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.

Fishing Capital of the World

With Florida being the fishing capital of the world it stands to reason that the Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Bradenton and Sarasota areas would offer incredible inshore fishing action. Because its home to over 200 different species, anglers travel to Tampa Bay from around the world eager to take advantage of our unsurpassed Tampafishing charters. Besides the relaxing aspects of a day on the water and the opportunity to commune with nature, fishing always presents an enjoyable challenge.

As one of the great activities of all time, people throughout history have benefited not just as a source of food but one of unparalleled family pastimes. It doesn’t take much time, money or expertise to enjoy your first fishing trip, and once your “hooked” there are plenty of resources to help you develop your angling skills.

While the world famous Silver King/Tarpon is a mainstay of our summertime angling activities. Tampa’s remarkable Snook, Redfish, Trout, Cobia, Pompano, Permit, Mackerel, and Sharks offer both experienced and beginners unsurpassed angling opportunities.

If you’re interested in learning how to fish, improving you’re angling skills or just spending a terrific day catching fish. The person you must contact is the Tampa Bay areas top fishing and outdoor guide. Captain Woody Gore, President/CEO of Tampa Flats Fishing, SportFishing Unlimited and Outdoor Communications is committed to you and “making memories one day at a time”…“through excellent customer service.”

As a professional fishing guide, outdoor writer/speaker and tournament angler Woody’s spent fifty-plus years honing his angling skills. And as Tampa Bay’s number one fishing guide his knowledge and expertise presents you with the opportunity of a lifetime. So, when planning a fishing trip with Captain Woody make certain you’re prepared to experience a day of spectacular and exciting world class fishing.

Group Charters, Corporate Events & Fishing Tournaments
If you’re planning one of the above Captain Woody’s experience and expertise allows him to coordinate everything from event planning to special activities. Excellent Customer Service and his competent organizational skills, solidifies his outdoors business. He also has the advantage of enlisting the areas top fishing guides with the proper equipment, and attitudes to ensure a positive and successful event.

Financial and Shopping Tips When Traveling Overseas

Local banks usually offer better rates of exchange than hotels, restaurants, or stores. Rates are often posted in windows. Above all, avoid private currency transactions. In some countries, you risk more than being swindled or stuck with counterfeit currency _ you risk arrest. Avoid the black market — learn and obey the local currency laws, wherever you go.


Mail Small Items

When you purchase small items, it is a good idea to mail them personally to your home or to carry them in your luggage. This will help prevent misdirected packages, no receipt of merchandise, or receipt of wrong merchandise. When you mail purchases, be sure to ask about insurance.

American embassies and consulates abroad cannot serve as post offices. They cannot accept, hold, or forward mail for U.S. citizens abroad.

Items mailed home are not eligible for your $400 personal exemption. If the item that you are mailing home is less than $200, duty will be waived. Be sure to write on the outside of the package that it contains goods for personal use.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

Some European and Asian countries levy a value added tax (VAT) on the items that you buy. In some places, if you ship your purchases home, the VAT can be waived. Other places may require you to pay the VAT, but have a system to refund all of it or part of it to you by mail. You can ask the store clerk for an application to apply for the refund. The VAT refund is only for items that you can ship or carry with you. It does not apply to food, hotel bills, or other services. Because the rules for VAT refunds vary from country to country, you should check with the country’s tourist office to learn the local requirements.

Beware When Making the Following Purchases:

Wildlife Souvenirs

Be careful when you buy articles made from animals and plants or when you purchase live, wild animals to bring back as pets. Some items, such as those made from elephant ivory, sea turtles, crocodile leather, or fur from endangered cats, and many species of live animals cannot be brought legally into the United States. Your wildlife souvenirs could be confiscated by government inspectors, and you could face other penalties for attempting to bring them into the United States. Do not buy wildlife or wildlife products unless you are certain that they are legal for import into the United States.

Glazed Ceramics

Beware of purchasing glazed ceramic ware abroad. It is possible to suffer lead poisoning, if you consume food or beverages that are stored or served in improperly glazed ceramics.

Unless the ceramics are made by a firm with an international reputation, there is no immediate way to be certain that a particular item is safe. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that ceramic tableware purchased abroad be tested for lead release by a commercial laboratory on your return or be used for decorative purposes only.


Certain countries consider antiques to be national treasures and the “inalienable property of the nation.” In some countries, customs authorities seize illegally purchased antiques without compensation, and they may also levy fines on the purchaser. Americans have been arrested and prosecuted for purchasing antiques without a permit. Americans have even been arrested for purchasing reproductions of antiques from street vendors because a local authority believed the purchase was a national treasure.

Protect yourself. In countries where antiques are important, document your purchases as reproductions, if that is the case, or, if they are authentic, secure the necessary export permit. The documentation or export permit may be available through the country’s national museum. A reputable dealer may provide the export permit or information on how to secure one. If you have questions about purchasing antiques, the country’s tourist office can guide you. If you still have doubts, consult the Consular Section of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. In places where Americans have had problems because of purchasing antiques, the Consular Section is usually well aware of such situations.