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Viewing Archive: April 2012

Apr

24

Staying Safe in New York City

By Bob Levin on April 24th, 2012

Categories: Popular Cities, Wayne's Travel Suggestions

People from all around the globe dream about visiting New York City- a city considered by many to be one of the most exciting and vibrant places in the entire world. Yet many people will never visit NYC once during their lives, often due to fear for their safety. It’s undeniable that NYC has developed something of a fearsome reputation, but is The City really as dangerous as so many believe it to be, or are rumors of its dangerous streets largely exaggerated?

Let’s be clear about one thing. New York City has a number of neighborhoods that are unsafe under any circumstances. But these neighborhoods are all remote areas that visitors would never stumble their way into accidentally. To explore New York City’s most dangerous neighborhoods, you will need to actively seek them out.

These days the vast majority of New York is incredibly safe. During the 1970’s and the 1980’s New York City’s center, the island of Manhattan, was filled with violence, vagrants and vice. But over the last couple of decades the city’s mayors have instituted exhaustive campaigns to clean up the streets, resulting in the family-friendly New York you will see today when you finally take that trip to the Big Apple you’ve been dreaming about.

Of course, New York City may be much safer today than it was thirty years ago, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep your wits about you. Make sure you never walk alone at night, try to avoid neighborhoods you don’t know very well or which aren’t filled with other people who are also out-and-about, and keep track of your valuables. Always keep an eye on your bags, your cameras and your money, beware of pickpockets, and don’t go out of your way to broadcast the fact you’re a tourist.

As long as you follow basic common sense, the same rules of thumb you would follow traveling anywhere, there’s no reason to fear visiting New York City in all of its modern, safe glory!

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Apr

17

Visiting Vintage Vegas

By Bob Levin on April 17th, 2012

Categories: Popular Cities

Las Vegas means a lot of things to a lot of people, but if you’ve never visited Sin City before you may very well hold on to a vision of the good old town that doesn’t quite match the modern, sleek experience it now offers. Sure, Las Vegas will always be loud, gaudy and ready to meet your every need, but the Las Vegas of the Brat Pack is long gone. Unless, of course, you venture away from the Bellagio’s courtyard and check out a few spots that are keeping the classic Las Vegas alive and well.

The first place you want to visit is the Neon Museum, a massive open-air gallery of over 150 vintage signs from the Las Vegas of yesteryear. Many of these signs have been fully restored to as close to their original condition as possible, and the museum also offers a walk through its “Boneyard” of old signs beyond repair. If you’ve been to Vegas without checking out this neon sign graveyard then you are missing out!

Of course, you can’t experience old Las Vegas without trying your luck at the world’s oldest casino. The El Cortez has been continuously operational since it was first opened way back in 1941, and as soon as you’ll walk into the joint you’ll realize very little has changed in this blackjack parlor since it first opened its doors. There are a few other great retro casinos still operating in Las Vegas, but if you only have the time to visit one, make it El Cortez.

Finally, wrap up your day of experiencing a day of Vintage Vegas by visiting The Golden Steer, a restaurant that has stuck to its guns since the 1950’s and continues to sell the kind of steaks that became scarce in our modern cholesterol-phobic world.

Taking just one day out of your trip to Vegas to explore the city’s routes will turn a great trip into a truly unforgettable adventure.

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Apr

10

Avoiding the Tourist Traps During Your Trip to NYC

By Bob Levin on April 10th, 2012

Categories: Popular Cities

As one of the most popular travel destinations in the entire world, New York City is filled with landmarks you need to experience at least once in your life. However, most of these famous landmarks suffer from the same problems as their equivalents all over the world. New York City’s tourist destinations are often crowded, expensive, and so closely packed that you can easily visit all of them in a single day. It’s easy to check out the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and Times Square in one whirlwind of activity, leaving you with plenty of time left over to stray off the beaten path and check out a few the city’s great neighborhoods- locales that those big double decker buses never plow their way through!

If you’re looking to stay in Manhattan and you want to get away from the crowds and take an afternoon to simply relax, consider checking out Greenwich Village. Located in the lower West side of the island, Greenwich Village is a great neighborhood that’s a joy to simply walk through. With ample small boutiques and shops to browse through, coffee shops to spend a couple hours reading, and a few great little parks (such as Washington Square Park) to lie back and people watch in, you’d be hard pressed to find a more pleasant neighborhood on New York City’s central borough.

However, if you’re willing to brave the subway to an outer borough, you can visit the similarly low-key Brooklyn neighborhood of Park Slope. These days Williamsburg and its hordes of neon-clad, mustachioed hipsters hog most of Brooklyn’s spotlight, but a couple subway stops to the south you’ll find a much mellower neighborhood that’s primarily home to young families and working professionals who enjoy having a quiet escape away from the city’s hustle and bustle.

New York City can be every bit as crazy and chaotic as you’ve heard, but Greenwich Village and Park Slope prove that there’s more to the city than it’s boisterous, brassy reputation.

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Apr

3

Las Vegas on a Budget

By Bob Levin on April 3rd, 2012

Categories: Popular Cities

If Las Vegas is known for one thing, it certainly is NOT austerity. Lined with a parade of oversized neon signs designed to stoke your excitement and loosen your purse strings, stacked deep with card tables where fortunes are won and lost every night, offering the ability to quickly satisfy your every desire (for the right price), Las Vegas is a city where it’s easy to spend a whole week’s budget in a single afternoon. Yet with the right approach and a little will-power, you can visit the world’s most famously decadent hotspot without breaking the bank.

The best way to save a little money is by picking your accommodations wisely. If you’re like most visitors to Las Vegas, the only time you’re going to actually spend in your hotel room are the few hours of inebriated sleep you managed to scrape together every night. Instead of blowing a few hundred dollars a night on the Strip’s most renowned establishments, spend a couple dozen dollars a night at a budget inn, many of which are barely off the beaten path.

Now, if you absolutely must experience one of those famous Las Vegas hotels you’ve heard all about, then simply book a single evening at the glitzy hotel of your choice. Make these reservations for the last night of your trip and you will fly away the next morning with just as many fond memories as those visitors who doled out top-dollar every night of their visit.

You can also save a lot of money in Las Vegas by choosing your entertainment wisely. EVERY big show in Las Vegas provides a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but not every night of entertainment costs the same. Cirque du Soleil in particular is known for not only putting on one of the greatest shows on the planet, but also for selling its tickets at any extremely reasonable price- especially by Las Vegas’ standards!

By taking a little bit of time, and by keeping your wits about you, it’s easy to shave hundreds of dollars off of your trip to Las Vegas without feeling like you’ve missed out on anything.

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