5 Travel Lesson Learned from the Pilgrims

2012

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  • November 7, 2012

    Food Guide to Travel: Soups for the Season

    One of the best things about traveling is the opportunity to taste the destination’s culture through the wonderful world of food. Throughout the United States, there are a few cities and regions that are known for their spectacular food, moreover their soups. The northern states are known for their fantastic potato soups, and the South for their seafood gumbos. The East Coast boasts their clam chowder and the Southwest raves about their tortilla soups. And to the rainy Northwest, not unlike the East Coast, they have chowder as their staple soup. Within these regions there are few standout restaurants that serve the best regional soup and attract foodies from all over the country.

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    To the North

    For those looking to experience the best potato soup you can find towards the north, Chicago is the place to go. Many of the northern states are known for having amazing potato soups but the Sweet Potato Soup found at Macku Sushi in Chicago is the soup to beat all others. Served at eight dollars a bowl, this soup has a sweet combination of lobster broth, black tiger shrimp, chives and pureed sweet potatoes.

    In the South

    The South is known for its wonderful and almost exotic tasting food and many travel to the South to experience the delights of gumbo. The best gumbo of the South can be found at Mr. B’s Bistro in New Orleans at six dollars and seventy five cents a bowl. This Seafood Gumbo is a classic gumbo served with a wonderful blend of gulf shrimp, okra, crabmeat, and oysters.

    On the East Coast

    Clam Chowder is a common soup but along the East Coast, clam chowder is a way of life. Of course the best New England clam chowder is found in Boston at a restaurant called the Atlantic Fish Company. New Englanders and tourists travel for miles to taste the award winning New England Clam Chowder soup dished up in a bread bowl at seven dollars a serving.

    Towards Southwest

    The desert Southwest is home to Poco and Mom’s restaurant in Tucson Arizona and their famous Chicken Tortilla Soup. Served at five dollars and twenty five cents a bowl, this mouthwatering delight is topped with guacamole, sour cream and sweet southwest melted cheddar cheese. This soup is a local favorite and icon of southwest flavor.

    In the Northwest

    Much like the East Coast, the Northwest is known to serve chowder in all of their restaurants. Combating the rainy weather and cloudy skies, local Seattle natives partake in eating clam chowder from a restaurant called Pike Place Chowder. Pike’s chowder won the “Nation’s Best” at the Rhode Island Great Chowder Cook-off with their New England Clam Chowder served at seven dollars and forty five cents a bowl. A special bland of herbs and spices mixes with hearty pacific clams, bacon and cream creating this perfect Northwest soup.

    No matter where you are in the United States, these five soups and the amazing cities they are from are worth traveling to. Taste the flavors of the Southwest, the Northwest, the North, the East Coast and the South in these amazing and savory soups.

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  • July 31, 2012

    5 Hottest Summer Vacations of 2012

    bermuda-postage-mail-tourismTime to get out your shorts and flip flops and load up the van because summer is well underway. If you’re planning a summer vacation this year, you’re in good company—travel volume this season is expected to be at its highest in a decade. In other words, whatever else may be going on, there are still plenty of people who are determined to get away for a while and enjoy a little fun in the sun.
    With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most popular summer travel destinations for this year. These warm weather hotspots offer a little something for everyone, from single travelers to large families:

    1. Bermuda

    Bermuda takes a traditional beach vacation and serves it up with a side order of international flair. You can spend a day soaking in the sun on Bermuda’s white sands (try Horseshoe Bay Beach) or take a snorkeling adventure (see a sunken ship!) in its crystal blue waters. If you get tired of swimming and sunning, you can explore some of Bermuda’s history by touring St. George’s Town, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    2. London

    While London always has more than its fair share of out-of-town visitors, this site of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games is bracing for a huge influx of international sports fans this July and August. Even if you don’t have tickets to one of the main events, visiting the British capital while it’s all decked out in Olympic glory should be fun. The city has planned a number of once-in-a-lifetime cultural festivals, concerts, and displays. In addition, if you get tired of the big city, you can always sneak off to spend a day or two in the English countryside. Not bad as vacations go.

    3. Juneau, AK

    While Juneau may not at first strike you as the perfect warm weather destination, this beautiful city located in southern Alaska has plenty to do to keep travelers entertained. This is a nature-lovers paradise—you can find hiking, fishing, boating, and even gold panning as well as more extreme sports like hand gliding and ice climbing. While you’re there, be sure to take a cruise around Glacier Bay National Park. The park is only accessible by boat or plane, but is well worth it, either as a day trip or an overnight camping adventure.

    4. Wilmington, NC

    Wilmington, NC, offers plenty of Southern charm combined with great beaches and family-friendly activities. Take a tour of the World War II battleship North Carolina, or stroll through Wilmington’s historic district for a view of colonial architecture. You should also check out Airlie Gardens, one of the most stunning displays of formal gardens and freshwater lakes anywhere.

    5. Lake Tahoe

    If you’re looking for some old-fashioned summer fun, you could do worse than plan a trip to Lake Tahoe. Here, you can participate in your favorite water sports to your heart’s content or learn to do something new, like parasailing. If that’s not enough to keep you occupied, you can also find golf courses, arcades, casinos, and plenty of hiking and biking trails to fill your time with.

    Where are you traveling this summer?

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  • May 29, 2012

    Travel Advice: Timeshare vs. Hotel Stay

    When it’s finally time to pack up and leave work behind for a while, there are a few options for extended stays in some of the most popular destinations. The most traditional choice is to find a great hotel somewhere that offers the amenities you want at a price you can afford, but there’s been a lot of talk about timeshares and how they compare to a hotel stay.

    Which one is right for you and your family? There are a lot of factors that should be considered when you are looking for the perfect vacation spot, as well as benefits and drawbacks of each option. Most of us only have so many days each year that we can spend on vacation, and in order to make the most of the time away we need to look at these alternatives and choose the one that fits our needs and budget.

    What Do Timeshares Offer?

    The largest benefit to a timeshare, or at least the one you will likely hear about the most, is the long-term savings. While the initial outlay of cash may be high for many people, and there is an annual fee that must be paid, timeshare proponents often point out how quickly it will pay for itself compared to regular vacations at nice hotels.

    In other words, if you spend a couple weeks at a nice hotel, you could spend a couple thousand dollars on your accommodations. On the other hand, once the timeshare is paid off, the only cost is the reoccurring maintenance fee, which means you can have an extended stay at a nice location for a price that works out to be a really low nightly rate.

    Timeshares also offer a lot more space that the average hotel. Most timeshares have multiple bedrooms, complete kitchens, washers and dryers, and dishwashers (who wants to do dishes on vacation?). There’s often enough space to put the kids in one room and enjoy some quiet time in another. Most hotels, on the other hand, consist of a single bedroom and bathroom.

    Since there are usually multiple locations where you can use your timeshare, you will normally have a few choices on your vacation destination, and there are even programs that let you trade timeshare days with others. However, it also has to be said that your vacations may be restricted to certain days of availability which may or may not coincide with the time you can take off of work. You also have to consider the possibility that there will be no open spots where you want to travel, but there might be a great hotel deal in New York. Do you take the deal anyway? Then you’re paying for the hotel plus your usual timeshare fees.

    What about Hotel Stays?

    If you don’t want to be restricted in your vacationing, a hotel may be the better choice. You will not have to limit your vacation to certain days or locations (and you certainly won’t have to do your own dishes). An extended stay at a hotel means you can take advantage of the cleaning and room service, and if you do your research it’s not that hard to find a good hotel discount to save even more money.

    If you enjoy exploring new places on your vacation, or if you often plan vacations at the last minute to take advantage of a special deal or sudden impulse, you will need a little more freedom than the timeshare system offers. Also, if you can’t spare the time to take a vacation each year, you won’t have to think about those fees that you are paying for nothing.

    Which is Right for You?

    If you have a large family and you enjoy travelling to the same areas for extended periods of time, a timeshare is a great option. You will have a lot of the comforts of home, a little privacy, and plenty of room to spread out and really relax.

    On the other hand, if you are not a regular traveler, or you like to try something new every year, the restrictions of a timeshare may not be suited to you. There are many destinations out there that offer a unique experience, and it can be hard to find a timeshare in the vicinity. Chances are you can find a nice hotel nearby, though. There are definite benefits to each of these options. Take the time to consider what you want to get out of your vacation time and make your decision accordingly.

    This post written by Joselyn Seifer.

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  • January 12, 2012

    The Current Travel Situation in Japan

    2011 was full of uncertainty around travelling to Japan. With so many different reports coming out at different times, it was hard to know exactly when or if it was okay to visit the country in any kind of recreational capacity. For some people the question wasn’t even about safety. The question was: when is it right and appropriate to travel to a country that has suffered so much?

    The triple disaster in northern Japan was the worst thing to happen to the country since World War II. It was so bad the media barely even noticed that a large volcano erupted on the southern side of the island just a couple days later. Immediately after the earthquake, the U.S. State Department issued an official warning and discouraged any unnecessary travel to the country. When news about the Fukushima nuclear plants started reaching the public, the agency also recommended that any U.S. citizens within a 50 mile radius of the plant either evacuate the area or if that wasn’t possible remain indoors as much as possible.

    Eventually, of course, the State Department removed all these restrictions, but despite reassurances from the Japanese government and many businesses in the travel industry, travelers are still keeping their distance from Japan and the country is experiencing a huge drop-off in annual tourism.

    Immediately After

    On March 30, 2011, just 19 days after the disaster, the State Department eased the restrictions on travel to Japan. While the situation at Fukushima was still extremely serious, and aftershocks lasted for weeks, commercial flights had resumed to all the major airports except Sendai, and a lot of progress has been made to restore the infrastructure.

    It didn’t take long for Tokyo public transportation to start working again, and, according to the State Department, 90% of the roads that were damaged by the quake or tsunami were quickly repaired or are at least made passable. Even the planned rolling power outages in Tokyo didn’t last very long, although the outages in the northeast areas still caused some water and food shortages.

    At the time, the State Department still recommended that visitors deferred any travel to the Tokyo or Yokohama areas, while Hokkaido, Shikoku, Kyushu, and Okinawa regions were considered outside of the troubled area and safe to visit.

    What Is The Current Situation?

    In the months that followed the disaster, the world watched as the people of Japan pulled together to rebuild and try to recover something of their former lives. Despite the reports of recovery, though, foreign travelers are still staying away, and the number of visitors has dropped dramatically. The tourist industry is capable of generating significant returns for business as well as the government, and the country needs to these visitors to come back.

    Japan has come a long way since the day of the triple disaster, but full recovery is still a long way off. However, the country itself is still, according to all reports, safe to visit and extremely welcoming to travellers.

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2011

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