Travel Tips

5 Reasons to Take the Family on Outdoor Excursions

The great outdoors can offer a view of the world that many city-folk may be missing. Although electronics and computers help make the world more efficient, experiencing nature firsthand could create memories that will last a life time. Be honest, how much of the amusement park vacation can you remember as opposed to various vacations in the outdoors? This isn’t saying that the family can’t enjoy city life, but there is more to the world than that of the tall buildings and merchandised family entertainment of various theme parks. Why should you pack up the family and look towards the landscapes instead of the glamour of theme parks?

Creating a Bond Within the Family

Unlike amusement parks that are filled with people, staff and security, the outdoors offers the element of the unknown. It’s through this experience that prompts family members to be more reliant on each other for basic survival – even on a subconscious level. This reliance may assist in deepening the bond within the family as everyone contributes to making the most of the vacation. Without various diversions, more interaction between family members can be done helping each understand the other in ways that were never thought of before.

Unique Opportunities

Unlike visiting the same theme park and riding the same rides, outdoor vacations offer a unique aspect with each visit. As nature changes rapidly, each visit to the same location could be incredibly different than the time before. Fishing patterns, wildlife migrations, trails and even scenery can change from year to year offering a unique experience. After you’ve been on an amusement park ride once, you already know the outcome of each subsequent ride. However, nature has a way of changing things up on you in the outdoors. Visiting companies such as Outdoor Traveler, you can find a vacation perfect for the family to offer a sense of that uniqueness.

Exploring Unknown Territory

Humans are inherently curious and many enjoy a good adventure of discovering places they’ve never visited before. The outdoors offers the allure of exploration allowing you to see and experiencing situations that you may be unable to duplicate anywhere else. If you take the family to a locale you’ve never been to, then it becomes a vacation that nobody can predict.

Personal Experience

If a picture is worth 1000 words, then experiencing something first hand would be the equivalent of a novel. Although technology allows people to take stunning photographs in amazing clarity, the personal experience adds more to the story such as scents and sounds. A picture can remind you of the vacation, but the experience is what creates the nostalgia from within. Pictures on the Internet simply cannot add the benefit of four other senses used when standing in the presence of nature’s magnificence.

Stress Relief

The great outdoors offers something that inner-city vacation tourist traps cannot – enhanced stress relief. The air quality of various areas allows for the body to absorb a higher quality of oxygen. The physical aspect of the outdoors provides exercise which in turn creates endorphin in the brain for a more natural euphoric experience. All of this and more can create a less stressful experience especially when taking into account the lack of people hustling about the area.

The outdoors promote a great deal of interaction with those around you. Without the diversions of everyday city life, the family is more likely to engage on an intellectual and personal level. Explore nature with your family and create an experience that will be talked about for years to come.

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Cash Is King When Traveling… (And Other Travel Money Tips!)

A lot can go wrong when you travel. Banks will strike just when you want to get your travel money out. ATM’s will fail. Your money will be stolen, or lost. You will take sick or take ill in your destination. All these things have one thing in common, they will keep you from your much needed money, or they will cost money.

It’s said cash is king in business. It’s the lifeblood that keeps the business machine chugging along. And needless to say, its also the oil that greases your travel experiences. Run out of it when traveling and you are in deep sh*t. So then, how do you handle your travel money? What is the best way to carry it, access it and use it? We’ve got some tried and tested tips for you. Read along and share yours too.

The Travel Money Tips

1) Always Carry Cash With You

You will never go wrong with cash. The best is to carry one of the major currencies. Especially the dollar. Most people have a rough idea of the dollar’s value at any given time. You can easily use dollars to pay for most things across countries. It is also easy to find exchange bureaus for the dollar compared to some other currencies.

Also in case of emergencies or failure by banks and ATM’s, you are well covered.

2) Separate Your Travel Money

Don’t put all your travel money in one pocket or bag. Separate it. Carry small amounts in each pocket. Also separate your credit and debit cards. This creates multiple backups in case you lose a bag, or you are pick-pocketed or other alternatives fail. Keep some smaller bills in an easy to reach place for sudden expenses. It’s better to keep the bulk of your money on body storage, such as bra pouches, long johnny boxers. This is especially handy in risky or shared spaces such as hostels.

3) Beware of Exchange Rates

Converting currency costs money. Sometimes you can lose as much as 8% of your money during exchanges. Keep exchanges to a minimum. Calculate the cash you might need locally and exchange that amount at once. Here are some fast rules of thumb regarding currency exchanges:-

  • Stick to reputable exchanges such as regulated bureaus and banks
  • Don’t change your money from street vendors. It’s a recipe for a rip-off
  • Exchange the bulk of your cash at the local travel destination. You get a better late than at your home bank.
  • Avoid exchanging money at the airports. The rates are awful. They know you are desperate.
  • Be aware of the local currency value in relation to your currency. Some vendors will try to rip you off.
  • Get a feel for the local currency. Study the coins and notes. Keep a vague mental value of the currency in relation to your currency. And count your money before you leave the counter.

4) Credit & Debit Cards

Most times, credit and debit cards are a reliable way of carrying and spending travel money. They are easy and convenient to carry. They can be safely used in most countries. However, most developing countries aren’t yet reliably hooked to the global card system. If traveling to those countries, cash will serve you right. For debit and credit cards, keep the following in mind:-

  • Store your cards safely
  • Inform your bank before you travel such that your card isn’t blocked for fraud when you use it abroad.
  • Study the foreign use fees charged by banks on your card. If the charges are too high, seek other alternatives.
  • Carry multiple cards in case others fail to work for any reason
  • Don’t let your cards out of sight, ever. Credit card fraud schemes have started when a cashier spent a lot longer time with your card.
  • Store emergency help line numbers for your cards handy in cases of theft or loss.
  • Put the larger purchases on your debit/credit card. This include airfare, hotel reservations, car rentals etc

5) The Local Currency Advantage

Use the local currency for your transactions. Most vendors will rip you off and add a huge markup price if you produce foreign currency. Their supposed exchange rates for their products is also awful. Using local currency, you can compare your purchases to that of the locals or even ask for their help with prices and understanding the currency. Regular, ordinary folks tend to be really helpful and genuine.

# The Bonus Tips

  • Local coins are worthless once you leave a country. Spend them on small purchases, change them for bills or give them away.
  • Exchange all your money back to dollars when you leave. See Tip #1
  • The traveler’s check is fast becoming obsolete in favor of ATM’s. Leave yours at home.
  • If all else fails. Have someone back home wire you the money through Western Union etc.

Conclusion

Carrying travel money abroad can be a hassle. There is always the risk losing the cash. As pointed out though, there are various safe ways to carry and spend your money. Research the various alternatives and chose the best for the destination you are traveling to. Money may be the oil that greases your travel adventures, but you shouldn’t have to worry about it. Instead, your focus should be on enjoying yourself.

How do you keep your money safe while traveling? Let’s us know in the comments below.

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Weekly Roundup – How To Fund Traveling Around The World

You are a travel blogger or you want to take the plunge in discovering our beautiful but vast planet. The big question to ask yourself is; How will i fund traveling this amazing planet? Don’t worry anymore cause I’ll be sharing those tricks I do to fund all my travels hoping it will be beneficial to you too.

Advertising

Companies pay you to advertise their products or services on your website. These advertisements can take many forms, such as sidebar banner ads, or sponsored content where a company pays you to publish a post about them. While advertising on your site, be cautious though, you might be penalized by Google loosing all your income in a fraction of time.

Affiliate Sales

Whenever you share maybe a book or any other product, always include an affiliate link to those products because if someone clicks that link and goes ahead and buy that product, you make a certain percentage from that sale.

Photography

The world is big and beautiful with infinite number of amazing photos to be taken. Be the one to capture the beauty of a sunset at the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro or the migration of the world beast at Masaai Mara. Depending on the country you are visiting, there is a good chance that you will make a reasonable income by selling them to magazines or sell them online. Just master a few tips and tricks that will enable you make your photos much more marketable and fashionable.

Freelance Editing

There are many different types of freelance writing you can do, from writing travel related articles for other websites to newsletters and blogs for various companies. I’ve been doing this for a time now and it worthy all your effort.

Brand Partnership

Brand partnerships are longer-term projects with companies. There are many brands out there with fantastic products that you would be happy to work with on a long-term basis in exchange for compensation

Is there any tips I’ve omitted you feel should be on this list? Share it with us in the comments below

Amazing Reads of the Week

Things I Did in Riviera Maya besides Diving – Electric Travel Girl

27 Inspirational Projects & Quotes from WDS 2014 – Travel Junkette

11 Ways to Make Money When You Spend Money – Money Mini Blog

Monetizing Your Blog and Spotting Dodgy Advertisers – Mo Money Mo Houses

Summer Project: Moroccan and Bohemian Style Patio – Continental Fairy

What to do, see, eat in Rome? Tips from a local Roman! – Getting Stamped

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Things to Consider While Traveling With an Infant By Air.

Infant seating

If you are traveling with an infant, one of the most important considerations to take is the seat for an infant. The baby should sit upright with the seat belt fastened. If your child is too small to sit in a seat, then you should be sit where it is comfortable enough for your child, due to oxygen constrains.

Pack smart

Children always come with responsibilities. Whenever you are traveling with your child,its important to keep close watch to your kid once in a while. A plane attendant may help you to locate a room where you can change your infant’s diapers or clean it up. If your baby is over 6 months old, it is important to carry along food supplies or sips of water to keep them busy and also full ๐Ÿ™‚ .Also you may need to request hot water or ice from the flight attendants to keep items cold or hot.

Also make sure to carry your laundry needs as it will always be needed at your destination.

Strollers

Children may be used to transported in a stroller. However some airlines may not permit you to carry a stroller as a carry-on baggage. If you have to carry a stroller, carry a small and a collapsible one to avoid problems with the airline authorities. Some airline authorities may give a free service while checking the strollers and also they can be made available during the plane connections.

Keep the baby in your mind mind

Adjust your mind and keep in it that you will make lots of little breaks along your journey. It is important that you let the baby to stretch, wiggle and maybe roll on a blanket. It is important that you arrive early at the airport to keep the baby set for the air travel.

Plan your seat ahead of time.

During reservations, its is important to let the agents know that there will be a baby on board. This may guarantee the child’s safety as there might exist some restriction to where the baby should be placed. It might be good if the baby is placed near the window to avoid blocking other passengers who might be passing by. It is usually noisy at the back of the plane, so it would be better if the baby is kept far front as possible.

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How to Achieve Your Travel Goals in 5 Easy Steps

If you are anything like me, you have a secret list somewhere of places you’d want to visit before…well, places you’d want to visit. But it isn’t always easy to make your travel goals a reality, is it? There always seems to be competing demands for your time and money. Be it work or other life commitments.

And so each year you make a resolution to travel more and visit places X, Y, Z. The years roll around and you realize you haven’t traveled a bit. And so the travel resolution gets two “X” marks on the next years’ resolutions. This year, you say, am gonna travel more! Oh the cycles of life…it just keeps ebbing away.

Let’s break that cycle today. Me and you. You made a resolution or a decision to travel more this year (I know I did), let’s make that dream a reality. I’ll even volunteer to hold you accountable to your travel goals ๐Ÿ™‚

Step #1: Shift Your Travel Thought Patterns

Believe it or not, the biggest barrier to traveling more isn’t money or time, it’s your mind! It’s your thought patterns. Come to think of it, isn’t it also the biggest barrier to people achieving their dreams in any field? Yes, the chips maybe stacked against you, they probably are, but somehow where there is a will, a way emerges.

Imagine yourself traveling more. Or at your favorite destination, soaking in the sun, listening to the cool breeze of the ocean. Or standing at the top of that mountain you have sworn (for ages) to climb. It feels good, doesn’t it? You have to believe you can do it. (Oh yes, today I sound like a motivational speaker…believe me, its for yours and my own good.) We’ve got to conquer our fear of travel impossibilities.

Step #2: Start Small

You are not just going to hop on a plane straight to Alaska, nope. You’ve got to “muscle up” for it. Start small and build up confidence and the planning skills to tackle your bigger, dream destinations.

Start in the local neighborhoods. Attractions within walking and driving distance. Take the time over weekends and holidays to immerse yourself in a place you have wanted to visit but just didn’t have the know-how. Explore more. As you do, you not only gain confidence, but you get to understand yourself; how you travel, the kinds of environment you like and what your typical travel expenses look like.

Step #3: Identify You Dream Destinations

By now you are more confident in your capacity to travel and have fun. Sit down and make a list of countries, destinations and attractions you’d want to visit. Get creative and bold. Now is the time to bring out those travel destinations that have been forever languishing on your Bucket List. Note them down, in order of priority if possible. You can as well arrange them on how easy it is to get to them.

Step #4: Save, Save, Save

This is the fun part! Before you throw up your hands in defeat, hear me out. You have come this far.ย  A little bit of money is the only thing standing between you and all that fun at your Dream Destination #1! You know your typical travel expenses. You have researched your destination and are clued in on the kinds of expenses you might incur. Add that up and factor it in your monthly budget.

Go ahead and create a time-line to help you save faster. For example, if you plan on a major trip in December, you have at least four months, from now, to stow away some travel money. If you don’t have the discipline to sit on that money, have it deducted from your paycheck and deposited into a different “special” account.

Step #5: Partner Up & Conquer the World.

Popular wisdom holds that you should surround yourself with people on the same mission as you. Here is your chance to do so. Find people who are trying to travel more. Those on the same savings journey as you are on. People whom you can hold each other accountable for your dreams and goals. It certainly makes achieving your travel goals easier.

Conclusion

Travel is right up there with reading in experiences that transform your life. (Travel more!) Reading immerses you in other people’s thoughts and wisdom over time, traveling takes you right onto the forefront where you get your hands dirty and become wiser. You shouldn’t let the lack of money or time deter you from achieving your travel goals. Conquer your fears today, take baby steps and then when ready, spread your wings and fly.

All the best fellow travelers!

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5 Must Have Apps For The Budget Traveler

Chances are, you have a smart phone! In fact you are probably reading this post on a smart device (or not :)). Smart devices have changed the way we consume information and made life a whole lot easier! Remember when you had to carry a suitcase full of books on you vacation? Gone. Nowadays you probably just pack your kindle, tablet, or smart phone, and with it more books than you can finish reading your entire holiday.

Each day apps keep coming up that simplify a different area of your life. From tackling your personal finances to finding your next meal. The apps – and your smart device – have got you covered. In that spirit then, let’s get you traveling smarter! The following five apps will transform the way you travel, for the better.

#1. Kayak

Kayak is a popular app that let’s you search and compare different flights. Not just that, you can search and compare hotels and other amenities as well. With Kayak you can sort the flights from the cheapest to the most expensive. Kayak also let’s you compare flights given their departure and arrival times. It has a simple, easy to navigate user interface. Its only downside is that you usually have to navigate outside the app to make any sort of bookings.

View and download Kayak here.

#2. TripIt

TripIt is a travel/trip planner in a class of its own! It allows you to organize all your travel details in one place. You know, all those disparate details and information you need for your trips. From flight departure times to bookings with rental car agencies and hotels, TripIt will organize it all for you. Easily plan your master itinerary with TripIt and view all details on a nice dashboard with the scheduled events and activities. You never miss a beat on your trip.

View and download TripIt here.

#3. AirBnB

Airbnb helps you find accommodation wherever you are traveling! From hotels to private residences you can enjoy on a budget, Airbnb has it all. You can search, compare and view pictures of the potential destination residences as well as book and pay for a staying place using Airbnb’s secure platform. With the app you can easily communicate with your potential hosts and ask questions about the residence. The app lets you view your itinerary and get directions to your host’s residence all on the go!

View and download AirBnb here.

#4. Skype

Skype requires no introduction! It let’s you easily communicate with friends, family and business partners all over the globe. It saves you the hassle of purchasing local sim cards and subscriptions by allowing you to make calls and text wherever you can get an internet connection. With Skype you can enjoy video and audio calls as well as file and photo sharing. Your family and friends are a Skype call away wherever your travels take you!

View and download Skype here.

#5. Expensify

Expensify is an expense tracker. With this app you can easily keep track of your expenses while traveling. Take pictures of your receipts and other expenses and expensify will do the rest. It is especially suited for frequent business travelers keeping tabs on business expenses. At the end of your trip, a free expense report is created which you can use to seek reimbursements.

View and download Expensify here.

Conclusion

Apps are a life and budget saver! With a few free travel apps you can transform the way you travel, from finding affordable flights and accommodations to keeping in touch with family and friends wherever you are. Get yourself some travel apps today. Your next trip will be a whole lot easier and pocket friendly!

Which apps do you frequently use when you travel?

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