This is default featured slide 1 title
This is default featured slide 2 title
This is default featured slide 3 title
This is default featured slide 4 title
This is default featured slide 5 title
 

Category Archives: Travel

The Do’s and Don’ts for the British Virgin Islands

The British Virgin Islands provides some of the Caribbean’s best beaches, luxurious experiences and world-class service. Visitors can rent a luxury virgin gorda waterfront villa or stay at the all-inclusive resorts while spending their time relaxing and soaking up the sun. If this is your first time, check out these do’s and don’ts for first-time visitors to the British Virgin Islands.

Do Rent a Car

The best way to explore the British Virgin Islands is by car. Depending on which island you stay on, it’s possible to visit beaches, find spectacular views, hidden coves as well as many other attractive spots. If you rent a car as soon as you arrive, you’ll have the chance to visit and tour at your own pace.

Don’t Rely on Taxis

Unless you’re oozing with money and time, it’s not a good idea to rely on taxis to take you around the island. Because of its relatively small size, there aren’t that many roaming the street compared to other destinations around the world. And instead of being able to flag one down by the side of the road, it’s more likely you’ll need to order one. And when they do come, you can expect high fares.

Do Stay on Virgin Gorda

Out of 40 plus islands in the British Virgin Islands archipelago, the most popular place to take a vacation is on Virgin Gorda. The island is tiny at just eight square kilometres and packs a lot into its small size in terms of beaches, activities and experiences. Be sure to head to Spanish Town, the island’s capital for high-end restaurants and late night bars. And be sure to check out the Old Copper Mine, caves and grottoes too.

Don’t Expect a Cheap Getaway

Look at any brochure or photo of the British Virgin Islands and the first thing that tourists find striking is the stunning beauty of their landscapes. Long pristine coastlines share plots with small harbours filled with yachts and luxurious liners.And then combine this witha thriving local culture. But all of this comes at a price. When you factor in the flights, cost of accommodation and taking part in daily activities, the amountquickly adds up into the thousands. But at the same time, most visitors are more than happy to pay for their exclusivity and the chance tovisit one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful destinations.

Do Rent a Bicycle

Not sure if you want to rent a car in the British Virgin Islands? Consider getting a bicycle instead. Approximately 15 out of the 40 or so islands are inhabitedwithhigh-quality roads. Rather than getting a vehicle, renting a bikeon the island can be a great way of exploring. And not only will the two wheels give you flexibility but it’s also good exercise and reduces your carbon footprint.

Don’t Forget to Bring a Waterproof

While the islands tend to have a relatively stable climate, tropical downpours do happen at some times of the year. And this rain can catch tourists off guard if they’re not careful. You don’t want to be snapping photographs only to find all your electronics are soaked. The same is true when you’re using the boats to travel from one island to the next. It’s quite easy to get wet from the waves as the speedboats skip across the sea. So, get a good waterproof bag before going on your holiday.

Do Go Island Hopping

Even if you intend to sit on the beach and relax for the entire duration of your vacation, you should still try to find the time to explore more of the islands. Most people stay on Virgin Gorda, which is packed full of beaches, attractions and places to snap photographs. But you should also consider checking out some of the other famous spots including Marina Cay, Anegada and Peter Island.

Don’t Try to Visit the Nearby US Virgin Islands

It can be tempting to try to combine a trip to both the British and US Virgin Islands. But it’s probably not a good idea. Despite several boats passing between the two on a daily basis, most tourists will face challenges when it comes to visas and permits. Different systems govern both islands,and you might need to have a valid visa for the United States before you’re allowed to enter. The staff on the boats don’t always check paperwork before allowing you to board either. If you do want to visit the US Virgin Islands, you should probably do it on a separate trip.

Do Show the Caribbean Politeness

Anyone who has visited the Caribbean in the past knows how crucial it is to be polite and show respect towards the locals. Head out around breakfast,and you’ll be greeted with big hellos and good mornings from islanders. You should reciprocate this politeness and always be friendly and greet the people who you interact with.

Don’t Worry About the Crime

Compared to the other islands in the Caribbean, the British Virgin Islands are among the safest. You should still exercise reasonable caution when you’re out and about, but it’s not at the same level as other destinations like Jamaica or Trinidad. In fact, if you do face any problems, it will be most likely from other tourists.

Having a Great Holiday

It doesn’t matter what type of vacation you’re planningto have in the British Virgin Islands, always havea good idea about the things you should and shouldn’t do. Remember to take advantage of the environment, rent a car and to be polite and cheerful towards the locals.

Balearic Islands

These islands enjoy tropical sun throughout the year and hence you can even choose your winter vacation as the perfect time to visit these places. The beach holiday season starts in May and continues till October, however, these islands are full of activities throughout the year.

Mallorca/Majorca

If you are a nature lover, and love biking or walking, then explore the world heritage site of UNESCO-” Serra de Tramuntana.” Climbing the highest peak Puig Major will give you a feeling of success and elation. Being the biggest island in this region, this place has something or the other for everyone in the family.

For the kids in the family, the Palma aquarium is the perfect place to enjoy. Viewing the sharks being fed by the botanists may turn out to be the first of its kind of experience for many. The entire family can take the wooden vintage train from Palma to the sleepy town of Sóller. En route you can see acres of pine forests, olive groves and citrus orchards while the train passes through the Tramuntana mountains.

If you are a wine connoisseur, then visiting the village of Binnisalem might be a fruitful trip. José L. Ferrer, Macià Batle, Vins Nadal and Son Prim are some of the famous wineries in the area. You can witness the process of the transformation of the local varieties of Manto Negro and Callet grapes to red wines and Moll grapes to white wines.

The capital city of Palma will give you enough options to fill your shopping bags with souvenirs and tummies with exotic Mediterranean dishes. The little town of Arta too is a fantastic place to stroll around in the cafes and enjoy a lazy afternoon. If you enjoy a bit of history, then don’t miss the Talaiotic settlement of Ses Païsses just outside Arta. They are believed to be established more than 3,000 years ago.

For the bird-watchers, S’Albufera nature reserve is the perfect place to spend a day watching Eleonora’s falcons and purple herons. There are more than 200 species of birds which visit this natural reserve during different times of the year.

Menorca/Minorca

The lazy island of Menorca is perfect for history lovers to witness some of the unique monuments of the world. Taluas which were built for religious or astronomical purposes, Navetas” which are burial chambers and talaiots, or talayots which were built to be used as watch towers are known for their exceptional architectural value.

Dated back to 1000 BC and beyond, these monuments talk highly about the civilization of the natives of this region. Talua ‘Torralba d’en Salort” and ‘Naveta d’Es Tudons” are the most notable structures for the tourists, however, if you walk or hike in this area, you will explore many such structures.

Ibiza

Ibiza, is very popular destination among the youngsters and is known as an international party destination. World-famous DJs travel to this place to perform and this island is known for its exotic nightclubs.

Lively resorts of Playa d’en Bossa in San Antonio are the perfect places for any party animal who wants to groove to the latest tunes. There are club opening parties which start by mid-May and continue till October. If you are a hardcore rock music lover, then you would not miss the Ibiza Rocks music festival in San Antonio. The lavish partying ends with club closing festivals which start by end of September and continue till October.

To get the feel of the city, visit the Ibiza Dalt Vila which was built by the Phoenicians. The castle was built in the sixteenth century to keep the Turkish pirates out. The Cathedral is at the highest point and one will wonder how this small island’s inmates had made use of the strategic location to keep the city safe.

Diving is another favorite water sport and there are diving centers all over the island, including Active Dive in San Antonio and Subfari in Portinatx.

Aguamar waterpark is loved by the kids and adults alike with has seven slides to choose from. There as pools and playgrounds and separate picnic spots for the entire family to enjoy.

Vacation Condos for Rent

Value and Affordability

Most people want top-notch accommodations when vacationing. However, this type of lodging can come at a high price when choosing amongst various hotels. Instead of limiting your options to hotels and motels, expand the search to include condos for rent. Generally, tourists find that they will get more room and amenities for less expense when avoiding a hotel room. The money saved will put more in your pocket for vacation activities.

Lodging for Larger Parties

Extended families often enjoy vacationing together. Instead of reserving multiple rooms to accommodate everyone, the entire party could stay together in one unit. Many condos for rent have multiple bedrooms and living areas with plenty of room for people of all ages to spread out comfortably.

Extra Amenities

A full kitchen can be a perk of a condo. While you will probably enjoy eating out during your vacation, having a full kitchen can also be a plus. This will enable you to enjoy quiet meals at home on some occasions. Anyone with children or special dietary restrictions will appreciate this option. Washing machines and dryers in the unit will also make it possible to keep up with laundry, so you won’t have to pack as many outfits.

Enjoying Community

Staying in a hotel provides one type of vacationing experience, and staying in condos for rent provides a different type of environment. At a hotel, you will experience a tourist environment at your destination. At a vacation rental, you can get a taste of the local community in a new and different way. Within the local community, you may be surprised to learn about restaurants and destinations around the area that tourists do not typically visit.

Individual Flair

Hotels offer rooms with little character or personality. In contrast, other rentals can be different and unusual. You will likely experience individual decor and personality in the unit you select. It’s possible to base your selection upon your own individual taste to ensure that your unit fits your style.

Privacy

Many tourists appreciate the extra level of privacy they experience in individual units. Instead of squeezing into a tiny hotel room with occupants on every side, a condominium often offers more privacy. Without common lobby areas, private entrances offer just the level of seclusion desired for a getaway.

Joy of Backpacking

Backpacking requires a lot of research. Backpackers do not depend on packaged tours from travel agents because they make their own itineraries. They look out for cheap but suitable hostels. They also research a lot about the local food fare and where to find them. Make a list of tourist spots to see and find a way to navigate from one point to another. Most importantly, it is advisable to calculate your budget for the trip in advance.

Most of the backpackers seek inspiration and ideas from travel websites and travel blogs. They often pattern their itineraries with other traveller’s journey or they make their own route.

Some people often wonder why some travellers love backpacking, instead of the conventional packaged tours that are usually more convenient. The answer is that backpacking has numerous benefits including the following:

1. Acquiring New Wisdom

One important thing about this humble way of travelling is that you get to learn something new along the way. You can also learn a lot about people, culture and ideas from your firsthand experiences. It’s also a good opportunity to learn something new about yourself.

2. The Sights

The sights are the main reasons why tourists visit a place and backpackers often see tourist spots in a different light. It is quite different with packaged tours where you are brought to a certain place and only allowed to visit certain sights with limited amount of time.

3. Your Personal Time to Reflect

Backpackers enjoy their personal time and they happen to experience that during their travel time – those long hours of bus rides going to a tourist spot, or their idle time on the hostel. Those are great times to marvel on the beauty of the scenery or even have enough time for personal reflection.

4. Get to Know the Person Travelling with you

Travelling strengthens bonds and relationships between companions, and a backpacker’s itinerary often entails a lot of teamwork and rapport. Problems and troubles will most likely arise along the journey and your response and attitude towards the situation will eventually surface. Based on such situations, you will learn something about one another and will also ascertain your compatibility with each other.

5. Meeting New People

Backpacking creates opportunities to meet other travellers and locals alike. It is a good way to socialize and share travel stories, and find new friends and future travel buddies.

Static Caravans

For those who recently purchased static caravans it has hit them hard. With water leaks and burst pipes as well as boiler breakdowns the cost to unprepared caravan owners was immense.

Many should have learned a lesson, that winterisation of your Static Caravan is paramount to ensuring that costs are reduced. However, it seems that many will still forget what happened last year and not drain down their static caravans.

For many caravan owners the start of the 2012 season has been a difficult one. They started their season with costs arising from burst pipes which in some cases could run into £1000’s. Winterisation is something owners can forget, but they should learn lessons of the past and ensure they drain their caravan before winter.

Some caravan parks offer a year round maintenance plan to help owners ensure that their caravans are in tip-top condition. This allows them to help owners spend quality time when they visit their holiday home and for those who cannot get to their caravan in time for winter or are unsure of what to do.

It is paramount that before extreme weather conditions start and having purchased a static caravan for sale, it should be checked to ensure that the big investment is protected as owners cannot afford or it to be damaged.

With many worrying about their investments it seems that their holiday home investment is something that they sometimes forget. As with any harsh winter preparation seems to be the key to ensuring as little impact is made on holiday homes as possible.

If your caravan park doesn’t offer this service their are some things you can do.

1) drain off all pipes
2) disconnect from the main water supply
3) unplug any electrical equipment
4) turn off the electricity at the fuse box
5) turn off and disconnect your gas supply

Hiking in the Heat

1. Check Weather

Don’t just assume that you’d be fine on the trail. Hot weather comes with a lot of risks. It is important to check the weather forecast before planning a trip.

Humidity can be a sign of rainfall. Be prepared in advance.

Thunderstorms are also much more likely to occur when it’s hot. Keep yourself safe in all situations. So, check the weather before going out.

2. Start Early or Finish Late

Another good way to avoid heat is to start your trip early in the morning or in the late afternoon or evening. Skip the midday heat, don’t hike between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hike during the coolest time of day. Be an Early Bird or a Night Owl.

3. Choose Your Trail Wisely

Hiking in a shady forest is different from on an uncovered mountain pass. So, it’s important to choose your trail wisely. Your trail should include shady sections where you can rest for few minutes.

Try to find a trail that runs along running water/river.

You can get drinking water easily
You’ll be able to refresh yourself and cool down.
A trail at a lower height is preferred if the weather is going to be hot because a higher trail offers a lower amount of oxygen and stronger UV rays.

4. Light Apparel

In hot weather hiking, try to wear synthetic clothes as you’ll definitely sweat a lot and moisture-wicking clothes can prevent irritation.

It is better that you wear long sleeve shirts, hiking pants, and fine quality boots. The more of your body you can shield from the sun, the happier you’ll be.

Your boots should be made up of breathable fabric so wet feet won’t represent a problem during your hike. Your clothes should be in loose-fitting as it will allow for better airflow, which keeps you cooler.

5. Keep Yourself Hydrated

Staying hydrated is the key to every successful outdoor adventure. This is particularly essential when you’re hiking in hot weather.

Your body loses about one liter of water per hour on a regular hike. A challenging outing in hot weather can double that amount. Make sure you replenish, otherwise you’ll get dehydrated during a hike in hot weather.

Condominium Rental in Phuket

Bang Pae Waterfall

Phuket is not home to a great deal of large waterfalls, but Bang Pae Waterfall is without a doubt the biggest. A place to seek shade and cool down when the weather gets too hot, it is based in the Eastern part of the island and is accessible from condominium rental in Phuket. Picnic facilities are available to members of the public. The entrance fee is 200 baht per person, but it’s a magical place to spend the New Year with someone special.

The Big Buddha

Standing tall at 43 metres, the Big Buddha of Phuket is one of its most famous attractions. Expect it to get very busy during sunset, when the photo opportunities are indescribable. The Buddha is noticeable from various parts of the island and when staying at condominium rental in Phuket, you won’t have trouble getting to it via taxi, bus or tuk tuk. If you’re staying in a desirable location, you could even walk. Follow the red signs if you are not sure where to locate the tourist attraction.

Coral Island

The locals would refer to Coral Island as Koh Hae and if you plan on organising a trip to this great snorkelling spot, be sure to explore both of its amazing beaches – Banana Beach and Long Beach. Snorkel to get a glimpse at the colourful coral reef and when the sun sets on New Year’s Eve, lie on the sand and watch fireworks set off from afar, before retreating to your condominium rental in Phuket. Avoid making a bonfire or fire on this beach though, because it welcomes hundreds of tourists every day and therefore the area should be kept clean.

Info of Chicago Staycation

Can’t afford the Mexican Resort?- Take your kids to Pilsen the Mexican neighborhood right off the 18th st. pink line train stop. Your kids will be able to experience authentic Mexican culture in America rather than a sterile cruise and resort where everyone speaks English. Get educated at The National Museum of Mexican Art located at 1859 W. 19th St. Visit a Panaderia(Mexican bakery). Let your kids pick a yummy pastry. Don’t forget to pick one out for yourself too!

The week after, visit Chinatown! When the weather is warmer take the kids to Ping Tom Park. The possibilities of touring the world within Chicago are endless.

Resort activities- How about taking your kids and doing Zumba together? This works better for children 7 and older. I took my son to a Zumba class with the permission of the teacher. Set the example for your kids that movement is wonderful.

How about family karaoke? A great place to do karaoke with the family over dinner is at Hiromi’s located on 3609 W. Lawrence. It’s a quaint family run Filipino/Japanese karaoke restaurant. No stage needed. You can sit right at the table and sing your heart out with the kids.

Tour boats in Chicago can be expensive. Have you ever thought of Chicago’s Water Taxi? An All day pass is $10.00 for the weekend. You can get on and off at various points in downtown Chicago as well as Ping Tom Park in Chinatown.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the wonderful museums. A favorite museum of both tourists and Chicagoans alike is the Museum of Science and Industry. A highlyinteractive museum that will keep the kids busy for hours.

Domestic Holidays

Firstly, some of the best British holidays take place among the tranquil beauty of the Scottish highlands. As the UK’s northernmost region, the highlands offer stunning scenery in a truly remote setting. Whether it’s an exciting boat ride around the famous Loch Ness in search for the illustrious Nessie or simply enjoying a pint among locals in a cosy Scottish pub, you can personalise your highlands holiday for optimal enjoyment.

Over at the opposite end of the country are two of the best English counties for a relaxing domestic holiday – Devon and Cornwall. You can get to know the southwest corner of Britain by exploring the National Marine Aquarium, the famous Dartington Crystal headquarters, Dartmoor National Park, the Penlee House Gallery, St. Michael’s Mount and many other fascinating landmarks that have given the region its glowing reputation.

Of course, you can’t discuss domestic holidays in the UK without mentioning some of the country’s famous cities. London is one of the world’s most-visited cities for a reason, and you can guarantee that you’ll never be bored when visiting the bustling English capital. For a similar experience without all the crowds, you can visit the Scottish capital of Edinburgh. Between its charming ‘Royal Mile’ and stunning castle, Edinburgh is a must-see city for everyone who calls the UK home. Other great cities to explore include Liverpool, which continues to emerge as a hub for art and culture and Birmingham, England’s second largest city and home to some of the finest urban parks in the country.

Finally, one of the best ways to get the most out of your domestic holiday is to take a UK coach tour. Coach holidays will take you directly to the country’s best attractions within whatever region you most want to visit. For example, you can get to know the heart of England by exploring its historic midland counties, home to Shakespeare’s birthplace Stratford-upon-Avon and the spa town of Matlock Bath. Other itineraries available include, Southwest England and the Cotswolds, Norwich and England’s East Coast, and the Isles of Mull, Iona and Argyll, to name but a few.

Manage Vacation Rental

Start a journal to record all inquiries for your property. Write down their name, address, phone number and email address, the number of people in their party and dates that they are interested in renting. Keep this information regardless of whether they end up renting or not. It will be useful later when you have cancellations or available rental periods.

In the second half of your journal, record all bookings for your property. Keep a calendar to record which weeks are booked, adding the name and dates for each party. This will show availability and the weeks that are taken at a glance. Bring this along with you whenever you can. You never know when you will meet someone who is interested in your property. Add your housekeeper’s schedule to the bottom of this calendar or add it to your journal. It’s important to give a copy of this to your housekeeper each time changes are made so you are always in sync.

Start two email lists and record each inquiry to the first list and each renter to the second list. Send out specials, cancellations or available weeks to the emails on each appropriate list. Use this to inform your renters of upcoming events in the area.

Keep good, accurate records of your rental income, security deposits and refunds, and all of your house expenses. For income, record the dates received, who it’s from and rental dates. Record security deposits separately. Create a spreadsheet or record in the second journal notebook, all income and expenses with totals for each month. Identify each transaction with as much information as possible. Use a box or file folder to keep all pertinent receipts for tax purposes. Keep everything you need for your rental business in one place. This will make it easier for you at year-end.