Category Archives: Travel

Final Project

Here is Eric Dolezar, a Rowan University Radio/TV/Film major to tell his story about his trip to Jamaica.

Caitlin Lobitz is a nursing major at Thomas Jefferson University. She discusses her experience planning a trip to Key West.

A minute with Vicki Lattanzi, agent from Liberty Travel:

Have you had any students come in inquiring about winter vacations or even spring vacations?

VL: We get a lot of inquiry from students however most of the prices at this point end up being too high.

What locations they were looking at?

VL: Places like Cancun.

 Are there many affordable options for the college student on a budget? Any tips or ways to cut the costs?

VL: We have a few tour companies such as Top Deck and Contiki Tours that have some great prices to alternate destinations that I try to offer to some of the students that come. These 2 tour companies are budget tours catering to ages 18 to 30. They offer ski vacations, European vacations, Egypt and much more. The prices are very inexpensive and include some meals and sightseeing.  A great alternative.

Hopefully this serves as some inspiration to get out and plan a trip somewhere. Take the advice and tips provided to produce an adventure of your own! Remember, there are ways around spending a ton of money to go somewhere and do something fun! Best of luck!

Farewell post

Hello all. Well, here it is. My last (official) post. This was an interesting semester. I had high hopes for this blog and my class, and while some experiments exceeded my expectations, others failed badly. All in all, I’ve learned a lot about travel writing and the work that goes into it. And I was inspired to do some real traveling of my own in the process. For my last post, I interviewed a travel agent and two college students. The students told their stories of planning their own trips and the positives and negatives that came with it. They give some great insight into how to go about planning a trip over winter vacation, spring break or even something for the summer.

After my last post, I won’t be updating anymore. However, once I have the means to travel more often, I hope to start this back up. Thanks for all the support for this project and I hope to be back some time in the near future!

Studying Abroad

I am very impressed with the opportunities to study abroad at my university. I was perusing through some emails sent by my college when I came across one for traveling over the summer, for 25 days to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. It caught my attention so I requested an itinerary from the professor in charge. It was extremely detailed and sounded like an amazing chance to see some great places, so I pulled the trigger and sent in a deposit.

I was most impressed with the cost. It was extremely reasonable considering it included all meals, tips, airfare, cruises etc. I think that all students should take advantage of this kind of opportunity. While the class offered during this trip is optional, it can be beneficial for underclassmen to earn credits while they are abroad. I don’t need the credit because I’m graduating soon. I’m simply interested in expanding my horizons. This blog has served as an inspiration for that.

Q&A with “The Professional Hobo”

When I began this blog in the beginning of the semester (wow, that’s weird to say), I didn’t really know what to focus on. I knew I wanted to do something with travel, but I wasn’t sure what. I mean, I didn’t have a job or any means of going places. I randomly surfed through pages and pages of blogs until I came across Nora Dunn’s The Professional Hobo. It contained everything I’ve wanted to do since I was little. I sent her an email asking a few questions about her and her travels and, much to my delight, she responded! I’d like to share her responses with all of you out there in cyber space.

Well I’d love to hear about your reasoning for picking up and deciding to travel.

ND: At the age of 30 and after sinking myself into my business and ignoring the ever-present voice in the back of my head suggesting I had an unfulfilled dream, I decided to sell everything I owned to travel full-time.

That was back in 2006, and since then my boyfriend and I have been on the road. We travel slowly everywhere we go, staying weeks to months (to years) in each location. We often work in trade for our accommodation to reduce expenses and get a more local experience, and my writing helps pay for other incidentals. As such, we travel full-time in a financially sustainable manner (read: we can do it forever if we want).

That’s fantastic. What is your favorite place to visit? Why?

ND: Right now my favourite place to visit is any place new! My reason goes hand in hand with why I travel in the first place; to discover new places and people, and to tell stories about it.

What got you into blogging?

ND: Blogging was initially a way to stay in touch with family and friends while I was on the road. Once I was traveling, I realized there is more to traveling with an internet connection than I had anticipated, and paying writing gigs started to materialize, along with the increased popularity of my own blog. Now I still use my blog to stay in touch with family and friends, but I also write for a much wider audience.

Do you have any favorite writers or publications?

ND: Rolf Potts has long been a favorite writer of mine, along with a few obscure ones that I won’t mention. I love to read travel memoirs and adventures, as well as how-to ebooks and articles about travel, finance, and business.

What was the most outrageous thing that has happened to you during your travels?

ND: I have a knack for the outrageous on the road. Here are a few tidbits of outrageousness:

My boyfriend and I contracted our first neurological disease from spear-fishing. (LINK: (It sounds more dramatic than it was, but don’t tell anybody. We like the story)!

I slid down a giant icicle 60 meters underground in an attempt to find the bottom of a cave. (LINK: Thankfully I was attached to a rope and climbed out…slowly.

In northern Thailand, my boyfriend and I stopped our itinerary in its tracks to raise money for the survivors of cyclone Nargis, who were hanging precariously on to life in the aftermath in May 2008. We raised $15,000 internationally and successfully sent aid into Burma. (LINK:

The week after we finished our fundraising campaign, my boyfriend spent a week in a Thai hospital suffering from Dengue Fever. (LINK:

Last year Australia, we found ourselves in the midst of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires: Australia’s worst-ever natural disaster. (LINK: Once again we rolled up our sleeves and helped to manage a warehouse receiving and distributing donations for fire survivors coming from around the country. We ourselves were evacuated for a month during this time, and when the project ended two months after the fires began, we were given 1 year extensions on our Australian visas and were given working rights too.

You never know what’s going to happen on the road. That’s what I love!

Do you have any collections or hobbies other than writing and traveling?

ND: Sure! As a former professional actor/singer/dancer, my love of musical theatre is never far from the front of my mind. When I get a chance to perform, I do!

I also love to be outdoors (as I mentioned earlier), and I love adventurous activities like rock climbing, scrambling, mountaineering, caving, bungee jumping, skydiving, motorcycle racing….and on it goes.

What would be your idea of a perfect day?

ND: I try to balance a little bit into each day – or at least each week. I get outside and hike/walk/swim/climb/paddle as much as possible. I also harbour a slight addition to social networking and clearing out my Inbox, which fills up quickly. I write for a variety of editors on a variety of topics, mostly centered around travel and personal finance. And I spend time with my boyfriend (who travels with me), and our local friends. No matter our location, these activities tend to be themes. Although nothing is perfect, I’ve designed my life to be as close to perfect (at least my version thereof) as possible.

Do you have any travel tips for the financially challenged?

ND: Yikes – travel tips for the financially CHALLENGED could be dangerous. I like giving travel tips for the frugally minded – and I manage to travel the world full-time for approximately $14,000/year (LINK: using these techniques.

But if you are financially challenged, you might not have the ability to hit the road to begin with. I’ve received lots of emails from people saying they have all sorts of debt and no savings, asking me when they can travel full-time.

There are things you need to do to (responsibly) hit the road and travel. Here is a guide to some of the financial things you can consider before traveling:

Thanks again Nora! What an inspiration!

Preview to map

Ok, so since I seem to be extremely uncreative this week, all of my posts are last-minute. I apologize to those who have checked it daily. I was given the assignment of producing an interactive feature, such as a map or timeline to tell a story. Easy enough for a travel blog right? Wrong. I could not think of a single thing to do a map on. I really wanted to do something creative and different and not map every coffee-house in the area that I liked, but I wasn’t exactly sure of how to execute it. Then, BOOM. I had it.

I decided to focus on one area in Philadelphia, since I’ve neglected it all semester, and go to several hot spots and map my evening. I was convinced by a friend who lives in the city, that bars would be a cool idea. So, with much self-control, I limited myself to three bars in the course of one evening in Old City. I took the PATCO, which is a Godsend for those who aren’t familiar, and away we went.

Funplex of Mount Laurel!

Sometimes you just can’t beat a good night of acting like a little kid again. I recently went to the Funplex of Mount Laurel, NJ to do just that. I have to say, things sure have gotten better since I was younger, when all you had to do to have a good time was to play in a pit full of plastic balls and eat greasy pizza while playing video arcade games.

The Funplex is full of fun things to do for people of all ages. It is a great place to go if there is a nor’easter, like there is all this weekend. They have both indoor and outdoor attractions, some of which include miniature golf, bumper boats, a water park, go karts, bowling, laser tag and an arcade.

Although there are a lot of young children, they have special nights for older people so you won’t be flooded with screaming children running around wreaking havoc. Thursday nights are college nights, where you can bowl all night with shoe rentals included for only 12 dollars. They also have Monday night football specials, must be 21 to enter, BYOB and 25 dollars per lane, per hour.

I have to say that the prices are extremely reasonable. The most you could spend is about 26 dollars and that is for an all access pass for an entire evening. So I highly suggest taking a visit to the Funplex, especially if we have another weekend like this. There are two locations, in Mount Laurel and East Hanover, NJ.

Check it out!

In the mood for…bowling.

Fall 2009 016

Pinsetters lanes

Last night I decided to check out Pinsetter Bar and Bowl in Pennsauken. There was a live cover band in the bar area, which was packed with people. The whole building is dimly lit, with florescent lights along the lanes. There were projection screens lining the lanes displaying music videos and sports games. There is a small dining area where you can sit and be waited on, or you can order right from your lane, which is what my party did. They do check ID’s after about 10, so if you’re under 21, ignore this post.

I have to say, I was impressed with the entire idea behind the alley. It is a bar atmosphere with live music and people mingling, mixed with bowling. It was $4.50 per game, with a 3 dollar shoe rental (and yes, the shoes are still the hideous neon orange). However, they do have better deals if you go during the week. My friends and I ordered the mozzarella sticks, fried mac and cheese and a few sodas and bowled the night away. The menu was decently priced and had a much broader selection then the usual pizza and beer.

I definitely recommend checking Pinsetters out. I had a blast and it didn’t break the bank. I got away with spending less than $30.

Q&A with Travel Editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer

Bill Reed

Mr. Reed, travel editor of Philadelphia Inquirer

Bill Reed is the travel editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer. He is responsible for deciding which stories go into the publication, as well as handling photos, editing stories and occasionally writing stories. Reeds schedule is extremely busy, but I was able to get him on the phone for 15 minutes and ask a few questions on his opinions on journalism, as well as some other tidbits concerning his experience in this field.

Q: What got you into travel writing?

Reed: “It was both personal interest and preference. There are always new places worth visiting, but people may not know about them and they might want to know. I also used to work nights and when the opportunity opened up, I wanted to spend more time with my kids and work days.”

Q: Biggest challenge faced thus far?

Reed: “Well I can’t just go anywhere and write about it. There just aren’t enough resources like time and money. There’s also the issue of finding new places, with fresh angles. We have tons of stories about Tuscany and Italy, and the angles might be slightly different, but we don’t want the readers to see the same story multiple times.”

Q: What’s the best place you’ve been to?

Reed: “I enjoy every place I go. My trips are personal, so they’re always with family. We like to make it special. We make it a point not to go back to the same place twice. As much as we may like a certain place, there are so many other places we have to see. We have a time share that we use for skiing every year, but we really like to explore new places.”

Q: Any advice for aspiring writers?

Reed: “First keep an open mind. You might hear about a place and think I don’t want to go there, but you might find it more interesting than you thought. Second, look for unique aspects of your trips. Always look for what’s unique, new and different. Also, when organizing your stories, try and think of it as a story you’re telling your friends. Start with what you would tell your friends, like “So I almost got run over by an elephant.” You wouldn’t go in chronological order. You have to paint a picture for readers. And take photos. Give specifics, find what is unique and interesting and paint a picture.”

Q: What direction do you feel journalism is heading, and is it a good or bad thing?

Reed: “This is a general question. There will always be a need for communicators to keep people informed. The medium will change however. Newspapers are endangered from people getting information from the internet. But most of the information from the internet comes from newspapers. So if newspapers dry up, the internet would suffer. There will always be a need for journalists, it’s just a matter of how the news is put out.”

Mr. Reed gave some great insight into an ever evolving career that many are blindly entering into. His advice to be prepared and open-minded is definitely something that many young journalists continue to hear today, so hopefully these words will resonate and help create better writers for the future.

Tips to travel writers

I am new to this whole world of journalism. All I know is that I enjoy travel and I’d like to pursue a career that allows me to do lots of it, and write about it. I decided that reading my magazines and reading my favorite blogs just might not cut it. I googled travel writers and found some pretty cool resources. Sure, some of it was discouraging, specifically the Seven Myths of being a Travel Writer, which discusses some of the realities of the job. It isn’t always realistic to believe that everyone will want to read your stories, let alone have them carry you into super stardom as soon as they’re published, but as long as you keep writing and perfecting your technique, you aren’t wasting your time.

At the other end of the spectrum there’s tips by Rolf Potts. Here Potts mentions, what I consider, the most important factor of this whole job: “Whatever you do, remember that travel—not travel writing—should be your priority.” I’m a firm believer in doing something you love, simply so that you don’t feel like you’re working. Let’s face it, we didn’t choose this profession for the big bucks. He also suggests reading up and studying what you will be writing about, as well as knowing your audience.

Kelby Hartson Carr has a list of how to break into travel writing. This is a pretty basic list, but it makes sense. Number 1? Become a traveler. You have to get up and go places. I tried to develop this blog into my travel journal. It’s difficult in todays economy to find the means to go places, which is why I thought it would be interesting to put pricing limits on what I do and where I go. A repetitive piece of advice in these articles is that you have to write. If it’s a journal, fine, but you should develop stories; pieces of work that you can share with others, have them relate to and want to read. Think of your audience.

Check out this Travel Writing Portal for more tips from authors. Just remember to get out there and go places, write about it for practice, know your audience and work to get it published. Don’t give up right away if it doesn’t happen, it will take time. Good luck and Godspeed!

Autumn Activities

Here are some great resources for all the fun things that take place this time of year!

Pumpkin picking, corn mazes, hayrides and more! Or are haunted houses your thing? There are some great places in New Jersey and Pennsylvania to check out for a frightening night out. If you’re willing to venture out a little further, there are some great places outside of Philadelphia. Scary Happenings has a great list of haunted houses and hayrides that have gained a good reputation.

Want to carve your pumpkin? Here is how! Or would you like to make a pie? Here is a guide!

Good luck, and enjoy!