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Exuberant Spring Festivals

It feels like only yesterday when we were celebrating Christmas and yet Pottsitauny Phil has promised that Spring is already fast approaching. Now is the time to plan your escape to another part of the world this Spring.   Why not take this opportunity to plan a journey to one of the world’s best spring festivals?  Here’s a look at  some of our favorite Spring festivals that are well worth putting our your bucket list.

Brazil (Mardi Gras Carnival)

Brazel CarnivalIf lavish carnivals are your thing then head down to Brazil where the world famous Mardi Gras carnival will be taking place on 5 March. Here Rio de Janeiro comes alive with people dancing in the streets all day and night. Extravagant parades feature colorful floats and costumes that surround you as everyone dances to the rhythm of a Samba beat. Come together with the locals to celebrate this African-American tradition and leave all your worries behind.

Get Steeply Discounted Ski Lift Tickets Online

Okay, which one of you asked Santa for snow this winter?  Whoever you are, you certainly got your wish!  With so much snow on the ground, there's nothing to do but head to the mountains for some record breaking runs. We've found a terrific website to...

New App Launches For Booking a 'Hotel Tonight'

Hotel Tonight is a new mobile app specifically designed to make booking last minute hotel room reservations a cinch. With all the disastrous winter weather plaguing the country this year, the Hotel Tonight app could be your savior when flights get canceled in Chicago, Boston,...

I Love This New Travel Accessory!

Meet the SPI Belt, an ingenious invention that combines the best attributes of a money belt, travel wallet, and fanny pack.  The name stands for small personal item belt.

SPI Belt

SPI Belt - Empty

This lightweight, flexible little belt is comfy to wear (inside or outside of clothing) and expands to hold an astonishing amount of important personal items.  Wear it to carry essential items while  running, walking or traveling.  Here’s my Caribbean edition… I bought Clint one in solid black.

SPI Belt - Filled

SPI Belt - Filled

This is what the belt looks like when filled with my writer’s notebook, pen, credit cards, money, lipstick, comb, cell phone and business cards – amazing! 

Princess Resorts Punta Cana – Take A Tour

Here's our latest video tour of the four Princess Resorts in Punta Cana Dominican Republic. Tour All 4 Princess Resorts in Punta Cana Slideshow: Wicked’s trip from Boston, Massachusetts, United States to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic was created by TripAdvisor. See another Punta Cana slideshow. Create...

Bank of America Sponors Free Musuem Visits in 2011

Bank of America wants to make it easy and affordable to visit your favorite museums this year. Their Museums On Us promotion offers free admission to some of the most popular museums in the United States.  Simply present your Bank of America or Merrill Lynch...

Travelers – Phone Home Totally Free!

Google VoiceInternational travelers sing hallelujah – there’s finally an easy way to phone home from anywhere in the world totally free!!! It’s fast, easy, and free.  I’ve tried it and I LOVE IT!

The folks at Google Labs have developed a computer to phone calling system that works from any GMail account.  If you don’t have a GMail address, get one today at Google.com – yes, it’s free.

To make a call – sign into your GMail account on any computing device and click on “Call Phone” that appears in the left column.  You’ll be directed to download the application once. 

6 of London’s Best Hidden Attractions

The dilemma for visitors to London is that by the time they’ve enjoyed the ‘must see’ attractions, they’re left with little time to experience the hidden gems that the city has to offer.

Beyond the historical buildings, markets and West End theatre, there is a vast number of lesser known sites of interest that can easily be missed if you don’t seek the council of a local. Luckily for you, dear reader, your author is a born and bred Londoner – 30 years to be precise – and spend much of my time exploring the city’s nooks and crannies, both for work and leisure.

Gathering all of my London knowledge, I’ve come up with a list of six of the city’s best lesser-known attractions.

Coronet Cinema – For most tourists, going to the cinema is not necessarily on their list of things to do. But London is home to some truly unique picture houses. One of the finest is the Coronet Cinema in Notting Hill, west London. A major part of the London arts scene, this cinema dates back to the late 19th century and specializes in non-mainstream movies. 

Paris On Our Mind – Tried and True Paris Tips

Paris cafe for breakfastHere are some Paris travel tips that will make  your journey safe, comfortable and fabulous. I’m always spouting, “When you see a super great deal – make yourself drop everything and go!”  That’s exactly what happened to us last month when Linda and I had the opportunity to fly off to Paris at a fabulous promotional rate.  We had a little over 2 weeks to pull our trip together, so we focused in right away.   Here’s what we did:

#1  A Quick Brush Up On Our High School French
Linda found a terrific language learning program – EarWormsLearning.com.  Despite the crawly name, the concept is amazing.  They believe that you learn better, faster and with more recall when you learn with music.  So their language lessons come with music playing in the background.  We loved it and listened on our iPods all the way to Paris.

30 Words French TranslationAnd for extra reassurance, we picked up a quick translation guide – 30 Words ($9.95).  These are terrific passport sized accordion folded translations of tourist phrases that are waterproof and tear-proof – perfect for toting around.

Lobster Rolls, Frog Jumping Contests & White Water Rafting – It Must Be Summer in Maine

Northern Outdoor RaftingThis summer is an old fashioned SCORCHA! – so it’s time to head to the cool, clear mountain villages of Maine where breezes blow and temperatures are comfortable.  While throngs of tourists cling to the rocky coastline (which is impressive we must admit), more discerning families head inland where spring fed lakes and rumbling rivers guarantee a refreshing vacation stay.

Rafting the Kennebec

NorthernOutdoors.com

Be A Really Cool Family – Go White Water Rafting On The Kennebec River! You can’t get much more refreshing than a plunge down the rapids in an inflatable boat.  The adrenaline rush all the water and amusement parks are trying to duplicate is right here in northern Maine on the Kennebec, Penobscot and Dead rivers.  Until July 15th it’s value season at Northern Outdoors – you can take 35% off standard summer rafting and lodging prices.  AND all summer long, kids raft at half price on weekdays.  On Wednesday it’s single parent day, two kids pay half price with a single paying parent.  These rivers will give you the ride of your life! 

Paris Greeters Program – Meeting The Friendly French, No Kidding

Paris Greeters, a volunteer organization of amiable Parisians who look forward to welcoming visitors to their city are changing the impression that Paris is a less than friendly city, one tour at a time, every day.

As Linda and I make our away across the city from the broad perfumed boulevards of the Champs Elysee to the gritty, lyrical lanes of the Left Bank,  we are giddy with anticipation.  We are about to meet a new friend that we met a few weeks ago online thanks to the Paris Greeters organization.  Our Paris Greeter / guide, Laurent, has volunteered to show us his city on this particular Saturday afternoon.  We’ve been in touch by email to set a time and place to meet, discussed our mutual interests, and exchanged photos so we can recognize each other outside the Metro station.

Within minutes of meeting we are talking, laughing and already appreciating the nuances of Left Bank neighborhoods and seeing French culture through new eyes.  Beyond a litany of Louis’ and their royal accomplishments (how DO they keep 18 Louis straight?) we stroll by a Pierre Herme´ pastry shrine  (you really can’t call it a bake shop when there are 50 people waiting in line to get in the door!); Paris Market - Wild Asparagusthen on to Gelati D’Alberto where the iced delights look like rose blossoms, and  of course we can’t resist ogling the decadent cheeses and fragrant produce at an open market.  Oh to be a Parisian on market day! Laurent schools us on choosing restaurants to dine in, “NEVER enter a restaurant that has ‘French Cuisine’ on the sign or menu”, he admonishes,  “they are just for poor unsuspecting tourist!”