120km from Hanoi, the national park is located adjacent to Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh and Thanh Hoa, and is an...
120km from Hanoi, the national park is located adjacent to...
Barcelona in Spain has some fantastic Museums; often it's difficult...
120km from Hanoi, the national park is located adjacent to Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh and Thanh Hoa, and is an environmentally friendly destination with exciting discovering activities.
Cuc Phuong is suitable for a picnic at weekends. Cuc Phuong is also where you not only can relax in an open space of the jungle, but also have the opportunities to learn more about the nature around. Cuc Phuong National Park covers an area of 25,000 hectares and is the first national park in Vietnam. Featuring a tropical evergreen rain forest, Cuc Phuong has an abundant fauna and flora population including many species of rare plants and animals. Annually, the park welcome numerous nature lovers to explore and experience the days sleeping in the forest. With a rich ecosystem, Cuc Phuong is suitable for vacation, sightseeing and discovery. There are many ways to entertain in the open and cool space with thousands of trees.
One of these interesting activities is camping and walking in the narrow trails, visit the valuable and rare trees in the dense jungle. Besides, other activities like cycling through the forest, taking a bird watching trip, looking for the ancient caves or going trekking through the jungle… also attract many visitors. From Hanoi, you can choose to travel by motorcycle or passenger car, but the best way is to travel by private cars, which is flexible in time, can go deep into the forest and ensure the safety if children come along. The road is quite beautiful and smooth, through the jungle and fragrant rice fields. From Hanoi, tourists go along Highway 1 toward Ninh Binh, until you reach Gian Khau pork (10 km from the city of Ninh Binh), turn to Highway 12A, pass Nho Quan town about 2 km, then turn left to Cuc Phuong. From the city of Hoa Binh, you drive along Highway 12B toward Nho Quan town about 2 km, then turn right to Cuc Phuong.
- Cuc Phuong Botanical Garden:
This area is built to collect and plant rare species of Cuc Phuong, Vietnam and the world.
- Cuc Phuong’s Endangered Primate Rescue Center (EPRC):
This center is responsible for rescuing the individual of rare primate species.
- Prehistoric People Cave:
The cave is the relic of residence and burial of prehistoric man.
- Con Moong Cave:
Where the prehistoric people choose for their long-term habitation.-
- Trang Khuyet (Crescent Moon) Cave:
Located deep in the forest, has crescent moon shape when being looked from cave’s mouth
- The ancient trees:
Cuc Phuong has an amazing diversity of plants including the giant ancient trees up to 70m high You should prepare for a trip to Cuc Phuong like a picnic trip so that you could give a party in the forest.
If you have time, you should go on the weekends, otherwise, you can travel in a day and a half to spend a night in the woods and return in the following afternoon. The food in the forest is not very much and various; therefore, you should prepare enough food for two days, especially with trips with children. Temperatures in the woods at night and early morning is often low, so you should wear a thin sweater and jacket to avoid the cold and fog. The ideal weather to Cuc Phuong is the sunny days when the rainy season passed because there would be less insects and mosquitoes. There are always many insects in the forest; therefore, if there are young children accompanying, you should prepare lotions. Cost: approximately 6,500,000 VND contract for two days of relaxing.
Barcelona in Spain has some fantastic Museums; often it’s difficult to cram in seeing a few with so many other cultural and historical sights on offer. So what if told you it was free?!
With such a wealth of Historical and Cultural sights on offer, it’s hard to know what to see and in what order when you visit the Catalan Capital of Barcelona. The city boasts 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and as an old Roman Citadel (known as “Barcino”), time can easily be spent wandering the streets of the enchanting Gothic Quarter, stopping off at the occasional Tapas bar to sample some of the fantastic Iberian cuisine on offer. However, some of the overlooked attractions are the many museums Barcelona has to offer, and I’m about to make planning your trip a little easier, with a list of free entrances to some of the city’s top museums.
On the first Saturday of every month, two excellent Museums open their doors to the public free of charge. First is the Maritime Museum, located at the bottom of Las Ramblas, on Avinguda Drassanes. This museum is actually part of the old city walls, and was originally the Dockyards (Catalan for Dockyards is Drassanes) and is a huge space, housing some interesting models and mock ups of what life was like during the functioning years of the dockyards, and also serving as an exhibition space with a usually off-topic show, such as the Bodies exhibition or even a Tin Tin show!
The second museum open for free if you want to sacrifice your Saturday shopping on the 1st Saturday of the month is the History Museum of Barcelona, located in the Gothic Quarter at the King’s Square (Pla del Rei). This fascinating museum consists of underground chambers and corridors, all of which were the real roman roads and alleyways of hundreds of years ago. It’s an amazing place to visit especially on a Saturday, with the hustle and bustle of a busy weekend above you whilst you explore the eerily quiet ruins below.
Sunday is not exception for a free pass into some Museums, and if you happen to be exploring the Botanical gardens of Montjüic mountain, then take a stroll down towards Plaça Espanya and along the way you’ll find the Ethnological museum on Paseo Santa Madrona. This is a surprisingly good museum with a mass array of ethnic pieces from cultures all over the world in airy glass spaces.
Moving across town into the El Borne neighbourhood, and specifically Carrer montcada, we find free entrance to the city’s homage to the Malagan artist, Pablo Picasso. The Picasso museum stores some of the artists early work while he lived and studied in Barcelona, as well as sculptures, paintings and other rarities. In the same street is the Museum of Textile and Industry. Located in the Palace of the Marquis of Lilo, this museum reflects the importance of textile as an industry in the historical Barcelona and also houses a great collection of Baroque to 20th century fashion, which is a real treat and a good laugh. The museum also has a nice courtyard café to relax and write your postcards in.
A quick step across the road, and the garden of Barcelona welcomes you – the Cuitadella Park. This is a lovely place to visit on a Sunday and is always full of young families and couples escaping from the city high rises. Another great reason to visit is the Geological Museum, which also offers free entrance on the first Sunday of the month. This was the first building designed specifically to be used as an exhibition space, in 1888. there are many fossils and the like as you would expect from a Geology museum, but also many minerals on display with replicas of the biggest diamonds in the world and a fascinating darkened section where ultra-violet lights are shone through certain minerals to great colourful effect.
Last but by no means least, and saving it for the 1st Monday of the month is the Chocolate museum! This is located on Carrer Comerç with neighbours of Michelin star restaurants and is also a pastry school. There are some audio visual presentations about the origins of chocolate but by far the highlight of the museum is the Workshop, where chocolatiers perform their art. Easter in Catalunya is not about eggs, but “monas” which are best described as chocolate creations, and can range from castles and houses to life-size representations of favourite characters such a Pinocchio, etc. Oh, and there’s obviously a shop to try and buy some of the wares, too!
Y Ty is upland in Bat Xat district, Lao Cai province. It not only has the beauty of the land of fog and unique primeval forests but also is a charming tourist destination bearing identities of ethnic groups in West Northern Vietnam.Leaving the Lao Cai train station, visitors take a bus to Bat Xat town and from there go along the mountain road about 70km until you meet Y Ty. It is a valley situated at an altitude of over 2,000 meter leaning back Nhu Cu San Mountain range with its peak of 2.660m and almost year-round cloud. Go by car, you can see mountain trails that run in zigzags and disappear slowly among forest leaves and houses looming in the clouds. It can be said that Y Ty is beautiful by clouds and mountains and bright with terraced rice fields.
Y Ty commune has 15 villages with 4 ethnic groups consisting of Ha Nhi, Dao, Hmong and Kinh people in the town center in which Ha Nhi is the largest one.Coming to visit Y Ty, you will feel very interesting when going to a market on. This place is home to many ethnic minorities such as Ha Nhi, Dao, Han, Giay, and Mong with colorful dresses. Mong people wear tutu, Ha Nhi people appear with three-bladed hairpins and wool wigs braided around their heads. Dao people wind peacock scarves on their heads with innocent smiles. They buy and sell local products and crafts of their family.In Y Ty, there are special houses. They still remain original untouched traditional architectural styles of Ha Nhi people. The house is usually a rectangular structure with a main door and arch to allow the wind go through. There is no window but the house is very warm in winter but cool in summer.
The walls made from the soil are thick from 30 – 40cm. Its roofs are wood. Here, visitors will encounter Ha Nhi households living these houses in the mountain near streams and trails full of leaves falling year-round.According to local people, in spring Y Ty people often hold a festival of the forest to show their promise with the God of the forest. The offerings include a 60 kg pig, 6 chickens, 6 trays of stick rice and 6 liters of wine. Every family has to have a person at least who wears traditional consume to worship. In particular, everyone must remove shoes and go barefoot. According to the concept of Ha Nhi people, this action shows respect for the god.Ha Nhi people in Y Ty account for 60% of the population.
They reside near water sources to ensure water for living and irrigation. Ha Nhi women are very hard.It is no doubt that Y Ty is the place to preserve outstanding features of ethnic groups and owns its climate and scenery bearing mountainous characteristics. Besides, it hides much potential to develop economy. In jungles, there are cardamon trees bringing a special value for the land. Because it has the temperature of less 20 degree Celsius, there are streams with fresh water year-round. Therefore, Y Ty is a “promised land” in the development of cold-water fish species originating from Europe such as salmon and sturgeon.Currently, the road to Y Ty is much better than before. Cars can run straight into the place, so it is so convenient for tourists when coming to villages. If you are adventurous, certainly Y Ty will be an attractive tourist spot that you cannot ignore when visiting West Northern.Tags : Sapa Vietnam
The town of San Vincenzo on the coast of Tuscany is perfect for peaceful holidays in Italy. Here you will be able to stay in one of the many hotels by the sea, or in comfortable Tuscany apartments, and enjoy the ten-kilometer long beach. White extra-fine sand covers the stretch of coast between the Thyrrenian Sea and the large strip of Mediterranean vegetation at its back. This is the special trademark of this precious Tuscan town, which is one of the main tourist destinations on the Etruscan Coast of Tuscany.
San Vincenzo is perched on the hills immediately over the Thyrrenian Sea, in the southern territory of Livorno. This maritime village offers all services and welcoming accommodations. If you have never tried it, a holiday on the Etruscan Coast is certainly something to be experienced. This is a quiet location to spend your vacations while discovering the carefully preserved natural environment all around it. Long walks on the Tuscan hills in the surrounding area and peaceful days at the beach make for the perfect formula to regain a sometimes forgotten inner peace.
The town has ancient origins. It used was inhabited during prehistoric times, then it became an important Etruscan center due to its proximity to Populonia (a major Etruscan town) and for the many forests and ferrous minerals in its soil. These boosted the creation of foundries, so that in a relatively short time the town became the major industrial area of the territory. The Romans consecrated it as an important city by building one of their main roads in its vicinities, the Aurelia road, nowadays a four-lane freeway.
After the destruction of its main castle by Pisa in 1304, a watchtower against the Saracens was built here, along with a landing dock and customs. From these three elements, the San Vincenzo that you can visit today was developed. At first a small fisherman village, it grew to acquire its own municipal status in 1949.
Nowadays the town is elegantly touristic, adorned with plenty of public garden spaces. The ancient coastal tower built by Pisa, which was restored in recent times, still watches over San Vincenzo, although the Saracens were driven away from the Mediterranean some hundred years ago.
The beach is walking-distance from town. Walking along the beach you will encounter the Secular Pine forest, one of the
area’s crown-jewels. The beach is poised in between the forest and the blue sea, creating a relaxing paradise of rare beauty. The beach is all free access, and offers eight resorts where to rest for the day.
Basing yourself in San Vincenzo is ideal for taking walks inside the pine forest and on nearby hills, and for organizing bike tours or horseback rides through sights of great natural beauty. You should not miss the Natural Park of Ripigliano, south of San Vincenzo, and the hiking trail Il Corbezzolo, which leads along paths through pleasant woods filled with wildlife.
Archeology fans can enjoy the sites of Populonia, whereas medieval sights such as Campiglia Marittima, Bolgheri and Suvereto are excellent daytrip destinations.
Finally, remember to include in your stay a restaurant to take part in the local culinary tradition with its special recipes and great wines.
The night before I went to Monaco, I began talking myself out of it because I was scared of going alone. Despite my fears, I woke up the next morning determined to get there. I had wanted to leave by nine, so I was astounded when I woke up at 9:30. I really wanted to see the changing of the guard at the palace, which happens every day at 11:55 a.m. I was in a rush because I wanted to figure out how to take the bus to the gare, I still had to buy a ticket, and I wasn’t sure when a train would leave.
After staring, confused, at a French bus schedule on the street outside my hotel in Nice, I managed to translate it and got to the station for only 1.30 Euro, a nice alternative to the 16E cab ride. The bus was crowded, but I didn’t mind—I successfully got onto a foreign bus all by myself. Truly, an accomplishment.
I arrived at the station and bought my ticket to Monaco, less than 5 Euro roundtrip. I was surprised to discover that it was an open ticket–there was no leave or return time, I could go and come back whenever I wanted, which was a relief because I never know how long I’ll want to stay somewhere. I boarded the ter train—it was really quite filthy—and soon arrived at the scrupulously clean Monaco-Monte Carlo train station.
When I left the train, I followed a sign to the tourist office inside the station. I happened to be walking behind a woman in a green skirt, and as she ended up heading to the same place I was, I’m sure she thought I was stalking her. We both went to the tourism office for maps, and I heard her ask directions to the changing of the guard–I listened because that was where I wanted to go. . .and then I followed Green Skirt Woman in that direction, so I guess I was stalking her after all, but when she stopped to check her map (or to shake me), I kept going.
Monaco’s palace is at the top of what must be the tallest rock ever. . .I had to walk up an insane amount of winding steps to get to the palace, but it was so worth it when I arrived, ten minutes before the changing of the guard. There were crowds of people so it was hard to see, but it was still really cool to see the guards moving in their crisp, white uniforms in a centuries-old ritual.
I was incredibly happy because I had made it in time to see it, and after that I saw where the line was to tour the palace but it was overflowing with people as every tourist in Monaco was at the palace for the guard change. I decided to walk around for a while, and then come back. The most hilarious part of the Monaco adventure was discovering that the guards arrived on a bus to the palace, piled out, performed for the crowd, then piled back in to go wherever it is that they go. It’s all a show now.
After the guard change, I wandered around and found the cathedral where I believe Princess Grace was married and where I know she is buried because I saw her tomb. In a semi-circle surrounding the dais, where the priests and other church officiates are during services, are the graves of Monaco royalty, which I thought was so very odd and yet so. . .right. Simple tombs for the royalty partially hidden in a church instead of gaudily displayed. Her grave is marked “Gratia Patria.”
After the cathedral, I headed back to the palace and went inside for a tour. I had a headset that guided me along the beautiful rooms with lots of information I don’t remember, but appreciated at the time. My favorite rooms were the Galerie de Hercule and the throne room. I loved the latter because of a gorgeous portrait of the royal family in the corner of the room–Rainier, Albert, Stephanie, Grace and Caroline. They looked so regal, so royal. I wish I could have found a print of it, but it was nowhere.
I ate lunch outside of the palace, all alone.
I went into gift shops, walked the tiny streets of old Monaco–the city was just so clean. As police were everywhere, I felt perfectly safe at all times.
A beautiful garden stood next to the Oceanography Museum, whose gift shop I visited. Around that time I was really worn out and thinking of leaving, but then I saw a little tourist train and decided to go for a ride. The train took me all around the city, and I got a glimpse of that oh-so-famous Casino.
After the train, I walked back toward the palace, down the long steps and to the train station.
The capital of Iceland, Reykjavik is home to two-thirds of the country’s population (about 200,000 people). Most visitors spend at least a night or two here before or after they explore the rest of the country and if you’re only spending a few days in Iceland, it’s easy to base yourself out of Reykjavik and still see quite a bit in the surrounding area. If you’re headed to Iceland, here are a few tips for having a more local experience.
Swimming is big in Iceland. Icelanders are required by law to learn how to swim, and every small town in Iceland has a community swimming pool, which is a place to relax and socialize. In Reykjavik, there are several pools to choose from, and no, the Blue Lagoon is not one of them. Though the Blue Lagoon is a very unique and worthwhile experience, you’ll find mostly tourists there. If you want to swim with the locals, head to the local pool instead. Hot spring pools in Iceland are open all year round, (some are outdoors, some are indoors) and are kept between 84 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit so you will stay warm even in the winter. Services at each differ; some have waterslides and hydo-massage services, while others are more basic.
Open from early morning until late evening, the pools generally charge just a dollar or two for admission, with rental of bathing suit and towel available for an extra fee. Some tourists get nervous about the fact that swimming in a public pool in Iceland requires showering naked in front of strangers beforehand. But really it’s nothing to worry about. There’s no novelty in locker-room nudity for Icelanders, so rest assured they aren’t trying to check you out. Just wash up quickly and soon you’ll be relaxing like a local.
It’s said that Icelanders drink so much in the winter to make the cold, dark days pass faster, and that they drink so much in the summer to celebrate the sunny, warm days. Either way, they like to drink, despite the high cost of alcohol in the country (tip: stock up at the airport duty free upon arrival). In Reykjavik, don’t miss your chance to join in the weekend runtur, or pub crawl. Start your night with dinner and a few drinks (preferably at your hostel to save a bit of money) and then around midnight join the crowds of people packing the streets. The party goes until 4am or later at the city’s many lounges, music clubs, and cafes that turn into bars at night. Many places don’t charge a cover so this can be an inexpensive way to experience the nightlife of Reykjavik…so long as you don’t buy too many beers, which can cost $7 or more in a bar.
Icelanders love their hot dogs, which seems like an odd choice in a country where fish is abundant and lamb roam the countryside. But the Icelandic hot dogs are better than their fast food counterparts in the US. Made of lamb and topped with mustard, ketchup, fried onion, raw onion and remolaði, a mayonnaise-based sauce with sweet relish, they are unlike any other hot dogs in the world. And, they’re cheap, at just over $2 each. In a country where everything is expensive, it’s a welcome change to find something so tasty and affordable. At Bæjarins beztu pylsur the 60-year old stand that once served Bill Clinton and Metallica (on separate occasions of course!), there’s a short line nearly all day, every day. But for a true Reykjavik experience, come after a night at the bars, around 3am, to feast with your fellow partiers.
Chance are that if you’ve come to Iceland as a tourists, you’re going to partake in some of the country’s amazing outdoor activities like hiking, cave-exploring, and horseback riding. And to do those activities, you’re going to wear some travel performance gear, like a fleece vest or waterproof windbreaker with insulated pants and hiking boots. But when it comes to what to wear in Reykjavik after those activities are done, you’ll need to make some changes to avoid looking like a clueless tourist. Outdoor gear is fine for casual restaurants and wandering around town, but you’ll need to sartorially step it up come nightfall. At Reykjavik’s best restaurants and any nightclubs, opt for nicer, trendier duds. Reykjavik residents have a great sense of style, so if you want to blend in with the locals, you’ll need the same.
If there’s one food that you’ll see in every convenience store and grocery store in Iceland, it’s skyr. High in protein and low in fat and sugar, skyr is a very healthy yogurt-like product that comes in plain, vanilla, and fruit flavors. Skyr is great for breakfast or for a quick and easy lunch or snack on the go. It’s delicious topped with fruit and is used in many desserts at Icelandic restaurants and you’ll even see it used in some sauces and dips. So if you want to snack like a local, pick up a few containers of skyr.
Live music is a huge part of the Icelandic nightlife scene, so don’t miss a chance to go see a band while you are in Reykjavik. And don’t expect it to be all Bjork and Sigur Ros either. Music in Iceland is very diverse, and includes pop, punk, folk, rock, blues, and more. On weekends, you’ll have your pick of several shows, but it’s easy to find live music any day of the week with a little research. Check out the Reykjavik Grapevine for the most comprehensive event listings. If you plan your trip in October, you can attend Iceland Airwaves, a four-day long music festival that is considered one of the best in the world.
The Sicily island is the biggest island in the Mediterranean sea, it’s at the south of Italy and the north of Africa. Food and wine are among Sicily’s main attractions. Here you can find a mix of different cultures (Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans). These ancient dominations let us their rests in the culinary traditions. Climatic conditions, sun every day and the Volcanic land, facilitate the food’s favour and produce unique of a kind Mediterranean products.
What to get in this Wine tour…
- Unique landscapes and views
- Living history around you
- Wine tasting and cooking courses
- All the benefits of the Mediterranean diet
One of the most important aspect of Mediterranean diet is the quality of the ingredients used. The result is that ingredients are fresh, often produced in land, tasty and fragrant.
Here the most known Mediterranean foods and wines you’ll taste during your Sicilian journey…
Seafood. It is well known for its particular heart benefits with the presence of “Omega 3”. Serve grilled swordfish, cuttlefish or sardines, it’s the best you can do for your heart health. A plus factor is that most of the recipes are prepared with pasta, so low carb added.
Chicken, Veal, Lamb are popular meat dishes usually served with marsala wine.
There are more than 150.000 hectares of land cultivates to wineyards. The best productions are on the slopes of the Etna mountain. There are a lot of studies that explain the benefits of Sicilian Red wine consumption. These studies confirm that people who drink red wines (Nero D’Avola and Torrepalino) has a lower cardiovascular risk, because the blood glucose, total cholesterol and triglycerides are significantly decreased after the consumption.
Here the tour explained…
With this tour you’ll have the opportunity to join the best oriental attraction of Sicily. You’ll visit the Etna volcano, Taormina, the city of Catania in the Ionic coast and the Aeolian islands. You’ll discover the little medieval villages on the slopes of the Etna, the fishermen’s life, the roman rests of Catania and Taormina and the free nature of the 7 little island on the thyrrenian sea. All combined with the tasting of great Mediterranean diet products.
How to improve your experience…
- If you try to taste Sicilian sweets (Cannoli, almond, marzipan), you’ll note that the taste is a little different from the ones you’ve had outside Italy. That’s because the ricotta cheese is made with sheep’s milk.
- The best wines to choose with meats and deserts are Marsala, Moscato, Passito di Pantelleria and Malvasia delle Lipari. For meats and fish plates, the Zibibbo wine is perfect.
- The wines have a maximum cost of about $20 a bottle. Very cheap respect those from Tuscany or Piedmont that cost $40 or much, much more.
- Drink wine with food (Especially with olive oil or bread)
- If you read the label “Denomination of origin” (DOC) on the bottles, It is a meaningless designation related to quality of wine to certify the origin.
Many times the reason why people start to gain weight or become unhealthy is because they often eat out for lunch or dinner. It is okay to eat out every now and then, but when you do so several times a week, the pounds really start to add on. If this is something you really enjoy doing, then eating at healthier places will be beneficial to your overall health and weight. Here are 5 of the healthiest places to eat in San Diego, some of which may have food entrees with probiotics.
This is a small restaurant located in Old Town where you can enjoy the wonderful taste of Latin American food while keeping your heart healthy. All menu food items are home-made from fresh vegetables and produce and all sauces are freshly made each day. Zero hormones are added to chicken dishes. All deserts are also home-made and low in calories.
This restaurant, located in Point Loma, is known for its simple healthy soup, salads, and grilled entrees. Their salad choices are creative, tasty, low in calories, and include ingredients that are good for your health. Some of their salads include:
Smaller portion salads are also available that are made from ingredients right off the farm. They also bake their own deserts from fresh market fruits and tasty ingredients. There is a new special every day.
If you are a seafood lover and are looking for an incredibly healthy place to eat, then this is the place to go. This restaurant, located in Gaslamp, receives their seafood from the freshest locations all over the world. All seafood is flown in daily, so it is guaranteed to be fresh and delicious. Some of their seafood dinner classics include:
The Oceanaire Seafood Room also has various soups and salads, steak dishes, and lobster and crab entrees.
Lean and Green is located in La Jolla and is best known for its delicious organic dishes. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner using all naturally grown food ingredients that are not only healthy, but really tasty.
Every order is customized just the way you like it. First, you pick whether you want a salad or a wrap. Then, you pick either which wrap base you’d like or which green vegetables you want in your salad. Lastly, you choose your ingredients. There are symbols located next to each ingredient telling you whether it is organic, vegan, or gluten-free. Some organic ingredients include:
This restaurant is located in Clairemont and Hilcrest and is one of the best healthy Indian restaurants in San Diego. You have your choice of vegetarian dishes, chef specials, Indian breads, soups, salads, Tandoori, Curries, and many other healthy options. Some specific entrees you can choose from are:
These are just a few of this restaurant’s tasty dishes. They also have three different Indian bread choices, three chef specials, and several different sides to choose from. Reservations can be made right on their website at bombayrestaurant.com.
And, when it comes to Baby Boomers, forget all of that do-it-yourself nonsense. Do-it-yourselfers went out with the poodle skirt and penny loafers over a quarter century ago. Todays and tomorrows generation of affluent Baby Boomers wants to be pampered. They are seeking leisure travel experiences that are customized, easy, exotic and exclusive, and which provide value and choice and that are seamless.
Moreover, they sure dont want to be considered or called seniors. Theyre looking for pleasure and for luxury and for personalized services, and theyre turned on by activities which are healthy and which are fun, as well as upscale and very special. They feel theyre entitled to it all.
In brief, Baby Boomers were born and raised, grew up and developed their business careers and lifestyle yearnings, during the affluent post-World War II boom economic era. As a result, theyve grown accustomed to being spoiled and catered to and doing whatever they like whenever they want to do it. They dont want to be told what to do or how to do it. They want others to do it for them. And, when it comes to leisure travel, they want competent travel agents to put it all together for them.
Because of their market size and potential, and their increasing dominance of the leisure travel scene, a whole new generation of cruise ships has been and is being built to their specifications. And, they like cruise ships with verandas, that are casual, on which the food is healthy, and in a variety of dining modes.
Also, they are looking for packaged travel vacations that are unregimented and which offer a broad range of experiences in a spectrum that includes adventure, ecology and the environment, as well as culture and value.
In brief, Baby Boomers, in large numbers, admit to wanting to be spoiled. And, that is precisely what the cruise lines and the packaged travel operators, as well as the hotel and resort developers, have been creating for them travel experiences that suit their lifestyle wishes and demands. Youd better believe that travel agents are an integral part of that formula.
Perhaps the only segment of the leisure travel experience which hasnt changed to accommodate the needs and desires of todays and tomorrows mighty army of Baby Boomers has been the airline industry. With the exception of First and Business Class trans-con, trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific travel, designed primarily for business travelers, air travel (with some significant exceptions) is strictly a matter of necessity getting from Point A to Point B, usually with a hub in between.
Most travel by air is none of the things that Baby Boomers are searching for in their quest for pleasurable leisure travel experiences. It is neither fun nor customized nor relaxed, nor is it easy nor personalized nor enjoyable. As a matter of fact, recent airline commission cutting moves have made it more difficult for Baby Boomers to book than ever before. This is because the airline industry has been attempting to direct them away from travel agents and turn them into a crowd of do-it-yourself direct bookers.
Sorry, airlines even though most Baby Boomers have computers and like to play on the Internet, they also want someone else to do the work for them. They want and need travel agents to make their air bookings for them. And, I am 100% convinced that the vast majority of this huge new group of leisure travelers will be willing to pay a travel agent a service fee to do the work for them.
What the travel agent industry should be pointing out to the traveling public, through its trade associations, is that every time the airlines reduce travel agency commissions and drive additional travel agencies out of business, they are, in effect, making it more difficult, as well as more costly, for leisure travelers to travel by air.
Thankfully, though, for the industrys surviving 25,000-plus travel agencies, there are extraordinary opportunities for them to expand their businesses, and to profit, far into the fast-approaching new millennium.
The vast host of new and expanded packaged travel opportunities, including the armada of new cruise ships coming on line, as well as other new forms of packaged travel, have the potential for turning on Baby Boomers like theyve never been turned on before. And, since there are so many new cruise berths and packaged travel opportunities, both the cruise lines and the tour operators need travel agents more than ever.
The cruise industry alone will grow its berths by some 45% during just the next five years. Carnivals new non-smoking cruise ship, the Paradise, which my wife, Lenore, and I and several thousand travel agents and related travel sellers were aboard last weekend, typifies everything that is new and exciting and which is awaiting tomorrows leisure travelers. Its 2,040 lower berths, representing 100,000 additional cruise passengers a year, are just the tip of the 58,000 plus new cruise berths scheduled to come on line between today and Spring 2002.
During just the past two weeks, I have met personally with the heads of the industrys six largest cruise lines and discussed the issue of air commission cuts and caps and their impact on travel agents. These meetings have convinced me that the cruise industry needs, wants and will do everything within reason to help maintain todays travel agency sales distribution system, a sales force capable of continuing to sell 95% plus of its berths far into the foreseeable future.
Even Renaissance Cruises, which spit in the eye of the travel agent industry a few brief months ago when it felt it no longer needed agent support, now finds that it cant go it alone and is asking for travel agent business. I know what Id give them if I were a travel agent, but Lenore edited out that portion of this sentence.
Discussions with leaders of both the National Tour Association and of the U.S. Tour Operators Association have convinced me that they, too, need a big, healthy and prosperous travel agent industry every bit as much as the Cruise Lines do.
There is just no doubt about it. The sellers of leisure travel products and services are just as anxious to preserve and to grow the travel agency industry as are travel agents themselves. And, without wanting to sound like a hopeless optimist, I have every reason to believe that some day even the airline industry will realize that it, too, needs a widespread network of travel agencies to sustain its future growth and profitability.
Thanks to the Baby Boomers, the Cruise Lines and the Packaged Travel Operators, I feel confident that the travel agent industry will share bountiful Thanksgiving Holidays far into the next century.
It is almost unthinkable to take a trip to California without going to one of their fabulous beaches. The Golden State is known for having some of the best beaches in the US, and Californians are so proud of their beaches that if you don’t visit one, Arnold Schwarzenegger will hunt you down and physically drag you kicking and screaming into the surf. If you wish to avoid that fate, below are the top 5 best beaches in California (or Cal-ee-for-nee-yuh as the Governator would say):
Santa Monica Beach is considered a source of pride for the state of California. It is meticulously maintained by the city of Santa Monica. Every day the sand is thoroughly raked and cleaned to ensure pristine conditions for beach goers. They even clean the beach on weekends and holidays. Yes, even on flag day. While lifeguards are only present on the beach during the day, the lifeguard headquarters is open 24-hours a day to provide Pamela Anderson style slow motion life saving assistance any time it is needed. Some of the activities that take place at the Santa Monica Beach all year long are fishing, swimming, volleyball, surfing, and biking.
Coronado Central Beach is 1.5 miles long and is tucked neatly behind a street of idyllic beach houses. This beach is well known to be a great place for swimming, boogie boarding and making sand sculptures. Every year from December through February, whale watching also takes place on Coronado Central Beach. On the north end of the beach, the waves break just right for surfers just about every morning while locals walk their dogs before the sand gets too hot. Usually the dogs do not surf, but you can’t rule anything out on Coronado Central Beach.
Laguna Beach is a hefty seven miles long and is a premier beach destination for residents of Los Angeles as well as tourists from all over the world. A beach this large and in charge would be expected to offer a plethora of activities and attractions, and Laguna Beach does just that. Nature lovers and art enthusiasts frequent this famous beach to be inspired. Tourists can check out any of the spectacular restaurants, spas, shops and galleries or even check out The Pacific Marine Mammal Center and learn a few interesting factoids. Many people love to see a show at The Laguna Playhouse which is right on the beach, and the oldest theater on the West Coast. The Laguna Art Museum rounds out the cornucopia of sights and activities on this tasty Beach.
Hermosa Beach packs a ton of fun and beauty into its 1.5 miles of sandy shoreline. Activites such as sunbathing, paddleball, surfing, volleyball, and swimming are happening non-stop on the sand, but much of the action is really going down on “the strand.” The strand is a popular boardwalk that runs along the beach where throngs of local bikers, strollers, joggers and rollerbladers gallivant during the day. At night the boardwalk comes alive as people enjoy themselves at the bars and restaurants that serve great food, strong drinks, and breathtaking ocean views.
Pictured in featured image in the sidebar – Venice Beach is like no other beach in this world. It is also like no other beach on any other world. In addition to the activities you can find on any beach, Venice Beach is basically a three-ring urban street circus. This circus takes place on the Ocean Front Walk, the boardwalk that lines Venice Beach. The boardwalk features stores, flea markets, restaurants and a bevvy of other weird, confusing, and interesting stuff. This is the home of Muscle Beach, world class street basketball, and countless celebrities. This is more than a beach, this is a crazy experiment in human culture that happens to be near the ocean.