Travel News

When you do travel, it would be important to keep abreast of the latest news. On the same vein, if you’ve ever wanted to travel, now is the year to do it. A lot of countries have slackened their visa requirements and extended the days of allowable stay. Despite the seemingly troubled times, travel in the USA has actually increased. Domestic travel in the US has increased 2.1% from last year. This means more revenue for the different states. In 2016, when a person goes on a domestic trip, they spend an average of $2,200. So this means a lot of revenue for the states and places that they do visit. The international tourism scene is growing exponentially as well. Tourism is still a vastly growing market and travelers are a big part of this. So in a nutshell, travel and travelers make the world a vastly more economically habitable place.

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Why Should You Travel?

Travelling, as a concept, isn’t anything truly new. Even before travelling for leisure was a thing, travelling for various reasons existed. Now that travelling is now mostly for leisure, it opens up a whole new opportunity for everyone. Even if you probably thought that you, personally, don’t like travel, it is something that most people aspire to be able to do. It is in this year alone that more and more people have gone to travel within their own countries. Travelling is an enriching and enjoyable experience. Travelling allows people to meet new individuals, see new places, and experience new things. There isn’t quite like anything like travelling. The simple fact of going beyond your own comfort zone and seeing new sights is quite liberating. Travelling is a great way to open up your own world and grow more as a person and as a citizen of this planet. Learning about new cultures and ways of life is a great way to get to know your own mind even better.

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Travelling Made Easy

Should you book that bigger room? Is it worth waiting for a seat sale? Which country should you prioritize over another? What is the best time to visit a certain state? What is there to do once you get there? These and many more questions always pass through the mind of a traveler. When you’re not sure about anything, it’s important to understand that getting help isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s quite the opposite actually. We’ll be discussing more tips, tricks, and hacks to make sure that you get the most out of your adventures. When you travel, or even when you’re still planning the trip, it’s important to be practical. With all the “best tips” out there, it’s crucial that you follow the right ones. Stay tuned as we share our thoughts based on our own personal experiences and hacks given by people in travel-relevant professions. Make sure that you get the most out of your trip by applying the best tried and tested hacks in the world today!

Best Time to Visit Rio de Janeiro: A Seasonal Guide for Travelers

Overview of Seasons in Rio de Janeiro

When planning your trip to Rio de Janeiro, consider the distinct seasons as they might influence your activities and experiences in the city.

Summer (December to March): During these months, you’ll find Rio’s weather warm and sunny, with average temperatures ranging from 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (27 to 32 degrees Celsius) during the day, cooling slightly at night.

It’s the prime season for beach activities but be prepared for occasional heavy downpours in the evenings.

  • December to February: High season for tourists.
  • March: End of summer with slightly cooler temperatures.

Autumn (April to June): The autumn season offers a respite from the summer heat, featuring warm days and less rainfall.

It’s an ideal time for sightseeing with more comfortable temperatures and fewer crowds.

  • April to May: Decrease in rainfall and mild temperatures.
  • June: Start of the cooler weather.

Winter (July to September): In winter, Rio experiences its coolest weather, though it remains mild compared to many other places, with temperatures around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius).

This season is less crowded and can be optimal for those looking to explore the city comfortably without the summer heat.

  • July: The coldest month, yet still mild.
  • August to September: Gradual warming towards spring.

Spring (October to November): The city begins to warm up again with temperatures conducive to outdoor activities.

Rain is less frequent, allowing for enjoyable exploration of Rio’s attractions.

  • October to November: Warmer weather, gearing up for summer.

Climate Patterns by Month

When planning your visit to Rio de Janeiro, consider the month-by-month climate patterns, as they significantly vary throughout the year, affecting your travel experience.

January to March

During these months, you will experience Rio’s summer. Expect high temperatures ranging from 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, cooling slightly to around 70 degrees Fahrenheit at night.

Be prepared for sudden and heavy downpours, typically in the afternoon or evenings.

April to June

This period marks the transition from summer to winter.

April still has warm temperatures, but by May and June, you will find it cooler and drier.

Daytime temperatures usually range between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, with less rainfall compared to the summer months.

July to September

July is considered the coldest month, with average temperatures around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Days remain mostly sunny, and while temperatures below 68 degrees Fahrenheit are uncommon, they can prompt locals to dress warmly.

October to December

Spring in Rio sees temperatures climbing back up from the cooler winter months.

November and December are characterized by warm and sunny weather, with temperatures often above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, ideal for enjoying Rio’s beaches.

Occasional rain showers can occur as summer approaches.

Cultural Events and Festivals

Rio de Janeiro boasts a vibrant cultural calendar, and your visit can be enriched by aligning it with some of the city’s most famed events.


The pinnacle of Rio’s cultural festivities is undoubtedly Carnival.

Held annually, Carnival usually takes place in February or March, depending on the year.

During this time, you’ll witness the spectacular Sambadrome parades, where samba schools compete with elaborate floats and costumes.

Streets across the city brim with free-flowing music and dancing, making it a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve in Rio de Janeiro is a spectacle of its own.

The celebration, known as Réveillon, involves millions gathering on Copacabana Beach to watch breathtaking fireworks at midnight.

Traditionally, attendees dress in white, symbolizing good luck for the new year.

It’s a moment of jubilation that you can be a part of as the skyline sparkles to welcome the new year.

Rock in Rio

For music enthusiasts, Rock in Rio is a legendary festival that shouldn’t be missed.

Occurring biennially, the festival spans over a week and attracts some of the biggest names in music.

You can rock out to a diverse lineup of artists across multiple stages.

Check the festival dates in advance since it’s not held every year and plan your trip to coincide with this major music event.

Tourist Peaks and Off-Peaks

When you’re planning your visit to Rio de Janeiro, it’s essential to consider the periods of peak and off-peak tourism, as these can greatly affect your experience.

Peak Season:

  • December to March: Coinciding with the Southern Hemisphere’s summer, this time offers sunny beach weather and is also when the iconic Carnaval takes place.
  • February or March (Carnaval): The city’s most famous event draws visitors from around the globe, resulting in busy streets and higher accommodation prices.

Off-Peak Season:

  • April to June & September to October: These months offer a balanced climate with fewer crowds, allowing for a more laid-back exploration of the city.
  • July to August: The austral winter presents cooler temperatures and might appeal if you prefer avoiding the heat.

Crowd Avoidance Tip: For a quieter experience, it’s advisable to visit on weekdays. Beaches and attractions tend to be less crowded compared to weekends.

Weather Note: Bear in mind that sudden rain showers are common year-round. They often occur in the late afternoon or evening.

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Sump Pumps 101 – Everything You Need to Know

Sump pumps play an important role in keeping homes dry and protecting them from basement flooding. Regular maintenance can prevent costly repairs and protect the value of properties.

A basic sump pump maintenance checklist involves checking the float switch, discharge pipe, and battery backup systems. It also includes removing debris from the pump basin.
What is a Sump Pump?

A sump pump is a type of water pump that removes floodwater and other excess moisture from your home. They can pump thousands of gallons of water an hour and are a vital component in keeping your basement and other areas of the home dry. A sump pump helps prevent flooding and also keeps electrical appliances safe from water damage.

Prevents Mold and Mildew

Standing water in the basement creates a perfect environment for mildew and mold to grow. This can cause structural damage to the house as well as health problems for those with allergies or respiratory issues. A sump pump will eliminate the problem and keep the space clean.

Reduces Fire Risk

The basement has many electrical appliances that aren’t designed to touch water, and even a small amount of water can cause them to short circuit. This can result in costly repair bills or even a fire. A sump pump will ensure that any water in the basement is removed quickly, lowering the risk of fires and other damage.

Reduces Costs

If you’re looking for ways to lower your home insurance costs, a sump pump is a great option. This is because a sump pump can help to prevent the damage caused by flooding, which can be very expensive to repair. It can also save you money on electrical bills, as it will prevent your appliances from being damaged by water.

It may seem odd that a system that’s primarily designed to prevent flooding can save you money on your home insurance, but it really does work. The system will also protect your belongings from water damage, reducing the cost of replacing items like electronics and furniture.

Types of Sump Pumps

There are two main types of sump pumps: submersible and pedestal. Submersible pumps are located inside the sump pit, below the water level. Pedestal pumps are typically installed on a stand above the pit and have a float activator arm that activates the pump when water rises. They can be manually turned on, but most are powered by a pressure sensor that works just like the one in your toilet tank, detecting water through a difference in air and water pressure.

A sump pump is a valuable investment that protects a home from devastating basement flooding. It detects rising water levels, pumps the water out of the basement and channels it away from the foundation. This keeps the walls from becoming damp or showing water stains, helps discourage pests and mildew, and prevents the deterioration of the foundation.

A variety of sump pumps are available, including submersible, pedestal and battery backup. Each type has its own benefits, so choose the one that fits your needs.

The most common type of sump pump is a submersible pump that sits in the pit and works underwater. It has a sealed, waterproof case to protect the motor as it drains the water. The submersible pump also runs quieter than other types of pumps.

Pedestal sump pumps are more attractive than submersible ones, but they can be less efficient because the motor is exposed and can overheat if it’s running continuously for long periods of time. Pedestal pumps can also be difficult to clean because they are exposed above ground.

Battery backup sump pumps are useful in case the power goes out, but they are not as powerful as other pumps because they run on a small battery that can only pump about 30 gallons per minute at full charge. They should be tested regularly and replaced every two or three years as a safety precaution.

There are a variety of electrical sump pumps that can be powered by either a single- or three-phase induction motor. They are rated for 110-volt circuits, but some models can operate on 220 or even 460 volts in industrial applications.

Most sump pumps are automated, turning on and off as needed through a float activator arm or pressure sensor. The float arm works similarly to the switch in your toilet tank and moves up or down as the water level rises and falls. The pressure sensor works by measuring the difference in water and air pressure. Some pump systems include an alarm that sounds locally or can send a remote signal to a home alarm system.

Cost of Sump Pumps

A sump pump is a great investment for any homeowner as it can help prevent costly water damage to their home. It can also help with mold and mildew prevention as well as increase the resale value of their property.

The cost of installing a sump pump can vary depending on the type of pump you choose and how complex your installation needs to be. The pump size and capacity also plays a role in the overall cost. Larger pumps that can handle higher water volumes tend to be more expensive.

Other factors that influence the cost of installing a sump pump include location, labor costs, and any additional components needed. For example, if your sump pump is located in a crawl space, the installation process will be less complicated than if it is installed in a basement. This is because basements typically have concrete floors, which requires jackhammers and other tools to break through the surface.

Additionally, if you want your sump pump to be operational during power outages, you’ll need to invest in a battery backup system. These systems can be submersible or pedestal-style and are available at an additional cost.

Lastly, the costs of maintaining a sump pump can be high. Regular maintenance is essential to keep the system functioning properly and preventing any issues from arising. This includes checking the float switch to ensure that it’s not stuck or improperly set as well as inspecting and replacing any parts that are worn out or damaged. Additionally, it’s important to make sure that the discharge line is free of obstructions and sloped downwards to avoid freezing or clogging.

The benefits of having a functional sump pump can far outweigh the cost of installation and maintenance. In addition to preventing costly floods, sump pumps can also protect your basement from mold and mildew, as well as reduce the chances of foundation cracks and other structural issues. Having a sump pump can even save you money on utility bills by helping to control humidity levels in your home. It’s important to remember that your home is a significant financial investment, and keeping it protected against potential water damage should be a top priority.

Installation of Sump Pumps

Just like you change the oil in your car, clean your gutters, and add salt to your water softener, sump pump installation is a preventative measure you can take to avoid costly damage and repairs. Thankfully, it’s also an easy DIY project that can save you money and hassle. However, it’s important to understand what to expect from the process so that you can prepare yourself for success.

The first step is to determine where you want your sump pump installed. It should be in the lowest point of your basement or crawl space, as water tends to collect there. It’s also important to make sure that the discharge pipe is in a place that is easily accessible for maintenance and cleaning. You’ll need to connect the discharge line from your pump to the exterior of your home, and a check valve must be installed to ensure that water does not backflow into your sump pit.

Most pumps use 1.5 inch PVC piping, but be sure to review the instructions that came with your particular pump for specifics. Next, you’ll need to drill a hole through your home’s siding and rim joist, using a hole saw with the appropriate sized bit. The hole needs to be at least six inches above the drain pipe, and you should install a check valve at this location as well.

After the hole has been drilled, you’ll need to assemble the pump, pipe, and discharge valve. It’s a good idea to attach a union or coupling to the discharge line, so that you can easily remove it for maintenance and cleaning. Finally, the pump must be plugged into its power source. Ideally, this should be a dedicated circuit receptacle with its own GFCI outlet, as opposed to connecting it to an existing outlet. This will help to reduce the risk of tripping or losing power, which could lead to electric shock.

Once the system is in place, you’ll need to test it. This can be done by running a large amount of water through the system, making sure that everything works as it should. If you encounter any problems, it’s recommended that you call a licensed Abilene plumber for assistance.

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A Helpful Guide to Finding the Right Chiropractor for You

Choosing the right chiropractor is a crucial decision that can significantly impact your health and well-being. Whether you’re seeking relief from pain, improving your overall health, or incorporating chiropractic care into your wellness routine, finding the right practitioner is key. This guide aims to provide you with valuable insights and practical tips to help you navigate the process of finding the chiropractor that best suits your needs.

Understanding Your Needs

Before embarking on the search for a chiropractor, take some time to assess your specific needs and goals. Are you seeking relief from back pain, recovering from an injury, or looking for proactive wellness care? Understanding your objectives will guide you in finding a chiropractor with the expertise and approach that aligns with your health goals.

Credentials and Education

One of the first factors to consider when choosing a chiropractor is their credentials and education. Verify that the chiropractor has completed the required education from an accredited chiropractic institution. Additionally, check if they hold relevant licenses and certifications. This information is often available on the chiropractor’s website or can be obtained by contacting their office directly.

Experience in Your Specific Condition

Chiropractors often specialize in certain areas, such as sports injuries, prenatal care, or general wellness. If you have a specific condition or concern, look for a chiropractor with experience in that area. For instance, if you’re an athlete, finding a chiropractor with expertise in sports chiropractic care may be beneficial. Ask about their experience and success in treating conditions similar to yours.

Referrals and Recommendations

Word of mouth can be a powerful tool in finding the right chiropractor. Ask friends, family members, or colleagues if they have had positive experiences with a chiropractor. Personal referrals can provide valuable insights into the practitioner’s approach, communication style, and overall patient satisfaction.

Online Reviews and Testimonials

In the digital age, online reviews and testimonials are readily available and can offer a glimpse into the experiences of other patients. Browse reputable review websites or the chiropractor’s own website for feedback from current and past patients. Keep in mind that a mix of positive and constructive reviews is normal, and look for overall trends in patient satisfaction.

Communication Style and Personal Connection

Effective communication between you and your chiropractor is crucial for a successful therapeutic relationship. During an initial consultation or interview, pay attention to the chiropractor’s communication style. They should be attentive, willing to answer your questions, and explain their approach in a way that is easily understandable. A chiropractor who listens to your concerns and involves you in your care is likely to provide a more personalized and effective treatment.

Treatment Techniques and Approach

Chiropractors may use various techniques and approaches in their practice. Some may focus on manual adjustments, while others incorporate additional therapies such as massage, acupuncture, or nutritional counseling. Inquire about the specific techniques the chiropractor uses and how they align with your preferences and comfort level. A good chiropractor will be transparent about their approach and tailor it to your individual needs. Gainesville chiropractors are renowned for their expertise in delivering effective, patient-centered chiropractic care to improve overall health and well-being.

Accessibility and Location

Consider the practical aspects of accessing chiropractic care. Assess the location of the chiropractor’s office in relation to your home or workplace. Evaluate their office hours and whether they can accommodate your schedule. Accessibility and convenience play a role in ensuring that you can consistently attend appointments and maintain a regular care routine.

Cost and Insurance Coverage

Before committing to chiropractic care, understand the cost of services and whether the chiropractor accepts your insurance. Inquire about the payment structure, including the cost of initial consultations, subsequent visits, and any additional therapies or services offered. Clear communication about financial matters helps avoid surprises and ensures that you can comfortably manage the financial aspect of your care.

Consultation and Initial Assessment

Many chiropractors offer initial consultations or assessments, providing an opportunity for you to meet the practitioner, discuss your health goals, and learn about their approach. Take advantage of these sessions to assess the chiropractor’s demeanor, professionalism, and how well they address your concerns. This firsthand experience can help you make an informed decision about moving forward with their care.

Trust Your Instincts

Ultimately, trust your instincts when choosing a chiropractor. If something doesn’t feel right or if you sense a lack of connection, it’s okay to explore other options. A positive and trusting relationship with your chiropractor is essential for the success of your care, and finding a practitioner who aligns with your values and preferences is key to a positive experience.


Finding the right chiropractor is a personal journey that requires careful consideration of your needs, preferences, and the practitioner’s qualifications. By taking the time to assess credentials, seek referrals, and evaluate the chiropractor’s approach, you can make an informed decision that contributes to your overall health and well-being. Remember that your chiropractor is a partner in your health journey, and finding the right fit enhances the likelihood of a positive and successful chiropractic experience.

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Which Travel Insurance Should You Buy?

Two decades ago, purchasing travel insurance have sounded like a warning to most consumers. No travel or cruise agent would mention the need for such whenever offering their service. It used to be a forbidden word which if mentioned was sure to send customers running in the opposite direction. But in the modern world in which we live in, all the travel, cruise, and flight catastrophes that are getting media coverage as well as those horror stories about trip and flight cancellations, people are starting to think about getting travel insurance.

And if you come to think of it, getting your trip, health or possessions insured is a good idea. Packing these altogether would also require that you choose the best one depending on your needs, preferences, and budget. But how do you choose the right travel insurance? We’ll learn it all here while also learning the most popular ones that are available

Secure a Flight and Trip Cancellation Insurance If You Need One

In this type of coverage, you need to be able to weigh the value of your investment when compared to the price of the insurance itself. If you’re targeting budget flight tickets, the ones that are on super sale to destinations like Atlantic City, you won’t be needing this kind of coverage. However, if you paid $10,000 for the Mediterranean cruise, purchasing travel insurance is recommended.

Whether you like it or not, there will always be unexpected circumstances that can happen like getting sick, an accident, death in the family and many others which you would need insurance for. What if the cruise suddenly changes its course or excursions change? And what if you get sick during the journey? If this happens, be sure that you purchase coverage from outside insurance instead of getting it from the cruise’s brand as their insurance vanishes once their cruise brand goes out of business.

Travel Health Insurance is Crucial

Don’t ever think that just because you have health insurance in the U.S., you are automatically covered wherever you go. This is not the case especially if you travel out of the U.S. on a cruise. Most cruise ships that leave from the U.S. ports are based in other countries which means that the health insurance that you have will not be honored if you get sick while on the cruise itself. Now, this is a red flag that you need to be mindful of.

On other possible circumstances especially some emergencies that require you to be flown back to the U.S. for treatment, you will not be covered by your health insurance as well. And if you get admitted to the hospital while in an underdeveloped country, you will be accepted by healthcare providers without being concerned about coverage. They’ll just keep you until you pay the bills. That’s why it’s important that you get travel insurance policy which covers health.

When you shop for travel health insurance, look for the one that offers initial treatment and is capable of sending trained and medically-equipped staff no matter where the emergency happens. And more importantly, it must also allow you to choose the medical facility and even the doctor of your choice. These are the critical details that you need to watch out for when shopping for travel health insurance coverage.

Baggage Insurance Also Helps

You’ll be glad to know that most travel or cruise cancellation and interruption insurance policies already cover damaged, stolen or lost bags. This is one of the essential things that you need when you’re on travel. Warsaw Convention covers on a per pound basis for checked bags at $9.07. For passengers and unchecked bags, they cover only $400. The U.S. Airlines as of February 28, 2007, only accepts liability for damaged or lost bags up to $3,000, an increase on a per passenger basis from the $2,800 current limit.

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That might sound good at first until you know that furs, jewelry, and other negotiable financial documents are excluded. Anything that’s worth something is excluded. And there’s this ‘depreciation’ which they really love. One more thing, the $3,000 limit isn’t per bag; it’s on a per incident basis.

So what you can do is to ask for what is called ‘excess valuation’. You can do this at the ticket counter. Doing this will add up to $5,000 coverage with a rate of around $1 for every $100 value. Choosing to purchase this would mean that you need to describe everything that’s in your bag. It will require more time but still worth it!

Should You Buy It or Not?

First to think about is the value of your investment and compare it to the amount you will be paying for the insurance. Also, think of the place you’re going to visit and do research on what kind of country it is. Is it underdeveloped? See what mode of payment you’re going to use to pay for your airline ticket. If you used a credit card and the flight gets canceled, your insurance will cover it since you paid for a service that you did not get.

If possible, look for third-party insurance like a cruise travel insurance that is not in any way affiliated with the travel company you’ve arranged your travel with. Be sure that it is licensed in your country or state. Delays in cruise or flight schedules may also happen, and if you want to cancel because of a single event of a delay, you can’t do so because most policies only cover cancellations if more than half of your vacation has been delayed.

If you’re looking for the best quotes on travel insurance, you can find one by using Health Insurance Finder where you can filter by preference and see the best comparisons on different insurance products available for you.

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4 Car Rental Tips You Should Know Before Renting One

It is impossible to go on vacation with the family without considering to get the service of a good car rental firm. It is easy to go without it when you’re traveling alone, having the whole family to tow is a different story. If you want a successful trip and a journey that’s full of wonderful memories to cherish, doing things right in terms of renting a car is a must. Here are four useful tips that I’d like to share to make your car rental and overall travel experience as excellent and hassle-free as possible.

1. Do Research Ahead of Time

Waiting to reach your destination before doing research on the nearest or the best car rental company won’t work no matter how excellent your research skills are. Chances are you’ll be so distracted and in a rush all the time. You will not have the luxury of time which you enjoy when you’re at home. So be sure to do research in advance and check on as much car rental providers as you can so you can get the best service and as well as excellent deals.

If you don’t need to get the service of a car rental right after arriving at your destination since most hotels offer transportation for guests arriving at the airport, it will be a good idea to research at your hotel room instead. This is an excellent way to save on costs while on the trip.

2. Book It in Advance

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After finding the best car rental company, the next step that you need to go through is booking the service in advance. Doing this will take one thing off from the list of stuff that you need to worry about during the travel. Avoid the mistake of booking a car rental upon arriving at your destination. This will save you from a host of bad experiences like ending up with a long list of hidden fees that you need to pay.

3. Be Sure to Have Car Rental Insurance

This aspect of renting a car is mostly ignored, but it’s one of the most important things that can save you from a lot of mess. Don’t assume that nothing can go wrong because whether you like it or not, you can’t be sure about it. So being ready to face anything wrong that can happen is the best that you can do.

But before signing the car rental insurance, be sure to check your on your credit card and personal vehicle insurance policy as most of the time, it covers car rental as well though, in the case of credit cards, the coverage being offered is mostly secondary.

4. Get Familiar of the Car Rental Rules at Your Destination

Different countries have varying rules and regulations when it comes to car rental services. Though most of these regulations sound the same and others seem close to each other, you still need to know the details to avoid major problems once you get in the car and start your journey at the place you’re planning to visit. There are countries that require International Driving Permit which you need to secure before leaving your country of origin. That’s the reason why researching and knowing the rules and regulations very well is essential. The last thing you want to do is arrive at the country but end up not being able to drive because you don’t have enough documentation to do so.

It’s Going to be Easy if You Come Prepared

Renting a car doesn’t have to be a hassle especially when you’re supposed to enjoy on the trip with the whole family. Making sure that things will go smoothly requires due diligence on your part days before leaving for the trip. Yes! It will require time on your part but every second you spend planning on this aspect of the journey will all pay off in the end!

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Why Traveling Without a Plan is a Great Idea

‘If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.’ It might be right for most of the things that we do under the sun. Whether it’s the long-term plans or the short-term ones that we set in our life, having a well laid-out plan is always a good idea. It allows you to move through each step smoothly and accomplish things on-time. But did you know that planning can sometimes be taken out of the frontlines and doing so would lead to even better results?

That is if you’re a traveler who’s seeking for a thrilling and unique adventure. Something that no one else has already experienced. Traveling without a plan can sound scary for some. Just imagine leaving home and going to an alien place without knowing where to go or how much to spend. Now that’s just some wild imagination most would have when hearing about the idea. Traveling without a plan can turn into a fun and unforgettable experience. It can even lead to significant changes in your life. But how? The answers are what we’re going to learn in this article.

A Real Life Experience from a Friend

A good friend of mine who’ is also one of my biggest influences and inspiration why I do travel a lot has had several unique experiences in most of his travels. And that is because he does go on most of his travels without a plan. In one of our conversations, I asked him why he prefers to do this quite ‘scary’ thing, and these are the reasons he told me in reply.

1. Traveling with a Plan Can be Boring

If you’ve been traveling a lot and have been to many different places, you might have gone through most of it sticking on a strict itinerary. Having everything planned out is a good thing. That is what travel agencies would often say, but if you come to think of it, this idea can be boring. Most of us travel or go on vacation so we can break from the shackles of work and all the daily routines that we willingly tethered ourselves into as we grow into adulthood.

We travel to relax and be free! If we do it while following a strict plan, then the idea of freedom and relaxation are automatically taken out of the picture.

2. Traveling Without a Plan Gives You Flexibility

A journey that is not tied to a plan gives one the flexibility to do more and experience more. Since there are no advanced bookings to catch and you’re not racing against time, you can quickly switch to other places or do other activities and you will even be open to even better things that can come along. Let each day unfold while you’re going with the flow. It’s the best recipe for a memorable adventure, something that’s filled with tons of excitement in unplanned trips and activities.

3. When Travelling, Less is More

In most of my travels, I had many unique experiences some memorable enough to last a lifetime. There was a time when I had to change my plan, met a friend and ended up spending a month on an island in Thailand doing things I enjoyed. On a separate travel, I had the chance to meet a girl in Cambodia, spent a few more days, and we eventually ended up dating and traveling together for five months.

I would’ve not experienced such if my travels depended on a stringent plan with itineraries set in advance. When you’re into traveling, remember that less is more. Spending more time in a particular place would mean that you’ll visit fewer sites but it will help you get a better feel and appreciate life even more. It opens the door for more relaxing travel experiences seeing more than just attractions. Traveling without a plan allows you to prepare for the accidents that can happen along the way with more fun and appreciation and less stress.

4. Traveling Without a Plan Allows You to Go With the Flow

Whenever I go on travel, I have one thing in mind. Yes! That’s how simple my travel plan is. I keep in mind the city or country that I want to visit then I move forward smoothly in a continuous route. It is crucial to avoid visiting the same place twice. I go with the flow, and it keeps me save on transportation cost while enjoying the whole experience.

Just remember that there are unexpected things that can happen. You can lose your camera or get minor injuries along the way. In other instances, you’ll find yourself traveling with people you just met to a new place. Flexibility is needed in these situations and obviously, visiting on a strict plan wouldn’t give you the flexibility that’s necessary to overcome such.

So How Exactly Should You Plan Your Travel?

With all those reasons mentioned, here is my take when it comes to creating a plan for your next travel. Again, the key is to make it realistic and straightforward. And here are some points that I hope would help you create a simple travel plan, it would feel like you don’t have any plan at all:

Step 1: Put in as much detail as you want on your next dream trip. Over-Planning helps a lot at this early stage.

Step 2: After listing down all the details, cut half of it down and stick with this new list.

Step 3: Do even more elimination of the details until you have at least three to five things that you want to do in every destination that’s left on your list.

Step 4: Take the list with you and forget all the other things you’ve listed down. Focus on making memories and do the things that you really want on every location you visit. Go with the flow and let serendipity do the rest of the job for you.

Keep it Simple and Flexible!

Again, planning doesn’t always lead to good things. When it comes to traveling, you just need to know where you are going and cut all the other details down to the simplest most practical activities that you can do. This would give you the flexibility to deal with changes on the way and that for me is the best travel plan!

/ / Travel Hacks

How to Plan a Road Trip to Canada

Are you a traveler looking for new adventure? If you’re in search of some exciting journey that’s full of beautiful sceneries, then you should consider going on a road trip to Canada. While most are having their travels within the confines of the U.S. borders, venturing out over to the Canadian side and exploring some wonderful destinations such as Vancouver, Toronto, Victoria, Calgary, Ottawa, Montreal, Banff, Niagara Falls, Quebec City and many others would make the journey even more worth it.

However, given the cross-border nature of the journey, it is essential that you prepare a travel plan with a well laid-out itinerary especially if you’re bringing your family with you. And to make things easy for you, here are some pointers that I’d like to share which would hopefully make the whole experience a lot smoother.

Know Where You’re Going

You might have heard of beautiful sites and sceneries from a friend or have read it from a travel blog online. It is easy to be inspired by what you’ve seen or heard but before falling prey to ‘impulse travel,’ and regretting everything, in the long run, be sure that you know where that majestic lake is or where you can find that cozy log cabin which your friend told you about. Here are a few suggestions I can give in this first stage:

  • Get to your computer and start searching for the place that you want to visit. Know what kind of accommodations are there and learn about the activities that you and your family can enjoy. Starting with a theme in mind is good. For instance, you can choose an adventure that’s focused on history, outdoor, city breaks, or you want to relax while enjoying the beautiful sceneries in nature.
  • Now that you know the place, the activities that the family can do there and the theme of the whole adventure which you want to implement, choosing the kind of clothes and other stuff to bring becomes a lot easier. Don’t bring too many stuff. Just pack things enough for the whole family and of course, it should fit in the car leaving enough space for everyone to breath.
  • Narrow down the places and sites that you want to visit and make sure that it would cater to the family’s travel vibes, preferences, and needs. If you’re having a hard time narrowing down the list, you can share it with the other members of your family so they can give their feedback or even remove as well as add additional sites and attractions to the final travel plan.

Know Exactly How to Get There

Now that you have the narrowed down list of places to visit on your road trip to Canada, it is time to identify the options on how to there and choose the one that will best serve your family and the budget. Will driving from home to the destination be right or you need to fly, rent a car then drive to reach the very first stop of the whole adventure? Adding plane tickets to the overall expense can be costly, so if you’re on a tight budget, you will need extra planning on this aspect. Check online and look for good deals and discounts on airline ticket prices.

Consider Logistics

Logistics is the next thing to consider. If you’re going to be on a road trip to Canada or to any other destination, you need to plan out every point on the itinerary especially that you’re hauling plenty of stuff with you plus the kids and other members of the family. Do some research and see what others did, what they brought with them on the journey, what kind of car they rented and many other details. Here are some things you need to ask your self at this stage:

  • How long will the journey/trip last?
  • How many sites will I visit?
  • How many nights will I spend at every destination?
  • How many hours of driving can I spend each day?
  • Will it cost more if I eat on the road or eat at the destination? Research for some excellent place for food stops.
  • What possible emergencies and unexpected things can happen? Do I have enough time to deal with them while going to a particular destination? Allow plenty of padding for these circumstances.

There’s Always Red Tape

This can happen anywhere and not just on your road trip to Canada, and the best thing you can do is to always be prepared for it.

  • Be sure to bring all essential travel documents.
  • Secure confirmation emails of your hotel accommodation, tours, and even coupons. Be sure that they are accessible in your devices. Have extra copies of all these vital stuff printed just in case you need to present them, but internet service is not available.
  • Inform your bank and credit card provider about your trip out of the country.
  • Find a sitter for your pets.
  • Make sure that family, friends or even neighbors are aware that you’re going to be on a trip. Tell them when you are leaving and when you’re going to return.

Have an Amazing Road Adventure

Engaging your self on a road trip is a fantastic, life-changing experience. But they can also be one of your worst journeys if you don’t plan everything well ahead of time. Follow the tips I gave above, and you’re sure to have the best road trip experience to Canada, an experience that’s full of unforgettable memories which are all ready to last a lifetime.

/ / Places

5 Helpful Tips When Traveling With Kids

Traveling with kids can be challenging. It’s an entirely different experience than when you’re going alone, or it’s just you and your partner together on a romantic trip. When you have kids on a journey, you’ll have your fair share of meltdowns which adds to the stress that you need to deal with in the entire duration of the trip. But did you know that traveling with your little ones can also be enjoyable? With proper planning and guidance, the whole idea of traveling as a pack can be a beautiful and memorable experience for everyone!

But it doesn’t work like magic. You need to exert some effort in achieving it, and as a parent, you need to always be in control. You’re the captain of the whole journey, and the result of the trip and even the tiny details within will depend on how good you handle every situation. To make your next family travel memorable one, here are some tips that you can follow:

1. Lower Your Expectations

If you’re traveling alone or as a couple, the sky is going to be the limit when it comes to the places that you want to visit and the hours or days you’re going to spend in a particular site. But if you are with kids, you need to plan these things out carefully. Pick at least 2 or 3 locations to visit and be sure to explain to them what every place is all about. Children are curious creatures, and one way to make the journey become a memorable one for them is by feeding their curiosity with facts or bits of trivia you found on Google.

Whether you like it or not, the journey is no longer just about you. It is about the kids as well so lower your expectations and make some ways and means to turn the journey into a ‘kid-centric’ one.

2. Take Your Time

There’s nothing that beat someone who has done all the needed preparations. Someone who’s ready for any challenge that comes along the way. So take the time to plan out what to do when tantrum strikes or for that sudden toilet stop. Be prepared with quick solutions or alternative activities whenever your little ones get bored in the airport while waiting for a delayed flight or somewhere between points A and B during a long trip.

Set aside ample time to plan things out or if you already find yourself dealing with the situation, take a deep breath, compose yourself and think of the best thing to do to calm down the kiddos that are starting on a major meltdown.

3. Book Ahead

When going from place to place which will require the family to spend the night or two at the next location, it is always a good idea to book hotel rooms or any other type of accommodation ahead of time. The last thing you want to do is arrive at the destination only to find out that there are no rooms available and you need to hit the road once again with exhausted toddlers starting to scream in the backseat.

Doing this will not only save you from stress, but you’ll also save time and money which you can then spend on more productive and memorable activities.

4. Install Some Kid-Friendly Apps

Kids want to be busy all the time and if you’re on a long trip, you’ll know that this isn’t a good behavior to bring along with you. You won’t enjoy a journey that’s filled with memories of your kids getting lost or injured. So be sure to arm yourself with some child-friendly apps that are widely available on both Android or iOS platform. This would help keep your kids busy at the backseat while you’re focusing on the road with hubby. Just be sure to set limits on their screen time and think of some physically engaging activities which the family can enjoy together.

5. Don’t Forget the First Aid Kit

It doesn’t have to be a bulky box or something; you can have a particular compartment in your bag that’s dedicated entirely for first aid items. And of course, be sure to bring with you some medicine. The conventional fever medicine like Calpol is essential. Kids tend to get sick more often when traveling so carrying necessary medication would help. Other items that you need to bring are plasters, wipes, antiseptic, thermometer and even sting treatments if you’re going to be at the beach.

The Success of the Trip Depends on You

It is true that traveling with your kids isn’t easy but with the right preparations and some smart solutions and decisions along the way, you’ll be able to ensure that the whole journey is worth it for every member of the pack. It takes a lot of effort but if you do it consistently, it’ll easily become part of your routine whenever the whole family goes on a trip.

/ / Travel Hacks

4 Things to Enjoy in Your Niagara Falls Adventure

When thinking of the next adventure you would like to take on, the Niagara Falls in Canada might not make it to the top of your list probably because it doesn’t sound like an adventure at all. It’s more of a tourist attraction to some but did you know that there are fun and exciting things to do on your visit to this majestic wonder of nature? Yes! It’s more than just a border marker between the U.S. and Canada; it’s something that’s more than that! It features the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls situated on the U.S. side and the Niagara or Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian Side.

And if you want to enjoy everything that these beautiful attractions have to offer, you can do so by crossing over towards the Canadian side! While doing that, here are some fun and exhilarating things to do in your next Niagara Falls adventure.

1. Enjoy the Beautiful Scenery on the Hornblower Niagara Cruise

The Canadian counterpart of the American Maid of the Mist Cruise is called the Hornblower Niagara Cruise. It’s a great way to get close to the base of the falls that pours up to 600,000 gallons (2,271,247 liters) of water. You’ll be able to hear and even feel the power of this beautiful masterpiece of nature, and while doing so, you’ll need to be ready to get wet. Be sure to put on the waterproof ponchos that are given as souvenirs and keep all your gadgets somewhere that’s safe from the mist. Having an extra pair of shoes and socks is also a good idea.

Night time cruises and attractions like the Falls Fireworks Cruise and the Falls Illumination Cruise are also available in case you want to have a unique experience. Schedule of voyages are set every 15 minutes starting April 1 towards November 30.

2. Fly Toward the Falls on a Zipline

Yes! You can enjoy a literal ‘bird’s eye view’ of the majestic Niagara falls through the WildPlay MistRider Zipline to the Falls attraction. There are 4 parallel ziplines which you and your friends or family can enjoy. It is 220 feet (67 meters) high and 2,200 feet (670 meters) long hovering with an excellent vantage point of the American and Niagara falls altogether. Feel the excitement of flying at speeds up to 40 mph when you try this fantastic ride and be amazed by the beauty of the Niagara River Gorge just below.

And if you’re hungry for more, you can try the other adventures and challenges available at WildPlay. There’s the Whirlpool Adventure Course which is a series of climbs, swings, jumps and a zip line that is suspended over the world famous Niagara river gorge and whirlpools. After you’re done with these, you can try the ‘What’s to Fear Jump’ which is certified to make your heart pound even faster. It’s a 40-foot loose-line jump that’s designed to complete your Niagara dare.

3. Explore the Beauty of Nature Around the Falls

Glen Nature Reserve is another attraction which you can enjoy on your trip to the Niagara Falls. It’s just a walking distance from the surrounding hotels at Niagara Falls, Canada. The reserve is one of the best-preserved nature spots along Ontario’s Southern Carolinian forests. You can enjoy the gardens and parks that extend along Niagara River Gorge’s banks which is a beautiful spot to relax while enjoying the beauty of the Niagara gorge and whirlpool. There’s also the hiking trails that take you through the virgin Niagara Escarpment.

Moreover, you will also enjoy 2.5 miles or 4 kilometers of hiking trails with rocky terrain and beautiful rock formations all over making it a perfect spot for bouldering. You will also have the chance of learning even more about flora and fauna around the area as well as history and other geological facts and relevant information through the hiking tours together with a trained and knowledgeable tour guide. Guided Tours are scheduled to leave each day at 11 am and 2 pm all throughout the summer months. Lastly, you can enjoy even more sceneries in the Butterfly Conservatory and the Niagara Glen Nature Center where you can get a permit for your bouldering adventure.

4. Witness the Power of Nature from Within

Journey Behind the Falls is an exciting way to enjoy the beauty and majesty of the Niagara falls as it gives you access through tunnels cut through the rocks behind the falls itself. These tunnels were built 130 years ago situated 125 feet above and are accessible through stairs that travelers and tourists need to climb. You’ll be amazed by the thunderous sound of water falling from above before reaching the end of the journey marked by the observation deck.

You will also enjoy a peek through the observation panels that are carved through the rocks giving you a direct view of the falls from within. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience seeing with your naked eyes such great power of water crashing through the earth below it. And just like the cruises which allow you to observe from the front, you’ll also need your souvenir poncho when you get to the falls from behind. Keep all your gadgets safe and dry and bring an extra pair of shoes and socks which you can use right after the visit.

A Wonderful Adventure You Need to Experience!

As you can see, the Niagara Falls isn’t just an ordinary attraction which tourists can take pictures of. It is full of exciting activities and adventures which you can tick-off of your bucket list. From seeing the falls up-close to enjoying the different facilities and recreational activities available around the site, your trip will undoubtedly be one that’s going to be worth it! There’s much to feel excited about in Niagara than what you already think you know!

/ / Places

12 Useful Tips for New Travelers

Traveling for the first time can be intimidating. You’ll be getting a wave of mixed and often conflicting emotions and ‘what ifs’ that can only be calmed down and answered once you’re already on the trip. It is wise not to set too many expectations at the start so you can avoid plenty of disappointments later. Traveling is a hobby that’s hard to master. It’s not like the other hobbies out there where you do the same thing over and over again. When you travel, you do different things every time as you visit new places!

Nothing could have prepared me the first time I traveled and now with over seven (7) years under my belt going through long flights, tedious hikes and countless unexpected things happening within each trip I had, here are twelve (12) useful tips I would like to share with all the new travelers out there who are seeking to conquer the world!

1. Leave No Place for Fear

Fear is powerful! It can prevent you from growing and enjoying new things. Dare yourself every time a unique experience is on the way and try it! The places you’re planning to conquer are not uncharted territories so spread those wings and glide through every experience like an eagle! There will always be people who would help and guide you along the way, and there are trails that other people have already trod before you do. If they were able to do it the first time, you can also do the same or achieve even more. You just need to put the fear away and be brave enough to take the first step.

2. Don’t Stick with Your Guidebook

Guidebooks should only serve one purpose; it should just provide general information about the place that you’re going to visit. Don’t travel through a new site using it as your travel Bible because if you do so, you’re up to a dull and tasteless adventure. Take time to get out of your comfort zone and start connecting with locals. Guidebooks will never provide information on new attractions, restaurants or bars which locals can inform you about. Asking for recommendations from other travelers or the hotel staff works and that’s what you need to do.

Remember that people are the best resource if you want a memorable travel experience so don’t stick all the time with that guidebook that you have unless it updates in real-time with all the new stuff available in the place just like what digital devices do.

3. Don’t be in a Hurry, Travel Slow

Now, this does not mean that you travel on foot most of the time, it just means that you don’t need to squeeze-in 10 places to visit in 10 days because you only have that amount of time for your trip. You may have beautiful photos when you get home but what you’ll remember most are the stresses and a whirlwind of uncomfortable situations you’ve experienced along the way! In the end, you will realize that you did not enjoy because you were always in a hurry!

Don’t be in a rush all the time. Take time to spend a day to relax and enjoy a single view or be in a place that you love most. Slow everything down and experience the culture and the people. It helps you find a feeling of fulfillment and sincere appreciation of the time you spent on the trip!

4. Don’t Forget to Get People’s Contact Information

Traveling opens a door for you to meet new friends and a lot of them along the way. Some of them you will get very close to during the trip or on your stay in a particular place which will eventually develop into a lifelong friendship. Well, it will grow into that if you did not forget to get their contact information. Sadly, most of us don’t remember to do this essential thing that helps us connect with the friends we’ve met during the trip, and we end up regretting it for the rest of our lives.

Contact Information - 12 Useful Tips for New Travelers

Collect their email, Facebook information or even add them as a contact on Skype and stay in touch with them even after your trip. Don’t forget your new friends and let them fade into forgetfulness. Remember to get their contact information every time!

5. Don’t Bring Too Much Gear

There’s always much to learn from your first travel. Or if you don’t have the experience yet, you can learn a lot from other people’s first travel experience. Most people fill their bags with tons and tons of stuff. Multiple sets of clothes, hiking boots, fleece jacket and plenty of toiletries. And the result? Most of them just sat in your bag adding too much weight and taking precious space as you carried everything in the entirety of your travel.

So my advice is for you to pack and travel with as little stuff as possible. Acquire a small backpack so you won’t be tempted to bring too many things which you don’t need. And in case you realize that you need something, you can pick it up and put it in your bag as you go. Experience has taught me that when it comes to packing stuff, less is always good.

6. Always Bring a Phone

It doesn’t need to be your pricey thief-magnet iPhone. There are plenty of cheap phones that you’ll find along the way, and for it to work, you can buy a SIM card that works in the country. You will be meeting a lot of new friends and other people whom you need to get in touch with during most of your stay. Facebook may sound like an excellent way to communicate, but you need to remember that not all countries have access to the internet.

And if you’re going to some remote area where GSM is the only available mobile signal, Facebook is never going to work! Invest in a cheap phone which will work anywhere and everywhere in the world so you can use it in every travel that you would have in the future! Trust me; you’ll never regret doing so.

7. Don’t be Afraid to Go With the Flow

Going with the flow means worrying less about every detail of the travel and enjoying everything as they unfold every single day. Sticking with a strict travel plan is like being hard on yourself. And it will just result in being stressed and even exhausted at the end of each day. Don’t rush and taste the bittersweet accidents that can happen in every travel.

So be sure to give place to flexibility when planning your schedule for the day. Put at least two (2) activities to accomplish during the day and let serendipity handle the rest. You’ll notice that it’s going to be less stressful and even more enjoyable!

8. Always Bring Extra Money

Extra Money 1024x683 - 12 Useful Tips for New Travelers

It isn’t costly to travel. If you are in Asia, you will quickly find out that you can spend as low as $15 a day. In Europe, it’ll be a bit higher at $40 a day. But no matter where you go, you will also learn that unexpected expenses can pop-out of nowhere. Always take extra money with you no matter how confident you are with your budgeting skills. Don’t wait for unexpected travel accidents to happen to you and get you off-guard. ‘To be forewarned is to be forearmed’ as they say so now that I’ve warned you about it, take all the necessary steps to be forearmed the next time you go on travel.

9. Leave All the Shyness at Home

There should be no place for shyness when you are traveling. The adage ‘No Man is an Island’ is there because it’s a big fact that all of us need to face. We need other people’s help and companionship to survive, and when it comes to travel, you need to be less concerned about what other people are thinking. Most of them are in the same boat as you are but some have already overcome shyness and are now soaring high making friends with people around them.

You can do the same as well. Practice saying ‘hello’ to people you meet. It’s the first step toward conquering shyness. Put down those headphones, pay attention to the people around you and if you’re sitting beside someone, take time to say ‘hello.’ You will have nothing to lose and a lot to gain! You can make new friends, attend social gatherings or even find your self in a few weddings and the result? You’ll be a better version of your self in terms of picking up a conversation.

10. Take on Even More Adventures

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Challenge yourself! Traveling is a chance for you to break all the barriers and finally step out of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to do bungee jumping, climb a cliff or jump off a boat somewhere in the Galápagos. You may scream your heart out because you were not comfortable doing it, but in the end, you’ll find out that scorpions taste good! Take risks and have the courage to try new things. That’s part of growing up and becoming a seasoned traveler.

11. Don’t Think That You’re Stuck

There would be times when you won’t be in the mood for a trip going to someplace during your travel. When you get to this point, don’t force your self to go. Stop and take some rest. Spend a few days in the place where you currently are and take time to recompose your self. If you still feel that you’re not in the mood to travel after doing so then don’t be afraid to pack your things up and take the road going home! There’s no reason at all to feel ashamed with that. At least you tried it and always remember that it’s okay to go home when you’re not having fun at all. Don’t keep yourself stuck in your decision to travel.

12. You’re Not the Only One Traveling

Other Travelers 1024x683 - 12 Useful Tips for New Travelers

You may have left your origin country alone, but in the place where you’re going to, there is a big network of travelers who are like you and others are traveling as a group. They are out there waiting to meet you at some point, so you need to make friends with them. They can give you tips, advice and they can even be a big help when you need one. You are not alone as long as you make friends with the people you meet especially those who are just like you. Trust me; you’ll be OK.

Take Time to Breath, Relax and Enjoy

It is part of human nature to feel intimidated or even fear the unknown. But if you let that feeling control you, you’ll be missing much of what this life can offer. So learn to take a deep breath, relax and enjoy every moment as they come so that at the end of every trip you can confidently say these famous words by Julius Caesar- ‘I came, I saw & I Conquered!’

/ / Travel Hacks

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