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Founders and Editors

Allison hiking in Jotunheimen National Park, Norway

Michael on the boat to the Lofoten Islands, Norway

We love to travel, and for us, planning the trip is half the fun. We spend hours reading guidebooks, plotting itineraries, and selecting places to stay. And before one trip is over, we're already thinking about our next destination.

We both loved traveling even before we met. Allison had lived in Asia, spending her first two years out of college teaching English in Japan and Taiwan, and traveling through Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia. Michael spent four summers in South America, living in Bolivia, Uruguay and Brazil. Since meeting each other in September 2001, we've traveled together to Europe, the Caribbean islands, and around the U.S. and Canada.

Before our son, Benjamin, came along, we were more adventurous, hiking from hut to hut in the Julian Alps of Slovenia and rafting the Chiriqui River in Panama. Now that we have a little boy, we avoid tall precipices and Class IV rapids, but we still get around and we're definitely enjoying the ride.

When we are not working on darngooddigs.net, Michael mentors teachers in New York City public high schools and Allison runs an Early Intervention program for children with special needs. While we love what we do, we're still always thinking about that next big trip.

- Allison Kwait and Michael Gonchar


Lisa Lubin

Lisa Lubin is a three-time Emmy-award-winning television producer who spent the past two and a half years traveling the world. Her award-winning blog about her adventures, LL World Tour, was listed as one of the "Travel Blogs I Can't Live Without" in 2008 and top twenty "most-inspirational blogs of 2007" by nationally syndicated columnist Chris Elliot. She's visited dozens of countries over six continents, and she nominated her all-time favorite digs. You can check out her reviews in Spain, Germany, England, Lithuania, and Colombia

Alison McGowan

Alison McGowan is the founder of Hidden Pousadas, a guide to rustic, boutique, and luxury pousadas throughout Brazil. She is also a writer, marketing specialist, and travel interpreter, with a particular interest in Brazilian history, culture, and music. Alison has personally visited and reviewed over 70 pousadas for Hidden Pousadas, and she has selected her absolute favorites for budget minded travelers to nominate on Darn Good Digs: Pousada Santa Clara and Artjungle Eco Resort & Spa, both in the state of Bahia.

Sarah Lavender Smith

Sarah Lavender Smith is a freelance writer, editor, and blogger based in the San Francisco area. She currently chronicles her family's year-long around-the-world trip on her family's blog, Away Together, while her 12 year old daughter, Colly, tells her side of the story at Colly's World. During her travels in South America, the Pacific, Asia, and Europe Sarah has kept Darn Good Digs in mind and nominated her favorite independently owned accommodations. Discover her favorite hotels in Bariloche, Argentina; Santiago, Chile; and Spain's Costa Brava.

Shelley Seale

Shelley Seale is a professional freelance writer, editor and graphic designer based out of cool and creative Austin, Texas. She is the author of the new book, The Weight of Silence: Invisible Children of India, as well as two additional books and several magazine articles and book chapters. Publications that include her work include National Geographic, The Seattle Times, and the Austin Business Journal. Shelley has nominated her favorite hotels in Goa; Portland, Oregon; Philadelphia; Bangkok; and Darjeeling, India.

Gary Diedrichs

Gary Diedrichs, along with his wife, Peggy, launched The Green Traveler Guides in order to forward the discussion about traveling well with the lightest possible carbon footprint. They do old-fashioned research to uncover the best green hoteliers and local/organic eats around the world, and share them on their website and e-guides. Gary has nominated two of his favorite hotels in Mexico: Balamku Inn on the Beach and Hotel Cielo Rojo.

Dee Andrews

Dee Andrews chronicles the year she spent with her husband and two young children living in Spain, as well as the challenges and joys of "finding new paths on the road of life," in her blog, Travel and Travails. Dee nominated three hotels: the Gamirasu Cave Hotel in Urgup, Turkey; the Riad Diana in Marrakech, Morocco; and the Pioneer Guest Cabins in Crested Butte, Colorado.


Akila writes The Road Forks, a blog where "travel and food interect". With her partner, Patrick, she photographs and writes about their world travels and the colorful food they encounter along the way. Akila has nominated Woodlyn Park in Waitomo, New Zealand, the Haad Tien Beach Resort on Koh Tao island, Thailand, and the Prohm Roth Guesthouse in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Buzzy Gordon

Buzzy Gordon, author of Frommer's Jerusalem Day by Day, is an award-winning journalist who has been a reporter, columnist, bureau chief and travel writer on five continents. A former regular contributor to the travel section of USA Today as well as other leading travel websites, he currently writes for LuxuryLatinAmerica.com and JaxFax Magazine, among others. Buzzy nominated Belfer's Dead Sea Cabins in Israel's Dead Sea region and the Adobe Walls Inn in Ajijic, Mexico.

Additional Travel Blogger Contributors

Karen Bryan of Europe a la Carte nominated Hotel Kastel in Motovun, Croatia

Matthew Kepnes of Nomadic Matt nominated HelloBCN Hostel in Barcelona, Spain

Sonia Zamborsky of Pulpology nominated The Carlton Inn in Carlton, Oregon

Donna Hull of My Itchy Travel Feet nominated the Hannagan Meadow Lodge in Alpine, Arizona

Mark of Travel Wonders of the World nominated Hotel Rumi Punku in Peru and af Chapman in Sweden

Vera of A Traveler's Library nominated Monterey Non-Smokers Motel in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Sarah Christenson of The Urban Rebellion nominated Ramsdell Inn in Manistee, Michigan

Barbara Weibel of Hole in the Donut Travels nominated Two Rivers Inn in Dunnellon, Florida

Josh of Far West China nominated Xi'an 7 Sages Hostel in Xi'an, China

Janine Barone of J The Travel Authority nominated Lisbon Dreams Guest Housel in Lisbon, Portugal

Matt Beatty of Moon Cowboy nominated Beyin Beach Resort in Ghana

Sherry Ott of Otts World nominated Ambassador Garden Home in Kathmandu

Lydia of The Perfect Pantry nominated Pousada do Capao in Minas Gerais, Brazil

Ana at All You Can Eat and More nominated Mi Casa en Lisboa in Lisbon, Portugal

Nadia Latif of Travel Intelligence nominated Riad Numero 9 in Fez, Morocco

Norbert Figueroa of GloboTreks nominated New World St. Hostel in Warsaw, Poland

Lena at My Meaningful Meandering nominated the Beit Rose Hotel in Damascus, Syria.

Audrey at Uncornered Market nominated hotels in Vilcabamba, Ecuador and Bariloche, Argentina.

Marie at Eurotrip Tips nominated the Singer109 hostel in Berlin.

Matt Gross of The Minor Glories nominated No. 9 in Shanghai, China.

Victoria Drake of Ozark Crescent Mural nominated the Tall Pines Inn in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

Teresa W at Swim and Communicate with Whales nominated the Aerie House and Beach Club.

Dave Hoekstra nominated the Shack Up Inn in Clarksdale, Mississippi.





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