Archive for  January 2017

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Guided tours attract a fee for the guide and for this you really need to get yourself a guide who will make your travel experience in your selected location most rewarding. There are so many tour companies offering guided tours, but remember that you will be directly dealing with the guide and not the company when you embark on your exploration of the destination. This makes it very important for you to be careful with the selection of a guide. A good guide should have a number of traits and even though it can be hard to tell before you actually enjoy the services, there is always a way of testing out your guide to see whether they are cut for the job and will give you the kind of experience you expect.

Should be understandable – Nothing can be more frustrating than a guide who cannot communicate in your language or the language that you understand. Professional tour guides know more than one language and therefore have an easy time handling visitors from across the world. Make sure that your guide can clearly communicate in the language that you understand so you have an easy time getting explanations that are important during the tour.

Should be punctual – Time is of the essence in any kind of travel and your guide should know this. The guide should be the one waiting for you on travel days and not the other way. Punctuality beats unnecessary delays and shows commitment to the job too. Keep off guides who always seem to be running late or you will end up frustrating your travel expectations.

Should be knowledgeable – Apart from knowing the routes to the best attractions, your guide should at least know something about the attraction and the history behind it. In-depth knowledge of a site or attraction you are interested in means you will get the complete hang of it and enjoy your exploration more. Your guide should have answers to all your questions and should actually provide you with accurate information on the same.

Should be interactive and engaging – The last thing you want is a boring guide who gives you more of a lecture that a guided tour. Apart from being knowledgeable about the areas and attractions, they should have an entertaining way of giving you the info that is relevant compared to listing the facts over and over. The guide should also invite questions and interact easily with you and the other travel members you may have with you. You may be in luck to find a humorous guide to add more excitement to your travelling and exploration.

Should be a continuous learner – The travel industry is vast and there is always something to learn. A good tour guide does not settle and instead remains willing to learn to improve and fine-tune delivery of services. Besides helping you learn, the guide should take the time to learn a few things about guests and what they prefer most during the tours. The effort to learn new languages is also very important because it widens the groups the guide can successfully handle.

Visit the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway

If you are visiting Boston anytime in the spring or summer, walking along the Kennedy Greenway through downtown Boston is the perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon. Here you will find rows upon rows of flowers that will enchant the senses. The garden is comprised of several small parks with each containing unique flowers and trees like sweetbay magnolia or marsh blazingstar. This is a great opportunity to teach your kids about horticulture and the importance of sustainability and preserving the natural world. Parents can also take their kids to the Greenway Carousel, where kids can ride for $3. The greenway is dedicated to Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, former president John F. Kennedy’s mother. The greenway opened in 2008 after Boston sought to demolish the aging John F. Fitzgerald Expressway.

Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA)

Contemporary Art is not for everyone, and the art here is how you say, ‘advanced’. But that doesn’t mean everyone can’t find a piece that fascinates them if they approach the art with an open mind. Perhaps the ICA best feature is the stunning view it provides of the Boston skyline on the cantilevered glass wing, which stretches over the Boston Harbor.

The museum has not always been in its modern facility, as the ICA has moved 13 times since its founding in 1936. In many ways this Diller Scofidio and Renfro designed building is reflective of the emerging tech culture in Boston, and shows of how the city seeks to marry the new wave of industries with the city’s treasured historic sites.

Art here is not just confined between frames. ICA is a hotbed for large-scale interactive art pieces that fully immerse audiences. Don’t come expecting to understand every piece you see. Be confused, be appalled, give yourself the opportunity to see the leaders of the avant-garde art movement on full display.

Old Town Trolley Tours

Nights are not just for sleeping, especially on a trip to Boston. Like all old cities, Beantown is home to its share of creepy sites and dark history. If you find yourself in the city between April and October, taking one of the Old Town Trolley Tours will provide you with a glimpse of the city’s darker side. With a 17th century gravedigger as your guide, the Ghosts & Gravestones Tour of Boston offers a nighttime trolley ride around the city.

Walk the streets as the Boston Strangler did, whom murdered 13 women in the Boston area in the 1960s. But there’s more to this tour than crime lore. Visitors get to explore two of the oldest burial grounds in the city… on foot. Where you will either be frightened or moved, as you visit the grave sites of famous historical figures such as John Hancock, Paul Revere and Samuel Adams.

Visit the Mapparium

Most tourists wouldn’t visit a library while in Boston, but there is a good reason to visit the Mary Baker Eddy Library’s ‘Mapparium’. It’s a giant globe made up of 608 glass sections, reaching a height of three stories, 30-feet wide! Built in the 1930s, the Mapparium is the first of its kind. If you aren’t dazzled by its sheer size, then the lighting system and acoustics will. There are 206 LED light fixtures able to produce nearly 16 million color combinations.

Being a sphere, the Mapparium produces some of the weirdest echoing. Stand at the center of the chamber and say something; you’ll be astonished when your voice echoes loudly. Don’t say anything provocative while standing at one end of the bridge because everyone at the other end will be able to hear you perfectly…

Shop at Bodega

This surreal sneaker and clothing store is located behind a vending machine in a seemingly dingy and run down bodega. Situated in a residential block in Boston, the storefront is unassuming and very easily mistaken for a run of the mill New York style bodega. Think of it as when boutique meets a speakeasy.

Part of the experience is to be confused when you enter and struggle with how to ‘unlock’ the boutique, so it is frowned upon to describe, let alone film, how to gain access. Not knowing is part of the fun. Upon entering, you will be greeted by a chic retail floor lined with dark redwood, and a coffered ceiling. It is not all for show either, Bodega carries some of the rarest sneakers around, and have streetwear brands not found anywhere else in Boston.

Chicago is unique. Each part has a special draw and includes upscale River North, the buzzing Loop downtown, scholarly Hyde Park, artsy Wicker Park and flamboyant Boystown. The best architecture and museums of the world present a multi-cultural makeup with its thriving music and dining scene. This second largest City of the U.S is second to none.

If you are in a mood for jazz clubs, comedy, glittering skyscrapers, fine dining or some afternoon shopping, consider where to go using the Chicago travel guide. Architecture and design buffs may trip the cutting edge monuments and buildings of the country such as Cloud Gate featuring mammoth reflective bean sculpture, while the sports fans can cheer their teams, be it the bears, the Cubs, the Blackhawks, the Bulls or the White Sox.

Amidst all these, getting around Chicago is the main concentration and the best way to do this is to go through public transportation, particularly the elevated train the L train that is simple and cheap to use. Street parking fees and parking garages are pricey and if you plan to travel on wheels, you can find plenty of rental agencies.

Navigating Chicago is not easy; it is too vast to consider walking. The neighborhoods may be explored by bike or foot. However, if you are visiting during winters, get layers to stay protected from low temperatures and heavy snowfall. There are lots of transportation facilities to get around Chicago and this includes the buses operating in most hours. The Metra rail is also a reliable transportation to go towards the South, East or North Chicago. You may get a weekend pass and travel without hindrance. Taxis are pricey, but are convenient to travel to places and water taxi is a fun way of getting around Chicago, but they are available only in the warmer months from April through September.

Traffic is thick in Chicago and all the rental cars, gas, and parking fees are pricey. This is the reason it is recommended to stay on public transportation. Winters are windy in the Great Lakes region, packing a hat and scarf, and wearing lots of layers are unavoidable.

Chicago parking tickets are easy to receive, but there are lots of confusing signage. If it the first time you are visiting Chicago, or are using a car to travel in Chicago, it is very important to know these factors:

· Parking signs (Street cleaning, time limit, etc)

· Snow regulations

· Permit parking areas

· Prohibited parking zones

Anyone receiving a parking ticket in Chicago means following the rules must be done meticulously. For instance, in case you are parking on the street and a part of your parked car is in front of the yellow zone, you will be ticketed.

The rules are ever-changing and strict in Chicago, besides, it varies from street to street that one always has to stay alert and keep looking out for parking incriminating situations.

Tips to avoid parking tickets
· Always look for signage regarding parking restrictions.

· During winters, opt to park in a parking garage for your car safety as streets are cleared frequently.

· Understand and know when off-street parking can be done, this saves pain and frustration and also are affordable choices.

From the day I laid my eyes on the magical image of the Blue Lagoon, I instantly fell in love with it – hence my never-ending desire to visit the Iceland began.

Before planning my trip to Iceland I did plenty of research about how to get the best airfares, what’s the best time to visit Iceland, which places are affordable to stay and what activities one should do etc. But no matter how much research I did, all that didn’t matter a lot as to what was waiting ahead for me.

I mean, I’m from New Jersey, so I knew that traveling to a place where practically there is a winter season for 9 to 10 months will be quite challenging for a person like me – but the summer season is also there in Iceland, so how bad can it be, right? Well, I was Wrong. Very Wrong.

Iceland has been rising steadily in terms of popularity amongst the tourists and hence there is no excuse in knowing some basic things about Iceland that will help you in making the most out of your trip. Here are five things I wish I knew before I traveled to Iceland. So here are some tips for you so you don’t have to learn them the hard way.

Travelling In Summer? Still, Pack Your Warm Clothes

If you are travelling to Iceland in Summer season and you think that a light spring jacket or a sweater is more than enough. Then you are greatly mistaken. A summer day in Iceland is equivalent to a proper winter day in many other countries. Besides that the temperature in Iceland can change quickly from warm to fairly hot to cold in just a matter of minutes. So then the question is what exactly you should pack? Let’s see. Several sweaters, a light winter jacket, a fur coat, a pair of gloves and two-three scarves along with a hat.

Iceland Is Not For Those Who Are Budget Travelers

Iceland is a very expensive country and is truly not the right destination for travellers who want to be under budget. Expect to get shocked with high prices in grocery stores, bars, coffee shops, restaurants and any other retail store you plan to buy from. The best advice I can give to budget conscious travellers is that you can spend on things that you think are necessary. I would recommend you to spend on experiences, not on things; it’s alright if you don’t bring back gifts for everyone back home.

If still, you think shopping for gifts is necessary then you can shop in Finland as it has some fantastic budget stores. Apart from that, food items are pretty expensive here. It is so expensive that you should mentally accept that there is not food in Iceland. So the idea of packing some food supplies with you is not a bad one, at first, it may sound ridiculous, but once you have landed in Iceland, you will not regret this decision.

Know When Its Dark And Light

If it was for the summer season, I probably didn’t have to tell you all this, but given that darkness hangs over in the Arctic during winter, you need to know the sunset and the sunrise times. So the point is you will have little sunlight, so you need to plan accordingly. What I recommend is that you head east and south of Reykjavik on the Ring road, travel to a certain point and then turn around. There is no way you can see the whole road. But on your return, you can see the things that you couldn’t see because of the storm or dark.

Hostels Are Great For Accommodation

Like I already told you Iceland is an expensive country, so getting Lodging here is also expensive. But I discovered that hostels in Iceland provide versatile and reasonable accommodation. So it’s a great option for those who are on a tight budget. Hostels in Iceland are now available for travellers of all age groups. Many hostels also provide the facility of breakfast in bed or have private kitchens if you prefer to cook your meals.

Wi-Fi Is Free In Iceland

Iceland is a wired country, so there is free Wi-Fi everywhere. Even if you go to a roadside gas station on a remote stretch of highway throughout Iceland, it can also hook you up.