Posts for Travel Category

Reflecting on a year of ranting about travel

Travel - Patrick - December 30, 2020

Every year I set myself goals that I want to achieve because I find this helps motivate me. If you are writing a blog for your company to promote its services than you have an incentive to write, but for me it is a hobby and it is much more difficult to keep motivated.

  • Achieve recognition for the work I put into the blog
  • Get mentioned in the media, i.e. radio, TV, newspapers
  • Increase monthly average unique visitors
  • Promote the travel rants brand more online

In April the blog won best Travel Consumer blog at the Travolution awards, and this sent me off to London to collect my award, which is sat proudly on my desk. Then in May, I was interviewed for the first time on BBC radio 5, then radio 4 in August.

During the summer the blog received a mention in the Irish Times and New York Sun newspapers. The only goal I have not achieved is an appearance on television, but I am not sure the great British public are quite ready for that yet.

Yes, I am blowing my trumpet, but what have I learnt?

Despite ranting about the travel industry I have learnt that they are many talented individuals and companies who are trying to improve the experience for consumers just like what private luxury tours in Switzerland do. I have learnt not to take comments personally, everyone has an opinion, not everyone is going to agree with me, and that is why blogs are great at generating discussions.

I am still learning about the travel industry, there are times I wish I had experience of working in travel, but then I think there are advantages not having that knowledge so I can write 100% from a consumer’s perspective.

Lack of confidence is something that I suffer with; there are reasons for that, which I will not go into here. I organised the Travel BlogCamp in London because I wanted travel bloggers and companies to get together and learn from each other, plus I wanted to deal with that confidence issue.

It is going to be a tough year because I am approaching that point where I am thinking, how further can I take this blog. I want everyone from John O’Groats to Lands End to know about Travel Rants, and the challenge is how I raise its profile with the skills I have, and the revenue that the blog generates.

I am up for that challenge though.

I know there’s another seven weeks until the end of the year, but I wanted to thank everyone who has participated or helped and supported me in the last 12 months, you know who you are, and it’s very much appreciated.

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Affordable and Inexpensive Camping Knives

Travel - Patrick - June 2, 2020

Anyone who reads any of my outdoor material knows that one of the most important tools that I have is my knife. A good knife will get you far when camping and it can also save your life. This article is about inexpensive camping knives and where to find them, however please notice that I said inexpensive and not cheap. A cheap knife will do you no good in the wilderness.

The first two camping knives are from walmart.com Wal-Mart is a good place to shop for camping knives because there is a Wal-Mart in just about every town you come to.

  • The Remingt
  • on fixed blade Sportsman’s knife
  • Rubber coated black stainless steel handle
  • 440 black stainless steel blade with etched Sportsman Series logo
  • Black handle
  • 5 3/8 inch serrated blade
  • 10 1/2 inch overall length

Remington has long been known to make quality products or in this case put their name on quality product. This would be a good knife for general camp chores or skinning. The handle how ever is a hard material and may not be comfortable for long use if a prolonged tight grip is necessary. The fixed blade sportsman retails for about $16.97. The selection of the perfect tent to watch the stars can be made with proper research at the sites. The stargazed tents and camping will be effective for the person. The charges will be less in comparison to the normal tent. The rates will be less in comparison to the other one. 

The Gerber Gator

As camping knives go this would be a very comfortable knife to use. Let’s look at the specs:

  • Blade 4.02
  • Stainless steel blade
  • The handle is molded rubber
  • Fine blade (not serrarated)
  • Nylon sheath

I like this knife for the handle, generally molded rubber handles are comfortable to use. The 4.02″ blade is big enough to be a skinning knife or a small work knife. The Gerber Gator retails for $38.44

These next two camping knives come from cabelas.com. Cabela’s is well known for the reliability of the product that they carry and the have an awesome guarantee.

The K-Bar Skinner

The Skinner is a no nonsense camping knife similar to the camping knives that a lot of us grew up with one look at one, and memories of the knife that hung from your hip as a child will flood your mind.

  • Blade 4 3/8″ stainless steel
  • Handle is stacked leather
  • Comes with a leather sheath
  • SOG Fusion Jungle Primitive Knife

This is a big knife but for a camping knife, it is still practical especially if you are into back country back packing. If you need to split kindling or cut a small branch for a walking stick this would be your knife.

  • Blade 9.5″ 420 stainless steel
  • Overall length 15.3″
  • Handle molded Kraton w/ digi grip

The blade also has a saw tooth spine to aid with really big chores. SOG is a well known company who specialize in military and survival style knives. This knife retails for $39.99

MORAKNIVES Outdoor 2000

This knife is made by Mora Knives; it would also make a quality camping knife. There are many different types of camping knives made by Mora of Sweden. This particular camping knife will be good for camping, hunting or fishing, let’s take a look at some specs.

  • Blade Sandvik stainless steel blade
  • Blade length 4 ½”
  • Grip high friction
  • Sheath green plastic with a leather belt loop
  • This knife can be found at swedishknives.com and retails for $41.50
  • Mora knives are well known for their quality and dependability, another notch for Mora knives is that they are favored by many survival instructors.
  • No matter which camping knife you choose, remember that camping knives are mission specific and although you desire to save money you don’t want to sacrifice quality.
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The Best Amusement Parks

Breaking, Travel - Patrick - February 13, 2019

For exciting, adrenaline-pumping rides, relaxing and humorous shows, delicious carnival food, games, and lifelong memories, few things beat the experience of an amusement park. American entertainment companies have assembled some of the grandest amusement parks on the planet, and the best are scattered throughout the country.

Six Flags
Six Flags is more than just an amusement park, it is a massive entertainment behemoth. With 22 parks throughout the United States and Canada (not including the newest park in the United Arab Emirates), it is hard not to be close to a Six Flags park. Some of the more exciting parks are the ones located in California, Texas, and Georgia, but few amusement parks can compare to the sprawling entertainment complex that is Six Flags Great America near Chicago. With exciting thrill rides like the King Chaos and fun entertainment like the Looney Tunes Talent Show, Six Flags Great America is certainly one of America’s greatest parks.

Six Flags Great America

1 Great America Pwy.

Gurnee, IL 60031

847-249-4636

sixflags.com/greatamerica

Carowinds
Located just outside the city limits of Charlotte, NC, the Carowinds amusement park has a very unique geographical characteristic — half of the park is in North Carolina, while the other half is separated by the South Carolina state line. Guests can easily wander between the states, though, and take advantage of breathtaking thrill rides like the Carolina Cyclone and Thunder Road, or enjoy one of the numerous shows sponsored by the Cedar Fair Entertainment Company. An air-conditioned, relaxing tower in the center of the park also offers pleasant skyline views of nearby Charlotte.

Carowinds

14523 Carowinds Blvd.

Charlotte, NC 28273

704-588-2600

carowinds.com

King’s Island
King’s Island, located in Ohio, is an enormous collection of thrill rides, shows, food, kid’s park, and a water park. Despite its gigantic size, King’s Island is renowned for its roller coasters, and sports two of the most famous wooden coasters in the world. The Beast is the longest wooden roller coaster on the planet, and Son of Beast, the tallest, fastest wooden coaster, and the only one with a loop. If the lines for these rides are long, though, visitors can check out any of the other more than 80 rides and attractions on the park’s 364 acres of land.

King’s Island

6300 Kings Island Dr.

Mason, OH 45040

513-754-5700

visitkingsisland.com

Walt Disney World Resort
No amusement park list can be complete without mention of the largest, most visited amusement center in the world. With multiple parks inside its 45-square-mile kingdom, not to mention nightclubs, a downtown district, water parks, and numerous resorts, Walt Disney World resort is a true icon of the amusement park industry.

Walt Disney World

Kissimmee, FL 34747

407-939-6244

disneyworld.disney.go.com

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Will Steam Powered Automobiles Make A Comeback?

Travel - Patrick - January 18, 2019

The man has used steam as a source of energy for numerous years now. It was used to fuel locomotives and ships across the world for decades. The next obvious step would be to attempt and develop a steam-powered automobile that could be utilized on an everyday basis.

A car that is fuelled and powered by a steam engine is not out of the question as some prototypes have already been produced. Steam-powered agricultural and haulage vehicles are in use now but are really heavy in weight. Steam vehicles were in fact developed and produced at a steady rate in the early 1900s as steam was the major source of energy for trains at the time and the information to run an engine was already in place.

That information truly gave the steam auto a benefit more than a conventional gas auto and in 1900 steam cars were deemed to be superior and held numerous speed records on land for automobiles. However, by the time 1920 rolled about, the gas-powered auto had taken more than in good quality and popularity.

1 of the significant troubles with steam vehicles is its boiler. The boiler makes up most of the full mass of the drive train of the car, and this adds significantly to the overall weight of the vehicle. Yet another boiler-related issue is the fact that the driver would somehow have to make confident it has a continuous supply of water to replenish the boiler. This indicates the water has to be carried or the auto would have to have a condenser built into it. But this would just add much more weight as properly as an inconvenience.

At the time, a steam automobile did have some advantages to it. The engine itself, without the boiler, was lighter and smaller than a gas engine. It was also much more suited to the torque and speed characteristics of the axle. This meant it did not demand a complex and heavy transmission program like the gas auto. Steam cars also ran quieter than gas models, even without having some form of muffler system.

The significant distinction between the two varieties of vehicles is that a steam engine utilizes an external combustion engine, exactly where fuel is combusted outwards from the motor. The gas vehicle uses the internal combustion engine, which means the fuel is truly combusted inside the engine. One of the advantages of an external engine is that it produces lower emissions of carbon monoxide, oxides, nitrogen, as well as unburned carbon. This makes it a lot better for the environment when it comes to less pollution.

However, steam vehicles had been harder to start and took a whilst to warm up. When the electric starter was introduced it essentially meant the end for external combustion engines when it came to vehicles. But the internal combustion engine was not truly superior when it came to fuel economy, range, and performance.

Steam vehicles have not completely fallen by the wayside and some projects have been worked on because of the 1970s. They are still made and driven, though primarily by hobbyists and steam car enthusiasts. In August of 1999, a steam automobile was able to reach an average speed of 148.308 mph. Whilst steam cars are still a possibility for future use, the feeling of most researchers is that the time of the vehicles has come and gone.

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Things to Do in South Padre Island

Travel - Patrick - December 24, 2018

Things to Do in South Padre Island

South Padre Island and spring breakers are inextricably linked. However, the Texas hot spot has plenty of must-see attractions that lure travelers year-round to its picture-perfect beaches, ecological sites and water-centric establishments.

Hit the Beach

Beaches in South Padre Island are among the best in the United States. Stretching 34 miles, they’re rimmed by the Gulf of Mexico on the east and Laguna Madre Bay on the west. Amidst the sand, sun-seekers work on tans as well as check out waterfront restaurants and shops. On the north end, the beachfront remains largely undeveloped, making it a great locale for anyone looking to escape the mayhem. Wherever you settle in, expect to be tempted by activities such as surfing, dolphin watching, scuba diving and windsurfing.

Things to Do in South Padre Island

Gladys Porter Zoo

This area zoo is a relaxing oasis set amidst 26 tropical plant-laden acres where 225 species of flora flourish. Showcasing more than 1,600 animals (and 377 species), the zoo has seen success breeding endangered wildlife. Among the most popular attractions is its Tropical America exhibition where Galapagos tortoises, Caribbean flamingos, spider monkeys and Cuban crocodiles elicit amazement from visitors. The Africa exhibit, which is loaded with zebras, lions, chimps and white rhinos, is a crowd-pleaser as well.

Gladys Porter Zoo
500 Ringgold St.
Brownsville, TX
(956) 546-7187

Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark

Although it’s unlikely you’ll get sick of the sand, this action-packed water park makes a good case for a detour. Interconnected waterways, rides and slides—not to mention a 5-story “sandcastle,” uphill water coaster and surf waves—give families loads to do. The park also has direct beach access to the Gulf of Mexico. Upping the ante further, there’s a swim-up bar, hot tub and wading pool. On-site dining means you can make a day of it.

33261 State Park Road 100
South Padre Island, TX
(956) 772-7873

Things to Do in South Padre Island

Tip Some Back

It’s practically a crime to come to South Padre Island without sipping a cocktail or two or three. Coconuts Bar & Grill is the quintessential place to hit the sauce, just be prepared for a raucous scene. Belly up and dive into fried grouper, jerk chicken and peel and eat shrimp. Wave runner and parasailing rentals are offered on-site.

2301 Laguna Dr.
South Padre Island, TX
(956) 761-4218

Learn About Sea Turtles

Sea Turtle Rescue is an enjoyable (and educational) destination where visitors can learn about marine conservation, sea turtle rehabilitation and marine turtle life worldwide. A range of species is on display, from flatback to Pacific black and loggerhead species. Experts give talks and guests can view feedings. Those who get attached to the creatures can consider adopting a resident sea turtle.

6617 South Padre Island Blvd.
South Padre Island, TX
(956) 761-4511

Things to Do in South Padre Island

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Things to Do in Ireland With Kids

Travel - Patrick - December 23, 2018

Things to Do in Ireland With Kids

The beauty of Ireland and its rich folkloric history is well documented, but many people are unaware of the fun and adventure that is available for kids and entire families on vacation. Ireland has taken an impressive step to combine exciting outdoor sports and activities with educational content for kids of all ages, providing a fun time for all and plenty to think about afterward.

Castle Archdale Country Park

Castle Archdale Country Park is located ten miles north west of Enniskillen and stretches along Lower Lough Erne for about 230 acres. The park is part of the Castle Archdale Caravan Park and Camping Site, which hosts carnivals, festivals and activities for all ages. The Country Park contains monastery sites, a deer enclosure, ponds, a wildflower meadow, trails and butterfly gardens. Kids and adults enjoy bicycling, hiking, boating, and pony trekking. The park also contains a museum and visitor center with exhibits and information about the historic and ecological nature of the site. The park is open to the public everyday from 9 a.m. For more information call +44 28 68621588, or go to www.fundays.ie.

Things to Do in Ireland With Kids

Kart City

Kart City is a sports activity facility established in 1993 in Dublin that offers fueled kart racing, urban paintball, a large hobby shop called BoyZ Toys for model cars and vehicle enthusiasts and a diner. Kart racing is available on their junior track for kids ages six and up and on their two pro tracks for people ages 16 and up. The facility has six race types to choose from: Arrive and Drive, Mini Grand Prix, Mini Enduro, Kids Party Special, Full Grand Prix and Endurance Race Meet. Upon signing up, drivers are fitted with gloves, helmet and a racing suit. The park is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 12 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m. Go to www.kartcity.net for more information and pricing, or call 01 842 6322.

Things to Do in Ireland With Kids

Dublin Zoo

The Dublin Zoo is an all-around adventure center for kids and families. The zoo has animals ranging from Asian elephants to zebras, fantastic grounds for kids to explore, an African swamp and educational programs for tourists and entire classrooms. Zookeepers give daily scheduled presentations on animals such as orangutans, lemurs, penguins, giraffes and reptiles and offer additional lectures and talks on Sumatran tigers, elephants and chimpanzees. The zoo hosts birthday parties and promotes its own Adopt An Animal program. The zoo is open to the public year round from 9:30 a.m. More information is available at www.dublinzoo.ie, or call 353 (0) 1 474 8900.

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Fun Things to Do in Chicago for Halloween

Travel - Patrick - December 21, 2018

Halloween

Chicago is a great city with a history of sophistication, architecture and business. It’s known for entertainment as well, and Halloween is an entertainment-filled holiday for the Windy City. Whether you want to tour a haunted house, ride a ghostly roller coaster or hear classic haunted tales by Edgar Allen himself, Chicago has got a way for everyone to celebrate the occasion. If you are ready to have a spooky time in Chicago, here are some places to visit.

Halloween

Red Lion Pub

Visit this renown haunted pub on Halloween to get your scare-on. Built in 1882, the Red Lion location has a history of being a brothel, as well as an old west style saloon. Sightings of a ghostly figure now referred to as “Sharon” has been blamed for the inexplicable second floor bathroom locks malfunctioning, locking in frightened patrons, as well as mysterious swinging lamps and moving artwork. Check it out at 2446 N Lincoln Ave.

Weird Chicago Tour

Available usually only on Halloween weekend, the Weird Chicago tour will take you through this cities mobster and ghostly past. Visit the spirits of the Congress Hotel (the most haunted hotel in Chicago), see where John Dillinger was shot and check out a haunted tattoo parlor. Full of spooky tales that will bring shivers up your spine tickets are $30.00 as of 2009. Tours are picked up at the Hard Rock Cafe on Clark and Ontario streets.

Halloween

Edgar Allen Poe Readings

Presented by the actors of the Lifeline Theater, Poe’s spookiest writings such as “The Raven” will be dramatically brought to life on Saturday, October 31, 2009. Tickets for it’s 23rd annual production sell for $25.00 and take place at the Glessner House on 1800 S Prairie Ave.

Shadows on the Street Haunted Tours of Prairie Avenue

Presented by the Glessner House on Friday, October 30th and Saturday, October 31st, tours include stories from the Glessner House as well as a stroll to the homes of Marshall Field and George Pullman. Costumed docents will lead you into the mysterious 1800’s and fill your head with history and haunting. Head to 1800 S. Prairie Ave.

Halloween

Windy City Sweets

Halloween is nothing if there is no candy involved, and Windy City Sweets has been treating the people of Chicago for over 20 years. Handmade fudge, candies and ice cream will tempt you to hold your hands out and yell “Trick or Treat.” Find it at 3308 N. Broadway Street.

Fright Fest at Six Flags Great America

Weekends in October bring out the ghouls and ghosts at one of the most fun theme parks in the area. Haunted houses, street entertainers and a special trick or treat day for the kids, Six Flags creates a spooky environment for kids of all ages to have a blast. General admission is $54.99 in 2009, but online specials can be found. Parking is extra so load up the car and get going.

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Singapore – Richest Country in Asia

Breaking, Travel - Patrick - December 20, 2018

SINGAPORE

Singapore is a first-world country located in Southeast Asia (against public perception, which perceives it as a poor territory). Like Hong Kong, not many know whether it’s a country or a city. Singapore is both, meaning a city-state and, at the same time, an island country. Tourism focuses on cultural attractions, the beaches, of which some are unaltered by the hand of man, urban civilization and wildlife. You’ll miss the charm of the mountains here: Singapore’s highest point is at 165 m. They have taller buildings than that.

SINGAPORE

Singaporeans come from a very active country with a dynamic financial sector. They’re always hurrying someplace else. Paradoxically, social rituals take a longer time than most countries. They avoid criticizing and accusing the others because it causes a loss of honor. Instead, they beat around the bush and rely heavily on non-verbal communication. Silence consumes even more time: when replying, etiquette requires one to pause for a moment as to acknowledge what has been said already and only after this break, that person should give a reply. Also, don’t chew gum. There’s a ban in Singapore on gum, saying you can buy gum only with a doctor’s prescription.

SINGAPORE

If you visit Singapore, try out its delicious food. Better yet, go out to eat at New Asia Bar, a restaurant 72 floors above the ground. For another great view of the city, the Singapore Flyer allows you to see the surroundings and the other islands from the top. The Merlion Park, with its statue, is the emblem of the country. The nature embellishes the city, with many national parks. Take a trip to the zoo, where the animals roam freely and not behind any bars. The Esplanade and the Helix Bridge attract most of the tourists. Another way to see the wonders of Singapore is on a cruise that allows you to admire the beauty of the country’s islands

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Camping in National Parks

Travel - Patrick - December 17, 2018

The United States has hundreds of National Parks, founded to preserve some of the country’s most beautiful and pristine spots while allowing any visitor to enjoy their natural beauty.

Of the hundreds of National Parks, more than 100 allow camping. Camping in National Parks is a great way to see America, have a few adventures and save money in the process.

History

The first publicly protected park, transferred to California State ownership in 1864, was the Yosemite Valley. The first National Park was Yellowstone, established in 1872. The National Park Service was created in 1916 to manage and protect the growing number of National Parks throughout the nation.

Access and Amenities

Campsite amenities vary: some have hot showers, campfire rings and laundry facilities, while others may not even offer water. “Developed” campsites can generally be reached by car and offer more amenities, including RV hookups. “Primitive” campsites are usually private and scenic but often can be reached only on foot.

Cost and Reservations

Most National Park campsites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis (so arrive early on holiday weekends). A few campgrounds accept reservations. Campsites usually cost $10-$20 a night.

Wildlife and Fire Dangers

When you enter the park or the campground, you’re likely to see signs or meet a Ranger who will warn you about any park dangers. These vary from park to park: in Yosemite, you may be told to store your food in “bear boxes”; in Indiana, you might hear about a firewood quarantine for pest control. Fire danger varies by area as well. Follow all instructions to the letter; National Parks are the property of all U.S. citizens, and it’s every visitor’s responsibility to keep them beautiful and safe.

Time Limit

Enjoy your stay, but don’t linger: the maximum stay in a National Park is 14 days.

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Review of Hotel Regno in Rome

Travel - Patrick - December 16, 2018

Review of Hotel Regno in Rome

Review of Hotel Regno in RomeHotel Regno in Rome is a 6-story romantic get-away located near the Fontana Di Trevi where many lovers have tossed in a coin or two in hopes of making their love last forever. The hotel offers cozy, comfortable accommodations in the heart of Piazza Di Spagna, an exclusive shopping district in the historic city. Hotel Regno was a government library in the 16th century and has been serving as a hotel since 1933. The hotel is close to public transportation. The official website for the hotel runs summer specials as well as Internet specials for those who make their reservations online.

Insider Tips

Rome’s public transportation allows quick access to the city and all its temptations. Italian cuisine, gold jewelry and romantic, historical landmarks are just some of what awaits you. Visit the Spanish Steps and the famous shopping Review of Hotel Regno in Romearea Via Del Corso. The hotel offers a cozy terrace lounge decorated with original antique furniture and evokes an elegant upscale feel. Breakfast is served in the breakfast room or on the terrace daily from 7:30-10 a.m. Breakfast is a traditional Italian buffet of fresh baked breads, croissants, jams and honey, fresh fruit, local cheeses, coffee, cappuccino and juices.

Pros and Cons

Hotel Regno is close to many of Rome’s most visited attractions such as the Coliseum, Vatican City and the Forum. The rooms are small and offer cable and satellite TV, mini bar and safe. The hotel offers concierge service, room service, babysitting services and currency exchange. High speed Internet packages are available at an additional charge. The rooftop terrace overlooks the city where you can relax and eat breakfast or just enjoy the sun. Although the hotel does not serve lunch or dinner, you won’t have trouble locating a place nearby to dine. Visitors to the city have their choice of restaurants. If Italian is not your first choice, many other choices are available.

Review of Hotel Regno in RomeBottom Line

Hotel Regno is a moderately priced hotel yet offers sophisticated and charming accommodations. The rooms and lobby have an upscale elegance. Upon arrival, guests are greeted with a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine. The hotel’s unmatched service and friendly 24-hour staff is what separates it from the others. Hotel Regno is just minutes away from famous landmarks, which makes it an ideal location for travelers who want to explore Rome and Italy’s ancient ruins. Visit the hotel’s website for Internet deals. The site also has a calendar of events for the city to help travelers decide when to visit Rome.

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