywood, Florida

Between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, you’ll find this lovely beach with a charming seawalk. It’s great for a romantic getaway and still offers plenty of nearby activities without all the hustle and bustle of, say, South Beach.

12. Virginia Beach, Virginia

A three-mile oceanfront boardwalk is one of this famed coastline’s signature draws, ideal for strolling, jogging, rollerblading and more and rife with people watching. South of the resort area, nature lovers will find Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park, while those simply looking for more seaside solace might give peaceful Sandbridge a look.

13. Cape Hatteras, Outer Banks, North Carolina

Most of the beaches on the OBX are just awesome, but Cape Hatteras is special. Its famous lighthouse makes for a nice break from the sun and sand, but one of our favorite things about this stretch of beach is that beach fires are still allowed, meaning you can have that clambake if you so desire, or you can just relax with friends and family while enjoying the warm glow.

14. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Home to Apache Pier, the East Coast’s longest wooden pier, and the SkyWheel, there’s a ton of fun to be had along this 60-mile stretch of oceanfront, not to mention plenty of world-class golf.

15. Folly Beach, South Carolina

This six-mile stretch of sand offers visitors a laid-back beach experience, which is probably why it’s a favorite among local surfers.

16. Ocracoke Beach, Outer Banks, North Carolina

If you want to get away from it all, Ocracoke is a great place to do it. There’s been minimal development along this part of the OBX, so the remaining wetlands are home to plenty of wildlife, including birds and turtles. Of course, that doesn’t mean the beaches are empty, though they’re certainly less crowded than more urban East Coast beaches.

Freshwater Beaches

If you live in a landlocked part of the country and don’t want to spend a fortune to get some time at the beach, these picks are for you. Hello, day trip!

17. Sleeping Bear Dunes, Lake Michigan National Lakeshore, Michigan

One of our favorite freshwater beaches is at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. After all, it was named the “Most Beautiful Place in America” on ABC’s Good Morning America back in 2011. Lake Michigan’s beautiful clear water makes a stroll on these pristine beaches really enjoyable. And when you’re finished sunning and splashing, there are dozens of other nearby activities to enjoy.

18. Bradford Beach, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

On the other side of Lake Michigan is Bradford Beach, a lovely local favorite considered the city’s most popular spot for swimming. There are also sand volleyball courts and plenty of food and beverage vendors to make sure you don’t go hungry.

19. Lake Powell, Utah/Arizona

In the Four Corners region, where Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico meet at a single point, there are a lot of outdoor activities to enjoy. And just a two-hour drive from the spot where you can stand in all four states at the same time are some seriously beautiful beaches along Lake Powell’s shores. There’s even overnight camping allowed in some areas.

20. Huntington Beach, Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland rocks, and so does Huntington Beach, where locals have been enjoying the water and views for decades. This was also the first Ohio beach to receive the Blue Wave designation from the Clean Beaches Coalition.

21. Oak Street Beach, Chicago, Illinois

Chicago beaches can be crowded, especially on a gorgeous summer day, and Oak Street Beach is no exception. There are often volleyball tournaments taking place — both amateur and professional — but the people watching, cool breezes coming off of Lake Michigan and the striking Chicago skyline make it a favorite destination among locals and visitors alike.

22. North Beach, Racine, Wisconsin

Another Blue Wave-certified beach on the Great Lakes, this beach also gets a big thumbs up from Dr. Beach, a renowned beach expert whose picks are certainly noteworthy. North Beach’s 2,500 feet of shoreline offers plenty of room for summertime crowds to enjoy themselves without feeling cramped.

23. Park Point Beach, Duluth, Minnesota

Yes, we’re picking a beach in Minnesota. Why? Beautiful views, soft sand and bracing dips for those hot, humid days. There’s a park and a playground, which makes it a great destination for families.

24. Grand Haven State Park, Grand Haven, Michigan

Another beauty on the shore of Lake Michigan, Grand Haven offers camping, picnic areas, playgrounds and plenty of recreational activities.

25. Presque Isle State Park, Erie, Pennsylvania

There are plenty of beaches to choose from here and each has its own attraction. Some are more sheltered and quiet, while others have concessions and volleyball courts. The choices alone make it a great family getaway.

Island Beaches

You’re going to have to fly or take a boat to get to these beaches, but you won’t need your passport.

26. Hulopoe Beach, Manele Bay, Lanai, Hawaii

Considered one of the most perfect beaches in the world, Hulopoe Beach, on Lanai, offers a designated marine preserve where the snorkeling and diving are considered among the finest in the Hawaiian Islands. There are also tidal pools filled with colorful marine life.

27. Kapalua Bay Beach, Maui, Hawaii

This somewhat isolated beach is described by beach expert Dr. Beach as a “beautiful, crescent-shaped, white-sand beach bounded by rocky anchors where good restaurants can be found.” Yes, please.

28. Lanikai Beach, Oahu, Hawaii

Powdery sand, gentle breezes, palm trees and turquoise water make this beach the stuff of dreams. Plus it’s in a quiet residential area, so the crowds aren’t typically too bad.

29. Trunk Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands 

The island’s most photographed beach is also one of its prettiest, with over a quarter mile of powdery sand, clear water and short hiking trails.

30. Lindquist Beach, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

Clear, shallow water, coconut groves and sea grape trees make Lindquist Beach feel dramatic despite its relative calm on the weekdays.

31. Boquerón Beach, Puerto Rico

Frommer’s says this beautiful stretch of sand brings to mind a “tropical Cape Cod.” Its white sand, palm trees and calm waters make it a wonderful destination for families looking to snorkel, swim or even fish. Boquerón Beach also is a state-run, public beach, which means there are picnic tables, barbecue pits, lifeguards, bathrooms with showers and lockers, plus a cafeteria and a shop for necessities like sunscreen.

32. Waikiki Beach, Hawaii

This two-mile-long beach in the shadow of Diamondhead is one of the most famous beaches in the world, with more than four million visitors each year. While it can get quite crowded, its breathtaking beauty is worth sharing with others.

33. Poipu Beach Park, Hawaii

Golden sands, clear blue waters and spottings of sea turtles and whales make this a favorite beach among Hawaii’s multitude of beautiful spots. In fact, TripAdvisor named it a top 25 beach in its annual Travelers’ Choice Awards for 2017.

West Coast Beaches

34. Zuma Beach, Malibu, California 

The water may be freezing — thanks northwesterly winds — but the juxtaposition of mountains and ocean are something you rarely see here in the States. Bring a jacket and headphones so you can vibe out to one of the prettiest beaches along the Pacific Coast Highway.

35. La Jolla Cove & Shores, La Jolla, California

There’s kayaking, snorkeling, diving, swimming and communing with La Jolla’s famous sea lions and seals. What’s not to love?

36. Venice Beach, Venice, California

Like Coney Island on the East Coast, Venice Beach is more about spectacle than it is actually taking in the sand and surf. Still, it’s a great experience if you’re in the greater Los Angeles area and want to get a little salty air.

37. Coronado Municipal Beach, Coronado, California

Situated in front of the famous Hotel Del Coronado, the beach is wide and the gentle waves are perfect for swimming. It’s also a beachcomber’s paradise, with plenty of shells and sand dollars to be found.

38. Carmel Beach, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

If you’re seeking a beach with amazing sunsets, look no further. The natural beauty of the rugged coastline makes a wonderful setting for a romantic picnic or stroll, but the rip tides and chilly water make swimming less than enjoyable.

39. Rialto Beach, Olympic Peninsula, Washington

Best known for its rocky beaches and driftwood, Rialto Beach is a part of Olympic National Park, so you’re likely to spot plenty of wildlife as you walk the shore. There are whales, otters, and even bald eagles.

40. Cannon Beach, Cannon Beach, Oregon

If you want to hang out with puffins at the beach, Cannon Beach is the place to go. There’s a plethora of wildlife along this four-mile stretch of sand, but there’s still plenty of room for swimming, picnicking and just lazing about.

41. Huntington Beach, Huntington Beach, California

If you’re a fan of surfing, you probably already know this beach is nicknamed Surf City, U.S.A. Known for amazing breaks, it also has good swimming and boogie boarding. You’ll also find lifeguards, food and sundry vendors, restrooms and even volleyball courts.

Gulf Coast Beaches

Last, but certainly not least, are the Gulf Coast beaches. Now, if you live on the East or West Coast, you’re probably thinking, “Eww, a Gulf Coast beach? No way.” If that’s you, you might be interested to know that the No. 1 beach in America as chosen in TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards 2017 is …

42. Siesta Beach, Siesta Key, Florida

That’s right. This Gulf Coast beach was chosen as the No. 1 beach in the country. Siesta’s 99% quartz sand means your tootsies won’t burn even on the hottest days. Pair that with crystal-clear waters and warm, sunny days almost year-round, and you’ve got full-on beach bliss.

43. Gulf Islands National Seashore, Pensacola, Florida

The sand here just speaks to people. Literally. The sand is so powdery it often squeaks when you walk across it. Its beautiful waters and warm temperatures almost year-round make it a perennial favorite and a contender for most best-beaches lists.

44. Bowman’s Beach, Sanibel, Florida

If you love collecting shells and other treasures from the ocean, this could be the beach for you. It has some of the best shelling in the world. On top of that, there are no high-rise hotels and the sunsets are outstanding.

45. Henderson Beach State Park, Destin, Florida

White sand, gentle waves and turquoise waters with a lovely beach town make this a favorite for beachgoers. It’s darn near perfect.

46. Gulf State Park, Alabama

Not far from the Florida state line, this stretch of sugary white sand offers plenty of family-friendly activities to keep everyone entertained. The park offers air-conditioned restrooms, showers, a snack bar and and tables for eating.

47. South Padre Island, Texas

South Padre can get a little crazy during Spring Break, when droves of high school and college students descend on the pretty beaches here. In fact, it can be pretty crowded for most of the high season, and while you won’t get turquoise waters, there’s an abundance of birdlife, dolphins and sea turtles. There’s also plenty of fishing to be found if that’s your thing.

48. Matagorda Bay Nature Park, Matagorda Island, Texas

The water on Matagorda Island definitely seems bluer than a lot of water along the Texas coast, plus it’s not as crowded as a lot of the beaches. If you like a natural setting with plenty of birdlife, this is a relaxing spot to just chill with family and friends.

49. Clearwater Beach, Clearwater, Florida

As the name implies, the water here is crystal clear. The sand is also powdery soft and white, making this a very popular beach. If you don’t like crowds, there’s another alternative nearby …

50. St. Pete Beach, Clearwater, Florida

There are five miles of delicate sand and crystal-clear warm waters to enjoy on this beach situated on Florida’s Gulf Coast shore, so there’s a chance you won’t feel overly crowded even on busy days. You’ll find plenty of nearby activities as well, not to mention beautiful sunsets from the beach.

Trying to save up for the trip of a lifetime? Here are 50 things to stop wasting your money on now

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Does (at) Instead of @ Really Keep Spammers at Bay?

This simple trick can help reduce spam and add an additional layer of protection against phishers and identity thieves.

Have you ever been on a website and noticed the site owner or another user has written out their email address in some variation of the following?

Name (at) domain dot com

If you wondered if the person was just averse to using symbols, you may be interested to know it’s actually a decent method for reducing unwanted spam emails and protecting yourself from possible phishing scams and even identity theft.

We talked to digital security expert Adam Levin, co-founder of Credit.com and chairman and founder of CyberScout (formerly IDT911), to learn more about how it works.

Good ‘Cyber Hygiene’

“One way spammers harvest email addresses is by sending out bots that are instructed to look for and scrape letter strings that contain the @ symbol,” Levin said.

For that reason, it’s a good idea to practice what Levin refers to as “good cyber hygiene” when entering your email address on public sites. Writing out your email address lets you do that. (Check out our tips for keeping your email safe and secure.)

Phishers can be dangerous, especially if you wade through a tremendous amount of email each day. They create emails that closely resemble legitimate companies and entities that can be difficult to spot as phony, especially when you’re in a hurry to get through your emails.

Using “at” and “dot” makes it more difficult for spambot programs to detect and grab your email address, Levin said. That can be helpful for small business owners whose information is listed on their website, social media accounts or other digital locations.

“For hackers and fraudsters, email addresses are essential tools used to phish their target,” he said. “Because the ultimate guardian of the consumer is the consumer, this is another way to be proactive about protecting your identity and personal data.”

Over the years, some spammers have made an effort to scrape even strings containing “at” and “dot” in hopes of gaining access to email addresses, though sifting through this data to find actual addresses requires manual review and is time-consuming.

If you’re concerned about spammers getting your email information or phone number through this method, you can  create an image of this data that bots can’t read. With this method, the only way for spammers to “harvest” your information is manually, which means you’re pretty safe.

The bottom line when it comes to keeping your information safe is staying vigilant. Check your financial and digital accounts regularly. Check your credit reports for free once a year with each of the major credit bureaus. Ensure the reports are accurate and that you recognize all the accounts. If you suspect there are mistakes, reach out to the bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion).

Finally, to monitor your credit more closely, you can use a free tool like Credit.com’s Credit Report Summary for a breakdown, updated monthly, of the information in your credit report, along with free credit scores. If you see your score drop for no reason, something could be up.

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19 Travel Hacks to Make Your Next Trip the Best Yet

Here's how to get the most out of your next getaway.

Going on vacation is amazing, but sometimes the process of getting to your destination can be less than enjoyable. Traffic jams, airport security, flight delays and other annoyances can not only put you in a foul mood, but can wreck your entire trip. Sadly, you can’t control some of these things, but there are plenty of ways to ensure you arrive at your destination relaxed, prepared and ready to enjoy your getaway.

Here are 19 things to consider when planning your next big trip.

1. Get Global Entry & TSA PreCheck

Your five-year, $100 Global Entry membership means expedited processing while going through U.S. Customs. It also gives you TSA PreCheck status that can speed you through security when traveling domestically without removing your shoes, laptops, liquids, belt and light jacket. Don’t think you fly enough to warrant the fee? You could consider an opportunity to …

2. Get a Travel Rewards Credit Card

Many travel rewards credit cards cover your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee for as long as you carry the card. On top of that, you can earn miles to help you earn free upgrades and free travel. Many of these cards also offer perks like travel insurance, rental car insurance and assistance for health care and other emergencies while traveling. You can check out some of our favorite travel rewards credit cards here.

3. Consider Travel Insurance

Of course, travel rewards cards often require excellent credit, so you may not qualify if your credit isn’t in good standing. (Find out where you stand with a free credit report snapshot on Credit.com.) You can easily buy one of the perks these cards offer, though — travel insurance. If an illness, weather situation or other issue keeps you from your plans, travel insurance will make sure you don’t forfeit the cost of your plane tickets and possibly your accommodations.

4. Buy Your Ticket From the Airline

It’s tempting to buy your airline ticket from a discount website, but you can wind up at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to overbooked flights, rebooking without hefty fees and other issues. So if you think you’ll need to change your flight, or absolutely, positively must be at your destination at a specific time, buying from the airline may be worth it, even if it includes an added expense. Also consider signing up for your favorite airline’s miles program.

5. Buy Good Luggage

We’re not saying you need to spend a lot of money, but buying sturdy bags can ensure you don’t end up at your destination with your wheels having literally fallen off. Do your research and look for sales on well-reviewed bags. You may even want to splurge for a bag with a lifetime warranty on repairs. Use your travel rewards card for the purchase and you’ll earn miles toward your next trip.

6. Research Accommodations

There’s nothing worse than ending up at your hotel, hostel or home and it looks nothing at all like the photos you viewed online. Be sure to read the reviews and do lots of comparing to ensure you get a space that is in a good location for your personal tastes, is safe and is priced competitively.

7. Check Your Passport

If you’re traveling abroad, most countries require your passport to not be within 90 days of expiration while you’re in the country. Avoid being turned away at the airport and having to spend hundreds of dollars to expedite your passport renewal just so you don’t have to completely forfeit your trip. Also check the visa requirements for your destination (same goes for inoculations if needed). If you forget, the airline can typically handle it at the airport, but it’s better to square it away ahead of time to avoid potential delays.

8. Pack Snacks

Food at the airport is stupidly expensive and typically not good. Plan ahead and put together a solid meal for every 12 hours you’ll be traveling, especially if you’re not flying business or first class. Having a few of your favorite munchies can be the difference between arriving hangry or happy.

9. Carry a Water Bottle

The same goes for having adequate liquids. If you’ve ever been stuck in your seat for long periods without beverage service, you know the importance of having your own water or other hydrating beverage with you. Pack an empty water bottle at home and fill it when you’ve made it through security. It’s great to have with you on your trip as well, especially in hot climates.

10. Be Comfortable

We’re not giving you an excuse to look like a mess, but being comfortable, especially on long international flights, can make even the most cramped leg room more comfortable. Wear soft fabrics that don’t bind and try to layer so temperature fluctuations don’t leave you freezing or sweating. If your flight is super long, consider packing a comfy sleeping outfit you can change into on the plane.

11. Wear Slip-On Shoes

Slip-on-shoes are one step further on your road to comfort. Not only do they help you pass through security (if you didn’t get your TSA PreCheck), but you can easily kick off your shoes and get comfy on the plane.

12. Take Soothing Socks

Once you slip off those shoes, you’ll want something to make you feel cozy and cuddly. Some fluffy, cushy socks can do the trick. Try to find some with rubberized feet so you don’t have to change when you head to the restroom.

13. Pack a Refresh Kit

This has gotten me through many an international flight. If you’re not flying business or first class where they provide a comfort kit, packing a toothbrush and toothpaste, a comb or hairbrush, change of underwear, a washcloth, moisturizer, lotion, lip balm and even a refreshing herbal mist can make all the difference in how you feel once you reach your destination.

14. Pack a Cozy Wrap or Sweater

Planes frequently get cold, so a sweater, light jacket, shawl or scarf can help, especially if the airline doesn’t offer blankets or runs out.

15. Know the Language

If you’re headed to a country where they speak a different language, try to know a few simple phrases so you aren’t constantly using the translation app on your phone.

16. Get an International Calling Plan …

Speaking of your phone, see if your carrier offers an international plan on a temporary basis. It can help you keep in touch without racking up a huge bill.

17. … Or a Temporary Phone

If not, there are plenty of places that offer simple and inexpensive phones with prepaid calling plans that will let you at least text and talk, if not check your email and play with your favorite apps.

18. Have Walking-Around Money

You may be planning to use your credit card exclusively while traveling, but it’s good to have money in your pocket, especially in foreign countries. Exchange your money at the airport or make a withdrawal at a local ATM. You may want to research if any local banks are affiliated with your bank back home, as they can often charge lower ATM transaction fees.

19. Make Note of Your Accommodation Details

Putting your local address into your phone can save you serious headaches, especially if you’ve been out having a bit too much fun and can’t remember. If you’re in a hotel, include the phone number so you can call for assistance if necessary.

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50 Ways to Honor the True Meaning of Memorial Day

It's more than hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill. Here's how you can celebrate the lives of the men and women who died serving their country.

If you’ve had a loved one die in military service, you especially understand the importance of Memorial Day, which honors the fallen men and women who served the United States. Whether you’ve lost a loved one or not, doing something to recognize the sacrifices of our fallen heroes this year can be a wonderful way to say thank you. We’ve rounded up a list of 50 ways you can honor the true spirit of Memorial Day.

1. Volunteer to Raise & Lower Cemetery Flags …

It may seem like a simple thing, but reaching out to your local cemetery, especially a veterans cemetery, can make a big difference, particularly in rural areas where there may be fewer family members of the men and women buried there living nearby and available to volunteer.

2. … Or to Help Maintain Cemetery Grounds

The same goes for cemetery maintenance. Helping to maintain the final resting place of fallen troops by volunteering to prune trees, mend cemetery flags, repair cemetery benches or pull weeds can make a big difference to visiting family members.

3. … Or to Greet Cemetery Visitors

The Department of Veterans Affairs suggests one way to make a difference this Memorial Day is to volunteer to greet families at special services at veterans cemeteries. Your thanks for their sacrifice can go a long way.

4. … Or to Play Taps

If you’re a bugler, you can also volunteer to play taps live for Memorial Day or even at veterans’ funerals throughout the year. Congress passed a law in 2000 to allow a recorded version of taps to be played at these funerals since there are more veterans funerals than buglers the military can provide. But many families prefer a live bugler, so there is still significant demand for your talents.

5. … Or to Clean Up a Grave Site

You’ve seen them — the untended graves of fallen veterans who have no family remaining. You can volunteer to keep these grave sites free of weeds and the headstones cleaned of dirt and debris. You can also volunteer to …

6. Place Flowers & Flags on Graves

Sure, there are veterans groups and others who do this, but you can always help them or make this simple gesture on your own.

7. Adopt a Grave Site

You can also make maintenance of a specific grave site official through the Adopt a Grave program. Volunteers take care of the graves of the fallen soldiers, keeping them debris-free and decorating them with flowers. Check with your local cemetery to see if they support the program.

8. Share Your Story

Whether it’s a post on social media, a letter to the editor of your local newspaper or a piece you wish to publish in a magazine or on a website, sharing your personal story of loss and remembrance is a wonderful way to memorialize your fallen veteran.

9. Share a Veteran’s Story

Likewise, telling another person’s story can be a wonderful way to recognize their sacrifice. Did your grandfather die in combat? A friend? A member of your community? Telling their story, especially when you can include photographs, can be a lovely reminder of what Memorial Day is all about.

10. Make a Recording for NPR’s StoryCorps

If your story is especially compelling, you may want to consider recording it. NPR’s StoryCorps stories are stored in the Library of Congress. You can learn more about StoryCorps here.

11. Join the Memorial Day Facebook Page

You can share stories and photos of your fallen hero here, plus see the posts of other military family members.

12. Donate Your Time …

There are literally dozens of volunteer opportunities to help veterans and military families. Check your local organizations today to see what you can do in your community.

13. … Or Your Money

The same goes for monetary donations. There are many worthy organizations. As you research which is right for you, you may come across some organizations which which you are unfamiliar. The site Charity Navigator provides information on how much of your donation will benefit that organization’s particular cause, rather than administrative costs, so you can be sure your money is making an impact.

14. … Or Your Blood

Your donation could be the difference in a family remembering their service member on Memorial Day, or thanking them personally on Veterans Day.

15. Make a Memorial Donation

If you have a fallen loved one, you can make your donation in their name.

16. Help a Surviving Family

If you’d like to help by providing support for families of the fallen, both the USO and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors offer financial and emotional support to bereaved spouses and children of troops who have died serving their country.

17. Send Flowers

If you live in the New York metro area, you may want to consider sending a thank-you bouquet through the National Memorial Day Foundation, which will be placed at the New York City war memorials.

18. Help Out Living Service Members

Donating time or resources to a veterans organization, like the Wounded Warrior Project, can make a huge difference in the lives of surviving service members wounded during duty.

19. Write a Letter to an Active Duty Service Member

Writing letters to active duty military members is a time-honored tradition. It can mean a lot to the men and women far from their homes and families. There are several resources online to help you get your letter to service member.

20. Invite a Service Member Over for Your Cookout

Want to thank a service member in person? Why not have him or her over for your Memorial Day barbecue?

21. Observe a Moment of Silence

There’s an official National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day, but you can take a moment from your weekend activities whenever the time is right for you to reflect on the sacrifices of our fallen heroes.

22. Say a Prayer

If you’re religious, take time to say thanks for our fallen veterans.

23. Carry the Load

The Dallas Memorial March by “Carry the Load” is the organization’s flagship event, occurring over two days and honoring service members and their families for the sacrifices they make. Participants join in the Memorial March at any time during the two days and walk, even for just a few minutes.

24. Fly Your Flag – But Do So Properly

Proper flag etiquette prescribes that the Stars and Stripes be raised at half staff from sunrise until noon on Memorial Day, and then raised to full staff for the rest of the day.

25. Watch the National Memorial Day Concert …

This annual concert will be televised live on PBS from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Sunday, May 28 at 8 p.m. EDT.

26. … Or Find a Concert Near You

Lots of cities and towns have their own musical remembrance for Memorial Day. Check your local listings to find what’s available in your area.

27. Join the Parade

Attend the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C., or find a local parade nearer to you.

28. Join the Rolling Thunder ‘Ride For Freedom’

If you love motorcycles, you may want to consider joining this giant biker brigade honoring our fallen veterans.

29. Attend a Memorial Day Service …

Check your local listings for services in your area.

30. … Or the National Service at Flanders Field

If you live in the D.C. metro area, you may wish to attend the national Memorial Day service.

31. … Or a Memorial Day Service Overseas

If you’re overseas, you don’t have to skip honoring our fallen veterans. There are dozens of American cemeteries around the world where fallen military members have been laid to rest. Many of these have Memorial Day services that are free and open to the public.

32. Buy a Buddy Poppy

Call your nearest Veterans of Foreign Wars post to find out where to purchase their handmade poppies. Your purchase provides compensation to the veterans who assemble the poppies, provides financial assistance in maintaining state and national veterans’ rehabilitation and service programs and partially supports the VFW National Home For Children.

33. Make a Patriotic Playlist

Don’t overlook your Memorial Day soundtrack. Here are several ideas to get you started:

  • America the Beautiful
  • Anchors Aweigh
  • The Army Goes Rolling Along
  • Battle Hymn of the Republic
  • Columbia the Gem of the Ocean
  • Fanfare for the Common Man
  • God Bless America
  • Hail Columbia
  • Library of Congress March
  • Marines’ Hymn

34. Watch a Military Movie

Why not watch a movie this Memorial Day that symbolizes exactly what the day is about — duty, sacrifice and grief. There are lots of recommendation lists online, but some of our favorites include Hamburger Hill, Saving Private Ryan, Platoon and Born on the Fourth of July.

35. Make Some Red, White & Blue Food

Just because you’re honoring the dead doesn’t mean you can’t have some tasty food as well. Check out Foodie Crush’s roundup of 50 patriotic treats that will be sure to make your guests remember the day’s focus.

36. Buy American

Do your part to support American businesses (many small businesses are owned by veterans) and buy American, especially on Memorial Day.

37. Get Active in Local Politics

Honoring the men and women who died for this country is wonderful, but civic responsibility helps ensure their sacrifice wasn’t in vain. Get involved in your local city or town council by running for office or attending open meetings. But don’t stop there. Do the same at the county or parish and even state levels.

38. Read About the History of Memorial Day

Sure, you know it’s about honoring our fallen veterans, but do you know the history of Memorial Day?

39. Read Aloud Logan’s General Order No. 11

If you want to make your Memorial Day moment of silence especially poignant, try reading the original order to recognize the dead afterward.

40. Teach Your Children About the Meaning of Memorial Day

Reminding your children of what the day is all about can help them appreciate the sacrifices made by our fallen veterans.

41. Read Memorial Day Speeches, Poems & More …

There are some amazing words written about our fallen heroes. If you want a few somber moments to reflect on their sacrifice, some of these pieces can help you do just that.

42. … Or Write Your Own

If you have any articles, essays, lyrics, poems, prayers or speeches relating to Memorial Day, consider donating a copy to be posted on usmemorialday.org.

43. Visit a National Military Park

Is there a historic battle site near you? Consider making a day trip to learn more about the battle and the sacrifices made there.

44. Visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

If you’re near Washington, D.C., you could consider visiting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

45. Visit the Alamo

The site of one of the most famous battles on American soil is a true testament to sacrifice.

46. Visit Pearl Harbor

If you’re in Hawaii, pay your respects at the Pearl Harbor Memorial.

47. Visit Military Memorials in Washington, D.C.

A day at these somber sites is a wonderful way to reflect on the sacrifices of our fallen veterans.

48. Visit the Flight 93 Memorial

The passengers on Flight 93 weren’t members of the military, but these ordinary citizens and crew members joined together in an extraordinary act of selflessness, giving their lives for their country and saving potentially thousands of others on Sept. 11. If you’re near the site in Pennsylvania, it can be a wonderful way to reflect on self-sacrifice for the greater good.

49. Visit Nearby Historical Markers

If you can’t make it to a battleground, monument or other historic site, consider a simple road trip to read some of the historical markers in your area. Many of them are about battles lost and won right here on American soil.

50. Join the Military

If service to your country is important to you, consider enlisting in one of the four main branches of the military, in the Coast Guard or joining the Army National Guard.

Image: gjohnstonphoto

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How to Have Fun After College Without Going Broke

You don't have to spend a lot of money to have fun.

If money’s tight, you may think it’s hurting your social life, especially if you’re turning down invitations because you can’t seem to make ends meet.

This scenario is all-too-prevalent among recent college grads, and no wonder. Student loan repayments, rent, car payments, a wardrobe for work and other bills can add up. (Here are tips on how to pinch those pennies without feeling deprived.) But that doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun.

While you may not be able to drop serious cash every weekend going out to clubs, or even to the movies for that matter, your tight finances don’t mean nights alone on the sofa binging the latest Netflix series.

Here are some ideas for you and your friends to enjoy time together without going broke.

Throw a Viewing Party

When it’s time for the latest season of your favorite series, invite your friends over to watch. Ask everyone to bring a snack or beverages, and you’ve got a full-on party in the works.

Have a Potluck Dinner …

You don’t have to put together a four-course meal for your friends just to have them over. Instead, provide the main dish and ask everyone to bring sides. It’s cheaper on everyone and just as fun. You can even make it a supper club, rotating each month to everyone’s place, if you’re so inclined.

… Or a Potluck Picnic

If the weather’s beautiful, take it outside. Have everyone bring the yummies, plus Frisbees, kites and whatever will keep the fun going, and enjoy your day outdoors together.

Start a Book Club

Love to read? Have friends who love to read? No further explanation needed. Just add wine and cheese.

Find the Free …

Summer especially is great for free events, so check your local listings for what’s going on in your community. There’s lots to do …

… Like Concerts

Many cities offer free music events, particularly in public spaces like parks.

… & Movies

Likewise, there are lots of cities, and even apartment complexes, bars and restaurants, that offer free viewings of older movies. Just remember to arrive early, as these things are often crowded.

… & Lectures

Universities, museums and other entities often hold free lecture series where the famous and not-so-famous offer insights on a broad array of topics.

… & Classes

Same goes for extended learning. Want to learn to throw pottery? Write a screenplay? Repair a bicycle? Gather your friends and do it together.

Buy a Groupon Together

You can make it cheaper by buying a Groupon or similar discount together. Learn to ski or go to the spa without paying full price.

Hit Restaurant Week

Most major cities have a week or two every year when higher end restaurants offer a deeply discounted prix fixe menu. It’s a great opportunity to check out swanky spots without dropping a wad of cash.

Hit Happy Hour

Many bars and restaurants offer not just discount drinks but also food. Sometimes, there are even free nibbles, so do your research and find the place that can give you the best bang for your buck.

Go Backpacking or Hiking

If you already have the gear, this is a no-brainer. But even if you don’t, outfitters like REI offer inexpensive gear rentals on things like backpacks, tents and camping stoves that make getting out of town and on the trail easy.

Join an Interest Group

Many churches, synagogues, temples and mosques have young adult groups that provide free or inexpensive gatherings and outings for members. There are also groups for non-religious interests like running and cycling, chess, kickball and ultimate Frisbee. Find your people and get out there.

Become a Volunteer 

If you love giving back, joining a volunteer organization is a great way to spend your free time in a positive way. It’s also an opportunity to meet people with similar interests. Best of all, it’s free.

Remember, if you’re a recent college grad, it’s probably going to take you a few years to find your financial footing, and saving money is important in making that happen. Stay focused on setting aside for retirement (here are 50 ways you can start saving for retirement right now) but also saving for that inevitable rainy day. And make sure you’re keeping track of your credit. A solid credit score can save you a ton of money over your lifetime. You can check your credit scores regularly using Credit.com’s completely free Credit Report Summary.

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