Hotel Pennsylvania, Midtown Manhattan 

Hotel Pennsylvania, Midtown Manhattan 

Hotels in Manhattan are notoriously overpriced in general, so on a recent visit I was keen to cut back some pennies. I have known of the hotel Pennsylvania 2* for many years having booked it for thousands of clients and I actually walked past it 5 years ago. It’s well known for being a good budget hotel (starting rates around $150 per night) in the city centre. I have had mixed reviews about the hotel and was honestly not expecting much at all on arrival on a recent six day city break.

The first thing that shocked me was the size of the hotel, it has around 2,000 rooms and towers high (much like many New York buildings) and the queue for check in.


After a long day of travelling, a 45 minute wait to get to the front desk was not ideal. Properties of this magnitude will always have drawbacks. BUT, on the flip side, having a room on the 12th floor meant so much of the New York noise couldn’t be heard when sleeping which is a massive bonus and something most people do not think about when booking a hotel. The check in staff were very friendly and professional.. Worth the wait.

The bedrooms are a little dated and the bathrooms, although clean could certainly have a little revamp. The beds are very comfortable. I think the mattresses were the fancy hypo allergenic sprung types with a topper, which my back appreciated after battling the city each day.


A very bizarre thing happened during our stay. We had a ‘do not disturb’ tag on our door so house keeping did not visit. But, on our return, there was an extra fridge freezer in our room! We couldn’t understand why it had been brought in as we already had one and we certainly hadn’t asked for it. I half expected to find an oven the next day…!

The room keys frequently decided to fall asleep during our visit requiring a frustrating 60 minute round trip to reception and security etc etc to gain access to our room.

Facilities at the hotel are decent, hotel guests have access to an Olympic size swimming pool next door free of charge and if you are offered breakfast, take it!! It’s at a buffet cafe accross the street and is fantastic; salad, fruit, cereal, bagels, pancakes, toast, hot food, tea, coffee and juice…. I am salivating whilst writing this just remembering it. There are also a few stores inside the hotel and a coffee shop. Seating is available in the lobby, but there could be a little more given the amount of guests. The hotel is wheelchair friendly as there are ramps / lifts available.

The best bit by far, location location location!! The hotel is directly opposite Penn train station (which operates a direct train to Newark airport), and Madison Square Garden. The hotel also has several subway stations within a few minutes walk. Times Square is about a 15 minute walk north of the hotel and Central Park another 15 minutes north.

Overall, I was happy with my stay. Would I stay here again? Absolutely. Would I recommend it to others? Definitely. Suitable for all ages? Yes, although in my opinion it is perhaps a little more suited for 18-45 years. Friendly staff? Yes, and mostly very helpful.

I was pleasantly surprised by my stay and if you are considering staying here, do not let bad reviews put you off. It is budget accommodation so don’t expect a 5* hotel, but it’s a great gem in the heart of Manhattan.

How To Arrange Your Holiday Visa to Anywhere

Many destinations now require a visa for entry, even as a tourist.

This blog will help you regardless of you nationality and destination.

I am not going to list every country and every nationality link that requires a visa because frankly, I don’t have the time or space on my blog. What I can share with you should save you a lot of time and money.

Whatever your nationality and wherever you are travelling to, you can quickly and easily check your visa requirements by looking on the embassy website.

NOW, bare in mind that there will be hundreds of companies posing as the official visa website, always click on the link to the website with the word ’embassy’ in it.

For example;

http://www.chinese-embassy.org.uk

There will be step by step instructions on how to apply for a visa and all the fees. Other companies will offer to process your visa for you, but you will often pay more than 100% mark up for the Priveledge. Yes it’s fiddly and time consuming to do it yourself, but it is straight forward and will save you lots of cash. If you are worried about making a mistake, either get a friend to help you, or most embassies themselves will charge a smaller fee to check it and allow and reapply if you have made an error.

To test the theory, I am a British Citizen and I looked at the cost of a tourist visa to China. It’s £85. The first of these so-called official visa companies I looked at that was not the official embassy website was charging £171 for exactly the same visa! I’m not trying to put these companies out of business because if you can afford to pay extra and don’t have the time or energy to do it yourself then I guess it’s worth paying the extra, but at least shop around a bit.

Some countries off the top of my head that will almost certainly require a visa for tourist entry are;

China

USA

Australia

Vietnam 

India

Again, this will all depend on what passport you are travelling on.

This doesn’t apply with ‘visa on arrival’ which is common in countries like Egypt and Indonesia which is basically just a tourist entry fee and is done, on arrival, like it says on the tin.

I hope this helps you and saves you from being ripped off.

You are ABLE to Travel, Disabled.

You are ABLE to Travel, Disabled.

*warning* material in this article may upset readers.

Did you realise that there are over 11 million people in the UK living with a severe dibilitating illness or disability (estimates of 6% of children, 16% of working age adults and 45% of 65+) that’s over 17% of our population.

In the UK, we are very fortunate that most medical conditions are recognised and we generally get the support we need. It’s not uncommon in developing countries for disabled or impaired individuals to be seen as having drawn the short straw and have no alternative but to resort to a desolate life of begging on the streets for food.

  
How does a disability affect travel? There are many factors to take into account.

  • Will I be able to get travel insurance?
  • Will there be amenities to suit my requirements?
  • Will the different climate affect me?
  • Will flying be stressful / possible?

Travel insurance can be tricky if you have extensive pre-existing medical conditions and will take a little time to research the best policy for yourself. Most policies will insure everybody but simply exclude cover for any existing illness. Other policies will allow you to add on cover for certain illnesses, for an additional premium. There are also companies that specialise in these areas and / or elderly travellers. Please do not be simply discouraged from travel altogether because of this, rest assured with a little research, you will get there in the end.

Any reputable UK tour operator will have a selection of wheelchair friendly properties. When you call with your requirements, please be patient! When I worked as a travel agent I recall a client becoming irate on the phone because I wasn’t able to produce an immediate selection of suitable hotels for him and his requirements and he accused our company of discrimination. The travel industry is very broad and it can take time to liaise with hotels / resorts to ensure that what is offered is definitely suitable. Villa companies usually will have ‘wheelchair friendly’ properties with wheel-in / walk-in wet rooms, wider doorways and handlebars.

In the UK, we are mostly graced with miserable, cold and wet weather. The good news here is that warmer climates can actually help certain medical conditions. Heat therapy (or thermotherapy) can improve muscle pain, chronic pain or stress, amongst others. So get your sun cream out and enjoy!

Flying long haul can be stressful for everybody. If you are elderly or have difficulty in walking long distances but are not in a wheelchair, the prospect of battling the airport alone can be terrifying. At the check in desk you can request a buggy to take you to the gate for your flight. If you are immobile, you should advise your airline or travel agent prior to departure and they can arrange boarding assistance for you. Wheelchair users normally receive priority boarding to ensure you are comfortable prior to the flocks of other passengers boarding. If you have a life threatening allergy, you should also advise your airline prior to travel. I have known instances in the past where the airline has banned all nut products from the entire aircraft because one passenger had a severe allergy.

I am one of the 11 million people to suffer with a disability. I have chronic fatigue syndrome and fibro myalgia and can empathise with others who find travel difficult but do not want to miss out on these fabulous joys in life. 

If you have any queries, please feel free to email me and I will try my very best to help you;

Info@cuddleyourglobe.com
References

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/disability-facts-and-figures/disability-facts-and-figures

https://www.painscience.com/articles/ice-heat-confusion.php

Stroll Along The Beach in England..

Stroll Along The Beach in England..

Whilst on a job near the coast in England recently, I looked out of the window and saw this…

  
… I couldn’t help but appreciate the beauty of the English coastline. I love people watching – wondering where this gentleman is off to, what he is thinking…

Alone at Christmas…

Alone at Christmas…

If you are on a long term trip or temporarily living abroad, one of the hardest times is being separated from loved ones during the festive period.

Christmas, for most, is a time to spend with those nearest and dearest and share – love!!!

For me, it’s important to spend it with family. My family are very spread out and not particularly close. But, at Christmas, we all stop for a day and spend it with each other. I normally adore Christmas.

This is going to be my first Christmas alone. I am sadly not travelling, I am working. I chose a career in healthcare which does not stop when Santa visits. I have also just experienced a relationship break up and am now living alone again. This got me thinking about people all over the world who, for whatever reason, cannot spend Christmas with their loved ones.

There has been a lot of press about people who are alone this Christmas and it encouraged me to look into it. It breaks my heart to think of elderly, homeless or lonely people who have nobody or nothing over Christmas. Loneliness and depression increases. It’s no wonder that January has the highest suicide rate of any month.

Let’s all take a minute to think of those less fortunate than ourselves over Christmas, or even donate your time or a small amount of money to a local homeless shelter. Check on your elderly neighbours who live alone or even better, invite them for dinner.