Category Archives: Travel & Leisure

Finding the Right Hostels for Your Backpacking Adventure

By cassalynne, Sunday, September 22, 2013

Hostels Backpacking Adventure Travel 389x518 Finding the Right Hostels for Your Backpacking AdventureWhen backpacking through Europe, staying in hostels is usually the most cost effective way to find lodging. However, unless you’ve previously traveled to Europe, it may be difficult to locate good hostels. Here are some tips to finding the best places to stay as well as other tips for backpacking.

While walking until you get tired may seem glamorous, after a couple of nights, you’ll wish you had created more of a plan. First things first, create an itinerary. Be realistic with it. If you’re not used to walking very far in one day, don’t try to push yourself. You’ll regret taking the trip if you’re forced to run most of the way. Once you have your itinerary, you can decide what cities you plan to stay in. Then you can search for hostels in those locations.

Choose the right hostel for you

Like hotels, different hostels have different rules. Some have curfews while others allow guests to come and go as they please. Some offer individual rooms while others have several guests sleep in one room. The latter are usually less expensive, but some people need quiet time to relax while on vacation.

Your budget will play a role in what hostels are available to you. If you stay outside of major cities and use public transportation, the costs can often be reduced by more than half. Make sure you check to see if the hostel offers tours, airport or train pickup, hot showers, linens, towels, baggage storage or whether meals are included. What amenities are offered will also affect price. While it may seem like a better deal, you might not be getting the most bang for your buck.

You’ll also want to read reviews of any hostels. While the website will make it sound like a luxury resort, that isn’t usually the case. If all of the reviews are negative, it might be worth paying a few extra dollars to stay in a different hostel. You can also ask friends and family who have traveled to Europe for recommendations. While researching reviews, pay attention to any mention of crime. You can also look at crime rates in the area where the hostel is located. You’ll want to make sure you stay safe on your trip.

Other backpacking tips

To backpack, make sure your bag is strong enough and large enough to handle all of your belongings. Also be sure you’re not lugging around anything that isn’t essential. What you need will depend on how long you plan to stay.

When heading out on any international excursion, you’ll want to invest in international medical insurance like that offered by HCC Medical.

Lastly, make sure you budget. You don’t want to run out of money in the middle of your trip. Figure out how many times you can eat at fancy cafes or if you’re going to have to spend time at McDonald’s. You might also consider cooking some meals since that is usually cheaper than eating in restaurants.

Once you’ve set up a plan, be sure to check everything off your list before you leave. Be sure hostels have a place reserved for you, you’ve packed everything and confirmed your international insurance. Then you’re ready to have fun on your exciting European vacation.

The Maltese Islands

By Island Caterers, Monday, September 9, 2013

Malta Maltese Islands Vacation 389x259 The Maltese IslandsThe Maltese Islands is comprised of three small Islands. The major Island being Malta, Gozo is the second biggest, while Comino is the smallest island. The Maltese Islands are quite small indeed as its main island is no more than a 100th of the size of Sicily.

Previously Malta has been regarded as a very good deal in relation to package holidays. The sun shines on the Maltese Islands almost all year round, which makes the Islands ideal both for summer holidays and also for ‘winter sun’ holidays. The Islands are also very accessible both with air transport and also with sea transport. Air transport gained a lot of popularity since the introduction of Low Cost Carriers in 2006. On the other hand sea transport also attracted a lot of tourists due to the increase of cruise liners using Malta as a hub sea port. The choice of hotels is very wide and one can choose various types of accommodation; from 2 star hotels to 5 star luxury resorts. With a wealth of restaurants, a fun and active nightlife and with superb water sport activities, your visit to Malta will certainly be one to remember. Apart from the sun, sea and the sand, Malta is also rich in cultural history, historical sites and other places of interest.

Yearly Events

One of the most popular traditional events in Malta are without any doubt the traditional ‘Festa’, which is celebrated in almost every town and village of Malta & Gozo. Malta celebrates a lot of events. Another popular celebration is that of the Carnival. Malta celebrates the carnival twice a year. The first Carnival is celebrated just before the Easter where the main celebration takes part in the capital city of Malta, Valletta. The second Carnival is celebrated in the summer months and it that takes place in town of Bugibba, the latter being much smaller in terms of participation.

The Maltese Island

What gives Malta its unique charm is the fact that most of its historical sites managed to survive to this present day. Some of Malta’s temples date back to around 5000 years of age, while various forts constructed in the 16th century by the Knights of St. John themselves. Another town that proves Malta’s rich history is Mdina. Situated next to Rabat, Mdina is a fortress town exhibiting its medieval qualities. Mdina is surrounded with forts because it used to be Malta’s old capital city and therefore I needed to be protected. Today one can find various restaurants and souvenir shops in this magnificent town.

Gozo

Gozo is only 25mins far away from Malta by ferry. Gozo is much quieter than Malta and traditions are still very alive. Most of the households in Gozo make their earning through farming and fishing, which shows the traditional way of living that Gozitans still practice. For this very reason Gozo is known as the ‘old version’ of Malta. Gozo is also rich in history and culture, such as the Ggantija Megalithic temples and the Citadella.

A Maltese Wedding & Honeymoon

The island of Malta most certainly gives one of the most charming and romantic locations from within the Mediterranean, and also offers the most idyllic back-drop for any wedding or honeymoon. Endowed with around 300 days of sunshine and encompassed by its crystal azure waters, any wedding in Malta will most certainly be well remembered.

Maltese Cuisine

The islands cuisine originates from a long standing connection from Malta’s various foreign rulers over time. Even though some of these rulers were quite unwelcome and eventually fought off, such invaders influenced the islands cuisine and evolved Maltese food into one it is today. Some Maltese traditional dishes are the rabbit fried in wine, pastizzi, tuna ftira and Bragioli.

Make Your Holiday an Invaluable Experience in One and Only Austria

By glennstevenson, Friday, September 6, 2013

Austria 389x259 Make Your Holiday an Invaluable Experience in One and Only AustriaAustria is an amazingly beautiful mountainous territory. One should never miss to visit this place as it is one of the most visited tourist spot where people comes from all around the world to enjoy their valuable vacation. And the best time to visit this place would be during summers as well as winters, because of the moderate weather during this period.

Delights of authentic Austria !!

  • Exquisite Austria is beautifully located as to the south it is bordered by Italy and to the North it is Germany.
  • Austria is clean, calm and landlocked country with silent roads. The ‘Alps’ are the heart of this nation which is the magnificent sightseeing spot with extra-ordinary roads.
  • This country is full of life as there are many things to discover like enchanting mountains, extremely beautiful towns and lakes to name a few.
  • In the whole Austria, the Danube River is one of the most enthralling drives which will definitely going to mesmerize you like anything.
  • Grossglockener is one of the most famous tourist spots and really a unique site which you must not miss at all. It is an amazing mountainous region in the whole Austria.
  • Another must visit site is Salzkammergut, which is a venue for ‘UNESCO World Heritage’. And drive from Salzburg to Dachstein is one the most picturesque sights.

List of advantageous information :-

  • Plan your trip well in advance to Austria.
  • Finding a fuel station is an easy task.
  • You will find motorway petrol stations always open but the countryside ones are open only in the day time.
  • Austria has exclusive national highways and freeway network and toll-free roads which are united with the European motorway.
  • There is right hand side driving and avoid alcohol while driving or else get ready to pay a heavy fine.
  • Wearing a seat belt is compulsory for front as well as back seaters.
  • And avoid mobile phones while you drive. But yes, earphones are legal. So be careful always.

Explore Austria with great ease:

Renting a car is the best option in Austria as it helps a lot in exploring that too with great ease. And it will be in your budget also.It is really worth as it will help you explore each and every corner as well by being in your comfort zone.

You can opt for your choice of car by going online and can book well in advance to avoid any discomfort after reaching your destination spot as you might not aware with the geographical locations of the place. You need not to pay more as this car service is just ‘cheap and best’. Also you will get ample options in the car.

Thus, exploring becomes more fun. And to make exploring more easy, you must hire cheap car rental in Austria. So, spend less and enjoy more.

Cruise Essentials – What to Pack

By Amanda Walters, Saturday, August 31, 2013

Cruises are some of the most popular holidays going, with thousands, if not millions of people around the world getting on board a ship and travelling to some truly astonishing destinations.

Trips around the Caribbean islands on a cruise ship, for example, allow you to see the various islands in all their glory, experiencing not only time on one island, but all of them, and rather than being stuck in a plane for hour after hour, you can be outside on the deck of the ship, soaking up the sun and working on the tan before you even arrive!

However, before you get on board, you need to do your packing. This can be a difficult time for a lot of people because you never quite know how much, or what to pack. You could be going for a weekend, a week, a fortnight, even a month and it’s easy to take too much or not enough. We’ve all been there, throwing things out of the wardrobe onto the bed ready to pack the case and then having to sit on the thing just to make it shut. Alternatively, we’ve all had the thought that we’ve forgotten something but have no idea just what….

fotolia 370161 subscription l original 389x291 Cruise Essentials – What to PackTo help take the stress out of your packing, here are five things that men and women HAVE to pack for their cruise.

For Women

  • Swimming costumes. Whether on the land or in the ship’s own pool, you’re going to need something comfortable and stylish to work on the tan, take a dip in the water and relax in the sun.
  • Sunglasses. Hopefully you’ll have some amazing weather during your break, and for that reason, you’re going to need some sunglasses. Pack your old faithfuls or treat yourself to a new pair!
  • Evening wear. A lot of cruise ships have on-board restaurants that have dress codes. As such, you’ll need something formal or smart casual, to wear to dinner.
  • Underwear. A very obvious thing to be told to pack, but you’d be surprised at just how many people either forget to pack their underwear or remember at the very last minute.
  • Sun cream. Going back to the nice weather, if it is hot, you need to stay protected from the sun. Having found cruises deals you don’t want to have your holiday of a lifetime ruined by sunburn, so stay protected and take plenty of lotion. If you do forget, however, you could always pick up some more or a different factor from the on-board retailers.

For Men

  • T-shirts and Polo Shirts. A staple part of the man’s wardrobe, you want to make sure you take plenty of comfortable clothing with you. Don’t go taking literally every item you own as you can co-ordinate one top with a number of pairs of shorts, jeans or trousers during your break.
  • Swimming shorts. Yes, shorts. Unless you’re a model – and even then it’s a bit risqué. You don’t want to be wearing the traditional speedo-style swimming trunks. A comfortable pair of board or swimming shorts will not only look better, but you’ll be comfortable and you can wear them as everyday clothing too.
  • Smart trousers. If you go for a meal in the evening the chances are that you’ll have to wear a smart pair of trousers, (i.e. not jeans or your board shorts). Some restaurants will have dress codes as they are more ‘formal’ than other on-board places to eat, so cover yourself (and avoid the wrath of your partner), by ensuring you can eat and drink anywhere.
  • Electrical appliances. Take it upon yourself to look after all of the entertainment. Music, phones, games, DVDs and – most importantly – chargers will be essential to keep you entertained while lounging by the pool or while inside relaxing.
  • Flip Flops. You definitely don’t want to have to wear shoes or trainers for the duration of your cruise, and flip flops are often found to be the most comfortable and relaxing form of footwear. Perfect for being around the pool, walking along the beach when you dock and just lounging around; they’re a staple part of a holiday.

Holidays That Will Get You Away From The Crowds

By Article Contributor, Thursday, August 29, 2013

The peak holiday season is a time when many people look to take a break to enjoy the weather when it is at its best. This could mean beach holidays when the sun is at its hottest, a skiing holiday when the snow lays perfectly on the slopes or perhaps specific times of year when large events are to be held. The peak seasons are also a time when the crowds are likely to be at their largest and resorts at their busiest but some of us prefer to have a holiday with fewer people around. There are some destinations though that can be enjoyed without having to endure the crowds and you can have a much more relaxing time instead.

The Lake District

Britain’s Lake District may not have sandy beaches or mountainous ski slopes but it is still a very popular holiday destination, and for good reason. The natural scenery of The Lake District, with its inviting lakes and rugged peaks is a sight to behold and there are plenty of activities to be enjoyed also. Lake cruises allow you to take in the sights at a leisurely pace, or more intrepid visitors could choose more adventurous activities such as rock climbing and off road driving. One of the biggest attractions to the Lake District is the peace and quiet that can be enjoyed without thronging crowds to spoil the serenity. If you are looking for somewhere that will truly help you to escape the hustle and bustle of large crowds then The Lake District could be just what you are looking for.

Cambodia

Cambodia Holiday 389x389 Holidays That Will Get You Away From The CrowdsSynonymous with war, devastation and desperation, Cambodia is not a place that many would consider as a holiday destination but some may be surprised at just how beautiful the country is. Stunning beaches with crystal clear waters just as beautiful as more famous locations in neighbouring Thailand are blissfully quiet thanks to the lack of development in the poverty stricken nation. The lack of development also means that prices remain very affordable meaning you could have that paradise holiday that otherwise appeared out of your financial reach.

Off Season

Another way to enjoy the perfect holiday away from the crowds is to go off season and this could be in pretty much anywhere in the world. The climate and other conditions may not be quite as good as during the peak season but with fewer people around you will find it easier to get on with the business of relaxing with few distractions. The prices during off season are lower than during peak season which is another obvious advantage to going when demand is lower. If you are hoping for a peaceful and relaxing break in a prefect holiday location then perhaps you should look into what deals you can find for holiday resorts during the off-season.

If you do get tired of being bustled about by large crowds when on holiday then you will be pleased to know that there are plenty of alternatives where you will find fewer people. Not only could you find yourself in a much more relaxing environment, you could also find that you save yourself quite a lot of money as well.

Cambodia Image c/o PNike

When on holiday, Jamie finch likes to relax as much as possible and this often means keeping away from the crowds. He also finds it easier to do shopping with fewer people around and he finds that Pharos Parcel offer an ideal solution to sending gift parcels to Spain, Italy and France.

Boracay 101

By JuanCarlo, Sunday, August 25, 2013

Boracay Island Philippines 389x250 Boracay 101Boracay Philippines Resorts has turned into one of the best voyage objectives in Philippines today. It is dependably full of holidaymakers all through the year. There are numerous explanations why vacationers from distinctive parts of the planet pick Boracay, Philippines as their occasion end. Firstly, the district is arranged on an island and thusly it offers visitors a chance to get a portion of the most fascinating sights. It is likewise encompassed by heavenly sunny shores where holidaymakers can use their get-away. Provided that you cherish sunny shore get-aways, then Boracay, Philippines is the best place to go. The area is known to offer the best beach climate. Also, this sort of climate is accessible for the better part of the year.

Assuming that you are wanting to visit Boracay, Philippines, you may as well organize your trek in the period between December and May. This time the climate is perfect for vacation spot parties and other enlivening sunny shore exercises. That is the reason you will discover generally beaches in Boracay full of vacationers throughout this period. Between June and November the climate in the area is a touch moist. The exceptional thing about climate in Boracay is that it is truly foreseeable. This helps you to figure out the opportune opportunity to visit the sunny shore. It is likewise vital to study a couple of recorded parts of this locale. That is the main way you can acknowledge what the island is to date.

For starters, Boracay, Philippines was initially possessed by a group reputed to be Ati. Actually, its current name is determined from a neighborhood word regarded as Borac, which implies immaculate cotton. This spoke to the white sand discovered on the island. It is likewise intriguing to note that the Ati still live in this locale. In any case, they now involve a modest, calm place that has been divided from the greatly advanced part of the island. Politically, this island has a place with the Malay, Aklan region. It is likewise significant to note that this island embodies three major neighborhoods: Yapack, Manoc-Manco, and Balabag.

In spite of the fact that Boracay is known for its sublime sunny shores, the district additionally has different sloping locales and rich timberlands. It is a great put for undertaking tours and beach get-aways. There are some dependable method of transport in Boracay. You can utilize the little planes that fly in the territory or utilize the Caticlan port. There are various Bancas that cross every now and again throughout the day. You can likewise access the region utilizing abate watercrafts..

5 Great Things to do in Ladakh

By zarajones, Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Ladakh, the “land of passes” is located in the Leh district of India. It is renowned for its beautiful scenes, overwhelming Tibetan culture, splendid Buddhist Gompas, high altitudes, wide-spread rivers, long motoring routes and electrifying trekking tours in the world. The travelers have blissful experience in the destination and learn lots about the Tibetan culture as it is also called as “Little Tibet”. Ladakh tourism offers the below mentioned adventure activities.

Trekking and Climbing in Ladakh

Best trekking destination of India, is a well-known word used for the adventurous destination, Ladakh in the southern parts of Himalayas. The picturesque scenes, snow deserts, beautiful valleys are the additions to the enthralling high altitudes of Ladakh. Indian as well as the foreign tourists travel through the long motor able roads of Ladakh to take the pleasure of finest trekking tours in India. The most challenging treks of Ladakh elicit adventure enthusiast every year. Most challenging and enthralling treks of Ladakh are:-

• Darcha Lamayuru Trek at an altitude of 16695 ft.
• Markha Valley Trek elevated at the height of 16895 ft.
•Spituk trek with the peak of 12630 ft.

These three treks are considered the toughest treks of Ladakh and can be done by the professionals or under the guidance of the expert team. Ladakh offers short and easy treks for the beginners as well but the highest peaks are for only passionate and experienced trekkers.

Adventure Jeep Safari Tour

A jeep safari tour is the fastest, easiest and most comfortable enthralling journey in the beautiful destination called Ladakh. It offers varied exciting places to visit from high altitude mountains to beautiful valleys and white snow desert to green landscapes. This region provides endless opportunities to adventure junkies to explore but jeep safari is considered as the best way to cross high passes and wild rivers. Travelers can witness the divergent terrains of land, historical landmarks and villages while commuting through the tough routes of Ladakh. Manali, Sarchu, Leh, Shey, Pangong Tso Lake, Likir and Alchi are some major areas covered in the jeep safari tours of Ladakh and the duration for this activity varies with the area covered.

White Water Rafting

River rafting in Ladakh is an awe-inspiring experience for adventure enthusiast and it provides an outright view of spectacular landscapes with deep gorges, snow-capped peaks and hilltop monasteries. Ladakh offers various rafting opportunities on Zanskar River and Indus River which provides white water rafting on the Indus River between Spituk, Nimu and Saspol. The best season to visit Ladakh for white water rafting is between the months of June to late August, when the water level of the rivers are at high level. Adventure enthusiast can enjoy five days tour for river rafting in the season.

Mountain Biking

Mountain biking in Ladakh provides tremendous opportunity to gain unforgettable experience in the routes of mountain. It has greatest motor biking roads in the world and has renowned itself round the globe for the enthralling experience of biking in varied terrains. The chilling winters and clouds hanging on the roads make the journey an unparalleled experience for the bikers. Every year, the habitats of Ladakh witness hundreds of tourist and adventure junkies capturing pictures of the beautiful landscape and green valleys of Ladakh. Biking on the high roads of Ladakh gives an experience of mountain climbing; and crossing every peak is like winning the challenges of mountains.

Buddhist Monasteries

Travelers looking for peace, tranquility and ancient culture must visit Ladakh to find solace at the city of Gompas. Besides being the number one destination for adventure junkies, Ladakh attracts many religious and philosophical people in the valley of Himalayas which is untouched by the waves of modernism. The Buddhist religion has bestowed this destination with different souvenir such as thankas, murals, sculptures, etc.  Phuktal Gompa is the oldest monastery among all others, residing in the isolated area away from the hullabaloo of the city. Below, you can find the other popular monasteries of Ladakh.

• Spituk Monastery
• Shanti Stupa
• Shankar Gompa
• Thiksey Monastery
• Hemis Monastery

Thus Ladakh trekking tour is a perfect blend of adventurous, wildlife and spiritual activity to experience. A person approaching this isolated destination will definitely find the most remembering attractions all around the scenic valleys of Ladakh and will proudly rank this location among the best parts of adventure and spiritual destinations in the world.

Top Towns to Live in for Retirees Moving to the Phoenix Area

By nickbluefirepr, Wednesday, January 23, 2013

desert plain1 389x260 Top Towns to Live in for Retirees Moving to the Phoenix Area As the sixth most populous city in the United States, Phoenix’s major cities include Scottsdale, Chandler, Tempe, Mesa, Glendale, Peoria, and Surprise. The towns of Cave Creek, Paradise Valley, Carefree, Gilbert, Queen Creek, Sun City, Tolleson, Youngtown, and Buckeye are among the many surrounding smaller communities that make up the Valley of the Sun. Because Phoenix is a sprawling epicenter in Arizona that is divided up into more than 20 cities, towns and communities, you may be overwhelmed with the extensive list of options for where to live. Whether you’re a retired couple looking for a winter home or a single retiree who’s looking forward to the next stage in life, the Phoenix area offers something for everyone.

Youngtown

Youngtown is recognized as a small, peaceful and safe town with more than 6,000 residents. Established in 1954, Youngtown is an affordable place to live that is mostly comprised of residents around 65 years of age. The town is neighbored between El Mirage and the retirement community of Sun City. Are you ready to settle down somewhere new and have a fresh start? Are you looking for a one-bedroom condo and a new car by shopping at trustworthy used car dealerships in Phoenix, AZ? Youngtown is a premier location for seniors who prefer a quaint town that’s dedicated to community, safety, family and recreation.

Sun City

Located in Maricopa County, Sun City is an unincorporated town where retirees and snowbirds exclusively settle and socialize. Sun City adult communities, such as Royal Oaks, The Montecito, El Dorado of Sun City and Palos Verdes Senior Living, are beautiful homes that cater to an older demographic seeking active and social lifestyles. Seniors are drawn to Sun City for its communal friendliness, modern facilities and myriad of recreational activities. With low property taxes and annual fees, Sun City helps its residents live cost-effectively.

Scottsdale

According to U.S. News on Money and Retirement, Scottsdale is rated as one of the 10 cities in the United States that has the oldest population; the median age is 45.4 years. During the sunny and mild winter season, retirees flock to Scottsdale for dining, hiking, golfing, biking and outdoor leisure. Residents enjoy the break of summer and warm winters traversing on the Scottsdale Greenbelt Trail and teeing off at golf courses such as Grayhawk, Silverado and The Phoenician Golf Club. Old Town Scottsdale, also known as Downtown Scottsdale, is also a tourist destination full of art galleries, specialty shops, gourmet restaurants, museums and theaters.

Paradise Valley

For active seniors who prefer beauty and luxury in their surroundings, Paradise Valley has the real estate for you. Paradise Valley is a small area populated with an average of 12,820 residents. It’s an attractive destination for tourists because of its affluent real estate and lavish 12 resorts, including Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, Montelucia Resort & Spa and Smoketree Resort. Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve mountains are also natural and popular destinations in the area for hiking, recreation and panoramic city views.

Cave Creek

Cave Creek is a small town nestled in the Arizonan Sonoran Desert that stays true to the wild west with its western dancing, rodeos and horseback riding. From nature preserves and hiking to old mining tours and cowboy cookouts, residents are entertained with an array of activities for the true westerner at heart. Residents, who are on average 45 years old, can explore archaeology sites and wildlife at the Spur Cross Ranch Conversation Area in Cave Creek. With a variety of monthly events, such as Friday Fitness Series, Take Your Walk to the Desert and Moonlight Hike, Spur Cross Ranch keeps its local residents active and social.

Saving Money on Vacation Eating

By Chris K, Saturday, January 19, 2013

vacation 389x259 Saving Money on Vacation EatingThe cost of food during vacation is perhaps the biggest expense, especially for a family or a large group of people traveling together. The plus side of that is that while feeding everyone can be a big cost, it is also the place where cost-saving measures are plentiful. With a bit of planning and attention to detail, you can cut food costs when traveling.

Bring Food With You

It is a good idea to pack nonperishable food items from home whenever possible, as it is often cheaper to purchase things where you are familiar with the prices than it is to buy on the go when traveling. Purchase favorite snacks and nonperishable edibles ahead of time and pack them among your belongings. If you are traveling by car, this is easily done. If a plane trip is your mode of transportation, you will have to be a bit more savvy about packing food items by strewing them carefully among your clothing in the suitcase or even designating a suitcase just for acceptable food items. Often the cost of one more suitcase is worth it in the cost of the food you take along to feed everyone.

Make Lunch the Big Meal

When on vacation, eating out is part of the fun for most families. By choosing wisely, you can enjoy local cuisine and good restaurants and still save money on your food costs. Make lunch your biggest meal of the day, the one you eat at a restaurant you want to try or you visit each time you travel to this place. Often lunchtime prices are cheaper than dinner prices.

Kids Eat Free Specials

Check out places where kids eat free or at a cheaper rate, as well. Even some of the more expensive restaurants often have deals for feeding the kids at cheaper prices, especially in combination with the purchase of an adult meal. Combine this with lunch prices and you can really save some money while still eating great food and visiting local eateries.

Choose Vacation Rentals

By choosing to stay in a vacation rental spot such as Sun River Vacation Rentals, you can have access to a fully functional kitchen for cooking meals and storing food and drinks in the refrigerator. Many families choose to stay in a place where they can cook meals, keep snacks and drinks handy and enjoy the leisurely way of keeping everyone fed while still saving money on the overall cost of food when traveling.

Coupons and Groupons

These days there are money saving options found in coupons and Groupons. Coupons can be found online or in the local publications found at hotels or grocery stores. Groupons often offer great daily specials in the area. Use today’s technology in the form of websites, printable coupons and apps to get the best deals of the day you can find.
With some forethought and planning, these tips for cutting your food costs when on vacation can really save you money. This makes vacation affordability much more likely for many families.

Image Credit: thephotographymuse

Pablo Escobar’s vacation getaway turned into tourist attraction in Colombia

By Chris K, Sunday, November 25, 2012

indoor pool 389x218 Pablo Escobar’s vacation getaway turned into tourist attraction in ColombiaThe vacation estate of the world’s wealthiest drug dealer is now open for tours near Puerto Triunfo, Colombia. It’s unlike anything a visitor would find from a vacation rentals Austin company. Pablo Escobar carried the title of Columbian cocaine kingpin for a number of years in the 1980s and 1990s before Columbian and American drug agents gunned him down in 1993.

Pink Hippos in a Skirt

The drug kingpin’s estate, called Hacienda Napoles, is now a theme park packed with oddities that Escobar loved. The 7,000 acre ranch features dinosaur statues, recreational buildings, a butterfly conservatory and a pink hippo in a hula skirt.

Born in 1949 to a farmer and school teacher in the small town of Rionegro, Pablo engaged in criminal activities at a young age by selling illegal cigarettes and stealing cars. He made his first $100,000 by kidnapping and ransoming a Medellin official.

From this start, Escobar plunged into the illicit cocaine trade. He bought planes and helicopters to move cocaine between Columbia and the United States. One of those planes now sits atop the entrance to the hacienda. He made so much money off the drug trade that he spent $2,500 monthly for rubber bands to wrap stacks of one-hundred dollar bills. He had more cash than he could possibly store in banks, so he built warehouses to hold the loot.

Submarines Used to Run Cocaine

He eventually bought an entire island in the Bahamas called Norman’s Cay. He built a 3,300-foot runway there to carry the drugs to different points for distribution. The island also had a hotel, a harbor, a fleet of aircraft and a refrigerated warehouse to maintain the cocaine’s freshness. Escobar used this island from 1978 to 1982.

In 1982, Escobar moved and bought seven miles of land in Columbia where he would construct Hacienda Napoles. He built a zoo, dug a lake and opened a recreation center here. He ordered two submarines to transport the cocaine loads. It’s estimated that Escobar shipped 80 tons of cocaine a month from here.

He established relations with local government officials that were dominated by a diplomacy he called silver or lead. Politicians and police were given the choice of taking generous bribes or getting shot. At this point of his career, Forbes magazine estimated his wealth at $3 billion. He built soccer stadiums in Medillin and gave away money to the poor. He also paid for the construction of hospitals, churches and schools. For that, he was considered by many as a hero.

On December 2, 1993, a Columbian anti-drug team found Escobar and shot him dead in Medellin.

Camp in the Kingpin’s Estate

Visitors can tour this narco-terrorist’s former home, which is now a museum. A pink hippo statue in a hula skirt greets visitors. Parrots make themselves at home. A pterodactyl sculpture is framed in mid-flight, swooping down for a landing at a pond.

Visitors can climb up a guard tower at the estate to survey the grounds where they will see a bull fighting ring. He also built a butterfly conservatory on the grounds. Those who wish can camp here overnight.

Awesome Features of a Sabi Sand Safari

By geraldinewalks, Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sabi Sand Game Reserve 389x291 Awesome Features of a Sabi Sand Safari

Credits to flickr.com/thomas_sly

Imagine a place where wildlife can wander the land freely. Fenceless and boundless,where security against poachers is a top priority and a vast species of mammals, birds and reptiles are seen. These best describes South Africa’s oldest private game reserve – Sabi Sand Game Reserve.

With a size of about 153,000 acres and shares a 31.25 miles of unfenced land with Kruger National Park, this place is home to various wildlife treasures of South Africa. The reserve takes pride in offering excellent game viewing experience of the Big Five animals whole year round. Guests will have the amazing experience of having a very close encounter with Africa’s most thrilling wildlife species such as the lions, buffalos, rhinoceros, leopards and elephants.

This trip is done with guests riding an open mobile vehicle with capacities from 6 to 12 passengers. They are accompanied by expert rangers and trackers providing accurate information of the tour. Wildlife viewing in Sabi Sand offers the best quality in viewing leopards – the most elusive of all big game animals. Other wild species such as cheetahs, giraffes, zebras and antelopes are also found while roaming this vast area.

About 110 reptile, 330 tree, 45 fish and 145 mammal species are accounted for in Sabi Sand. The starts early morning as soon as the sun rises. Well experienced rangers and insightful trackers search the animals by their scent and tracks signs of their activities.

As the heat of the day starts to subside, the nocturnal animals become more active as they prepare for a great hunt. As darkness falls, the open safari vehicle adventure continues with the help of spotlights for a better view of the animal activities. The vehicle cautiously roams around the area while guests have a chance to take pictures up close with the wild animals.

Who wouldn’t be thrilled upon seeing these wild yet amazing species that we only get to see in zoos, books and movies? This once of a lifetime opportunity is not only for adventure seekers, but nonetheless for everyone who are curious about these animals’ natural wild behavior.

Sabi Sand Game Reserve has numerous accommodations to choose from. Not only will you get your adventure of a lifetime, you get to have a relaxing vacation as well. Various lodges are open to visitors craving for a taste of wildlife. Kirkman’s Kamp is known for its Transvaal aura, with around 18 guest suites that overlook the Sand River, and is surely the right place for people who want the colonial style atmosphere.

You can spend a quiet and splendid solitude in the deeply atmospheric Dulini Lodge. Nestled on the banks of Mabrak River, with six stone cottages built among the trees, this haven is most suited for those who want some tranquil rest after a long day of adventure.

Exeter River Lodge lives up to its name, for this place is located where each room offers an awesome view of the water and all the wild animals that it attracts.

Private Paradise, this is what they call the Leadwood Lodge because it only has four air conditioned rooms that are distanced from one other. This place is most suited for families or group of friends who want their vacation as private as possible.

 

Planning for a Walking Holiday

By chris owen, Monday, October 29, 2012

Walking Holidays 389x247 Planning for a Walking HolidayIf you’re thinking about taking a walking holiday soon, then there are a few things you should consider before you go.

First off – have you selected a destination? There is potential for walking holidays in pretty much every country so if you don’t have a set destination or route in mind then you’ll need to narrow it down. Try thinking about what you want to do along the way, what your budget is, and of course what type of person you are. Maybe you’re the solitary type, preferring to roam free unencumbered by the need to walk at the same pace as your companions, or enjoy being with your own thoughts rather than making conversation. And then perhaps you like to be part of a group with plenty of chat and opportunities to meet new friends.

Bearing in mind that you’ll probably be wanting to cover ten to twenty miles each day, you’ll need to be in pretty good shape before you go. If that’s beyond you at the moment then you might want to get some practise in first, even if it’s only on a treadmill at the gym. Thinking about the terrain you’ll encounter is also an issue – you may be confident you can hack it, but will you need a guide to show you the best places and steer you away from potential problems?

What to pack will depend a lot on the type of weather you’re likely to be seeing. Unless you’re planning to return to an accommodation every day or leave things in a storage locker, then you’ll probably be carrying everything with you, so you need to travel fairly light. For walking holidays in Europe then the bare essentials are sturdy boots, good thick socks, waterproofs, sunglasses and sun-tan lotion, water bottle. If you’re planning to head off the beaten track then probably compass, whistle and torch also. But bear in mind local conditions – if you’re going to less-developed countries, particularly those in the tropics or Asia, then you could need mosquito repellent, and water-sterilising tablets too. Don’t forget a basic first aid kit either.

The great thing about walking holidays is they can incorporate so many other interests too. You can take in some sight-seeing, or if you like a bit of twitching, remember your binoculars. A camera is a must whatever you’re doing. Also – if you like your grub, , why not plan a route that will take in restaurants or regions where you can sample the local specialities – a great idea in countries like Spain, France and Italy,

Looking at options for accommodation, you can either use one or two bases and walk in that area, returning every night to sleep, or you can create a route that will involve a different place to bed down every night. Popular walking routes will often be lined with small guesthouses which you can book in advance (always do so if you can, especially in peak season). Alternatively you could carry a lightweight tent with you and camp, it’s only a few extra kilos on your back and gives you total freedom – just remember to ask permission if you’re staying on private land.

Finally, walking holidays can be such a blissful experience that people often get the bug. In which case, if you fancy setting yourself a challenge one year such as crossing the Pyrenees or walking from one coast of England to another, why not try and rustle up some sponsorship to help a charity?