Route 66 in America

The road trip of a lifetime: 5 tips for your Route 66 adventure

America’s renowned Route 66 may be a well trodden path but with so much to see, so many experiences to be had and all sorts of diversions to be made off the main track, all Route 66 road trips are unique. However, there are a few top tips that everyone should follow to make sure the trip goes off without a hitch and that you get the most you can out of this incredible experience.

Route 66 in America

When to go

Since Route 66 takes you across most of America, the weather can vary quite widely. While you can go any time as long as you are prepared for all weather conditions, the best time to go is between mid-May and mid-October to make the most of the nicer weather. Make sure you pack for all eventualities with regards to the weather, as it can still fluctuate in this short time period.

Renting a car

Rates are fairly erratic and change all the time, especially since they depend on your departure point, destination, travelling time, the model you want and when you make the order. If you want to keep costs down, it may be worth bucking the trend and considering driving from West to East instead of the customary direction.

On the road

On the other hand, if you want to make the most of your trip and make it as memorable as possible, why not hire an incredible car? Models similar to the Mercedes SLS AMG make great choices if you’re looking for a show stopping, attention grabbing ride that will zip along the long sections of straight road and get you to your destination faster.

Take a map

Route 66 may be a well trodden tourist trail but that’s not to say figuring out the way between stop-offs in a no-brainer. Route 66 highway signs are frequently stolen, so if you turn up not knowing where you’re going you could get very lost indeed. A GPS system can be indispensable for times when signs seem to disappear into thin air, or invest in a good old-fashioned map.

Take it slow

People on a budget or under time constraints may set themselves a shorter time period to complete Route 66. Two weeks is the minimum amount of time you should give yourself to do it justice, but if you are more flexible then extending your stay will give you the chance to see all the incredible sights along the way. Every stop-off is teeming with things to do, so the more time you dedicate to your trip the better.

Resources

And last but not least, get prepared as much as you can. The best resources for this is http://www.historic66.com where you will find maps, forums and even books.

The Half Dome in Yosemite National Park

America’s Best Adventure Holiday Spots

Heading off to America has long been seen as an adventure in itself. Perhaps because of the length of the journey, or maybe harking back to the days of discovery, few people will fly across the Atlantic without excitement of some adventure about to unfold.

Despite claims to the contrary by many pseudo-psychologists, it’s not all about the journey – but, of course, the destination as well. In fact, there are plenty of adventure activities to be had for those looking to add a splash more excitement to their already adventurous journey.

The Half Dome in Yosemite National Park

Hiking in the Grand Canyon

US President Theodore Roosevelt famously loved this Arizonan icon and campaigned for it to be preserved. Now, the Canyon has been awarded National Park status and is visited by around five million people from all over the world every year.

The Grand Canyon isn’t the deepest nor the widest of its kind in the world, but there are many other attractions which entice people to it, including adventure tours.

There is plenty to see and do at the Grand Canyon, from simple sightseeing to hiking and river rafting. Tourists will certainly want more than one day at the Canyon, however, not only because of the many activities that can be undertaken, but because park officials will advise against hiking all the way down to the river and back up in one day because of the potential heat exhaustion.

Ranch dressing

For many, nothing could be more American than staying on a ranch, riding steeds all day then tucking into some hearty, meaty barbecue food as the sun sets. This is about as far from the glitz and glitter of Las Vegas or California and instead a chance to get back to nature or spend quality time away from the rigours of modern life.

The work isn’t easy, however, as holidaymakers will be expected to get stuck in to experience the most realistic slice of ranch life possible, so travel insurance is a good idea! This can include cattle roundups, pack trips and trail rides. Even as dusk settles, there’s no rest as holidaymakers tighten up their bootlace ties for an authentic barn dance.

It may not be a week spent lounging by the pool, but after spending time under acres of glorious blue sky, it would be hard not to feel entirely revitalised.

Sporty Yosemite

Another of America’s iconic National Parks is Yosemite, which covers around three quarters of a million acres and welcomes 3.7 million visitors every year. Not only that, the visitors in question come all year round, as Yosemite’s attractions change with the seasons.

During summer, the National Park is a haven for walkers, offering some 800-miles of hike-able trails, ranging from flat, entry-level routes to something a little more intense.

Likewise, climbing is also well catered for in Yosemite, especially on the rocky cliffs of imposing 900 metre rock formation, El Capitan. In fact, climbing efforts in this area were instrumental in getting the hobby recognised as a bona fide sport.

Where winter travellers are concerned, skiing is most commonly the order of the day, as Yosemite has not only downhill offerings but also cross-country and snowshoeing.

All travellers to Yosemite should be warned, however, that wilderness permits are required for overnight stays and that any food should be kept in bear-proof containers.

Niagara Falls

Running along the US-Canada border between Toronto and New York is the Niagara River, which gives its name to the three waterfalls which attract millions of tourists to the area all year round.

There are, in fact, three separate Falls which make up Niagara: the Horseshoe Falls, American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. Of these, the Horseshoe Falls (which is on the Canadian side) is the largest, as 90 per cent of the entire river’s discharge passes through it. The other two both fall on the American side.

Despite being the smallest, Bridal Veil Falls is one of the most popular with tourists as it offers the ‘Cave of the Winds’ attraction, which allows tourists to walk out in front of the cascading water. The attraction is as popular as it is exhilarating – offering tropical storm conditions and winds that can reach up to 68mph. At one point, walkers can even step right up to the waterfall on a redwood walkway. Understandably, this wood has to be replaced every year because of the damage it sustains.

Alaska

Adventure holidays in America typically bring to mind dust bowl deserts, cowboys or canyons. Thanks to America’s purchase of Alaska from Russia in the 19th Century, however, snowy odysseys can be added to the list as well. Adventurers heading to Alaska can try their hand at a number of snow-based activities – with one of the most popular being dog sledding.

This historically vital mode of transport is still in use today and “mushers” run regular trips both for people happy to take in the surroundings whilst being ferried around, to those wanting to try their own hand at the reins.

Elsewhere, avid nature-spotters can indulge their habits without having to be strapped to a pack of dogs – as there are a number of ways to see the moose, whales or bears that have made a habitat in the north. If that wasn’t enough, Alaska also offers rainforest hikes and white-water rafting experiences for those not wanting to compete with the sometimes unwelcoming heat of America’s southern states.

So whilst the simple act of travelling to America may seem like something of an adventure in itself, these activities show that this outlook needn’t end the moment you step off the plane.

The phenomenon of Manhattanhenge

The Little-Known Topiary Skyline of New York City

High in the sky above New York City, there’s a new kind of movement. A green movement towards verdant and lush patches of plants and shrubs, which guard the top of skyscrapers like sentries. It’s one of several great new reasons to visit NYC, including an amazing solar phenomenon and a fantastic rooftop bar.

The phenomenon of Manhattanhenge

Manhattanhenge

This isn’t a place of worship for Druids in dark robes. No, Manhattanhenge is a phenomenon that’s only seen once or twice a year in New York City, sort of like an urban solar eclipse. Geography and astronomy geeks will be well versed with this event – the sun takes its daily traverse across the sky and sets smack bang in the middle of the streets of Manhattan in a cascading fireball of orange and red. It’s a great reason to visit Manhattan and happens twice a year, once at the end of May and once during July. For a truly great view of this awesome sight, take it in from a cruise on the Hudson River.

The Manhattanhenge phenomenon was a happy accident resulting from the way the city was first conceived and designed. Today’s Manhattan reflects the legislature of 1811 street planning that follows a roughly rectangular structure for streets that stretch from the north east to the south west. This results in a weird kind of summer solstice that means all of the streets in Manhattan are privy to a breathtaking solar temple twice a year.

The High Line

This is a part of the city’s must-see list of parks; a sprightly green belt of leafy topiary that’s built upon a disused railway line. The High Line is a mile-long elevated road that snakes its way from Gansevoort Street into the meat packing district. Nearly 4.5 million people visited the High Line in 2012 and there always seems to be a crowd, so if you want some inner-city serenity, the best time to go is in the morning when it opens at 7am.

Due to the constant buzz of people on the High Line, there are always exhibitions and things going on up there among the plants. The Whitney Museum of American Art, which faces the High Line, has rooftop exhibitions to ponder over while taking in the glorious views. The High Line as a railway had its final curtain call in 1980 and for decades sat unused and sad looking, so it’s great that it’s now booming and has become a genuine horticultural marvel of NYC.

Le Bain – Rooftop Bar

Of all the swanky bars in New York, Le Bain is the place that’s full of kitsch, where visitors are guaranteed a good time. It attracts the local musician and artist crowd and features kitschy fake plants, astroturf along with baby pink lounge chairs, and evokes a cute ’60s style. Watch the moon rise over the Hudson River with a Fraise 76 (vodka, lemon and strawberry, topped with Champagne).

New York has always inspired with its huge scale and its towering skyscrapers but now there are several more reasons to look to the sky in the Big Apple.

Image by 4rilla

No need for a visa if you hold one of these

Guide to visas and ESTA for travelling to the USA

To travel to the land of the free and home of the brave, i.e. the USA, there are a few things you must know and do before you go. The first is that you need a visa. Or at the very least you need an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). Even this doesn’t guarantee you entry into the country, the immigration officials decide that when you arrive.

No need for a visa if you hold one of these

The ESTA

If you’re travelling as a tourist, the ESTA aka the Visa Waiver Programme, is your first port of call. The Visa Waiver Programme has been designed to cut down on the time and stress of applying for a full visa for those who want to visit the USA. At one time, everyone who wanted to travel there had to have a visa, but now, those from designated ‘low-risk’ countries with important business or tourism links, who are visiting for business or pleasure do not need a physical paper visa.

ESTA Eligibility

To meet the conditions of an ESTA, you must:

  • be a full citizen of one of the 36 countries in the visa waiver programme. Among these countries are the UK, Australia, France, Germany and Italy, as well as Japan, Singapore, South Korea and the Netherlands.
  • hold a machine readable photo passport;
  • have a return or onward bound ticket;
  • only be visiting for 90 days or less and
  • not hold a US Visitor Visa already.

Application can be done online and must be done at least 72 hours before travel. It costs $14 to apply directly from the Customs and Border Protection website, but you can also apply for a visa for America through a service for a fraction more which can give you more help and support.

 Visas for Longer Stay or For Countries Outside The VWP

For those that hold residency from outside the Visa Waver Programme, or for those that need a visa to be able to stay up to six months, you will a non-immigrant visa; either need a B1 or a B2 American Tourist Visa. These are paper visas, and to qualify you must hold a valid passport; intend to return to your country of residence once the visa expires; be able to support yourself financially during your stay in the United States; and be of good character.
You can also apply for business visas (to engage in professional or commercial undertakings as long as it doesn’t end in financial compensation- non-immigrant), work (to earn money in America, both temporary and permanent), student (to engage n study), and family (for family of American citizens to join them in permanent residency) visas that can give the opportunity to live in America. There are many more types of visas like the famous green card. These types of visas are harder to qualify and require more evidence and testing than tourist visas or ESTAs do, so you must apply for them with much more time in hand before you want to travel.

Mount Rushmore Memorial in South Dakota

Guest post: Famous Historical Landmarks of America

The famous historical landmarks of America give the country a unique identity and a chance to attract tourists from all over the world. Therefore, the federal authorities and other organizations who look after these historical places ensure that such places are well maintained and are able to fulfill the recreational and learning requirements of the tourists. With the increasing flow of the tourists, the administering authorities and the shopkeepers and vendors operating near these places are able to earn more revenues, thus contributing in the economic development of the nation.

A tale behind each

The American heritage is reflected from the various national parks, mansions, presidential monuments, museums, forts, islands, theaters, etc. These famous places in America date back to different eras and have served differently, but in the present day, all these sites narrate a tale related to the time it was built and the various events it has witnessed.

The notorious island of Alcatraz

Alcatraz

For example, the Alcatraz Island in San Francisco housed a federal prison, became a ground for protests by the United Indian of All Tribes, and was home to several officers before being designated as a national recreational area and subsequently a national park.

Mount Rushmore Memorial in South Dakota

Sculptured mountain

Similarly, the Mount Rushmore Memorial in South Dakota, where sculptures of four Presidents of America have been carved, has become a unique historical site that draws the attention of tourists, historians, artists, and all other people. This site and many other historical places are an example of how the people and organizations have carried the American heritage in different forms.

Morristown National Historic Park

Another noted historical landmark of America is the Morristown National Historic Park. This park consists of three separate sites that were occupied by army troops during the American Revolutionary War. Visitors can watch the different artifacts preserved here and also work as a volunteer for different positions offered by the park.

Every such place brings along several reflections of the history and offers new avenues of recreation and learning for the visitors. The tourists also get a chance to spend some quality time with their companions, collect souvenirs, click photographs, and take back a plethora of memories back.

Preserved through the ages

The best thing about the historical landmarks of America is that most of these are well preserved till date and have not lost the original structure and charisma. This has been a major breakthrough because if the original structure is altered or ruined, then the charm of antiquity associated with that place is gone. Even the visitors are instructed not to damage any part of the place to retain its original form.

More than an open venue

Rather than just keeping the place open for a visual delight, the authorities conduct several programs and events on a regular basis. Many historical places and some of the portions of these places are also given on rent so that the people can organize personal and corporate events to enjoy a different setting. Thus, the importance of any historical site of America can never be undermined because these places have played a significant role, either directly or indirectly, in shaping the present day America and will be a national asset till eternity or beyond that too!

Author Bio: Hello there! I’m Steela. A social worker who leads and counsels a group of young people who look up to her as their mentor. I am an amateur painter and Photoshop enthusiast. I love to play sports and one of my passion is the wonderful game of basketball. Always ready for a competitive game of basketball. Love to travel all around the world.

US flag on display

A history tour of New York

US flag on displayWith a history that goes back to the 1600s, New York City is full of museums, monuments and landmarks tracing the story of the United States since well before it declared independence and signed the Constitution. It was here that George Washington took office as the first President of the United States, and it was here that the face of the world was forever changed on the morning of September 11, 2001.

If you’re interested in history at all, then New York is the place to visit. No matter what aspect of American history appeals to you the most, you could spend more than just one holiday to New York exploring the history of the city.

Museums

The best place to start your historic journey through New York is at one of the city’s dozens of museums. Start at the Museum of the City of New York, which houses more than 1.5 million papers and artifacts chronicling the history of the Big Apple. Another landmark that’s a must for anyone interested in the history of New York – and the country of the United States as a whole – is Ellis Island. Located within New York Harbor in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island was the first stop for generations of Americans coming from around the world. The three story hall that was the initial check-in point for travelers has been renovated and now houses photos, memorabilia and exhibits chronicling the immigrant experience in America. While a visit to the Statue of Liberty and the exhibits on Liberty Island is worth a visit as well, if you plan to make the trek up into Lady Liberty you’ll need to purchase your tickets ahead of time and adhere to strict security regulations.

While the Museum of the City of New York and Ellis Island are devoted to the stories of the general population of New York, there are a number of other museums devoted to specific populations and subjects related to the city. The Jewish Museum, for example, is devoted to furthering understanding of Judaism and includes a large collection of artifacts from the Holocaust. The New York Fire Museum and the New York Police Museum are devoted to those who serve and protect, and the Museum of American Finance highlights the history of money and finance in U.S. History. And New York’s rich maritime history is explored at the South Street Seaport Museum, where some of the exhibits are housed on the restored tall ship Peking, giving visitors a true sense of what life was like in colonial New York.

Music and Art

When you start researching your vacation to New York, and looking for information on hotels, you’ll notice that many tout their proximity to the arts and culture venues in the city. For example, history buffs will be very interested in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which includes a large collection of historic artifacts dating as far back as ancient times in addition to master works. If you’re interested in musical history, don’t miss the Apollo Theater in Harlem. This legendary theater, which opened in 1934, has seen such legends as Billie Holliday, Stevie Wonder, and others perform on its stage. The theater was also the site of the popular “Showtime at the Apollo” television show, and continues to host both amateur and professional acts today.

Houses and Sites

Both the landmark Empire State Building and Chrysler Building are designated historic landmarks, and both contain exhibits chronicling their construction and history, ideal for anyone interested in architectural history. The Flatiron Building in Madison Square is considered the world’s first skyscraper, and was the tallest building in the world from 1901-1911.

Beyond the historic buildings, New York has several landmarks that are a must for any history buff. On the NYU campus, for example, the Brown Building was the site of the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911 that killed 148 people and lead to a number of industrial reforms. And of course, no visit to New York is complete without a stop at the site of the former World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial.

However, these sites barely scratch the surface of the historic sites and landmarks that dot the city of New York. Before you leave on your trip, spend some time researching the options that interest you; chances are you’ll find a spot devoted to something you’re interested in.

The Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island

4 US Cities to make the adventure worth your trip

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) reported that in 2011, the U.S. brought in 62.3 million international tourists (France being the first with 80m), making it the second most popular destination in the world. Unlike smaller countries, the States are filled with several historically significant landmarks and culturally distinct regions that ensure a dynamic experience for travelers of all tastes. If you’re planning your own excursion from the U.K. to the US — or are still looking for a good reason to visit — consider the following list of four must-see cities in America.

1. New York

The Statue of Liberty on Liberty IslandA stay in the States can’t be complete without a trip to the Big Apple, which features more landmarks and sites than tourists can experience in just one visit. The Statue of Liberty should be the first destination on your itinerary, located on Liberty Island in New York Harbor. Tourists travel to this iconic 151-foot (46-meter) symbol of freedom by ferry and are even able to explore the inside of the statue to look out at the city from Lady Liberty’s perspective. Another must-see landmark is the Empire State Building, which stands just shy of the Willis Tower at 1,250 feet. Be sure to experience a Broadway Show, see bustling Times Square, explore Central Park and become inspired at the Museum of Modern Art during your stay in the City That Never Sleeps.

2. Chicago

The Windy City generates several thousand tourists from within the U.S. and overseas each year, with world-famous landmarks, first-class entertainment and the best pizza you can get outside of Italy. The city of Chicago is home to the famous Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower), which stands 1,451 feet (442 meters) tall and features an exciting Skydeck where visitors can catch a breathtaking view of the entire city beneath their feet. A little closer to the ground are the city’s Navy Pier for rides and waterside entertainment, as well as the Adler Planetarium for an awe-inspiring, educational look at the universe we live in.

3. Los Angeles

Hollywood Hills

To get a full view of America, make your way over to the West Coast to see the glitz and glam of California’s Los Angeles. The city is home to Hollywood, which contributes to its title of “Entertainment Capital of the World.” Naturally you’ll have to make a point of seeing the iconic Hollywood sign while staying in L.A., along with the famous Griffith Observatory for an eye-opening look into outer space and Dodger Stadium for a rousing ballgame experience. You can dip your toes in the Pacific at one of the city’s many glittering beaches and watch a performance of your favorite musical artists at any one of L.A.’s wide variety of concert venues.

4. Austin

Austin, Texas, may also be a big city, but it offers good old-fashioned country entertainment for tourists who want a breath of fresh air and to experience a more rural side of America. Sign up for a few lessons at Austin’s famous Rock-About Climbing Adventures center, which helps both new and experienced climbers sharpen their skills at one of the city’s many mountainous regions. You can even experience the city on two wheels at the Town Lake Hike-and-Bike Trail, which stretches across the city, lush parks and calming lakes for a nature-filled break from the fast-paced tempo of the city.

America is one of the most multi-dimensional countries in the world, with a distinct theme and culture in each of its 50 states. Whether you want to take a break from the rainy days of the U.K. or just want to experience life outside of Europe, the U.S. is an essential destination for travelers who want to catch a glimpse into the everyday existence of citizens in one of the most developed and powerful nations in the world.

Green space just outside Denver

5 Great Western U.S. Cities for Outdoor Lovers

It’s not like the more densely populated, heavily forested eastern states or the farm country in the heartland are completely devoid of recreational opportunities, but the pull of the outdoors is undeniably stronger in the American West. With its towering mountains, red rocks, raging rivers, and overall drier climate, the West is filled with places to enchant outdoor lovers.

Among the dozens of Western cities with tremendous outdoor settings at their doorsteps, five cities stand out: Denver, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Portland and Reno. A brief rundown of each city’s key outdoor assets follows.

Denver, Colorado

Denver’s “Mile High” nickname should be the first clue that its environment defines the city. With the exception of open spaces like the Bluff Lake Nature Center in the northeastern Stapleton neighborhood, the city proper is almost completely built out, but the city’s suburbs and the Rocky Mountain foothills just beyond them are chock-full of world-class parks and trail systems.

Spread over four counties, the city’s Denver Mountain Parks are a classic example of municipal foresight. In the early 20th century, the fledgling city purchased thousands of acres of Rocky Mountain lands to its south and west for its residents’ enjoyment.

Green space just outside Denver

Salt Lake City, Utah

While Denver technically sits on the High Plains at the eastern edge of the Rockies, Salt Lake City lies on the eastern side of the rugged Great Basin, the country’s starkest and most sparsely populated region. But with the Great Salt Lake and beautiful Wasatch Mountains to the east, Salt Lake City offers a wealth of outdoor recreation.

Surrounded on two sides by mountains, the Salt Lake City region is peppered with world-class ski resorts that receive hundreds of inches of light, fluffy snow each year. Somewhat surprisingly, the lakes and rivers in the nearby high mountain valleys are world-class repositories of freshwater fish as well.

Flowers in Salt Lake valley

Seattle, Washington

Visible from almost anywhere in the city, Mount Rainier is Seattle’s best-known natural landmark and a major selling point for outdoor enthusiasts who relocate there. With its elevation over 14,400 feet and multiple glaciers it is a dominant feature.

But Mt. Rainier is just the start of things in the Seattle Area. Both the volcanic Cascades and the rugged Olympic Range attract expert mountaineers, backpackers, and ice climbers, but there’s plenty to do for less-serious Seattle outdoorsmen too.

The city is practically surrounded by water with Puget Sound to the west, which provides great fishing and sailing with dozens of island. Lake Washington, a large body of freshwater just east of the city, is a rich fishery and a boater’s paradise during the warm months.

Portland, Oregon

With a moist, mild climate ideal for growing roses, Portland’s International Rose Test Garden is a laid-back, refined alternative to the windsurfing and boating in the Columbia Gorge nearby to the city’s east. The city is loaded with bridges crossing the Willamette River and the Columbia River, one of America’s largest rivers, just to the north.

Like Seattle, Portland is nearby by the Cascade Range and offers the same slate of mountaineering opportunities as its sister city to the north. Tryon Creek State Natural Area, within the city limits, is big enough to get lost in and accessible from central Portland via public transportation. And ocean beaches are only about an hour away!

Reno, Nevada

Nestled in the mild Truckee Meadows region at the base of the towering Sierra Nevada Mountains, Reno is better known for its casinos and dry climate but it is also a short drive from some of the country’s most spectacular scenery.

Lake Tahoe, a sportsman’s paradise, lies less than an hour to the southwest, and a handful of major Sierra ski resorts are not much further away. Mount Rose, the “local” ski area with nearly 10,000 foot top elevation, is just 25 minutes from Reno’s airport.

Now that you know more about some of the top adventure cities in the American west, do your homework to obtain more info and discover a good way to find cheap holidays to your destination of choice.

Entertainment in Las Vegas

People flock to Las Vegas for its dazzling array of entertainment options of offer. Whether you love Holly from the show Holly’s World or are a devoted Celine Dion fan, you can find Las Vegas shows and concerts that will entrance and captive you during your stay in Las Vegas.

Pick Your Show

You can find a variety of Vegas shows at TI. For a real party in Las Vegas, you have to visit Treasure Island in Paradise, Nevada. Treasure Island constantly hosts margarita parties and dance shows that will leave you wanting more. If you want to enjoy watching beautiful women use their charms on the crowd, then this is the place to go. Treasure Island also regularly hosts parties with Pirates of the Caribbean themes. These parties will give you a chance to dress up and enjoy what it feels like to be a pirate for the day.

Classic Shows

When you go to Las Vegas, you can also find a variety of classic shows. If you are not so much into the drinking scene, then you still have a variety of other options for enjoying your time in Las Vegas. You can go to an Elton John or Celine Dion show at Caesar’s Palace. These shows are very classy events, and you can get dressed up for an evening of fine dining while you watch the show. Being able to enjoy dinner and a show can be a romantic adventure for any person who visits Las Vegas.

You can also find other classic shows in Las Vegas such as Phantom of the Opera and Wicked. Giving someone tickets to these shows makes for a great surprise birthday gift so why not enjoy your time in Las Vegas and surprise a good friend with tickets to Wicked?

Shadow Shows

The shadow shows in Las Vegas make for an exotic and thrilling experience. You will watch beautiful men and women perform seductive dance moves behind a large curtain on stage. With the use of laser lights, this show turns into an incredible experience. Order a few drinks, and you will get lost in the beauty and adventure of this show. Another option that you may want to check out during your time in Las Vegas is the Blue Man Show. The Blue Man Show is an exciting show with men who are literally painted in blue paint.

These are some of the ways that you can live it up during your time in Las Vegas and have an unforgettable experience. You can also ask locals for their recommendations on hot spots in the town, and you will surely not be disappointed.

Get started planning your trip with Vegas’ official tourism site:

http://www.visitlasvegas.com/

 

Illuminated coast of Miami at night

How to travel on a Budget across the US

Whether you are a student on a gap year or a well-seasoned traveller, and with the weakening pound against the dollar, travelling on a budget in the USA is a priority at the top of everyone’s list.

Getting started

Firstly, travelling directly across the USA is a task not to be underestimated. Due to the country’s vast size, a lot of empty, flat land equates to a laborious stretch of driving; instead, the popular choice is to travel along either the west or east coast of America. On a budget, and coming west from Europe, it certainly makes more sense to visit the east coast, for a much shorter flight and a much cheaper air fare. Look out for sales and temporary discounts, such as a return to New York City with American Airlines for a thrifty £300, or on Virgin Atlantic to Boston for a similar price.

Accommodation

In the larger cities, it is important to do your research to avoid getting ripped off for sub-standard accommodation – see tripavisor.co.uk for customer and industry reviews. For reasonable, middle-ground accommodation in NYC, try the ‘East Village Bed and Coffee’ with cosy rooms and helpful staff, or the arty ‘Gershwin Hotel’ for a positively-reviewed alternative. Popular motel chain Days Inn boasts accommodation in and around New York, and, along with the great selection at hotels.com, who have many locations across the rest of the USA. If travelling nationwide, stick to one hotel chain if possible, and rewards points can soon be accumulated to save money.

Florida

Illuminated coast of Miami at night

In Miami, accommodation is much cheaper – although, the location is a factor to bear in mind as Florida’s stretches of flat land require a car – for those under 21 it is near-impossible to hire cars abroad. Here it is more necessary to splash out on finding things to do – for thrill-seekers, buying group tickets covering a range of theme parks for a few days – such as Universal or Disney – can often be surprisingly cheaper than single tickets for just a day. Florida holds the Kennedy Space Center, and there are many places to sight alligators –try Everglades.com to book before you arrive. Further north, and further inland, is Washington DC, where The White House and The Lincoln Memorial are must-see attractions, along with some famous galleries and museums.

Entertainment in NYCLady of New York - the Statue of Liberty

With notoriously pricey accommodation leaving little remaining cash, entertainment in NYC can be easily done on the cheap. Central Park often has free festivals, fairs and ethnic parades; there is always something going on, especially in peak months and around the festive season. For theatre buffs looking for a cheaper Broadway experience, buy tickets on the day of the show from last minute ticket stands – we managed to nab two tickets for Wicked for less than half the original price. If venturing outside of the city, New York state is also home to a part of Niagara Falls, shared with Canada; 2/3-day bus trips are useful for those without, or too young to hire, a rental car.

All along the east coast there are a wealth of attractions and famous sights to see – Times Square in NYC, Boston’s Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Seaworld in Florida, and New York’s Metropolitan Museum, to name a few! With those old enough to hire cars, cheap petrol (around half UK prices per gallon) makes USA road trips an exciting and ever-increasing financial possibility.