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James Oliver

James, based in St. Paul, Minnesota, is a British-American writer and editor for ViaTravelers who has been writing since he learned how to use a pen. As someone who has spent much time trotting around the globe, James appreciates traveling smart and comfortably and has every intention of helping ViaTravelers's readers do the same!

James is all about traveling light, enjoys hiking around old forts and ruins, loves boring people with military history, and is always on the hunt for the best place to grab a bite to eat.

James Oliver's Recent Posts

While piles of uncollected garbage or pristine parks may be a little more obvious, air quality is always a reliable indicator of a city’s environmental health. A city’s air quality has far-reaching implications that extend beyond public well-being. Poor air quality doesn’t just result in poorly people; it can also adversely affect plants and natural …

Read More about What the Air Tells: A Deep Dive into Air Quality and Cultural Preservation in Europe’s Historic Cities

Hugged up against the banks of the Missouri River in the southeast corner of Nebraska, Indian Cave State Park is named after the large sandstone cave within the park, dotted with ancient petroglyphs and carvings. The park also has a living history area, where visitors can learn about the area’s history and enjoy blacksmithing demonstrations, …

Read More about 13 Best Places to Stay Near Indian Cave State Park

Welcome to Bologna, Italy, a cultural hub of history, art, and amazing food. Although you can easily spend a while exploring this beautiful historic city without running out of things to do, it’s nice to think about getting out there and seeing more of this sensational country.  The good news is that Bologna isn’t just …

Read More about Top 10 Day Trips from Bologna, Italy

In today’s world of travel, it is essential to understand the myriad regulations and restrictions surrounding what can and can’t be brought on a plane. Having this knowledge in your back pocket can help you have a smooth and hassle-free journey through airport security – hopefully. One common question about acceptable items is whether hairspray …

Read More about Exploring the 3-1-1 Rule: Can You Bring Hairspray on a Plane?

Imagine a serene escape tucked in Nebraska’s lush landscapes, beckoning you to explore. Platte River State Park is calling, and whether you’re dreaming of glamping under the stars or cozying up in a local inn, we’ve uncovered a treasure trove of places to stay near Platte River State Park that cater to your wanderlust without breaking the bank.

Read More about 17 Best Places to Stay Near Platte River State Park

The Italian city of Venice is famous for many reasons, such as its storied history, beautiful architecture, the Carnival, and obsession with masks. But what makes Venice famous above all else is its abundance of and historical reliance on its vast network of canals. Having so many canals doesn’t make Venice unique, not by a …

Read More about Where is the Venice of the North? A ViaTravelers Top 10

West Seattle is a well-loved neighborhood in Seattle, Washington State. It’s known for its stunning views of the downtown skyline, peaceful residential areas, and beachfronts like Alki Beach. Beach lovers, seafood fans, and water sports enthusiasts will appreciate the breathtaking views of the city skyline and Olympic Mountains from Alki Beach, making it an ideal …

Read More about 11 Best Places to Stay in West Seattle, Washington

The Second World War was the most significant geopolitical event of the modern era. The vibrations of WWII will be felt for generations to come. When you look around the globe right now and consider the world’s ills, you can find the roots of it in WWII. It was a truly global event. Men, women, …

Read More about In the Footsteps of Giants: The Top 10 World War II Sites in Europe

Wondering who to take your next cross-country flight with? Which major U.S. carriers are hot, and which are not? When figuring out the best U.S. airlines, personal experience is important, but so are cold, hard statistics. The Wall Street Journal recently published their list of best and worst U.S. airline companies, grading them on seven “equally weighted “. Here’s our take.

Read More about Avoid Travel Headaches: The Best and Worst U.S. Airlines of 2024 Revealed

The world’s top airlines can be subjective based on your type of travel, but Skytrax provides an annual authoritative ranking based on extensive customer feedback. This year several new names led the pack with a focus on exceptional service, comfort, and modern fleets, these airlines set the global standard. Skytrax’s five-star rating system further distinguishes the elite in air travel, with only ten airlines currently holding this honor. Explore the full list of winners.

Read More about 2024’s Must-Fly List: The World’s Top 10 Airlines for Seamless Travel

If traveling has taught me anything, it’s the value of good luggage, especially when traveling solo or trying to keep your luggage limited to one bag or case. In this sense, I find that a good duffel bag is one of the best pieces of luggage you can go for. A good travel duffel bag …

Read More about Unbiased Peak Design Duffel Review: Is It Worth the Hype?

Ask most Americans about what they think or know about Norway. If they can find anything to say about this Scandinavian nation, it’ll probably be something about cold or how many Norwegians there are in Minnesota. Well, believe it or not, despite being in the Arctic Circle, Norway is surprisingly diverse and genuinely full of …

Read More about 19 Best Places to Visit in Norway & Things to Do

Big Bear Lake, a small city in San Bernardino County, is one of the prominent tourist destinations in Southern California. The town lies on the banks of its namesake, Big Bear Lake, renowned for its gorgeous turquoise color and the backdrop of the picturesque San Bernardino Mountains. The town is also neighbored by a few …

Read More about Where to Stay in Big Bear: 7 Best Areas & Neighborhoods

A trip to Paris is a dream come true for many travelers! As many as 30 million tourists have been known to visit Paris annually, making it one of the most visited cities in the world. You’ll need some insider travel tips for visiting Paris to maximize your experience. There’s a lot to learn here. …

Read More about 13 Essential Travel Tips for Visiting Paris on a Budget

European travel can be expensive, but there are plenty of affordable cities and places to see. From delicious food to stunning architecture and fascinating history, these cheap European destinations have a lot to offer travelers on a budget and offer you the chance to save money but also see major European cities with a ton …

Read More about 20 Cheap Places to Visit in Europe  

Key West, is a stunning island city in Monroe County, Florida, that makes up part of the breathtaking Florida Keys. Surrounded by the temperamental Atlantic Ocean, Key West is the southernmost city in the continental United States and one of the country’s most popular beach vacation destinations. It is known for its good weather, water …

Read More about Key West Day Trip: The Florida Keys in a Day

Home to buckets of unique, rich culture, lively locals, spirited cities, and fantastic beer, Germany is home to many captivating destinations. Whether you’re looking to soak up art, culture, or history, this country has something for just about everyone, no matter the kind of experience you’re looking for.  Sandy beaches and outdoor adventures? Check. Quaint …

Read More about 16 Best Places to Visit in Germany

At ViaTravelers, we love getting our hands on new travel gear and clothing and in this piece, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best travel blazers. But before we delve into our top picks, what is a travel blazer? TL;DR – Our Top Travel Blazer Picks We get it, you’re hungry for …

Read More about 11 Best Travel Blazers for Comfort, Style, and Practicality

If you’re looking to get the most winter out of your winter, there are few better places you can enjoy a winter vacation than in Minnesota. According to locals, the Minnesota winter is one of the state’s two seasons (the other one being roadworks), and it’s not unusual for the state to have snow on …

Read More about 9 Best Winter Destinations in Minnesota to Visit

There are many accommodation options available when considering a vacation. From around 25 different types of hotel rooms to some unique spots on sites like Airbnb, you’re spoilt for choice especially when it comes to popular tourist destinations like Ireland. There are villas, apartments, cottages, houseshares, timeshares, house sits, self-catering, camping sites, and more. But …

Read More about 15 Best Cheap Castles to Stay in Ireland

Bah! Winter! Bah humbugs all round! Perhaps you’re like me; you came from somewhere that isn’t completely frigid in the winter and now live in a place that would give Scott of the Antarctic the chills. Well, that’s what happens when a Brit transplants to Minnesota, and being British, I will never stop complaining about …

Read More about 10 Best Places to Travel in December on a Budget

If you’re a fan of travel in Europe, particularly around stunning Austria, the cities of Innsbruck and Salzburg should each have a well-deserved place on your bucket list. As great as it would be to visit both places in one vacation (don’t worry, I’ll lobby for that argument), normal human constraints, like time and money, …

Read More about Salzburg vs Innsbruck: What is Better to Visit?

I’ve heard it said a few times that the UK is like the U.S., but on “opposite day.” No statement could be truer when it comes to driving. As a Briton, born and bred with newly minted U.S. citizenship (after years of toil), I am blessed with the experiences of driving in these different lands …

Read More about 18 Essential Travel Tips for Tourists Driving in the UK

Planning a whistlestop tour of Northwest Europe and want to cover ground quickly? Have you got a business trip from London to Paris, Paris to Brussels, or Brussels to Amsterdam? Do you hate airports and flying? Afraid of driving in a foreign country? Then it would be best if you considered booking a ticket to …

Read More about Eurostar Standard vs Premier: What’s Better?

The old saying goes “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” which is sound advice; you won’t stick out like a sore thumb, and you’ll also ingratiate yourself with the locals. It’s good manners, and while good manners cost nothing, they can pay great dividends. However, bad manners or flippant faux pas can cost …

Read More about Things Not to Do In Germany: Cultural Do’s & Don’ts to Know

Germany is a nation that boasts an incredibly intriguing past and a significant presence on the world stage. Despite facing many challenges throughout its history – from the Holy Roman Empire to World War II and the Cold War – Germany has emerged as a dominant force within the European Union and a true economic …

Read More about What is the Size of Germany? Compared to Other Countries

“What if Nazi Germany won WW2?” – A topic of debate among historians, authors, TV producers, game manufacturers, armchair strategists, and regular folks for decades, can be neatly summed up with something like nothing good. But what if Germany won WW2? Master of dystopian science-fiction, Philip K. Dick, author of the chilling The Man in the …

Read More about What If Germany Won WW2? Here’s What To Know

Germany has a rich postal history dates back to the Middle Ages, making it one of the pioneers in international postage. Initially, the postal service was operated privately by the Butchers’ Guild. They used horseback riders to deliver mail across Europe, and these riders would announce their arrival with horns. Interestingly, the horn symbol has …

Read More about Postage to Germany: Everything You Need to Know

Is Germany a socialist country? Short answer; No. Germany is not a “socialist” country – not even close. Is Germany socialist or capitalist? Short answer: Capitalist – and quite successful, too. Germany is a social democracy with one of Earth’s largest capitalist economies. That said, Germany has a history with socialism and socialist ideas stretching …

Read More about Is Germany Socialist? The Debate Ends Here

Minneapolis is Minnesota’s biggest city, and the state capital, Saint Paul, forms one-half of the “Twin Cities.” Minneapolis has seen many improvements to its public transportation system over the last 20 years and other initiatives to allow easy, low-cost transit across the city and wider Metro Area for those who can’t, don’t, or won’t use a …

Read More about Do You Need a Car in Minneapolis? A Local’s Guide to Getting Around

Today, the phrase “flyover country” or “flyover state” is a pretty broad term. As far as the US is concerned, the term originally referred to a state that sees more air traffic passing over it in relation to the number of flights landing and departing from it. Nowadays, the term has evolved. It’s used to …

Read More about 7 Flyover States That Aren’t Boring

The welcoming and historic capital of Minnesota, Saint Paul, is one-half of the stunning Twin Cities. It has a population of about 300,000, and its much larger twin, Minneapolis, is right on its doorstep, frequently stealing the limelight. But the city doesn’t mind being overlooked that much. The town’s unofficial motto is “Keep Saint Paul …

Read More about 26 Best Things to Do in St. Paul, Minnesota

Things haven’t been so easy in Minnesota for the last few years. Not only was the state grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic (albeit better than most), but it has also been dealing with a number of high-profile crimes, including the murder of George Floyd at the hands of city police.

Read More about Is Minneapolis Safe For Travelers? What to Know from a Local

One of the first things people think of when they think of Germany, specifically of Berlin, is the Berlin Wall. Originally erected in 1961, the wall effectively split the city of Berlin into two separate worlds, separating families and creating an international outcry. These are several interesting facts about the Berlin Wall.

Read More about 15 Fun, Interesting Facts About the Berlin Wall