Luxury Travel on a Budget

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Don’t blow your travel budget paying full price when you don’t have to

There are major discounts to be found if you know where to look

 

1. Travel Off Peak (Shoulder Season)

You can seriously get great discounts on airfares and accommodation, some up to 60% off during off-season

Travel outside of School Holidays or right after major holidays

 

2. Staycations

If you want to travel and only have a few days off, consider a location closer to home

Domestic or even local hotels offer huge discounts for last minute getaways to fill up their bookings

If you look on Google Maps you can find places to travel to within a 3-4 hour radius of your home, you don’t want to spend a whole day getting there

If you do your travelling overnight the night before you are booked in to your hotel, you can get in an extra day of sightseeing / restaurants

 

 

3. Use Hotwire to get 4-Star Accommodation at 2 & 3-star prices

Save up to 60% off 4+ Star Hot Rate® Hotels!

I have done a whole post on Hotwire  to give you more insight to their deals

You can get $315 rooms for $128, that’s a huge savings, staying in much nicer rooms, what’s not to love?

 

4. Book ahead if you are planning to travel during holidays and peak travel

While you can snag great deals on last minute trips during off season, the same cannot be said for peak travel times

Public holidays, School Holidays, Summer are the busiest times to travel.  If you leave it to the last minute to book, you will pay a lot more for accommodation and not get the best deal for your money.  Popular festivals or hotels have people booking sometimes 12 months in advance, around Sydney Harbour or Times Square for New Years Eve for example

Some hotels will only allow bookings 3 months before, so make sure you get in early as soon as bookings are available

It used to be the rule to book international travel 12 months ahead and domestic travel 3-6 months ahead for the best rates

Often vacation packages have special ‘early bird’ rates to popular events like music festivals etc or around Christmas / New Years

 

 

5. Book Flights on Tuesday

It’s the cheapest day of the week to travel, and around 3pm Tuesdays is the cheapest time

Tuesday, Wednesday & Saturday are your cheapest days for air tickets,  while Sunday is the most expensive

 

 

6. Ask for an upgrade, dress the part

If you dress like you belong in business or first class, you can sometimes get an upgrade by politely asking, it doesn’t hurt to try

The answer will be a firm ‘we don’t have anything available’ if you are in a singlet and flip flops or wearing your pj’s to the airport

 

 

7. Ask for a waterview

If you are travelling off peak, chances are the hotel isn’t even 2/3 full

Ask on arrival at your hotel if might be any water views available, sometimes they will upgrade you just because you asked

 

 

8. Bundle

If you book, car, accommodation & airfare all at once, you will save a lot more than booking them separately

Look for package deals or ‘vacation’ packages

 

 

9. Join Hotel rewards programs

They are usually free to join and you can earn free nights accommodation on future travel if you earn enough points

You can earn points from your fist stay and they also send you bonus offers during the year to earn points more quickly

You usually get free wifi, sometimes free breakfast and other discounts & perks for reward members only

Plus you have a better chance of room upgrades if you are a reward member, than if you are not

 

 

10.Stay on the outskirts

If you stay in popular ‘touristy’ locations like downtown or on the riverfront  in popular cities, you aren’t going to get as great a deal as if you stay 10-15 minutes outside of these areas

You can quite often get a much better room if you stay 10 minutes out of town and you will get to see a lot more of the city

Most hotels have shuttle services to the city and big tourist attractions for free

 

 

Offers some of the best discounts on travel (up to 60% off)

 

 

OTHER TRAVEL TIPS:

  • Ask the locals what to see, where to eat…we have had some of the best tips by asking people who live there if there are other places to see while we are there

 

  • Also if you visit museums etc late in the day, say an hour or two before they close, you may get in at a big discount, 1/2 price etc

 

  • Check the tourist guides and pamphlets at the hotel for discounts to museums and places of interest, they offer discount coupons

 

 

 

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10 Sydney Lighthouses

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I love Lighthouses for several reasons, they are the beacon in the dead of night guiding shipping vessels, they offer some of the best water views and if they are open to the public, have the best aerial views for photography

Sydney is lucky to have several Bays and water-ways and numerous lighthouses, the most famous being the one at Kiama on the South Coast near Wollongong, however, it is not located in Sydney itself and may be difficult to get to for those visiting Sydney

Many tourists are short on time and bound by public transport so some of these may not be easy to get to, but I have found ten that are located in and around Sydney that should offer some pretty neat photographs

1. Barrenjoey Lighthouse

By Jeremy from Sydney, Australia (Barrenjoey Lighthouse) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Sydney’s most northern point – Panoramic Ocean views

Located in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

Barrenjoey Head, Palm Beach New South Wales 2108

You can’t drive directly to the lighthouse, there is no vehicle access – You can drive to Governor Phillip parking area, in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, there is a park entrance fee, you would have to walk to the lighthouse on a walking trail

2. Hornby Lighthouse also known as South Head Lower Light


Wyp at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Cliff Street, Watsons Bay New South Wales 2030

Hornby Lighthouse is the third oldest lighthouse in New South Wales and is located at the Southern entrance to Port Jackson and Sydney Harbour at Watsons Bay

The site is open and accessible to the public, but the tower itself is closed

3. Macquarie Lighthouse also known as South Head Upper Light


By Sardaka (talk) 08:48, 18 March 2011 (UTC) (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Old South Head Road, VAUCLUSE New South Wales 2030

(Macquarie Road)

The best views of Sydney – if you only have time to see one, THIS is the one, the views are breathtaking!

Macquarie Lighthouse is Australia’s oldest lighthouse, boasting a 360 degree panoramic view of Sydney harbour and the sandstone coastline

The grounds are open year round, but the lighthouse itself is only open every couple of months by tour guide and well worth the cost of admission ($5 per adult and $3 per child) and stairclimbing trek to the top

4. Bradleys Head Light Tower

Bradleys_Head_Lighthouse_Sydney

By Wade Homewood (http://www.panoramio.com/photo/15318081) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

The Bradleys Head Light Tower is located within the Sydney Harbour National Park

The site is open and accessible to the public, but the tower itself is closed. Parking is available at the end of Bradleys Head Road

5. Robertson Point Light, also known as Cremorne Point Light

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©2017 KDArtStudio

The site is open and accessible to the public, but the tower itself is closed. Parking is available at the end of Milson Road in Cremorne Point

Save up to 60% off 4+ Star Hot Rate® Hotels!

 

 

6.Shark Island Lighthouse


By Wittylama (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

The lighthouse itself is only accessible by boat, and it is closed to the public. However, it is visible from Shark Island at close range. The island itself is open to the public

 

7. Cape Bailey Lighthouse


Maurice van Creij [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Located on the south side at the entrance to Botany Bay in Sydney near Kurnell

Lighthouse is closed to the public and access to it takes 2 +1/2 hours to bushwalk/hike  to get to the lighthouse. You enter the national park via Solander Road in Kurnell

Trivia: In 1931, this lighthouse took 19 years 
to be approved to be built.  It wasn't built until 1950
It is completely solar powered today

8. Grotto Point Light also known as Port Jackson Entrance Range Front Light

Grotto Point Light

Brianegge at English Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Accessed via Manly Scenic Walkway, historic Grotto Point Light offers scenic views, birdwatching and walking options in Sydney Harbour National Park

The site is accessible by a short hike/walk  from the Castle Rock track. The grounds are open but the tower is closed to the public

9. Vaucluse Bay Range Front Light

Vaucluse_Bay_Range_Front_Light

By MorePix (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Located on private property, it is not accessible to the public

Viewing the lighthouse from the street (80 Wentworth Road) is very difficult, so it’s best seen from the water

10.Eastern Channel Pile Light is also known as the East Wedding Cake


Maksym Kozlenko [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Located off Laings Point in Vaucluse, Sydney, this lighthouse was originally gas powered but has been converted to solar power

It is accessible only by boat, and closed to the public

You might also like my Post on the best 28 of the Best Places to Photograph Sydney

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Travel Guide: Sydney,Australia

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© 2017 KDArtStudio

Sydney is a bucket list destination for many international travelers.  Aussies who live there do not fully appreciate it’s beauty until they have been away from it for an extended time.  The beaches, the shopping, the restaurants, the beautiful Harbour & architecture truly are amazing

There is so much to do and see in Sydney, it’s hard to know where to begin.  Many of the travel agencies miss a big chunk of it and send travelers to the usual spots

Attractions:

Take your camera!

The Sydney Harbour Bridge – Not only is it an amazing landmark, and probably the best view of Sydney from the top, but you can also walk/climb/tredge your way up to the top of it as well as drive right through it

Trivia: 

Did you know Paul Hogan (Actor of Crocodile Dundee fame) 
was a painter by trade, before his comedy & acting debut 
and helped to paint the Harbour Bridge back in 1973...
true story!

 

The Sydney Opera House –

Another historic landmark is host to not only Opera, but is a multi-venue performing arts center hosting Music, Theatre, Ballet, Comedy, Talks and Tours an is usually the first stop for Royal Dignitaries and International Visitors

There are restaurants and bars inside with some amazing views of the Harbour

Often there are musicians and street performers outside as well

The Sydney Aquarium

Chinese Garden of Friendship – Definitely somewhere you should see, it’s beautiful, peaceful, tranquil

Paddy’s markets – Oldest markets in the heart of Sydney

China Town – Best Chinese food, try YUM CHA if you haven’t before

Darling Harbour- Restaurants & Shopping

Sydney Harbour Cruise – Tickets available at Circular Quay – The best way to see Sydney! i think they are run by Captain Cook Cruises, you will see their terminal at Circular Quay, can’t miss it, you want the See Sydney Cruise that is narrated showing you all around the harbour places of interest

Sydney Harbour Dinner Cruise

Sydney Tower – 360 Degree Views of Sydney, you have to do this, it’s amazing!!!

Do the Buffet or dining at night with all the city lights and 360 view

Trivia: It used to be called The Summit then Telecom Tower

Taronga Zoo – You can get there by car or Ferry, Ferries leave Circular Quay daily

Travel Tip: Don't go in summer!
WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES !....lots of walking

Luna Park – Best Amusement Rides, Roller Coasters

Take a trip to Manly on the Ferry, tickets at Circular Quay, whether you stop for a while to dine at the Restaurants or get  Fish & Chips to eat on the beach, it’s worth the trip there and back

The Rocks – Beautiful Cobblestone streets & alleys full of Art galleries, boutique shops, pastries, restaurants, cafes, pubs not to mention amazing Sandstone Architecture & outdoor open  street markets on the weekends featuring artisian arts & crafts, fashion, food, music, Australian art, photography and authentic Indigenous artefacts, jewellry and so much more

140 George Street,
The Rocks, NSW, 2000

The Rocks Markets
10am – 5pm, Saturdays & Sundays
Playfair Street, George Street, Jack Mundey Place

The Rocks Friday Foodie Market
9am – 3pm, Fridays
Jack Mundey Place

While you are down that end of town, visit

The Museum of Contemporary Art

140 George Street,
The Rocks, NSW, 2000

Waterfront Dining:

Who wouldn’t want sweeping views of the Harbour, Opera House, Harbour Bridge ?

I could think of worse things to look at while I’m dining…lol, pretty hard to take…

I’m Angus Steakhouse Sit by the water, truly amazing food, worth every cent!

The Promenade
Cockle Bay Wharf
Darling Harbour, NSW, 2000

Waterfront Restaurant 17-27 Circular Quay West, The Rocks, NSW 2000.

Wolfies – 27 Circular Quay W The Rocks NSW 2000

Altitude Restaurant – Level 36, Shangri-La Hotel, 176 Cumberland Street, The Rocks, NSW, 2000

Imperial Peking Harbourside – Campbell’s Storehouse, 15 Circular Quay West, The Rocks, NSW, 2000

Pubs & Clubs:

Jackson on George – Great for Lunch or Drinks & Cocktails – 176 George Street, The Rocks, Sydney

(thank God the walls can’t speak, hehe, we used to go there for ‘lunch’ some 20+ years ago…though it may have been a tad more liquid than lunch back then)

I am told it’s since been re-furbished and has a great whisky bar

Phillip’s Foote – 101 George Street, The Rocks, Sydney

Another one that’s been there 40 years + – It had a great open courtyard and the most amazing bbq baby octopus when I was there, but the menu has most likely changed since then

Insider Tip:

10  Hidden Underground Bars 

Beaches:

Bondi – Catch the train

Cronulla – Illawarra train, well worth the trip, my favorite place to be

Day Trips:

Blue Mountains

Hunter Valley Wineries – Some of Best Wines in the World , seriously

Kiama Blowhole & Lighthouse, Wollongong Beaches – Love it here!

Accommodation:

Save up to 60% off 4+ Star Hot Rate® Hotels!

There are lots of options for accommodation in Sydney, but a lot are out of most people’s budget

I book all of my travel accommodation through

they have some of the best deals on the internet, better than travel agency rates, better than booking directly through a hotel chain website, orbitz or expedia

i am recommending them because you can save up to 50-60% off hotels with them and they are reliable and trustworthy

Travel Tip:

If you want ideas on how to Save money and even earn cash back on Travel, see our post here

*Affiliate link used in this post to help save you money on accommodation if you need it

Travel Guide: Orange Beach, AL

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© 2017 KDArtStudio

Orange Beach, Alabama lies on the Gulf Coast.  It is a relatively untouched, charming beach town, though in recent years, high-rise condos seem to have overtaken the cute beach houses that once were there

Attractions:

Beaches:

Orange Beach

Gulf Shores

 

Shopping & Restaurants:

The Wharf – Beautiful Marina with Boutique Shopping & Restaurants, Ferris Wheel, Putt Putt Golf, Ampi-theatre with big name Concerts like

  • Keith Urban
  • Luke Bryan
  • Green Day
  • Jimmy Buffet
  • Alabama
  • Journey

 

Restaurants:

Wintzel’s – Fresh Raw Oysters, Seafood

Voyagers – Fine Dining

The Hangout – fresh Seafood right on the beach – Gulf Shores

Fishers Fine Dining

 

 

 

Things to Do:

Art Festival – Artists, musicians, culinary arts

Adventure Island – Go carts, bumper boats, adventure golf, paddle boat rides

Dolphin Cruises

Orange Beach Sailing Charters and Sunset Cruises

Parasailing

 

Nearby:

Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo

The Hangout –  Music Festival – Gulf Shores – Held in May every year

Day Trip:

Orange Beach is close enough that you could do a day trip to Fairhope/Mobile

See our Travel Guide: Mobile,AL

Travel Tip:

 

Travel Tip:

If you want ideas on how to Save money and even earn cash back on Travel, see our post here

Save up to 60% off 4+ Star Hot Rate® Hotels!

*Affiliate link used in this post to help save you money on accommodation if you need it

Travel Guide: Daytona, FL

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© 2017 KDArtStudio

 

 

Daytona Florida is known for its world-class Speedway and beautiful beaches

 

Attractions:

Daytona International Speedway

The Boardwalk – The only beachside roller coaster in Florida

Daytona Lagoon Water Park

Marine Science Center

Daytona Beach – You can Drive / Park your car right on the beach

 

 

SHOPPING:

Riverfront Shops – 60 Shops along the riverfront including art, antiques, jewelry, books, music, fashion boutiques, shoes, hats, home décor, wine

TRAVEL TIP:

Make sure you get the discount shopping card

 

 

DAY TRIPS:

Daytona is close enough to other Florida Attractions, that you could do a day trip

  • Kennedy Space Center, 64 miles from Daytona Beach

See our Orlando Travel Guide for more information on these attractions

 

  • Sea World, Orlando, 70 miles from Daytona Beach
  • Walt Disney World, Orlando, 73 miles from Daytona Beach
  • Universal Studios, Orlando, 64 miles from Daytona Beach

 

 

Other Tings to See:

 

Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse

Southeast Museum of Photography

 

 

Other Things To Do:

Skyzone Trampoline Park

Daytona Beach Parasail

Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory

 

 

Restaurants:

Casual:

The Oyster Pub – raw oyster bar- They also have burgers, steaks, shrimp, and seafood

Been here, oysters were awesome, friendly staff

 

Fine Dining:

Chart House – Signature Caesar salad, filet mignon au poivre, and a plethora of seafood dishes

The Cellar – Fine Dining

Hyde Park – Hilton Hotel – Prime Steakhouse

Azure – Beachfront Restaurant

Top of Daytona Restaurant and Lounge – Birds eye view of Daytona Beach, Fine Dining Menu

 

Other:

Inside Hilton Hotel:

  • Clocktower Lounge
  • Doc Bales’ Grill
  • Legends Sports Bar

 

Oceanfront “RIO” Bar & Grille – Residence Inn by Marriott

 

ACCOMMODATION:

Hilton Hotel – 100 N Atlantic Ave, Daytona Beach, FL 32118

Residence Inn by Marriott – 3209 South Atlantic Avenue  Daytona Beach  Florida  32118

 

 

Travel Tip:

If you want ideas on how to Save money and even earn cash back on Travel, see our post here

Save up to 60% off 4+ Star Hot Rate® Hotels!

*Affiliate link used in this post to help save you money on accommodation if you need it

Travel Guide: Orlando, FL

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© 2017 KDArtStudio

Orlando Florida is a World Famous Tourist Destination, thanks to the vison of a cartoonist Walt Disney who created the most amazing, magical theme park, Walt Disney World® Resort

Orlando is host to millions of visitors every year which is why it just makes sense to plan ahead.  Pre-purchasing theme park tickets saves time waiting in admission lines

Walt Disney World® Resort

Get the best deal on theme park tickets by purchasing them ahead of time.  You can buy them all in one place from Visit Orlando official ticket store.

  • Want to dine with Mickey, Minnie or one of Disney’s other famous characters? Make reservations as soon as possible. Character dining experiences at Walt Disney World® Resort and other theme parks are popular and tend to book up months in advance.

ACCOMODATION TIP:
If you don’t want to blow your holiday budget on accommodation, there are budget options available that are only a few minutes away from major theme parks, most offer shuttle services so you can leave your car at the hotel if you wish

Hampton Inn Orlando

Fairfield Inn & Suites Orlando

Comfort Suites

Save up to 60% off 4+ Star Hot Rate® Hotels!

 

 

Tourist Attractions:

Universal Orlando® Resort – 6000 Universal Boulevard, Orlando, FL32819

SeaWorld® Orlando – 7007 SeaWorld Drive, Orlando, FL32821

LEGOLAND® Florida -One LEGOLAND Way, Winter Haven, FL33884

Gatorland – 14501 South Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, FL 32837

Pirates Cove Adventure Golf – 8501 International Drive,  Orlando FL 32819

 

 

Other Places to See:

Lake Eola Park – 512 East Washington Street,  Orlando, FL 32801

Disney’s Boardwalk

Grand Bohemian Gallery

Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art

Cornell Fine Arts Museum

 

Water Parks:

Beaches

  • The closest beaches to Orlando are Cocoa Beach, Canaveral National Seashore and Daytona Beach, all about an hour and half drive away

Things To Do:

Theatre Dinner:

Sleuths Mystery Dinner Shows

Medieval Times

 

 

Restaurants:

Citricos

Kabooki Sushi

Chatham’s Place

Chef’s Table at the Edgewater

Eddie V’s Prime Seafood

Jiko

The Capital Grille

Norman’s

 

 

Travel Tip:

If you want ideas on how to Save money and even earn cash back on Travel, see our post here

*Affiliate link used in this post to help save you money on accommodation if you need it

Travel Guide: Washington DC

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© 2017 KDArtStudio

Washington DC: The Nation’s Capital encompasses the White House – home of the President, is globally known for its Politics, Social Status & Bureaucracy

The tourism capital, foodie destination, home of the Smithsonnian & the Capitol Building, Pennsylvania Avenue, multiple Museums & Monuments remains skyscraper-free due to building height regulations

Travel Tip:

The best times to visit are Fall & Spring (Cherry Blossoms) if you wish to avoid the Snowy Winter & heat of Summer

Must See Attractions:

White House

Smithsonian Museums

National Air and Space Museum (Smithsonian)

National Gallery of Art.

National Museum of American History (Smithsonian)

Also if you have time

Arlington National Cemetery

Other Attractions:

National Mall

Jefferson Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

The Washington Monument

Newseum

For the Kids:

Make sure they get to the Smithsonnian

 

International Spy Museum

Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

National Zoo

GETTING AROUND:

Private Car – good luck finding Parking

DC Streetcar

Metro – An interactive map of the Metro system is available here

Old Town Trolley or Gray Line – Hop on, Hop off bus tours

Upscale Restaurants:

Range – Celebrity Chef Bryan Voltaggio

  • TASTING OF CHARCUTERIE AND HAMS
    bressola, sopressata, capicola
  • TASTING OF LOCAL CHEESES
    multigrain sourdough, pear mostarda, local honey
  • BAKERS BASKET
    spreads, pepper jelly, sea salt butter
  • CRISPY BRUSSELS SPROUTS
    fish sauce vinaigrette, lime

All I can say is, YUM !! (check menu online for prices)

Plume – Michelin Star

RPM Italian Bill & Guilliana Rancic co-owners

The Source by Wolfgang Puck

Blue Duck Tavern

 

Wine/Cheese/Charcuterie:

Cork

 

Popular:

Union Market

 

Family Friendly:

Bucca de Beppo Italian – Family Style Entrees to share

Bolt Burger

The District Line Restaurant – inside Washington Hilton – Breakfast Buffet

 

Travel Tip:

If you want ideas on how to Save money and even earn cash back on Travel, see our post here

Save up to 60% off 4+ Star Hot Rate® Hotels!

*Affiliate link used in this post to help save you money on accommodation if you need it
 

Travel Guide: Savannah, GA

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© 2017 KDArtStudio

Savannah Georgia, home to Celebrity Chef Paula Deen is a great town to visit.  There’s so many Pubs, Bistros, Restaurants, boutique shops & interesting things to see & do

TRAVEL TIP:

It’s unbearably hot & Humid in Summer, it would be perfect for fall, Winter or the beginning of Spring

Travel Tip:

You are going to be walking a lot, so take comfortable, flat shoes and bottles of water

Getting Around:

It  is pedestrian friendly but not so much for those who may have mobility issues, you are going to have to walk everywhere

Parking is a nightmare, so be prepared to have to park miles away from the main attractions and walk to them

Trolley tours are a great way to give your feet a rest and see the town and get to know where things are located

They also have Horse Drawn carriage rides

Things to Do:

We were there for a 3 day long weekend, it was just enough time to see everything

There is a big ghost / haunted building history in Savannah, lots of the sight seeing tours are walking tours for haunted places

There are around 48 different walking tours each with different themes

Day Trip:

A day trip / road trip to Tybee Island will take you to a 3mile long beach where many hollywood films have been made and celebrities like John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Ben Affleck, Sandra Bullock, and Miley Cyrus have all been spotted

It’s a great city for foodies, cooks or those of us who love small, boutique types of shops

FOOD:

There are a heap of Restaurants, pubs and places to eat from casual to fine dining

Jazz’d Tapas Bar  – loved it, first time we had been to a tapas bar. Parking wasn’t so good we got a parking ticket first night we were there, there were only 3 car spots for the entire multi level restaurant, we didn’t have a clue where to park, live and learn

If you like craft beer, make sure you go to the Moon River Brewing Company and ask to do the beer tasting…it’s awesome and I am not a beer drinker at all.  Our waiter was exceptional and took great care of us and helped with touristy questions we had and directions to things.  We didn’t find out until we got home that the upstairs level is considered the most haunted place in America!

39 Rue de Jean located inside Embassy Suites by Hilton, was THE BEST food & service, it was amazing!! We tried other fine dining restaurants, but this was the best by far

Sapphire Grill, food was good, service was weird, started off great, four star service, then we were totally forgotten, as was the table next to us.  For a fine dining restaurant, it was odd.  Both our table and the table next to us wanted to do the chef tasting menu and we were both talked out of it by the waiter.  They forgot to turn the air conditioning on in Summer, they turnedit on right before we left.  It was ok, but I would rather go back to Rue de Jean

Collins Quarter – Sunday Brunch, supposed to be Australian but it was more American, tables were way too close together, staff weren’t real friendly, food was average, my eggs were cold

Savannah Coffee Roasters – Supposed to be another Australian Coffee shop, no Aussies in sight, didn’t know what a ‘flat white’ was, all Americanized, never heard of a ‘meat pie’.  Still a great place for breakfast, but it’s promoted as being Austarlian and it isn’t

We found all the places that said they were Australian or English, weren’t. They may be owned by Aussies, but the food is Amercan and all the staff are as well

Shopping:

River Street is a tourist mecca.  The old cobblestone riverfront is something you definitely want to see.  It reminds me of the Rocks area in Sydney, Australia.  It has a very artisian feel about it

We liked the shops in the main part of town

My favorite shops were:

The Salt Table– Hundreds of different salt mixes, spice mixes, foodie heaven, it’s amazing, loved it

The spice & Tea exchange is a similar store with all different flavored teas and spices

Savannah Bee Company – Honey store

Even if you don’t eat there, visit The Lady & Sons (Paula Deen) Gift shop for the best souvenirs, the lady who served us was a local and gave us places to see and tourist info, she was lovely

Travel Tip:

There were other stores we wanted to go to but they were closed on Sundays

A World of Beer – 50 craft beers on tap, over 500 in the cooler and tavern food, is closed on Sundays, so make sure you go Saturday

Travel Tip:

If you want ideas on how to Save money and even earn cash back on Travel, see our post here

Save up to 60% off 4+ Star Hot Rate® Hotels!

*Affiliate link used in this post to help save you money on accommodation if you need it

Travel Guide: Huntsville, AL

Huntsville

© 2017 KDArtStudio

Huntsville the Birthplace of  Alabama, is most famous for the NASA’s  U.S. Space & Rocket Center & Summer Camps that they run simulating space flight training and participating in mock space missions

It’s interesting to visit, especially for the next generation of engineers & scientists and kids interested in math, science & technology

It is responsible for research, development, production and worldwide support of missiles, aviation, rockets and related programs

Next to the Space Center is the Botanical Gardens and an Art Museum that’s worth a look

We stayed at the same hotel Elvis (Room 1331) & his entourage stayed at two years before his death – which was then The Hilton. They took sixty rooms of the hotel for their tour group.  The Hotel changed management and was the Holiday Inn when we stayed there, but I believe it has since closed down, such a shame

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Across the road is the Von Braun Center where Elvis last played in Huntsville

Many other super famous performers have played the Von Braun Center:

  • Van Halen
  • Johnny Cash
  • Amy Grant
  • Miranda Lambert
  • AC/DC
  • Alice Cooper
  • The Eagles
  • B.B. King & Bobby Blue Bland
  • Allman Brothers
  • The Jacksons
  • Kiss
  • Alabama
  • Prince
  • Guns N’ Roses (opening for Motley Crue)
  • Tina Turner
  • New Kids on The Block
  • Metallica
  • Willie Nelson
  • Duran Duran
  • Widespread Panic
  • Mary J. Blige
  • Snoop Dogg
  • Cher

The energy in that place must be amazing!

That’s about it as far as Huntsville goes, the town is tiny and relatively untouched

The space center is the main attraction and can be seen in a few hours

Good place to see if you are passing through that way but not somewhere you’d want to stay more than an overnight trip

The South gets unbearably hot in Summer, so try to go in the cooler months if you are going to visit

 

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Travel Guide: New Orleans, LA

NEW ORLEANS

© 2017 KDArtStudio

New Orleans, LA

We really wanted to see New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and decided to take our vacation there to support the rebuild instead of wasting our vacation dollars elsewhere

It was December a couple of years later, we went for a long weekend.  It was supposed to be winter, but it was still warm & humid

We knew there was lots to see & do, so we had to make a short list of things and places we really wanted to see

The French Quarter is a MUST SEE – this is where all the little boutique shops, cafes and restaurants are located

TRAVEL TIP: Wear flat comfortable shoes, you are going to be walking a LOT!

If you get tired of walking, or just want to see the layout of the land first to acclimate yourself with where everything is, there are horse & carriage rides, though these are very popular on weekends and we didn’t want to wait that long, so we decided to take the tram / trolley car instead, it was a good way to see the city and find out where things were, you can get on & off where you need to

You can also take a paddle-steamer riverboat cruise for something fun to do

JACKSON SQUARE is also a Must See – there are shops and it’s on the waterfront, there are street entertainers and artists selling paintings in a flea market type of atmosphere

It was right before Christmas so there were lots of holiday shoppers and street parades going on the weekend we were there

TRAVEL TIP:  If you have kids and aren’t that interested in being there for Mardi Gras earlier in the year (when it’s sweltering hot) take the kids in December/January when it’s cooler.  Hotels are cheaper and you don’t have to book 12 months in advance like you do for Mardi Gras

Also

TRAVEL TIP: If you are travelling with kids, it’s better to have an early dinner at 5-6pm if you are going to restaurants, so the kids aren’t being jostled around so much.  There was a lot of people congestion when we went and pushing & shoving, and the drinking starts around 7pm-7:30pm, so you can get in and out and get done before all that starts and have the kids in bed at a sensible hour

While we are on the subject of kids, there is a Children’s Museum, an Art Museum, as well as a World War II Museum

There is also the Garden District nearby where you can do walking tours

Bourbon Street comes alive at night and is famous for it’s Bars & Adult (Stripper) Nightclubs and goes into the wee hours of the morning

 

PHOTOGRAPHY TIP:

If you want to get shots of the city and French Quarter, get up early in the morning before breakfast, the streets are virtually empty because all the revelers are sleeping in late after their late night out on the town

There is amazing Architecture in this city and it is the best time to capture it

Make sure you stop in for breakfast at cafe du monde and try a beignet if you haven’t already

 

RESTAURANTS:

There are lots of them.  It can be a little overwhelming when you first arrive, so research them before you go, online

There’s everything from casual to fine dining

TIP: If you are going to celebrity Restaurants like Emeril Lagasse etc, they are extremely popular and you need a reservation well in advance for weekends, also leave the car and take a taxi,  there’s nowhere to park anywhere near them

New Orleans’ is famous for its Gumbo, Po’Boys, Craw Fish etc so if you want local authentic, that’s the way to go, I prefer the Raw on the half shell Oysters, they are huge and super fresh and so yummy

Look out for happy hour specials too, they have them all over the French Quarter

 

 

Travel Tip:

If you want ideas on how to Save money and even earn cash back on Travel, see our post here

Save up to 60% off 4+ Star Hot Rate® Hotels!

*Affiliate link used in this post to help save you money on accommodation if you need it

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