Where to Travel For The Best Stargazing In The World

In most urban areas, only around 500 stars are visible on a given night, but in the prized locations highlighted below, up to 15,000 are easily seen. That’s pretty incredible. It you’re planning a trip and want some nighttime eye candy, here are six of the best places in the world to go outside and look up. Here’s where to travel for the best stargazing in the world.

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Mauna Kea, Hawaii

The Mauna Kea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island has perhaps the most ideal stargazing conditions in the world. At an elevation above 13,000 feet, it is the highest point in Hawaii. Its high elevation and location in the middle of the Pacific create excellent conditions, but the surrounding cloud layer makes it even more perfect for studying the sky. A tropical inversion cloud layer 2,000 feet thick sits below the summit, preventing pollutants and moist air from the ocean from rising up. The view itself is so spectacular that one of the world’s most advanced astronomical observatories is located at the top. The visitor’s center at 9,000 feet offers lectures, question and answer sessions, and telescope viewing.

Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania might seem like an odd place for first-class stargazing, but Cherry Springs State Park is one of the best viewing points in the world. The 82 acre park is set within the 262,000 acre Susquehannock State Forest, protecting it from light pollution. A tremendous number of stars are visible at this Gold-Certified International Dark Sky Park. In fact, the sky is so dark that the Northern Lights were seen here four times back in 2014, a very unusual event this far below the Arctic Circle. The park offers Night Sky Tours on Friday and Saturday nights that use lasers to identify and explain constellations and planets. Visitors can also use telescopes on site.

Atacama Desert, Chile

The Atacama Desert in Chile is already a stunning natural wonder with its red dunes, huge rock formations, and even a desert flowering in wet years. It’s also the driest non-polar desert in the world due to its high elevation, which makes it an exceptionally perfect place for stargazing. The newly constructed ALMA Observatory takes advantage of these conditions and the lack of light pollution in the desert. At times, the Milky Way can shine so brightly here that it casts a shadow on the desert floor.

Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah

In 2007, Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah became the first ever International Dark Sky Park, a designation since reserved for the best stargazing locations in the world. The beauty of the stars visible in the desert is supplemented by the striking natural setting. Owachomo bridge, perhaps the oldest bridge in the park, was created when a river changed course and carved a hole into solid rock.

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Denali National Park, Alaska

The Northern Lights are caused by a coronal mass ejection, which is a gust of solar wind and magnetic fields that interact with the earth’s atmosphere. The result are stunning dancing waves of green, red, blue, and violet that are occasionally visible in northern climates. Denali National Park in Alaska is one of the best places for viewing the phenomenon. The park encompasses four million acres of federally protected land, and the cold and clear Alaskan nights made conditions ideal. The magnificent park also offers bears, wolves, caribou, and moose as well as some of the most stunning mountain views in the world. This is definitely where to travel for the best stargazing in the world.

Tromsø, Norway

Brave stargazers might seek to venture inside the Arctic Circle itself for viewing the northern lights. There’s no better place to experience the enchanted north than Tromsø. Not only does it offer fantastic views of the aurora borealis (the sun is invisible from November to January), it’s a lovely city in its own right. In the 19th century it was called the Paris of the North, and visitors can enjoy reindeer spotting, sledding with huskies, and visiting the famous Arctic Cathedral in this Norse and Sami medieval city. And if you are thinking of travelling to Norway, you don’t want to miss the Fjords!

Conclusion

There you have it. Some of the best destinations in the world to gaze at the wonder of stars. Some are easy to get to and some not so easy to get to but it’s well worth it to get out there. It’s time to travel!

An Insider’s Guide to Canada

Riding on a boat on a lake in Canada

Canada is a big country, and you will find a ton of information on it in blogs and articles, but sometimes you need a quick rundown of the best bits to give you a rough idea of where to go and what to do. That’s the intention of this Insider’s guide to Canada. Since the summer is fast approaching and folks are starting to make their vacation plans, an insider’s guide can give you a reliable overview of the highlights to help your planning along. Here goes:

Niagara Falls

Most people have heard of Niagara Falls; they are regularly classed as one of the seven natural wonders of the world. And sometimes they are included in the official eight wonders of the world. That’s not surprising; they are the largest waterfalls in North America.

If you decide to visit this iconic natural wonder, fly into Toronto and take the 90 minute drive down the highway. Watch this wonder before you, or get closer with a Maid of the Mist boat tour. In addition to the falls, there’s lots to see and do in the Niagara Falls area.

Whistler Mountain

Canada is known for its Rocky Mountains, and no wonder, with such a special landscape spanning much of Western Canada. But perhaps, one of the more famous mountains is Whistler. Whistler Mountain is located 125km north of Vancouver and is well known for its winter skiing and outdoor activities.

But Whistler Mountain has much to offer in the summer months as well. The mountain is 2,182 meters high, and there is almost always snow at the higher elevations, even in the summer sun. You don’t have to hike the whole way to have an incredible experience; just do what feels comfortable.

Quebec City

Quebec City is the capital of French-speaking Canada. It was established in 1608, making it one of the oldest cities in Canada and North America. The original Old Quebec City is a walled city and is home to some amazing historical architecture.

If you decide to travel here this summer with your partner or your family, you are in for a magical experience. The city offers a wealth of culture and cuisine you won’t find anywhere else. If you are visiting Canada, this is what happens after an eta application.

St. John’s

If historical cities are your thing, then take a visit to St. John’s in the northeast. St. John’s pre-dates Quebec City by around 100 years. It was established in 1497. It doesn’t have the same medieval feel as Quebec City; in fact, as a coastal city it has a distinct Maritime feel.

St. John’s is known as the San Francisco of the north because of its pastel-colored houses and artistic sensibility, but it has more to offer besides. Off the coast of St. John’s, there are Atlantic waters perfect for whale-watching, and you can take a trip to see icebergs as well.

Tofino

People don’t always realize how much Canada has to offer. It has the Rockies, of course, the wildlife, the cities, and the great lakes, but it also has something more exotic – an island paradise. Yes indeed.

Where is this island paradise then, you ask? The answer is Tofino on Vancouver Island off the west coast. Tofino is primarily a beach location that looks onto the pacific. It offers some incredible sunsets, excellent surfing, and much more besides.

Looking over the water in Tofino, British Columbia

Churchill

Canada is home to many famous places and landmarks that you could spend a lifetime visiting and getting value from, but it’s also how to some lesser-known places that can offer big wins in terms of value-adding, life-enhancing experiences.

Churchill is one of those places. It sounds a bit stuffy, like the top-hat wearing Prime Minister from the 1940s, but it’s way more interesting than that. This is polar bear country, and if you visit, there will definitely be a chance to see one of these towering giants – eat your heart out Churchill.

Old Montreal

If you love Quebec City, then you will also love Old Montreal. It dates back to around the same time as Quebec City, established in 1642. And like Quebec City, it can be found in the heart of the city. Montreal is a very culture rich and authentic place to visit.

Travel to Montreal if you want a continental experience within the Canadian borders. You will find plenty of historic buildings, nightlife, and seasonal events to keep you and your family entertained. This is the cosmopolitan Canada that will appeal to everyone.

Banff National Park

Banff National Park is a gateway to the Rockies and perfect if you have all the gear but lack some experience of hiking. Banff National Park is located around some natural hot springs and gives you the best of both worlds.

Spend some time hiking in the surrounding wilderness, following the well-trodden paths to low summits where you get the best view of the landscape. Absorb it all, then return to the springs for a well-earned relaxer.

Stanley Park

Stanley Park in Vancouver is a bit like Central Park in New York. It’s an extensive city park that is in all seasons and is famous for all the right reasons. Stanley Park is where many of the romantic fall walks in TV shows and the movies are filmed, even ones set in NYC.

Stanley Park is a big place, and there are tons of things to keep you occupied and entertained. You can spend all day at the park and take a leisurely walk, going hiking, lay on the beach, visit native totem poles, and drop by the lively aquarium.

Okanagan Valley

If you’re in Western Canada, and you’re in Vancouver, then you are a short flight or 4-hour drive to the Okanagan. Take full advantage of this and head northeast to the Okanagan Valley. Here you will find the Okanagan Lake and plenty of sunshine and native wine.

Okanagan Valley has it all. Food highlights include chef prepared outdoor farm to table dining experiences for small groups. The lake is clear and sparkling, the sunshine is pretty much continuous, and you can visit many orchards and vineyards.

The mountains of British Columbia

Guide to working and traveling abroad

A girl walking on the street in Japan

When it comes to traveling, most people would agree they don’t do it as much as they would like to. A lack of time and money are among the most common reasons behind it. While a tight budget and a 9 to 5 job make traveling more complicated, many people don’t realize there are other ways around it. Nowadays, many possibilities allow even the less privileged to experience the world outside of the standard once-a-year 10-day vacation. All you need is a bit of courage and the willingness to step outside of the established conventions. Easier said than done, right? Whether you’re daydreaming about backpacking your way around the planet or looking for jobs that allow you to explore the world, this guide to working and traveling abroad will bring you one step closer to embarking on your adventure.

Choose your destination wisely

Unarguably, the most exciting thing about traveling is choosing the destination. However, remember that nice beaches shouldn’t be your only priority when working and traveling abroad. Depending on the kind of work you will be doing, you might want to opt for places that offer plenty of job opportunities, a reliable internet connection, or other essential amenities that will ensure a positive experience. Places that are good for digital nomads won’t necessarily be suitable for someone who wants to teach English to kids, and vice versa. Consider choosing less popular or touristy destinations as they often offer more affordable living costs. Having less competition when applying for a job is another perk of going off the beaten track.

The idea of spending months or even years far away from home might seem overwhelming. Since traveling light is advisable, it might be a good idea to rent a storage unit for the things that are better left at home. This way, you can rest assured your precious belongings will stay intact while you’re having the time of your life on the other side of the planet.

Do the paperwork

Before you even think about packing your bags, one thing you must do is gather information about necessary visas and documentation. The regulations and restrictions can vary vastly from country to country, so thorough preparation is imperative to avoid unpleasantries. When working abroad, some countries will require a working visa, while for others, a holiday visa will suffice. Make sure to know and respect the laws. The last thing you want is to be deported or even banned from the country of your dreams. Not only is this embarrassing and discouraging, but it can lead to pressing issues with the authorities as well.

Woman sitting on a bench with a passport in her pocket
Misinformation about documents can ruin your work and travel adventure.

Taxes are another thing you must pay attention to since working and traveling abroad means you will be earning money in a foreign country. Some companies might offer to take care of all the paperwork for you. However, this is no reason to be clueless about what you are getting yourself into.

Jobs

Unless you already have a job that allows you to work remotely, you must be wondering how to financially support your passion for traveling. Fortunately, there are many different possibilities for travelers of all ages and interests.

Teaching

English is among the most popular subjects you can teach, but you can teach other languages and subjects, as well. Landing a job as an English teacher is relatively simple, especially in Asian countries such as China, Vietnam, and Korea, since a degree in English or education is not obligatory. Experience or a teaching certificate might be a plus.

Working on a cruise ship

If Around the World in 80 Days is your kind of thing, working on a cruise might be a good option for you. You’d be able to visit many countries during the cruise, but you would only be spending a few hours or days in each place. There are different positions to choose from, but the most common ones are in restaurants and bars. Beware that most of these jobs have long working hours, most of which you would be spending on your feet. Working on a cruise ship can be a fun way to travel the world, but it is not for everyone.

Freelancing

If you’re good at writing, programming, designing, or anything else that can be done online, freelancing might be your cup of tea. Freelancing gives you the freedom to work whenever and wherever you are. Since working on the road is remarkably flexible, it means you will have the ability to create your own schedule that allows you to travel as often as you wish.

Man working on a laptop
Freelancing can be very liberating if you are an organized person.

Volunteering

There are many volunteering options for those who would prefer to make a difference in locals’ lives. Although you probably won’t be able to earn any money, your work will likely be compensated with free accommodation and food. Additionally, you will experience the authentic local lifestyle and meet many fascinating people, and that is something money can’t buy.

Adjusting to culture shock

When spending a long time abroad, you are bound to experience a fair share of culture shock. A language you don’t understand, unfamiliar food, and strange customs will surely be intriguing at first. But sooner or later, there will come a time when you will miss home. During these times, it’s important to remember why you embarked on this adventure in the first place. Know that culture shock is only temporary, and as time goes by, things will get easier. If you ever feel lonely, make sure to search for expat groups or other travelers. These people will understand your feelings as they have probably gone through the same things. Make sure to put some effort into integrating with the local community as well. Traveling is all about challenging the borders of your comfort zone.

Man working on a laptop
Freelancing can be very liberating if you are an organized person.

Working and traveling abroad will teach you that drive and passion can make even the wildest of dreams possible. You won’t always have the most comfortable bed to sleep on or the tastiest food to eat, but the memories and experiences you will gain will surely make it all worth it.