Tag Archives: parking

Toronto’s Planet Traveler Eco-Hostel

When I read that the Planet Traveler Hostel  in Toronto was not only an new Eco-Hostel but also in the center of Kensington Market, one of the coolest areas of Toronto, I thought that the price-tag was going to be outrageous, as it sometimes is for shared rooms in major cities.

I was delighted to find out that not only the price was on par or less than several of the major cities I have hosteled in, but also offered me some very comfortable accommodations that came with a very friendly and social atmosphere.

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First floor of Planet Traveler Hostel

The smartly designed rooms are small, but visitors are automatically provided with a key to a tiny locker that not only fits all those shiny electronics that we all like to bring with us, but also includes two electrical outlets so that you can charge your gear while you are resting without worrying about someone grabbing it.

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Multiple doors with Swipes for Keycard to get into the room – very secure.
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Didn’t need this while I was there. Room was nice and dark

Not that I felt that was ever an issue.

When I first arrived at the hostel the room was a mess (sanitary and clean, but clothes everywhere), which made it feel very small. Once the two women that had made the clutter had left, I got to know my other bunkmates very well and we removed all of the remaining clutter the messy roommates had left behind.

From then on, our room was tidy and pleasant.

There was a steady stream of friendly travelers in the room throughout my stay. I felt my belongings were safe in the room, but sometimes outlets are at a minimum in hostels so I am grateful for the lockers with outlets at this location and that they had the foresight to include such helpful innovation.

Speaking of helpful innovation, all guests are REQUIRED to take a tour.

The reason?

The owners of the Planet Traveler hostel want people to know about the ecologically friendly technology that went into the place, like the geothermal heating from the alley next door and the copper wrapped pipes that keep the water piping hot whenever needed.

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Part of the eco tour at Planet Traveler Hostel

Breakfast, consisting of fruit, toast, spreads and coffee, is served until 1pm in the afternoon incase visitors have a late night. I like that this hostel appreciates that people are on vacation and sometimes don’t want to get up at dawn in order to catch breakfast.

While I was there, I also attended a free barbecue on the hostel’s roof, and there were a few other social activities like trivia night and a pub crawl that I would have attended if my schedule allowed.

And about that gorgeous roof…

The roof is where they keep the solar panels that power everything in the hostel – year round.

The roof also has a gorgeous view of the city, and I spent a couple of my nights in Toronto just sitting out on the roof, gazing at the beautiful summer sunset or watching the lights on the CN Tower.

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Toronto’s Skyline from Planet Traveler Hostel’s roof.
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Planet Traveler Hostel Sunset From Roof

It would be freezing up there in winter, but it was delightful during the summer and had better wi-fi than in the main lobby.

And if you are looking for groceries or a reasonably priced meal, Kensington Market (which is really a neighborhood) is a half a block away and offers an overwhelming variety of food choices, and also some very eclectic clothing and shopping opportunities.

PlanetTravelerHostelNeighborhoodby Leslie Lello
Planet Traveler Hostel Neighborhood is Kensington Market

More Kensington…

kensington Market in Toronto near Planet Traveler Hostel by Leslie Lello
Eclectic art in Kensington Market
Kensington Market in Toronto near Planet Traveler Hostel by Leslie Lello
Green Grocers all around in Kensington Market
Planet Traveler Hostel Neighborhood is Kensington Market
Great Mexican Food at Nine Lives in Kensington Market

One important thing to know when you are booking is that there are only three parking spaces reserved for the entire hostel, so let them know you want one (cost $9 per day).

If you don’t get one, you can always go to a municipal lot for about the same price. You just have to walk a few blocks to your car.

This is the indoor municipal lot I stayed in for about 4 days (cost was about $35)

Carpark 68, 20 St. Andrews Street (Kensington Garage)

Planet Traveler Hostel Municipal Parking In Kensington Market
Planet Traveler Hostel Municipal Parking In Kensington Market

Remember, if you don’t have wi-fi in this country then you have to figure out directions beforehand or find open wi-fi.

Handwritten Directions to my car in Kensington Muni Parking
Handwritten Directions to my car in Kensington Muni Parking

I try to find local small businesses in the area for this, but if I’m not sure, my go-to open wi-fi place in Canada is Tim Horton’s, which also has good coffee and snacks that are reasonably priced.

Trusty Tim Horton's for Coffee and Wi-Fi
Trusty Tim Horton’s for Coffee and Wi-Fi

(But if you are in Kensington Market, do your best to support the local businesses. They have had to fight to keep this area cool and unusual and to keep big box stores out, so help them to do that by spending money in the local establishments.)

TBP 0021 Salem Salem Massachusetts – Trip in Review

This is a follow up to last week’s podcast, to round out the bits about Salem Massachusetts that I was not sure about.

Most important additions to TBP 0020 (last week’s podcast):

  • Parking (the main garage in the mall) is $20. Be aware of that so that you don’t get sticker shock.
  • There is a walking tour provided in most of the tourist guidebooks. The tour follows a red line that is literally painted on the ground. Very helpful!
  • If you’d rather take the Salem Trolley, one of the locals said it was awesome and a really good deal for your money. I haven’t done it but probably will on my next trip!

Happy Travel!

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Five Tips for Visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

rock and roll hall of fame bon jovi needs to be a member
I <3 BON JOVI SINCE THE 80’S! They had his motorcycle when I visited a long time a go but he needs to be a member ASAP!

How random is it that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is in Cleveland, Ohio?

One would think it would be New York, Los Angeles or even Nashville…

But if you are crossing the country and getting tired of the typical sights of the mid-west (corn fields, Amish markets, sports stadiums, etc), The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland is an awesome alternative.

Cleveland was one of my favorite stops when I was regularly driving between Chicago and New York because of the Rock Hall!

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is located right on the banks of Lake Erie in Downtown Cleveland and is very easy find. They have signs leading to it from miles away on several of the highways, and if you have GPS you will be all set.

rock and roll hall of fame greenscreen

It’s definitely worth the stop, even if you only have time to check out the free part, which is the main level and part of the basement. You can still get plenty of driving in for the rest of the day.

This is how I visited the first time and it was the perfect way to get some fun in the morning before a long, 8 hour drive to my next stop in the Bronx (New York).

Here are my five tips for visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:

1. If you are looking to stay in a hotel, I recommend staying in the suburbs, near the airport. You will find better rates there, especially if you use one of those Roomsaver booklets that are in every roadside stop on Rt. 80, and many of the places don’t mind if you have a dog (try Best Western or La Quinta). (And if you have to kennel your dog while at the Hall of Fame, there is a Petsmart with a very good Pet Hotel and day-camp that is only slightly out of the way when you are headed to the museum from the airport area).

Grateful dead special exhibit at the Rock and Roll hall of fame 2012

2. Garage parking for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is $10. It’s better to park in the train station and walk two blocks. You’ll be parking outdoors, but it’s equally convenient. One thing to note… they have signs all over the place that tell people to not leave valuables in the car because there have been break-ins. I have never had a problem, but maybe it’s a good idea to leave the laptop in the hotel safe rather than the car when your going to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the day.

3. Leave PLENTY of TIME to see the museum. This museum is HUGE! The first time I visited, it took me two hours to simply go through the free basement and first floor area, which has many awesome relics, like guitars that belonged to some of my favorite rock music legends, and rare candid pictures of artists, as well.
Don't go to the museum on a Cleveland Browns Football Game Day
4. Don’t go on Game Day! One Sunday last fall, I had the whimsy to go to the RRHOF as I was passing through on my way to Indiana. When I arrived, EVERY PARKING LOT WAS FULL and the streets were complete gridlock! The Hall of Fame is right next to FirstEnergy Stadium, the stadium where the Cleveland Browns play football, and the day I went, not only was there a big game, but tailgaters has started to throw back brewskis and bratwurst outside the stadium at the butt-crack of dawn. Needless to say, I did not get into The Hall that day.

5. Become a Member! The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is $22 for an adult pass and $33 for a two day adult pass, at the time this blog post was written. If there are two adults in your party and you pay for parking for two days, the price is $86. Better to get a “Duet Rocker” membership, which includes parking for one of the days, and will bring the price down to $85 and allow you to visit for free for a whole year. You get other perks (like discount purchases in the gift shop) and are helping to preserve rock and roll history for future generations.

Membership rock and roll hall of fame

 

Finally, here is a single shot video I made when I first visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  It is a (almost) 360 degree shot from in front of the Rock Hall.

TBP 0003: New Jersey Do’s And Don’ts for Travelers, Tourists and Visitors

New Jersey Shore and Travel Dos and Don'ts for Tourists

This weeks podcast is about the “Dos and Don’ts” of New Jersey for tourists and tourism… Things you SHOULD check out when you are a tourist and visiting the Garden State, as well as the things that you can skip.

I have also included my (very rough) notes from the podcast, as well as a few short videos I created from a road trip I took down to the shore in April.  (I also wanted to practice using the free version of Animoto.)

I am sure they have rebuilt a lot more of the boardwalk than what you see in the videos, but it will give you a sense of what the Jersey Shore looked like six months after Hurricane Sandy.

It’s rough to look at if you have been going there your entire life. But I’m sure it will have a comeback and it will be the same or better than before.

Sorry about my dog barking in the background on this podcast.  He knows when I am recording and thinks it’s funny to make noise. He had to get his 2 cents in about Jersey, too!  🙂

 

New Jersey Dos and Don’ts for Tourists and Visitors

ANIMOTO VIDEOS:

PODCAST: