A Selection Of My Top Travel Tips Part 2

31 Jul

Taking a step into the great big world of traveling for the very first time might feel a tad bit scary, but by keeping the helpful tips listed below in mind, you will soon find yourself traveling like those more experienced travelers, who go on many trips, every year.

Don’t over-schedule your vacation. While it is important to plan some activities, especially ones which require tickets or additional travel, leave yourself plenty of free time. There is no better way to see a location than to just wander around. Take the time to explore and see where you end up.

Ask family and friends for suggestions on places you should visit when trying to plan your next vacation. Often times they will not only be able to give you good suggestions for places that you should go, they can also steer you away from places that they didn’t have such a good time.

Make sure to research what the weather is going to be like in your destination. This will allow you to pack more appropriately. If it will be cold, you will need to take lots of layers. If it will be warm, then you know you can pack a lot of light weight clothing and sandals.

If you are traveling with a group, be sure to book in advance. Booking in advance will make it more likely that your group will be seated together. If you are traveling with children, you certainly do not want to leave seating arrangements to chance. Book early and confirm your seating arrangement.

If you plan on traveling with young children, make sure to stop often on the way there and back. Explain them in detail where you are going, and how long it will take to go there. Prepare some activities to keep them busy during the trip, such as coloring books.

Make your travel plans more affordable by booking your flight through a meta-search site. It can be tempting to get your tickets from a website whose purpose is to locate cheap airfare, but a meta-search site looks through a variety of airlines and travel booking sites at the same time. It will then redirect you to the site that has the price you want, saving you money.

Ask around on the social networks you frequent for any tips or recommendations of the area you’re planning on visiting. You’ll be surprised just what may come up. Ask what the best hotels are, what the best restaurants are, what places of interest you should visit. Friends usually give the best ideas!

Find out if you need any vaccinations before travelling to your chosen destination. You should visit your local health professionals and ask them to recommend vaccinations and also ask them about any other precautions you should take while away. You don’t want to risk getting infected with a preventable, dangerous disease while on vacation.

If you need to leave your vehicle at the airport for the duration of your travels then always pre-book airport parking well in advance. If you book parking on the day of your flight it will usually be much more expensive. If you don’t live far from the airport, consider whether taking a taxi would be cheaper than paying for parking.

Bring a door stop with you when you are traveling if you are nervous about the hotel room’s security. Particularly if you are visiting overseas, some of the less expensive rooms do not have a dead bolt or chain lock. A door stop can be wedged between the door and the floor, offering a small deterrent to someone trying to get into your room.

If you are a heavy reader it may be useful for you to purchase an e-reader before leaving home. E-readers are lightweight and small but can hold hundreds or even thousands of books. If you download many books before your trip you will never find yourself with nothing to read on your travel downtime.

So, after reading and applying the helpful tips listed in this article, you should feel a bit more at ease in the land of traveling. You have the knowledge and now it’s time to use it. You should feel confident and ready to begin your travels, so that you can experience various lands and cultures.

A Selection Of My Top Travel Tips Part 1

30 Jul

Traveling is like leaving your home for a fun adventure. If you make your list, check it twice and then just sit back and wait to see what interesting things happen along the way, you will not only be prepared, but you will also have a great time. The following tips are things that should be on that list you check twice before heading out the door.

Keep a group journal in your hotel room while traveling. Invest in something as inexpensive as a spiral notebook, and allow the people you are traveling with to write in it during down time. This will provide an interesting read later and will be a nice keepsake from your trip.

When traveling to an area where the tap water is unsafe to drink, pay attention to the altitude as well. Above about ten thousand feet, water actually boils at a lower temperature. This means that it must be boiled for a longer time in order to ensure all of the contaminants have been killed.

If you are traveling overseas, always have local currency in a variety of denominations. It is much easier to be ripped off by a taxi driver or shopkeeper if the smallest bill in your wallet represents a week’s or even month’s profit. Small change can sometimes be difficult to come by, so hang onto your coins when you get them.

When considering travel insurance for an upcoming trip, be sure to compare rates of providers, not forgetting to check with your credit card companies. Many times they may provide these benefits to you at a cheaper price. They may cover items such as lost luggage or trip cancellation. However, these benefits are not usually found with base-level cards.

Traveling with a suitcase that has no dividers or compartments you can split your clothes up in can be tough. A great way to get around this problem is by placing a piece of cardboard between different clothing selections or items. Not only will you be able to separate your items, but you will come out looking more organized.

Travel is a great way to educate family members. By taking time and preparing, there is nothing to fear from the developing world. It is a great way to show other cultures to children. Time spent abroad helps you understand and appreciate diverse cultures. In addition, it encourages an acceptance and tolerance of ways of life that differ from your own.

To avoid high exchange rates in foreign countries, stop at an ATM for your bank when you disembark from your flight. Large banks get much better exchange rates than an individual, so pulling money out once you get there is a hassle-free and inexpensive way to get the currency you need.

When traveling by plane, make sure to wear shoes that are easy to remove. You will be required to remove your shoes to go through security, so wearing slip-on or Velcro shoes will allow you to remove them quickly. Once they come out of the scanner, you will be able to quickly replace them and be on your way.

To save money on your vacation, don’t be afraid of last-minute bookings. When airlines or cruise companies still have tickets available a few days before the departure date, they lower prices because they are desperate to sell. With a last-minute booking, you can take the vacation of your dreams at rock-bottom prices.

If you’re visiting a museum or other tourist attraction, make sure to ask about any special discount rates for which you might be eligible. Many attractions have discounts for seniors, children, and students. Getting a discount rate will help you save money and travel on a budget while still enjoying the local sites.

Attend educational seminars while traveling on board a cruise ship. Most ships offer these lectures for free, and they are often entertaining and interesting. Many talk about something related to your cruise, such as the wildlife that you might see when you port. This activity can make your entire trip more enjoyable.

While the tips and information that we have presented to you here in this article are meant to put your mind at ease while traveling, no one trip will be without its ups and downs. The biggest piece of advice I can give you is to relax and enjoy the ride.

My recent camping trip

13 Apr

Australia can be expensive for the budget traveler, and camping is a great way to save your cash for the big ticket items like a trip for to the Whitsundays or Frasier Island. When I traveled with my sister to Australia we rented a van from a local joint called Wicked Campers instead of staying in hostels or hotels. The country was amazing, and we spent our days tanning on the endless beaches, surfing the waves and exploring the unique natural land formations throughout the country.

I was keen to pack all the essentials for our trip – sleeping bag, first aid kit, water purifying tablets, survival kit and a fire starter.  I thought I had everything in order until sis’ reminded me that I needed a pocket knife!  I didn’t have a clue what to buy until I found a useful site aimed at helping you find the best pocket knife.  I was surprised how pocket knives have evolved over the years, becoming lighter yet stronger with today’s manufacturing technologies.

Our favorite campsite was Carnavon Gorge. Located about 375 miles northwest of Brisbane, this stunning landscape was created through eons of erosion.  In this national park you can explore miles of well-maintained hiking trails, traverse natural streams and climb the dramatic cliffs. Tucked into the rock faces is the sacred site Cathedral Cave, which contains some of the most well preserved examples of ancient aboriginal art. These primitive paintings tell the story of the Rainbow Serpent, the mythical dreamland creator of the gorge.

After setting out from the visitor’s center, we first stumbled upon the Moss Garden. This was an amazing place to discover the flora of the area.  The gorge narrows and the sides of the path are lush with a wide variety of vegetation. In the cool and damp atmosphere where crystal clear water seeps out of the sandstone, many species of moss and ferns grow undisturbed.

On our hike we hoped to see some of the six species of gliders that live in the national park, but they were too shy. The kangaroos seemed less concerned with the human foot traffic, and often a mischievous joey would pop its tiny head out of the mothers pouch to get a better look at us. Bird watchers will be in paradise with eagles, falcons, king parakeets and kookaburras.

We trekked on the graded paths through the tropical forests and narrow sandstone canyons to reach the famed Amphitheater. The entrance to this spectacular site is wedged between two cliffs. From a distance it looks treacherous, but steps have been built into the entrance to help visitors along. As you step through the crevice into an enormous chamber carved out by floodwaters, you can’t help but be stunned by the most dramatic feature of the canyon.

We spent our first night camping at Big Bend, a 6 mile walk from the entrance. Setting down our packs after our exciting day of hiking, we were overwhelmed by the beauty of massive curve in the cliff face. After cooking our favorite campsite meal, chili, we sat under the stars relaxing, and noticed we could hear our voices bouncing off the bend. We couldn’t get used to the eerie sound of the noise echoing back at us, so we took to speaking only in whispers.

On day two we hiked up to the lookout point. It was a steep, unrelenting climb though the mossy Boowinda Gorge. The stunning view that awaited us at the top was worth the quivering legs and tired muscles. We spent the night again at Big Bend, and befriended the group of young Australians at the campsite next to us. We taught them how to make s’mores when we learned that they are not a traditional camping food in Australia. This time, with lots of company, the echoing only added to our fun.

The next day we hiked out early, sad to leave the dramatic landscape. Once we reached the entrance, we took a dip in the Rock Pool, just outside of the park, to wash off the dirt and sweat from our three day hike.  We hopped back into our camper van ready for our next adventure.

The best time to visit Carnavon Gorge is between March and October, when temperature is mild. Make sure to carry plenty of water as it is not safe to drink from the creek. We carried Iodine tablets with us, but a water filtration system will also work. Wear insect repellent and bring appropriate footwear. You need to acquire a camping permit ahead of time, and bookings cannot be made at the visitor’s center. Permits run $5.60 AUS per person/per night or $22.40 per family group/night.

How I Got My Out Of Control Finances In Order

11 Apr

So let me start this post off with a confession: I have in the past been horrible with money, and I have even been to brink of declaring bankruptcy. I used to be ashamed of this fact and would do whatever it took to appear like I was doing better than I was. As you might guess, this tendency actually made my problems worse.

This was especially true when I was traveling all over the country using the money from my savings account and credit cards. I did not have a job, and spent my money like it was coming from an endless source. Additionally, I always had to stay in the nicest hotels and purchase high-end products. Needless to say, I found myself out of money very quickly, with my credit cards maxed out and no real way to pay them.

Not only did I run out of money, but my poor budgeting also tanked my credit score. We all know how important it is to have credit, right? Well-believe me, I have learned the hard way how difficult it is to do anything with a poor credit rating!

I have worked really hard to repair and rebuild my credit, and I hope that you will take some of these tips to heart and not have to go through the agony I went through!

Consider a Personal Loan

While getting a personal loan with bad credit can be difficult (or impossible if you are trying to go through a traditional lender), it is sometimes one of the best ways to begin getting your finances back on track. In fact, this was the first thing I did when beginning to make changes in how I handled money.

I did a lot of research and found some excellent information about personal loans on this website. For example, it talks a lot about the things you need to do in order to qualify for a personal loan, such as:

  • Having a steady source of income. This was a big one for me, as I didn’t actually have a job at the time. The first thing I did was find gainful employment!
  • Making sure you can prove that your financial irresponsibility was no longer a problem.
  • Having the ability to pay your monthly payments!

Set a Budget and Stick to It!

Another vital aspect of financial responsibility is learning how to budget your money. This was a hard one for me, because I had zero experience with creating a budget! I found out that it is an absolute necessity for someone like me.

There is an excellent budget planner on the Australian Securities and Investments website, and I used this religiously. The budget planner allows you to enter in your income and your monthly bills, and also allows you to budget in things like entertainment and clothing. This was helpful not just to keep track of where my money was supposed to go, but also showed me where my money WAS going!

Revise Your Thought Process

All of the personal loans and budget planning in the world won’t help you if you don’t change the way you look at money. One of the hardest things for me was to learn to differentiate between something I needed and something I wanted. I had to learn to set money aside to save for a specific item, and I really had to learn how to use money as a tool instead of spending money I didn’t really have.

I am no longer ashamed of my past poor decisions when it came to money. After all, we all make mistakes and have to learn from them! I have also found out that there is a lot to be said for paying my bills and saving for things like traveling-it makes my experience that much better for knowing I can actually afford it!

Great Sportings Events to Travel To

05 Apr

If you’re into online sports betting or just generally into sports, it is important for you to know some of the famous sports events that can take you around the world. Knowing and tracking these famous sporting events can not only help you in your betting business but also help you to expand your knowledge of sports on a large scale.

The following are some of the great sporting events to travel to.

The Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is one of the biggest sports events that take place in the United States. The event involves top teams from the American Football Conference and the National Football Conference battle it out for the most coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy. The half time entertainment is also legendary.

World Series, United States

The World Series is in fact one of the most exciting sports events that take place in the world. It is more than a sporting event as it depicts the American cultural landscape. The tournament involves 32 teams and action-packed 162 games followed by three playoff rounds.

Euro Cup

The Euro Cup is no lesser than the World Cup soccer. It is as big as a party featuring the star international players and some of the best football teams in the world. The fun-filled games and the excitement of fans make it one of the most amusing events in the world.

Formula One Grand Prix

This is another one of the most exciting sport events that takes place around the world. It is fast and furious and involves plenty of action for the spectators as well as for sports bettors. You don’t get the same experience watching in front of your TV.

World Cup Soccer

Doesn’t get any bigger than this for online sports betting enthusiasts. If you love nail-biting games, then this is the sports event that you must definitely travel to. The event involves thirty-two nations battling out every four years to claim the World Cup soccer championship. All the games in the World Cup especially the finals are packed with loads of action and intense challenge.

The National Basketball Association

This is another biggest sport event in the world that involves showdown of stars and teams. The event is filled with plenty of sporting action. The event involves a minimum of 93 games excluding the finals. The one who wins this tournament is considered as the world champion in basketball.

Wimbledon, England

Wimbledon is one of the most prestigious sports events that take place in the world. The event provides an opportunity to view some of the top tennis players in the world face one another to hold the Wimbledon trophy and perhaps become the topmost tennis player in the entire world. The tournament has a global appeal and is watched and enjoyed by millions.

These are just some of the world’s best sporting events to travel to. All these sporting events are impressive and provide huge potential for those who wish to make money with sports betting. Who knows, your success could even pay for your travels.

Weekend Getaway to the White Mountains

05 Apr

Recently I had the pleasure of going away on a bachelorette weekend to the White Mountains region of New Hampshire. (Although we did let the bachelor and his groomsmen tag along). It was absolutely beautiful, and had a wide range of activities to keep everyone from the nature lover to the shopaholic completely satisfied.

We started our weekend by checking into White Mountain hotel and resort. This place was amazing, the views of the mountains were breathtaking, the rooms were comfy and spacious, the spa was one of the best I’ve been to. Oh yah, did I mention there was a golf course, his and hers towels…and hold on now, the White Mountains Hotel and Resort does one better…his and hers activities!

After check-in, the fellas hit the green for a round of golf and the ladies pampered themselves at the spa. We met up later, rented mountain bikes and hit the trails. On our trek we saw a ton of trail cameras, which isn’t surprising, the hunting is said to be some of the best in the region. The guys actually wanted to ditch us and go hunting! We compromised on capping the day of with sushi and dancing for the ladies and steaks and cigars for the men.

On day 2, we woke up early, grabbed some hot apple cider, coffee and literally the BEST cider doughnuts I have ever eaten and went LEAF PEEPING. That’s right …we are leaf peepers (well this weekend we are anyway). The fall foliage is breath taking, plus its completely free! I honestly had much more fun than I ever would have thought looking at leaves.

Then there was a bit of a rain on our parade (don’t mind the pun…I couldn’t help myself) the sky opened up and we were forced indoors by Mother Nature. I was starting to feel a little bummed out when we are driving back to the hotel until I see a sign for OUTLET SHOPS!

Our moods all shifted for the better as we indulgde in some well-deserved retail therapy. We finished our shopping, stashed our recently acquired treasures in our room and headed down to the hotel’s indoor pool and jacuzzi and just chilled out until dinner. Dinner was at the Hotel that night. We had lamb with cranberry mint glaze, caramelized acorn squash and a honey ginger cucumber slaw. It was absolutely delicious! To wash it all down we enjoyed a “honey blueberry moonshine-tini”…it was ridiculous!

The morning of our departure we had one last activity planned before we began the descent back down to reality. We climbed aboard the Mount Washington cog railway. As we took the 3-mile journey to the summit of Mount Washington one of the worlds steepest set of railroad tracks I couldn’t help but being completely blown away. The views from the top of the mountain rendered me speechless (which as you know hardly ever happens)!

Honestly, I have been to a lot of different places in the country and around the world. When I first heard of our destination I was like “OK, well not cold enough for skiing what else is there to do in New Hampshire?” The answer a heck of a lot, that’s what! Granite state…more like awesome weekend getaway state!

Should You Borrow Money to Travel?

04 Apr

I love travelling, I’ve done it for many years and it’s probably been one of the most important things in my life. Some of the best days of my life have been on the road meeting new people and visiting new places.

However if you’re interested in going travelling there are some very serious issues to consider. One of them is financing your travels.

This is a very important matter, and one you should give very serious thought to before you even consider buying a plane ticket. Over the years I’ve met many people who have been travelling for a while before going broke, and facing all sorts of problems. One person I met had completely run out of money and was not even able to afford a plane ticket home, and was stuck overseas for months. She was eventually reduced to begging so that she could afford to buy food. This is not a pleasant scenario and is a good example of why you need to consider your finances very carefully before going travelling.

There’s no doubt that travelling is expensive, and whilst there are many ways to reduce the cost it’s very difficult to reduce it dramatically, travel will always be expensive.

Of course it’s always possible to work while you travel, however there are usually some quite significant problems associated with that.

You could get a work permit, but…

The first of those is work permits, (if you don’t know what these are then read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Work_permit )

Many countries require that you get a work permit before you’re allowed to work, and they are very hard or often impossible to get for a casual traveller.

Of course you can always work without a permit but if you’re caught then you may well find yourself put on a plane back home, at your cost, and your risk.

It’s often also very difficult to find work in many countries. As well as that employers who do employ tourists often do so because they are able to get away with paying less than adequate wages because they understand that the tourists are usually strapped for money.

And so whilst it’s possible to work on your travels it’s often difficult to do so and the ability to save much money while doing so is often very limited.

Possibly the best way is to work as hard as you can whilst at home, before going travelling, save as much money as possible and then begin your travels when you’re sufficiently financed to do so.

But never borrow to travel

One of the worst things to do is to borrow money to travel. A friend of mine took out a short-term loan of $2000 to travel, didn’t repay because she got home broke and eventually ended up in all sorts of financial trouble.

So don’t borrow money to travel, or if you’re going to be very careful about doing so, I’d suggest you read this article about installment loans, and whether you should take one, before even considering taking out a loan.