Where to Watch 2014 FIFA World Cup Stars in the United States This Summer

FIFA_coverThe 2014 FIFA World Cup™ caught the attention of the U.S. population like no previous World Cup ever.  The final game on July 13, in which Germany defeated Argentina 1-0 on a goal by Mario Götze in extra time, drew a combined audience of 25.6 million on ABC and Univision, making it the most-watched soccer game in U.S. history.  The U.S.-Portugal group-stage match-up on June 22 set an English-language broadcast record, with 18.7 million people tuning in nationwide.  If you’re hoping to continue to feed your futbol fever this summer, you’re in luck:  Quite a few World Cup stars will be playing the 2014 Guinness International Champions Cup in North America this summer.  Below are a few opportunities for you to catch the action, live or on TV.

Manchester United v. Inter (Milan), July 29, FedEx Field, Washington, D.C.

Under the watchful eye of new manager Louis van Gaal, who led the Netherlands to a third-place finish in the World Cup, Manchester United is hoping to rebound from a disappointing 2013-14 English Premier League (EPL) season.  Among the World Cup stars expected to play for Man U. are Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck (England), Juan Mata (Spain), and Shinji Kagawa (Japan).  Inter plans to field World Cuppers Yuto Nagatomo (Japan), Saphir Taider (Algeria), and Fredy Guarín (Colombia).

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Liverpool FC v. Manchester City, July 30, Yankee Stadium, New York, NY

Following its second-place EPL finish last season, Liverpool plans to use World Cup stars Pepe Reina (Spain), Sebastian Coates (Uruguay), Steven Gerrard, Raheem Sterling, and Daniel Sturridge (England), and Kolo Toure (Ivory Coast).  Manchester City will counter with a squad of international stand-outs like David Silva (Spain), Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast), Joe Hart (England), and Edin Dzeko (Bosnia and Herzegovina).

Olympiacos vs. Manchester City, July 30, Yankee Stadium, New York, NY

Champions of the Greek Super League last year, Olympiacos will field several Greek national team members, including Ioannnis Maniatis, José Holebas, and Konstantinos Manolas, against a Man City squad preparing to defend its 2013-14 EPL crown.

Manchester United vs. Real Madrid, August 2, Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI

Although James Rodriguez (Columbia), the 2014 World Cup breakout star and Golden Boot winner who recently signed with Real Madrid, probably won’t play, the squad will feature World Cup participants Pepe and Fábio Coentrão (Portugal), as well as Xabi Alonso (Spain).  Unfortunately, though, Real Madrid stars Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Toni Kroos (Germany), and Keylor Navas (Costa Rica) will be skipping the tournament.

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Join Travel Plus

When traveling across the U.S., be sure to earn 5% cash back on airline, hotel, and rental-car reservations by making them through Travel Plus.  You can also save on a variety of travel extras, including in-flight entertainment, hotel services, rental-car gear, and Wi-Fi wherever you go.  And if you’re among the millions of Americans who got caught up in the excitement of the 2014 World Cup, be sure to check out the August 6 MLS All-Star Game in Portland, OR, featuring eight U.S. men’s team performers.

Great Places to Camp in the United States

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When you want to clear your mind, invigorate your body, stimulate your imagination, and, as a bonus, make sure your boss can’t reach you for days, a camping trip may be just what you need.  Getting back to nature is a worthy goal in itself — as Albert Einstein said, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better” — and it offers the added benefit of vacation savings:  Camping out is almost always less expensive than a hotel stay.  If you’re looking for a place to go, check out some great places to camp in the United States:

To find more great places to camp in the United States, click here and here.  To find affordable travel deals, check out Travel Plus, where you’ll save on reservations, travel services, and much more.  Wherever you camp, enjoy the views, embrace the solitude, and, in the words of poet Khalil Gibran,  “forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.”

Cool July Vacation Destinations

Summer is heating up, not just this year but seemingly every year.  For warm-weather fans, this may be a welcome trend, although even people who like extreme heat may want to avoid places like Death Valley this season.  For folks who prefer to spend their time off in more temperate climates, we offer a list of the coolest July vacation destinations:

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      • Aspen, CO. Every summer, the Aspen Institute hosts the Aspen Ideas Festival. It’s too late to attend this year, but you can find plenty of other things to do in the Colorado Rockies this July, including the Aspen Music Festival, an ongoing celebration of all things musical; the Aspen Invitational (July 19-20), a charity bike ride through the mountains that supports affordable transportation in Africa; the Aspen Arts Festival (July 27-28), an open art gallery spotlighting dozens of artists; and much more.

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      • Rockaway Beach, OR. Head northwest for a vacation right on the Pacific Ocean. Rockaway Beach offers seven miles of soft, sandy beach, featuring the Twin Rocks formation. Enjoy a ride on the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad, take a hike through the Old Growth Cedar Nature Preserve, or fish and kayak in one of a half-dozen lakes in the area. With over 100 rental homes and 300+ hotel rooms, Rockaway Beach offers plentiful places to stay for families looking to escape from city life.

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      • The Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Separating Lake Michigan from Lake Superior, the U.P. provides summer visitors a wide range of historic and natural attractions, from the Keweenaw National Historical Park, site of the largest and lowest lava flow on the planet, to the Sylvania Wilderness, home to old-growth northern hardwood forests and almost three dozen lakes. Whether you prefer camping, cabins, B&Bs, historic inns, or family-friendly resorts, you’ll find accommodations to your liking all across the U.P.

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Even in July, you can find cool vacation destinations across the U.S. — and cool travel savings from Travel Plus, including 5% cash back on reservations and more.  Happy trails!