World Trade One Observatory Deck and Ground Zero Memorial

World Trade One Observatory Deck and Ground Zero Memorial

Day 1 in New York City. Activity one was of course to check out the progress on the world trade site as its been five years since my last visit to this fabulous city.

The ground zero memorial site blew me away, totally. Two deep fountains sit in the position the two towers once sat proudly. Fountains flow down into a portal in the middle which is very poetic. You can’t see the bottom and I couldn’t help feeling it symbolises the fallen men and women who’s individual names are engraved around the sides.

    
    
 
Next I entered the world trade observatory building. Tickets are priced $32 for daytime entry, over $40 during the night. A lift takes you up 103 floors in just 38 seconds then you are taken on a mini tour before curtains are lifted, producing a magnificent panoramic view of Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs. It was a clear day and the horizon seemed unlimited. There is no external deck (like other buildings) so you feel a lot safer, which is more appealing to the faint hearted. It costs a lot more than the likes of the Empire State Building and the Rockerfeller Centre, but worth every penny.

   
    
    
    
    
 
On exiting the deck, the lift back down to earth plays a virtual screening shown above, which is a lovely touch.

Save money on identifying your luggage..

Save money on identifying your luggage..

In almost every ‘travel’ retail store you will find luggage tags with the purpose of identifying your own case as it comes through the conveyer belt.

There is a much cheaper way of doing this, so cheap it’s free!

Find some coloured lace, it can be anything around the home, a shoelace, part of an old garment etc etc.

Simply tie it to the handle of your case.

It avoids attracting unwanted third party attention to your case, but you will be able to spot it a mile off as it pops out at the airport, enabling a swift departure.

  

That Flighty Feeling…

… Nothing compares to that feeling you get when you have booked the flights you have been pondering on for several weeks.

I just did it!

Next month, a week in New York City, followed by a trip to Bali and Singapore!

It’s been too long, international travel…

There is no such thing as travelling ‘alone’..

There is no such thing as travelling ‘alone’..

There is definitely a stigma attached to the word – alone.

There shouldn’t be, and here’s why..

We are all alone.

We are all brought into and out of the world equally. People we meet along the way are companions. There to fill us with company and love, sometimes with upset and pain. But the fact remains the same, we are still, always…. Alone. How you fill your time is up to you.

So why is there a stigma attached with travelling alone? I suppose people might consider it a safety risk… But guess what? You can easily be attacked as a two-some as you could travelling alone. If anything, you could be an easier target for attack in a group because you let your guard down.

People may even think… ‘Don’t you have any friends?? You must be a loner to travel by yourself..’ Well, I’m here to tell you, officially – screw them, and their opinions.

Travel can be equally or more amazing when travelling by yourself. But this is not a unique situation of ‘alone-ness.’ It just means you are travelling without company. And it can be incredible.

The stranger in a pub and his advice…

The stranger in a pub and his advice…

I love it when you meet a complete stranger and they say something to you…. A simple sentence that just falls from their lips like an old apple from a limp tree branch. But THAT sentence will stay with you forever. The stranger has no idea that their blaze alcohol fuelled babble with give you a piece of advice that will change your life forever.

I was sat in a bar one summers afternoon with a friend and we began chatting to a man who had flown back into the UK from Japan where he has been living for several years, teaching English. Due to our mutual love of exploring the other continents, the conversation drew in towards my favourite subject… ‘Travel’

At this point, I had never travelled alone before and was toying with the idea of booking a long haul solo trip to Asia and Australia for a few months. But! I was in a long term relationship. One that I thought was very happy at the time. I didn’t want to leave him for several months and I discussed this with the stranger.

What he said to me changed my life.

“In five years time, which will you regret more? Not going travelling or risking the relationship?”

Sure enough, five years have passed since that comment. I went travelling. The relationship didn’t last, and I can honestly look back with no regrets because I found my passion in life and I found myself. 

 

How to Get an Extra Holiday for FREE and Avoid Long Layovers on Connecting Flights and What Exactly a ‘Transit’ or ‘Stopover’ Means.

How to Get an Extra Holiday for FREE and Avoid Long Layovers on Connecting Flights and What Exactly a ‘Transit’ or ‘Stopover’ Means.

Some people will know a little about this. I know that many others know nothing at all, I hope this post helps all of you in some way in your future travels.

When you are travelling super duper long haul, there is only a maximum amount of distance one flight can take you due to fuel restrictions etc, so it’s very common to take a connecting flight to your destination. Sometimes these flights have 2 or more ‘transits’. A transit is basically when you remain airside at an airport in any given destination, without clearing immigration, awaiting boarding your connecting onward flight. This means you have booked the entirety of your journey on one ticket and any checked luggage will be sent through to your final destination for you, and you just need to change aircraft.

More often than not, flights with one or more transits are much cheaper than flying direct, so this is a great way to save some coins if time is on your side.

So, you may often find amazingly cheap flights that involve a connection time at an airport of over ten hours. This is often because of busy dates and limited availability on the flights with good connection times. Take note;

  • This can be excruciatingly dull and you can easily spend what you saved on the flight cost actually inside the airport.
  • Officially a ‘transit’ is only a transit if your connection is under 8 hours. This means you may require a transit visa for 8 hours and 10 minutes, incurring more fees.
  • Anything over 24 hours will certainly require a visa, if required in your stopover destination.

So basically, if you are only considering doing a long transit to save a few pennies, I would say it’s not worth it.

BUT… There is a much better solution. 

  • Be flexible with your dates. Moving your outbound date by just one day could shorten your total journey time by many hours and free up availability in your perfect connecting flight.
  • Abuse the situation and swap your awful long transit to a stopover!!

What is a stopover, you ask?

A stopover is a planned break in your journey. For example, say you book a flight from London- Sydney, with a transit in Dubai. Your luggage will be checked from London to Sydney and in Dubai, you change planes. What you CAN do is actually book a flight to Dubai, stay for a few days and then fly onwards to Sydney. This means you will collect your hold bags at Dubai, clear immigration, leave the airport and return to check in again for your Dubai – Sydney flight. * Please note that all ticket rules vary and whilst many airlines offer this free of charge, some will charge a small fee and there will likely be a small airport tax increase. 

So, if you are flying through Dubai anyway, make the most and tick that country off your list.

Emirates via Dubai is just an example but this can work on almost ANY flight ticket with a transit.

Happy free holiday hunting!

Short Haul Winter Sun for Brits in April

Short Haul Winter Sun for Brits in April

Where is hot in April? 

This is a question I asked myself whilst looking for a hot break somewhere next month.

April is right on the cusp of winter and summer for many destinations in Europe so it’s hard to know where to choose to go if you’re in search of sunshine. I have written this blog to give some inspiration for short haul winter sun from the UK. Short haul, I classify as under 5 hours flight time.

1.

The Canary Islands are mountainous, pretty, volcanic islands off the East coast of Africa and are pretty much in line with the Sahara Desert. They are touristy and often have beaches packed with British tourists. The four main islands are Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. Temperatures in April range from 18-20 degrees but often can get hotter.

  
2.

Egypt offers guaranteed sunshine year round. Resorts such as Sharm El Sheikh, Luxor or Hurghada are nestled far away enough from political unrest and are in my opinion, tourist friendly and safe. Temperatures in April average at 25 degrees.

  
3.

Morocco offers many cultural attractions such as the city of Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains, along with beautiful beach resorts. Temperatures in April average between 18-24 degrees.

  
4. 

Malta and Gozo are pretty much as far south you can get in the Meditteranean. They get very warm from May onwards but in April you can look at averages of around 20 degrees.

  
5. 

Cyprus in Europe is verging into the Middle East heat zone and it’s truly a superb country. I’d recommend hiring a car and spend your days exploring. They drive on the left also! Temperatures in April average t the slightly cooler 16 degrees but often reach 21 degrees.

  
6.

Jordan. OK, this is a smidge over a 5 hour flight, but this is my favourite short haul destination. With jam packed fun in the desert, the ancient city of Petra and the Dead Sea on offer, it’s worth the extra bit of flying. Temperatures in April average 28 degrees! Don’t go in July because you will burst into flames.

  
7.

Tunisia. Many people are put off travelling there are the terrorist attacks last year. One could argue that perhaps it is now one of the safest places to travel to. Temperatures in April are averaging around 16 degrees.