Archives for March 2007


Travel Photographs – Las Vegas, Nevada

Each week I post a few of my personal travel photos to inspire your travel dreams. This week I chose my favourite shots of Las Vegas:

Volcano at the Mirage Hotel


Romanisque Las Vegas

Speed the Ride


Five things to see and do in Baseball, America

National PastimeBaseball, America like the fabled Brigadoon only exists for a short period every year before disappearing in October but has a simultaneous existence throughout the United States. I visit Baseball where I find it but these are my five favourite visits:

1. Fenway Park, Boston – Inside Fenway Park, I’m transported back to an earlier era when tradition and fun were as important as your pay check.

2. Safeco Field, Seattle – Returning baseball to the fans, Safeco Field lets you get close to the action and provides you all the modern convenience you need.

3. Little League – This version of Baseball, America graces fields everywhere and I’ve never spent a happier baseball moment than watching my son play there.

4. Red Sox at Yankee Stadium, New York City – This great rivalry is Baseball at its most passionate and you have not experienced Yankee Stadium until cheers of ‘Lets go Red Sox’ are drowning out the locals.

5. Cooperstown, New York – Cooperstown is the window through which you see Baseball as a whole; past, present and future found in the museum halls, on the fan filled streets or the nearby Little League fields.

Tell me where you love to visit Baseball, America.


Baggage Woes and Why I Carry On Luggage if Possible

An aircraft mechanical failure pushed us on to another aircraft at the last minute and despite assurances we knew many bags had not made it aboard. Our travelling companions arrived in Newark to discover their bags had been delayed and after a frustrating wait to register the loss we headed to the hotel. After three infuriating days, their bags finally reached their room and we reinforced our commitment to travelling light and not checking bags.

The Seattle Times columnist, Karen Pucci, reported yesterday on the increasing thefts occurring at airports as more people check bags to avoid problems with carrying liquids and gels. In Australia, you still find people covering their bags in plastic wrap in response to a convicted drug trafficker’s defence that someone slipped the drugs into her bag after check in.My Luggage

Travelling light allows you to avoid these problems and actually have a better vacation experience because it forces you to leave at home the clutter that invades most modern lives. Choosing your clothes each morning is reduced to a question of what is clean rather than deciphering your mood for a fashion statement. It is a philosophy that Rick Steves is passionate about but there are many other good resources such as One Bag to inspire your baggage diet.

Tell me your secrets for packing light.


Travel Photographs – London

Each week I post a few of my personal travel photos to inspire your travel dreams. This week I chose my favourite shots of London:

London Eye

Buckingham Palace

Britain's Houses of Parliament

St Paul's Cathedral


Improve Your Travel Experience through Better Planning

Tired, disheveled travellers rush off the Eurostar platform to join a long line of people waiting for a London cabbie to get them to their London digs. We walked past them, crossed the road and a few minutes latter stowing our bags at reception before heading off to explore London. As we bought tickets for the Tube, many of our fellow travellers still waited for that elusive cab. Good planning made all the difference.

I use a simple planning technique, starting with a rough plan and then layer in the detail as I book hotels and transport. So for my next trip to Europe, I started with this plan:

  • Amsterdam 3 days (Assen TT MotoGP)
  • Belgium (Bruges, Brussels) 2 days
  • Amiens, France (Australian WWI Battlefields) 2 days
  • Paris 3 days
  • Bath, England 2 days
  • Cotswolds 2 days
  • York 2 days
  • London 3 days Total 19 days

Next calculate a rough travel time between each destination (We are using trains throughout the trip):

  • Amsterdam to Bruges 3 hours
  • Bruge to Ameins 3 hours
  • Ameins to Paris 3 hours
  • Paris to Bath 1 day
  • Bath to Cotswolds 3 hours
  • Cotswolds to York 1 day
  • York to London 1 day

On a long summer day, three hours travel is easily absorbed into a day leaving time to explore at your destination but the longer trips have added three days to our vacation. We elected to not visit York and recover those three days keep our time in Europe to 19 days.

Once you have a good itinerary, you can start booking accommodation and travel. I start with hotels and then find flights to suit those bookings but if you find a good airfare book it first.

Choose accommodation close to your transportation, for example, we stay at the County Hall Premier Travel Inn in London minutes from Waterloo Station. Often this central location is great for sightseeing with many attractions within walking distance. Study a city map and determine the best compromise for your experience.

Now, list the attractions you wish to visit each day. I usually limit our day to two or three major attractions, and give us time to relax over lunch, experience the country rather than visit it. Make advance bookings for popular attractions or find out where to buy tickets without waiting in long lines. For example, you can buy a combo ticket at Rome’s Palatine Hill that includes the Colosseum then walk straight in past the queue (Thanks Rick). Use your guidebook and Internet travel sites to find the tricks that will make your travel easier and more fun.

Finally, have a back up plan for rainy days or unexpected closures. The key to a great travel experience is knowledge, don’t leave home without it.