Showing posts with label mcraytonphoto. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mcraytonphoto. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

The NYC Traveler: Staycation Projects

 Staycation Projects 




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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. At no cost to you, I will earn commission if you shop through our links.


The COVID-19 2019-2020 pandemic crisis required folks worldwide to quarantine at home for weeks, sometimes months. All of a sudden, despite businesses and academic institutions requiring us to work from home, we actually had some time on our hands. We can now do all of those projects "we always wanted to do, if we had the time."


1. Learn a new language. Whether travel resumes full time in the near future or just for personal achievement, it's always cool to be able to say a few words in another tongue. Our personal favorite is Pimsleur. Although they now offer subscriptions like other companies, such as Babbel and Rosetta Stone, they still offer MP3 downloads so that you can own the course permanently.

Indira Ghandi Airport, India


2. Get in shape. While we were reacquainting ourselves with our kitchens and gyms were closed, we realized that we had to figure out exercising on our own. You'll want to look good when you get back to the beach. Apps such as Nike, Adidas, Strava, My Fitness Pal and about a thousand others have lessons, coaches and even virtual competitions. Lace up and go.


Jamaica, West Indies


3. Become a gourmet. Look like an expert when you resume fine dining. Practice at home. Cooking shows abound but you can start with the Cooking Channel or the Food Network. Of course, there are many apps, check out with Yum,  Epicurious and Allrecipes. You might need some equipment. Shop our favorites here.


Creme Brulee in Paris, France


4. Become an artist. Travel art is more than sunset photos. Post and/or sell your artwork on Shutterstock (photography), Soundcloud (music), Etsy (artistic creations), Wattpad (writing),  Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. Want to learn something? Try TakeLessons. For kids, try DIY.org

Greece


5. Discover your home again. If you really miss traveling and staying at resorts and hotels, bring a little bit of it home with you. When hotels upgrade, they sell their stuff to liquidators: Hotel Liquidators and Resort Furniture Liquidators are just two.


Grace Bay Resort, Turks and Caicos


Photos and text copyright by Marcia Crayton, 2020, All Rights Reserved


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

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

Scroll down to the very bottom and click the social media icons to share this article. Happy Travels!

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.


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Cycling and Traveling: Things to do

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 This review is my personal opinion. I am not paid by anyone. I am an Amazon Associate. at no extra cost to you, if you shop through our links, I will earn commission.

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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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.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

5 Things to do in Universal Studios Orlando


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

5 Things To Do in Universal Studios, Florida

There are three theme parks at Universal Orlando Resort: Universal's Islands of Adventure, the new Universal's Volcano Bay (water park) and Universal Studios Florida. Enjoy a walk through Hollywood and check out 5 highlights in the Studios side of the resort:



Universal Studios, Florida (editorial use only)

1. Enjoy the Hollywood "sets." Universal has retained it's Hollywood theme and will make you feel like you're on a movie set. The attractions are more or less related to movies or TV shows. Although some favorites are gone (the "I Love Lucy" exhibit and the "Back to the Future" ride), the characters make appearances. Look for Doc Brown.


Universal Studios Florida: The Blues Brothers Show (editorial use only)

2. Be part of a movie or TV show. Race through NYC with Jimmy Fallon or join a street part featuring performances by the Blues Brothers cast (not the original, f course). Or, you just might see Marilyn Monroe!


Homage to Jebediah Simpson (editorial use only)

3. The "Back to the Future" ride may be gone, but in its place you can see two of the vehicles. Visit Springfield, the home of the Simpsons, which replaced BTTF. You'll feel like you stepped into the series as you stroll through the area. The anchor feature is The Simpsons Ride, a simulator experience. 

Gringotts Bank in Diagon Alley (editorial use only)

4. Visit Diagon Alley. You don't have to be a Harry Potter fan to be awed. Shop, eat or ride the Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts (the walk through the bank alone will have your jaw dropping). Do like everyone else and block traffic waiting for the dragon to spew fire from the top of the Gringotts building. For you old-timers, this area took the place of the old "Jaws" attraction. (If you have a park-to-park ticket, ride the train to Islands of Adventure and disembark in Hogsmeade.)


E.T. Adventure in Universal Studios


5. Be a kid again and ride the E. T. Adventure. You board "bikes" and fly to E.T.'s planet. As you walk through the queue line, relive aspects of the movie to prepare for your trip.



You'll feel like you're on the backlot of the actual movie set at Universal Studios Florida (editorial use only)



Check out 5 more things to do in Universal, Florida! Happy Travels!




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.

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.