Category Vacations Spots

Rick Steves Florence & Tuscany 2015

Rick Steves Florence & Tuscany 2015
by Rick Steves
Retail Price $21.99
Amazon Price: $15.14

Book Description: 

You can count on Rick Steves to tell you what you really need to know when traveling through Florence and Tuscany.

With the self-guided tours in this book, you’ll discover the geographic heart of Italy. Take the Renaissance Walk and tour the Uffizi Gallery to learn how Florence taught civilized living to the rest of Europe. Wander through the medieval city of Siena and find out what Pisa has to offer beyond the Leaning Tower. Relax in sunny Tuscan hill towns where you’ll enjoy full-bodied wine, the world’s best gelato, and the company of friendly locals.

Rick’s candid, humorous advice will guide you to good-value hotels and restaurants. You’ll learn how to get around by train, bus, or rental car and get up-to-date advice on what’s worth your time and money. More than just reviews and directions, a Rick Steves guidebook is a tour guide in your pocket.



I have actually live in Tuscany; yet this guide, suggested by a friend, turned out to be not only a fun read but also a genuinely valuable resource. It includes recommendations covering just about every field – food, wine, shopping, spas and local festivals, and quickly became our go-to reference book when we went back to visit the area. I especially like the section on self-guided tours. It helped me take in the local culture and see things I didn’t even know existed!

~Reviewed by James K.



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    Rick Steves Paris 2015

    Rick Steves Paris 2015
    by Rick Steves
    Retail Price $21.99
    Amazon Price: $16.92

    Book Description: 

    You can count on Rick Steves to tell you what you really need to know when traveling in the City of Light—Paris.

    With the self-guided tours in this book, you’ll explore the grand Champs-Elysées, the eye-popping Eiffel Tower, and the radiant cathedral of Notre-Dame. Learn how to save money and avoid the lines at the Louvre and Orsay Museums. Enjoy the ambience of Parisian neighborhoods, and take a day trip to the glittering palace of Versailles, or to the Champagne-soaked city of Reims. Then grab a café crème at a sidewalk café and listen to the hum of the city. You’ll see why Paris remains at the heart of global culture.

    Rick’s candid, humorous advice will guide you to good-value hotels and restaurants in delightful neighborhoods. You’ll learn how to navigate the Paris Métro, and which sights are worth your time and money. More than just reviews and directions, a Rick Steves guidebook is a tour guide in your pocket.



    Experience the best of Paris with this Rick Steves Travel Guide. This newly updated travel guide for Paris will lead you straight to the best attractions this city has to offer, whether you are planning visits to the Louvre and other museums of Paris, a climb up the Eiffel Tower, or just want to go shopping. This guide has the best detailed, useful information on sites, museums, hotels and restaurants not available in other travel publications. Rick Steves truly shows you this Paris as no one else can.

    ~Reviewed By David H.


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      Visiting Australia? Why a Tour Company May Be the Smart Choice

      Did you know that Australia has more than 500 national parks? Both Sydney and Melbourne have more than four million residents each. The population of Australia is almost twenty-three million and growing. And the country covers a vast 2,941,299 square miles. With a country of this size, it may make sense to hire a tour company.

      Inside Information

      When you’re traveling independently, it can be a challenge to know the authentic from the touristy. If you want to enjoy an authentic Australian experience, then a tour company can be the ideal solution. A tour company can show you where to shop, where to eat, and what sights to see. Traveling Australia is what they do for a living, so you know a tour company can provide you with the best possible itinerary and experience.

      Custom Vacations

      There are dozens of top-quality tour companies in Australia. Some specialize in luxury vacations while others may help you have the dream adventure vacation. Whether you want to enjoy the metropolitan delights of Sydney and Melbourne or you want to frolic with the animals in Tasmania, a tour company can help design your perfect vacation.


      One of the biggest challenges of traveling abroad is transportation. When you book a tour, you don’t have to worry about transportation. It’s taken care of. Dining reservations are made and hotels are booked. All you have to do is show up and have fun.


      There are many different types of tour vacations. Some can be quite large and that often helps bring the price of the trip down. It’s a great way to enjoy the company of other like-minded travelers and to meet new people. You can also book small group tours if you don’t enjoy large groups. These tours are more intimate and can often be a nice way to explore Australia.

      Money Savings

      When you travel with a tour company you’re able to enjoy the benefit of group discounts. For example, if you were traveling alone it might cost you $100 to see a show. However, with a group the price may drop to $75 or even $50 a ticket. You’ll save money on transportation, hotel reservations, and group sightseeing.

      Safety in Numbers

      While Australia is a generally safe country, there is still opportunity for trouble. When you travel with a tour group you won’t unintentionally end up in a bad area of town. You have a tour operator and a group of people who are all looking out for one another.

      Traveling in a tour group is fun too and it’s not just for extroverts. Any tour offers plenty of down time and time to explore on your own. If you are interested in visiting Australia, consider booking a tour with one of the many exceptional tour providers.

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        The Disneyland Story

        The Disneyland Story
        By Sam Gennawey and Jeff Kurtti
        Keen Communications
        Retail Price $18.95
        Amazon Price: $14.96

        Book Description:  For Disney fans everywhere, here’s the inside scoop of Walt Disney’s greatest creation. The Disneyland Story skillfully recounts how the world’s first theme park was conceived, nurtured, and grew into a source of joy and inspiration for visitors.

        This fascinating history describes how Walt’s vision maintained momentum, thrived, and taught future generations how to do it Walt Disney’s way. Learn the backstory of his successors’ battles with the whims of history and their own doubts and egos, as well as the stories behind your favorite rides.

        – How did Walt Disney’s frustrations with his movie studio lead to the creation of Disneyland?
        – Who were the people who designed, built, and enhanced his park over the years.?
        – How did the park survive Walt’s passing?
        – And much more!



        While most biographies are written about people, this is a biography about a place: Disneyland!  This is much more than a history of its creation.  The author gives us a cover to cover guide of the history and development of Disneyland. From the one little spark of Walt Disney’s imagination that led to its creation, to the modern day additions, this book covers everything that you could possibly want to know about the development this theme park. The author delves deeply into almost every aspect of Disneyland’s history, from it’s conception through its completion…and then some!  Along the way we are introduced to many of the key players that made Walt Disney’s dream a reality. With facts, minute details, and engaging stories, the author gives us the full picture of the theme park in 3D!

        ~Reviewed by Rich W.

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          Best Family Beach Vacations

          The best beaches can be found along the Atlantic and Pacific Coast.  Here are a few ideas you may wish to consider for your next family beach vacation.

          Florida.  From Ft. Lauderdale to Miami Beach, Florida is a prime resort area for family vacations.  With perfect weather and miles and miles of beaches, this area is affordable, diverse, and has a wide variety of water-sports, restaurants, and a myriad of activities for children. Cocoa Beach is only an hour away from the Kennedy Space Center and Disney World.  In addition, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort is considered one of the best in Florida.

          Myrtle Beach.  Among the many favourite activities for children include: Ripley’s Aquarium, Le Grande Cirque, a show quite famous for its acrobatics and other circus performers; and Myrtle Waves Water Park.  For older children, a definite must-see is the NASCAR Speedpark.

          With a myriad of dining options, shopping, and other historic sites; Myrtle Beach has been named the number one choice for beach family vacations in the U.S.

          Hamptons.  One of the most affordable vacations for beach-loving families is East Hampton, New York.  The best place to stay is at the East Hampton House.  The rooms are available in one and two bedroom units that contain fully-equipped kitchens and/or kitchenettes.  Moreover, you have guest privileges at the nearby beach.

          Although this vacation spot does not offer food, it does have an indoor gym and offers morning coffee there as well.  But, across the street is a deli that has an array of items on their breakfast menu and is very affordable.  In addition, there is a Chinese restaurant across the street as well as a take-out barbeque, and deli.

          The grounds are impeccable and there is a very large pool (one for the kiddies, too) where you can lounge in the sun.  A tennis court is also on the premises.  Every room has its own balcony with lounge chairs and a table.

          If you live in the New York area, it is a 90-minute trip by car.  The East Hampton Inn is centrally located – five minutes from town, restaurants, shopping, and a movie house.  You can even take a short trip to Montauk and visit the historic lighthouse or spend time at the beach there.

          Hawaii.  Of course, nothing can compare to the beaches that are in Oahu, Maui, and Kauai.  No matter what island you choose, Hawaii has the most pristine beaches anywhere in the U.S.  Moreover, there are black-sand beaches on the island of Maui as well as a myriad of activities for the entire family.

          San Diego.  Shifting to the west Coast, your family might enjoy a stay at the Beach Cottages.  This site offers numerous amenities such as water sports, biking, as well as an amusement park.  For the kids, San Diego Zoo and Sea World are not far from the Beach Cottages.

          Centrally located to restaurants and shopping, Beach Cottages is an affordable vacation spot where the family can enjoy the sun, the surf, and other amenities available.  In fact, you can book a studio that offers a fully equipped kitchen.

          Redondo Beach.  Located on Santa Monica Bay, this report haven is perfect for family beach vacations.  Here you can enjoy water sports, fishing bicycling, kayaking, as well as fine restaurants shops located not far from the Santa Monica Pier.  There are many hotels that are situated across the street from the beach or within walking distance.  Each has its own set of amenities that are geared towards families.

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            DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Scotland

            DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: ScotlandDK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Scotland
            DK Publishing
            Retail Price $25.00
            Amazon Price: $18.61

            Book Description: 

            DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Scotland will lead you straight to the best attractions this unique country has to offer, from the streets of Edinburgh to the wind-swept highlands and lochs, from golf trips and whiskey tours to impromptu ceilidhs in cozy pubs.The fully updated guide includes unique cutaways, floor plans, and reconstructions of must-see sights, plus street-by-street maps of cities and towns. Detailed listings will guide you to hotels, restaurants, bars, and shops for all budgets.

            What’s new in DK Eyewitness Travel Guides:

            • New itineraries based on length of stay, regional destinations, and themes.
            • Brand-new hotel and restaurants listings including DK’s Choice recommendations.
            • Restaurant locations plotted on redrawn area maps and listed with sights.
            • Redesigned and refreshed interiors make the guides even easier to read.

            With hundreds of full-color photographs, hand-drawn illustrations, and custom maps that brighten every page, DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Scotland truly shows you this destination as no one else can.



            It’s hard to find a good guidebook. Most try for broad appeal and fill the food with accommodations/eating. I’d rather see what an area has to offer as there is plenty of online advice as to accommodations. This book fit the bill for me as it was very balanced.  It is designed for independent travel in Europe (although even if you are going with a tour group, there is a lot of great background info here). I have traveled extensively in Europe and you cannot find a better guide book for getting beyond the typical tourist trap info. Recommendations for lodging and dining are spot on, I have never been disappointed using a DK Travel Guide.

            ~Reviewed by Jenna H.

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