Travel Vacation in Hawaii by Bus

When it comes to making travel arrangements in Hawaii your best bet would be to use a booking service that will enable you to travel easily and effectively in. I have managed to find such a company that will not only give you peace of mind when booking through them, but many package options to meet all your needs, whether financially or wanting to be treated like a celebrity.

The travel vacation packages that I am recommending you look at are all six days long and available on a daily basis. This includes five night’s accommodation, round-trip airport transfers, and sightseeing transportation to Pearl Harbor and Honolulu City tour, or Maui, or big Island tour. This and more is available to you.

Each tour bus has a level 2 semi-guided tour service which will help you identify all major tourist attractions and anything in between that you would like to know. It truly does make sense for you to be making use of a service like this as it is incredibly easy to travel anywhere by bus. This is definitely the most cost-effective way to travel.

The only other thing that you would need to purchase to make use of the travel vacation package deal in Hawaii would be an airline ticket to get there. It is also recommended that you try to book in advance as it will enable you to get the best price available to you for your airline ticket, and your travel vacation package in Hawaii. The best part of this travel vacation package is really not the planning of it, but just the enjoyment and experience of it all. It really does make it easier when all your travel arrangements and everything in between are all ready organized ahead of time.

Looking for packages online will ensure your needs and expectations traveling in Hawaii are met. I highly recommend that you sign a service that will offer you complete peace of mind when booking. It also makes sense that you find out how reputable a company really is, before you book, and also do a bit of homework by seeing what previous travelers that have made use of this type of service have to say about this company.

How To Start Your Own Tour and Travel Promotion Business

You can start your own business as a tour & travel promoter and work for yourself. There are lots of travel, cruise, sight seeing tour buses, and more, that could use your help, by helping them get new, and more customers. You can network with as many travel, cruise, tour bus, sight seeing companies and more, as much as you want to. You can contact each company and offer your services, and ask for a special deep discount for any, and all travelers you send to them.

If a travel company is selling a 15-day safari vacation for $3,900 for example, and you can get them to give it to you for $2,900, you can pocket $1,000 on just one transaction. So it would be good to have a good system to check with lots of companies and always get the best price. You could then also let each company know you are buying and selling vacations, and if someone has a last minute request, they could call you. You might be able to make up a nice little niche market for yourself.

You can contact casino’s, outlet shopping centers, theme parks, tourist attractions, and more. Ask for a special deal if you book a certain amount of people. You will never know what kind of deal you can get if you don’t ask, they can only say no. You could offer tickets to an event, for the same price the event is selling them for. As long as you have a nice discount, and you should be able to sell your tickets, and make a profit. If you can bring customers to a casino, they usually will give you a discount, as long as the customers come into the casino and stay for a certain amount of time, so the casinos have a change to recoup some of their money, by the customers playing in their casino.

You can work out any deal, as there is no rule on how much money you can make, if you put your mind to it and come up with some pretty neat ideas, somebody has not thought of yet. You can set up your own weekend getaways for couples, or plan an event just for singles, or a cruise for senior citizens. This is a business a person could thrive in, if they enjoy their work and have fun doing it too.

Las Vegas Grand Canyon Bus Tours During St Patrick’s Day Holiday

Are you looking for a fun and different way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year? You should consider taking a bus tour of the Grand Canyon, because it’s hard to find something more exciting and memorable than that. Combine your tour with a getaway to Vegas, where the bus tours depart, and you’ll have a trip filled with fun and memories. These bus tours fill up fast, so you’ll want to book yours in advance to secure your seats. Here’s a quick look at what the bus tours entail.

Vegas Bus Tours To The Canyon

The buses operate daily, and they leave once a day around 7am. These tours take most of the day, so you won’t get back until your hotel until about 9pm.

Vegas is situated about 125 miles from the West Rim, and it takes the tour bus around 2.5 hours to get there. You can book a bus tour from Vegas to the South Rim too, but the bus ride there takes around 5 1/2 hours.

Either rim is a good choice because both of them have many stunning views. The South Rim is noted for its beautiful scenery and remote wilderness areas. The West Rim, on the other hand, has more adventure activities and attractions, so it’s the best choice if you’re interested in tourist activities.

The Skywalk Is On The West Rim

The Skywalk is at the West Rim, and it is a popular attraction you’ll want to see when you go to the Canyon. Did you ever wish you could float on air? That’s how you’ll feel when you stand on the Skywalk and peer down 4000 feet to the bottom of the Canyon. The attraction is one of the most popular at the West Rim because standing on glass that’s suspended over the Canyon is an exhilarating experience. You can also upgrade your bus tour to include a helicopter tour of the Canyon that flies over the area or lands down on the Canyon floor by the river where you can take a scenic boat ride.

Exploring The South Rim Of The Canyon

There are several walking trails at the South Rim for you to explore, and there are some fantastic lookout points too, in addition, you can visit the Grand Canyon Village. The Village is a great place to learn about the Canyon and to shop for unique gifts and souvenirs. Don’t miss Yaki and Yavapai Points if you want to see some beautiful views of the Canyon.

You Can Book A Deluxe Tour

Bus tours are the most affordable tours you can take of the Canyon, and they come in two types. The basic tour and the deluxe upgrade. The basic tours utilize large buses that carry 50 or so people each trip. The basic tour is a good choice if you want the most affordable option or if you need to buy seats for a large group of people.

Sprinter vans are used on the deluxe tours, and they have comfortable Captain seats that carry 10 passengers. Fewer people on the tour means you’ll have a voice in when and where the van stops, plus your ride will be more comfortable. It is worth the extra cost to book a deluxe tour if you can.

The buses that depart from Vegas follow a route that goes by the Hoover Dam, and you’ll make a quick stop there so you can get a good look at the massive feat of engineering and take some amazing photos. If you’d like to get a closer look at the Hoover Dam, you can book another tour on a different day and spend more time there.

Final Thoughts

Once you’ve decided to take a bus tour, be sure to book it online. Booking online gives you access to the best deals and it makes it convenient to buy your tour early. You should try to buy your tour at least two weeks ahead of time to make sure seats are still available for the tour you want.

You’ll enjoy a trip to the Canyon no matter what time of year you go. But St. Patrick’s Day is the ideal time since the weather is still cool and it’s the perfect time for adventure and good times. If you’ll be visiting Vegas, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to take an affordable bus tour of one of America’s most famous national parks.

Bus Travel in the U.S. – An Overview for Visitors

Bus travel takes a different role in the car-driven culture of the United States than it does in most countries. Because the area of the US is so vast, flying is often the most attractive transportation option for traveling between cities and can be priced quite competitively when factoring in time and convenience. For shorter distances driving is usually the first choice for US domestic travelers. However, for routes that are under five or six hours, the bus is almost always the most economical and often the most convenient form of travel. Furthermore, as Amtrak (the national rail service) continues to see cuts in government funding, bus service is often the only ground transportation option for many destinations. Visitors who are planning to stick to major cities will most likely find having a car to be inconvenient, expensive, and unnecessary. Therefore, taking the bus between destinations is a great option.

Many Americans view traveling by bus with some trepidation, and, whether deserved or not, bus service in the US often has the reputation of being rather basic. In truth, the level of service varies greatly among bus carriers. Some carriers, like LuxBus in California or Transfloridian in Florida, offer deluxe buses and feature services that are rarely even found on airlines today, such as on-board entertainment and complimentary food and beverage service. Still, standard bus service is generally more on the budget level and offers few amenities. Food options are more likely to be a ten minute stop at a roadside fast food restaurant than on-board meal service.

The bus industry in the United States is dominated by Greyhound, which is the only remaining nationwide bus carrier. Several other companies such as Trailways and Coach USA are made up of independently owned bus companies that share marketing functions and branding. In addition there are several strong regional players in the bus industry. While these companies compete with Greyhound, they often end up sharing service on routes that do not have enough traffic to sustain two carriers. This is similar to “code sharing” in the airline industry.

The most recent development in the U.S. bus industry has been the “Chinatown bus” phenomenon. Several years ago a few enterprising business people in New York’s Chinatown started running buses from Chinatown in NY to Chinatown in Boston, charging less than half of what traditional bus companies did and a fraction of what it cost to take the train or fly. They targeted Asian immigrants who wanted to shop or visit relatives and needed inexpensive and convenient transportation. Although the buses were modern and comfortable, the service was bare bones–no advertising, customer service, or bus stations. Customers simply went to the bus stop, waited for the bus, and paid the driver upon boarding. For those willing to do without frills, these companies offered virtually the same service as Greyhound at a substantially lower price. Before long, word spread about the service and all kinds of travelers started using these bus lines. They became especially popular with students, budget travelers, and people for whom the service was simply more convenient.

Soon more bus companies duplicated this model and started offering service in other markets. Now you can find this type of bus service in Philadelphia, Virginia, Washington DC, Los Angeles and San Francisco. At this point the term “Chinatown bus” is used more loosely to describe this sort of low-cost/low-frills service. Many, if not most, of the company’s do not have Chinatown as there main location and may not cater to the immigrant population at all. When these companies first started operating, concerns were raised about safety standards. There is still controversy within the industry about whether these low-cost bus companies are complying with the same regulations as the traditional companies. Nonetheless, all bus companies operating in the U.S. must undergo the same inspection standards and must comply with the same rules.

Finding information about scheduled bus service is not always easy for visitors to the US. Historically bus companies have sold tickets at on-site ticket booths. Many now sell through their own websites as well. Whereas for plane travel there are many online booking sites that allow travelers to compare different carriers, it is more difficult to find route information for bus service.

Overall, the bus is a great option for visitors to the US who are looking for transportation between major US cities. For most cities, a car is not necessary and will be inconvenient and expensive. In metropolitan areas there are more choices for bus service today than at any time in the recent past. Particularly for shorter distances, it is the best way to go for the budget minded traveler.

Want to Tour the US for Less? Head to Chinatown

Bargain hunters don’t only go to Chinatown for knock off designer handbags, they also look there to find the best prices on bus tours of America. Travelers in east and west coast US cities have come to love the “Chinatown Bus” for their no-frills service and rock bottom prices. However, the bargains do not stop there. If you want to find the cheapest way to see the most popular tourist attractions in the US, try a Chinatown tour operator.

Just as Chinatown bus service began by catering to the recent immigrant community, for years these tour operators have targeting their tours only to the Chinese speaking community. However, more recently they have been discovered by the broader market and are increasingly popular for visitors to the US and residents alike.

Sayaka Singh who lives in New York said that any time she has family visiting from India they inevitably want to take a trip to Niagara Falls. She discovered several Chinatown tour companies online and has since sent many family members to the Falls with them. She said, “You can’t beat it, for less than a hundred dollars they get transportation in a nice motorcoach, hotel accommodations, a tour of the Falls area, and several other stops along the way. They loved it.” Several of her relatives went on to take a tour to Washington DC as well.

What to Expect

These are definitely budget tours, but the value they deliver is truly unbeatable. Hotels are usually 2-star level but they tend to be national chains and are quite adequate. Plan on something equivalent to a Travelodge, however many times the hotel quality is higher. Hotels are commonly not situated in the downtown core of the city or right near an attraction.

In a style typical of tours throughout Asia, the tour itinerary is usually quite full. The pace of these tours is very rapid. You will see as many attractions as possible but will not stay at any one attraction for very long. This can be frustrating for people who like to linger or have time to explore. It is perfect for travelers who want to see a lot in a short period of time.

People from all over the world go on these tours and it is impossible to predict the demographic makeup of a group. However, do not expect an “all-American” crowd. You should expect multilingual tour guide and many non-English speakers on the tour. Many people cite the mix of people as their favorite aspect of the tours (“I felt like I was part of a UN delegation, it was great”. The tour guide will not give an in-depth narrated tour and will speak in both Chinese and English. The tour guide will also arrange for the group to stop for meals. This is usually simple fare such as a rest stop food court or a Chinese restaurant.

How do they do it?

$99 for a 3-day tour from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon? $85 for a 2-day tour from NYC to Washington DC, Baltimore, and Philadelphia? It is hard to fathom how they can offer such low fares.

These companies run very streamlined operations and work on slim margins. The key to their model is that the tour buses are full. They tend to operate tours only to the most popular destinations (ie. Grand Canyon, San Francisco, Niagara Falls, Washington DC), and they sometimes cancel a tour if not enough people book it. Often these tour companies use charter buses and therefore do not have the expense of maintaining and operating a fleet of buses, something that may not really be their area of expertise.

Since the tour companies run tours on a regular schedule, they are able to negotiate very good room rates with hotels. Therefore they can still offer low rates even during a busy time of year. They also save money by paying their tour guides very little. Customers are expected to tip the tour guides and this really their main source of compensation.

What exactly is included?

All tours include hotel, tour guide and transportation. Most include entrance fees to any national parks when applicable. Some also include admission to attractions. Read the tour details carefully or inquire before you book if you are not sure. Optional tours can add to the cost of your tour and you should budget accordingly. Usually the tour guide will organize the optional tours for the group and you will pay the guide directly.

How do I find these tours?

Almost any city that has a sizable Asian population will most likely have a tour operator specializing in multi-day budget tours. New York, Boston, San Francisco, Vancouver, and Los Angeles have dozens of tour operators. Most likely they will not advertise in the same places that traditional tour companies do. Your best bet is to look online.

These tours are a terrific option for travelers who want to see some of America’s most beloved sights but do not have a lot of time and want a great value. For far less than you would pay if you went on your own, you can sit back and have someone else make all the arrangements for you. As an added bonus you will also get to experience a great diversity of cultures along the way.

Chinatown Bus Lines are a Budget Traveler’s Dream

A Guide to the Chinatown Bus

The word is out–the cheapest way to get from one major U.S. city to another is on the “Chinatown bus”. In recent years this has become transportation option of choice for budget travelers in New York, Washington DC, and Boston, and more recently on the West Coast. Students, backpackers, and an array of other savvy travelers have long loved the rock bottom prices that these bus companies offer. Despite the popularity of these bus lines it can still be difficult to find information on Chinatown bus service.
What exactly is a “Chinatown Bus”? Read on and you will have the inside track on this great budget travel option.

Chinatown Bus history

The Chinatown bus phenomenon began in the late 1990s when an entrepreneur in New York’s Chinatown started running daily bus service from Chinatown in New York to Chinatown in Boston. The service was aimed at Asian immigrants who wanted to shop or visit relatives in either city and needed cheap and convenient transportation. The service was bare bones–no advertising, customer service, or bus stations. Customers simply went to the bus stop, waited for the bus (or van), and paid the driver upon boarding. For those willing to do without frills, they offered virtually the same service as traditional bus companies at a substantially lower price. Before long, the word spread and all kinds of people started using the service. It became especially popular with students, budget travelers, or people for whom the service was simply more convenient.

Soon more bus companies duplicated this model and started offering service in other cities. Now you can find this type of bus service in Philadelphia, Virginia, Baltimore Washington DC, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Francisco. At this point the term “Chinatown bus” is used more loosely to describe this sort of low-cost/low-frills service. Many, if not most, of the companies do not have Chinatown as their main location and may not cater to the immigrant population at all. These operators are also sometimes referred to as “curbside” operators.

How can tickets be so cheap?

$15 between New York to Boston? $25 from Las Vegas to Los Angeles? It seems hard to fathom. Chinatown bus companies are able to keep prices low because they operate in a fundamentally different way from traditional carriers. Foremost, the service is very basic. There is little in the way of customer service or amenities. Most of these operators do not have formal stations, picking up passengers at bus stops instead. They eschew traditional advertising in favor of word of mouth. Further, many of the operators play a very hands-on role in the operation–you will not see idle executives at a small independent bus company. Finally, these operators make sure they fill their buses. That is why Chinatown bus operators usually only operate on heavily trafficked routes. Indeed some companies only run buses at peak times.

Are they safe?

When these companies first started operating, concerns were raised about safety standards. There is still controversy within the bus industry about whether these newcomers are complying with the same regulations as the traditional companies. However, a task force set up by the Federal government to look at safety issues found that Chinatown bus companies did not perform better or worse than other types of bus companies (ie. charter, tour buses). All bus companies operating in the U.S. must undergo the same inspection standards and must comply with the same rules. Realistically there is probably a range of quality among Chinatown bus carriers. Some are fly-by-night operators trying to make a fast buck, while others are legitimate entrepreneurs who plan to grow and operate a long term business.

What you should expect

No frills service–the driver may be the ticket collector; there will not be a lot of customer service.
Comfortable buses. Despite the low fares buses are usually quite nice. Most buses are comparable to Greyhound and many are actually more deluxe.
Communication challenges. Drivers are legally required to speak enough English to help passengers in the case of emergency. In reality this is often adhered to rather loosely. At the very least, expect your driver to have an accent.
Possible delays. Many of these bus routes are on highly congested roads. When the roads are busy, expect delays.
Rest stops. Buses will have a lavatory on board but there is usually a 10 or 15 minute bathroom break on trips over 4 hours. Don’t be late returning to the bus, the driver will not count heads before leaving at the appointed time.
Full buses. Buses definitely sell out at peak times (weekends and evenings). Book ahead or get there early if you want secure a seat.
Plastic Bags. An odd little quirk on Chinatown buses is that every aisle seat usually has a plastic grocery bag tied to the arm. I guess they find this is the best way to keep the buses clean.

How do I find the Chinatown Bus?

Again, “Chinatown bus” is a term used to describe a type of operator and not an individual bus company. Many unrelated bus companies fall into this category. Since most Chinatown buses do not spend money on advertising it can be difficult to find out details about schedules and bus stop locations. Many of the carriers are becoming savvier about the Internet and quite a few have websites with information. Usually an Internet search will yield links to bus service to your destination. There are also several directories, such as chinatown-bus.org that include links for most Chinatown bus companies and the author’s employer, GotoBus.com, is a centralized booking site that has schedules and sells tickets online for most Chinatown bus companies.

The Chinatown bus is not for everyone. If you want an orderly system with American style customer service, you should probably stick to traditional carriers. However, if you know what to expect and come prepared with a sense of adventure and humor, you should enjoy the trip just fine. You will also enjoy the money you save!

The Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA

Perhaps the world’s most breathtaking natural wonder – the Grand Canyon is a geological masterpiece. The Grand Canyon is a gorge carved out in the Arizona landscape which is 277 miles long and between 4 to 18 miles wide. Viewing this mighty landscape is an unforgettable experience especially at sun rise. In the early light the area looks dull and plain but as the sun reaches higher in the sky it is then that you see the canyon’s natural beauty. First you get a view of the farthest ridge near the horizon and then the tallest peaks of rock deep within the canyon’s barren landscape. More details become apparent as the sun rises higher. Rock formations suddenly become obvious and the many perilous cliffs within the canyon cast long dark shadows over the canyons surface.

It is when you notice more familiar sightings such as the geese flying overhead that the shear scale of the canyon becomes clear. The far away ridge is further than first thought 15km away to be precise and that seemingly tiny stream you are peering down upon is the great Colorado river over 1500 meters below your feet. The Grand Canyon is so massive it is impossible to take it all in at once. Therefore it is best to take in the views from the numerous look out posts which are scattered along the rim of the canyon and see the how the evolving daylight can alter the colour of the entire view. Hopi point is the best of these posts, here you can see both ways along the canyon taking in the extravagant landscape as it changes colour throughout the day.

For the more adventurous and energetic among you there are numerous trails down into the canyon. Many of the trails involve camping as they can take a couple of days but there are shorter trails such as the Bright Angel Trail wherein you can hike down and back up again in a day provided you begin your hike early in the day. Be warned though even for this shorter trail park authorities recommend you break your journey at Indian Garden campsite and spread your hike over two days. It can take twice as long to hike back up the canyon and it is an arduous journey. If it is too much for you, you can hire a mule to aid you but it is a rather rough ride. This hike gives you a real idea of the shear size of the canyon; you soon realize that landmarks which looked relatively close from above take literally hours to reach as the walls of canyon reach unimaginable heights as you descend downwards.

Over a million people a year come to look at this natural phenomenon and its no wonder why. I would advise you to visit in autumn or spring to avoid the worst of the crowds. However the weather will be very cold at night and in the mornings but on the plus side the air is clearer and the views are arguably even better at these times of year. The weather behaves rather oddly in this place due to the exposed landlocked nature of the area with sudden and rapid changes in the weather from day to day. Today could be hot and dry but tomorrow could bring about a freezing blizzard. There is also huge variations in temperature throughout the course of the day if you choose to hike, for instance you could easily walk through snow at the top and hot sunshine at the bottom during the same day due to the shear depth of the canyon.

Flaggstaff is the nearest airport to the Grand Canyon just a few hours drive from the south rim. Get Cheap Flights to Las Vegas provides direct flight services to the canyon to the Grand Canyon airport at Tusayan if you fancy having some fun at the city of sin beforehand. Handily there is a free bus service around the park but I would recommend hiring your own car as it gives you more freedom to explore. There is a full range of accommodation at Grand Canyon village but as the same company owns all the accommodation there is no competition and prices can be steep. The most preferred accommodation is at El Tovar Lodge which is located conveniently beside the rim but book early as it is very popular with other tourists.

To find tours and travel to the US, visit USA Holiday for info and ideas.

Touring Europe? You Should Take The Train!

When travelling I prefer not to drive if I can avoid doing so. I find nothing relaxing about driving, especially in countries where I’m not able to understand the road signs. Whenever possible, I take the train.

Train travel throughout Europe and the UK is fast, convenient and affordable. I’ve lived in Europe for over 10 years, but have been a tourist visiting European destinations for decades. I first started taking the train because of the novelty. However, I quickly discovered that, unlike Canada and the USA, trains in Europe service virtually every city, town and village, are inexpensive, and operate on time tables no form of North American transportation can manage. My conversion to a fanatical train passenger came about because travelling by rail allowed me to relax, see the sights, meet other passengers, and disembark whenever, and wherever I wanted. Many times I was told by fellow passengers of interesting architecture, landmarks, attractions or events that I decided right then and there to take in. I left the train, spent time at whatever destination I was recommended, and when I was done I boarded another train to resume my travels. Some of my most memorable travel experiences resulted from such spontaneous stops. Of course, when I travel I make sure I do not have someone else dictating where I’ll visit, when I’ll do so, nor where I’ll stay while there. In all my years travelling I took one packaged tour. It was to Rome, and I had to leave long before I wanted to.

Why I Take The Train To Tour Europe?

Rail travel is convenient throughout Europe, with subways and buses picking up or dropping off rail passengers. Also, most international airports are serviced by trains so you can start your train travel immediately upon arrival.

Train travel in Europe is ideal for both personal or business travel. Many times I have been en route to a conference, convention, trade show, or meeting and used my time aboard the train to review documents, go over a presentation, or review agendas. When travelling as a member of a team rail transportation provides the perfect environment for holding round table or brain storming sessions as well. Also, when it comes to getting potential customers in a controlled environment nothing beats a compartment on a train. I was once representing a company at a trade show in Essen, Germany, and had the opportunity to travel with some of the local dealers that would be manning the booth at the trade show. By the time we arrived in Essen I had assisted one dealer with a US$42,000 sale we closed while en route, and I managed to facilitate a trade of inventories between two others so each ended up with product more suited to their markets. Nowhere, other than maybe a golf course, can someone have a captured audience of business colleagues than aboard an intercity train.

Booking rail travel couldn’t be easier now, thanks to the Internet. Pretty much every European railway has an online presence that offers scheduling, trip coordination, and ticket purchasing. No matter all you need is to book yourself a point A to B ticket, or organize ticketing and seating reservations for a group sightseeing tour, it can be done quickly and easily online.

Many ticket purchasing websites allow you to book airline tickets, car rentals, rail travel, and hotel accommodations all at once. A well planned trip can be especially important for group travel, or for corporate travel arrangements. Discount on rail fares are even available for groups of more than ten.

Eurostar, officially named Eurostar International Limited, or EIL, is a high-speed railway service connecting London with Paris and Brussels, traversing the Channel Tunnel connecting the UK and France. The service is operated by eighteen-coach trains which travel at 300 kilometers per hour on a network of high speed rail lines. Eurostar’s rail service offers fast check in for the short trips between London and Paris or Brussels and allows you to travel in high speed comfort between the UK and the European continent.

Eurail, officially Eurail Group G.I.E., but often called Eurorail, is a Netherlands based company registered in Luxembourg, and is owned by a group of European rail lines and shipping companies. The company sells passes and tickets for European railroads. The company offers two principal products, the Eurail Pass, formerly the “Europass”, but informally called the “Eurorail Pass”, and the InterRail Pass. However, InterRail passes are only available to European residents.

Eurail passes available to non-European residents permit travel through two, to as many as five, bordering countries. Discounted passes for groups of up to five people travelling together, or for those under 26 are available. Also available are passes that provide unlimited travel for a fixed period, and passes which provide a fixed number of days of travel in a longer period.

Train travellers, even those using Eurostar and Eurail, are able to disembark then board trains to continue their journey. It’s advisable to plan major stops so that seat reservations can be coordinated, especially if each leg of a journey is long. However, if you don’t mind taking your chances by booking seats just prior to boarding and maybe having to wait a bit for a vacancy, visiting dozens of cities while en route is entirely possible.

The only catch to constantly getting off and again boarding trains is that departing passengers must take their luggage with them. I prefer to travel light, taking only one or two pieces of luggage, This way, if I choose to stop, I can do so easily because I am likely to find an available luggage locker.

Most trains stations in the major urban centres have ample self store luggage lockers, or secure luggage storage facilities. However, smaller stations tend to have few storage lockers and never have manned luggage storage facilities. To be able to conveniently store luggage and then collecting it just prior to departure makes stopping somewhere for a few hours of sightseeing simple, so the fewer bags needing to be stored the better.

This traveller learned quickly to take advantage of rail freight when travelling long distances with anything more than a small backpack or shoulder bag. I carry the necessities with me in something not much larger than a school book backpack and ship larger pieces of luggage as freight to be collected at my destination. Freight items are stored securely, and the per diem cost of storage is far less than it would be to plug coins into self storage lockers or pay to have it stored in manned facilities.

I once travelled from Amsterdam to Rome, which I stretched into three weeks of travel. I didn’t count the number of times I was on and off trains before I reached my destination, but it was always at least twice each day, and often three times. In fact, all I did was take night trains to continue my journey as I slept, and to use the on-board facilities wash up each morning. I’d then jump off for breakfast at the first stop that looked interesting.

European train travel is ideal for short trips, as well as longer trips lasting a number of days. Sleeper cars are available on many train routes, allowing for a comfortable night’s sleep. Long distance train services in Europe generally offer first class services that include more comfortable seating, tables, in car meal service and other amenities.

Rail travel is actually more convenient than air travel when travelling throughout Europe. Check in times to board trains that then travel at high speeds between European city centres will often translate into a shorter commute than flying. Travelling by air requires driving to airports where travellers must then queue up to purchase tickets, collect boarding passes, and clear security checks. Then, once at your destination, more time is needed to collect luggage, clear customs and immigrations, then usually travel by car, bus, taxi or train to the city centre. Also, trains in Europe are rarely ever delayed, let alone cancelled. Air travel in Europe is much more dependable than elsewhere, but is nowhere near as reliable as trains.

Train passengers are generally allowed three pieces of luggage, two larger items and a smaller piece of hand luggage. Excess luggage may be carried for an extra cost, as can some larger items. Check in for rail travellers is generally quick and usually takes less than 30 minutes. Online booking of tickets and seat reservations, when available, can reduce check in times even further.

Steel Vs Aluminum For a Touring Bike

One of the current debates about touring bikes is whether an aluminum or steel frame is a better choice. In the end, it comes down to personal choice. Aluminum is more rigid, which some people prefer. Steel flexes, which leads to a more comfortable ride for many.

However – we also need to consider ease of repair should something happen to your bike. Welding aluminum requires specialized equipment that you will most likely only find in large cities. Steel is more easily repaired and you should be able to find someone who can weld your bike in any small town throughout the world.

Some people say this is all a moot point – when was the last time you had your bike welded anyway? The chances of something happening to your bike that would require welding are very small. One argument is that you will not be able to find someone to properly weld a frame back together in any case. Should your frame completely break in two, you will need a new frame, so it makes no difference if you are riding a steel or aluminum bike.

A more likely scenario is that something small will happen to your bike. Perhaps you’ll break a braze-on or some other small, critical part. If that happens, you could be stranded with an aluminum bike, but will be able to get a steel bike repaired quite easily.

When I was riding in India many years ago I was loading my bike on a bus when I broke a braze-on that held my brake cable in place. As luck would have it, I was riding a steel bike and was able to find a welder in the tiny town we happened to be in. That weld is still holding even today. Had my bike been aluminum, I’m not sure what would have happened – it could have been the end of the tour for me.

So we come back to the original question: which is better for touring? If you plan to ride around the USA where you have an easy out, it makes absolutely no difference whatsoever. Ride whatever you feel most comfortable on. If you plan to ride around the world, I would recommend going with steel just for the off chance that you break a braze-on or other small part. If your entire frame fails, get a new one sent out.

Superpower of the World – Touring the USA Affordably

New York is the most popular destination among foreign tourists, followed by Disney World in Orlando. Both of these cities are particularly well equipped for visitors and offer a truly satisfying tourist experience. Natural wonders like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Park are also top attractions as they showcase some of America’s most resplendent natural endowments. Bustling, cosmopolitan cities such as Washington DC, Las Vegas and Los Angeles are Meccas for the corporate, retail or leisure travellers.

Visitors to Las Vegas are urged to explore the mysterious Grand Canyon in all of its natural splendour. Helicopter tours over the top of this natural wonder are a firm favourite, and need to be booked in advance to secure a place. The Grand Canyon All American Helicopter Tours’ air-conditioned helicopters with commentary are the ideal way to enjoy a bird’s eye of the West Rim, Lake Las Vegas, Lake Mead and Hoover Dam. The entire tour lasts approximately 3.5 hours and includes a bottle of champagne enjoyed under a Native American Ramada nearly 1000 metres below the rim. To end off an exquisite flight and humbling champagne, the helicopter passes over the bright lights of the Las Vegas Strip, after which a limousine will transport guests back to their hotels. A maximum of 6 people can be accommodated in the helicopter. A total of three to four flips are offered per day, depending on the season. Lunch is included.

The Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam Day Trip is another fantastic way to enjoy the magnificent crevices, valley and peaks of the area. This tour allows visitors a rewarding four hours in the canyon with the option of taking a Skywalk. This involves the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the Grand Canyon with a 365-degree uninterrupted view from this elevated, glass-bottomed pier that extends off the edge of the Canyon. Hoover Dam enjoys optimal viewing from the Arizona Lookout Point, from which visitors are able to take photographs for a full 20 minutes. This is followed by a walk through the Joshua Tree Forest and, from here, to the West Rim of the Canyon.

For visitors to New York, the Niagara Falls Day Trip by Air is an awesome way to see the majestic falls from both the America and Canadian sides. The qualified guide will make this exciting trip even more informative. Transfers to and from your hotel are available and passports are essential. Depending on the season, visitors will either be taken on the Maid of the Mist boat at the falls (May to October) or will visit the Journeying Behind the Falls (November to April). Both of these are humbling experiences as the thundering water churns out an icy mist. Bring your raincoats! The entire trip takes about 14 hours (including flights and the bus trip).

When eating out in the United States of America, 15% is an acceptable tip. For porters, $1 per bag is the norm. As with any other destination in the world, travellers are advised to be aware of their surroundings, to minimise the amount of valuable photographic and/or other equipment carried on your person, and to avoid certain areas at certain hours (ask your hotel for advice regarding this).