Once a Wonder, Always a Wonder

I recently visited Niagara Falls (New York, not Canada) for the umpteenth time in my life, and though I always wore my family’s background as a badge of honor – my grandfather and great grandfather were part of a crew that stopped the Falls in 1969 (awesome picture of that crew standing just steps from the edge of the Falls below) – I don’t know that I ever appreciated the natural wonder of the Falls themselves until this visit.

Niagara Falls used to be a huge tourist attraction that drew people from all over the world to a small city in New York known only for it’s namesake river and Falls. My family traveled to Niagara Falls every summer for the entirety of my youth. Every year, we’d make the time between family visits and talking about how much better the food is there to trek down to the falls and have a peek. Some years we just stood with the others watching and listening to the raw power of the Falls. Other times we’d head to Three Sisters Island and my parents would (and will if given a chance) tell me about how there used to be no railings and brave (or stupid depending on your perspective) kids would “shoot the gap” testing their resolve against nature’s natural course. A few times we decided to be “real tourists” and ride the Maid of the Mist, get soaked in the Cave of the Winds, or be filled instantly with regret upon reaching the bottom of Devil’s Hole and realizing we had to walk back up.

In our new age of constant stimulation and entertainment, looking at a bunch of rocks surrounding a big river that then throws itself off a cliff doesn’t rank very high in most minds as an exciting trip. There was a push at one point to really build up the tourist draw of the area surrounding the Falls. The Seneca Niagara Casino was built and boosted the economy while offering something on the American side that my grandparents used to have to venture to Canada for: gambling. On the heels of that success, the City of Niagara Falls attempted to up the kitsch factor with a simulated winter “snow park” – suffice to say, that is out of business now.

Come look at our angry water is a hard sell…unless you’ve been there. The roar of the Falls can be deafening at the right vantage. The force of the water can be felt in your whole body as you watch it hurtle endlessly over the precipice. The spray on your face and the beat in your blood is a universal human experience. It’s spiritual, even if you aren’t. It’s humbling, even if you aren’t. It’s an ode to mother nature and to you – to where we came from and where we’re going.

Gramps Falls

– Brianna

Anne’s Travel Tips

When I started compiling my “top travel tips” for a Facebook post, I found that I had too many to fit comfortably! So, here we are! Advantage Cruises & Tours’ first ever blog post.

Here are my tips, plus a few passed along from clients:

Fun & Savings:

  • Cruise Ship Savings – If you’re looking get buzzed on a budget, try ordering a simple drink, like a rum & coke, with well rum to get the most bang for your buck.
    • Bonus Tip: Experienced travelers already know, but almost all cruise lines will allow you to bring aboard a bottle of wine or a six-pack of beer, so be sure to take advantage!
  • Breakfast – Pack instant oatmeal or breakfast bars to avoid paying for overpriced hotel breakfasts every morning.
  • Sharing Space – On cruise ships, bring an extension cord with a power strip. Most cabins only have 1 or 2 outlets and with all of our devices these days, you’re going to need more power.
  • Eating – Be mindful of what you eat depending on what you want out of your vacation. Protein rich meals keep you awake, high carb meals make you sleepy, fatty foods make you sluggish.
  • Planes – I often have trouble sleeping on planes, but I have found that if I eat a big candy bar – once I crash from the sugar high – I’m ready to nap. Feel free to use this as an excuse to eat candy bars on vacation!

Health & Safety:

  • Baggage Tags – Don’t advertise your address when you’re away from home! Just put your cell phone number and initials, so you can be contacted if your luggage is lost.
    • Bonus Tip: Put your contact information outside like always, but also put it inside your luggage in case the outside tag is damaged.
  • Just in Case – Leave copies of your itinerary and travel documents at home in case of an emergency.
  • Jet Lag – While on the plane: stay hydrated, do small exercises, and think local time to avoid wasting days of your vacation catching up on sleep or feeling off.
  • Seasickness – Eat a bit of green apple or take a whiff of some candied ginger or orange rind to soothe an upset stomach.
  • Split your Valuables – Make sure all your money, credit cards, and travel documents aren’t in the same place. No reason to make a problem like misplacing your purse even more stressful by losing everything together!
    • Bonus Tip: I know some people when traveling in a couple will usually have one party responsible for all the important things, make certain you split it up, so if someone loses a wallet you aren’t completely lost.

I hope these will be helpful to you as you travel and explore.

Let me know your best travel tips in the comments!

Happy trails!