all things travel

Month: July 2016

A good way to book Europe

In planning a major European trip , there are so many ways to book these days.    You can book direct on hotel & airline websites, and major discount travel booking sites like travelocity , expedia and  priceline.  There are also the comparison sites like trivago, and kayak that helps you compare every carrier, hotel prices on all sites.  These are all good if you are precise on where you going and usually a single destination. How about booking a multi-destination trip to Europe without a travel agent ? There is a some great websites to book that help you plan out your trip abroad, one that I found so helpful is European Destinations . This site helps you build out your itinerary with multiple cities.  You can explore your options with this website by choosing the numbers of days in each city, whether you need  airfare or not. This site will show you all options with reputable accommodations and will help you customize a package .

see European Destinations  

1600 Pennsylvania Ave- a few months left

The White House

The White House

There is less than 6 left months to Obama’s presidency, regrettably its time for one of the most historic presidents in modern history  to step down .  Considering visiting the White House to be a part of history that you can tell your grandchildren about ? The White House is a private residence of the president of the United States, open to the public, and  is free of charge. It is still possible to register and schedule a visit 1600 Pennsylvania Ave before Barack Obama leaves office.  If interested ,one just  has to make a request with their local congressman of residence, most have a quick request form on their website .    It takes about 3 months to get approved, and I can confirm that it is a smooth process.  I submitted my request through  Charlie Rangel’s  (Harlem) website in April, then heard directly from the White House administration in May saying I was approved for dates I requested.  At that point they asked  detailed information (social security#, date of birth) of all the people in my party that will attend .  I guess that is where the real background  check begins.  We are all set for our dates in August to be at the white house! see : the white house visit

St John- A virgin

Trunk Bay

Trunk Bay

St. John, St. Croix and St. Thomas which is known as U.S. virgin islands is a great destination since they belong to the  United States. You don’t have to worry about passports, and the U.S. dollar is accepted there.  These are three very distinct islands, all with different history. Recently, CBS news had a story of  a St johns national park and now I know why it’s so expensive to stay there.   St Johns is the most expensive of the three  islands since there is limited real estate because 2/3rds of it is a national park.  The Rockefeller family saw the development that was  happening  in St.Thomas and did not want St. John’s  landscape to change.    Laurence  Rockefeller (son of John D. Rockefeller) donated  5000 acres of land  where he had a resort called Caneel Bay in 1952.   Caneel Bay is still a luxurious resort but you are stilled surrounded by park land.   Since I was in St.Thomas , I took the ferry  to St. John’s where we went to Trunk Bay beach .  I vividly remember going through a park to get one of the most gorgeous beaches . Thanks to the Rockefeller’s , St. Johns stays green.

See video:   St John a National-park

Plan:  Visit U.S. Virgin Islands

Cruising in the Meditteranean



Thinking about European cruise? Ever think about doing Mediterranean islands by boat, but not sure you will see all ? There are so many options in going to Europe now, land& sea combinations is an efficient way to hit many countries in a  week or less.  Cruising in Europe is the same as cruising the Caribbean, you get off boat early in the day, and explore the destinations with excursions or own your own. Some say you don’t get  enough time at each port, but that has changed now since most cruises stay until 7pm or later , better then the 4 or 5 departure time. It’s a great option since you can get 3-5 or more days to hit the Greek Islands, Italy , Spain and other spots in the Mediterranean sea.

Best cruises

A friend was in Paris

So, I have people that just went to Paris recently,they traveled right before the Nice, France attack . I also had folks  who just went to Nice , France just  2 weeks the terrorist attack happened. They where all fortunate not to be in theses popular French cities when these acts of terror occurred, I don’t think they could have planned it better.  These things are so random, no one can predict such horrible acts of others.  There is a lot of  talk about fear about traveling to Europe but the truth is , there is  a very slim chance of being a victim of a terrorist. You are several times more likely to a victim of a traffic accident , then be in a traffic accident.  France remains the world’s number one tourist destination, and  it remains one of the safer places in the world to visit.  Check out : about France

Read more: Is it safe in France?


Arc De Triomphe

Arc De Triomphe


U.S. is now a travel advisory (black lives matter)

The United States is now listed as  “travel” with caution since the  incidents with  police , black lives matter protesters and tragic killings of police and black males.

Some  countries have advised their citizens to  “stay on guard” or use caution  when visiting U.S. cities.  These countries  recently advised  its citizens  to avoid  cities with   active protest or recent police . The Bahamas has issued to a travel warning because they are  also of African descent and might be mistake for young black males in the United States. They are advising Bahamian citizens  to be cooperative with police officers if confronted  across the United States.

See: Three countries

ABC ‘s outside of the hurricane belt

Eagle Beach in Aruba

Eagle Beach in Aruba

Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, A.K.A the ABC islands  is a great  destination that looks as good it sounds .   The ABC islands are the three western-most islands of the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean Sea that lies north of Venezuela.  What makes these island great is  that they are positioned in the Caribbean sea but outside of the hurricane belt . Being outside of the belt means that any time of the year is a great time to visit, since they are not subject to a lot hurricane weather restrictions. Aruba being a fabulous island, has THE most warmest water in the Caribbean , I think it really feels like you are taking a bath!   Lined between the southern Caribbean sea and the coast of Venezuela , Aruba waters are the most calmest waters you will experience  with fabulous powder sand  in the background .



There are multiple  languages spoken but  on all 3 islands  Papiemento ( creole with Spanish,English,Portuguese roots) was recently made the official language.  The  food has influences from all over the world since there are roots  from Africa, Latin Americas and the Netherlands.  Aruba is  the most popular  with famous beaches which are easy to get around but on one side of island is desert like.  Bonaire and Curacao are surrounded by reefs , which makes it fantastic for divers .  Look at :  ABC island’s



air force one over cuba

Air Force One over Cuba

Since President Obama lifted travel restrictions , you can get to Cuba where  a few US carriers have been approved to go  starting in August . A friend went to Cuba in recently by cruise (another way to go)  but now with direct access  tourism from U.S. is changed forever to this island . Tourism from other countries has been plentiful , so Cuba has still been a destination for the world . While in  Cuba you will absolutely see the old cars, immaculate churches , and beautiful landscape but there are so many other images that you have never seen.  The artwork is unprecedented and everywhere through out Cuba. From churches, small town galleries, even artwork being displayed on someone’s home is not unusual.

See: us flights to cuba


Philadelphia Museum Of Art 4th of July celebration

Philadelphia Museum Of Art 4th of July celebration

Philadelphia  otherwise know as “Philly”, is always a great getaway  with many options.  With the Democratic National Convention happening next week,  festivals and historic sites to visit, you can’t go wrong by choosing  a quick trip to the birthplace of this nation. Historic sites such as the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, The Betsy Ross house is an incentive for going to the historic district , besides going to the famous squares in the area.  The Philadelphia Museum of Art is the 3rd largest in the US and is known for its great art but also has the famous “Rocky steps” as seen in the famous movie.

cheese steak at Shanks

cheese steak at Shanks

We all know this the town to get a good cheese steak  , but you will learn its not just about “Pat and Geno’s war”, so many other steak spots in Philly! This  great city is recognized for  that but the Reading Terminal Market ( the oldest farmers market in the country ) does not disappoint. Love the many types of food offered here where you can get fresh meat , poultry and fish to take home. You may also like the fruit & preserves like honey or  jams and fresh bread from the Amish . Yes, of course they have  the best sandwiches ever at this market! Another plus,Philadelphia has a long history with breweries since the 1800’s . Most are not open  now, but it’s a hot place for beer gardens! See: best beer gardens

Check out and plan your trip:   visit philly

bermuda is only 90 minutes away

gorgeous pink sand in bermuda

The gorgeous pink sand in Bermuda

Only 90 minutes away from New York, Bermuda is an ultimate weekend away.  Whether you do extended weekend or full week cruise you can’t go wrong.  Only 90 minutes by flight from New York area , with many choices in accommodation types, Bermuda is sure to please anyone.

If you  cruise it will take a day but the ship is docked for 3 days in Bermuda when you take a cruise to this island .It’s great to go back and forth  from excursions while docked while being docked in Bermuda. Celebrity, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean cruise lines all go there from Baltimore, Boston, New Jersey and New York . Go to these cruise lines direct websites and sign up for their email list and get promotional  notifications.

Doing summer Fridays with a quick trip to Bermuda is the best 3 day weekend !  Delta, American , Jet Blue and United all have non-stops flights there. A quick land trip always make a fabulous time…….. See : Go to Bermuda!


oops ! passport expired

us-passport-photoSo a friend just recently took off for Europe last week  with a spanking new passport that he got on a 24 hour rush at the passport office.  We all know somebody that has been there,  they knew where the passport was when making travel plans but didn’t open (until the day they where packing ) to see it expired months ago or a over year ago! Oops! Normally you would have to start all over with citizenship verification(more than a year)and pay extra  fees  but that has now changed . Now, renew an expired U.S. passport up to 5 years after the 10 year expiration, if you have enough time. I have a friend in the visa/passport business who says  latent traveler’s are never thinking about their passport, especially if they mostly do domestic travel.  passport renewal

Myrtle Beach

Hilton Hotel, North Myrtle Beach

Hilton Hotel, North Myrtle Beach

My cousins are in Myrtle Beach on this holiday  weekend. I was fortunate to be there last year for a family reunion, and the image posted above is only one attraction.  Yes you  will find palm trees and the warmest waters in Myrtle Beach, it really feels like you are in the Caribbean.  Myrtle Beach is not just a strip, its actually is a strand of beaches (The Grand Strand) that is 60 miles long. The Grand Strand includes many types of accommodations from small reputable motels, to the largest hotel chains.  Staying in Myrtle Beach also means beach homes on  small inlets off Myrtle Beach such as Pawleys Island , or condos on any part of the grand strand.

There is also much to do here  outdoors such as water sports, fishing and some of the best  golf courses in the United States.  You can also see some great entertainment with  theater, music, dance and  comedy shows  that compliments your vacation. The food is always fabulous whether you hit the many seafood buffets , fabulous breakfast places or upscale restaurants.   I recommend a good 4-5 day trip, but you can do well with a 3 days weekend .

Check it out : visit myrtle beach


last minute

Yes, its possible to book at the last hour , even on a holiday weekend.  Some  travel booking sites such as Expedia or Kayak, have last minute categories that help you book anything: Kayak last minute .You can even call hotels on the same day and ask for what is available , and you can get last minute “rack rates”.  By calling the hotel directly , the manager will always accommodate rather then have empty rooms.  There are some websites that specifically  book for last minute ,usually  only within a 2 week window.  I have used this site (that was under a former name), it gave us a great deal:last minute travel

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