Travel Guides

Think of Australia and you can't help but think of Sydney, with its iconic landmarks, multicultural feel and oodles of natural beauty. To get the best out of your visit to the gateway of Australia, here's my Sydney city guide.

Sydney is considered one of the world's most beautiful cities and it is clear to see why, with a relaxed feel, stunning vistas from every angle, masses of fantastic food with flavours from all over the world and some pretty good weather to boot.

Sydney Harbour: At some point or another you have to get on the water and there are so many different possibilities you are spoiled for choice. If on a budget the best way is to take one of the many ferries from the Circular Quay over to North Sydney or Manley. A ferry trip to Manley passes the stunning harbour sites and heads onto the ocean past Sydney's famous North Shore beaches. If you have a bit more to splurge then charter a yacht and explore some of the secluded harbour islands. More mid-budget, you can take a jet boat tour for a speedy ride or a slow and steady cruise.

Combine shopping and eating with stunning architecture at the Queen Victoria Building, a beautiful 1890s building. Originally built as a fruit and vegetable market, tours are offered from the Information Desk on the ground level providing a good insight into the building. Shops are a combination of one off, chains and tourist type outlets with something for everyone all under one roof.

Affectionately known as the coat hanger, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of Sydney's premier tourist attractions with many ways to explore. The most popular is the bridge climb with unrivalled views and a rather fetching grey boiler suit to match the bridge so you don't distract the drivers below. If your budget doesn't stretch this far there are some pretty impressive views from the south eastern pylon called Pylon Lookout for a small fee. You can also walk the path along the bridge with some great views across the harbour to the Opera House.

The Sydney Opera House is iconic of the city and a must whether you take in a show or just marvel from afar. The Opera House hosts theatre, classical music, ballet and film, as well as the seasonal opera performances and an outdoor Sunday market. Various tours are available including a look backstage. It's Sydney's most photographed site with photo opportunities from many great vantage points around the harbour. Many think it was designed on boat sails but it was actually the segments of a mandarin!

There are plenty to of beaches in Sydney to choose from with a different feel and atmosphere at each. The most popular being Bondi with its eclectic vibe and white sands, although you can't always see the sand - this place gets busy especially at the weekends. Do the cliff walk to Coogee taking in the dramatic cliffs, little coves and caf├ęs, stopping off for a smoothie or coffee on the way. Surfers head to Manley for some great waves, but also offering a calmer swimming area. Further up north and you will find a continuous selection of superb beaches ending with Palm Beach, famous as a filming location for a popular Australian soap and some great surf too.

To make the most of your trip to this iconic city, get your hands on some travel guides, which will help you plan out your trip so that you don't miss out on any of the amazing things there are to see and do in Sydney.

Book Review - A Travel Guide To Heaven

"If heaven is anything at all, it's fun." With that opening line Anthony Destefano sets a tone for his book that turns out to be as much fun to read as the place it is describing. Reading these words in the preface, I was buoyed up with the hope that A TRAVEL GUIDE TO HEAVEN would combine sound theological teachings on the afterlife with a bit of humor and grace - but without the stuffy jargon of philosophers. Destefano does not disappoint his readers. He gives us concrete images of heaven that we can grasp (a perfect rose, a beautiful sunset, breathtaking views) combined with new ideas of what it means to go on the vacation of our dreams (frolicking simultaneously with tame "wild" animals and even dinosaurs).

A little background on this book will help to explain its wonderlust theme. This international bestseller actually represents Destefano's second attempt at writing a book on heaven. After attending 15 funerals of friends and relatives over a seven-month period, Destefano wrote his first manuscript, which he called HEAVEN, designed to make the afterlife more physically real than what the priests and ministers had done in the 15 funerals he attended. But this attempt at writing turned out to be so boring that Destefano never finished it.

A few months later on his fifth wedding anniversary, he wanted to treat his wife to a surprise overnight stay at a posh Beverly Hills hotel but found the hotel had lost his reservation. The Presidential Suite at the hotel was not in use that night, and when the hotel generously allowed him to stay in the suite instead, Destefano walked into a room so immaculately furnished that one might say it was a little piece of heaven on earth.

"You enter and there's a beautiful Steinway grand piano, and it's a Steinway, not some (cheap imitation), and there are fireplaces in every room and his and her bathrooms and saunas and Jacuzzis, and a dining room for 12 and this giant kitchen and butler service, OK? There's a bottle of champagne in every room and a terrace that extends the whole length of the hotel overlooking Sunset Boulevard, and at first my wife says, 'You did this for us?' And I say, 'You're worth it, baby'. I got away with that for about five minutes."

The feeling of joy from being surrounded by luxurious accommodations immediately suggested to Destefano the ingredient he needed to make a book on heaven seem more tangible to his readers: comparison to a vacation in the Presidential Suite of a five-star resort. Of course, in heaven the luxurious accommodations don't stop with the hotel furnishings, they include a fabulous makeover of a new body (Chap. 2), interesting fellow travelers on the vacation (Chap. 4), and angels for tour guides (Chap. 7). Forget about resting in peace, heaven is going to be filled with so many fun and interesting activities that we will naturally go from one activity to the next learning more, experiencing life at its fullest, and growing in our own spirituality.

Destefano contends that the physical location of heaven is Earth. Citing portions of the New Testament that refer to "a new heaven and a new earth," Destefano argues that eventually earth itself will experience death, resurrection, and transformation so that the "new earth" will in fact be heaven. Many of us have assumed heaven exists in another dimension beyond the three-dimensional limitations of earth, but Destefano argues continually that heaven is not a spiritual concept but a physical place that we will inhabit with our new and improved physical bodies. Given that humans have existed on the earth for about a million years, the physical size of this newly transformed earth must obviously be much larger than earth today, otherwise there would be congestion and shortage of space for all those people.

Because of this nexus between heaven and "the new earth," Destefano is able to depict concrete images of life in heaven based on the best scenery that has existed throughout all of history on earth. God spent millennia creating beautiful waterfalls, golden meadows, as well as various exotic plants and majestic animals. "God is not going to waste anything he spent so much time and effort creating."

Throughout his book, Destefano provides citation to the bible to back up his claims about what life will be like in heaven. Judging from the praise his book has received from people in different Christian denominations, his scriptural citations seem to please a wide Christian audience. For example, Destefano claims that prior to Christ's resurrection, none of the souls of the faithfully departed were allowed into heaven; the gates of heaven had been closed. Destefano cites 1 Cor 15:20-23; Phil 2:8; Rom 5:18-20. His first citation contains the phrase "For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life." His second citation contains "that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth." The third citation states "In conclusion, just as through one transgression condemnation came upon all, so through one righteous act acquittal and life came to all." None of those citations indicate the gates of heaven were closed.

Destefano would have had stronger support for his claim by citing John 3:13, "And no one has ascended into heaven, but he who descended from heaven, even the Son of Man." Yet biblical scholars have noted that line is contradicted, e.g., by 2 Kings 2:11, which says Elijah went up to heaven (hundreds of years before Christ was born). Reading John 3:13 in context, Christ is pointing out to Nicodemus that by questioning whether Christ is correct, Nicodemus does not yet understand he is speaking to the Son of God. In our modern language, Christ might have said, "No human being can speak from personal knowledge of heaven, as I do, who came from heaven. No human has traveled up to heaven and come back to earth to talk about it based on direct observation."

A TRAVEL GUIDE TO HEAVEN is well-researched and draws from scripture for inspiration. I conclude with a quotation from the book that will inspire the reader to contemplate a paradise in which "eye has not seen, ear has not heard" the marvels that await us. "And don't forget the children. God knew very well when he created the first tyrannosaurus and brontosaurus that little boys and girls would be thrilled by the very thought of them billions of years later. In fact, God might have made the dinosaurs and allowed them to roam the earth for millions of years for that reason alone." In order to enter the kingdom of God, we must accept it with the eager anticipation of a child. We should not underestimate God's desire to make us happy in heaven and give us child-like joy at the wonders of his creation.

New York Travel Guides

The Big Apple, the city that never sleeps, New York, New York, what a wonderful town! Call it what you will, there's no disputing New York is one amazing place. And there's a wealth of information available on what to do and see in New York, so I've selected the best bits in this essential travel guide to New York City.

More than eight million people from every nation on earth live in the Five Boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island, and New York City is safer, cleaner, friendlier, richer and more stylish than ever before.

It goes without saying really, but a it would be crime to miss out on Central Park, whatever the length of your trip. If you are lucky, your first view will be from the air as you fly into the city, where you can really appreciate this 843-acre green oasis of peace and quiet in this vast urbania. Join the locals in a jog, some in-line skating or take a picnic and watch the world go by. There are things to do in winter when the lush green park is transformed into a white blank canvas, where ice skating and cross country skiing combine with a midnight run on New Year's Eve.

For unrivalled views and an iconic trip it's got to be a visit to New York's skyline's most famous skyscraper - the Empire State Building. High-speed automatic elevators take you up to the 86th floor observatory 1,050 ft (320 m) high in the sky. It's worth paying a bit more for the audio tour as there isn't much information up top. Keep an eye on the tower at night; it might just surprise you, as the colours of the lights are changed regularly.

Take a boat out to Liberty Island in New York Harbour and pay a visit to the Statue of Liberty - the original first lady, and the ultimate symbol of New York. You would be surprised how many locals haven't done this. To avoid lots of waiting around book your tickets ahead and try and make it in the morning when there are less people about.

Take a walk across the historic and fascinating Brooklyn Bridge. Manhattan has five major bridges linking the island to the mainland, but the Brooklyn is the most famous and really worth a visit just to take in the fantastic views of Downtown Manhattan and New York Harbour.

No trip to New York would be complete without a spot of retail therapy, and even if you haven't the budget to cover it, just go and marvel at Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales or Macy's, to name drop but a few. Fifth Avenue is New York City's must-see shopping destination, filled with a mix of upscale boutiques, well-known chains, and attractions such as the Rockefeller Centre and St. Patrick's Cathedral, if you can only do one shopping street in New York, make it this one.

If you're planning a trip to New York, then you'll probably need some help narrowing down all the things there are in this, the world's capital - New York travel guides are the best way to do this.

US South Vacation and Travel Guide

The South is home for the most enjoyable fun filled vacation locations in the United States. The South offers unique vacations rich in culture, history, cuisine, hospitality and music and is home to lots of the country's most famous tourist attractions. The South has something for everyone from musical festivals and theme parks, to NASCAR racing, historic villages, outlet shopping and exhilarating nightlife. The South is the perfect mix of new and old.

The South flourishes with natural beauty, and offers many opportunities for outdoor activities. The Appalachian Mountains begin in Alabama and stretch all the way to Virginia. Camping, fishing, rock climbing, hiking, rafting, and caving are popular activities. Numerous recreation areas are open to the public, including one of the most visited national parks in the country, Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Easily prepare for a perfect vacation with travel guides. Most travel guides contain the latest information on vacation rentals, restaurants and attractions, including travel tips, and more.

Several southern cities still retain much of their traditional southern charm. Among these notable cities are Beaufort, South Carolina, Savannah, Georgia and New Orleans in Louisiana. The South is filled with historical locations that include Civil Rights landmarks to colonial settlements, and Civil War battlefields. A particularly interesting city is Jamestown located in the southern state of Virginia. There you can explore the very first thriving British settlement. Close by, in Colonial Williamsburg, experience a scenic recreation of what life was like in a colonial town.

North Carolina and Virginia have the Blue Ridge Parkway, offering some of the most stunning vistas around. A great attraction in this region is the Biltmore Mansion, in addition to the mountain towns of Boone and Ashville. Other astonishing recreation places in the South consist of Mammoth Cave situated in Kentucky, and Hot Springs in Arkansas. During winter months the ski resorts in Virginia and North Carolina attract big crowds. Even though the help of snowmaking devices is used and the paths are not very high or steep as some, they are still worth visiting for fun.

The coastal areas in the South are among the most picturesque in the country. Swimming, parasailing, fishing and sunbathing are popular things to do in this region of the South. Popular seaside places for vacation rentals include Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina and the Gulf Shores in Alabama. The South is well-known for its regional cuisine. Succulent barbeque, grits, gulf oysters, and fried tomatoes are regional delicacies.

Some significant contributions to popular music originated in the South and are expressed in the lively music scenes in major cities. Rock and roll, jazz and the blues all originated in the South. Music lovers can visit Music Row located in the city of Nashville or Beale Street located in the city of Memphis to understand the South's ongoing musical history. Sports fans will find many things to do across the South. One of the South's most popular sports is college football. Racing is extremely popular, as well. A major event is the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, which attracts spectators from all around the world.

Explore travel guides for the latest vacation ideas, vacation rentals, travel reviews and news. Travel guides contain a wealth of information covering everything from the best vacation rentals to the best attractions.

London Travel Guides

If there were such a competition, London would be one of the cities short-listed for the title of 'world capital': diverse, exciting and cutting-edge while also being old-fashioned and traditional. This guide to London will give an idea of what to put on your travel list if you are planning a city break in London.

London is a sprawling metropolis which is known for swallowing newcomers and making (some of) them hate it. Be ready to look past the dirt and the (apparently) dodgy underground system, though, and there is a wealth of amazing things to see and do in London.

The British Museum is home to all the amazing stuff that the British managed to accrue during their globe-ruling days, the museum houses one of the greatest collections of Egyptian exhibits and the marble friezes from the Parthenon in Greece. If you can, take a look at the key to understanding hieroglyphs: The Rosetta Stone.

The city is known for and proud of its club scene. It can cater to any taste, from indie to drum n' bass, with plenty to choose from. There are some legendary clubs that you should try to visit, but get into the smaller, grungier ones tucked away under a railway arch and see what London is really all about. Ask some people who look like they are into what you're into for advice. Londoners are actually a lot friendlier than their reputation would have you believe.

The Tower of London is one of the best days out in London. Be shown round the thousand-year-old fort by a Beefeater and learn about the long, rich and sometimes perverse history of the British Monarchy. See the Crown Jewels and the carvings left on cell walls by imprisoned members of the Royal Family.

The area immediately surrounding Buckingham Palace has many of the tourist sites you may want to visit. Located within a mile or so are: Trafalgar Square, National Portrait Gallery, Covent Garden and more. Lunch in St James' Park makes a nice break in the middle of the day. If you are on a budget trip, take your own; eateries, like everything else in London, are expensive.

The huge turbine hall of the Tate Modern is used for installation art, and depending on what is there, it can really take your breath away. After entering that massive space the galleries may feel cramped but there is much to be seen. Even if you are not an art lover there will be things in the Tate to interest you.

London is such a vast city with so many things to do that it's easy to miss out on some of the best ones - to make sure you see as much as you can, get your hands on some London travel guides.

Best Travel Guides

If you are planning a Disney World vacation, you really want the Birnbaum's Walt Disney World 2009 travel guide. This is really an insider's guide to the "House of Mouse." There are reviews of hotels, motels, and restaurants as well as detailed information about what not to miss. The Birnbaum's Walt Disney World 2009 can make your Disney World more enjoyable for you and for your family.

Is a trip to Ireland in your future? You need the Eyewitness Travel Ireland travel guide by Lisa Gerard-Sharp. You'll find descriptions of the most important sights with maps, pictures, and illustrations for seven different regions in Ireland. And this travel guide is written so that information is set in its historical and cultural background. You'll find hotel and restaurant recommendations as well as practical information on everything from the telephone system to the transport both in the Republic and in Northern Ireland.

The warm weather and white sandy beaches of Hawaii call to all of us. But without planning, an Hawaiian vacation can be overwhelming. There's so much more to Hawaii than beaches. There's a dizzying array of sights and attractions to choose from. There's a clever but simple self-test included in the No Worries Hawaii: A Vacation Planning Guide for Kauai, Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island, by Jerry and Janine Sprout. The self-test allows readers to sort through Hawaii's assets - beaches, nightlife, trails, gardens, attractions, cultural sites, surfing, snorkeling - 36 categories in all, to determine which are important and which island is best for them.

Thank you

Traveling Jobs - Learn How to Write Travel Articles and Holiday Reviews

A dream of many writers is to get traveling jobs as journalists and travel for free. In this article you can learn how to write great travel articles and holiday reviews and what you should avoid.

Most journalists are naturally curious. They also tend to be restless, sociable creatures with a taste for adventure who enjoy exploring new places, meeting new people and finding out more about unfamiliar cultures and lifestyles. It should come as no surprise that journalists who love to travel want to share their experiences in print wherever possible.

Travel writing is an extremely competitive market. There is no destination that hasn't been written about a million times, so it is vitally important to get the right angle to make your article stand out above the rest.

For thousands of writers, writing for a top travel magazine would be the dream job. However your professional credentials must be impeccable. This will mean you will have a sound track record and be regularly printed, ideally in a range of publications. You will also be reasonably traveled and have the ability to gather enough suitable material for new articles that will stand out.

Newspaper and magazine travel articles will often be more geared towards the consumer. In other words, the readers want to find out what aspects of the destination would appeal to them, rather than the chronological ins and outs of the writers own experiences. Getting to know your market is the most important factor when writing travel articles.

Don't let all this put you off. Be persistent and try to get yourself published by any means you can in order to build up a good portfolio. For those new to the world or travel writing, the first step might be to submit articles to a local paper if it accepts travel articles. This won't give you a lot of money, but offers you the much needed experience.

Getting the right angle

As with any other feature, it is important to have a clear sense of purpose about why you are writing a specific article. It's not usually good enough to say you are going to 'do' an article about the Maldives as this has been done many times before. Try think about what is different, original, unusual or topical about your feature that is going to stand out. You could write about anything. For example; the pudding eating championships!

Pictures

You might be fortunate to find an editor that has a good source for pictures, but don't count on it. It is imperative that travel articles to be accompanied by photographs. It is a sound investment for any journalist to buy a good digital camera so such a purpose. However do check with your editor ahead of time what size and format they want them to come in.

Honestly is the best policy

Even if you've been lucky enough to have someone else to pay for your holiday, do not be obliged to write a more positive article as a result. You will be letting your readers down if you don't give your honest opinion.

Avoid 'brochure speak'

Unless you're writing a review for travel company to sell a holiday, there is no need to lace your travel articles with hype and over blown descriptions with an enthusiastic tone. For your article to sound genuine and authentic, most of it will have to rely on eyewitness accounts first hand, rather than culled from other guide books.

Most importantly you want to tell your readers what the place is really like as they can read the brochures for themselves if they want to be sold to. This isn't always as easy as it sounds- you will need to perfect your observation skills to make your travel article original and where appropriate, humorous.

Use Your Travel Guide to Its Best Advantage

A travel guide can be a great companion that can introduce you to a new world. Optimise your travel experience by learning how to use the features within them.

Step 1:
Study your destination before you leave. It's a good idea to get familiar with your destination prior to leaving. Your travel guide will point out popular attractions, good hotels and other stuff that is handy to know. You will have a better idea of where to spend your precious time before you even arrive. Mark out sites that look interesting so that when you get there you'll know a little about it and avoid wasting time on places that don't pique your curiosity.

Step 2:
Use special discounts to your advantage.Most travel guides list specials for accommodation, auto hire and popular attractions. If you have your guide handy at all times, you will be sure to save money most places you go.

Step 3:
Look at the write-ups.If possible, get hold of a travel guide that provides reviews of places you're going. See what others said about a place before you possible waste money on it. This applies to hotels too. If you can't find anything in the guide, do some Internet research - there are plenty websites and travel blogs out there to refer to.

Step 4:
Take advice on how long to spend at each attraction. This will be useful in planning out your whole day ahead of time. It will ensure that you don't overstretch your time and energy and still see everything you wanted to see.

Step 5:
Use the trip planner in the guide.These will set out one to three-day long schedules including all of the most popular places to see during your visit. Using these planners is a great way to save time on getting directions, working out timeframes choosing where to go. If your guide doesn't include this feature, you can still use the guide to make your own. It will just take a little more effort. Just ensure you have a plan beforehand so you can be out living it up in an exotic location instead of being holed up in the hotel room.

Travel guides examine almost every destination on the planet. Get the best advantage from it by using the features in it to save you cash and precious time. A well-planned holiday will then be memorable and relaxing and one that you will cherish for a long time to come.

Online World Travel Guides - The Top 4

Online, world travel guides are coming into their own. While they may never beat a solid guidebook that you can dog ear and mark up as you travel the world, they are becoming more valuable for research pre-departure. Thanks to the minimal resources required to create a travel guide online (no publishers, distributors, materials, etc.) we will continue to see more pop up as the world gets smaller. However, as the quantity of world travel guides increases, the need for quality, dependable information becomes more scarce. Here are the most authoritative spots online to help you prepare your next big adventure:

Travelfish.org. If you are looking for intelligence on Southeast Asia, look no further than Travelfish (even Lonely Planet, creator of the classic "Southeast Asia on a Shoestring" acknowledges their hard hitting advice). They provide detailed information about all of Southeast Asia, with a focus on Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam, with additional sections on Singapore and the Philippines. Their FAQ for each country is an exercise in mind reading: they answer questions you didn't realize you had such as "What kind of lock works best in a bungalow?" They also break down electrical requirements and other technical advice pertaining to cameras, laptops and mobile devices.

Gridskipper. Let me put it this way: Gridskipper is the premier website for big city types. They offer the best information on major cities in the world (San Francisco, London, Paris, Berlin and Tokyo seem to get the most coverage) including restaurant reviews and advice on the best clubs. If you want to explore the rice fields of Vietnam, you are in the wrong place! A word to the wise: this isn't a site for the faint hearted, and you probably don't want to check this out at work.

Virtualtourist. The biggest world travel guide online, loaded with information about travel hotspots around the world.

Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree forum. Here you can seek advice from people close to the ground. Visa requirements change, roads get blocked, storms may hit... save yourself the trouble and run it up the thorn tree.