Once in a lifetime

Getting To Manhattan

by H.D. Bien

 A lot of people like to visit or would like to visit Manhattan if they get a chance. You might actually have tickets to a TV show taping being held there. You can use these quick tips to make sure you get to Manhattan at the last minute.

Getting A Plane Ticket

Getting a plane ticket at the last moment is possible, but you need to know what things to avoid. A lot of people just buy the quickest flight out and they will lose a lot of money this way. You need to make sure you are searching for your ticket on various websites that offer tickets. Make sure you find one that has a round-trip ticket as well. You will find cheaper deals if you do this. You should also call your trip advisor and tell them to start planning your trip for you. Try to find the spots of each day that a lot of people don't like to fly. This could be in the middle of the week, mornings, or even evenings. You can find great deals this way.

Booking Hotel Rooms

Booking your hotel room for your last minute trip can be much easier than trying to find a plane ticket at the last minute. You have a little more flexibility when it comes to this. You can save some money if you search around as much as you can. You can ask your booking agent to see if they have anything as well. It will feel a lot like getting a plane ticket at the last minute, but you don't need the fanciest room if you don't need it. Hotels also offer many more rooms than plane tickets do. You can call around to each hotel and ask them what kind of deals that they might be running at the time.

Things To Remember

When booking your last minute trip, make sure you understand what these types of companies will be doing. They know you need a ticket badly, and you know it to. They will be looking to get the most money out of you and you will be looking to save as much money as you can. This is just the way it goes with situations like this. In the end though, it is all about supply and demand. If you can not get the cheapest plane ticket you would like to, you might just have to settle on that expensive ticket. If you don't want to pay for the prices of the expensive tickets, you might just try to attend at a later time, to save yourself some money. It really is up to you. The best piece of advice I can give you is to just keeping search around as much as you can, and settle on the ticket or hotel room that offers the best value for you.

In conclusion, a lot of people successfully plan last minute trips. They are often successful at finding decent enough deals to take the trip. If you absolutely need to visit at the time you want to go, you might just have to pay a little extra to get a ticket or good hotel room. 

Plan Your Trip To New York City Find more things to do in New York City. Find the best New York City tours.

Auckland Hot Spots

by TraceyLC

 In recent years New Zealand has become best known for its otherworldly landscapes that are being so readily used to depict fantasy lands in big budget Hollywood movies such as the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. Few people visit New Zealand to visit Auckland alone but as a starting or ending point to a New Zealand adventure, Auckland has a lot to offer. Here is a list of the current hotspots in Auckland and the must do things to see and do if you’re passing through the cosmopolitan city that is Auckland. Don’t stay holed up in your Auckland CBD accommodation thinking there’s nothing to see… get out and explore - you could be pleasantly surprised.

Auckland Art Gallery

The gallery only re-opened in September of 2011 after a 3 year major renovation and is well worth a visit even if you’re not an art connoisseur. A highlight of the gallery is the gallery of turn of the century portraits of Maori leaders with their intricate tattoos and fierce expressions. The permanent collection is spread across four levels and includes both contemporary and Kiwi work and international pieces.

Seafood Depot

The hottest place to eat in town is definitely the relatively new Seafood Depot at the base of Auckland’s iconic Sky Tower.  The rustic restaurant serves up delicious seafood on wood plank tables coupled with stunning local wines. 

Britomart Bars

Another new addition to Auckland’s happening nightlife are the Britomart Bars located in the once derelict Britomart district. The area has been transformed into a vibrant hub of bars and restaurants in stunningly renovated historic buildings. This is definitely the new Auckland hotspot for the young and the trendsetters.

Parnell Farmers Markets

If you’re into good organic produce, locally sourced and made gourmet products, live music and mouthwatering hot food, then Parnell Farmers Markets will be right up your alley. On weekend mornings the markets are packed with locals diving into a fresh bacon and egg bap, sipping on freshly brewed coffee and picking up some stunning locally produced cheeses to have over the weekend. 

Karangahape Road (aka K Road)

Similar to Sydney’s Oxford Street or London’s Carnaby Street, K Road is a quirky shopping district packed with trendy cafes, kitsch home ware shops and local designer boutiques. Once a sleazy red light district and still with some connections to that era, the people watching on K Road is a draw card on its own. 

Even if you’re just passing through Auckland, take some time to escape your Auckland airport hotel and explore the hot spots in Auckland, you’ll be surprised at what a grown up city Auckland has become, and the standard of Auckland hotels is world class so your stay will be a comfortable one. 

For more information on Auckland hotels including Auckland CBD accommodation and Auckland airport hotelsvisit Choice Hotels New Zealand online.

Places to Visit in Paris

by Lia-feature

 Paris is one of the most popular destinations in the world because it has gained the reputation of being romantic and cultural. France itself was an important hot point in the development of European culture, especially where Modernism and 20th century culture are concerned. Moreover, Paris enjoys the luxury of offering one of the most refined cuisines in the world, including an impressive array of wines and champagnes. So if you are looking for places to visit in Paris, we are going to enumerate some of the main attractions in what follows.

   Among all the famous places to visit in Paris, the Eiffel Tower definitely takes the crown, so we begin with it. Built in 1889 by engineer Gustave Eiffel – the same individual who made the Statue of Liberty –, the tower was only intended to be presented at an exhibition, but remained to become the city’s most important landmark. Don’t miss climbing the tower for a spectacular view of the city and its surroundings.

   Another important destination that you shouldn’t miss in Paris is the Louvre Museum, holding one of the most impressive art collections in the world, including the renowned and mysterious Mona Lisa painting by Leonardo da Vinci. Unfortunately, you may have to wait in long lines to get in, especially if you go at the height of tourist season, but it is definitely worth the wait. Further into the city, one of the important places to visit in Paris is the Arc de Triomphe, the largest of its type in the world, reigning at one end of the beautiful boulevard, Champs-Elysees. 

   Paris is filled with sumptuous, grand buildings, so keep your eyes peeled whenever you roam its streets. Make sure you don’t miss destinations like the d’Orsay Museum, host of a wonderful collection of Impressionist paintings from masters like Manet, Monet and Renoir. The Sacre-Coeur basilica is among the essential places to visit in Paris, because you get to admire the Byzantine-like architecture and the complex mosaics inside. And if we’re talking about churches, we also need to mention Sainte-Chapelle, a tremendous example of medieval architecture and simply one of the most beautiful churches to exist.

   Like we mentioned before, Paris used to be the place where all the rebellious artists of the 20th century gathered to form the basis of modern culture, and this can still be experienced and felt in quarters like Montmartre. A must in Paris is visiting the Notre Dame de Paris, a Gothic masterpiece of unsurpassed beauty. For more of the cultural Paris, you can also visit the Picasso Museum, the Rodin Museum and the Brancusi atelier. 

It can be difficult to decide which are the best places to visit in Paris, because every visitor will probably like a different aspect of this cultural city; nevertheless, everyone will enjoy the beautiful architecture, the impressive churches and basilicas, the wide boulevards and narrow alleys with their romantic atmosphere.

Places to Visit in USA

 by Lia-feature 

 The United States is the most popular and renowned country in the world today, thanks to their financial power, but also to their strong export of culture, among which the film and music industry are the most popular. There are fifty states in the US, not counting Washington D.C., which is the capital and is considered a federal district. There are 48 contiguous states here, meaning they are linked together, but there are also Alaska and Hawaii, which adhered in 1959. We mentioned all this information in order to make a point out of the fact that it can be difficult to choose the best places to visit in USA.

   Every state in the USA has something which makes it different and special, so if you want to make an American road trip, make sure you have enough time and money to check out all its attractions. Nevertheless, we are going to present some of the most attractive places to visit in USA, the first of them being the state of New York, and mainly New York City. This is the largest city in USA and it is a financial and cultural hub. Museums, parks, cafes, restaurants, skyscrapers and a stupendous nightlife are among the things you can enjoy here. Don’t miss a visit to Ellis Island to see the Statue of Liberty and climb on top of the Empire State Building for a spectacular view of the city that never sleeps.

   Among all the places to visit in USA, our favorite has to be the state of California, home of Hollywood and San Francisco. The latter is one of the most beautiful cities this country has to offer, with its hippie culture and nonconformist attitude, its Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf and numerous parks and beaches. However, if you prefer a more historical town, go to Chicago, Illinois, where you can also enjoy some of the best American food and not only. Here you can admire the wonderful old and modern architecture, take a stroll through Millennium Park and be impressed by everything you see in the Museum of Science and Industry.

   One of the most famous places to visit in USA, Las Vegas is the major city in the state of Nevada. It is, of course, famous for its casinos and gambling venues, but you can also enjoy the architecture, the spas and hotels, or the Bellagio Fountains. Fine cuisine and fine living in general are celebrated here, but be careful not to over-spend in this brightly-lit city located at the edge of the desert. These were our main picks for USA destinations, but we also recommend Hawaii for its exotic landscape, Los Angeles for the nightlife and beaches, New Orleans for its culture, food and music, and Washington, the unmistakable capital of this country. 

There are many wonderful places to visit in USA, but among them New York City is special, because it is a world capital where people and cultures from around the world clash and create a special and unique atmosphere.

5 Top Attractions To See On School Tours Of Venice

by Angela Bowden 

 Students may all be different from one another, but one thing that can often unite their interests and boost collaborative learning is the magic of school tours. Such trips offer a number of benefits: an inspiring destination, new experiences, and the chance to learn while having fun, far from the bounds of the classroom. Venice, one of Italy’s most celebrated cities, provides all this in abundance.

The Canals

Venice is almost synonymous with its canals, which number 117 in total, including the Grand Canal, creating the 177 islands that make up the city. Used instead of roads, they are the city’s most famous feature, and exploring them on a traditional gondola is a memorable aspect of school tours to Venice. As well as being an important piece of Venetian history, gondolas offer the perfect opportunity to take in all the dazzling sights of the city from a unique vantage point, making them the ideal introduction to your trip.

Piazza San Marco

Piazza San Marco, or St. Mark’s Square, is perhaps the place that best showcases the grandeur of Venice. This magnificent square is surrounded by three of the city’s oldest and most important sights: St. Mark’s Basilica, established in the first century to house the relics of Saint Mark the Evangelist; the 15th century clock tower; and the Doge’s palace, formerly the political seat of power in Venice.

Galleria dell’Accademia

For artistic students, school tours to Venice are a real treat; this is a city bursting with incredible works, left over the centuries by artists who were inspired by its spectacular beauty. Instead of being confined solely to museums, many works by the city’s greatest painters and sculptors can be found in its churches – but the museums that do exist are spectacular collections of work, particularly in the Gallerie dell’Accademia

Rialto Bridge

The Rialto district is the financial heart of Venice, and has been since the 11th century when it became the site of the city’s main market, leading to the need for a permanent bridge to access the area on the bank of the Grand Canal. The original wooden bridge needed constant maintenance, and was replaced by the stone Rialto Bridge in 1588. It is thus the oldest existing bridge spanning the canal, as well as being one of the city’s most beloved architectural gems.

Museo Vetro

Among the areas of Venice that can be visited on school tours, there are some that stand out for their history – chief among them is Murano, one of the oldest glassmaking communities in Europe. The exquisite glass produced in Venice has long been one of its most valuable products, and the history of this wonderful art can be discovered at the Museo Vetro, or Glass Museum, housed in an ancient palace on Murano island. 

Angela Bowden works for STS (School Travel Service), the UK's largest educational travel company, providing tours for secondary schools, primary schools and colleges. School tours with STS can encompass a focus on art/design, foreign languages, history, science/nature, geography and more, to worldwide destinations.