Thursday, July 19, 2012

Tips for Solo Travelers

Solo travelling or soul searching is often a preferred choice of many globe-trotters. Back packers are seen indulging in it more regularly than package-deal travellers. Travelling alone can be the ultimate experience of self-indulgence. However, taking into the account the perils of such a form of travel like safety concerns and loneliness, a few tips about the same can make the experience a pleasant one.

Photo by Flickr user fortherock

The foremost concern of a single traveller is safety. He is more vulnerable to scam artists than people travelling in a group. Also, he has to deal with the simplest of the health worries on his own with no companion to watch his back. Small tips like knowing the exact distances and modes of commute between airports, stations and the destinations can prevent him from being “taken-on-a-ride”. If travelling alone, avoid travelling in the night and read more about places of visit for issues of safety, if any. A thumb rule is to trust your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.

It is advisable to keep a low profile if you are a lone traveller. Attracting attention by wearing flashy clothes or coming across as an obvious tourist can mean some tricky pickles. A few white lies don’t hurt either. “I have to meet a friend at the station but don’t know the way. Could you help please?” is a safer option than poring over maps.

Being in touch ensures you a sense of belonging when you are travelling alone and peace of mind for your loved ones. Leave them a copy of your itinerary and check in periodically. International texting these days has become dearth cheap. If you are travelling with a pc, making pc to phone calls is another way of getting rid of solitude especially in the evening or during meals.
Solo dining may not be as amusing as it sounds at times. Sitting at a counter seat or at the bar in a restaurant may help.  Sometimes  when traveling we get stressed , tired and fatigue .  We have to remember that part of traveling is exploring new things , like for example if your in Hawaii pamper yourself by going to a resort , sitting by the beach and just taking in all the beauty. Bring a book you don’t mind leaving behind. Writing a journal is also a great way of savouring your travel memories later. It is important to eat well. Have a laid-back coffee or a decadent dessert once in a while. The constant vigilance needed whilst travelling alone can wear you down. 

Lastly, in case you start feeling lonely, you could cut short your ambitious itinerary and kick back for a while. You could even consider joining a group of fellow travellers or spend time in youth hostels where you could end up with some interesting company and activities to do.
A thing to remember always, be it solo or in a group, the sole purpose of travelling should be that experience of gratification at the end of it all! 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Weekend Shopping in New York

There are so many reasons to spend a long weekend in New York. If you already know the main tourist attractions of the city, take this opportunity to go shopping in one of the best cities in the world for this activity. Prices are generally lower than in the UK and you'll be spoiled for choice. If you are and addict window shopper, you will certainly reach nirvana in Manhattan. 

One thing that you need to take care about before departing to New York is booking Manchester airport parking. With airport parking, you will save money to spend during your New York shopping spree. 
It is always interesting to go shopping in New York, mainly because, despite the crisis, this city remains the Mecca of shopping. Shops are open every day, usually from 10 am to 20 pm, and even later on Thursday. Moreover, one can find without difficulty many bargains regardless of the time of the year. From electronics, stereo to clothing and beauty products many products often display prices that are genuine deals, especially if you decide to travel to New York on a special day such as The Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving, that is the fourth Friday in November). The period after Christmas and New Year’s Eve is also an excellent time to go shopping in New York, as almost everything gets on sale then. 
One can easily draw a map of the shops in Manhattan. The neighbourhoods are somehow specialized in one type of shops, although you can find everything everywhere. Thus, you have Lower Broadway, particularly between 4th St. and Canal St. East, where you will find the best deals for jeans, t-shirts and sneakers. There are also a lot of discount stores in the Lower East Side. For clothing, you will find generally incredible deals in the Garment District, located between 6th and 9th Avenue from 34th to 42th Street. This is the heart of the garment industry in the United States, where one third of all apparel produced in the country is designed and manufactured. 
For an upbeat look, stroll the side of SoHo, in NoLita and Greenwich Village, where you can explore avant-garde designer boutiques, specialized in both fashion and home design. Finally, going back to Midtown and the Upper East Side, 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue are the haunts of upscale boutiques and department stores. If you do not want to spend too much money but still come back home with plenty of things, try the located in New Jersey or the flea markets such as Hell's Kitchen on 39th Street. 
You can also choose to visit some of the malls in the city if you like to find all the stores you need in one place. Two of the best malls a shopping aficionado should not miss are the Manhattan Mall and Pier 17. These are veritable temples of shopping in New York and they will certainly lure you in with their extravagance.

Finding the Perfect Slice in Chicago

Chicago has it all - world-renown architectural heritage, jazz music, theatres and plenty of Chicago hostels and cheap hotels for backpackers. One of the best things about Chicago is its unique pizza. Don’t be mistaken by the title, HostelBookers have researched (yes it means we tried lots of pizza, it was tough but we did it for you) the best Chicago-style deep dish pizza in the city. Never heard of Chicago-style pizza? Well, it’s only for the bravest of eaters, as instead of a thin crust topped with cheese and pepperoni, it’s a crust stacked extremely high with cheese and pepperoni (or anything else). Here’s a quick overview of the best places to find this Chicago wonder.


Special note needs to be given to this Chicago establishment, because it was Uno that first invented the Chicago-style deep dish pizza. Once you sample one of their pizzas, you’ll realize that their experience, which has been fine-tuned since the 1940s, is obvious. You can find locations all over the country, but the original is along the Magnificent Mile. It makes for a great lunchtime spot during a day shopping around. If it’s too packed, head around the corner to another location, that one called Due.

Lou Malnati’s

This reviewer grew up in Chicago’s northern suburbs, and my high school teacher was Rick Malnati himself, son to the late Lou. We had free pizza all the time, and it was excellent. Although Lou Malnati’s was established well after a few other Chicago deep-dish restaurants, Lou knew the business well, and when the first location opened, it opened to great reviews. Today, you can find dozens of locations all over the city.

One of the most famous and indeed one of the best-publicized deep-dish restaurants in Chicago is Giordano’s. They live up to their fame with their quintessential deep dish pizzas and ridiculously varied toppings options. Like the other restaurants listed, there are plenty of other things on the menu, from sandwiches to salads, so you won’t have to worry about taking along family members who aren’t keen on pizza. Although, there’s nothing quite like watching the mozzarella trying to cling to its pie as a slice is being lifted away.

Gino’s East

Gino’s is another Chicago landmark pizzeria. You can find locations all over the place, including in other states. This pizza is excellent, and the toppings are so thick that a single slice might be sufficient. Gino’s is particularly popular for the kids, as graffiti on the wall is allowed—that is, to write about how your visit went.

Pizano’s Pizza and Pasta

A lesser-known restaurant with one location along State Street might interest you more, and this one for good reason. They make a quality pizza for a good price. Pizano’s is an up-and-coming pizza restaurant that, for those not taken by pizza, can go for pasta!

Mangia Roma

Located on Halsted Avenue, Mangia Roma is an Italian restaurant that serves up all of that country’s typical dishes. The deep-dish pizza is excellent, and you should find the courage to tackle it. If you can’t however, this place also offers thin-crust, just don’t let anyone see you!