Browsing Tag: travel hacks

    The world’s biggest toy railway collection: Miniature Wunderland
    Articles, Blog

    The world’s biggest toy railway collection: Miniature Wunderland

    December 22, 2019


    Behind me is a tiny replica of the Swiss Alps I’m in Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg which is possibly the world’s largest mini
    railway collection they’ve got about two square kilometres of sets including Switzerland and rubmling over the top me I think might be Las Vegas and they have around 20
    kilometers worth of mini Hornby railway tracks which is quite an undertaking
    they’ve got a wee control station upstairs which would put NASA to shame, I think if you only have a limited time to see Hamburg they also have a tiny little
    version of the North German city up there too This is possibly Germany’s most fanatical
    tourist attraction

    Travel Tips for Japan You Must Know!
    Articles, Blog

    Travel Tips for Japan You Must Know!

    November 15, 2019


    [Upbeat Instrumental Music] [Upbeat Instrumental Music] [Upbeat Instrumental Music] [Martina] So you booked your tickets to Japan you’re ready to come here But you know what it can be pretty overwhelming [Simon] We’re gonna give you our travel tips to Japan to make your trip a whole lot easier *Toilet Flushing* *Fart noise* [Simon] Ahhh… F*sheep noise*k Now what you’re gonna find in Japan is that public bathrooms are a little bit hard to find an easy way to find a public Bathroom if you really need to go is in convenience stores and convenience stores are everywhere you don’t even have to buy anything But you can leave something behind excuse me *toilet flushing* That actually wasn’t me flushing that was me just pushing the button that said flushing sounds Whew this seat’s warm. I have a question I want you to describe in the comment section below if you went into a bathroom in your convenience store in your home country What would it be like? would it have a warm toilet seat? Along with a bidet and flushing sounds? Would it be as clean as this? Please tell me I’d love to know. I’m sure it’s as clean as what we have here. God, I’m so comfortable, I don’t even wanna go. That’s it for this video I’m chilling in this bathroom [Simon] Now you might find if you’re using data roaming on your phone that it dies a lot mine certainly does [Martina] Yep [Simon] and if you’re looking for somewhere to charge your devices It’s not as common as what we’re used to in North America so the place you’re gonna need to go the charge your stuff is bear with me, McDonald’s *Pow* *Gunshot* *Gunshot* *Angry dog bark* [Martina] I know that sounds really weird But if you have a laptop and you’re traveling and you’re looking to like dump your memory card and stuff McDonald’s is actually kind of Like a workplace in Japan and it’s totally bumpin it’s always bumpin Also if you come to McDonald’s make sure you check out their bizarre specials because Japan is constantly doing like special edition things for example cheese bolognese fries Fries in McDonald’s are always dope. From what we’ve heard, they’re the only country that actually fries their fries in fat I don’t know if that’s real or just an urban legend, but they taste amazing I was supposed to have the first bite. Notice how I ordered it and it had like one fork… For me [Simon] Mmm my god
    [Martina] Mustachio Hmm that’s actually really good whoa Ketchup is so 1950. Ketchup, you’re out. That’s sweet and salty and cheesy damn So let’s talk about the internet in Japan when you land in the airport make sure you pick up either a Wi-Fi hot spot that you could bring with you everywhere you go Or if your phone is unlocked you can also get a SIM card at the airport It’s roughly around $10 today for unlimited internet access Definitely get that or if you decided not to get a hot spot or a SIM card you can go to any Starbucks in Japan For free Wi-Fi however it will make it difficult for you to use Google Maps outside of a Starbucks Google Maps is gonna Give you everything you need to navigate Japan bus schedules Subway schedules Walking locations to get you to the restaurants that you want to go to oh what’s that? I hear you plan on just leeching off the network for free while in Japan Hahahaha! Good luck with that And one last thing if you are in a Starbucks And you have a drink make sure you finish your drink and throw out your cup in the Starbucks Because if you leave the Starbucks with a cup, good luck finding a garbage can anywhere in Tokyo they just don’t exist Damn it One of the most overwhelming things about being in Japan is using the train system [Martina] You know those videos you see on line of people like smushed inside of trains like with their arms You might get pushed into a subway Yeah, that’s gonna happen So we’re gonna try to show you guys how to get on and off the train when you line up for the train line up on both sides of the line don’t line up in the middle here As soon as the train pulls in you step off to the side People will get off through the middle and then once they’re all gone, then it’s your turn to get onto the subway And then you go through the middle this way Sounds complicated for some people I know but just follow that rule and you won’t be a jerk [Simon] Uh, Toumorokoshi supu onegaishimasu (Corn soup, please) [Simon] Uh, Sumoru. Hai (Small. Yes) [Simon] Daijoubu desu. (It’s all right.) [Simon] Arigatou gozaimasu. (Thank you very much.) Before I get on the subway, I like to grab myself a high quality cup of warm corn soup right here on the subway platform sounds weird But it’s delicious it’s like corn on the cob in soup format And you don’t get all the stuff in your teeth and look embarrassing to your friends What are you saying getting a cup of soup by myself on the subway is embarrassing to my friends. It’s not like my friends watch this anyways it’s not like I have a lot of friends 🙁 Welcome to Tokyo Station Odds are you will be taking a Shinkansen or bullet train from this station if you’re heading out to Kyoto or Osaka or other parts of Japan And if you are going to be taking a bullet train from here I highly recommend that you come here an hour in advance at least because Tokyo Station is massive It’s just really massive, and it’s very busy as well There’s a very good chance you’re gonna get lost And don’t be embarrassed about getting lost like even local Japanese people get super lost at this station because it’s very confusing But why are we saying the importance of coming in hour in advance? The bullet trains leave ON. TIME. [Simon] On the second The second! TO THE SECOND! If your train leaves at 6:02 there’s a dude with like a watch He’s like. 58! 59! And then the doors shut and it leaves so do not ruin your trip by showing up late Getting lost and then missing your train be punctual ([Martina] Punctual) be responsible be an adults get your shit together I need you to get that shit together No? [Martina] Drake? I need- No?
    [Simon] It’s copy written [Martina] I don’t think anyone’s gonna-
    [Simon] That means demonitze [Simon] This video took a lot of time to make
    [Martina] I need you to- (hums) YouTube don’t listen to this song Just cover your mikes So that’s it for our video on travel tips to Japan and Tokyo Obviously we couldn’t cover everything there is to know so if you have any questions Please leave them in the comment section below We answer as many questions as we can or we might just make a video about it Oh, yeah, we can have like part two travel tips to Japan Also, if you guys are hitting up a Shinkansen, a bullet train, make sure you grab yourself an Ekiben before you leave Tokyo Station What’s an Ekiben ([Simon] Oh?) oh? This is an ekiben. And if you want to know what’s inside of this magical little box come with me click on Martina’s video and I’m gonna teach you all about that Look, I’ve got a better option for you Tokyo Station has a famous vegan ramen shop. I’m gonna have some ramen right now I think you want to see that instead. RAMEN or whatever the hell this is?
    [Martina] Look at all this magic. What is this? [Martina] Look at all this seafood
    [Simon] Pick me, obviously [Martina] Come with me choose your own adventure choose your adventure with Martina.
    [Simon] Pick me, choose the best adventure with Simon

    How to Ride Washington DC Metro
    Articles, Blog

    How to Ride Washington DC Metro

    October 11, 2019


    If you’re coming to Washington DC and you want to get around without looking like a clueless tourist stick around because I’m going to give you ten tips for getting around using the Metro. Hello! Welcome to Trip Hacks DC. My name is Rob. I’m a tour guide here in Washington DC and on this channel I’m here to share my best tips tricks and hacks to help you explore the city. If you’re planning a trip make sure to subscribe to the channel so you don’t miss anything. And if you’re coming to town and looking for a personalized tour experience you can check out TripHacksDC.com To see what I offer. In this video I’m going to give you my 10 do’s and don’ts for riding on the Metro so that you can ride like a pro in no time. Let’s get started. 1. Do get a SmarTrip card. This used to be a suggestion but now it’s a requirement. If you visited DC prior to 2016 chances are that you paid for the Metro using a paper fare card. It was a little piece of cardboard, it had a couple cute pandas on it, and would print your balance on the card every time that you used it. You can go ahead and put it in a scrapbook because you’re not going to be needing it anymore. The good news is that SmarTrips are just as easy to get at the old paper fare card. When you arrive at your first Metro station look for one of the orange and blue colored fare machines. The black and gray ones won’t work for this. They’re only for topping up your SmarTrip once you have it. You’ll need to decide if you want a single fare card or multiple. If you’re traveling with a family you’ll need multiple cards because unlike in other cities every person in the group needs their own SmarTrip. Then you’ll need to decide if you want to add money or buy a pass. For a typical tourist I suggest adding the $8 default value and topping it up as you go. Unless you’re going to be riding the Metro all the time a pass probably won’t be worth the money. You can pay using either cash Or credit or debit card. Try to use exact change if you have it because these machines only dispense coins as change and that can kind of weigh you down. Once you’ve got your card, walk up to the fare gate, tap it against the target and go through once it opens. When you get to your destination you’ll do the exact same thing to exit. 2. Don’t stand on the left. Trust me when I say this is probably the single most important piece of advice you’re going to get for your entire trip to Washington DC. When you’re riding the Metro, and you’re on an escalator… whatever you do… DON’T stand on the left side of it. The rule is once you get onto an escalator if you’re walking you walk up on the left side and if you’re standing you stand on the right side. Simple enough! One of the reasons why tourists get such a bad reputation among locals here is because they don’t follow this very basic and simple rule. On a similar note if you’re coming from the airport or Union Station when you’re riding the escalator put your suitcase in front of you instead of next to you. That way if someone’s trying to walk up they’re not going to get blocked by your luggage. Or find an elevator and just use that (assuming you can find one is actually working). So to recap, when on the metro walk on the left, stand on the right. 3. Download a metro app. There are a lot of metro apps out there and people have varying opinions on which one is actually the best. Some have more bells and whistles than others, but at the end of the day they all basically do the same thing which is tell you how long you have to wait for your train. And yes there are electronic boards in every station that technically are supposed to give you this information but they have this really annoying habit of scrolling through a bunch of announcements – stuff that you usually don’t care about – when all you’re really looking for is the amount of time until the next train. I find this pretty infuriating honestly. My favorite Metro app right now is called Metro Hero I’ll leave a link to it down in the description. I also have a video where I go through my eight must-have smartphone apps for your trip. Regardless of which app you choose, just make sure you also download a Jpeg of the metro map to your phone. That way if you’re in a tunnel, or you have spotty service you will always be able to access the map even when you’re online. 4. Don’t ride during rush hour. There are two main reasons to avoid riding during rush hour. First it actually costs more money to ride Metro during rush hour than it does at any other time. That’s because metro fares are based on the distance that you travel and whether it’s rush hour or not. For example the trip that I take most often cost $2.15 during rush hour, but only a $1.75 at any other time. And that’s a pretty decent savings if you do it a lot. More importantly though… DC is a working city and people commute so it gets slammed and can be pretty miserable to ride during rush hour. 5. Plan for delays A lot of people come to DC and they tell me that they absolutely love our Metro because it is so. much. better. than what they have back home. That hardly means that it’s perfect though and the truth is in 2017 Metro is in pretty bad shape. I won’t get into the details in this video, but I will say that some locals now consider Metro so unreliable that they either don’t use it at all anymore or use it a lot less than they used to. So if you have tickets to an event, or dinner reservation, or a tour just plan to arrive a few minutes before it’s supposed to start. It’s much better to arrive early than it is to be disappointed because Metro let you down. 6. Don’t block or hold the doors. Other than standing on the left this is one of the biggest offenses that anyone can make on the Metro. The important thing to know is that Metro train doors are not like elevator doors. You can’t hold it open by putting your hand in there and if you do try to hold it open the door is just going to close right on your arm. Metro operators usually try to get the doors closed a few times before they eventually give up and kick everybody off the train, and trust me you don’t want to be the one who inconvenienced hundreds or even possibly thousands of travelers. 7. Wait for people to get off the train before you try to board. I know it’s tempting when a train pulls into the station and you see some empty seats on that train you want to rush in as fast as you can and grab them before anybody else can. However you really need to wait until everybody is off the train first before you can try to get on. Those Metro doors are just not that wide and it becomes a huge mess when people aren’t even off the train yet and other people are already rushing into the car. So just have a little patience you’ll get on the train. Don’t worry. 8. Don’t wait for the fare gates to close in front of you before you go through. This hack is particularly useful during rush hour (which you should really try to avoid) or after a game or any other busy period when there are a lot of people trying to move through the metro at the same time. All you have to do is stand behind the person in front of you who’s going through the fare gate. Once they’ve tapped their SmarTrip, tap yours and go on through. You don’t actually have to wait for that gate to close before you can tap. Doing it this way will save a lot of time And locals will really appreciate that you’ve been clued in to this little hack. 9. Avoid transfers and bad routes. Sometimes transfers are unavoidable and that’s okay. But a lot of times people actually make completely unnecessary transfers. A lot of the problem stems from the fact that the metro map is not to scale and some of the stations have names that are confusing and making think you need to use one station when you should really use another. Here’s an example… Say you want to ride the Metro from U Street to the Air and Space Museum. A lot of folks would look at the Metro map, ride the green line to L’Enfant Plaza transfer to the Orange/Blue/Silver lines then get off at the Smithsonian station and walk through the Air and Space Museum. This is a total rookie mistake! The walk from the Smithsonian station to the Air and space Museum is actually twice as far as the walk from the L’Enfant Plaza station, not to mention the time that you wasted making a transfer to a line and riding a train that you didn’t have to. This is the reason why apps like Citymapper are so helpful. They do all the work for you and you don’t need to know all this information or figure out which station is actually closest to the destination where you’re trying to go. If you want to know more I talked a little bit about Citymapper in my must-have apps video. 10. Don’t stop at the top of the escalator when you’re getting off the metro. I totally appreciate how disorienting it can feel when you’re at a new Metro station in a new neighborhood and you don’t really know what you are The first thing you want to do when you get off that escalator is pull out your phone and pull up Google maps to figure out where You are. But people are still coming up the escalator behind you and if you don’t move you’ll cause a pileup! It’s totally fine if you need to check your surroundings once you get off the Metro just make sure to walk a few yards away from the station and away from the escalators before you take out your phone or take out your map to figure out where you are. And that’s it! Thank you for watching this video if you found it helpful. You can subscribe to the channel by clicking on the Trip Hacks DC logo at the bottom of this window. If you are coming to DC, and you want a cool personalized tour experience there’s a box to the left of my head that you can click for a link to my website TripHacksDC.com and you can check out the tours that I offer. Enjoy your trip!

    Articles

    Hop On Hop Off Tours Vs. Public Buses in Washington DC

    October 3, 2019


    If you’re wondering whether a hop-on hop-off bus tour is worth it when you visit DC I’m going to give you some important information to help you decide. HELLO! Welcome to Trip Hacks DC. My name is Rob. I’m a tour guide here in the nation’s capital. If you’re coming to Washington DC and you’re looking for the best tips, tricks, and hacks for exploring the city, make sure to subscribe to this channel and hit the bell notification icon so that you don’t miss anything. And if you’re interested in having me personally show you around when you come head on over to my website TripHacksDC.com afterwards, to see the tours that I offer. In this video I’m going to compare hop on hop off buses to the regular public buses here in Washington DC. The three factors that I’m going to compare them on are: price frequency of service, and the information that you get on the ride. And make sure to stick around to the end because I’m going to give you my personal recommendation on when it’s worth it to book a hop on hop off tour and when it’s better to just skip it. If you used a hop-on hop-off bus in DC or another city, leave a comment on this video and let me know what you thought about it. Before we get started I actually want to talk about exactly what I mean when I talk about public buses and hop on hop off buses. There are actually several public transit agencies in the Washington DC metro area. If you’re staying downtown you’ll probably notice just two: the Metrobus and the Circulator. Metrobus is run by WMATA, the same folks who run MetroRail, and they have routes all over DC, Maryland, and Virginia. It’s probably the most similar to the Regional Transit Agency that your own city might have. Circulator is run by the DC Department of Transportation, and it has routes only in DC. If you do use the public bus when you visit it will probably be the Circulator because there are very convenient routes around the National Mall, Georgetown, Dupont Circle, and other popular tourist destinations. Hop on hop off buses, on the other hand, are run by private bus operators. They’re called hop on hop off buses to distinguish them from the more standard sightseeing buses, where you might drive around and see the sights just from your seat. Hop on hop off buses are priced where you typically pay for a one-day or a two-day pass and then get unlimited rides during that time period. There are at least four different hop-on hop-off tour operators in Washington DC right now. They all have slightly different routes and slightly different pricing, but they more or less offer the same service. OK, so now that we’ve covered that let’s get started…. Price-wise the one-day pass options that hop on hop off buses offer usually are in the range of $30-$40 with the two-day pass usually in the $50-$60 range. On the other hand, you can ride the Circulator right now for $1 per Ride or the Metrobus for $2 per ride. And you can pay for the public buses using your SmarTrip card, which you probably already have if you’re going to be riding the Metro. In my monuments memorials video I suggest using Circulator for transportation around the National Mall. It’s easy to use and for only $1 a ride It’s really cheap transportation. So in the price category I’m going to say that the public buses are the clear winner. Circulator advertises that all buses on all routes will run every 10 minutes; however I can tell you from experience that it doesn’t always work out that way. The hop on hop off buses vary depending on the company and the route, but based on my research they advertise frequencies of one bus every about 20 to 40 minutes. However if you read Yelp and Tripadvisor reviews for these companies those estimates might not be accurate either. Another thing to keep in mind is the operating hours for these services. The hop on hop off buses end every day around 5 or 6 p.m.. The Circulator’s National Mall route ends at 8 p.m. during the summer season and 7 p.m. during the winter season. Another nice thing about the Circulator is that you can download the NextBus app on your phone or just navigate to nextbus.com from your mobile browser. It will show you an estimate for the amount of time you have to wait at the stop where you’re standing, and you can look at a map of every bus on the route so there’s no guessing about where a bus is or how long you’re going to have to be standing there. With longer hours and more frequent service I’m going to have to say that the public bus is the winner in this category too. Information is where these two services really start to split apart. Public buses are transportation. Period. There’s no tour guide and you can’t expect to get any information about where you’re going. If you’re not going to sign up for a walking tour or a bike tour or anything like that, then you might actually find it valuable to pay extra for a hop-on hop-off to get this information. Some of the hop-on hop-off bus routes have live narration, which is exactly what you want. Steer clear of any bus company that only uses a recording. The one exception to this is if you want the tour in another language, in that case a recording might actually be the better bet. In any case the winner in this category is obviously the hop-on hop-off bus. So here are some of my final thoughts and my opinion. If you just want transportation between the monuments, the memorials Georgetown, and some of the other very popular tourist destinations. check out the Circulator. if you want a narrated tour but you don’t want to sign up for a walking tour or anything else on the ground, then a hop-on hop-off might be worth it. The most important thing is to do your research in advance and make sure that the hop-on hop-off company that you pick has routes that go to the places that you want to go, and has a live tour guide and not a recording. So there’s a lot to consider, but hopefully in this video I’ve given you enough information to help you decide. And that’s it! Thank you for watching this video. If you found it helpful you can subscribe to the channel by clicking on the Trip Hacks DC logo which is popping up right now at the bottom of the screen. And if you’re coming to DC and you want to sign up for a private guided tour with me, you can click on the Capitol dome which is on the left side of my head right now, it’ll take you over to my website TripHacksDC.com where you can see the tours that I offer. Enjoy your trip!

    Articles

    How to validate train tickets in France & Italy

    September 13, 2019


    You have decided to ride the rails in
    Europe, one thing to keep in mind is in France and Italy, and only those 2
    countries, you are required to validate your train ticket before boarding your
    train. In France you must do so for every train, fast or slow.The only tickets you
    would not have to validate are certain tickets purchased directly from the SNCF,
    that are print at home E-Tickets. In Italy you only need to validate tickets
    on trains were reservations are not required. To validate your ticket look
    for yellow box, in some cases orange or green. You can typically find these boxes at the end of platforms, on the platforms and throughout the station, usually in or around waiting areas. Punch your ticket at the first one you see. To validate your
    ticket, align your ticket with the slot provided and push until you hear the
    mechanical whine of the stamp. Now board your train, which you can do at
    any time when it’s in the station. If you do not validate your ticket you may be fined up to 200 Euros

    Articles

    How to validate train tickets in France & Italy

    September 9, 2019


    You have decided to ride the rails in
    Europe, one thing to keep in mind is in France and Italy, and only those 2
    countries, you are required to validate your train ticket before boarding your
    train. In France you must do so for every train, fast or slow.The only tickets you
    would not have to validate are certain tickets purchased directly from the SNCF,
    that are print at home E-Tickets. In Italy you only need to validate tickets
    on trains were reservations are not required. To validate your ticket look
    for yellow box, in some cases orange or green. You can typically find these boxes at the end of platforms, on the platforms and throughout the station, usually in or around waiting areas. Punch your ticket at the first one you see. To validate your
    ticket, align your ticket with the slot provided and push until you hear the
    mechanical whine of the stamp. Now board your train, which you can do at
    any time when it’s in the station. If you do not validate your ticket you may be fined up to 200 Euros