Showing posts with label day trip. Show all posts
Showing posts with label day trip. Show all posts

Friday, October 12, 2018

The NYC Traveler: A Big Apple Summer

A BIG APPLE SUMMER:
WHAT TO DO IN NEW YORK CITY



Summertime in the Big Apple

New Yorkers tend to be divided into two camps for touring their hometown: those who do and those who don't (and may not know how). If you find that you have to spend part or all of the summer in the Big Apple, check out these tips:

1. NYC Residents: Get NYC identification. There are many benefits, such as discounted annual museum memberships, entertainment tickets and park department membership discounts. There are also several companies that sell combo passes for multiple attractions. Click here for a list.




2. Get around town with public transportation. There are car services, but the best deal in town is still the MTA. Most residents already have the current way to pay, a MetroCard. There is a new system coming, OMNY. Check out the website to make sure that you have the one that suits your needs. Street Smart: Only buy a metro card from an official machine or at a ticket booth. Do not buy from anyone who approaches you at a station or on the street.




3. Ask a New Yorker if they have been to the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building and it is a good bet they may say no. So, New Yorkers, act like a tourist and take a look at the Official Guide to New York. You can pick up the print version in Grand Central or Penn Station or in the Times Square Information center



4. All of the NYC parks have summer activities. As per current COVID-19 restrictions, some annual events are not occurring but the parks are open. Grab a bicycle, and choose a borough (or two) to explore. Get the app or check out the calendar.



5. Explore memberships at the museums, gardens and zoos. Along with admission, you get discounts on dining, shopping and first peeks at new events and exhibits. Museums have too many works to display, so exhibits are changing constantly. Plus, they sponsor great events such as concerts, lectures Here are some of the more popular museums:





All photos and text copyright Marcia Crayton, All Rights Reserved, 2020

Follow our other blog: The NYC Dis Traveler for your theme park updates

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Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 if the copyright act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

This article is my personal opinion based on my personal travel. I currently do not receive any compensation from the travel industry. However, I am an Amazon Associate.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Cruising 101 Part 5: Plan Your Own Excursions

10 tips for Planning Your Own Cruise Excursion



This information is based on my personal experiences and research. I currently do not receive amenities. 
I am an Amazon Associate.






If you are first time cruiser, you may get sticker shock when you see what is not included in your fare and how much extras cost. (see our article here). Activities that you do while in port are generally called excursions. Cruise lines charge extra for excursions and you may be led to believe that they are mandatory. Check out my tips below.






Bonus tip: You don’t have to get off the ship! Check out the newsletter for the day and enjoy the peace and quiet, along with available deck chairs at the pool.



Extra bonus tip: Be aware of how much time you have. If you have a long time (6 hours or more), get off and explore the town, come back to the ship to eat lunch and then get off again to catch a cab to a great free public beach.



Here are my top tips:


1. You do not have to buy the ship’s excursions but there are some advantages: they have already researched reputable and reliable companies; they're guaranteed not to leave you behind (the ship will wait for you); it’s easier for the more exotic day trips, like parasailing, zip-lining and ATVs.



Queen Elizabeth Botanic Park, Grand Cayman

    2. Stop at the port information desk when you disembark. They have maps and brochures. They will also guide you to the more reliable excursion vendors. 






     3. Explore your options about ports before your cruise (don’t waste precious data while onboard if you bought the internet package). Travel guidebooks that combine several ports in one book are economical (hard copy or electronic) and are also a wealth of information. 



Firo, Santorini, Greece

    4. Don’t be afraid to rent a car and explore. Check with your insurance company to see if you are covered. Stick with well-known companies and reserve before you set sail. Don’t waste your mobile phone data using the GPS, use a map, the rental companies will give you one. See more information here.



Don't forget to gas up before returning the car. You may need local currency, since swiping a credit card at a pump may not be wise.


    5. The above tip being said, be aware of which countries drive English style and which drive American style. Sometimes you get a right-hand drive car, sometimes not. Don't worry, you will get the hang of it.

Barbados lets you know right up front about the taxi fares

     6. For the less adventurous, many places have public transportation. When a ship is in port, buses might be available when you dock. Tell the driver where you want to go and when you need to be back onboard. He or she will tell you what time you should catch the bus back. Take an earlier bus just to be safe (remember the tip about getting left behind).



Hiring a van for a group can be more economical: they'll give you a tour and take you to a local beach. Settle on the price before you get in and make sure they will return for you.


      7. For the less ambitious, a cab will take you to a location and will pick you up at an agreed time. Get a price before you get in, don’t be afraid to bargain. A cab to a beach will probably run you half of the price of the cruise excursion price. 


Local public ferry in Venice, Italy

     8. You can arrange your own excursion with a company in advance from home. However, do your research. And be careful of trusting the reviews. 

The Butterfly Farm in Saint Martin

      9. Some sightseeing that you can do on your own are museums, shopping, public beaches (the local cabbies will know which ones are safe for tourists), or even day passes at resorts (Atlantis, for example). 

Save money and catch a cab to Dunn's River, Ocho Rios, Jamaica


      10. The more you visit a port, the more familiar and safer you will feel. Talk to experienced cruisers. Many haven’t bought an excursion in years, yet they have explored everywhere.



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All photos and text copyright Marcia Crayton, All Rights Reserved, 2020

Disclaimer

Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 if the copyright act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Intro to...Paris: Giverny - Monet's House

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Traveling to New York State


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5 TIPS TO KNOW WHEN VISITING GIVERNY, FRANCE: 

The Gardens and House of artist Claude Monet






View of the house from the Gardens (editorial use)

1. Visiting the Gardens is usually tourists' main objective. But try to visit the house. It helps to make the visit to Giverny complete. Buy a combo ticket and plan to stay in Giverny for the day. Finish up with the Musee des Impressionmisme down the street.



2. Visiting the house also makes you feel like you are getting to know Monet personally. Studying the art is one thing (always an insight to an artist's soul). See where he lived makes it intimate.



3. Even if you're not into art, you'll love the architecture and the era of the house. Monet loved Giverny and lived there from 1883 until he died in 1926. It seems as if the past and present are in the house at the same time, even almost 100 years later.



4. You may feel inspired to create. Monet helped to inspire the Giverny Colony of impressionist artists who started living there circa 1887. If you're a beginner, the gift shop will help you get started. You can also take home a little bit of Monet with you in many forms from socks to umbrellas.



5. The house and gardens were declared public in 1980 after extensive renovations and the creation of The Foundation Claude Monet. You can walk around on your own or take a guided tour.


The Gardens from the House: a view to be envied


For more information: The Foundation Claude Monet

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Purchase our fine art, decor or stock photos on ShutterstockImageKind, mcraytonphoto.comiStock by Getty Images, Etsy, Zenfolio and Dreamstime.


Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 if the copyright act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Cycling and Traveling: Things to do

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On the Road With Your Bicycles



Copyright Marcia Crayton

(Note: this blog entry is about traveling with your bicycles. Some people go from city to city or state to state by bicycle. We haven't done that...yet!)

You've probably seen travelers hauling anything and everything to enhance their vacation. What I see most often are bicycles. There's nothing like having your own bicycle with you, if possible. I've brought mine from Maine to Florida, literally up and down I-95. 

So, if you're new to cycling or if you're new to traveling with your bicycles, here's what you may need to know:


Traveling with your bicycles. Copyright Marcia Crayton


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1. Consider your travel lifestyle when you purchase a bike. Also, consider where you go the most: off-road (gravel), road, mountain and even on sand. Be mindful of the weight of your bicycle, you may have to haul it up stairs. Know how to maintain and make minor repairs: the chain, rust-proofing, changing a tire. 

Hitch Bike Rack

2. Protect your vehicle. Get the bike rack that's best for your car that you can afford. The bike racks that attach to car trunks can be complicated and may damage your paint if you're not careful. If it goes into a hitch, you should be able to lock your rack to your car. Consider racks that swing down (to access the trunk area) or swing away (the entire assembly, bikes and all, can swing like a door) so that you can load and unload the car without taking the bikes off.  Make sure you lock your bikes to each other and to the rack.


Sightseeing with your bicycle. Copyright Marcia Crayton

3. Remember that it rains on the road. Your bikes will get wet. Covers are hard to find and hard to attach. They don't always stay on.


Remember to lock your bicycles. Copyright Marcia Crayton

4. Logistics: Consider your lodging and if you can bring your bikes in or if they will stay on your vehicle the entire trip. This means you're hauling them everywhere: to eat, shop and sightsee. Investigate parking. Some parking garages are tight. (If you have cargo on top, you have to be able to have clearance or be able to remove the cargo, not always easy or practical).



Map out your trip. Copyright Marcia Crayton

5. Stop at the visitors center and get information for bike routes and trails. Also, there are apps that will give directions by bicycle. Cycling on vacation is sightseeing on wheels.  Don't forget your clothing, helmets, gloves, lights, bells and any bags or gear, backpack beach chairs, saddlebags, etc.

Booking.com

So, mount up, and enjoy!


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Purchase our fine art, decor or stock photos on ShutterstockImageKind, mcraytonphoto.comiStock by Getty Images, Etsy, Zenfolio and Dreamstime.


Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 if the copyright act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Intro to...Cruising to Alaska

                                                

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Cruising to Alaska


For a quick introduction to a region, country or state, a great alternative to doing it yourself is an organized tour or cruise. It allows you to literally sit back and enjoy the view while someone else arranges, organizes and worries about the details. You can get information that will make a later trip a whole lot easier to plan (don't forget to take business cards or pamphlets).






Ruby Princess

How: Taking a cruise can be more economical. Flying is a great option to see Alaska but it can be expensive if you want to see more than one city or region. A road trip would be complicated, if not impossible (for example, Juneau is initially accessible only by ship or ferry).  For the extreme adventurer, there are other ways to explore Alaska because a cruise will only get you to certain areas. Popular cities such as Anchorage may be part of a combo package (cruise and land tour). 





Which cruise line: Options are Princess, Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. Other lines that sail (this list is not complete) are Disney, Holland America, Oceania, Regent Seven Seas, Crystal, Seabourn, Silversea (some cruise lines are owned by the same parent companies). A travel consultant will help you with all of your options.



How much: As usual, always do a little research or speak to a travel consultant before committing to a cruise line. If you have sailed before, you may want to stick with a familiar line. Make sure you know everything that is included in the price. Alaskan excursions can be expensive, especially to experience the major attractions. You could just tour the downtown areas of each port, but that will not give you the best experience. Saving on the cruise price will enable you to put your funds into the excursions so that you can truly see Alaska.



What to do: Excursions will vary in price and quality. Reading reviews on forums will give you some insight into the value and quality of activities. Always read them from the perspective of the reviewer, however. Some have an axe to grind and will rate a likable tour with a low score for minor issues such as the quality of the snack. A good travel consultant will be very helpful in this area, also.

Where: Itineraries may include (but are not limited to) Seattle, Ketchikan, the Inside Passage (which is not a true port, but a main reason for seeing Alaska for its natural beauty), Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. 



What to Know: Alaska is the largest state in the USA with less than one million people. According to the US Bureau of Land Management, the federal government owns about 65% of the land, creating millions of acres of national parks, forests and regions. The remoteness of most of the state limits a lot of the sightseeing. The state is very proud of its Native American heritage as evidenced by the totem poles, decor and souvenirs at each port. Approximately 15% of the population identifies itself as Native American. 



When: Cruises go from approximately April to September. I traveled in late July. If I did not think global warming was real before, I became a bonafide believer after this trip. Not only did we experience almost 80 degree weather in Skagway, we practically had to go up to the glacier's nose to see it. Any precipitation we experienced was rain. If I sailed again, I would choose May or June. Apparently, southern Alaska most definitely has a summer season.





Clothing: On board, choose casual cruise wear that's appropriate to the weather (it can range from the high of mid-70 degrees to a low of mid 40's Fahrenheit): jeans, layered clothing, outfits for formal night, etc. For excursions you will need waterproof shoes or boots; warm socks, a rain jacket; a hoodie or a vest; gloves; hat. 


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Purchase our fine art, decor or stock photos on ShutterstockImageKind, mcraytonphoto.comiStock by Getty Images, Etsy, Zenfolio and Dreamstime.


Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 if the copyright act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.