Getting around Paris with public transports metro, rer and velib

Aéroport Charles de Gaulle, (27kms from the city) is Paris main international airport receiving flights from the world over. Roissy Rail is the quickest way to the city. From there, you can take a free shuttle bus from the airport terminal to the Roissy-Charles de Gaulle RER (commuter rail) station. If you are arriving at the Aéroport d’Orly (16kms southwest of the city) which handles mostly domestic and European flights, your quickest option is the Orly Rail to the Left Bank. You can take a free shuttle bus to the Ponte de Rungis-Aèroport d’Orly RER station (C2 line) and get a train to the city. These trains run every 15 min.

Once in the City, then the games ain’t be easier! A piece of cake, so to say. The various lines, which make up France’s railway system, all meet in the centre of Paris, at Chatelet-Les-Halles, the largest metropolitan station in the world. Paris’ metropolitan is the best way to travel around the city. The system’s 14 lines cover the whole of the Paris area. They say that no point in Paris is more than 500m from a stop. Free metro maps are available at all tourist information centres and metro stations. A single ticket anywhere on the metro and zone one on the RER is €1.30 (2006) . A carnet of ten tickets is €9.30 and works out cheaper (2006).

If you are there for any length of time buy a weekly Travel Card or monthly Carte Orange (€15 in 2006). They are valid for travel on all forms of public transport and for unlimited rides. Avoid to be late at night at these stations: Chatelet, Chateau Rouge in Montmatre, Gare du Nord, Strasbourg-Saint Denis, Rèaumur-Sèbastopol and Montparnasse-Bienvenue.

Alternatively there’s the bus service which is also efficient and operates from 5:30am to 1am. Bus routes are indicated on the RATP maps (free from tourist agencies). Tickets can be bought from the driver but must be validated in the machine onboard. A night service called Noctambus operates after the underground from 1am till 5.50am with 18 lines terminating at Châtelet.

Another interesting ecologic transport now available in Paris is the Velib, a newly implemented self-service “bicycle transit system”. Considering that the city of Paris has over 371 km (230 miles) of cycling lanes, riding in Paris is simple and economic. Citizens and visitors are able to pick up and drop off bicycles throughout the city at 1451 locations.

There is a wide offer of up to 20,600 bikes with a Velib’ station approximately every 900 feet! Accessing the bikes couldn’t be easier also! Users can select a one-day card for 1 euro, a weekly card for 5 euros or an annual card for 29 euros. Once purchased the access card, riding for the first half-hour is free and a supplement of 1 euro will be charged for an additional half-hour, 2 euros for another 30-minutes and 4 euros for every addition half-hour after that. Example: a 25 minute trip = 0 euros, a 50 minute trip = 1 euro, an hour and 15-minute ride = 3 euros. In this way they wish to implement the use of the bike for little or brief journeys. To Try!

After a long day cycling or getting op-off buses and metro, you will be probably looking for a nice place to rest and a good place to have dinner. Regarding Paris accommodation, well there are many choices from budget to expencive ones. We believe there are some with a good price-quality ratio that can satisfy many travellers.

From the Blue Planet youth hostel, to a secret small studio in Place de Vichi, to boutique hotels offering colourful rooms, fresh ambience and private gardens where to enjoy breakfast. Prices range from 30-50 euros per person at Cecil hotel, Bac Saint Germain (in Latin quarter) or the Hotel du Parc Saint Charles. Taylor hotel, Des Artes hotel, Altona hotel, Mon Reve Hotel where they privilege amore familiar ambience and service.

Fun Family Road Trip Activities

Instead of letting the kids watch DVDs during your next road trip, use those long hours in the car to sharpen their minds.

That’s the advice from Dr. Katherine Wiesendanger, an education professor at Longwood University in Farmville, Va. She offers these tips for turning those mindless hours in the car to mind-sharpening opportunities.

Official Navigator

No minivan sallying forth to vacation wonderlands can arrive without a designated navigator. Why not appoint your child to the post? An official trip navigator’s title and duties are a great way to reinforce map reading, mathematics and geography skills.

Dr. Wiesendanger recommends that during the trip, parents require the navigator to trace the family’s progress on a map. Every hour, call for an official report from the backseat, asking the navigator to detail location, current direction of travel, the next exit, the nearest town and the next state.

Mom or Dad can also add a mathematics component to navigator reports by asking for the total miles traveled and remaining, which the navigator can learn to compute using location information and the map’s scale. The driver can use the odometer to double-check.

A to Z

Dr. Wiesendanger suggests that road trips also present opportunities for kids and parents to sharpen verbal skills. Story-telling, for example, can involve the entire family and exercise everyone’s mind.

One idea is to use “story starters.” One family member starts the story with a simple “Once upon a time” statement. Each family member then takes a turn to build on the story. These stories can take imaginative, often humorous turns that entertain and create memories.

Another mind exercise idea is having kids keep a daily vacation journal, starting in the car. Writing brief reflections on the day’s experience and tomorrow’s anticipation lets kids practice expressing themselves. The journal also becomes a vacation keepsake that kids and parents are likely to treasure a few years down the road.

Finding A Nice San Francisco Hotel

Getting a San Francisco Hotel is different than in most places because location matters a great deal. San Francisco has almost always been known as a romantic city. The city lights, a large bay, a couple of bridges, some great history and Victorian row houses all are a part of the San Francisco landscape. It also what makes this city offer a unique experience for families, couples and even singles.

When visiting San Francisco the first thing to consider when selecting a hotel is the proximity to public transportation. Traffic in this city by the bay is horrendous and the street layout is extremely difficult to maneuver. As with many older cities, San Francisco grew up over decades before there were automobiles. So the streets and roadways were no designed to accommodate the car but horses and foot traffic. Also like many larger cities, the government in SF also decided to make many interior streets 1 way! Combine the traffic, street size and unfamiliarity together is a recipe for a very stressful time.

The good news is that there are many alternatives in the greater San Francisco Bay area region. The city has a good bus system, taxis, Bay ARea Rapid Transit or BART and of course the quaint cable cars. Find a nice hotel or suite in SF close to public transportation and simply enjoy the town and all it has to offer.

From the vantage point of a city bus or cable car, enjoy the sights and sounds of this unique city. Visit the old area of Haight Ashbury where some say the hippie movement of the 1960’s was born. If you’re into rock and roll history, locate 710 Ashbury Street, where the Grateful Dead Band lived at one time. There’s also the Golden Gate Bridge, tours to Alcatraz, Golden Gate Park, Chinatown, Coit Tower atop Telegraph hill and many other attractions.

By far, one of the most popular attractions has to be Fisherman’s Wharf. Here, California sea lions have taken over some of the most expensive boat harbor real estate in the country. Fisherman’s Wharf is much more than a launching place for the small fishing boats. There’s also Pier39, an outdoor mall experience built on an old commercial pier. For lunch, consider going down the street just across from the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum and pick up some fresh sourdough bread. Continue down a little more and there’s Alioto’s, a favorite fish and seafood place. Pick up some Dungeness crab or shrimp cocktail to enjoy with the fresh bread and have lunch right by the bay. An inexpensive lunch with scenery that can’t be beat.

The key to enjoying San Francisco is based more on the proximity to the public transportation that any specific San Francisco hotel room. Shop for the best deal on a room and give yourself a stress free vacation by leaving the driving to someone else.

Getting To and Around Eastern Europe

Visiting Eastern Europe is an enjoyable step back in time and a top travel destination. Here’s the scoop on what you need to consider when trying to get there.

Getting To and Around Eastern Europe

Eastern Europe has been open to travel for roughly 15 years following the fall of the Soviet Union. Much to the delight of travelers, Eastern Europe has proven to be an incredibly beautiful and charming slice of old world Europe. From Prague to Budapest and everywhere in between, Eastern Europe offers much to be admired and prices are cheap.

Catching a plain to the far east of Europe isn’t particularly difficult, but it really depends on the exact destination you are trying to reach. Most countries are reached by first stopping in Western Europe, but direct flights can be found depending on your departure location.

The high season is summer, which means prices can be a big concern if you have a tight budget. This may not bother you. If it does, the key to flying on the cheap is to shop across all the online travel sites. They offer dramatically different prices, even for the same flight! Determine a general range of dates you want to leave and come back. Then start hunting. Flights leaving after midnight can be significantly cheaper than flights during normal hours. Since you will be sleeping anyway, it makes sense to save some bucks.

There are two other pricing options that can save you a bundle on high season rates. Consolidators purchase bundles of open seats from airlines for flights that aren’t traditionally full. You can save significant money, sometimes as much as fifty percent, buy purchasing from consolidators. The biggest savings occur when you buy from them at the last moment, but you risk all of the seats being sold.

If you are flying during the high season, you can also get a steal by booking a seat on a chartered flight. Chartered flights are small airlines that typically only fly during the high season. They tend to be a bit amateurish, but are definitely cheap. I’ve paid as low as $450 for a round trip booking to Budapest when an online booking would have run me over $900. If you go charter, try to upgrade to first class while booking in. For $75, I was able to do so on a flight from Paris to Los Angeles. It was the best $75 I ever spent!

Flying domestic in Eastern Europe is not for the faint of heart. The planes are a bit old and, well, they aren’t always known for reliability. Most people simply hop on a train. If you must fly domestic, find a local resident to buy the ticket for you. Prices go up significantly when foreigners walk in the door, as much as triple the normal price.

Eastern Europe receives top marks as a travel destination. After 15 years of freedom, jumping a plain to the location of your choice shouldn’t be any more difficult than any other location.

Great Things You Can Do While In Dubai

If you like golf it’s good to know that the first grass course in the Middle East, the Emirates Golf Club, it’s located south of the city. This is where the European PGA Desert Classic it’s taking place. This huge event always attracts some major PGA players.

If you are into watersports you will really like your Dubai holiday. Almost all hotels along Jumeria Beach can offer activities like sailing, paragliding, windsurfing, water skiing or jet skiing. But if you are not really into watersports you can always swim in the warm waters, ride along Dubai Creek or walk along the beaches.

You can also have a great night life in Dubai. Dubai has a wide selection of pubs and bars that can be found in the major hotels. You can also go to concerts, cinemas or discotheques.

If you will visit Dubai with your family, in Dubai, you can visit Wild Wadi, a water amusement park, it will be enjoyed by all family members. You will also find many parks, landscaped gardens, playgrounds and the Dubai Zoo.

You will also find a great variety of beaches in Dubai. Main beaches in Dubai are along Jumeira Road. Beaches are divided up by private clubs and hotels. Also, you can find few public access beaches. You will be able to use the private beaches for daily rates that vary from $10 to $50. Some public facilities included in the public beaches are food kiosks, picnic areas, playgrounds and barbecue sites.

Dubai also has a great variety of restaurants. You can easily find them in the larger hotels. You will find Turkish or Lebanese cuisine on most local menus. Indian and Pakistani restaurants are also available in Dubai. You can also find American fast food chains in the shopping malls.

With all this great things to do while in Dubai, you can’t miss, your holidays in Dubai are assured.