Traveling 101
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Houston, Texas Offers Something Exciting for Everyone

Tuesday, 15 June 2010 04:44 by Jon
They say that everything is bigger in Texas, and when it comes to attractions they may just be right.  Houston is an excellent city with plenty to offer the many people that come to visit every year.  What follows is your guide to some of the very best things that the city has to offer people of all ages.

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center

The Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center is the home of Mission Control, which is where all of NASA’s manned space flights are monitored and where the NASA ground control team speaks with astronauts in flight.  Here, visitors will find numerous exhibits as well as the chance to try on space suits, ride in a spacecraft simulator, and even see rockets.  The museum also offers visitors the chance to run into real astronauts, who often train right onsite at the training facility.

The Astrodome

The Houston Astrodome is perhaps best known as the home of Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros, but there is so much more on offer.  At the Astrodomain, which houses the Astrodome, visitors can find an amusement park, a water park, and more.  There is a large exhibition hall that is used for everything from conferences to rodeos, and the complex also offers the remarkable Astroneedle, which stands a whopping 460 feet high.

The Byzantine Chapel Fresco Museum

This remarkable museum is a historic religious museum that offers a number of beautiful Byzantine frescos.  The chapel offers a number of historical pieces yet remains surprisingly simple.  Visitors come to the chapel every year to enjoy quiet meditation in the low lighting and nearly silent atmosphere where there are numerous opportunities to explore the religious history of the area.

Houston Museum of Natural Science

The Houston Museum of Natural Science is an excellent place for visitors of all ages.  Here, kids can explore a real dinosaur skeleton or walk into a hands on butterfly center that spans six stories.  There is an IMAX theater for visitors to enjoy while watching unique and fascinating videos as well as numerous plants and minerals.  This museum offers many hands on activities that make it ideal for families.

Houston Zoo

The Houston Zoo is another attraction that is well suited for families.  Here, visitors will find a large array of animals that offer people the chance to get up close and personal.  There is a large housing area filled with various reptiles and amphibians as well as a significant primate collection.  Kids will certainly enjoy the petting zoo, which allows them to not only pet the animals, but to brush them and interact with them.

Houston is a fantastic city that lends itself to a great tourist atmosphere.  Whether you are looking for sports, museums, or even great amusement parks, there is certainly something ideal for you within the city.  Texas is a fantastic place to visit and has a truly remarkable history, which makes it a great spot for a romantic getaway as well as an exciting family vacation.

The Top Tourist Attractions in San Diego Ensure There Is Always Something to Do

Thursday, 3 June 2010 01:07 by Jon
Visiting San Diego, California is a very exciting experience.  The city offers beautiful waters at the harbor, as well as nearly infinite things to do.  In fact, the most difficult thing about a trip to the city may well be finding time to squeeze in all of the things that you want to do.  What follows is a great guide to some of the best attractions San Diego has to offer.

Sea World

Sea World is an excellent attraction for individuals, couples, and families alike.  Here, visitors will have the chance to experience trained dolphins, sea-lions, whales, otters, penguins, and more.  There are live performances throughout the day each day, as well as numerous exhibits for travelers to enjoy.

Mission Bay

Mission Bay is a lovely outdoor area that offers a wide range of activities.  Travelers and locals alike come here to enjoy 4500 acres of activity and natural beauty.  There are beaches and opportunities for boating and sailing as well as golf courses and much more.  With a climate that lends itself to year round fun, this spot is one of the city’s most popular.

San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo may well be the most famous attraction in the city.  The zoo is one of the largest in the entire United States.  There are many different attractions and exhibits for visitors to experience, with the zoo’s two and a half acre rain forest proving to be one of the most popular.  There are hundreds of animals from all over the world as well as a wide variety of exotic plants all displayed in a beautiful and exceptionally well maintained setting.

Old Town

Old Town is a unique part of San Diego that pays tribute to earlier times.  There are a number of original adobe buildings, and the historic site offers a museum and more.  Visitors can enjoy a glimpse into early American and Mexican life while visiting the site where many Mexican soldiers fought to defend the land.

San Diego Museum of Art

The San Diego Museum of Art offers a great deal of beautiful artwork as well as many traveling exhibitions and collections.  There are a number of remarkable paintings owned by the museum, including numerous pre-renaissance paintings.  This is considered to be a world-scale museum and is on par with some of the best galleries from across the globe.  Works by El Greco, Georgia O’Keefe, Matisse, and many more can be found on display within the walls of this museum.
As you can see, there are plenty of unique and exciting things to see and do in San Diego.  These are only a few of the popular attractions that bring people to visit the city every year.  Finding the attractions that will help you create a memorable trip can be easy, and the city certainly has something special on offer that would be ideally suited for any visitor, family, or vacation.

Things To Do and See in Los Angeles

Tuesday, 25 May 2010 00:25 by Jon

Los Angeles is one of the most thrilling and exciting cities in the world.  Millions of people visit every year to take in the attractions in a place where running into a famous celebrity is always a possibility.  Hollywood is only one of the things that makes the city so popular, however, and as you will see there are a great number of attractions on offer in LA.

Mann’s Chinese Theater

This theater was built in 1927 and to this day remains one of the most popular attractions in the city.  This Hollywood treasure boasts a remarkable collection of signatures and footprints, legendarily created when a silent film actress walked on the wet cement during the theatre’s construction.

Hollywood Walk of Fame

The Hollywood Walk of Fame was created in the 1950’s as a way to help improve the look of the city and to bring in visitors.  The walk holds more than 2500 unique stars, each of which is fitted with the name of a popular actor, singer, or other Hollywood professional.  The Walk brings in thousands of visitors annually and provides an excellent way to celebrate those who work hard to excel in the industry.

J Paul Getty Museum

The J Paul Getty museum is a complex that takes up almost a full square mile.  Created in the 1890’s by oil tycoon J Paul Getty, the museum houses a number of simply amazing exhibits.  From sculptures that are nearly 4,500 years old to pieces by Raphael and Rembrandt, there are certainly many classic pieces to be found.  The museum also houses Bernini sculptures as well as numerous modern pieces.

Sunset Strip

The Sunset Strip is another of the most famous places in the city of Los Angeles.  This one and a half mile stretch of road passes through the city’s West Hollywood district and offers a wide array of nightclubs, upscale shopping boutiques, and more.  The strip is also known to be one of the best places in the city to see celebrities of all sorts.


Malibu is one of the most upscale parts of Los Angeles.  Here, visitors will find the area’s most beautiful beaches as well as some of the most remarkable houses in the city.  Malibu is home to a large number of celebrities and is a favorite destination for celebrity house tours and similar excursions.

Simply put, there is always something unique to see and do in LA.  There are bright lights and excellent entertainment options as well as a wide range of attractions that simply can’t be seen anywhere else.  The city brings in people from all over the world every day and is one of the nation’s most popular tourist destinations.  From the glitz and glamour of Hollywood to beautiful beaches, outstanding museums, and more, there is certainly always something special going on in LA.

When your vacation or travel needs to be something memorable, L.A. is an excellent choice.  There are ample attractions to explore and there is always something to do.  Where else can you spend the day knowing that if you just look hard enough, you are bound to spot a famed celebrity?

Eco-friendly Lodging options at Los Angeles Airport

Tuesday, 18 May 2010 00:43 by Jon
Are you among the growing number of travelers who prefer to stay at eco-friendly hotels? If so and you are planning to stay near LAX, there are a couple of hotels you should know about. 

The Radisson Hotel at Los Angeles Airport receives great ratings from "green" organizations, including the California Green Lodging Program in Sacramento, the Green Hotel Association in Houston and Green Seal of Washington, DC. This means the property engages in a variety of eco-initiatives. 

Some of the environmentally friendly measures these organizations use to audit and evaluate hotels include water conservation, recycling, reduction of waste, environmentally safe cleaning, energy conservation and maintenance, among other things. The Radisson hotel at Los Angeles utilizes 32 eco-initiatives.

The Hilton Los Angeles Airport and Towers at LAX also passed the rigorous audit administered by the California Green Lodging Program. This hotel holds State of California Green Hotel Certification. It also offers convenient "park and fly" package deals that can save you money on airport parking as you go green. 
The Westin Los Angeles Airport hotel holds State of California Green Hotel Certification. Another option for "green" lodging at LAX, the Los Angeles Airport Marriott hotel was Energy Star Certified in 2003. 

One of the biggest myths held by travelers is that staying in "green" hotels equates to a bigger price tag for lodging. The Super 8 Motel at LAX is a great example of the many "green" hotels available for budget-minded travelers. This hotel is a voluntary member of the Green Hotels Association, a group designed to bring hotels that are concerned about environmental issues together. The Association encourages, promotes and supports eco-friendly measures within the hotel industry. 

Green hotels are a great choice for travelers who care about the environment. In the past, few people thought much about the massive impact the hotel industry has on the environment. Today, word is finally getting out and spreading about why going green with lodging matters so much. 

According to California's Department of General Services, as much as 30 pounds of waste may be generated per hotel room per day, and up to 80% of that waste contains materials that can be recycled. In addition, the hospitality industry spends more than $3 billion a year on energy, with electricity accounting for 60 to 70% of a hotel's energy bill. Energy efficient products and practices can dramatically reduce hotels' levels of energy consumption. 

The amount of water used by typical hotels per room each day is also astounding. A hotel uses 218 gallons of water per day for each occupied room. Hotels that invest in water-efficient fixtures can drastically cut water consumption. As for food, hotels generate some 112,000 tons of food waste per year. Instead of ending up in landfills, food could be donated to charities or composted. 

Clearly, hotels have a huge impact on the environment, and every green effort made by hotels should be applauded. When a hotel recycles more waste, reduces water consumption, cuts energy usage and chooses to make environmentally friendly purchases, it's more than just a way for them to save money. It's also a way to support the health of the environment and the people living in it. You can show your support of hotels taking green initiatives by booking with them when you have a choice. 

Airport Parking Websites-A Necessary Service or A Scam?

Tuesday, 11 May 2010 05:37 by Jon

We’ve all experienced what it is like to try to park at the airport.  Sometimes you get lucky and there are available spots on the first floor that you try, but other times you can drive for twenty minutes or more just looking for any spot big enough to wedge your vehicle into.  In acknowledgement of this predicament, many companies have started up online parking websites that enable you to pay for and reserve a parking spot online.  The question is, do we really need this service or should we just be able to find a spot?  Looking around, I find that the opinions on this are quite mixed.

In examining this service, I want to give an equal description of both sides of the coin.  I have spoken with a few people who feel that the service is unnecessary, and I believe the summary of this opinion was best worded when it was called “a solution in search of a problem”.  For many people, that is just what these websites seem to be.  For people looking to fly on slow weekdays or people catching a red-eye, a parking spot can be easy to find.  The same holds true for people traveling from smaller airports.

I have heard many people say that airport parking websites are promising convenience when in truth finding a spot on your own is not overly difficult.  I have also heard it said that the need to visit a website and reserve a space in advance is simply added hassle for travelers and that it is simply easier to drive onto the lot and park your vehicle.  The naysayers seem to have a rather cut and dry approach to the entire issue, but in truth I find that most people who think that the sites offer benefit are pretty adamant in their opinions as well.

There are in fact many people who believe that airport parking websites provide a beneficial service to travelers.  For offsite operators and airports that see a great deal of traffic, these people feel that the sites help to make travel easier.  They also believe that offering a guaranteed parking spot and a clear definition of where a traveler will be parking makes the travel experience run more smoothly rather than adding an unnecessary hassle.

In major cities with large airports, such as LA, Chicago, and NYC, people often spend a great deal of time searching for parking or even driving from one lot to the next comparing parking prices.  Using a parking website offers a greatly reduced search time and even allows parking owners to offer discounts, something that customers will never receive when paying at the booth.  Many people feel that the service also helps to contribute to the green movement by sending travelers directly to their assigned spots rather than forcing them to drive around searching.  This of course reduces emissions, and while it may seem minute for a single car the cumulative savings is significant when many people are utilizing the service.

Having examined both sides of this argument carefully, I tend to walk away with a bit of a mixed opinion.  If forced to choose sides, I am certainly in favor of airport parking websites, but I am able to see both sides of the coin.  In smaller airports and in places where parking is simply never an issue, it may truly be both faster and better to simply seek out a spot on your own.  Even in this event, however, with parking sites offering discounts on spots it is something worth considering.

When it comes to busy cities and major airports, however, I am certainly in favor of the sites.  Having tried on many occasions to find a spot at JFK or LAX before missing a flight, I can appreciate what these sites have to offer.  For most of us, a trip to the airport is already rushed and hectic and being able to avoid the stress of parking is far more of a convenience than a hassle.  I don’t see these sites as a solution in search of a problem, but I also don’t think that they are needed at every airport.  Ultimately, I think that they are needed for the places where parking is an issue and simply welcomed elsewhere by travelers who would rather pay in advance than risk battling other travelers for the last great parking spot.

This article was also published in the April issue of Parking Today magazine.