Archive for October, 2008

A Safe Winter Road Trip – Tips for First Timers

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Winter time is approaching and many of us are planning road trips to visit our loved ones and spend an incredible holiday season. Driving during winter can be a scary experience especially if you are a first timer; so before you head to your lovely destination there are a few things to take into account when planning your trip. From the most obvious aspects such as taking warm clothing to more serious things like checking your vehicle for proper conditions, good planning will prevent you from having a bad winter vacation experience and ensure a safe road trip.

The Basics

There a few basic precautions to follow, common to all road trips regardless of the season. When traveling by car, make sure to take a well appointed first aid kit, extra non-perishable ready-to-eat food, an in-vehicle cell phone charger, (and cell phone, of course) and a portable radio with AM band and batteries even if your vehicle has one. Remember also to bring a spare vehicle key to carry with you at all times. These items will allow you to properly react on an emergency situation.


Driving during winter presents extra challenges to the driver. Cold weather tests your abilities and your car’s mechanical abilities as well. If you are the designated driver, try to stay alert at all times, slow down and stay in control. Drive according to the highway and weather conditions and keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you; you will be able to avoid such situations in which you have to push the brakes suddenly on a slippery road.

Use extreme caution when driving downhill and remember that you cannot drive at highway/ freeway speeds with chains on. If your vehicle has ABS anti-locking brakes, do not pump the brake pedal if you start to skid. If you are already in a skid, steer in the direction of the skid by looking where you want your vehicle to go and steer towards that spot. This technique will allow you to regain control of your vehicle.

Sometimes mountain passes are closed. Never try to get around them by using local roads. If the pass is closed, most likely it is for a good reason. Trying to save a day or two is not worth risking your life and the life of those traveling with you.

What to Bring

There are some winter-specific items to bring along with you that will make your life easier in case of an emergency. Bring blankets in case you may need to sleep in your car after a snow storm, a lightweight snow shovel and an ice scraper with a brush. As far as clothing goes, warm garments including ski caps, globes and rubber boots that fit over shoes are always recommended. And last but not least, do not forget your tire chains or cables.

Check your Vehicle

Before leaving for your vacation, always check your vehicle. Make sure brakes are in good condition and check the tire air pressure. Remember to take a spare tire and a jack. Always bring tire chains and have your battery replaced if it is near or over the pro-rated warranty period as it may not work in cold weather. Replace the wiper blades if they are worn, and check anti-freeze (coolant) levels. Finally make sure the heater and defroster are working properly.


If you find yourself in an emergency situation there are also some guidelines to follow. Always stay inside your car as it provides shelter and protection. Run the car engine 5 to 10 minutes every hour with the heater on to the max. In case you need to leave the car to search for help, do so only during morning hours after sunrise.

You can check more information regarding winter driving at the National Safety Council. We hope you have a safe winter road trip and have an unforgettable experience this holiday season.

New York City: All Kinds of Experiences in a Single Day!

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

One of the world’s most interesting cities, New York City generates all kinds of emotions to its visitors. Most love it, some hate it; but what is certain is that a visit to this vibrant place is an experience hardly forgotten. It is the center of global commerce and home to numerous world famous monuments, high skyscrapers, incredible big apple hotels and one of the best shopping scenes of the planet, among many other things.

Featured in countless movies and photographs, New York City’s skyline is without doubt the most famous and breathtaking panorama of the world. Starting at the busy financial district with its famous Wall Street, going through the enchanting Little Italy and the trendy Greenwich Village, passing through the hectic and always crowded and bright Times Square and finishing at the relaxing Central Park, New York City will provide you with all kinds of experiences in a single day.

Times Square: The Biggest Intersection in New York

If you want to be where all the action happens, go to New York’s Times Square. This exciting part of the city was named after the New York Times, which formerly had its headquarters here. Dinning, shopping, entertainment and nightlife best define this enticing section of Manhattan. It is known for its bright animated commercials, huge television screens and numerous brand stores which attract tourists from every part of the world.

Other Points of Interest in the Area

Times Square Theater

Statue of Liberty: The Universal Symbol of Freedom and Democracy

A gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States, the Statue of Liberty is one of New York’s most visited attractions. It was sculpted from copper by French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi and it is located in a 12-acre island in New York Harbor. It is easily accessible via the Statue of Liberty ferry ride, where visitors will learn facts and details about this national monument. It is open every day, closing only on Christmas and tickets can be purchased on a walk-in basis. Security precautions have increased since the events of September 11 so be prepared for searches similar to those of airports.

Other Points of Interest in the Area

Ellis Island

Financial District: The World’s Financial Center

Even if finance is not your preferred field, a visit to New York’s Financial District is always worth some time. Located in the southernmost tip of Manhattan, this neighborhood is home to innumerable sites of interest such as famous Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange and American Stock Exchange. It also hosts an increasing number of tourist attractions including the Skyscraper Museum, the Museum of American Finance and the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

Other Points of Interest in the Area

The Museum of America
Park City
Museum of America
South Street
Seaport Historic District
of Heroes
New York City
Police Museum

Empire State Building: A Symbol of American Industry

Located at midtown on Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street, this 1250-foot tall legendary building stood as the worlds tallest building for more than forty years. It is now an excellent observation point for tourists who enjoy climbing the structure and admiring breathtaking views of New York and neighboring states. The building has also been featured in numerous movies throughout the years including the original King Kong. Certainly an attraction no New York visitor wants to miss.

Other Points of Interest in the Area

Empire State Building Art Exhibit

Central Park: A Respite from the Pace of the City

Nestled in the middle of New York City, Central Park is home to unlimited activities, sports and events. Regardless of the season, you will always see people jogging, walking and having lunch on Central Parks hospitable grounds. While in the park, make sure to visit The Met, Metropolitan Museum of Art, home to worlds art masterpieces and spectacular exhibitions. Located around Central Park you will also find The Guggenheim and The Museum of Natural History, although it is better to devote one full day for visiting those.

Other Points of Interest in the Area

Central Park Zoo

Rockefeller Center: A Historic Landmark

Named after John D. Rockefeller, Jr., the Rockefeller Center is an area in midtown New York City spanning between 48 and 51 streets. This privately owned complex has been declared a National Historic Landmark and offers a unique architectural style and numerous tourist attractions. Radio City Music Hall, the 70-floor GE Building with NBC headquarters and the statue of Atlas are the center’s attractions worth seeing. If you visit New York City in winter you can enjoy skating at the center’s famous rink and admire its huge Christmas tree.

Brooklyn Bridge: The Perfect Place for a Picture

Brooklyn Bridge is without doubt the most famous and spectacular bridge in New York City. Stunning during the day and sparkling at night, Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most photographed attractions in the city. It is also one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States and stretches for almost 6,000 feet connecting Manhattan with Brooklyn. Cross the bridge to Manhattan and visit the nearby South Street Seaport, a beautiful Pier with numerous shops and restaurants.

New York City Restaurants: Our Picks

Le Cirque
Hard Rock Café International
La Grenouille
Russian Tea Room
The Four Seasons

New York City Favorite Events

The Feast of San Gennaro
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

New York
Film Festival

Check out Rentalo’s selection of New York City Vacation Rentals and Hotels