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5 random things to do in Seattle

By Seattle / United States /

Picking up a car rental in Seattle is your easy first job once lobbing in the Emerald City, and next comes the exciting part. What to do once you’ve got your wheels sorted! Try these five random ideas for a little fun in America’s gem of a West Coast seaport city.

1. Go for a paddle. It’s summertime in Seattle, so there’s no better cruisy activity than to go kayaking on Lake Union. The atmosphere is gorgoeus as you pass by a few sail boats, watch a few seaplanes rise up and land, and enjoy the serenity of a gentle paddle in a big patch of calm water. A little more adventurous at heart? Then test your abs with a Stand Up Paddle (SUP) experience. For more check out http://www.nwoc.com/rental

2. Explore South Park’s art scene. The locals will tell you the arts community is a ripper in the South Park area, one that nurtures its artists and embraces creativity. You won’t be disappointed and you can start with national icon on the stone sculpting front, Jesus Bautista Moroles, and the generous donation of “Musical Steles,” comprised of three musical basalt columns fabricated in the South Park neighborhood. Tap a rock on the sculptures to whip up your own musical treat. There’s also River City skate murals to discover,  the artwork at South Transfer station, and the very noticeable Cloverdale banners on South Park’s main thoroughfare.

3. Visit Archie McPhee. A novely shop like no other! Rubber hands, rubber chickens, devil baby dolls, a bucket of doll parts, tentacle finger puppets, world’s largest underpants (100 inch waist) with matching lollipop … I’m not saying any more because the nightmares will begin again! More http://archiemcpheeseattle.com/

4. Explore a museum with music at its heart (pictured). Hendrix, Foo Fighters, Macklemore, grunge music – EMP (Experience Music Project) is a nonprofit museum to rule them all, “dedicated to the ideas and risk-taking that fuel contemporary popular culture”. With its heart in rock ‘n’ roll, EMP is a museum that reaches and connects with all ages through collections, exhibitions and educational programs, “using interactive technologies to engage and empower our visitors”. More http://www.empmuseum.org/

5. Hit the road. Olympic National Park is beautiful and no more than a two and half road trip away. Discover everything from mountains, lakes, beaches to hotsprings and rainforests. A gorgeous part of the world only a short drive out of Seattle.



Fabulous festivals in Seattle and surrounds

By United States /

Seattle is one of the most exciting and colourful destinations. In this world-class city, fabulous festivals running almost every weekend.

When you touchdown at Seattle Airport, grab a hire car and explore these exciting festivals this July.

Fourth of July in Bainbridge
Fireworks, parades, street fairs, car shows, kids activities… you name it! Fourth of July celebrations are huge across the United States. It’s definitely worth spending this year’s national holiday on Bainbridge Island. Other highlights include live music, a classic car show, foot race and a beer garden. Bainbridge Island proves there’s something for everyone on the Fourth of July!

Seattle International Beerfest
From July 8 to 10 you can choose from 220 beers at Fisher Pavillion at Seattle Centre. This event specialises in unique and hard-to-find beers. It also aims to encourage visitors to try something they’ve never tried before. Organisers go to a lot of trouble to source the very best exotic drinks “that you’ve never heard of” and will satisfy as you listen to great bands play.

Bite of Seattle
This festival runs from July 15 to 17. Bite of Seattle is the north west’s premier food and beverage showcase. It features more than 60 restaurants and vendors, where you can sample craft beer and cider and also take part in live cooking demonstrations. There are also five outdoor music stages where you can enjoy live music.

Chinatown International District Dragon Festival
The Dragon Festival is the largest annual Asian American celebration in the Pacific Northwest. It’s set in the heart of Seattle’s historic Chinatown over two days starting on July 16. The streets come to life with colourful multi-cultural performances and food and walking tours. It also treats you to non-stop Japanese drumming, martial arts, and Filipino and Indian dancing, to name a few activities.

Go Klondike Legacy Day
This unique, one-of-a-kind festival takes you back in time. Re-live the 19th Century, when people from all over came to the goldfields in search of fortune. On July 17 the whole family can celebrate the first gold arriving in Seattle. You can try your hand at gold panning, a scavenger hunt and dog-sledding while listening to old-time music.



On the road in Chicago and surrounds

By United States /

In Chicago there are many great things to stop off and explore while you’re on the road. Admire the great city from the sky and discovering its natural surrounds.

Grab your DriveNow hire car at Chicago Airport and you’ll come across these great destinations.

360 Chicago Observation Deck (pictured)
In the heart of downtown Chicago is the 360 Observation Deck. From the 94th floor of this 344m tall building you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the magnificent city and Lake Michigan. On clear days you can see across the lake to four other states. Consider a visit at sunset, to watch the sky change to a golden colour over the city. Enjoy a nice meal at the tower too, so your views last longer.

Chicago Theatre
Take a tour of this legendary theatre to truly admire the history and finer details of the Baroque interiors. Stand on the world famous stage and search for the autographs of your favourite actors on the backstage wall. After organising a tour, it’s well worth booking tickets to see one of the latest stage plays on show now. Tickets are available via the theatre’s website.

Segway tour
Whether you’re an experienced rider or complete beginner, a Segway ride is something that absolutely anyone can do! In the city that doesn’t rest, so neither should you! Find a Segway tour company and have fun whizzing past the locals as you take in the Chicago skyline. Your group guide will also teach you about the city’s history and hidden attractions which few tourists know about.

Lake Michigan
One of the greatest things about Chicago is the beautiful, expansive body of water that sits right next to the city. In the summer months, the Lake is thriving and there are plenty of water activities. Park your car near the lake and hire a jetski for an exhilarating ride, learn to stand up paddle board or even rent a boat to explore the lake at your own pace.

Starved Rock State Park
Drive two hours southwest of the city and you’ll find this stunning state park. It’s famous for its canyons, waterfalls and several hiking trails. Another great thing about this natural wonder is its abundant recreational activities, including picnicking, fishing, horseback riding and camping. A visit to this scenic spot of Illinois is definitely worth the drive!



5 things to do in San Francisco

By United States /

San Francisco is one of California’s most visited cities – and for good reason. It’s famous for it’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars and hilly landscape.

Pick up a hire car from San Francisco Airport and explore this amazing city by visiting these five attractions.

Cable cars

When you’re tired of walking up those hills, you can always turn to a cable car for an enjoyable rest. These are a National Historic Landmark, which treats you to amazing views of San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz Island and Fisherman’s Wharf, to name a few attractions. Jump off at Mason and Washington Streets to pay a visit to the Cable Car Museum, where you’ll discover the history and the fascinating workings of the cable car.

Visit Alcatraz

Although once the site of Western United States’ first lighthouse, Alcatraz Island became home to a federal prison from 1934 up until the early sixties. Through a tour of the prison you’ll learn about the fascinating history of famous prisoners who were confined here, life in these cells and also the many attempts at escape. If you want a real spine-tingling experience then opt for the night tour.

Golden Gate Bridge

It was once called “the bridge that couldn’t be built” but after finally opening in 1937 after four years of delays, the struggle against elements such as strong winds and tides finally paid off. Today the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the seven wonders of the industrial world and tourists travel from all over the world to photograph it. After seeing it from a distrance, it’s also worth walking or cycling across the 1.7mile long bridge.

Telegraph Hill stairs

Stairs aren’t for everyone, but if there’s a set of stairs you must experience it’s the 400 stairs on iconic Telegraph Hill. You’ll see beautiful gardens and coloured Victorian-era cottages along the way. The good news is if you struggle going up, then consider heading in the other direction to make the experience more enjoyable. While you’re walking, keep an eye and ear out for Telegraph Hill’s famous wild parrots.

Lands End

Tucked away in the northwest corner of the city at the entrance of San Francisco Bay are many stunning views, which many travellers often don’t even know exist. Walk the Coastal Trail and Lands End and you’ll pass views of shipwrecks, hillsides of wildflowers and even the ruins of Sutro baths. This rugged stretch of coast also features Cypress forest, surrounded by plunging cliffs. It’s the perfect setting if you want to get away from the crowds while still admire the gorgeous city.


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On the road out of Vegas – 5 hot spots within two hours

By Las Vegas / United States /

The glitzy strip and bright lights of Vegas are like magnets for all of America’s fast cars and even faster women and men, but if you can look away and beyond there are some great short trips just around the corner. Here are five within an hour once you jump in that car rental and hit the open road.

Valley of Fire (pictured)

Meander through the mesmerising Valley Of Fire, Nevada’s oldest state park, with countless moments of nature’s beauty smacking you in the senses. The park earnt its name from its fiery red sandstone, formed from fossilised sand dunes more than 150 million years ago by a shift in the Earth’s crust, faulting and wind and water erosion. Today, only wild animals dwell within Valley of Fire year-round. Rattlesnakes, kangaroo rats, kit foxes, coyotes, bighorn sheep and the white-tailed antelope ground squirrels are just a few. Oh, and cougars, of course, “but only at night”, as my highly entertaining guide Mike Franklin pointed out, “as opposed to the Strip – these particular cougars are hard to spot given they’re minus the bright red lipstick and high heels.”

Lake Mead and Callville Bay Resort & Marina

Monster-sized man-made Lake Mead is a major recreation area in addition to being a major water artery for the region, originally formed by the building of Hoover Dam on the Colorado River in 1935. Callville Bay Resort and Marina hums with houseboats, jet skis, and speed boats. The big drawcard is the ultimate houseboat adventures on offer providing a visual feast of desert/water contrasts, mountains and canyons. All Forever Houseboat rentals include a waterside, barbecue, kitchen and a top deck with canopy; deluxe widescreen TVs and stainless steel kitchens. Wildlife comes out to play up around the banks and I was lucky to get close to a coyote, eagles, mallards, grebes and hummingbirds. If you’re lucky, a bighorn sheep may wander down for a drink.

Red Rock Canyon

Conditions are hot and dry in summer so load up on bottles of water. The fast pace of the Strip quickly subsides once out on the highway as scenery smacks you in the senses. Copper-coloured mountains leap out from the desert floor highlighted by Red Rock Canyon’s bluffs, cliffs and petrified sandstone boulders. Time really does stand still out here. These mountains were formed by geological forces including fractured faults where the earth’s crust collided over millions of years and fossilised sand dunes. Some cliffs reach a kilometre high. It really is breathtaking. The 20km round-trip tourist route at the actual site is a must-do.

Hoover Dam

Let’s see, we’re back in 1929 in a harsh climate, remote location and facing solid rock. So why not build a massive arch-gravity dam? Something with 2.4 million cubic metres of concrete, spillways, the lot? Crazy but brilliant, and also serving the dual purpose of being a film set for great flicks such as Transformers and more recently San Andreas. The sheer size of this man-made but essential engineering masterpiece really is hard to put into words, so taking a guided tour of the powerplant and passageways within Hoover Dam itself is highly recommended to gain an understanding of the purpose this mighty Nevada icon serves.

Boulder Brewing Co

Let’s face it. Any drive in the desert is thirsty work, so this is a must stop-off point. The small township of Boulder is where the craft beers are cold and tasty and the atmosphere warm and addictive. Practically a museum in itself, Boulder Dam Brewing Co is a few minutes down the road on the return to Vegas. Mementos such as axes, picks and gauges used in the construction of the dam adorn the inside walls and in the beer garden. Owner Lisa explains the brewpub is Boulder City’s hot spot for music which can be “anything from bluegrass to rock ’n’ roll and old-fashioned country”. Get stuck into the food menu, too, which is a mix of naughty but nice treats including battered pickles and cheese-loaded pretzels, burgers, salads and pub fare. The beers, of course, are the focal point. Boulder Dam Brewing Co brews everything from European pilsners to happy pale ales to rich, creamy stouts.




Top eats in Washington DC

By United States /

Heading to Washington DC for your next holiday? Visiting the capital city of the United States is an incredible opportunity which every traveller should experience. Even more important is the need to explore the city’s best restaurants while you’re there.

Hire a car from Washington DC Airport and explore these top eats in Washington DC.


Through blending centuries old tradition with modern, cutting-edge creativity, Ambar proudly serves up the “flavour of the Balkans”, which tempts all your senses. It’s held the number one spot on TripAdvisor for some time now, which means a night out at Ambar should be at the very top of your to-do list in Washington. The restaurant features smaller servings, giving you all the more opportunity to sample different flavours and textures from the Balkans.


This trattoria opened in 2011 and has since become renowned as the place to go in Washington DC whenever you want exquisite, delicious Italian. Tender pappardelle with bolognese sauce is just one of the popular dishes on the menu, with pizza, seafood and also desserts highly regarded on the menu. It’s clear that chef Fabio Trabocchi definitely knew what he was doing when he opened Fiola. No doubt he’ll continue warming the hearts and stomachs of thousands of diners for years to come.

Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab

The restaurant has an interesting history, which you can hear all about when you next visit. The first legendary restaurant opened in Miami Beach in 1913 and it consisted of eight tables on the front porch of Joe Stone’s house. in 2014, Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab premiered in the nation’s capital on 15th Street NW in Washington DC, only a few steps from the White House. Diners keep returning in droves, saying they’ve never tasted seafood or prime steak quite like Joe’s.


Rasika is where upmarket Indian cuisine meets Washington DC. It’s arguably the best Indian restaurant in the entire city and you’ll find plenty of scrumptious meals for vegetarians and meat-lovers alike. Tandoor fanatics will think they’ve gone to heaven at Rasika while the aroma of fresh herbs and spices fill the air. Rasika’s signature dish is crispy baby spinach leaves smothered in mouth-watering yoghurt, which diners say literally melts on their tongues.

Rose’s Luxury

At Rose’s Luxury you won’t be able to book a reservation, which means you’ll have to line up for a table. For a 5.30pm seating on a weekend, it’s not uncommon for a line to already be forming and hour and a half earlier! However, when you sit down at Rose’s Luxury and enjoy a dish for the first time, you’ll understand why the restaurant is so popular. You have your choice between Jewish, Japanese, French and Thai food, to name a few options. No matter what, you’ll always discover something you love at Rose’s Luxury.



Five things to do in upstate New York

By New York / United States /

New York is one of the world’s most famous cities. Millions from around the globe travel there every single year to experience the hustle and bustle of the city, its skyscrapers, shopping malls and historic attractions. But how many actually travel outside the city and head north?

There are many beautiful landscapes and cities to be seen. Pick up rental car at New York Airport and make your way to Upstate New York.

Here are five things to see and do while you’re there.
Tour Strawberry Fields
The gorgeous, small town of Skaneateles is a four and a half hour drive north of New York City. Surrounding the area are dozens of berry farms, where you can pick your own. Take along your biggest basket and head out with the family to spend hours picking the sweetest looking strawberries. Most of the farms open in June, when the strawberries begin to ripen.

Thousand Islands
Just over six hours north west of New York City sit the beautiful natural phenomenon known as the Thousand Islands. Take a guided diving tour to explore the underwater depths of the area or go kayaking on the water. There are also may historic sites to visit,, such as Boldt Castle. There are even quaint restaurants where you can dine in style and boutique shops at villages scattered throughout the region.

Hike the Adirondack Mountains (pictured)
These mountains are often described as an “outdoor paradise” with more than 2,000 miles of hiking trails and more than 3,000 lakes and ponds.  With a seemingly endless view of surrounding mountains, there are more than 40 with summits above 4,000 feet above sea level. The highest and one of the most distinctive is Mount Marcy, at 5,344 feet. Here you’ll also find the state’s highest lake, called Lake Tear, which flows into the Hudson River.
Finger Lakes Wine tour
With nearly 10,000 acres of vineyards on sloping hillsides at more than 120 different wineries, it’s no wonder thousands of visitors choose to flock to the Finger Lakes region. The area’s specialties include sparkling wines, pinot noir and Riesling. There are many great wine trails to choose from, including the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail or the historic Keuka Lake Wine Trail, where wine growing dates back to the 1860s.

National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
This Cooperstown museum is touted as the “home of baseball” and a place to honour one of America’s greatest games. At this site you’ll learn about baseball’s early years and how it has evolved over the generations. But perhaps the most interesting section of the museum is where you learn about some of the greatest men and women to ever take to the field. Of course, this includes exploring the early days and post careers of famous names such as the one and only Babe Ruth.



Let’s go shopping in New York’s best shopping strips

By New York / United States /

GIRLS from all over the world go to New York for the labels and, because of the seemingly never-ending shopping districts, it’s the perfect place where you can shop til you drop! NYC boasts some of the world’s finest districts, which will keep you busy for days.
Check out these five amazing shopping districts, and do you fancy a hire car so you don’t have to lug around all your heavy shopping bargains? Hire a car from JFK airport with DriveNow to make your shopping holiday more enjoyable.

Fifth Avenue Shopping District
Find yourself in the heart of Manhattan’s shopping heaven, where shopping is bliss! Think Tiffany’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman and Abercrombie. That’s enough to keep your legs – and your wallet – busy for hours. Then there are also the mega-stores, such as the Disney Store, Apple and Niketown.

Madison Avenue Shopping District
Welcome to what’s known as the most expensive retail real estate in the world. The list of high-end, luxurious retailers go on and on – from Gucci to Changel, Vera Wang, Armani, Jimmy Choo, Ralph Lauren and Prada. That’s just the beginning of the list! The glitz and glamour of Madison Avenue Shopping District attracts celebrities from all over the world, so you might just run into your idol!
Time Warner Centre
Set in the heart of Manhattan at Columbus Circle, the Time Warner Centre is at the top of every traveller’s list. It’s one of New York City’s most iconic destinations, known for being the place for dining, entertainment and shopping. It’s home to a 60,000ft market selling Whole Foods, and more than 40 specialty shops. You’ll find Hugo Boss, Swarovski and more.

Soho Shopping District
High-end boutiques are waiting to be explored inside Soho’s historic buildings, along with huge brands you’ll find just about anywhere. Bloomingdales is always popular with the locals and visitors and so is Victoria’s Secret, H&M and Prada’s flagship store. There’s also Pearl River Mart, the first Chinese American department store. Along Broadway you’ll find many more fabulous foreign additions.

North of Little Itally is one of the hottest shopping strips in all of New York. Along Elizabeth, Mott and Mulberry streets you’ll find stylish shops at every turn. They specialise mostly in high-quality, expensive fashion, but you’re also find niche clothing designs and accessories from all around the world, but they won’t necessarily be at the high prices you’d expect.