Accommodation Los Angeles Things to Do

Valentine’s Day Getaway in Los Angeles

la-beachLos Angeles is one of the most diverse cities in the entire United States. The center of the entertainment industry, the City of Angels is also a major fashion hub and shopping center. It might feel a bit unusual to recommend Los Angeles for a romantic getaway. But, we do need to realize that each couple is unique and there are many ways to show your love.

The flight

As in the case of planning any romantic getaway, the first step is to book the airfare. Start by looking into air tickets to Los Angeles . The area is served by several airports and you should look into all possibility. Cheap tickets to LAX are usually easier to find as you’d be flying into the biggest airport in the area.

Alternatively, you can look for cheap tickets to Oakland , spend a few days there and then take a road trip to Los Angeles.

The accommodation

As in the case of all big cities, there are plenty of choices for accommodation. It only depends on what you want to do and therefore choose an area where you want to stay. Considering that you want to impress your lover, you can look for a budget hotel rather than a hostel or a motel. If there are some romantic restaurants in the area, then it’s just for the better.

Romantic things to do in Los Angeles

As I’ve mentioned earlier, Los Angeles isn’t New York or Paris so it’s hard to find a lot of romantic things to do. However, for certain types of couples, Los Angeles can be very romantic. Some as simple as strolling the beach hand in hand and watching the sunset together is enough to make your lover’s heart jump for joy.

You can walk hand in hand and do some shopping. Of course you can dare to give her your credit card (as a special Valentine’s gift) but you are the only one who will know what will happen with your credit limit. Or take her to a very romantic restaurant with a view – maybe in a place perched high above the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

If your budget allows for splurges, invest in a romantic sunset flight. When the sun sets over the city, take your loved one and watch the colors from above. For added bonus, get the dining option as well. If planes aren’t romantic (or adventurous) enough, then you can always go for a romantic helicopter ride. You can add the champagne upgrade for a more bubbly experience (or if you want to pop the question).

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Accommodation Germany Travel Tips

Germany: Next Stop on Your European Tour

Planning a European tour can be very fun but the possibilities are just as numerous as the number of European countries you can visit. So after you have visited Edinburgh, why not head to Germany next?

Cheap flights to Germany are easy to find as there are quite a lot of large cities to head to and all are served by low-cost carriers.

Choosing which city to fly into

Frankfurt is served by Germany’s largest airport, therefore flights to Frankfurt are easier to find and are typically cheaper than into the other German cities.

Munich’s airport is known to be the best airport in Europe. It is a hub for Lufthansa, Germany’s national carrier and flights to Munich from any European large city are easy to find.

Where to stay

Once you’ve decided to visit Germany, you should also plan what cities you want to visit. And when you have a set plan in mind, you should start booking the accommodation. If you happen to travel during the low season (winter, spring, autumn) you can book the hostel or hotel once you arrive in the city (or before you leave the previous city) but during summer you must book in advance. Likewise, if you plan to visit Munich during Oktoberfest, make sure to book your hotel or hostel way in advance.

None of the large German cities are cheap destinations, but with careful planning, you can find places which are affordable. When you look for Berlin hotels you don’t need to look at a particular area. For the past years, the city has been changing rapidly and pretty much all areas offer at least some budget hotels. To save even more, you can look for Berlin hostels .

Likewise, hostels in Munich are an excellent choice, especially if you plan to visit the city for Oktoberfest or during the summer. Actually, regardless of which large city you want to visit, the situation is basically the same. Cheap hotels in Frankfurt are easy to find if you know where to look for them. Research is the key for finding good accommodation at affordable prices.

Los Angeles Things to Do

Visiting Anaheim is worthwhile, but it can be tricky

disneyworldAs someone who grew up only a few miles from Disneyland, it’s not always easy to put myself in the shoes of someone who’s coming to visit the place for the very first time. I probably visited the park about 20 times over about 10 years, so it sometimes feels like my backyard. Coming to Los Angeles to visit Disneyland is a major highlight for hundreds of thousands of people each year, but at the same time there are some pitfalls to be aware of, which I’ll cover just below.

Is Disneyland worthwhile?

Absolutely it is. After traveling around the world I can honestly say that very few things match Disneyland (or Disney World) for sheer excitement and novelty. But the deeper question is whether you should plan your entire trip around that visit, and I think the answer is no.

Getting to Anaheim

If you are coming from another country and you’ve gotten some international air tickets that get you to LAX, then you’ll only be about 40 kilometers from the park once you land.

If are coming domestically then you have several more airports to consider when looking for cheap flights to LA. Still, the best deals tend to be into LAX, so next you are probably wondering how to get from Los Angeles to Anaheim. We’ve covered that subject in the article linked here, but the bottom line is that renting a car is probably your best bet, though there are various buses and other possibilities.

Staying near Disneyland

This is where things can get tricky. There are several large and quite luxurious hotels located on the grounds of the park itself, so if you can afford it you might look into the hotels at Disneyland. But the city of Anaheim is quite large, and there are plenty of cheap places located within a few miles of the park. Generally speaking, hotels in Anaheim are fairly cheap compared to the ones that are on the grounds, but there are some run-down places mixed in so pay attention to the ratings for a place you want to book.

Should you really stay in Anaheim?

If you and your family are flying to Los Angeles and you plan on spending at least two days in the various Disney parks in Anaheim, then staying in the city isn’t a bad idea. But if you only want to spend one day in Disneyland then you really should think about staying elsewhere. There are great hotels near the beaches in Newport or Huntington, and both of those are in Orange County and close by. There are also plenty of great hotels in other parts of Los Angeles. The point is, the rest of Anaheim is a bit cheesy and parts of it are falling apart. If you want to stay near great restaurants and other attractions, choose somewhere other than Anaheim.

England travel guide

Saving Money on an England Visit Will Serve You Well in Europe

moneyOne of the more frustrating things for US residents planning a trip to England is looking at the exchange rate. Ever since I can remember, the dollar has been pitiful against the pound – sometimes plummeting to a $2-to-the-pound rate. And to make matters worse, England is incredibly expensive even without that dismal exchange rate. Which is one reason why paying attention to your travel budget for a trip to England is so important.

Luckily, flying to England from the U.S. isn’t as expensive as flying to some other European countries. Getting a deal on airfare to Milan, for instance, is often a huge challenge – whereas finding cheap airfare to London tends to be much easier. It makes sense, really, as London Heathrow is one of the world’s busiest airports – with the huge numbers of flights going in and out every day, it’s easy to understand why so many great deals on Europe airline tickets are routed through London.

But even if you get a great deal on a flight into London, the city is still extremely costly to visit. And if London is your gateway into Europe and you’re planning to visit other places after that, you’ll need to save money wherever possible in order to extend your travel budget.

No matter where you go, one great way to get more for your money is by staying in hostels in Europe instead of in more expensive hotels. Europe is absolutely full of hostels, so finding a cheap bed shouldn’t be too difficult – although in England you’ve also got the option of B&Bs in many places which can be another inexpensive alternative. B&Bs aren’t usually as cheap as hostels, but they’re often much cheaper than hotels – and full of personal service and character.

It can be challenging to find hostels in some European cities, however, if those cities aren’t known for being major tourist destinations. Milan, for example, is a big business travel city but not a budget traveler’s paradise. Yes, there are Milan hostels, but they’re fewer and farther between than the hostels in Rome or Florence – not to mention the fact that they’re less-than-ideally located for visiting the city. Cheap Milan hotels may be a better choice, especially if you’re traveling with a friend or two and can split the costs.

There are other cities like Milan around Europe, where you might have to be more creative when thinking about ways to save money, but there will always be a cheap bed available somewhere – whether it’s called a hostel or not. And provided you’ve managed your money well in England, you won’t have to resort to something like sleeping in a train station or on a park bench by the time you’ve reached Italy!

photo by icyFrance

Portugal travel guide

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas … in Lisbon

portugal-treeForget about the busy New York and the traditional Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and ice rink. Skip the Christmas Markets in Vienna as well this year. Instead, head to Portugal for a traditional Christmas.

Why you might ask? After all, Lisbon doesn’t see snow and there aren’t even Christmas markets open at this time of the year. Instead, Lisbon can offer a different way to spend the holidays, especially if you plan to focus on the religious side of the holiday.

Getting to Lisbon

So, what are you waiting for? Look for international airfare into Europe. This time of the year is considered high season so expect the flights to be crowded and the prices quite high. However, the traditional Christmas destinations don’t include Portugal so you will be able to find affordable flights.

It’s a good idea to fly into a major hub, such as London, Paris or Amsterdam. Once on European soil, look for low-cost flights to Lisbon or even plan to get there by other means of transport. The rail network is well developed in Europe and you can get to every corner of the continent quite fast and cheap. Buses, while dreaded by Americans, are preferred by Europeans, especially if time is no concern for them and the budget is on the low side.

Where to stay in Lisbon

Once you have arrived safely in Portugal’s capital, you need a place to stay. Of course, ideally, you should have booked the hotel room before you left home but fear not, you can find places once you arrive in the city.

Cheap Lisbon hotels can be found all over the town, but there are certain neighborhoods that are of particular interest for the tourists. Bairro Alto or the “high town” is where the nightlife can be found while Chiado is the shopping district.

Other choices of accommodation include the Lisbon hostels. The rooms are cheaper than in hotels and the facilities resemble those of cozy small hotels. Of course, make sure to read the reviews carefully since you don’t want to end up in a party hostel if you plan to sleep during the night.

How to celebrate Christmas like the Portuguese do

The Nativity scene is the main focus of the celebrations. Although Christmas trees are common in Portugal as well, the families gather around the Nativity scene. Now, light a yule log in the fireplace.

On Christmas it’s traditional to welcome the souls of the people who have died. Sprinkle bread crumbs and seeds in front of the fireplace as it is believed to bring fruits and grains during the harvest season.

Children should set their shoes to receive the gifts from infant Jesus in them. It’s an old tradition, still alive in Portugal. In some other European countries, children set their shoes on the night of St. Nicholas as he is believed to put the presents in the shoes but only for those children who have been good during the year.

Prepare the Christmas feast, consisting of dried codfish served with boiled potatoes. The meal is eaten right after the Christmas Eve Mass which takes place at midnight. And don’t forget to make “rabanadas” as well. It is white bread, soaked in eggs and wine. Then it’s dipped in sugar and fried until it takes a candy-like crust.