Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Where can you travel that has a 1/2 hour time zone difference?

Arriving today in Adelaide I looked at the terminal clock twice.  Then at my watch.

The one hour flight left at noon and arrived at 1:30.

Did I take the correct flight?

Was the flight 1/2 hour delayed?

No.  Adelaide, Australia is 1/2 ahead of Melbourne, Australia.

This is weird

Friday, September 30, 2016

People you meet on the road: Sydney Australia

Music with noodles

A shop window, a street corner performer, a monument are often 'stop and see' moments on a trip.

On a cross street in central Sydney I stopped to look around when I heard violin music!

The only doorway was for a noodle restaurant.

Inside an older man dressed as an employee (he may have owned the restaurant)  stood playing music.

I waited until he finished the piece, smiled and walked on.   But a few steps later I returned to film this basic video from the sidewalk.  

For the few moments people passed by the doorway they STOPPED looking at their phones, stopped talking and often smiled.  

Such a simple gift of music may have changed someone's mood that day, it changed mine.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

When Business Class is not Enough

After 10+ years of saving frequent flyer miles to take a business class trip as far as the points will go.

Now I find that business class can often be no better than premium economy.  But that may only be on particular aircraft.

Delta to Seattle:   butt numbing seat, yes better than the back of the plane but NOT worth $400

Korean Airlines:  First leg, only 2 customers in business class!   No first class customers.  A delightful crew. Up in the air on time, lunch within 15 minutes!

Waiting for leg 2 in Korea.   I was encouraged not to go to the business class lounge, it is 'too far'.
The Narita airport KA lounge was not as nice as the Starbucks store.  Food wrapped in plastic, terrible coffee and almost nothing else.  

KA lounge in Korea is bigger.  Menu is better with some hot food, but little fruit and salad.
Can I please have an apple?
Good desk space, free wifi and some quiet

Great airport:  Bigger than a mall
Offers FREE showers
Has 'relax' lounges, where people sleep until the next flight

Now there are separate classes for lounges!
Don't try to go to the First Class lounge you will be sent to the 'other location'.

The check in lines are separated
The seating is separated
The lounges are separated
Even asking a question at the airline desk is separated by 'class'

I still prefer sailing to Europe or Asia.   There is nothing about air travel that encourages me to travel more.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Are you angry when you can not travel?

After being on the road 6 months last year it has been very difficult to sit still for several months.

Amazing that the feeling is anger that I am not out there seeing and doing things but left to do paper work or yard work.

Today some of the simple beauties that do not require international travel became visible.

Not the glitter of diamonds in Amsterdam.................

 Not an exotic sea animal.............

Not a famous garden in Europe

But enough to change my mood and now am back at the computer searching for a trip to Japan

Monday, June 6, 2016

Never Leave Home without.......

Everyone packs what they 'think' the will need or can't live without for a month or longer.

Over the years there are a few items that are always in my bag.

1.  Zip Ties or you may call them plastic ties

They come in all sizes and lengths.  You can find them at hardware stores, the dollar store and Home Depot.

I carry a few in all sizes.   Best use is to:
1.  attach your luggage tag to your bag.  Often tags have buckle closures and are easily removed
2.  lock you suitcase (use a thin tie).   You MUST have a scissors or even a nail clipper will work, to cut the tie when you want to get into your suitcase  (this can work with a purse but annoying if you need something quickly
3.  secure your bag to an overhead rack on the train or bus.   This will prevent someone from a grab and run.
4.  my BEST use of plastic ties was when i lost the button to my pants at an airport in Italy.   There were no stores in the airport.  I did not have a belt.   So, attaching several ties together I made a belt for myself.  This gave me time to get into town and look for a button replacement (another story ref:  how difficult this was)/
Again, this is a situation when you want to use the WC.
Standard silver tape or one of the many fashion printed tapes available

2. Duct Tape:

Easy to pack flat once you remove the cardboard center this magic tape has repaired a shoe when a trip on a cobblestone tore some of the sole off my shoe.  I was in a small town and it took some time to find a cobbler.   Actually there are only a few I know of in my city I live in.

Duck tape can repair a tear in a suitcase
Use as a link remover since I often take only dark colors with me on any trip.
I have not tried this but you can tape your bag to an overhead rack if you plan to nap while traveling.  Just remember the scissors when you plan to alight!

3. Color copy of my passport:
Hotels still ask for your passport when checking in.  I now can give them a copy so I don't have to remember to pick up my passport later in the day.   I have ONLY had a problem with this idea when checking into a convent hotel in Italy where they wanted to see the original.  

4.  Back up pair of eyeglasses and eyeglass repair tools
If you wear glasses to read anything as I do, you know how important this is.  I bring a copy of my prescription in the event I find really 'cool frames' that I might want to purchase.
After breaking the frames on my glasses last year and finding no 'fix while you wait' facilities in Florence, Italy, I always carry a back up pair.
And the repair kit will let you replace any lost screws.  On one occasion I did have a piece replaced at an optical store.   Lovely shop in Sorrento near Piazza Tasso.  When I asked the cost, he didn't want any payment!  Wow.  For repairs in Florence there is a shop near the corner of Piazza Santa Croce (to the left facing the church) with a lovely couple who may have worked there for decades.   He has a work shop where repairs are made but NOT on the weekends.

4.  Small sewing kit and spare button.    Not always easy to find in a new town.

What are your NEVER LEAVE HOME WITHOUT items?

*note:  I found the larger supermarkets in Italy often carried a number of items that might be helpful to a traveler.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Walks in NYC




Looking for participants during filming of The Walks in NYC


Great opportunity to take a free tour in NYC with The Walks of NYC during a filming event June 5, 6 and 7.  


THE WALKS OF NYC needs participants for tours being filmed in June


The Walks of NYC will be filming tours next week and a few of the tours are new additions to The Walks of NYC.

The tours they need help with are:


10AM, Sunday June 5: Greenwich Village Food Tour, led by the wonderful Simona. There will be lots of food and a decent dollop of history. It's a great tour and a great free lunch. Duration is 3 hours.

8.30AM, Monday June 6: New York In A Day  includes a 9/11 walking tour, boat tour to see the Statue, stroll through Greenwich Village, lunch in Chelsea Market, walk along the High Line AND access to the Empire State Building. Duration is 8 hours. We may have to change the itinerary of this a little but the concept will be the same.

3PM, Tuesday June 7: Crime Tour. This is a new one - a tour of Wall St, Chinatown & more with retired NYPD. It's a storytelling tour based a little on historic scandals in NYC and a little on the guide's own experience. . Duration is 2.5 hours


Emiliano will be doing the filming and is great at what he does, so you mostly won't even notice that he's there.


Anyone who wants to join can get in touch with  at The Walks of NYC


Note:  I have taken the tours the parent company offered in Istanbul, Turkey and was amazed at the depth and variety that the guides shared.   Reviews can be found at Mature Solo Travel.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Solo was a dreaded 'four letter word'

Now there are SIX LETTER WORDS

As a solo traveler have you found prices for solo rooms soar during the typical 'vacations weeks'?

Have you found hotel prices higher during particular regions?

Beaches and points of interest are full of tourists. 
Finding a parking space may be your first concern when you stop in a town/city.

And I understand why restaurants cringe when you ask for a table for one (only 1/2 the income).

Family travel and couple travel are a large part of beach travel and resort vacations.   Just a few weeks ago you could hop a short cruise from a southern port for less than the cost of a hotel and meals.   

You can still find a flight during off times and airlines have not started to charge more for ONE seat, but the dreaded '2 for 1' advertising is a warning sign.   And don't ask me what I think of pricing for cruise lines.................

What do you think?

Have you gone to an amusement park solo?
Beach or island resorts:   have you gone solo?
A concert?
A dinner show?

Friday, May 20, 2016

Paid ticket and No where to go.............

Delta is holding me hostage to use a refund voucher within 60 days..................Use it or Lose It!

Where to go?

I am between two very big trips and really do not want to plan, pack, stand in line and squeeze into the back of a plane just now.  And today the 3 hr lines at security needs to be added to the mix.  

So where do I go from Atlanta for just $400 +

Some trips in the USA are better road trips:  within 500 miles or to the many beach towns.  More than 500 miles there are great cities to explore.

It is interesting when you sort out the hundreds of cities you can visit from a major airport, how many cities have what I call B appeal.  Some are far more expensive than a trip to Europe!  And of course starting on Memorial day everywhere will be crowded with 'vacationers'.   It will be more difficult to find solo places to stay, obtain a table in a restaurant and often attend interesting sites, museums, theaters.   Traveling solo is a juggling act, often only traveling off season.

Google Flights suggests the following from my A list:
Toronto, Seattle, Las Vegas, Denver, Portland, Oregon, New Orleans, Vancouver, Colorado Springs, Calgary if I take West Jet and the usual Boston, Philadelphia, NYC or Washington, DC.

There are only 3 cities I have not visited but there are 8 that I have not visited as a traveler NOT a tourist.

But time is money:  add a search for car rentals, hotels and 'things to do' there is perhaps a 100 hr investment in a ticket Delta won't extend for me.

It is NOT only about money it is about WHERE to invest time and funds to obtain a new experience.

I read recently on Boots n All Travel an article by Mary Richardson,  who describes "getting the lowest price is not always the best value when it comes to travel. On the contrary, sometimes going too cheap is a waste of money".   I can add that not all 3 star hotels are equal.  Coach seats on long flights are torture.   My trips are a constant search for new hotels or alternative places to stay and 'solo friendly' places to eat.   I pay more for plane reservations when I can select a seat and check a bag and now hotels that include restaurants give me a back up plan in a city I might not be familiar with.

So the next 2 weeks will be a constant review of all my options for this small, non refundable Delta ticket.  

Do you have a suggestion?

Friday, May 13, 2016

Has Cunard decided SOLO clients are Important?


News from Cunard with new solo

Just saw this from Cunard!

The newly remastered Queen Mary 2 now has single staterooms. We invite you to book one of these oceanview staterooms in category KC or KB or enjoy a double occupancy stateroom with a lower single supplement. All you have to do is contact your Travel Consultant, call Cunard at 800-728-6273 or enter your member number online at Hurry -- this offer expires 31 May.
Queen Mary 2 in New York
Transatlantic Crossings
New York to Southampton (via Halifax). Click here to view voyage.
Southampton to New York. Click here to view voyage.
New York to Southampton. Click here to view voyage.
New York to Southampton (via Halifax). Click here to view voyage.
Southampton to New York. Click here to view voyage.
New York to Southampton. Click here to view voyage.
New York to Southampton. Click here to view voyage.
Southampton to New York. Click here to view voyage.
New York to Southampton. Click here to view voyage.
St. Kitts
Roundtrip New York. Click here to view voyage.
Roundtrip New York. Click here to view voyage.
New England & Canada
Roundtrip New York. Click here to view voyage.
New York to Quebec. Click here to view voyage.
Roundtrip New York. Click here to view voyage.
Quebec to New York. Click here to view voyage.
Queen Mary 2 Remastered

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Wifi at .50 a minute!

Have you ever paid this much for wifi?  Why do ships exploit their clients?  
They want to keep you shopping, in the casino and bars.

Friday, March 11, 2016

London: Following Charles Dickens

I wanted to walk into a Charles Dickens novel and Context Travel  generously offered to show me this part  of London on their Charles Dickens walking tour

The Old Bell bar
I met my Context tour guide at The Old Bell bar on Fleet Street.  Dating back 300 years, the pub was rebuilt after the Great fire of London and is exactly what I think a pub should be.

A very rainy day did not dampen the enthusiasm of my amazing guide and we were soon off to our first stop 
The Brides Church.

Tucked behind this entrance is a shady, quiet courtyard.
As often happens while exploring a city, you can stumble upon the entrance to amazing places, small treasures tucked away from the main traffic.  

 St Bride's Church on Fleet street, also known as The Journalist's Church, has been the location of a church for centuries.  From the long history, as described by my guide and found on the church's web site, I learned that St. Bride's is "know worldwide as the 'journalists' Church, a spiritual home to all who work in the media."

The Brides Church is also know as the Journalists' Church

Below this quiet oasis is remnants of Roman pavement and visitors are welcome to explore the narrow passage way with artifacts and original walls exposed.

Guides at the palaces, cathedrals and famous houses in London never fail to amaze me with the centuries of history they can share.   

We stopped at the Old Curiosity Shop only to find it closed and now selling shoes.   Over the centuries the building has listed to the side a little.  It is under a protective order so shall  remain a wonderful reminder to the story Charles Dickens wrote and Little Nell and her grandfather.

Peering in the windows you can see wood floors, low ceilings, small doorways.  

The Streets Dickens Walked
Most of the streets and alleys that Dickens wrote about have been replaced with office buildings and modern architecture.   But a few small streets or narrow lanes still remain.

I was surprised to learn Dickens spent time as a law clerk in London  and our tour visited many of the Inns of Court in London.   The heavy rain may have kept the clerks and solicitors inside.  All the courtyards were empty and quiet.   I wonder if you can see wigged and robed barristers traveling too and from at other times?

The Inns of Court in London, professional associations that English barristers join,function as offices, libraries training and sometimes dining facilities for barristers. 1

The British system is far different than that of the USA and it may take a bit-of-a-study to understand the Inn's concept.   A tour of  the Inns alone would share a rich history of legal London.

Fountain Court in the center of Middle Temple


  • White and red roses, symbol of the two sides in the Wars of the Roses
  •  was outside one of the dining halls
Middle Temple hall
We also visited The Temple Church.   If you saw The Da Vinci Code you may recognize the Temple Church.  The 800 year old church was built by the Knights Templar.  According to church web site "the order of crusading monks were founded to protect pilgrims on their way to and from Jerusalem in the 12th century."

The domed portion of the Temple Church is modeled after the domed Church of the Rock in Jerusalem.  

The dome over the round part of the church

The round portion of the church has a wonderful group of carved stone faces, each with an original expression.

There is a wonderful collection of stone faces around the circular part of the church  See more photos here.

My thanks to Context Travel London for this wonderful complementary tour.  
All photos are the property of Mature Solo Travel 2016

1from Wickipdia as referenced