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4 cities you have to see in India

Imagine it’s early morning and you find yourself walking through the streets of a busy outdoor market. As you gradually take in your surroundings, you see row upon row of colorful cloth, fragrant spices, and beautiful handmade goods. This is one of the many experiences you’ll have in India.

A spectacular destination, bustling with excitement and reverberating with new growth, India is a must-see destination. For a glimpse of what you can see and experience in India, check out this video of our Best of India and Nepal tour.

The video showcases some of the top cities and sites I recommend you see in India, and I’ve also expanded on a few of them below.

  1. Delhi, India’s capital and a city of deep contrasts, has a plethora of things to see and do. By day, temples are packed with the devout, and by night, affluent Indians enjoy hotel discos. Shopping centers and restaurants abound. Due to a growing middle class that demands to own cars and motorbikes as a national right, the streets are always overflowing, and are a sight unlike any other you’ve probably experienced!
  2. Agra is home to the world’s most magnificent building, the Taj Mahal. This awe-inspiring structure was created as a testament to love, and served as a mausoleum. Construction of the Taj Mahal began in 1632, and took over 20 years to complete.
  3. Khajuraho, a famous temple complex discovered in 1838 and built between 950 and 1050 A.D., represents some of the finest examples of architecture in Northern India. The remote location of Khajuraho meant that the temples were unharmed by Muslin invaders, and as a result, the intricate carvings that are said to represent life in heaven are still in good condition to this day.
  4. Jaipur, known as the Pink City, is where visitors can enjoy ascending the hill to Amber Fort on the backs of colorfully decorated elephants to appreciate the sweeping panoramas of the rolling hills below.

After spending just a few days in India, you’ll get a sense of the country’s energy and distinct people and culture, palpable and impossible to miss.

7 more exotic destinations you can visit for the price of a weekend in Las Vegas

One of the most popular presentations I’ve ever given has been about seven exotic locations you can visit for the price of a Vegas weekend. Since I last spoke on the topic, travelers have been eager to know if I’ve added any more destinations to my list, and where they can go in 2013 to turn their ordinary trip into an extraordinary vacation.

So when I was asked to speak at the 2013 Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show, I knew this was a topic I wanted to revisit. I spoke for a little over 15 minutes this year, covering seven more exotic destinations to visit for the price of a Vegas weekend. We caught the speech on film for everyone who couldn’t make it, so just hit play to listen in.

After watching my speech, do you plan on visiting any of the destinations I mentioned? I’d love to hear about your travel plans in a comment below.

Famous Philadelphia places and faces

Friendly Planet Travel blogger Caitlin previously quizzed Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show attendees on their Philadelphia knowledge. I thought everyone did a really good job, but we decided to take it one step further.

It’s one thing to ask a question, but can travelers recognize the people and places that make Philadelphia famous just based on a photo? Could you tell the difference between Benjamin Franklin and William Penn? How about Harry Kalas and Bradley Cooper? We put attendees to the test, with the help of a trusty iPad, of course.

I even got in on the action and took the quiz myself. Check it out for yourself to see what picture everyone had the hardest time identifying!

Did you pass the test?

Philadelphia travel trivia: What do you know about the City of Brotherly Love?

Quiz time — How much do you know about the city of Philadelphia? Our offices are located just a stone’s throw away from there, in Jenkintown, Penn., so we spend a lot of time in the City of Brotherly Love.

We like to consider ourselves local experts, and wanted to know if the attendees of The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel show were just as savvy. Friendly Planet Travel blogger, Caitlin, quizzed passersby on famous Philadelphia landmarks, noteworthy Philadelphians, and how many people visit Philadelphia every year.

Think you know the answers? Hit play to find out!

Can you name five famous Philadelphians? Let me know in a comment!

Christopher Elliott’s favorite place to visit

We’re finishing up our Chris Elliott video series which we shot at The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show. In case you missed it, here are the first two from this series:

  1. Chris Elliott talks travel consumer advocacy at The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show
  2. Travel consumer advocate Chris Elliott shares his best travel tips

In this video, Chris and I chat about natural disasters, and who (if anyone) is at fault when a traveler experiences one far from home. We also mention our favorite destinations, and I couldn’t pick just one. I love traveling too much! See which place we each picked.

But that’s not all! I managed to snag two copies of Chris’ book, “Scammed: How to Save Money and Find Better Service in a World of Schemes, Swindles, and Shady Deals,” and he signed them.

Travel consumer advocate Chris Elliott shares his best travel tips

I’ve shared the first interview with Chris Elliott at The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show, but I know you’ve been eagerly awaiting more. Everyone needs their Chris Elliott fix!

I’m here to give it to you. In this video, Chris and I discuss how travelers should prepare for a trip. Chris mentions the importance of using a travel agent when picking a destination (I swear I didn’t ask him too!), and we both said packing lightly is travel gospel.

Hit play to see what else we recommended as our “travel dos.”

Don’t miss part three, coming soon!

Chris Elliott talks travel consumer advocacy at The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show

Everyone in the travel industry knows Chris Elliott. You either hate him or you love him. You hate him if you’re one of the airlines, hotels, agencies or other travel industry suppliers who don’t take care of customers according to best consumer practices. You love him if you’re like Friendly Planet Travel, where our travelers’ every pleasure is our primary concern.

Chris has been featured on the blog before, and he and I stay in touch on various travel topics. Chris and I caught up most recently at The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show and I was delighted when he sat down for an interview with me. One of my bloggers, Caitlin Davis, served as moderator. But I’ll tell you the truth — we didn’t do much preparation. Chris loves travel and so do I. It doesn’t take much to get both of us going on the topic, as you’ll see once the cameras started rolling. This is the first of three videos from this interview, so keep your eyes on this space for parts two and three. Hope you enjoy it!

Keep your eyes peeled for the next installment!

The 2012 Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show: Videos to come

We just announced the winner of our Exotic Ecuador tour from The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show, but we have a lot more coverage for you that we’ll be posting on our blog.

Our blogging team captured a lot of video footage, which we’ll be rolling out over the coming days and weeks. Here’s a preview into what we’ll be posting. You can bookmark our Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show tag to see what’s coming next.

My presentation on the “Top 10 Affordable Destinations of 2012.” We recorded my presentation on Sunday, so if you missed it, you might want to watch and see what my #1 was. It’s one of my favorite destinations from this year.

My joint interview with Chris Elliott. I sat down with Chris Elliot, renowned consumer advocate for travelers. It’s our shared passion for making sure the consumer gets the best deal possible that makes me feel like Chris and I are kindred spirits. We chatted about getting great travel deals, the importance of traveler’s insurance, and our #1 travel tip.

Our Grannies on Safari interview. Our blogger Caitlin caught up with the Grannies on Safari at the show, and they were a riot. Regina and Pat told how they started their television show, and revealed what their next destinations will be.

Putting attendees to the test about their Philadelphia knowledge. Our blogging team quizzed attendees with some Philadelphia trivia, since the show was in the heart of the City of Brotherly Love. We asked attendees how many travelers visit Philadelphia each year, what’s the most-visited tourist attraction, and then stumped them with pictures of famous faces and places from the city. I even took a stab at answering the questions myself.

We also have some giveaways coming your way from some of the show’s headliners. Friendly Planet Travel had a wonderful time at The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show for the second year in a row. Keep your eyes here for videos, giveaways, and more that are on the way.

Stories, laughs, and more at the Friendly Planet Travel Book Club

The first meeting of the Friendly Planet Travel Book Club is in the books, and we couldn’t be more pleased with how it went. Despite the dreary weather, travelers gathered at the Jenkintown Library in Jenkintown, Pa., to discuss our first book choice, “Radio Shangri-La” by Lisa Napoli. The team was excited to hear everyone’s reactions, and pleasantly surprised to have some well-traveled guests in our midst.

Shelly and Harriet, two attendees, contributed a wealth of knowledge about travel that I think rivals mine! Each woman loves to travel and has been all over the U.S. and the world. Shelly has been to Bhutan, so she was able to share her experiences and relate them to Lisa’s. But the conversation didn’t stop with Bhutan. The group branched off, talking about other countries and how their people relate to the Bhutanese.

The group discussed Bhutanese traditions, the country’s changing culture, how technology is influencing Bhutan, and much more. We had our camera at the ready to capture the goings-on and interesting conversations. Press play to hear it all.

What a great kick-off to our Friendly Planet Travel Book Club! We’ll be meeting again soon and we want to know: What travel book we should read next? Leave your ideas here or on our Facebook page.

Pathfinders Travel’s P.J. Thomas helps you see beyond the beach when traveling

Since the day she was born, P.J. Thomas hasn’t stopped traveling. Her father’s work in the Air Force kept her family on the road throughout her childhood. But it was that lifestyle that inspired P.J. to become a travel journalist and eventually start her own magazine, Pathfinders Travel.

For the past 14 years, P.J. has been telling readers what’s beyond the beach and what’s in the heritage and culture of a coastal destination. So when Friendly Planet Travel ran into P.J. at The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show, Melissa got a few minutes to catch up her with on camera.

If you want to do more than sightsee on your next trip, and become part of the local culture, watch the interview. P.J. shares with Melissa some great travel advice on what to do to become accepted into the local community in a foreign country, even if you’re only visiting for just a few days.

They also talk about how P.J. started Pathfinders Travel magazine, the beaches that should be on every traveler’s to-see list, tips to make sure you’re always being a respectful visitor in the country you’re exploring, and much more. Thanks P.J. for spending some time with Friendly Planet Travel at the Travel Show!

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About Peggy

Peggy Goldman is a specialty tour operator and travel expert, who owns and operates Friendly Planet Travel, a full-service company that specializes in tour packages to exotic worldwide destinations at affordable prices.   More about Peggy

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