28 February 2013

Fun Travel Activities to Embrace That You May not Have Thought of Before

Getting ready to go on a trip to a new destination is always fun to look forward to. You are about to get away from your daily life and embark on a new adventure. It’s both exciting and invigorating knowing that you are going to switch up your routine for the next week or more. In the back of your mind you’re probably wondering if you have forgotten to plan any activities in the country you’re visiting. If you are going to France you may have missed a hot new restaurant that just opened or if you are going to California you may not have known that there are special deals available at Universal Studios Hollywood. Doing your research ahead of time will certainly help, but here are some other tips that will make you feel like after your trip is over you won’t leave the country without doing everything possible.

Ask the Locals for Tips

It’s okay if you don’t have your itinerary all mapped out by the time you arrive to your destination, because you can always chat with the locals once you arrive. Don’t be shy – ask them what they recommend doing while you are there visiting and what you shouldn’t miss. Sometimes it is easy to fall into a tourist trap so stay open minded and look at doing activities that you normally wouldn’t do. You never know, you may want to go zip lining and then afterwards enjoy a picnic from your handy picnic baskets that the travel guide so conveniently provides.

Do the Activities that are Top on Your List First

Depending on how long you are going to be on your trip, you will have to make some decisions in regards to what to do first. If you didn’t make a list of your must-do activities before you left the country that is okay, but now is the time to write down what you’d like to do the most. That way you’ll be sure to get in all of the activities that you desire to do the most. Still not sure about which activities are your favorites? Do some extra research on the internet or talk to a worker at a site you’re thinking about spending a lot of time at. They may be open enough to give you some feedback on what tours, attractions, and other activities you might want to explore.

Don’t Forget About Simple Activities that Create Memories

Vacation isn’t all about going, going, going. It’s also about relaxing and making memories as well. So even though activities are worthwhile and will help you learn more about the country, there are still plenty of relaxing activities to be a part of too. Take a walk at a beautiful garden or have a picnic in the hills in Ireland. Drive to an unknown destination in Hawaii and be pleasantly surprised when you arrive somewhere new and exciting. Whatever you plan on doing your vacation will be fun, but don’t forget the spontaneity that also comes with having a great time.

Sierra is a freelance writer who enjoys going on vacations! Catch up with Sierra’s latest adventures on her Ocean Dreams blog.

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27 February 2013

Looking to Get Some Late Season Skiing In? Here Are The Top North American Destinations

If you are a seasoned skier who usually sticks to the slopes of Europe, why not look a little further afield this year? North America has a host of fantastic ski resorts and this article explores the top five.


One of several resorts in Colorado, Aspen is one of the most famous ski destinations in the world and its name is synonymous with luxury and glamour. Comprising 478km of pistes, Aspen offers some of the finest skiing in North America, with pretty much guaranteed snow cover for much of the year. Despite its reputation as a hangout of the rich and famous, it is possible to ski in Aspen for no more than the cost of a ski trip to any other North American resort.

If you like to party as much as ski, Aspen is the choice for you, as there is a wealth of hotspots there, including Ajax Tavern and Jerome Hotel's J-Bar. To eat out in Aspen without breaking the bank, Su Casa and Boogie's Diner are both good places to head, with the latter being especially popular among families.


Another very well-known resort, Whistler has had several years of excellent skiing. The British Columbia resort has a total of 316km of pistes and is excellent for both beginners and expert skiers, making it the perfect choice for a family skiing holiday.

As well as its skiing, Whistler is known for its cuisine. The resort has some of the best food of any ski destination and popular eateries include Ciao Thyme Bistro and Spitz Grill.


The Californian resort of Mammoth in the Sierra Nevada Mountains offers excellent skiing. European travellers can reach the town by taking a connecting flight from Los Angeles or San Francisco.

Take a break from skiing by enjoying a snack at the Top of the Sierra Cafe, located at an altitude 3,600m and featuring truly spectacular views. Further down in the resort, Gomez's Mexican offers authentic Mexican food cooked to traditional family recipes.


With 2,504km of pistes, Fernie has something for everyone. Located in British Columbia, the resort is a good choice for skiing families with its excellent snow record and huge range of slopes.

If you are looking for somewhere to stay, Wolf's Den is a three-star hotel that occupies one of the resort's original buildings. For the best food in Fernie, take a trip to Lizard Creek Lodge or Yamagoya sushi restaurant.


Breckenridge, Colorado, offers great skiing and has been attracting skiers for over 50 years. A Victorian mining town, the resort is one of the prettiest in North America. Breckenridge is a particularly good destination for beginners and intermediates, although there are enough challenges for even experienced skiers. It is a great destination for parties of mixed ability.

The resort has a great atmosphere at night, with popular restaurants such as Hearthstone Casual Dining, which is housed in a converted brothel. For those on a budget, Fatty's offers fantastic pizzas at a reasonable price.

Skiing in itself is an expensive hobby to have. That is why getting the cheapest flights to your skiing destination is must. I would recommend comparing flights at cheapflights.com which will take do the work of checking airfare prices for you, nice hey!

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26 February 2013

Australia's Best Diving Sites

Australia is a country renowned for many things - great food and drink, friendly locals, the Sydney Opera House and of course, some of the world's most amazing beaches.

But for those who love the outdoors, a trip to Australia is on most people’s travel bucket lists, especially if you enjoy diving. The very second you think of underwater fun in this area of the world, the famous Great Barrier Reef springs instantly to mind, which is understandable.

However, Australia has a number of great diving spots that offer just as much of a reward as diving around the Great Barrier Reef itself.

Let's start just off Queensland, where the protected waters of the Lizard Island National Park offer divers a vast selection of underwater life to view during every session. From the stunning corals to the elegant manta rays and giant clams, the warm waters found here attract a number of species. The island is a popular diving site for beginners to try their hand at diving, although due to the stunning underwater views, divers of all abilities tend to come back here again and again.

It isn't just the reefs that are popular For a dive with a difference, head out to the shipwreck site of the Yongala passenger ship that sank back in 1911 on a routine journey from Melbourne to Cairns. Now, the wreck teems with wildlife, offering the chance to see potato cod, clown fish and sea snakes. In winter you might meet a humpback whale or two, whilst in the summer months, you will be greeted by hundreds of tiny colourful fish. Beware though, as the wreck is very popular and is visited by around 10,000 divers each year.

Another popular spot is the World Heritage Site at Heron Island. Again, it is popular with beginners as it is easy to access by a quick boat ride out to a number of terrific dive spots. Try Heron Bommie, the Coral Cascades or Blue Pools where you might just see loggerhead turtles, wobbegong sharks or moray eels, among others.

Head to Byron Bay for plenty of action
Our last two suggestions take us to the well-known area of Byron Bay, which is the perfect destination if you want to mix relaxing days on the beach with a spot of diving. The Bay offers a different climate to other Australian diving sites, mixing the warm waters of the north with the cool waters of the south. Because of this, you will find an amazing selection of underwater wildlife all attracted by the unique water system.

First try Julian Rocks, two small islands that sit within their own Marine Park and a great place for seeing larger species such as humpback whales and leopard sharks. Alternatively, head out to the Whitsunday Islands where the corals flicker with colourful underwater life. The islands are perfect for beginners as they house a dedicated diving centre and just a short boat ride will take you to some fantastic spots just outside the Great Barrier Reef.

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23 February 2013

We Love Disneyland Paris!

They say, Disneyland is the happiest place on earth. My family will agree with me in saying that because we have been to Disneyland twice -  one in Hong Kong and the other one was in Paris last August 2006.

We had more fun in Paris than in Hong Kong because the latter recently opened last 2005 when we went. Disneyland Paris is bigger and has more attractions than in Hong Kong.

Disneyland Paris consists of 2 parks:  Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park. Let me break them down for you in terms of attractions and some famous rides found in each Park's sections.

Disneyland Park
Main Street 
Lovey-dovies! photo 45bfre2.jpg
Lovey dovies in front of Disney Paris
  • Disneyland Railroad
  • Horse-drawn streetcars
  • Discovery Arcade

  • Alice's Labyrinth
Well, the sign said it all! photo fd83re2.jpg
Nope, we didn't get lost!
  • Casey Jr. - le Petit Train du Cirque
  • Dumbo
  • It's A Small World
  • Le Carrousel de Lancelot
  • Mad Hatter's Tea Cup
  • Peter Pan's Flight
  • Another royalties photo 8d6cre2.jpg
    The royalties!
  • Sleeping Beauty's Castle
Ganda naman talaga ng anak namin!!! photo 20f3scd.jpg
Our Princess enjoying her time at the park
  • Fantasy Festival Stage

  • Big Thunder Mountain
  • Critter Coral
  • Legends of the Wild West
  • Before we entered the Phantom Manor photo ebc9scd.jpg
    Our favorite ride, ever! This is the crypt before entering the Phantom Manor.
  • Phantom Manor
  • Pocahontas Indian Village
  • Inside the steam boat photo 3d98scd.jpg
    River boat ride around Thunder Mesa
  • Thunder Mesa River boat Landing

  • Rustler Shooting Gallery
  • The Chaparral Theater

  • Adventure Isle
  • Captain Hook's Pirate Ship
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril
  • Ron getting ready for the thrilling Indiana Jones Ride. Hindi pwede si Arice so we had to wait outside... photo d339scd.jpg
    Hubby, going alone for the Temple of Peril ride.

  • Enchanted Passage to Aladdin
  • Pirates Beach
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
    stolen shot from the ride! At least I look good this time!!! photo f53fre2.jpg
    Pirates of the Caribbean ride

  • Alpha and Beta Arcade
  • Buzz Lightyear Lazer Blast
  • Captain EO
  • Autopia
  • Nautilus Mysteries
  • Space Mountain: Mission 2
  • Space Mission 2! No way I am riding that!!! We took this pic at 8:15 p.m. Maliwanag pa din dun! photo b947scd.jpg
    Nope, didn't ride this one because I got duped the first time when we rode it in Hong Kong thinking it was some  space train ride inside. Boy, I was in for a thrilling surprise!

  • Star Tours
  • Videopolis
  • Orbitron
  • Near Orbitron - we didn't ride this one....pang kids lng eh!!! photo 66care2.jpg
    Near Orbitron

    Walt Disney Studios Park
  • Disney Studio 1
  • Animagique
  • Art of Disney Animation
  • Cars Race Rally
  • Flying Carpets over Agrabah
  • Crush's Coaster
  • RC Racer
  • Slinky Dog Zigzag Spin
  • Tower of Terror
  • Toy Story Playland
  • Armageddon Special Effects
  • Action Stunt Show
  • Toy Soldiers Parachute Jump
  • Rock n' Roller Coaster
  • Studio Tram tour
  • Playhouse Disney Live on Stage
  • Stitch Live

    The whole resort is big and has many attractions for both kiddies and adults to enjoy. We didn't have  time to explore the Walt Disney Studios Park as we had to head to Paris' city proper for the remaining part of our vacation.

    There are plenty of shops and restaurants to choose from in the park. Aside from that, there's a meet and greet session with the Disney characters you love. We managed to scour several pictures with them as we were in the park the whole day until 11:00 p.m. after the fireworks show. The fireworks show was late because it didn't get dark until around 10:00 p.m.! It was still like dusk around 9:00 p.m. since it was not yet totally autumn that time so the sun set quite late.
    Buzz Lightyear, calling Star Command!!! photo df2dre2.jpg
    Buzz, my man!

Hey Dale...or Chip????? photo e4b5re2.jpg
Still can't figure out if it's Chip or Dale ?!?
Again, singit lng kami dito.... photo 18ecscd.jpg
Sneaking! hahaha...
    The fireworks was spectacular! I could watch it over and over without feeling tired. It was staged in Sleeping Beauty's castle with lights and music to go with it. We chose a perfect spot near the Main Street's grassy areas where we could sit and just enjoy the breath-taking show. I have never seen such beautifully coordinated lights, music and fireworks show in my life and the one we saw there was probably the most beautiful fireworks I have ever seen. I have placed a short clip of the firework's finale here. It's a teaser to encourage you to save up for that once in a lifetime dream vacation to Paris!

    Amazing.... photo 96d2scd.jpg
    Lovely castle at night, getting ready for the big fireworks show.

Around 15 minutes ata yung fireworks kasi sabay sa tugtog which ilang set din yun.... photo e35cscd.jpg
Marvelous fireworks show. I think it ran for 3-5 minutes until the whole song was over.

tiles of people who celebrated special events there photo f25cre2.jpg
Celebrants' tiles in front of the park
     I forgot how much I paid for in the park since it was almost 7 years ago. The price listed in their site now shows GBP 52.00 for adults and GBP 47.00 for kids from 3 to 11. The rates are for 1-day pass only for 1 Park. The rates include VAT as well. I'm not sure if they increased over the years. If ever, it may not be that much so roughly, I must have paid around those rates in 2006.

    I highly recommend this place to families out there and even to couples.  I have seen tiles with names of married couples who celebrated their wedding or anniversary in the park set on the front area near the ticket booth. So I am sure that Disneyland is great for all ages. If you wish to visit both parks then 1 days for each park must be allocated because there are so many rides inside and shows to watch that you need 1 whole day for each park.

    As soon as we arrived Charles De Gaulle Airport, we went to Terminal 2 to catch the VEA Shuttle. It was not hard to miss because it was red and had Disneyland logo all over the bus. It had several stops on the main Disney hotels in the park but it also passed through official Disney resort "other" hotels in the list. Our hotel was Kyriad just few meters away from the Disney Park. The bus shuttle's rate was around Euro 11 for each of us. This may have increased by now.

    Going to the Paris' city proper was also convenient. We just had to take the free hotel shuttle to the main gare or train station. The train station just in front of the Disney Village is the last stop so if you're coming from the city, you'll never miss the place.

    So, what are you waiting for? Plan your magical experience now and visit Disneyland Paris! They have an extended 20th Anniversary until September 2013 and lots of fun and surprises await revelers!

    (All photos and video are personal property of www.riatravelbug.com and copyright to me, the owner. Please do not copy or use without written permission. Thanks.)

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