|An amazing view of the Acropolis from the ruins of the Temple of Zeus|
The “I Amsterdam” Pass
When travelling in Amsterdam, before you even leave the airport, stop in at the Visitor Information office and buy the “I Amsterdam” city card. There are different packages depending on how long you are visiting with lots of tips and savings.
The line ups at most attractions are very long but you are able to be fast tracked and go into a completely separate line if you have the pass. There is free public transportation as long as you swipe your pass upon entering and leaving the transit bus. We rode the bus from the airport right near to our hotel for free.
We received a free canal boat tour with the pass, there are many discounts on food and other things, and we did get to tour the unbelievable Van Gogh Museum for free as well. There was an extremely long wait outside of the museum but when they saw we had the city card, we walked right in!
The Return Ticket gives the “I Amsterdam” Pass: four tickets out of five.
I’ve travelled to over 9 countries & 3 of the 7 continents so far… Let’s see — Bangkok to Bath — Athens to Amsterdam to name a few… and I don’t plan on slowing down any time soon!
And I have over 37,564 readers on tripadvisor!
If you have any suggestions, comments, or if you’d like to tell me how a post helped you – please don’t hesitate to drop me a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org or read my contributions on tripadvisor.ca/members/ChrisFranklin
|Paris & Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas, Nevada|
|The pool at the Palazzo Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada|
The Return Ticket gives Las Vegas, Nevada: four tickets out of five
This is the story of how a group of blue-collar boys from the wrong side of the tracks became one of the biggest American pop music sensations of all time, Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons. They wrote their own songs, invented their own sounds and sold 175 million records worldwide.
The theatre itself was very nice and our seats were fourth row! The music and generally the whole production of this show were A-1! I loved it, the entire audience was singing and dancing and I’d see it again in a heartbeat! Buy the CD on your way out in the gift store!
The Return Ticket gives the Jersey Boys: five tickets out of five
|The Beach at Mandalay Bay Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada|
|My amazing husband & travel companion, Andrew (&me!) atop the Eiffel Tower, Las Vegas, Nevada|
|Gordon Ramsay’s newest restaurant in Las Vegas, called “steak”… have to try this place next trip|
|one view of the Harley Davidson Cafe, Las Vegas, Nevada|
|Close up of the massive Harley motorcycle crashing through the Harley Davidson Cafe, Las Vegas, Nevada|
|The roller coaster at the New York New York Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada|
|The Brooklyn Bridge at the New York New York Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada|
|The whole picture of the New York New York Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada|
|One of the pools at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada|
|THE hotel, part of the Mandalay Bay Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada|
|The Gondola at the Venetian Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada|
|The view from the Eiffel Tower tour #1, Las Vegas, Nevada|
|The view from the Eiffel Tower tour #2, Las Vegas, Nevada|
|We were surprised in our room at the AVA hotel, Athens, Greece with this bottle of bubbly! The service & welcome was unbelievable!|
|The Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece… a must visit; the recovered treasures are amazing.|
|Our room at the AVA Hotel in Athens, Greece. Spotless, modern, and welcoming.|
|The Harbour in a quaint village called St. Mawes in Cornwall, England|
|Waterways Houseboats on the Shuswap, B.C., Canada|
|My amazing travel companion, my husband Andrew, and I at the Acropolis overlooking Athens, Greece
In Greece, there were many a store just like this one with quality purses, shoes, art pieces – you name it!
|The view from our room at the Chatrium Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand
(the famous Chao Phraya River)
|A temple in Bangkok|
|Famous dance of the warrior monkeys in Bangkok, Thailand|
|The Big Buddha – Phuket, Thailand(a very hot & bright day!)|
Chatrium Hotel Riverside – Bangkok, Thailand
This was a lovely stay for sure, our view of the famous Chao Phraya River was spectacular. This hotel was immaculate, quiet and the service was outstanding. When we arrived it was like we were royalty, they whisked away our luggage and a lovely gentleman named Chatchawan took us on a tour of the hotel.
We were shown the amazing office space where we could use top of the line computers and the internet for free, enjoy cocktails and canapes each evening and then our spacious room. He was very helpful and full of suggestions for us. Breakfast was included and the buffet was unreal.. anything you could want for breakfast or you could order a la carte. There is patio dining if you wish.
There’s a free small ferry that would take you down the river and back to sightsee. Unfortunately we did not get to take advantage of the beautiful pool, as we were with a Rotary Convention so had not a minute of free time, but it did look lovely.
The hotel room was spacious with plenty of space for clothing to be stored, a proper iron and ironing board; the washroom was large and well appointed; room service was quick and delicious. I would highly recommend a stay here and do hope to go back one day.
Another note: the Chatrium will help you to book a reputable dinner cruise along the Chao Phraya River as we did and the temples etc were a lit up beautifully. They serve a buffet dinner, ours was excellent, and there is entertainment. Well worth it, especially as we had taken video and to know you’ve been on this famous working waterway is priceless.
The Return Ticket gives the Chatrium Hotel Riverside, Bangkok: five tickets out of five.
|On a whale watching trip in Victoria, British Columbia; cold but a blast!|
The Amethyst Inn
Our experience on Virgin Airlines
We were so excited to try out Virgin Airlines from Vancouver to England as it is such a long trip, and as per the commercials, Richard Branson himself speaks to the luxury of his airline. However, our first experience of Virgin was less than impressive. The rows were so close together we could barely squeeze into our seats. Neither my husband or myself are large people, so can’t imagine what a taller or broader traveller would experience.
I wanted to read my tablet yet there was no space between myself and the seat ahead of me; THEN the gentleman traveller in front let his seat back. . . I was literally staring at the back of his head directly in front of my face until our first meal arrived. Our seats would not recline at all (keeping in mind this is an 8.5 hour flight) and try as we might to stretch or cross our legs, there was no way to do that. We were seated in the centre section and as we looked at the seats across the aisle from us (window seats) we realized the rows were further apart than ours…
The staff was kind and we did receive a traveller kit with mini toothbrush, toothpaste and a sleep mask. But it certainly did not make up for our discomfort.
Chances are that we would NOT choose to fly Virgin again.
The Return Ticket gives Virgin Airlines: One ticket out of five
A good suitcase should last about 10 years, and should have a guarantee for parts such as zippers, wheels and handles. Remember, you get what you pay for! When luggage is more expensive they should be well designed and have quality components.
It all starts with size… save up… buy the set, you’ll never be sorry. Each trip is different and may require a bigger(or smaller) suitcase than the last… now you’ll have that choice. Be sure to grab the carry on duffle or bag that matches too as you can easily keep everything for the actual flight right under the seat ahead of you and not have to get out of your seat to take down the carry on suitcase from the overhead. On a long trip you’ll easily find your luggage because it all matches. I would definitely suggest buying an expanding suitcase. And a luggage strap. That’s a smart idea too, in case the zipper ever breaks.
I’ve been thinking that my next purchase of luggage will probably include spinning wheels as I have wrist issues so I think this will help me with maneuvering a large, heavy bag. Was it not for that, the stationary wheels on my current cases work just fine.
As far as handles go, just check out the stitching to be sure they look sturdy, and get the telescoping handle type.. that is a lifesaver when you also have a carry on bag. My favourite feature of my carry on is that there is a strap with velcro on the side that slips over the extended handle of the bigger case so I don’t need to worry about it falling off the suitcase while I am racing down the airport… which even the most organized traveller may have to do when your flight is changed at the last minute!
The one item I haven’t settled on yet… soft or hard sided? Mine are soft sided but have been ripped from the first trip they’ve been on. Very frustrating. My husband has a really nice (not so cheap) suitcase by Jeep that had one of the front pockets ripped right open between the time we checked it in and when it arrived at our destination. One note, I hear that hard sided cases can add up to 10 lbs in weight so that would be a problem.
I swear the most popular colour of suitcases is black. There are hundreds of them coming down the carousel at one time and people are scrambling like mad to see if it’s theirs. If you insist on having black luggage then a coloured luggage strap or piece of ribbon tied to the handle will make it easier to identify.
On one of our trips I saw something I am happy to save up for… luggage protectors or covers. There are a couple of kinds that I have seen so far. The first are clear plastic-type ones that zip up or velcro under the wheels once slipped over your case. If you happen to like the style of your suitcase then you can still see it through the cover. Or I found brightly coloured/patterned stretchy, fabric ones that velcro underneath, again, once slipped over your packed suitcase. These are smart because you can get a plain black suitcase and have any style protector you wish. These covers would also eliminate the need for a luggage strap.
The luggage lock is a bit of a debate. Some airlines don’t want you to use them now due to security inspections, and to know which airports allow them or not… well, that’s really just one more thing to have to check before leaving on a holiday. I would go to the dollar store, buy a roll of brightly coloured ribbon, and tie your zippers together. It’s secure enough to hold but easy enough to snip off when you arrive at your destination or at the security check. Don’t forget to tuck a bit of the ribbon in your suitcase to use on the way home.
Lastly, always keep a second luggage tag inside your checked suitcase, in case the one you’ve placed outside on the handle gets ripped off. Have your flight details and destination on there as well. It’s quite easy to make extra cards to switch out for each trip. Then if lost, it can be identified by airport staff or you can replace it once you’ve retrieved your baggage.