Tag: The Newbie Traveler

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The Newbie Traveler Soaks in His First Thermal Spa, in Iceland's 'Blue Lagoon'

Where: Iceland
October 30, 2013 at 3:21 PM | by | Comments (0)

Every so often here at Jaunted, we get a dispatch from The Newbie Traveler Andy Miles, who, despite his passion for travel, is still working on getting out there in the world. His unique perspectives are those of a first-timer, and today we're excited to hear about his very first trip to a thermal bath. In this case, the dip went down in Iceland:

You only turn 30 once, so I decided to mark my third decade on earth with a trip to Iceland's Blue Lagoon. To make the experience even more memorable, I purchased their most luxurious package because, hey, I'm worth it.

Getting to the Blue Lagoon is easy, but it's not entirely close to Reykjavik's city center; plan on a 40-minute drive. Unless you're a millionaire and can afford a taxi, or have rented a car, you'll be taking a bus. Luckily, most bus services will pick you up right at your hotel and only cost about 3600 ISK ($30) roundtrip.

The drive from Reykjavik's city center to the Blue Lagoon is mesmerizing. It almost feels like you're on another planet made up of nothing but beautiful, mossy rocks. About a mile away from the lagoon, you'll start to see large plumes of steam rising in the distance. This is technically your first view of the lagoon, but it only gets better from there.

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On Taipei's Metro: The Newbie Traveler and a Massive Love of Mass Transit

Where: Taipei, Taiwan
July 25, 2013 at 2:59 PM | by | Comments (0)

Every so often here at Jaunted, we get a dispatch from The Newbie Traveler Andy Miles, who, despite his passion for travel, is still working on getting out there in the world. His unique perspectives are those of a first-timer, and today we're excited to hear about his very first trip on a subway in Asia. In this case, the fateful journeys went down in Taipei, Taiwan:

Air conditioning worthy of combating the most oppressive humidity, surfaces clean enough to eat off of, concierge-like customer service, and a type of thorough organization that is exceptionally rare. No, I'm not describing a 5-star hotel, but rather Taipei's Metro system.

The subway stations and cars on Taipei's metro are spotless. This means no paint marker tags or key-scratched initials on windows. While this cleanliness is most likely due to the ample security cameras, my more romantic view is it's because even the youth take a certain pride in the appearance of their mass transportation. Seeing as how the metro system carries over 1.5 million people a day, staying this spick-and-span is quite a feat.

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The Newbie Traveler Takes His First Flight on an A380: An Illustrated Journey

February 22, 2013 at 3:19 PM | by | Comments (2)

What would your life be like if you hadn't yet traveled? If you'd spent years reading travel novels and fantasizing over guidebooks, but hadn't made the big leap? This is the case for Andy Miles, who in his late twenties has just embarked on trips to hit cities for the first time. He's walking us through the emotions and observations of a true Newbie Traveler.

Contrary to what I learned as a youngster growing up in Texas, everything is not bigger there. Truth be told, everything is actually bigger in France—Toulouse, France to be exact. The reason for this is because that's where Airbus completes final assembly of their massive A380 airplanes.

After years of waiting, I finally got the chance to experience one of these incredibly beautiful planes myself, on a Qantas flight from Los Angeles nonstop to Sydney, Australia.

Seeing as how I booked my first A380 flight six full months before the day of departure, I had a lot of time to tell my friends about it, i.e. brag incessantly. The thing I forgot about bragging is that in order for it to work, you have to be doing something others care about. Unfortunately for me, I did not hang out with many #avgeeks during this time, so my brags usually fell upon deaf ears and I just came off as "nerdy" for caring about something as uniquely marvelous as a two-story airplane.

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The Newbie Traveler Takes His First Flight in a Boeing 747

August 17, 2012 at 11:09 AM | by | Comments (0)

What would your life be like if you hadn't yet traveled to Europe? If you'd spent years reading travel novels and fantasizing over guidebooks, but hadn't made the big leap? This is the case for Andy Miles, who in his late twenties just embarked on a trip to hit most of the cities for the first time. He's walking us through the emotions and observations of a true Newbie Traveler.

Here's the truth: I'm not really such a Newbie Traveler anymore. A few days ago I realized that I may have been more places than some people who consider themselves world travelers. All told, I've been to the UK, France, Mexico, Switzerland, Italy, Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium. Oh, and also the United States, but that doesn't really count.

There are some specific things I did on this trip which I had never done before, all aiding in the end feeling that I'm officially an international traveler now. Here's a couple, for example:

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The Newbie Traveler in Bruges: 'Train'quility and Milk Chocolate

Where: Bruges, Belgium
August 16, 2012 at 11:45 AM | by | Comments (0)


My room at the Hotel De Tuilerieën, where "In Bruges" was filmed

What would your life be like if you hadn't yet traveled to Europe? If you'd spent years reading travel novels and fantasizing over guidebooks, but hadn't made the big leap? This is the case for Andy Miles, who in his late twenties just embarked on a trip to hit most of the cities for the first time. He's walking us through the emotions and observations of a true Newbie Traveler.

Have you ever wanted to wander around inside of a postcard? Go to Bruges. It's the most beautiful, pristine and picture-perfect city I have ever had the pleasure of exploring.

Following my time in Amsterdam, I arrived at Bruges' main train station in mid-afternoon, just as the surprisingly hot Belgian sun was at its peak. Train stations give me a sense of tranquility (or should I say "train-quility") since I've always found traveling by train to be an incredibly relaxing experience.

The Bruges station, aptly named "Bruges railway station," isn't a remarkable building; it actually looks like the high school from every bad teen movie more than anything else. See what I mean? However, the structure gets the job done and has stood here since 1939, though the station itself has been welcoming trains since 1838.

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The Newbie Traveler in Amsterdam: Red Lights and Locked Bikes

August 15, 2012 at 6:17 PM | by | Comments (0)

What would your life be like if you hadn't yet traveled to Europe? If you'd spent years reading travel novels and fantasizing over guidebooks, but hadn't made the big leap? This is the case for Andy Miles, who in his late twenties just embarked on a trip to hit most of the cities for the first time. He's walking us through the emotions and observations of a true Newbie Traveler.

There are a few things that most of us already know about Amsterdam:

· The Red Light District is full of scantily clad women dancing behind glass.
· The coffee shops serve something a little stronger than regular coffee, but more mellow than decaf (if you catch my drift).
· It's where Anne Frank wrote her beautifully heartbreaking diary.

It turns out that there's a lot more to Amsterdam than the three items listed above. Like, for example, did you know that in Amsterdam it's legal to use the bathroom in the street? Ok, that's not technically true, but it's also not entirely false. See, while walking around Amsterdam you're bound to run into a strange-looking spiral metal enclosure that always seems to be wet on its tiled floor.

When I saw the first one of these near my hotel I thought it was a piece of art. I was incredibly wrong, however; these enclosures are actually outdoor bathrooms open to the public, though I assume mainly for men as there are no seats and you're only supposed to go "Number 1" in them.

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The Newbie Traveler in Berlin: Hot Currywurst and Heavy History

Where: Berlin, Germany
August 14, 2012 at 10:09 AM | by | Comments (2)

What would your life be like if you hadn't yet traveled to Europe? If you'd spent years reading travel novels and fantasizing over guidebooks, but hadn't made the big leap? This is the case for Andy Miles, who in his late twenties just embarked on a trip to hit most of the cities for the first time. He's walking us through the emotions and observations of a true Newbie Traveler.

I like to think that I'm pretty well versed in Berlin's history, but this first visit to the city still hit me a little harder than I thought it would. If you let it, the Berlin Wall, Holocaust memorials and museums and seemingly unending grey weather can really weigh heavily.

After taking the train in from Prague, I exited Berlin's Hauptbahnhof (main train station), which feels like a multi-level shopping mall, and got right into a cab. This particular cabbie spoke very little English, which I always love (no, but really, I do), so instead of trying to TALK LOUDER at him until we miraculously understood each other (does that ever work?), I just pulled up a map on my phone to show him where I needed to go.

He grabbed my phone, put it so close to his eyes that I thought his cornea may have rubbed against the screen and proceeded to say, “forgot my glasses.” Not exactly what you want to hear a cab driver say before peeling out and taking you to what you hope is your hotel.

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The Newbie Traveler in Prague: Red Roofs and Good Foods

August 13, 2012 at 4:52 PM | by | Comments (0)

What would your life be like if you hadn't yet traveled to Europe? If you'd spent years reading travel novels and fantasizing over guidebooks, but hadn't made the big leap? This is the case for Andy Miles, who in his late twenties just embarked on a trip to hit most of the cities for the first time. He's walking us through the emotions and observations of a true Newbie Traveler.

Since writing my very first Newbie Traveler article back in 2010, I have been to nine different countries. I'm actually starting to feel more like a seasoned traveler than a newbie, but I believe it's less about where you've been and more about where you're going.

I started off my most recent trip with a week's visit to London for a conference. All business. It was my third time in that beautiful city and as much as I hated to leave it, my itinerary this year was well worth leaving for. My girlfriend and I visited Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam and Bruges, all cities new to me.

After our all too brief week in London, we hopped a British Airways flight to Prague.

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An Airline Lounge Virgin, Touched for the Very First Time

July 23, 2012 at 1:25 PM | by | Comments (0)

Every so often here at Jaunted, we get a dispatch from The Newbie Traveler Andy Miles, who, despite his passion for travel, is still working on getting out there in the world. His unique perspectives are those of a first-timer, and today we're excited to hear about his very first visit to an airline lounge. Starting strong with Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class Clubhouse at London-Heathrow Airport:

This is not my first time through London-Heathrow, nor is it my first transatlantic flight (though that one wasn't too long ago), but it is my first instance of entering an airport's other realm, that magical place reserved for elite flyers.

I arrived at the Virgin Atlantic check-in counter a solid 3 hours before my flight. A greeting and a smile by the "Upper Class Red"-lipsticked attendant was the first good omen. I checked my bag and was explained the process of accessing the almighty Upper Class Clubhouse lounge.

"Go straight to the elevator just there, through the Fast Track security line, and then proceed to Lounge H."

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Tips and Tricks for Fellow Newbie European Travelers

September 2, 2011 at 12:00 PM | by | Comments (0)

What would your life be like if you hadn't yet traveled to Europe? If you'd spent years reading travel novels and fantasizing over guidebooks, but hadn't made the big leap? This is the case for Andy Miles, who in his late twenties is embarking on his first trip to the continent and walking us through the emotions and observations of a true Newbie Traveler. Read his previous adventures and follow along all week as Andy takes us along on his inaugural Euro journey.

For my final installment of this Newbie Traveler series I wanted to pass along some tips that other newbie (or even seasoned) travelers may find useful. If you followed along on my journey this week, you'll see that I went to London, Paris, Rome, and Zurich and even though I know I have much more to see and learn, I feel that I'm pretty well versed in the intricacies of European travel.

1. If you plan to do a lot of traveling by train, and your pocketbook allows for it, I would always suggest trying to upgrade to first class. I know, this tip probably sounds as obvious as "when flying, try to sit in first class," but to be honest we never found it prohibitively expensive. It's something you can take care of right there at the train station even if you already have economy tickets. Just go to the train and look for someone in a uniform. Most of them carry mobile devices and can upgrade you on the spot!

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The Newbie Traveler Treads the Cobblestones of Rome

Where: Rome, Italy
September 1, 2011 at 12:19 PM | by | Comments (0)

What would your life be like if you hadn't yet traveled to Europe? If you'd spent years reading travel novels and fantasizing over guidebooks, but hadn't made the big leap? This is the case for Andy Miles, who in his late twenties is embarking on his first trip to the continent and walking us through the emotions and observations of a true Newbie Traveler. Read his previous adventures and follow along all week as Andy takes us along on his inaugural Euro journey.

I know Rome is a big deal, but having the opportunity to see it up close and personal gave me new perspectives on life, time, and how many things in this world are temporal. The Roman ruins have such a presence that they emit a feeling of history, and even if you didn't know much about Rome, you'd know that something very significant happened there.

After getting settled at the hotel, we decided to go downstairs to find something to eat. Instead of just winging it on our own, we figured it'd be a good idea to ask the concierge for a suggestion. I sauntered up to the desk and asked, "Is there some good Italian food around here?" As the words were leaving my mouth my own internal dialogue was "ARE YOU REALLY ASKING HIM THIS RIGHT NOW?!" Thankfully, he just laughed and said, "Of course!"

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The Newbie Traveler Leaves His Smoking Jacket Home for the Night Train to Rome

Where: Rome, Italy
August 31, 2011 at 12:15 PM | by | Comment (1)

What would your life be like if you hadn't yet traveled to Europe? If you'd spent years reading travel novels and fantasizing over guidebooks, but hadn't made the big leap? This is the case for Andy Miles, who in his late twenties is embarking on his first trip to the continent and walking us through the emotions and observations of a true Newbie Traveler. Read his previous adventures and follow along all week as Andy takes us along on his inaugural Euro journey.

This was the moment I had been looking forward to for months. A night train from Paris to Rome. It just felt too good to be true. I expected to chugga-chug through the French countryside, gazing upon family-owned wineries untouched by modern innovations for hundreds of years, sheep on rolling hills and romantic stone archways. In my fantasies, I'd do this while sipping Perrier and conversing with my fellow passengers in the dining car—while wearing a velour smoking jacket, of course.

Later, after an Old Fashioned or four, I'd wrap up my conversations about the current European economic climate and retire to my room for an evening turndown service graciously provided by our train car's attendant. An assortment of Italian chocolates to leave my palate with a taste as sweet as the evening had been? Yes, please!

Unfortunately, the night train to Rome was nothing like that. Nothing at all.

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