A New Way To Stay!

A big expense while traveling is sleeping accommodations. Hotels can add up, especially in bigger cities and during the popular seasons. I’ve come to appreciate other options when I’m on the road. Here are a couple of alternatives to the traditional hotel:

Hostels: This is a popular (and cheap) way to travel, especially for young people. Expect to share a room with several other people. Usually, The more people you’re willing to bunk with the cheaper the cost. Bunk Beds are commonplace and you shouldn’t expect peace and quiet. Hostels can get quite rowdy.

A private bathroom is very rare when staying at a hostel so expect something more similar to a college dormitory. Sometimes linens are provided but many times you’re expected to bring your own. You should also have your own toiletries.

Hostels are a great way to make new friends during your travels. Websites like Hostels.com or hostelworld.com have made it easier to search for accommodations based on price, location, etc. You can also read reviews on cleanliness and safety which can offer peace of mind.

I stayed in a great hostel in Rio de Janeiro called Terra Brasillis. A four-person room for two nights was approximately $33/night. It was comfortable and the views of the city were priceless.

Couchsurfing: Couchsurfing brings you about as far out of your comfort zone as you can get. It’s exactly how is sounds, you are sleeping on a stranger’s couch (or futon if you’re lucky). At couchsurfing.org you can search for a place to crash in over 100.000 cities. Go to the “How It Works” page to learn everything you need to know. While this form of traveling sounds scary you can review profiles before you choose your host.

I’ve never couchsurfed but have no aversion to it and look forward to one day doing so.

AirBNB: This is a website that is very similar to couchsufing in that you are staying in someone else’s place. The difference is that you have the option to rent a private room or even and entire space. You can also read reviews before you commit.

This is mainly how I travel now. My first Airbnb experience was in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I rented an entire apartment in a wonderful location for $50/night. After a $20 cleaning fee and the standard service fee of $38 my total for 6 nights was $358.

I highly recommend this website to my fellow travelers because it accommodates a variety of desires and budgets. I currently have two bookings on Airbnb; an apartment in Paris (with a view of the Eiffel Tower) for $98/night for the week of Christmas and a houseboat in Amsterdam at the end of December.

So ditch the hotels for a more authentic travel experience and open your world up to many more possibilities.

The Terra Brasilla Hostel in Rio de Janeiro offered a clean, safe and affordable place to stay with a view that was worth every penny.
The Terra Brasilla Hostel in Rio de Janeiro offered a clean, safe and affordable place to stay with a view that was worth every penny.

Manhattan Sunday – A Photo Gallery

Atlanta’s Food Truck Park Is Ready For You

The Blaxican Food Truck was a popular stop for many.
The Blaxican Food Truck was a popular stop for many.

Whoever came up with the idea of selling fast and tasty gourmet food from a truck was a freakin genius and I love them for it.

Gone are the days of shady hot dog vendors being the only option for a fast treat and it couldn’t have come soon enough for me as the smell of hot dog water makes me nauseous.

With the Food Truck Craze in full swing Atlanta has its very own fleet of Food Trucks and you can find most of them at the Atlanta Food Truck Park (1850 Howell Mill Rd.). It’s open 6 days a week and features over 25 trucks serving up the best that the culinary world has to offer.

Here are the hours:

Tues. & Wed.: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Thurs., Fri. & Sat.: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Sun.: 12 a.m. – 7 p.m.

With plenty of parking, picnic tables and occasional live music this is the perfect place  for a bite to eat.

In fact, this location will soon be a one-stop-shop to show your support for local entrepreneurs of all types.

This spring we’ll see the arrival of “The Market” where vendors will be able to sell fresh, gourmet and artisan specialties.

Also, an art market is coming soon featuring “fresh, young and emerging artists.”

So there you have it; a cool, hip place to shop, eat and hang out.

SkyView: Atlanta’s Newest Attraction – Check It Out!

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The great city of Atlanta has a new addition to its skyline in the form of a 200-foot ferris wheel called SkyView and it’s pretty darn fancy. Each climate-controlled gondola can hold up to 6 people, with 42 gondolas that’s a whopping 252 people who can enjoy the 15-minute ride simultaneously. Impressive, right?

It may seem like SkyView popped up overnight and that’s because it kind of did. Atlanta Magazine announced the start of construction just last month.

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This newest attraction is conveniently located in Centennial Park near two other popular city attractions, the Georgia Aquarium and World of Coca-Cola. Perhaps SkyView’s  biggest draw is its appeal to all ages. Both kids and adults will love the thrill of rotating almost 20-stories into the air.

It also seems like the perfect romantic destination, especially as the sun is setting over the city. In fact, spring for the VIP gondola and skip the line. Your gondola will also include leather bucket seats and tinted windows. It’ll cost you $50 a person but sounds like a perfect first date to me.

Now for the important information: tickets cost $13.50 for adults, $8.50 for kids and are free for children age 2 and under. Lines are pretty long so be prepared to wait.

Boom! Knowledge dropped. Now go!

It’s Restaurant Delivery Week In NYC!

I stayed out pretty late last night enjoying the entertainment at Vlada Bar so today was a pretty chill day which consisted of some leisurely walking around Columbus Circle and the neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen.

I was trying to decide if I wanted to wander out for dinner or order delivery and finally get around to watching the newest season of Arrested Development. This was turning out to be a tough decision until I logged onto Seamless Web and discovered that it was Restaurant Delivery Week. Decision made!

Basically, participating restaurants are offering a special prix fixe menu for delivery. What a great idea!

I had a tough time choosing but eventually decided to go with an Indian Restaurant called Benares. For $25 I got a Veggie Samosas, Chicken Tikka Masala, Naan, Basmati Rice and Gulab Jamun (honey dumpling). Delicious!

If you’re lucky enough to be in New York City this week then check out Restaurant Delivery Week before it’s over. You’re tummy will thank you for it.

Top Five St. Patrick’s Day Parades

pinchIt’s time to dig out that green garment you haven’t worn in months and flaunt your stuff this weekend in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. It’s likely you’ll find a parade wherever you may be but I’ve gathered five parades that are a notch above the rest. Read and you’ll see why.

New York, NY (Saturday, March 16)
The Big Apple is host to the oldest and biggest St. Patty’s parade in the world (over 250 years old). Funded only by donations, this event is unique in that there are no floats, automobiles or even commercial affiliations. Instead, you’ll enjoy anywhere from 150,000 to 250,000 marchers entertaining a crowd of approximately two million spectators along Fifth Avenue.
nycstpatricksparade.org

Chicago, IL (Saturday, March 16)
This Annual Parade is always held on Saturday (either the day before or on St. Patrick’s Day) and begins on the corner of Columbus Drive and Balbo then continues North to Monroe. Nearly 100 pounds of green dye is dumped into the Chicago River in preparation of the days festivities. Don’t worry about cancellations because rain, snow or freezing temperatures this event proceeds no matter what. Chicagoans are tough like that.
www.chicagostpatsparade.com

Savannah, GA (Saturday, March 16)
This year, the city of Savannah will be holding its 189th parade. The festivities begin with Mass at the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in historic downtown Savannah. Starting at 10:15 a.m., the three hour parade will feature over 350 units of U.S. military divisions, bands and the famous Budweiser Clydesdales.
www.savannahsaintpatricksday.com

San Francisco, CA (Saturday, March 16)
This St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival (March 16, 2013) dates back to 1852 and features traditional music, dances, food and drink. Head to the corner of 2nd Street and Market to partake in the day’s fun.
saintpatricksdaysf.com

New Orleans, LA (Sunday, March 17)
The people of New Orleans know how to do parades and the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Metairie Road is as good as anything you’ll find during Mardi Gras. Not only do floats throw bead and other trinkets but also cabbage, potatoes, carrots, onions and other seasonings. It’s very likely you’ll leave with all the ingredients for a traditional Irish stew.
stpatricksdayneworleans.com