Tag: #travelblogger

Planning a Staycation in NYC? Here’s How to Enjoy the City like a Tourist

Staycation in New York

 Living in a place as large as New York City, sometimes it can be hard to remember all that the city has to offer. If you find yourself taking a staycation, you might be wondering where to go and what to see. Read the ideas below to find out how to enjoy the city like a tourist.

See the Statue of Liberty

New York, USA
Statue of Liberty New York USA lady liberty

Travel by ferry to Liberty and Ellis Islands to see what is widely viewed as a symbol of democracy and freedom. Rather than just touring the grounds or the top of the pedestal, get tickets to access the crown.

Since reservations need to be made in advance, as New York City local, you have more opportunities than tourists to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Go on a Sightseeing Tour

 Take a break from your transportation method of choice for a day and go on a sightseeing tour. TopView Sightseeing, one of the city’s sightseeing touring agencies, offers bus and cruise tours.

No matter which type you choose, you can see the attractions you take for granted as a local from the perspective of those visiting New York City for the first time.

Take in the Sounds of Broadway

Broadway, New York, USA

While Times Square is an area that most locals view as a place for tourists, the lights and sounds of the Broadway theatre scene are enough to draw you to this busy intersection.

Musicals, plays, Off-Broadway shows and other performances, like comedy, acts, offer enthralling shows. Make a night of it and go to dinner and a show.

Indulge in New York Foods

Baked goods, New York, USA
Baked goods

From pizza and cheesecake to bagels and black-and-white cookies, everyone has a favourite New York food. Make it your goal to enjoy at least two of these staples for every day you play tourist.

Park yourself in Madison Square Park

Madison Square Park on a summer morning

Madison Square is a 6.2 acre of a public park located at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Broadway at 23rd Street. Named after James Madison, the 4th president of the U.S., this park is also home to the original Shake Shack and relax in the urban oasis that is Madison Square Park. As you enjoy your burger and shake, people watch, observe the artwork and lay on the lawns.

Get Sporty

Play baseball at Yankee stadium, New York, USA
Play baseball at Yankee Stadium

Are you a baseball fan? Go to Yankee Stadium for a tour or game. If you are more into basketball or hockey, Madison Square Garden should be your destination. Witness the Rangers or the Knicks take on their biggest rivals in thrilling games.

Baseball fans, who are also fans of the hamburger, will appreciate Citi Field where the can get the renowned Bash Burger, a hamburger with a bacon jam and “secret” sauce of mayonnaise, garlic, ketchup, sherry vinegar and Sriracha.

Citi Field is home of the Mets. Located in Flushing Queens. The creation of chef Josh Capon, the Bash Burger can also be found at his restaurant on W Houston St, Barrel and Burger.  The Bash Burger has apparently been around for quite a while, winning the People’s Choice Award for the tastiest burger at Rachael Ray’s Burger Bash at the NY Wine and Food Festival as far back as 2009.

Read a Book at the Library

New York public state library
New York public state library

Admission to the New York Public Library is free, but it is also one of the most beautiful in the world. Check out a book, settle down in a reading room or see the real Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends.

Visit The Met Cloisters

The Cloisters from Garden

The Met Cloisters offer a taste of medieval Europe right in New York City. Sculptures, gardens, chapels and numerous photo opportunities await you. The Cloisters overlook the Hudson River, so you will get to see lovely views in addition to the museum.

View your city with new eyes as you explore it like a tourist. You might just learn or see something new.

Images courtesy-Pixabay

Beyond the Eiffel Tower: 10 Best Travel Destinations in Europe

Travel destinations in Europe

There’s something awfully familiar about Europe, even to those who haven’t been there yet. The continent has been a muse for many and a dream for most. Its famous buildings and romantic waterways have had the world coming to it since time unknown. But, it is not defined by just the metallic opulence of Paris and the architectural genius in Rome. It is defined by the small unknown stops that are missed when rushing from one must-see to the other. The tiny, reclusive places that don’t end up on most lists.

So, if you feel that the Eiffel Tower is nothing more than a pretentious pile of scrap and the Big Ben is a waste of time, then I think you might like my alternative guide to experiencing Europe.

1. Trakai, Lithuania

Credits: AkirA
Credits: AkirA

We love lakeside towns. There’s something hopelessly alluring about them. Right from the calm waters to the vibrant sunrises. The sleepy Lithuanian town of Trakai is all that and more. Squeezed between two lakes and an easy drive from the capital, Vilnius, this cluster of castles and wooden huts is an easy city getaway for the locals. The region comes under the protected status of the Trakai Historical National Park and is one of the few places to catch glimpses of the Karaite culture.

The Trakai Castle in Lake Galve, a 14th-century Gothic construction with traces of Renaissance influences, is the major draw in this area. Follow that up with a visit to the Trakai History Museum before heading to the bespoke camping areas at Slėnje, 5 km out of the town.

2. Brno, Czech Republic

Czech Republic’s second-largest city, Brno is everything Prague doesn’t want to be. A city that has mastered the art of balancing the old and the new; the young and the old. At first glance, you might think of this University town as another city racing towards modernity with its glassy facades and new-age designs, but stay a while longer and you’ll start noticing the subtle undertones. A lazy pullback into the Moravian way of life. The city’s history will slowly start showing itself in its castles and cathedrals.

Spend time at the Špilberk castle and the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul before experiencing the Functionalist architecture at Villa Tugendhat. The estuary under St. James Church is another draw for piqued minds. After a day of landmark-hopping, visit Náměstí Svobody, the city’s nerve center and revel in the city vibe with a glass of wine.

3. Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

Credits: Noel Reynolds, Europe
Credits: Noel Reynolds

Lying on the tourist-trodden trail between Interlaken and Jungfrau, this fairy-tale town deserves more than an impatient stopover. Lauterbrunnen is one of Switzerland’s largest conservation areas, scattered with expansive trough valleys and thunderous waterfalls. It is also a favorable spot for mountain biking and hiking. Picture chancing upon lonely mountain inns around unexpected hilly bends.

We recommend gaping at the spectacle that is the Trummelbach Falls, our favorite out of the 72 falls in the region.

4. Roskilde, Denmark

1463145006_roskilde_ratusz_mpazdziora, Europe

Steeped in Viking culture, Roskilde, 35 km from Copenhagen, is a highly decorated ancient town situated in one of Denmark’s most scenic areas, the island of Zealand. It is one of Denmark’s oldest cities and served as an important Viking trading post, and the seat of the Danish crown for a long time.

Roskilde is a cultural fiesta for anyone interested in the legendary Viking traditions. Start with the Roskilde Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the burial-place for many Danish Kings and Queens. The Viking Ship Museum and the Roskilde Museum are good stops for getting all the info. you might possibly need about the area’s traditions. If you are visiting during late June or early July, then head to the infamous Roskilde Festival for some legendary antics and a Rock n’ Roll overdose.

5. Hallstatt, Austria

1463145044_1024px_hallstatt_300- Europe

Considered to be the oldest still-inhabited village in Europe, Hallstatt lies in a picturesque setting surrounded by the Dachstein mountains and the shores of the Hallstatt See. The village was a hotbed for salt production back in the day and you can catch glimpses of its salt-production days by visiting the world’s oldest salt mines. Also, visit the Beinhaus for an intriguing display of decorated skulls exhumed from the village graveyard.

Hallstatt is also the world’s first cloned village with a full-scale replica in Huizhou, Guangdong in China.

6. Brest, Belarus

The eastern European nation of Belarus isn’t on most travelers’ radar owing to its stressed political environment, and long and complex history, but trust us when we say it’s probably the most surprising travel destination in all of the Europe. While Minsk, the capital, might be the most heard of city in the country, the border town of Brest offers an exquisite mixture of history, architecture and nature.

St. Nicholas Church in Belarus

Established by the Slavs, Brest went through several invasions during the course of its history and was under the Soviet Union till as late as 1991 before it finally fell under Belarus’s territory. The Brest Fortress, a World War II memorial, is the most important attraction in the city. Just walk the grounds and spend some time at the museum to try to understand this memorial’s complicated history. Brest is also home to some interesting museums like the Museum of Confiscated Arts and the Museum of Railway Technology. After the cultural and historical initiation spends time wandering around Nabierežnaja and Hohaia St. and enjoy the town’s laid back vibe.

7. Kosice, Slovakia

Tucked away in the valley of River Hornad, Košice is Slovakia’s second-largest city and served as the European Capital of Culture in 2013. The city is close to the Hungarian, Ukrainian and Polish borders and is easily accessible by a good network of roads and rail. It is also an artistic hotbed with several theatres holding performances all through the year.

St Michal’s chapel and st Elisabeth cathedral south view

Košice has the highest number of palaces in Slovakia and is a cultural cauldron in terms of architecture with a mixture of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Art Nouveau. The main attractions are the Gothic St. Elisabeth Cathedral and Immaculata Statue, both examples of Baroque architecture. Most of the town’s sites are present around the well-preserved historical center and the main street (Hlavná ulica) and can be leisurely covered on foot in a day.

8. Oulu, Finland

If there’s one reason to visit Oulu, apart from the spectacular beach and the enticing walkways, it’s the locals. The Finns are a warm and enthusiastic lot and they’ll welcome you into their homes just like they welcome the first speck of summer sunlight. The city, named after the river Oulujoki, lies on Finland’s western banks, opening up into the Gulf of Bothnia.

Oulu hydro energy

Summer is the best time to visit as the city collectively breathes a sigh of relief and prepares to let the sunny warmth enter their lives. The waterfront Kauppatori (marketplace) springs into action with several food stalls and restaurants dishing out the eclectic fare. Follow up an afternoon spent ambling around the market with an easy jaunt to Pikisaari, a former industrial region transformed into a close-knit artistic community. We recommend a short visit to the Sailor’s Home Museum, Oslo’s oldest house, to get a glimpse of life in the 18th century. Spend the next morning admiring the restrained flamboyance of Oulu Tuomiokirkko (the main church) and then dive into the many museums describing Oulu’s every facet from being a shipping town to the modern, high-tech metropolis that it is now.

9. Giethoorn, Netherlands

Give the term ‘on the road’ a miss for this one. Giethoorn, 120 km from Amsterdam, is a village with no roads. Arguably the most famous spot on our list, there is something about this tiny village, also called the Dutch Venice, that kept floating around in our heads. With over 150 wooden bridges, 4 miles of canals, and some spectacular farmhouses, this town merits a halt during your trip through Holland. All tourist go to Amsterdam, Giethoorn can turn out to be best travel destinations in Europe.


Founded in AD 1230 by fugitives from the Mediterranean, Giethoorn became famous after being used as a setting in Bert Haanstra’s 1958 comedy, Fanfare. The summers bring in a throng of tourists in boats and gondolas, changing this hamlet, home to 3000 people, into a thriving circus affair. Although the thought of rowing along the canals on a warm summer afternoon is very enticing, we recommend visiting Giethoorn in the winter, when the canals are frozen over. Ice skate your way through the village, stopping only to enjoy the outstanding views.

10. Leiria, Portugal

Leiria e Castelo

Cradled between Castle hill and Rio Lis and surrounded by Portugal’s biggest cities (Lisbon, Porto, and Coimbra) Leiria is a medieval town flirting with modernity. The Leiria castle towers over the town’s red-roofed town center.

Have you been to these best travel destinations in Europe?

Source: Tripoto

Interview with TeaCake Travels

interview with Alice

Friends, I would like to introduce you to travel blogger  Alice from Teacake Travels.

Me:    For the readers, please could you introduce yourself and your blog?

Alice:   Strong-minded, honest, inquisitive, straight-talking and in search of the next thrill, I’m Alice at Teacake Travels! It’s all about solo female travel in Asia and pushing your boundaries to reach your full potential through travel. It’s for the traveller who is on a path to find out more about themselves and test their limits but also for the armchair reader who wants to go deeper into life’s reflections and life lessons through all the experiences I put myself through.

Me:     What was the motivation behind starting this blog?

Alice:    What started out as just writing a piece for my friend’s blog about teaching English abroad quickly turned into an addiction to travel writing and promoting women’s rights. I always had it in my mind that I would write a book or make a zine but discovering blogging through all these ideas into one platform. I absolutely love it. It’s my baby, it’s real, it’s me and it’s proving to be a great resource for women to gain strength, courage and motivation to go out there on their own and conquer their adventurous dreams.

Interview with TeaCake travels
Alice peeking out from Cambodia

Me:      How do you fund your travels?

Alice:     Through many ways! I predominantly funded my travels for the first five years through Teaching English Abroad in South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, and China. I adore teaching and get immense satisfaction by giving others the gift of English. Then the other things I love brought my money too. Playing the drums in bands, performing in Burlesque shows and now through Travel Blogging.

Teacake in Shanghai
Teacake in Shanghai

Me:      Which are favourite travel destinations?

Alice:   The challenging ones! I write about solo female travel in Asia and to date my most favourite country has been Bangladesh. The experience was fantastic because of the Bangladeshi people (possibly the nicest people in the world) and the food and the scenery and the architecture and (I could go on and on).

Me:      Where is your next travel destination?

Alice:     In July, I’m driving from the UK to Mongolia across 21 countries with four amazing women in 50 days to raise money for and document women’s rights. It’s all part of the Mongol Rally and it’s going to be one hell of a journey to follow. Make sure to follow along with us! After that, I think I’m gonna need some respite and TLC. I’ll be heading to Bali to catch some waves and recover.

Interview with TeaCake travels
Teacake Motorbike

Me:        What is it like to travel solo? Any tips for the first-time solo travellers?

Alice:       It’s the best! Please don’t be scared. This planet is awesome with amazing people and extraordinary places and if you want to find out who you are, what you want, what you need and what you want from life, solo travel is for you. There’s no better way to educate yourself on these matters. You’ll be challenged and treated to some life-changing experiences and your old-self will be thankful for taking the leap and deciding to travel. No one wants to leave this earth not having fulfilled their dreams. If you’re dreaming, seize the desire! If you’re travelling for the first time, check out my backpacking packing tips and build up for excitement and motivation here.

Me:         The best meal you’ve eaten anywhere?

Alice:         Kimchi Jiggae in South Korea. I’m nuts about Korean food. Even if I’m in Germany or made it to the North Pole, I’d go out of my way to find a Korean Restaurant.

Interview with Teacake travels
Motorbiking through Taiwan

Me:       Who is (are) your inspiration in the travel world?

Alice:      Women who do crazy stuff, strong stuff and stuff other women don’t do are pretty much my heroes. This includes Iris from Mind Of A Hitchhiker and Jessica from Comfort Is For Wimps.

Me:        Are there any books you read as a child that inspired your travel interests?

Alice:       Alice in Wonderland!

Me:       What is your travel motto?

Alice:     Grab fear by the balls, push your boundaries and reach your full potential through solo female travel. I use to travel for life lessons and to be the best person I can be by trying to learn from others and myself.

Me:        Name three hardest things/setbacks that you experienced through your blog?

Alice:      Setting up a blog is a bit of a minefield. I’m constantly learning new things and having to backtrack, making changes, chopping things up…it’s a never-ending learning process. I integrated Pinterest at a much later date than I really should have. I only learnt about SEO six months ago and I have a newsletter advertised but still haven’t sent one out! Rome wasn’t built in a day. That’s what I tell myself ><

Me:       Name 3 (personal travel stories) setbacks that you experienced in your travels?

Alice:     Oh man, where do I start? I accidentally became pregnant on my first serious backpacking trip and had to head to Cambodia for an abortion. Whilst I was there I witnessed a death at a funfair to add a cherry on top of it all and lately, I had to deal heavy-handedly with a Chinese guy.

Me:      Have you ever faced a ‘writer’s block’? If yes, how do you overcome it?

Alice:     Hell yeah. I hate it when that block comes and trust me, it can come every couple of months sometimes. I love writing and I love sharing my experiences with everyone. Sometimes the ideas and experiences come crashing across the ocean with full gusto but other times tumbleweeds are rolling across the desert in my mind. You can’t force yourself to write if the passion isn’t there. I just wait, keep on travelling and try to experience my days with full awareness for that next story to come along. It always does.

Me:      Any tools you can suggest that bloggers could use in their first year?

Alice:    Ooh yes! Travel Blogging is about 20% and 80% social media promotion. There’s no point writing a masterpiece if no one is going to see it. Get clued up on how to use social media and market yourself then use a couple of tools to help you manage all of it. I recommend Tailwind for Pinterest and Hootsuite for Twitter.

Me:     Any comments, suggestions.

Alice:   Feel free to pop me an email at aliceteacake@teacaketravels.com if you want to ask me anything and stay connected with the chaos on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram!

Interview with #travelblogger Paul Johnson

#travelblogger Paul Johnson

Friends, let me introduce you to #travel blogger Paul Johnson.

  • He is Director at The Dedicated Partnership Ltd. – promoting tourism.
  • He has been Voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.
  • He is a Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine.
  • He has been Voted #1 most influential travel blog in the world in independent research conducted by Travelocafe.
  • He is also a Winner of ‘Best Travel Blog’ in the Travelmole Web Awards.

Me:  For the readers who don’t know about you, please could you introduce yourself and your blog?

  • Paul : My name is Paul Johnson and I am a travel blogger and Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog (http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/ ) – I am full-time with the site, have been running it for more than 10 years and working in the travel industry for about 30 years.
#travelblogger Paul Johnson on a land rover trip
Paul on a land rover trip

Me: What was the motivation behind starting this blog?

  • Paul:   I love to travel and have long since had a fascination in all aspects of the luxury travel industry. When blogging first came along, the few travel blogs that were out there all seemed to focus on backpacking and budget travel so I saw this as an opportunity to do something different.

Me:     How do you fund your travels?

  • Paul : Travel is my work (as well as a pleasure!) so I work on paid advertising campaigns with travel and lifestyle brands when I travel.
#travelblogger Paul Johnson with family

Me:     How did you come up with the idea of writing exclusively on luxury travel? And, what is ‘luxury’ for you?

  • Paul:   It was simply a niche that wasn’t covered but where my own personal interests lay. You are right to ask what is luxury to me – that last bit of your question is an important point since luxury can be very different things to different people. For me, it is all about service – the element of surprise and the ability of those providing travel services to anticipate your needs (perhaps even before you realize them yourself!).
Interview with #travelblogger Paul Johnson
Paul at the Berlin Wall

Me:    It seems you are foodie with delicious recipes for your readers. Tell us about favourite cuisines across the globe?

  • Paul:  My favourite cuisine is Thai – I just love the clarity of the flavours and the variety in Thai dishes.

Me:   Which are favourite travel destinations?

  • Paul:  Although I love travelling, and have been to many amazing destinations, my favourite location is in fact home.
#travelblogger Paul Johnson and family

Me:    Where is your next travel destination?

  • Paul:  I am next heading for the island of Crete in Greece to do some work for a luxury hotel and resort there.

Me:    Name the hardest things/setbacks that you experienced through your blog?

  • Paul:  One of the hardest things to do for me was to know when to ‘take the plunge’ and go full-time. I was already running a very successful internet marketing company for the tourist industry so it was hard to justify putting all my time into the blog. When Google made some changes to their algorithm that affected my other work, though, this decision was made easier for me. I just wish I’d taken the leap of faith sooner!

Me:   Any tools you can suggest that bloggers could use in their first year?

  • Paul: Aside from the obvious of using the likes of WordPress and social media channels, I’d recommend Buffer for scheduling, SumoMe to help build your mailing list and Hootsuite for attending to Twitter.

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