travel

A Place to Stay on a Trip – Should I Book or Should I Pass?

Image from Pixabay

Ah… decisions, decisions. Different factors play into your choice of where to stay on a trip. It could be your taste, others’ recommendations, intention or your trip, or budget.

If you are a student, for example, and your goal is to travel around a city, but you’re on a tight budget, you might choose a hostel. If you’re on a higher budget and your goal is to have fun on an island as well as relax, you might choose a hotel or even a resort.

When I was younger, my family usually stayed in nice hotels. However, when I traveled to London with Girl Scouts, we stayed in a hostel. And I was so bummed and let down by it. It was below my standards at the time, especially because I used to more luxurious places to stay.

Now my family hardly ever stays at fancy hotels or resorts. We usually do suites, cheap hotels, or motels. One time, I stayed in an Airbnb. It’s where you rent part of someone’s house or apartment, kind of like a mini home. They’re a lot cheaper than hotels, plus you might get some more control over your meals (like having a small cooking space and kitchenette). You also don’t have to get out for housekeeping. However, Airbnb isn’t available everywhere.

If you have little kids, this might be a difficult decision. There are some resorts that have children’s activities and are located in child-friendly areas. European touring might be tough for this age group as they are often uncomfortable standing in lines or not getting to run around.

Enough said about that, though. Remember, where you stay should make you satisfied, regardless of how long you will be there.

travel

Wondering About a Winter Resort

Image from Pixabay

I don’t know why, but for some reason, I have been gaining interest in a winter resort. The ideal one for me would include snowtubing, shopping, and indoor activities like a game room.

Why not skiing, you might ask? I’m not really passionate about it. I did it a little bit when I was younger at ski resorts. But I wasn’t that good at it. Also, I didn’t like having to start out without poles. Nor did I like that most of the beginners were toddlers, and I was 10.

Snowtubing is different. You sit in a round tube and get pushed down a hill. No experience is needed. You probably just have to be a certain height, weight, and in good health condition.

Who doesn’t love villages with different shops as well as food stops and even activities? I’ve been to many. And I loved pretty much all of them.

When it’s cold out, it’s good to chill inside with some tea, coffee, or hot chocolate by the fireplace. It’s also nice to occupy yourself with games, like ping pong, pool, or arcade games. Some resorts have arcades. I also enjoy fitness rooms and used to enjoy swimming pools and waterparks. I still admire the idea of waterparks and going swimming, however, my skin has been super-itchy lately. So unless that stops, I am going to refrain from anything with chlorine.

I’ve been doing a ton of research. Sadly, I have not found one that appealed to me. Even if they had most of the things I’d like to do, they still didn’t draw my attention. But I won’t give up hope… or doing more research. Hey—maybe there’s something in the west.

While I usually don’t favor winter and snow (especially when I have to drive in it), I still have an interest in going to a resort with winter activities.

travel

Atlantis, Bahamas, Ooh I Want to Show You (2010 Trip)

During my President’s Week break in my junior year of high school, I went to Atlantis in the Bahamas. It was one of the few trips I suggested myself. My parents didn’t enjoy it too much. However, I loved it a lot.

Atlantis falls

The resort consists of several buildings of accommodations and it resembles the damage of the lost city of Atlantis legend. There is also a tunnel with a tank of fish as well as other marine animals in other parts of the resort, such as turtles and sharks.

Atlantis shark

There are also several swimming pools, restaurants, and shops. But one of the crown jewels is the waterpark. There are two slides that take through a tube where you’re surrounded by the sharks. But you’re inside glass, so the sharks can’t hurt you. The rapid river was fun, although I flipped and got a little cut. But I was okay.

There is a dolphin and sea lion encounter program where you get to touch the creatures, which my family and I didn’t participate in. We did swim with dolphins somewhere else, though. That was Blue Lagoon Island. I read and compared the reviews of the Atlantis one and the Blue Lagoon Island one. The latter had received better reviews. It cost less and had more to offer.

The resort is so big that you can’t really do everything in one day. It’s also costly. However, I had a good time. I would gladly recommend this resort to anyone, whether you’re a childless couple, family, group, etc.

 

travel

Ice… Ice… Iceland – My Trip There in 2017

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Image above from Pixabay

In the summer of 2017, my parents and I took a trip to Iceland. We stayed at nine different hotels during the ten days we visited.

Iceland has caves, waterfalls, hot springs, and lava fields. The bulk of their population is on the coast and especially in their capital, Reykjavik (rake-yah-vik). The inland is pretty much uninhabited.

The population is so small that there is only one prison in the entire country (which I did not see, by the way). The weather drastically varies, even within just 20 minutes on the mainland and not up a mountain. It can be mild in one area and chilly in another, just minutes away.

Iceland specializes in lamb and seafood. They have good lamb soup and stricter food guidelines than in the US. I had a jelly doughnut where the jam tasted really fresh. It was strange, but delicious. I had a chocolate cake where the icing was clearly made with real butter and even tasted buttery.

On the fields, there are sheep, cattle, and small Icelandic horses. In fact, those horses are the only types allowed in Iceland for temperature reasons.

If you go to Iceland in the summer, be aware that the sun is out for about 24 hours. So you should have a sleep mask with you.

Iceland was an interesting place to visit. In the winter, I hear it’s brutal, and the northern lights aren’t guaranteed. In the summer, it’s a nice place to hike and sight-see.

travel

I Went the Distance to Greece in the Summer of 2015

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Image above from Pixabay

Greece is the home of the Parthenon and one of the oldest nations in the world. It also has beautiful islands, water, and architecture. When I went to Greece with my family, we went to Athens and one of the outer islands, which I can’t remember the name of.

We did sight-seeing, walked around, and went on a boat around the other island. We did a Segway tour, too. I was not the best, honestly. I stayed with the guide.

The food was very different than from in the US. The meat quality if higher and fresher. Olive oil is used on pretty much everything. In fact, it’s the dressing for traditional Greek salad. Greek salad from Greece also has no lettuce. The Greek dressing and lettuce Americans use is a tradition in the US.

Another moment that was unexpected was when a stray cat came up to our dinner table (we were seated outside) at a restaurant. My dad would chop up meat and feed it to the cat. We didn’t get caught, by the way.

One pitfall, however, was that outside of Athens, there wasn’t much variety in cuisines. At some point, I got sick of Greek food. I craved gravy, barbeque sauce (when I still could eat tomatoes), and other foods not traditional to Greece.

Nevertheless, Greece was a nice place to visit. It’s great after learning about the country in school. I had to study Ancient Greece in school. Didn’t we all?

travel

I’ve Been on a Trip… to Niagara Falls – 2008

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Image above from Pixabay

In the spring of 2008, when I was 14, my mom, brothers, and I went to Niagara Falls. Another family went with us too. We all rode in my mom’s minivan.

We got to see the falls. However, due to the cold weather, not as many attractions were open. For instance, we couldn’t go on the maid-of-the-mist boat ride.

On the bright side, we still got to do a lot of other fun activities. Where we were was kind of like a mini-Vegas. We did a lot of virtual reality rides and shows, such as a SpongeBob one. We also rode on a Ferris wheel and had Buffalo wings that were just called wings. They did have the same Buffalo sauce, though.

The Canadian side of the area had more to offer than the American side. We had to show our passports to go past the border, even in a car.

After a few days in the Niagara Falls area, we stayed at my uncle’s house in Pennsylvania, not too far from the Niagara area. I don’t really remember what we did then.

I would love to visit Niagara Falls again, especially in the summer. I did do the maid-of-the-mist ride when I was really little, like 5. But now in my mid-twenties, it would be a different experience.

There are a lot of places I would like to visit. I am more into trips where I get to do activities, like boating or ziplining, rather than touring places like historical sites. Because I’m not a child anymore, I have told that trips should be somewhat educational too. Yes, I do agree. But I still like the ones where I can do activities more than touring sites.

travel

That’s Where I Went, You Know… Way Down in Key West

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Above is a picture found from Pixabay.

Four years ago, during my college spring break (and possibly my brothers’ school breaks at the times), my family went to Key West, the most southern section of the continental US. Buildings had flat roofs. It resembled more of a Caribbean Island than the typical US geographic layout. There were coral reefs in the water.

Cuban food was also common there. Near the place my family and I stayed at, there was a little building that sold Cuban food to go, as well as breakfast, drinks, and snacks.

Stray chickens wandered around the town. I learned that it was because there used to be chicken fighting decades ago. It got banned, so those people released the chickens into the wild. I spotted a hen with chicks and wanted to take a picture. But I missed them.

Walking was the best way of transportation. Unlike some cities, bikers did not speed as much on the streets. You could rent a car (that was what my parents did) but for the most part, we didn’t need to drive a lot.

This was actually my second time to Key West. The first one was during the day from a Royal Caribbean cruise when I was ten. At that time, it rained and we couldn’t do much. We’d gone to the aquarium. But that was it.

I enjoyed the second time more. We got to see and do more. The weather was nicer. And I was older and could have more independence.

travel

These Are a Few of My Favorite Family Trips

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My family and I have traveled a lot. I have the plane guidelines memorized (I don’t even pay attention to the demos anymore), I know what to (and what not to) pack, and I know how to prepare for trips.

Some were amazing. Some could have been better. Others were enjoyable enough. I will list the top three favorite trips I’ve gone on.

3: Lake George (2014)

I’ve gone there twice. I have to admit I liked the second time better. My favorite moment was when my family was eating near the lake and a duck stepped on my dad’s foot. We were there because my brother was going to Boy Scout camp there. So we did some activities until we had to drop off my brother.

2: Costa Rica (2011)

From the rainforest to the beach, we did a lot of touring. We saw a quetzal, which I hear is rare, as well as a sloth and some monkeys. We zip-lined, jet-skied, and had fun.

1: Atlantis (2010)

Although my mom didn’t enjoy it, I liked it a lot. I did the waterpark, including the tubes where the sharks surround you, saw the sea creatures, and had a good time. We also swam with dolphins at Blue Lagoon Island and snorkeled on a reef. I actually cut my finger on a fish fin (not intentionally, of course).

I could go on with other trips I enjoyed. I will talk about them in other posts.

 

 

travel

It’s Interesting in Italy

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Note: The picture above is from Pixabay. I didn’t take it.

Five years ago, in 2013, my family took a trip to Italy. We went to Venice, Florence, Amalfi, and Rome.

Venice has no vehicles, except boats or walking. We took gondola tours, ate gelato (at some point, I got sick of just seeing it since it was everywhere), and got around by boat or foot.

We toured churches everywhere. There were signs communicating what actions and attire were prohibited. A funny one showed male and female figures in shorts and tank tops. Photography was also forbidden, otherwise, I would’ve loved to capture an image of that silly sign. 

After studying paintings and sculptures in art history classes in college, I appreciated the works more. I saw the huge “Last Judgment” image on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. I also saw the David in Florence and you were not allowed to take pictures of it. But that guideline was no surprise.

The historical sight touring was fun. We toured the lost city of Pompeii and the Coliseum. The food also differed from in the US. Tomato sauce tasted fresher. I used to be able to eat it. Gnocchi was everywhere. I love gnocchi, but I kind of got tired of it there. Because of prices, my parents only let my brothers and I order pizza or pasta.

In Amalfi, we took a bus to a restaurant where we had a waiter that looked like Steve Jobs. We told him and he laughed. Not often do you see a doppelganger of someone famous on vacation.

I had a good time in Italy. I’ve been to many different states and countries. Europe is included. The other nations I’ve visited there were England and Greece.

travel

Adventureland For Adults… Sort Of

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Disclaimer: Image is NOT of Adventureland

There’s an amusement park not too far from my home called, “Adventureland”. As a child, I have gone there numerous times with camp and sometimes family. I rode the rides, played games, and ate the food.

When I went there as an adult just a couple years ago, it was not the same. The park had only a few adult-friendly rides. Everything seemed more for kids and people who do not like thrill rides.

I rode on the swing ride, roller coaster, and the music express, which is like a roller coaster that circles while songs play. I also bought lunch and a snack. Then I went home, after only an hour at the park.

There was a waterfall ride known as the log flume. It is adult-friendly, but I didn’t go on it since I did not have a bathing suit. You do get wet on it.

The whole point is that some amusement parks are more for children than for adults. I also went alone, which is okay. But I probably would have had more fun if I had gone with a friend. Or maybe I should consider a different trip in the future unless I take kids with me.

Know yourself and the place you want to go to before you take a trip there. Know the people you take with you, especially children. Don’t let your trip disappoint you or anybody else.