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5 Cities You Must See in the Winter

Winter Wonderlands  Wintertime brings out a certain beauty in cities that is much different than their summer counterparts. To truly appreciate a city’s beauty, one must see it in all four seasons. I believe that the cold harshness of winter unveils a beauty hardly seen by many travelers. Winter vacations are usually reserved for ski […]

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Winter Wonderlands 

Wintertime brings out a certain beauty in cities that is much different than their summer counterparts. To truly appreciate a city’s beauty, one must see it in all four seasons. I believe that the cold harshness of winter unveils a beauty hardly seen by many travelers.

Winter vacations are usually reserved for ski resorts and the complete opposite: warm beaches. I however can appreciate stripped down essence of cities in the winter. The gloom and cold highlight interesting aspects of a city’s brilliance.

Here are 5 of my favorite cities to visit in the winter and what makes each so unique.

 

New York City, NY, USA

New York, New York, what a magical city. Each season brings out the best in this majestic old city and winter doesn’t disappoint. My NYC highlights include Central Park and Rockefeller Center; visit these to see the quintessential New York experience. Try ice-skating at Rockefeller Center underneath the glow of the humongous Christmas tree or taking a hansom cab around central park at night. As snow blankets the city I recommend getting a bird’s eye view to truly take in the city’s massiveness.

Because of the cold and windy air, the visibility in the winter can be extraordinary.

 

Gothenburg, Sweden

The Swedish people do winter better than any other country and their high sense of fashion takes no season off. Gothenburg is a very cold destination but a spectacular city to enjoy the winter sights. A relatively cheap place to travel to in the winter, inexpensive airfare can be found easily. The traditional Christmas markets often reach critical mass and spill onto neighboring streets, creating a literal winter wonderland. In January and February make sure to check out the Gothenburg International Film Festival, a top-notch event.

 

Reykjavik, Iceland

No wintertime city top 5 can be complete without Reykjavik. Simply a stunning places to visit in the winter and possibly one of the most naturally beautiful places on earth. The Northern Lights are visible almost every night in the winter and are astonishing in person. Pictures and video do no justice to one of the natural wonders of the world.

A must visit place in Reykjavik is the Blue Lagoon Spa, where natural hot springs create the largest hot tub you’ll ever visit. The memory of the incredibly blue water will stick with you forever, as I personally have never seen such beauty.

The more adventurous traveler can venture out to the Solheimajokull Glacier and try Ice climbing.

 

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark and the quintessential old European city. The architecture and ambiance of Copenhagen is undeniable and remarkable. Wintertime just suits Copenhagen so well; it should be classified as a cold weather city.

Make sure to visit here in February so you can catch the Wondercool Festival, which is their answer to the dreary, chilly days.   This festival celebrates all that Copenhagen has to offer in the worlds of art, fashion and food.

My highlights are the tall wooden boats adorned with Christmas lights and looking as winter as a boat can. Remember, Copenhagen is a water city, fully embracing maritime life.

 

Budapest, Hungary

A beautiful wintertime city, full of life no matter what the season: Budapest has it all. One cannot visit Budapest in the winter without going to Szchenyi to try the thermal baths. The standout is the outdoors bath to enjoy a nice soak while in the elements and the city’s beautiful architecture. This old world city is also cheap and affordable all across the board.

Take in Budapest’s wonderful café culture and enjoy many fine meals in the tranquility of a winter’s evening.

I wouldn’t go to Budapest without stopping by the Museum of Fine arts, a favorite museum of mine.

Enjoy these winter wonderlands and remember to dress warm and take lots of pictures.

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Travel

Fly a Jetpack on Vacation

Ladies and gentleman, the future is now and it is amazing. We are living in a time when jetpacks and hoverboards are a reality and they are more accessible than ever.  I’m not talking about those cheesy little “hoverboards” that kids are riding nowadays, no I’m talking about the badass water powered jetpacks and flyboards. […]

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Ladies and gentleman, the future is now and it is amazing. We are living in a time when jetpacks and hoverboards are a reality and they are more accessible than ever.  I’m not talking about those cheesy little “hoverboards” that kids are riding nowadays, no I’m talking about the badass water powered jetpacks and flyboards.  The world has been fascinated with jetpacks ever since James Bond flew one in the movie Thunderball. Well, the time to just dream about them is over. I’m sure you all have seen these water jetpacks or flyboards and how insanely cool they are. The videos online are fantastic and make me so envious that I’m not soaring above a lake right now.

The first ever jetpack that was propelled by water was invented by Ray Li, in Ft. Lauderdale FL. In 2011, after many trial and errors, Li releases the first ever commercially available jetpack, the Jetlev R200. In 2012, Li’s competitor Zapata Racing releases the Flyboard, which is propelled by a standard jet ski.

Water Jetpack and Flyboard rentals are springing up all over the globe at vacation hotspots and major bodies of water. Whether you want to try and fly one of these bad boys or just be a spectator these extreme vehicles are revolutionizing aquatic sports.

The Jetpack and Flyboard uses a personal watercrafts’ motor to propel the rider up to 30 feet in the air or through the water at incredible speeds. They are touted as being safe for riders 16 and over, but some rental centers allow riders 14 and older.

 

The Jetpack actually rests on the rider’s back like a conventional backpack and has arm controls. The Flyboard however resembles oversized ski boots that are attached to each other via what looks like a fire hose. Of the two, riders say that the jetpack is easier to fly but the Flyboard gives you much more control to freestyle. Most brands of both have the same size restrictions; Riders should be between 5 feet and 6 feet 6 inches and between 100 and 350 pounds.

Don’t worry about safety; all of my recommendations have certified instructors to help you out the entire time.

Here are some great places to rent a water jetpack or Flyboard.  There are plenty of other rentals, these are recommendations from friends and colleagues.  Happy adventuring!

 

Naples, FL, USA

Captain CJ’s Jet Pack Adventures   

30 minute single flight is $169 USD during their winter sale.

They allow riders 14 and older and boast that they are the only providers in Florida that do so.

 

Farjado, Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Vacation Helpers

Flyboard rental

30 minute single flight is $80 USD with video, $60 USD without

 

San Diego, CA and Las Vegas, NV, USA

Jetpack America    

30 minute single flight is $179 USD

 

Hilton Head, SC, USA

HHI Jetpack  

30 min single flight is $130 USD

 

East End, St. Croix, VI

Island Revel Luxury Sports   

30 minute single flight is $75 USD

These are just a few recommendations so hopefully this helps you check something off your bucket list. Once I saw these flying machines I knew I had to take flight. If you really want to do this, just book a flight to any of these destinations and take the first step.  Have fun out there, you never know when your ride ends, so enjoy every second of every day. 

 

 

 

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5 Trip Tips Every New Traveler Should Know

When I first set out on my maiden voyage, I was terrified and completely unprepared. If only I had a helpful blogger like well, myself, to guide me through the murky waters to the promise lands that awaits.  I wish someone gave me some helpful tips.   It is quite exhilarating to leave your home, […]

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When I first set out on my maiden voyage, I was terrified and completely unprepared. If only I had a helpful blogger like well, myself, to guide me through the murky waters to the promise lands that awaits.  I wish someone gave me some helpful tips.   It is quite exhilarating to leave your home, where you feel safe and are accustomed to your day-to-day life. This is why people travel, because it’s a life changing experience that you can only achieve by being adventurous. Life can become boring and humdrum but a little travel sprinkled into your life will no doubt jazz things up.

It’s time to spread your wings and see how much greener the grass is on the other side. Plan a trip, no matter how far, just do it. Book your ticket and the rest will fall into place, I promise. Once that flight, train or hot air balloon is booked, the trip will literally figure itself out. By reserving a ticket, you are making yourself book the rest of the trip. You will do research and find the perfect place to stay, things to see and adventures to go on.

Here are the five tips I wish someone told me before I went on my first backpacking trip across Europe. Hopefully they help you plan a fantastic and life changing journey.

Be Adventurous

Simple, take chances and don’t be afraid, because fear will ruin your adventurous side. If you don’t take a first step then you will never try anything new and that is what traveling is all about. Open yourself up to new things and broaden your horizon.   One thing to remember is that you are never alone when traveling, because there are thousands of people out there just like you and just knowing that may ease your fear.

Take your Time

Literally take time to smell the roses. Don’t rush through your trip because you want to see it all, you can never see everything. This will give you a great reason to return one day and see what you missed and revisit your favorite places. Go slow and truly take it in; you aren’t on vacation to run around like a chicken with its head cut off. Take a stroll through a park or eat a leisurely lunch at a cute little café.

http://www.myadventuresacrosstheworld.com/

Pack Light

For heaven’s sake, don’t go crazy and bring everything you own. Pack clothing that can be worn multiple times, leave your gadgets at home and make a pre packing list. I way over packed for my first European trip and I regretted it every day I put that heavy bag on my back. You will be with that bag more than you think, so pack smart. I advise you to get a smaller bag than you think you will need so you can’t possibly over pack.

Worldwide Phone

Either get a worldwide sim card for your phone or buy a cheap international burner phone; you’ll thank me later. Not having a phone makes you feel unsafe and naked, since we have become so dependant on our phones. Having this little lifeline to your world back home will help with homesickness and just day to day logistics.

Hide Your Money

LISTEN! Hide your dang money or someone will take it. Pick pocketing is serious business and in tourist destinations especially prevalent. Hide your wallet and purse when in public and also while in your hotel rooms. I even stash some cash in articles of clothing just in case, you never know. It’s better to be safe than sorry and no one wants to be penniless when you are so far from home.

Good luck fellow adventurer. May the wind always be at your back and the sun on your face.

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Save Major Bucks at the Ski Resort

Save Big on Your Snow Adventure Skiing and Snowboarding are generally regarded as somewhat expensive getaways, but they don’t have to be.   Whether you are planning a weekend trip or an epic adventure, winter excursions are complicated events. Don’t let the record snowfalls go to waste and get out there and live it up. Bundle […]

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Save Big on Your Snow Adventure

Skiing and Snowboarding are generally regarded as somewhat expensive getaways, but they don’t have to be.   Whether you are planning a weekend trip or an epic adventure, winter excursions are complicated events. Don’t let the record snowfalls go to waste and get out there and live it up. Bundle up with your loved ones or go on a solo adventure, either way, save big with these helpful tricks.

Fly economical airlines

Budget airlines are just as safe as their fancier counterparts but with less frill and smaller price tags.   The biggest advantage to these carriers is they get you to the same destinations but for a smaller fee. When planning a trip like this, every dollar counts and these airlines can save you more than chump change.   Book early for your best rates and if that’s not an option scour the web for last minute deals, they are out there, and you just have to find them.

Rent equipment off the mountain

This is a major way to save money and make your dollar stretch extra far. Every major ski resort rents skis and snowboards but they charge a pretty penny. Its supply and demand; you are on top of a mountain and the only option is the resorts’ rentals. That’s why your best bet is to find a rental shop that isn’t affiliated with any resort and is usually located a few miles from the mountain. These privately owned shops will save you major on rentals and usually have better quality boards and skis.

Demo your rental

Another quality option for the more advanced riders and skiers is to Demo your rental. When you demo a board or skis, you are basically taking them on a test ride. Many shops will allow you to use the board or skis for a day to see if you like them just make sure you are skilled enough to not damage them. If you do damage them the store may charge you for the damages. This is great if you want a brand new board or skis to ride.

Go early or late in season

The beginning and end of the season always have the cheaper lift tickets, so this is your best bet for a deal. Granted you need snow to ski or board so make sure the mountain has adequate snow pack and some lifts are open. I prefer spring skiing because the mountain usually has plenty of snowpack and you can go crazy and wear shorts because the temperature is so warm. Spring skiing can be slushy with the warm temps so buyer is warned.

Steer clear of school breaks

School vacations are when families vacation so the prices are highest and the mountains are packed. These are your peak times, and obviously the worst time to venture to the mountain. I cross off all holidays on my calendar and just know that these are not good times to travel. The ski resorts aren’t the only places that gauge during peak weeks. Airfare, hotels and even ski rental shops all hike up their prices and there is no real way around it.

Budget mountains

If you really want to save some major money, stay away from the big resorts. Usually within a few miles of a huge resort are smaller sister ski resorts.  These are sometimes affiliated with the larger resort but offer discounted lift tickets because they have less runs and fewer amenities. This is how you save big because lift tickets are expensive, ranging from $50-300 USD or more.

Hopefully these tips help you plan an excellent winter getaway that doesn’t break the bank. Bundle up because it’s cold out there.

 

 

 

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