With all the benefits that travelling can give a person, it’s a shame not to take advantage of the chance to travel. Even with the upsurge in the price of fuels, travel agencies offer vacation packages that combine both comfort and affordability in one deal. This allows you to enjoy a place without the need to break the bank. There are lots of places that you can visit and there will always be options to suit your preference and budget. You have to keep in mind though that travelling requires a certain level of preparation. This will help face any travel snags and can protect your safety while on the road.
With the tough job market and record number of young people struggling to find jobs, it’s no longer an option to build some quality experience to woo potential employers. Traditional thinking dictates that locking down a corporate internship is the best way to pad your resume. However, for a growing number of employers and to-be employees alike, a nice alternative may be to hit the backpacking circuit.
Rio Las Vegas is certainly one of the unique attractions that set themselves apart from other hotels and are doing a very great job at it. Featuring quality spacious suites and luxurious amenities that add thrill and excitement for your gaming, dining and entertainment experience. With a carnival themed casino area extending to the pools of VooDoo Beach where guests can sit back and relax, a venue perfect for families, couples or individuals who can get enough of Las Vegas. Dine in italian elegance at Martorano’s which serves Rio Las Vegas guests simple, old-school Italian-American home cooking to hungry Las Vegas fine dining topped off with a ambiance setting, for seafood lovers they can head over to the Village Seafood Buffet or spice up your dining experience with authentic North Indian cuisine at the Royal India Bistro.
Rio Las Vegas Casino – enjoy your favorite games including blackjack, craps, roulette, baccarat and poker. Rio Las Vegas is also home to the World Series of Poker (WSOP) brand. Choose from an array of poker games (dealt by certified WSOP dealers) including Hold ‘Em, 7 Card Stud, Omaha and so much more.
Rooms and Suites:
Samba Suites – Featuring a 600-square-foot suite with patterned carpets in a stylish Samba theme, brushed chrome fixtures, a 32-inch flat screen television and upgraded bathrooms featuring granite counter tops and tile flooring. Room rates start at a $75 per night.
Deluxe Studio Suite – Featuring a spacious 600-square-foot suite with unique decor in each, Deluxe Studio Suite offers the choice between two queen beds or 1 king bed with mountain view features floor-to-ceiling windows, upgraded bathroom with tub/shower, workspace, sofa, 32″ TV with Pay-Per-View movies, in-room safe, iron/board, and hairdryer. Room rates start at $65 per night.
Premium Studio Suite – Featuring a splendid view of the Las Vegas Strip right from your window, the 600 square ft Premium Studio Suites offer choices between 2 queen beds or 1 king bed, floor to ceiling windows, sofa, 32″ TV with Pay-Per-View movies, mini bar, in-room safe, iron/board and hairdryer. Additional amenities include a workspace, beige decor, serta mattress, tub/shower, and furniture. Room rates start at $75 per night.
Rio Masquerade Suites – featuring elegantly appointed decor and a spacious 1600 square feet that features a breathtaking 180-degree view of the Strip and Mountain with 1 king bed. Additional amenities include a sofa, 32″ TV with Pay-Per-View movies, in-room safe, iron/board and hairdryer, workspace, serta mattress, tub/shower, jacuzzi and furniture.
Rio Cariocas Suites – featuring 1100 square feet of luxury with a warm, contemporary decor. This one bedroom king, one-and-a-half bathroom suite includes a Jacuzzi tub, double vanity, a separate living/dining area, and flat-screen TVs. Additional amenities include a workspace, view of the strip, bath products, tub/shower and comfortable furniture.
For more ideas and information on Las Vegas or other classic vacations, check specific travel sites that list last-minute deals and offer other tips.
When we think about travel, the first thing that would come into our minds is expenses. Traveling can be expensive especially when you are going to a place with a high cost of living and everything from food, accommodation to transportation is costly. It is easy to see the world when you have the money and it would be more enjoyable to travel in luxury and experience the good life. However, not all of us are rich and not all of us can afford a luxurious trip. There are situations wherein we need to travel and we need spend for our trip, but there are ways we can do to save money while traveling without compromising a comfortable and enjoyable trip especially when we have our family with us.
Our first choice for traveling is usually by plane but you can take a train instead. Trains are a great way to travel because they are usually less expensive than a plane. Trains are also less crowded which will give you and your family more room to breathe. If you have your children with you, be prepared to keep them occupied while you are on the road. The kids will enjoy the different views on the window side and if you are on a cabin, you can get them to play games to make them stay in one place.
You could also drive to your destination which is another way to save money. There are destinations that can be reached through a couple of days drive and this can be economical for those traveling with the family. If you have your own car, you can control your time and itinerary and you can bring stuffs needed by the family. However, you should never drive too fast as this can cause your car to use more fuel. It is better to stay on the appropriate speed especially when driving long distance. Driving to your destination is even efficient when you and your husband or wife take turns in driving so that you can rest in between and you wouldn’t have to stop over to sleep. This will save you the expense of paying for a room and get you to your destination sooner.
Another thing that you should not forget is to bring along some snacks since children are sure to get hungry during the trip. If you want to avoid frequent stops and prevent unnecessary spending, you should bring some snacks or something to nibble on. The worst thing that you would want to happen is when your kids get hungry and you have nothing to give them or there is no near place to buy. Bringing your own drinks and snacks will save you time and money when you or your kids get hungry or thirsty.
Traveling with the family can be memorable experience in your life and with a little planning and thought; you can make that memory a great one. You do not need to spend so much for a couple of day’s vacation because you can easily go for a simple trip and enjoy simple things as long as you are with the family.
Immerse yourself in Vegas and experience celebrity stardom at Planet Hollywood, the resort and casino features accommodations suited for a celebrity A-lister. Conveniently located in 3667 Las Vegas Blvd. S, Las Vegas, the place is widely recognized for featuring the brightest and biggest names in the industry to showcase their talents for guests to witness live. Aside from the entertainment, the hotel also makes sure their suites and rooms compliment what the resort is all about, live like a celebrity.
Rooms and Suites:
Hollywood Hip King – These spacious 450 square meter rooms feature multi-use Armoire furniture decorated with unique movie memorabilia. These one King bedded rooms feature Planet Hollywood Hip luxury bedding and Planet Hollywood Hip signature furnishings throughout to complete the celebrity experience. Room rates start at $62 per night which is a steal for those who want the best bang for their buck.
Mountain Luxury Room – These spacious 550 square meter rooms feature multi-use Armoire furniture decorated with unique movie memorabilia and relaxing Sheraton sweet sleeper beds. Aside from the convenient amenities, an extra 100 square feet of space is purposely designed to give guests a scenic view of the beautiful mountains. With room rates starting at $92 per night, you get more value for your spending.
Pet Stay Resort – These pet friendly rooms feature a hip style and comfort decor of a Deluxe room plus an additional 110 square feet with Carpeted Bathrooms and an Executive Workstation. The hotels PetStay Resort rooms come with a welcome treat and a dog food/water bowl. Room rates start at $182 per night.
Panorama Suites – Surround yourself in elegance in one of the stylishly appointed Panorama Suites. A unique scenic view of the city is a breathtaking experience inside the spacious 1255 square feet room. Suite amenities include a hip and modern design, two sofas, separate bedroom, 180 degree view of Strip.
Apex Suite – Mid-century modern, meets postmodern, meets sophisticated adult play room with everything you’ll find there and an additional 500 square feet to stretch out in. Every Apex Suite also boasts a scenic view of the Las Vegas Strip and a spacious 1900 square feet of room, additional amenities such as lounge Style Seating furniture and Hi-Bar Table.
Activities and Entertainment:
If you plan to live like a celebrity you might as well dine as one also at Koi, the Hollywood hotspot where Japanese tradition meets California innovation or Strip House, the critically acclaimed NYC-based steakhouse. On top of the Planet Hollywood Las Vegas is the Mezz, Gallery Nightclub and the PCD Burlesque Saloon are a star-studded one-two punch of glamorous nightlife. You can also discover the latest trends at the Miracle Mile Shops or socialize and sunbathe at the Pleasure Pool. After you’ve tried everything out, finish it off with a treat at the Mandara Spa.
There’s a popular trend in traveling nowadays and that’s – group travel. If you’re a very private person who wants some time alone or simply comfortable of going around on your own, you might want to consider changing your travel itineraries and try a new way to see the world. Many people nowadays are ditching the “loner” attitude and opening themselves to a new experience. There are many benefits in group travels which many of us may not have noticed yet and there are many travel facilities available in almost all cities around the world.
There are different types of group and the members are formed with your family, friends, colleagues, or according to your travel organizer. You can choose your own group members or you can simply let the organizers pick out the members and get surprised of the people going along with you. If you do not have a big social network and you are traveling alone, you can opt for group travel where you can enjoy maximize benefits. A usually group size is around 12-15 people, but you can start out with a smaller size around 8-10 people where it is easier to manage. Traveling alone can be dull and boring, and it’s always better to have some company that will make things livelier. You will have someone to talk to and share experiences with even if you don’t know them personally.
Going in groups is also cost-effective when you are going to travel destinations because a couple of you are sharing the expenses. A trip alone, with your partner or even with your immediate family will definitely mean a big travel budget as you are the one shouldering all the expenses. Of course you can’t let your wife or children pay for their own tickets and accommodation. However, if you are traveling in a group, the expenditure is shared equally by the group members. Having a bigger group could definitely lower the costs down, from transportation, accommodation even food.
Group travel is even a good way to maximize the experience as they are organized to go to a number of places within a specified time. The trip will function on a per the schedule basis which means that will where you will be during a given time. Being in a group is very helpful during emergencies as you will not be left alone and there will be someone who can support you along the way.
A group travel is not for everyone, but you can try to get along with people and enjoy the time. You can be in a big group or a small group, all to your own preferences and you should be open-minded on how the trip works. You can either hate the trip or love the time with your group, but it won’t hurt if you to mingle with other people as well. Sometimes we have to suppress the “loner” in us and try to open ourselves to an entirely different, but pleasant and memorable experience.
Going on an adventure travel trip is something that could excite any traveler especially when the destination is somewhere new and you have not been there before. Places like America or Europe is one big territory to travel around and there are various modes of transportation in whatever environment you choose. No matter what type of adventure you want to experience, like exploring far away mountain ranges or vast deserts on your power, these can be strenuous activities to travel on bare foot so you will need help in moving through the landscape.
Mass transit is the top choice for travelling in big groups as you can easily go from point A to point B for a much lesser fee. Flying commercially or booking bus trips is far by the most convenient means of public transportation especially when you’re under a budget or would want to get there on time without being disrupted. It would also add enthusiasm when you go to different stops, plus the kids will be enjoying as well. Major cities in the world have transportations hubs that are full of people, full of activities, full of different sightings and various ways to enjoy your travel.
If you are not a fan of public transportation, then you can drive a car for more convenience. The American roads are built to be travel friendly so you can easily drive to whichever destination. If you don’t have your own car, you can easily rent on to zip around in and it offers you great flexibility going on a road trip with all your preferences. Many travelers enjoy road trips especially when you have kids along who enjoy laying back, munching on their treats and singing some songs along the way. Another good thing about having traveling by car is that you could easily transform it to become additional camping apparel when you can go for a stop at local parks and enjoy a simple picnic with the family.
The riskier type of traveler would test their limits and travel through the water using boats. A boat journey is a sure winner in terms of experience but this option is not for everyone as it can be really difficult to sail when you have not well mastered the water. You can travel using makeshift rafts, modified rowboats or simple sailboats that can easily be maneuvered in the smaller bodies of water. However if you want to cross rivers and oceans, you should prepare for it by taking sailing classes and having a heavy-duty vessel equipped with a sailing crew for better navigation.
Of course there is still the typical walking or backpacking which is one of the oldest forms of transformation. Our two feet are our best travel buddies and they could take to us to different places. You can travel to different destinations all over the world and the experience is something not to miss out. If you are going up the mountains, your feet will be the only ones who could get you up there when there seems to be no other means of transportation. But aside from the options mentioned, there are still other ways to roam around the world and experience a one of a kind travel adventure.
Considered as one of the top travel destinations in the world, Paris is a city overflowing with culture, fashion and romance. A day is not enough to explore and savor the sights and sounds of the brimming city, from the famous Eiffel Tower to the Catacombs of Paris, immerse yourself in culture of the Musee du Louvre, The Pantheon and many more that should not be shortlisted.
The Eiffel Tower – This imposing iron monument was built between 1887 to 1889, designed by Gustave Eiffel from whom the tower was named after. Before it become a world famous attraction, it’s initial purpose was to mark the centennial of the French Revolution. Whether traveling with your family, on your own or in a group, always plan ahead, you can purchase your tickets online, the ticket office or book a guided tour through travel agencies. The Eiffel Tower has no shortage of shops, restaurants, and champagne bars which carries on to the top of the tower to keep your excitement fueled. You can get around by using the stairs or the lifts depending of the ticket you purchased.
Musee du Louvre – Also known as the Grand Louvre, an art museum which exhibits over thousands of works collected throughout history which include the Venus de Milo, Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, The Wedding Feast at Cana and many others. With 8 departments which cover an extensive array of historical periods and artistic genres, each represented through the museums exhibits. The place showcases masterpieces of historical art, sculptures and paintings from Egypt, Greece, the Roman times as well as modern times. When planning to visit, guided tours are best when traveling by group, audio guides are also offered, tickets can either be purchased online, at the museum itself or also offered at the places you stay at.
The Pantheon, Paris – A building in the Latin Quarter of Paris, originally built as a church dedicated to St. Genevieve but is now a famous resting place for historically famous french writers, poets and scientists such as Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Marie Curie . The Pantheon looks out over all of Paris offering a stunning view of the city, it’s architect Jacques-Germain Soufflot had the intention of combining the lightness and brightness of the gothic cathedral with classical principles.
With many more notables not mentioned for places to visit, Paris will surely quench your thirst for classic and modern art. Aside from culture, the city is also famous for it’s world fashion. When visiting Paris, consider booking your hotels in advance a priority to avoid overspending, Paris hotels can be somewhat heavy on the wallet however the experience is definitely worth the expense, with many other hotel choices on a budget, it all depends on the type of trip you are looking for. Some famous hotels include:
Hotel Le Bristol – conveniently located in the capital, the hotel provides exemplary service and refinement.Located on the elegant rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, in the heart of the fashion and arts, the hotel offers 188 rooms and suites, spacious and bright, decorated in pure XVIIIth style.
Jays Paris – A hotel which thrives to provide an original concept of luxurious hospitality in exquisite surroundings with spacious suites and elegant reception rooms. It is located in Paris’s Golden Triangle, an area which offers the very best in French lifestyle, close to the famous avenue des Champs Elysées and the Arc de Triomphe, Trocadero and the Eiffel Tower. Amenities include a bar/lounge, kitchenette, business centre, provides children activities and free Wi-fi.
Hotel Fouquet’s Barriere – Strategically located in the corner of Champs-Elysees and the George V Avenue, you are guaranteed to get the most out of your travel experience by being close to museums, cabarets, concert halls or fashion centres. Featuring spacious rooms and luxury bathrooms as well as featuring mosaics and mahogany designs. Amenities include a bar/lounge, fitness centre, restaurant, suites, business center, pet friendly location and a swimming pool to keep your excitement on a high even when you choose to stay inside the hotel.
If you are thinking about a new holiday experience for the family, then you should consider a travel destination to the woods or countryside. A backpacking camping trip is a wonderful idea for a new experience especially as one could get tired planning a usual beach vacation. However, not so many people are fans of the outdoors and could easily get discouraged by the preparations needed for the whole trip. Well, this should not be a problem as careful planning can provide to be absolutely fun. Aside from making preparations, you will also enjoy shopping and buying gears for the trip. This is a fun experience as you stroll along the camping store and purchase all the things you will bring for your camping adventure. Being with the family makes things more exciting, especially for your kids to be exposed in different settings.
There are many grounds to choose from and you have the freedom where to set-up your camp. A camping trip can have hassle free preparations as you do not really need to book any fancy accommodation from a hotel or inn, not unless the camping venue is filled with campers during the peak season. Backpacking in the woods or mountains can cause different reactions and emotions from your kids. If you are kids are well attached to their gadgets and life in the civilization, then you might expect them to freak out when you introduce the idea of spending a couple of days outdoors and they will be away from their comfort zones.
On the other hand, if your kids are adventurous, they would gladly entertain and prepare for a camping trip where they would sleep in a tent or in an open sky. Aside from the sleeping arrangements, your family will also enjoy eating outside on an open grill and you could cook your favorite grill recipes. If you want to fully experience the traditional way of camping, then setting up your own cooking station with wood and making your own fire is the way to go. However, if you want to make things easier, you could simply get a backpacking stove with nesting pans for cooking along with other camping equipment.
But before heading for an outdoor travel, it is it’s a great idea to first practice setting up the camping tent yourself in your backside of the house especially if this is the first time you attempting to camp. This is not to underestimate your skills but simply some sort of practice to make you familiar with the set-up and also to check everything is in order. There are different types of tents available varying from size to design and you have the freedom to choose one or a couple of them to bring along with you to accommodate the whole family. But always make sure to take extra sets of pegs along, as these are easily lost or forgotten.
If you are packing for a camping travel destination, make sure to list down everything you need while you are outdoors on the camping ground. You can pack the night before or a couple of days in advance so that you will not forget important items like sleeping bags, tents, torch, lanterns, toys for the kids and simple food to prepare outdoors.
The holidays are nearing and you certainly need to be doing some travel planning especially when you plan to travel with the family. People who are so fond of traveling really want to discover new travel destinations that will be worth spending their time on. There are so many travel destinations across the globe and you can easily get confused which to go for your upcoming trip. When you plan to be with the family especially with the extended family, you need to be making the right plans as you do not want to hear complaints every now and then from your wife, kids, and even your parents. However, it is not easy to choose the right destination as you must have various considerations. All over the globe, the best travel destinations will offer you different experiences. There are few basic things that need attention, if you are planning and if you have not yet decided a destination.
Your basic interests can easily determine the location like if you want to be on a hiking trip or experience the forest, then a countryside location will be ideal for you. On the other hand, if you love oceans, water, blue skies, you will be most likely to be at the beach. But aside from your interest, your finances will be a main factor to consider. Of course you cannot simply spend all your money on one trip so you need to be careful on how to plan for your family getaway. There are expensive destinations like London, New York, Las Vegas and countries in Europe from airfare, lodging to activities. If you are going with the family, you need to be a wise spender as expenses can arise anytime during the trip like when your kids go hungry and would want to eat, or you see some souvenirs you want to buy, or you have some emergencies to spend on. You can consider other affordable destinations like in Asia where you don’t need to spend much on traveling, lodging or shopping. The budget will also cover the number of days you plan to spend on your vacation starting from the time you leave the house and until the time you return. There are many destinations that can be enjoyed in a week’s time, but you could even spend more time than that in more adventurous location. It is essential to set forth a budget when planning a travel vacation to give you various options in destination.
It is also essential to plan you travel according to the company you have. It would be easier to plan a trip if you know the exact number of people coming along to decide on the fare, accommodation and activities. You need to consider the people coming along with you and the things that they would enjoy as you cannot simply ignore their presence. Of course you cannot just plan out for yourself as the trip will need to include the preferences of your company like if some wholesome adventure if you kids, nephews and nieces coming along.
However, if you still have problems deciding your travel destination, then you could simply seek the help of professionals as they have the expertise and the network of connections to give you the best resources for an awesome family vacation.
Las Vegas is a great place for a dedicated vacation or simply a long weekend getaway. While many people go to Las Vegas to gamble, you don’t have to be a big-time gambler to enjoy the area, although you can enjoy very low stakes gambling like slots or you can get into high stakes games. But there is so much to do in Vegas, like going to shows or playing golf, or just unwinding around the pool, That you will want to stay for several days or even a week at one of these fantastic hotels are resorts. There are so many hotels in Las Vegas to choose from, it will be very easy to find a hotel that meets your needs, has the right Rooms and amenities for everyone. If you choose two stay along the strip, you’ll find plenty of hotels with plenty of exciting activities either on site or nearby. Here’s a short list of hotels you may find interesting.
While the great thing about Las Vegas is that you can find really great hotel with lots of things to do for not a lot of money. You can find many really nice hotels and you would be amazed at the quality of them for under $100 a night. One such hotel is the Polo towers, which is a Diamond Resorts International destination hotel. For as little as $60.00 a night you can get a very nice room that features television writing desk and you’ll be able to enjoy the pool and work out facilities. If you’re interested in a suite that has dine in capabilities, there are rooms like that here, For not much more than $100 a night.
Another hotel of note is Caesars Palace, a very popular and trendy hotel. Many people come here just for the gambling facilities, which are superb. You would be amazed at how nice of a room you can get for around $100 a night. The lobby is something to behold, very spacious and opulent. The rooms are very nice, modern, and lavish and room service is great. The spa here is great – get a private room and your own masseuse and enjoy a nice hour of relaxation and rejuvenation. I also love the dining that is available here – very reasonable and tasty menus.
No trip would be complete without a stay at the Bellagio. This is a 5 star hotel and you would be amazed at the quality of room that you can get for around $200/night. Of course, you can spend a lot more, and get a suite which you could spread out or share, but either way you will have awesome accommodations at reasonable prices. That’s the beauty of Las Vegas! The following amenities are available at Bellagio: 24-hour front desk
· Air-conditioned public areas
· Total number of rooms – 3,933
· Audiovisual equipment
· Number of floors – 36
· Multiple small meeting rooms
· Multilingual staff
· Free parking
So book your best Vegas hotel now and enjoy the many great entertainment venues at Vegas!
If you’re visiting Canada then you’re likely to be travelling to Alberta. It is an incredibly rich and diverse province with much to offer. Whatever your reason for going, whether business, pleasure or a mixture of the two, this short article will be sure to add some extra spice to your trip. If you can, I’d suggest visiting all three cities. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
First on the list is Alberta’s largest city, Calgary. It is situated at the eastern end of the foothills that mark the end of the prairie. The city has one of Canada’s richest selection of restaurants and bars. The main central area has some fantastic steak houses. There is also some of the best shopping to be had in the country.
If you’re more of an activities-driven person then there’s the Glenmore Reservoir, perfect for water sports like skiing and sailing. There’s also numerous footpaths for rollerblading, cycling and walking. Calaway Park is western Canada’s biggest theme park and makes for an excellent day out. There is also a zoo, numerous spectator sports on throughout the year and an incredibly vibrant theatre scene.
Coming in second is the lovely Edmonton, Alberta’s capital. Edmonton is famous for its yearly festivals and if you can organize your trip to coincide with one of these then you won’t be disappointed. There’s far too many to list here. Amongst some of the most popular are the Fringe Theatre Festival, The Folk Music Festival and Heritage Days.
There are numerous outdoor recreation opportunities. In the Mill Creek area and around the river valley, it’s sometimes difficult to remember that you’re in a city. There’s also golf courses, casinos and a vibrant theatre and music scene. You can always go and watch the Edmonton Oilers play at home game too.
Next on the list is Red Deer, Alberta’s third largest city, there’s an entire host of events and activities to keep you occupied. Whether it’s for business or pleasure, any trip to this glorious city is sure to be an enjoyable, memorable one. If you’re an outdoors kind of person you’ll be spoilt for choice as you fill up your itinerary.
The central Waskasoo Park spans the city and contains over 50 miles of trails and spans the city. If you like hiking, then the nearby Aspen parkland is never far away. There’s also a ski resort, a recreation centre where you can go swimming and a sports arena that hosts numerous events throughout the year. Planning where you’re going to stay is also another important factor. There are hundreds of Red Deer hotels to choose from, regardless of budget.
Amongst the other attractions, you’ll probably also want to check out the Hall of Fame, the Gaetz bird sanctuary and the Red Deer museum.
You won’t regret taking the time to experience these wonderful cities. There’s activities to cater to every price range. If you need more budget ideas for Red Deer there are numerous online resources that you can have a look at.
The small island of Key West can be a welcome diversion from anyone’s vacation to Florida. Taking the long bridge over, it feels like you are entering another world. And in a sense you are. Key West is 129 miles away from Miami Herald of the open sea beyond. It is a port of call for many cruise lines. While it does have an airport, the long drive across the shallow ocean is worth taking.
Key West was first visited by Juan Ponce de Leon in 1521. It became a Spanish territory after that. Its original indigenous name was cayo hueso, which means, “bone cay.” It is said that the local tribes used it has a burial ground.
Key West is perhaps best known for the writers who made it their home and place of inspiration. Ernest Hemingway lived there with his wife Pauline. It was in Key West that he wrote some of his best works: Death in the Afternoon, For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, and The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber. He used Depression-era Key West as the setting for To Have and Have Not. His house on Key West still stands as a museum. It is known for the “Hemingway cats,” the polydactyl six-toed cats that the author loved. Tennessee Williams also lived and wrote in Key West. His first draft of A Streetcar Named Desire was written here. He loved it so much that he bought a house and stayed until his death, 40 years later.
So there is something mysterious and intriguing about Key West. It has something that attracts great writers. Could it be the large, sprawling banyan trees that wind their roots around rock and boulders? Or is it the shallow blue, sparkling ocean? Or is it the free-spirited culture of the town, so far away from meddling by state officials?
As far as food goes, there is really not much fine dining to compare to the mainland. But some of the seafood is exquisite. The fried conch is one of the best seafood dishes on the planet.
While Key West is known to have a buzzing nightlife, there is plenty to do with the family too. Here are some favorite attractions:
· Visit Tennessee Williams Theatre for performing arts
· Key West Botanical Forest and Garden
· Nancy Forrester’s Secret Garden
· The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum
· The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
· The Key West Lighthouse
· The Hemingway House
· The Studio of Key West Art Gallery
Throughout the year Key West has festivals and regattas that it has become well known for.
· Fantasy Fest – this is the wildest festival here and it lasts 10 days! There are many people just walking around with air brushed bodies, but there are also elaborate costumes, parades and floats. There are themed parties at the festival including a Western cowboy party, a hippie party and a burlesque show. This festival draws 10,000 people to Key West every year.
· Hemingway Day Festival – This festival includes a fun Ernest Hemingway look-a-like contest, a short story contest, a fishing tournament, and a fake running of the bulls.
· The Bight Before Christmas – is a 6-week celebration around the seaport. It features light, lights and more lights as well as parades and Christmas themed events.
So whether you visit during a quiet time or decide to brave the crowds and attend a festival, you will no doubt enjoy the unique character of Key West that Hemingway and Williams found so engaging.
These days with terms like eco-friendly and “green” being thrown around in every circle, it’s not hard to find tips and tricks on how to take a trip in “green” fashion as well. Recently our daughter who has been learning a lot about going green, challenged us to make our next family vacation as eco-friendly as possible. We took on her challenge to see if it could be done without spending any more than we usually spend every year and we set out to make sure the vacation was just as fun for everyone as it usually is. Much to my surprise, the trip was less expensive than usual and was the most fun we have ever had as a family and we can feel good about the impact we made on the planet by making some small changes to our plans to accommodate some green thinking.
We thought we were going to have to change our normal plans drastically to lower our carbon footprint this year and that the new plans were going to be completely different than our normal plans, but after doing some research we found that our plans didn’t have to change so dramatically to be more earth friendly. We simply had to plan a little more and make some slight changes to have the desired effect of being more earth friendly.
The first change we made was to change our sleeping arrangements from a big hotel with all the amenities to campgrounds and renting a cabin instead. We aren’t big nature people so sleeping in a tent just wasn’t going to work for us but we did find cabins in Florida (where we decided to go for vacation this year) that had much less of a carbon footprint than the usual hotels we would normally stay at.
The next major change was how we would spend our free time once we got to our destination. Instead of going to big amusement parks that have huge electricity bills and large waste dumps of their own, we decided to visit lesser known attractions like the world’s largest alligator farm and other places that operated with normal electricity bills and much less waste (mostly due to their size and family owned business mentality). Although we also found a few places to visit that were consciously green in their business choices.
One such place was a solar panel manufacturing plant. It was very interesting to see how the panels were made and the impact that solar power could make when just one family decided to switch over to alternative energy sources. We also visited and took a tour of a major wind farm that supplied power to a large portion of the Floridian keys. We spent many of our days relaxing on different beaches as well as taking a boat tour of the everglades as well. This year our vacation was mostly about doing things that didn’t involve huge businesses with huge wasteful infrastructures and we had just as much fun as any vacation we took in previous years. With a little research our vacation turned out to be much more eco-friendly than any we ever took and just as much fun as any we have ever had. It also cost us less than we normally spend each year.
I just got back from a long weekend in the linchpin of the Pacific Northwest: Seattle, Washington. First, a little known fact about Seattle. If the Space Needle is removed, then Seattle deflates. Yes, that’s a true story.
Ok, maybe it’s not entirely true. I can’t provie it either way as I didn’t true to remove the space needle while I was there. Though, you never know on a return trip if I’ve had a drink or two…hey, just saying.
So, the first thing you’ll need to know about making a trip to Seattle is that you’re going to need a hotel. Rooms aren’t too terribly hard to find but can be fairly pricey, so plan ahead and shop around. I recommend checking out either this source of Seattle hotels or some other hotel sites. Either way, you slice it, you’ll want to shop around, compare prices, and make sure that the hotel you’re staying at is in physical proximity to the places you want to visit.
Ok, with the logistical stuff out of the way, I’ll talk about my trip. On my first day there, I trekked over to the Space Needle to test out my deflation hypothesis. So, there wasn’t much actual testing to be done, though I did get to take in an absolutely marvelous view. The reason I went to the Space Needle first is that it is my custom to check out a city or area’s marquee attraction on the first day there. I like to get the stuff I feel like I should see out of the way so I can then go about exploring on my own.
After that, I handed down to the waterfront for a nice, long walk. There are a plethora of souvenir stores, seafood stands, and food trucks so there’s plenty of places to spend your money on the walk! Seeing all of the ships docked along the piers was positively exquisite.
The next day, I went to check out the original Starbuck’s coffee house and then to Pike’s Place. The Starbucks was pretty dissappointing actually. I guess I was expecting something different but, in fact, it was no different than your average, neighborhood Starbucks other than the sign out front — which was brown-ish with a mermaid.
Pike’s Place was fun. It’s really just a large marketplace with vendors selling everything from flowers to snacks and clothing. That’s also where the infamous fish market is located. You might have seen them yelling and throwing the fish around on TV or the movies. It’s even more chaotic in real life.
The following day was spent exploring a couple of museums of interest as well as taking in the sites — including a repeat visit to the Space Needle for dinner in the restaurant as I had only gone to the observation deck the day before.
All in all, it was a pretty fun trip. I saw and learned some things about Seattle that I would’ve never known otherwise. Would definitely recommend Seattle for anyone considering a long, weekend getaway.