Tag - Vacation

How a Vacation Rental Home Can Enhance Your Next Florida Vacation?

Panama City Beach_Florida, cr- gogobot.com

Panama City Beach_Florida, cr- gogobot.com

Many people who plan to go on a trip to visit beautiful places in Florida prefer booking vacation rental homes. But still we find people booking hotels for lodging. They must know the option of lodging in the form of vacation rental houses. A vacation rental home is nothing but a condo or a private home that is available for others to use for a short period of time. These types of homes can be rented either by the owner of the house or by any management company. These vacation rental homes are located in different popular vacation spots in Florida, including Panhandle and Orlando.

Vacation rental homes ranges from a single bedroom condo to an eight bedroom house. Some rental homes require minimum renting periods which can range from one night to one month. Always there will be a Florida vacation rental home that provides accommodation for  short trip as well as an extended vacation to couples or entire family. You can find significant number of rental homes in Florida. These houses are designed with desired amenities and features. Most of them have private pools and hot tubs. One of the most important thing about these rental hoses is they provide privacy to the visitors. There will be no need to adjust in the lodges and hotel rooms, which always have the disturbance of visitors coming to hotel, rowdy vacationers and slamming hotel doors. It is possible for you to find the best suitable vocational rental house in Florida that can suit your trip, that will be either a short duration trip or extended duration ones.

Cost is one of the important factors to propel many people to opt these kind of rental properties in Florida. They offer an affordable price when compared to the other hotels and lodges. For the cost they charge, the services provided in those houses are impressive. You will be having several bedrooms and multiple bathrooms, when you are selecting these rental properties for your vacation plan. The facilities provided by the vacation rental houses are much useful for those families who come Florida for vacation. These facilities will play a vital role in improving the user’s vacation trip. The people who are utilizing the services of this rental houses will be availing the same facilities when they come for next trip. The additional features that villas have are private pools, hot tubs, separate game room and other. If you afford for a large vacation rental houses, they will definitely make your trip as a memorable one for your whole life.

Florida vocational rental homes may also provide with access to exercise equipment. In October 2006, an average hotel room in Orlando area for a Florida vacation cost around $100 per a single night. While a three bedroom vacation home in the same area costs $111 per night. This is not more for a bigger space with better facilities. Then, why late? Book your tickets for the next trip to Florida. Never forget to book a Florida vacation rental home. Meanwhile, If you are short of money you can go for loans such as travel loans, payday loans which are instant loans. When you are decided to take a loan, then it will be a better idea to prefer a loan that is given along with ppi that is payment protection insurance. The most advantage of ppi is that it can provide you a coverage to repay your loans if you lose your job or in a situation that you cannot work in the middle.

The Vacation of Your Dreams: 5 Cost-Effective Ways to Take It

image Philip Taylor-flicker

image Philip Taylor-flicker

by Jainnie smith,

In recent years, people have decided to give up their vacations because they aren’t able to afford to go anywhere fun or interesting. Between getting to where you’re going, then paying for food, accommodations, and entertainment, you need to have a fair amount of money to enjoy your getaway. Reconsider before giving up your plans to enjoy yourself, however, because if you’re smart about your savings and look for cost-efficient booking techniques, you can still take some much-needed time for rest and relaxation.

Start a Nest Egg and Set a Savings Goal

The best way to make sure you get a vacation is to save for it. Start at least six months early and have an idea about where you want to go, because you have to set a savings goal for yourself. Budget wherever you can even if it means cutting back on luxuries, such as skipping the movies (and those expensive treats), limiting your dinners out, and cutting out the retail therapy. You can also add to your fund by putting in spare change, work bonuses or tax refunds, or getting a small, part-time job.


Vacation fund- flicker Denise Chan

To avoid temptation, think about putting your vacation fund in an interest-bearing savings account. That will add even more money, because every penny counts. If you simply have your vacation fund in the house, you might end up spending it on that new video game console or those cute platform pumps at the mall. Having to start all over again because you blew your holiday money will just make you feel defeated.

Travel to Where the Deals Are

Different places offer different deals throughout the year. It’s also cheaper to travel to certain places if you go during the off-season. For instance, avoid Miami, South Padre Island, and Palm Beach during Spring Break. If you’re dying to travel to Paris but worry about the cost, think about going in July or August. These places are quieter in the off-season. You don’t have to deal with enormous, noisy crowds, the prices are down at restaurants, museums, theaters, and other hotspots, and you can really enjoy the atmosphere at your leisure.

Many popular destinations also offer special deals at various times. It might not happen when you wanted to go, but if you know that you can get into your favorite theme park at half price, isn’t that worth it? Check out the places you like best, get email notifications from your favorite attractions, and discover what’s on offer at any particular time.

Sign Up with a Vacation Points Club

You might not have the means to afford a summer home or your own weekend getaway, but joining a vacation points club is the next best thing. This option is affordable and flexible. You’ll have the opportunity to pick your vacation days, meaning that you can choose the most cost-efficient travel dates, and you’ll always have a place to stay. To get all the latest information about deals, plans, destinations, and properties, keep a close eye on Facebook page for Bluegreen Resort vacations. You can see all kinds of fun photos and interesting updates; you’ll also get an idea of what plans are right for you, the best ways to earn points, and even travel planning tips.

Time Your Travel Dates
Martin Cathrae

Airport- Credit Martin Cathrae

Are you flexible with your travel dates? Remember that weekend travel is more expensive, especially in the summer and around holidays. Everyone wants to take off between Friday and Monday. Ask for a few extra days off because you’ll save lots of money on airfare and train tickets if you’re willing to leave on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.

By traveling on the actual date of a holiday, you’ll get cheaper tickets as well. If being somewhere on Memorial Day, Labor Day, or New Year’s Eve doesn’t matter as much as just getting away, you’ll lighten the load on your wallet. The dates around holidays are more expensive, because travelers want to get to their destinations on the holiday.

DIY the Vacation Essentials

Once you reach your destination, you can still save your money. By choosing amenities with equipped kitchens, living rooms, and even laundry rooms, you’ll save on essentials and luxuries. Although you don’t have to do it the entire time, think about cooking in a few nights during the holiday, or at least eating lunch at home. Wash your own clothes, which can also cut down on the amount of luggage you travel with, and have a night in watching movies.

By planning strategically and saving money where it counts, you can still enjoy a vacation. How do you plan for your best holidays?

Entertaining the Kids in the Holidays with Wii Games



The long summer holidays are almost upon us. Six long weeks which, unless you have a plan, can seem to stretch out into infinity.

If the weather is good then this can help. The park, picnics or even playing in the garden can keep them amused for hours. But this is the UK. Recent reports in the news have suggested that we brace ourselves for cool and soggy summers for at least the next decade. Parents in the UK are therefore in need of a plan. How can they keep the kids entertained and happy for six whole weeks?

Everyone’s holidays are a little different and working parents will have less time to fill, with kids spending time with family or in holiday clubs. It may be that you are planning a couple of weeks’ holiday so that will also take up some time. If entertaining the kids really is an issue for you, approach the problem strategically and work out in advance what you plan on doing with them every day. Get their input as to what they would like to do too and keep an eye on the forecast and plan days out when the weather is kinder.

Good for Rainy Days

For rainy days, the Nintendo Wii is ideal. There are lots of great games available that will keep kids and adults amused for hours at a time. There are games they can play as single players as well as games for multiple players so they can all play together. If they get bored of a game you can easily sell old Wii games in order to raise money for something new.

The market for second-hand Wii games is huge and it’s a great way to get new games as well as sell the games you no longer need. There are a number of online companies as well as high-street providers which purchase well-looked-after Wii games as well as selling them at reduced prices.

Good for Exercise

It may also be the case that the children enjoy the games so much that they will want to play them on days when you would rather have them outside. This can be a tricky one as you don’t want them to become bored of the game when the next rainy day comes around. You may find therefore that you will want to limit the amount of time they spend on the game. Fresh air and physical exercise are, of course, very important. However, many of the Wii games actively encourage exercise. These include the Wii Fit games and also the dance games. They can also exercise the brain.

Having a good selection of games is important and the fact that you can buy and sell games can help keep the cost of this to a minimum. Many games will be suitable for both boys and girls, but obviously some will appeal more to one sex than the other. If necessary, let them take turns to choose.

Holidays are about fun, so plan yours in advance and all will run smoothly for everyone.

The Australian Outback – A Road Trip Survival Guide

The Australian outback is one of the world’s most desolate yet beautiful wonder’s and has become the traditional backdrop to life in Australia through the eyes of the rest of the world.



Taking time to travel through the outback when visiting Australia is a must, but its magnificent views and landmarks hide a treacherous world that can be fraught with danger for the unknowing and unprepared traveller.  So here I’ve listed the top 5 things to keep in mind the next time you pack your car and tackle the Australian outback.

1. It is big. And I mean REALLY big.

A large portion of Australia’s landmass is classed as rural outback and whilst a lot of the land is used for farming and mining, there is also a whole lot of nothing. There are many ways a traveller can tackle the outback but perhaps the two most popular are the Adelaide to Darwin and Adelaide to Perth route. The first is a vertical route straight through the dusty heart of the country and in its entirety stretches for over 3000km. The second is across the completely barren Nullabor plain and is slightly shorter at 2,550km. Both routes have their own scenic advantages but their immense distance cannot be underestimated, even by Australian standards, a road trip through the outback is a big endeavour.



2. Allow enough time Due to the distance

Many tourists are unaware of exactly how long it can take to do either of the main outback routes. Having taken two weeks return to do that Adelaide to Darwin route myself, I can vouch for how much of a feat it is. Even if you are stretched for time try not to commit yourself to more than 5 or 6 hours of driving each day. Any more and you will get tired which could impend on your driving skills and you will end up missing most of the scenery that you drove into the outback to see in the first place. If you are wanting to stop at the tourist sites along the way (and you will need at least a full day at Ayres Rock) allow for at least 4 days to get to Darwin. Keep in mind that a lot of the top tourist spots are also quite a bit off the main highway, and these apparent “short” detours can eat into your travelling time and put you behind if you find yourself on a deadline. Moral is: try to have a flexible schedule if possible.

3. Watch out for wildlife

Because 90% of the outback is so sparsely populated, a large amount of native wildlife roam around after being pushed out of the more heavily populated coastal regions. It is not uncommon to come across a gathering of kangaroos, camels, emus or dingoes on the side of the road – or in fact on the road itself. Luckily, due to the lack of roadside trees or buildings it is fairly easy to spot one coming along the flat horizon. If you come across an animal, or animals, blocking the road don’t panic. The best thing to do is wait for them to move, or try to go off the road a little to avoid them (be careful if you are not in a 4WD enabled car as this could cause some bogging issues!). If you must, a short beep of the horn will normally be enough to move them on, but you will see how nonchalant they are about being in the way; remember you are invading on their territory.

4. Pack spare everything

If you forget something on your outback road trip there is no supermarket that you can just pop down to so it is very important to pack smart. There will be a petrol station in every major (and minor) town along the way but if you take a little detour off the main highway you may find that when you get back on it again, you will run out of petrol before you reach the next town. So always carry a spare petrol tank and keep it full. Same goes for water and oil and anything else you might need for your vehicle. It is also a good idea to pack a cooler bag to keep any food items cool, as even in the winter it can reach mid 30′s during the day, which could very quickly spoil your milk and your trip if you are not careful. Despite the often hot temperatures during the day, the nights in the desert are freezing so pack a range of clothes and be prepared to be constantly changing!

5. Appreciate the outback for what it is

The outback is not supposed to be a luxury road trip. There is nowhere you can stop to have a mud spa or your nails done, in fact there are barely any places to stop to buy bread and water. There is not a lot of phone or television reception but it is the perfect chance to escape the rat race and just be one with the landscape. You could go a whole day without meeting a single soul and hours and hours without passing any other cars. But it is the isolation of the outback that has thousands of international tourists spellbound every single year. The scenery is so untouched and with the native flora and fauna right outside your tent, there is no need to go hunting for the best outback experience: it will come to you.

For more information on planning your next Australian outback adventure visit http://www.outbacknow.com.au/

Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park Great Service and Fantastic Views

    Fairmont Chicago

Fairmont Chicago

Chicago is a fantastic city to visit for a number of reasons, and while there, the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park (www.fairmont.com/chicago, 200 N. Columbus Drive, 866-540-4408) is an excellent base for exploring the city thanks to its location, amenities and the familiar Fairmont level of service.

You can learn more about the many places to visit in Chicago such as the Magnificent Mile, Second City, deep dish pizza and the theatre district, in the “Sweet Home Chicago” episode of the Travel Brigade Radio Show.

From the moment you check in to the Fairmont and get a Tootsie Roll, which was invented in Chicago, you get the unique feel for the Windy City simply by looking out your window. The hotel sits on a block near Michigan Avenue, the Lakefront, Grant Park and Millennium Park, with the latter being home to the Cloudgate sculpture that has become synonymous with Chicago. If you haven’t heard of that name, you may know it as “The Bean,” a huge metallic bean that reflects the surrounding skyline that no traveler can resist taking a picture of.

You can take a stroll of just a few minutes from the hotel through Millennium Park and enjoy the view on the way to the Art Institute of Chicago, an encyclopedic museum complete with a number of iconic paintings that holds one of the world’s great art collections.

Chicago is full of great eateries, but save room for a visit to the Eno Wine Room located right in the Fairmont. Eno takes three items that are great on their own – wine, cheese and chocolate – and brings them together in an irresistible way. You can even take a class at the “Eno-versity” to learn more about them. The hotel also has Aria Restaurant and Aria Bar & Sushi Club, which combines Asian cuisine in the restaurant with a communal sushi bar that also has a noodle menu.

After a long day of taking in all that Chicago has to offer, come back to the hotel and enjoy a massage or other treatment at the 11,000 square foot “mySpa,” which features a full-service fitness studio as well as massages and body wraps. If you’ve spent the day shopping on the Magnificent Mile, you also might want to try the “Sole Salvation” a deluxe foot treatment with a scrub, warm paraffin wrap and foot massage.

The Fairmont brand is noted for its level of service, and one great way to experience from start to finish of your visit is to stay on the Gold Level, which comprises the 15th floor. The Gold Level has its own concierge desk in a large reception area where guests can enjoy complimentary breakfast in the morning and appetizers in the evening.

Chicago is a great place to visit for many reasons, and the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park will make the trip complete.

Vacation in Lisbon with your loved ones

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

Holidays are meant for relieving stress and refresh your mind. It is one of those busters that can lower your professional and personal tension. However, selecting a holiday spot is an additional burden.

If you are planning a holiday this winter, Lisbon is one of the nest hotspots in the world. Lisbon is the capital and the largest city of Portugal. It is also one of the oldest cities in the world. The city has top and wonderful attractions, which are worth-visiting. Some of the most popular ones include Jeronimos Monastery, Belem Tower, St. George’s Castle, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Parque Bas Nacoes, Berardo Museum, Madre De Dus Covent, The World’s most expensive Chapel, Ancient Art Museum, Design and Fashion Museum, and lots more. Search for flights tickets to the city. I don’t think there are any museums, which I have not visited. I visited almost all.

There are more than what you think you can do in Lisbon. Don’t limit your holiday to just sightseeing. Relax on the beaches and swim in the ocean, play golf on the coast, enjoy surfing in World Championship waves, enjoy drinks at one of the Europe’s popular restaurant, try local cuisines, go out for shopping in the best shopping spots in the city, experience the local culture, and several others. Look for airlines offering cheap airfares and book your tickets online. I personally prefer advance booking as it attracts several discounts and offers, especially for loyal customers. Enjoy an economical holiday.

If you are water-sport enthusiast, choose one of the best beaches around the city and try some of the popular water based activities. Surfing, swimming, scuba diving, and several other activities are the famous one to try. Look for flights to Lisbon and enjoy a wonderful trip to the city.

The city has many famous and traditional restaurants, which you can visit to try the taste of Europe. Some of the popular local restaurants of the city are Largo Restaurant, Quinta dos Frades, Bocca, Manifesto, Estoril Mandarin, Pizzeria Casanova, Café de Rio, Tavares Restaurant, Solar dos Presuntos, and lots more. You can try salt cold, sheeps milk cheese, soup, sausage, and try variety of drinks. Search for cheap flights to Lisbon and book your tickets online.

There are also local favorite top trendy restaurants. Some of the popular ones include Guilty, Sushicafe Avendia, Maritaca, Sea Me, Pharmacia, The Decadente, Bistro 100 Maneiras, Taberna Moderna, Cantinho do Avillez, and many more. Trendy means funky dishes. Book cheap tickets to Lisbon and enjoy an economical trip to the city.

Air Jamaica is one of the finest airlines you can reserve your seat in. Go for Air Jamaica flight reservation and head towards these cities. The airline also offers plenty of top class facilities, which can make your trip fun-filled, entertaining, and unforgettable. For all these experience in one trip, make sure you book Air Jamaica flight tickets to Lisbon in advance. Early booking attracts plenty of offers and discounts.

There are also local favorite top trendy restaurants. Some of the popular ones include Guilty, Sushicafe Avendia, Maritaca, Sea Me, Pharmacia, The Decadente, Bistro 100 Maneiras, Taberna Moderna, Cantinho do Avillez, and many more. Trendy means funky dishes.

5 Reasons Why You Should Holiday in Greece

    Greece- photo credit: Vasiliki Tampouri

Greece- photo credit: Vasiliki Tampouri

There is no doubt that tourism in Greece is decreasing as each year of the financial crisis    passes. Tourists are put off travelling to Greece and its islands because of the real possibility of having flights and boats delayed due to strikes. Then of course, there are the frequent demonstrations which occur in Athens. However, there is a real need for Greece to improve its tourism figures if it is to get back on its economic feet.

I have been back in Athens for two months now and have seen how devastating this crisis has been for the poor. Homelessness is increasing as more and more Greeks can’t pay their rent. The rise of the Neo- Nazi party, Golden Dawn, is also worrying as these people appear to be thugs, with the only item on their agenda to rid Greece of immigrants, whom, they claim, are illegal migrants. Actually this is far from the truth, as many who were in Greece in the late 1990s were given amnesty and papers which meant that they have a right to live and work in Greece.

Yes, there are social problems in Greece, but it is still a wonderful holiday destination, as the islands particularly are relatively free from the problems in Athens.

1 First of all the islands and mainland of Greece are spectacular and well-worth visiting once in a lifetime at least. You may, like me and many other Grecophiles, begin to love the country and its people and end up going back to Greece year after year.

2 Secondly, Greece is the “cradle of democracy” and arguably of civilization in Europe. The Parthenon on top of the Acropolis in Athens is a marvel of ancient engineering, and it offers a spectacular view of the city from the top. The Philippapos hill does too, and is less of a climb.

3 The island of Crete has Festos and the palace of Minos at Knossos for those interested in Archaeology and the Archaeological museum in the capital, Heraklion houses many artifacts from the Minoan civilization. You can fly direct to Crete from April onwards, but the island is also served well with domestic flights.

4 The Cycladic islands are the jewels of the Aegean, with their picturesque white-washed buildings with blue window shutters. The most well-known are Mykonos, Santorini and Ios, but there are other lesser known islands in the group such as Naxos, Amorgos, Paros, Anti-Paros, Milos and Syros (the administrative capital of the Cyclades). All the islands have special characteristics for you to discover.

5 From the beautiful islands in the Dodecanese, Rhodes, Chios, Samos and so on, you can take a short boat trip and explore places such as Kusadasi and Ephesus in Turkey.

You can buy your visa at the point of entry into Turkey if you have a European passport, or a North American one. It is best to check visa requirements for other passport holders before you head to one of these Turkish resorts however. for more info visit the website.

All Inclusive Family Fun at West Edmonton Mall

    West Edmonton Mall - Santa Maria

West Edmonton Mall – Santa Maria

When putting together a family vacation, parents will be looking for a fun hotel to stay in, a great pool area, lots of fun activities for the kids and good places to eat. What’s unique about a family trip to the West Edmonton Mall is that all of the above can be found in one place, and it can take days to experience the whole thing. This article will focus on all of the fun things kids will enjoy at the mall, but adults will also enjoy visiting for the shopping and restaurants.

Better yet, the mall sits surrounded by Canada’s Festival City, which hosts over 70 different festivals per year and has plenty of other fun activities for a family. For more information on other places to visit in this fun city, check out the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation. (800-463-4667)

West Edmonton Mall

West Edmonton Mall(780-440-5200, 1755, 8882 170 Street) is the largest mall in North America and the fifth largest mall in the world. The 800-plus stores and restaurants alone are amazing, before even getting to all of the attractions such as a water park, theme park, two miniature golf course, sea animal exhibit and more. It’s even got its own hotel on site.

Since there is so much to see and do, a good place to start at the mall is at the Guest Services office on Level 1, Phase II, to look into a “Multi-Play Pass” that will allow a family to pay one fee for access to the many different activities available. It’s also a great time to pick up a “Super Savings Coupon Book” full of great deals throughout the mall.

Fantasyland Hotel

The Fantasyland Hotel (780-444-3000, 17700-87 Avenue, fantasylandhotel.com) sits right in the mall, so it has the advantage that guests simply need to walk out of the elevator and past the front desk to be where everything is.

However, Fantasyland is also a great option because of the many different themed rooms that kids will love. They can sleep in a luxury igloo, or the bunk beds that are the “County Jail” in the Western-themed rooms, or enjoy the aura of being in the Polynesian or Roman themed rooms.

World Water Park

The world’s largest indoor wave pool is found in in World Water Park, along with 17 different water slides and 24 different activities spread out over a five-acres that are kept at a balmy 82 degrees regardless of the weather outside. The slide options range from the tame to the “Cyclone,” which drops the rider over 50-feet straight down before taking them on a 360-degree loop and back down again.


The world’s largest indoor amusement park sits in the mall at Galaxyland. There are over 24 rides and attractions, including the Mindbender coaster, which is 145 feet-tall.

Other Attractions

While Galaxyland and World Water Park can easily take up two days worth of activities, there’s still so much more in the mall. For those up for a little friendly competition, there is a bowling alley, two miniature golf courses – including one that is glow-in-the-dark and the “Deep Sea Derby” where everyone gets to captain their own bumper boat equipped with a squirting device that lets them try to soak the other drivers.

The adventurous will enjoy the Ropes Quest course which allows guests to walk across ropes high above the ground. The less adventurous will enjoy the fact that they are harnessed to bars all over the course so they won’t fall. The physical activity can continue at the Ice Palace, a glass-domed rink that is open for visitors to skate on but also hosts many events.

Children will be enchanted by the creatures at the Sea Life Caverns, an underground aquarium that is home to over 100 species of fish, turtles, penguins and more. After coming out of the Caverns, guests can go right next door to Sea Lions’ Rock to watch the amazing animals perform in a show.

There are many different things that come together to make for a great family trip. At West Edmonton Mall, those things are already together in one place.   

Maximizing a Trip to Trendy Johannesburg

    Courtesy of flickr.com/thomas_sly

Courtesy of flickr.com/thomas_sly

The large South African city of Johannesburg is a bustling metropolis and an African economic juggernaut. Known in the local language as Joburg, the city embraces an eclectic mix of African, European, and Asian cultures.

Its rich history, together with its progressive outlook, makes it a hip destination for tourists from around the world. There are numerous attractions Johannesburg is known for, but these hip attractions are the city’s staple and will definitely maximize your trip.

Market on Main

Nestled at 245 Main Street, it is the number one ranked food and design market. A must see location if you are visiting or either you’re from Johannesburg, it offers a wide range of interesting items that you can find in other parts of the world.  Something you can bargain for while letting you have a taste of other cultures. In Market on Main, you can also find sumptuous, inexpensive and healthy ethnic food. The outside area is also quite refreshing with all the awesome bars and cozy coffee shops. Market on Main is definitely a place where you can best spend your Sunday mornings.

Gold Reef City

Another place where you can experience extreme fun is South Africa’s premiere theme park, the Gold Reef City. This place offers different kinds of attractions that cater to all ages. Adults enjoy their trip to the mine tour which gives them the experience of how gold-mining feels like. This is one of the highlights that this theme park offers along with the thrill rides and the famous 4D cinema that are both enjoyed by kids and adults alike. Visitors would surely love to indulge with various selections of restaurants, while others can spend their day watching the featured show at the Theatre. Gold Reef City is indeed full of awesome memorabilia of South Africa.

Apartheid Museum

Apartheid Museum is situated in Northern Parkway. Constructed with a budget of approximately 80 million South Africa Rands and is recognized as the pre-eminent museum when it opened in 2001. The museum exhibits South Africa’s 20th century rise and fall during the Apartheid Era. The architectural design is impressive along with their excellent exhibit that explains all about the Apartheid movement. Extraordinary stories unfold right before your very eyes. Paying a visit to this place is a good way to know and experience South African history.

Lion Park

If you want to have a perfect outdoor activity for the weekend, consider visiting The Lion Park. It is an amazing park that is considered home to some herbivores and carnivores. You will truly enjoy your interaction with the animals as you get the amazing chance to get up close- and-personal with them. The park is divided into two areas. Herbivores like giraffe, zebra and other grass-eating animals were separated from the prides of lions, cheetahs, along with some wild dogs and hyenas which are located at the carnivore’s area. This is a great chance for visitors to pet these wild animals and at the same time feed them. The whole family can surely enjoy this trip.

Origins Centre

Anyone, whose interest is the story of humankind and its origins in Africa, should consider having a day of visit in the Origins Center. To provide visitors with Africa’s rich and complicated heritage is their main goal in building the museum. The range of audience that the museum caters are from school kids as well as the ones whose interest is all about Africa’s celebration of history. You can enjoy the wonderful exhibition because of its well done presentation that is both fun and educational.

Author Bio:

Geraldine Mills is a Luxury safari enthusiast and writes travel tips and guidelines for tourists looking for a South African safari experience. She is also a Community Outreach Coordinator for www.andbeyondafrica.com. Follow her on Twitter @geraldinewalks.


Essential Camping Gears You Can’t Live Without

    Image courtesy of: flickr.com/emerald isle druid/

Image courtesy of: flickr.com/emerald isle druid/

Exploring the outdoors is a favorite activity for everyone yearning to be close to Mother Nature. When planning for the camp out, it is important to make a checklist of the essential tools that we have to bring. These are the very basic and most essential gears that should be on top of our list:

First Aid Kit

Safety should always be your primary concern in camping. Secure yourself and family from potential harm brought by accidental wounds by keeping a first aid kit all the time. A first aid kit is essential for immediate treatment of wounds and injuries. It is necessary that wounds are given immediate attention and treated properly to avoid infection. It is much better to anticipate accidents while camping so you can prepare well for it.  As a camper, there’s a great possibility of occasional scrapes, scratches and cuts while enjoying your camping adventure. Be prepared by filling your first aid  kit with gauze and bandages of different sizes, pain medicine, sterile wipes, antiseptic ointments and creams, anti-diarrhea medicines and even scissors and body thermometer.

Swiss Army Knife/Multi-tool

A Swiss Army Knife/Multi-tool is a must have item for every camper, hiker and mountaineer. This tool serves multiple purpose that are all useful to the activities performed by outdoorsmen. The Swiss Army knife has a sharp blade which is very useful in cutting ropes, tree branches, etc. It also contain various tools such as can openers, screwdrivers, mini scissors, bottle opener, etc. These tools are stowed through a pivot mechanism and are kept inside the knife’s  handle. The compact design of this Swiss Army Knife/Multi-tool makes it easy for campers to bring it anytime and anywhere without hassle. The Swiss Army Knife originated from Switzerland where top-notch Swiss knives can be found. It is always smarter to buy trusted brands of Swiss knife even though they’re a bit pricier than the other ones available in the market because quality is always assured.

Water Containers

Water is the most important item for survival. No person could live without water and so, outdoorsmen should never forget to bring it. In addition, the strenous activities in camping would definitely require your body to take plenty of water.  Even though there will be available water in streams, lakes and rivers near the camping site, you cannot always trust them because of the possibility that bacteria are living there or the water is already contaminated. Bring large but easy-to-carry water containers where you can keep large volumes of water that will surely keep your body hydrated.

Waterproof Knapsack

An ordinary type of bag wouldn’t do much in camping outdoors.You need to have a waterproof knapsack to easily carry your things and protect them from being soaked into the water especially when the rains starts to fall. Keep your clothes, gadgets, foods, etc. on a safe and secured waterproof knapsack. Buy one from a trusted brand known for providing high quality waterproof knapsack that does not compromise quality and usefulness for price.


In camping, you will need fire just as much as you will need water. You’ll need fire in cooking your food, for clear vision and warmth during the night. However, starting a fire outdoors could be troublesome without using a flint. Unlike matches which easily become useless once soaked with water and lighters which are not safe to use, flint is much safer and easier to use in creating fire.  You can easily start a fire with a flint by scraping it to a rough surface. A flint is composed of ferrocerium metal which is very safe and reliable in creating spark for fire.


Geraldine Mills is an African safari enthusiast and writes travel tips and guidelines for tourists interested in traveling to the southern African Region. She is also a Community Outreach Coordinator for www.andbeyondafrica.com. Follow her on twitter @geraldinewalks.

Edmonton: Canada’s Festival City

    Festivals Folk Music Festival

Festivals Folk Music Festival

How many festivals do you need to host before you can claim to be your country’s “festival city?” Ten? 20? More? Whatever the official number is, Edmonton has hit it and then some as “Canada’s Festival City.” The official list numbers in the 30s, the actual list pushes 70. During most of the year, you can pick any month and find at least three festivals. During the summer months, you can pick pretty much any day and find something going on.

Being a festival city is about more than just numbers. There has to be a feel about your town that it’s a place where everybody’s welcome. There has to be a certain sense of fun that permeates the place. Edmonton has all of that as well. One thing that impressed us when we were able to attend some festivals during our visit was that there was a place for everybody at the festivals. Young and old, singles and families, everybody seems to find a way to hang out together. To hear more about how much we enjoyed it, listen to the Edmonton Episode of the Travel Brigade Radio Show.

A full list of the official festivals is available by clicking here. Since there are so many, here are a few of the highlights.

Deep Freeze: A Byzantine Winter Festival – January:

Think of something that’s fun to do in the snow, and you can find it on Alberta Ave. Ice and snow carving, skating, curling, street hockey and even “Deep Freezer Races” – a large freezer set on skis that people sit in and race down a hill on.

Global Visions Film Festival – early March:

Canada’s longest running documentary film festival celebrated its 30th birthday in 2012. The four-day festival operates with an overall theme that we are all interdependent citizens of a global village.

International Children’s Festival – late May, early June:

Originally launched in the downtown area over 30 years ago, this gathering focusing on children’s theatre is now held in the small, historic community of St. Albert. Performers from across the globe come to perform on five indoor and outdoor stages over five days.

Servus Heritage Festival – early August:

This festival takes over an entire city park as every national, ethnic or cultural group that has found a home in Edmonton puts up a pavilion highlighting its history, arts, clothing and, best of fall, food! There are an astonishing 62 pavilions representing 85 different cultures, including those from Africa, Asia and South America.

Edmonton Folk Music Festival – mid August:

This would qualify as one of the top music festivals based on its lineup alone as top performers take to multiple stages over the course of four days of concerts. What really puts it over the top as a music experience is that the main stage sits at the bottom of a grass hill. Audience members bring blankets and sit on the hill in the pleasant summer evening air and get a view not only of the stage, but across the river and onto the downtown skyline of the city.

Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival – late August:

This celebration of “Fringe” has been going strong for 30 years, brings half a million people to Edmonton, and has helped turn the Old Strathcona neighborhood into a fun and thriving arts district. The 10-day street festival highlighted by theatre people experimenting with entertainment has become the model for fringe festivals around the globe.

Edmonton International Film Festival – late September, early October:

Now in it’s 26th year, the EIFF has been a place where directors such as John Waters, Werner Herzog and Norman Jewison have premiered new work. Entries from all over the world are on the roster.

Edmonton Comedy Festival – mid October:

Two dozen top stand-up comedians from across North America come to Alberta to do shows on a six different stages. The 2012 lineup includes Jay Mohr. Whatever the season, whatever your interest, you’ll find that Edmonton has a festival that’s right up your alley.

Is Mexico Still Safe For Travel?

Mexico Written in Sand on Beach

Mexico Written in Sand on Beach

by Lewis Fonner,

Over the past few years, Mexico has gotten a bad wrap as a tourist destination. Splashy and sensationalistic headlines about drug cartels, police corruption have made every day in Mexico seem like the Day of the Dead. The subtext of these headlines seem to imply that if you’re a sensible and reasonable citizen looking to take a holiday, then you will avoid this chaotic war-zone at all cost. All of this, of course, is greatly exaggerated. While drug violence and crime have plagued Mexico for some time, there are still plenty of places in the country that are safe to travel to. Mexico is the size of Western Europe, and places like Cancun and Cozumel remain as safe as they ever were. Lets take a closer look at some pros and cons of traveling to Mexico.

Mexico might be known for its drug cartels, but there are other pitfalls and dangers as well. Identity theft is on the rise all over the world. When you connect your laptop or tablet to a non-secure, public Wi-Fi system, whether at an airport lounge, Internet café or hotel, your personal information and bank account numbers can be compromised. Lifelock, a leading identity theft service, can protect your information from would-be hackers and thieves. In the end, you probably have more of a chance of running into an identify thief in Mexico than a high-ranking member of a drug cartel.

The Pros

All of the bad press about Mexican drug violence has had a serious and long lasting affect on the country’s tourist industry. In other words, people are afraid to go to Mexico. On the flip-side, however, this fear has driven prices for flights, hotels and resorts to an all-time low. There are more budget friendly deals to Mexico now than ever before. While the price tag for traveling to Europe and other parts of the world has skyrocketed, a vacation to some of the nicest and most luxurious resorts in Mexico has bottomed out. Businesses are doing everything they can to lure wary vacationers back to Mexico, and the deals are a dime a dozen.

The U.S. State Department’s Mexican travel advisory is misguided and exaggerated. The U.S. has always has a tenuous relationship Mexico, and the ongoing drug war and immigration debate has stirred up centuries worth of bad blood. Yes, the border towns of Mexico are especially violent. Yes, the cartels employ especially gruesome tactics. However, Mexico is a large country and these violent hotspots do not make up the majority. From Caribbean islands like Jamaica and St. Lucia to the states that make-up the U.S., there is crime and violence everywhere.

The Cons

When you go to Mexico, it is best to stay in one place. In other words, it is not the type of country where you want a bout of wanderlust to hit you. While the Mexican coasts and beaches are safe, once you start driving around, exploring or going on guided tours, you are more apt to run into trouble. Being cooped up at a resort in Cancun is not everyone’s idea of a holiday. Having your freedom restricted is certainly a con when traveling to Mexico.

Mexico is a beautiful place to visit. Sadly, the gruesome headlines that have come out of the country have tainted its reputation as a traveler’s paradise. However, if you decide to book that cheap ticket to Mexico, the type of precautions you should take are the same as if you were traveling to any other foreign destination.

Lewis specializes in travel writing and hopes to spend his future retirement abroad.

Cruising Out of Southern California Ports

Disney Cruise Ships

Disney Cruise Ships

Cruising makes for a great vacation, and what makes it even better is finding a great port city to sail in and out of that offers fun things to do before and after the cruise. Southern California offers three ports to choose from for cruises to Hawaii, the Panama Canal and Mexico. Cruise lines are also coming up with new ideas to draw vacationers to the West Coast such as Coastal California tours that focus on the ports of California with some even including wine tasting tours. For example, in the fall of 2012, Disney Cruise Line (800-951-3532) will be doing new California Coastal cruises featuring Pixar characters. To hear more about these ports, listen to our radio show by [clicking here]. Cruising out of Southern California ports gives you many options. Here are highlights for each of the three ports.

Long Beach:

The Port of Long Beach is a port for Carnival Cruise Lines and the area has made an amazing transformation over the past 10 years. (800-452-7829) Shopping and entertainment areas such as The Pike at Long Beach and Shoreline Village offer lots of great dining, shopping and activities, and are easy to get to from the cruise terminal.

Port of Los Angeles:

This port located in San Pedro (310-SEA-PORT) is incredibly busy in terms of container shipping, but also is an important embarkation point for cruises. The Port of L.A. is undergoing numerous long-term changes to its waterfront, with two new attractions, the U.S.S. Iowa ( 877-4-IOWA-61) and a craft market called “Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles” (310-732-1270) giving cruisers two new things to check out before embarking or after getting back from a trip.

San Diego:

The beautiful city of San Diego is full of great things to do, and its hard to think of a city where the port () is so near to so much to do. It’s easy to spend a day going to the Gaslamp Quarter for shopping, dining or a Padres game, or visit the many other attractions near the port, and still make it on your boat before San Diego port embarking, or make your flight home after a trip.

Southern California offers three different port cities that all have their own distinct character, and each one has attractions that make it a great place to start or end a cruise.

Renting a House in Newport Beach, California, Makes a Perfect Family Vacation

Newport General

Newport General

One thing that makes Newport Beach, California unique as a beach destination is that families, including extended families, or groups of friends, can rent a house together right on the beach.

While some beach cities have hotels or stores along the beachfront, or just parking lots, Newport has homes running all along the beachfront, and also on the bay front on the other side of the peninsula. Many of them are available for rent, and many families make a tradition of renting a beach house together for a week or more every summer. Craig Batley, owner of Burr-White Realty, (2901 Newport Blvd., 855-675-4630) notes Newport has a long history of having vacation homes and says, “We’ve been renting vacation homes to families for decades.” To hear our interview with Craig, and get more info about Newport Beach, click here.

Here are some things to keep in mind when renting.

Rental areas of Balboa Peninsula: Different sections of the city are noted for drawing different types of rental crowds. The area above the Newport Pier, also known as “West Newport” is known for being more lively and is close to a number of bars and clubs. Singles or younger people who want to be where the “action” is, will like this area. The area between the Newport and Balboa piers, below the Balboa Pier, and on the Bay Side, are quieter areas, and generally a better rental option for families with children.

Newport Beach Side vs. Balboa Bay Side: Being in a beachfront home with a porch that sits right up against the boardwalk can be fun for people watching as joggers, bikers, walkers and everyone else parades by. They’re a great place for hanging out and you just have to take a few steps to be on the sand. However, these are also the most expensive rentals. As you move off the beach, prices drop, and the best deals can sometimes be found over on the bay side of the peninsula. It’s more laid-back and quieter, and since the Balboa Peninsula is only a few blocks wide, you’re never more than a five-minute walk from the beach.

Great rental deals: Weekly rentals on the Balboa Peninsula generally start at just below $2,000 and go up from there. When you hear a price, remember a couple of things if you’re comparing numbers against the cost of staying in a hotel. First, divide the price by six or seven, since that’s the number of nights you’ll have it. Second, keep in mind that if you’ve got a large or extended family, you’d have to rent at least two or three or more hotel rooms. Third, remember that you’ll have a full kitchen and can therefore save money by eating out less. Whatever you’re looking for, Batley points out, “There’s a price point for everybody. All families can really afford here.”

Families traveling together: The whole feel of a family vacation in a beach house is very different from being in a hotel. For large or extended families, you would need to rent multiple hotel rooms, so there’s really not a big gathering place where people can hang out together. There’s also not a large kitchen where you can do family meals together. “It’s a family experience you can’t replicate in a hotel,” Batley says.

Newport Beach offers a wide variety of rental options near the beach, it’s just a matter of finding the best fit for you and your family.

You can also listen to Kathleen Curry and Geoff Griffin on the weekly  Travel Brigade Radio Show at TravelBrigade.com. 



Hockey, Biking, Jetting the Rapids and Star Wars: A Guy’s Guide to Montreal

2010 12 Janvier- Shooting Musée (Brochure Marketing #1)

2010 12 Janvier- Shooting Musée (Brochure Marketing #1)

Montreal is a place where everybody can find something they like. Family activities, fun for kids, girlfriend getaways, free concerts for music fans – this city has it all, including things guys will like. Here’s a list of activities for guys to try while in Montreal.

Canadiens Hall of Fame and Bell Centre Tour – The first thing most men think of when they hear Montreal is the history-making hockey team. Since 1909, the Canadiens have been the premiere team in the NHL, winning 24 Stanley Cup titles along the way. That’s a lot of history, and it’s all packed into the Canadiens Hall of Fame (514-925-7777), which combines lots of old equipment, uniforms and other interesting things with 21st Century technology in the form of huge touch screens where fans can look up Montreal legends.

The Hall is connected to the Bell Centre where the Canadiens play their home games, and tours take you to the locker-room, press box and even right down to ice level. The Hall and Bell Centre are open year-round, so even if you go to Montreal in the off-season, there’s still time for hockey. To hear more about about the Canadiens Hockey Hall of Fame, click [here] to listen to our interview with the Hall of Fame and the Bell Centre.

Jet Boating the Lachine Rapids – Pack a towel and a change of clothes when you go on this tour with Saute Moutons (514-284-9607) because the boat drivers don’t hesitate to go right into the waves to create maximum drenching. They provide all sorts of clothing and equipment to protect you, but no matter how much you put on, you will get wet.

Bike Tours – Riding a bike is a great way to get out and explore a city, and having a tour guide along to explain where you are and where you’re going makes it even better. Montreal is an especially bike-friendly city, with lots of two-way bike lanes on the major streets. My Bicyclette (877-815-0150) provides tours and does rentals. Their tour takes you on a three-hour adventure through Montreal’s different neighborhoods, with stops along the way to tell about the history and get tastes of great food from local shops. Montreal also has a BIXI bike system. Bikes are stationed around the city, and you can walk up and use a credit card to rent one, take it to another BIXI station and drop it off. The cost is minimal as long as you only use the bikes for short trips.

Star Wars Identities – Every guy has some geek in him, and you can geek out at the “Star Wars Identities” exhibit, housed at the Montreal Science Center (877-496-4724) through Sept. 16, 2012. Visitors are asked a series of questions throughout the exhibit and at the end are given the identity of an intergalactic character. Most importantly, you get to find out if you ended up on the “dark side.” Montreal and Edmonton are the only two cities where this exhibit will run.

From hockey, to adventure in the water, to outdoor activities, Montreal has something for every guy.

You can also listen to Kathleen Curry and Geoff Griffin on the weekly Travel Brigade Radio Show at TravelBrigade.com. 



Top 10 Activities in Quebec City

    Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac / Provided by Quebec City Tourism

Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac / Provided by Quebec City Tourism

With over 400 years of history, Quebec City and its surrounding areas are loaded with things to see and do. We’ve tried to perform the impossible task of narrowing it down to a mere 10. To hear more about these and other activities, listen to our Travel Show on Quebec. Below, in no particular order, (because they’re all so fun) are our favorite top  10 activities.

The Old City

The combination of buildings and streets dating back centuries, a walled city and people speaking French (don’t worry, the locals are mostly bilingual and very nice about speaking English) gives you the feeling of being in Europe. Stop by the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac (866-540-4460, 1, rue des Carrieres), an incredible hotel sitting high on a cliff above the St. Lawrence River that has become the symbol of the city. The boardwalk in front of the Chateau offers amazing views of the river below.

The Lower City

This crescent right below the cliff that holds the Old City, has plenty of history and beauty in its own right. A great way to learn the history of the area, and the city as a whole, is to explore it on a bike tour with Cyclo Services Bicycle Tours (877-692-4050, 289, rue Saint-Paul).

The St. Roch District

This area, pronounced “ Saint Rock,” has been revitalized over the past decade to become the city’s hip new neighborhood filled with restaurants, clubs and boutique shopping. Stop by Les Bossus Restaurant (418-522-5501, 620, St.-Joseph Est) for great food and atmosphere, or stay at Hotel Royal William (888-541-0405, 360, boulevard Charest Est) for a location convenient to a variety of areas of the city.

The Citadel

his fort in the Old City has played an important role in the history of the city, and the Citadel (418-694-2815, 1, Cote de la Citadelle) is still an active military facility for the Royal 22e Regiment of the Canadian Forces. A 60-minute tour is both interesting and very valuable for learning the history of the area.

The Plains of Abraham

After taking the Citadel tour and learning about the 1759 Battle of Quebec, walk right over to where it took place on the Plains of Abraham, which is now a huge, beautiful park with its own exhibits, concerts and things to do.

Aquarium du Quebec

Kids will love seeing polar bears, seals, walruses and a variety of other animals is the Aquarium du Quebec (418-659-5264, 1675, avenue des Hotels). Parents may want to call ahead and find out about a program that allows children to assist the animal keepers, and even learn to teach the animals tricks for the shows.

Whale Watching

If the seals and walruses interest you, go see the biggest animals in the ocean by doing a whale watching trip. Cruises AML (866-856-6668) runs whale watching trips out of Tadoussac, Baie-Sainte-Catherine and other ports that are a bit of a drive out of the city, but well worth the trip for the chance to see a variety of whales, including belugas.

Grosse Ile

A fascinating piece of Canadian history can be found at the island of Grosse Ile (888-773-8888) not far from Quebec City. Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, the island was used as a quarantine station for immigrant ships, and today it is a beautiful national park where many of the buildings have been preserved to use in a historical tour. Take a fun boat trip on Croisieres Lachance (1-888-GROSSE ILE, 110, de la Marina, Berthier-sur-Mer) to get there.

A Sauce Like No Other

Visiting L’Entrecote Saint-Jean (418-694-0234, 1080, rue Saint-Jean) is an opportunity to try “Entrecote Sauce,” a delicious combination of curry, mustard and other secret ingredients poured over steak and fries. The restaurant claims to be the only place to find this sauce in North America.

Summer Arts

The arts are in full bloom in the summer. Cirque du Soleil puts on an outdoor show only performed in Quebec City, “The Image Mill” turns the giant grain silos in port into a huge outdoor screen, or try the festival celebrating French heritage or music festival.

For more information on these, check out the tourism offices for both Quebec City (877-783-1608) and the Quebec Province (1-877-BONJOUR).

Quebec City is full of great things to see and do, picking just 10 is hard to do.