Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Rescuers Finance Loan Guaranteed by Online

For all those who are in need of financial distress, Online payday loans do not require a lot of ways the application and approval. For those who need a financial lifeline guaranteed to get it. And the submission does not have to come directly go to the lenders office. Online applications have been carried out by almost all companies direct loans, as well as the process easier for those who are going through a lot of trouble.

After they filed a payday loan and get approval, they can have the money in their bank account on the same day. So, you must be sure to handle your finances improve as quickly as possible.

Most payday loan lenders directly encourage clients to practice responsible lending. This will allows you to feel secure in the process, and to realize that - contrary to what people might think - it's not too good to be true. They have a reasonable percentage rate of annual interest and no increase after the filing is approved, flexible payment methods and customer-friendly policies that ensure that the client will be able to pay for a set time period, and that the payday loan they will ask for it to open the road to financial freedom.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Absolute Top 10 Things You Should Look For in a Hostel

Considering that about the 90% of all people during their college years actually travel booking hostels, the offer is very broad and you can get confused and lose track of what is that separates the best places to stay from the regular ones.

You probably have already read the reviews and check the prices for the hostels in the city you're traveling to, but there are a few things that you should always keep in mind when selecting where you're going to stay on your next trip.

Here we have assemble a simple list with the top 10 things you can use as a guide to find a hostel that suits your needs, and though is not bulletproof, it can get you very close to what you might be expecting.

1. A good location

And by this, it doesn't mean that it has to be right next to the train station or airport you're arriving to, or in the middle of a central area, just somewhere where you can get to those places in less than 10 minutes on any kind of transportation, metro/bus. Use the 20 kilometers rule; if it's farther than that distance from a central area, find someplace else to stay because otherwise you'll be spending a lot of time and money traveling there all the time. Always look at the map to find the location of the hostel you're reviewing, all the good booking sites have that available.

2. Linens included

Always look for places that include a full set of linens in the price of your stay (pillowcase included) and blankets, if possible. Consider that some places can get very chilly and you most certainly will need a blanket, and those can get very expensive, if hired per night. Some places can charge up to 5 eur a night for a simple blanket. Not to mention all the extra space you can use to pack more clothes if you don't have to carry your linens with you. Also, it would be great if the towels are also included in the price, and there are many hostels that offer this full service.

3. Lockers

This is a big plus you should always look for, because you're going to have to leave your things back at the hostel when you go sightseeing or out at night. Some hostels offer big lockers where you can store your whole backpack, while others might give you some small lockers just to store your documentation papers. Though the best option is the first one, the crucial issue is to provide a safe place for you to store your passport and other important documents. Remember, clothes you can replace, papers is going to take a lot of time and effort with the embassy to reissue.

4. Breakfast included

This is a service you'll find at any decent hostel. Usually the standard breakfast includes cereal, toasts, coffee, and fruit juices; and can sometimes also include some pastries, fruits and tes. Some hostels give their guests vouchers for some nearby caffe. You don't have to take advantage of the complimentary breakfast every morning, but it can help you save some money.

5. No curfew

Certainly not every hostel has its own bar, and even though, you may still want to go outside to a restaurant or a nightclub or just to wander the city at night. It's important to stay at a hostel that allows you to come back at whatever time you want, without the risk of being locked outside.

6. Laundry room

This is a very convenient service to have at a hostel. Some hostels offer the valet service, where the hostel staff take care of the task for you, while others just provide you with the facilities for you to wash your own clothes. Either way is fine, you just need a place to take care of your dirty clothes without having to go outside with a bag full of it to try to find and open launderette. The best places to look for are equipped with both, washer and dryer. Though it seems redundant, some hostels don't offer both

7. A common room
Most people who stay at hostels like to meet and mingle with other guests, and not every hostel has its own bar, so the best way to meet new people it's at the common rooms. Look for places that have at least one decent size common room, preferably with a pool table and/or foosball table and a big screen TV with some movies to watch. Some hostels offer a wide variety of dvd movies to pick from.

8. Kitchen facilities

The main point of staying at a hostel is to save some money on your accommodations, so staying in for lunch or dinner is a great way to save extra money. Hostels that offer a full kitchen where you can cook your own meals are the best option. For sure, you're not going to take all of your meal in, but it can help your budget to have that available. Some hostels offer free dry pasta, rice, and other food that can come very handy.

9. 24 hours reception

This is a very useful service, specially if you're not arriving at regular hours, or if you plan to go out at night and don't want to rely on having to take the key to the hostel with you, which is not recommended to begin with. It's nice to know that there will always be someone there to assist you no matter what time it is. Also, a friendly staff is also a plus in any situation or hostel you book. You can find this tip on the review for each hostel on any good hostel booking page.

10. Access to internet

This is a must have for any hostel. Most of your information, places to see, prices, locations, you're going to get from the internet, not to mention communicating with your loved ones at home, so you need to have a reliable internet connection on your hostel. Ideally, free wifi and laptops is the best option, because you can also access from your smartphone, but some hostels offer desktop computers connected that can also be very useful.

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Magical Primary School Trip Destination

For educators thinking of taking their class on a primary school trip, there are a number of important decisions to make, and foremost among them is the choice of destination. Of all the options, Paris has some of the most appealing characteristics: close enough and with enough in common with home to feel safe and familiar, but different and surprising enough to let pupils expand their knowledge and experience. There is plenty in Paris to inspire the young, whether they are budding artists or scientists, future innovators or leaders - and plenty to entertain and fascinate them while learning. Here are just a few of the wonders that await.

The Sights of Paris

A primary school trip to Paris is a chance to visit some of Europe's most iconic buildings and structures, such as the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral. The Eiffel Tower is a miraculous feat of engineering, with an interesting background and wonderful views; the beautiful Notre Dame is a great focus for talking about the history and culture of Paris. Both of these attractions are also a good opportunity for young artists to try out their sketching skills. Another fantastic way to see Paris is a cruise along the river Seine, a leisurely journey through the heart of the city from where many beautiful and interesting areas can be observed. Or head to the top of Montparnasse Tower, from where the whole of Paris can be seen.

Musée d'Orsay

Paris is perfect for young art lovers, filled as it is with elegant architecture, modern chic, and some of the best art that Europe has to offer. It has enough galleries to fill up several weeks' worth of visits, but for primary school trip organisers with limited time, the Musée d'Orsay is an ideal choice - both for the inspiring atmosphere created by the building and the art contained within. Converted from a beautiful old railway station, it is a wonderful, light-filled space in which to discover the wonders of its collection - including colourful masterpieces by Monet, Matisse, Cezanne, Renoir and Van Gogh.

Disneyland Paris

Undoubtedly one of the reasons for young students to get most excited about their primary school trip to Paris, Disneyland promises a fun-filled adventure with plenty of learning opportunities along the way. Made up of five different 'lands', this famous theme park is packed with characters and rides to enchant visitors of all ages - but especially the young. Fantasyland is populated with favourite fairy tale characters from classic Disney movies; Adventureland is brimming with the excitement of pirates and strange new lands to discover; and Discoveryland takes bold explorers into space, the future, and beyond. All of these adventures can be enjoyed while observing the laws of science in action, as students take to the rides.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Top Historical Sites in Vietnam

If you are interested in the religious or wartime history of South East Asia it is most definitely worth booking a place on one of the many exciting Vietnam tours. The knowledgeable guides will be able to give you an ideal introduction to the fascinating sites highlighted in this article. There are many must-see destinations in this wonderful country, but these are just a few.

Halong Bay
This beautiful coastal area has long been an inspiration to the creative people of Vietnam. One of the 18th century kings was so taken by the magnificence of the overlooking Bai Tho Mountains that he inscribed his words into the sacred ground. On Vietnam tours you may hear the poem recited in the native language by locals. It is a delight to wander around the many beautiful coves in this most picturesque of places.

Hoi An

Asian craftspeople have been creating masterpieces to sell in the shops of Hoi An for many centuries. The travellers of today can browse through many and varied collectible items, which make perfect holiday gifts. After indulging in some retail therapy you might like to have a refreshing cup of Vietnamese tea at one of the authentic family run cafés.

Old French Prison and Museum
This fascinating place once acted as a camp for French anti-colonial revolutionaries. It was badly damaged during a subsequent American bombing raid. Many Vietnam tours incorporate a visit to the museum, which contains a range of exhibits highlighting the suffering of people who were once kept here against their will. Visitors of all ages and nationalities can learn a great deal about the importance of human rights in this place.

War Remnants Museum
The atrocities and brutalities of the war are evidenced by the various exhibitions at this museum. Visitors can view the startling photographs and videos revealing the great trials that the local people endured. It is also worth taking a look at the large armoured vehicles, planes and helicopters on show in this educational centre.

Chùa Tran Quoc

This great temple was built over 1500 years ago, in honour of the almighty Buddha. It remains as one of the most impressive religious structures in South East Asia, visited by many on Vietnam tours. After learning about the local religious history, travellers will have the opportunity to explore the surrounding grounds and see a diverse range of wild animals.

Hanoi Opera House
This grand entertainment venue was built under the colonial rule of the French - modelled on the splendid Palais Garnier. A number of awe-inspiring performers have taken to the stage in recent years. If you want to see one of the many ballets or operas then it's advisable to make an advanced booking.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Amenities For Condos On The Beach

Condos on the beach create a relaxing combination of hotel amenities and the conveniences of home. You truly get to have your vacation your way. You can do some things for yourself while leaving the heavy lifting and party recovery to the staff of your choice of accommodations. Most vacations focus on the city and the beach, but the place where you will convene with your loved one's each day and rest your head each night is equally as important. When you find a luxurious condo that doesn't have a luxurious price tag, it elevates your relaxation upon your return each day. But first you have to find the right location, size, and amenities to fit your needs and the needs of your accompanying guests.

The general vacation amenities start with the type of unit that you would like. The higher the floor you select the grander the view will be, and the larger the unit the more expansive the view - occasionally greater than 180 degree views. You can go for a 1, 2, 3, or 4 bedroom unit that can accommodate either you and your significant other or an entire bridal party or family vacation. There is living space, washer and dryer access and kitchens in each unit for your convenience.

But on top of those basic amenities, there are some home away from home communities of condos for vacationers who want that simple, relaxed vacation environment. They offer all of the creature comforts of home with a little extra to help improve the appeal of your time to relax. There are fitness centers, tennis courts, grills, tables, and extra chairs near the pool and hot tub for outdoor gatherings. There is also wireless internet for the professional that can't completely get away and covered parking for the vacationer who likes freedom in their vacation days. But if they wish to stay nearer to their condo, there are sun decks and beach side service for drinks and towels.

Lastly, resort vacation condos offer specials throughout their open seasons for romantic getaways, friendly retreats, family adventures, and special events like weddings each year. A common special that works for many vacationers is the 6 night stay with the 7th night free; it is appealing for spring breaks, winter holiday breaks and especially summer vacation with the children. But when it comes to amenities, the objective of investing in a stay in one of the world's many beach condos is to enjoy the comforts of home along with the relaxing advantages of being on vacation.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Preparing for a Day at a Theme Park

A theme park filled with rides of magic, fantasy, science fiction and a little horror thrown in, along with shows, music, food, and shops, is one of the most amazing places for children of all ages. That's why there's such a variety of entertainment. However, these phenomenal experiences tend to come with lots of not so fun things like pricey entrance fees and food costs, long lines everywhere you go, and cranky children if they have to stand around too long. There are some things that you can do, though, that will make your day at a theme park even more fun than you thought it might be.

The first thing you need to do is get ready for your trip. Theme parks constantly update their attractions and the rides. So even if you've visited a particular park in the past, research that park and collect any new information about it that may be available. If a map is available, get one and have a family meeting to decide the best ways to spend your time while you're at the park. In this way, you'll arrive ready to go and not have to take a lot of breaks to decide what you'll do next.

Once you arrive at the theme park, take note of where the biggest crowds are. Then, go in another direction. Many times the crowds flock to the rides located nearest to the entrance. If this is the case when you and your family arrive, consider heading to the back of the park and make your way to the front. You'll have more fun because the lines will be shorter. In addition, you'll be near the exit when you're ready to leave.

Plan your eating schedule a little differently. Most people will be eating lunch between noon and 2 PM. However, if you eat lunch a little earlier or later, you'll have a more relaxed meal without having to deal with a huge crowd. In addition, you'll get to waste less time eating because of the shorter lines.

Something that many people don't think about is that you'll be doing lots of walking while you're at the theme park. For this reason, you need to get in a bit more exercise before the trip. A few weeks prior, start taking walks so that you can have your body ready for all of the walking you'll be doing at the theme park. It's also a good idea to break in any new shoes that you might be wearing.

If you're going to be carrying a backpack through the park, don't load it down with heavy stuff. Pack only necessary items and use trial size products. You can pick up small sizes in things such as sunscreen, energy bars, toilet seat covers, toilet tissue and other things in department and dollar stores. Also, do your souvenir shopping right before you leave so that you're not carrying heavy items around all day.

Last, but not least, be flexible. You can plan your trip right down to the last detail, but things can always happen that will turn things around. So don't be on a rigid schedule when you visit your favorite theme park. Relax and have fun!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Tips For Traveling Long Distances With a Dog

Are you considering taking your dog along with you on your vacations this year? Taking your pet on your holidays can lift your holidays considerably. You do not have to worry if he or she is miserable with the pet sitter you hired for the duration. However, there are some precautions you need to take before taking your dog on board. Firstly keep a collar on your dog for current identification. Some countries require that your dog has microchip identification for entering into the country. This may depend on the destination you are travelling to. Your dog should be trained so that he is behaved and does not suffer during the journey.

Make plans beforehand for your air travel, hotel accommodations and daily activities to avoid a nasty surprise.

Go for air travel with your dog only as a last resort, if there is no other alternative. Your dog will have to be put in the cargo hold for the transit. This is not a good experience even for the most well behaved and trained dogs. If you have a small dog, some airlines might let you carry your dog in a carrier if it fits under the seat in front of you. Pet Airways is catered for only pets, but has presence in limited cities. The pets can be in the cabin rather than the cargo hold.

Travelling by car is the best option for your pet, if it is feasible. If you own a vehicle, it is most likely that your dog is used to riding in a car. However, if your only trips in the car have been to the vet, your dog might be conditioned to anxiety in a car. Take him to other enjoyable outings to get rid of his anxiety. If you are still not sure, ask your vet for an anxiety medication, to make the journey easier for everyone. However, don't go overboard on the medication. Use it only when there is no other alternative.

Plan your journey with rest stops at sufficient intervals to cater to your dogs needs. Find out the veterinary hospitals along the route. Carry all the necessary paraphernalia such as a leash, dog food and medications if any.

Finally choose a destination that is friendly towards dogs so that the trip is enjoyable for all. One such city is Prague in the Czech Republic. There are various dog friendly hotels in Prague that will take care of your pets needs. There are also many activities in Prague for dogs. Visit Prague with your dog on your Prague holidays as the city is known to be very tolerant of pets, especially dogs.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Ten Good Reasons To Move To Spain Today

Most of us would love to immigrate to the warmer shores of Southern Spain and with the economy as it is at the moment many are now doing just that. but the question is why are they doing it?

Here are the top ten reasons, see if they give you the inclination to up sticks yourself.

1. Has to be The Weather

The Southern Spain regularly offers over 330 days of sunshine a year with very little rainfall. Its unique dry climate and mild winters is the main reasons why so many people from the northern Europe decide to make it their home. Only about two hours from England by plane means that you are never to far away from friends and family. So not far to go if you become home sick for the wind, rain and cold.

2. Healthy lifestyle.

For retired people who may have Asthma, Rheumatism, Arthritis or heart problems, the dry, warmer climate with loads of fresh air, and very low pollution, is just what the doctor ordered. Spanish health care is now excellent so a move down south is not anything to worry about health-wise.

3. Higher Standard of Living

Many British people are now making the move from their wet and windy homes to the white sandy beaches of southern Spain, The days seem longer and the nights shorter in this more outdoors style of living. Even after a days work there is always time to relax around the pool or chill out on the terrace as darkness takes its time to arrive. With sun shine averaging 6 hours a day, its possible to plan in advanced for that barbecue.

4. Cost Of Living

Spain has greatly reduced living costs compared to that of the united kingdom, crime rates are low to, a TV licence is Free and insurance in general is much lower than that in England. The local council tax or the equivalent is about 130 euros a year and that's for rubbish clearance every night and all local services. NO poll tax there

To own a property in Spain costs considerably less than in other European countries, like England, In general the cost of living is much lower than that of many other European countries. so a move to Spain is looking like a step in the right direction.

5. Buying in Spain.

Buying in Spain is safe but with the economy changing one needs to be more cautious. But its still possible to find a bargin priced property if you spend some time looking. In property hot-spots and near the beach, prices are rising but a good estate agent in the right location, will help you find a property that's just right for you.

6. Value for your Money

Older properties in Spain are in general are large but basically constructed but newer homes are modern and well built, Spanish properties are attractive and usually have lots of outdoor living space: patios, terraces, swimming pool areas. Views in the mountains or near the beaches are spectacular and the older Spanish homes near the beach can be very pretty. Town apartments are great value for money and often have a communal swimming pool.

7. Easy travel Access

With daily flights in and out of Southern Spain, good roads and trains, there are many ways to arrive at this beautiful region, also easy for family and friends to visit. if a family emergency arises and you need to return to the UK fast, its never a problem. There are many large and international airports now in Southern Span.

8. The Spanish People

Spanish people are warm and friendly, they have some lovely local customs to share, they have excellent dishes, tapas in many areas are free with a beer or wine and on festive occasions they love to share their customs with people from other countries. Making new friends and integrating does not take a lot of effort. If you try to learn the language this will help tremendously.

9. Long term Investment.

Buying property in Spain is now a common occurrence and people from other countries have been investing in property and companies for many years, This means it is not as risky as it was about 10 years ago, The regulations have been tightened up and there is now a more professional approach to buying and selling of property exchange of your money through the banks is now very efficient for foreign investors.

10. You better Quality of Life

Not only do you feel younger, healthier and more vibrant, enjoying the sunshine and healthy foods, eases the stresses of every day life, living a more out door lifestyle is healthier for the mine and body, these are the reasons why people move to southern Spain. TO LIVE LIFE TO THE FULL.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Eight Advantages Of Car Hire

Hiring cars have existed just about as long as cars existed. It provides people the means to use the car they want/need that they otherwise don't own. There is a good reason why hiring cars have remained viable up to the present day. In this article, eight advantages of car hire are to be discussed in full detail.

1. You can get practically any car you want. Perhaps you have dreamt of driving this or that specific car. Or perhaps you are considering this or that car because it suits your needs at the moment. Ranging from typical commuter rides to rare exotic vehicles, you can get just about any car as long as it is available in the rental company's garage or catalogue.

2. Availing rental cars is relatively easy. The terms and conditions for picking up a rental are now made easier than ever. Sure, there may be occasional complications, but most of them are much simpler compared to filling up the papers when purchasing your own car. And with the advent of the computer age, renting a car is now easier than ever.

3. The cost of renting a car is a fraction of what you'll spend when buying your own car. Nowadays, buying a new car is not cheap. And purchasing a used car can be such a gamble sometimes. Renting cars should not cost you all that much. And they are the more practical option if you are not really required to drive cars all the time.

4. You can get a car you need for a specific occasion or situation. There are specific situations wherein hiring a specific car is necessary. Regardless if you are hiring a car because you want to arrive on a gathering in style or you are hiring a car because you need an extra car to accommodate your pals and visitors, hiring cars can help you get by that occasion and situation successfully.

5. It is a practical option if you are far away from home. When traveling, especially outside your country, it often makes bringing your car either difficult or impossible. The next best thing is to hire a rental to accompany you with your travels.

6. You don't have to worry as much about maintenance. Owning a car means you have to worry about maintaining it in top shape. In a rental, you won't have to worry about that. The rental companies are responsible for maintaining their fleet of cars. All you'll have to do is to drive and take care of them while it's on your possession.

7. The cost of operating them is not that high if you play your cards right. Sure, you must be aware of surcharges. But provided that you don't damage your car while using it, the most that you'll spend on these rentals are only for the rental charge and the fuel.

8. It makes traveling an enjoyable experience. Getting a car hire can give you a much needed traveling companion, a chance to drive your dream car, or even both.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Hospitality Industry's Challenges - 5 Trends to Watch Out For

Today, the rapid and deep-seeded recessionary trends and lack of business confidence have indeed placed the hospitality industry's growth prospects in an extremely precarious and unknown territory. From riding on cloud nine a few years ago, the industry is now gearing to weather the potential storm ahead.

In this article, I have provided views into the various risks and challenges lying ahead for the hospitality industry in achieving optimal performance from their hotel assets.

    If the market conditions were to further deteriorate, and indications are that they will, there will be a significant impact on demand growth, revenue performance and profitability of hotel companies. Performance pressures will continue to push industry players to explore more efficient business models and forge new partnerships. The industry will embark upon a journey of consolidation and we could witness conversions, mergers and acquisitions, more out of compulsions than out of choice.

    A new set of competitive pressures through correction in the demand-supply imbalance will lead to improved choices and lead to fragmentation of demand. Further, the overall slowdown in economic activity will have a direct impact on demand across segments and feeder markets. Businesses are likely to adopt stringent austerity measures and discretionary spends on travel will be a sure victim. These measures are likely to erode demand, bring about substantial rate correction, rationalize spends on MICE events and lead to sub-optimum revenue performances across hotels.

    The executive management at hotels will have to constantly innovate and adopt dynamic business practices to bring about inherent flexibility in operating cost structures. While hotels have already rationalized key fixed input costs like payroll and raw materials, continued improvements will be difficult to come by and hence guest satisfaction levels and employee morale will be negatively impacted. The commodity price cycle has already bottomed out and a weak rainfall is likely to further fuel inflation leading to increase in average service cost for each occupied room. Innovations in supply chain management and outsourcing will become crucial and would have to be focused upon. Customization, re-alignment and re-engineering of processes will play a pivotal role in determining the extent to which a company is geared operationally to deliver consistent profitability.

    The rapidly changing macroeconomic environment and rationalization in asset values will provide attractive opportunities for acquisitions of hotel assets. However, to leverage opportunities for growth and expansion, it will be necessary to focus on immediate improvements in the health of the organization's balance sheet. A key challenge would be the implementation of debt restructuring strategy and plan for long-term capital availability.

    There is likely to be a prolonged period of relative inactivity in the real estate sector and this will have a direct impact on hotels as a preferred asset class for investments. Further, non-availability of qualitysites for hotel development will force international brands keen to establish themselves in emerging markets market to become more flexible in terms of their product specifications. The development activity for new hotels will rapidly shift to Tier II and Tier III locations. The average inventory count for new-builds will be significantly lower and in our assessment the biggest development opportunities will be in the mid-market segment with efficient hotels that provide attractive value-for-money proposition to their respective end-users.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Twenty-one Things India Taught Me

• The value of perspective and patience.

• The joy of spontaneity.

• The ability to think and react quickly.

• Simple pleasures are the best things in life. The Taj Mahal was amazing, but time spent in villages, dancing at weddings or on a quiet walk with friends were just as memorable and special. The Golden Temple in Amritsar is the most beautiful place I have ever been, but because of the atmosphere and Sikh values that the temple represents (such as equality), rather than the pure gold that it is made of.

• Sometimes you just need to let go of everything that makes sense to you, and embrace the moment... 'surrender to circumstance'.

• The people around you make your experiences, not the place itself.

• I should brush my teeth well if I drink 4-5 cups of chai per day (getting 4 fillings on return to NZ was not fun). If granny's late night milk tastes especially sweet and delicious, it is probably a good idea to brush your teeth before going to sleep..

• Do what you can. But ultimately, you can't force someone to do something they don't want.

• People usually do the best they can given their circumstances, even if they know it is wrong.

• You don't necessarily need to know the same language - actions are the most important when connecting with other people.

• Life is too short to not enjoy what you do. In New Zealand, most of us are lucky enough to have opportunity and control over our future. If you have a choice, do what you love.

• You can do more than you think.

• Always get off the tourist trail when going to a country.

• You can learn something from everybody.

• The meaning of true hospitality... people spending a day cooking a 6 course meal (before meeting me) is very humbling. If you have ever shelled peas for 4 hours, you will also appreciate this!

• Most people are willing to overlook small (or big) mistakes if they know your heart is in the right place.

• The best things in life are free. However in saying this, warm water is also a beautiful thing. I was reminded this as I showered in freezing water in a bathroom made for the 40 degree summer during the Punjab winter (averaging 5 degrees). But for every challenge is a solution (bring on the metal rod to heat a bucket of water..just be mindful of electrocution )

• Luck favours the well prepared.

• There is no point complaining about something... it will happen when it happens.

• Learn to make yourself happy... the world owes you nothing.

• Change is powerful, exciting, wonderful.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Five Off Roading Myths That Simply Aren't True

]'Off roading is an incredibly fun motor sport which basically involves driving a vehicle over un-surfaced areas such as mud, sand, ice, gravel or even rocks. There are a number of different types of off roading and just as many vehicles that are specifically designed for this kind of activity. Due to its increase in popularity however there have been a number of myths flying around that simply aren't true. Here we aim to debunk these myths and finally get down to the truth.

Autos Are Not As Good As Manuals

This may have been true back in the good old days but it is no longer the case. Automatics are much easier to drive slowly and just as powerful as their manual counterparts making them perfect for off road activities. Most automatics now come with excellent disc brakes and great gear reduction ratios so they are perfect for hilly terrains and perform much better than manuals.

Filling Your Tyres With Nitrogen Is A Good idea

Nitrogen may be the air of choice for race car drivers but there are hardly any benefits to filling the tyres on an off road vehicle with the same gas. Not only is it more expensive but the speeds that an off road vehicle travels at are not high enough to see any notable differences.The theory that nitrogen tyres are less prone to punctures is also not true. The best thing you can do is to have your tyres serviced every couple of months and watch out for any cracks - there's no point in using nitrogen.

Diesels Are Slow

This is another myth that was true a few decades ago but now an off road vehicle that uses diesel is as fast as a vehicle that uses petrol. Furthermore most diesel cars come complete with a high number of gear ratios and they have a lot more torque - petrol may not be the best fuel of choice any more.

Braking Downhill Is The Worst Decision Ever

Okay so whilst it's not the worst decision ever if you do find that you are travelling too fast on a downhill slope there is no harm in braking so long as you do it gently. This myth is actually there to protect drivers but when done safely, and in the lowest gear there is no reason why you shouldn't brake whilst travelling downhill.

Traction Control Is No Good In Sand

The myth here is that traction control actually ends up slowing a vehicle down when it travels over sand but this is not true. You may think it sounds weird as the traction controls are actually linked up to the brake system but almost all of the new off road vehicles are quick to react and can do so before the momentum of the vehicle is lost. One thing you may want to make sure you do when driving through sand however is to lock the centre differential (if you have one) on sand - this can prevent the wheels from digging in which can cause your wheels to stick.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Three Things To Consider Before Heading Off On Your First Road Trip

No matter your age or your occupation, everyone can benefit from heading out into the outdoors and getting some fresh air from time to time. Road trips are an ideal way of exploring an area that you are not too familiar with and can also be perfect for people who want to revisit some specific attractions at a pace that suits them. Before getting buckled up for your first ever road trip however there are a few things that should be considered.

Travel Partners

One of the most important things that should be considered before heading off on your first road trip are your travel partners. Most road trips last for at least a couple of days and some can even last for months at a time, especially if exploring a whole country is your idea of fun. Unless you plan on traveling in separate vehicles you may find that you are spending anywhere up to 24 hours a day together so know it can try your patience if you don't exactly get on with your travel partners.

Where possible it's a good idea to travel with people who have a similar personality type. If you like your own space, traveling with a group of extroverts whose idea of fun is heading off on an extended party is probably not the best idea. Also think about traveling with people who can drive (and will be happy taking over the wheel for an hour or two) unless you are happy driving the party around on your own for days on end.

Places to Visit

Road trips are great in that it isn't important for your plans to be set in stone. One thing that should be kept in mind however is your return date so if there are a few specific places that your group wants to visit it may be a good idea to plan the rest of your trip around these. Before traveling, invite your travel party out for a few cocktails (this is the best way to get your creative juices flowing) and see what you come up with. Don't make the experience stressful, just try and get a general idea of what your trip will entail.

Your Budget

Road trips don't have to centre around flashy hotels and top price attractions - if you are short on cash you can still have just as good a time, it may just mean sacrificing slightly when it comes to accommodation. Many people find camping is a great way of saving some money but guest houses and hostels can work just as well. When planning your road trip, remember to account for the cost of things like petrol and toll roads (some of which can be avoided altogether depending on where you are driving).

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Top Five Family Vacation Tips

Over the years, we've really learned from our mistakes when traveling with our children. For the vacation to be fun for adults as well, some little things can make a BIG difference.

1)Get a room with a balcony. If your kids need to nap or have a bedtime earlier than yours (I hope!), you can put them down and still be able to chat and relax outside. Remember to bring a baby monitor also.

2) Get a room with a kitchen, or at least a coffee maker and a mini fridge. It's really hard to get kids dressed and ready to go to a restaurant for breakfast when you only have one eye open. It tended to start the day off poorly when I'd been up for a couple of hours before my first cup of coffee!

3) Bring your child's favorite breakfast cereal from home (see item #3). It always seemed to take longer than expected to pack up the beach/pool toys, sunscreen, cameras, etc. If the kids are already having breakfast, they'll be less cranky waiting for you to get everything ready. When my two were little, this made a HUGE difference! Restaurants don't usually have a big variety of cereals, and the other menu items were often a much bigger portion than they could finish. Besides, it's much cheaper, too! Try to bring some favorite snacks as well, especially ones you don't buy often. It makes the vacation even more special if they get the treats they rarely have at home.

4) Be in (at least some of) the Pictures! It seems like this is a growing trend, as evidenced by this ABC news spot, but it's something we started doing about 9 years ago. There's your Christmas card photo! Many resorts have an on-site photographer who can be hired for a private photo session of an hour or two. Disney goes one step further with this idea by having dozens of "PhotoPass" photographers throughout the parks. Your Photo Pass card is encoded so that each time you give it to a photographer, the pictures they take are saved into your online album. When you get home, you can purchase a whole cd of photos or prints of individual favorites.

5) In restaurants, have the server bring the kids' meals out as soon as they're ready. When your meals come out of the kitchen, the kids can have dessert. I'm not very patient waiting for my own food, and certainly children are less so. Buffets are even better for kids. They can try a little of everything with no worries about them not liking what was ordered. And no waiting!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Ten Helpful Tips for Travel to Cuba

are a main draw for those looking to buy but don't get tempted by the allure of cheap cigars on the street. Chances are you'll either get fakes or stolen cigars which can be confiscated at the airport.

Renting a car in Cuba is one of the best ways to see the island but there are a few things to consider. Before you head out, get a GOOD map and make sure it's up to date. Don't let the gas get too low before filling up as you may find a lot of gas stations are either out of gas or closed. A great way to get insight into the island is to pick up a hitchhiker as it is both safe and one of the main ways the locals get around.

Donations in the way of basic daily necessities such as clothes, soap, shampoo etc... are always in demand however; drop these off at either hospitals or churches and avoid using them in lieu of monetary tipping at resorts.

Food in Cuba tends to be quite bland as there are not a lot of spices and while the water is generally safe, bottled water is advisable. This is not to say the food is inedible, but if you like basic tastes like salt and pepper or hot sauce, I would recommend packing your own.

Currency in Cuba is the (CUC) Cuban convertible peso and the (CUP) Cuban Peso. Exchange at the hotel only and avoid changing money on the streets. ATMs are next to useless so get enough money for the day. Credit cards are accepted however, any American credit cards such as American Express are not. American currency is not accepted but some places will exchange for about a 20% premium.

Accommodation throughout the island range from 5-star all inclusive resorts to budget apartments and for the most authentic Cuban experience, a Casa Particular. These Cuban versions of a bed and breakfast are not only cheap but it is an excellent way to get the Cuban culture, atmosphere and friendly hospitality of living with a family in Cuba.

Beggars and street vendors are more common in the larger cities such as Havana and Santiago de Cuba and are more of a nuisance than anything. While not overly aggressive, use what I call the "seagull rule". If you either say no or ignore them, eventually they will go away. However, if you even give one of them any money you will quickly be surrounded and they will be very persistent.

Crime and personal safety is much like anywhere in the world, if you keep your head about you and be sensible, you'll be fine. Crime in Cuba is generally very low and Cuba is considered to be a very safe destination. I have seen it written many places about how women will feel safe at night even walking alone and although I don't disagree with that statement, I do find it a fairly irresponsible way of describing the safety of a destination no matter who it pertains to.

Internet in Cuba is still quite in the early stages and is not only hard to find but can be very expensive. Some of the larger resorts have internet access but really... you're on vacation in Cuba and shouldn't be on the internet anyway.

Pack necessities such as sunscreen, bug repellent and other sundries ahead of time as most of these items can only be bought at the hotel and since they know the tourist with sunburn is desperate, you can expect to pay upwards of $30 just for sunscreen.

Overall, Cuba is a pretty laid back destination that really doesn't disappoint, any problems that may arise on vacation can generally happen anywhere but by using these 10 tips, you can cut down on any unforeseen problems and spend more time enjoying the fantastic resorts and beaches of Cuba.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Colombian Amazon: The Good the Bad and the Ugly

More and more people are becoming interested in visiting the largest rainforest on the planet. I am of course referring to the Amazon. Measuring approximately 5 500 000 square kilometres it boasts the highest biodiversity in the world. One of the entry points into this vast expanse is through the Colombian city of Leticia. Leticia has become one of the primary destinations for international tourists visiting the country. However despite more and more people visiting the region the type of experience tourists encounter is very inconsistent with many leaving very dissatisfied. There are ways to ensure you have an enjoyable visit to this natural wonder. By knowing what is worthwhile, what to avoid and in general what to expect you will live this unique adventure to its fullest.

The Good

So as not to scare everyone off from the get go let's begin with what is good.

    The biodiversity: The amazon has an incredible amount of birds (1300), mammals (430), reptiles (380) amphibians (430), fish (3000), insects (??? >1 000 000) and plants (40 000). Despite the fact that the many of these are experts at staying hidden you are guaranteed to see something.

    The natural beauty: Independently the rivers and the forest are both beautiful. Together, at times they make for a stunning landscape. This combination of water and vegetation also lends itself to some of the most amazing sunsets you will ever see. Also, although from above it may appear as a homogeneous mass of green, the forest is varied with each particular forest type revealing its own particular beauty.

    The isolation: This may not appeal to everyone but to some the sense of being a million miles away from the rest of the world is appealing. Once you manage to get away from populated and trafficked areas of the forest the feeling of peace and serenity is amazing. It is almost magical sitting under a sky filled with stars with only the symphony of night sounds to be heard. It may be difficult to experience this as few tour operators take visitors that deep into the forest but if you truly want to experience the real Amazon it is a must.

The Bad

The negatives as in most or probably all areas have nothing to do with the physical location but rather how it is managed and the people that live and work there. Here in the Amazon it is no different.

    Poor infrastructure: Despite tourism making up most of the local economy there is very little money that has been invested into infrastructure. Rampant corruption has meant that the large sums of money that are available for public projects disappear. This shows in the pot holed streets the basic airport, the very visitor unfriendly port and virtual lack of quality tourist information.

    The same poor options offered everywhere: For some strange reason almost everyone will try and sell you the same few experiences. For the most part these experiences are not worthwhile. The standard tours offered to most visitors include Monkey Island, the native community of Macedonia, the National Park Amacayacu and Lake Tarapoto, Lake Tarapoto being the only spot I can truly recommend.

    At monkey you are guaranteed you will see monkeys however the problem is that the one species you will see is not native to the Island and only survive there because people feed them. Originally it was an American who brought both the monkeys and the natives to the island and as it was then it still is not an ecologically friendly site to visit. The community of Macedonia suffers from a lack of authenticity. The natives many times try to sell the idea that they still dress in grass skirts and wander around half naked all the time while the reality is that many have huge sound systems in their homes and some even have Direct TV. The National Park is likely one of the greatest disappointments. Tourism within the Park is handled by a private company and they only offer a 500 meter wooden pathway with the only interesting sight being a large ceiba tree. It is relatively expensive and only shows a very superficial look at the true natural beauty hidden within the park. In general it is a little difficult to find sights that authentically show the Amazon as most operators prefer to sell what has always been sold and many great alternatives are ignored.

The Ugly

There is definitely an ugly side and hopefully most won't see or at least not notices it. I am referring to the total indifference towards conservation and the environment in general. For whatever reason the culture in and around Leticia is very exploitative. By this I mean any resource that can be used is taken advantage of regardless of sustainability. This has been seen with logging with hunting and with fishing. Tourists may notice this while they walk through the forest, in many areas it's quite difficult to see animals yet in all the communities and some hotels and tourist attractions you see them tied up or on display. Here is where tourists can help take action for change.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What You Should Know Before You Travel

Traveling Got You Frazzled? Try These Tips!

A collection of tips on how to begin traveling smarter and safer makes the perfect starting point for a beginner to begin planning their own trips a bit easier. Below is just such a collection that will hopefully assist the eager novice into eventually becoming a pro when it comes to traveling.

Do not ever tell a street vendor where you are traveling from. These vendors are experienced sellers. They know the financial interests of many different cultures and will use yours against you to get you to buy what they are selling. Just tell them, "No, thank you," and keep walking.

In order to keep your dirty clothes away from your clean clothes when traveling, you should use a drawstring bag or a pillow case. A drawstring bag or pillow case is compact and can prevent your dirty clothes from rubbing off on your clean clothes. You can also add some clothespins to your bag for hanging your clothes once they have been washed.

When taking photos on a trip, upload them each day if you have access to a computer or brought a laptop with you. This way, even if something should happen to your camera, you will still have the pictures from your trip online and easy to access from any computer.

Before booking your cruise vacation, get a map of the ship you will be sailing on to help select a specific cabin location. Look for clues on the map for areas that might pose a problem. Cabins near ice and vending machines, elevators and laundry rooms tend to be gathering places for passengers and are often congested and noisy.

Shop around for the best deal. Often, a shift in a day or two from your departure or return can amount to a significant savings of several hundred dollars in your transportation cost. Many websites can check this automatically for you. As a general rule, if you can avoid travelling on Fridays or Sundays, you will save a pile of money.

One way of minimizing ice buildup on your windshield is to park your car with the windshield facing away from the prevailing wind. Another way too few of us think about is to cover our windshields with a throw rug when we park our vehicles. Tuck the edge in under your windshield wipers and your car will be as snug as a bug in a rug.

Well, hopefully this collection of tips were enough to give you a great start on what to do when it comes to taking and planing trips. This collection was carefully constructed to help you begin learning how to plan and take a trip, much smarter and safer that you did before.

Last, Turn to the internet for some great information about hotels reviews. You will find the hotel reviews to be packed with honest and helpful information that you can use to plan the vacation of your dreams. You will be able to learn which hotel to book and the best restaurants to dine at.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Earth Friendly Galapagos Tours

 The Galapagos Islands are one of the most fascinating places on earth. Most people know of them vaguely as a place with rare animals, including the famous and very large and long-lived Galapagos turtles. Because the area is so unique, beautiful and enthralling, Galapagos tours are easy to find and can be found at an affordable price, too.

Let's start with the basics. The Galapagos Islands are part of Ecuador, though most people think of them as being their own country. However, they do belong politically to Ecuador and are located a little over 600 miles from the Ecuadorian coast.

Each island is actually a volcano that has risen out of the ocean. In fact, the Galapagos Islands are thought to be one of the most volcanically active places on the planet. This no doubt has played a part in the unique development of the area. The oldest island shows it has been above water for 4 million years. However, the area is still volcanically active and smaller islands continue to rise slowly.

The Galapagos Islands were first included on a map way back in 1570. They were named the Galapagos Islands even back them, in honor of the notably large tortoises that are native there. This was back when the ocean was a wilder place. In fact, English pirates are said to have used to grouping of islands to hide the Spanish ships that they stole!

In the 1700s, however, permanent residents came to the islands. These were whalers and other hunters. They massacred significant numbers of turtles, seals and whales. Some varieties of these species were actually wiped out during all this and have been marked extinct.

Charles Darwin brought the Galapagos Islands fame in the 1800s when he was greatly inspired by the unique animal and plant life present. Islands in general present interesting and unique examples of life on earth, but the Galapagos Islands are possibly the densest collection of unique species that are found no where else on earth.

In the 20th century, the Ecuadorian government realized these amazing islands needed protection from humans. Today it is a National Park. However, it is also home to 15,000 people whereas it was discovered uninhabited. Conservancy continues to be an ongoing struggle as the natural animals and plants suffer from sharing space with humans.

If you decide to fly to this exotic and naturally unique location, you will not be disappointed. When booking Galapagos tours, though, only attend events that are respectful of the natural living things. Otherwise, the beauty of the Islands may be killed off completely.