Thursday, December 30, 2010

Travel Trivia: Nickname of Countries

So, i am feeling very smart today and i decided to compile a list of countries and their nicknames. These nicknames are common to some and others are names used by the locals or outsiders. Here we go...

Land of the Eagles
          Aussie or God’s Country
White Rus
Burkina Faso
  Land of the upright men
                    The Armpit of Africa or Hinge of Africa
                The Great white North or 51st state
  The dead heart of Africa
 The Sleeping Giant
                Locombia – Country of the crazy
Costa Rica
               Switzerland of Central America
      The cradle of Civilization
            Land of a Thousand Lakes
   Land of Many Waters
 Land of the Huns
      Land of the Midnight Sun
      The Jewel in the Crown
     Emerald of the Equator
 The Emerald Isle
  Holy Land
The Boot
   Land of the Rising Sun
God's Place
                The Pearl of the Mediterranean
     The Kingdom in the Sky
   Land of the Blue Sky
New Zealand
 God’s own Country
         Giant of Africa or Trigger
 Gateway to Asia
  Mother Russia
   Land of a Thousand Hills
Saint Kitts and Nevis
  Sugar City
Saint Lucia
 Helen of the West
The Fine Country
                The country on the sunny side of the Alps
South Africa
  Rainbow Nation
  The Bulls Skin
Sri Lanka
 Pearl of the Indian Ocean
                Land of Chocolate and cuckoo clocks
  The Land of Smiles
United Kingdom
United States
The States or Land of the Brave
South America’s Switzerland

You don't see your country or a country you know, tell us the country and the nickname in your comment.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Time to Travel When...

For some, travel is just a spontaneous decision they make without anything triggering it. However, there are certain times in life you definitely need to travel and here are a few time to travel situations.

Completion of a tedious project: Projects at work can sap a significant amount of energy from you especially when done under pressure and pressed for time. It is very okay to reward your self for a job well done and make sure you do it far away from the office where you have been stuck the last couple of how ever long it took to complete the project. This may be the best time to getaway to a wonderful calming scenery to rejuvenate and stimulate your senses again to productive creativity.

Travel on your mind: It is definitely time to travel when all you can think about is getting away from your current city. No need to stress your mind and remain unhappy, just do it! You will not be satisfied until you venture out to that place that is calling your name out loud.

Your relationship ended: The last place you want to be when you just got dumped is in the same city with your ex at least for a while. Getting away for a while to a place where you have family and/or friends that can cheer you up and take your mind of it is where you need to be. Though a mini getaway will not completely eliminate your pain, but it will ease it and you can actually experience some happy moments even though the break up is still very fresh.

You need Me time: It is perfectly alright as a married man or woman to have a me time and travel with your friends. Family life is wonderful but demanding and we sometime need to excuse ourselves for a weekend to have fun with our friends in a place far from home. Don't lose all the fun in your life simply because you are married. Marriage should be fun and you should still be able to do things with your friends.

You can't remember the last time you traveled: If you can't think of when last you traveled, then it is time for you to take a trip and awaken the lost memory and  fun time you used to have when you did.

Those are some of my time to travel. What are your time to travel when...? Share with us in your comment.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hotel Blurb: Avenue Hotel Bed & Breakfast

Location: 711 Manitou Ave. Manitou Springs, CO 80829
Phone: 719.685.1277/800.294.1277 
Inn Keepers: Gwenn & Randy

Avenue Hotel is an historic bed and breakfast of Colorado. Built in 1886 as a boarding school and used by the railroad workers. This victorian building has served different purpose over the years and it's now renovated and used as a bed and breakfast in the heart of the historic downtown district of Manitou Springs. This beautiful quaint historic hotel boasts of seven spacious rooms with private baths. It is strategically located in close proximity to a number of well sought after attractions around Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs. Are you looking to experience the Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods, Cave of the winds, and the beautiful Air Force Academy Chapel? Gwenn and Randy are ready to accommodate you in their cozy bed and breakfast and ready to pamper you with the delicious, homey breakfast prepared daily and served with love by Gwenn.

This bed and breakfast can also be rented during the holidays for family gatherings. It has capability to sleep 18 people comfortably. Check their website for further details on renting the bed and breakfast for your event.

Disclaimer: Chronicle-of-a- jetsetter is not in anyway associated with Avenue Hotel and is not getting any compensation for writing about them. Information on this site is strictly an opinion based on visit to the Hotel.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Fun Winter Vacation Activities

While some run to the sunny side of the world during winter, and some hibernate, others dash to the foothills of the beautiful snow covered Alps for an exhilarating fun in the snow. There are tons of activities to engage in, so forget the cold, suit up and let's slide through them.

Skiing: We cannot talk about winter fun without talking about the Grand daddy of snow events.  Skiing is one of those activities that you have to try at least once. The thrill of it and the great winter wonderland scenery is just unbelievable.  Don't worry about falling because you will fall, but you will get up again and whiz through the snow.

Picture from

Snow Kiting: More and more activities have been developed for the fun loving adventure enthusiasts that can't get enough of the snow. With snow kiting, you use kite power to glide on snow or ice. It is very similar to kite surfing. The snow kiter can travel uphill or downhill with any wind direction.  I am adding this one to my list to try.

Picture from

Snow Kayaking: Yes you read it right - Snow Kayaking. Just like kayaking the traditional way, you need a Kayak and a paddle. It is fun snow kayaking, but it must be done in the right spot. You cannot snow Kayak anywhere, you have to find a wide open snow hill without obstructions or little ones.  Your paddle is your best friend here, so know how to use it well to your advantage. You use your paddle to push off and go and you dig it in the snow to stop when needed. Not all resorts allow snow Kayaking, but it is the newest rave in town.

Picture from

Snowshoeing: This activity can be done by anyone who can walk. It is simply walking on snow with snowshoes. You can go hiking in winter by snowshoeing. No training is actually necessary. It is a relatively inexpensive activity that accommodates the whole family. The shape of the snowshoe you wear matters and you should select appropriately. A rounded snowshoe promotes better float and tapered ones allows for easier maneuvering. Another advantage of snowshoeing is the ability to access areas that are normally not easily accessible through skiing.

Picture from

Ice Sailing: This is sometimes referred to as Ice yachting. It is a sport of sailing and racing ice boats.This sport as you can imagine is highly dominated by young boat enthusiasts with affinity for speed.

Photo from

Have you engaged in a winter recreational event that you absolutely loved? Share your experience with us.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sourvenir: Make It Count

Photo from "Inspired by Aboriginal Art"
A Souvenir is an object a traveler brings back from his/her journey either for personal collection or as gifts for family and friends for the memories associated with it. Therefore, souvenirs can absolutely be anything that reminds you of your visit to a place or what you did while there. T-shirts, shot glasses, magnets, and key chains are the most common types of souvenir that people bring back from their travels. While those mementos are nice, they usually don't tell much about a place nor do they have pizazz. Here are some of the things to keep in mind when buying souvenirs:

I consider a souvenir a great conversational piece and i usually buy something not common to my place of origin. It is good to have things that spark conversation especially when you are in a neutral or unfamiliar territory. A piece of jewelry, art work, or table place mat can spark a great deal of conversation. People should not walk into your office and see a piece of shot glass and automatically know it came from Nevada because it has Nevada written on it and that's end of discussion. If you have a piece of paper weight made from some type of stone or material that is not common, chances are a compliment will be passed and a question will ensue as to where it originated. This gives you an opportunity to share your story behind it and possibly learn something new. Through this avenue, you may discover you have a lot in common with your guest and a connection is established. In some cases those connections have led to job offers, business opportunities, or just plain friendships.

Bring back articles that are specific to the particular place or region you are visiting. Things like currency, stamps, or other crafts are great mementos to collect. For example, The Netherlands is known for it's beautiful Tulips, so if visiting you can buy some Tulips to plant in your garden or give to a family or friend that likes gardening. Tea and Coffee or Spices are also great for gifts. It is usually very easy to find out what a place is known for from your research of the place or by consulting with the local indigenes.

Accessories are also great to bring back as souvenirs. These are things you can actually use daily and they also add character to your persona. Women love accessories and they will definitely appreciate it if given. Fabrics are also great especially for cultures that custom make clothes a lot. You add a flavor of another culture to your culture and it brings out the beauty in both cultures as well as uniqueness.

The list goes on and on. I am not in anyway saying you cannot buy things that have the name of a place stamped on it, what i am advocating is putting a lot more thought into your collection of souvenirs. If you find something that is unique in it's design and still has the name on it, buy it. It could still be worth collecting.

Do you agree, disagree, or have a souvenir pet peeve that you would like to share? Please share in your comment.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Restaurant Blurb: T'afia

Photo from
Location: 3701 Travis Houston, TX 77002
Phone: 713.524.6922
Hours: 4:00pm - 10:00pm
Chef: Monica Pope

T'afia is a restaurant with a great ambiance and delectable selection of dishes. A friend suggested this restaurant and it was no doubt a great choice. You must try the Chorizo stuffed Date wrapped with Bacon, Grilled Scallops, and the Quail - simply divine. The name T'afia comes from a type of rum and the word is also used for a toast "to your health" and "the deal is done." I particularly like and recommend this restaurant because the ingredients are locally grown and the food tastes fresh. Midtown Farmers Market is on location every Saturday from 8am - 12noon. Stop by if interested in locally grown produce.

Put this on your list if visiting Houston area.

Watch out for our next Restaurant Blurb!

Disclaimer: Chronicle-of-a- jetsetter is not in anyway associated with T'afia and is not getting any compensation for writing about them. Information on this site is strictly an opinion based on visit to the restaurant.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Spice Up Your Holiday Gatherings

 Most people don't have the luxury of seeing every member of their family at once besides the holiday season and this is why holiday gatherings are so important to most families. This period props the door open for families to share and laugh with one another. A great opportunity to go down memory lane and reminisce on the good times. Therefore, these gatherings should be very festive and fun. It is wonderful gathering at Mom and Dad's, but that can become monotonous. You can spice it up and kick it up a notch by changing scenery.

One way to experience your holiday through a different lens is to go on a cruise with the family. Cruises are great for family gatherings as there is so much planned for you on board. Everyone gets to kick back and relax, enjoy the numerous entertainment provided, and pander to all the food and drinks that are generously available. You get to enjoy the company of your family while you all discover something new and explore somewhere new together on your excursions. A cruise is a great way to spend time together in an exciting way.

Okay so you think a cruise is too expensive or it's too many other people on board with you, how about taking a road trip and renting a Villa where all the family members can lodge and you can still have a wonderful traditional family gathering. You can all wake up to the sweet smelling aroma of coffee in the morning, kids running around in their pj's, ladies cooking up the storm in the kitchen, while the men hang out in the living room playing video game or better yet watching football. It's always a great sight and all that make holidays very memorable.

You may ask what if we all don't live in the same country, how do we do this? The best way to minimize the distance factor is to pick a central location and have everyone fly into that city for a wonderful family holiday reunion. Of course this involves spending and planning ahead, but the end result is well worth it. Remember you don't have to make it a yearly event if you can't afford it, but planning and saving ahead will make this go smoothly and less stressful.

As William Cowper wisely put it, "variety is the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavor." Give your life some flavor! Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lights Camera Action

It is true that a moment lasts all for a second, but memory lives on forever  and sometimes the best way to re-live a beautiful vacation from memory is through the pictures you took in that moment. Pictures are not only good for reminiscing, they are a great way to share your vacation experience with families and friends. They are also a great memento to showcase in the future when celebrating that great occasion. Capturing great pictures of different aspects of your travel is the main focus of today.

Tripod is a tool that is always needed and very useful for travelers. It is that extra hand you need when taking pictures. Tripod is a camera stand and it is very important to have one because it allows you include everyone in your group in your pictures. You don't have to ask people to take a picture of all of you. You can do that nicely with the help of your tripod. Tripod also averts shaky or unclear pictures because once your camera is perfectly secured on to the stand, it is stabilized and human error of fuzzy pictures is eliminated.

Another picture related equipment to add to ones collection is an underwater Camera Case. If you like water activities such as snorkeling, sea walking,  and scuba diving then you want to invest in a good underwater camera case. It will make your life so much easier and better. You don't have to pay for low quality pictures taking by your guide company. You can take as many pictures as you like and you would actually be taking things that really interest you rather than just pictures of yourself underwater. The reason we snorkel or go underwater is to see the sea life below, therefore capturing them nicely in their habitat the way we want is very important and can be realized with the help of this case. You can look online to find what case works for your camera.

If you do a lot of traveling i suggest you invest in a good quality camera. One thing i have come to realize with travel lovers is there is some desire or love for photography that develops sooner or later and perhaps it is because you come across so many beautiful things that you just want to capture them beautifully. If i could change George Orwell's famous Animal farm quote, I'd say All cameras are equal, but some cameras are more equal than others, so invest in one that has a great quality.

Disposable cameras come in handy as well if you have kids traveling with you. You can keep them busy snaping away while you take your pictures. You not only keep your children occupied and entertained, you also don't have to be overly concerned with your camera getting damaged since they have theirs. They can inflict all that wear and tear on the disposable camera.

These are just some tips on how to enhance your vacation experience through pictures.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pacific Coast Highway - A Breathtaking Rugged Expedition

Photo by Disco King @
Driving through California Route 1 is an expedition that should be in everyone's bucket list. It is one of the most unique highways in America and one of the longest. In order to thoroughly enjoy this drive, plan on spending a few days driving through so you can properly sample everything this highway has to offer. Be prepared to stop a number of times while on this road as everything beckons for your attention.

When we took this road trip in 2008, we flew into San Diego and drove up to Northern California stopping in the major cities along the way, but the most exciting aspect of the drive was between Los Angeles and San Francisco on Pacific Coast Highway. This section of the highway exhibits myriad examples of many natural qualities that make a highway a National Scenic Byways - qualities such as a stretch of untouched coastline, historical landmarks, winding roads, and cliffs to name a few. Should you decide to undertake this road trip, here are some interesting stops i recommend you make.

Elephant Seals Rookery: Piedras Blancas is home to a colony of Elephant Seals that were once near extinction. Regardless of what time of the year you pass through this area, you are bound to find some Elephant Seals comfortably sleeping along the shorelines. However, the most exciting time to enjoy the site of these seals is usually during winter season. This is when the males return to shore to defend their territory and get ready for mating season. A good show is the battle between male Seals naming claims to their women - it is testosterone driven. The female seals also return to have their babies and prepare for another pregnancy season. Don't wonder too much if you hear strange sounds when visiting the seals, the sound you hear is the grunts and squeals from the Seals. It's worth a stop to see.

Ragged Point: This is one of the pit stops on this drive. A lot of people stop here to relax, stretch their legs, have some lunch, and get the effect of the million dollar view that this place is known for. The Ragged point Vista is considered one of the finest ocean vistas in the world. It is one of the few places on this coast with a trail down the cliff. The site of the mountains merging with the ocean at it's shoreline is superb.

McWay Waterfall: This waterfall is located in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. To think that we passed by this state park and even took pictures of the park's sign and did not go in to see this beautiful waterfall is unforgivable. It even feels almost as if we never went to Big Sur. I decided to write about this beautiful waterfall not because i personally saw and enjoyed it, but so that you wouldn't make the same foolish mistake ignorantly and miss out on this beauty. McWay fall is an 80 foot waterfall nestled in a cove and cascades unto the sandy shores of the pacific ocean. The great thing about this fall is that it flows year round. The waterfall is fed from an undergorund springs on McWay Creek.

McWay Waterfall. Picture from

Big Sur Bixby Creek Bridge: The Bixby Bridge is important historically because it introduced automobile travel to Big Sur. However, the amazing priceless view of pure nature that surrounds the Bixby Bridge is what makes stopping at one of the vista points here very significant. The view is simply intriguing. Standing tall at the vista point, inhaling and exhaling the cool fresh air from the ocean, and catching the spectacular view of the bridge is heavenly. A picturesque scenery not to be missed!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Purposeful Travel With a Perk

Picture by

Travelling can take any form and can be done for different reasons. Taking a well deserved vacation is always great and it is infact a good cause, but there are other times when we travel to change lives, be it ours or others.

The post today will focus on five different ways of adding a significant meaning to your travel and still enjoy a wonderful time of exploring a new place.

Mission Trips: Embarking on a mission trip is one of the most significant way of touching lives and helping individuals in poverty striken nations. All countries have poor people, but some countries are at a bigger disadvantage and thus have more people in need than other places. Taking the time to personally visit these places and provide basic essential needs of life such as food, shelter, clothing, emotional support, counseling, and spiritual needs can be the most rewarding experience. You not only get the time to minister to the needs of the people physically and spiritually, you get to know them, know their community, learn from them, and still get an opportunity to visit surrounding areas for leisure. To participate in a mission trip, check with your church and other mission trip organizations such as Mission Discovery and Joyce Meyer Ministries

Study Abroad: This is a program organized through several Universities across the globe for completing part of your degree program in another country. It could be a semester or a year long program. It is a great avenue for students to learn a foreign language while taking a course that counts towards their degree program, learn about the culture of other people, meet and make new friends. The classes are scheduled in a way that permits weekend travel for students and you should take advantage of it and have fun travelling with fellow students. More information about study abroad can be found at your school or online through or

Volunteer Abroad: This program gives you so many avenues to volunteer your time in different areas of interest. The program could be on a long term or short term basis. Another great perk of volunteering abroad with the right organization is some offer all expense paid opportunities. Some of the organizations that offer all expense paid opportunities are Peace corps, United Nations, Volunteer Service Overseas,ArtCorps, Winrock International, Geekcorps

Teach Abroad: The teach abroad program gives qualified individual an opportunity to help students in foreign countries learn different subjects in which they are deficient. A lot of the teach abroad programs are language programs. A lot of English language teaching programs are available in Asia and qualified candidates go over for a year or even longer to teach the subject. Some programs offer all expense paid opportunities as well Educators Overseas. Teaching abroad not only gives you a chance to impart knowledge to the students, it gives you international experience, career advancement, and you get to see the world and experience new things.

International Internship: International internship can boost your resume when looking for that fulltime job after graduation. It is a great global experience especially now that the world seems to be shrinking. You learn about the business culture of other people. Learn and practice the language at a cheaper rate. Travel around on weekends and in your spare time. Working, learning, and having fun all at the same time! What's not to love about it? More information available at International Internships

We love to hear from you so leave a comment.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Tots on Trips

The most common question that I get from my readers is the concern of travelling with kids. Majority of young parents tell me they love to travel, but at the same time they dread doing so with their young kids. Their experience with going grocery shopping or attending events with their kids has left a lasting stressful impression on them that they dare not think of going on a trip with the kids.

I am hopeful that some of my suggestions will relieve you of your fears, so let's dive into it...

Get your Kids Excited Before you Go: To get your kids excited about the upcoming vacation you are planning as a family, you must get them involved with the planning. You can give them about 3 different vacation spots and have them pick a place for the family. Look at maps together and do some research together. Pick your area of interest together and get them hyped about the trip. They must look forward to it!

Equip Them: Before you embark on your trip, provide some fun tools to keep your kids engaged and busy during the duration of your trip. Get them a disposable camera or a simple point and shoot camera. Have them take pictures of things they find interesting. Get them some coloring books, reading materials, and puzzles. Provide them with things that interest them.

Play Games: You can play all manner of games with your kids on the flight or on the road trip to keep them entertained. Remember that kids become restless and impatient when they become bored, so your whole goal is to keep them well entertained.

Plan Activities: As a family travelling with kids, the biggest mistake you can ever make is not having all your activities planned out. You need to have your ducks in a row when it comes to that aspect of your travelling. Key thing is preventing boredom! You don't want your kids asking what are we doing today and you having no definite answer. Engage in interactive learning activities as well as pure fun events.

Event Timing: Plan activities around your kids natural normal schedule. Fix educative events for mornings when they are most likely to learn and concentrate. Let them observe nap time and have afternoon activities very playful and fun. Ensure toilet time is observed whenever you see one.

Mode of Travelling: If you have infants and kids under 5, it may be better choosing a road trip over flying long distance. You may also choose destinations with short flying time. With road trips, you can stop as you please, walk around, relax, stretch, change baby, sightsee if on a scenic route, and stop at interesting places along the way.

Avoid Rushing: You know ample time on your hands can be your best friend when dealing with kids. With that in mind, give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport and check in. When making your ticket reservation, consider how much time you have between flights if connecting and make sure it is sufficient. Don't plan on rushing because that will be a trial of your patience.  

What other ideas have you incorporated into travelling with your kids that proved successful? Share with us in your comment.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Houston Area Happenings In a Nut Shell - By Vanessa Quinones

Are you thinking about doing something fun this month and don't know what? Our guest blogger has something for everyone on things going on in Houston and surrounding cities this month.  Since the weather is so nice you may want to make plans  and head out to one of these!!!

Location: Houston

Event Date: October 7 –October 10, 2010
The Original Greek Festival
Come and join The Original Greek Festival, now in its 44th year, and be Greek for a day! Growing attendance over the years continues to create excitement as the word gets around, so bring your family, friends and co-workers to enjoy the festive atmosphere and our new expanded festival site. Facilities, children's activities, Athenian playground & seating capacity have also been expanded. OPA!!
Phone: 713.526.5377

Location: Conroe
Event Date: October 08 - October 10, 2010
Conroe Cajun Catfish Festival
Features live music, Cajun food, arts & crafts, wine tasting, catfish contest, exhibits and more. Downtown Square.
Phone: 936-539-6009

Location: Austin (this is one definitely worth going to)
Event Date: October 08 - October 10, 2010
Austin City Limits Music Festival
More than 130 local and nationally-known music acts descend on eight stages for this three-day music festival. This year's headliners include The Eagles, Muse, Phish, The Strokes, M.I.A. and Th Flaming Lips. Zilker Park.

Location: Houston
Event Date: October 09 - October 10, 2010
Bayou City Shrimp Festival
The shrimp festival is back with food and cold brews set to live music. Traders Village, 7979 N. Eldridge.
Phone: 281-890-5500

Location: Houston
Event Date: October 09 - October 10, 2010
Bayou City Art Festival Downtown
Juried fine-art show offers paintings, sculptures, jewelry and music and a kids zone. Hermann Square and Tranquility Park.

Location: Katy
Event Date: October 9 – October 10, 2010
Katy Rice Harvest Festival
The annual Katy Rice Harvest Festival is two big days of excitement and family fun with two stages of continuous live entertainment, craft and food booths, carnival and more.
Phone: 281.391.KATY (5289)

Location: Plantersville
Event Date: October 09 - November 28, 2010
2010 Texas Renaissance Festival
Phone: 800-458-3435 X-237
Location: Houston
Event Date: October 09
Fire Fest
Includes live firefighting and rescue demonstrations, kids zone, fire truck show, food and music. 8030 Braniff.
Phone: 713-524-2526

Location: Houston—Discovery Green
Event Date: October 13
Discovery Green: Zumba
Join Oscar Sajche as he leads hundreds of health-conscious Houstonians for Zumba in the park. Be sure to bring a towel and plenty of water.
Tel: 713.400.7336

Location: Houston
Event Date: Oct 15-Oct 17
Festa Italiana
On the grounds of the University of st Thomas on the Campus Life Mall

Location: Houston
Event Date: October 16-17th
Enjoy Delicious Turkish Foods and Pastries, Take a sip of Turkish coffee and have your Fortune read from your coffee grounds, Learn about Traditional Turkish Arts & Crafts (Displays & Workshops) and roll-up your sleeves and get involved with Caferaga workshop., Listen Turkey from an expert, Nilg√ľn Kural. Presentations ranging from cultural tourism and biblical sites to exciting information about dozens of locations around Turkey.
Tel: n/a

Location: Kemah Boardwalk
Event Date: October 1 – October 31, 2010
The month of October at the boardwalk is frightening sight to see! Enjoy our Haunted House, the Dungeon of Doom haunted house, and plenty of spooky fun. Compete in a pumpkin decorating contest or enter your little one in the costume competition. Festivities run through October 31st.
Tel: 877-at-kemah

Location: Galveston
Event Date: October 22 - October 23, 2010
Island Oktoberfest
Enjoy music by The Band Haywire and Alpenfest Band, authentic German food and drinks, games, children's activities, an auction and more. At 24th and Winnie streets.
Phone: 409-762-8477

Location: Houston
Event Date: October 23 - October 24, 2010
Wings over Houston Airshow
Modern and historic aircraft perform in gravity-defying demonstrations. Includes interactive displays, kids fun zone, heroes autograph tent and vendors. Ellington Airport.
Phone: 713-266-4492

Location: The NASA/Johnson Space Center site--$10 per car
Event date: 10/29 - 10/31, 2010
REmax Ballunar Liftoff Festival
NASA/Johnson Space Center, Saturn Blvd.
The NASA/Johnson Space Center site transforms into the location of the RE/MAX Ballunar Liftoff Festival. It is a one-of-a-kind tribute to human flight - from the beauty of mass hot air balloon ascensions to the high-tech world of modern space flight.
Phone: (281) 488-7676

Remember your comments are always appreciated. Contact us if you would like to be a guest blogger at

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Eccentric Hotels

There is something about the human nature that always craves something out of the ordinary to invent, create, or experience. I am no different and neither are the creators of these hotels:

Lumilinna Snow Castle Hotel, Kemi Finland

Ice hotels are temporary hotels made out of snow coupled with some steel frames. They are available for a period of time in the winter before they melt away after the cold season is gone. Quite a few people are familiar with the world largest ice hotel in Sweden, but the spotlight is on the Snow castle Hotel in Finland.With each winter season comes new architectural design for this hotel and that in itself is an art worth seeing. SnowCastle 2011 will open on January 29th through April 8th weather permitting. The temperature in the rooms is set at -5 degrees Celcius (23 degrees Fahrenheit. You are advised to bring very warm clothing. There are no showers in the hotel, but other provisions are made for taking a shower offsite.

Courtesy Lumilinna SnowCastle

Courtesy Lumilinna SnowCastle

Restaurant. Source Lumilinna SnowCastle

Source Lumilinna SnowCastle

Hotel De Sal,  Bolivia

Salar De Uyuni is the world's largest salt lake located in Bolivia. This is a very popular destination for people visiting Bolivia. The Salt lake covers approximately 4,000 square miles and located there is the very uncoventional Salt Hotel that is made almost entirely out of Salt blocks. In this hotel, the restaurant never runs out of salt and the guests always have salt everywhere, so the food is always tasty! The tables, chairs, and even beds are made out of salt. The saltiness of this hotel earns it a prime spot on world's unusual hotels.

Courtesy National Geographics

Courtesy hotelchatter

Courtesy Ruphus_8

Heap of Salt.

Gamirasu Cave Hotel, Cappadocia Turkey

Gamirasu is one of the best unique hotels in Turkey. It is a 30 room cave hotel that was opened in 1999. The hotel is located in a restored thousand-year-old Byzantine monastic retreat. 




Outdoor dinner sitting. Source

Dasparkhotel, Austria

This Drain Pipe hotel is constructed from repurposed drain pipes. They are available from May through October. I am visualizing this as camping in style. The restrooms  and showers are not inside the drain pipes, but are supplied by the surrounding public infastructures. You are assigned a personal lock code for your room on arrival. A stay at this hotel costs you just as much as you are willing to spend. Thanks to their generous "Pay as you wish" system.

Source Dasparkhotel

Source Dasparkhotel

Source Dasparkhotel

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Summer Is Over and There Goes My Vacation. Not!

Courtesy Wallpaperstock
Simply because there is a change in season does not mean an end to a great vacation. Even though a lot of travelers tend to plan their vacation for summer months, it is still very possible to have an unforgettable vacation in the winter months. Winter travelers often choose a tropical vacation in the summer and i know we sometimes can't get enough of the warm weather, but there is a unique feel to enjoying each season for what it's worth. Spice it up, don't be so predictable, and savor every moment you have with each season for time will soon change. I love summer travels as many people do, but i believe a winter vacation in a cold region is full of great experiences and here are some reasons why.

Reduced Crowd: With summer comes avalanche of people at every vacation spot you can think off. You remember those endless lines at every activity you wanted to experience and how slowly those lines moved? The good news is you don't have to go through that grueling pain of enduring the wait in winter. Majority of the people are hibernating, so don't you worry about the lines, have a blast!

Lower Costs: Try traveling to Europe or any cold region in the summer and compare your ticket price with winter pricing and you will quickly agree with me that there is no comparison. It is almost a highway robbery when you consider how significantly your cost of travel increases when done in the summer. Hotels offer better discounts in the winter months and more outfitters offer good discounts to participate in events. For visual understanding, the table below gives a comparative analysis of flight tickets between summer and winter season.

Region:                               Winter Fare:      Summer Fare:       Difference:      % Increase:

Europe (averages)                 $510.90             $935.85             $424.95            83.1%

Middle East (averages)          $753.00           $1252.00             $499.00            66.0%

Asia (averages)                    $1093.46           $1470.93             $377.47            34.5%

Africa (averages)                 $1213.80           $1573.60              $359.80            29.6%

South America (averages)     $670.37            $710.87                 $40.50              6.0%

Central America (averages)   $421.00           $422.50                   $1.50               0.3%

*New York’s JFK used as airport of origin 2007 rates

Different Experience: You have a better chance of experiencing a place and connecting with the origins in the winter months because their towns are not so crowded and invaded by tourists. They are actually physically present to engage you in a conversation because they too are back from their summer getaway and carrying on with their daily life.

Activities: Some activities are seasonal and for the most part, the only way to enjoy authentic snow is to visit a cold region in winter . You want to tear up the Rockies while skiing or blaze through the white blanket of snow with your snow mobile or snowboard? There is no better time for these type of adventures than winter. Forget about the cold, it is all in your mind! Have some soup and hot chocolate! Are you visiting Europe, stroll through the streets and enjoy the different festivals carefully planned for you to cheer you up.

Visiting a place in the winter and summer can deliver two totally different experiences and yet very delectable and exhilarating!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

National Free Museum Day: September 25, 2010

Courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine
 So school is finally in full gear for the kids and there are plenty of assignments to be done, but that should not be an excuse for skipping out on all the exciting activities that is possible with your children. Learning is ongoing and kids learn faster and much better when the structure of learning is not monotonous. As Parents, it is your responsibility to make your kids learn in a fun and interactive way and this form of learning is very essential for their development and knowledge acquisition.

Many museums across the nation create this great atmosphere for learning for both parents and their children, but we rarely make our way to these venues for one reason or the other. On September 25, 2010, a number of museums throughout the country will be opening their doors  and offering  free admissions for two people to any participating museum for a wonderful learning experience. Thanks to Smithsonian Magazine who makes this possible every year.

To participate, visit Smithsonian Magazine Website to request your free tickets and select a participating museum to visit.

Get off your couch and have some fun!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

HotelMovil - Trailer Turned Luxury Hotel

Do you have a tough time locating a hotel that meets all your needs? How about bringing in (more like driving in) your own hotel to any destination you wish to visit? It may sound impossiblle to some, but HotelMovil delivers just that. Comfort, mobility, and versatility is the modus operandi of this Hotel. This is a tractor trailer that turns to a 5 star luxury hotel  in 30 minutes with a simple command.

At the push of a button, this trailer transforms to a two story mini hotel with 11 bedrooms and bathrooms,an outdoor terrace, and a solarium on the second floor. This trailers can also be custom built for other uses such as hospitals, schools, or film studio. You may choose to buy this mobile hotel for about half a million dollars or you could rent it for a weekend at about eight grand.

Watch out for more posts on interesting things around the world. Is this practical or not? Leave your thoughts.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Unconventional Bridges Around the World

Aiola Island Bridge, Austria: We've usually thought of bridges to just be a connecting channel over water between places, but a New York Artist, Vito Acconci took the Aiola bridge to a different level. He carved out an island that has a sunbathing area, a trendy bar, a coffee house, and a pathway to crossing the Mur river in Graz, Austria. An ingenious invention that earns it a spot on the world's unconventional bridges.

Magdeburg Water Bridge, Germany: This bridge is almost an oxymoron. Bridges are usually created for cars and train, but this bridge is a water bridge and the largest water bridge in Europe. It was created for river barges to navigate the Elbe river without the unpredictable delays that sometimes occur on this river. It took over a century to complete this bridge and it now serves as a connector between two very important shipping canals; the Elbe Haven Canal and the Midland Canal.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, Virginia USA: The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel is one of the eight bridge tunnel systems in the world. It is about 23miles long and combines both a bridge and a tunnel for passing through the Chesapeake Bay to connect with the metropolitan Hampton Roads, Virginia and other parts of the Northeast. More importantly, this tunnel was created to protect the U.S. Naval base in Norfolk during wartime. If the bridge was to be destroyed, it would not hamper the movement of the Navy and they would still get to where they need to be without the bridge.

London Bridge, Lake Havasu Arizona: This bridge poked my interest because of the rigor of building it. This is the bridge that made the song "London bridge is falling down" common. It was originally erected in London over the Thames River, but it became too small to accommodate all the demands put on it. The Bridge was eventually put up for auction and bought by Rober McCulloch, the founder of Lake Havasus City. Each brick was numbered one by one and it took 3 years to move the bridge piece by piece from London to Lake Havasus Arizona where the London Bridge now sits. If you never got a chance to see the London Bridge in London, you can now see it in Arizona.

Ponte Vecchio, Florence Italy: This Bridge is the oldest and most famous wholly stone built, closed, and segmental arch bridge in Europe. This bridge was home to a lot of medieval merchants and butchers, but now is occupied mostly by hawkers, souvenir shops and art shops.

The above are definitely not all the unconventional bridges in the world, they are representative of some of a whole and speak volume of what the minds of people can conceive and create. Now it's your turn to vote for the best bridge of the five in your comments.
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