Archive for Travel

3 Tips for Traveling on a Budget

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ID-10011595As a frequent traveler, I have always thought how nice it would be to just be able to do my business without any worry about how much money I was spending. While I am not on a super-strict budget on my journeys, I certainly have to establish some parameters when it comes to my spending, especially since I am ‘’on the road’’ for long stretches. The truth is, you don’t need a ton of money to enjoy traveling, and here are some helpful tips to watch your spending while still having a good time.

Don’t Feel a Need to Always be Doing and Seeing Something

You don’t want to put yourself on so strict a budget that you can’t enjoy what your destination has to offer, but at the same time, don’t feel the need to always be doing and seeing something, even if you don’t necessarily feel compelled to partake. Have fun, but don’t spend money on activities simply because you feel like you should be doing them because you are here. Save your money for the stuff you really value, like a nice dinner or a treatment at the spa.

Look into Houses and Apartments Rather than Hotels

Having a tendency to spend a longer period in one place, I frequently rent houses or apartments rather than stay in a hotel. It typically translates to a lot more space for the same, or even less, than I would pay for a hotel. The primary reason I enjoy doing this is the opportunity to prepare my own food. I still go out to eat plenty, but I typically make at least one meal at home. Not only does it save me a lot of money, I stray less from my healthy eating habits. Food is a major expense when traveling, and one that is unavoidable; we all have to eat. A little bit of self-catering can stretch your budget quite nicely.

Go Where Your Money will Take You the Farthest

The cost of a vacation varies enormously depending on where you are going. When you have figured out your budget, think about where that money can go the farthest. This is not to say that you should only pick a destination based on how cheap it is, but depending on the amount of money you are working with, certain destinations may offer a more luxurious experience than others. Think about your travel preferences and choose accordingly. If you dream of visiting Singapore or Hawaii but the only way you could afford it would be to stay in the most low-level accommodations, and eat the most basic of food, are you okay with that? Some people have no issue with this super-budget travel, but if you do, go somewhere else where you can get that nicer hotel and eat a nice meal.

About the Author:Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys blogging about all things travel; if you are visiting Niagara Falls, she highly recommends staying at the Three Diamond Inn.

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December 24, 2013 |  by  |  Travel  |  Comments Off

Taking Advantage Of A Corporate Condo For An Extended Medical Stay

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Medical Extended Stay Housing

When on an extended stay for medical purposes, corporate condos and apartments are recommended for optimal comfort. Medical tourism is a growing industry and more people are requiring extended accommodations for this reason. During a medical stay, comfort is critical to keep stress levels low and accelerate recovery times. This article will take a close look at the advantages of staying in a furnished apartment or condo when seeking treatment away from home.

 

Benefits of Corporate Condos For Extended Medical Stays

In a hotel, other guests constantly arrive and leave, walking through the shared hallways and slamming doors. The hotel environment can go from quiet and peaceful to noisy within moments. Furthermore, the level of service you receive from the hotel’s staff is often unpredictable. With a shift change, it can go from accommodating to unresponsive, and even rude. This is not conducive to stress-free living and recovering from a medical treatment.

Furnished corporate apartments and condos are less transient. The residents living nearby tend to be more consistent, maintaining normal hours.

The cost of leasing a corporate apartment is typically less than the cost of staying in a hotel room. You’ll also have access to a wider range of amenities, including a fully-outfitted kitchen and personal washer and dryer. Furnished temporary housing is more spacious, offering up to 800 square feet compared to a standard hotel room’s 300 square feet.

Here are several other benefits of staying in corporate housing for an extended medical stay:

Single Room Versus Several Rooms. A corporate apartment or condo offers more privacy than a hotel room. The accommodations are typically designed with two or more rooms. That means when people visit you, they’ll have more space to relax. They can let you sleep by using an adjacent room to talk, read, or watch television.

Limited Furniture Versus Fully-Furnished. A furnished apartment is equipped with all the comforts of home. You’ll have couches, beds, chairs, and tables, along with a full kitchen to cook meals. These and other amenities make the living space more comfortable, which can help speed your recovery.

Meals In Restaurants Versus A Fully Stocked Kitchen. Eating restaurant food each day can become expensive. If you stay in a hotel, plan to spend approximately $300 to $400 each week on food. By contrast, you’ll be able to cook your own meals when you stay in temporary housing. Groceries may cost as little as $200 for the entire month.

Also, keep in mind that it may be difficult to find healthy menu options at restaurants. Cooking your own meals is generally healthier, which can play a major role in helping to accelerate your recovery.

Living Out Of A Suitcase Versus Unpacking. Some people enjoy living out of a suitcase for the sense of freedom it provides them. Most people, however, prefer a more permanent lifestyle in which they can better organize and manage their lives. Furnished apartments and condos provide all the comforts of home, allowing you to unpack and enjoy your stay.

Coin Laundry Versus A Washer And Dryer. Laundromats are expensive, inconvenient and in some cases, less sanitary than a personal washer and dryer. Temporary housing offers washers and dryers in each unit. They’re private, clean, and make washing laundry more convenient.

Expensive Local And Long-Distance Calling Versus Free Local And Low-Cost Long Distance. Calling from a hotel room can be expensive if the hotel does not offer free local calling. By contrast, most corporate apartments and condos provide free local calling and low-cost long distance calls as part of your lease.

Paid Internet Versus “Free” High-Speed Internet. Although most hotels offer free WiFi to paying guests, many hotels charge between $5 and $15 each day for access. This can significantly drive up the cost of staying at a hotel. The lease for your furnished apartment includes high-speed internet.

Higher Total Cost Versus Lower Total Cost. The total monthly cost to stay in a hotel room can easily reach $5,000 per month. The total monthly cost to stay in a corporate apartment or condo often costs less than $3,000 per month. While medical expenses are already high, corporate housing helps to keep your living expenses low.

Consider Fully-Furnished Corporate Housing For Extended Medical Stays

A furnished condo or apartment will normally be less expensive than a hotel room for an extended medical stay. Additionally, by comparison, many corporate housing properties are luxurious, offering far more than a standard hotel room. While you enjoy a more peaceful stay, along with substantial cost savings, you can concentrate fully on recovering after your treatment.

July 19, 2013 |  by  |  Travel  |  Comments Off

Tips for Choosing a Sleepaway Camp for Your Child

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If you are thinking about sending your child to sleepaway camp for the first time,it may seem like a daunting task—so many places to choose from. You are probably a bit anxious over sending your baby away for an extended amount of time, but this experience can offer so many benefits—new friends, new skills and increased confidence, to name a few. Here are some tips to help you find the best camp for your child’s needs.

Figure Out Wants and Needs

The first step in choosing the right camp is getting clear on wants and needs—that of you and your child. What are you hoping your child will gain from this experience? Are you most concerned with boosting confidence, fostering independence or learning a new skill? Are there any issues with your child that may place limitations on what she is able to do? Do you think your child will benefit from an environment that is more structured or that focuses on children doing more of their own thing at their own pace? For the most part, you want to figure out what you think it is your child needs most and pick the camp that you think can best provide that for her.

Safety Considerations

When considering the right sleepaway camp for your child, read up on safety procedures and policies. What is the facility doing to ensure the safety of your child. Look for accreditations such as one from the American Camp Association, which means that the camp has met the stringent safety standards set forth by this organization. Accreditations such as these typically mean that the camp has gone above and beyond the regulations set forth by the state where it is located.

Size

The size of the camp will certainly shape a large part of the experience. Sleepaway camps can have anywhere from less than 100 children to as many as 400. A smaller camp may produce a more intimate experience where everyone can really get to know each other and children can receive more specialized attention. But, many larger camps often break down the children into units and it is still possible to get that same level of attention even with a larger number of children in attendance. On a related note, find out about the counselor to camper ratio—the fewer children a counselor is responsible for, the more individual attention your child may receive. Of course, these smaller camps will book up faster so if that is important to you, make your reservation sooner than later.

Activity Offerings

Sleepaway camps tend to fall into two broad categories—specialty, where the focus is heavy on one particular activity and traditional, where there is a mix of activities, with a variety of team and individual sports and water activities being offered. If your child is particularly passionate about a certain activity, a specialty camp may be the way to go. Regardless of what you choose, you want to find out about whether the camp encourages children to try new skills, philosophy on competition, what activities are required, is instruction provided and how much choice do the children have in selecting their activity.

Camp Preparation

Once you have decided on the camp you want to send your child, begin preparing them for the process. Perhaps you can start giving them more responsibility and independence to prepare themselves—have them make their own bed in the morning or prepare their own breakfast. Get them involved in the process in any way you can. Prepare a checklist of what they need. Consider getting some iron on clothes labels so her clothing does not get lost or mixed up. Ask your child about any fears they may have and openly discuss them.

 

About the Author: Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who blogs about various parenting and childcare topics.

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May 29, 2013 |  by  |  Travel  |  Comments Off

How Can You Deal with Language Barriers When Traveling?

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1157986_barricadaIf you are ready to travel to a foreign land get ready for some interesting situations. Sure, many people will speak English but if you travel even a little off the beaten path you will run into people who might not speak English and this can make for some pretty good learning experiences. This situation will arise from time to time because many older individuals might not speak more than a word or two  of English, because frankly there was no need for these individuals to learn a language outside of their native tongue. If you can accept this fact you should have no problems embracing these situations and learning from these experiences.

Do not get too stressed out over these situations as you will quickly learn that using hand signals can get you what you need to know in almost all circumstances. If you are willing to be creative you can easily connect with an individual and convey what you need to motioning using your hands, and this is the case in most instances. Just be creative and you will break through many barriers that most people stress over.

Learn a Few Basic Words in the Language Before You Travel to Dissolve Language Barriers

Simply knowing a few key words or phrases when you are traveling to a new land. If you know how to ask for direction you will have found the key to rarely if ever getting lost in a foreign land. Of course this helps if you are in a taxi cab or tuk tuk already but you can always ask somebody on the street who can point you in the right direction or send you to someone who speaks English. Asking how much something costs or even extending a traditional, “Thank You”, “Hello”, or “Welcome” can go a long way when traveling to a foreign land. Many people will bend over backwards when you are simply willing to learn a few words in their language and will help you get whatever you want. Put yourself in their position. Imagine when you encountered someone who was a foreigner willing to speak a few words of English to you. You no doubt lit up and became happy, appreciating the individual trying to speak with you, and the person in your travel country feels the same way.

Be Prepared to Learn Some Form of Sign Language

I say this having fun with the statement because you will become more adept at using hand signals than you could possibly believe when you decide to travel abroad. Some people will just not understand what you are saying, even if the individuals are fluent in English, because your accent might be a bit much to understand. Perhaps you are using a word or phrase the individual was never introduced to so be prepared to get down to using your hand and body gestures to get your point across and foster communication. You will be stunned at how effective a means of communicating this is, as simply gesturing can form an instant signal as to what you would like to communicate to the other party.

Simply be ready to encounter these situations persistently because they will pop up from time to time. Do not get frustrated as many individuals are beyond helpful and do whatever they can to help you get what they want. Many people are friendly, and naturally very inviting to strangers, so simply be patient, smile, laugh a little and get creative in dissolving the barrier.

Use these tips to deal with language barriers when traveling today.

Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who has a passion for travel; if you are looking to learn more about a destination, check out Expedia for guides on a variety of trips, such as Fiji vacations.

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January 30, 2013 |  by  |  Travel  |  Comments Off

How to Spend Your Free Time when Traveling

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Are you sick of sipping Mai Tais at the pool? Are you fed up with downing Mojitos at the beach? Let’s face it; you can only live the dream life for so long before it becomes boring. It is OK to live a life of leisure, but it gets dull, and drab, after a while, thinking only about you, and your next massage. You might find this silly, this whole idea of service, when you could be spending weeks on end, living the high life, but the truth is that you find true happiness when you mix helping others with focusing on yourself. You need to have a hobby, or series of hobbies, when traveling for extended period, and if you focus your hobby on delivering a service, even better.

Spend Time at an Animal Sanctuary

During my trip through Southeast Asia I devoted 2 weeks of my time to helping out at an elephant sanctuary in Sri Lanka. Awesome experience, a once in a life time type deal here. Now you can also volunteer at foundations which support street dogs or stray cats, as the stray animal population is way out of control in many parts of the world. Just set aside a few days, or weeks, and you can find an enriching and fulfilling activity, and you will also feel great helping out sentient beings who need your assistance.

Some people from Western countries have no idea how dire the street dog situation is throughout the world. After spending time in spots like Bali and Phuket, Thailand, I realized how these tropical paradises are not so much a paradise for many of the suffering street dogs. Thank goodness, awareness is spreading, due to the efforts of many animal lovers, and what better way to spend some of your spare time than to alleviate the suffering of some of these creatures. My boyfriend and I used to feed stray dogs on the way to the beach in Phuket; it was fun, and it made us feel good. It takes but a few minutes to do, and you might just brighten up your 4 legged friend’s day, so go ahead and help out.

Start an Online Business

Do you need an outlet for your creativity? Consider starting a blog, or running some other online business. You can generate money online through a free to start program like Google Adsense, or you can start an affiliate marketing opportunity. If you do not mind recruiting individuals, try network marketing, or MLM. You can generate steady cash flow online and help fund your trip if you are willing to start an entrepreneurial venture.  Set aside a few hours each day to work your venture. Treat it like an offline business. You will have to invest time and energy to engage in free marketing methods, like using social media, or blogging, or you will have to invest money in paid marketing methods, but these investments are worth it, in the long run.

Hey Do Not Forget to Work Out!

You need to continue – or start – a workout regimen, especially if you intend to travel for an extended period of time. Too many people fall into the dangerous travel laze, never exercising a second and taking taxi cabs or tuk tuks everywhere on their trip. This results in a bulging waistline and can also lead to a series of health problems. Spend some of your free time, running, walking or jogging, or rent and ride your bicycle. Or, if you are by the beach, get in at least 20 to 30 minutes of swimming each day for a demanding, calorie-burning workout. Take care of your body to more fully enjoy your travel experience.

Fill your free time with productive activities, generate good karma and enjoy your travels!

Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who has a passion for travel and chose to be a writer because she can do it from anywhere in the world;  if you are traveling throughout the lovely state of Iowa, check out Sleep Inn Hotel & Suites in Mount Vernon Iowa .

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December 18, 2012 |  by  |  Travel  |  Comments Off