Category Archives: Travel

Air Travel Holidays With Kids

With the right attitude, those pesky air travel disruptions don’t have to ruin your family trip. It can, however turn into a case of “rolling with the punches” so to speak. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at some tips for flying with children while maintaining your sanity.

1) Prepare your family for flexibility. Make sure you have a backup plan, and discuss it openly. Any amount of time you spend together is family time – come up with some ideas to make the most of it.

2) Make a point to fight germs. Begin before you leave getting into the habit of taking daily multivitamins. Have everyone’s vaccinations up to date. Verify the need for additional vaccines, depending on the location of your vacation. Remember to wash your hands often, eat well and get enough rest.

3) Verify your airline’s website to get an updated list of prohibited items. Personally check every suitcase before giving it the seal of approval. Explain various aspects of security protocols, such as removing their shoes when asked, or putting their belongings on the conveyor belt. This includes blankies and stuffed animals.

4) When possible, consider the use of luggage and baby supply delivery services. This will eliminate not only the headache of checking extra baggage, but also the possibility of stores in unfamiliar locations not carrying what you need.

5) Be smart about your carry-on bag. Not only do you want to stay within the assigned limits for carry-on baggage, you want to make sure you have everything needed. Ideally, backpacks are your best choice, keeping your hands free.

Don’t forget about these potential situations: diaper changes, hunger, thirst, sickness, boredom, spills and clean-ups, medical emergencies and tired or cranky kids. Make sure any medications your family takes are in your carry-on. Luggage can get lost, but carry-on baggage gets on and off with you, no matter what.

6) Charge your cell phone, mp3 players and other devices you’re bringing with you. Pack all of their chargers in your luggage. Make several copies of your “In case of emergency” phone numbers, placing them strategically in different locations-carry-on, wallet, baggage tags etc.

7) Purchase seats for everyone, including infants and toddlers. Not only will it save you from back and neck pain from holding them the whole trip, But it also keeps them properly listed on the plane’s manifest.

8) Don’t rush – it adds to your stress levels. Try arranging for extra time between connector flights if you can’t fly direct. This gives you time to board early, so you aren’t disruptive to those seated before you. And if you’re in no rush for your connector flight, allow others to disembark before you so you don’t get separated.

9) Respect that some people may not appreciate children on the flight. Basic respect for boundaries is the best way to keep peace. And yes, not many people will smile at families boarding a plane. Don’t take this personally.

10) Don’t dread the flight. Children can easily pick up on your tension or anxiety. And if they do, you can be sure they will act out as a result of it. By staying calm and collected, your children will notice that this whole “flying thing” isn’t such a big deal, and things should go smoothly.

Get Ready for an Adventure Travel Holiday

 

Spain’s ruggedly beautiful Costa Brava, the sunny “Wild Coast” stretches for 160 km along Catalonia’s northeastern shores from Port Bou on the Franco-Spanish border to Tossa del Mar just north of Barcelona. Lined with green hillsides, craggy, wild cliffs, sandy inlets and caves, this is an adventure travelers paradise, where all manner of water sports, cycling and hiking are found.

The rugged coastline is dotted with lovely resorts interposed with unspoilt fishing villages and vibrant marinas. Exploring the hidden delights of the craggy coastline by boat, you discover deserted pine and citrus scented coves, ancient castles and fortifications.

On this jagged coast, L”Estartit is a diver’s heaven with an abundance of wrecks to explore in the crystalline waters. Just a mile offshore, the Medes Islands, a small archipelago of seven islets and a few reefs, features one of the richest marine reserves in the Mediterranean. Here, snorkelers and divers of every level delight in the thousands of fish and plant species that inhabit the submarine caves and crevices. To the south, Tossa del Mar, with its 12th Century walled town, its narrow, twisting streets and its lovely sandy beaches is one of the most attractive of the coastal villages and offers excellent opportunities for windsurfing, sailing, snorkeling and boating.

On the northern coast, Figueres, the birthplace of Salvador Dali, houses a most unique museum created by the artist – a surrealistic fuchsia building topped with gigantic golden eggs. Dali is buried here in an unmarked crypt. Just a few miles away, Cadaques, Dali’s childhood home, is the epitome of a postcard-perfect Catalan seaside village, with its striking white houses with tiled red roofs, its splendid old church and winding cobblestone streets to the backdrop of towering mountains and the cobalt blue sea. Situated on a breathtaking bay, Rosas, Catalonia’s oldest town was a Greek trading post over 2000 years ago. Across the bay, the village of Empuries is the site of many ancient, romantic cultures: Originally a small Phoenician trading post, it was replaced by the Greek colonial village of Emporio in the 6th century BC and 4 centuries later it had become a Roman naval port. The ruins of an acropolis and of beautiful Greek and Roman villas dot the area.

Away from the coast, a very different Spain greets you. Here, you’re deep in Catalonia, with its ancient traditions and ambiance. Banyoles, a historic lakeside town north of Girona dates from 812, has developed around a Benedictine monastery. Its old town is crammed with fascinating ancient buildings centered on a lovely arcaded square, and its lake offers every kind of boating, from rowing to pedal boats.

En route from the Pyrenees to Barcelona, Girona, an unspoilt, more intimate urban center than its sister, Barcelona, is a quaint ancient city founded by the Romans which later became a Moorish stronghold. The meandering Onyar River runs through the town, flanked by pastel-colored houses from the Middle Ages perched on the site of the old city walls. This charming, medieval town, with its genuine Gothic character, has a present-day personality rooted in the Middle Ages. Wandering around its winding, old cobblestone streets, you suddenly discover a section of ancient Roman ramparts, or at another turning a magnificent 12th century cathedral or the ruins of the 12th century Arab baths. The “Call”, the old Jewish quarter, is a wonderful characteristic labyrinth of steep streets and ancient buildings, a perfectly preserved enclave which was the heart of Jewish life in the north and the seat of the Iberian Hebrew intellectual, Rabbi Moses Maimonides.

Know Before You Book a Travel Holiday Online

Vacation deals are usually available and sold anywhere from a few hours to twelve hours prior to departure of your trip. If you thought that getting a travel deal at the tail end was foolish, you need to think again.

Some things you need to know prior to booking your travel deal at the last minute:

1) The more money you save, the better chance you have of having a nice surplus. When you make reservations for hotels, car rentals, airfare and other related items, make sure to look for the best discounts. That way, you will have more money to spend on other things.

2) Avoid mistakes that cost you money. Spend your money wisely. Get travel insurance in the event of an emergency. Read every part of any document that you have to provide your John Hancock for. Also, read the fine print. That is where you will find the stipulations and any fees. It is your responsibility to read everything before you sign.

3) Confirm all details. In regard to your trip, go over every detail to make sure it is correct. This includes the costs of the trip, additional fees, travel insurance and medical insurance. Again, read the fine print and ask questions if you don’t understand something.

Useful Air Travel Holiday Tips

It is recommended to bring a lot of patience if you are going for a holiday trip. Patience is a must especially if you are flying to your destination. You also have to plan ahead in order to avoid delays and long security checkpoint lines.

These warnings are what you will hear from almost anyone who will know that you will be spending the holidays somewhere else than home. You should not ignore such things since they really can help you out in enjoying your entire vacation, from the planning, to the journey, to reaching to destination, to relaxing there and to your return trip back home.

1. Plan Ahead

The first thing that you should do is to plan ahead. Book your flight as early as you can; booking in a rush is never going to provide you with the cheapest airline tickets.

2. Be Security-ready

There is nothing more frustrating than being at the airport and having to go through your bag for your passport and plane tickets. It is highly recommended to have these documents handy at all time, especially when you are about to go through the security checkpoints. As soon as you are about to fall in line, be sure that your tickets, passport, boarding pass and picture IDs are in your hands.

3. Be ready for Inspection

Take off your jacket or coat and your bag should be ready for inspection. TSA checkpoint protocols necessitate flight passengers to take off outer clothing for X-ray before they can proceed to the metal detectors. In case you are only wearing a blazer with no inner shirt or blouse, you will not be obliged to remove that.

4. Get the Kids Ready for the Journey

If you are taking children with you, it would be best if you can talk to them before you start off, because they need to know how things go at the airport. This is very important especially if they will be flying for the first time. As much as possible, educated them on how to behave properly, especially during security checkpoints so that everything will go smoothly.

5. No Wrapping of Gifts

If you are bringing gifts for families and friends, keep them unwrapped. Wrapped items may have to be opened during security check, so you better just do the wrapping once you get to your destination.

6. Pack Lightly

As much as possible, check in baggage should be avoided and it would be best if you can fit all your essentials into your carry-on bag. That way you eliminate the risk of lost or delayed baggage.

7. Tag your Bag

If you really have to bring a lot of stuff and check in baggage cannot be avoided, you should make sure that your luggage is properly tagged with your address and phone number.

It will be to your best advantage if you can follow the tips mentioned above. It is better to come prepared than get stuck in the airport and have your holiday ruined.

Travelling Holidays For Seniors

If you are a senior in search of a vacation, planning ahead could ensure you of a memorable and fun trip. Various types of vacations can be planned around senior travel, and whether you are looking to relax or plan your holiday full of activity, your convenience and any special attention you might require should be taken into consideration.

Taking a cruise no longer means sailing with young spring breakers looking for a 24-hour party. Certain voyages offer five-star treatment on a smaller scale, making manoeuvring about the ship an easier task, which is what many seniors require. The smaller, more intimate crowd offers a quieter trip, making relaxing conversation and new friendships possible. Most large cruise lines offer Alaskan cruises or South Seas cruises with ports-of-call geared with seniors in mind. You might even want to plan an around-the-world vacation on the world’s largest vessels that offer every amenity a senior could need.

If sailing the seas is not your chosen destination, you might consider a river cruise on some of America’s great rivers. The Mississippi River is popular to small cruise boats and paddlewheelers that offer cruises up to a week long. These senior cruises many times offer some type of on-board lecturers and history and educational cruises to peak the interest of senior travellers while they move lazily down the river. Several historical ports-of-call offer day adventures along the way in order to see the sights of each city.

If travelling by land suits you more, consider a senior tour. Many travel companies offer exceptional travel plans for the senior by offering unique railroad trips, hot air ballooning or private jet or plane tours with specific stops. Whatever your choice, planning details well ahead of your travel dates will ensure a successful trip. Agents and tour companies offer different types of senior tours, because seniors usually have varied preferences when it comes to group size. A large group of seniors will often take coach holidays which usually holds 40 people, with an escort. A great advantage to a senior tour is that sightseeing, lodging, and most of the dining arrangements are typically planned for you in advance.

If you are an active senior adult, you might want to plan a vacation geared around physical activity. While this type of vacation may not fall within the definition of typical senior travel, they are popular with many seniors well into their 70’s and 80’s. These types of tours could include extensive walking, hiking, or cycling. Your accommodations can be more rustic and the tour areas more remote if you choose. Sailing may also be included.

New Solo Travel Holiday Ideas

Looking for an alternative to “Home Alone for the Holidays”, I began checking out river cruises. My prior cruise on the Nile had worked well for me. As a solo traveler, I liked the fact that meals, transportation and sightseeing were taken care of while the small ship offered travel companions but with the privacy of my own cabin.

To narrow it down, I scanned my bucket list and immediately chose an Amazon River cruise. That left India and SE Asia as next on my list but too far roundtrip for Christmas week. I selected Brazil since most of the Amazon rainforest is located there although other options were via Peru and Colombia. (At least five other countries claim at least a piece of the Amazon.)

Although there were no non-stop flights available, Miami and Houston are gateway cities for frequent flights from the US to the capital of the Amazon, Manaus, bypassing both Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo. An intriguing option, in my view, was the opportunity to connect through Panama. The flight’s layover of 17 hours gives ample time to check into a Panama City hotel for a good night’s sleep with time left over in the morning for a walking tour.

Having traveled five times to Spanish-speaking Latin America, in researching this trip, I discovered how little I knew about Brazil and specifically about the Amazon.

My first misimpression was of Manaus. I had envisioned the Amazon’s starting point as a quaint village with small planes landing on short runways as I had found in African game reserves. In reality, the metropolitan Manaus area, with its own Belle Epoque opera house, has over 2 million inhabitants, a choice of 5-star hotels and frequent air buses arriving from abroad.

Secondly, I had always thought of the Amazon as home to just one river, famous as second in length only to the Nile. In fact, there are three others in the Brazilian Amazon: the Rio Negro, Rio Solimões and the Río Jauaperi, each with their own characteristics.

A third surprise was that the Amazon Basin, deep in the rain forest, is not uninhabited. It includes villages of up to 15,000 inhabitants. Novo Airão, for example, on the Rio Negro, is an active boat-building center.

The Amazon Basin is a leading ecotourism destination for the rainforest itself and the array of wildlife, including one-third of the world’s birds. Species range from the more welcome sights, butterflies, iguanas, monkeys, manatees, to snakes, the latter not always a crowd-pleaser. Rarer sights are the pink dolphins and the capybara, a 150-pound rodent, which fortunately looks like a giant guinea pig rather than an oversized rat. Leaving behind honking horns, the greatest “noise pollution” appears to be from howler monkeys, hopefully reserved primarily for the daytime. Foliage in the Amazon is supersized looking like a set made for a science fiction film. The kapok tree can grow to 200 feet in height, and water lilies can reach 7 feet in diameter.

Night time exploration does allow for a change of pace and a view of nocturnal animals. However, you wouldn’t want to take a break under a tree without keeping a vigilant eye out for low-hanging squirrel monkeys or other tree-dwelling mammals. A swim is not recommended either unless you want to get up close and personal with a hungry caiman floating through the river looking for prey.

If time permits, Manaus is also well-positioned to connect afterwards with Brazil’s beaches or an island holiday returning via Aruba before facing the bleak winter weather above the Equator. For western bound travelers, history or archeology buffs, a connection via Machu Picchu may hold more allure.

An alternative to competing with large holiday groups for a table for one? The answer: a river cruise through the Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest. You will be surrounded by unique species accepting you as guests in their natural habitat.

With a river cruise you have the added benefit that:

1. Planning is taken care of by the tour operator so that you will not have to organize sightseeing, find a hotel, and coordinate local transportation..

2. Pricing is close to all-inclusive, except for airfare, tips and transfers.

3. River cruises provide you with both a ready-made group but also the ability to have private time in your cabin.

4. Safety issues are unlikely on a river cruise, especially since you avoid foraging alone for dinner at night in unfamiliar territory.

If not for the holidays, themselves, the Amazon Basin is also the perfect antidote for winter north of the Equator!

Travel & Holiday Books

Travel Writing
When it comes to travel writing, the literature can narrate the writer’s experiences that occur during those travels, the people the writer meets and the ambience and aesthetic appeals the writer may be experiencing – these all go into a travelogue. It is fair to say that a travelogue tends to be more directly allied with literature about al fresco events than about proceedings taking place within the boundaries of buildings of one sort or another.

A prime example of this kind of travel writing is ‘Just a Little Run Around the World’ by Rosie Swale Pope. Adventure World Magazine records that, during her travels, Rosie’s trip took her five years during which she encountered three packs of wolves, and wore out 53 pairs of shoes – to paraphrase the sub-title of her book: “….5 Years, 3 Packs of Wolves and 53 Pairs of Shoes”. During this sojourn she also accumulated 29 proposals of marriage, had a brush with frost bite and got hit by a bus! She also got chased by a man in his birthday suit, brandishing a gun! Why did she undertake this mammoth odyssey? You’ll have to read the book to find out – turn to our Travel and Holiday section where you will find the story of this woman’s amazing travels listed, along with a diversity of other titles.

Would you Put this into the Travel Category?
As with any other genre, the travel and holiday category does not stand alone, but rubs shoulders with essay writing such as a writer’s observations on the peoples of a specific nation. An excellent example of this sub-genre would be Kate Fox’ “Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour”. It is an intensely amusing observation of the detailed behaviour that is inherently English.

Personally, I dislike this particular treatise because I find it over-generalised with references to the English when it might be better to refer to those people as British. Kate Fox focuses on her observances of English behaviour and practices which, admittedly are often totally alien to people from other nationalities: however, her treatise would have been more balanced had she entitled her book “Watching the British: The Hidden Rules of Regional British”. Why have I made this comment? If you are Welsh, Scottish or Irish, you will know exactly what I am talking about.

Countries and Regions
Foreigners tend to make this over-generalisation that, if they say ‘English’ it’s a catch-all word covering with whole of the British Isles. Truth be told, nothing could be further from the truth: Kate Fox fails to make any distinction between the individual identities of the countries and regions that make up the British Isles – all of which have distinct and regional differentiations that have absolutely no reference to the comments Kate Fox is making in her book. Added to that, lumping English people together when the people of Cornwall, as a prime example, consider themselves completely unique to the rest of England – as do the people in the North of England – is a vast over-generalisation and could well continue to perpetuate the myth amongst foreigners that England constitutes the whole of the United Kingdom when, in fact, the English are just one nationality amongst their regional cousins, all of whom are governed separately and independently for the most part and whose peoples are totally and completely different to the ideal and popular perception of the English.

Guidebook Series
Volume sales of travel and holiday guidebooks in general have seen a slump of 4.8% in 2008 according to Stanfords, a bookshop in London. Those guidebooks that specialise in advising visitors where to eat and drink and where to stay has really taken a knock: this sub-genre has lost 20.9% in sales value over the past year. It would be interesting to hear what readers of this site think – what do you attribute to this loss in sales of the ubiquitous guidebook series? Write in and tell us what you think.

One of my all-time favourites when it comes to travel and holiday writing, is Karl Pilkington. At present he is a little-known author, having only written two books – both of which you will find amongst our travel and holiday pages, under the section marked ‘General AAS’. While both his books make excellent reading, the book I am specifically referring to here is “Happyslapped by a Jellyfish”. The title says it all! Pilkington describes this book as a travel guide although, equably it could fit just as easily into the autobiography genre – as well as various other sub-genres as well. The book is humorous and witty – and I am not going to say any more about it. If you want to read it [and you should] you need to pop it into your basket and head for our checkout. This book is remarkably cheaper here than in many other places so, apart from being a good read that will make you laugh, it is good value as well.

Atlases & Maps
Satnav sales may be increasing but, is there a corresponding plummet in the sales of atlases and maps? Overall, figures taken from Nielsen BookScan reveal that the travel genre overall saw a fall of 8.7% on the total sales from the previous year. The year 2008 saw sales of atlases and maps down by 19.6% in value – a factor that retailers are attributing to internet route-finders and satellite navigation increasing in popularity.

Tourism & Leisure Studies
One thing you probably wouldn’t think of in relation to tourism and leisure is the impact of politics associated with leisure pursuits. This is a factor focused on by the Nijmegen University in The Netherlands, with their research centred on the close proximity between tourism and leisure, geographic perspectives and the impacts on these pursuits by social and planning activities. Their studies centre on the link between man and his environment and between concepts of space-time together with supply and demand, all of which culminates in burgeoning political interest in tourism and leisure as an industry.

How to Avoid Travel Holiday Stress

Going on a holiday vacation is very exciting, yet it can be very stressful as well. No matter how prepared you think you are, certain things or situations are surely going to happen to turn everything upside down. If you do not know how to effectively cope with frustration and stress, your whole holiday may be ruined.

If your previous vacations have always ended up in anxiety and tension, chances are you are in constant need for a follow up vacation. There are ways to ensure an almost stress-free holiday though if you can follow these simple tips:

-Do not over-plan. Though a good plan is an essential key factor in an enjoyable vacation, overdoing it might cause too much stress which will be hard to suppress once you reach your holiday destination. Your holiday getaway planning should be in general and not too specific. Sometimes, spontaneity is good especially if you want to have some totally new experiences with your loved ones. It is important to realize that if you are traveling with someone or your family, it is best if you plan with them. They may have their own ideas regarding the places they want to visit, the activities they want try or the attractions they want to explore. When it comes to must-see tourist spots, try to make two lists. The first list should include the special places that you and your family should really see. The second list can include other places that are not that important and may be overlooked if you do not have much time.

-Do not expect too much. There is simply no perfect destination and that is a fact. No matter how blissful, tranquil and wonderful a place may seem, it will have its own negative side that you will only discover once you are there. Let’s say you are in a heavenly island with white-sand beaches and crystal-blue waters, and then a rainstorm happens. There may not be much time to enjoy the beach, much less the waters. Natural disasters are not the only culprits in ruined holidays; grumpy hotel staff, lost baggage, travel sickness or kids getting bored can also be included in the list. There is no way that you could ever take completely charge of every situation, therefore you should never even try to.

-Research well. It is also essential that you know everything that you can learn about your target destination. It will be a lot more comfortable for all if you will be able to maneuver around the place like you have always been there. You can learn about the places to see and activities to enjoy by researching online, looking at maps and travel guides, and learning a few polite foreign sentences or phrases is also important

-Maintain a positive attitude as much as you. You must know that stress can be avoided if only you can stay positive and look at every negative circumstance as a challenge to be conquered and not just as a discouraging situation.

Kids Adventure Travel Holidays

This is a topic dear to my heart as I became a father two years ago now. Parenthood certainly changes your options for travelling but there is no need to “shelf” your sense of adventure – in fact I am very keen to instill that same passion in my daughter. She has notched up seven countries in her first two years and I hope there are many more to come. The looks of wonder and excitement on her face when faced with Alps or the great fjord in Montenegro are memories I will keep forever. She learned to run and took her first dip in the sea in Croatia and has even been to Bosnia! There are many options for kids adventure travel holidays but here are my top 3.

#1. The Alps. I have chosen this as number one because it offers so much for a family holiday, you can go in the winter for the winter activities or the summer for the alpine beauty and summer activities. Pick from France, Italy or Switzerland – you will find plenty of family friendly places to stay. Car rental and driving are easy (essential when with baby and all the luggage that comes with them!).

#2. Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains. This has to be in my top 3 as I love Morocco. Save this one for when your kids are a little older to get the most out of your trip. Marrakech is the perfect starting point – the  scenery, souks, spices stalls, snake charmers, story tellers, etc, etc – a real culture shock and great introduction to the cultural diversity of this planet. If you are feeling active you can take a trip to the village of Imlil at the base of the atlas mountains. From here you can explore the High Atlas and Berber villages. It is quite easy to organize yourself but with a family I would recommend pre-booking this with one of the many great tour operators that travel here.

#3. Ok, ready for the next level? India! The ultimate culture shock. I would recommend heading to Kerala in the south. It is warm, laid back and totally exotic giving your family a great introduction to India. Be sure to try a local dance – get your kids involved and do not come home without witnessing a sunset in

Discount Travel Holidays

Whether you earn a big sum of money or low, you may have a keep desire to enjoy holidays within your pouch! The discount travel holidays will be the right ways to quench your thirst in this manner because they take care of everyone and people can avail them with ease. When you are going to avail a discount travel holiday package, you can keep some tips in your mind that will help you gain more and more benefits through one package.

Discount travel holidays can be availed for every place that too during every season and thus, you don’t need to wait for a holiday or off season. However, it is suggested to you to plan holidays during the off season because this time, you can book a cheap holiday package through any online agent. There is no need to spend thousands of dollars in order to book your holidays because you have various chances to plan a cheap holiday.

In order to book the discount travel holidays, you should use the online method that is easy and convenient and offers you many more chances to plan a satisfactory holiday tour. See that your package includes all the compulsory facilities that can bring true fun in your life. Well, there is no need to waste time at all and wait for any other time to plan a tour.

It is the good way to enjoy holidays in your own way because there is no need to break your expectations because of the lack of money because the discount travel holidays are always ready to help you out. Well, if you want to save some money and have a desire to enjoy some happy days, the discount travel holidays will help you out.