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BellaOnline's MidAtlantic USA Editor

Traveling on a Whim

The great thing about living in the MidAtlantic region is the flexibility it gives you to just pick up and go whenever you please and have a fantastic vacation. There arenít many places south and west of the MidAtlantic where you can do that. The cities in those areas are just too far apart. The major cities of the MidAtlantic, though, are each just an hour apart, just a short, inexpensive ride along Interstate 95.

Even visitors to Philadelphia on an extended stay can make a quick shopping trip to New York while on vacation. Or, even better, they can shop tax-free in Delaware just 30 minutes away. Or take a dip in the ocean after a drive to the coast, which is slightly farther to travel to than Wilmington or Dover, but not any less convenient.

Can I tell you how many times Iíve gotten up early on a Saturday morning, looked outside, and decided to take a last-minute road trip? Itís been many more times than I should probably admit. But planning for a day trip to one of the nearby cities in the MidAtlantic takes only a few minutes. Iíll show you how.

First, youíve got to do a bit of research. This is easy. Because youíve met up with me here at BellaOnline, you should probably have access to the Internet. What you want to do here is not in-depth research, but just enough to give you what you need to get your trip going. It usually helps if you already know a little about the city youíll be traveling to.

On my very first trip to Philadelphia I did a search for the Liberty Bell and Philadelphia cheesesteaks. Those were the only two things I knew about Philadelphia at the time. So I got the address for the Liberty Bell and one of the more famous Philadelphia cheesesteak restaurants near downtown, got directions online, and then took off.

A good rule to remember is that in most major cities, where there is one famous attraction, there will probably be two or three others nearby. Thatís exactly what I found out when I arrived in Philadelphia. I got to the Liberty Bell and asked a few questions of the locals about other places to visit and I found that not only were Constitution Hall and the Betsy Ross House just blocks away, but the visitors center was just across the street also. I wound up seeing three or four great sites just by doing a search for one place.

Next you need to remember to take cash. There are two very good reasons for this. First, you donít want to rely solely on your credit cards because not every place takes them. Letís say in your travels youíve found a wonderful off-the-wall store where you can buy interesting, non-touristy knickknacks and bric-a-bracs for your home. If they donít take credit cards, youíd be out of luck, and youíd miss the great opportunity to buy unique wares.

Taking cash is also great because it allows you flexibility. If youíre going to a city whose metro system stops running before you can make it back to your car, train, or bus, you might need to take a cab. Cab drivers in most cities these days do not accept credit cards for fares.

Thatís all you need! It really is possible to travel on a whim, without definite plans or reservations, and still end up having a great time. Try it for yourself.

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