When planning a vacation, you have two primary choices: exploring places you are familiar with or exploring somewhere new. While there’s comfort in the former, the latter choice holds the promise of new discoveries, unique experiences and the most enduring memories. For those who want to explore off the beaten track, there’s perhaps no more dynamic and magical destination in the world than India. Its immense size, centuries of history and broad spectrum of cultures make it an unparalleled choice for travelers seeking a one-of-a-kind journey. With the help of an India tour, you can focus on enjoying all it has to offer.
India’s designation as a subcontinent offers a good indication of just how enormous it is; however, there are fascinating sights from the far north to the furthest points south. Getting between them all can be a challenge in terms of logistics, language barriers and other factors, so an India tour can help ensure that you get to see the top sights. The hassles of independent planning aside, an India tour can also help you keep costs in check. Compared to do-it-yourself journeys, tours like those offered by Tauck can save you of as much as 40 percent, while ensuring that you’ll travel comfortably.
So, what are the “must see” sights of India that you should look for on an India tour? It can be a challenge to narrow it down, but experts agree that these are the essential five:
1. Delhi, Old and New: Delhi is more than just the capital of modern India – it’s a living historical site, with layers upon layers of kingdoms and empires past. New Delhi and Old Delhi exist side-by-side and intertwine, but have distinct differences. While you are in New Delhi on your India tour, you’ll see the grand buildings and broad avenues that came with the British Raj, but also the Qutb Minar, built more than 800 years ago. Old Delhi is crowded with colorful bazaars, temples and havelis (mansions), but you’ll also find colonial monuments. Above all else, in Delhi you’ll see the dynamic interplay of modern and ancient India on display.
2. Varanasi: The sacred River Ganges is the focal point of Varanasi, one of the holiest sites for millions of Hindus. Pilgrims congregate on the ghats (flights of steps leading down to the river) to perform all kinds of ceremonies and bathe in the holy water of the river – a tradition that stretches back to the 6th century. At night, a boat journey on the river is an incomparable experience; pilgrims send candles and flowers out from the banks, as they “put the river to sleep,” creating an utterly spectacular scene.
3. Agra: If you’re tempted to think that you can bypass a visit to Agra during your India tour, the urging of experts – and anyone who has visited – should change your mind. Agra is home to the Taj Mahal, one of the most revered buildings in history and also one of the most beautiful. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a tribute to his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, the story behind its creation makes the sight even more moving. If possible, viewing it at sunrise is an experience to savor.
4. Udaipur: Reputedly the most romantic city in India, Udaipur makes the most of its atmospheric lakeside location. Here, glittering white palaces stand majestically on islands in the middle of Lake Pichola, and temples and other cultural wonders make for excellent sightseeing.
5. Kerala: Near the southern tip of the subcontinent lies the state of Kerala, a “must-visit” on any India tour. Swaying palm trees, tea and spice plantations, and meandering lagoons called “the backwaters” provide a unique tropical atmosphere. The local culture is completely distinct from other parts of India; don’t miss the opportunity to see a Kathakali dance performance to get a taste of it. The other essential Kerala experience during an India tour is to travel by houseboat (also called a kettuvalam) through the backwaters.
India is truly the destination of a lifetime, and one that will allow you to explore to your heart’s content. For more India tour information, visit Tauck Online.
The Italian region of Tuscany has taken on legendary status for travelers – it’s an absolute must on everyone’s list, whether they love wine, food, history, art or the simple beauty of nature. But with so many attractions, it’s easy to end up feeling like you’re rushing – and still not getting a complete experience. However, savvy travelers know that there are strategies to ensure that you’re maximizing your time while minimizing your stress. One of the best of those strategies is to go on an expertly planned Tuscany tour.
A pre-arranged itinerary makes it much simpler to just sit back and enjoy the ride – but don’t be fooled into thinking that taking a tour means having an “ordinary” experience. Tours offered by companies like Tauck will show you the greatest sights, but also give you access to exclusive opportunities to explore your destination on a deeper level. Some of those experiences simply aren’t available to those doing independent travel – which can also cost as much as 40 percent more than a Tauck tour.
It can be a challenge to pick out the highlights of a Tuscany tour, but these are some of the choicest sights and experiences that generations of travelers have fallen in love with:
* Wine tasting. Some of the world’s most sought-after wines are grown in the heart of Tuscany. Oenophiles will delight in the opportunity to sip, sample and build knowledge of the terroir that produces these renowned vintages.
* Seeing Siena. Step back in time in this charming city, where the central piazza remains a glorious example of medieval Italian architecture. In its heyday, Siena was a wealthy and powerful city-state, and that legacy lingers in its rich heritage of painting, sculpture and architecture.
* Marveling at Florence’s art. When it comes to viewing legendary works of art during your Tuscany tour, Florence has one of the greatest collections the world has ever known. From Michelangelo’s “David” at the Gallerie dell’Accademia to works by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Botticelli housed within the Uffizi Gallery, it’s easy to find yourself spending hours strolling the galleries. However, to make sense of the context of the work and the world in which it was created, there’s nothing that can compete with a presentation by a local art historian, a benefit that Tauck tours builds into their itineraries.
* Indulge in dining. A note to foodies – once you’ve tasted Italian food during your Tuscany tour, it’ll be hard to ever find its equal back home. As you travel through the region, you’ll have access to some of the finest, freshest and most delicious food in the world. You’ll also be able to learn the flavors and dishes that set Tuscan cuisine apart from the favored foods of the rest of Italy. Be prepared for the dining experience of a lifetime.
Wherever you go while on a tour of Tuscany, you’ll be surrounded by thousands of years of history, fascinating culture and a lifestyle that embraces all that is enjoyable about life. If you decide on a Tuscany tour as opposed to going it alone, you’ll be free to enjoy each experience fully and create memories that are uniquely your own.
If watching all the London-centered festivities of 2012, from the Queen’s Jubilee to the opening ceremonies, whetted your appetite for a trip to England’s capital, rest assured that there’s never been a better time to embark on a London tour. London is a city for the ages, and you’ll find layer upon layer of fascinating history, often right alongside the amenities of a vibrant, modern metropolis.
There are a couple things to keep in mind. First, London is big. Second, there’s an almost infinite variety of things to see and do. Those two factors together mean that it can be challenging to navigate the city deftly enough to see all the very best it has to offer. However, if you’d rather relax than be on the run during your trip, it’s a good idea to seek the advice of experienced London tour professionals. With an 87-year-long history of its own, tour operator Tauck offers carefully crafted itineraries that make traveling a simple pleasure. All you need to do is sit back and enjoy the regal magic of London – and enjoy the added benefit of saving as much as 40 percent over independent travel.
Even if you’re ready to pack your bags, find a bit of extra inspiration by getting to know the top five experiences you can enjoy on a London tour.
1. Historic London: London may be one of the most cutting-edge cities in the world, but it stands shoulder to shoulder with the European continent’s great old-world cities in terms of historical sites. As you tour London, visit Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament to see some of the most iconic and memorable places in London’s history. Of course, simply strolling through the city will also lead you to unexpected historic sites and monuments – many houses are signposted with information about notable people – real or fictitious – who once occupied them.
2. A bit of the royal life: The relationship between America and the British monarchy is a complicated one, but the current fascination with the royals means a visit to a castle shouldn’t be missed when on a London tour. Windsor Castle, just outside the city, has been home to the royal family for more than 900 years and features points of interest, like St. George’s Chapel and the Baroque State Apartments, that will make all those centuries come vividly to life.
3. A bird’s-eye view: Though it’s only been open to the public since 2000, the giant Ferris wheel called the London Eye has become a modern day icon. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to soar 450 feet in the air in a private capsule to experience what is arguably the best possible view of the city.
4. Culinary London: The city is home to some of the world’s premier chefs and respected restaurants. For the meal of a lifetime, try a restaurant like Maze Grill, helmed by renowned chef Gordon Ramsay. And no trip to London is complete without a traditional tea – Tauck’s London tours include an afternoon tea at the grand Fortnum & Mason department store.
5. The world’s best – and easiest – side trip: Part of the appeal of London is its status as a transportation hub. With easy access to flights, buses and trains, it’s a snap to take a side trip outside the city – or even to mainland Europe. Hop aboard the Eurostartrain and take a high-speed trip through the Chunnel to reach Paris, where you can indulge in fashion, food and sightseeing that will make your trip even more memorable.
For more information or to get a free ebrochure about London tours, visit Tauck online.
They say that travel is about the journey, not the destination. While there’s plenty of room to argue that destinations really do matter, there’s no disputing that going on a journey is one of the most enriching experiences you can have. When it comes to travel in America, perhaps the greatest journeys to be taken are steamboat cruises on the Mississippi. Riding the current of this remarkable artery through America’s heartland will show you an unfolding story that covers centuries of history, much of which has played a central role in making the country what it is today.
For a journey down the Mississippi, how you travel is an important factor. Traveling by steamboat on the river itself provides not only spectacular views, but an element of history. Instead of driving roads adjacent to the river, you’ll be plying the same waterways that river traffic has followed for hundreds of years.
To add to the atmosphere, there’s nothing that can quite compare with a steamboat cruise. These floating pieces of architecture can instantly transport you back in time, as you travel the same way people did during the heyday of Mississippi river cruises. One of the most distinctive vessels travelers can choose is the American Queen, the largest flat-bottomed paddlewheel steamboat ever built. It’s the boat of choice for Tauck’s Life on the Mississipi experience, which was planned and created in partnership with filmmakers Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan.
Mississippi steamboat cruises can take in a lot of territory, but one of the best sections to explore takes you down river from Memphis, Tennessee, to New Orleans, Louisiana. These are just some of the sights and experiences to enjoy as your riverboat churns down the “Mighty Miss”:
* Memphis, Tennessee: This city’s complex history makes it a great place to get context for a southward cruise on the Mississippi. Learn about the role it played during the Civil Rights era, with a visit to the National Civil Rights Museum. Memphis is also a blues mecca, and you can explore how it shaped the early beginnings of rock ‘n’ roll at Sun Studios, where Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and B.B. King made famous recordings.
* Vicksburg, Mississippi: This famous trading port was of incredible importance during the Civil War; in fact, President Lincoln said that it was a “key” without which the Union couldn’t win the war. Vicksburg National Military Park takes you back in time to the July 4, 1863 battle that gave the Union control of the Mississippi River. The U.S.S. Cairo, a Union ironclad gunboat sunk in 1862 and later raised from the Yazoo River, makes for a fascinating visit as well.
* Natchez, Mississippi: Natchez is home to some 500 pre-war buildings, which makes it easy to immerse yourself in a bygone era. Tauck’s steamboat cruises includes a lecture and visit to Forks of the Road, site of one of the South’s most notorious slave markets, providing added insight into a complex era of American history.
* New Orleans, Louisiana: There’s no place in America quite like New Orleans. A visit to the city brings together history, art, music and culinary delights to showcase the unique culture that make it so unique. Stroll down Bourbon Street, take walking tours of the Waterfront and Warehouse Districts, and enjoy jazz and creole cooking at famed establishments like Arnaud’s.
By booking a Mississippi steamboat cruise, you’ll get unique access to experiences like these, as well as saving as much as 40 percent over the cost of booking it all on your own. If you’re eager to see some of America’s most unique sights and historical places, a journey down the Mississippi river is one of the very best ways to do so. For more information and an ebrochure, visit Tauck online.
(BPT) - Summer is the time for road trips, whether they cover thousands of miles across the country, or are “staycation” day trips. As we head into the summer months, gasoline prices continue to fluctuate and are expected to average $3.56 per gallon for regular-grade gasoline, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Whether you’re driving for hours or sitting in traffic, you will want to make sure your vehicle is ready for the road.
The most important component that makes your vehicle run is the engine. Your vehicle will last longer if you take care of the engine by following regularly scheduled maintenance as recommended by the manufacturer. This includes oil changes, replacing the air filter and keeping a detailed history log of the work that has been done.
Just as important to the engine itself are the components around it that help it run. Check the hoses that are connected to the radiator. They help pump coolant to and from the engine. Look for cracks, leaks and loose connections, paying special attention to where hoses are clamped. Make sure the engine is cool when you touch the hoses. They should be firm and not soft.
Belts that help cool the system should also be checked for cracks and damage. A visual inspection is good enough, but for the more mechanically inclined, you could also remove the belt to make sure the material inside isn’t separating into layers. Cracked hoses or a belt snapping will result in your engine overheating, leaving you stuck on the side of the road.
Another way to help cool your engine and protect it is to use a radiator coolant additive like Purple Ice from premium synthetic lubricant manufacturer Royal Purple. A high performance radiator conditioner, Purple Ice can help reduce engine temperatures, protect against corrosion and provide improved vehicle performance. For use in both gasoline and diesel engines, Purple Ice can be mixed with antifreeze or straight water, and is compatible with factory fill and major brand antifreeze.
Taking the time to maintain your engine and its components will get your further down the road and on your way to a great summer vacation.
(BPT) - The word “vacation” means different things to different people. For some, it’s lounging poolside and sleeping until noon. Others, however, savor the opportunity to get outside, try some new activities and indulge in their favorite pastimes for days on end. If you’re one of the latter group, there are few better places to travel than right here in the United States.
Across the 50 states, there are countless opportunities to revel in natural beauty and explore new places, all while pursuing your favorite activities. But whether you envision yourself teeing up on a spectacular golf course or hiking through a rocky canyon, there are a few destinations among the pack that stand out as being the best.
As travel high season looms on the horizon, set your sights on these exceptional active travel destinations. All have opportunities for beginners to try their hand at a new activity, but they’ll also satisfy those who have long-established passions for their favorite pursuit.
Settled into the rolling landscape not far from Lake Michigan, The American Club resort in Kohler, Wisc., provides golfers with the vacation of their wildest dreams. The resort is home to Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run, championship golf courses that have been featured in Golf Digest’s 100 Greatest Rankings, one of the most respected rankings in the sport. The Straits course at Whistling Straits leads the way, coming in No. 2 among the 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses. Both Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run feature two 18-hole courses. For golfers, the opportunity to play courses that are host to major championships like the U. S. Women's Open, The PGA Championship and the 2020 Ryder Cup, is an opportunity that can’t be passed by. The resort also features luxurious accommodations and amenities like spa treatments, fine dining and other seasonal activities, from horseback riding to archery.
Fly fishing: New York
Reputed to be the birthplace of American dry-fly fishing, New York’s Catskills are still prime territory for anglers who love a bit of tradition – and a lot of brook, brown and rainbow trout. Quaint and charming Roscoe, N.Y., bills itself as “Trout Town USA” and the nearby Beaverkill River and Willewemoc Creek number in the ranks of the best streams in the country.
The upper Midwest – predominantly Minnesota and Wisconsin – is famed for its canoeing opportunities, but in Minnesota’s far north, the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) is a true paddler’s paradise. With more than a million acres, 1,200 miles of canoe routes and 2,000 campsites, you can go as far as your paddle – and ambition – will take you. The fact that this is some of the most pristine wilderness in the United States is another draw for those who truly love to be immersed in the great outdoors.
White water rafting: Idaho
With raging rivers and dramatic scenery, Idaho is the place to go when you want a wild ride. The state is home to Hells Canyon, the deepest canyon in the entire United States, and the best way to see it is a rafting excursion down the Snake River. You’ll go through thrilling rapids and still have enough smooth spots to get a good look at your surroundings. Idaho’s other star rafting attraction is the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, which boasts 100 frequent rapids over 100 miles.
Utah’s abundance of national parks and monuments speaks volumes about the beauty of its landscapes. The spectacular red rock formations, canyons and arches that are the calling cards of Utah’s parks draw adventurous visitors year after year. Favorites include the Narrows at Zion National Park, Devil’s Garden at Arches National Park and the Needles district within Canyonlands National Park.
Whether it’s the best round of golf you’ve ever played or the most beautiful hike you’ve ever done, a great active vacation will pay you back in memories that will stay with you for a lifetime. For more information on active travel, from golf to fishing and beyond, visit www.AmericanClub.com.
Planning an international trip can be exciting and overwhelming, all at the same time. Deciding which cities or countries to visit, where to stay, what to see and how to get from place to place adds up to a lot of research and planning.
For many people, all-in-one international vacation packages are the ideal way to avoid the hassles of endless research while still getting a true-to-life impression of a destination. Today’s travel packages are far more customizable – and simple to book – than ever before, so those inclined to independent travel will have the freedom they crave, with the support and organization that makes exploring a new place easy and more fun.
However, not all travel companies are created equal – make sure you know what you’re in for before you go. One company, Monograms, not only takes care of the logistics of travel (booking flights, hotels, transportation between cities or countries and other necessities), it is the only travel company that offers the added bonus of an on-site local host in international destinations. With an extensive knowledge of local customs and the best-kept secrets, these travel hosts not only arrange guided sightseeing, they provide the advice and knowledgeable support that gets you into the heart and culture of your destination.
Having someone with you who can speak the local language is a huge help, particularly if you want to experience someplace more exotic, like Asia. Monograms’ vacation packages allow you to select from multiple destinations on the continent you want to visit, so whether you long to experience Europe, South America, Asia or Africa, you’re able to choose from multiple destinations to book four to 16-day customizable travel packages.
Keep these tips in mind to help you plan the best international vacation possible:
1. How should I focus my time?
If you view your trip as a “starter” vacation, meaning you want a taste and feel of the place so you can come back and experience more later, plan to visit just two major destinations in one or two countries. Destinations that pair nicely together, for instance, are Rome and Venice; London and Paris; Brazil and Argentina and Beijing and Shanghai.
2. What should I budget?:
A simple guideline is to allot yourself $200-$300 per day for the land portion of your trip (this doesn’t include airfare).
3. Traveling with a family?
Making a home base in one or two cities, while spending at least three days in each destination, is a great plan for families traveling with children.
4. Once I’m there, how can I get an authentic experience?
Have an open mind, an adventurous palate and watch the locals. If you’re out on your own, follow the lead of the locals. See what they’re doing, what they’re eating and don’t worry about doing something wrong.
For more information, visit Monograms.com or call toll-free 800-250-7614.
(BPT) - Americans are falling in love with Mother Nature all over again, which could be why ownership of boats and recreational vehicles is more popular than ever. If you own a boat or RV, do you use it frequently, or is it sitting in your driveway? It’s time to get the most out of it, and with a few simple ideas, you’ll be able to hit the road and create some wonderful family memories.
From pop-up to fifth wheel, U.S. ownership of RVs has reached record levels, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, with about 8.9 million households owning an RV. Boating is also as popular as ever, with purchases of power boats increasing throughout 2012 and into 2013, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association. Smaller boats like pontoons, fishing boats and jet skis make up 96 percent of the 12.4 million registered boats in the U.S.
If you are a proud owner of a watercraft or RV, inspiration can be as close as your hometown or as far as across the country, with the help of a bit of research.
Tired of the same old parks and lakes? A new resource, www.LiveLifeLocal.com, makes getting the most out of your boat or RV simple. It’s designed to spark inspiration by housing a visual collection of thousands of ideas and places to go with your boat or RV. You’ll find everyday user reviews, insider information from boat and RV experts, and tools to socially connect with other users who are passionate about the same things. The site even digs deeper into additional lifestyles, providing motorcycle owners and car road trippers the same great resources.
LiveLifeLocal makes it easy to search based on geography, vehicle type and interest tags. For example, if you want to search for boating activities in the Dallas area, but only want items related to fishing, it’s easy to choose only those categories. It’s the perfect way to find new areas to explore in your own backyard or find fun places to visit if you’re taking a road trip.
Now that your destination is planned, step two might be trickier. If you’re like most families, packing up your entire crew for a road trip or boat excursion can sound like a daunting task. LiveLifeLocal has you covered with the site’s Featured Tips. For example, tips on how to pack smart for your next RV expedition include using compression sacks or vacuum bags for heavy jackets and pillows to save space. Also, pick a coffee maker that can make hot water and you can skip the tea kettle.
It’s no secret Americans like to have fun – hitting the road with an RV or boat in tow is a wonderful way to spend a weekend year-round. Don’t forget to pack a camera to capture all the fun and priceless memories.
(BPT) - The weather’s heating up and that means one thing: road trips.
Before you grab the family and hit the highway, make sure your vehicle’s ready to roll. And the first place to check is actually what rolls – your tires. Often ignored – except when they are flat – tires are one of the most important components on any vehicle, and have an enormous effect on braking, steering, comfort, handling and fuel efficiency.
“Today’s tires are designed so well, you never really think about them,” says Theresa Palang, public relations manager for Yokohama Tire Corporation, maker of a variety of truck and car tires. “Even though they can capably handle all manner of surfaces in all kinds of weather, it’s still a good idea to become familiar with your tires, especially if you’re going to be on the road a good amount of time.”
Palang says the first thing to know is what type of tires you have and what they can do. “Most people have no idea and get confused because there are so many types and performance categories. By educating yourself about tires and how to maintain them, you will be able to save money and fuel, vastly improve your vehicle’s ride and handling, and better prepare yourself for the road ahead.”
According to Palang, tires are defined according to whether they are summer, all-season or winter tires. Summer tires offer excellent handling in dry and wet conditions. All-season tires are designed for varying road conditions that include moderately cold or low temperatures. Winter tires are best for conditions that call for improved cold weather and snow/ice performance.
To best match the type of tire with your driving needs, look for the performance category that meets your requirements the most:
* Ultra high-performance: Deliver superior high-speed traction and control with a firmer, sportier feel.
* High-performance: Engineered to provide crisp handling, responsive feedback and allow the tire to operate at higher speeds.
* Touring: Provides the ride and noise comfort of a standard passenger car tire.
“There’s a lot to consider when deciding on tires,” explains Palang. “You have to take into account how you drive, how far, weather and road conditions, how you want the vehicle to perform and so on. Plus, there are new tire technologies, such as the use of orange oil we put in our AVID Ascend, which creates a special compound resulting in a balance of long tread life, all-season handling and great fuel economy.”
For road trips or the daily commute, driving smart and maintaining your tires can save money at the gas station. Here are some of Palang’s tips:
* Keep your tires properly inflated. Once a month, when the tires are cold (at least three to four hours after the vehicle has been driven), check tire pressure with a reliable tire gauge. Be sure the valve stems have a plastic or metal cap to keep dirt out and seal against leakage.
* Tires must be replaced when the tread is worn down to 2/32 of an inch to prevent skidding and hydroplaning. An easy test: place a penny upside down into a tread groove. If part of Lincoln’s head is covered by the tread, you’re driving with the proper amount of tread. If you can see all of his head, you should buy a new tire.
* Tire alignment should be checked once a year. Misaligned tires can cause the car to scrub, which lowers mileage and creates unnecessary tire wear.
* Slow down. All vehicles lose fuel economy at speeds above 55 mph. Driving 55 mph instead of 75 mph can reduce fuel costs by up to 25 percent. Driving 65 mph instead of 75 mph can save up to 13 percent.
* Turn off your engine if you're stopped for more than a couple of minutes. Fuel efficiency savings of up to 19 percent are possible by not letting your engine idle too long while stationary.
* Blasting off from a stoplight and then slamming on the brakes to stop uses gas at a much faster rate. Accelerating less and slowing moderately can increase fuel efficiency by more than 30 percent. Also, many traffic lights are timed for efficient traffic flow, so you'll hit more green lights in a row by maintaining the speed limit.
For additional tire care and safety tips, visit www.yokohamatire.com or www.rma.org.
Is there such a thing as a typical traveler? Not anymore. Travelers run the gamut in age, interests, preferences, likes and dislikes. For couples, families and solo travelers alike, travel preferences have never been so diverse. Nor has the world of travel been so accessible and appealing. And, if you’re thinking about traversing the world as a solo traveler, there’s never been a better time to go.
“In addition to seeing and experiencing different cultures, foods and traditions, when you explore the world, you also discover new things about yourself,” says Scott Nisbet, president and CEO of the Globus family of brands. “And that fact couldn't be more true when traveling on your own.”
Traveling alone can be nerve-racking at first, but it can be equally exhilarating. Solo travel is about setting your own terms and pleasing no one but yourself. It doesn’t just push you beyond your comfort zone, it gives you carte blanche to indulge your interests and passions and get to know yourself in new and exciting ways.
Perhaps that’s why more solo travelers than ever before are venturing off on their own. In fact, according to Cosmos - an international tour company - 11 percent of Americans travel solo each year, including 9 million women.
“Discovering the world can become a much deeper experience when traveling alone. Especially if your trip is well-planned,” Nisbet says. “One of the best ways for solo travelers to see the world is going on an escorted tour with a company like Cosmos.”
An escorted tour ensures all the logistics and details are taken care of for travelers so they can experience the “best” parts of a destination while letting someone else be in charge.
And when you’re traveling solo, an escorted tour ensures you’re never really alone. Expert guides are there with you, securing the right accommodations for the best price and transportation from place to place. They’re also there to help you prioritize your schedule, seeing the must-see sites first while also leaving you plenty of time to wander and discover each destination on your own. Even better? An escorted tour allows solo travelers the chance to keep the door open to meet a few like-minded travelers and friends on a journey of discovery.
Whether you’re traveling on a tour or on your own, here are solo traveler-friendly tips from Cosmos:
1. Start smart. Before you decide where to go, consider perusing guidebooks and conducting online research to get a feel for the people, culture, sites and excursions you’re bound to experience. There are even guidebooks geared toward single travelers.
2. Choose a solo-friendly destination. In general, Europe is the top destination for solo travelers. English-speaking countries such as Ireland, Britain, New Zealand and Australia are great choices.
3. Think about safety first. You might be worried about standing out as a solo traveler, but the reality is that you can blend in more easily than a group when you’re on your own. You can also avoid being identified as a tourist. You should, however, always remain alert while carrying an ID and keeping valuables away from prying eyes.
4. Look for single-supplement deals. What is a single supplement? While most hotels charge a room rate, travel package providers (tour operators, cruise lines, etc.) charge per person, and a single supplement is a common charge for travelers requesting solo accommodations (it is the amount typically charged for two travelers per room).
There are two ways to avoid this charge: 1) Ask for a single room. Sometimes a small inventory of single rooms is available, but they book fast. 2) Look for a special offer. Some travel providers offer limited-time deals, waiving the single supplement, or “room share” programs.
5. Enjoy the ride. You get to make your trip all about you. Take advantage of that fact and do as the locals do. Talk to strangers and eat well.
For more information about traveling solo, download Cosmos’ Solo Traveler Guide at www.solotravelingguide.com.
(BPT) - You may be dreaming about escaping on a vacation, but the sky-high costs of flights and cruises can quickly turn into a nightmare. If you’re looking to take a break without breaking the bank, a good, old-fashioned road trip could be the way to escape. Aside from packing snacks and preparing the perfect playlist, there are a few things you should consider before venturing out on the open road. A few updates and precautions can help you avoid the wear and potential safety hazards a long trip can have on your vehicle.
Winter can be hard on a vehicle’s exterior, and even seemingly insignificant cosmetic damage can become a large issue if left unattended. Many owners are aware of some scratch or dent in their vehicles but are wary of the cost to have it professionally repaired. But allowing exposed metal to rust can create an even bigger problem. Fortunately, you can avoid ugly and potentially costly issues using Dupli-Color Scratch Fix touch-up paint. This innovative solution is available in hundreds of exact-match colors for a seamless fix to nearly any vehicle paint damage. With a roller ball tip for precision and a taper brush for full coverage, Scratch Fix is the ultimate tool for any vehicle owner. Make sure to apply Dupli-Color Scratch Fix Clear Coat over the touch up paint, to ensure a manufacturer-approved color match. For a fraction of the cost, this do-it-yourself solution will help protect and beautify your vehicle before and after a long road trip.
Good tires are an integral aspect of vehicle safety, and it is extremely important to check your tires before heading on an extended road trip. According to the Car Care Council, thin tire treads create hazardous driving conditions, particularly on wet roadways. Thin or worn treads can cause tires to hydroplane and potentially lead to loss of control of the vehicle. To ensure tires wear evenly and avoid dangerous situations, it is commonly recommended to have tires rotated every 7,000 miles. This simple routine not only makes for a more dependable vehicle, but also saves money by extending the life of your tires. Replacing worn tires before a trip is also a good idea to ensure you will have no problems while far from home – plus, you may even see better gas mileage.
Checking your brakes is an extremely important aspect of routine vehicle maintenance, and you should be sure your brakes are in prime condition before a long journey. New brake pads and fluid may not be the most appealing travel expense, but will certainly save you the hassle and cost failed brakes can incur.
Whether your trip is 100 miles or 1,000, checking your vehicle mechanics is important before heading out on the open road. This includes checking and changing your oil, coolant, brake and transmission fluids as needed. In addition to its inner workings, make sure all outside components of your vehicle are in top shape. Ensure headlights and blinkers work properly, inspect windshield wipers and review mirrors, and check windows for any cracks before setting out.
Take advantage of the preventative tips above and you will have your vehicle ready to hit the open road with no hiccups just in time for vacation season.
(BPT) - Family vacations are always a great time for family bonding and exploring new places. With some careful planning, the trip can be packed full of fun from the minute you lock the front door to the minute you arrive back home, exhausted and ready to share stories of your adventures with friends and family.
Traveling with children does require careful planning, but taking a little extra time to plan ahead will make your time spent together that much more rewarding. Take these ideas into consideration as you organize your family trip.
* Traveling organization – If you’re on a road trip this spring or summer, keeping track of all the snacks, games and travel necessities isn’t easy. Put a few household items to use, and you’ll be able to keep everything where it belongs, instead of having it rolling around under the seats. For example, a shoe organizer hung over the back of the front seats helps to keep all children’s toys and activities within reach. And a divided cardboard drink container is an excellent storage kit for needed items like snacks, tissues, hand wipes, etc.
For airline travels, the mantra “less is more” comes into play. Have each child pack one carry-on, such as a metal lunchbox or a backpack, with all their traveling necessities. Crayons and coloring books, as well as small game books like crossword puzzles or word searches are recommended.
* Create “snacktivities” – Package the snacks you’ll be eating on-the-go with activities to keep the kids busy. For example, a new coloring book with a juice box and a snack will help everyone forget they’re on a long trip. Pack satisfying snacks such as Lance Xtra Fulls Toasty and ToastChee sandwich crackers, which are made with real peanut butter and deliver up to 6 grams of protein per serving.
* Make the hours work for you – If you have the ability, schedule your travel time during bedtime or nap time. Plan frequent breaks where everyone can get out of the car and run around, releasing pent up energy. Try to avoid driving during rush hour traffic, which would add additional stresses to everyone in the vehicle. For airplane travel, avoid leaving on peak travel days if you can.
* Get creative with snacks – Mix up the traditional to keep the snacks interesting, which can help make the travel time appear to pass much quicker. Create your own trail mix with protein-packed Lance snacks of salted peanuts, cashews, sunflower seeds and Star Bites. Or give the kids paper plates, sandwich crackers, cheese and fruit make their own “snack creations” in the shapes of animals. Visit www.lance.com for additional snack recipes and snacking ideas.
* Play together – When in doubt good old-fashioned car games such as “I Spy” can provide hours of entertainment for the entire family. While in the car ask kids to look at billboards, road signs, license plates and buildings to find the letters of the alphabet in order. For instance, to find an “A” the child might see Applebee’s and say it aloud, then move on to finding the letter B. You can also play counting games with younger children. Count blue vans, find 10 horses, count rest stops or water towers. How many people pass you on the highway? Count those, too. There are endless possibilities.
Family vacations are a lot of fun, and if your trip is well-planned, everyone can return home with great memories and stories to share.
(BPT) - From bag-checking charges and unexplained delays to rude fellow passengers and flight attendants who are having a bad day, flying can be a huge hassle. If you’re among the approximately 1 to 1.5 percent of Americans living with a peanut or tree nut allergy, boarding a commercial airplane can raise concerns that you might experience a rare in-flight reaction.
Coping with a peanut or tree nut allergy, however, doesn’t mean you – or your peanut- or tree nut-allergic child – have to forego the convenience of air travel. You can take steps to minimize your risk of having an allergic reaction while flying – and at least one study indicates that being proactive can make a positive difference in your travel experience.
The international study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology-In Practice, found that peanut and nut-allergic travelers who took certain actions lessened their odds of a reported in-flight allergic reaction. The study’s lead author, allergist and pediatrician Dr. Matthew Greenhawt of the University of Michigan’s Food Allergy Center and C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, is also a medical advisor to Kids With Food Allergies, a division of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
Peanut and tree nut allergic travelers can take steps to minimize the risk of a rare reaction while flying. The steps include:
* Visit the website of the air carrier and read about their policies for travelers with allergies. If you don’t see what you’re looking for on the website, contact the airline directly.
* Speak up. Well before you fly, inform the airline of your peanut allergy. Keep in mind that asking for accommodations was one of the eight steps the study found that helped travelers reduce their risks of having an allergic reaction while flying. Requesting a peanut- or tree-nut free buffer zone (such as no peanuts three rows before and behind yours) and asking that other passengers not eat peanut- or tree-nut containing products were also important steps, researchers found. If you are experience a reaction, notify the crew and seek their assistance to help with treatment.
* Carry a written emergency plan with you on your flight so that others will know what to do to help you in case a reaction occurs. Always travel with a fresh supply of epinephrine auto-injectors and keep them with you at all times. They should be kept in your carry-on and stored beneath the seat, in the overhead bin (less preferable because it’s more difficult to access) or in the pocket of the seat back in front of you. Keep the medicine in its original packaging with the prescription label to help security officers quickly recognize it. If you forget to bring your dose on board, immediately notify the crew so they can check the on-board medical kit, which contains epinephrine, as a failsafe if a reaction did occur.
* Consider wearing medical identification jewelry. These life-saving tags could help alert others to what’s wrong if you do suffer an allergic reaction.
* When you get to your seat, use an antibacterial wipe to clean all surfaces you may touch, including the seat, arms and the tray table in front of you. This was another helpful action noted in the study. Some families also bring a sheet or blanket for a peanut- or tree-nut allergic child to sit on so he or she doesn’t come in contact with any allergens that prior passengers may have left behind.
* Dine safely on food you’ve brought yourself. Though obvious, this is a big difference-maker. On most airlines you can request a peanut/tree nut-free meal, but eating your own food can also provide peace of mind. The study found this was one of the risk-reduction steps travelers found effective. Bringing your own food ensures you know exactly what is – and isn’t – present in what you’re eating.
* Don’t use airline pillows or blankets. This was yet another risk-reducing measure that the study noted which helped travelers reduce their risks of having an allergic reaction while flying. If you need these items for your flight, bring your own, so you can be sure to avoid allergens that may linger on airline-provided products.
“People with peanut or tree nut allergy can continue to fly and be empowered by these suggestions for ways they can potentially reduce their in-flight risk of a reaction,” Greenhawt says. “Again, data from this study has shown that the risk of reaction appears to be very small. For those who have not flown because of a peanut or tree nut allergy, we encourage you to consider doing so, as we hope these steps will reduce your anxiety and empower you to take that trip you have always wanted to.”
For more tips for traveling with food allergies, visit www.kidswithfoodallergies.org or www.aafa.org.
Some cities are more than just a place to live – they shape the world and have for centuries. London is one of those exceptional cities. Since its founding in the early years of the first century A.D., it has risen to become one of the most powerful places on earth. For the visitor, any London travel experience is certain to impress, but the best way to really see it all is by exploring the city from an insider’s point of view – and when those travel experiences are a special London travel event, it’s even richer.
A London travel event includes a bit of help from the experts. While there is plenty to see on the average trip to the city, unique sights and experiences are often most accessible through a tour operator with exclusive connections within London. As an added benefit, when your accommodations, scheduling and more is included, all you need to do as a traveler is revel in the experience. And while the access offered is, in many cases, otherwise impossible to get, a London travel event like the one from Tauck can also offer cost savings of as much as 40 percent.
Your London travel experience can show you more than just what meets the eye. Experiences like these make your trip more meaningful, memorable and truly one-of-a-kind:
* In-depth sightseeing: Visiting a monument might give you a snapshot to remember, but private, guided tours of the most renowned sights in London will give you much, much more. From art-historian guided explorations of the fascinating Tate Modern museum to a private viewing of the crown jewels in the Tower of London, you’ll come away with a more thorough understanding of and appreciation for all that you see.
* Olympic insights: The whole world was riveted by the spectacle of the 2012 London games. Carrying off an event of that magnitude in such a dense urban environment was a definite marvel, and visitors on Tauck’s London travel event will get the inside story of how it all happened. During a private presentation, Ralph Luck, director of properties at the London Olympics, will share the behind-the-scenes happenings that the average viewer might never know about.
* Palace life: England’s monarchy is famed and well-loved around the globe, and with the right access, you’ll be able to look in on the rarified world in which they live. Hampton Court Palace, which has been inhabited by the British royal family since the 18th century, is a magnificent sight on its own, but being invited to a gala event within its storied walls is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Tauck travelers. Visitors are treated to cocktails, a tour of select rooms and a feast in the Great Hall.
* Living history: London’s streets are layered with history, but its residents’ ties to the past are equally impressive. Records of family lines stretch far back through the centuries, but some Londoners have connections with the most dramatic events of history. Celia Sandys, daughter of Sir Winston Churchill’s daughter, Diana, and cabinet minister Duncan Sandys, boasts exceptionally fascinating family history. She’s known in her own right as an author, journalist and television presenter, and during Tauck’s London event, she’ll be sharing stories of her family’s legacy in exclusive private talks.
In a place as complex and culturally rich as London, the chance to dig a bit deeper shouldn’t be missed by any traveler. For more information about London travel and special events, visit Tauck Online.
(BPT) - Decongestant, check. Sunscreen, check. Antacids, check. So you’re going on vacation and your bag is well-stocked with remedies for every illness that could possibly derail your good time – from sunburn to an upset stomach. While you’re taking steps to preserve your good health on vacation, don’t overlook the body part that will carry you through all that fun: your feet.
“Foot health is especially important for travelers,” says Dr. Joseph Caporusso, a podiatrist and president of the American Podiatric Medical Association. “If your feet hurt or you sustain an ankle injury, your whole vacation can be ruined. Plus, poor foot health can have a long-term detrimental effect on your overall well-being.”
The approach of warm weather means more Americans will be planning their spring and summer getaways. Before you step out on vacation, APMA offers a few foot health tips for travelers:
On the way
Whether you’re flying or driving to your destination, proper footwear is important. Knowing you’ll have to remove your shoes to pass through airport security screening may tempt you to travel in flip-flops or other footwear that’s easy to slip off. But travelers should not forego safety and support for convenience.
“Flip-flops are never a great walking shoe, and if you have to walk long distances from gate to gate or from your gate to ground transportation, or if you have to hurry, flip-flops could lead to problems,” Caporusso says.
What’s more, flip-flops mean you’ll be barefoot when you step through security – and that can leave your feet exposed to injury from sharp edges, uneven surfaces and germs. If shoes with laces will be too inconvenient for security lines, choose comfortable slip-ons that provide a thick, stable sole. And always wear socks through security.
Drivers also need to be aware of proper footwear on the road. Choose comfortable footwear that minimizes the risk of your foot slipping off a pedal. Never kick off your shoes while driving either; a shoe lodged under the brake pedal could interfere with your ability to stop quickly in an emergency.
On the beach
For many Americans, spring and summer vacations mean time spent on the beach. Whether you’re relaxing in a lounge chair, walking on hot sand or frolicking in the surf, it’s important to protect your feet from the singular risks of beach time.
Since most people wear flip-flops or sandals on the beach, don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your feet. Be sure to cover the tops of your feet, the front of your ankles, and even the soles. Limit the amount of walking you do in bare feet; walking in no shoes at all increases your exposure to sunburn, plantar warts, athlete’s foot, ringworm, other infections and even injury. Never walk barefoot in pool areas or locker rooms.
Always pack an extra pair of sneakers or water shoes so that if your shoes get wet you can have a dry pair. Wearing wet shoes for prolonged periods may lead to bacteria or fungal growth.
On the move
Sometimes, no matter how careful you are, injuries happen. Wherever your vacation takes you, it pays to pack a foot care bag so that you’ll be prepared to treat minor problems that can quickly evolve into major vacation setbacks. Your bag should include:
* Sterile bandages for covering minor cuts and scrapes.
* Antibiotic cream to treat minor skin injuries.
* Emollient-enriched moisturizer to keep feet hydrated.
* Blister pads or moleskins to prevent blisters and protect sore feet if blisters do form.
* An anti-inflammatory pain reliever like Motrin or Advil to ease tired, swollen feet.
* Nail clippers.
* Emery board in case of broken nails or rough edges.
* Sunscreen to prevent sunburn.
* Aloe vera or a similar cream to relieve sunburn.
In case of a serious problem, seek the aid of a podiatrist – doctors who are specially trained to diagnose and treat ailments of the feet and lower extremities. You can find a podiatrist in your area by visiting APMA’s website, www.apma.org.
“No one wants to spend their vacation with sore feet – or worse yet, at the doctor’s office,” Caporusso says. “Taking care of your feet while traveling can help ensure your vacation stays on track and the only things you bring home are great memories and souvenirs.”
(BPT) - If you’re thinking of taking a cruise, there are a lot of options to consider, from the cruise line and style to the destinations, vacation length and types of on-board amenities. Cruising is a fun (and economical) way to see several places in a relatively short amount of time without having to unpack and repack every day. While some “hard-core” travelers may scoff at cruises, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.
Choose your cruise line This is probably the single most important task when planning a cruise. Choose the wrong cruise line, or even more specifically, the wrong ship, and it can mean the difference between a blissful, relaxing trip or one filled with 18-year-olds getting rowdy on rum punch. To figure out which ship and line suits your preference, do some research online and ask friends who have taken cruises. Find out the median age onboard; if a ship caters to an older demographic, there’s typically not much to do after 10 p.m. Ask about the quality of food. The food on most vessels is in line with what you get at 4- and 5-star restaurants on land, so beware that elastic waistbands might be needed by the end of your trip. Also gather opinions on cruise schedules. Some cruise lines allow for flexibility in your itinerary, others have two dinner seatings and if you’re not on time, you don’t eat. Ask about the activities are onboard. Is there a variety? Are the shows good? For comparison, Royal Caribbean brought “Hairspray” to sea several years ago, and a few ships have Cirque du Soleil spinoffs. Finally, inquire about the decor; newer or updated ships will feel more like a Ritz-Carlton than a Motel 6.
As far as cruise styles, “mainstream” cruise lines, like Celebrity and Royal Caribbean can carry a small city on the water. Other cruise lines, such as Viking River Cruises or Oceania Cruises, provide luxury and a slower pace. There are also specialized cruise ships, like the American Queen Steamboat that runs multi-day cruises up and down the Mississippi River.
Choose your destinations After finding the right cruise line, figure out how many days you want to spend on the cruise (remember that depending on where you live, it can take a day to travel to the departure port and a day to travel home). The number of days will then dictate what destination options you have. Some itineraries will feature just one port for visiting, while others will dock at anywhere from three to 10. If you’re traveling from the United States, the travel experts at Away.com recommend touring the Caribbean, Hawaii or Alaska. There are also plenty of cruise lines that tour the Mediterranean, the rivers of Europe, and even Russia and Asia. Cruising allows you to get an overview of destinations, rather than an in-depth look into the local scene. Because you’re traveling by a large ship (unless you do a river cruise), you will explore only coastal towns, and typically the ship will be in port only for about a half a day. As you peruse the destinations available, you can normally see a sample itinerary, too.
Book your cruise Once you’ve selected the cruise line, the number of days and the destinations you want to visit, then you’re ready to book your cruise. With all your meals, snacks and beverages (alcohol and specialty restaurants onboard might cost more), your room, and onboard entertainment covered, there’s not much left to plan. You can choose to research things to do in ports, or you can take advantage of the shore excursions that cruises offer.
Pack for your cruise No matter your destinations, it pays to look up the typical weather and pack accordingly. A cruise in July might sound warm, but if you’re heading to Alaska you can skip the bathing suit and pack an extra sweatshirt. Everyone packs differently, but it’s in your best interest to pack minimally, as the rooms are not as big as a typical hotel room. Bathing suits and shorts are usually fine for the daytime, but evenings typically require more of a resort-casual wardrobe. And most ships have one or two formal nights, so pull out the old bridesmaid or prom dresses. Most importantly, if you’re traveling outside of the United States, make sure your passport is up to date and packed along with your ticket so you’ll be good to sail away.
(BPT) - Traveling has its fair share of challenges, from never-ending lines to unexpected layovers and uncomfortable flights. Fortunately, by incorporating just a few expert tips, traveling can be less stressful whether you are jetting off for business or pleasure.
New York City lifestyle expert, Justine Santaniello, offers these three easy tips to simplify travel:
Tip No. 1 – Become a savvy suitcase packer
Travel with ease by avoiding heavy luggage. “As you get ready for a trip, lay out all your clothes and only take half of what you think you will need. Chances are you will over pack if you take everything,” says Santaniello, who travels more than 100 days out of the year. Her essentials include clothing pieces that can be paired with different outfits, like jeans, and cardigans that can be dressed down for daytime as well as jazzed up for nighttime.
No matter where you are traveling, be sure to carry the basics such as credit cards, extra cash and a phone charger in your carry-on. “Always be sure to put your phone charger in your purse and not in your suitcase. That way, if your luggage gets lost, you can still charge your phone,” advises Santaniello.
Tip No. 2 – Remain polished while beating stress sweat
Avoid feeling and looking frazzled while traveling by arriving at the airport at least an hour and a half before your flight. If you are flying internationally, be sure to get there two hours before takeoff. “One of the worst things you can do while traveling is rush. Arriving at the airport early will help you avoid feeling stressed out,” says Santaniello.
Staying fresh can make you feel more in control. Take steps to keep your cool, such as using Dove go sleeveless Anti-Perspirant/Deodorant. The product gives you the 48-hour odor and wetness protection you need to endure any travel situation while providing the added benefit of softer, smoother underarms in just five days. The only formula in the market with vitamins E and F plus Dove 1/4 moisturizers, Dove go sleeveless Anti-Perspirant/Deodorant comes in a compact 2.6 ounce size (perfect for travel!) and a variety of light fragrances. More information on this travel-friendly deodorant can be found on www.Dove.com.
Tip No. 3 – Fight jet lag and stay healthy
Jet lag is bound to happen when traveling, especially if you are embarking on a long flight overseas. “The two most important elements for combating jet lag are exercise and hydration,” says Santaniello. Fight jet lag and fatigue by walking the plane aisles to stimulate circulation while releasing tension in your muscles. Be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and try to make healthy eating choices by packing a few snacks in your purse or carry on luggage. Bring easy-to-travel, non-perishable food, like granola bars, nuts and dried fruit to stay healthy and full while up in the air.
Traveling may pose its challenges at times, but incorporating these easy tips will help you be stress-free and well-equipped, from takeoff to landing.
There are some destinations that blend spellbinding scenery, a sense of exotic remoteness and a touch of ancient mystery, creating an irresistible appeal to travelers. Perhaps the best example of that unique combination is Machu Picchu. The mist-shrouded “Lost City of the Incas,” hidden in the Andean mountain jungle, tops countless travelers’ wish lists, but the carefully controlled site can be tricky to reach. Perhaps the best way to ensure that you get to see Machu Picchu is through Peru tours that cover the technicalities of getting there, while also giving you opportunities to see more of the country.
In addition to its marquee attraction, Peru has a number of outstanding destinations for visitors. From its seaside capital to its ancient cities and soaring mountains, there’s plenty to explore. Well-rounded Peru tours will show you the best the country has to offer and make travel more accessible – with a wisely planned itinerary, all you need to do is relax and enjoy. What’s more, Peru tours will ensure that you have access to Machu Picchu. Daily attendance is limited, as a protective measure, so it’s essential that your spot be reserved, and tour operators like Tauck will ensure that it is.
Some of must-see sights and attractions on Peru tours include:
* Lima: The capital city clings to the cliffs along the Pacific Ocean and then sprawls inland to form a stylish, savvy and historical capital. The colonial “centro” district features an impressive plaza surrounded by the cathedral and ornate government buildings, dating from the 16th through 20th centuries. Look for the elaborate wooden balconies that provided cool shade and comfort to wealthy residents. The Miraflores district is arguably the most fashionable part of the city, and visitors will be rewarded with world-class cuisine, excellent shopping and charming strolls along the seaside and through the central Parque Kennedy. Another experience on your Peru tour is the incredible Museo Larco also in Lima, where you’ll see the world’s largest collection of pre-Colombian art, ranging from vivid feathered capes to dramatic gold jewelry and vivaciously creative ceramics in the form of everything from musicians to animals.
* Cuzco: During your Peru tour, you will visit Cuzco the Inca capital which is now a charming mountain town built upon those foundations. As you stroll the cobbled streets, marvel at the precision and artistry in the Inca stonework that still underpins many of the colonial-era buildings, from private houses to Qorikancha, the Inca temple that was converted into the church and convent of Santo Domingo. Here you’ll have opportunities to see examples of the weaving tradition that stretches back thousands of years in the surrounding region. Just outside the city are the ruins of Sacsayhuaman, a stone fortress that played a defensive role in numerous battles and remains as a testament to the incredible artistry and precision of Inca stonework.
* The Sacred Valley: “El Valle Sagrado” is a place of tiny traditional communities dotted among mountains, valleys and rivers, and surely counts as one of the highlights of all Peru tours. In places like Ollantaytambo, you’ll see how the ancient cultures of the past have extended and, in different ways, survived through time. Villagers in Ollantaytambo live practically right alongside a wonderfully preserved Inca settlement, which is today a National Archaeological Park. From Ollantaytambo, it’s not far to Aguas Calientes, a more modern village, but significant because it’s the base for visiting Machu Picchu. Visitors on Tauck’s Peru tours will have the opportunity to stay just outside the site, at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, making it easy to get up and experience the iconic event of sunrise over the ruins.
For more information and an ebrochure about Peru tours, visit Tauck online.
Creating the perfect vacation can be confusing: putting together an itinerary for a place you’ve never been, finding the right hotels and arranging the intricate details. Going on vacation can be stressful too: knowing where to go, what to see and how to get there. More often than not, the joy of actually going on vacation takes a backseat to the hassles encountered along the way. That’s where a tour comes in.
On a touring vacation, a professional handles all the details, logistics and scheduling for you. “When you take a touring vacation, you take away all the hassles and worries of travel so you can concentrate on simply enjoying yourself,” says Scott Nisbet, president and CEO of the Globus family of brands.
Is a touring vacation right for you? Here are some things you can expect on a tour:
Inclusive. You have a lot of choices when it comes to travel, so why choose a touring vacation? Simple. It’s an easy, all-in-one vacation. Tour organizers review, choose and reserve your hotels. Industry experts create the itinerary, including all of the must-see sites and “local favorites.” Many meals are also included.
No transportation worries. On a tour, transportation – via train, plane, boat or motorcoach – is taken care of from point A to B and every step in-between.
Tour director. On a touring vacation, your trip comes complete with a tour director who will make sure you get the most out of every destination and attraction. Tour directors act as a concierge, problem-solver and storyteller all rolled up into one.
No waiting in lines. On Globus tours, you are privy to VIP access into all the major sites. And because you’re not waiting in lines, you have more time to experience more of each destination.
Like-minded travelers. On a tour, you’re traveling in the company of people who share your love of travel and interest in the destinations you’re visiting.
Set itineraries. With a touring vacation, all the work has been done to help you get the most enjoyment out of each destination. Must-see sites are arranged for you, getting from one site to the next has been taken care of and meals are waiting for you. There’s also plenty of time built in for you to explore each destination on your own.
Savings. Finally, on a touring vacation with companies like Globus, you will pay up to 40 percent less for your vacation than if you tried to make the same arrangements on your own.
For more information, visit GlobusJourneys.com or call toll-free, 866-313-2855.
(BPT) - Now that spring has sprung, drivers will be hitting the road in earnest to enjoy the warmer weather. In fact, according to Hankook Tire’s latest Quarterly Gauge Index, 56 percent of Americans are planning to take a road trip that involves driving 50 miles or more. On average, they estimate they will drive 1,025 miles. What is it about spring - besides the obvious pleasurable weather - that has so many people hitting the road?
Family time: The same survey found that one third of Americans will consider taking a road trip for family reunions. Not only is the warmer weather ideal for driving, it is perfect for picnics, barbecues and other fun outdoor activities. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are also on the horizon. Hankook Tire’s Gauge Index found that those who drive to their mother’s houses to celebrate Mother’s Day drive an average of 320 miles, and those who drive to their father’s houses to celebrate Father’s Day drive an average of 355 miles.
Music concerts and festivals: The sounds of birds chirping aren’t the only tunes filling the spring skies. From Coachella to the New Orleans Jazz Festival to Bonnaroo, music fans will rack up the miles to jam with their favorite artists.
Sporting events: With America’s favorite pastime in full swing, many people will be traveling to their local ballparks to take in all the action. But why stop there? Avid fans also pack up and follow their teams to opponents’ stadiums.
There is no shortage of reasons for taking a drive this spring, but before cruising away you will want to take care of a few items.
Spring cleaning - Carry your spring cleaning efforts to your vehicle and make sure it is tidy before heading out. Hankook Tire found out that 49 percent of American drivers polled stated they plan to clean their cars before their closets this spring, compared to 32 percent who said they will first clean their closets. The survey also uncovered that not all Americans share a spring cleaning mindset. Nineteen percent do not intend to clean their cars or their closets.
Check that tire pressure – Drivers should check tire pressure at least once a month to ensure proper inflation. When tires are underinflated, they wear out faster, are less efficient and waste energy and fuel. Properly inflated tires save you money at the pump. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3 percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires
Avoid potholes - Potholes are prevalent in the spring, when temperatures rise and high moisture levels cause sinkholes. Try not to drive directly over potholes to mitigate any damage to your tires.
Be prepared for any weather – Spring isn’t all sunshine, as rain is often sprinkled into weather forecasts. Tires like the Hankook Ventus S1 noble2 have an advanced silica tread compound for improved traction in both wet and dry conditions. They also offer lower rolling resistance, delivering improved efficiency and fuel savings by minimizing wasted energy.
Defining China succinctly is a difficult, if not impossible, task. Perhaps that’s what travelers love so much about it: a trip to China can be virtually anything you want it be. The country’s incredible range of landscapes, from rice paddies to river gorges, and cultures, from ultra-modern to fiercely traditional, ensure that any visitor will encounter a spellbinding range of people, places and sights. Narrowing down a visit to the essentials, without sacrificing authenticity, can be a challenge, but with the right China tour, you can manage the task.
Expert guidance through China can be an invaluable resource for everything from understanding the context of a work of art to making the best menu selections. Without the concerns of language barriers or the stresses of making arrangements as you go, a China tour allows you to relax and fully enjoy your trip – and get the most out of it. In many cases, tours also present cost savings – Tauck’s China tour can save travelers up to 40 percent, compared to the cost of independent travel.
A well-planned China tour will take in all these sights, and in each place, take you behind the scenes, as well as showing you the major attractions.
Shanghai – Seaside Shanghai has been a significant port for centuries, and that role in history has imbued the city with a strong cosmopolitan character. The shining lights of today’s Bund trace back to the days when the area bustled with merchants and sailors from around the region and the world. Dine out in top-notch restaurants, walk through calming traditional gardens and delve into the past at the Shanghai Museum.
Yangtze – China’s most famous river is a corridor of culture as well as commerce. Dramatic changes have taken place here in recent years; the construction of the Three Gorges dam demanded the relocation of entire villages, many of which had existed for hundreds of years. The dramatic beauty of the landscape is entrancing, and an extended cruise down the river will show you the very best of the region. Tauck’s China tour includes a visit to a “relocation village,” where you can meet people who were affected by the building of the dam.
Guilin and the Li River – During your China tour as you spend time in Guilin, you’ll see some of the region’s most arrestingly beautiful countryside. Here, green rice paddies stretch out wide, but are punctuated by massive freestanding limestone karst formations. It’s easy to see how the region inspired countless poets and artists. The Li River glides through this unique landscape, and is home to fishermen who still ply their trade the traditional way – using diving cormorants as their helpers.
Xi’an – China’s ancient capital, Xi’an, was once the eastern end of the legendary Silk Road, the corridor that stretched through Central Asia all the way to Europe. The Han, Qin and Tang dynasties were all centered here, and the most famous remnant of their artistry and engineering marvels still remains: the amazing Terracotta Warriors. This army of 8,000 life-size model warriors guarded the tomb of emperor Qin Shi Huangdi for more than 2,000 years and is a sight that can’t be missed.
Beijing – The modern capital of China blends history and modernity in a delicate balance. While architectural superstars like the Bird’s Nest dot the landscape, some of Beijing’s fascinating historic neighborhoods are still hanging on. Hutongs (the word translates as “lanes”) are a honeycomb of tiny streets and courtyard-style dwellings that will instantly transport you back into Beijing’s long history. Tauck’s tours of China include a visit with a local family for added insight about how hutong life is changing.
Discovering China is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have as a traveler, and it will certainly count among your most memorable trips. For more information and an ebrochure that includes China tours, visit Tauck online.
(BPT) - Soccer camps, wilderness camps, chess camps, language camps – whatever interests your child, there’s a camp for him or her.
Whether you’re looking for a local day camp or an overnight experience far from home, the key to finding the right camp involves research. That means not only learning about all the options, but carefully screening camps to ensure your child will be safe and have a fun and memorable time.
Not all camps need to be licensed by a local or state government agency, nor do all seek certification through the American Camp Association. And with the wide variety of camps from which to choose, there is no standard set of regulations across the country, according to FindLaw.com, the nation’s leading website for free legal information.
"Because the commitment to quality and safety can vary dramatically from camp to camp, it's really important for parents to do their homework to make sure they're getting the best fit for their child and themselves," says Adam Orlow, a personal injury attorney with The Orlow Firm in New York.
If you’re looking for a camp to enhance your child’s skills, or simply to give him or her a little adventure, here are tips from FindLaw.com on what to consider when researching summer camps:
Get references – Ask the camp for two to three references of parents who live near you. Don’t hesitate to contact those parents to learn about their child’s experience at the camp. In addition, peruse online reviews.
Check the camp’s hiring procedures – Camps should readily share their protocol for staff background checks, which should include criminal background checks and personal references. In addition, make sure the camp offers its staff training on appropriate communication and discipline.
Visit the camp – If possible, visit the camp to inspect the facilities and equipment, review safety policies and meet the staff. For example, if the camp offers horseback riding, are campers wearing helmets? If a camp offers kayaking and canoeing, are life-vests stocked and well maintained?
Read all of the camp’s registration forms – Pay special attention to cancellation policies, disciplinary rules, and how staff handles cases of homesickness.
Ask about emergency procedures – Findings from an American Camp Association study indicate that few camps systematically review their health and injury records to make improvements toward preventing or reducing injuries and illnesses. With that in mind, ask the camp about policies and procedures for handling medical emergencies, especially if you’re sending your child to a sports camp.
Ask the camp about insurance – All camps should have insurance, and if you come across a camp that does not, you might want to consider other options.
Check the staff’s expertise – If a camp promotes itself as a source for your child to enhance his or her skills, carefully check the staff bios to make sure they have the proper training and background.
What are the camp’s policies toward visitors – How does the camp monitor visitors such as vendors and support staff? What does the camp do to secure its property throughout the day and night?
To learn more about everyday legal matters, visit FindLaw.com.
It might seem that, to find a relatively untouched tropical paradise, you’d need to travel halfway around the world. However, one of the best-kept secrets in travel – Panama – is close at hand and has everything you could want in a warm-weather getaway. The country combines the modern (its capital and the engineering marvel of the Panama Canal) with the natural (its beaches and jungles).The best way to see it all is on a Panama Canal cruise.
While the capital, Panama City, is a bustling metropolis, travel to other parts of the country with less tourism infrastructure can be a challenge without the right guidance. A Panama Canal cruise guided trip will make it simple to explore all parts of this fascinating place – all the arrangements and planning are done ahead of time, so the only thing travelers need to think about is enjoying the experience. With transportation, dining and lodging all pre-arranged, the cost savings of a journey that includes a Panama Canal cruise can also be significant – as much as 40 percent less than the cost of independent travel.
The vessel that takes you on your Panama Canal cruise will also be a major factor in how much you enjoy the trip. A yacht like m/v Tere Moana, which Tauck uses for its Panama Canal cruises, provides a totally different vantage point, as well as a club-like atmosphere aboard ship and a personalized cruising experience. Beyond the Panama Canal cruise days, m/v Tere Moana is able to access waters unavailable to large ships.
The first stop of many Panama Canal cruises is the capital of Panama City. The modern skyscrapers might be a surprise, but you’ll also find plenty of fascinating historical sights and local flavor around town. The cobblestone streets of Casco Viejo, the UNESCO-World-Heritage-listed heart of the old town, are perfect for strolling between Spanish-style courtyards, cafes and restaurants.
Outside the city, Panama’s natural wonders take center stage. On the coast, crystalline blue waters and white sand beaches are beautiful, and in the interior, mysterious cloud forests are filled with jungle wildlife and the sounds of exotic birdcall. At the Gamboa Rainforest Resort, you can even take an aerial tram through the canopy to spot the numerous birds that populate the region.
Getting off the beaten track on a Panama Canal cruise experience will give you a glimpse of truly unique cultures. In the palm-dotted San Blas Islands, a visit to a Kuna village takes in the daily lives of people living in such a remote place. The Kuna are famed artisans and masters of embroidery and applique work, which is demonstrated in the bright, whimsical molas that adorn local clothing. Further afield, in the Darien province, communities like the Embera carry on traditional ways of life that have changed little since the time of their ancestors.
Of course, the centerpiece of a Panama Canal cruise is a journey through the canal itself, which is celebrating its centennial in 2014. Aboard a small vessel like m/v Tere Moana, the 85-foot rise in the Gatun Locks is an unforgettable experience.
Panama is truly a destination that has it all, and visiting in 2014, during the 100-year anniversary of the Panama Canal, will only make your time there more unique and memorable. For more information about Panama Canal cruises, visit Tauck Online.
Like many products and pursuits that have developed over the decades, recreational vehicles have come a long way from the tow-a-longs of the early to mid-20th century. Before motorized recreational vehicles hit the road, pulling a trailer behind your car or truck – loaded with food, sleeping and cooking gear – was the best way to get you and your family out of the city and into nature for a long weekend.
Today there are many types of RVS available from wholesale RV dealers or individuals, and these RVs can be purchased in new or used condition, which is quite attractive for new RV enthusiasts who want to “test the waters” before investing in a new model.
There are some dealerships that specialize in used, retro-fitted and reconditioned RVs only. Most differences between new and used RVs are simple updates to interior design or added accoutrement in the form of appliances and mobile living technology.
Travel trailers are the core of recreational vehicle sales each year. These trailers are pulled behind vehicles and then parked in RV parks, campgrounds or at festivals to be used as the base of operations for families while traveling. Travel trailers can also serve as mobile offices for construction assignments or research projects and as living quarters for individuals in certain lines of employment. Today’s travel trailers can come equipped with beds, televisions and even shower units.
Fifth wheels are a particular type of travel trailer that have taken on a life of their own. Unlike regular travel trailers, fifth wheels must be pulled by pickup trucks with a flatbed. The hitching system for fifth wheels connects to the pickup truck in the center of the truck bed. This system reduces the overall length of the truck-and-trailer assemblage while driving and also reduces the possibility of jack-knifing on the road. Fifth wheels are a good choice for RV owners who are not so comfortable pulling a large object behind them for extended distances on the road.
Sport utility RVs have arisen out of the need for outdoor enthusiasts to bring along their quads and four-wheelers, motorcycles and mini-bikes, snowmobiles and even larger bicycle fleets with them on the road. With a sport utility RV, it’s as if you’re not only bringing your home on the road with you – you’re also bringing your garage. Often called “toy haulers,” sport utility RVs make perfect sense for individuals and families who want to experience life on the road with more of the comforts of home – those comforts being their additional motorized vehicles for outdoor play. An extra portion of the RV is reserved just for these vehicles – normally featuring a drop-down door that functions as a ramp for loading and offloading the smaller vehicles as needed.
Expandable travel trailers, once known more familiarly as pop-up trailers, have several advantages. These collapsible or semi-collapsible trailers require much less room to store than ordinary trailers, and are lighter so lighter vehicles can haul them. They also save on fuel costs, as their lighter weight does not require as much energy output from motors in order to tow them. Due to their collapsible, expanding nature, fewer materials are required to build them so expandable trailers are also less expensive.
Lastly, a newer entry in the world of RVs are destination trailers. These recreational vehicles are also called “park models” and tend to be about 40 feet in length – longer by far than regular RVs. They are normally parked in one space for long periods of time and come equipped with more luxuries and added-on features than regular RVs.
In the RV market, there is a style and design for just about every interest and price bracket. As new innovations continue to develop, don’t be surprised to discover solar-powered RVs as well as RVs that feature Jacuzzis. Recreational vehicles are truly no longer a one-size-fits-all lifestyle product in North America.
It’s hard to imagine a more perfect travel destination than the Mediterranean – from the sea to the land, natural and cultural treasures enrich and inspire. Rugged cliffs, deep blue seascapes and historic cities hugging the coast all contribute to create a place that is truly unique in the world. There are a number of ways to travel the region, but perhaps the only way to get the full experience is to take a well-planned Mediterranean cruise.
Because of its amenities, the Mediterranean region attracts its fair share of visitors, including cruise travelers. However, not all cruises are the same. Often, large ships are unable to small harbors and hidden ports. When considering a Mediterranean cruise, be sure to look for smaller vessels that can take you to destinations off-the-beaten path that larger ships might miss. For example, tour operator Tauck offers a cruise aboard the ship Le Ponant, which is designed to access small harbors and more remote places.
In addition to giving travelers the unique combination of sea-and-land experiences and views, Mediterranean cruises can also provide surprisingly good costs savings. Compared to independent travel, cruises offered by Tauck can reduce costs by as much as 40 percent.
After you’ve considered ship size and cost, your top priority as a traveler should be finding an itinerary that highlights the best of the region while still including one-of-a-kind experiences. Consider these examples as a guideline for getting the most out of your Mediterranean cruise experience:
* Amalfi Coast: This seaside region of Italy surely numbers among the most spectacular coastlines in the world. Dotted along it are charming small towns where the pace of life is leisurely, the food is exceptional and the views are second-to-none. Amalfi and Ravello are the two must-see towns.
* Corsica: This island may be part of France, but it has an identity all its own. Its rugged mountains, glamorous small towns and beautiful beaches are all infused with a uniquely independent character. Small ships like Le Ponant, on a Tauck small ship Mediterranean cruise, are the only vessels that can access the small but spectacular harbor of Bonifacio. On shore, you can explore the town’s historic 12th-century fortress town and savor its views out to the sea.
* Elba: This small island is almost certainly most well-known as the place to which Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled. But what you might not know is that it’s also a place of exceptional natural beauty and home to excellent vineyards. Take the opportunity to sample some vintages while you explore the village of Porto Azzurro as you cruise the Mediterranean.
* Malta: The tiny Republic of Malta boasts an illustrious history. Throughout the centuries, its capital, Valletta, has been ruled by the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs and the Knights of St. John. The past is always present wherever you go in the fascinating town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and, essentially, an open-air museum showcasing Mediterranean civilization.
* Sicily: On this island, you’ll find a town whose beauty has been celebrated for centuries. Taormina, clinging to the cliffs above the Ionian Sea, was a favorite of Goethe, who in the 18th century called it “a patch of paradise.” Countless travelers through the ages have agreed – and you almost certainly will, too.
(BPT) - With family vacation time nearly here and plans for road trips underway, it’s tempting to give in to quick, unhealthy solutions while packing snacks for the road. Here are some creative ways to revitalize your family’s snack routine and help you enjoy delicious and nutritious snacks on the go.
Crunchy snacks are a must-have when hitting the road or catching a flight to your favorite family vacation spot. Snack bags full of granola, cereal and other crunchy favorites can be just the ticket to getting a healthier treat and can even help stave off a temper tantrum. Try making homemade granola, pretzels or even combining your kids’ favorite cereals and pretzels to give them a salty-sweet mix they will love. You can even add a dash of cinnamon to liven up the flavor of granola. Pack it in small plastic bags for easy portion control and access – important when you’re running through the airport.
Get your squeeze on
There are a number of fun, grab-and-go snacks on the market today that make it more convenient than ever to get your kids the nutrition they need when you’re on-the-go, like Mott’s Snack & Go pouches. Kids love these delicious apple sauce filled pouches, which are easy to open and are an excellent source of vitamin C. The convenient pouches can be chilled or eaten at room temperature, making them perfect for traveling with kids of all ages.
Cheese is a staple when it comes to keeping kids satiated since it’s loaded with protein, and an added bonus – calcium. String cheese is often the most popular among small children, since they can either bite into it or peel it off piece by piece, which helps keep them entertained. It’s available in a variety of flavors, from cheddar to mozzarella, so there’s something for every little one. Cheese also pairs well with sliced apples, grapes or crackers.
Hydration on the highway
It can be tempting to skip the beverages when you’re on long trips to avoid bathroom breaks, but staying hydrated is key to staying healthy and happy. Pack juice boxes or small bottles of water for car trips – the small size is perfect for your little one, but it also helps to keep track of how much everyone is drinking. For plane travel, pack empty reusable water bottles and fill them up at a water fountain or restaurant once you’re through security.
(BPT) - Rugged camping gear is no longer just for adventurers and niche outdoor sports. High-tech or activity-specific outdoor products are gaining popularity because they also come in handy every day and around the house.
“As it turns out, the durability and dependability of gear needed on remote hikes or climbs has many outdoor lovers reaching for those same items around the home,” says gifts.com editor Dan Tower, who specializes in sharing gift ideas catered to specific occasions and recipients.
Tower identified the following durable gear, as camping season approaches, for its versatility across a variety of settings.
Water, water everywhere
It wasn’t long ago that water bottles were strictly for camping. Now people enjoy having water within arm’s reach at all times. Whether it’s a need to stay hydrated or just the eco-sensible peace of mind gained by avoiding single use containers, a go-to water bottle has become a ubiquitous personal accessory.
Liberty Bottleworks make gorgeous, 100 percent BPA-free water bottles showcasing artwork sourced from emerging graphic artists. Arguably though, the best part is the bottles are the only American-made metal water bottles available, with production in Yakima, Wash. Plus, they’re made from 100 percent recycled aluminum that’s tough enough to pack for the jungle or urban jungle.
Let there be light
A headlamp may seem exclusive to adrenaline-pumping activities like rock climbing, caving and hiking at night, but this hands-free lighting source can be incredibly beneficial in a power outage, when changing a tire at night or more common activities like an evening bike ride.
The Energizer Micro Sport Headlight from Energizer is a new headlamp that offers a helpful, hands-free lighting source. While biking and running enthusiasts will especially appreciate its lightweight and slim profile, the headlight is similarly tailored for everyday activities like taking the dog for an evening walk. With a white spot light in the front and a red flashing light in the back, streets and sidewalks will be clearly illuminated, but more importantly, others will be able to see you.
Be my guest
The Pakmat Airbed is another great outdoor must-have that comes in handy all year. One of its most attractive attributes is that, when not in use, it is stored in a small canister. This benefit is obvious when backpacking and camping, but is also an advantage for apartment dwellers who don’t have ample storage space or a guest room, and want to easily accommodate an overnight guest.
Part sleeping pad and part inflatable bed, the Pakmat is a self-contained air mattress that needs no electricity to inflate. Its container also doubles as the pump that inflates it and makes it sleep-ready. When the the slumber party is over, the Pakmat rolls back up into its canister, ready for the next adventure.
Just in case
There’s a smartphone case that’s tough enough to weather nature’s nastiest elements, which will also assure parents their phones will be safer in the hands of young kids. The LifeProof Case takes gadget protection to an exciting new level. In addition to making your iPhone shockproof, the LifeProof case is also waterproof (and dirtproof and snowproof). Taking your iPhone up to 6 feet under water opens up a whole new world of picture- and video-taking possibilities – whether that’s on your next kayaking adventure or at a backyard pool. Outdoor gear has numerous uses outside of campgrounds and state parks. As spring starts to do its thing, many outdoor enthusiasts on the lookout for the latest gear should also consider the year-round benefits of their purchases.
With spring in the air, sports fans everywhere are turning their thoughts to the 2013 baseball season. Spring training already has excitement levels pumped, and soon the call of “play ball” will echo through the air.
To celebrate opening day and all the excitement of baseball, check out a new baseball tour in Cooperstown, N.Y., crafted by the legendary filmmaker Ken Burns. Baseball aficionados will recall that Burns’s PBS film “Baseball” earned nearly 20 different awards and award nominations and spawned a critically-acclaimed sequel, “The Tenth Inning.”
Working in partnership with Tauck, a leader in premium-quality guided travel, Burns has crafted “The Tauck Baseball Event: America’s Pastime.” This special one-time, four-day baseball tour (June 27 to 30, 2013) will be highlighted by opportunities to meet former players, including members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, enjoy presentations by authors and other noted baseball experts and attend an exclusive, after-hours evening inside the Hall of Fame.
Among other insider experiences, attendees will:
* During your baseball tour, meet Baseball Hall of Fame members Phil Niekro and Ozzie Smith. Niekro, nicknamed “Knucksie” for his famed knuckleball, won 318 games during a 24-year career. He twice led the National League in wins, and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1997. Smith is the all-time assist leader at shortstop with 8,375 assists, and the all-time leader at turning double plays, with 1,590. He was also the recipient of 13 consecutive Gold Glove Awards, and the starting shortstop for 10 consecutive All-Star Games. At the plate, he recorded 2,460 hits during his 19-year career.
* Another exciting aspect of this baseball focused tour is getting to meet and mingle with Ken Burns during an exclusive night at the Baseball Hall of Fame. Burns will deliver the event’s keynote speech and greet guests during an exclusive after-hours evening inside the National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum. The evening also includes a cocktail and dessert reception, plus the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tour the Hall of Fame’s exhibits when the facility is closed to the public.
* Meet author, ESPN commentator, and former major league outfielder Doug Glanville. Glanville collected an even 1,100 hits over a nine-year major league career, and amassed a 293-game errorless streak. He is also author of the baseball book, “The Game From Where I Stand,” was a featured expert in Ken Burns’s baseball films, and is a current analyst and commentator for ESPN.
* Meet other baseball experts – Also attending Tauck’s special baseball tour event are Daniel Okrent, author, editor, inventor of Rotisserie League (a.k.a. “Fantasy”) Baseball and a featured expert in “Baseball,” along with baseball historian Tom Heitz.
* Attend special baseball-themed activities. Guests will also enjoy an exclusive interactive experience with Niekro and Smith at Cooperstown’s iconic Doubleday Field, attend a period “Town Ball” game played with 19th-century rules, and even take a few swings in historic batting cages.
To learn more call 800-468-2825, or visit Tauck online.
(BPT) - One of the easiest and most fun ways to enjoy everything the water has to offer is on a personal watercraft (PWC). Personal watercrafts have taken great strides toward modernization; the PWCs of today are quiet, run on clean four-stroke technology engines, include significant safety features, are more stable, and are designed to accommodate up to three passengers.
Because advances in technology have made personal watercraft options from brands like Sea-Doo, Jet Ski, Kawasaki and WaveRunner more accessible and easier to use, more people are enjoying them each year. PWCs are also incredibly versatile and are becoming popular for towing wake boarders, tubers, and water skiers, exploring waterways and fishing. They can even be used as transportation to and from overnight camp sites.
To fully enjoy a PWC, riders must be responsible, safe and educated about operating one. Before you insert the key into the ignition, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
* Are you of legal age in your state to operate a PWC?* Do you know your craft and the specific ways it operates compared to other PWCs?* Have you read all instructional materials and labels from the manufacturer?* Do you know the “rules of the road” on the water?* Are you wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) and neoprene shorts?
If you answer “no” to any of these questions, it’s time to head back to the dock.
Responsible riding isn’t just about personal safety. It also includes being considerate of those around you. Be mindful of other vessels in your vicinity and how your rate of speed or wake affects them. And don’t forget about marine life: Respect ecologically sensitive areas.
The Personal Watercraft Industry Association offers important safety tips, rider rules, local laws and PWC etiquette for riders of every skill level. Information on instructional courses and downloadable safety materials, including a brief handbook titled Riding Rules for Personal Watercraft and PWC Orientation Checklist can be found at www.pwia.org. Additional information can also be found through the United States Coast Guard. Getting educated about riding a PWC responsibly will ensure you’re equipped to handle the vessel and can enjoy a fun-filled day on the water.
Before you get your feet wet, remember to ride responsibly. Visit www.pwia.org to learn more about riding responsibly, or visit us on twitter @PWIA_News.
(BPT) - Helping a child in need may be easier than you think, by redirecting a common resource that often just goes to waste.
Industry experts say Americans collectively are holding on to 9.7 trillion unused airline miles. Many people don’t have enough miles to qualify for reward travel. Others aren’t able to use the miles they have during the times that work for them. However, there is an easy way to use those miles to help change the lives of children with life-threatening medical conditions.
Make-A-Wish recently launched a concerted effort to raise airline miles and dollars to fund tickets for wishes that involve travel.
In 2012, Make-A-Wish granted nearly 14,000 life-changing wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions; 74 percent, or 10,360, of those wishes required air travel. To cover the cost of all of those wishes, Make-A-Wish would have needed approximately 50,000 airline tickets or 2.5 billion airline miles, or $37.5 million. Every mile or dollar donated helps Make-A-Wish focus more resources on reaching more eligible children in communities across the country, granting their one wish.
Each wish-come-true is a powerful experience in the life of the recipient, and everyone involved. The wish experience often is a pivot point in the course of a child’s treatment, and can make them feel better, and in some cases, even help them get better. A wish strengthens families, reduces stress, provides happiness and inspiration, and helps create strong community bonds.
Make-A-Wish is committed to the vision of someday granting the wish of every eligible child, every year. To help move closer to that vision, Make-A-Wish is encouraging individuals to join other supporters, like WWE Superstar John Cena, in donating airline miles or dollars at wish.org/tickets. The donation of airline miles is quick and easy; all one needs is their frequent flier number and basic personal information. Watch the Make-A-Wish video “Help Wish Kids Take Flight.”
Australia is packed to the brim with unforgettable sights and once-in-a-lifetime experiences, all beckoning adventurous travelers. Of course, with so much to do, the real task is narrowing it all down. That’s where a bit of planning (and lots of help from Australia tour planning pros) will make all the difference, ensuring that you get to see the very best of the land down under.
For many travelers, the sheer effort and knowledge required to plan a trip to Australia is overwhelming – so much so that they might put off the adventure. Australia tours, like those offered by Tauck, make the journey less about logistics and more about enjoyment – with expertly designed itineraries in place, all you need to do is sit back and enjoy. Many travelers are also surprised to find that tours can represent a cost savings of up to 40 percent over traveling on your own.
Tours are no longer the cookie-cutter option for travel, either, so adventurous spirits will enjoy them just as much as someone who appreciates a leisurely journey. The people you meet and sights you see in Australia are as unique as you are, but these are some of the key places you’ll enjoy during your tour:
1. Victorian Melbourne. As an introduction to Australia, it’s hard to top this elegant city. A sightseeing tour of its Victorian-age architecture is an ideal way to get a hands-on feel for the country’s history. Some of the key sights include St. Patrick's Cathedral, the Queen Victoria Market and the serene Royal Botanic Gardens. The ANZAC War Memorial sheds light on the sacrifices of Australia and New Zealand Army Corps in World War I. 2. Nature and culture at Uluru and in the desert outback. Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is Australia’s most iconic natural sight, and a necessary stop for any Australia tour. Watching the colors and shadows shift across it at sunset and sunrise is a mesmerizing experience. Australia's Aboriginal culture is strong in the Outback and the desert landscape around Uluru, so it’s also a great place to learn about millennia-old traditions and "dreamtime" legends. Guided tours focused on Aboriginal life show a more mystical side to this stark, impressive landscape.
3. Set sail in Sydney Harbour. If there’s one sight that instantly says "Australia," it’s the Sydney Opera House. For travelers on Tauck’s Australia tour there are two ways to get ideal views of this architectural gem: from the waters of Sydney's famous harbor and on an exclusive tour that lets travelers see all the impressive details. On one of Tauck's Australia travel options, participants can see it both ways, including a relaxing luncheon onboard the cruise as you take in Sydney Harbour Bridge and the cityscape.
4. Rainforests and reefs. In Australia’s Far North Queensland, nature is anything but restrained. Here the Great Barrier Reef, so big it’s visible from space, stretches out along the coast – providing visitors endless opportunities to see aquatic wildlife and vegetation. And near the town of Port Douglas, you can explore rainforests filled with primordial plants, either on foot or in the comfort of a gondola on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway.
5. Say hello to neighboring New Zealand. A world-class destination in its own right, New Zealand adds even more excitement to an Australia tour. From the stunning fjords of Milford Sound and rugged coastlines to wine country and geothermal wonders, New Zealand’s natural beauty is superlative. Local culture is enriched by Maori traditions, which you can experience at the Te Puia Maori Cultural Center in Rotorua.
Whether you’re a nature lover, culture vulture, history buff or simply a traveler looking for the destination of a lifetime, Australia should be on the top of your to-do list. To find out more about all that an Australia tour includes, visit Tauck online.
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