Friday, August 31, 2007

Daytona and Myrtle Beach and the rest of the world

The United States of America is a huge country with an area of 3.7 million square miles (9.6 million km²) and over 300 million people with a very wide range of weather, geographical features, people, etc. There is a wide choice of places to visit for resident and well as non-US resident. It is not unusual for US residents of the north to travel south to escape the harsh cold winter.

Among the places they may go to for warmer weather is Daytona in Florida. One often associate the name Daytona with speed because of the world famous NASCAR track that hosts the annual Daytona 500 as well as other racing related events. There is also Daytona USA which is an interactive motor sports theme park with an antique car museum. There are also the Daytona Bike week normally held in February and Biketoberfest in October which attracts thousands of visitors from around the world.

Spring Break Daytona Beach has a long tradition that takes place on miles of sandy beaches with Spring Break activity, pool deck parties, hot Daytona Beach Clubs like the Ocean Deck, Razzles, and 600 North.

With all these, Daytona sound like a great place to visit. Unless you are a Daytona resident, you will of course need accommodation which you can easily chose and book online via Daytona vacation rentals.

Myrtle Beach in South Carolina is also a warm and popular destination for vacationers from around the States, Canada and abroad. The Grand Strand is a 60-mile crescent of beach with clean, wide beaches and a great variety of recreation, entertainment, dining and shopping. If Myrtle Beach sounds like a place you like to visit, you can chose and book your accommodation online via Myrtle vacation rentals.

If neither of these places interest you, there are still lots of places around the world you can go for your vacations and you will find a great variety of accommodations available from vacation rentals.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Take TGV trains rather than fly when in France

There are various ways of travelling - road, rail (trains), fly, etc. In France, the is an extensive network of TGV trains connecting major cities travelling at very high speed. Actually, TGV trains connect not only French cities, but also some cities in Belgium, Italy, Spain, Germany, Netherlands and United Kingdom via the Channel (tunnel under the English Channel connecting Folkestone, Kent in the United Kingdom to Coquelles near Calais in northern France. Let us compare travelling via air flights and travelling via high speed TGV trains.


Flying involve very expensive airplanes flying at high altitudes. Much precious and depleting fossil fuel need to be used to get the planes up to the high altitudes. There is the noise pollution on take off and landing which residents near airports have to put up with. The burning of fuel, a precious, increasingly expensive and depleting fossil fuel, releases greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. The contrails (vapor trails or condensation trails and artificial cirrus clouds caused by the exhaust of aircraft engines) left at 30,000ft act to further magnify a plane's climate change impact. Further, the planes are spewing air pollutants such as nitrates, ash and sulfates at high altitudes, some of which deplete ozone in the atmosphere, a protective layer crucial for protecting life on Earth from the Sun's harmful rays. The Royal British Commission on Environmental Pollution estimated in 2002 that commercial airline emissions are a major contributor to global warming, and urged governments to draft policies to encourage train travel instead where feasible. It seems the Lonely Planet guide to Paris recommend taking the train too.

In addition to all the above, airports are usually located far away from the city centers which is the normal initial departure and destination points of air travellers. The travelling time plus the check-in time, time needed to go through custom and immigration procedure plus the security checks after 9/11 contribute to the total travelling time, and for short travel, it is not unusual for train travel to be faster and more convenient as train stations are located very close, if not within city centers.

TGV trains

TGV ("train à grande vitesse" translated from French to English "high-speed train") is France's high-speed rail service first developed by GEC-Alsthom (now Alstom) and SNCF, the French national rail operator. TGV train has expanded from connecting major cities in France to connecting cities in adjacent countries like Belgium, Italy, Spain, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands. It also connects to the United Kingdom via the Chunnel (underground tunnel beneath the English Channel between France and United Kingdom). While it has been recorded to travel at 574.8 km/h (357 mph), in commercial use, it can travel at speed up to 320 km/h (200 mph). In addition to its high speed which can rival air travel, it also have the advantage of having the railway stations located near or even within city centers. Thus for short journeys, especially for travel within France, you can probably reach your final destination in shorter time compared with air travel.

Travelling with TGV trains are also safe according to Wikipedia. The TGV trains has not recorded a single fatality due to accident while running at high speed although there had been fatalities while travelling on lignes classiques (traditional lines, that is, collisions at low speed at railway crossings, etc.). Travelling in the more spacious TGV trains is probably more comfortable than in the cramped space in an airplane.

The most extensive network of TGV trains is in France, and in my opinion, it is a much better idea to use the TGV trains than fly when travelling within France. Travelling is one thing. The other thing you will need is accommodation. You can book that online at Hotels in France. Most visitors will be staying in Paris, the capital, and for that, book your accommodation at Hotels in Paris. They have a Lowest Rate Guarantee. If you can get a rate lower than the best available Internet rate on another web site for the same hotel/accommodation, on the same dates, just inform them within 24 hours of booking your room(s) with them, and they will honour that rate for the night(s) for which the lower rate was found and refund you the difference.

If you read Spanish, you can look for accommodation in Francia Hoteles