Favorite Unusual Museums in the World

We found these museums to be unusual and interesting and thought you might too! Our travel specialists help travelers plan vacations to these popular destinations year round, and these are some unconventional ideas to consider when you’re looking for things to do on your vacation!

Paris Sewer Museum – Paris, France

Of course our travelers flock to popular tourist attractions, including the Eiffel Tower in Paris, but here’s another idea for an attraction to visit: the Paris Sewer Museum. First opened to the public in 1867, the sewer tunnels running underneath Paris are where visitors can gain knowledge of the history and inner workings of the Paris sewer system.

Bata Shoe Museum – Toronto, Canada

The Bata Shoe Museum is home to a collection of more than 10,000 pieces of footwear with over 4,500 years of history. This massive shoe collection will excite those interested in both fashion and history!

Museum of Witchcraft – Cornwall, England

Opened in 1951 by Cecil Williamson, the museum exhibits the largest witchcraft collection in the world. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about the practice and history of witchcraft and magic, and view artifacts such as a witch’s altar and a magician’s sword.

British Lawnmower Museum – Merseyside, England

With over 250 lawnmowers, this museum is a tribute to the garden machine invented in 1830 by Edwin Beard Budding. Sounds pretty interesting doesn’t it?

Toilet Seat Museum – Alamo Heights, Texas, U.S.

Barney Smith, a retired plumber, has been creating toilet seat art for over 30 years. More than 1,000 of his decorated toilet covers are on display in the Toilet Seat Museum… which is in fact Barney’s garage in Alamo Heights, Texas. Since Barney is the only person who operates the museum, we recommend calling first, so he knows to open his doors.

Instant Ramen Museum – Osaka, Japan

Dedicated to ramen noodle cups and creator Momofuko Ando, the museum showcases the many ramen flavors created, and a reproduction of the hut where the noodles were first produced. You’ll even have the opportunity to make fresh noodles and assemble your own cup noodles.

Cumberland Pencil Museum – Keswick, England

The Cumberland Pencil Museum takes visitors through the history of the pencil and pencil making. The museum is also home to the biggest pencil in the world! According to legend, a huge storm in the 1500s uprooted trees in Cumberland, and graphite was discovered. Shepherds used the graphite to mark their sheep, leading to the creation of the pencil industry.

Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum – Gatlinburg, Tennessee, U.S.

Explore the Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum in Gatlinburg, Tennessee housing a collection of over 20,000 sets of salt & pepper shakers from around the world, some dating back to the 1500s. Andrea, an archaeologist, was fascinated by the history behind salt & pepper shakers, and so she launched the museum. The museum also displays the largest collection of pepper mills in the world!

Hawaii Group Vacations and Tips for Traveling to Hawaii

NEW! Upcoming Hawaii Group Tours

Fox World Travel has just announced two, 10-day escorted group tour packages to Hawaii! Explore the Hawaiian Islands of Maui, Oahu and The Big Island, all with the peace of mind of having a Fox World Travel Tour Manager with you and a group of fellow travelers along the way!

You’ll have plenty of free-time and opportunities to explore popular highlights including: Pearl Harbor, the Arizona Memorial, Hawaii’s State Capital, famous beaches, cultural activities, Whaler’s Village, a delightful tour of Maui’s scenic areas, private Circle Island Tour of the Big Island and more!

Tips on Traveling to Hawaii  from our Travel Specialists

For the savvy shoppers, try to plan your stay in Waikiki on Wed, Sat or Sun so that you can take advantage of the ALOHA STADIUM SWAP MEET. Open three days a week, they offer endless rows of over 700 local merchants offering the best value on imported merchandise, hand made items, eclectic art pieces, popular local snacks, and other made in Hawaii products. This is sure to be your one stop destination to find that special gift or souvenir for everyone on your list.
Debbi Haney, Travel Specialist

Many of the hotels in Waikiki are across the street from and easily accessible to the beach. The prices are normally lower than a hotel on the beach. Request a high floor for better views too!
Barbara Anderson, Travel Specialist

Hawaii is an awesome destination, however I would not recommend traveling in January or February, because this is the rainy season. Also, in Honolulu a must see is the Polynesian Cultural Center and Pearl Harbor.
Sherrie Stroh, Travel Specialist

I always recommend clients to buy the entertainment book for Hawaii for many dining discounts etc.
Kathi Madison, Travel Specialist

If you go to Hawaii you should definitely try to go to more than one island. Also make sure you have enough time over there (anywhere from 8 -10 nights). That way you can really do it right. It is a trip of a lifetime… so why rush through it?
Kathy Grant, Travel Specialist

Plan on visiting Oahu first. Honolulu, which no one should miss, is a very busy, big city and it’s nice to get the hustle and bustle done first, so you can relax on the other laidback islands.
-Colleen Alsberg, Fox World Travel Tour Manager

Benefits of Using a Travel Agent

Planning a trip today can be confusing and time-consuming. A travel agent can arrange transportation and help save you money with early booking discounts, special fares, hotel deals and travel advisories. Here are the top four reasons you should be using a travel agent to book your travel:

1. Save money!

When most people think of using a travel agent they probably don’t think they can save money, but often this is the case. Strong working relationships with travel suppliers and the latest in computer reservations technology enable our travel agents to access the most up-to-date information to get you the best value.

2. Traveler advocates

At Fox World Travel, we recognize no two travelers are alike. We will personalize your vacation by taking time to understand your unique travel needs and interests. Your best interests are our top priority.  Fox has a long-standing record—more than 50 years—helping customers create their best trip while being by their side the whole time.

3. Make travel easy

Fox is proud to offer a one-stop shopping experience for all travel arrangements.  Vacations can take on many different forms, and we can help with the details of booking that cruise, train, flight or car.  Because we are advocates (see number two) we take the time to learn what is important and create customized itineraries for you. We take the confusion and stress of planning away so you can sit back and enjoy a memorable experience.

4. Expertise

Our travel agents are knowledgeable and active in the industry. We specialize in all-inclusive vacations,  destination weddings and cruises—just to name a few.  Many of our agents have specific destination knowledge to places like Alaska, the Caribbean, and Europe. Want to take a romantic trip through Italy? We have agents who can key you into the perfect spot to see a Tuscan sunset.  Want to plan a memorable family vacation to Disney? We have Disney certified agents who can make your dreams come true.  Or you do you want to sit back and relax as you cruise blue waters? We have a cruise specialist team who will find the best cruise for you.

We recommend finding a travel agent you can trust and building a relationship with someone for the long haul.  Many of our travel agents have long-standing clients who now trust them to make recommendations without even having to ask!  It’s the exciting world of travel planning relationships!

Avalon Creativity – Paris and Normandy’s Landing Beaches River Cruise, day by day

There’s something so magical about the experience of river cruising in Europe and we thought we’d share it with you first hand, with day by day updates from our popular Tour Manager, Colleen Alsberg.  Colleen escorted a group of travelers from Wisconsin and Illinois on an Avalon Waterways River Cruise, hosted by News talk radio 620 WTMJ’s Jim Peck.

River Cruise: Paris and Normandy’s Landing Beaches
Cruise Ship: Avalon Creativity
2-night stay in Paris
April 2012

View over 150 trip photos on Facebook here

 

Colleen’s day by day updates:

Day 1:  Heads are bobbin’ but the WTMJ travelers are in Paris safe and sound! We are anxiously awaiting our cruise on the Avalon Creativity in a couple of hours and hanging out with our resident celebrity, Mr. Jim Peck.

WTMJ Paris & Normandy trip update: I wish you could have seen the faces of the folks in our group as we explored Paris today. They were like kids at an amusement park, oohing and ahhing at the beautiful monuments and buildings, excited to see what was around the next corner and cameras buzzing. We are having a wonderful sunny day. This afternoon we are off to the Louvre or Versaille, the choice was theirs.

WTMJ Vacation Update: As it was our last night in Paris, we gathered on the sundeck and watched the Eifel Tower sparkle and twinkle. What a magical and romantic evening! Paris sure brings out the romance in people. I think there was a little more hand-holding and kissing’ tonight!

WTMJ Vacation Update: We started our trip down the River Seine this morning and what a glorious start. The sun was bright and the sky could not have been bluer! After arriving in Conflans, some of us traveled to Josephine Bonaparte’s Malmaison Palace, while the rest literally walked into a Van Gogh painting in Auvers sur Oise! Back onboard, we enjoyed a lovely classical trio before what everyone thought was the best dinner to date! Ohhh the French delicacies!

WTMJ Vacation Update: We could not have had a more perfect day yesterday! Visiting Monet’s Giverny in the early morning fog gave his lily pond and gardens a mystical feel. Then the sun shone brilliantly on all the gorgeous flowers and his quaint French village. Everyone loves how diverse this trip is. Later back on board we were treated to fresh crepes for lunch, a fun pastry demo at the afternoon tea and then a hilarious Crew Talent Show after another amazing dinner!

WTMJ Vacation Update: We are in Rouen now and enjoyed a lovely walking tour of the old city. Some highlights: stained glass windows in the cathedral dating back to the 13th Century, St. Joan of Arc history and church, the Astrological Clock, Normandy houses dating back to the time of the plague,  and of course, MACAROONS! For a bigger French city it still has a lot of charm! Some of us took the optional tour to the harbor village of Honfleur. So picturesque, it’s no wonder the artists came here….painted, drank a little absinthe, painted some more!

WTMJ Vacation Update: Had a wonderful dinner last night with Jim Peck and 3 lovely ladies in our group (lucky Jim!). He is full of interesting stories and kept us entertained. Today we are off to Normandy.

WTMJ Vacation Update: It’s hard to put in words all the emotions that were felt today as we visited the sites of WWII. From Pointe du Hoc and Omaha Beach where thousands of soldiers lost their lives, to the American Cemetery where they now peacefully lay. This day was very personal for many on our trip. Fathers, Uncles and Brothers were there on D-Day. Many tears fell, especially when they played the National Anthem and Taps in a special ceremony for us Americans on American soil in France.

WTMJ Vacation Update:  Well we’re home and we had a memorable trip!  I can’t wait to escort our future groups on river cruises throughout Europe.  They offer such a diverse and personal look into some of the most treasured parts of Europe.

How to Read Cruise Brochures

Brochure styles vary by each of the cruise lines. Open any cruise brochure and you are sure to find an overwhelming display of information and photographs. Some cruise lines feature their entire fleet of ships with the itineraries in one brochure. Others have brochures for each destination – such as the Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda, Alaska, Hawaii and Europe.

What you need are just the facts in simple-to-understand terms (of course that’s where a travel agent’s guidance and expertise comes in, especially when you are working with a Master Cruise Counselor who has been on over 30 cruises!! :).

BUT, if you are going to try reading a cruise line brochure for inspiration and ideas, here are some tips and information to consider.

The front of the brochure has the table of contents. Here you’ll also find the illustrations and photos, along with description of the cruise line and the itineraries available in that particular brochure.

Next you will usually find information on any special programs offered such as their kids’ programs. You will also find a quick description of the ports of call and shore excursions offered.  It’s important to be sure the ports of call are going to meet your expectations if the in-destination experience is important to you!  Not all ports are the same. Some offer a wealth of activities, and others cater more towards shoppers, sightseeing, beaches, etc.  It’s important to have an idea of what kind of overall experience you’d like to have beyond the ship before choosing an itinerary.

Deck Plans, staterooms and fares, hotel stays, and past guest programs are usually listed next. A deck plan is a map of the ship that lists all levels of accommodations, shows the location of the restaurants, bars and lounges, swimming pools, fitness center, spa, shops, casino, kids’ center and everything else the ship has to offer.  These are typically color-coordinated and many cruise lines now offer interactive deck maps on their web sites.  These deck maps are also found onboard.

The last few pages of the brochure is where you will find the ‘fine print’. This section usually includes the following information – welcome aboard info, Q-and-A’s, terms and conditions, what you need to know before you go, important policies, and cruise line contact information. Make sure you read it very carefully, or just call your travel agent to walk you through all of the must knows.

The back of the brochure is also where you usually find the information on air and sea programs, cancellation insurance, and any amenity packages offered for your cruise.  Whether flying or driving, we recommend arriving into your port city a day or two early.  Problems can arise (more often than we’d like at times) and you wouldn’t want to miss the ship or start your trip off on the wrong foot.  As always, with cruises especially, we recommend travel insurance.

Trips to Brewers Spring Training and Grand Canyon Tours

Featured Trip:  Brewers Spring Training and the Grand Canyon

March 9-13, 2012

Tavia Vincent, a Fox World Travel Business Travel Specialist in our Corporate Travel Division recently traveled to Arizona and brought back some great insight for our travelers looking to visit the area during Spring Training for Baseball.  Fox World Travel assists travelers in getting to vacation spots worldwide, including many popular domestic locations.  Contact a travel agent if you would like assistance planning your U.S. Vacation!

My family and I are avid Brewers fans so when I heard the spring training games were being played over my kids Spring Break from school I couldn’t resist!  Throw in a one day trip to the Grand Canyon and lots of sunshine and you’ve got yourself a nice long weekend to enjoy!

We flew out of Milwaukee on AirTran non-stop to Phoenix.  The flight was uneventful; however, I will point out this tidbit: AirTran does not have a separate line for checking bags if you have already pre-paid the luggage fee, checked in online and printed your boarding passes.  You must stand in the regular check in line and wait

We stayed at the Residence Inn Phoenix (Apollo 15424).  I chose this hotel for a few reasons; one it was a great price and two, it was only 10 minutes from Maryvale Stadium.  This hotel is set up more like a condo than a hotel.  There are three levels of rooms and no elevators.  The buildings are set in a U shape and in the middle are the pool, sports court, front desk, and dining area.  We had a studio suite that had one queen bed and a sleeper sofa, large kitchen, desk, and bathroom with a separate sink/vanity area from the shower and toilet.  You could tell the hotel had been renovated as it had the newer linens, granite countertops, and new carpet.  Although this hotel is located in a residential area there were plenty of restaurants nearby as well as a grocery store and K-mart for any needed essentials.  The hotel was full and by the looks of it with people attending spring training games.  At breakfast it was amazing to see all the different team apparel!

I was able to get tickets to the game through the Brewer ticket office.  I called the day tickets went on sale and snagged seats 7 rows back from home plate for $22 per person.  What I didn’t take into consideration when I thought I got the deal of the century was that the game we went to was a split squad game and half the team was over in Scottsdale playing another game at the same time.  This left my kids a little sad as they really wanted to see Ryan Braun (and let’s face it, so did I) but they were able to get Jonathan Lucroy’s autograph!  The stadium at Maryvale is a newer facility that reminds me of the Timber Rattler’s stadium.  There really isn’t a bad seat in the house, not even the grass seats!  And as with any sporting event, the concession stands are pricey so be prepared!  This was our first time to a spring training game and I learned a lot.  For those of you that also haven’t had the chance but want to go, here are a few pointers.  The players are on a rotation so if you want to see the whole team ‘play’ you need to attend more than one game.  Two consecutive games is your best bet but make sure that neither of the games are split squad.  The best place to stand for an autograph is section 117.  The players that are not playing that day will generally come out and sign; especially if there are a lot of kids.  Grass seats can be purchased the day of the game so even if you can’t get tickets you can bring a blanket and soak up the sun in the outfield.  If you don’t get enough of the team by going to the games you can go to any of their practices and observe.  The team practices every morning at 9am unless they have a home game that day.  The practice fields are located across the parking lot of the Maryvale Stadium.  There are 5 practice fields and the team plays a ‘game’ at 10am that you can also watch.  There are no fees for parking or observing the practices.

After the game we drove three hours north to Williams, Az.  On the way we stopped off in Flagstaff and on the suggestion of one of our clients and ate at Diablo Burger.  This very tiny joint has earned itself a stamp in the 51 Great Burger joints across America.  All of the food is made from locally grown farmers, including the beef which is 100% grass-fed with no added hormones.  Let me just tell you this burger was so thick you could barely get your mouth around the whole thing!  It was a neat experience but expensive.

I booked a package through the Grand Canyon Railway that included a one night hotel stay, train ride round-trip from Williams to the South Rim, and a motor coach tour upon arrival at the Grand Canyon.  The total cost for my family of four with a travel agent discount was $352.27.  The railway has a hotel right at the depot which provides easy access either before or after your day trip to the canyon.  The depot has a Wild West show before the train departs.  This is cute for the kids, corny for the adults.  The train departs every day at 9am and travels at a whopping 40mph north to the canyon.  I was expecting the train to go faster than that but when we asked our car hostess she informed us the tracks were built back in the 1950’s and can’t handle higher speeds.  The ride takes 2 hours and 15 minutes and there is plenty of entertainment that comes through the cars throughout that time.  The train has a snack car or you are welcome to bring on your own food and drinks.  Upon arrival at the canyon we were directed straight to our motor coach for our tour.  The tour last about an hour and consists of two outer rim view point stops.  Our driver Oscar was very entertaining and informative.  After we returned from the tour we opted for one of the restaurants in the park for lunch.  We waited an hour for our food and ended up have to get it to go.  Needless to say the service is not up to par and I would suggest one of the walk through cafeterias vs. a sit down place unless you have plenty of time on your hands to wait.  The train departs promptly at 330pm to head back to Williams and will leave with or without you…no waiting for missing passengers so you must keep track of time!  Again there were several things to keep you entertained including a special surprise at the end of the ride. (I won’t spoil it)  I would recommend this tour for anyone who wants to see the canyon but doesn’t want to spend days there.  NOTES: This tour does not stop at the location of the south rim where the skywalk is located.  The skywalk is about 40 miles west so if you are one who would dare to walk out on the skywalk this tour will not be for you!  The temperature fluctuates daily at the canyon so check the weather and dress accordingly before you go.  Most often you will need much warmer clothing (pants, jacket, hat).  There are very few railings at the canyon so good walking shoes with traction are a must especially if you go on any of the trails.

There are so many other attractions and things to do in the area that we just didn’t have enough time to get to!  We will definitely go back; and for a longer period of time since none of us wanted to come home!

Where Are the Best National Parks in America?

The United States has some of the most diverse and breathtaking landscapes in the world.  We recommend taking a trip to some of the favorite National Parks in America this summer.  Whether you travel on an escorted tour of America’s parks and hot spots with one of our preferred tour companies who have access to centralized hotels and attractions, or travel independently and work with a travel agent specializing in U.S. Vacations to plan out your itinerary, we are confident you will ensure all that this great country has to offer.

Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon is without question among the most famous of all national parks. Known for being a must-see tourist attraction in Arizona, the Grand Canyon’s size and dramatic landscape make for an unforgettable experience. The diversity of the Grand Canyon’s landscape is sure to amaze you.  The easily-accessible South Rim section offers breathtaking views and attractions, while a hike to the desolate North Rim makes for a more secluded and quiet experience.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado displays dramatic American landscape, with its alpine lakes and vast forests, set among towering mount peaks. This  area is also best known for its diversity of wildlife. Boasting lush meadows, sheer cliffs and over 355 miles of hiking trails, Rocky Mountain National Park is the perfect location for thrill-seekers and nature-lovers alike.

Yellowstone

Despite its remote location in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, millions of tourists travel to Yellowstone Park to take in the beauty of its majestic peaks, wilderness and abundant wildlife. But the park’s main attractions are definitely its hot springs and geysers, including the world-famous Old Faithful. Fishing, hiking or exploring nature trails are all ideal ways to spend your time in Yellowstone Park.

Everglades

Set alongside Florida’s southern coastline, Everglades National Park is full of biodiversity and considered by UNESCO as a World  Heritage site.  It is the largest subtropical wilderness in the world. Within these vast wetlands are interdependent ecosystems including cypress swamps and mangrove forests. Some more colorful inhabitants include crocodiles, panthers, manatees, as well as over 700 varieties of plants and 300 types of birds.

Death Valley 

Death Valley National Park in California and Nevada is the hottest, driest dessert in the country, with the most expansive national park in the continental United States. Within this landscape are natural attractions, including giant sand dunes, widespread salt flats and a variety of geological wonders. For those who can stand the heat, a trip to Death Valley can be a truly rewarding experience.

Yosemite

Yosemite has been attracting tourists from around the globe with its scenery and countless waterfalls. Several well-known rock formations are scattered throughout Yosemite.

Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park runs along over 60 miles of Pacific Coastline beach.  It’s terrain is made up of coastline, snow-capped mountains and undisturbed rainforests.

Great Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee is the most visited national park in the U.S.  You’ll find hundreds of miles of scenic trails and wildlife throughout the park.  Over 9 million tourists flock to the mountains annually to marvel at the park’s coves, waterfalls and trails, all set against the largest U.S. mountain range east of the Rockies.

Acadia

Located at the tip of Maine, Acadia is set along the Atlantic Ocean and a rare natural treasure of the East Coast. A must visit.