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Have you noticed there’s no other place for teenagers to talk about travel?

Here you can read what other teenagers have to say about travel – from day trips to journeys abroad, shopping, eating, coasting, and other activities on vacation. Also, parents can read what teenagers like and dislike about family vacations and destinations so that they can plan a family trip that YOU will enjoy.

 

Teen Travel Talk is also interested in YOUR travel experiences. If you want to become a paid blogger and publish your travel stories on Teen Travel Talk, click “contact us” on the left hand side, fill out your contact information and tell us why you’d be a great teen travel blogger.

 



Octane & The Little Tart Bakeshop

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I spend most of my free time coffee shops. Even when I go on trips, I find myself needing a place to concentrate to get a bit of work done and the deafening silence of hotel rooms gets to me. I just can’t stand it. The light chatter and music in the background help me stay concentrated on what I am doing, whether it be studying or doing some pleasure reading. It was only natural to find myself in a coffee shop when visiting Atlanta, and due to friends’ recommendations, I found myself in Octane, which shares a space with the Little Tart Bakeshop.

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Thankfully, both the coffee shop (Octane) and the Little Tart Bakeshop were open, so I will admit: I indulged. And I was the happiest man in Atlanta as I shoved a Pain au Chocolat down my throat, complemented by iced coffee. And that Pain au Chocolat was brilliantly-crafted, baked perfectly so that it was marvelously flaky but not dry… and the chocolate gushed out gloriously, making a little mess, but nothing major. In my opinion, it was actually a beautiful sight.

That was just the morning.

As lunch approached, I decided to get the Little Tart Bakeshop’s take on a BLT: Pine Street Market bacon, local arugula, kale, or lettuce, and tomato pesto, along with some tomato soup and an Italian soda.

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And by the time the afternoon just about snuck by, I found myself digging into a Brown Butter Almond Cake with another iced coffee.

I was very pleased. Ecstatic, even.

There is a lot to love about this place. There is plenty of seating and space for you to be alone and do your thing. The decor is modern and clean but also unique and wildly geometric. Yes, the decor is hip as can be. The coffee is high quality, good music plays all day, and the food is amazing, in both taste and in its presentation.

I have one regret, and that is not getting a vanilla latte. They were both beautiful and I heard people raving about them nearby. Next time.

For more information: http://www.littletartatl.com/ and http://octanecoffee.com/

New York City For Beginners

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My cousin visited us last week; he is from Indonesia and has never been to the United States before. He was not here for fun; he was on a business trip, and had back-to-back meetings in Manhattan almost every day he was here. When my cousin does return, I hope he will have time to explore New York City. He likes what he saw in Manhattan, and can’t wait to return with his family. When he does, and if he asks me for my advice on what to do, I will share the following suggestions with him.

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Manhattan is where most tourists start. It’s as if New York City was set up for all newcomers to visit this most popular borough first. When most people think of New York, they think of the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Times Square, Broadway, and other notable landmarks that are constantly used in movies, television, and all other forms of media. For those who don’t know where to start, Manhattan stands out from the rest, and beckons all new tourists with a wide variety of tourist options.

Want to get your bearings? Try a bus tour. There are so many to choose from, and they most originate in Midtown Manhattan. One of the most popular of these bus tours is Gray Line New York Sightseeing, which offers the Classic New York Double-Decker Bus Tours, and many other single and multi-day options. It’s up to the tourist, but if there is limited time, it might be good to take a bus tour around Manhattan to become visually familiar with its most popular areas. If you have time afterwards to explore certain areas you liked best during the tour, you can do so afterwards. Or you can move on to something else. Many tourists buy The New York Pass, which is a convenient way to see up to 80 tourist attractions cash-free. These work best for anyone who has at least two or three days to spare for sightseeing, and want to concentrate on popular sites only.

Walking tours are fantastic. Personally, I love a good walking tour. The best way to explore Manhattan is on foot, and there are many options for tourists with sturdy walking shoes and good luck with the weather, especially if they are interested in specific neighborhoods. I took the Greenwich Village Food Tour, which I absolutely loved. Sure, we scarfed down thin-crust pizza and cookies as large as my face, but all of us on the tour burned quite a few calories walking from place to place. There are also tours that cover other neighborhoods and popular landmarks, and highlight other Manhattan attractions, such as shopping and television/film. Depending on what you like, the options are endless.

New York City’s public transportation system is worth checking out. If you want to avoid using The New York Pass because of budget constraints, then buying a MetroCard is the way to go. You can buy a pay-per-ride or unlimited ride MetroCard, depending on how much time you have to explore the city’s most popular borough. You can use the card on the buses and subways, and can check out the schedules on the MTA website. I actually think the M42 bus would be a great option for those interested in seeing the United Nations near 1st Avenue; just take the bus from 8th or 9th Avenues (near Port Authority Bus Terminal) and travel east crosstown to the very last stop, which is the United Nations area. The bus cuts through Times Square and past Grand Central Station on its way to and from the United Nations.

Bottom line: No one can explore all of New York City in one visit. Even most New Yorkers only know certain neighborhoods and boroughs, and may have little or no knowledge of other areas around the city. The best thing for newbies to do is to hit some of the most popular spots first, and then make specific explorations solo, or in small groups. You can never see New York City the same way more than once. I think that’s why it remains one of the most popular cities to visit in the world.

A City Split in Half: Part II

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Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada is completely different in the summer and winter. I already mentioned the fun things to do during the spring and summer here, but there are also advantages to going during the winter.

My family and I have gone to Lake Tahoe in December, where the snow covers everything. It really is a beautiful sight to see.

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You see those people on the side walking on the ice. It’s such a wonderful experience to be standing on frozen ice like that. Although it was freezing, we enjoyed ourselves. We were sledding down a hill, making snow angels, and having snowball fights. These are memories that I am going to cherish forever.

In addition, no trip to Lake Tahoe is complete without a ride on a gondola. I love the view we get from the seats. I, personally, don’t ski or snowboard, but just a chance to go on a gondola and see the view is breathtaking. If you aren’t really into heights, something  free that you could do and cross off your bucket list would be to be in two places at once. The California and Nevada state line really is a nice picture opportunity, and its free too! This is one of my favorite pictures that I found online:

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Lake Tahoe really has two completely different sides to it. Both of which are beautiful, but I can’t decide which time of the year I like to go.

Do you like summer weather for travelling or the nice chilly weather?

Cupcake ATM Opens in Manhattan

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This past Tuesday in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Sprinkles Cupcakes’ opened up their very own ATM [machine]. That may not sound extraordinary, but what if I told you that this ATM does not have any fees? Sounds awesome, right? Still… that isn’t all that impressive. But how about it this ATM not even being able to dispense money. What is the point of that then? Well, it actually dispenses cupcakes. Now that is extraordinary.

Sprinkles Cupcakes’ ATMs have been popping up throughout the country, with New York City being their most recently-opened location. For those of us who suffer from late night cravings, this machine thankfully never shuts off or closes so you can successfully purchase your favorite kind of cupcake at any time of the day–or more appropriately, the night. Perfect for the city that never sleeps.

The machine holds 760 cupcakes and has to be restocked multiple times throughout the day. Thousands of cupcakes are sold from a single machine a day.
The process of ordering a cupcake is probably half the fun. Some customers place multiple orders one by one instead of all at once, just so they can witness the entertainment of the cupcake-delivery over and over again. You choose a flavor (red velvet, peanut buttercup, lemon meringue and Cuban coffee) and a robotic arm grabs your cupcake and gracefully places it in a little box. I know, it may not sound extremely exciting but you it’s a robotic arm–it’s a bit strange and mildly funny and somehow exciting. The zeal fans have over this process is one that probably can only be obtained by witnessing it. Perhaps this is simply a gourmet cupcake vending machine (which is awesome in itself), but the technology that goes along with it are breath-taking.

For more information on Sprinkles Cupcakes: http://www.sprinkles.com/

¡Bienvenido a Guatemala!

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Hola mi familia y mis amigos. I have safely made it to Guatemala after what felt like the longest day of traveling in my life (no lie, I fell asleep at 8PM…completely unheard of for a college student!). With only a little more than 24 hours of getting to know the country under my belt I’m a little overwhelmed thus far. I like to make lists so here are the last 24 hours in list form.

-Traveler’s tip: You would think that after many years of traveling I would learn to pack light, right? I should have taken my own advice and not brought my biggest suitcase. Bad move, Alex. Not only did you embarass yourself in front of everyone who laid eyes on the monstrosity that is your maleta, but you had to lug it around bus stations and hostels. My advice to the world: pack light. Also, hostels are your best friend. Four american dollars a night? I’ll take it!

-Some observations of the city I’m staying in, Xela: The city has much more of a European feel than the capital city of Guatemala and definitely feels safe and manageable. The locals seem friendly and don’t seem to mind my butchered Spanish. After classes today, I took a walk around el Parque Central, which is one of the centers of the city. There is a beautiful church, and a lot of colonial-era looking architecture. Es super bonita.

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-The school I will be attending, the Proyecto LingÜistica de Espanol, already feels like home. The teachers are wonderful, the staff is very helpful, and the students all seem interesting and willing to talk. I ran into a few in the marketplace and all were friendly and willing to sit down and have a chocolate caliente with me. The school organizes daily afternoon activities and weekend trips. So I will be kept pretty busy during my weekdays, and hopefully can find some travel buddies for the two weekends I will be here for.

I suppose that my future blogs will be less update-y and más específica, but I just wanted to let all of you know who are following this that I´m safe, happy, and having an interesting time thus far. I had a lot of anxiety leading up to this trip and a lot of  “why the heck am I doing this?” type of moments, but my mom was able to give me some helpful advice. She said that some of the best trips were the unexpected ones, the ones where you questioned your sanity a little bit and questioned why you decided to take on this or that adventure. (Thanks mom!)

I’ve written long enough and I´m actually on my way to a salsa class with a few of the other students. So, hasta la próxima vez con mucho amor,

 
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