Saturday, March 28, 2009

Aboriginal Attractions Around Adelaide

~ Kaurna people and Kaurna land
The Kaurna people (pronounced, Garna) are the traditional Aboriginal owners of the area now called, Adelaide. Kaurna land stretches along a narrow corridor across 29 council areas from Cape Jervis in the south, to Broughton in the north.

The Adelaide City Council works closely with the Kaurna people on specific initiatives that include giving all 29 parks around Adelaide Kaurna names, and assigning dual names to prominent sites around the city. For example, Victoria Square, in the heart of the city is also called Tarndanyangga, an Aboriginal name meaning a place of the Red Kangaroo Dreaming. The River Torrens has the dual name, Karrawirra Parri, or red gum forest river, in the Kaurna language.

There are several locations that should be on everyone’s itinerary if they are at all interested in Aboriginal culture. These attractions and their locations are detailed in the rest of this feature .

Tandanya (the National Aboriginal Cultural Institute)
Established in 1989, Tandanya is Australia’s oldest Aboriginal owned and managed multi-arts centre.

Tandanya is a visionary and vibrant place to explore and experience contemporary and traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. The centre features an ongoing performing and visual arts program, exhibitions, tours, a cultural presentations and performances.

Tandanya is open daily from 10am to 5pm
(except Good Friday, Christmas and New Years Day).
Entry: Free into gallery spaces
Performances: Adult $5, Concession/Kids $3
Address: 253 Grenfell Street, Adelaide

The South Australian Museum
For over a century the South Australian Museum has been involved in the collection, study, display and interpretation of Australia's Aboriginal cultures.

The Museum’s Australian Aboriginal Cultures Gallery holds the largest display of Australian Aboriginal cultural objects in the world. Consisting of over 3000 artefacts, sound recordings, films, photographs, and manuscripts, the collection reveals the beauty and sophistication of Aboriginal culture.

The SA Museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm
(except Good Friday and Christmas Day)
Entry: Free
Location: North Terrace, Adelaide

Other places of interest include:
  • The Piltawodli Memorial (off Memorial Drive) was installed in May 2000 to commemorate National Sorry Day. Piltawodli is a Kaurna word meaning ‘possum place’.
  • Kaurna meyunna, Kaurna yerta tampendi (Recognising Kaurna people and Kaurna land) the reconciliation sculptural work in the forecourt to the Adelaide Festival Centre
  • The Three Rivers Fountain (Victoria Square), commissioned by the Adelaide City Council to commemorate the 1968 visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
  • Yerrakartarta, Kaurna for ‘at random’ or ‘without design’, in the forecourt of the Hyatt Regency Hotel on North Terrace, reflects the seemingly random order of the natural world and consists of various elements set within the pavement and surrounding walls.
More Information
A walking guide is available for visitors who want a more detailed, self-guided tour of the Kaurna and European history that abounds right across Adelaide. The guide is available from the SA Museum, the Adelaide Festival Centre, and the Adelaide City Council.

SOURCES: Adelaide City Council Aboriginal Attractions Guide
IMAGE: Courtesy Tandanya

Friday, March 27, 2009

Art Gallery of South Australia: Turning Japanese

~ Located on North Terrace, Adelaide’s ‘cultural boulevard’, the Art Gallery of South Australia is a veritable treasure house holding one of the country’s greatest art collections in one of the state’s most beautiful buildings.

Visit the Gallery daily to explore the best of Australian art. From colonial and indigenous, through to modern and cutting-edge contemporary, you can wander through the Art Gallery’s extensive displays of European, decorative arts, Middle Eastern and Asian works.

The Golden Journey
Currently, the Art Gallery of South Australia is featuring a major exhibition called, The Golden Journey: Japanese Art from Australian Collections.

Billed as “a stunning display of almost three hundred diverse objects”, the exhibition reveals the rich heritage of Japanese art held in Australia's major public and private collections. The exhibition, the first of its kind in Australia, tells the story of Japanese art from prehistoric times until Japan opened its doors to the West at the start of the Meiji era (1868-1912).

The exhibition features serene Buddhist sculptures, spectacular painted screens, miniature netsuke talismans, colourful Ukiyo-e images of the ‘floating world’, costumes, masks, armour and flamboyant export art created for Australia’s late nineteenth-century international exhibitions. This is in celebration of the profound lyricism and sophisticated eloquence of Japanese aesthetics.

Guided Tours
Try to arrange your visit to coincide with the free guided tours that take place…
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 12 noon, or
Saturday, Sunday and public holidays at 12 noon and 2.30pm

Exhibition runs 6 March to 31 May, 2009
Entry: Adult, $12; Concession, $10; Members & Students 16 and over, $8; Child under 12, Free.
Open daily from 10am to 5pm.
Location: North Terrace, Adelaide

Visit the Art Gallery of South Australia website here…
Image courtesy of the Art Gallery of South Australia

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

London Tourist Attractions around Trafalgar Square

~ by Timothy Tye

Trafalgar Square is a famous public square and tourist attraction in the centre of London. It was created to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar, a British naval victory in the Napoleonic Wars in 1805.

Trafalgar Square was originally intended to be called the King William VI Square. However architect George Ledwell Taylor suggested the name Trafalgar Square.

The architecture around Trafalgar Square dates to between 1820 and 1845, when the Prince Region engaged John Nash, the imminent landscape architect, to redevelop the area. The project became known as the Charing Cross Improvement Scheme. The architecture of the square was the work of Sir Charles Barry, and was completed in 1845.

Trafalgar Square consists of a big public area bordered by roads. The roads that lead into Trafalgar Square or are within its vicinity include Whitehall, Northumberland Avenue, The Strand, Charing Cross Road, Haymarket, Pall Mall and The Mall. Also within the area are Trafalgar Square road and Cockspur Street.

The point where the Strand meets Whitehall was the original location of the Charing Cross. This is where the City of London meets the City of Westminster, and is accepted as the very heart of London. From here all distances are measured.

Exploring Trafalgar Square in clockwise fashion beginning from the north, we see the stairs that lead up to the National Gallery. The National Gallery began when the British government bought 36 paintings from banker John Julius Angerstain in 1824. From that minuscule collection, the National Gallery today houses over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900. Two thirds of the collection comes from donation. The collect is small compared to national galleries of continental Europe, however, it has important works with a broad historical representation, covering Early Renaissance to Post-Impressionism.

The present structure at Trafalgar Square was built in 1832-8. However only the facade is recognizable from the original, with much of the inside having been renovated and expanded. This is the third building to house the National Gallery, and despite the many expansions, is still inadequate.

The site at Trafalgar Square made creating an impressive gallery a challenging task. It cannot be extended in further than one room, as there was a workhouse and a barracks immediately behind. The architect whose design was chosen, William Wilkins, also had to comply to several stipulations, among them, he has to used columns from the demolished Carlton House, and sculptures which were intended for John Nash's Marble Arch. As a result, the National Gallery opened to much public ridicule.

To the east of Trafalgar Square is the St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, an Anglican church dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours.

A burial dating back to Roman times was discovered here during an excavation in 2006. It led to a reappraisal of the importance of Westminster during Roman times. The reason is, although the Romans usually bury their dead outside city limits, the site of St Martin was way outside the Roman city limits, so it surprised archaeologists to find a burial spot so far out of the city.

The earliest documentation of St Martin-in-the-Fields Church was found in 1222, where a dispute between the Abbot of Westminster and the Bishop of London over who had control over St Martin was recorded. King Henry VIII rebuilt the church in 1542, so that plague victims do not have to pass by his residence at the Palace of Whitehall. At that time, the church was literally "in the fields", isolated and away from the cities of Westminster and London.

Although the old St Martin-in-the-Fields building was not destroyed by the Great London Fire of 1666, it was nevertheless replaced with a new building, by James Gibbs, in 1726. Though the new design was greeted with much criticism, it eventually found favor and became famous, leading to many similar copies built in the United States.

Due to its strategic location, St Martin-in-the-Fields is one of the most famous non-cathedral churches in London. It is famous for the social work done for the homeless. It is also a regular venue for lunchtime and evening concerts. A 36 million pound renewal project began in January 2006 is scheduled to be fully completed by early 2008.

At little to the south of the St Martin's church, past South Africa House, still to the east, is the Strand, towards the present location of Charing Cross and the Charing Cross station. To the south is Whitehall, towards the direction of the Palace of Westminster. To the southwest is the Admiralty Arch with The Mall passing through it towards Buckingham Palace. Finally, to the west is Cockspur Street in the direction towards the Haymarket.

There are several statues at Trafalgar Square, the most prominent of which is Nelson's Column. It commemorates the death of Admiral Horatio Nelson in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The entire monument is 50 metres (169 ft 5 in) from the bottom first step to the tip of Nelson's hat, according to laser survey done during restoration in 2006. It includes the 5.5m (18 ft) statue of Nelson facing in the direction of the Palace of Westminster and along Pall Mall. Nelson stands on top of a Corinthian column based on one from the Temple of Mars Ultor in Rome. At the top of the column are bronze acanthus leaves cast from British cannons. Below the column is a square pedestal, and on each face is a bronze panel cast from captured French guns. Each panel depicts one of Nelson's four great victories.

Nelson's Column was made in 1838. It was designed by William Railton. The sandstone statue of Nelson was sculptured by E.H. Baily. The four bronze panels were done by sculptors Musgrave Watson, John Ternouth, William F Woodington and John Edward Carew. The whole monument costs 47,500 pounds, equivalent to 3.5 million pounds in 2004 terms. Four lions, by Sir Edwin Landseer, were added in 1867.

Nelson’s Column is surrounded by four huge bronze lions cast from cannons of the French fleet. At the four corners of the square are plinths. Three of these have statues on them: King George IV on the northeast plinth, cast in the 1840s; Henry Havelock on the southeast plinth, cast in 1861; Sir Charles James Napier on the southwest plinth, cast in 1855. The fourth plinth remains without a permanent statue on it. Initially it was intended for a statue of King William IV, but there was insufficient funds to complete it. As of now, the plinth continues to be used for temporary works of art.

On the lawn in front of the National Gallery are two more statues: King James II to the west of the entrance portico, and George Washington to the east. The Washington statue was a gift from the state of Virginia in US. It stands on soil brought over from the United States, in honour of Washington's declaration that he would never again set foot on British soil.

To the south of Nelson’s statue is the roundabout where the original Eleanor Cross stood. There’s a statue of Charles I there. It is the only English king to ever be beheaded.

To the southwest of the round about is Admiralty Arch. It is an office building facing Trafalgar Square. It incorporates an archway for road and pedestrian access between The Mall and Trafalgar Square. The Admiralty Arch was built in 1912, and adjoins the Old Admiralty Building. The Admiralty Arch was commissioned by King Edward VII, in memory of his mother, Queen Victoria, though he died before it was completed.

These are just some of the sights around Trafalgar Square. There is indeed a lot to see at every corner, and for that reason, it is still one of the main attractions in London.

Timothy Tye explores and documents tourist attractions of the world at his website Earth Documentary…
Thanks to Timothy and Article City for the free use of this article.
IMAGE: Jim Lesses

Monday, March 23, 2009

How to Live Like a Local in Italy

~ How To Experience Local Family Life On Your Trip In Italy
by Margaret Cowan

Today on vacations in Italy, travelers want to experience real, local life in a meaningful ways with families, to visit their homes, share pieces of their lives, learn new things and even make new friends.

Four ways to get to know locals are cooking with families in their homes, taking a course and renting a room in a local home, staying at a farm B & B, and dining with families in their homes through Home Food.

1. Take a cooking class or cooking school tour with a family in their home kitchen
Here's an example of a delicious cooking school in Bologna, Italy's gastronomic capital.
For your cooking week you live in an independent apartment in the medieval centre, next door to your host family's home, so you live like a local and have local friends nearby.

With the mother and daughter, both excellent home cooks, you cook full menu dinners hands on for about three hours in three lessons in their kitchen. Then you gather around the dining table to eat your creations with the father, sons and your two cooking teachers, sharing laughter and good conversation. You soon feel part of the family!

Your cooking teacher tours you around Bologna's food market, telling you about local food treasures like parmesan cheese and buying ingredients for your lesson. Your week also includes a Bologna city tour and a day trip to Florence or Venice where a local guide shows you the sights. You can also enjoy a one day experience with market visit, cooking class and lunch.

2. Take a course and ask for home stay accommodation
In 1996 I took a month long Italian language course in Rome and asked the language school to get me a room with a family where nobody spoke English. They matched me up with Lucia, a 45 year old high school art teacher, architect and single mother of two kids, aged 8 and 16 in their apartment near the Vatican.

At first Lucia was surprised to see a woman her age arrive, not the usual 22 year old student. We discovered we had a lot in common, had many long conversations in her kitchen and became friends. For 12 years, I've visited Lucia, shared many meals around tables with her friends and taken trips to Naples and her country home in Le Marche with them.

Take a course, stay with a local family in your favourite Italian city! You never know what lovely surprises may come out of the experience!

3. Stay on at a farm B & B or apartment where the owners live on the property
If you're renting a car to explore the Italian countryside, stay in agriturismos (farm B&Bs or apartments). Many agriturismo owners make wine and olive oil. You may want to help pick grapes or olives at harvest time!

To make sure you meet the owners, confirm they live on the property so you'll get to know them. For example, in southern Tuscany about nine km south of Montalcino, Agriturismo Podere La Fonte offers two small suites in the country with marvellous views of Val d'Orcia. The organic property full of exotic plants and trees, birds and a chemical free swimming pool, has many olive trees. Owner Alberto makes olive oil the traditional way using the big granite wheel.

Friendly, joyful Alberto and his wife make your breakfast and can make dinner for you. Alberto is a fantastic cook and gives cooking lessons too.

4. Eat traditional dishes with families in homes all over Italy through Home Food
Imagine yourself arriving at 8:30 p.m. at a family's home in Venice. The mother, Mercedes, whom you don't know, welcomes you warmly to share a dinner of traditional Venetian dishes she's just cooked for you. You join her and up to five food loving tourists you may not know around her table through the Home Food organization.

You savour dry cod with polenta (a dish from the 1500s), risotto with radicchio from Treviso, sardines with saor (fried onions, wine, vinegar, pine nuts, raisins) that fishermen in the 14th century made, vegetables in oil and pincia, a soft cake of bread soaked in milk with raisins and apple.

As you eat and drink local wines, you learn about Venetian culinary traditions and history and get to know a local family as well as fellow food lovers.

Home Food started in Bologna in 2004 and spread to 14 regions in Italy. Its mission is to preserve traditional recipes and food traditions handed down from mothers to daughters and to share these dishes and local food culture with food lovers.

About 100 women throughout Italy, all excellent home cooks with a wealth of food knowledge, enthusiastically open their homes for scheduled dinners for small groups. Visit the Home Food website to know more and register for dinners.

Have fun cooking, speaking Italian, picking grapes or olives and dining with Italian families at their homes! You'll experience genuine Italian life as an insider friend and soon feel Italian!

About the Author
Since 1995 Margaret Cowan has owned a tour company, Mama Margaret & Friends Cooking Adventures in Italy. For a free report on finding the right Italy cooking school tour for you, see
Italy Cooking Schools.
Thanks to Margaret, and Go Articles for the use of this entry...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Campervan Rental in Australia

~ by Will Stewart

Although Australia is an island it is also a continent and for this reason alone it is large. Very large. To get around the country there is a very large and competitive air travel network. The southern parts of the country also offer fairly substantial train travel while the more remote areas of the northern part of the country mainly only offer bus travel.

One other option which is becoming very popular is to hire or rent a Campervan.

Considering that with today's prices a single bed in a hostel dormitory averages around $27.00AUD per night per person. So for three people travelling together that equals an average daily cost - just to rest your head for the night - of $81.00.

It is no wonder that Campervans are becoming so popular.

A basic campervan vehicle can take two forms. One type is the Camper Wagon or Campa Car which is often a large Ford or Holden Station wagon (you may know this type of vehicle as an Estate) which comes equipped with full camping equipment including tents, Gas cooker, linen, cookware and crockery and camp chairs for each person.

These vehicles can comfortably seat 4 adult passengers and the daily rental prices start from as little as $32.00AUD per day including insurance. When you compare that price with hostel accommodation then the saving is substantial. In fact with 4 people travelling, the savings cover the cost of fuel and often camping fees in campervan parks.

The most popular type of vehicle rented in Australia is the HiTop. These units are based on a Toyota commercial van but have an extended raised main roof, so you can stand inside. They are fully fitted and most have a 2 way fridge, sink and 2 burner stove all built in. They are very popular units - over 85% of the rentals that we get are for the HiTop unit. They are fairly similar across the different companies and have the same standard "basics". The majority of these units, although they may have slightly different layouts, all basically present with the same features. Rental pricing does vary quite a bit from company to Company and prices are also season dependent.

A HiTop rental starts from about $62.00 per day and can go as high as $120.00 per day. Rental rates are seasonal and very dependant on the length of the rental. The longer the rental the less the daily rental rate. Be warned that most Campervan rental companies will not even look at a rental less than seven days so if your planning a short trip (less than 6 days) you may not find it easy to secure a rental campervan.

Are there "Other Costs" in Renting a Campervan?
Yes. So we'll take a look at what costs are really involved for you. If you understand this better you will be able to make a better choice when you go to book your campervan Holiday.

Daily Rate
This is the actual cost per day to hire the vehicle and usually includes basic insurance. Basic insurance will cover you and your passengers in the event of an accident with another vehicle. Some rental companies do not include "Single Vehicle Accidents" - where you drive into a tree or a wall - and may charge an additional fee to cover this. If it is not explained to your clearly what the Insurance covers - ASK!

Stamp Duty
In Australia the Government charges a 2% fee on any contracts relating to the rental of gods or services. This includes unit/apartment/house rental, car hire and Campervan rental. It is not a secret little fee that Camper rental companies have created to squeeze a few more dollars from you. It is a Mandatory charge by the government. Some rental companies may offer to waive this fee - which simply means they have included it in the cost of the rental.

One Way Fee
This is usually applied if you are renting the van from one city or state location to another - for example, Sydney To Cairns.

This fee is fairly common and has come about as a result of some companies having to engage professional drivers to collect a vehicle and return it after a rental. With some of the smaller rental companies the fee cover's the cost of the Agent at the destination depot to "turn the vehicle around" - ie; prepare it for another rental.

One Way Fees vary from $120.00 to $495.00 Depending upon the vehicle type and destination.

Security Bond/Excess
The Security Bond or Excess is the amount you are liable for in the event of a major accident. In other words this is the maximum amount you would have to pay if the vehicle was damaged beyond repair. With many rental companies this Security Bond or Excess is in the region of $4,500.00 to $6,000.00. With some companies this figure can be only $1,000.00. So when you are enquiring about a Campervan rental make a point of asking what the Bond/Excess is.

Many rental companies offer an "optional" Collision Damage Waiver" (CDW) which effectively means you pay an additional amount per day on top of the rental but reduce the Bond/Excess by half. This CDW can vary from $10.00 per day to $26.00 per day.

The reason for the wide variation in these and rental rates is due to the nature of Campervan Rental Insurance Companies. There are about 3 companies in Australia that will insure Campervans on Rental. Some have one set of rules and the others have another set.

The important thing about all these "fluctuations" is that if you are not knowledgeable in what the costs are it may end up costing you far more.

Following are two possible rental scenarios over a 15 day period from Sydney to Cairns rented from two separate rental companies. One, at a daily rate of $75.00 per day including Base insurance with a Security Bond/Excess of $1,000.00 and the other at a lower daily rate but with a higher Bond/Excess, which may help clarify the "costs" of a rental.

1. Company A - A campervan is to be rented at a daily rate of $75.00 per day including Base insurance with a Security Bond/Excess of $1,000.00.

Rental Value is $1,125.00
Stamp Duty $ 22.50
One Way Fee $ 170.00
Total Rental Value $1,317.50 with a $1,000.00 Bond/Excess.

2. Company B - A campervan is to be rented at a daily rate of $65.00 per day including Base insurance with a Security Bond/Excess of $5,000.00.

Rental Value is $ 975.00
CDW @ $20.00/day $ 300.00 (reduces the Bond to $2,500.00)
Stamp Duty $ 19.50
One Way Fee $ 170.00
Total Rental Value $1,464.50 with a $2,500.00 Bond/Excess.

The above example shows that with the same rental over two different companies there can be a difference of $147.00 and a Bond/Excess of over $1,500.00 difference after paying more.

The message here is to be careful. When you hear someone quote you a really good daily rate there may be hidden extras which may end up costing more than the other company who may have quoted you a higher daily rate but with a lower Bond/Excess.

Other Costs / Options
Some companies offer extra items that can be rented. These mat include outdoor bar-b-ques, portable toilets ("Porta-Potti"), Child booster seats and baby capsules. If you may be requiring some of these extras then just simply ask if these things are available.

A Word Of Caution
Most Campervan and Motorhome rental websites advertise vehicles that are 6 berth Winnebago Motorhomes. However often these are not actually available and we have, on many occasions while acting as an agent for another Australian company in Cairns, found the customers have just stepped off a plane to discover that what they are getting in the way of a 6 berth motor home, just is not what I have shown them.

So if you are booking your trip from outside Australia please really make sure that the vehicle you are getting is what you actually saw on the website and believed you will be getting. Have the company email you a picture of the type of vehicle. You may need it!

Also watch out for "false descriptions". For example: The company's confirmation email to you reads… "We take pleasure in confirming your booking for a 6 berth Mercedes Motorhome". You may just be getting a large van that sleeps 6, and it may very well be an Iveco or a Fiat and not a Mercedes.

Whomever you book your Campervan (or Motorhome rental) through they will usually send you some form of Confirmation that will detail your rental. READ THIS thoroughly and if there any items on your Confirmation ask the company to clarify it.

In general Campervan Rental in Australia is very safe. There are the odd one or two "shifty" operators but all in all it is a very safe way to see the country and there is an amazing variety of Australia too see.

Will Stewart owns his own Campervan and Motorhome business and has been involved in the industry for over 9 years.
Thanks to Will and Article City for the free use of this article.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Dealing With Jetlag

8 Tips On Dealing With Jet Lag
by Trevor Johnson

Jet lag is an awkward side effect of jet travel when you cross too many time zones for your body's liking. Face it, most of us have enough problems when we shift just an hour to daylight savings. Follow these tips on avoiding jet lag to help reduce the effects.

Not all these tips are relevant for every trip, especially if you're travelling on business at short notice, but at least some of them should be useful for you.

1. Adjust your sleep time
Start helping your body clock to adjust to the new time zone by changing the times that you go to sleep at night and awaken in the morning. You'll start to become accustomed to the new times. Make the adjustment about an hour each night.

2. Set your watch
As soon as you board your flight, set your watch to the new time. We look at our watches an amazingly high amount of times, so adjusting the time as soon as possible will help your mind realize that it's changing clocks.

3. Drink water. Lots of it
Sure, you can ask the stewardess for water but they have hundreds of other passengers to look after as well. Buy a bottle of water once you've passed through airport control and drink plenty of water during your flight.

4. Say no to coffee and alcohol
They both act as dehydrators. So they'll help to dry up your body even more than the flight already does. Soft drinks or water are to be preferred.

5. Get some rest on the flight
Depending on how enthusiastic the cabin staff are, this may be easier said than done. And if that child behind you rocks your seat once more, then that's another story. If you get the option, a window seat or one in the center of a block of seats will minimize the number of people who need to ask you to move out of their way. Noise cancelling headphones aren't standard issue on many flights, so if you are a regular traveler then treat yourself to a set. They really do cut down the disturbance of engine noise.

6. Go walkabout occasionally
OK, this is at odds with getting rest. But sitting down for hours on end isn't a good idea either. Walk up and down the aisles a few times. Not so much that you're pacing them but certainly go for this exercise a few times on a long flight. Just be certain not to time your expedition for meal or drinks or duty free services.

7. Adjust to your new time zone on the plane
If it's daytime at your destination, stay awake. If it's night where you are going, get some sleep. You can catch up on the in flight entertainment when you've got a bigger screen and better sound. Start adjusting as soon as you can.

8. Keep adjusting at your destination
Even if you've been on a plane for hours and hours. The sooner you start adjusting, the better. So if you arrive in the dead of night, get to sleep. A dose of melatonin may help here - it's a natural sleeping aid that's already produced by your body.

Trevor Johnson writes regularly about airline travel on his website...
Thanks to Trevor Johnson and Article City for the free use of this article.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Car Rental Accident and Collision Insurance

~ Car Rental Accident and Collision Insurance

by Richard Edmunds [Car Rental Guide]

Rental car companies offer customers the option to purchase additional coverage such as collision damage coverage, personal accident and supplemental liability protection. Spending the few extra dollars for additional indemnity coverage can be a prudent decision that can save you many thousands of dollars if you were ever involved in a serious car accident while renting the vehicle. Purchasing additional rental car insurance can even be a good idea if your rental car is covered under your own personal policy.

First, check your own automobile policy or contact your primary provider to see if a car rental accident will be covered. In fact, it would be wise to make this a part of any pre-trip checklist of things to do. Today, many insurance companies have exclusions or exceptions that apply to rental vehicles. You should definitely purchase the optional coverage if your policy does not fully or adequately cover your rental.

As part of your investigation, verify that your policy will pay for an accident resulting to a vehicle you rent out of state. Some policies are very specific to the state they are written for and coverage for collision damage (damage to the vehicles being driven by either party), bodily injury (money that your policy would pay for another person injured in a car accident that you caused) may be reduced or eliminated. Additionally, important personal coverage (coverage to you if you become seriously injured in a car accident) within your policy such as uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, may not transfer to an out of state rented vehicle.

There are other important gaps in coverage that often occur to the detriment of the insured. For instance, if you drive an older car, you may not be carrying any collision coverage. Therefore when you rent, your coverage could be terribly inadequate. Also, if you have entered into a long-term lease or rental agreement, some states assume (in a legal sense) that you have temporary ownership. In the advent of a car rental accident, you could be left holding the bill.

The credit card you use to secure the rental vehicle will often provide accident coverage. However this is secondary rental car collision coverage and will only reimburse you or the rental agency on an excess basis. The card company pays only after any amount due from any other agency or any other form of reimbursement has been paid. Note that no credit card provides coverage for liability.

As stated before, it may be prudent to purchase the additional coverage even if your policy covers rentals. Rental companies have standard clauses that state there is no cap or limit on your liability resulting from any use of the vehicle. When you rent a car, you are responsible for all damages regardless of fault, including physical damages, loss of use, and diminution of value and administration fees. Your primary carrier will have upper limits on what they will pay.

There is an ongoing battle between rental agencies and primary insurers with you caught in-between. In many states, law requires a vehicle owner's private carrier to provide primary coverage in all cases. However, the primary insurer's attorney will argue that the laws are inapplicable to rental vehicles because their business is governed by a set of statutes specific to rental cars. The insurer will only pay for the physical damages of the vehicle leaving you to pay the rest of the charges on the claim. In the courts, both sides have won. This in the end tends to indicate that being covered from all angles is probably the smartest thing you can do.

A car rental accident need not be an overwhelming financial burden. Although in today's market almost every agreement you sign will include extra fees, taxes and other add-ons, the small sums required to gain the additional coverage for a rental vehicle seem well worth the expenditure.

Richard Edmunds worked as a manager of a big name Car Rental Agency for the past 20 years before retiring. He now spends his time writing car rental articles for you about such topics as Rental Car Insurance and other car rental tips
Originally published on for Richard Edmunds Thursday, March 12, 2009Article Source: Car Rental Accident and Collision Insurance

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

April in New York City

~ Things to do in April in New York City
by Rosalie Scott

April showers bring May flowers... and lots of exciting things to do in New York City. With spring in the air and dozens of events taking place, April is a great month to visit the greatest city in the world. Here are some highlights!

Tribeca Film Festival
For film buffs, spring in New York means it's time for the popular Tribeca Film Festival in lower Manhattan. Various cinemas in the Tribeca district showcase hundreds of international films, often with the director and cast ready and waiting to answer questions after the screening. Almost every one of the more than 200 films is a North American, international, or world premiere.

The Easter Parade
Every Easter Sunday, Fifth Avenue from 49th to 57th streets is closed to traffic for this colourful and exciting spectacle. The tradition dates back to the mid-1800s when the upper crust of society would attend church services and then parade their new Easter outfits down Fifth for all to see! Starting at 10am, admire the passing parade of participants decked out in creative bonnets and elaborate costumes. There is plenty of entertainment, stunning floral displays and even a real Easter bunny or two. Celebrate Easter services at St. Patrick's Cathedral on 50th Street and Fifth, St. Thomas Church on 53rd and Fifth or at the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church.

Cherry Blossom Season at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Spring is a lovely time of year to experience New York, and there is no better celebration of spring's beauty than the cherry blossom viewing season in April at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG). Visitors can walk under the boughs of the cherry trees and experience the Japanese tradition of Hanami, watching the delicate blossoms as they vibrantly come to life. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden boasts the largest collection of cherry trees outside of Japan, and it is stunning to see the lush blooms of these more than 200 trees come alive in their rich colours. The BBG is located at 1000 Washington Avenue in Brooklyn.

Earth Day Celebration in Central Park
With its lush greenery and beautiful landscaping, Central Park is a must-see in the spring. The Earth Day celebration in the heart of the park is a free event open to the public and includes live musical performances, art and crafts, and lots of environmental projects like tree planting. Families can pack a picnic, spread out a blanket and enjoy the festivities.

Opening Day at Yankee Stadium
Baseball fans count down the days to spring training, and especially to the opening day of the season in April. The gates of the New York Yankee's new stadium open in April 2009. Located on the north side of 161st Street between River and Jerome Avenues, it is right across the street from its original home. The 1.3 billion dollar state of the art facility boasts advanced audio visual technology and several tasty dining options to enhance the fan's experience. will give you a comprehensive look at several of the sites mentioned above along with information on a variety of other attractions and hotels in the Big Apple. Get the information you need to know before you travel, to make sure you get to see the best of the best in New York City.

Originally published on for Rosalie Scott Sunday, March 08, 2009
IMAGE: Cypress Hills National Cemetery
PHOTO: Jim Lesses

Article Source:
Things to do in April in New York City
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My Home Town: Port Adelaide

~ Things to do in and around Port Adelaide

Only 30 minutes or so from the centre of Adelaide, is historic Port Adelaide. At its heart is a series of museums that house an amazing collection of historical artefacts showcasing the states long history. Its nearest beach is Semaphore.

Fast becoming the area’s favourite location for rest and relaxation, Semaphore has all the old world charm of a seaside town. It’s broad main thoroughfare, Semaphore Road, stretches for more than a kilometre and is home to a wide selection of cafés and restaurants, small galleries, and all manner of other local businesses.

Of course, no self respecting seaside town would be without its fish and chip shop – and Semaphore has several of them. What better way to end a day at the beach than with a bag of fresh, hot fish and chips, the seagulls wheeling overhead, and a golden sun setting over the ocean. Ah, perfect.

Here is an incomplete list of some of the Port’s many treasures:
  • Discover the Port Adelaide State Heritage Area
  • Indulge yourself in Semaphore Road’s boutique shops and cafés
  • Enjoy informative Guided Walks
  • Fly high at the South Australian Aviation Museum
  • Cruise for dolphins on the Port Princess or Dolphin Explorer every Sunday
  • Relive your childhood at Semaphore’s foreshore attractions
  • Explore the Port Adelaide Enfield Museum Trail
  • Fish for Snapper and King George Whiting off Semaphore Jetty
  • Exercise your mind and body with Blue Water Sea Kayaking
  • Examine the trains at the National Railway Museum
  • Feast on Fish-N-Chips while a golden sun dips below the horizon
  • Amaze yourself at the Seahorse Farm
  • Checkmate your Chess opponent, Monday nights at McGowan’s Café (Semaphore Rd)
  • Unearth a bargain at the Sunday Fisherman’s Wharf Market (Queens Wharf)
  • Delight in the SA Maritime Museum
  • Thrill at the miniature steam train ride along the foreshore at Semaphore
  • Enjoy an ice cold beer at the Port’s oldest building (Port Admiral Hotel, 1849)
  • Climb the Lighthouse (built in 1869) now located on Queens Wharf
  • Catch a movie at the Semaphore Odeon Star (just $7.00 all sessions)

Whew! Are you tired yet?

There is so much to discover and enjoy in and around Port Adelaide, that you will need several days to visit even just a few of the places listed above – and that is by no means a full list.

Make sure your first stop is the Port Adelaide Visitor Information Centre...

Visit House Carers Online...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Dolphin Cruising at Port Adelaide

~ Port Adelaide is a seaport city, well known for its maritime heritage. Less than a 30 minute drive from Adelaide, the state capital of South Australia, it’s also one of Adelaide’s most popular tourist destinations, with many attractions to offer its visitors – wild dolphins being one of those attractions. 
In fact, the Port River is home to around 30 Bottlenose dolphins, making it one of only two places in the world with permanent dolphin pods.

There are two passenger craft offering dolphin cruises on the Port River, the Port Princess Dolphin Cruise..., and the Port River Dolphin Explorer Cruise... 

While there is no guarantee you will see dolphins on your cruise, it is very rare for them not to make an appearance. Whether they are to be seen or not, there is still plenty to take in and enjoy as the each boat cruises the smooth waters of the Port River: the submarine base; old quarantine station; Torrens Island Power Station; pelicans and mangroves, and of course merchant ships entering or leaving harbour.

Both craft operate every Sunday and Monday public holidays, with dolphin cruises varying between 90 minutes and 2 hours each. The cost for the cruise on both boats is only $4 per person. If you prefer, you can also enjoy the cruise and a meal for just $14 per person. On the Dolphin Explorer children can get a meal and cruise combo for just $12.00.

Either way, the Port Princess Dolphin Cruise..., and the Port River Dolphin Explorer Cruise... are among the cheapest boat cruises I know of, and that makes both of them Compleat Traveller Hidden Gems.

More information including downloadable brochures available from Port Adelaide Visitor Information Centre...
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Updated: May 23, 2017. 
Sad to report that one of the cruise boats mentioned in this post, the Port Princess no longer operates its long-standing schedule of dolphin cruises out of Port Adelaide. Even more distressing is the report that the Port Princess was recently sold to a buyer in another state and that while on its way to its new base it ran into mechanical problems and was eventually swamped and sank at sea.

Thankfully, after they issued a May Day call for assistance, the former owner along with the new owner (as well as two other crew members) were rescued by another vessel that went to their aid.

Below is a screen grab from part of a press report on the sinking. 

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 Below: One of four people rescued off Port Macdonnell after the Port Princess started taking on water. Picture: Simon Cross.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

10 Tips for Booking Your Next Cruise

~ Diane Robbins of Travel Snippets and More has contributed an article to the Obitz website covering her 10 Tips for Booking Your Next Cruise.

With many Cruise lines currently offering huge discounts to entice passengers on to the ships, I thought it was worth drawing your attention to some of the tips in Diane’s article in which she outlines ten criteria for choosing a cruise vacation.

It pays to know your seasons, that is, have some idea of the best times to travel. You don’t want to be sailing during the hurricane or cyclone seasons – in any hemisphere.

Choose a cruise length that makes the whole experience worthwhile (let alone worth the expense). Short cruises of 5-7 days are hardly worth the trouble. You no sooner unpack your bags and start to relax before you are re-packing and preparing to disembark again.

Location, location. Where on the ship do you want your cabin to be. Once you have chosen your cruise, Diane advises checking out the ship’s deck plan to see what other facilities are located near by. Do you really want a cabin right next to the disco? Of course, the better the location the more you should expect to pay.

Who is the cruise being targeted at? Check out cruise line advertisement and online promotions. Who are they trying to attract on to the cruise? Make sure the age demographic is close to your own, or you may find yourself constantly complaining about the 18-25 year olds who want to party all night while you are trying to sleep. On the other hand, if you are in the 18-25 age bracket, you almost certainly won’t want to be stuck on a cruise with 250 geriatrics and their carers! Do your research first, and choose your cruise accordingly.

Diane Robbins covers other excellent tips in her article, 10 Tips for Booking Your Next Cruise which is well worth taking a look at if you are contemplating a cruise ship holiday this year.
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