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'The war was my childhood left among the ruins': Through her diary, this young girl chronicled her escape from the Syrian civil war

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syrian refugee child

When Myriam Rawick was only eight years old, she started keeping a diary about the war that was unfolding in her native Syria.

As feuding forces waged battles in her hometown of Aleppo, Myriam's family was forced to gather only what they could carry and flee their homes in search of safety.

As the war displaced more than half of Syria's pre-war population and ravaged her home city in the coming years, Myriam continued to track her experiences growing up among air strikes, chemical attacks, militant coups, and food and water shortages.

Today, Myriam is 13, and her diary has been translated from Arabaic and published in France. Read the excerpts of a heartbreaking journal from a child forced to come of age in the Syrian civil war:

SEE ALSO: Here’s how Syria's six-year civil war has unfolded

DON'T MISS: Study finds refugees actually pay the US government thousands more than they get from it

"I woke up one morning to the sound of things breaking, people shouting 'Allahu Akbar'," the phrase for "God is greatest" in Arabic, Myriam wrote in her diary at the start of the war.

Source: AFP



"I was so afraid I wanted to throw up. I hugged my doll tight, saying 'Don't be afraid, don't be afraid, I'm here with you.'"

Source: AFP



"Aleppo was a paradise, it was our paradise," Myriam wrote about the city that has become the center of battles between government forces, rebel groups, and jihadist fighters since 2012.

Source: Business Insider



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 17 best places to go this summer that don't cost a fortune

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grand canyon

You don't have to be flush with cash to enjoy a great summer vacation.

In fact, according to the most recent U.S. News & World Report's best vacations rankings, some of the highest-rated destinations in the US are also the most affordable.

To determine the best places to travel, U.S. News calculated an overall score for more than 300 destinations, and ranked them based on the following:

  • A score given by U.S. News editors between one (worst) and five (best) in 10 categories — sights, culture, people, food, shopping, family, nightlife, adventure, romance, and accessibility — for each destination.
  • The percentage of travelers who voted "yes" to whether the destination belongs on the list of best places.

U.S. News then deemed a destination affordable if the average nightly rate for hotels with three-stars and above is $150 or less based on data sourced from Expedia. Read more about the methodology here.

The list of the best and most affordable destinations in America runs the gamut, from bucket-list spots like Las Vegas, and the Grand Canyon to quaint mountain towns like Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and Branson, Missouri.

Below, check out the top 17 best and most affordable destinations for travel in the US this summer, including how they fare in the sights and food categories. All scores are out of a possible five points.

Note that cities with ties were broken by scores from U.S. News editors.

SEE ALSO: 27 photos that show why New Yorkers are ditching the Hamptons for a hot destination to the north

DON'T MISS: 11 overrated beach towns — and where to go instead

17. Biloxi, Mississippi

Overall score: 2.42

Sights score: 2.33

Food score: 2.17



16. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Overall score: 2.42

Sights score: 2.33

Food score: 3.00



15. Branson, Missouri

Overall score: 2.49

Sights score: 2.83

Food score: 1.83



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Watch two Boeing jets fly together like fighter planes

We visited a restaurant that's powered by machines instead of people — here's what it's like

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eatsa wait 1

As automation sweeps the restaurant industry, fast food execs may look for inspiration from Eatsa — a small chain that is powered by machines instead of people. 

Eatsa, which opened its first location in San Francisco in 2015, functions essentially like a vending machine or a high-tech automat that spits out freshly-prepared bowls of quinoa. There are real people behind the scenes preparing the food, but instead of cashiers there are kiosks.

Eatsa has expanded from a single location in San Francisco to five restaurants in California, New York, and Washington, DC. 

After its first location in New York opened in December, we were eager to see for ourselves what it's like to eat at a restaurant with no employees in sight. 

SEE ALSO: Fast-food CEO says he's investing in machines because the government is making it difficult to afford employees

Outside Eatsa, which is located in Midtown Manhattan, a sign advertises one of the restaurant's major attractions — it's affordable price. Almost everything costs just $6.95.



Inside, customers are immediately faced with a nontraditional set up. Instead of flocking to a single place to order and pay, about a dozen kiosks are set up along the side of the store. It almost resembles an Apple store with its long, sleek tables and minimalist style.



While there were a handful of employees milling around the location to assist customers unfamiliar with the concept, the kiosk was pretty well-equipped to take me step-by-step through the process. Note: you can't pay with cash at Eatsa.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

What it's like to fly business class on Qatar Airways — the best airline in the world

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Qatar Airways has once again been named the "Best Airline in the World" by Skytrax— a leading consumer aviation website. This is the airlines' fourth win in the last 10 years. Back in 2016, former Tech Insider video producer Grace Raver flew business class on a 7 hour Qatar Airways flight from Bangkok to Doha on an A380-800 Airbus. "It was definitely the nicest flight of my life," said Raver. Take a look why.

 

Grace Raver contributed reporting on a previous version of this article.

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Amazon just solved the greatest uncertainty of buying clothes online (AMZN)

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Amazon prime wardrobe

Buying clothing online is tricky.

Amazon, in adding to its ever-expanding benefits for Prime customers, will now let customers try on clothing before purchasing it. The program is part of the new Prime Wardrobe, which Amazon announced Tuesday.

The program is similar to many "box" services, like StitchFix and TrunkClub, where a few clothing items are sent to the customer, who then gets to try on the clothing before deciding what to keep and purchase and what to send back.

Amazon gives seven days to make a decision, and shipping is free both ways.

The difference with Amazon's service is that customers get to choose their own items to put in their box, instead of stylists or algorithms. A 10% discount will be applied if customers choose to keep two to three items, while those who pick four items or all of them will receive a 20% discount.

You can also order a box as often as you wish. There's no monthly subscription like other box services.

Not all clothing sold on Amazon will be eligible for the Prime Wardrobe, but items that can be put in a Wardrobe box will be marked with a logo for the service — over 1 million of them, according to the promo video.

SEE ALSO: Sneakers are the new status symbol at work — and are killing an office staple

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: These size comparisons show the true scale of enormous things

A relationship therapist shares her best advice for couples who feel like they're always having the same fight

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mindy project argument

Renowned couples therapist Esther Perel recently came out with a new audio series, "Where Should We Begin?" The premise: Listeners follow along as Perel counsels a struggling couple. (The couple is anonymous.)

If you listen to the series' first episode, "intense" is pretty much the only fitting description. A husband and wife come to Perel a year after the wife discovered her husband's infidelity— and while the wife says she was once "uncontrollably angry," now she's more numb to the whole situation.

For both partners, there are still a lot of unresolved issues.

Throughout the episode, both partners talk about how lonely they felt before the husband's affair, and how each one disappointed the other.

At one point, the wife says: "I felt like we had a difficult life — difficult, but leaning to good, right? So I was willing to work for it, and I was happy in that. But after you betrayed me, I was like, 'What was all that hard work for?'"

The husband responds quickly: "I mean, I understand how you feel because I felt the same way."

Perel doesn't interject that often — but she does here. "It's very hard," she tells the husband, "because you want to equalize it. Let it exist in its own unique experience. But if you keep saying, 'Me too,' then her answer is going to be, 'But I didn't do this.' Together we're going to aim for a different conversation, a different exchange."

The husband is flummoxed. "Okay," he says. "How do I do that?"

"One of the things you can do that may be useful," Perel says, "just reflect back. You just repeat to the other person: 'So what I'm hearing you say is…' That forces you to stay on the other side a little bit longer. You don't have to agree with anything. You just have to be open and curious."

In other words, you'll have to override your natural impulse to jump in and start talking about all the ways your partner hurt you that were just as distressing as the way you hurt them. If you can manage that, you'll be giving your partner some space and allowing them to feel heard.

couple support love relationship friend walking togetherThe first thing I thought about when I reached this point in the episode was "mindful conversation," a technique I learned in an emotional-intelligence course last fall. The gist is that Partner A stays completely silent while Partner B shares; A reflects on what they heard B say; and B clarifies anything that A misunderstood.

I didn't learn about mindful conversation in the context of romantic relationships per se, but it seems like a handy skill for any couple struggling to communicate. ("Your communication is terrible," Perel tells the couple towards the end of this episode.)

The strategy Perel's suggesting is somewhat counterintuitive because you're changing the natural flow of a conversation — or an argument. You have to actively prevent yourself from cutting the other person off and sharing your experience, no matter how much you want to.

In an aside, Perel tells listeners: "You have both people continuously saying, 'You don't understand how lonely I felt. And every time one person says, 'I felt lonely,' the other person says, 'I felt more so.' And it's breaking that 'the more, the more' type of cycle where they compete rather than empathize."

Listen to the full podcast episode »

SEE ALSO: A relationship expert says one word can defuse a fight with your partner — but most people don't use it enough

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: RELATIONSHIP EXPERT: Trying to meet your partner’s needs is 'the most horrific advice I could imagine'

12 modest but insanely expensive homes for sale in Silicon Valley

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918 ferngrove drive, cupertino, ca

In Silicon Valley, the more suburban area south of San Francisco, house-hunters find a confluence of a mild climate, a strong economy with high-paying jobs, and a tech sector unlike any in the world.

The environment attracts a competitive housing marke. It's not uncommon for prospective owners to place bids well above listing prices, often for more than $100,000 over asking.

We took to Zillow to find the most modest but expensive houses on the market — under 2,000 square feet selling for over $1.1 million. They could be all yours, if you've got the funds to spare.

SEE ALSO: Go inside the hottest neighborhood in San Francisco, where home prices have risen 75% in the last 5 years

The listing describes this 1,130-square-foot cottage in Palo Alto as a "darling home tucked away on a quiet street ... close to Stanford campus, Google, [and] Facebook."

Address:477 Dymond Court, Palo Alto, California

Price: $1,999,000

 



It has two bedrooms and one bath, as well as a kitchen that's begging for a makeover.



A renovated three-bedroom, two-bath ranch house sits on a corner lot in Mountain View.

Address:374 Fay Way, Mountain View, CA

Price: $1,799,000



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

An architecture expert reveals 19 of the ugliest McMansions in America

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Fairfax Co, VA

The American McMansion is officially a dying breed of architectural design, which is good news for those who consider the unnecessarily massive and disproportionate homes an eyesore.

The blog Worst of McMansions, also known as McMansion Hell by its URL, has taken on the daunting task of chronicling these monstrosities and helping the general public understand exactly what makes these homes so hideous.

The anonymous author, who simply goes by "Kate," studied architectural acoustics and has been writing about architecture for six years. We've asked Kate to gather what she considers to be the ugliest McMansions built in the past five years. Below is her list, accompanied by her own commentary in quotes.

SEE ALSO: These eerie photos of deserted golf courses reveal a new normal in America

19. Loudoun Co, VA

"Huzzah! Money can actually buy taste! Loudoun County, the wealthiest county in the country, is at the very bottom of the Top 19 List, with this cheap, remarkably boring tract home."



18. Hunterdon Co, NJ

"Another tract house hub, as evidenced by this dated, low-budget estate."



17. Prince William Co, VA

"Tract house or cult compound? You decide!"



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

32 life hacks to help you survive your NYC internship

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Baby Chef cooking

You made it to New York City!

Summer internships in the Big Apple are really exciting—whether they're in finance, media, the arts, or any other industry. 

But you might also find yourself feeling a bit overwhelmed in the sea of 8.5 million people. 

Like, how are you supposed to work all day, feed yourself, do your laundry, and keep your apartment from turning into a complete disaster?

Business Insider is here to help. We've compiled a list of life hacks to get you through that summer internship.

Check them out.

Portia Crowe and Lucinda Shen contributed to an earlier version of this post.

First, buy a MetroCard

The New York City subway has 472 stations across 722 miles of track. This means you can get almost anywhere in the city for just $2.75. That's a steal compared to cabs, Uber, or Lyft. 

You can save even more with an unlimited MetroCard. These are especially useful if you'll be commuting to work every day. 

A 30-day unlimited is $121, so after 44 swipes the card will pay for itself. (For comparison, a normal month has around 20-22 work days, and don't forget weekends!)

And if you lose your card, don't worry. The MTA will reimburse you a prorated amount for however many days were left on the pass (roughly $4 a day).



Better yet, go on bike

There are 600 Citi Bike docks throughout the city—and the system is rapidly expanding to farther away neighborhoods.

A day pass is $24, offering unlimited half-hour rides for 24 hours, which isn't bad if you want to spend an afternoon riding along the river.

But to get your money's worth, shell out for a full-year pass and you'll get unlimited 45 minute rides for $14 a month. It's great for one-way trips or getting somewhere the subway doesn't go. 



Download all of the transit apps.

Google Maps is a good start, especially now that it has x-ray maps of the subway stations.

Add on City Mapper, and you're really in business. Just save your home, work and any other important address and you'll have subway, bus, biking, walking or riding directions just a tap away. 

If you're really feeling charitable, Transit uses the location of other riders to tell you when the next train is coming—a miraculous feat given the how old the technology running the entire subway system is. But you have to share data in order to get data. 

As a final addition to your arsenal, try Exit Strategy, it'll tell you where to go, as well as where you should stand on a platform so you can be closest to the exit at your destination. It's worth the $4. 

Despite all this planning on your part, you'll also want to bookmark The Weekender and the MTA's twitter feed to keep up with delays and service changes. Sigh. 



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 13 best adults-only, all-inclusive hotels in the Caribbean

RANKED: The 20 best airlines in the world

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Qatar Airways business class Q suite

Qatar Airways has been named the best airline in the world for 2017 by the leading consumer-aviation website Skytrax.

The Doha, Qatar-based airline was presented with the award on Tuesday at a ceremony during the 2017 Paris Air Show.

This is the fourth time Qatar has garnered this honor with wins in 2011, 2012, and 2015.

In a statement, Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker wrote:

"For Qatar Airways to be named the World’s Best Airline particularly at this critical point in time, is a significant testimony of our passengers’ belief and trust in our unwavering commitment to deliver only the best. This award is also a reflection of the hard work and dedication of every employee at Qatar Airways. Our recognition at Skytrax this year is especially important as these awards are voted by travelers. To them, I offer my sincere thanks, and I look forward to welcoming them on board soon."

Overall, airlines from Asia dominate the elite end of Skytrax's rankings — taking nine of the top 10 spots. At the same time, no US airline cracked the top 30. Delta got the closest to the top with a 32nd place finish.

The Skytrax rankings are based on the impressions of 19.87 million travelers from 105 different countries. The survey, which covered more than 325 airlines, measured 49 parameters ranging from boarding procedures to seat comfort to the quality of service.

Here are the 20 best airlines in the world, according to the results of the Skytrax survey:

SEE ALSO: The glorious history of the best plane Boeing has ever built — The 777

20. Asiana

Previous rank: 16

Why it's awesome: Once again, South Korea's Asiana earns high marks from Skytrax for its cabin crew, cleanliness, and economy class products. Asiana currently operates a fleet of modern Airbus and Boeing jets.

See additional airline information at Skytrax.



19. Air New Zealand

Previous rank: 17

Why it's awesome: Even though Air New Zealand lost the titles of World's Best Premium Economy Class and World's Best Premium Economy Seat to Aussie rival Qantas, the Kiwi carrier remains one of the industry's finest long-haul carriers. 

In economy class, families can opt for the airlines innovative Skycouch that transforms a bank of three economy seats into a flat activity area. 

See additional airline information at Skytrax.



18. Air France

Previous rank: 14

Why it's awesome: Even though Air France's resurgence took a slight step backward this year, the airline's service and quality remains top notch. Over the past couple of years, the carrier has suffered through a series of labor and financial issues. However, this hasn't stopped Air France from rolling out an impressive lineup of new product offerings, including the impressive "La Premiere" first-class suites.

See additional airline information at Skytrax.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The world's nicest Taco Bell is located on a beach in California and has a walk-up window

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taco bell pacifica california

Taco Bell isn't a particularly glamorous place to eat.

But a store location in Pacifica, California, takes the fast-food chain to a new level. It sits on a beach, takes orders at a walk-up window, and has an oceanfront patio where guests can enjoy their Doritos Locos Tacos. In 2013, Thrillist dubbed it "the greatest Taco Bell in the world." 

We turned to Instagram to see why the Pacifica location beats all other Taco Bells.

SEE ALSO: Taco Bell's sales are soaring thanks to this unexpected dish

Yo quiero Taco Bell — on the beach.

Instagram Embed:
http://instagram.com/p/BU7R01FAWmt/embed/
Width: 800px

 



This California location looks more like a beach bungalow than a fast-food restaurant. It sits on Pacifica State Beach, which is about a half-hour drive from downtown San Francisco.

Instagram Embed:
http://instagram.com/p/BVIhSv4hxii/embed/
Width: 800px

 



Its most notable feature is a walk-up window (instead of a drive-through).

Instagram Embed:
http://instagram.com/p/BSgpXqJj07P/embed/
Width: 800px

 



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Amazon just fixed a major problem that customers hated (AMZN)

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amazon prime wardrobe

Amazon, with its new Prime Wardrobe program, has made it much easier to send unwanted clothing back to the retail giant.

The program allows Prime users to pick out several items of clothing to be sent, free of charge, in a special box that is designed to be resealable. A free UPS label is included, and customers are only charged for the clothing they keep.

Returns are a big part of online shopping. Nearly half — 48% — of customers surveyed by retail data firm Nazar say they returned an online purchase in the last year. 

Clothing sold by Amazon already comes with free shipping both ways, a notable concession from the company that clothing cannot be sold like other items online.

Unlike most clothing stores, Amazon has a key disadvantage in that there are no physical locations to return clothing items to easily. Customers must print a return label and find a new box if they threw the one the item was shipped in away.

For Amazon specifically, 74% of Amazon customers complained about printing a return label and 25% said it was annoying they had to find a new box or envelope, according to Nazar.

Prime Wardrobe eliminates all those issues, creating a peace of mind for consumers and eliminating that hesitation to click "order" that will no-doubt get more items in customer's hands. with the appropriate incentives to keep the items rather than sending them back. 

SEE ALSO: Amazon just solved the greatest uncertainty of buying clothes online

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's why Boeing 747s have a giant hump in the front

Stunning photos show how American food consumption has changed in the past 100 years

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Screen Shot 2017 06 20 at 2.16.10 PM

Before the days of blogs and entire Instagram accounts dedicated to the wonderful world of food — documenting food was left to professional photographers, who, through careful decision making and curating captured the culinary delights for cookbooks, advertisments, and art.

Just as food consumption has changed over the years, so has the way societies plate, present, and document food.

In the new book, Feast for the Eyes: The Story of Food in Photography, author Susan Bright explores chronologically the way food has been photographed since the 19th century with over 200 photographs. Ahead, 15 stunning images  from the book that show how drastically food photography has shifted since then.

 

 

SEE ALSO: This hotel bar claims to have invented the martini — look inside

In the book, Bright acknowledges the importance that food has on culture. "Food can signify a lifestyle or a nation, hope or despair, hunger or excess" she writes. Here, an elaborate still life of various native fruit taken in Sri Lanka in 1860 was sold as a souvenir to naval, military, bureaucratic, and merchant visitors.



This postcard, which is manipulated to depict over-sized eggs and potatoes in a car, play on the idea of American abundance. "Food is the perfect way to suggest wealth and plenty, and cards such as these did their part to promote the myth of a rural American utopia," writes Bright.



Color photographs began appearing in the early 1900s, and photographer Wladimir Schohin explored the complex process of autochrome, which used potato starch to help create the color.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Meet Jon Ossoff, the 30-year-old who suddenly became one of the most talked-about politicians in America

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Jon Ossoff

Everyone is watching Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff today.

The 30-year-old is challenging political veteran Karen Handel, who used to be Georgia's secretary of state, in a special election for the state's 6th Congressional district. 

The election is seen as the first major referendum on Donald Trump's presidency because the district typically leans Republican. If Ossoff wins, the 2018 midterm elections could look ominous for Republicans. 

See how a neophyte who's never held office became one of the most talked-about politicians of 2017. 

Thomas Jonathan Ossoff was born on February 16, 1987, at the Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta.

Source: Jon Ossoff campaign website.



As a student at Atlanta's private Paideia School, Ossoff interned for Congressman and civil rights activist John Lewis.

Source: The New Yorker



While in high school, Ossoff also started dating his now-fiancée, medical student Alisha Kramer.

Source: The New Yorker



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 17 best places in Europe to visit this summer that don't cost a fortune

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Corfu Island Greece

European travel may evoke a sense of glamour and luxury, but that doesn't mean it has to be pricey.

In fact, according to the latest U.S. News & World Report's best vacations rankings, you can visit some of Europe's best vacation spots on a budget.

To determine its list, U.S. News calculated an overall score for more than 300 destinations based on the following:

  • A score given by U.S. News editors between one (worst) and five (best) in 10 categories — sights, culture, people, food, shopping, family, nightlife, adventure, romance, and accessibility — for each destination.
  • The percentage of travelers who voted "yes" to whether the destination belongs on the list of best places.

U.S. News then deemed a destination affordable if the average nightly rate for hotels with three-stars and above is $150 or less, based on data sourced from Expedia. Read more about the methodology here.

Below, check out the list of the 17 best and most affordable destinations in Europe, which includes Mediterranean beach towns and bustling cities alike, and several hot spots in Spain and Italy.

Note that cities with ties were broken by scores from U.S. News editors. All scores are out of a possible five points.

SEE ALSO: The 17 best places in the US to visit this summer that don't cost a fortune

DON'T MISS: The most exclusive resorts for 'people who care about the planet,' according to National Geographic

17. St. Petersburg, Russia

Overall score: 3.39

Sights score: 4.33

Food score: 3.33



16. Sicily, Italy

Overall score: 3.39

Sights score: 4.00

Food score: 4.33



15. Budapest, Hungary

Overall score: 3.40

Sights score: 4.17

Food score: 3.38



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

I bought a Costco vacation — here's why the retailer has completely changed how I book travel

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Costco RicoWhen I told friends I was going to Puerto Rico, they were jealous. When I told them I booked the trip through Costco, that jealousy transformed into confusion.

"You can buy a vacation through Costco?" I was asked at least a dozen times in recent months.

My answer: Yes, and it's incredible.

I only became aware of Costco's travel deals last May when a friend suggested checking out the warehouse store's website while planning an upcoming vacation.

I was amazed by the variety of options, from airfare and hotel deals in Europe to Caribbean cruises. Costco even has a section dedicated to safaris, with trips to Botswana and South Africa.

That's right — you can book an entire weeklong safari, including a guide, airfare, and a place to stay, through Costco.

Costco Rico

The retailer launched Costco Travel in 2000.

"Following the same philosophy as in the warehouses, we offer a limited number of products in an effort to focus on partners who consistently produce high quality, exceptional value and superb service," Costco spokesperson Nikki Chellew told Business Insider. "Costco Travel adds to the overall value of the membership with savings that can exceed the cost of an annual membership."

Three friends and I settled on a seven-day trip to Puerto Rico, and purchased a trip that provided airfare, seven nights in a hotel, and transportation to and from an airport in August, for a little more than $800 a person. 

Now, having returned from the trip, I can confidently say that Costco Travel is going to completely change how I book vacations.

First of all, booking the trip through Costco left me confident I was saving money. While searching for deals, I perused packages sold by airlines, which included flights at inconvenient times, and semi-questionable websites that were too sketchy to trust. Costco matched or beat both in terms of cost, with the added bonus of reliability.

Costco Rico

Second, it was incredibly convenient every step of the way. Scanning through Costco's deals felt like browsing a diner's extensive menu — it had plenty of options, but also narrowed down my choices and spelled out the benefits of each one. Once I arrived in Puerto Rico, the bonus of having a car to take me to and from the airport included in the trip was an extra convenience I hadn't given much thought about before booking the trip.

Finally, every aspect of the trip purchased via Costco — hotel, airfare, travel to the hotel — exceeded expectations. To head off skeptics: Costco did not know I cover the retailer when the deal was purchased, this is not paid for by Costco, and there is no weird under-the-table sponsorship here. Everything was simply fantastic.

My biggest question after the trip was why everyone wasn't booking travel through Costco — and was forced to conclude that most people just don't know that they can.

Costco Rico

"It is difficult to have travel be top of mind for members when they think of Costco as a warehouse full of tangible products," Chellew says.

However, the company is trying to change that.

Costco is now advertising its travel packages using emails, travel brochures, and deals in the Costco Savings Book. Additionally, every month the retailer publishes an article by travel expert Peter Greenberg in its magazine, the Costco Connection.

Still, Costco is primarily growing its travel business via word of mouth. Chellew says that members sharing their experiences has played the biggest role in Costco Travel's double-digit annual growth.

With that in mind, I'll add my positive experience to the public record. Next time you're booking a trip, check Costco Travel first. I know I will.

SEE ALSO: 7 unexpected things you can buy at Costco

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here are the 8 food items you should only get from Costco

The most popular shopping chain in each state

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fancy target store

Americans are passionate about where they shop.   

While more and more people turn to online shospping for their food and clothing needs, plenty of shoppers still prefer to visit brick-and-mortar stores.

The mobile search-and-discovery app Foursquare put together a list of the most popular department stores, clothing stores, and big box store chains in each state across the US, based on its own visit data. 

Foursquare looked at the average number of visits per store in each state to determine its ranking. That allowed for some smaller chains like Uniqlo and Fred Meyer to beat out Walmart and Target in some states.

Check out the full list below. 

 

ALABAMA: Target



ALASKA: Walmart



ARKANSAS: Target



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Nike is reportedly close to making a huge move that should terrify Dick's, Foot Locker, and Under Armour (NKE, AMZN)

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Nike

The world's largest sportswear maker and the world's largest online retailer might finally work together. 

In its tooth-and-nail fight to staunch ebbing sales, Nike may finally embrace Amazon soon and sell directly on Amazon.com, according to analysts at Goldman Sachs.

"Our channel checks indicate [Nike] could be close to commencing a direct relationship selling product on Amazon.com," the Goldman Sachs analyst note reads.

For Nike, there are tangible benefits from selling directly on Amazon. The company's shoes, apparel, and accessories are already sold on Amazon, but from third-party sellers and unlicensed dealers that purchased the product wholesale from Nike. Selling directly on the site eliminates a layer between Nike and the consumer, allowing the company to better control pricing and presentation. It's not quite direct to consumer, but it's a lot closer.

Goldman sees it as a deal worth potentially up to $500 million of revenue yearly — an additional 1% of global sales for the Nike.

Nike's biggest competitors — Adidas and Under Armour — already sell directly on Amazon, and they both have fancy splash pages that highlight the the newest and best product the companies have to offer.  Nike currently has no such thing, giving both competitors have an advantage on the site.

Offering directly on Amazon also gives Nike's direct-to-consumer business even better access to younger consumers — millennials — who shop more often on Amazon than other groups.

Selling on Amazon may also serve to replace physical sports retailers that have gone bankrupt in recent years, like Sports Authority.

Dick's Sporting Goods and Foot Locker, some of Nike's biggest retailers, were both down in early market trading on the news of the increasing competition. Dick's neared an 18 month low, while Foot Locker fell below a three-year-low, according to Reuters.

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