What are your plans this summer?
After the long brutal winter and the so-so spring, it’s time to paint the U.S Red (or Blue depending 🙂 ) And you are not alone. A recent survey by TripAdvisor shows that almost 89% of Americans are planning some travel this summer. Of those, more will be traveling within the U.S. Why is that you ask? The World Cup in Brazil, The Golden Jubilee in the U.K and the summer Olympics have pushed global airfares up (ruining the fun for lots of people!). No worries though, you don’t have to leave U.S to catch all the fun. In fact, this summer might be the one you pack in most of the fun right here on U.S. soil. Today we explore some of the best summer travel destinations that are pocket friendly and offer unforgettable experiences.
Wipe out the sulk on your face! Get out there, soak up some sun and unforgettable memories!
Here Are The Top 10 Summer Travel Destinations
#1. Grand Canyon, Arizona
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You have to see the Grand Canyon with your own eyes to believe it. It’s awe-inspiring! Located in the Northwest corner of Arizona, the Canyon is the perfect destination for your summer travel. Enjoy a view of the mile deep valley from the edges, or take a trail into the belly of the beast! The Bright Angel Trail is just one of the routes down the Canyon. It’s equipped with restrooms, water and shade making it perfect for the average hiker.
Additionally, you can enjoy a cool evening watching the sunset from the edge of the Canyon. It’s one experience that will forever transform your perspective of mother earth!
#2. Yosemite National Park, California
After temporary closure back in 2013 due to Government budget cut backs, Yosemite is back and running. Located in the Eastern portion of California, Yosemite offers 47,956 acres of pure fun and exploration. With spectacular granite cliffs, streams, waterfalls and a biodiversity unmatched in most National Parks. Take your camping and hiking gear and enjoy breathtaking trails in the meadows of Yosemite. A visit to this National Park isn’t complete without a visit to the Yosemite Falls, the fifth tallest in the World.
#3. Las Vegas, Nevada
Need I say more? 🙂 It’s always happening in Las Vegas! Recent drops in per capita gambling and gaming expenditure has seen Las Vegas scramble to attract a new crowd of tourists. This has seen the rise of budget accommodations and a variety of attractions that will rock your summer travel. From vibrant art hubs to adrenalin parked indoor skydiving, Las Vegas will give you an unforgettable time. And you can still indulge in a hand of Blackjack or roll the dice and try your summer luck! Don’t break the bank though, there are still more amazing places to visit!
#4. Mount Rushmore, South Dakota
Summer marked the birth of the new nation! What better way to celebrate and capture that than Mt Rushmore? Located in South Dakota, Mt. Rushmore is a sculpture of the nations founding fathers in granite! Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Teddy? looking upon the nation. Enjoy a panoramic view from the Grand Terrace or take the Presidential trail to the base of the monument.
#5. Washington, D.C
The nation’s capital is steeped in history making it a nice summer travel destination. From the White House, to the Lincoln memorial, Washington D.C. has no shortage of fun, educative places to visit. Enjoy a picnic in the National Mall, almost 2 miles of park stretching from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial. Take in the amazing views of the Jefferson and Lincoln memorials at night. They are beautifully lit and the crowds are smaller at night. Washington summers are often pretty hot, stay hydrated and close to your destinations.
#6. San Francisco, California
San Francisco enjoys cool, breezy summers with temperatures in the 70 degrees range. Enjoy relaxed picnics, walks along the beautiful streets. Take a bay cruise to Alcatraz, a maximum security prison that once housed mobster Al Capone. Stroll across the Golden Gate bridge and catch a sunset there. Tour the city by the famous cable cars, or even drive Lombard Street – “the crookedest street in the world “. It has some of the sharpest turns and an incredibly steep incline. You thought cars couldn’t fly, think again 🙂
#7. Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming, Idaho, Montana)
Founded in 1872 and shared by three states; Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, Yellowstone is a 2.2 million acres of forest and wilderness! It has over 300 geysers shooting hot boiling water into the sky. Cool, right. The best known is the Old Faithful, it shoots 8400 gallons of hot boiling water 150 feet in the air, every 90 minutes. Pack your picnic lunch, enjoy the view time and again. You can also camp or take early morning hikes and get to see animals as they go to water!
#8. Ocean City, MaryLand
Two words: Stunning Beach! Located in Worcester County Maryland, Ocean City is an Atlantic Resort town with a lot to offer for your summer travel. Meander the 3 mile Boardwalk beach. Sample treats long the way. Dip into the salty waters. Summer brings with it special concerts and bonfires that will make your stay in Ocean City and unforgettable one.
#9. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Located in the East Coast of the U.S in Horry County, South Carolina, Myrtle Beach an endless supply of fun budget activities to keep you and your family engaged this summer. Relax on the beach and soak up some sun. Attend open air concerts. Indulge yourself in a game of golf on the splendid golf courses. Mini golf is available too! Enjoy some fireworks over Lake Broadway every Tuesday and most Friday’s all summer long!
#10. Orlando, Florida
Famed for its exquisite theme parks, Orlando Florida has distinguished itself as a major summer travel destination among North Americans. Located in Central Florida, Orlando has something for every traveler. Take your kids to Disney World, Resort Universal, Seaworld Universal or a myriad other interesting themed parks. Enjoy a rich culture with street performances, open air concerts or take a day to relax at the spas. Your fun in Orlando is only limited by your imagination!
#Bonus: Cancun, Mexico
Why Cancun? I’ll tell you why. It’s one of the most searched for destinations this year according to TripAdvisor! Located on the northeast coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, Cancun is world renowned tourist destination for its splendid beaches and clear, sparkly blue waters (well, among other…uuummm…things)! Tour the Cancum Underwater Museum, swim with the dolphins and enjoy the vibrant Cancum nightlife.
You don’t have to break the bank to have an unforgettable summer. There are remarkable destinations a flight or drive away that will spice up your summer. Get out there, soak up some sun and have fun!
What are your plans this summer? Where have you visited or planning to visit?Read More
Travelers carry with them a camera. They make great shots of mountains, canyon, birds, animals, different cultures. Selling those shots then there you are earning some cash. There are so many websites out there in need of those photos. You can also sell them to magazines or sell them online.
English teaching is in high demand across the globe. If you are proficient English speaker and writer then you are good to land this job easily especially in Asia countries where they are hungry to acquire knowledge of the worlds interlanguage.
They say blogging may take time even a year of hardworking before bringing in income. But if you can build a decent reputation as a blogger then you are good in attracting advertisers to your site thus making some good cash.
There are so many freelance writing jobs such as web content, web copy, news reporter, news paper columnist, magazine freelancer among others. If you have amazing writing skills then try freelance writing. You can get these jobs online on sites like oDesk and Elance.
This job is very common in Australia. Some farmers may pay per hour while others by harvest work done. That means you need to be that proactive. You need to know fruit picking is a hard job, need a lot of concentration and might work for long hours a day.
Import and Export Business
Run an import/export business. Get that item on one country and sell it at a profit in another country.
You might have various skills like scuba diving, skiing among others. You can offer teaching services to people willing to learn those skills. You might even get a lot of customers making it your profession.
Which other jobs do you normally do while on the road? Share with us in the comments below.
Amazing Reads of the Week
This Story Proves There IS Good in the World – Travel Junkette
Benefits for Travel Bloggers – Book of Travel Bloggers
Traveling the Top End with Wayoutback – Caroline in the City
Where to See Leopards in Africa – Travel Belles
Secret Venice – Burano Lace – Aussie in France
On Getting Back to Basics – Notes of NomadsRead More
Can you live without your smart phone?
It’s a communication tool between you, family, friends and business associates. It’s how you get your daily dose of news. Get social media updates. Get directions, restaurant recommendations, calendar reminders and a whole sleuth information. The smart phone and technology generally has permeated our lives. And for the best. How is this good for your as a traveler? It makes your travel experiences easier, richer and saves you money!
Travel Tech Tips
So how do you take advantage of the available technologies to get the best out of your travel trips? And what warnings do you need to keep at the back of your mind about tech? Find out as we explore the top travel tech tips below!
Back Up Your Data Before Travel
You have heard this countless times. From your tech guy or gal, your office policy has it too. Back ups are a life saver. Technology has a way of failing us when we least expect it. As a traveler, the dangers to your data are much bigger. You have to contend with the possibilities of losing your electronic gadgets. They might be stolen or get lost with your luggage. The experience of losing prized photos in your smart phone is not a pretty one. Use the myriad cloud and file storage services to back up your data. Dropbox, Box and Mega come immediately to mind. Alternatively you can back your data up on hard drives at home.
Collect all Your Travel Information in One Place.
Travel comes with a lot of information that needs management. From flight data and seats to hotel details and directions. The bigger your itinerary the larger the amount of data you have to manage. Tech is your savior here! With an app like TripIt, you can aggregate all your travel information in one easily accessible place. Its beauty is that it seamlessly integrates with your phone calendar allowing you to view your itinerary neatly organized on a calendar. You never miss a beat.
TripIt has free apps for Android, iOS, Windows, and Blackberry platforms. Save yourself the hassle. Get your travel information organized.
Check In From Your Phone
No more queuing and papers trying to check in at the last minute. You can easily check in from your phone, at home or on your way to the airport. Most airlines have apps for that. Delta for example has a smooth app that you just log into, tap check in on the screen. The app already knows which flight you are scheduled to take. You receive a QR code and voila, you are done. Once at the airport, just show your boarding pass and ID, put your phone on a QR scanner and it’s as simple as that.
Why should you even consider checking in through your phone?
- In case you lose your boarding pass
- As a frequent flier you might get upgrades to first class if space is available
- Less paper and trash. Doing your part to save Mother Earth 🙂
There Is An App For That!
There is an app for almost everything you might require on your trip! And it will make your life a whole lot easier. You can find airline apps, restaurant recommendation apps, directions, translations, deals, discount shopping and offers. Install the apps prior to traveling. Get destination specific apps as they have more accurate information. Apps can be free or require a purchase. Even when traveling on a budget, whats $20 for a bunch of apps that will significantly improve the quality of your trip? It’s simply a small investment for the time of your life.
Find A Laptop Friendly Airline
You might travel with your laptop on your trips to get work done, keep in touch with friends back home, or even blog about your experiences. Getting a laptop friendly airline gives you the convenience of working on your projects in flight. Get a head start or just catch up on your favorite series.
Most cross country flights provide Wifi and Power sockets for travelers. You can check and compare on airlines before booking. SeatGuru offers information on laptop friendly airlines as well as comparisons of different airlines. The following airlines for example have Wifi on cross country flights: Alaska, American, Virgin, Delta, Frontier, US Airways & United.
Technology continues to make life easier on all fronts of life. You can get more from your travel by installing a few apps that will change the way you interact with your destination enviroment. Or utilize technology to land deals that will save you money and open new opportunities. All you have to do is research around for what is available and take advantage of it.
Perhaps just a soft reminder. Technology is a tool to better your life. Remember to “Look Up” from all your gadgetry and immerse yourself in true experiences!Read More
Jet lag is when your built in internal clock desynchronizes with the external time. Big words there, so let’s break it down 🙂 We all have internal clocks. Us and most of the mammal race, if not all. It’s known as the Circadian Rhythm. It regulates when you wake up and sleep. It also affects how hungry you feel at certain times or how alert you are at other times. You know that annoying way you wake up minutes before your alarm clocks goes off? That’s your internal clock in action. Its usually pretty accurate, that is, until you travel and cross timezones. Then everything rocks and destabilizes.
Jet Lag Symptoms
Jet lag manifests in different ways among people. The symptoms also depend on the timezones crossed, time of day and individual adaptations. Some of the common symptoms include the following:-
- Sleep disturbances
- Poor performance and concentration
- Problems with digestion
- Reduced appetite
- Multiple awakenings during sleep
Jet lag is usually worse when you travel west to east and lose time than when you travel east to west and gain some hours.
So how do you deal with the symptoms? How do you protect yourself from excessive jet lag each time you travel? Following are some tips and tricks you can implement to shield yourself and reduce the impact of jet lag while improving your travel experiences.
Adopt Your Destination’s Schedule Before You Depart
Move the time you sleep time forward if you are traveling West to East. Sleep earlier. Take your meals earlier and try to live out your days as you would if you were already at your destination. This will help your body adapt and move the internal clock to the timezone you are visiting.
If you are traveling East to West, delay your sleep schedule. This us usually easier to adapt to since we gain time moving East to West. By moving your sleep time forward or delaying it, you slowly adjust your internal clock to your destination’s. This reduces the sleep disruption and jet lag symptoms when you travel.
However, if your stay at your destination won’t take more than two days, you would be better served sticking to your natural time. Most people require a day to adjust to each timezone crossed. A day wouldn’t be worth disrupting your sleep cycle for.
It would seem trivial but you would be surprised by how dehydration messes sleep up. Stay well hydrated before, during and after your flight to beat jet lag. Avoid caffeine-laced drinks and alcohol which reduce water in the body. This causes you to feel patched up and fatigued. Cabin pressure and anxiety also affects your sleep cycle. Staying hydrated keeps you relaxed and helps better repair the disruption of your internal clock.
Static Exercises Before During & After Flight
Flying long distances means sitting for long periods of time in restricted spaces. This can reduce blood circulation. Combined with cabin pressure in the airplane, reduced oxygen levels and anxiety, it can lead to disruption of your sleep cycle. Have light excises before flight. Walk around during the flight or stretch from time to time. Wiggle your toes to help circulation from the lower limbs.
This should improve blood circulation and help you relax. Relaxation is conducive to sleep and will help you ease better to a natural sleep cycle at your destination and ease jet lag effects. However, avoid intensive workouts after landing and before sleep.
Consider seeking medical advice if you are a frequent flier who experiences nasty jet lag episodes. Doctors can prescribe drugs that can help you sleep better or stay awake and alert when you need to. While this should be a last resort, sometimes it may be necessary.
Melatonin can also be used under prescription to reduce jet lag related symptoms. Melatonin is secreted naturally by the body to regulate our circadian systems. 3-5 milligrams a few hours before sleep should do the trick. However, ensure you have exhausted the natural remedies and consult your doctor before going the medication route.
Soak Into A Bath
A bath soothes your muscles and quietens your mind after a long flight. (Part of the reason why some of our best ideas occur in the shower – no distractions: total relaxation 🙂 ) Turns out its also great for coping with jet lag. A bath also lowers your body temperature which is a prerequisite for sleep. It does help you sleep better.
Jet lag can disrupt your life whenever you travel. The symptoms are never pleasant. However, as pointed out you can take steps to mitigate it. Take steps today to prepare yourself for your travels. Experiment until you have your prefect formula for dealing with jet lag.
How else do you deal with jet lag and it’s effects?
If am guessing right, travel was part of your new year’s resolutions. (Just guessing here 🙂 ) Or perhaps somewhere on your bucket list. Most of us wish we can travel more, experience different places, food, cultures and people. And for good reason. Travel changes your perspectives on life. It opens your eyes to ideas and ways of life you never thought possible. Spend a week in Rio de Janeiro or Caracas and the warm spirit and zest for life of the South Americas will probably catch up on you too!
Benefits of Travel
If food, culture and tourist attractions aren’t your thing, travel still offers numerous benefits among them:-
- Improving social skills
- Experiencing the beauty of nature
- Teaches you patience (things rarely go as planned)
- Renew your energy reserves
Or to quote someone:-
So how do you manage to fulfill your travel dreams without breaking the bank?
Nothing just happens on its own. Events are set in motion. Plan your travel well ahead of time and chances are that you can manage it without spending a fortune. Failure to plan is planning to fail. In your plans, research cheaper options for the basic necessities such as food, accommodation and transport. If you want to rock travel at an expensive destination, consider going off the normal beaten route. Instead, opt for other experiences. Cook your own food. Consider couch-surfing or staying with friends. All this requires planning well in advance and making your acquaintances earlier.
Rock Travel Off Season
The high travel seasons are well known. They are in the summer and around major holidays in the US and Europe. These are also the times when traveling can be expensive. From airfare to getting decent and affordable accommodation. The high season makes it a nightmare. How do you get around this? Make off season your high season! You have October through April to enjoy travel and amazing experiences on a shoestring budget.
During this time you can snag budget travel deals, accommodation and other offers designed to keep tourist businesses afloat during the off season.
Use A Budget Airline
Unless you can teleport from JFK Airport to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, you need an air ticket. This is an opportunity to cheapen out! That air ticket is a means to an end. The end being all the fun you are going to have on the other side. How do you get a cheap air ticket? Time to get creative.
- Research and choose a well known budget airline
- Book your flight very early or very late when airlines are desperate to fill vacant seats and are offering discounts
- Use your airline miles for the ticket or for an upgrade
- Avoid travel agents or tourist offices
- Ask nicely for a discount…you will be surprised at what you can get
Avoid Unnecessary Spending
Do you require that taxi to take you around your destination? No you don’t! In-fact, you are probably getting ripped off. The more “touristy” you look and act the higher the chance that prices are being inflated on you. And let’s face it. It’s not a good way to experience the local culture. What’s the use of traveling if you will be holed up at your hotel’s pool sipping mojitos?
Get off your comfort zone. Go off the beaten path. Experience the local culture, cuisine and people firsthand. It’s cheaper and fun this way and you get much more for your buck! Other expenses you can do away with include eating out. Try cooking for yourself. Consider couch-surfing or staying with a local family instead of hotels. Use the train or bike your way around.
A smile changes everything. It creates positive experiences. It opens hitherto closed doors. It changes situations and warms up people to you. It’s contagious and it even makes you look more intelligent and approachable. Smiling is a recipe to rock travel. A smile will buy you what no money can’t. Local hospitality and friendship for example. Keep smiling…its your currency to amazing experiences!
Whatever travel is for you; a lifelong goal, a resolution, item on the bucket list. You can do it. You don’t need that much money. What you need most is the boldness to make it happen and courage to go off the beaten path. Where there is a will there is a way, or you make one!
Go forth and experience.Read More
Dave and Vicky are the authors of Travel and Food blogs A Couple Travelers andAvocado Pesto. Having spent 2 years in the working world, they exchanged their briefcases for backpacks, dress shoes for sandals, and beds for sleeping bags. In September 2012 they embarked on a 2 year journey across Asia and Europe. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook
First of all give us a quick background of both of you.
We’re Dave and Vicky from acoupletravelers.com, a travel blog that chronicles our backpacking journey through Europe and Asia. Both of us were living and working in DC and felt somewhat unfufilled with our jobs and decided that we need to push the reset button on life before it got too late. We quit our jobs in September 2012 and set off to Japan (we had been planning the trip for months before this). Since then we’ve been to almost 20 countries and are blogging and running businesses on the side! In addition to acoupletravelers.com I write about business at selfmadebusinessman.com and Vicky writes about food at avocadopesto.com.
What gave you the inspiration to start a travel blog?
It was really just two things.
- 1. We thought it would be nice to have a record of journey.
2. We thought we could make some money or at least get discounted activities.
Luckily we were successful in both!
Do you find there are any challenges to blogging as a couple, such as who’s turn it is to write?
At first we just took turns depending on who felt like writing about what. Later on we were a bit more systematic about it. I think it’s important to fill roles. Luckily both Vicky and I have different strengths that compliment each other. I handle more of the technical side of the blog. Vicky handles more of the writing.
Same deal with travel – how do you decide where to travel to next?
We had a route planned though we didn’t stick to it 100%. Mostly because it just takes forever to get anywhere in Asia lol. It’s fairly logical though as we just travel to neighboring countries, so when we were in Korea then we did China, Vietnam, etc. Nowadays we’re more inclined to wing it. We just set off for Spain to visit family and then are going to Italy and the Balkans, again for family.
What is it about travel that has you so obsessed about it?
Experiencing new cultures, meeting new people, and finding out things about yourself you didn’t know before.
What have been your favorite places that you’ve visited so far?
Japan and France are probably our top two. Japan is so interesting and unlike a lot of Asia. At the same time it’s very safe to travel there and modern as well. France is just delightful. I highly recommend doing a driving tour.
Do you have any major travel regrets?
It’s probably too early right now for us to realize what our regrets are. I guess I wish we spent more time in Japan. Really though it’s been a fantastic trip and for the most part I wouldn’t change a thing!
Any funny or embarrassing stories that you’re willing to share from your travels?
At this point so much of this just seems incorporated into our daily life that we don’t even take notice. On one of my first nights in Japan I accidentally walked in on my couch surfing host naked – that was a shock for us both and made for quite an awkward breakfast!
For the budget travelers out there, what would be your top tip for saving money when traveling?
Don’t buy things you don’t need.
Do you take advantage of airline credit cards to save on flights? If so, which card do you use?
Sure we got a lot of credit cards before we started traveling. We use the Chase Premier Rewards and the Capital One Venture Card. Each of us have saved thousands on these cards alone. It’s not that hard really.
Aside from budgeting, what’s the best general travel advice you’ve ever received?
I think just always be aware of what is going on around you and be vigilant.
Do you plan to keep traveling indefinitely or do you see yourself settling down somewhere before long?
Not sure when we’ll settle down completely but we are already slowing things up by renting apartments for a month or two at a time. Soon that will probably turn into 2-3 months, then 3-6, and then you’re a permanent resident!Read More