Beat the Bluster: Updating Your B&B in the Age of Airbnb

May 4, 2015 by  
Filed under Guide, Travel

Comments Off on Beat the Bluster: Updating Your B&B in the Age of Airbnb

With the rise of Airbnb, many B&B owners may be looking for ways to rejuvenate their business. There is a big difference between loaning out your home and specially constructing a relaxing and interesting experience for anticipated guests. So, take pride in your business and consider these bedroom and property improvements to put yourself ahead of the casual competition.

Find Luxury in Moderation and Variety

Add value-increasing features where they will have the greatest impact on your guest’s experience. By the nature of a B&B, guests mostly interact with the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen, so focus your efforts on these places. Guests appreciate the luxury of a foam mattress topper. However, resist the temptation to focus on softness; aim for a middle ground that will leave everyone well-rested. To improve the breakfasting experience, take some cooking classes and build your repertoire. Providing a variety of breakfast options can be an attractive feature for potential guests with food sensitivities or religious dining preferences.

Get the Most for Your Money

Make sure you keep your focus when developing your improvement plan. Fixing unsatisfyingly low water pressure may be a better investment than a claw-foot tub or decorative soaps. Keep an eye on how hard or soft your water is and calibrate appropriately so guests do not feel gritty or slimy after cleaning up. If it’s not possible to deodorize a stained or damaged bed, don’t shy away from the idea of getting a complete mattress replacement. To prevent future damage, invest in a mattress topper as well that can be replaced more easily in the future.

Bio: Carlo Badalamenti is the marketing manager for The Foam Factory, Inc., a foam and foam-related products vendor based out of Southeast Michigan. Learn more about their products at

Tips on Talking to Beautiful Women in NY

April 5, 2014 by  
Filed under Guide

Comments Off on Tips on Talking to Beautiful Women in NY

Written by New York Socials

Whether you’re visiting the Big Apple or have been living there for years, New York City is home to some of the most beautiful women in the world. And they are everywhere — On the subway, at coffee shops, and in flower shops on the street corner. So why is it so hard for you to approach them?

One of the main obstacles for men who’re afraid to talk to beautiful women is that they don’t know what to say. If you’re one of these men, fret not. As part of my high end dating service in NYC, I offer dating coaching for men who are in the same boat. Here’s how to get over your fear of what to say when talking to a beautiful woman in NY.

Practice Ahead of Time

If you don’t have a natural gift of gab, then have something prepared and rehearsed for times like these. But don’t practice just any line. Instead, think of something that will set you apart from everyone else.

For example, instead of saying “Hi, my name is Josh and I think you’re pretty,” say something that will take her by surprise and will be remembered. For example: “I need a woman’s point of view: I have been debating about a better gift for my Mom’s birthday. I am torn between a bracelet and a set of wine goblets. Which would you recommend?” Always think of conversation starters that are unique and do not call for one word answers.

Work with a Dating Coach

In addition to practicing at home, you might also want to learn the tricks and skills of dating from a professional, such as myself. As the founder of New York Socials and an experienced dating coach, I can provide you with the education and help you need to hone in on your skills and start approaching beautiful women with confidence.

New York Socials is an elite dating club founded by leading matchmaker in New York Marina Margulis.

Bad Experience with Carnival Cruise

May 11, 2011 by  
Filed under Articles, Featured, Guide

Comments Off on Bad Experience with Carnival Cruise

Article by Pierre Zarokian of  Hotel Traveler Reviews


Couple of weeks ago me and my family took the Eastern Caribbean cruise with Carnival Liberty. I wanted to write this article to voice my anger with Carnival Cruise. The main problem where several hidden charges and slowness of the internet. However, the choice of the islands were also not that interesting.

First let me begin with the hidden charges. There is a $70 per person gratuity charge, so for 3 of us, we were hit with $210 unforeseen charge added to our final departure bill.

Second the on-board photo services were way too expensive. While it is a great service, which you do not have to use, most people will probably end up taking a few pics. They encourage you to take as many pics as possible, as you don’t have to buy them. At the end, you may end up buying many pics, because they look good at $22 a pop. My complaint is that they should at least offer a discount for those buying multiple pictures. We ended up spending $700 on pictures.

Third, the internet connection was way too slow. Even tough when you sign up they have disclaimer stating it will be slow, my exception was not that it will be slower than a 14K modem (pre 1995 levels). We used approximately 50% of the $100 I paid upfront and then decided it was way too slow to do any work and was not worth continuing. When I asked for a refund or even a partial refund, I was denied and instead given a 30 minute credit, which was worthless, since I was not going to use it and only one day was remaining in the trip.

Fourth, the selection of the islands the cruise went to was not that exciting. 2 our of 4 islands were OK and then other two were pretty boring. The good ones were San Juan, Puerto Rico and St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. the bad ones were Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos Islands and Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. The last 2 islands were very small and did not offer too many activities, besides relaxing at the beach and a few tours. But since both islands are small there is not really much to see on them. In fact, Half Moon Cay is an island that Carnival owns and was primarily purchased so they can offer their own tours to this island. This was a lesson to myself to do better research next time and pick a cruise that offers a better selection of islands.

Although, the overall cruise experience for me and my family was fun and relaxing, the few issues above, really left me upset. I tried to get refund for the internet and gratuity and was denied both. Due to this I would never ever go on a Carnival Cruise again. I consider myself a VIP traveler. We ended up spending $2400 in extra services, such as photos, spa and food on the boat and I cannot believe the way Carnival treats their VIP customers.

San Juan, Puerto Rico a Great Travel Destination

May 10, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured, Guide

Comments Off on San Juan, Puerto Rico a Great Travel Destination

el morro 2
Article by Robert Petrossian of Travel E Zone

San Juan, Puerto Rico is a great travel destination. It offers centuries of history, dating back to the island’s discovery by Christopher Columbus in 1493 and the massive 16th-century Spanish forts overlooking the sea. The Old San Juan has great old architecture, many great restaurants shopping offerings. The National Rainforest of San Juan is an amazing place to visit. There are also numerous historical places to visit such as the El Morro.

I visited San Juan recently with my family as part of a cruise and was there only for a day. I think it was a bit too short, so probably a 2-3 day visit would have been better to visit most scenarios and tourist attractions in San Juan. We took a 5-hour day tour that took us through parts of the city, the National Rainforest and the El Moro.

The National Rainforest itself has a lot to offer, with its beautiful exotic trees, birds and water falls. This alone probably needs a full day to enjoy. The main water fall that we visited on the side of the road was full of tourists and did not offer good picture opportunities. I would suggest for anyone visiting San Juan National Forest, to rent a car and try to visit the water fall in early morning hours were there would be less tourists. Be advised that in some parts of the rainforest it rains everyday, so dress appropriately or bring an umbrella.

El Morro, AKA Fort San Felipe del Morro, or Morro Castle is a 16th-century citadel located on the ocean front of San Juan on the most Northwestern point. Named in honor of King Philip II of Spain, the fort was designed to guard the entrance to the San Juan Bay, and defend the city of Old San Juan from seaborne enemies. The structure which started in 1595 has very tick walls probably around 6-10 feet to protect it against enemies. It took many years to built and over next 400 years has had many additions.

Finally the Old San Juan is a beautiful place to visit. You can walk from one end of Old San Juan to the other in about 15 minutes, passing buildings in every pastel hue imaginable.  Many balconies have vines. Trees have vibrant colors and you can see the turquoise sea from some places. Make your way to Calle Tetuan and you’ll see a house reputed to be among the world’s narrowest at about 5 feet wide.

The shopping ares offer many brand name shops such as Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren, but also many mom and pop souvenir and gift shops.  The restaurants are plenty and sea food is recommended, being on island were you can get fresh sea food.  A good  recommendation is Toro Salao, 367 Calle Tetuan, a Spanish-Puerto Rican fusion restaurant with (rare) outdoor seating on a plaza at the southern edge of the old city.

There is a good French restaurant called Trois Cent Onze. There is  a waterfront restaurant near e southern entrance to the old city called Melao, which is also a good choice, with outdoor seating.  Verde Mesa, 216 Calle Tetuan, a tiny vegetarian restaurant, only serves lunch but is known for fantastic fruit shakes .

Puerto Rico, being a US Commonwealth, uses  US Dollar as currency and you can visit with a US Passport, without a Visa.

Rome Travel Guide

April 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured, Guide

Comments Off on Rome Travel Guide

Rome is a modern city with a huge amount of history. It’s one of Europe’s top city destinations. There are a huge number of attractions across the city and most tourist attractions are within walking distance of one another near the central train station.

Flights to Rome

There are several operators that have flights to Rome. Occasionally some budget operators in the UK will fly for less than a pound plus taxes. Kelkoo searches almost every single airline that flies from London to Rome including the budget operators and gives you the results based on the best price.

Rome Hotels

Rome is one of the major tourist cities of Europe. There are 100s of hotels to choose from. The good thing is that even though Rome is a huge city, most of the tourist attractions are within walking distance of one other near the central train station.

Eating out in Rome

Italian food is enjoyed by so many people around the world. Here in Rome, you can enjoy Italian cuisine in an authentic setting.

Rome Night Clubs

Nightlife in Rome is as happening as it is in Paris and London.

Paris Travel Guide

April 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured, Guide

Comments Off on Paris Travel Guide

It won’t take long to appreciate how wonderful Paris is. It’s a gem of Europe. It must be one of the most travels, filmed, painted and dreamt of capital city in Europe. Cafe terraces can be found around every corner and Red Wine flows freely in this bohemian capital. The city center is full of house hold name monuments and many attractions are easily walkable. Unlike many other European capitals, locals prefer to speak in French rather than practice their English. It is also wise to work on perfecting your accent as speaking with an English accent only seems to irritate rather than have them appreciate.

Flights to Paris

Paris has 3 major airports, all of which have quick and easy links to the city center. Almost every major airline in the world flys to Paris as it is a major world hub.

Ferry to France

You can take a ferry from Dover to Calais. The boats are like floating malls and have really nice restaurants. There are also duty free shops on board.
From Calais you can drive to Paris, or catch a cheaper Eurostar train.

Paris Hotels

There are over 430 hotels in Paris. Many of which can be just around the corner from major attractions yet quite affordable and cheap.

Paris Car Hire

It’s possible to hire a car in the uk and drive to Paris via the Eurotunnel or via ferry from dover to calis. There is a €19 fee for driving on French roads.

Travel Insurance

Getting sick abroad is a risk associated with travel. Though you can also go to the hospital here, you might have to pay for treatment in other countries. If you have insurance, they can pay for you if you get sick. Potentially you wouldn’t have to pay out of pocket either.

Shopping in Paris

France is hope to some of the world’s most famous luxury brands. Fashion, chic lifestyles and cat walks all call Paris home. Paris boosts an amazing number of exquisite shops and designers. But there are also several markets as well which host a huge, rich variety of cheap and chic goods.

Eating out in Paris

French cuisine is one of the most famous in the world. Paris is a food capital of europe with just about every kind of restaurant under the sun located in this walkable capital. There are 5 different types of menu you’ll come across in most Paris restaurants: La carte (the normal menu, just more expensive), Menu prix-fixe (fixed-price meal), Menu dégustation (surprise meal), Menu touristique (tourist menu, usually unexceptional food) and Table d’hôte (traditional food, usually inexpensive).

Paris Night Clubs

Paris is packed with Night life venues. Cabarets, Gentlemen’s clubs, Discos, House/Techno and other Trendy clubs are easily found in this vibrant city.

Visas for France

Citizens of the EU and many surrounded and surrounding countries do not need a visa to visit or live in France. Citizens of the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand will be issued a 90-day visa on arrival or prior to departure. Citizens of other countries should consult their local French embassy to see if they require a visa for France.

Venice Travel Guide

April 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured, Guide

Comments Off on Venice Travel Guide

Venice is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. It is also one of the oldest tourist traps in Europe. It can be quite expensive to travel there but we’ve got some links below that will give you a price comparison on the most expensive aspects of your holiday in Venice.

Flights to Venice

There are several operators that have flights to Venice. Occasionally some budget operators in the UK will fly for less than a pound plus taxes. Kelkoo searches almost every single airline that flies from London to Rome including the budget operators and gives you the results based on the best price.

Venice Hotels

Venice is only about 3KM from one end to the other so it is easily walkable and the location of your hotel in venice doesn’t matter as much as it would in other cities.

Eating out in Venice

Italian food is enjoyed by so many people around the world. Here in Venice, you can enjoy Italian cuisine in an authentic setting. Most restaurants are quite expensive and you’ll really need to walk around to find a restaurant that has good prices.

Budapest Travel Guide

April 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured, Guide

Comments Off on Budapest Travel Guide

Budapest is known for rich wines, thermal spas, bird life and a difficult to master language. It has all the luxuries of western europe at half the price. There are quite a few airlines that fly here so it’s easy to find a cheap flight to Budapest and there are plenty of cheap and luxurious hotels in Budapest.

Flights to Budapest

Budapest airport is serviced by a wide variety of airlines so it’s easy to find a cheap flight to Budapest. A total of 8.3 million people flew to and from the airport in 2006.

Budapest Hotels

Hotels in Budapest are often of a high standard yet inexpensive when compared with western hotels. The largest cluster of hotels can be found in the city center.

Budapest Car Hire

Roads in Hungary are safe and you can rent a car in Budapest for a very reasonable rate. Prices range from £14 – £30 per day for a typical 4 door car.

Travel Insurance

Getting sick abroad is a risk associated with travel. Though you can also go to the hospital here in the UK, you might have to pay for treatment in other countries. If you have insurance, they can pay for you if you get sick. Potentially you wouldn’t have to pay out of pocket either.

Shopping in Budapest

Those prices of goods are higher in Budapest than in the rest of the country, the prices of shopping are still cheaper than in most western countries. The closer to out of town you get, the cheaper the prices are. Even tourist souvenirs can be bought at factory outlets. Credit cards are widely accepted except in markets. There are even markets in court yards selling toys, cheap fashions and interesting and unique souvenirs.

Eating out in Budapest

Hungarian Cuisine is wonderful, yet hard to come by in the UK. You’ll never go hungry in Budapest, the town center is full of amazing restaurants at a fraction of what you would pay back in the UK.

Budapest Clubs

A lot has changed in Budapest night life in the last 10 years. Sophisticated western style clubs have popped up and salsa bars are plentiful. There is a wide variety of venues to keep you clubbing through the night.

Visas for Hungary

Citizens of the EU can visit, live and work in Hungary without a visa. Citizens of most other countries will be granted a 90-day tourist visa on arrival.

Rio de Janeiro Travel Guide

April 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured, Guide

Comments Off on Rio de Janeiro Travel Guide

Rio de Janeiro is so much more than Carnival and hotel-lined tourist beaches. This second largest city in Brazil is still a major cultural capital. Rio de Janeiro has a majestic beauty, with built-up areas nestled between a magnificent bay and dazzling beaches on one side and an abruptly rising mountain range, covered by a luxuriant tropical forest, on the other. This unique landscape makes Rio one of the most beautiful cities in the world, justifying its title of Cidade Maravilhosa (“Marvelous City”).

Flights to Rio

Rio de Janeiro-Galeão (Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport) is located 20km (13 miles) north of Rio de Janeiro. It is connected to Rio de Janeiro by two major roads, Linha Vermelha and Avenida Brasil. The airport is signposted on both roads.

Bus and taxi are the most hassle-free ways to travel into Rio. Taxis are available, although visitors are advised to ignore the RDE taxi desk and go to the Rio de Janeiro State Tourism Authority desk instead and buy prepaid taxi vouchers. Otherwise, passengers should ensure that their taxi’s meter is cleared of the last fare.

There is an airport shuttle bus every hour which stops at major hotels and beaches. Empresa Real have air-conditioned frescao buses that drive into the city as well as along the seafront stopping off at the hotels (journey time approximately 45 minutes). Public buses run to the city centre.

Hotels in Rio

Rio de Janeiro’s hotel scene is very diversified, offering options in all price ranges. Even economy hotels offer ensuite rooms (i.e. private bathroom), with air conditioning, color TV, phone and a small refrigerator. Most hotels offer a complimentary Brazilian breakfast including fresh-squeezed juices, tropical fruit, plus the usual treats.

Booking in advance is the best way to avoid the higher counter rates. Expect higher rates and a number of mandatory nights during the main events of Carnival and New Years Eve.

Travel Insurance

Getting sick abroad is a risk associated with travel. Though you can also go to the hospital here, you might have to pay for treatment in other countries. If you have insurance, they can pay for you if you get sick. Potentially you wouldn’t have to pay out of pocket either.

Rio car hire

Road conditions are poor and lacking in signs. The national speed limit on highways is 110kph (68mph) but drivers seldom adhere to the rule. Accidents and road fatalities are distressingly common. Foreigners should carry an International Driving Permit as well as a driving license from their country of origin and third-party liability insurance is required by law.

The more common option for travelers, however, is the country’s bus service which, with the exception of the Amazon Basin, is generally excellent. Buses are punctual, clean and comfortable and this form of travel is very cheap. All the major towns and cities are served by frequent services and it is unusual to have to change buses when traveling between destinations.

Rio Restaurants

Rio caters to all tastes, and exploring the city’s restaurants is definitely to be included on your list of things to do. Try an açaí or eat feijoada, wash it down with a caipirinha and watch the world go by. Experience a churrascaria, specializing in grilled meats or stop by a Padaria, a bakery serving fresh pastries and finger foods, guaranteed to satisfy every sweet tooth. And best of all? Dining is very inexpensive in Rio de Janeiro!

Rio Clubs and Bars

A typical night out in Rio starts with a drink or two in Rio’s many bars. Bars and lounges often ask for a nominal cover in the form of either a drink minimum or a music charge. Choperias (pubs) and botecos (bars specializing in draft beer and appetizers) are casual places you can go wearing a swimsuit.

Then it is time to hit the danc floor and salsa the night away. Rio’s danceterias (discos) pulse with loud music and flashing lights. At a number of places, including samba clubs, you can dance to live Brazilian music. Gafieiras are old-fashioned ballroom dance halls, usually patronized by an equally old-fashioned clientele. Upon entry to some clubs you’re given a card to carry — each successive drink is marked on it. You pay on departure for what you’ve consumed.

Shopping in Rio

Shops in Rio are sophisticated and full of character! The streets are lined with fashion boutiques and jewelers (Brazil is one of the world’s largest producers of gold and the largest supplier of colored gemstones). Keep you eyes out for a jewelry bargain in Minas Gerais. Also look for coffee, art, and samba and bossa nova CDs – they make for a unique souvenir.

Avoiding the heat? Try one of the air-conditioned malls. You could spend an entire weekend in the Barrashopping mall without ever seeing the same shop twice – there’s over 600 of them!

Visas for Brazil

Most European nationals (including UK nationals) need nothing but a valid passport and a return ticket to enter Brazil. Americans, Canadians and Australians do need a visa. Not sure? Check with the Brazilian Embassy/Consulate.

You can apply for your visa as much as three months ahead of your trip. The regular tourist visa allows you to stay for up to three months (it can be renewed if necessary). There is also a transit visa, good for ten days only. Both are easy to get either in person or by mail.