Back in the day, a summer trip backpacking or riding the rails across Europe was viewed as a right of passage for many people from North America. Of course that was before the European Union and the rise of the euro as a continental currency standard. For many years now Americans have been on the losing end of a relatively steep dollar/euro exchange rate. But while these financial constraints have prevented many from planning lengthy sojourns abroad, what many people don’t know is there are ways to beat the euro and enjoy an extended European holiday – at budget prices.
TRAVEL IN THE INTERIM SEASON
In the travel industry, seasons are defined as “peak” and “low.” Obviously the cost of travel is going to be more expensive in the peak season, and the harsh weather during the low season makes for, oftentimes, miserable travel. Another option is to plan your trip in the shoulder season between the peak and low. Prices are generally lower during this time period and the weather isn’t extreme.
It’s difficult to beat the euro but not impossible. As long as you’re smart with the money you do have then you can make it stretch. For example, by making lunch the largest meal of the day you can take advantage of the many “executive specials” found in cafes and restaurants throughout Europe during lunchtime. These deals provide a lot of culinary bang for your buck.
FIND CHEAP FLIGHTS
This may seem like a no-brainer, but what many Americans don’t know is that there are incredible deals to be had on inter-European flights. That’s because there are so many smaller specialty airlines in operation vying for the same business as all the others. Not only that, but it often takes no more than an hour or two to fly between European countries.
A few months ago, I was asked by one of my Twitter followers if I could do t-shirts using the International Marine Signal Flags to spell out names. Thought about it for a little while and once I got some free time, I started putting some together.
I have now opened up a second Cafepress store called Nautical Nonsense. It can be found under the Store tab at the top of the page. I like the simplicity of the naval flags and how graphically appealing they can be.
As part of the International Code of Signals, these flags are used by vessels to communicate important messages regarding safety of navigation and related matters. Each flag has it’s own name, such as Alfa, Bravo, Charlie or could indicate an entire message with just one flag, such as Y – “I am dragging my anchor.”
This is definitely a work in progress and I have only add a few names to the section. So far there are 7 names from Chris, Jim, Jason, etc. I will also be adding so other designs non-name related like the Naval ABCs design.
I would love to hear from you!
There are many reasons to visit Manchester, with this famous English city having a wealth of attractions to enjoy. This includes some fine museums and there is plenty of choice for those that like to spend time at these.
Museum of Science and Industry
For some interactive hands-on fun the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester is the place to visit. Its many galleries cover a variety of subjects to ensure there is something for everyone. Those with childhood dreams of trains, planes and automobiles can take in the Air & Space Gallery as well as the Liverpool & Manchester Railway Gallery. These have plenty of Manchester-made vehicles on display. The history of Manchester through the ages is shown in the Making of Manchester Gallery. It is also possible to get a view of what was below the city streets, with the Underground Manchester Gallery having a Victorian sewer that visitors can walk through. Other galleries cover topics that include the history of communication systems, textile machines, the history of electricity and scientific discoveries through the years. Children and adults will find plenty to keep them interested and entertained for a fun day out.
I will be heading to Trinidad and Tobago to do some construction work on an orphanage. We are going for 2 weeks, from May 2 to May 17th. I am going down with a team of 10 people from my church to work on the Whitefield Children’s Home in Cunupia. There are 3 main projects we will be working on and if we have time we will work on the fourth.
1) Building cupboards in the kitchen and the bedrooms
2) Building a drop ceiling in the kitchen and living room areas
3) Tiling the outside
4) Securing the back of the home with a fence and gate
I will be focusing on building the drop ceiling for most of the time, since the room is 60 feet by 15 feet.
Two and a half years ago, I went to Cap Haitien in Haiti and it was an amazing experience. Even though it will be hard leaving my family for another two weeks, I know that helping out the children live more comfortably at Whitefield will definitely be worth. My kids were pretty sad when I told them I would be away for two weeks, but when I showed them some pictures of the kids at Whitefield and that they don’t have mommies or daddies, my kids said it was okay to leave and help them.
If you are able to help fund my trip, please click on the link below to donate. Thank you!
There are not too many cities in Italy you can do in a day but one of them is Venice and the other is Verona. Rome will take you a minimum of three days to see enough to make your trip worthwhile and you can do Florence in two if you don’t get hung up in too many lines, but Venice is certainly doable.
One reason Venice is so easy to do is you don’t have to worry about traffic. No cars are allowed in the city and unless you need to get to someplace across the water you really will find walking from place to place much easier and faster. Remember Venice is a city on the water and bridges cross every little canal. Water taxi’s and water busses are what the locals use to go farther distances but most still walk from place to place.
There are several main places you must visit in Venice and if you arrive in the evening in time for a nice dinner outside overlooking a canal you will be starting this trip off just right. Prepping for the next and only full day in Venice is fairly easy but a must as it is in any city.
If you decide to visit the Island of Murano this should be your first stop. Murano is the home of the biggest blown glass factory in Venice and the city is famous for its blown glass and the artisans who perform this tricky task. It is across the water and the only “trip” you will need to take during your Venice stay.
The trip is easily made by water bus and there are regularly scheduled buses taking you to the island. You can also arrange a tour ahead of time. It might be just as easy to jump on one when you get there. The tour is free and for good reason which we’ll discuss next.