Enjoy guest posts from IGE readers describing their best vacations ever while I’m away on mine! Check out my Italy travel page which I’ll be updating with links to videos, pictures & posts throughout my trip!

France

Name: Sarah Jayne

Who, what, where, when and why: In February 2007, I spent 10 days exploring France with my boyfriend, and his mom. We went to visit his sister, who was spending her first year in Arras (a very small town in Northern France) playing professional basketball, living with her husband.

My favorite part of the vacation was: Seeing rural France- beyond touristy Paris. We shopped the local farm markets, ate local delicacies, saw breathtaking countryside and stunning historical sites, such as Vimy Ridge- the site of a battle between the Canadian Corps & German 6th Army during World War 1.

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My best travel tip for this location: As amazing as the Eiffel Tower was, there is SO MUCH MORE to France than Paris! Go beyond the tourist sites- explore the small towns!

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The thing you MUST do at this location: Visit an open air market; eat baguettes and freshly made cheese for lunch; sample local wines (most expensive bottle we found was $7 US!!); tour a historical site.

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The thing I want to do next time I return: Visit more countryside, learn more French, eat & drink more.

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Las Vegas

Blog: A Meandering Memoir

Who, what, where, when and why: For New Year’s Eve 2009/2010, I visited Las Vegas with my boyfriend and his family. Not only did we celebrate new years, but his dad’s 50th birthday as well.

Gamble

My favorite part of the vacation was: Counting down to the New Year with the massive crowd on the strip. It was packed! There was very little room, but it was worth it. We watched the clock at The Mirage slowly count down the remaining seconds of 2009. When the ball dropped, the cheers were deafening and the fireworks were spectacular. It’s something I will never forget.

Countdown

My best travel tip for this location: Don’t stay too long! We stayed for four days, and that was more than enough. I have never been so exhausted coming home from a vacation. Between staying up to late and overindulging in everything from food to the festivities, four days is more than enough.

Night Out

The thing you MUST do at this location: Check out the view of the strip! Whether you do this from the Stratosphere or the top of one of the hotels, this is a must see. Our view of the strip was picture perfect from the top of Mandalay Bay at a restaurant called Mix. The drinks and food were fantastic, but nothing comes close to the view that accompanied it.

Las Vegas View

The thing I want to do next time I return: We are actually going back in May for my sister’s 21st birthday. I think she is going to be in for a treat when we take her to the Stratosphere to ride the rides at the top! Also, we plan on checking out the store featured on Pawn Shop on A&E. It’s going to be a blast!

Birthday Dinner