Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

Travel Blog Highlght - Walking Off The Big Apple

March 25th, 2010

Planning a trip to New York this year? Perhaps you’re in town on business and have a few extra hours to enjoy the town between conference session? Walking Off The Big Apple is the perfect companion for your needs. The blog is a compendium of things to do when you’re in New York City. It features many self-guided walks are broken down by area and interest. You’ll also discover very useful tips for getting around, museum openings, and by neighborhood.

This weeks stories include a trip to the Met for Dmitri Shostakovich’s The Nose, a stroll around the recently enlivened Petrosino Square, and a look at some of the city’s best spring time fun.

Walking Off The Big Apple is written by Teri Tynes, a freelance journalist. You can also find her on Twitter as @TeriTynes.

JFrost Travel Guide , , , , , ,

Travel Craft

March 22nd, 2010

I spent much of this weekend trolling the world of hand made crafts on Etsy.com looking for a perfect gift for someone. Along the way I discovered these perfect travel related items I couldn’t wait to share with you here.

How cute are these Compass Cufflinks by westergard11. They actually work, so even if you’re dressed up for some fun in a strange town, you won’t get lost.

Etsy travel craft - compass cuffs

Cufflinks not your thing? birdzNbeez’s shop has a compass set in a ring or a pendant. They’re functional too.

Traveling with children? Then you know how important it is to keep them entertained during those long flights or rides. Stow away one of these Tri-Fold Crayon Wallet’s from GetSassed and you’ll be rewarded with hours of quiet from the little ones. Best thing of all, this is totally machine washable, unlike the back of your car seat, so choose your crayons carefully.

Etsy travel craft - toddler traveler crayon wallet

If your kid is more at home with chalk instead of crayon, the Travel Doodler ChalkMat is a thing of beauty. Your kid can draw and erase until their heart is content with this clever earth-friendly item.

Etsy travel craft - traveler chalk mat

Finally, I really liked this Passport Wallet from interrobang made out of recycled seatbelt webbing. It has no metal or magnets, so you can keep it in your pockets when passing through airport security. Perfect for those documents you want to protect.

Etsy travel craft - Passport Seatbelt Wallet

JFrost shopping , , , , , ,

Paris Shopping by Neighborhood

March 12th, 2010

Shopping in Paris

Surprising a lot of people, Paris is a top destination for Spring Break this year. If you’re on your way for spring break or any other season, you may want to map out your shopping strategy in advance. Paris is broken into neighborhoods or as they call them arrondissements. Each has a unique character, special restaurants, and shopping. But there are a few that are clearly the best:

1st Arrondissement — Where the 1st arrondissements meets the 8th on Paris’s Right Bank is where you’ll find the best shopping strip. This fertile hunting ground includes the rue du Faubourg St-Honoré, home of the big designer houses, and the Champs-Elysées, which has seen changes over the years, but it still the place to be seen. If you are near the Palais Royal, you’ll find a jewel of a collection of boutique shops around the garden areas of the palace.

2nd Arrondissement — Located near the Palais Royal you can find the Garment District, which features amazing clothing bargains and some other unique shops. There is also a small collection of streets that are now closed to vehicle traffic and covered in glass. The Passage de Grand Cerf, between 145 rue St-Denis and 10 rue Dussoubs, is a place of amazement. From hipi retro stores to Asian-themed shops you’re bound to find something that pleases. Plus don’t pass up on the food stalls.

3rd Arrondissement — Home to the Musee Picasso this neighborhood is a great place to find street art, particularly stencil graffiti, sprinkled on building walls and inside doorways. The upper Marais area, down near the 4th arrondissement features a large number of men’s clothing stores. Also look for the rue des Francs-Bourgeois, which is open on Sundays, a rarity in Paris. It features trendy fashion boutiques and outdoor dining opportunities.

4th Arrondissement — This is the neighborhood for lovers of art and food. Both the Pompidou Centre and the Bastille district are settings for up-and-coming artists and galleries, not to mention street performers. You will also find the Marche aux Fleurs et Marche aux Oiseaux (the Flower and Bird markets) just on the north side of the Ile de la Cite.

Shakespeare and Co

5th Arrondissement — Part of the Latin Quarter, it’s also home to many of the cities educational and research establishments, like the Sorbonne. This means you’ll find plenty of budget shopping, apropos for someone living on a student’s budget. My favorite joint in the whole town is the eccentric and electric book store Shakespeare and Co., which you’ll find right down beside the Siene. For the young, and the young at heart, visit l’Epee de bois (the Wooden Sword) on the street of the same name.

9th Arrondissement — Home to many of the city’s big department stores, including Printemps flagship store. The 9th is defined by the Paris Opera house, railway stations, and luxury hotels, but don’t pass up the Passage du Havre. This old shopping arcade has its history in fish shops and transportation, but the modern incarnation is a beautiful mall. Enter on the Rue de Caumartin and experience the modern Paris shopping experience.

Photo Credits:

Haussman Boulevard & Printemps store / CC BY 2.0

Shakespeare and Co. / CC BY 2.0

JFrost Travel Guide , , , , ,

Carnival Glory returns from multi-million dollar upgrade

March 1st, 2010

Adults-only Serenity Deck on Carnival Glory
Adults-only Serenity Deck on Carnival Glory is one new feature.

One of the most popular cruises departing from Miami, FL just received a huge upgrade of modern luxury, internet availability, and calm serenity for Eastern and Western Caribbean fun. The Carnival Glory has resumed service following a multi-million-dollar renovation that added a host of new facilities and features, including a Serenity adults-only retreat, a 270-square-foot Seaside Theatre poolside LED screen, and a Circle “C” facility for 12- to 14- year olds.

Eighteen new balconies were also incorporated onto existing ocean view staterooms and a new Mongolian wok venue was added to the casual poolside restaurant. Bow-to-stern Wi-Fi access was added, as well.

From February to May, the 2,974-passenger Carnival Glory operates seasonal seven-day cruises from Miami, alternating weekly to the eastern and western Caribbean. Seven-day eastern Caribbean cruises visit Half Moon Cay, St. Thomas, San Juan and Grand Turk, while the western route features Grand Cayman, Isla Roatan, Belize and Cozumel.

The ship will then be deployed to New York where it will offer a series of four- and five-day Atlantic Canada voyages from June 6 – September 6, 2010, followed by a series of seven-day Canada/New England cruises, from September 11 – October 9.

“We are constantly looking for ways to improve and expand our product to deliver fun and memorable vacations to our guests while at the same time offering exceptional value,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival’s president and CEO. “The new Seaside Theatre, adults-only area and Circle ‘C’ facility, which are all available to our guests on a complimentary basis, serve to enhance an already terrific, value-packed vacation choice,” he added.

Great details of the changes below the jump:

Read more…

JFrost Cruises , , , , , ,

Travel Savings abound when planning Last Minute Travel

February 15th, 2010

Jason Rich of the New York Daily News writes about how you can still save big on your vacation even if you’re making last minute travel plans. He advises you to be flexible on your dates and airport. Often a change to a nearby airport or a departure a few hours earlier or later will save you big bucks.

If you can be flexible on your accommodation you can find big savings as well:

“By keeping the name of the hotel, for example, quiet until after you book, we are able to offer incredible discounts,” said Lauren Volcheff, vice president of marketing at LastMinuteTravel.com. “We do, however, provide everything else you need to know before booking, including available dates, a detailed description of the hotel, price, a star-rating and its location. All that’s missing is the actual name of the hotel or resort.”

I would also add to be sure to keep an eye out for specials. For instance, extending your stay by just one more night may save you a lot on travel. Of course, we’re happy that Jason thought of LastMinuteTravel.com when considering price savings for travel.

JFrost Tips, Travel ,

Foreign Travelers Flood Orlando Airport

February 9th, 2010

There has been much worrying going on in the tourism industry that new visa regulations and TSA checkpoints would dampen the spirit of international travelers resulting in fewer visits to the United States. But at least at the Orlando International Airport that hasn’t been the case. In fact, OIA reported a record year for international passengers in 2009. It seems the pull of Orlando’s attractions and resorts is too great.

Visitors from the United Kingdom accounted for the largest group with over 567,000 flying into the airport, Canadians were a respectible second with 384,000 passengers. The total number was over 2.97 million which broke the record set in 1993. In fact, the British, Canadian, and other nationalities accounted for a 10.8 percent increase from 2008.

“With new and expanded international service that created a double-digit increase in international passengers, and the completion of the major components of the refurbishment and expansion of the two original airside buildings, 2009 was a significant year in our operations” Executive Director Steve Gardner said.

With more airlines adding more flights to Orlando, 2010 is shaping up to be another record year. How about you? Do your plans bring you to Orlando anytime soon?

Photo Credit: Flickr user Hyku via CC 2.0

JFrost Travel , , , ,

Orlando - Travel Like A Local

February 2nd, 2010

Websites where most of the content is user generated, like Yelp.com, Citysearch.com, Chowhound.com, are all good for getting several opinions about a restaurant, nightlife, shopping, etc., but these sites don’t ensure a local experience. As an Orlando local, I use sites like those to plan vacations – not to plan my Saturday in Orlando. Instead, if you want to paint your next trip to Orlando with a non-touristy brush, head to sites that locals actually use.

Here are a few of my suggestions:

  • Metromix: This site covers multiple cities with the claim, “Your one-stop local entertainment guide on where to go and what to do, from the hottest restaurants and bars, to the latest in music, movies, and entertainment.”
  • Convention & Visitors Bureau Websites: This seems like the ultimate “Don’t” when you are trying to have a local experience, but when I want to mix things up, I head to my Orlando CVB’s site- they usually feature activities that I wouldn’t immediately think of and feature events in areas of the city I don’t frequent. Bottom line – the people maintaining and updating these sites live in that city – they are locals.
  • Restaurant.com: Here you can get “gift certificates” (more like coupons) worth $10, $25, $50 for a fraction of the price. Be sure to read the restrictions of each coupon. Sign up for their emails and you will never pay over $2. This won’t tell you which restaurants are local favorites, but it will save you some money.

Orlando specifically
It’s easy to tell you where the locals hang out, but I prefer to share local resources– you know the “teach a man to fish” saying. You can either check out their websites, or follow them on Facebook in the weeks leading up to your trip – you can always de-friend when you get back

ScottJosephOrlando.com: a guide to Orlando restaurants from someone who is paid to know. Scott Joseph is the former restaurant critic for the Orlando Sentinel. He’s since hung out his own shingle and hosts an active forum with news you can use about the Orlando dining scene.

Guyswithties.org: This philanthropic organization has chapters in 3 cities: Jacksonville, Orlando and Charlotte. They run everything from happy hours to full out parties. Most events require a donation, cash or toy, etc to enter. Some highlights include The Disco Ball, Annual White Party, Costumes for a Cause.

OrlandoEventSeries.com: This site host events around Orlando most of which raise money for charity. They have run everything from Wine-Walks, to Casino Nights, to an annual Bachelorette/Bachelor Action auction – all for charity. Typically these events have an upfront cost, $20 gets you a free drink and raffle ticket.

OTownHappyHour.com: Promotes special events in conjunction with local bars and restaurants. Typically, there is no cover or cost for OTown events – instead each event offers discounted drinks and food. Most recently the site is promoting a happy hour with a free buffet and drink specials.

I hope next time you’re in Orlando you take some time to escape the theme parks and see The City Beautiful like a local does. I’ll see you there.

lvolcheff Destinations , , , , ,

Apple’s iPad - A Game Changer for Travel?

January 29th, 2010

Apple’s iPad is the innovative company’s latest attempt to fill a gap in our modern lives, even if we didn’t know that gap even existed. It will finally transfer media consumption from the home office computer and into the living room for millions of families. Then, when you’re on vacation, you’ll be able to bring that same device with you to lighten the load and open up more doors to knowledge than ever before.

As it exists in this initial version, the real potential for the iPad would seem to be as an interactive replacement for paper guidebooks. No need to lug one around for each country you plan to visit, just upload the latest copy with the latest peer reviews onto the device overnight and away you go in the morning. Sync everything up to Google Maps and you find exactly where you are in relation to that highly recommended restaurant with suggested walking routes to get there. Since the iPad weights less than two pounds, your back will thank you.

If you have to travel long distances, the iPad will function as your on-board entertainment device. Watch your favorite films or download art and music from artists who live where you’ll be visiting. Want to get some feeling of the local flair? Then have the iPad auto translate the local newspaper website on the fly.

The iPad has the potential to become your child’s all-in-one learning device. Even when on vacation, they’ll be able to get assignments from school, interact with the teacher, and submit homework for grading from the device. This will make it easier to go off and learn things about the world without feeling guilty about missing a couple of school days.

With iWork and similar applications you will be able to download photos off your camera, organize and edit them while you’re on the road. With iBook you can have all your favorite reading material with you, not to mention the NY Times and a load of magazines.

There are a lot of great application possibilities that will not be realized until the iPad adds a forward facing camera. The augmented reality features available for iPhones and similar mobile device are already making choices easier for travelers, but imagine that with more screen real estate. Point the iPad at a ruined fortress and you’ll see what it looked like at the height of its power on the screen. Point at a restaurant and see tonights menu along with reviews and maybe coupons.

Another great ability would be to take a picture of some writing, say on a map or sign, in a foreign language and have it translated on the spot for you. You never have to worry you’re not getting all the details ever again.

So, will the iPad change the way we travel forever? Probably not. However, it is proof of concept for devices that could.

JFrost Technology , , , ,

100 New Brand Name Hotels To Open in 2010, Good News for Travelers

January 26th, 2010

2009 saw many hotel companies open new properties or relaunch remodeled ones. With more than 100 hotels from major brands scheduled to open across the United States, 2010 looks to be an even stronger year for openings. For the traveler this is good news as a surplus of room inventory will keep prices down. That’s not such a good thing for the hotels. So why would they want to open so many hotels right now?

The answer, according to Mark Lomanno, president of Smith Travel Research, is that “hotel building cycles rarely mesh just right with economic cycles.” Planning a new hotel can take two to four years, and construction an additional one to four years. Most of the hotels getting ready to open were on the drawing boards several years ago, when the economy was healthy, demand for rooms was strong and room rates were rising quickly.

Of course, the opposite will also be true. Not a lot of hotels are being planned during the recession. So everything should start to balance out in three to four years. But in the meantime, now is your chance to get out there and experience some amazing savings as these new hotels fight for market share.

Where to go? The article in the NY Times says that the largest portion of the hotels, nearly half, will be opening in the New York area with another 30 opening in Houston. Other cities with large expansion include Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, and Washington DC. Popular family destination Orlando experienced large growth in 2009, so don’t forget them either.

JFrost Destinations, Hotels , , , ,

A Very Cool Tool for Business Travelers

February 7th, 2008

I am sure this tool isn’t the right thing for everybody but still, since it is all about sharing and I personally like it so much…

I am using the Blackberry Smart phone for many years but only lately I installed Worldmate live. It is very important to mention, the tool isn’t just for Blackberry, it is working on any smart phone. What this tool gives you is the option to manage all your travel needs in one place.

  • Itineraries - I have all my itineraries on my Blackberry and then just few hours before the flight Worldmate checks for the flight status online.
  • Flight Status - You can very easily check for any other flight status too (regardless if it is in your itinerary or not). I was just driving with my boss few hours before he had to take off and he said that his flight was at 23:00. I just opened Worldmate to verify and see that there are no delays. Surprisingly we found out that the flight actually takes off on 22:15. I literally saved him a lost flight.
  • Weather - Additionally, it includes a weather forecast tool for any city you choose.
  • Clocks around the world
  • Currency conversion

Here is a quick clip i found on Youtube that shows how it works.

And if you didnt get the point here is a real cool clip…

Oren Hadar Tips, Travel, Travel Guide , , ,