Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Summer Vacations

Are you wanting to go on a Summer trip, but not quite sure where to go?
Here are my top Summer destination ideas.

1) Any of the Hawaiian Islands
Our Summer is their off season, meaning you are able to get lower rates.

2) Take a car or RV Trip with friends or family.
You don't need to go far away to have a great time.
To off-set rising gas prices, split the fuel cost with everyone on the trip

3) Glacier Park
If you enjoy the outdoors and beautiful scenery this is the place for you.
Located in western Montana, this is every outdoorsman's paradise

4) Theme Parks
Take a Disney vacation, or visit your local theme park.
This is the kind of trip the whole family will enjoy

5) Duluth, Minnesota
Duluth is located in Northern Minnesota, on Lake Superior.
This is a great destination for rock climbers, fishers, and history buffs.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Brasov is in the Romanian region of Transylvania, a name you can’t utter without invoking that of Vlad Tepes Dracula. Tepes (a nickname granted postmortem that means "the impaler") was widely regarded as a hero in Transylvania, long before Bram Stoker appropriated his name and immortalized the man in an 1897 novel. Though indisputably cruel, even by medieval standards, the real Dracula is nevertheless celebrated for beating back overwhelming Turkish forces by scaring them senseless with his favored style of prisoner execution.

Two castles are associated with Dracula. Bran Castle, built in 1382, is a stunning, beautifully preserved amalgamation of turrets rising out of a rocky crag. The place is pure cinematic perfection. It’s been used in several Dracula films, and it’s rumored to have inspired Stoker’s writing. In real life, however, Vlad Dracula never lived there.

Poienari Citadel was Dracula’s true home. Soon-to-be-skewered Turkish captives built the structure in 1459 on a key mountain pass. However, the castle toppled down the mountain in 1888. What remains today is merely a series of head-high ruins. Nevertheless, a visit reveals stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

17 Ways to Avoid Looking Like a Tourist

17 Ways To Avoid Looking Like A Muggable Tourist
March 19th, 2008

1. Avoid Wearing A Fanny Pack
“I’ve never seen any non-American wearing a fanny pack.”
2. Don’t Get Your Map Out In Public
“I hesitate to mention this one because it’s so basic, but here goes. Study the map before leaving the hotel (or even better, before leaving home). That way, a quick look while walking around is all you’ll need to reorient yourself. If it turns out more detailed study is required, find a place to sit down or otherwise get out of foot traffic. And don’t leave your hotel without a map.”
“If at any time we need to look at a tour book or a map…..we’ll step into a store….or another business to take a look…rather then pull the books out on the street corner.”
3. Be Adventurous In Restaurants
“Don’t seek out American chains. You’ll be disappointed anyway and you’ll miss one of the best things about travel. If you can’t understand the menu, just order something you can afford or ask the server to order the most popular dish for you. Don’t assume that street food is dangerous. It’s both healthy and delicious in many places.”
4. Don’t Wear Lots Of Jewelry
“We don’t wear a lot of jewelry. feel it is safer that way.”
5. Use Hotel Concierge Services
“We also use the concierge service at our hotels. We make sure we have a really good idea of where we are going before we step out of the lobby.”
6. Don’t Think Like A Tourist, Think Like A Student Of Culture
“The thing to remember is that what takes place on the INSIDE is as important as the outward trappings. You ARE a tourist, so don’t waste energy pretending to be a local. However, think of your self as a “participating and learning tourist” instead of an invader. Try to see how and why your hosts do what they do. Avoid comparisons with “how we do this at home.” If you want to do it the home country way, then don’t travel…stay home.”
7. Learn At Least The Basics Of The Language
“Learning even 4 or 5 words of the local language will open many doors. You don’t have to be fluent–just making that small effort brands you as a person of good will in most places. If you save those few words in your memory bank you’ll be surprised at how the service and portions improve when you use the words at a restaurant of the visited nationality when you are back in your home country.”
“If I am traveling somewhere that English isn’t readily spoken, I always try to memorize at least a few key phrases in that language. Don’t be hesitant to try them out–in most cases, the locals are very appreciative and are willing to work with you.”
8. Never Look Up
“I live in new york - so local lore here is to “never look up” - so to speak - since tourists usually do.”
9. Don’t Wear White Athletic Shoes
“Shoes are a dead giveaway that you are a tourist. I try to wear shoes that are comfortable for walking but do not resemble athletic shoes.”
10. Don’t Wear Shorts And Tee Shirts In The City
“The other thing that I noticed is that many of the American women wore shorts out in public. The only local women I noticed in shorts were young teenagers.”
11. Wear A Lot Of Black
“One thing I try to do is to wear a lot of black or dark colors when traveling abroad. Folks in Paris, London, and other European capitals tend to wear lots of black, and as a tourist, you tend to blend in if you’re wearing it, too.”
12. Keep Your Voice Down, Be Polite And Smile
“Be very polite, even when complaining. People will then think you’re Canadian.”
“Don’t speak as loud as you would in America.”
13. Wear A Few Local Accessories
“In Europe, wearing scarves as accessories also helps a woman traveller blend in.”
14. Leave The Baseball Cap At Home
“One of the things that was pointed out to me was that the American Tourist always wore baseball hats and were carrying backpacks. One day at a patio restaurant in Capri I paid attention and he was right. It was so easy to spot the American tourist. They were wearing baseball caps and had back packs.”
15. Get Yourself A Local Dog To Walk
“Best thing we ever did was when we were house sitting for a friend in Hawaii (I guess we weren’t really tourists!). We were also dog sitting, so being seen with a well-known local dog meant that everyone talked to us.”
16. Buy Clothes In Local Stores
“Bring few clothes, then immediately shop the local stores, and buy what you find there—clothing the locals wear. For example, in Rome, I noticed that many men wore black, wool, ribbed sweaters. One of those, and jeans, and you would look like 80% of the guys I saw.”
17. No Logos Or Slogans
“No slogans or sayings on the shirts…NASCAR does not fit in well in Europe. Wearing something like this begs the old question “And what did he pass up in his suitcase in favor of this?””