Category Archives: Travel

Cheap Vacation Ideas

We all need a vacation at least once in a year. Somewhere to go without having to worry about our day-to-day troubles and work. But the impact of the last recession still exists on our pockets. So how to take that much-needed vacation on a shoestring budget? With these ideas of course! These ideas are perfect for a few days of fun, and then again, won’t burn a hole in your shallow pockets!

Right, so it’s that time of the year where the parents are bored of their daily work and the kids are absolutely refusing to study or attend any more of those ‘diagnostic’ classes. Sounds like everyone needs a little break here! So where can you go on a family vacation?

Rent a Vacation Home

I’m sure you must be knowing some rich friend or a rich relative who’d put you and your family up for a couple of nights. Or you could have your boss or some other person rent it to you too. If not these, then you can go to any of those vacation spots. The chances are that the owner won’t be there in the off-season and will be happy to make a few bucks off the house. And it’s a good vacation for you too!

Visit Relatives

Want an even cheaper option? Go stay at your relatives place. But make sure they’re fun and aren’t having someone over already!

Ideas for Couples
Want to take your loved one somewhere great and yet not have to cut your pockets open? Well, with these ideas, you can have your cake and eat it too!

Ski Lodges

Well, ski-lodges will be pretty uncool in the off-season, but you will still find some lodges with great prices which still seem off-season. You can go skiing and even hiking. And if you don’t know, or don’t like skiing, who cares? You and your partner could cuddle up and stay indoors!

Camping

Camping works as a cheap vacation idea for couples too! Beaches would be one of the best places to go with your partner. The long walks at night, with the sound of the waves and the soft water-soaked sand beneath your feet will totally bring back the romance for you. You could even share a sleeping bag at night!

Amusement Parks

Amusement parks are one of the best cheap vacation destinations for anyone, whether it is a couple or a family. The lodging will be cheap and there’s so much to do. If the place is closer to home, so much the better!

Cruise Trips

Surprised? You might be because most people don’t know how many cruise trips are available at cut-price rates off season. Cruises come in all prices, and if you get one of those self-service or pay-as-you-use ones, the expense becomes quite optional.

Staycation

The cheapest option would be to stay at home and do nothing. Don’t go to work, don’t do the chores. Nothing. Just sit indoors and enjoy your house. Treat the house like a cheap motel and stay indoors and have some fun!
So these were some great ideas. As you can see, you don’t always need to spend a fortune on your vacations. A little research will yield great ideas for a cheap vacation.

Cheap Vacations for Couples

3057392154_62dd62076e_bSummer Vacation Ideas

Yellowstone National Park
Divided between three states in America, this park (and a World Heritage Site) is one of the most famed vacation spots globally. The highlights of this park are its mountain ranges (and hence the trails), waterfalls & cascades (more than 45) and plateaus (some of them, lava-formed). Must-see sites include Eagle Peak, Yellowstone Lake, Yellowstone Falls, Silver Cord Cascade, etc.

Lisbon
The wealthiest region in Europe, this season is your chance of visiting this global city and capital of Portugal for a little less money. 3 years back, it was the 7th most-visited city in South of Europe. Must-see sites include the two World Heritage Sites of Jeronimos Monastery and Belem Tower, Alcantara docks, Praca do Comercio, Rua Augusta Arch, Chiado Square, Pavilhao Atlantico, Castle of Sao Jorge and the Lisbon Zoo that hosts more than 2000 animals.

Singapore
Known as the most popular destinations in South East Asia and together cater to millions of tourists. Singapore alone has said to attract tourists double the size of its population. Sentosa Island, Universal Studios, Marina Bay Sands, Night Safari, Underwater World Aquarium, Jurong Bird Park and VivoCity.

Malaysia
The Petronas Twin Towers, Teluk Cempedak, Perhentian Besar, Mulu Caves and George Town.

Thailand
Phanom Rung, Phuket, Pattaya, Ko Samui, and The Thung Salaeng Luang National Park.

Bulgaria
Known for the most inexpensive resorts in Europe, this place is your chance of visiting few of Europe’s secluded beaches, away from all the tourist crowds. Must-see sites include The city of Veliko Tarnovo, The National Historical Museum in capital city of Sofia, the Balkan Mountains, the Rhodope Mountains, the Trigrad Gorge, the Ustra ruins, and the Bachkovo Monastery, which is one of Europe’s oldest and largest Eastern Orthodox monasteries.
Winter Vacation Ideas

Central America
Central America consists of seven countries – El Salvador, Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama and Honduras. Central America is home to some breath-taking beaches and rare species of flora and fauna. Must-see sites include El Chorreron and Coatepeque Caldera (El Salvador), San Pedro Beach (Belize), Poás Volcano Crater (Costa Rica), Tikal Ruins (Guatemala), Corn Island (Nicaragua), Mayan Stelae and Roatán (Honduras), and Panamá Viejo (Panama).

Kenya
Main attractions include the Masai Mara National Reserve, Aberdare National Park and the Samburu National Reserve .First let me tell you that you will be missing the annual Wildebeest Migration from Tanzania to the Masai Mara that happens between July to September. This includes Cheetah, Leopard, Lion, Black Rhino, Buffalo, Zebra, Giraffe, Elephant, Hartebeest. You can see the Crocodiles and Hippos too! Also found are Somali Ostrich, Oryx, Grevy’s Zebra, Gerenuk and Hyenas among many others!

Dubai
Dubai is the cultural and economic hub of the Middle East. An ideal destination for couples, try to book a helicopter for a beautiful aerial view of this country. Must-see sites include Al Fahidi Fort, Wild Wadi Water Theme Park, Ski Dubai in Mall of the Emirates, Dubai International Film Festival, Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab, Palm Jumeirah, Floating Bridge, The Dubai Fountain and the Jumeirah Lake Towers. Also, DO NOT miss the Dubai Shopping Festival and Dune bashing.

Philippines
An archipelago consisting of 7107 islands, this is an ideal destination for couples seeking adventure or relaxation, together. Some of the Must-see sites include the Manila Ocean Park, Banaue Rice Terraces, Chocolate Hills, Mount Apo, Mount Santo Tomas, Taal (also the lake) and Mayon Volcano, Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, Star City, Enchanted Kingdom, Taoist Temple Cebu.
Autumn Vacation Ideas

Death Valley
If you want to celebrate your vacation at an extraordinary spot by not spending much, Death Valley is the perfect choice. The park is filled with rare and exotic species of animals and plants. The park is filled with ranches which provide accommodation for couples who prefer an adventurous night experience. Must-see sites include Artist’s Palette, Charcoal Kilns, Badwater Basin, Mosaic Canyon, Red Cathedral, Zabriskie Point, Devil’s Golf Course and the Ubehebe Crater.

Ireland
The republic of Ireland, which constitutes 1/5th of the island of Ireland, is a paradise on earth. Since this season is comparatively cheaper for planning a trip, I would advise you to make most of it. Few of the main cities in this country are Dublin, Cork, and Galway. Other than the attractions in these, you Must-see Carrantuohill, the highest peak in the country, which is great for hiking. Standing tall at 1038 meters, it is located in County Kerry.

New Zealand
The island is famous for its beautiful white sandy beaches, thermal geysers, glaciers and snow clad mountains. Must-see sites include Stirling Falls, Milford Sound, Mitre Peak, Aoraki/Mount Cook (highest mountain in NZ), Totaranui and the entire Abel Tasman National Park, Tongariro Alpine Crossing and the entire Tongariro National Park. Apart from these, cities such as Queenstown, Wellington, Rotorua and Christchurch. The Waitomo Caves and Bay of Islands are also highly visited.

Argentina
In this city alone, you can visit the San Telmo, Montserrat, Plaza de Mayo La Casa Rosada, Banco de la Nación Argentina and the Metropolitan Cathedral. Also famous are The Perito Moreno Glacier in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares and Cerro Catedral in Nahuel Huapi National Park. Enotourism, commonly called wine tourism is famous in the Mendoza province. Don’t forget to see the Lácar Lake, Neuquén River and Punta Tombo for the largest colony of Magellan Penguins in Patagonia.
Spring Vacation Ideas

Kashmir
The Valley, Mughal Gardens, Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Jammu, Dal Lake and Leh in Ladakh. Some areas in Kashmir require a special permit, for non-Indians.

Himachal Pradesh
Shimla, Manali, Kullu, Kasauli, McLeod Ganj in Dharamshala and the Kalka-Shimla Railway. Dharamshala is the headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile.

Turkey
This Eurasian country is home to magnificent landmarks, beautiful white sand beaches, amazing restaurants and museums filled with artifacts which display the richness of Turkey’s history. Must-see sites include the Fairy Chimneys in Cappadocia, Ararat, bordered by 8 countries, Dead Sea Beach, beaches in the Turkish Riviera, Ortaköy Mosque, Bosphorus Bridge and the Hot water springs in Hierapolis (World Heritage Site). The country has more than 280 archaeological sites.

Italy
Historic Centers of Florence and Rome (World Heritage Sites), Piazza del Duomo (Milan), Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Fontana della Barcaccia and Piazza del Campidoglio (Rome), Syracuse and Segesta (Sicily). Also, a couple vacation isn’t complete without Venice and its Lagoons (World Heritage Site).

Spain
Beaches of Sardinero, Campoamor (little secluded), Platja de la Nova Icària (crowded) and Valencia, Alhambra (Granada), Plaça Reial (Barcelona), Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Picos de Europa National Park, Pamplona and of course Alcalá Street, Plaza Mayor and Gran Vía (Madrid).

Los Angeles
There are so many avenues for recreation that you wouldn’t be able to cover them all. Must-see sites include Disneyland, Getty Center, Hollywood Bowl, Santa Monica Pier, Griffith Park, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Hollywood Walk of Fame, Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood Wax Museum, Olvera Street, Knott’s Berry Farm, Venice Boardwalk (something definitely different!), Universal Studios (entry around $70), Venice Canals and of course, Manhattan Beach.

Senior Trip Ideas

High school is over, and there’s a bittersweet feeling that has taken over. You are excited about graduation, going to college, and being independent, but at the same time, you’ll be leaving behind some great friends that you made throughout this time. It seems abrupt to you, like a sudden break from the life you’ve lived and people you knew for so long. What now? Don’t you want to extend the last few days? Why not plan a senior class trip? It would be the perfect way to say goodbye to all your friends, while making new and happy memories.

Places to Visit

New York city literally has everything! If you grew up in a small town or countryside, there is nothing that can parallel the big city experience like New York. What is more ideal than Manhattan to initiate you into it? New York can be an ideal place for an educational as well as a fun trip. One can visit one of the several famed museums, like the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) or the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, or study the different architectures of the Brooklyn bridge or the Chrysler building. For business aficionados, there’s the stock exchange. For romantics, the Central Park and its horse driven carriages. You name it and it’s there! Perfect choice for a spring break vacation.

Cape Cod (simply called Cape) is one of the main attractions of Massachusetts. It is sprawled by long miles of coastlines, and is considered one of the best beach vacation spots in the US. The ocean breeze that blows throughout the day and night is something that you wouldn’t want to miss. And it’s not just the beaches that are up on offer – the cuisine offered is one of the best in the world, it is said. There are also several art and cultural activities, quaint little shops, wooden bicycle paths, and scores of festivals and events to make your trip that much more fun. All in all – a complete stress buster.

Popularly known as the Bay State, Boston offers its visitors several things that one can choose from. Visit the Bunker Hill Monument, take a tour of the Harvard bookstore, or learn something about the historical events of Boston at the Massachusetts Historical Society. Simply choose one of the days that the Museum of Fine Arts admits people in for free, and soak yourself in the art of the state, or tour the famous Massachusetts state house on Beacon hill. The days will simply slip by.

You may have to plan for this one a little in advance, but it’ll all be worth it. What with the rich culture, the beaches, and the cuisine. These being just some of the options that you can try in Hawaii. There are several others that you can undertake as well, like exclusive beach activities that involve snorkeling and deep water diving, or a tour of the culture of the beautiful islands in Hawaii. The kind of things you plan will solely depend on your budget. The fancier the budget, the better or richer experiences you can bring in. Granted that this might be one of the more extravagant trips that you can take up as a senior, but it’s fun nonetheless.
Activities

Visit some of the best mountain ranges in the US and have some great skiing experiences. There are some world renowned ranges in Aspen, Colorado, that you could visit and indulge in some skiing. You could even take up skiing classes which are meant for beginners, and experience the thrills of the mountains. Or simply visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There is a wide variety of animal and plant life there that you could watch and learn from. The peace that comes with it is something that cannot be put down in words.

If you want to experience the thrill of the journey more than making it to the destination, think about the different train and sea cruises that are offered. Granted, the destination will be grand, but ‘getting there’ will heighten the fun and adventure even more. Plan with your class the kind of destination they want to go to, and then set about researching the best trains or cruises that are offered to get there. Got to be one of the most fun vacation ideas of all time.

Camping is one of the most popular choices for cheap vacation ideas, and make for great trips. Everyone must have camped at some time or the other with their family or friends. This is your chance to relive the thrill of camping out in the wild, catching and cooking your own fish, and going on nature trails. Seems fun? We thought so too.

If your budget is extravagant enough, you could even visit a different country. Go on a tour of Europe or visit a small town in India. The experience of getting to know different cultures, cuisines, and people will be extraordinary. And we bet this will be a unique experience that will stay with you forever.

Travel Trailer Insurance Tips

So you have bought an expensive travel trailer and are now worried about its safety, right? Happens! Humans usually indulge first and then think later – that’s human mentality. However, there are a lot of options for getting insurance and most of them would be quite suitable to you. You need to be vigilant, and make sure that you are getting what you bargained for. It is quite a cliché to say that you have to minutely read the fine print, but there it goes – YOU HAVE TO MINUTELY READ THE FINE PRINT! There is no way you can ensure you are getting what you want without that.

Now, here are some of the things you need to keep your eyes peeled for:-

Tip # 1- Check What Coverage You Are Getting
Make doubly sure what your insurance will cover you for. These are the least types of coverage that you must get:-

  • Losses due to accidents and collisions
  • Destruction or damage due to fire and related perils
  • Losses due to natural calamities such as hurricanes, floods, landslides, hails, storms, lightning, etc.
  • Damage done due to animals
  • Damage done due to vandalism
  • Damage done due to unavoidable roadside perils such as low hanging branches and bad road conditions
  • Loss due to theft

Bad faith is not unheard of in the claims. Hence, it is important that you make sure everything you want is specified clearly.

Tip # 2- Check the Emergency Expenses Coverage
Most policies must cover for the unexpected expenses that you might have to incur if your trailer broke down on the way. There are many such expenses that might happen, such as you might have to spend a night in a motel, you might have to pay extra for towing the trailer or making repairs, etc. If you want coverage in such situations, check that the documentation explicitly mentions that.

Tip # 3- Check for Fixtures Coverage
Do you have expensive gear affixed on your trailer? Your policy should, by default, cover for the permanent fixtures that came with the vehicle, but if you have done any additions later, see how you can cover them with the policy. You might have expensive awnings or even drapes on your travel trailer windows. Or there might be some antennas and satellite dishes you have connected. Such peripheral accessories can be covered for, but only if you specifically mention them. You might have to pay extra premium on that, but if you are traveling a lot in unknown places, you might as well equip yourself against their losses.

Tip # 4- Check for Parked Trailer Coverage
This coverage is different from the coverage you can get when the trailer is moving. In case your vehicle is parked at a campsite or any other such place and you are using it as a temporary residence, you will get a different kind of coverage during those times. Be aware of that, and speak with the policy representatives about it.

Tip # 5- Check for Distance Conditions
All these policies have some restrictions about the claims they will pay depending on the distance of the trailer from the permanent residence of the person. Some policies will have more coverage if the damage or loss is afflicted out of a particular area, which is mostly about 50 miles away from home in any direction. Check out what the policy conditions are based on these distance restrictions. See whether they will pay at all if the damage is done much closer to home. If not, you better look for some other policy.

Tip # 6- Check for Other Miscellaneous Terms and Conditions
Like all other policies, travel insurance policies also have a very long list of yeses and nos when it comes to paying out the claims. Some policies would be applicable only if the damage was done when the trailer is moving, while some will cover damages occurred when parked. Such policies are called full-timer policies, and even if they are dearer on the premiums, they are the wiser choice to take. You cannot imagine how many dangers lurk for your trailer in your own neighborhood. Take vandalism for instance. Make sure you cover your precious trailer for every moment that it is with you.

The final point that needs to be made is that you should go for travel trailer coverage only from people who are experienced. Check out some references and do an online search on their reputations. Most vendors of housing, car, and other types of insurances may not be quite adept at managing these insurances, because this is entirely a different ballgame. See that you do not end up with the short end of the stick with a company that doesn’t know what it is actually in the business for.

Healthy Road Trip Snacks

Even if you’re not a calorie conscious person, it is wise to keep away from the chocolate bars and ice cream sodas, as the intake of sugar in these products can make you drowsy. The next few lines will throw light on healthy snacks that are favorable on a road trip.

Fruits and Vegetables
On any road trip, a fair share of fruits such as bananas, apples, grapes, and oranges are a great way to fight hunger. You can have these fruits either whole or opt for a fruit salad. In case you decide to carry fruit salad on your road trip, see to it that it’s kept in a little ice box. You can also dice fruits and vegetables and make your favorite dips. Carrot sticks and cherry tomatoes too make a great snack. Carrying a small pocket knife always comes in handy during a road trip.

Snacks at Restaurants
If you haven’t packed healthy snacks for your road trip and want to stop for a quick bite, you can order an omelet stuffed with vegetables and accompanied with brown bread. If you have a sweet tooth, you could choose a muffin which has a good nutritional value. A glass of fresh fruit juice adds to the fiber and vitamin quotient. You can also choose whole wheat toast with some peanut butter. For all you potato lovers, baked potato chips are a good option instead of the greasy deep-fried ones. Sandwiches with spinach and low-fat cheese are another great option. Make sure you order whole wheat bread for your sandwiches. For those who cannot resist chicken, preferably opt for the baked variety, rather than the fried ones.

Dry Fruits
These are a great snack on a long road trip. Dry fruits and nuts are a great combination for any road trip, be it any place. You can pack a whole variety of raisins along with almonds, walnuts, and pecans to add that tangy flavor to your appetite. See to it that you consume these in small proportions, rather than all at one go, as too much of anything can cause stomach upsets.

Cookies
These are a favorite with children on road trips. Keep in mind the type of cookies that you take along. Avoid gooey cookies that can mess up the interiors of the car. Dry cookies are a safe option when it comes to road trips. You can choose walnut and almond cookies or the ones with chocolate chips, depending on the preferences of your children. Cookies made from oat are another great option for any road trip.

During a road trip make sure that you consume a lot of water to avoid dehydration. Scoops of yogurt and fresh fruit juice along the way are a refreshing way to beat the heat. Packing a healthy snack on a road trip doesn’t mean cramming in snacks that could serve an entire generation. Pack the required amount of snacks that you will need for that specific trip and enjoy the memorable experience.

Tips for Planning a Road Trip With Kids

Kids are the fun element at every event, be it a road trip or an outing. With those little ones around the trip, it is all the more pepped up and full of energy. But, parents have to be careful and completely equipped, when it comes to taking kids out on a road trip. This is because when on a road trip, you spend maximum time in the car, at first it would be fascinating for kids to look out of the window, but after sometime the novelty wears off and then what? Your kid might get bored! Plus there are various factors like, children usually suffer from motion sickness or will want to pee every now and then during the road trip. Therefore, you have to be well prepared for all the outcomes and demands for your young ones.

Road trips are all about jumping into a car and heading to create plenty of cherished memories and explore new adventurous avenues. All it takes to ensure a fun and safe trip is a little organization and a lot of humor, which parents usually forget to carry along with them. Just leave your strictness back at home and enjoy along with your little ones.
How to Plan a Road Trip with Kids
Kids always want to munch on something, so pack some fun foods for the road trip. Being parents, you are surely not going to be happy with your children eating junk, so what you can do is make cup cakes, sandwiches, pancakes, juice boxes, crackers and some more fun foods. This will ensure your kids are eating healthy foods and enjoying it too!

Always remember to carry small garbage and vomit bags. If you are on a long road trip there are chances that kids might suffer from motion sickness and with all that they munch on during the trip, they might just throw up, therefore it is important to be armed with all the necessary accessories for a clutter free road trip.

Entertain your kids! There is every possible chance that your little ones might irritate you or get bored during the trip; the best way to combat their boredom is to keep them occupied. Bring along your child’s coloring books, pencil and crayons. You need not be told to bring along their portable games. You can also carry baseball or carom equipment, that the entire family can enjoy. Do not forget the beach kit, if you happen to visit a place near the seashore.

Carry your child’s favorite music CD along. It is super fun to listen to those rhymes or kiddo music, you are sure to get nostalgic about your childhood memories. You can also carry portable devices like iPods, mp3 players or a disc-man.

This might seem like an obvious recommendation, but parents hardly follow it. Don’t rush or be in a hurry to reach the destination, take your time, it’s a vacation and the whole idea is to relax. Stop the car every 2 hours for your kids to stretch their legs and get some fresh air. Moreover, every time you stop make sure your kid uses the washroom!

Talk to your kids! This is very important and something parents really miss out on. Vacation is the time you get to spend with your family, make complete use of it. Ask them to tell you a story or sing along with the music playing in the background. It is also very important to keep informing your young ones about the various locations or landmarks you pass by, this will educate them and keep them occupied in the bargain.

Packing for your kids clothes would seem like a daunting task, but simplify it. There is no need to carry lots of clothes. Just keep it simple and light. Make sure you carry more of undergarments and socks, may be three pairs of shirts and shorts or pajamas, jeans (only if you really want it) and one sweat shirt. Consider the weather before you start packing and layering clothes. You sure must be planning to stay in hotel rooms, they have laundry services, so you need not worry much.

Keep paper napkins and a hand sanitizer handy. Kids and mess go hand in hand, so paper napkins are a must to clean your kid’s hands and face after eating. Plus a hand sanitizer will ensure clean hands before eating. Considering the climate carry your sunscreen if it is sunny, as you don’t want your young ones to get tanned and cold creams or moisturizers in case it is going to be cold.

Gone are the days when you could jump in the car and head to your destination, sleep in the car or just stop at a motel on the roadside. With children along you have to be more responsible and confirm your hotel bookings way in advance. Remember to pre-program your GPS to help you locate the place in case you get lost. If you are not into GPS directions, carry a simple printed map that will guide you with the directions.

Keep your cool!!! Let kids be kids! They are bound to get excited and crazier while on a road trip and more if it is their first time. Let the craziness be infectious and you too get a little crazy with them and enjoy. And do not forget to carry your camera, after all these memories need to be preserved and cherished forever.

This article for sure has equipped you with the possible tips for planning a trip with kids. However, any amount of planning and organization will not stop your kid from asking you in his cute innocent tone, “Pa! Are we there yet?”. Well… it indeed is great fun with kids around and memorable too!l

How to Plan a Road Trip

Trips are a great bonding experience. They bring families and friends closer, and most importantly, create wonderful memories for lifetime. Umpteen number of things have to be considered, as it is more difficult than what it seems. Your planning alone will make the trip either disastrous or a great one. To avoid all these pitfalls, we have made a list of various factors to be considered while planning your road trip.

Planning a Road Trip Well

Destination

Selecting a destination is very important. And more so if you are planning it across America, as the country gives a wide variety right from deserts, mountains, ocean shores, shopping destinations or small towns that haven’t changed for years now. All of them are super exciting to explore and the trip is sure to amaze you with how diverse and huge the US is. Once you zero down on to your destination, decide the route you are going to take. Keep a map handy, you never know.

Fuel and Other Fluids Check in the Car

Make sure you check whether there is enough gas, get the oil changed, fill the windshield fluid, and get your car ready for the long trip. Get the car fully serviced to avoid trouble during the trip. Do not forget about keeping your license, registration, and insurance up-to-date in your car.

Companions

The people you are planning the road trip with make all the difference in the basic planning. If you have your family and kids along, you have to be a little more attentive towards their needs, and if you’re planning it with your friends, it can be more spaced out and relaxed. But anyway, both are going to be super fun and memorable.

Music…Food…Bags…

Music gets everything rocking. Carry your favorite music which can be played in the car while driving. Music also reduces the intensity of fatigue on a long road trip. If you’re planning the trip with your kids, make sure you carry snacks, water-bottles, juice boxes and fruits. Store convenient food anyway. Carry garbage bags to dispose the waste. Some kids or even adults suffer from motion sickness, therefore you must carry vomit bags too. Also make sure you and the kids (if traveling with them) use the restroom every time you stop.

Cash…Camera…Games…

Ensure you carry enough cash or cards and don’t run out of them. With less cash or no cash, you just might have to compromise on a lot of things, which I’m sure you don’t want to, so go loaded. To capture beautiful moments and make them immortal, a camera is essential. Make sure you carry it along, charge it and replace it with new batteries if the camera happens to work on batteries. Games!! Here is when the fun comes in. Plan for games, adults enjoy it as much as kids, and they are always a great idea on a long road trip.

Accommodations

If you are traveling with kids and family, hotel reservations are compulsory and should be confirmed beforehand. With friends, trust me, it’s fun to stay at a roadside motel when it gets dark, and just adds more adventure to your trip; you get to meet all kinds of interesting people as well.

Other Accessories

Figuring out what has to be carried during the road trip and packing your trunk efficiently is another important thing. You don’t want to regret forgetting something you ‘so’ wanted on the trip. For example, your sunglasses and sunscreen must be carried. If you don’t want those embarrassing sunburns and the tan, sunscreen should be kept handy. Sunglasses reduce the strain on your eyes and look stylish at the same time. Wearing flip-flops is recommended, because during a long road trip, kids or may be even adults usually happen to take them off in the car. They are easy and convenient to slip into and take off during every pit stop.

Avoid Peak Traffic Hours

A trip that you have planned most probably is because you want to break from the long work hours, traffic and routine, right? Therefore, check your route and study the place well. Remember, even though you are on a vacation, the world is still working. Make sure you avoid the rush hours, because then you will be beating the whole purpose of the trip itself. So, plan your route accordingly. You can also make use of bypasses and alternate routes to avoid peak driving times.

Acquire Ideas and Information about the Place

Put in more time and interest in planning your trip. Get to know all the famous areas and places in and around the destination, and make sure you visit them, because you do not want to miss out on anything. Find out the different attractions and how to get there. You can also consult road trip planners for more ideas.

Just Go All Out and Have Fun!!!

A happy state of mind is the aim of the trip. So go all out and have a blast. Despite proper planning, things can go wrong sometime. But, you don’t have to worry, instead take it in the right stride. You are going to be laughing uproariously on those silly things that went wrong when you look back at it once you are back from the trip. Lay back. Relax. Laugh. And enjoy the self planned road trip!!!
With the above checklist, nothing can go wrong planning a road trip. So now that you know how to plan a road trip, make it the most memorable one, enjoy and have a blast!!!

Benefits of Hiking

Physical benefits of hiking are plenty, provided one carries it out on a regular basis. However, before starting a hike, it is important to check on a few things like the climate, location, and the path to follow. Also, it is important to have company with you. Start slow, follow familiar paths, and wear good hiking shoes to avoid any accidents. This physical activity has numerous health benefits, some of which are given below:

Weight Loss
Weight loss is the major benefit. With the trail climbing up and down the hill, one burns a lot of calories. When combined with a balanced and healthy diet, it provides a healthy way to lose weight, and get a lean body.

Body Toning
The lower body gets toned, when one goes on a hike on a regular basis. Trails where there are some elevations are the best, as they act as muscle toning workouts. Also, one could carry some weights on his/her back which can increase the strength. For a beginner, it is always recommended to start off with flat land first, followed by small hills and later on progressing to difficult hills.

Not Tough
It is not tough, and can be taken up by anyone irrespective of the age. Initially, a flat terrain can be selected according to age. Those who have a considerable amount of experience and those with age on their side, can proceed quickly to more complicated trails. People affected with arthritis and joint pain can also benefit from hiking, as the leg muscles get strengthened in this exercise.

Prevention of Heart Diseases
As a result of regular pumping of blood and increase in the blood circulation, many heart diseases can be prevented. Fat is burnt better and the level of the good cholesterol, i.e., HDL, increases in the body. This helps in keeping the body healthy. The arteries get dilated, thereby reducing the pressure on the heart and preventing cardiovascular diseases.

Lowering the Blood Pressure
One of the important benefit is the reduction in blood pressure. The blood vessels and the arteries dilate and the insulin production reduces, thereby leading to a reduction in the blood pressure. Thus, reduction in the blood pressure in people affected from hypertension, is one of the important benefits of this outdoor activity.

Slows Down Aging Process
It has been proved that people who exercise regularly age slowly. Also, their immune system is well-equipped to fight against infection. In fact, inactivity makes one susceptible to premature aging, and some amount of regular exercise is very important in everyone’s life.

Stress Buster
Everyone is under some amount of stress in one way or the other. Some may eat a lot when under pressure, while some cannot eat at all. As both these conditions are undesirable and unhealthy, getting rid of this stress is very important. This activity helps by acting as a powerful stress buster. Getting up early and going for a hike all by yourself, gives you time to think and also helps you to de-stress. It freshens you up, which in turn, brings your appetite to normal and helps you to remain fit.

Other Health Benefits
Some other benefits include controlling diabetes and improving osteoporosis. The immune system also gets strengthened due to the fresh air that we breathe, and this helps in reducing other problems like flu, cold, and sinus problems. People with persistent back pain can also find relief due to this activity. However, it is recommended that people with all the aforementioned conditions should consult their doctor before starting with this activity.

Unlike gym, hiking is an outdoor activity, and a fat burning exercise at the same time. The fresh air and sunlight in the morning, lightens the mood and freshens up a person. When coupled with a balanced diet, it promotes the overall health of a person.

Hiking Safety Tips

A very popular outdoor activity, hiking involves walking in natural surroundings while reveling the mesmerizing nature. With its growing popularity, numerous hiking organizations have cropped up everywhere over the last decade or so. Along with the tremendous rise in the number of people taking to it, the number of accidents has also increased. Most of these accidents can be attributed to carelessness on the part of hikers, or improper planning, and therefore, one has to take his safety into consideration when opting to go hiking.

Hiking Safety Tips to Remember

Planning is the most important part of your hiking escapade. It’s always better to have basic knowledge about the terrain of the region and weather conditions prevailing there. You can look for this information on the Internet or consult hiking enthusiasts who have been there before. It’s important to choose the right time for the hike. You surely wouldn’t want to end up in bad weather. While it’s nearly impossible to predict what the weather has in store for us, we can always take necessary precautions and be safe on our part.

Basic study about the environment of the chosen place will tell you what all things you should and you shouldn’t do. For instance, some berries are poisonous. Hence, though tempting, berries are best avoided. Same is the case with animals. Small, colorful insects found in the wilderness can be highly venomous. Hence, it’s better to keep a safe distance from them. Basically, you should keep a safe distance from anything that you don’t know much about.

Drinking water from a crystal clear mountain stream may make you feel like you are getting closer to the nature, but you need to know that this stream water can have some harmful bacteria. It is wise to carry water from your home. Keep some water purifier (such as chlorine) with you while you are backpacking. At times, you may be left with no option, but to drink stream water. In such a situation, these purifiers will come handy.

When outdoors, especially during overnight trips, fire is one of the most essential things needed. So always choose to carry a matchbox or lighter and, more importantly, be careful with it. Out in the wild, you can trigger a forest fire with a small match stick. So be careful while lighting bonfires or using fire torches.

Learn the basics of first aid and make sure to carry a first aid kit with you. Minor injuries are common during hiking, but these injuries shouldn’t spoil your fun. Basics in first aid will arm you with skills required to overcome stress and deal with certain types of injuries. Your first aid kit should include bandages, anti-bacterial cream, disinfectant, etc. Information about the nearest hospital can be of great help in case of some serious injury.

Some people just grasp the basic knowledge about the environment and later, when they face a situation, they try to recollect what they had read. A better way is to carry field guides containing basic knowledge about the area, as well as flora and fauna found there. A field guide with a printed map of the area can also be of great help.

Small gadgets can turn out to be lifesaving in emergency situations. Some of the camping gear you ought to have in your backpack includes a flashlight, army knife, compass, and binoculars. Avoid taking unnecessary items such as video games, as these will just add weight to your backpack and exhaust you.

Watch where you step. Sometimes people are so engrossed in looking around that they fail to site the danger lurking right in front of them. This danger be from some venomous reptile to a dangerous crevice. A simple method is to keep an eye on the track and consider the path before heading forward.

Do not mess with nature, it would be better if you leave it as it was when you came. Unnecessary garbage spilling will do you no good. Also avoid bringing back the things you found while hiking; flowers, for instance. Some things are meant to be untouched as they are already in their right place. Even feeding animals in the wilderness is a strict no.

Hiking is a group activity, so it’s better done in a group. Going for hiking alone increases your chances of getting lost or injured, and also makes you more vulnerable to the dangers of wilderness. Even when going with a group, make sure you tell someone about your planned outing and expected time of return.

No doubt hiking is full of enthusiasm, but you need to keep your enthusiasm under control so that you have ample fun. Some people―especially youngsters―being over-enthusiastic, start off very fast and get exhausted half way through. Hiking is not about reaching the destination, it’s about enjoying the journey. You need to save energy and keep yourself hydrated. A steady pace and regular breaks will guarantee you a great adventure.

One should remember that over-enthusiasm and over-confidence can land you in some serious trouble. It’s better to acknowledge the fact that no matter how smart or how prepared we are, mother nature will always be a step ahead of us.

How to Plan a Road Trip With Children

The winter is almost over, and spring break is upon us. If you’re thinking about taking your family for a fun vacation this spring or summer, consider a road trip. Road trips are great for children because they’ll see more of our great country than they would in a plane. It’s also fun to stop at different landmarks on the way, not only to see the great stuff our country has to offer, but also to stretch your legs and stop and smell the roses. Family time is irreplaceable, so take your time getting to where you’re going. However, with any long trip, there is a chance that kids might get restless. If you travel prepared, though, you’ll have a happy trip.

Road Games
There is a huge variety of games, kids can play while on the road. From trying to find license plates from each state, to singing road trip songs, these classic games can be played with little to no money. If you visit your local bookstore, you can find a section of books that have all of these games in them already. However, if you don’t want to spend the money on these books, you can create them yourself. Find pictures of license plates from different states and collect them together for your kids to see, before they hit the road. You can also grab a CD from your local library that has all the sing-along songs on it for you to enjoy.

Books
For the bookworm in your family, head to your library or bookstore and stock up on books they have always wanted to read. If your kids can read without getting car sick, it’s a great time to practice reading skills and catch up on books they’re excited about. Make sure these are books for fun; let them pick out whatever they want. It is vacation, after all!

Technology
If you’re OK letting your kids use technology on family vacations, let them bring along portable DVD players or game centers. This can keep them occupied and not fighting for hours. However, put a time limit on any technology they use. Nothing is more annoying than trying to talk to your kids, while they are busy texting on their phones or playing games. Maybe allow them to use the technology between certain stops, but no more. Also, be sure you have a rule that, during meals, they cannot use their devices. Family vacation time is time for the family to spend together, not on their separate devices.

Food
Food is the best way to keep kids happy. Children often get hungry before adults do, so keeping several options for snacks on hand can help, keep your kids calm and full. This can also help you save money while on the road by making it, so you don’t have to stop at rest stops or restaurants, where you’re sure to spend a lot of money.

Sleepy Time
Vacations are time to rest up, so let your kids sleep during the car ride if they are able. Bring along pillows and blankets and even some favorite stuffed animals and calming music and let them cuddle up in the back seat – as long as they are still wearing their seat belts, of course! This will not only keep them quiet, but also prevent them from getting crabby due to exhaustion.