If you’re in New York City, whether for a vacation or business, there are a lot of things you can do that don’t actually cost you anything. Yup, they’re absolutely free. Isn’t that cool? Here are some of those awesome activities you must try in NYC:
– Listen to music at Arthur’s Tavern, which is an institution since 1957. It has the best live jazz and blues music night after night.
– Spend Wednesdays at the Bronx Zoo. Check out nearly 4,000 species of animals spread across the 265-acre property.
– Exercise while you’re having an excellent time at NYC by joining fitness classes organized by Shape Up NYC every day of the week in five boroughs.
– Visit New York Public Library and find out a thing or two or take advantage of their free WiFi.
– Be amazed with cool innovative art by visiting Socrates Sculpture Park.
– Spend absolutely nothing when you check out the Brooklyn Botanic Garden on a Tuesday.
– Go on TV with The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Join the taping of this popular TV show for a unique experience in the city.
– View abstract paintings at Chelsea’s Galleries. Most of the galleries here have free admission, plus wine.
– Get free beer at Bierkraft on Tuesdays at 7pm.
– Go sledding on each park you find in NYC. There’s plenty of places to go. All you need is one that has a hill or a sufficient mound of snow.
– Enjoy winding up those stairs at Guggenheim. Starting at 5:45pm, this famous and one of the most iconic museums for free.
– Enjoy sightseeing at Wave Hill, a 28-acre public garden that has an endless array of expansive gardens, exhibits and workshops and more. You can get in here for free on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
– Get the best laughter from the comedy club Upright Citizens Brigade. Jerry Seinfeld and Wooden Allen are just two of its very famous alumni.
There’s still so many cool things you can do in NYC. If you want to have a taste of the awesome life in this city, immerse in the local scene and explore this bustling metropolis whenever you can.
The Pacific Northwest is an outdoor-lover’s paradise. With myriad wilderness opportunities ranging from hiking to kayaking and more, Seattle is undoubtedly the hub of this natural wonderland. With distinct seasons, relatively mild temperatures, and a landscape that never ceases to inspire, the Seattle area draws millions of people who want nothing more than to work and play in this exceptionally lovely part of the United States.
One of the most popular of these weekend activities for Seattle area residents is exploring some of the region’s best off-road trails and tracks. Many of these fall within the state’s park system, and some are built and maintained by off-road enthusiasts. This is a fantastic way to experience the beautiful scenery in and around Mount Rainier and other wooded areas. The best part is that many of these trails are located within an hour of Seattle itself.
If you’re an off-road enthusiast who is interested in learning more about the Seattle area’s opportunities for adventurous 4×4 owners, or you’re a newbie who would love to get in the action, read on to find the best and most exciting trails and tracks in the region. Just be sure to visit the best Jeep dealer serving the Seattle area to make sure you have the right vehicle for the challenge.
Evans Creek Off-Road Vehicle Park
Located just under an hour from the city, Evans Creek ORV Park is located in the foothills of Mount Rainier and offers a little something for everyone, but, true to its name, Evans Creek is a haven for off-road enthusiasts of all sorts. Permits are required and can be obtained from the Forest Service. Many people who use this area report that rangers are on-site and frequently check for appropriate permits.
With clearly marked trails ranging from easy to difficult, Evans Creek is perfect for both experienced off-road drivers and beginners. The scenery here is incredible and the stunning views of Mount Rainier can’t be beat. However, nature has a way of presenting all kinds of challenges in this area, and it’s not uncommon for some trails to be closed due to heavy snowfall, even as late in the year as June or July.
Located outside of Seattle in Snohomish County is Reiter Foothills Forest, home to some of the best ORV areas in the state, if not the country. This spot has been used by off-road enthusiasts since the 1960s, but just recently the state stepped in to develop the area and create specific trails that can be used safely by vehicles and other outdoor lovers, such as hikers and backcountry equestrians.
As the Reiter Foothills are still under construction, the area is only open to off-road vehicles Thursday through Sunday during the summer months, and only on Saturday and Sunday from November through May. Volunteers are needed to complete the construction on the trails, and this is a great way for Seattle area off-roaders to contribute to what will eventually be one of the most popular ORV playgrounds in the Pacific Northwest.
As part of the Snoqualmie National Forest, Rimrock Lake is home to miles of trails that are designated specifically for off-road use by ATVs and 4×4 vehicles. The trails are open to any vehicle with current registration, and connect with the Green DOT (Department of Transportation) roads in the Ahtanum State Forest. The scenery around the lake is exquisite and there are ample hiking and camping facilities, as well as boating and kayaking on the lake. This makes Rimrock perfect for those who are looking for a weekend getaway that offers activities for those who aren’t necessarily interested in getting muddy on the ORV trails. While the official season for Rimrock is May 1 through December 1, the area may close early or open late due to heavy snowfall. Check with the Forest Service for more details.
Off-road adventures are undoubtedly the best way to experience the wild and natural beauty of the Seattle area, and these are just a few of the areas that are available to ORV enthusiasts. Get your Jeep ready, pack the cooler and all of your essential gear, and head out to see the best of what the Pacific Northwest has to offer. You’ll return to work on Monday refreshed and relaxed, and ready to plan your next 4×4 trip as soon as possible.
Having a lucrative corporate job can be quite fulfilling. But to what extent?
In Alberta, Canada, a couple literally dropped everything to travel the world.
Dalene and Peter Heck had high-paying jobs in the corporate world. They had a good life, but often monotonous. But problems and trials are never too far. At one point, the Hecks found themselves drowning in misery over personal struggles, illnesses and accidents. Then, one day, they realized one very important fact: life is short, so you have to make the most of it.
So yes, you can guess what happened next. Dalene and Peter made the bold move of quitting their jobs. They then sold whatever they have and embarked on a life journey filled with airport checks, passports and visas, hotels, tours and all the privileges and opportunities that no high-paying job will ever be able to offer.
The only plan that Dalene and Peter had when they first started their life of travel was to use all of their savings to fund this new chapter in their lives. Although they had no clue as how they can sustain their plan, they booked a flight to South America.
The couple spent their first year around South America. And like any other first-time travelers, they made the mistake of trying to accomplish too many things in a short span of time. So after a year, they felt beat. After that, they accepted a house-sitting job in British Columbia for a few months.
Being confined to a single place for a good amount of time gave the Heck couple a chance to recharge, immerse and travel slow. Since then, they have been choosing their next destination based on where they are offered housesitting gigs, allowing them to spend less on their tours while enjoying a deeper travel experience. This is how they got to Ireland and Turkey, which was one of their most favorite trips. They had so much fun in Turkey that they were offered to housesit for the owner again the following year, which of course, they accepted.
While in Turkey, the couple visited numerous places, including Pamukkale, terraces of white carbonate minerals, which Dalene considers “one of the most unique places” they’ve ever been to. But the Hecks did more than just exploring. They visited schools and helped Turkish children with their English.
In the five years of traveling, the couple has lived in Ecuador near a volcano, was almost swept off a mountain while in Peru, sat amongst candles in Jordan, kayaked in Greenland and so much. Today, they claim they are addicted, and the thought of stopping is a bit scary for them.
The couple has this piece of advice for those looking to follow their path, “Go slow. Most people start out by going to each place for two or three days, but when you go slow, you don’t burn out as quickly and you get a richer experience. You understand a place, rather than just grabbing a selfie and moving on.”
In the South African city of Bloemfonteine, a hotel chain called Emoya Luxury Hotel & Spa has adapted an apartment complex to simulate the South African villages where they live in misery. This complex, called The Shanty Town, has adopted the “Play to be poor for a while” slogan, and it’s designed for upper-class tourists who want to feel poor for a few days without sinking their feet in the mud.
The “poor village” has 12 cottages that keep a poverty facade (with wood and tin houses), so that those ones who fantasize about being homeless for a few days don’t stop feeling the comfort. The surroundings and the history of the place were reconstructed following business purposes: the cabins are immersed in an waste environment (placed there as the attrezzo), the bathroom is out of the houses and tourists are encouraged to heat water in street bonfires.
The Shanty Town website says: “Now you can experience how it is to stay in a hut inside a private reserve. It is the only village in the world equipped with heating and Wi-Fi … The huts are ideal for teamwork, luxury themed parties or for havig a life experience. Our theme park is completely safe and child friendly.”
For an estimated per night of about $80 (150 thousand pesos), equivalent to half the South African average monthly salary, adults and children can spend a night in a similar cabin to the ones in poor areas of the country. The idea, according to Emoya Luxury Hotel, is to put the tourists in contact with poverty in South Africa.
But the experience is not quite complete because the cottages are located in a private space that belongs to the hotel. Here guests have electricity, internet access, heating, bathroom with shower, and other facilities.
Obviously, this kind of fiction meant for the rich to experience life like the poor got several criticisms. In particular, considering that in Africa the majority of the population lives in extreme poverty.
Making the decision to head out on a road trip, whether it’s for one week, one month or one year, is a hugely exciting experience no matter how young or old you are, as is the idea of exploring unknown places, whether that’s at home or abroad. From deciding what clothes to pack, how much food you’ll need to take and whether you’re covered by your current motor insurance abroad, there are a huge amount of considerations and preparations you simply must think about.
No matter if you’re a weathered adventurer or you’re setting off on your very first road trip, there are always items you’re going to forget, but one thing you simply must not overlook is a portable generator. A portable generator is just that – portable – and takes up very little room when travelling around. As well as this, they have a whole host of practical uses – here are just a few:
Whether you’re sleeping in a tent or you’re in something a little more luxurious, like a campervan, there are certain things that will make a road trip just that little bit easier. From hair dryers to portable freezers, a portable generator will allow you to power all of those essentials you simply cannot go without. Being able to generate power for a portable freezer or fridge will mean that you can travel around more freely and eradicate the worry of having to plan your days around finding food and drink.
A portable generator, like the ones sold by SGS Engineering, are a necessity if you want to use any sort of electrical items whilst you’re away. If you are road tripping for longer than a week or two and especially if you’re camping or spending the night in the middle of nowhere, then you’ll no doubt go a little mad if you’re left with no entertainment. A portable generator can power a television set and a radio, allowing you to catch up on your favourite shows or news whilst you’re away.
Keep in Contact
Modern technology is everywhere these days, and whilst you may want to appear the reckless, un-contactable type, especially if you’re travelling alone, at some point you’re going to want to let someone know you’re okay. As well as this, it’s important for emergency purposes too. A portable generator gives you the opportunity to charge your phone, but it’s entirely up to you whether you switch it on.
Before you hit the road, ensure you spend time researching which generator will suit the jobs you want it to do, as well as emitting little or no noise when you’re using it.
Although the landmarks of Sydney; the Opera House, Harbour Bridge etc., appear on most Australian postcards, it is surprisingly not the city to visit, should you be planning on venturing Down Under. The city that you should travel to, is Melbourne and if you can only go to one Australian city, then it should definitely be the bustling metropolis of Australia’s ‘Second City’.
Established on August 30, 1835, Melbourne has come a long way since John Batman and John Pascoe Fawkner agreed to share the territory. What was once a village is now a city of 4,347,955 people; second only to Sydney in regards to population – largely thanks to mass exponential growth following the gold rush of 1851. The former tented village that was built upon the embankments of the River Yarra is now the most liveable city in the entire world – a position it has held for the past four years. In the recent Economist Intelligence Unit report, the city was handed perfect scores of 100 in education, healthcare, infrastructure and in the sub-category of sport.
As you may have guessed by the perfect score, Melbourne is a city that is absolutely loves sport. In 2006, 2008 and 2010 the Victoria state capital was proclaimed the “World’s Ultimate Sports City”. Before we go onto the actual sports in Melbourne take a deep breath.
Aussie Rules is the most popular sport in Australia. The game itself originated from Melbourne, in 1858 and before the Aussie Football League (AFL) was founded in 1990, the game was exclusive to Victorian territory – namely Melbourne. As a result of the sport having its roots in Melbourne, the city has an absurdly large amount of teams, nine to be precise. In a league made up of 18 teams it is crazy to think that half of them can come from just one city. The fact that a city can sustain nine teams pays testament to Melbourne’s sporting appetite.
Believe it or not, Melbourne was not too interested in either format of rugby. In 1997 the Melbourne Storm were founded and within two years they had won the Australian Rugby League title. They won it again in 2012 and Betfair have them as one of the favourites for success in 2014 – at a price of 3/10 to advance from the Telstra Premiership Qualifying Finals when they face the Canterbury Bulldogs on Sunday. In Rugby Union, the city has the Melbourne Rebels.
The definitive sporting landmark of the city is without question the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), which at 100,024 is the largest cricket ground in the world, not to mention the 13th largest stadium in the world. The MCG is referred to as the “Spiritual Home of Australian Sport” and is included on the Australian National Heritage List. This gargantuan stadium plays host the world-famous Boxing Day Test in the Ashes Series between Australia and England in the cricket. It hosts the final of the AFL, Australian football matches, the Rugby League State of Origin match and was the stadia used for the 1958 Olympics. The MCG is so much more than a cricket stadium, it is a sporting institution, its Australia’s home.
Melbourne represents Australia on the international stage with the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit used in Formula One and Melbourne Park hosting the Australian Open in tennis. Now these sporting events are not small by any means: the Australian GP is the curtain raiser for the F1 season while the Australian Open is one of just four Grand Slam tournaments in tennis.
And just because they were feeling greedy; Melbourne natives are very much into their open air swimming.
Few cities in the world are so intertwined and synonymous with sport like Melbourne is. The city has premier sporting events from practically every popular sport on the planet. It literally appeases nearly every sporting desire, and that for one, makes it absolutely brilliant.
Those have little interest in sport usually get their kicks out of literature, music or film and well guess what? Melbourne is a world leader in the arts as well!
Let us start with film. The city plays host to the Melbourne International Film Festival and the Melbourne Underground Film Festival. Both of these festivals are in the right place as the first ever feature films were made in Melbourne, while the city was also the location of the world’s first religious epic, the 1900 Soldier’s of the Cross. The city has given the cinematic world Cate Blanchett, Rachel Griffiths, Olivia Newton-John, Eric Bana, Guy Pearce and Geoffrey Rush – making it very much Australia’s Los Angeles.
Performing arts in Melbourne are in the abundance. The Australian Ballet Company is based in Melbourne, while the National Theatre in the St. Kilda suburb is the oldest ballet school Down Under. In 1853, the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic was formed; not only is it the oldest of its type in Australia, it is also the only to be bestowed “Royal” status. The Philharmonic was also the home of the first orchestra in Australia. You may be slightly sick of the term ‘oldest’ by now, but – as stated – the city has a plethora of performing arts and also plays host to the oldest art gallery in Australia. There are more theatres and performing venues in Melbourne than anywhere else. Melbourne comedy is renowned, while the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is the third largest in the world and is considered to be one of the international centres of comedy.
The city was the second in the world to be awarded as a UNESCO City of Literature.
Musically, it has given us Kylie and Dannii Minogue, Jason Donovan, Crowded House and John Farnham. A Music Victoria study found that on a typical Saturday night in Melbourne, 97,000 patrons attend a live music venue to see as many as 900 musicians and 740 DJs perform in their respective locations. The music scene in Melbourne is worth more than $1bn per annum to the Australian government.
There is such a dynamic culture in Melbourne, one that is considered separate from the rest of Australia. Of course, there is some influence from Australian culture but more often than not Melbourne is culturally ahead of the rest of the country and they are playing catch up. No city in Australia can stand up to Melbourne when comparing culture.
The aforementioned MCG is one of the cities biggest landmarks, as to the previously mentioned National Gallery.
Sydney Opera House gets a lot of attention but the Arts Centre in Melbourne is just as much of an architectural triumph, with fabricated steel sprouting off in all directions and looking simply magnificent when lit up in the evening. On the other end of the performing arts spectrum you have the Princess Theatre. Opened in 1857, the theatre is a vision of grandeur and Victorian class; in a city that has rapidly modernized this theatre still manages to hold its own in aesthetics.
Do people enjoy going to the train station: probably not. However, if you are a less-than-frequent visitor to Melbourne, the chances are that you will love going to Flinders Street Station. Like the Princess Theatre it is an old-timey construction, complete with a dome and sweeping arches.
By Public Record Office Victoria
Then there is the other side of Melbourne; the part that looks forward. This is never more evident than with Federation Square. The public space very much fits the modernist mantra that makes up half of Melbourne. The paving is unique whilst the sandstone facades on the building are both innovative and breath-taking.
There are numerous other landmarks in Melbourne; practically everywhere you turn there is a particular building that is the oldest of its kind.
The beauty of Melbourne is that it has managed to assimilate modern architecture into a city with so much revered landmarks. The stark contrast from modern to old is seamless and feels natural. Few places in the world – let alone Australia – can have such a transition.
Even better than the city are the locals. Australians, especially Victorians, love a joke and the atmosphere in Melbourne is jovial at the worst of times. So if you were thinking of vacating, backpacking or relocating, give Melbourne some serious consideration, because it really is one of the best cities on the planet.
For those who love the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and the Peter Jackson films they inspired, a visit to New Zealand can be the trip of a lifetime. It’s a chance to visit numerous locations seen in the films, enjoy spectacular scenery and feel the thrill of walking where the hobbits, Gandalf and their allies trod, so around 270,000 fans travel there every year. Flights.com makes it easy to arrange travel, so why not make it your next vacation? Here are some of the places that await you.
Found among the gentle hills of Alexander Farm, in the Matamata area (two hours by road from Auckland), the Hobbiton film set is private property, but you can visit it as part of a tour. Almost every detail seen in the films is still visible here, including the houses, the Green Dragon (recently opened as a real pub and restaurant) and the tree beneath which Bilbo vanished at his birthday party. You can’t go inside the hobbit holes but there’s still plenty to see and a lot to learn about how the set was built and the films made. Matamata’s tourist information center provides further resources.
The hobbits’ hiding place
Perhaps the easiest of all Middle Earth locations to visit is right beside Wellington. There, in the parkland that runs along the edge of Mount Victoria, you can find the giant tree beneath whose roots the hobbits took shelter when the Black Riders were looking for them. There’s full public access to this site, so you can take your turn hiding there and imagine the sound of horses stamping in the dirt nearby.
The forbidding hill of Weathertop, where Frodo was stabbed by one of the Black Riders, is situated near Port Waikato. Although it’s on private farmland, so you can’t climb it, it makes for an impressive view even without the ruined fort present in the film, and the surrounding countryside is highly evocative of the hobbits’ early journey in company with Aragorn.
Deep in Kaitoke Regional Park you can visit the area where the Rivendell scenes were filmed. No buildings remain here, but it has the same tranquil atmosphere and makes a great picnic spot. There are signs to help visitors find it, and you can go swimming nearby.
The more sinister woodland of Fangorn Forest can be found on either side of Takaro Road, near Te Anau (about two hours south west of Queenstown). There are no special facilities here, but when you walk through the trees you’ll find yourself instinctively on the lookout for orcs.
Another woodland location, the elf domain of Lothlorien can be found near Featherston, an hour to the east of Wellington. They’re part of the private gardens of Fernside Lodge, but visitors are welcome, and it’s possible to stay at the lodge itself. Here you can see the white bridge and the river where Galadriel rode in her swan boat.
Guided tours can take you into the Mount Potts wilderness where the set for Edoras, capital of Rohan, was built. Across the golden plains you can see the Misty Mountains (the Southern Alps), and you can try your hand at wielding replicas of some of the props used in the film – Gandalf’s staff, Aragorn’s sword or Gimli’s axe. If you want to spend some time in this beautiful region, you can find places to stay in nearby Mount Potts Station.
The Dimholt path
The dreaded path into the mountain that Aragorn walked to summon the dead to his aid can be found among the Putangirua Pinnacles near Wellington. There’s not much else to see here, but the scenery is truly spectacular and quite scary to visit at dawn or dusk.
Tongariro National Park was used to create the grim landscapes of Mordor, with Mount Ngauruhoe playing the part of Mount Doom. Ngauruhoe has been erupting intermittently over the past few years, so although you may not be allowed to go up close, with a bit of luck you’ll get a spectacular display. When it’s dormant, it’s possible to climb it, but the thick ash underfoot makes this hard going. Not far away, by the mouth of Whakapapa Gorge, you can see the area where Frodo and Sam were lost when they first entered Mordor, and the field of battle where Isildur cut off Sauron’s hand. On the other side of the mountain, near Ohakune, you can see one of Gollum’s fishing pools.
The easiest way to see all these fantastic locations is to join a tour, some of which last as long as two weeks, crisscrossing the North and South Islands. It’s also possible to do it independently, by car, so you can take as long as you want to explore most of the sites. Whatever approach you take, you’ll find it an inspiring journey, the next best thing to visiting Middle Earth itself.
What’s your favorite means of transport for your holidays? The answers vary, and among them, you will definitely come across someone who says that he’s afraid of flying with an aeroplane for many reasons. Traveling around the world is one the best experiences you can live and, to reach some places, you will have to fly there. Here are some tips to help you overcome your fear of flying:
1. Read air accident statistics
Some experts say that people who are afraid to fly would have to analyze aviation accident statistics to ensure that flying is the safest form of transport. This will help them control the anxiety, insecurity and fear that stems from misinformation.
2. Picture the flight in your head a few days before the flight
A few days before embarking on your trip, you should imagine that you leave your house to the airport. Imagine the situation until the plane takes off. Moreover, start packing in advance so that you will get in the mood of traveling.
3. Be at the airport in time
You have to avoid creating more stress, therefore, arrive at the airport in advance and discard that fear of losing the plane.
4. Search for different distractions
Music, according to some experts, the best distraction because it generates positive emotions and skips the negative ones. You should go for something relaxing, mainly for takeoff and landing. Other forms of distraction are striking up a conversation with the neighboring seat, sleeping, reading a good book or watching a movie or an episode of your favorite series.
5. Discard all your negative thoughts
You must think only of the positive aspects of air travel, such as its speed. It is clear that air accidents occur but with the thousands of flights that take place daily, are very few- next to none- problems. Whenever you have negative thoughts, focus on these data.
6. Avoid choosing a seat
You should avoid to take a windowseat, because people who are afraid of flying normally tend to look out the window to make sure that the aircraft engine or the wings are in good working condition. This, according to psychologists, increases your anxiety because it is something you can’t control.
7. Breathe deeply during any turbulences
If the plane shakes at some points, you must remain calm as the pilots and the air hostesses are trained to deal all kinds of emergencies. In any case, you can sit between the wings of the plane as it is the most stable place of the plane, and buckle up for the entire flight.
8. Wear comfortable clothes during the flight
When preparing the suitcase, leave some comfortable clothes for the day of the flight and purchase a comfortable flight-pillow so you can keep your body relaxed during the trip.
9. Accept the problem
Don’t be embarrassed to consider the option of asking for help from a professional.
When going on holidays, one of the best parts of it is when traveling to get there. However, in case one needs to take a long car trip with the kids, the biggest problem is to get them to sit for a long time and not to whine about it. So, to avoid this, it is important to organize a few games to amuse and entertain them. Let’s see 5 ways to entertain your children while traveling.
The various types of entertainment that you can do during a long trip with your kids must be divided into age groups of children themselves. For a school-age child, you can see the places you are going to visit before you embark on your trip, then memorize the names of the various cities that you are going to cross and the names of rivers, seas or mountains. This is a diversion that its purpose both is to entertain and to review what they may have learned in school. To enlarge the game you can even combine a historical event or a famous person with each place. You can also buy travel size board games, as such materials may be useful in entertainment or get them portable consoles, so that they can listen to music or spend their time playing video games.
For the younger ones, it is quite different becauce, since you can’t have historical or geographical notions, you have to resort to small tricks, such as their favourite toy, a small book of fables or better yet a box of washable crayons to draw the landscape outside without fear that the upholstery of the car can be ruined. Of course, you should not forget to have a nice stack of papers on which to draw. Always with the younger children, you can play the game of fantasy or invent stories that have as protagonists the various subjects that are encountered during the trip.
There is even resort of comic books with adventures of their favorite characters, so remember before you travel to make a certain stock in order to always have a spare. The last thing you can do is be the one who tells them stories or fairytales. In this case it is very important to be able to tell in an engaging and entertaining at the same time. You can try and go on telling stories about some of your long trips. Children are curious by nature and love listening to stories and events that concern their parents, especially from when they were children too.