Travel

Getting Over the Winter Doldrums

Feb 20, 2014
katie bodner / flickr

To say it’s been a tough winter would be an understatement.

Despite the cold many people have been able to combat cabin fever, including travel contributor Elaine Labalme. She offers suggestions to help you overcome the winter blahs.

Quebec City Embodies the Picturesque Winter

Jan 16, 2014
Michael McDonough / flickr

Our intrepid travel contributor Elaine Labalme continues her trek through the great white north.

This week she talks about Quebec City, capital of the province, where the old buildings reflect classic architecture and vibrant culture.  “It’s very welcoming and it’s a great respite for a few days,” says Labalme.

Terrifically Cosmopolitan Montreal

Jan 9, 2014
Daryl Mitchell / flickr

Combining the best of old-world charm and modern sophistication, travel contributor Elaine Labalme finds Canada’s second largest city, Montreal to be “terrifically cosmopolitan.”

She suggests her favorite spots for food, arts and rest in this northern city.

Approximately 94.5 million Americans are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home this week for the Christmas and New Year holidays, according to AAA East Central. That’s a half a million more travelers than the Christmas travel season last year and the highest number ever recorded for the season.

“The Mid-Atlantic region there’s expected to 10.5 million travelers and most of those will be driving,” said AAA East Central’s Bevi Powell. “There will be about 9.49 million drivers on the road. The Mid-Atlantic region includes New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.”

Pittsburgh International Airport Ready to Battle Snow

Nov 26, 2013

With a winter storm warning in effect until 1 p.m. Wednesday and one of the year's busiest travel days ahead, Pittsburgh International is getting ready to do battle with the ice and snow.

“They start planning for this back in September,” said Pittsburgh Airport Authority spokesman Jeff Martinelli. “When they snow storm started getting reported that it was a possibility they started going over some plans, our operations staff was moving to 12-hour shifts, our snow removal crew is out their doing the best they can and pre-treating runways.”

How Far Will You Go for Turkey this Thanksgiving?

Nov 25, 2013

Thanksgiving week is one of the busiest when it comes to travel, and this year will be no exception. AAA forecasts that nationally 43.4 million people will travel during the holiday week. In the mid-Atlantic region, which includes Pennsylvania, 5.01 million people are expected to travel, a 2.4 percent decrease over last year.

Getting Away With That Special Someone Before the Holidays

Nov 14, 2013
Dustin Williams / Flickr

With winter on the way, there’s no better time to escape the early snows by flying south, taking in gorgeous views, or embracing the snowy winter, with high alpine excursions.

Travel contributor Elaine Labalme shares her top four favorite pre-holiday destinations.

Autumn Coastal Destinations with the New Girl

Nov 7, 2013
Nathan Adams / Flickr

Coastal Destinations make for the best fall travel, according to travel contributor Elaine Labalme.

With better prices on off-season and cozy spots for cuddling, Labalme outlines her top five waterfront excursions. 

Haunted Travel with the New Girl

Oct 31, 2013
Scott / Flickr

For year-round chills and thrills, travel contributor Elaine Labalme offers her top five list for best spooky vacation spots.

Katie Blackley / 90.5WESA

At the Carnegie Mellon University Technology Consulting in the Global Community program, students are matched with worldwide non-governmental organizations to assist these humanitarian groups with technological support.

Dr. Alexander Hills, senior adviser for the program, has compiled a book of five essays by these young professionals. The book Geeks on a Mission: In Their Own Words, reflects the students amazing experiences and the impact on the global communities they aid.

“Yes, we help people and that’s a good thing, but what it does for the student is really, really impressive,” he says.

Pirates Post-Season Travel

Sep 26, 2013
Cavalier92 / Flickr

After more than two decades, the Pirates will finally play in the post-season.

Travel contributor Elaine Labalme shares her favorite hangouts in potential Pirates playoff cities.

Paul Vincent / Flickr

From the wurst to the brats, Oktoberfest celebrations are just around the corner. Travel contributor Elaine Labalme tours festivals from Ohio to Texas, recommending the best and most entertaining German heritage festivities.

Traveling with the Steelers

Sep 5, 2013
James Willamor / Flickr

For devoted fans who follow the Pittsburgh Steelers when they're on the road, travel contributor Elaine Labalme suggests some places to check out while cheering on the black and gold.

From Otto Pizzeria in NYC, to the Harley Davidson Museum in Wisconsin, and Boston’s Freedom Trail, there are some great sights to take in outside the stadiums.

End of Summer Getaways

Aug 29, 2013
Rick Scully / flickr

With the arrival of Labor Day weekend, summer will soon be coming to an end. Travel contributor Elaine Labalme says forecasts call for good weather over the next few days, and families should take full advantage.

Luckily for Pittsburghers, there are a variety of activities nearby for families to check out this holiday weekend.

Jessica Straus / Millenial Train Project


There’s a pervading image of those in the millennial generation being selfish, uncaring youths. With his Millennial Trains Project--in which 18- to 30-year-olds travel across the nation with the goal of aiding and understanding the cities they visit--founder Patrick Dowd hopes to battle that image.

“Young people have the most at stake and the most potential to be agents of change in our world,” says Dowd. “Millennials sometimes get a bad rap for being lazy and narcissistic…and we want to go against that.”

Say Nice Things About Detroit

Aug 1, 2013
Flickr

It might be troubled, but the Motor City still has a sort of beauty all its own, reports travel contributor Elaine Labalme. Citing the amazing parks, sports teams and art galleries, Labalme tells us that the Big D has some serious offerings for Pittsburghers interested in taking a short trip.

While the Detroit Tigers’ Comerica Park is “an absolutely fantastic facility” to see a game, one of the most impressive locations in the city, says Labalme, is “The Joe,” or the Joe Louis Arena, where the Red Wings currently play. It’s a historic arena with stories in every wall and seat. And if you’re looking to grab a bite after the game, try Cliff Bells, where, according to Labalme, “You’re always made to feel welcome.”

Central New York State of Mind

Jul 11, 2013
Darren McGee / Finger Lakes Region

Upstate New York covers a lot of territory. From the Adirondacks to the Thousand Islands there's a lot to see in the Empire State. Travel contributor Elaine Labalme scopes out the central New York region, from Cooperstown to the Finger Lakes.

“The Finger Lakes region is fairly close to western Pennsylvania and there’s lots of arts and recreation you’ll want to access there and it’s an easy trip from Pittsburgh,” says Labalme.

Visiting Disney with the New Girl

Jun 27, 2013
Wikipedia

Each year millions of tourists flock to Florida to soak up the sun on the beach or visit one of its many family friendly destinations. Trips to Disney World have become time honored trips for many families across the nation, and Essential Pittsburgh travel contributor Elaine Labalme is no exception. According to the seasoned traveler, Disney World always has plenty to offer, and has continued to impress throughout her many trips.

What is it about Disney World that keeps her coming back?

New Girl in Town Enjoys Sunshine State

Jun 20, 2013
tripadvisor.com

How many of us don’t pass some of our time dreaming of relaxing on a warm, sandy beach? Would you like to kick back with a cool, refreshing drink, a good book and listen to the waves with few people around? Travel contributor Elaine Labalme is back from a recent visit to the sunshine state with the lowdown on secluded beaches.

Getting Where You're Going with the New Girl in Town

Jun 12, 2013
Ryan Lane / Flickr

Whether you’re traveling by plane, train or automobile, sometimes the journey is more fun than the destination. This week travel contributor Elaine Labalme looks at various modes of transportation.

Kim Seng / Flickr

Ever think of spending your summer vacation visiting America’s national parks? Last week travel contributor Elaine Labalme focused on national parks in the eastern half of the United States. This week we’re heading west to Yellowstone, Yosemite, Zion, Glacier and Rocky Mountain National Parks. Take in the sights, get active outdoors, and guard your picnic baskets!

The New Girl Visits America's National Parks Part One: Eastern Parks

May 29, 2013
Matthew Paulson / Flickr

Now that summer’s here, one of the best places to go and explore the great outdoors is a national park. With so many parks in the U.S. we begin a two part look, focusing on the eastern half of the country including The Everglades, The Great Smoky Mountains, Acadia, Shenandoah, and 
 Cuyahoga Valley

The traditional kick-off to the summer driving season officially gets underway this weekend as millions of people travel for the Memorial Day weekend. According to AAA East Central, approximately 31.2 million motorists will hit the road starting Thursday.

“In the mid-Atlantic region, which includes Pennsylvania, there will be about 3.78 million drivers out on the roadways, so very busy if you’re heading out on a road trip,” said AAA spokeswoman Bevi Powell.

The New Girl in Town is Hitting the Beach

May 22, 2013
Heather McClain / WESA

Memorial Day is the official start to the summer season and many people will be headed to the beach. One shore town you may want to visit is Rehoboth Beach in Delaware. You'll find something for nature lovers at Prime Hook, something for sports adventurers, and for those who just want to stroll along the Boardwalk.

The New Girl in Town Talks Travel, With A Pet

May 15, 2013
Matt DeTurck / Flickr

If you own a pet chances are you consider them a member of the family. So why wouldn’t you take them on the family vacation? This week contributor Elaine Labalme offers tips on traveling with your pet.

The New Girl in Town on Planning a Boys Night Out

May 8, 2013
Nick Knouse / Flickr

Travel writer and contributor Elaine Labalme has many bits of advice for traveling alone, and for the ladies, "traveling with the girls." Now she's got some advice for the gents. 

For even the most laid back guys, planning the perfect weekend bachelor party or reunion of college buddies can be both fun and daunting. Consider some different angles when plotting out your next trip with the guys.

Images From the Silk Road

May 1, 2013
Christopher Rolinson / Point Park University

In 1972, Alban and Virginia Curtze of Erie, PA traveled to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal and India in an area known as the Silk Road. Little did they know their vacation photos would become artifacts of world history. Thirty nine of the Curtze's images have been transferred from slides to 11-by-14-inch prints and are on display at an exhibition on the Point Park University campus. The exhibition curator and associate professor of photojournalism and photography, Christopher Rolinson gives us a tour of the Silk Road images.

The New Girl in Town, Vacationing for a Cause

Apr 24, 2013
Dave Bezaire & Susi Havens-Bezaire / Flickr

While many people use their vacation to get away, soak up the sun and forget about the cares of the world, others vacation for a cause, such as Habitat for Humanity. If a trip like this is in your future, travel contributor Elaine Labalme offers tips for foreign travel including visas, health/safety precautions and more.

For travel volunteerism opportunities with some Pittsburgh based groups check out:

Global Links Pittsburgh

Amizade Global Service Learning

Gasoline prices have fallen about 8 cents this week compared to last.

The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded is $3.56 per gallon, while the national average is $3.52.

AAA East Central said there are several reasons for the price decline.

“One thing is they were very high coming into the winter season, and typically they’re lower during the winter,” said spokeswoman Bevi Powell. “We had a lot of refinery issues at that time that made the prices higher.”

The New Girl in Town on Eco-Friendly Traveling

Mar 27, 2013
Charles & Hudson / Flickr

From buildings to household products we're finding more and more ways to be environmentally conscious. So why not extend our sustainable lifestyles to our vacations?  Travel contributor Elaine Labalme tells us how we can apply eco-friendly awareness to our travels. 

Take a look at some green travel options:

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