Posts Tagged ‘Tourism’

When is it Okay to be a Tourist?

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Y’know… tourists tend to have a bad reputation these days.

The word itself probably makes you think about an awkward wanderer, holding an over-sized map and camera, wearing a fanny pack or sun-visor (or both), disrupting the locals. Yes, this is a hyperbolic description of the stereotype, but the notion must’ve come from somewhere.

Sometime in the history of people going new places, the tourism industry developed, and in case you were unaware, it’s pretty big industry. If you’re a human being, chances are you like and want to have fun – insert Cyndi Lauper reference here – and a surefire way to find enjoyment is to travel. Whether you take a leisurely road-trip to the next town or book a vacation on the other side of the globe, you leave with the expectation of having fun at your destination.

That’s basically the whole point, right? So why do we try so hard to avoid being labeled as a tourist? Tourists usually have pretty big smiles on their faces, thanks, in part, to the never-ending photoshoot that occurs on each trip. Those smiles tend to be a direct result of genuine enjoyment. This is why we’re taking a moment to advocate on their behalf. Read more to discover some instances when it’s perfectly alright to be a tourist.

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Travel in Color

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Photo Courtesy of Flickr

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We’re big fans of all things colorful.

Sunlit landscapes, like the one pictured above, add a little dazzle to any environment. For that reason, we’re currently highlighting colorful destinations on our Tumblr page. Hotspots include: Navpactos, Greece; Sakura, Japan; Guanajuato, Mexico and of course, New York City. Every city has it’s own set of vibrant hues to showcase, and the right stroll down the right lane can send you into a visual frenzy. Check out a few of our favorites.

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A White (Sandy) Christmas

Friday, December 7th, 2012

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When Bing Crosby popularized the song “White Christmas,” he wasn’t referring to crisp, clear, coastal waters and their accompanying ashy sand. A traditional Christmas holiday is spent watching the snow fall outside, while sitting by the fireplace, drinking hot cocoa or spiced eggnog.  The kids might go outside and make a fetching little snowman or have a snowball fight, while mom or dad are in the kitchen arranging a scrumptious meal, filling the house with a lovely aroma.  Many of us are used to the treetops glistening and children listening for sleigh bells in the snow, and yes, these elements make December 25th and enchantingly magical day.

On the flip side, spending the holiday digging your feet into warm, soft sand dunes, laying by the tides and soaking up the sun may be the perfect way to break free from tradition. Chances are you’ve already gotten this year’s plans set in stone, but while the whole family is together eating dinner and (hopefully) enjoying everyone’s company, why not bring up the idea of a holiday away from home next year? Now’s the time to start planning, and it may turn out to be the perfect end-of-the-year getaway! Here are our destination and activity picks.

Maracajau & Parrachos Reef Tour in Natal Brazil

Brazil

If you’re seeking somewhere exotic, then head to Brazil. There are countless beaches, and each one is as beautiful as the last. The Maracajau & Parrachos Reef Tour (pictured) shows you all of the beauty of a beach still untouched by urbanization. Amazing snorkeling spots make this a great activity for the whole family. Other options include:

 

Molokini Snorkel & Turtle Town Morning Adventure from Ma’alaea Harbor in Maui

Hawaii

For a no-fail paradise holiday that doesn’t require a passport (for US citizens), check out Hawaii. It’s perfectly positioned in the Pacific Ocean to provide a tropical breeze and comfortable beach-day temperatures. The Molokini Snorkel & Turtle Town Morning Adventure (pictured) takes you to Molokini, a crescent shaped caldera that is a protected marine sanctuary. The waters are calm and clear, which is perfect for scuba diving, snuba diving, and snorkeling. Other family-friendly picks include:

Could you imagine spending Christmas off the beaten path? Does you need to be surrounded by snow for a proper holiday? If not, which destination are your asking Santa for next year?

Happy travels!

 

 

 

Reserve123 In Europe

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Are you on Instagram? If not, you should truly join. For those visually-driven social media users, Instagram is a Godsend. Twitter is for those of us who have something to say to the world; Instagram is for those of us who have something to show the world, and unlike Pinterest, the content is (usually) created by the user. If you’ve ever sat alone in a nice, little park for lunch and thought, “I wish I could share this moment with someone,” you need Instagram.

The Reserve123 team is all over the map, and most recently, Nikita spent some time in Europe. She was kind enough to take us on her photo journey via Instagram, and my goodness, ’twas a beautiful journey!

Champs Elysee – Paris, France

 

Stockholm, Sweden

 

Üsküdar – Istanbul, Turkey

 

Sacré-Coeur – Paris, France

The Musée du Louvre – Paris, France

 

Louisiana Museum – Copenhagen, Denmark

 

La Seine – Paris, France

 

Hagia Sophia – Istanbul, Turkey

 

Det Ny Teater – Copenhagen, Denmark

You can check out all of the instagram photos under the #Reserve123 hashtag, and feel free to tag us whenever you snap a picture abroad. We love seeing the sights with you. Also, leave us a little note after you follow us so we can return the favor.

Happy travels!

Gaudi: In Case You Needed A Reason to Visit Barcelona

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Gaudi’s symbolic salamader in Parc Güell

Maybe you’ve heard of Antoni Gaudi, and you may or may not be familiar with his creative brilliance, but we’d like to help you get (re)acquainted. A native of Spain, Gaudi studied architecture in the late 1800s, and legend has it that his peers and professors weren’t sure whether he was a fool or a genius. Well, thankfully for us, Mr. Gaudi let his work speak for him, and he was clearly determined to tell the world that he was no fool.

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His style of artistry has been coined as Catalan Modernism, and there really are no words that accurately express its beauty. You’ll have to check it out for yourself! These days, Antoni Gaudi’s works are regarded as individualistic and extremely distinct – his inspirations derived from his passion for architecture, the natural world, his faith and love for Catalonia.

La Sagrada Familia Cathedral, Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece

We’ve got a few options if you’re looking for a guided experience through the goodness. The Artistic Barcelona Tour explores Gaudi, Modernism, and Gothic structures throughout the city, so you’ll get a taste of each style. You’ll start by walking along Paseo de Gracia, to see Gaudi’s famous apartment buildings, which include Casa Batllo and La Pedrera. It also includes a visit to Gaudi’s bizarre Parc Guell, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Careful, you may get willingly lost in the whimsical design of this bizarre but compelling public park.

Those interested in something more focussed on Gaudi’s contribution to the Catalan culture might like the Gaudi Walk & Wine Tasting. Did I mention it includes wine tasting? That’s right, you’ll take a leisurely stroll through the streets of Barcelona, soaking in the beauty and absorbing new knowledge of each location, and to conclude, you’ll be invited to savor the aromas and enjoy the full embrace of the flavor of the region’s star wines while basking in the hospitality of a traditional Catalan restaurant. The groups are always small and intimate, so you might even make a few new friends along the way! (Cheers)

We’ve got other activities that include some of Gaudi’s architecture, so feel free to check here for other options. Hopefully you’ll be as artistically stimulated as we are by his works.

Happy travels!

Fall Fever: Our Favorite Autumn Activities

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Jump into the fall season!

Happy fall, travelers!

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens… Oktoberfests, pumpkin spices in kitchens, the paper brown leaves that autumn brings, these are a few of our favorite things! That’s right, autumn is here, officially. For those of us in the states/regions that actually experience season changes (sorry, Southern California), this means colorful leaves, and crisp, cool air. Dust off your favorite jacket, put an extra blanket on the bed at night, and get ready to enjoy the season. We understand football games may have much of your attention this time of year, but there are lots of reasons to get off the couch – or out of the bar – and absorb the great outdoors. Here are our favorite autumn activities.

Oktoberfest(s)

Photo Credit: Oktoberfest.de

The Oktoberfest website calls this event “the world’s biggest fair.” The famous beer festival is held in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, and it’s 16 days long. Yes, 16 days of beer, parades, rides, and music. Sound like fun? The party ends this weekend, so if you’re up for an impromptu trip to Germany, go for it! Those of us stuck in reality can enjoy one of the many stateside Oktoberfests. San Francisco, New Orleans, Tulsa, Savannah, and even Savannah, Georgia all have their own version of the popular beer festival, and there’s also a pretty big one in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Check out our list of the best Oktoberfests around the United States.

Apple Picking

It’s our personal belief that apples taste better when you pick them yourself. They’re bigger, they’re juicier, and they have a louder crunch when you bite into them. Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about who’s had their hands on your fruit. They go from nature’s hand directly to yours – fresh, nutritious, and ready to be devoured. Many orchards make fresh apple cider on site and offer free tractor rides around the farm.

Pumpkin Patches

We couldn’t mention apple picking without suggesting a trip to a pumpkin patch. The plumper the pumpkin the broader your carving possibilities, and you can always use the remnants for some homemade pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin pudding, or whatever else you fancy! Better Homes and Gardens has some unique recipes; fun carving tips and tricks can be found here and here.

Fall Foliage Bicycle Tour in Boston

Fall Foliage Rides

Whether you’re in Washington, DC; Sedona, Arizona; Ottawa, Ontario; Springdale or Van Buren, Arkansas; Boston, Massachusetts or New York City we’ve got a fall foliage ride for you. Between train trips, bike tours and river cruises, there are quite a few ways to admire the changing colors of nature; oh, the fun you’ll have, and oh, the pictures you’ll take!

Speaking of pictures, we can’t wait to see all your lovely fall photos. Feel free to tag #Reserve123 on social media so we can take a look and share with our online community.

How to Survive Your Full Vacation Itinerary

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Mark Twain once said “I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them,” and he made a very compelling argument. Whether you’re traveling with friends, family, a significant other or even strangers, there’s a chance they’ll either get on your nerves by the end of the trip, or you’ll come home loving them even more, especially if you have a full itinerary. A typical five to six day vacation can be filled with fun, laughter and fond memories, but if you’re not careful, you may find yourself worn out, cranky and irritable by day three or four. Don’t worry. We’ve got some tips to help you get the most enjoyment out of every waking moment.

Relax!

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Schedule an afternoon (or day) of nothing

That’s right. While you’re arranging the day-by-day details of your trip, conveniently leave out an afternoon. If you’re feeling particularly frisky, leave a whole day open. For those traveling with other people, this may be a good chance to go off on your own and do something the rest of the pack isn’t interested in. Couples may even find that spending a few hours apart takes the pressure off – no need to worry about appeasing your partner’s wants/needs. Make it all about you, and take some time for yourself. Lay out on the patio of your hotel, take a walk amidst some locals, schedule a massage at a nearby spa, relax by the pool with a new book, or sleep all day. Do whatever you want. Be spontaneous! After all, you’re on vacation. Now’s the time to let loose.

Plan a tour of the city on your first day

San Francisco Double Decker Bus Tour

The day you arrive at your destination is always exciting. If it’s a new and unfamiliar place, it can be both intriguing and daunting. While you might have the urge to avoid an activity that’ll  make you stick out as a tourist, some guided sightseeing will help you get acquainted with your new environment. Take a tour! They’re fun and informative. Often times you’ll leave knowing more about the city than the locals do, and you’ll probably find a new place to visit during your free time (see previous point). Check out our homepage for thousands of tour options.

Rest Up

Get to sleep at a decent hour every night

Most of us are on a steady sleep schedule, and going out of town can throw it out of whack. We know you want to maximize every last minute of your time away: getting up early for certain activities, checking out different breakfast spots (or having breakfast at your hotel), catching a breath-taking sunrise, etc. While it may be tempting to stay up chatting or investigating the nightlife, try not to overdo it. You’ll still need a solid six or seven hours of sleep to get you through the next day, and the next… and the next. This will also help you (and the kids) ease back into your normal rhythm once you get back home.

As always, have fun. Don’t worry about problems back home, and take each experience one moment at a time. If you have any additional tips on how to thrive during a jam-packed vacation, please share!

25 Tours under $25

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

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With over 11,000 tours in over 550 destinations and 85 countries, we have something for everyone. Just because you’re on a tour doesn’t mean you have to spend a great deal of money, and each tour ensures you a unique adventure you wouldn’t have experienced otherwise. Want a tour about coffee? You got it. Want to see J.K Rowling’s Leaky Cauldron in London? No problem. You can always book your tour or activity online or call us at 800-745-1925 to talk with one of our representatives.

I present to you 25 Kristina-approved tours or activities under $25.

1. Ride the Bateaux Sightseeing Cruise form Eiffel Tower in Paris.

2. See AT&T Park the way no else has seen it before on the San Francisco Giants Ball Park Tour.

3. See ghosts in A Ghostly Experience Walking Tour in St. Augustine.

4. Explore and eat around the city of DC on A Taste of DC Tour.

5. Get lost in a haunted mansion with admission to the Winchester Mystery House.

6. Take a historical tour of one of Australia’s most prestigious wineries Penfolds Magill Estate in the Penfolds Magill Wine Tasting Tour.

7. Unravel the mysteries of Harry Lime in Carol Reed’s The Third Man in Footsteps of the Third Man Walking Tour in Vienna.

8. Have a pub crawl and trivia night rolled into one awesome night in the World Greatest Capitol Hill Trivia Pub Crawl Tour.

9. Wave your geek flag high (hooray!) when you take the Harry Potter London Walk.

10. Learn about Munich’s 850 year history in the Munich City Walk with English Garden Tour.

11. Go backstage in one of Nashville’s famed concert halls on the Historic Ryman Auditorium Backstage Guided Tour.

12. Retrace the steps of uncovering the Da Vinci Code in the Da Vinci Code Walking Tour in London.

13. Walk through interactive exhibits to learn about the evolution of espionage in the International Spy Museum Priority Entrance ticket.

14. Wander around the beautiful Middleton Place Plantation that survived the American Revolution, the Civil War, and the 1886 earthquake.

15. Learn the history and secrets of Prague. From the emperors to alchemists, Prague has an interesting past. Take a journey into this old city on the Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, and Royal Gardens Tour.

16. Take the Hollywood Trolley ride to learn about historic Hollywood.

17. Experience the lights and magic of San Francisco during the holidays aboard a Classic Cable Car.

18. See Branson’s Old Matt’s Homestead transform into a breathtaking holiday wonderland.

19. Purchase a ticket to the Chimney Rock Park to explore North Carolina’s wildlife and rare, indigenous plants.

20. October 31st is over but you can celebrate Halloween every night with the Fright Night Halloween Ghost Tour in Plymouth.

21. Take the Seattle Coffee Crawl and learn the history of coffee and have free tastings at several specialty coffee houses.

22. Discover the only underground wine vaults in the southern hemisphere at the Seppelt Winery.

23. Feed turtles and penguins at the New England Aquarium in Boston.

24. If you’re a novice hiker, take this hike in Phoenix. An experienced hiker/guide, will help you through the Camelback Mountain, Piestewa Peak, South Mountain, or McDowell Mountain.

25. Take a carriage ride and return to a kinder, gentler day as you tour Savannah the way it was meant to be seen.

- Kris
http://reserve123.com

Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, MA

Monday, November 21st, 2011

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Plimoth Plantation

Plimoth Plantation 

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You’ve seen grade school student Thanksgiving plays, you’ve read about them in your textbooks, and you’ve probably have seen a Charlie Brown special about it, but when you visit Plimoth Plantation, you’ll experience the most realistic account of the pilgrim life.

The Plimoth Plantation is a living museum that offers a variety of activities for visitors to see and do on the pilgrim life. The 17th Century English Village is part of the Plimoth Plantation and is a recreation of the small colony that took place near the Plymouth Harbor.At this site, the year is 1627 and visitors can explore the town and watch and interact with ‘role players’ who act, speak, and dress from the colonial era. You can watch them do daily tasks such as cooking, planting, blacksmithing, and animal husbandry.

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A woman doing daily errands. 

If watching someone sweeping a house with a homemade broom doesn’t get you excited, the coolest part of this attraction is the interaction. You can ask the ‘pilgrims’ any questions about their religious views, education, parenting, and even their relationship with the Native People. All the recreations are built on first-hand or second-hand records, accounts, and articles from that time period. It is truly a place that prides their authenticity and really feels like you stepped back in time.

The real life exhibits also feature the lives of the Wampanoag Homesite. Unlike the English Village, the Wampanoag Homesite has modern day Native People dressed in traditional clothing. They can give you the modern perspective of the Wampanoag people. You are more than welcome to ask questions about their history, their traditions, music, or dance.

Another popular activity at the plantation is entering the Mayflower II replica. From the solid oak timbers to the hand-colored maps, the details of the ship have been meticulously hand-crafted to make sure visitors feel like they’re entering the real Mayflower.

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Visitors talking to pilgrims and Native People. 

Other than their interactive exhibits, there is a craft center where you can meet modern day artisans who use 17th century tools and materials to create objects from that time period.You can visit the rare breeds animals program where you can see many historic breeds of sheep, goats, and cows. There is also the Plimoth Cinema!Interestingly enough, the plantation screens foreign and independent films at their orientation theater during the late afternoons and evenings. It is Plymouth’s #1 Art House Cinema!

If you’re interested in visiting the Plimoth Plantation, hurry and reserve your tickets today. They’re open from late March to November, but they get especially busy near Thanksgiving. Please visit our website or call us at 800-745-1925.

- Kris
http://reserve123.com

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3rd picture is from this website.

A Visit to the Georgia Aquarium

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

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The Georgia Aquarium via Reserve123.com

This is part two of Amanda’s Atlanta excursion with her Atlanta CityPass.

The World of Coca-Cola attraction is literally next door to the aquarium. Along with the World of Coca-Cola, she stopped by the world’s largest aquarium right here in Atlanta, the Georgia Aquarium. With a convenient little walkway in between the two, Amanda walked right over from one venue to another.

The Georgia Aquarium contains more than 8.5 million US gallons of marine and fresh water and is the home to more than 120,000 animals of 500 different species, most notably the aquarium’s four young whale sharks, four beluga whales, and four manta rays.

A sting ray touch tank, one of the many touch tanks at the aquarium 

Luckily for Amanda, the venue wasn’t too crowded and easily made her way through the aquarium. It was late in the morning and the lines moved along fairly quickly. When you enter the aquarium, there is a central hub where the attraction is divided by specific environments: Georgia Explorer, Tropical Diver, Ocean Voyager, Cold Water Quest, River Scout, and Dolphin Tales. You can enter and exit these different exhibits throughout the day. The Dolphin Tales is the newest exhibition that showcases several dolphin shows a day; the show tickets must be purchased separately and do not come with the CityPass. You are also more than welcome to see the dolphins for free when they’re not performing.

Being the world’s largest aquarium, the Georgia Aquarium boasts several attractions such as numerous ‘touch tanks’, which are shallow ponds where you can pet animals varying from rays to sharks, in the Georgia Explorer section to Ocean Voyager’sexhibit tunnel, a 100-foot long tunnel with 4,574 square feet of viewing windows. The Ocean Voyager exhibit is the exhibit of the aquarium because it also showcases the whale sharks and manta rays.

The Georgia Aquarium is the only aquarium in the United States that features whale sharks and manta rays. These gigantic and majestic creatures require a vast amount of swimming space and the Georgia Aquarium was actuallybuilt with whale sharks in mind. The Ocean Voyager exhibit holds the majority of the aquarium’s water and has almost 100,000 fish living in it along with these gentle giants.

Playful little sea otters

Playful sea otters

Amanda’s CityPass granted her two unique experiences: a ticket to the Deepo’s Undersea 3D Wondershow and a ticket to the Quick Dip tour. The aquarium has a 4D theater that places you into the film with their interactive seats and special effects. At first, Amanda was put off by the ‘cartooney’ feel of the movie but ended up enjoying every twist and turn the story and the theater offered.

“You think it’s a kiddie movie, but it’s a really fun little adventure,” said Amanda, “there are some parts that completely surprised me!” Because of the specially designed theater, you get to feel a brush of a jellyfish’s tentacle or a mist of fresh saltwater in the film. A woman sitting behind Amanda screamed to the top of her lungs when a sea creature ‘poked’ her in her seat! Amanda recommends sitting next to any kids and you might not get your eardrums blown out! The movie is approximately 10-15 minutes.

An albino alligator

One of her favorite parts of the aquarium is the Quick Dip Tour where you can get a different perspective on two of the exhibits: River Scout and Ocean Voyager. In this tour, Amanda said the guides focused on River Scout’s ecosystem and the whale sharks.During one part of the tour, Amanda felt a synthetic whale shark skin that was as long as an average whale shark – 31 feet. She said it was like touching a real whale! The tour took approximately 30 minutes.

By the end of her visit, Amanda became a whale shark fan. Though her favorite animal, by far, was the albino alligator in the River Scout exhibition, she enjoyed seeing all the different sea creatures in the various habitats. What really separates the Georgia Aquarium from other aquariums is its interaction with visitors. The Georgia Aquarium offers an interactive experience with their 4D film, new and upcoming exhibitions, several different tours, and children activities. Along with interactive activities, the aquarium also designed each exhibition according to its respected environment. Watch the waves ebb and flow in the Tropical Diver exhibit or get lost deep under sea at the viewing window in the Ocean Voyager.It’s certainly an Atlanta destination, whether you are eight or eighty years old!

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The world’s second largest viewing window via National Geographic 

If you would like to purchase Atlanta CityPasses, please visit our website.

All photographs are by Amanda unless noted otherwise.

- Kris
http://reserve123.com


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