City Guide: New York

4073541805_20086cda1c_zThanks to Sreevishunu Byrakur for the image.

New York might just be the best city in the world. With its iconic skyline, the culture and the food, there’s a reason they sell so many ‘I love New York’ T-Shirts. There is nowhere quite like it. Tourists will instinctively head to the Statue of Liberty and Central Park, but there is plenty more on offer. These are our tips to get right into the heart of the city and make the most of your time in New York..

West Village

Get lost in the zig-zag streets and charming markets. It’s the only place in New York that breaks away from the strict block roads and you can wander around for hours. You’ll find all the best coffee shops and bakeries here. This makes it the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of downtown New York.

The Highline

This hidden gem in Chelsea is relatively unknown to tourists but it’s worth hunting it out. It used to be a railway line above the city, before it was converted into a beautiful walkway. At around 1.5 miles long, it’s a short walk; though you’ll want to take it very slowly. Lined with hundred of plants and flowers, you can stroll high amongst the buildings. Deep within New York’s cultural hub, the architecture surrounding you is quite remarkable. It’s the perfect place for a romantic walk or just somewhere to take some time to yourself.

Food

You should always be trying out the local food on your travels, but especially in New York. You’ll want to try a pizza in Little Italy and sample a bagel from a street vendor. New York is also home to the Cronut. The Cronut is a recent creation of the Dominique Ansel Bakery. A cross between a croissant and a donut, it is a delicious sweet pastry hybrid. The Cronut is so popular you often see a queue around the corner, so show up early.

Feel Like A Superstar

The city is home to countless superstars and celebrities. Why not hire a limo for the evening and pretend that you are part of the crowd. With a little hunting, it’s not hard to find a cheap NJ limo service and the city is yours to explore. You could cruise through Times Square or take a trip through Broadway. Hit the bars and find the perfect Manhattan cocktail, then back to the limo for the next stop! Live the high life, you earned it.

Take To The Roof

New York has the world’s most recognisable skyline. With plenty of famous landmarks you’ll want to get high enough to look across them. There are hundreds of restaurants and bars offering incredible views. Your hotel or apartment may even have roof access where you can lay out a picnic and enjoy the view. However, the best views are at the top of the Empire State Building and at the top of the Rockefella Center. You can’t go wrong with either of them. Aim to get up there for sunset and you’ll really see the city at her best.

There is far more to New York than the traditional tourist haunts. Take your time to wander the city and drink it in. You’ll soon feel like a true New Yorker!

Snowed-in during your trip? Keep Yourself Entertained with these Fun Activities!

I was travelling in the US a few years ago, enjoying the chilly winter weather when it happened: the anchorman told us all that a blizzard was on the way and it was dangerous to go out. Inevitably, I was stuck in the hotel for the next few days with little to do. Thankfully, we were warm and smug underneath the blankets and the heating, but for a tourist, being stuck in a hotel room for days at a time can be heavy on the soul. So the hubby and I set out to make our next few days enjoyable by finding activities to spend our time, instead of feeling down over the slowly passing hours.

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These are some activities that can keep you entertained, just like us!

Catch up on TV & Movies

Let’s face it – if you’re avid travelers like us, you have no idea what’s been going on in the entertainment industry for the duration of your trip. We had been travelling for over 8 months and took advantage of the ample time to catch-up on new episodes of our favorite TV shows. Luckily, the hotel gave guests free access to all shows and movies, so we could watch whatever we wanted!

Play games online

My husband and I are both huge gambling fans… our stop in Vegas was over a month long because we couldn’t get enough. So we figured: why not try playing some gambling games online? It was as exhilarating as playing them live and in person! Plus, there was the added bonus of cuddling in bed while we played on our ipad. If you’re also a fan of casino games, you can easily find a list of the Top 10 Casinos Online and work through there. Find the games that call to you and bring on the adrenaline!

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Organize your photo albums

Between the necessary updates and pictures for friends and family who are waiting to hear about your adventures, to even going through the pictures yourself, organizing your photo album is a great way to be productive during your travel ‘break’. The downtime gives you the chance to upload your pictures security to the cloud or your computer, publish them online, or make your Facebook albums for all to see.

Get to know the other guests

Everyone has a story to tell and when you’re all snowed in for a few days, there’s nothing quite like hearing them. I was enchanted to hear the romantic story of how a couple met, about the innovative business ventures of a Nigerian man in town for business, and I also got to play an impromptu hopscotch with a few sweet kids. When everyone is snowed in, people often go to the lobby or the restaurant/cafeteria to stretch their legs. Meeting the staff and guests is an unforgettable experience!

Play charades or Pictionary

As pre-internet kids, we used to love playing games like charades or Pictionary. This time, we grabbed the married couple we met in the lobby and asked them to join us in a game of Pictionary. It was so much fun that we actually forgot that we were all stuck inside the hotel! Plus, we built an amazing friendship… we’re still in touch today!

Being snowed-in doesn’t have to be a negative experience in your trip – it is what you make of it. Take advantage of your time to rest (we all get tired during our travels), enjoy the quality time with your friends or family, and make sure to come up with ways to spend the time positively!

The Ins and Outs of Phuket Patong

The Ins and Outs of Phuket PatongPlanning your next trip to uket PatongPh? That’s great! Besides the beach, sea and sun, there are many other entertaining activities you’ll definitely want to do. Let’s start by taking a look at getting around in Patong, where to stay and some of the highlights in this article.

Getting Around

Patong itself could be entirely explored on foot. Nevertheless you’ll find plenty of taxis and motorbikes ready to help you get around. Be prepared to pay a somewhat overpriced charge for the rides due the unregulated rates. There are two types of taxis, those that are more like open trucks (songthaew-style minivans) and sedan-style air-conditioned taxis with a big sign on the roof, ‘Taxi Meter’.

The minivans have no meter so you’ll find that the rates range quite a lot. Always try to negotiate for a lower price or check if you’re comfortable to pay the fees before hopping on. Finally, for short distances, the motorbike taxis are recommended. You basically hop on behind the driver and let him know where you want to go. The rate is usually 40 Baht and doesn’t tend to exceed 100 Baht per ride depending on distance.

Where to Stay

Phuket Patong has no lack of accommodation for travelers. There are a few types of stays in the area ranging from 5-star international hotels with top-notch facilities and services such as Grand Mercure Phuket Patong to apartments and individually owned boutique hotels.

The price range of mini-size accommodation to premium stay could range from as low as $15 USD a night to $1,000 USD a night. When selecting your accommodation, first take a look at Patong’s map and identify where you’d like to be first: Patong Beach Road, Beach Road South, Rat-U-Thit Road, Nanai Road, Bangla Road, Sai Kor Road or Soi Kepsup.

Highlights besides the Beach

Rollerball Zorbing. Ever wanted to test your physic? How about rolling in a big plastic ball down a hill filled with 40 liters of water? Rollerball Zorbing is an activity for the whole family from 6 years old to 60, you’ll find this quirky and exciting ride lots of fun. Rollerball is only 2 minutes right from Patong Beach at Kalim Bay.

Omescape – The Chamber of Secret. Omescape features live escape games where participants have to find their way out in no more than an hour or so. At the moment, there are three games with different themes you could choose from as follows: the Mermaid of Songkla, the Temple of Genesha and the King Naresuan’s Tomb. Omescape is a well-known escape game provider across the world having branches in China and US as well. There are lockers, storage and bathroom facilities available for those who might need a change of clothing.

Muay Thai. Ever wanted to have a go at Thai boxing (Muay Thai)? Head over to the Maximum Fitness and Combat Center. The complete facility offers not only Muay Thai facilities and trainers but Yoga, Fitness as well as a large Sauna. The center is located just behind the Junceylon shopping center.

Danze Fantasy Theatre. The Danze Fantasy Theatre hosts some of the best international shows in Phuket such as Genesis – The Magic Spectacular with a cast of 20 international performers. For some sit-down moments and relaxing entertainment, Danze Fantasy Theatre is recommended.

As small as Patong may seem, you’ll quickly discover that it takes more than just one week to explore the entire area and to have a go at the vast option of available activities.

5 Weird Things You’ll See On Your American Road-Trip

Is there a better way to see America than on the road? Many an explorer has set off from New York and made it across to the West Coast. You might not even have a destination in mind. It’s all about the journey, right? That’s how it was for Jack Kerouac. In his seminal novel, On The Road, he wrote about the beauty of traveling across the US. The excitement of meeting strange and wonderful people. Eating at a new diner every day. Waking up in a new state and just seeing what the world brings.

So hitch up your camper trailers from Caravan & Camper Megastore or plan out the motel stops, let’s hit the road! You’ll encounter some strange things on your travels but here are some of the weirdest things you’ll see on your America road trip. You won’t see these from the plane.

1. A tree so big you can drive through it.

Trees don’t come that big, right? Wrong. In Sequoia national park the trees are so big you can drive your car right through them. The trees are ancient Redwood trees and they are largest in the world. General Sherman is the biggest. Although, you can’t drive through him. Just look at him. Sequoia is a little off the beaten track – up in the Californian mountains – so you’ll need to make sure that you’re well prepared before you go looking for this one.

2. Cadillac Ranch

There’s a strange place just off I-40 and Route 66 where you’ll find a row of Cadillacs buried nose first in the sand. It’s an eerie sight that began as an art project by hippies. Now, passers-by are encouraged to spray paint the cars and add to the weirdness.

3. Bonnie and Clyde’s Death Car

The infamous bullet-riddled car isn’t actually that easy to find. It is constantly moved around the country – last seen in Reno (so they say) so you’ll have todo your research before you set out. It’s worth it though to see this amazing piece of gangster history.

4. Forbidden Gardens

This might be the creepiest thing you see on your trip. Maybe it’s just because small versions of things are always creepy. In Texas you’ll find a 1:3 scale model of the tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi. That’s the one with 6,000 terracotta soldiers. And there’s a 1:20 scale version of the forbidden city. Disney World this is not.

5. The Clown Motel

Okay, I lied. This is the creepiest thing you’ll see on the road. A motel full of clowns! Serious, there are clowns everywhere. Even if you’re not scared of clowns, staying here will be a scary experience. Lie in the dark and tell me that one’s not moving…

There are – of course -hundreds of other strange sites out on the open road. Not least a beer-can house, a statue of Jimmy Carter as a peanut and an office that looks like a picnic basket. But you’ll have to discover them yourself with your dusty old ride, a tent or a motel room. See you on the road!

3566896452_09566ee337_zThanks to Angus MacRae for the image.

7 Authentic Dishes You Should Definitely Try In Holland

Although it is fair to say that Dutch cuisine is not as internationally renowned as the food from other European countries such as Spain, France and Italy; that does not mean you should not try some local food when holidaying in Holland.  As you will see in the following article, there are some very delicious authentic Dutch dishes and delicacies that you should try at least once.

Liquorice

While it is very popular here in the UK, liquorice actually originates from the Netherlands.  People do tend to either love it or hate it.  If you one of the people that loves it, there is much to get excited about while in Holland.  Liquorice comes in 4 different drop types – hard salt, hard sweet, soft salt and soft sweet.  It also comes in a variety of different flavours including coconut fondant (often referred to as English liquorice), laurel, salammoniac, mint and honey.

Bitterballen

Bitterballen are essentially the Dutch version of meatballs.  Meat formed into circles and covered in breadcrumbs and normally served with mustard.  They can be found just about anywhere, from restaurants to snack bars and even at parties and formal events.

Boerenkool Served With Sausage

Boerenkool is one of Holland’s most popular and oldest dishes and is a tasty combination of curly kale and potatoes served with mustard, gravy and some lovely rookworst sausage.  As boerenkool is very high in carbs, it is particularly popular during the winter time.

Cheese/Gouda

As you probably know, the people of Holland love cheese.  Cheese and other dairy products are one of the things that Dutch people are most famous for, besides the red light district and their liberal views of cannabis use.  Most Dutch cheese is either semi-hard or hard, but there is a lot to choose from.  There are plenty of neutral cheeses, but if you are feeling a little more adventurous you should try one blended with spices or herbs.  Nagelkaas for instance, is very popular, and has cloves blended into it.

Stroopwafel

It’s not just savoury dishes that Dutch people excel at, take stroopwafel for instance.  This is a syrupy/caramel waffle which consists of a wafer-thin waffle made in a pizelle pan.  When it is ready to eat, it is sliced horizontally and then the light syrupy caramel sauce is drizzled over one half with the other placed on top like a sandwich.

Vlaai

Vlaii is a tart or pie from Limburg that features a pastry and filling.  They normally have a diameter of 27 to 30 centimetres and are available with a variety of different fillings including plums, strawberries, apricot and cherries.  Although they are often eaten at funerals, birthdays and other life events; you should try and make the effort to try one while you are there on holiday.

Raw Herring and Onions

This might not be to everyone’s taste but, if you are looking for a new culinary experience, Hollandse Nieuwe, or raw herring is something you should try.  It is normally served alongside chopping gherkins and raw onions.  The most intriguing thing is how Dutch people eat it though.  They lift the fish high in the air by the tail and then bite upwards.  If you are too self-conscious for that, raw herring is also available served soft white bread buns.

If you like the idea of visiting Holland, and want some more inspiration on what to do while you’re their, head over to the Travel Trout blog because they have plenty of ideas on what you can do while you’re visiting this area!

Camping is Back: Amazing European Camping Destinations

Thanks to the resurgence in glamping, more people are indulging in camping holidays than ever before. This is great news for intrepid explorers who want to get back to basics, with just a sheet of canvas protecting them from the elements.  Camping is a great way to be at one with nature. Camping in the UK can be somewhat problematic. After all, the rainy season never truly ends. But, if you want to guarantee sunshine and good times, camping in mainland Europe is an excellent way to explore the rest of the world.

There are some fabulous locations within Europe that is solely aimed at the camping market. Let’s take a look at the top five.

7299820870_e78782c078_zWith thanks to Arup Malakar for the image

1.    Austria

Camping in Austria is a great way to explore this beautiful country. Rolling hills, lush forestation and blue skies make for the perfect getaway. What’s more, you can drive from the UK to Austria with relative ease. It may be cost-efficient to fly, but do be aware of the weight restrictions when you go. Austria is a great place to camp. With pretty lakes and an abundance of wildlife, it makes for an exciting journey into the great outdoors. Pretty and picturesque, what could be better than waking up in Austria?

2.    Belgium

Belgium is a firm favourite with many travellers. Camping in the Belgian countryside means you are only a short detour away from Brussels. This provides many with a heady contrast. The gorgeous countryside is not far away from the thriving city scene. You can combine your love of city and country within one foul swoop. Belgium is home to some of the most perfect riverside locations. Set up camp beside the river and explore the opportunities around you.

3.    Italy

Italy has an abundance of campsites within its area. The most popular place to camp within Italy is near Naples. With campsites in the Alps or Vineyards you certainly get a lot of choices. With these campsites, you have everything that you need on site. So, you don’t need to cart your diesel generators with you. The lush Italian countryside is only a short hop into the major cities. Rome and Pisa are only a short distance from the country. Use your campsite as a base to exploring this phenomenal historical country. With arts, history and amazing food in large quantities, you will be truly spoilt for choice.

4.    Jersey

Jersey appears to be a forgotten gem with many. But, this delightful mix of Anglo-French is the perfect place to holiday. Camping in Jersey is wildly popular. With many dedicated campsites littering the country, you are spoilt for choice. This small island is made up of gorgeous beaches for you to explore.  The charming countryside is ideal for hiking and pony-trekking. But, the beaches are divine, and an absolute must if you don’t want to do anything at all.

5.    Slovenia

With Lake Bled and the Alpine landscape, what is not to love about Slovenia? With a heavy German influence, it’s a great place to visit. There is a wealth of historical places of interest. The climate is moderate and warm, especially during the summer. Plus, you can hit the beach while you’re there too.

The Essential Guide To Visiting Australia

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When you decide to visit Australia, you embark on the trip of a lifetime. The country is rife with exciting things to do and see. Many people travel in Australia because the country offers a wealth of new experience. The destination is popular with backpackers and tourists alike. The country is scenic, yet dangerous. The vast landscape belies deep, dark secrets. The country is home to some of the most-dangerous animals in the world. Everything from insects to snakes are venomous in Australia. That means that you should be careful whilst visiting the country.

It is deceptive to suggest that going to Australia is a single experience. There is no way that you can travel the depths of the country in just one visit. Even if you lived there for a year, you wouldn’t see everything the country has to offer. Before you go to Australia, you should make a point of choosing your destinations. Internal travel is possible, but it is also expensive. Remember, the country is huge in comparison to most western civilizations. You can’t just jump on a coach and see the entire country. To help you choose the right destination for you, here is a mind-blowing guide to some of the best places in Australia.

Sydney

Sydney is, of course, the most-popular tourist destination in Australia. If you adore culture and an urban environment, this is the city for you. Home to the Sydney Opera House, the city, is a buzzing place that any young tourist would love. It is important to choose your attractions before you visit the city itself. Shows and concerts are expensive if you don’t book them in advance. Look for some cheap deals online before you make the trip so that you can save some money.

Bondi Beach is the heart of the city. The beach is where all the tourists and travelers congregate on a daily basis. If you would like to, you can have surf lessons on the beach with trained surf-instructors. This part of Australia is what many people imagine of the entirety of the country. Beautiful beaches, city streets and tall buildings make up the landscape of this city. Make sure that you are careful when travelling in Sydney. The city has a low crime rate, but there are many pickpockets in the city. If you look like a tourist, you will become a target. Don’t carry large sums of money around with you.

Melbourne

Melbourne is the capital of Victoria, Australia. Whilst Sydney has its merits, Melbourne is a much nicer place to visit as a tourist. There are many great attractions within the city that will keep you entertained throughout your trip. The Royal Botanic Gardens, for example, offer a hidden paradise for people wanting to escape the city streets. People who love culture will want to visit the National Gallery of Victoria, where they can see both modern and native art. Many of the tours in the gallery are free, and so this is a cheap option if your travel money is sparse.

One of the main things that you will find when you visit Melbourne is the vibe in the city. Unlike Sydney, Melbourne has a unique, young atmosphere. The city is home to plenty of creative people, who live and work there. That means that there are always special events in the city that center on art and culture. You should look at some listings before planning your trip. Often the streets are home to festivals and markets, and so you should find out about them.

Darwin

Darwin is a strange land. That’s not to say it’s not a fantastic tourist destination, but it is odd. Much of Australia has moved forward in social and cultural terms. Darwin is quite old-fashioned in many ways. The city is at the heart of the Northern Territory. That means that the city is home to both Australians and indigenous people. In the city, you can almost touch the outback and on the outskirts of town, there is long grass. When you travel to Darwin, you should prepare yourself for a culture shock. The city is a mishmash of both modern and old attractions. On one street, you will find a host of modern bars and clubs, whilst on the next you might find the fringe of an aboriginal culture.

Planning a trip out into the wild is an intense thing to do. You won’t find the same home comforts in Darwin as you will in the rest of Australia. When you’re planning a trip like this one, you should make sure that you do a lot of research before you leave. Traveller.com.au has a lot of travel guides to help you choose your destination. Remember, the cheapest destination is not always the best. Loads of people adore Darwin, but if you go, you need to prepare yourself for a completely new culture.

Kangaroo Island

Just off the south coast of Australia, Kangaroo Island is a small haven. The island is home to some of the most-exotic animals in the world. Whilst on your trip, you may want to take a short visit to this island. Whilst the area is scenic, there are few things to do on the island itself. Once you have seen the creatures and relaxed on the beach for a day or two, you will begin to get bored with the place.

The island is best for lovers and newlyweds as it offers a secluded vacation with few distractions. There are plenty of wildlife tours and wine tasting events to keep couple’s busy during the daytime. When the light fades, though, there is nothing but great food to entertain you. If you decide to visit the island, make sure you research events in the area. Throughout the year, the island is home to plenty events, such as the Art Fest in October. Going during event times will mean that there is more to do and see on the island while you are there.

Australian Sports That Are Guaranteed To Leave You Breathless

Booking an Australian holiday could be the best thing you ever do. While flight times might be a little daunting from the UK or European countries, you’re certain to have a fantastic time. It’s often planning activities that people struggle with most. For that reason, we have chosen to release a post this morning that highlights some of the best Australian sports that are guaranteed to leave you breathless. While you will want to engage in a spot of sightseeing, it’s the activities you’ll find most-enjoyable. With that in mind, we ask that you read through all our suggestions before arranging your schedule.

There are lots of guides online that tell you about the best cities to visit, but very few of them discuss the wide range of sporting endeavours on offer. Considering that, you should try at least one of the activities listed below. We guarantee you will love them. If nothing else, doing so will help to create memories that last for a lifetime.

Canoeing

As Australia is a huge island, you’ll find impressive coastlines around most of the locations you might visit. Canoeing is big in this country for that reason. Even so, you could book an experience on one of the many rivers and waterways too. This sport is perfect for working on your upper body strength, and it is more than suitable for children. Just search online to find a good water sports insurance provider before you leave home. The last thing you want is to clear your bank account out to pay for medical bills during your trip.

Rock climbing

If you decide to travel inland, you’ll find lots of cool activities to suit any taste. Rock climbing is incredibly popular in the outback. To get there, you’ll have to arrange a guided tour or hire a car. That said, there are probably a few places you can do this by the coast too. Again, rock climbing is ideal for working on your upper body strength, and it could result in you seeing the country from a completely new perspective. Just make sure you wear all the necessary safety equipment and listen to your instructors.

Surfing

While Americans are quite big on surfing, it is Australian residents who started the sport many years ago. There are some fantastic waves around the coast of Australia, and so riding them can be exceptionally thrilling. Of course, you’re going to need the help of professionals if you’ve never been involved with this sport in the past. Still, you should be at a suitable level within a couple of hours with an instructor. Once you reach that point, you can go out on the waves without their assistance. If you’re not a strong swimmer, this probably isn’t for you.

We sincerely wish you all the best on your trip to Australia and hope you make it back home in one piece. While some people think engaging in sports abroad is a bad idea, so long as you’re careful, everything will be fine.

Thanks for reading!

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