Is Uber Ruining Tourism?

Is Uber Ruining Tourism?

I have travelled to New York City several times, pre-Uber and post-Uber. Pre Uber was a lovely time when you could stand with one foot off the sidewalk and scream “Taxi!” Just like they do in the movies and the smiley yellow beast would glide up next to you and sweep you immediately off to your destination without any drama.

Times have changed.

A visit to The Big Apple last Spring has inspired this post. I was with my best friend in our hotel room excitedly getting ready for our Sex and the City tour which we had been planning for actual years!!

(Don’t laugh. )

The pick up address was outside the Plaza which wasn’t on an easy direct train route from our hotel.

“That’s cool, we’ve got plenty of time, let’s get a cab.” I said.

BIG MISTAKE!

Of course it was pouring down with rain. We had an hour to make a 15 minute cab journey. The rain didn’t help matters but no cabs were available. There seemed to be mysterious spots that New Yorkers would magically get picked up from. We even spoke to some locals and got tips and split up to face different directions of traffic, all to no avail. What were we doing wrong? Then we realised it. All of the locals were booking their cabs through Uber (an App used internationally for pre-booking private transport through a paid online account – a nifty idea in theory). But it’s not much cop when you’re travelling on a budget and have no internet access on the go!!!

We were down to 10 minutes remaining to make the 15 minute journey without wheels and now suitably soaking wet and pissed off. It was at this moment that all grown up ‘Adultey’ sense and logic left my mind and I actually burst into tears. Yup. Manahattan reduced me to tears, in public, in broad daylight. In front of other human beings.

Did we make it you ask?

Well things went from bad to worse. Against my better judgement I “Accidentally” stole a taxi from a New Yorker who had pre-booked with the fabulous app! Naturally, he challenged me. I turned to face him, tears streaming down my face and yelled “PLEASE!! PLEEEEEAAAAASE!!!!!! We’ve been waiting an hour, we’re going to miss our tour! PLEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAASE!”

He looked mostly confused.

And yes I am aware that this is not how New Yorkers interact with each other. Or humans, mostly.

But the chap gave in and let us take the cab. Through fear or kindness, I don’t know. But I’m going to go with kindness.

Sowhoever you were, thank you very much for letting us take your cab. It turned out to be one of the best days I have spent with my dearest friend and the tour was fantastic!

Cuddle Your Globe

University not for you? Here’s why you should take a gap year instead..

University not for you? Here’s why you should take a gap year instead..

In light of the recent A Level results, there are likely thousands of teenagers currently in the UK at a loose end and perhaps you are one of them. You haven’t yet chosen a career path that warrants higher education and maybe you are scrambling through the competition to bag that summer job?

This is the not the time to be pulling your hair out, worrying about your future. This is the time to discover who you are and exactly what you want from this merry-go-round we call life. This is the absolute perfect timing to throw your essentials into a backpack and head of into the unknown as the glorious ‘backpacker’.

The world is a huge place and travel will teach you so much about life. Everyday will bring you opportunities to immerse yourself in a new culture and try food so exquisite you won’t miss your Sunday roast. It will bring people into your life who will mean so much to you and may never leave. Travel will teach you about change. It will teach you confidence and to love yourself and how to treat others with respect. Travel will teach you how to communicate with others, even when you do not speak the same language. It will teach you how to survive without your family and friends to lean on and most importantly, it will show you who you really are.

So when you return, your friends may be a year into their studies, but who will have the better education??

Is it scary? Yes. Is it hard? Yes. Is it possible? Absolutely.

There are companies on the market that specialise in tailoring your year out to explore the world and find you the best airfares to visit all the places you can fit on your list and can hold your hand right up until the day when you spread your wings and fly (well… board the plane!)

So what are you waiting for? The world is waiting for you.

*Warning!! Travel can be highly addictive and you may get the ‘travel bug’.*

info@cuddleyourglobe.com

Gapyear

 

Hotel Pennsylvania, Midtown Manhattan 

Hotel Pennsylvania, Midtown Manhattan 

Hotels in Manhattan are notoriously overpriced in general, so on a recent visit I was keen to cut back some pennies. I have known of the hotel Pennsylvania 2* for many years having booked it for thousands of clients and I actually walked past it 5 years ago. It’s well known for being a good budget hotel (starting rates around $150 per night) in the city centre. I have had mixed reviews about the hotel and was honestly not expecting much at all on arrival on a recent six day city break.

The first thing that shocked me was the size of the hotel, it has around 2,000 rooms and towers high (much like many New York buildings) and the queue for check in.


After a long day of travelling, a 45 minute wait to get to the front desk was not ideal. Properties of this magnitude will always have drawbacks. BUT, on the flip side, having a room on the 12th floor meant so much of the New York noise couldn’t be heard when sleeping which is a massive bonus and something most people do not think about when booking a hotel. The check in staff were very friendly and professional.. Worth the wait.

The bedrooms are a little dated and the bathrooms, although clean could certainly have a little revamp. The beds are very comfortable. I think the mattresses were the fancy hypo allergenic sprung types with a topper, which my back appreciated after battling the city each day.


A very bizarre thing happened during our stay. We had a ‘do not disturb’ tag on our door so house keeping did not visit. But, on our return, there was an extra fridge freezer in our room! We couldn’t understand why it had been brought in as we already had one and we certainly hadn’t asked for it. I half expected to find an oven the next day…!

The room keys frequently decided to fall asleep during our visit requiring a frustrating 60 minute round trip to reception and security etc etc to gain access to our room.

Facilities at the hotel are decent, hotel guests have access to an Olympic size swimming pool next door free of charge and if you are offered breakfast, take it!! It’s at a buffet cafe accross the street and is fantastic; salad, fruit, cereal, bagels, pancakes, toast, hot food, tea, coffee and juice…. I am salivating whilst writing this just remembering it. There are also a few stores inside the hotel and a coffee shop. Seating is available in the lobby, but there could be a little more given the amount of guests. The hotel is wheelchair friendly as there are ramps / lifts available.

The best bit by far, location location location!! The hotel is directly opposite Penn train station (which operates a direct train to Newark airport), and Madison Square Garden. The hotel also has several subway stations within a few minutes walk. Times Square is about a 15 minute walk north of the hotel and Central Park another 15 minutes north.

Overall, I was happy with my stay. Would I stay here again? Absolutely. Would I recommend it to others? Definitely. Suitable for all ages? Yes, although in my opinion it is perhaps a little more suited for 18-45 years. Friendly staff? Yes, and mostly very helpful.

I was pleasantly surprised by my stay and if you are considering staying here, do not let bad reviews put you off. It is budget accommodation so don’t expect a 5* hotel, but it’s a great gem in the heart of Manhattan.

Thomas Cook it to Cape Town

Thomas Cook it to Cape Town

Charter airline, Thomas Cook has just announced a fabulous new route to add to their collection of long haul destinations including the likes of Cuba, Mexico and Goa.

As of December 2016, they will now be operating a direct flight from London Gatwick to Cape Town 3 days a week with economy and premium cabins available. Ticket prices will start at just £699 which is definitely at least comparable with its schedule airline rivals. They are using a brand new Airbus A330 and have invested millions into their new fleet.

This is fantastic news for South African tourism. Cape Town is stunning and has much to offer the most discerning of travellers including table mountain and the Victoria and Alfred waterfront. The garden route nearby offers stunning and tasty wine regions, too.

7 of the most ridiculous reasons to call in sick when you’re really abroad.

7 of the most ridiculous reasons to call in sick when you’re really abroad.


You know somebody who has pulled a long term sickie from work when they have booked a holiday, or failed to return to work when they were supposed to because they are STILL on holiday!!! Or maybe you have done this yourself?

I have decided to do some research, including speaking to office managers to find out some of the worst excuses given when a staff member has gone missing in action.

1. ‘My flight got delayed by 4 days and I had no battery on my phone to call you.’

2. ‘I contracted Malaria whilst in Ghana, Africa so I had to stay in hospital for 2 months. Here is my genuine sick certificate…’

3. ‘I’ve been in a witness protection programme.’

4. ‘My granny has died so I need some time off.’ (The same granny has died 3 times now).

5. ‘I’m addicted to crack cocaine and my dealer has been arrested so I need some time off to recover.’

6.’I’m… Erm…. In a Thai prison.’

7. ‘I missed my flight and can’t get on another one for 3 weeks!!’

If you’re planning on doing this, for the love of god come up with something more original.

Question Hour

Question Hour

If you have any questions about travel, anywhere, worldwide… Ask me!! I’d love nothing more than to assist you with planning your dream vacation, business trip, long haul flights, skiing or diving trip!!!

My advice is free and friendly. If I can’t help I can always point you in the direction of someone who can. Travel is expensive so you want to get it right!

Thanks

Cuddle Your Globe

email: info@cuddleyourglobe.com

Xxx

How to not be a loser when travelling alone.

How to not be a loser when travelling alone.

  
If you are reading this, you are probably either reflecting on your own solo travels, or you may be considering venturing out into the wilderness by yourself and you are not sure how to ‘be’ to be accepted when travelling. You don’t want to be a loser! I have travelled by myself and spent time with a big group of my travel family. I also spent a lot of time as a loser. By this I mean too scared to approach fellow travellers and therefore being isolated. At first, I didn’t know how to bridge the gap to join the boat of other travellers.

There is a healthy amount of time to spend by yourself when travelling, to really appreciate your space and to do some soul searching. But how much time is too much time? If you want to go travelling but are concerned about whether or not you will fit in or be part of the like-minded traveller community, here are some tips for you;

  

Go to a bar. Ideally near to where you are staying or preferably inside your hotel. Order a drink and sit at the bar. You will surprised by how easy it is to get chatting to your neighbours and make friends.

Book yourself on some day trips. Day trips really get people out of their shells. You are doing new and sometimes scary things so everybody in the group will tend to huddle together and make friends.

Don’t be afraid to approach another traveller. They are probably feeling just as nervous as you if they, too are travelling solo. Ask them if they fancy hanging out or checking out the nightlife. More often than not, they will say yes. This may be your ticket into meeting more people and maybe travelling together.

Don’t move around too quickly. If you are constantly changing areas and moving on every 2-3 days, you are less likely to make a group of friends. Chill out, relax, you have all the time in the world.

At the pool. Or the beach. These are places solo travellers spend a lot of their time during the day. Grab a sunbed near someone else alone (not stalker near!) and strike up a conversation. You will quickly assess whether that person is up for making friends or wants to be left alone.

Slum it. If you are staying in swanky 5* hotels, you are very unlikely to meet other solo travellers. You are miles better off staying in a hostel (dorms are a great place to meet people instantly) or backpacker hotels / budget hotels.

Don’t be annoying. By this, I mean if you are lucky enough to make friends, don’t scare them away by constantly talking about how amazing your pet hamster is back home or being ‘that girl/guy’ who gets too drunk on a night out and needs to be carried home.

Be fun. Be yourself. If you are considering going away alone, you are clearly outgoing and exciting. Use this to your advantage to make friends.

Don’t panic too much. You are almost guaranteed to make friends if you follow these steps. In my experience it is actually easier to make friends with other travellers when you are by yourself. I think this is because you appear less of a threat and more approachable when you are alone. Unless you have a crazy face.

Travel freely

Throw a pin / arrow / dart at a map. Wherever it lands, just go there…