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  • Cheap hotels in New York.

    Great locals tips for visiting “The Big Apple”, NYC

    Everyone should experience the “Big Apple”, New York City at least once in their life. The more you visit the more you either love or hate this city, and that goes for locals too. My experiences living in NYC were mostly good, the food, and nightlife, culture and in many cases the people living there, once I started to “fit in”. What I didn’t like was the traffic!

    My suggestion for you: use public transportation.

    New York Cities MTA is perhaps one of the largest of its kind in the world, and includes commuter trains, busses and the subway. This is a safe; cost-effective form of travel used by almost everyone in NYC. In fact, the majority of people living in the city who don’t own a “limo” don’t even own a vehicle, because of insurance and parking costs.

    Be sure to only purchase your Metro Card from one of the extensive kiosks or approved vendor. Beware, there are scammers selling phony cards around the city.

    As has been for many years, Taxicabs are also a popular means of transportation in the city. User beware, most previous visitors will say that you take your life in your own hands in a city cab. It is quite the “hair rising” experience, but hey do it every day, in mostly horrendous driving conditions, and their goal is to get you where you’re going, very fast!



    Dining out in New York City is a thing of beauty, because there is such a wide variety of an ethnic choice. I will tell you that most locals eat late, between 8pm and 10pm as a rule, and if you decide to eat where locals do, expect lines or make advanced reservations.

    Some of the more popular “fine dining” restaurants are Le Bernardin and Babbo.

    That being said, you owe it to yourself and family o get out in the neighborhoods and eat. Grab a cab or Uber and head to Queens and the Jackson Heights area for authentic Indian cuisine. We highly suggest the “Jackson Diner”, highly rates for its Indian foods. Broadway abounds with authentic Greek restaurants and well worth a Gyro or tasty lamb dish. If authentic NYC Italian pizza or pasta is churning your tummy and taste buds, don’t dive into the tourist crowds of Little Italy. Instead, we suggest you hit one of the Italian restaurants on Arthur Ave in in the Bronx. I had in fact the best slice pizza and spaghetti and balls in the Bronx when I lived there back in the 70’s.

    Now lets look at some of the things that drive local crazy about tourists, and how to avoid these. Sidewalks in the city will seem to always be crowded, any day of the week.  Whatever you do, don’t stop suddenly in the middle of a crowded sidewalk to check messages or answer your iPhone. You will either get walked over or experience New York “attitude”. Another mega discomfort to locals when traveling the subways is when tourists get to the top of the exit stairs at street level, and drop dead, to figure out where they are. Move out of the way, to the side to get your bearings, and don’t block people who know where they are going. These actions will go far to with the respect and smiles of locals, and protect your ears and eyes from harsh criticism. Keep in mind; New Yorkers will be forever at your service when you ask directions or a reference for restaurants. Drop your keys or wallet, and they will chase you down to return it.

    The Big Apple and its inhabitants are just that kind of people. Enjoy your stay.

  • Cheap hotels in Orlando.

    Visit five of best sights in Orlando, and still stay on budget

    Let’s face it, even if you’ve never been to Orlando before, you know what you’re heard, Orlando theme parks are EXPENSIVE. Right? So you have this opportunity to take a last minute vacation to Orlando for reduced rates on Hotel and Airfare, and you want to take it. But then there’s the fact that you’re on a tight budget, and you know the theme parks will eat up more than the hotel and flight together.

    We will help you with ideas to save money while visiting five of the top theme parks.

    If traveling with small children you can take a hint rom those annoying parents who bring strollers on board flights, and do the same, because they already know the truth. Yes, you can rent strollers at Universal, Disney and the other parks, or you can save the $15-30 a day rental fee at the parks. Add that expense up and you will see why these parents lug their strollers as baggage.

    Make sure that you bring necessary things so you don’t pay “in-park” boosted prices, like sunscreen for you and the kids, because you know you need it. And then there’s water, which you will also be charged mucho for those small bottles of water. Be cost saving smart and bring re-fillable bottles for everyone.  Lastly, you are going to a region that may be summer hot, but also enjoys summer showers, so pack that umbrella and save that $30 rental fee or price for new in park.

    Food is always a major expense in the Orlando parks, so plan ahead and bring in some snacks to keep everyone’s energy up, without buying in-house. If you were smart, you booked your hotel somewhere that offers a full breakfast daily included with your room. There are you first savings every day. In the parks, it usually costs a fortune to eat in restaurants, and the lines are devastating. For instance, in Epcot the Tangerine Café offers dinner plates under $17, and although that may sound high, compared to the other options, it really isn’t. Another meal option if visiting Hollywood Studios is the Studio Catering for cheaper costs. Like we said, it’s smart to carry snacks, which takes the “impulse” out of dining, and gives you time to investigate your options.

    Hot money saver tip:  go online before you travel and purchase your “two-park, seven day unlimited pass. This will save you up to 30% or more at the front gate.

    Forget the rental car and use public transportation from your hotel to the theme parks, and save a bundle of cash. For instance, most of your hotel choices are located on the strip that is served by the I-Ride Trolley that runs all day. A one-way ride to any park costs $1! Compare that to the cost of daily car rental. Even if you choose to go out of park for dinner, paying for a cab once in a while is still saving you money and aggravation.

    Finally there’s the subject of souvenirs, and where to buy them. Of course, shopping in one of the Disney Stores in the park  is a blast, and you should do this, without taking out your card. Instead, take a break from the parks and head over to a local Wal-Mart or Target store, where you can find the same thing without the high price tag.

  • Cheap hotels in Chicago.

    Make Chicago you’re summer vacation spot for 2016?

    When most are planning their summer vacation, the usual names pop up, Miami, San Diego, Honolulu, Las Vegas and so on. But, if you ask anyone who lives in or has visited Chicago during the summertime, they will tell you it’s awesome. That’s quite a change from reviews of Greater Chicago during the rest of the year, with cold winds, snow, and bundling up in your Alaska parkas. That being said, the summer months is when Chicago really comes alive, from the outdoor restaurants, packed lake-shore beaches and places like Navy Pier or visits to the Dales.

    Both on weekends and well as after work, Chicago residents will hit the lakefront beaches all through the summer months. They sit in high-rise offices all day looking dreamily out at the blue waters and sandy beaches awaiting them.

    One of the most popular beaches claiming some of the deepest waters are the Oak Street Beach because it is located tight downtown. Summertime on Oak Street Beach brings out the chess players to watch in Chicago’s one and only outdoor chess area.

    You can hang on the beach, take a break and watch some of the best chess players hit their clocks, and even grab some lunch. The Oak Street “Beachstro” as it’s called, is constructed at the beginning of summer, and dismantled at the end each year. Outside table dining under real palm trees, tasty sandwiches, the “Vince Burger” , crab cakes and more.

    Hot Tip: If you are in Chicago to experience the Air and Water Show, the Oak Street Beachstro is an excellent place to relax on the deck and watch the show. Be sure to make your reservation early because the restaurant seating on the deck fills fast. Expect to pay a $65 fee, but being able to relax, have lunch and drinks, and no crowds is the bomb.

    The North Ave Beach is considered the best and most popular lakeside beach, hands down. This is the beach to enjoy that Air and Water Show without the fee. It also is host to its iconic beach house that looks just like a ocean liner, housing sports equipment rentals, restroom and a great restaurant called the Castaways Bar & Restaurant. This is a fantastic place to spend the day at the beach.

    If traveling with Fido, you just have to experience the Montrose Dog Beach, which is the largest in town. A definite advantage to checking out this beach is that launching non-motorized watercraft is allowed, something most don’t allow. This beach also offers a full-service restaurant on its newly constructed 3000 ft. deck.

    Now lets talk Navy Pier, which by the way, is large enough to take multiple days to experience it all. That’s why the ever popular and busy “Family Visitors Pavilion” is always a good place to start your adventure, to pick up maps and brochures of activities. There are activities for all ages, from the Musical Carousel and Wave Swinger to the 150 ft. Ferris wheel.  Families can enjoy Navy Pier boat rides during the day, and that’s the best at night during firework displays. And speaking of boat rides for adults, you might check out the Weekend Champagne Brunch that Odyssey Cruises offers. During the heat of the summer days, you might want to stroll to the end of the pier where the Beer Garden awaits you.

     

  • Cheap hotels in Dallas.

    2016 Dallas Festivals to make your vacation an exciting adventure

    If you have never been to the Dallas / Ft Worth area of Texas, and you’re planning your first vacation there in 2016, hole your horses and read this. You may just realize there is a specific date or dates you really want to be there, because vacation is all about fun, right?

    The month of March seems to be all about adult fun related to letting loose and parties, especially related to booze. March 4-6 brings you a start to the “Irish Month”, with the North Texas Irish Festival, as if the Irish really needed a reason to party. This is an exciting and fun weekend of Irish and Celtic sounds, dancing and of course Guinness during this event in Fair Park. The music his year will highlight Celtic music from way back when as well as new up and comers today. Of course, there will be an abundance of beer and whisky tastings (and drinking), as well as good Irish food, and even draft horse pulling demos. You can well expect that if you get a bunch of “over-influenced” Irishmen together, there will be stories, for sure.

    The North Texas Irish Festival is quite the lead into the 37th Annual Dallas St Patrick’s Parade & Festival, held March 19, 2016. The parade itself enjoys over ninety floats, almost 2000 participants, and every year brings over 130K people to cheer it on. The festival features of course, Irish Whisky, beer and an abundance of food, as well as arts and crafts, and fun for the whole family.

    Noe if dancing, music and costumes sounds exciting to you, your going to love the Dallas National Polka Festival April 27-29th. This festival is all about the Dallas area Czech heritage, and has its own parade, mounds of ethnic foods and of course live polka dancing.

    The 4th Of July weekend will bring well over a half a million spectators this year to view the fireworks display at Kaboom Town. This celebration is on July 3rd this year, and the gates open at 4 PM in the Addison Circle Park. There’s plenty to see before the fireworks, with Air Shows overhead, military bands, and of course the “beer tent” for adults to cool off and relax a bit. This is all great safe and family fun.

    On Labor Day Weekend the one awesome reason to visit the Dallas area, is to attend (and munch away) at the Bedford Blues & Barbeque. Lets face it, Texas is all about barbeque, and their ribs and meat smoked for hours to perfection is an eating man and woman’s dream. There is a very competitive spirit at this event, as teams compete for the name and prizes. You get to enjoy some of Texas best foods, maybe a bottle or two of Shiner Bock, and some good old Texas tunes and a two-step.

    Finally lets talk about the largest and oldest pastime in Texas, the rodeo. If you plan on visiting the Dallas / Ft Worth area in December, you have get some boots and a hat, and join in the fun. November 30-December 31st is the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo. There’s nothing more exciting than walking around all those horses, cattle and such, especially for the youngsters in your family. Plus, there are exhibitors, some serious shopping, and lots to eat and drink. No matter where you live, you will definitely bring back a “tall tale” or two from attending this event.

  • Cheap hotels in Miami Beach.

    5 Best Day Trips from Miami Beach

    There are some awesome experiences to be had within a day’s drive of Miami Beach, and they are all worth a look-see. Sure, you are on one of the most famous beaches in the world, but there are others that offer a different kind of “action”.

    Take Key Largo for instance, the largest and first of the Florida Keys. Not only does it have two excellent beaches, Caloosa and Sandspur Beach, but also offers a marine sanctuary, two state parks and a national park. You also have some of the best Scuba Diving in the world off the shore, with its serious wreck diving and also the world’s largest artificial reef. Keep in mind that Key Largo is only about an hours drive from Miami Beach, so it’s an easy day trip.

    If you’re really looking for some adventure, extremely the opposite of lounging on the sandy beach, there’s a whole new world only an hour away. It will seem like Jurassic Park in comparison to the sun lotion slick hot bodies on Miami Beach, when you encounter your first gator or snake. That’s right, we’re talking about the world famous Everglades National Park. You have choices of exploration, from Airboats, canoe and even hiking trails for the brave, through hardwoods, swamps and giant mangrove field’s. Your best bet for sure would be a guided tour by a ranger, because what’s the sense of taking a gamble on seeing wildlife, when they can guarantee it.

    Why not kill 2 birds with one stone, and visit a famous attraction as well as view some excellent wildlife? A nice drive from Miami Beach brings you to the Space Coast, the location of the Kennedy Space Center, one of major attractions in Florida. Explore actual space shuttles; satellites and moon walk suits, and so much more. This is great fun for both youngsters as well as adults.

    Just driving there is a real trip, because everything from gas stations to roadside diners all has a “space theme”.

    Now for that promised wildlife viewing. Kennedy Center occupies only a small portion of its 10,000 acres, and has left the remainder a federal protected wildlife center. You can see in the wild, wild pigs, eagles to alligators and much more just hanging around.

    Another terrific day trip destination is Fort Lauderdale where if you are a boater or boat owner wannabe, you’ll be in heaven. Both the marina’s as well as the super nice beaches is the dray here on the Florida coast, and for good reason. Fort Lauderdale is the real deal. Make sure you take a selfie or two with some of the most luxurious yachts in the world found at the docks. You will quickly learn why Fort Lauderdale is often referred to as the “Venice of America”.

    While in Fort Lauderdale, don’t forget to visit the famous Pier 66, another icon of Florida. Located at the mouth of Port Everglades on the Intercostal Waterway, you can spend hours doing a walk about, and perhaps grabbing lunch at one of the new restaurants, or the famous icon, the Grill 66.

  • Cheap hotels in The Best Cheap Island You Have Never Heard About.

    The Best Cheap Island You Have Never Heard About

    Right about the time you fly over Cancun you'll notice that the view of endless hotels up against the white sand beach looks like both paradise and population have clashed to conjure up a different type of beach vacation. Don't worry, head in the opposite direction from that spot and you'll find yourself heading to a tiny outpost knows as Holbox Island (pronounced ol-bosh)

    If you are adventurous and looking for a fantastic travel deal there is really no place in the Yucatan that you should consider aside from this spot. You could go south to Belize but flight availability make that a harder destination.

    Choose Holbox!

    You'll take a public bus to the town of Chiquilla for less than the cost of a meal in Cancun and in about 3 hours you will be ready to board a small ferry to Isla Holbox. Yes, you can take a private car or arrange more private transportation, it drives the cost up a bit and you miss the adventure of traveling through Mexico and seeing so much of the rich culture. From the airport, directions to the local bus station are easy to obtain.

    The ferry cost $4 and is about a 15 minute boat ride to the dock on Holbox. From that point golf car taxis will transport you to the hotel of your choice.

    This is where Holbox gets very interesting. This tiny island in the Caribbean Sea is whitewashed in sunshine and most accommodations are pressed up against a warm, tranquil sea that resembles a postcard from paradise. This is a budget vacation simply because luxury resorts don't really exist. There are a few hotels that can be considered high end relative to their neighbors on the island but you will not find multistory resorts with giant waterfall pools and 3 bedroom suites here. Instead, you'll find quaint properties with small check-in desks and friendly staffs that embrace the island lifestyle.

    The streets are not paved, traffic is non existent and the locals are generally happy to see you. The town square comes alive nightly with vendors offering up local food for ridiculously low prices and the entire experience feels so authentic that you ponder if you can move here. The white sand beaches are lined with a few small hotels and a multitude of restaurants serving fresh seafood and cold beer. The dirt roads lead to desolate beaches that are constantly lapped on by warm, clear water.

    The far reaches of this island only 3 miles long are home to migrating flamingos and birds of so many differing species that identification becomes fruitless. Horseshoe crabs walk past you in the water and iguanas dart by on land. In the deep ocean Whale Sharks come to mate and on the sand the general idea is to have another and smile with your new found friends.

    Food options are in abundance when it comes to fresh seafood and your new definition of fresh will be a challenge to replicate back home. Grass huts that double as bars will serve you fresh ceviche or grill filets from fish that has just been hauled in by a local fisherman. Go out on a boat and learn to fish with a hand line and the captain and first mate will chop up the fish and garnish it with lime, cilantro, habanero, onions and tomatoes to make the freshest, most delicious seafood dish you have ever had.

    If you seek a new definition of paradise this remote yet inexpensive spot in Mexico is impossible to pass up.

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