Category: Travel

Tips on Saving Money on the Road

With everyone pinching pennies and tightening their belts in the face of higher oil and gas prices these days, vacationing seems like a luxury most of us simply can’t afford. But if you choose your destinations carefully and take advantage of a few tricks, you can still make traveling the joy it’s supposed to be.

Tip 1: Overnight trains and buses
This is one way to kill 2 birds with one stone, save time AND money. By opting for a train or bus you save one night’s accommodation and cover distance at the same time.

India, and Thailand’s overnight trains are quite comfortable and not much more than a night’s accommodation. Waking up to a fantastic sunrise in Northern Thailand while speeding along to the rhythm of the tracks is one of this writer’s most cherished travel memories.

In Spain, however, the overnight train can be quite costly, so check the prices carefully.

As for overnight buses, none compare to Turkey. Coffee, tea, cakes, clean rest stops, and lemon cologne put Turkey’s bus system in a league of it’s own.

Tip 2: Pick a hotel that delivers the extras
Some hotels offer a place to sleep. Other hotels offer a place to sleep, plus complimentary breakfast (and maybe dinner), airport pickup, Internet, walking tours, tea and coffee, and other creative extras. Usually small budget and boutique hotels are eager to please as they survive on word of mouth referrals and recommendations.

Tip 3: Pick a hotel that isn’t in a guidebook
A hotel owner in a popular destination in Turkey once shared a story about his first years in the hotel business. Every person who arrived in town was headed to the same competing hotel because it was given a glowing review in one of the “Travel Bibles”. Try as he might, he could not break the cycle of people flocking to his competitor. Finally, he started offering the first night free and unbelievable cheap beer to lure customers to his hotel. It worked, and ironically, today he is given glowing reviews in all the “Travel Bibles”.

Another seasoned traveler once related that as she looked back over her six-week trip to Rajasthan, India, she realized she had not once spent a night in any of the recommended hotels in her guidebook. She was perfectly happy with each and every one. So take a chance and spread your business around, you may be pleasantly surprised!

Tip 4: Day trips
If you check carefully, you’ll find some day trips are definitely worth their money, especially if you are paying in the local currency. Some places just can’t be visited on your own, or if you could, it would be such a hassle it would take the enjoyment out of visiting altogether.

The floating market in Bangkok and the underground cities in Cappadocia, Turkey spring to mind. Considering that many of these day trips include lunch and entrance fees on top of transportation it doesn’t take superior math skills to figure out that some are a good deal.

Tip 5: Look online and book locally
Not the huge, well-known, Internet booking monsters out there; think smaller, local agents. A travel agent based in Bali can recommend a reputable hotel in Ubud that will suit your honeymoon or family needs, compared to a huge booking site that lists overbooked hotels in every country on the planet. If you run into unexpected trouble, (missed flights, delays), or just want to spend more time somewhere, a travel agent will be able to shift your reservation at no cost to you. With a booking site, you will have just lost your hotel deposit.

Tip 6: Pick an off the beaten path destination
Get off the “banana pancake highway”. Every country has a “route”, take a few days to step off track and you’ll notice the people are friendlier, the experience is richer, and the prices are lower. How do you find these places? Continue to the next tip.

Tip 7: Get help
Although budget travelers are often reluctant to get professional help, often an agent working on your behalf will save you time and money. Local agents know of great places that are under-visited, new hotels that offer specials and ways to make connections that will save you time and money. Generally, agents don’t make their commissions from the customer, but from the hotel or ticket company you have booked with. Again, you’re spreading your money around and reaping the benefits.

How to Choose the Right Camping Stove

In this article, I go over the different things that you have to look for in a camping/backpacking stove. I look at what is important and what is not, why you should care about getting the best camping stove there is.

Camping and backpacking can be wonderful, but after a long trek through the wilderness, you might feel like having a warm meal. Of course you can light a fire to keep you warm and boil water, but a warm meal might be nice. There is no quicker and easier way than using a camping/backpacking stove.

When it comes to choosing the right camping/backpacking stove you need to consider several factors like where you’ll be using the stove, how far you have to carry it as well as other factors like the kind of fuel you may need to use to light the stove. Now, I will show you 3 main factors to pick a good one.

1. Main Fuel Types

Canister – For short overnight stays, propane camping stove or isobutane fuel systems are good.

– Pro: They are compact units and easy to use as well.
– Con: On the downside, they cost a lot and the fuel is hard to gauge.

Liquid Fuel – White gas, also known as naphtha, which is highly refined, works well in high altitudes and extremely cold temperature.

– Pro: Ideal for cold temperatures and at high altitudes
– Con: Liquid fuel systems are a heavier option and they require priming

Wood (as an alternative fuel source) – Wood as an option is ideal for long-distance hikes and very light

– Pro: Wood is easy to source even if you are on the go.
– Con: Need constant attention; tricky to control especially in windy situations

Alcohol (as an alternative fuel source) – You can find alcohol in most remote parts where hiking or backpacking is common. Look for denatured alcohol, preferably high ethanol content alcohol. Never use methanol, it is toxic.

– Pro: commonly available in various countries and it also fits a wide range of systems
– Con: If the alcohol is not pure enough, it can produce heavy soot.

Solid Fuel (as alternative fuel source) – These are compact fuel tablets made of hexamine. They are lightweight and great for emergency situations.

– Pro: Light and easy to light
– Con: They burn for a short time and tend to be more expensive than other systems
When you’ve decided on the fuel you can now consider other factors that will make your stove ideal.

2. How big should your camping/backpacking stove be?

The size of your camping backpacking stove will depend on the number of people you’ll be cooking for. Generally there are two sizes to choose from: A two-burner that sits on a tabletop or a freestanding stove

– Group of 4 or less

For small groups of people just camping or backpacking for a few days, a compact two burner will work just fine. Look for a camping stove that is light, will easily fit into the trunk of your car and has enough cooking power to suit a small group. With a Coleman Chef Everest you can use a 16-ounce canister or use a larger propane tank. Space is limited with this model so be sure that the usable cooking space fits your pot. Some products can only accommodate a 12″ skillet and others can accommodate the same size skillet with the wind flaps removed. There are models that can fit two 12″ sized skillet so before you buy a camping stove, pay heed to the dimensions but remember that they can only help you in deciding if the stove has enough cooking space. The size and placement of the burner are a good indication of the usable cooking space on the stove.

– Group of 8 and more

Eight is a large number and you may need more than a standard two burner stove. Freestanding models are great for large groups. The advantage is that they don’t need a tabletop. Check out camping stoves that have more powerful burners and prep trays, which give you more cooking, space. You need to keep in mind that freestanding stoves take time to pack and unpack and they take up a lot of space. If space is an issue you might want to get two compact two-burner stoves.

– Groups of seven or less

If you have a mid-sized group of say, seven, choosing the right camping stove can be hard. It might help to know what you’ll be cooking, or how long you expect to be out in the wilderness. Start off with a two-burner stove and include one more if the demands increase. A freestanding burner might be too bulky and too much of a hassle to lug around and assemble. With a two-burner stove you can cook meals that you’d typically cook at home like a Pasta and Sauce meal.

Coleman and other brands offer different versions of two-burners stove. The difference with these versions is the space for the pots. Standard versions work well for small families or groups but with a little creativity these can be used to even cook for as much as ten people. A campfire can always be used to heat up some dishes.

3. BTU & Power

The power of a camping stove is measured by how many BTU (British Thermal Units) it. BTU is a measure of the amount of energy required to heat or cool one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. So the more BTU a camping stove has, the more power it has. This should not be the only factor that you consider when buying a camping stove, you should also consider the cooking space it has.

– Look at the time it takes to boil water

All stoves should be able to boil if the temperature is ideal, wind conditions are moderate and the group size is fairly manageable. However, before you choose a camping stove you should know how fast it could boil water. This is crucial if you have a big group and time is of the essence. Boiling water for your morning coffee should not be a two-hour event. The number of BTU should be an adequate indicator, but it is not always the case.

– Simmering capability and wind resistance

Most products that are tested can boil water relatively fast but they are unable to keep a small flame to simmer down. You should look for a model that can boil water fast but also keep a small flame without turning off when the burner is lowered. The fact that you are using a camping stove should not mean you should expect it to perform any less than your stove at home.

When it comes to wind resistance things are more straightforward. You can buy a camping stove with a windscreen or you can forego the windscreen and create your own by putting your stove in a protected area. If you camp in extremely windy places then its best to invest in a camp stove with a powerful burner and a windscreen.

If you enjoy camping and enjoy food and cooking then you should choose a product that really meets your requirements. Remember also to maintain your stove so that it can last for as long as you need it to.

Tips for Family Flying

Flying can be an exciting and enjoyable experience, especially if you are heading out on a family vacation. Here are some airline travel tips to make your trip as smooth as possible.

Getting a good seat is important, especially if you are going to be traveling on a long flight. When booking your ticket, you can often get a copy of the seating plan for your particular aircraft. Take a look at it before deciding on your seats. You’ll need to make your decision on whether you’d like an aisle seat, a window seat, or perhaps you’d like to sit on the exit row which has more leg room but may have non-reclining seats on some planes. Keep in mind that children will not be allowed to sit on the exit rows, so don’t select these seats if you have young children flying with you. If you don’t get lucky on the seating when you book your flight, you can ask for better seats when you check in. This doesn’t always work but it’s worth a try. As a last resort, if the flight is not full, the flight attendants will often allow you to switch seats if you ask them once you board the flight.

How can you avoid flight delays? Well, most of the time there is nothing much you can do about this as you are at the whim of the weather, traffic, and other uncontrollable reasons for delay. However, booking a non-stop flight can lessen the likelihood that you will be delayed since there will be no airports to stop at in between which is the usual cause of going off schedule.

Watch for thieves in the airports. Happy-go-lucky vacation-going people are easy prey for thieves in the airport because they often, in the excitement of a trip. don’t pay attention as well as they should. Keep a careful eye on your purse or carry-on.

Check to see how early you need to arrive and make sure you allow time for traffic in order to get there on time. Due to all the security, lines can be very long so better to arrive early and have extra time than be rushing to the gate.

Make sure you have all the paperwork you will need such as boarding ticket, passport if you need one, birth certificate if that may be needed, and photo ID.

Get a list of what can and cannot be brought on board in your carry-ons. These rules change periodically so get an up-to-date list from your airline.

Since airlines routinely overbook, assuming some people will not show up, you will want to reduce the possibility of getting bumped by either checking in online before you leave home, or arriving early to check in. This ensures the best chance of keeping your seat. The good news is if do happen to be bumped off your flight, the airline is required to pay you compensation. This could be tickets, seat upgrades, or frequent flyer miles, and other bonuses.

Best Adventure Travel Takes Several Days to Travel

When you crave for the best adventure travel, you got to have time for it because it takes several days travel for it to become a real adventure. If you are employed and you only have a day or two to spare, forget it and just take your regular travel package which takes between two to four days.

When I was younger, I was fond of adventure travel, but since I was employed then, I was only allowed 15 days of vacation leave and time was so tight I had to do several things within the 15 day time frame. It was a dream and several years later, it is still a dream. Now that I am self-employed and have lots of time, it doesn’t appeal to me as much as it used to because I am already old and my travel preferences have changed. Yes I have experienced it in my younger days though it was done locally in nearby places. To those die-hard adventure travelers, here are several tips to guide you to a trouble free trip:

Make sure you have enough time to spare. One week should be the minimum. Why? This kind of travel involves a lot of walking, trekking or hiking and it takes time before you can get to your destination. Savor the panoramic scenery and excitement as you go along the way.
The best adventure travel doesn’t come in cheap. This is not your regular package so make sure you search the web thoroughly for discounts. Join several budget travel group to dramatically reduce your cost. Besides it’s a lot more fun if you travel with a big group.
Increase your discounts by reading affiliate marketing blogs. This is one of the most important thing you have to do. Choose the best travel membership site on the web, become a member and enjoy bigger discounts. These sites are one stop shops catered for travelers and membership fees are normally cheap and what you spend, you can recover it through discounts, bonuses and other freebies

How to Prepare Yourself For an Adventure Travel

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There are people for whom travelling is a big part of their life. The love to go to places where they can relax and forget everything about their ordinary day life. And there are people who are more of the adventurous type who would rather enjoy the day exploring the forest canopy in Costa Rica or discover the beauty of the wilderness of Siberia. But no matter what adventure you are planning for, it is always best to be prepared, so you do not take any unnecessary risk when travelling to a foreign country and doing risky business.

In the next sections you can read a series of tips for your next adventure; no matter if the trip goes to the wilderness or just a more normal family adventure destination. Most adventurers long to experience the adrenalin rush they get by going to new and unknown territory. They get a huge satisfaction and gratification by the feeling of uncertainty and newness when going to a new place. However, you should always know what you are doing. Travelling involves a risk; especially if you are on a more adventurous trip to the unknown.

Because of the vastness of locations and adventure locations available today, people might get confused on what areas are best for their adventure travel. The best way to experience the adventure is to go to an exotic location, where you can see, hear, taste and smell the mystery. The new and exotic locations can also be too adventurous. So stick to the typical and classical places, instead of going to areas where people normally do not dare to go to. Compared to a normal vacation adventure travel might cost a lot more.

Especially if you are going to locations fare away. So always shop around and compare prices and trip details before you book the adventure travel. That way you can save a lot of money. Using the internet is without doubt the best way to find a good price. Adventure travel can be a very gratifying and exciting way to travel with great experiences. But no matter which exotic location you might to go to, it is very important that you know how to protect yourself against the risk that always will be there. The best way to do that is with proper planning. So remember that the top priority is the safety of you and your family. Then you can enjoy your adventure travel with a minimum of risk.

Benefits of Using a Camping Pad

Are you a camping enthusiast? After you have bought a sleeping bag and a tent, the next most important item you must consider is a camping pad. A comfortable cushioned mattress makes a difference between a good nights sleep where you wake refreshed in the morning, or, a rough night without sleep and waking up tired and grumpy. Waking up refreshed makes a difference to how much you will enjoy the coming day…

Some people may consider a sleeping pad or an air mattress to be a necessity, whilst others still think they are an optional choice. For people who have used them, they say with certainty they are worth the expense and simply wouldn’t consider going camping without one.

What are the primary benefits of a camping pad:

they add a layer of installation against hard ground
add comfort
additional warmth
help to maintain body temperature
keep you dry
They are a useful add-on when you need comfort and keep warm. One of the biggest risks when camping in cold temperatures is hypothermia. A camping pad ads an extra layer of insulation and cushioning to help the body maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the night.

When you start your search for a camping pad these two elements, cushioning and insulation are the number one factor to keep in mind when purchasing one. However there are other important features to keep in mind when you are aiming to make your purchase.

1) How much cushioning will you need? Are you a thin or larger person?

2) Take into account the size of your sleeping bag, the length and width

3) How much does the pad weigh and how well does it compress down?

4) Does the pad inflate or deflate quickly? Is it self inflating or do you need to pump it up?

Types of Camping Pads

Air Mattresses

An inflatable air mattress provides a much greater degree of comfort and are much thicker than a foam pad. These are perfect car camping and are pretty close to a real bed. You can even take your regular sheets along and your favourite pillow… They are extremely comfortable and quick to inflate with a portable air pump. The downside is they are bulky and heavy and lack good insulating properties, so they are suitable for mild conditions only.

Foam Pads

These are simply foam pads, featuring high density foam with tiny closed air cells. It is a perfect backpacking and are lightweight, durable, inexpensive and provide excellent insulation. Neither do they absorb water which is a bonus when camping. The only downside to using a foam pad when camping is not very comfortable.

Air Camping Pad

An air camping pad can either be self inflatable or manually inflated, some actual when you buy one that you get a self inflating pad, they are much easier to use.

They are lightweight and comfortable and provide a perfect solution for backpacking and camping. Many of these camping pads have integrated insulation or reflective materials to provide extra insulation benefits.

They deflate down and roll up to a small lightweight size and are generally stored in a stuff sack.The only downside to using an air pad is they can be ripped or punctured. Generally an emergency repair kit is included.

Camping Pad Length And Width

Make sure you fit on the pad. Your shoulders and hips need to fit on the pad. A regular sized pad is anywhere from 72 to 78 inches long and will help to keep your legs and feet warm which is a big plus on those chilly camping trips!

A three-quarter length or short camping pad is generally around 47 to 48 inches in length and consequently packs down smaller and weighs less.

The majority of camping pads offer a standard width of 20 inches. You can get wider pads of 25 or 30 inches and whether or not you purchase one of these will depend on your size.

You can purchase rectangular or mummy shaped pads depending on your needs. Some camping pads will incorporate a textured surface to reduce the likelihood if you sliding around on the camping pad

Claire Rathausky loves camping with her family and has introduced her children to the fun of the great outdoors.

For many years she traveled around the world backpacking and experiencing many adventures along the way. She discovered buying a top quality sleeping bag and accessories made the whole experience much more fun and comfortable.

How to Save Tons of Money on Food

You are on vacation in some foreign place, and your stomach starts growling because it is time to eat, however you look at your wallet and realize you don’t have much money left, so what should you do? Some people underestimate on how much food can cost you when travelling abroad. Therefore it is critical to ensure you budget yourself so that you have enough money for your food and drinks! Here are some great tips for budget travel on how to save tons of money on food.

Tip 1.) Eat at the local establishments and not at the hotels or fancy restaurants

One big money saving tip for food and beverages, is to eat at the local establishments, instead of at the hotels or fancy restaurants. Eating at hotels and fancy restaurants, typically are very expensive, and limited with choice and portions. By eating where the locals are eating, you will be guaranteed to have the most authentic culinary experience, along with the most affordable prices. This is very true when you travel to Asia, where you will probably get the best food at cheap prices at the street stall food vendors and “mom and pop” restaurants.

Tip 2.) For alcoholic beverages, drink at bars and pubs during happy hours

Many times if you go to the bars and pubs at the happy hour timings, you will get substantial discounts on your alcoholic drinks. Such perks include discounts on drinks, and even one for one drinks, which means buy one drink and get the other for free. Typical happy hour timings happen around lunch time, and also around the rush hour time after work, which is about 5:00pm until 8:00pm (depending on which city you are visiting). This is also a great way to mingle around with the locals.

Tip 3.) Cook your own meals

If you are staying at a place that has a kitchen facility for you to do your own cooking, then buying groceries and cooking your own meals maybe an option for you. Buying your groceries can definitely save you a lot of money, and also is a great way to experience the local fresh produce markets, and grocery stores.

Traveling is an excellent opportunity to sample different foods from different countries. It is a great way to experience cultures from different places of the world. By following these simple budget travel tips, you will be able to save tons of money on food and drinks, and also be able to have a more authentic travel experience.

Availing Cheap Airfare to Travel Destinations

Traveling is diversion from the people’s busy working schedule and thoughtful for their home. But, since traveling might prove costly, some of us may afford it. Hence, if you wish to travel, however, having restricted budget, you must discover an inexpensive airfare. The cheap airfare would help you in traveling and enjoying a good vacation.

You can avail cheap airfare to travel destination by following these tips and tricks:

1. Find out the place you desire to visit and choose for the action you wish for in such a site.

2. Search for cheapest airfare online for your selected place, but pick flexible departure and arrival flights date. Persisting on precise departure and arrival flights date for flying would cost you more.

3. Flights must be booked several weeks before the vacation. It may lead to cheap airfare. It is because some travelers have bought the tickets plus the airlines don’t determine the flights popularity in that period.

4. Book the round trip flight instead of one-way flight. Nearly same taxes are applied in both cases, and therefore one-way flight generally become much costly than round trip flights. Also, the promotional rates are applied to the round trip flight and are always easy to find economical airfare for the round trip flight.

5. Airlines booking on chief airports cost you higher thus; try to book your flights from nearest airport. It will cost you slight to drive to smaller and nearby airports, but having your flights from major airports would certainly cost you more.

6. Shun flying a day prior to any holiday. Some weeks before otherwise the similar day of holiday generally have lesser passengers and hence you may find economical airfare in those traveling dates.

7.You might find airfare cheap if traveling in weekdays. It is popular to travel on the weekends; therefore if traveling on weekday, you might generally find cheap airfare.

Traveling is my passion and providing useful information is my hobby. A tip from me: availing cheap tickets is very important to make your trip within budget. I will share more information soon, keep reading.

Airline Travel Tips to Follow Before Boarding a Flight

Are you planning to fly to your place of interest anytime soon? Well, before you plan your holiday, it is very essential to bear in mind certain important things to avoid any last-minute hassles and make your vacation a memorable one. Following travel and luggage tips will help you plan your tour in a better way:

1) Airline

• If you have planned your tour during the weeks of Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year, it is better to arrive at the airport at least two hours before departure. This is because these weeks are the busiest times of the year and the security check lines are very long. Similarly, most airports are extremely crowded on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons.

• In order to reduce the possibilities of a delay, it is advisable to prefer a non-stop flight over a break flight. As the air traffic is comparatively less in morning, the early morning flights are very less likely to be delayed.

• At the security check of almost all the airports, passengers are asked to remove their footwear. Therefore, it is always better to wear clean socks and slip-on shoes.

• As the passengers are required to furnish their identification proof several times before boarding, make sure you carry a lanyard with a plastic passport holder. This will ensure easy I.D. access.

2) Luggage:

• As the fee charged for checked bags vary between different airlines, make sure you enquire about the baggage rates with the particular airline.

• Never wrap your packages.

• Carry essentials, such as electronics, medications, and other valuable items, in your carry-on luggage.

• Make sure you have labeled all your checked and carry-on baggage with your name or initials and your contact details. For easy and quick identification of your luggage, you can tie a colorful satin ribbon on the handle of each luggage piece. This will help you easily differentiate your luggage from that of your co-passengers.

• Do not lock your bags as the lock might be cut off of your baggage for random inspection by the Transportation Security Administration. If you still wish to lock your bags, use the TSA approved locks instead of the normal ones.

• If you are carrying your laptop computer along with you, bear in mind that you will be asked to remove it from its case and put it through the X-Ray machine. Therefore, come prepared accordingly.

• If you are having with you prescription medicines, baby formula, breast milk, or diabetic nutritional supplements, do not forget to declare the same at the check point.

• Gels, pastes, or liquids should be placed in one quart (1 liter) plastic bag and packed in the carry-on luggage.

The above airline travel tips will definitely help you prepare yourself well before you finally board a flight to your destination.

Tips and Guide For Budget Travelers

Budget travelers generally look for various ways to cut down the cost and save as much cash as they can while travelling. It is a very good and wise effort because it does not mean that you have to compromise on fun factor or enjoyment factor of your travel. There are in fact many ways to save money on travel. And with few tips and guides, considerable amount of cash can be safe.

•Firstly, you can have alternative in form of economic air travel and international travel. You can easily find cheap airfares and save lot of money on cheap travel.
•You can find good accommodation in budget hotels or hostels. Hostels are best way to have fun at much reduced price. Most of the hostels are very economical and provide good social atmosphere.
•It is best to make advance booking for accommodation and other services.
•Local sightseeing in travel and tourists buses cost much less than hiring private cars and wagons.
•Another easy but one of the effective way to have easy and budget travel is to pack light and carry only required luggage.

•This will help in free movement as well as no extra cost has to be paid for luggage at airports, neither have you needed any help to carry them and give tip money.
•You have to set the priority which should include travel items, trips, goals and the destinations that you really desire to visit. Thus planning is the most important aspect for any budget travelers.