Travel


Haunted Happenings Across Massachusetts!

October is all about Halloween!  How will you be celebrating this month?  If you’re looking to get creeped out, we’ve found some of the scariest events taking place, plus a few that aren’t as frightening for all you scaredy cats!

Zoo Howl at the Franklin Park Zoo – The kids will love this event being put on by the Franklin Park Zoo.  It takes place the weekend before Halloween, October 27-28 from 11 AM – 3 PM each day and guests are invited to visit their favorite animals while celebrating the season.  There will be creature encounters, creepy crafts, ghoulish games, and even a haunted maze!  Children can follow the trick-or-treat trail while they check out the animals and then head over to the Haunted Maze!  There will be entertainment as well, Radio Disney will be on the main stage and on Saturday the 27th The Puppet Showplace Theatre and Catching Joy will be on hand to help create puppets and crafts.  So stop by with the family and enjoy some pre-Halloween trick-or-treating and crafts while seeing some of your favorite creatures!  This event in included in the price of admission.

BeWicked Halloween Pub Crawl – This definitely sounds like one of the best Halloween Pub Crawls in Boston.  Hosted by the Boston Ski and Sports Club, it begins on Saturday, October 27th at 12:45 PM.  Participants will be meeting at King’s on Dalton Street in their best Halloween getup since there will be contests for best costume at every bar!  There will be prizes for the winners and Magner’s Cider swag and giveaways for all.  It gets better, free appetizers at every bar, palm readings, drink specials, games, and goodie bags will be available as well!  The group will make 45 minute stops at the best bars on Boylston St and will end at Lir.  Tickets are $25 unless you’re a member of Boston Ski and Sports Club, in which case they are $20.  A discounted 5-pack of tickets is also available for those of you going with a group and each stop is a cash bar.

Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” Halloween Party – Anyone who has seen this movie knows how terrifying it is, and the party is sure to be equally as scary!  The Liberty Hotel is hosting their annual costume party, Saturday October 27th at 8 PM and it is sure to be a scream!  There will be specialty cocktails, live aerial performances, and three levels of entertainment featuring sounds from DJ Michael Savant, DJ7L, and DJ Hectic.  The party will be happening all through the night and ends at 2 AM.  Tickets are $30 and can be purchased here, this event is 21+ only.

Beacon Hill With A BOO! – This haunted tour is hosted by Boston By Foot, a nonprofit educational corporation.  They host tours and lectures but this is by far their most popular event.  Tickets are $20 and the tour only takes place once a year, it begins at 5:30 PM on Halloween Night, Wednesday October 31st.  The group will gather on the steps in front of the State House on Beacon St and tickets are available here.  The tour is 90 minutes during which your guide will lead you through the streets of one of the nations oldest neighborhoods.  Listen as your guide tells tales of murders, mayhem, and ghosts that are still rumored to haunt the streets today.

Whether you want to be scared, entertained, or learn about some of the history behind the holiday, these events have got you covered!  Enjoy some of these spooky events going on this month, it’s always fun to dress up and get into the spirit, the season for haunted happenings won’t last long!

Photo By: pixie_bebe

 

Best Fall Foliage Drives In New England

The time for apple picking, pumpkin carving, cider drinking, and crisp fall breezes is right around the corner, and what better way to celebrate than by taking a scenic drive through New England to admire all of the beautiful foliage?  It may be a bit early right now, but the leaves are already beginning to change and it won’t be long before the trees are completely red, yellow, and orange.  Get your weekend plans in order and organize a few day trips to some of these stops, the views are breathtaking and there are other fun attractions to check out along the way!

The Berkshires – This is THE place to be if you want to experience anything and everything related to fall.  The Berkshire mountains span across western Massachusetts and offer one of the most scenic rides in New England. Take a ride to the top of Mount Greylock along New England’s first official scenic road, the views can’t be beat!  It is Massachusetts’ tallest peak (3,491 ft) and also features foot trails for hikers.  That’s not all that the Berkshires have to offer, there are many fall themed attractions including hiking, apple picking, pumpkin picking, or try some hard apple cider after a brisk walk outside.  If you’re there from September 22-30 check out the Northern Berkshire Fall Foliage Festival in North Adams, MA.  There are events taking place throughout the week including crafts, farmers markets, parades, and numerous other events.  What better way to spend a fall day?

White Mountains, NH – The White Mountains are spread across New Hampshire and have many winding roads that will bring you on a beautiful ride.  Drive up Route 16 to North Conway, a small town in the heart of the White Mountains which features small country stores, outlet shopping, and last but not least the Conway Scenic Railroad which offers roundtrip train rides where you will experience all of the beauty that the White Mountains has to offer.  Nearby is the infamous Kancamagus Highway, a windy road with many scenic viewpoints along the way that will bring you to Lincoln, NH home to Clark’s Trading Post where they train native black bears to recycle, ride segways, play basketball, and entertain guests of all ages.  Franconia Notch State Park is also nearby and is the perfect place to get in touch with nature and go for a hike.  This ride is a little over 2 hours from Boston but has some of the most colorful and beautiful foliage in New England, we definitely suggest you take a drive up north this fall!

Green Mountains, VT – If you’re looking for a leisurely, rustic getaway this is your chance.  The Green Mountains in Vermont are one of the most popular areas to view fall foliage in New England.  The 400,000 acre Green Mountain National Forest follows Route 7 and brings you by major skiing areas such as Mt. Snow, Killington, and Sugarbush, all while taking you through some of the most scenic nooks and crannys that Vermont has to offer.  Don’t have any particular sights in mind?  Why not branch off down a road you have never been down before (only if you have GPS) and see where it takes you?  There’s nothing more fun than getting lost in nature, you really appreciate your surroundings and if you have nowhere to be it’s a lot of fun!  For those of you that are feeling really adventurous, the Ben and Jerry’s Factory is about a two hour drive from here and hosts tours daily.

These scenic drives all promise beautiful sights, fall foliage, and exciting activities and tourist stops to keep you entertained.  So pack up the car and hit the road, peak foliage season is right around the corner!

Photo By: kimberlykv

 

Stuck In Traffic? Not Anymore With These Apps!

No one likes sitting in traffic, especially after a long day at work or when you have somewhere important to be.  Luckily, we live in the age of technology  and app stores are constantly rolling out their latest developments to help consumers beat the traffic!  So how do you choose which one is right for you?  We’ve looked into the top apps and summarized the best features of each so you can decide which will work best for you.

Sigalert.com – This app by far sounds like the most user friendly and accurate Traffic app out there.  While most apps are scheduled to update every hour or so, Sigalert.com constantly updates with state highway patrols’ data and uses road sensors for accurate readings.  It is the most up to date traffic app and the best thing about it is that it’s free!  It also provides great details, not only does it tell you  if the traffic is caused by an accident or construction, but it also estimates travel times for your destination based on speed and traffic.  You can zoom in or click on the maps provided, and they even list accurate speeds for each exit on the highway.  This app has traffic details for most metropolitan areas and is adding more areas each month.

USA Traffic and Weather – Personally, I think that this app can be the most useful once it works out all of the kinks.  It costs $0.99 and combines Yahoo and user generated traffic updates with a 7-day weather forecast, which is everything you need to know before you head out on your daily commute.  The concept is great but user reviews describe it as being somewhat inaccurate when it comes to the weather forecast, however this app does rely on Yahoo! for weather updates so changing their weather provider could solve that problem. For users that are having technical difficulties, the author has provided his email address right on the app itself, how cool is that?  Users have commented that he provides almost instant support and posts updates if the app is down.  Although there are some glitches, this app can be very useful and a new update is in the works which will hopefully address many of the user complaints.

Waze social GPS and Traffic – Waze is a very cool app because it combines traffic updates with social media.  It’s been described as “Foursquare for driving”  and allows users to post updates on traffic, construction, and speed traps.  The social media aspect of this app makes it more fun to use than apps that simply provide traffic navigation tips and users can start off as a novice and work their way up to traffic expert.  You can also build up points based on miles driven and the amount of traffic reports you submit.   In terms of avoiding traffic, it is similar to most apps out there and can calculate your commute time, provide alternate routes, and alert you to potential traffic causing incidents on your route.  The only con to this app is that is relies solely on user updates and is not synced up to any government traffic source.

INRIX Traffic – According to Apple, this is the industry’s #1 free app that helps you avoid traffic and frustration.  It features the best route to home and work and shows you which route is best to avoid traffic.  Routes are based on data from nearly 100 million drivers and this app can even recommend departure times to ensure that you arrive at your destination on schedule.  You can also easily email your scheduled INRIX arrival time to any of your contacts with just a few clicks.  It consistently gets great reviews from users and its most recent update on August 15, 2012 makes it more accurate than ever!

These apps all have unique features that appeal to different users.  Waze connects you to others and is somewhat like a game, Sigalert.com has constant updates for when you’re in a rush, USA Traffic and Weather is convenient because of the information it provides, and INTRIX Traffic is free and highly rated by users.  Decide which one is right for you and try it out, saving yourself the frustration of rush hour is definitely worth it!

Photo By: lostinfog

 

 

Best Travel Destinations Via the MBTA Commuter Rail!

No car this summer? No problem!  There are tons of destinations all across Massachusetts that are accessible via public transit!  The MBTA has so many different options and of course Boston is a bustling city where there is always something to do, but if you are in Boston and are looking for a way to get away or take a day trip, the Commuter Rail has many stops both north and south of the city that are great spots to visit this summer.

Salem – Thanks to the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, Salem is known across the country and has become a popular destination for tourists, especially around Halloween.  This summer is the perfect time to explore this historic town and beat the crowds!  They have countless museums including the Salem Witch Museum, Peabody Essex Museum, and the House of the Seven Gables where you can learn the history of the town itself and take a look back to the times of the Witch Trials.  Besides the history and haunted fun, Salem is right on the water and has many different shops and restaurants to explore!  Sit on the deck at Finz and enjoy some fine food while sitting right on the water, or stroll through the main strip and try out one of the many quiet coffee shops along the way.  Salem is just a short ride on the Rockport Line, which you can take right out of North Station.

Newburyport – Newburyport is another great destination in MA that is only a train ride away.  The Newburyport line out of North Station will drop you right in the middle of this quaint town by the sea.  Once you arrive there are tons of small shops to explore, art galleries, a sculpture park, fishing, and Plum Island is only a short walk away.  Plum Island has miles of public beaches and is home to the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge which houses over 800 different types of birds, plants, and animals.  Newburyport has everything you could ask for on a summer getaway, the beach, shops, restaurants, art galleries, and plenty of things to do outdoors.

Providence – Providence, RI is the place to be if you want to experience some night life.  Many of the restaurants on Federal Hill are restaurants by day and lounges by night.  Many have live entertainment and there’s no better time to stop by since Restaurant Week is happening all this month!  Walking is definitely the best way to explore the city and see the sights.  One of the most popular attractions is Waterfire, a stunning and award winning show that features 100 bonfires that blaze on the 3 rivers throughout the city.  Take a stroll and enjoy this must-see event while taking in the music and performances going on as well.  Roger Williams Park is a great stop as well and is home to a zoo, waterways, the Botanical Center, and a planetarium.  Providence offers all of the excitement of a big city such as Manhattan but is only a short ride away on the Providence Line which leaves from South Station.

Plymouth – Plymouth really does have everything you need on a summer getaway.  Visitors have a variety of options to choose from in terms of things to do.  There are many museums, monuments, and Plymouth Plantation is a must see for history buffs.  If you’d rather spend some time outside visit one of the local cranberry bogs, take a harbor cruise, check out the Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary, or stop by the Plimouth Candy Company for some sweet treats.  Whitehorse beach is also nearby for those that want to relax by the water.  Plymouth is an ideal destination for a day trip and is the last stop on the Plymouth line which leaves from South Station.

Utilizing the commuter rail is great for anyone who doesn’t have a car, is trying to go green, and is extremely convenient.  Trains run every hour for the most part during the week, and usually every other hour on weekends.  For more information on the MBTA, maps, and scheduling visit their website.

Photo By: rachel_pics

What’s Going On With the MBTA?

Many of you may be asking this question.  Recently, they have been in the news almost every day, but if you haven’t been following along you may have missed some of the updates on fair hikes, service cuts, and improvements that are in the works.

With all of the negative feedback that’s been in the news, the MBTA is making an effort to improve certain aspects of their services.  Commuter Rail riders will notice a major change this fall when the ability to buy your ticket from your smart phone is introduced.  According to an article from the Associated Press, there are 140 commuter rail stations and less than half of them have fare vending machines.  Without one of these machines, riders who do not already have tickets or passes must buy them on board the train.  Purchasing your ticket on board results in a two dollar surcharge and riders can only pay in cash.  This is quite inconvenient for many riders but soon anyone with an iPhone, Blackberry, or Android will be able to purchase their ticket online and show their phone to a conductor once they board the train.  This improvement called mobile ticketing, is being designed by Masabi and is sure to make riding the commuter rail a much more convenient experience.

The MBTA has been dealing with the backlash of proposed fair hikes and service cuts for weeks now.  Despite protests and testimony from many members of the public including activists, the MBTA board voted 4-1 to increase fares and eliminate or reduce service on various bus routes.  Three commuter rail lines, Kingston/Plymouth, Needham, and Greenbush will also eliminate their weekend runs.  These fare hikes are the first ones in five years and will increase the cost of a subway fare by 30 cents, bus fares will be increased by 25 cents, and commuter rail tickets will go up $1.25.  Commuter Rail riders who purchase a monthly pass will see an increase between 20-30 percent in their monthly fare.  These changes are set to take effect July 1.

Although the MBTA has a higher ridership level than ever before, they have been struggling to find a long term solution to their debt crisis.  Debt payments, energy costs, and door-to-door service for the disabled increase the T’s debt at a rapid rate and the service cuts and fare hikes that have been approved are not as high as the original plan that was proposed.  These changes are intended to close a budget deficit of $160 million for the coming year.  According to a Boston Globe article, many riders are unhappy about the fare increases and service cuts but have no other options for transportation.  Driving into the city is still more expensive for many, once gas, parking fees, and tolls are taken into account.  Not to mention the wear and tear on a vehicle that sits in rush hour traffic.

According to an article from the Boston Globe, the money coming into the MBTA for this year’s deficit mainly comes from one-time monetary sources including $5 million in leftover snow and ice removal funds, $51 million in surplus from an account that is funded by motor vehicle inspection fees.  That money comes from the state and requires legislative approval before it can be spent on the T.  These funds are short term fixes and a long term solution would have to include Beacon Hill politicians approving new taxes to lighten the burden on the MBTA.  A proposed fix by Governor Deval Patrick’s administration, is asking lawmakers to approve harsher penalties against fare evaders and to cap damages in lawsuits against the T at $100,000, which could save the MBTA about $5 million annually.

These developments are the most recent news on the MBTA, although the  fare hikes and service cuts are a negative solution to the budget crisis in the minds of many riders, the MBTA is attempting to make improvements elsewhere for their customers.

Photo By: davidayy

Festivals This Spring!

 

Now that the weather is starting to warm up the season of outdoor entertainment has begun. All across Massachusetts there are many craft fairs and festivals scheduled for this Spring. Festivals have entertainment for everyone at them, there is usually live music, shopping, and different options for food. Step out to one of these great venues while they are around this spring!

New England Folk Festival– The New England Folk Festival is celebrating their 68th anniversary this year and will be held this weekend in Mansfield from April 20-22. There will be many vendors displaying their works as well as a dozen or so booths serving food from across the world. This event is extremely popular and draws a large crowd from many different regions of the country as well as countries overseas so be sure to get there early. In addition to the food there are also dance performances, some of which invite audience members to participate. There will also be books, records, CD’s, clothing, and crafts on sale. If you are going with children there will be activities planned specifically for families including storytelling, dancing, singing, and puppets.

New England Metal and Hardcore Festival– If you’re a heavy metal fan you will love the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival taking place in Worcester from April 20-22. One of their biggest headliners is the band Killswitch Engage and there are over 80 bands in total performing at this event. After enjoying the bands be sure to head over to the many vendors that will be promoting their merchandise as well as local record labels that will be promoting their services for aspiring musicians.

Spring Fling Ladies Day Out– Looking for the perfect girls day out event? Look no further than the Spring Fling Ladies Day out taking play on May 5th in Marlborough. Not only is this a great event for the girls, it is also a good cause. All proceeds benefit the Lungevity foundation which helps to raise funds and awareness for lung cancer research. Any girls day out event must include shopping, so of course there will be many vendors and crafts on display as well as mini spa treatments, food tastings, and possible massages. If you’re looking to get away with the girls this is the perfect excuse!

Springfest 2012– This festival takes place in Newburyport from May 27-28, the Sunday and Monday of Memorial Day Weekend. Running from 10AM until 5PM each day, guests can check out some local art displays, crafts and food from the restaurants of Newburyport. There will be live music in Market Square from 1PM-4PM each day, artists will play rock, contemporary, and popular music from the 1950’s to popular hits from today. Not only is this an entertaining festival, but Newburyport is also on the water so guests can enjoythe fresh ocean breeze in addition to the many artistic displays.

SoWa Open Market– The SoWa Open Market takes place every Sunday From May 6th until October 28th of 2012. It lasts from 10AM-4PM in Boston and gives shoppers the opportunity to meet the artists behind the creations. Artists will have their pieces on display which range from loaves of bread to original art pieces to designer clothing or hand-crafted accessories. The wide variety of vendors and products ensures that guests will have a unique experience each week.

Be sure to check out one of these events this spring, there is shopping, food, live music, crafts, and activities geared towards children which means there is something to do for everyone in the family! If you visit one of these events specifically be sure to leave us a comment and let us know what you think!

Photo By: Nirgal Ksi

Sightseeing Attractions in Massachusetts: Day Trips and Museums

Spring is the perfect season for getting out and about, and exploring new places.  There are plenty of choices for sightseeing attractions in Massachusetts: the beach, the mountains, historical landmarks, a big city, National Parks, and many museums to take advantage of this spring.

The Arnold Arboretum– This is the oldest public arboretum in North America and the city of Boston has partnered with Harvard University to make it a center for studying plant  biodiversity as well.  The arboretum is 265 acres of plants, wildlife, art exhibitions, and a library.  It is a public park so there is no admission charge, although donations are appreciated.  Guests are welcome to take a self guided tour and maps are available.  This is a great day trip for children, teens and adults.  Who doesn’t love walking around outside and taking in some beautiful scenery?

Basketball Hall of Fame-Have a sports fan in the family? The Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield is the perfect place to visit.   They focus on education and create activities in various subjects that are centered around basketball and are designed for students of every age.  Educational and entertaining, this is a trip that kids and adults will be excited for as they get to study memorabilia from 313 coaches, players, referees, contributors, and teams.

deCordova Sculpture Park– Located in Lincoln, MA this outdoor art museum features 35 acres of modern sculptures that visitors are free to explore.  They have over 3,400 pieces of art and are especially proud of the permanent collection of New England contemporary art.  Admission is $14 for adults, $12 for seniors (65 and up), $10 for students,  and free for children 12 or under.

Cape Cod Beaches– Although we had a mild winter, Spring is a welcome change as the temperatures begin to rise even higher.  The beach is calling, and at the Cape Cod National Seashore visitors have 40 miles of coastline to explore in addition to natural cranberry bogs.   Parking lots are open year round but lifeguards are only on duty from late June until the last week of August.  The six different beaches that make up the seashore are often packed during the summer months but with the recent weather we’ve been having, why not go now? If you plan to stay a while, there are always plenty of Cape Cod beach houses for rent.

The Berkshires– The Berkshires literally have something for everyone.  Spread across Western MA, the towns that compose the mountain range have many trails for hiking or biking, a winery, wildlife sanctuary, a Norman Rockwell museum,  zip lining, white water rafting, golfing,shopping and countless other attractions.  Kids will love the event taking place now until April 29, Baby Animals on the Shaker Farm.  Baby piglets, calves, chicks, and lambs will be on display to meet and greet and children can also participate in arts and crafts workshops.  If you’d like to extend your stay in the Berkshires, there are plenty of campgrounds, inns, resorts, or bed and breakfasts’ to choose from.

Enjoy the beautiful weather we’re having and make time for travel and vacation; it’s the perfect time to take advantage of them before the crowds begin in the summer months!

Photo By: Dougtone

Traveling to Logan? With All Of These Options It’s Easier Than Ever!

Massachusetts has many transportation options that can bring you all over the state, but one of the most popular destinations is Logan Airport.  It can also be difficult to find and confusing to navigate if you have never been before.  Don’t get lost in the shuffle, make sure you know how to get to Logan and what options you have available to you from anywhere in Massachusetts.

If you’re coming to Logan from Boston, public transportation is one of your best options.  It is both budget and environmentally friendly and is easy to navigate from any part of the city.  There are two MBTA lines that will take you to Logan, the Blue and Silver.  The Blue line provides T service to Logan and riders can get off at Airport Station and then take advantage of Logan Airport shuttle services to get to all terminals.  The Blue line also connects to the Green line at Government Center, the Orange line at State Street and there are currently plans in the works to potentially extend it to connect with the Red line.  The MBTA Silver line provides bus service from South Station to Logan airport which is especially convenient for travelers coming from the commuter rail.  Charlie Tickets can be purchased to pay for both lines.

The most scenic option for transport to Logan is via the MBTA Commuter Boat.  It leaves daily from Quincy but is only open on weekdays in Hull.   It is $12 for a ticket (from both Quincy and Hull) which is a bargain for a harbor cruise.  Riders can enjoy the open seas and upon arrival get transported to all terminals via the Massport Route 66 Shuttle Bus which is free. There are other options for water travel to Logan as well including City Water Taxi which has connections to 15 Boston landings, and Rowes Wharf Water which provides exclusive service from Rowes Wharf/Boston Harbor Hotel to Logan.

Getting to Logan from outside of the city is a bit more complex and time consuming.  Driving is always an option, but if you would rather avoid it opt for a bus.  The Logan Express provides direct service to Logan from Braintree, Woburn, Peabody, and Framingham.  It is $22 round trip for adults and parking at all stations has been lowered to $7 per day.  It takes about 30-45 minutes of travel time to get to Logan from each station, although riders should allow for extra time during rush hour.  For riders that do not live in close proximity to these stations, there are many private bus companies that provide service to Logan including the Boston Express, Concord Coach Lines, and the Plymouth and Brockton Street Railway Co.

If driving is your only option, getting there isn’t too difficult.  Directions to Logan are as follows:
  • From the North – take I-93 South to Exit 24B to the Callahan Tunnel.  Follow that until you reach 1A North to Logan.
  • From the South – take I-93 North to exit 20, this will bring you to I-90 East and the Ted Williams Tunnel.  You then take I-90 East Exit 26 to Logan.
  • From the West – take I-90 East to the Ted Williams Tunnel and then I-90 East Exit 26 to Logan.
For parking options for Logan Airport, and rates click here.

 

Getting to Logan is easier than ever because there are so many options!  Whether you are coming from the North, East, South or West, there is a bus, boat, car, or subway that can get you there! For more information regarding transportation to Logan visit Massport’s website.

 

Photo by: healingdream

Renting a Car? Read Up On Our Advice!

 

Renting a car can be quite a hassle, and confusing if you have never done it before.  There are so many questions to ask; Do I really need their insurance? How can I get the best price? How far in advance should I make a reservation? We’ve done some research to answer all of these questions and more so that you’re prepared next time you have to rent a car.

Making a reservation?  It is wise to do this at least a week in advance to ensure you get the car you are looking for before prices are jacked up too high.  It’s similar with any travel reservation, the sooner the better.  Be sure to compare rates on rental car agencies and don’t forget to look at websites such as Priceline, Expedia, and Travelocity which are great sources to compare prices and make sure you are getting the best deal.  If you find a great deal through them, you may be able to get an even better deal if you go through the company directly.

When it comes to rental car insurance, policies vary depending on the agency you go through.  Certain companies require drivers to purchase coverage, typically costing $10 per day. However, many personal insurance policies cover rental cars as well.  Be sure to read through your auto policy or call your insurance agent to make sure you are covered.  If your personal insurance doesn’t cover rental cars, you may still be in luck.  Some credit card companies offer benefits including collision and theft coverage on rental cars.  Again, be sure to call your credit card company and research this as it applies to you.  Some credit card companies also mandate that you give them 45 days notice before your rental date to ensure that coverage is valid.  If you aren’t covered under either of those companies, it may be worth it to get their insurance.

Inspect the car before you drive off the lot.  Rental cars have scratches and dings on them but you want to make sure they are documented before you go anywhere to avoid getting blamed for them.

Refuel the tank before you bring the car back.  While it is an option to return the car with an empty tank, the rental company will charge you much more for the gas than a gas station would.

Avoid airports.  Car Rental agencies that are located in an airport will typically cost a lot more than a local car rental.  Most charge an “airport fee” that will be added on to your bill and can be 10% or more of the total price.  Avoid this by scouting out rental agencies in the area that you could take a cab to.  Depending on how much a taxi would be to the closest one, this might be your best bet.

To save some money, rent a compact car if you can.  Not only are they better on gas, they are cheaper to rent in general.  There also tend to be less compact cars in a fleet of rental cars, so if they are out of compacts, you may be able to get an upgrade for the same price.

Choosing one driver will also save you money.  Rental Agencies will charge more if multiple people are driving, as it is deemed a higher insurance risk.  Adding an additional driver can cost up to $25 depending on the agency you use.  Your best bet is to choose one person to drive the entire trip.

Make sure there are no hidden fees.  There are a few things that car rental agencies will try and charge you for which is usually in the fine print.  First off, make sure you are on time when you return the car!  Agencies can charge you almost a full day’s fee if you are even a few hours late!  Be sure to look out for charges in relation to mileage.  Some companies will allow for unlimited mileage, while others will provide a limit and charge you a fee for each mile you are over per day.  Some agencies also have limits to how many miles you can drive in general and do not allow you to cross certain state borders in their car.  You may also incur a drop-off charge if you drop off your vehicle at any agency location other than the original one where you picked it up.  You should definitely ask the agents about this if you aren’t planning on returning the car to the pick-up location.  Make sure to ask the agent at the counter or call and ask about this to be exactly sure as to where and how long you can drive.

This is definitely a lot to remember, but the most important thing to take away is to ask questions.  If you’re reading over a rental contract and don’t know what a certain fee is or aren’t sure what the mileage restrictions are, ask the agent!  They are there to answer any of your questions before you drive off the lot and are a valuable resource.  Above all stay safe behind the wheel, especially when it is a vehicle you are unfamiliar with.  Renting a car is a great option, but there is a lot of risk that comes along with it so make sure you are covered and prepared before you hit the streets!

Sources:

http://www.rentalcaradvice.com/

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/23471992/ns/today-money/t/secrets-renting-car-without-overspending/#.T4M5aL80FuU

 

Photo by: vichie81

Best Boston Radio Stations For Your Commute

Anyone that has a long commute or sits in the car for long periods of time knows how important a good radio station is. Luckily Boston has great radio stations for every type of listener. Radio stations are great for a variety of different music genres but also provide listeners with up to date news, traffic conditions, and weather updates.  Listening to the radio and getting information there is much easier and not to mention much safer while driving!

Top 40 – Kiss 108 is definitely one of Boston’s most popular and well known radio stations.  Featuring top 40 hits and an “On Air With Ryan Seacrest” segment weekdays from 10AM-2PM, they have gained a lot of notoriety and popularity, especially amongst young adults.  Kiss also does a lot of interviews with local celebrities as well as A list celebs from Hollywood.  DJ’s often discuss pop culture topics and cover the news, weather and traffic conditions.

Country – Artists such as Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney, and Rascal Flatts have been successful in integrating country music into the mainstream.  They have popularized the genre and drawn a younger crowd of fans.  If you’re a fan of country music or these artists, definitely check out Country 102.5.  They play all of the newest releases but also focus on older classic songs as well.

Soft Rock –  Magic 106.7 is a great station if you want music that is work appropriate but still popular.  They mainly play classic rock and some top 40 hits but have a playlist that is a hit with both adults and children.  Their “Morning Magic” segment is especially popular with commuters as the focus is on playing more music rather than commercial breaks.  They also have giveaways, discuss the news, weather, and traffic which allow you to better plan your day but pride themselves on playing the most music in the mornings.

Rock – WAAF, One of Boston’s most popular rock stations has one of the biggest personalities too.  With hosts that have names like Hill-Man and Mistress Carrie, things are sure to be interesting.  They have a great segment every weekday at noon called “Lunch Hour Hook Up” which takes requests but there’s a catch, the last letter of the last song must be the first letter of the next song.  This will definitely keep you on your toes!  Every weekday at 5PM Mistress Carrie hosts the “20 Song Music Marathon” which plays 20 songs in a row without any commercials, great if you’re stuck in traffic during rush hour!

Hip Hop – There’s no contest in Massachusetts when it comes to hip hop stations.  Jam’n 94.5 reigns supreme in this category and for good reason.  Their DJ’s are hilarious and constantly interact with fans.  At different times each morning they have a “Jam Scam” segment in which a DJ plays an elaborate prank over the phone to an unsuspecting target who is set up by friends and family members.  They also cover basic news, weather, traffic info, etc. for commuters and on the weekends have a “Top 30 Countdown” of the hottest Hip Hop songs on the radio.

Oldies – Who doesn’t love an oldies classic?  From the Beatles, to Aerosmith, to Donna Summer, and Eddie Money, Oldies 103.3 is Boston’s hit station for music of the 60’s 70’s and they have recently started featuring 80’s music!  They also love giveaways and 8 times a day listeners are given the chance to call in and win $1000!  Definitely worth a listen if you ask me.

Sports – We all know sports are huge in Massachusetts, which is why we had to include some info on WEEI, Boston Sports News Radio.  They have up to the second sports coverage and literally talk about sports all day and night. Fans can call in to comment and give their opinion on coaching decisions, trades, wins/losses, and strategies.

Whatever your musical taste is, this list has got you covered and with all of these stations, there are plenty of different listening options during commercial breaks!

 

Photo By: Graur Codrin

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