The Scariest Road Trip Destinations in the US

haunted house

With Halloween approaching, haunted house tours are quite the draw during this time of year and the US is full of spooky locations that can have you running in the opposite direction. So if you enjoy creepy settings and the thrill of being scared, then these 5 scary road trip destinations are for you!

 

1. The Myrtles Plantation – St. Francisville, LA

myrtles plantation

Located in St. Francisville, LA, the Myrtles Plantation is marked as one of America’s most haunted homes. It claims to have witnessed 10 murders on its land and it supposedly houses 12 ghosts, if not more. The most well-known of its ghosts is Chloe. History tells us that Chloe was a slave owned by plantation owners Clark and Sara Woodruff. Throughout the years, different tales have surfaced. In one tale, Clark forced Chloe into being his mistress; in others, she was caught eavesdropping on Clark’s business manager and had an ear cut off as penance.

 

myrtles plantation ghost of chloe

No matter the tale, the event that lead to her death remains the same. One day, Chloe baked a birthday cake containing an extract of oleander leaves – that is, poison. Sara and her two daughters ate the cake and died, after which Chloe was hanged by the other slaves and thrown into the Mississippi River. So, if you’re feeling daring, why not spend a night there? It’s still a fully-functioning bed and breakfast.

 

2. Waverly Hills Sanatorium – Louisville, KY

waverly-hills-sanatorium

The Waverly Hills Sanatorium of Kentucky is so notorious that it’s been featured on at least seven different paranormal television shows. Originally a tuberculosis hospital, it opened in 1910, before the development of antibiotic streptomycin. Back then if you contracted tuberculosis, you were as good as dead and nobody would expect you to recover. As the urban legend goes, there were around 63,000 souls who died of the disease while at Waverly Hills—many of which are said to haunt the hospital still.

 

waverly hills wardThe legend that gets the most attention is connected to room 502. Legend has it that a nurse found out she was pregnant out of wedlock by the owner of the sanatorium. Furthermore, she had also contracted tuberculosis. An acute sense of hopelessness about her situation led her to hang herself in the room she was in at the time—room 502. Unfortunately, it looks like she never left that room. Would you stay in an old tuberculosis ward for an evening?

 

3. Lemp Mansion – St. Louis, MO

lemp mansion

This grand mansion may be a popular inn and restaurant in St. Louis, MO, but its past was not so pleasant. Visitors can experience the paranormal at this location as the mansion is marked by 60 years of tragedy for the wealthy Lemp family. At least 4 members of this doomed dynasty died in the house on DeMenil Place.

 

lemp mansion inside

William Lemp committed suicide in his home 1904. When the family brewing business went bad during the 1920s, his son Billy took his own life as well. In 1949 it was Billy’s brother Charles who committed the third suicide in the home. The fourth death in the family was a 13-year-old boy who was physically and mentally disabled. The boy lived his life hidden away in the attic, gazing out the window at the life outside until he died in that same room. Once can expect to encounter at least one of these spirits during the weekly ghost tour of the mansion.

 

4. Helltown, Ohio – Summit County, OH

helltown ohio

No, it isn’t really called Helltown, it also goes by the name, ‘Boston Village.’ But the legend has long ago associated the town with satanic activity that it earned the Helltown name. Founded in 1806, the town flourished until 1974, when Gerald Ford passed a bill allowing National Park service to create a park in the county. The Part Service bought several houses, intending to demolish them; but the homes were simply boarded up, and remained as such for years.

 

helltown ohio roadThese days, the buildings are all gone and the village no longer exists but the stories continue to this day. Stanford Road, for example, leads to a drop-off called “the End of the World.” The cemetery features a ghostly man, a moving tree, and grave robbers. The Presbyterian Church off of Boston Mills Road is said to have played host to satanic rituals and animal sacrifices. The Boston Mills Road Bridge is believed to be a crybaby bridge – legend tells us the tale that a baby was thrown from the bridge into the river below, hence any traveler on that bridge can hear the crying of a baby. It’s probably not a good choice to be prowling on this bridge late at night. You might not like what you see – or hear.

 

5. Clinton Road – West Milford, NJ

clinton rd

Found in West Milford, NJ, Clinton Road is just about 10 miles long, but it’ll be the longest 10 miles you’ve ever come across. The drive is rumored to feel never-ending when you’re racing to keep ahead of the evil ghosts that haunt the road. This unwelcoming stretch of road has all of the makings for the classic urban legend – alleged paranormal activity, satanic rituals, and phantom trucks that send drivers on a wild ride. A more recent tale tells us that it was a dumping ground for a mob hit man known as the Iceman. No haunted thoroughfare is complete without a dead man’s curve, located about 3 miles into the hair-raising drive. But the worst part is that there are no exits on this lonesome highway.

 

These road trip destinations in the US are deemed as some of the scariest places to be traveling to. Will you charge forward or turn the other way around?


 

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The First Voyage of Christopher Columbus: Why He Could Have Used Travel Insurance

columbus voyage

Columbus Day is approaching and you’re ready to enjoy the extended weekend. Find out how Columbus could have used insurance protection for his travels as I drop some historical knowledge on you. La Santa María de la Inmaculada Concepción (Spanish for The Holy Mary of the Immaculate Conception), or La Santa María, was the largest of the three ships used by Christopher Columbus in his first voyage. The Santa Maria was no longer than 70 feet and history portrays it as an ugly and slow-moving ship, yet she has come to symbolize the spirit of adventure as she carried Christopher Columbus and his crew to the new world.

columbus first voyage

As history narrates, after engaging in festivities and drinking, Columbus ordered the crew to continue sailing to Cuba late into the night. One by one the crew members fell asleep until only a cabin boy was steering the ship, causing it to run aground off the present-day site of Cap-Haïtien, Haiti, on 24 December 1492, sinking the next day.

columbus shipwreck

Although travel insurance was nonexistent during the Columbus voyage, we couldn’t help but wonder “what if travel insurance was available back then?” Would it be just as valuable back then as it is in today’s generation? Here are 4 reasons on how the Columbus voyage on the Santa Maria could have used travel and rental car insurance:

 

Lost & Damaged Property

columbus natives

As in any shipwreck, there’s likely to be a lot of lost and damaged property. Columbus lost almost everything on the Santa Maria during that fateful Christmas – food, clothing, weapons, and most importantly rum. Luckily he still had his other 2 ships intact. With travel insurance, passengers can file claims for their missing possessions. Any valuables that weren’t recovered after the sinking would have been covered by Columbus’ travel insurance.

 

Travel Plans

 

Travel problems are unpredictable, whether you think it will or not. Despite your best-laid plans and preventative measures. Sure, Columbus and his crew were expert travelers, but they were no exception to a dire situation. Columbus ran his ship aground with no option but to salvage his ship for materials. When the unfortunate happens, without insurance you’re basically screwed. With travel insurance, you are protected from unexpected travel predicaments.

christopher columbus

Medical Emergenciesscurvy

 

Travel medical and health insurance plans today would have been of great use back in 1492. With this type of insurance, instant medical intelligence at your fingertips that can help with most medical conditions is extremely valuable.  Columbus and his crew suffered all sorts of common ailments during that time – scurvy, gangrene, and dysentery! It would have been ideal to have a 24/7 emergency medical assistance for frequent travelers such as Columbus.

 

Rental Car

 

More like rental boat! Columbus convinced Juan de la Cosa, the owner of the Santa Maria, to let him use the ship.  Columbus was effectively renting the ship from Cosa.  And of course, Columbus shipwrecked the Santa Maria – how inconvenient.  With rental car insurance (or rental boat in this case), Columbus would have been covered for severely damaging the Santa Maria.  Instead, he was at the mercy of Cosa and forever indebted.

 

These days, travelers can resort to travel insurance especially when casualty arises from unforeseeable events where there is a risk of financial loss. If there’s anyone that could benefit from travel and rental car insurance, then it would be the travelers of the Columbus Voyage.

 


 

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Top 10 Safety Tips When Renting a Rental Car

rental car

Part of your travels may involve renting a car which can certainly be enjoyable as it allows you to get around just like you would at home. However, driving a rental car comes with its own complications as this is generally not the typical vehicle that you drive. Even if the car is the same make and model as the one you own, there are still differences in the way it is going to handle.

 

Plus, getting involved in an accident or worse can not only cost you a great deal of money, it can put you in a serious bind being so far from home. First things first, when you rent a vehicle, be sure to protect yourself with rental car insurance. It adds that extra layer of protection that you will need in case the unexpected should happen while you are far away from home.

 

Once you have taken care of the insurance, here are the 10 best safety tips to help keep you safe when driving a rental vehicle. You cannot eliminate the chance that an accident will occur, but you can reduce the odds significantly which may make all the difference.

 

1. Rent a Vehicle with which You are Familiar Withcar rental

If you’ve never driven a large van before, this is not the time to learn. You’ll want to rent the basic type of vehicle that you have driven before. It is much easier to go from driving a large vehicle to a smaller one than the other way around. Large vehicles are more cumbersome and do not respond as quickly as smaller cars.

 

Also, while it may be tempting to rent a high performance sports car, if you’ve never driven anything fancier than a standard mid-size vehicle, you should leave the racing to someone else.

 

2. Check the Outside of the Vehicle

Before you get in, take a minute to check the outside of the vehicle first and pay particular attention to the tires. Even a tire that is just a few pounds under the recommended level can cause your vehicle to turn in unexpected ways, so have it taken care of before you leave the rental car agency.

 

car scratches3. Report any Scratches, Dents or Other Significant Imperfections Before you Leave

In many cases, the rental agency will send a representative with you to the vehicle so that both of you can check it out to report any dents, dings, scratches and the like before you leave so that it is fully reported. The failure to do so means that you might be charged for a ding or dent that you did not cause. So take the time to go over the vehicle so that everything gets reported.

 

4. Check the Inside of the Vehicle

Before you start the vehicle, you will want to locate the following;

-       Speedometer

-       Lights

-       Windshield Wipers

-       Indicators like the Temperature Gauge, Check Engine Light and so forth

-       Gas Gauge

-       Radio and other features that you will use

Basically, you’ll want to get familiar with the car before you even move it from its parking space. Turn on the vehicle and check to see that all the lights and windshield wipers work properly. A sudden rain storm can greatly reduce your visibility quickly and you don’t want to fumble around looking for the windshield wipers.

 

5. Check the Trunkspare-tire-trunk

There should be a fully inflated spare tire or a smaller, solid rubber tire and jack so that you can change your own flat if needed. Plus, the rental agency should have an emergency service vehicle in case of mechanical difficulties, so have that number handy when driving.

 

6. If you have a GPS, Program your Destination

This can save you a great deal of time and effort in trying to find your location. So before you leave the parking area, be sure to program your first destination which can save you from becoming distracted while driving. This is especially true if you are traveling in densely packed urban areas where accidents are more likely to happen.

 

7. Test the Vehicle as You Drive

If the rental agency has a large parking area, take the vehicle around a couple of time to get the feel of it. You’ll want to test the brakes and steering as well so that way you can know what to expect. You only need a minute or two, but if you notice something really odd or even wrong with how the vehicle operates, immediately take it back to the rental agency.

 

8. Limit Distractions

This is arguably the toughest piece of advice to follow since it is very easy to become distracted when driving in a place that you have never visited. However, distractions are one of the leading causes of accidents so if you should see something so interesting that you must keep looking, pull the vehicle over to a safe place so you can view it without putting you and any of your passengers in danger.

 

9. Stay at a Safe Speed

Driving the speed limit will help you keep out of trouble with law enforcement and also allow you more reaction time if something should occur which requires you to apply the brakes or change lanes. It can be easy on long stretches of the highway to let the speed creep up. Just keep in mind that the faster you go, the less likely you are to avoid a potential accident.

75-mph-speed-limit-sign

10. Read the Map when the Car is Stopped

While reading a map has been the source of high comedy in television series and films, it is no laughing matter to get distracted by a map or anything else while driving your rental car. If you need to find a location, talk or text on your phone, or have to take your eyes off the road for something else it is best if you pull over the vehicle first.

 

By following these simple tips, you can significantly decrease the odds of having an accident while driving a rental vehicle and keep you and your passengers safer which makes for a much more enjoyable trip.

 


 

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Summer Vacation Never Dies: 5 Travel Ideas for Fall

autumn stroll

Whether you spent your summer lounging by the sapphire waters of a faraway land or slaving away in an office cubicle, you don't have to give up on vacation once Labor Day hits. Here are five fall vacation ideas for in-love duos, adults married with children, and singletons living for a good cocktail.

 

1. Belated Beach Trip

Somehow, someway, summer escaped—and you never even caught a glimpse of the ocean. Luckily, the beach and ocean are open year-round, especially in SoCal, where autumn is basically a continuation of summer. And by September and October, the crowds diminish and hotel rates go down. Where to go? The quaint surf town of Encinitas is a laid-lack Cali destination. Unlike L.A. and San Diego, Encinitas moves at a slower pace, and it has an eclectic downtown featuring various surf shops, coffeehouses and record stores.  So pack it up, get a protected rental car, and road trip it out to always sunny California.
encinitas

Photo by Mikefairbanks via Wikimedia Commons

 

Aquatic insurance: A dry phone is a working phone, but accidents happen. From stand-up paddle boarding to an extra-large latte, one small slip-up, and your phone could ultimately meet its demise. In this kind of emergency, you'll be happy you had liquid and water damage coverage.

 

2. Harvest Weekend Getaway

A break from the norm doesn't have to include a long-distance road trip crossing state lines or flying overseas. Day trips are fun too. For young families with kids back in school, the fall weekend is a great time to get away, even if it's just a jaunt to a nearby town. September signals the start of fall and the soon-to-be pumpkin-flavored everything pandemic: Pumpkin lattes. Pumpkin cheesecake. Pumpkin bars. Pumpkin beer. Pumpkin pie. And pumpkin patches. Take the fam to a pumpkin patch, apple orchard, corn maze or hayride for harvest fun, and don't forget to take pictures for Instagram.