May 13

You do not want to overlook the importance of purchasing travel insurance when you are getting ready for an international trip. Sure, it’s far more glamorous to plan what landmarks to visit and peruse luxury resorts, but you also need to figure out if you want to buy TATA AIG travel insurance or some other policy.

The wide range of travel insurance policies available can be confusing. The better companies are going to make your job easier by offering you the chance to search for only those policies that fit your needs. You just need to be aware of the basics of travel insurance before you start looking, otherwise you will waste a lot of time on policies that match your circumstances..

There are two basic components to travel insurance. The most important is health coverage. This will provide for medical treatment in foreign hospitals and clinics. Without it, you may have a very hard time obtaining treatment for a broken bone, dental emergency, or when you try to replace a lost prescription. The other part provides coverage for travel disasters and emergencies. This covers things like lost passports and luggage as well as travel delays and even insurance for terrorist acts.

Make a few notes about your own condition before you begin shopping. Are you traveling alone or with a spouse or even children? Is the trip for pleasure, work, school, or some other purpose? Will you be visiting one country or many? How long will your trip be? Each of these factors will affect what type of insurance you need and how much your policy will cost. Other factors to note include age of travelers and existing medical conditions.

Sep 2

My husband has always been one of those adventurous types that loves to get in the car and drive off in any direction just to explore some new area. We have taken more road trips than airplane flights and if we do happen to fly somewhere you can be sure that an extended road adventure has been at the other end of the flight. Last summer we were in a small town in Central Florida and were standing in line in a grocery store when suddenly John grabbed a map of Orlando off of the rack and I knew instantly where we were going.

As it turned out, we had two weeks left of our vacation time when we arrived at our accommodations. We decided to visit Sea World and had an amazing time. The Up Close tours with some of the marine animals was absolutely amazing and seeing the penguins and dolphins so close was a truly an experience. The next day we went to Universal Studios and spent a large part of the day in the Harry Potter Wizarding World. This was mostly John’s idea and I expected to find ourselves in the middle of a ton of children. As it turns out there were a large number of adults there and I had as much fun as John did. In fact, I think this trip introduced my husband into a new way of seeking adventure and making new discoveries. Tomorrow we’re headed to Disney World .

Aug 26

Hong Kong is an extremely dynamic city that presents a great progressive contemporary atmosphere, while also maintaining a strong sense of tradition and cultural heritage. Honoring the past is part of the culture, though clinging to it is not. This is evident in a number of the performance art establishments in the city, and popular entertainment is representative of both traditional customs as well as cutting edge performance genres.

The theatre scene is one of the thriving arts scenes and there are productions that represent theatre customs from around the world and through various historic eras. Productions of Shakespeare, Broadway musicals and the latest cutting edge comedies and dramas are all part of the performance scene of Hong Hong. And Cantonese opera is a favorite for audiences of all ages and backgrounds. And some of these performance companies are among the best in the world.

Many of the great hotels in Hong Kong also serve as tremendous resources for finding popular attractions or helping to make decisions about specific productions. In addition to some of the great theatrical productions music and dance are a large part of the culture. Festivals take place throughout the year that honor traditions from around the world and the Salsa Festival is one of the most popular in the city. It takes place for an entire week and features great performances as well as the chance to learn the art with a professional instructor.

Learn about events and attractions in Hong Kong at http://www.hongkonghotel.com/attractions/.

Jul 20

For all of the reasons to come to Seattle, the fresh meat is usually low on the list. It’s not that there aren’t plenty of carnivores in town, and the restaurants are as world-class as a dining establishment can get. But the salt of the earth reputation of the Seattle population, which sometimes leads into a bit of a granola stereotype, is usually the inspiration behind young people looking at Seattle hotel rates for a great vacation in a pretty hip city.

However, out of the ashes of the mountain that is so rarely seen, there comes a new idea called Burning Beast . It happens at Smoke Farm , where 360 acres of farmland seem like the perfect place to do something interesting.

Inspired by Burning Man, the event is a gathering where people come together to meet each other, and share food. They share a lot of food, too, because the center of the event are challenges to cook a variety of animals. The chefs, some of them at the top of their restaurant careers, have to cook using simple materials, and simple ovens of wood, metal, and stone. It could be a meat-eaters delight, but it also has the Seattle stamp of approval, because the thrust of the event is to educate people about sustainable cooking and eating practices.

Jul 1

Laredo Texas is a booming border town where the main industry is trading and shipping goods between Mexico and the United States. The first town of Laredo was founded in 1755 by Don Tomas Sanchez when it was still a colony of New Spain. In the first hundred years that area with stood many wars for its control. It was the capitol of the Republic of the Rio Grande in 1840. Then it became a host town for the Texas Rangers during the Mexican-American War in 1846. The U.S. military set up Fort McIntosh to help manage the area in 1847. This town is one of the largest border crossing areas between the U.S.A. and Mexico.  

There are a few historical sites to see that are markers of these historical events. The old Diocese of Laredo called San Agustin Plaza and Church and the old Republic of Rio Grande building which is now a museum where visitors can learn more details, see photos and artifacts about the development of the town. This is also the place to catch some tours of the city. They have some walking tours and trolley tours that will take people around town and talk about the notable events and places this old historical town has.  

The city has created a wonderful historical neighborhood call the Villa Antigua where the locals and visitors can be educated on the local history and entertained with a hub of shops and restaurants. This is were one can catch a show at the Plaza Theatre . Speaking of theatre’s, you may like a more live entertainment experience and you can see what the local talent is up to at the Laredo Little Theatre.  

Get out and enjoy the local history of this old border town. You can find out more information from any of the hotels laredo has through out the city. There are plenty of places to hang out with the locals and enjoy a cocktail. Lots of wonderful restaurants to have a great meal.

Mar 2

One of the best pieces of advice I have ever gotten in my life came from my Grandmother. I was in a situation that I was not sure how to deal with, and I was a bit stressed out, when she told me over the phone, to “just breath” . This was not coming from a woman who spent time in yoga classes, her advice pre-dates the yoga craze, peaceful speak. This was advice from a woman who had lived a life, and who knew how it felt to be overwhelmed by that life from time to time.

My situation was that I need to find a new place to live . And moving can be stressful enough on it’s own, but I was dealing with the fact that my beloved dog had just died, I was splitting up with my boyfriend, and my move was not simply to a
new apartment , it was a cross county move to be made in a Chevy Blazer with 200,000 miles on the odometer. Moving during the best of times is stressful, and when major life changes are occurring, that stress can add up. when you move because you have to move, it is a completely different experience from the one in which you move because you want to move. At this time it is best to take note of just what you really need to bring with you.

I looked through my things, and gave away those which I hadn’t used in the past year. This cut down the load for my Blazer quite a bit. I called my grandmother a few times while I was packing, just to hear her voice and to consider the various things that I thought I “needed”. Turns out though, in the end all I did really need to do, was just breath, like she said. I drove the Chevy across the country, from Chicago to Phoenix, and I made in one piece, breathing the entire way.

Feb 27

Harrisburg is the capital city of Pennsylvania, and is located in the South Central region of the state.  At one time, Harrisburg was a small town, an outpost for the ferries going up and down the Susquehanna River.  However, now it is a bustling metropolis, a center for this regions cultural and arts communities, a lively downtown with many hotels, restaurants, theatres and museums.  This is all while retaining the congenial and the “homey” aspect of the smaller town it used to be.

This can be felt walking through any neighborhood, felt and smelled in the air as backyard barbecues and park picnics are extremely common in the summertime months.  Paddle boat tours in the Susquehanna offer a different view and a different perspective, on the city as it is now, and on the way that life along that river had been in the past.  The ‘do it yourself-ers’ may enjoy renting one of the other forms of river transportation such as a jet ski, canoe or kayak.  This is a great way to get to City Island and enjoy the many arts and culinary festivals, especially the famous Pennsylvania Chili Contest and Cookout.  Adults and children alike, will find that a day spent at the City Island Puppet theatre to be a day of imagination and wonder.

The music of Harrisburg is one that speaks the many different dialects and languages of the world of music.  Outdoor summer concerts along Susquehanna offer everything from classical to live jazz.  The Central Pennsylvania Friends of Jazz,  bring in various artists and the venues for located in the city are just as varied as the music they bring in.  The Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra is world renown and will often times have soloists from other orchestras and other countries in for a performance or a run of performances.

Just as vast as the selection of music venues, is the number of museums and galleries.  But art in Harrisburg is not limited to buildings with four walls, for many times artists set up right on the sidewalks and sell their work in the grass roots style.  Whatever your artistic desire may be, you will most definitely find it in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Feb 16

Georgia keeps getting cooler all the time.  Not that it needs any help, or excuses, since it’s always been one of the more interesting places in the country.  There’s a very diverse population, with a fascinating history, and it seems like it’s always been ripe for seeing new works of live art.  This coming season, one of the more exciting events, which will likely fill Georgia’s hotels with interesting rock and rollers form all over, is the Pink Floyd Experience.  The show has a pretty big price tag, but from all the reviews and the word of mouth, it’s definitely worth the cost of the ticket.

Seeing this in Atlanta will also be another boost to the value of the show, since the music community here is very open, but at the same time immensely discerning.  That’s exactly the kind of crowd this show needs, with its amazing special effects, and complex music that changed the way we listen to rock.  Pink Floyd itself is a spectacularly interesting story, with lots of strange and sudden changes, and a lot of loss.  They’ve singularly raised the bar on the idea of concept albums, taking the cue from the Who and pushing it to new extremes.  One of the long-times themes of the band, madness, has worked its way into a lot of the work, and it makes for interesting stories for the next generation.

Pink Floyd’s earliest clues that madness would haunt the band came from its magnetic front man Syd Barrett.  He could not hold onto the chord keeping him in this world, and he left the band after creating music that moved rock into the realm of art.  The Wall, one of their most successful works, was based in part on him, and turned out to be excellent fodder for fans who felt uneasily on this side of sanity themselves.  The original members aren’t playing in the Pink Floyd Experience, but the ones who are playing tribute to them have got the sounds down solid, and carry an enormous passion for the music.  It will be a night to remember for a long time to come.

Nov 30

Phuket is a dream come true for many people.  It’s the perfect island getaway, offering a taste of the sea that is absolutely splendid.  The rhythms of the surf are truly the stuff of legend, inspiring poets and lovers for as long as human beings have walked on the earth, offering the perfect music for any occasion.  The sun is pretty spectacular, too.  All the natural elements are here, providing a rejuvenation for the body and the mind.  The local culture is extremely rich and fascinating, and has a long and complicated history that speaks to many cultures mixing and negotiating complex relationships.  Today, it has the splendor of timeless beauty, and some entirely modern twists that make it attractive for visitors of all ages.

Hospitality is exceptional here, and those looking for some time in luxury can certainly find it at a five-star hotel.  Phuket offers a particular view of place for those who have a lifestyle that embraces this kind of comfort, and it can live up to all your island life expectations.  There is also an amazing night life, and that, too, is the stuff of legends, and can offer something to suit every taste and sensibility.  For those who are looking for upscale social adventures, Bed Supper Club is one of the clubs of choice.  Their decor is chic and extremely elegant, and pushes the edges of contemporary modern with some fantastic retro touches.

The same people who created Bed also offer Sound Phuket, another club geared for the high society set.  The decor is similarly exquisite, but moves away from the retro and into the space age.  The DJs are schooled in the latest electronica, and have international reputations.  They’re both difficult to get into, which makes them all the more desirable for the urban vacationers looking to go somewhere they can be seen.  The sights are always gorgeous, with spectacular lights and in-house dancers who sometimes move in a way that challenges the beauty of the sea.  The ocean always wins.

Nov 18

I do not know how to be around children.  I was embarking on a 2 week vacation, a holiday travel to Oahu with my boyfriend and his ten year old daughter, Elli and I was nervous.  I had never been on an island, a small island or a big island.  Vacations are meant to be enjoyed and I was intent on this one, being a good one.  And I had never spent 2 solid weeks with a ten year old girl to entertain.

So there are beaches.  I remember myself at ten years old, and so I found a bit of relief knowing that Elli too, may just simply love going to the beach.  But once we got there, I found so much more for us to do.  We spent an entire afternoon at the Hawaii Children Discovery Center, and the best part was that there was no need to say, “Don’t touch”.  This is an interactive museum, and not only did we touch, we climbed on the exhibits and played the day away.

The next day we found another hands-on museum, the Bishop, which again had a very relaxed vibe and provided the perfect environment not only for fun, but for learning about the rich cultural heritage of the islands and the residents, Hawaiian and Polynesian alike.  We studied volcanoes in the science center and shared a latte in the cafe.  I was beginning to the hang, of hanging out with a young girl.

We decided to rent a moped the next day and head down the Pali Highway for our own self guided tour.  We weren’t sure where we would end up, but we were on an island after-all, and didn’t think we would get too far off track.  So the next day we left Elli’s dad, still sleeping in our room and rode our moped along the cliffs at Makapuu.

We stopped at the Pali Lookout and took a lot of pictures and then stopped for lunch at Waimea Bay.  It was a great day, and we brought back our cameras loaded with photos, and a seafood lunch for her dad.  We also picked up a pamphlet for Maui vacation packages, already planning our next trip.  Hawaii with kids, what a great adventure, what a very, very good vacation.