Archive for the 'Vacation' Category


How to Have a Staycation

Explore your new city or town by having a staycation.


No matter how much planning and organization one puts into moving, the inevitable turmoil and disruption is exhausting and draining for everyone; and, even when the movers have left, you will still be faced with the turmoil of unpacking, finding a space for everything in unfamiliar territory and disposing or recycling all the packing materials.

The best way to recover from moving is to have a staycation. An amalgamation of ‘stay at home’ and ‘vacation,’ a staycation is – a vacation while staying at home. It is probably also one of the only times when you and your family will enjoy staying at home instead of traveling.

Here are some of our ideas to have the best staycation this summer:

1. Go out and explore your new neighborhood. Check out the local shops, parks, and grocery stores. You can take a bike tour or walk through your new city or town. You will be amazed at what your new area has to offer.

2. Try a new restaurant and chat to strangers. Trying new food is a great way to learn more about the local cuisine. When you are out, meet and talk with people. This is a great way to make friends and learn more about your area.

3. Take a mini-getaway a few hours away but still stay at home. This is a great way to explore local amenities as well as save money on hotel fees.

4. Check out local carnivals. The summer is a great time for local carnivals and fairs. Spend a day with your family exploring exciting thrill rides, local fare and exploring prizes.

5. Indulge. Vacations are all about taking a break and indulging. Consider your staycation to also be about indulging by having a spa day. Have a massage, manicure and/or pedicure or a luxurious rest in a sauna.

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Home Swaps: How do they Work?

Home swapping is a great way to check out a new destination without having to deal with expensive hotel fees


Have you always wanted to go on an international holiday, but cannot do so because of the traveling and hotel costs? If budget is a major constraint, then home swaps are best option for you. Home swaps are extremely popular these days. These are some points that explain how home swap works.

The Fundamentals:
You can use online services to search people who live in holiday destinations that you choose. E-mail them and offer to swap homes for a frame of time. Using this method, both of you will cut down the charges of vacation lodging. Some home swaps are also available with cars, bicycles or subway passes. However, it is not compulsory to include vehicles or passes in your home swap.

This will help you save the money that you would have spent on hotels. Home swaps are extremely useful as they make your vacations more intimate, and it lets you stay there as locals. These private houses are more comfortable than hotels. A house will also give you a complete kitchen, along with additional amenities. With this, you will be able to save a great deal when it comes to food and laundry.

Where To Swap?
People who live in posh beachfront houses or luxury condos are likely to get more offers than the ones living in quiet suburbs. At times, swappers also choose places that are close to their relatives, hospitals, or business areas. Before you jump on the deal, you must do some research and find out the kinds of options available for you. If you have a house in the countryside and you are swapping it with someone who owns an apartment in the city, it’s a great deal.

Get Started:
Home swapping services are widely available on the Internet. You may have to pay a nominal membership fee to see the listings of the available houses. You can search for houses on the basis of amenities or location. For instance, you can look for beachfront condos or a house that has a hot tub. You can also look at user feedback and ratings about the houses. Few websites also offer to mediate in cases of disagreements.

Realistic Considerations:
Certainly, there are few realistic considerations while swapping homes. Follow these simple precautions while swapping homes:

• Know the person you are swapping your house with. Keep touch via calls and mails. If you find anything fishy, feel free to cancel your swap.

• Keep all your valuable and fragile items away while swapping homes.

• Get relevant information about the area and the address. Do not mingle with people who are not willing to provide addresses well in advance.

• Find insurance companies that cover home swaps.

• Mention and find out about the presence of pets in the house. This should be discussed well in advance.

• Several swapping services provide contracts. Make sure you read them well and beforehand.

Swapping your home can be really easy. When you realize how convenient, easy and frugal home swapping can be – you’ll never want to stay in a hotel during your holidays every again.

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print's Guide to a Day in NYC under $100

Check out our guide to visiting NYC for under 100 bucks!

By Joann Pan
Special to

Students, vacationers and New York natives, you will soon realize that there is so much to do in NYC. would like to offer a guide of things to do to get acquainted making for a grand finish to your moving to New York. New York City is so much more than dirty water hot dogs and shopping, here’s our version of the perfect NY day.


Like any New Yorker would start off the day, you need to get a great cup of coffee to get that extra pep in your step and energy for the long day ahead of you. The kids can get some delicious hot chocolate or some juice. We greatly recommend FIKA Expresso Bars with two convenient locations in the city Midtown at 41 West 58th St between Avenue Of The Americas & Grand Army Plaza [take the N or R to Fifth Avenue and 60th Street] or in the Financial District [take 2 or 3 to Wall Street for sights of the hustle and bustle outside of New York Stock Exchange]. FIKA coffees, iced coffees and lattes surpass any of the coffee we have had around NYC and other coffee hotspots in the world.

We would recommend starting in the Financial District and working your way uptown to the other sights we have planned. After finishing up your FIKA-perfect cup of caffeine and pastries (do take some chocolate balls for the road for the kids), you can walk up towards the New York Stock Exchange for a photo opportunity. Ladies: note the huge Hermes, Tiffany & Co. and Thomas Pink stores alongside Broad Street and Wall Street for a later date.

Head towards the Fulton Street and the South Street Seaport for our first point on our New York City tour. If you love biology or science, we would recommend going through the Bodies Exhibit at 11 Fulton Street between South Street and Front Street. I remember going to this exhibit with my younger sister and mother and we couldn’t get enough of [real] bodies. My sister and I loved seeing what bones, arteries, veins, intestines, organs and muscles looked like in various poses whether it was bending down or taking a jump shot. There are even sections where you can see what effects diseases physically have on your body. You will never know your body better than today. If you think you or one of your friends will get squeamish about the displays made from real bodies, you might want to take an alternate route and head toward the South Street Seaport and examine the boats docked there. Read: Another cool photo opportunity.

Fika Latte – $3.75
Chocolate Balls – $2
Adult Tickets to the Bodies Exhibit – Around $33, differs with service fees and weekday/weekend charges.


After your family gets enough of the southern tip of Manhattan, it’s time to move up. Climb abroad the NYC subway… you want to transfer at Union Square, so climb abroad any train from Fulton Street to 14st Street-Union Square so you can ultimately ride the L “8th Avenue” train to 14th Street and 8th Avenue. Once you walk out of the subway station, you’ll find yourself in the Chelsea/Meatpacking District of Manhattan. What you’ll be looking for is The High Line—a park in the sky—a brilliant piece of art installed about two years ago, saved from demolition plans by the city. It’s free and if you come during the summer, you’ll find the Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream Truck parked right near the entrance to the public park making the experience all the more better. No doubt—it will be the BEST ice cream you have ever had—yeah, we’re talking about surpassing eating fresh Honey ice cream in Rome. We love Van Leeuwan’s pistachio, cinnamon and ginger. Walking up The High Line entrance towards 12st street and Ninth Avenue, you’ll find more New Yorkers than tourists here because New Yorkers love keeping the goods to themselves. And there’s nothing like it in the city. The structure was converted from an old railway and changes every season with new flowers and plants. Your teens will love the views, apartments built right on top of the railway, New Jersey’s skyline and that fact that it only takes about 20 minutes to walk through end to end. Plus, Meatpacking District is full of cool boutiques if you need a break from NYC. Diane Von Furstenberg, Stella McCartney, Jeffrey New York, Alexander McQueen and Carlos Miele stores are all a couple doors down from one another.

Ice Cream – Around $4

Next up—lunch!

Lunch will be at this not-so-secret burger joint that doesn’t really have a name, but everyone who knows about it calls it “Burger Joint.” It’s in Midtown West in the Le Parker Meridian Hotel behind a curtain—so it’s still a secret. Usually there’s a small line, but we promise the burgers and milkshakes are worth the wait. You can walk in on the 118 West side of the hotel on 57th Street passed the little café in the hallway until you see a glowing sign in the shape of a burger. While eating be sure to try to decipher all the writing on the wall—mostly signatures by famous people. Be warned, the place is tiny, but we’ve never had too much trouble finding a seat. We recommend getting the burger with everything on it and their world-class fries!

Lunch – $7 for burger


You’ll be right near the West side of Central Park if you come out of the 57th street exit and walk towards 59th street. From here you can explore Central Park and walk towards the 72nd street Central Park Boathouse. Your teens will love the opportunity to get into a boat and row away from the city. Take turns rowing and napping if you need! The lake is very scenic. Row to the different areas of the lake and the small stone bridge made famous in the movies and TV shows.

We would recommend taking it easy at night with dinner at the Central Park Boathouse restaurant or with a show. We love Fuerzabruta, which can be found off Broadway on 101 East 15th Street. The show is intense and heart pounding because it takes place mid-air. If you like Cirque Du Soleil or any kinds of interactive show this one is for you! Warning: you might get wet. It’s a good time, we promise.

By the end of the day, you’ll have experienced’s version of the perfect day in New York City. Enjoy!

Central Park Boat Rental –  $12 first hour, $3 each additional 15 minutes. $30 cash deposit required per boat.

Total of day activities – Around $66

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