Tag: "advice"

Traveling to Turks and Caicos – international calling plan advice needed

Traveler’s question: Anyone have any advice on how to stay connected to the mainland. Normally I don’t worry about ataying connected on vacation, but I need to keep in touch. We are going to be laying people off so i need to touch base once a day with my foreman and be ready to deal with whatever pops up.

So I need to be able to conduct business via voice, text, and email. I can add an international package with AT& T but it does not seem very affordable. Any help is appreciated. We are apple users and will have wifi but not everyone we will be in need of contacting will be apple users.

Answer: Skype may be your answer. I don’t use it personally, but Skype can work for mac users and I’m sure the plan to allow calls to a landline is cheaper than an international calling plan.

If anyone can add some tips for international calling plans and the like, please comment below.

Advice on flying from a 1988 Die Hard character

Do you remember Die Hard with Bruce Willis from 1988?

Well I was recently reminded of a scene where a businessman is giving Bruce Willis’ character some advice, the secret to surviving air travel:

Businessman: You wanna know the secret to surviving air travel? After you get where you’re going, take off your shoes and your socks then walk around on the rug bare foot and make fists with your toes.

John McClane: Fists with your toes?

Just curious if anyone has tried this and if anyone can say whether or not it’s actually helpful. And, if it is helpful, what is it exactly? What does it mean to make a fist with your toes?

Flying for the first time – advice

Reader question: I have no experience and have never been on a plane before. I’m going to visit my friend in Tallahassee, Florida sometime in June for 10 days.

Any “tricks” that I need to look for? As in any particular day is cheaper. Which airline is best? Worst? Anytime of day or night? I’m more than likely flying out of Philadelphia to the airport in
Tallahassee. I’ve heard that its better to order your plane tickets far in advance for them to be cheaper. Also about approx how much would be a reasonable round trip from Philly to Tallahassee? United has a ticket for $450…

I would be going by myself. I’ve always avoided flying, but this time around I do not feel like driving and I just caved in. Thank you

Some advice: Check kayak.com and similar sites to compare fares. One thing to keep in mind about the aggregator sites like Kayak and Orbitz is that a number of bargain airlines don’t work
with them. Check the list of airlines that fly in and out of Philly (it will be on the airport website), and see if Southwest, JetBlue or AirTran fly from there. They will likely have the cheapest flights to FL. JetBlue would be my first choice.

Many say that Tuesday and Wednesday flights tend to be cheapest. Generally, tickets mid-week are much cheaper than tickets on the weekend. They say 50 days or so out is when you should look to buy.

Flying out of Philly, I would tend to avoid US Air. If you do fly US Air, go in a different terminal and then cut over once you’re past security. Tallahassee is a tiny airport. You might be able to save money by flying to someplace like Jacksonville and driving the rest of the way.

A couple basic things: Pack light. Join a frequent flier program for whatever airline you choose. Wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off. Check the TSA list of things you can’t have in a carry-on – don’t be that guy.

If you’re really afraid of flying, your doctor should prescribe Xanax or another anti-anxiety drug. It works for many who are afraid of flying but I wouldn’t take one for the first time on a plane in case you have some side effects.

Brief visit to Ireland advice

Reader question: I’m making a brief visit to Ireland next week, flying into Dublin because I found some cheap Air Canada tickets online, driving to Belfast for dinner and staying the night there, and then potentially free the next day and evening before flying out of Dublin again late the next morning. I have not been to Ireland before. Looking for advice. Should I spend my free evening in Dublin? (which would seem to make the most sense since I’ll be flying from there the next day). If so, where? Or is there someplace between Belfast and Dublin compelling enough to stay the night there instead? And any advice on not to miss (given my very brief stay). Thanks!

My answer (or rather a friend’s answer since I have never been to Ireland). If anyone can add something useful, please comment below.

Dublin is great, especially Grafton Street. Temple Bar district in Dublin is very cool. There are better places than Dublin in Ireland BUT it is still a great city. I worked as a journalist in Belfast back in the ’80s, but Dublin is where I would go for a great weekend night out. It’s hard to top. My favorite Dublin night spot is The Brazen Head, which may very well be the oldest pub in the world (12th century). It’s a great place for a good pint and live music.

Belfast is a great, great town. The city center has come a long way. It’s a small city but one where you can have a lot of fun. Take a Black Taxi Tour in Belfast. Driver takes you out to all the former hotspot areas in the Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods. Very knowledgeable guides, fascinating tour. I’ve been to Belfast a half-dozen times and would go back in a heartbeat. A bit of a drive from Belfast but the Giants Causeway is really close to the Bushmills distillery.

In the end, if I was flying out the next day I would want to stay in or near where I was leaving from. One, that is a lot of traveling in one day between the car and flight. Two, who wants to drive hung over? Get on that plane and sleep. So a plan might be, and this is what i would do on the free day, the Black Taxi tour around Belfast, then drive down to Dublin, and walk around Temple Bar shooting photos and pub crawling till I can’t drink anymore (with an if found return to The Morgan Hotel stamp on my forehead). But stay sober enough to make sure I got to the brazen head at some point.

If you had the time, Book of Kells at Trinity College. James Joyce Tower. Pilgrimage to St James Gate (Guinness Brewery) or O’Connell Street.

Advice: First time to Walt Disney World

Reader question: Heading to Orlando in early December for a week and we are planning to take our 7 year old daughter to Disney (can’t avoid it any longer). Any advice? We have lodging covered and are trying to figure out must do stuff and how many days we should plan on spending there.

As usual I have a few pieces of advice from various sources but I encourage everyone who can to leave a comment below.

Answer 1: The Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a must do. And visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios. They have the Osborn lights. Every evening at dusk they light about 5 million Christmas lights and they play holiday songs. Oh, it snows too.

Answer 2:

a) Don’t sleep in. Get up, eat, and be at the gate before the park opens. You’ll have few lines for the first couple of hours.
b) Since you got up early, go to lunch early and beat the lunch crowds.
c) After lunch, do a few more rides, then head back to your hotel for a midday siesta. If you try to go 10+ hours a day straight, you’ll burn out by midday the second day. Relax for a few hours, take a dip in the pool, nap, whatever. Late in the afternoon, return to the park as the crowds are leaving.
d) Buy the book linked below. It’s the absolute bible to navigating Disney.

(we reviewed this one in 2012)

Answer 3: It may be just sentimental memories but I think it’s a must to eat at Ohana at the Polynesian. It’s a bit hokie, but so is a lot of Disney. The meal is actually pretty good (served churrascaria style but with polynesian food) and the show is fun and the resort is a throwback. And if you time it right you also get a great view of the nightly fireworks. Also with a seven year old the Hoopdeedoo review is a good show that you’ll all enjoy (hokie again, but fun). The food at that one isn’t so good but the fried chicken is passable and you’re there for the show.

And if you’re so inclined for a world class meal and feel like leaving Disney go to the Bull and Bear steakhouse in the Waldorf. Their Tomahawk is a unique massive aged prime ribeye on a huge bone and it’s one of the most incredibly wonderful steaks – in fact one of the most incredibly wonderful eating experiences – anywhere. It’s expensive but considering how incredible the food is it’s actually a good value – on par or maybe even cheaper than most Mortons.

Answer 4:

a) Spend a day at each park.
b) Epcot is great, you can walk around the country section and have a beer at each country, also see the shows (such as a Beatles copy band in England, etc.) This may not be a priority for the kids so it’s good to have a backup plan – some kids like it but some get bored. Make sure you get them the passport they can color and get stamps for throughout the park, it kept mine interested as we sampled food and beer from all over the world. Try the ride Soarin – feels like hang gliding. Finally there are still lots of characters in Epcot too. You can always find Aladdin or Jasmine in Morroco, Mulan in China, Dalmations and Marry Poppins in England, etc.
c) Also Epcot is connected to the Disney Boardwalk, there is a walkway right next to Canada. The Boardwalk has the ESPN Sport Club (for football games), a few good restaurants, and a piano bar.
d) The night parades are the best, both the Magic Kingdom and MGM have great ones.
e) Use Fastpass whenever possible.
f) To get to the Magic Kingdom I like to take the ferry back to the parking lot, especially if its late. Less people take it than the monorail, and you can see the fireworks from the boat.

Answer 5: Download Disney Mobile Magic app to your phone. Its an excellent resource while you’re in the parks. I also recommend pacing yourself. A park a day is great advice. Don’t miss the illuminating fireworks at Epcot. Ponchos may be in order – showers might pass through in the afternoon. Sea World gets all decked for Christmas too. It makes for a nice change of pace if you need a down day. We had a blast.

Answer 6: It might be too late now but try to book at least one character meal – Chef Micky is a lot of fun and is breakfast/dinner with Cinderella inside the Castle. My kids were young so rides weren’t much of an option, but she and my younger daughter had a blast getting princess autographs and doing tea parties and such with the princesses. Depending on what your budget looks like I’d
check into some of those. People seem to enjoy the one at the castle, but it can be tough to get into. There is a tea party with Sleeping Beauty at one of the resorts that is probably better.

See also: discounted tickets, when it rains, 2009 Disney advice

Best sights and restaurants in Nashville and Memphis?

Reader submitted question:

Going to nashville and memphis TN. Could you guys recommend the best sights to see in Tennessee?
Also some good restaurants? Thanks for the advice.

My answer – I’ve never been to either place but both are on my list and I have a short list of stuff you want to do in each place. Hopefully someone can add to my little list by leaving a comment below.

Memphis:
-Rock and Soul Museum, Sun Records, and Graceland – You can buy all
these tickets in a package.
-Gibson Hollow and Semi-Hollow Electric Guitar Tour.
-Peabody Hotel at 5pm to see the ducks walk – Get there an hour early.
-Majestic Steak House, Flight Restaurant, and Rendezvous (great barbecue) are places not to miss.
-Beale Street can be a fun place the drink, but be careful at night.

Nashville:
-Country Music Hall of Fame and B-Side record tour.
-Frist Center of Visual Arts – Decent Museum type thing.
-Definitely eat at F. Scott’s. Best food I’ve had in the South.
-Drink on Broadway and check out all the bars, with Tootsies and the
Stage being the better ones.

One more thing:
-If you’ve got kids, stop for gas in Bucksnort, TN (on 40 between Nashville and Memphis).
They’ve got hats and t-shirts available and your kids will love the
souvenirs.