Monday, September 28, 2009

Planning Gay Holidays to Bhutan

By Howie Holben

The nation of Bhutan is a tiny Buddhist kingdom tucked into the remote Himalayas between India and Tibet. Here, visitors will discover a rich way of life that has only recently begun to be exposed to modern mindsets and Western culture. This devoutly Buddhist country is home to a distinct culture that is based on age-old Buddhist beliefs and practices and maintains a solid footing in tradition. The government of Bhutan monitors tourism closely as national leaders work hard to protect the cultural heritage and pristine natural beauty of Bhutan, balanced with allowing the adoption of modern technologies and conveniences to enhance the lives of the Bhutanese people.

However, while Bhutanese culture may be traditional and conservative in many ways, the people of Bhutan warmly welcome tourists on gay vacations, or visiting as part of a planned gay travel tour, just as they do any other guest. The number of tour groups and tourists allowed to enter Bhutan each year is restricted by the government as part of an overall effort to preserve the cultural heritage and breathtaking natural beauty of this long-isolated country, so those who have the opportunity to venture into this mystical land as part of an organized tour group should take advantage of the chance to experience all that Bhutan has to offer.

Bhutan has no LGBT scene to speak of; therefore, a gay vacation planned to this magnificent mountain kingdom would certainly not be planned with the intent of experiencing a distinct LGBT community or visiting LGBT establishments. Of course, this is not to say that same-gender behaviors and relationships do not occur. These activities are actually common and accepted and there is a significant amount of bisexual sexual behavior practiced among Bhutanese men.

Most of these men are either married to women or are monastic monks and these behaviors are not considered taboo, and do not influence how one identifies. In fact, there are no words to describe sexual orientation in this regions language; sexual expression is simply part of everyday life. A law from over 100 years ago is still on the books that criminalizes same-sex sexual behavior and allows for punishments that include life imprisonment; however, there are no indications that this law has ever been enforced.

Partaking in gay travel in Bhutan is an experience that provides the opportunity to experience a community and culture that has been left relatively untouched by Western culture and offers an ideal environment for spiritual awakening or renewal. Bhutan gay vacations include opportunities to visit Buddhist temples, hike through the Himalayas and explore sacred sites.

To fully enjoy all that Bhutan offers, it is recommended that you plan your gay holidays or vacations to this majestic land through very well. This will help to ensure that you are given the opportunity to discover the beauty and spirituality of this magnificent country, while respecting Bhutans natural and cultural richness.

About the Author:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Blue Whales - The Largest Animal That Ever Lived

By Terry Hunefeld
Blue Whales are magnificent creatures. One of the very best places to view them is on a boat from Southern California. Whale watching trips go out regularly from San Diego, Los Angeles, Oxnard, Ventura and Santa Barbara.

Blue Whales are the biggest animals that have ever lived on the face of the earth " far bigger than the largest dinosaurs. They have been weighed up to 180 tons which is 20,000 pounds heavier than a DC-10. The largest elephants only weigh a bit over five tons. Blue Whales have been measured by scientists up to 100 feet long, although today the largest average around 75 - 80 feet. They have been measured at more than 110 feet - compare that to the longest dinosaur skeleton of less than 90 feet from tail to nose.

There are many myths about these creatures, one is that the heartbeat can be heard for 20 miles which is ridiculous because nobody can even hear a Blue Whale heartbeat from ten feet away.

Interestingly, one of the smallest seabirds on earth, Cassins Auklet, and the Blue Whale, the largest animal ever to have lived on earth, both subsist primarily on the same prey: krill. Blue Whales are baleen whales. Instead of teeth, they have a series of flexible plates called baleen that they use to strain up to four tons of these tiny shrimp like crustaceans from the ocean each day.

Blue Whales have been known to interbreed occasionally with the second largest animal on earth, the Fin Whale. Four of these hybrids have been scientifically documented by DNA analysis.

Blue Whales are often found alone or with one other Blue Whale. We do not know for sure how long Blue Whale pairs might stay together because it is so difficult to track them as they cross entire oceans. Blue Whales can rarely be found in groups 45 whales if there is a lot of food (krill) in the area - however this is very rare because they do not usually form large pods like some other species of whales.

Blue Whales are fast, strong swimmers with an average speed of about 12 miles per hour with an ability when alarmed to move at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour.

Blue Whales are known to inhabit oceans all over the world. They are especially attracted to Pacific Ocean waters off California and Mexico which can host up to 30% of the worlds entire population during the warmer spring and summer months due to the excellent supply of food.

Blue Whales can be found in every ocean on earth, but experts still don't know where they breed or give birth. They are known to frequent feeding grounds in tropical, moderate and cold polar oceans, and it is suspected that they give birth in warmer climates.

Blue Whales once numbered in the hundreds of thousands until man developed the technology (like exploding harpoons) to exploit these magnificent creatures in the early twentieth century. For nearly 40 years they were hunted almost to extinction by whalers who destroyed 99 percent of all Blue Whales on earth. They became protected in 1966 when on the brink of extinction. Its estimated that there are only 5,000 to 10,000 Blue Whales left worldwide today.
About the Author:
Terry Hunefeld retired from a CEO career in 2007 to pursue his passion of going to sea to observe birds and marine mammals. He and his wife Ann own the beautiful Inn at Moonlight Beach on the Pacific Ocean of San Diego. If you are looking for a Del Mar Bed and Breakfast or a Carlsbad Bed and Breakfast, be sure to check out Inn at Moonlight Beach.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Islands You Should Go Visit in the


By Matthew James


Caribbean islands are one of the centers of tourism in the world. Travelers visit here for beaches, sun, and water activities. These islands are very popular with US residents. There are many small islands in the Caribbean that attract tourists in groups. These places make people think about cool breezes, swaying palms trees, white sand beaches, clear water rum and cocktails after sunset. The most popular islands in the Caribbean are Barbados, Puerto Rico, Saona Island in Dominican Republic, Haiti, St. John.

One of the best places to enjoy the sun in this part of the world is Barbados. This island is relaxing, has great food, really friendly locals who speak great English, beautiful beaches, and clear water. This is an old British colony and there is a lot history here. There are great gardens, historic churches, and a really cool museum. If you are looking to relax, you should consider Barbados.

Puerto Rico- This romantic spot is great for newly weds and couples who want to pamper themselves in luxury and comfort. The island has many great spas and resorts. Then there is the island's natural beauty. Besides surfing, scuba diving, snorkeling and other water sports, the wildlife and adventure on this island is also great. Not only that, Puerto Rico has a rich cultural heritage and a vibrant culture that cherishes dancing, partying, and celebrations. On this island, you can spend your days enjoying the outdoors and then spend your night celebrating with good dancing and great dining.

If you are looking for a remote destination, you should head to Saona Island. Saona Island is part of the Dominican Republic. This island is famous and has appeared in a lot of Hollywood movies. The island has great wildlife and fish around it. You can swim and scuba dive as well as take a tour of the island on a catamaran. There are a lot of things to do here besides the beach so despite the island being small, you can stay busy.

The last island that should be on your list is the island of Haiti. Haiti was one the first independent nations in the Caribbean. Founded by Christopher Columbus, this island is lush with fruits and towering mahogany trees. The island is home to a lot of bird and animal species found nowhere else in the world. Haiti also has exotic and mouth watering delicacies well known to tourists who gorge on the delicacies. Most people know Haiti from the bad press coverage it gets but there is more to the island than that and it is worth your time.

The tropical islands in this part of the world are stunning. For those in North America who can't afford an expensive holiday to Fiji or the Seychelles, this area of the world is just as good. You'll find everything you could want from a tropical island here and the beauty is that they are cheap too. When you plan your next holiday, check out this part of the world.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

New York Life and Bazaars

By Mercie Hallow

There was a time when I overheard my sister in law claimed that New York was her favorite city in the world. She told me of her fun encounters in this city with jubilant eyes and enthusiastic expression. I second the motion. New York is a very charming city and is a place that is bursting with life and people. Every corner and every street in New York is a great place to be. New York is one place that spells out fun and fabulous.

New York is a city full of shops, retail outlets, malls, boutiques that cater to the tastes of people from different walks of life. The city is filled with restaurants, historical edifices, offices, theatres, apartments, churches, schools and also well, queer spaces. The list is endless. You can almost find anything during these events, be it a piece of jewelry, a yummy farms produce or a lovely hand made item. The city is also a perfect venue where crafts fairs and bazaars are usually held because of its wide population.

Creative New Yorkers are able to create a good business opportunity through crafting. They are people who successfully managed to turn their hobby to a money making opportunity. Crafts making is not a daunting task, as a matter of fact it is a piece of cake and a no-brainer for people who are naturally gifted with creativity and talent. Coupled with a good business sense and financial education, their little hobby can be a successful business.

A New York craft fair is always colorful, lively and fun. Numerous pieces for sale that is combined in different color and textures excite the buyers and give them a pleasing sight. The fair is sometimes coupled with a live band and dance performance which further enrich the experience. A New York craft fair is an event that is bursting with life.

New York bazaars fascinate me. I cannot wait to attend one and have lots of fun!



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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Ithaa Undersea restaurant at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

Ithaa Undersea restaurant sits 16 feet below sea level at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, a hotel resort in Hilton's luxury brand that occupies two islands.
Maldives is a country of almost 1,200 islands about 300 miles from the southernmost points of India and Sri Lanka.Diners eat beneath glass walls at the Ithaa Undersea restaurant. The cuisine is decribed as Maldivian-Western, and the restaurant seats about 12.
The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner daily from 11 a.m. to midnight, according to the resort's website.
The hotel recommends making reservations up to 14 days in advance at the restaurant, a great place for cocktails while watching reef and marine life above.



Celebrate Earth Day

By Swift Nature Camp

Million people across America celebrated the first Earth Day in 1970. It was a bad time for the environment, their was smog and polluted rivers caught fire. Today, Earth Day is celebrated annually no longer natiionally but around the world. It was the efforts of grassroots organizations, and citizens like you, combined with the government that started this day of environmental recognition which has evolved into a worldwide campaign celebrating our environment.

The earth is in better shape than those early days yet, there is a staggering divide between children and the outdoors. Richard Louv, child advocacy expert, directly blames the lack of nature in the lives on today's wired generation. He calls this phonomenon nature-deficit order and he links it to some of the most alarming trends for our kids. Including rises in obesity, attention disorders, and depression.

Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder has spurred a national dialogue among educators, health professionals, parents, developers and conservationists. This is a book that will change the way you think about your future and the future of your children. The bottom Line we and our youth need to spend time outdoors.

Schools have realized this for some time. Teacher Judith Millar, Lucy Holman School, Jackson, NJ, more than five years ago, began an environmental project in the school's courtyard. It has become quite an undertaking--even gaining state recognition. It contains several habitat areas, including a Bird Sanctuary, a Hummingbird/ Butterfly Garden, A Woodland Area with a pond, and a Meadow. My classes have always overseen the care of this "Outdoor Classroom", but now it's practically a full time job!! My students currently maintain the Bird Sanctuary--filling seed and suet feeders, filling the birdbaths, building birdhouses, even supplying nesting materials! In addition, this spring they will be a major force in the clean up and replanting process. They always have energy and enthusiasm for anything to do with "their garden".

Despite schools doing their best to get kids to play outside, we as a nation have lost the ability to just send our kids out to play. Yet, it seems we are learning that Summer Camps help children grow into mature adults. A new British study finds that most modern parents overprotect their kids. Half of all kids have stopped climbing trees, and 17 percent have been told that they can't play tag or chase. Even hide-and-seek has been deemed dangerous. And that dreaded stick..."will put out someone's eye".

Can technology be the blamefor the decline in outdoor play? Adrian Voce says "Children are not being allowed many of the freedoms that were taken for granted when we were children," "They are not enjoying the opportunities to play outside that most people would have thought of as normal when they were growing up."

According to the Guardian, "Voce argued that it was becoming a 'social norm' for younger children to be allowed out only when accompanied by an adult. 'Logistically that is very difficult for parents to manage because of the time pressures on normal family life,' he said. 'If you don't want your children to play out alone and you have not got the time to take them out then they will spend more time on the computer.'

Many play providers see the benefits to children of taking risks. "Risk-taking increases the resilience of children," said one. "It helps them make judgments," said another. We as parents want to play it safe and we need to rethink thr benefit of adventure in a childs life.

Examples of risky play that should be encouraged include fire-building, den-making, watersports and climbing trees. These are all activities that a Summer camp can provide. At camp children to get outside take risks and play, this while being supervised by responsible young adults.

Swift Nature Camp is a Traditional OUTDOOR CAMP in Wisconsin. Where Boys and Girls Ages 6-15. enjoy Nature, Animals & Science along with Traditional camping activities. Swift is a Nature Camp that develops a childs desire to know more about nature but also on acquiring a deep respect for it. Our philosophy is to engage children in fun-filled learning through active participation and natural curiosity.

Our Noncompetive atmosphere promotes all skill levels. Swift Nature Camp provides activities that allows children to excel and enjoy thus, giving each camper the opportunity to participate and have fun, rather than worry about results.

Out-of-camp trips, such as biking, canoeing, backpacking and horse trips are a great way to get kids out in nature. Kids love to discover new worlds and learn to be comfortable in them. This is why Swift is so much more than just a SCIENCE SUMMER CAMP.

Earth day has provided so much..but their is more we can learn from nature. This summer help your child regain their appreciation for nature by sending them to Swift Nature Camp. This is an opportunity that will be treasured the rest of your child's life.



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Do Not Go To Camp without Asking

By Lonnie Lorenz

Here are some things to consider when visiting a camp, watching a video or flipping through the brochure. iPlease note many of these areas may affect your child's stay at summer camp. Be sure to ask the camp director if you can not find information that you feel is a top priority for your child.Summer Camp

Facilities Take careful note of the condition of the facilities. Are the buildings well maintained, or do they show clear signs of a lack of maintenance. Though well worn and rustic buildings are perfectly ok, make sure that they are not being neglected. Specific things you'll want to look for and ask about include:

Bunks: * Do children live in cabins, tents, or dorms? * How many beds are in each cabin? * Are they bunk beds or individual cots? * How do the campers choose which beds they want? * Where do the campers store their belongings? * Are the cabins to crowded? Is there enough storage space? Has the camp overbooked and crowded extra campers in? * Are the cabins clean? Are beds made by the campers and belongings stowed? * How many counselors sleep in each Cabin?

Bathrooms: * Where are the toilets? Does each bunk have it's own toilets or is there a common bathhouse? * If there is a common bathhouse, do children have to walk alone at night? Is the path lighted? * Are there showers in each bunk? * Do campers have to walk in their bathrobes/pajamas to the showers? * If the camp is coed, how separate are the shower facilities? * Who cleans the facilities, and how often?

Waterfront or Swimming Pool: * Can the pool accommodate all swimmers? * Are the waterfront areas for swimming, boating, water skiing and diving separate and clearly marked? * What kind of waterfront toys are provided? * What is the supervision and ratio of lifeguards to swimmers? * Are life jackets always worn whebn boating? * Are swimming tested on skills? * How do the camp keep track ofr swimmers? Buddy board?

The Grounds: * Are playing fields freshly reseeded and mowed? * Are the trails clearly marked? * Is the equipment in good condition?

Dinning Hall: Believe it or not this one of the most important areas at camp. Nearly 25% of their day is spent in the Dinning Hall. So the Camp needs to understand this and work to make it a clean, exciting and nutritious experience Will the camp meet your dietary needs. Don't be forget to make sure they can accommodate you Kids Summer Camp * Are there alternatives if your child does not like the offering? Is there a salad bar? * When, how and what Are the snacks? Is there a canteen/camp store? * What does a typical menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner look like?* Is there enough space for the whole camp to be served in one seating? * Do cabins eat together? This is your child's friends. * Are meals buffet style or are campers served family style? If they are served, who serves the food? * Who is the kitchen director and what are his or their credentials? How long have they been at this camp? * What are the safety and cleanliness standards? Who inspectes the state and local codes?

Remember this article has to do with the comforts of camp and not with safety at camp. The American Camp Association has a certification program that looks at over 300 different aspects of camp. It is always best to select a camp that has been ACA Accredited. ACA CAMPS

You can learn more about selecting a wonderful Teen Summer Camp by visiting Summer Camp Advice Finding a Summer Camp

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Key Pieces of Vegas Shows

By Deniss Durrell

When spending time in Las Vegas, it looks like most of the experience is focused around gambling in the casinos. Though , one of the greatest points to see in Las Vegas is to take in Vegas Shows. The shows in Las Vegas are some of the preeminent in the world, and there is a large variety for you to choose from.

Perhaps the most traditional type of Vegas show is the traditional type that features lots of showgirls dancing in elaborate costumes. These types of shows have been around for decades, and are highly regarded because of their intricate showgirl style and choreography. Some of the more famous are Bally's Jubilee and the Follies Berger.

However, Vegas shows are changing. There are more than just the traditional shows that entertained the crowds of past decades. Instead, now Las Vegas is becoming the second Broadway in the United States. With shows like The Phantom of the Opera and Mama Mia! running in Las Vegas and pulling in crowds there has been a turn toward creating Vegas-sized versions of traditional musical theatre.

Another terrific form of Vegas shows is a comedy show. There are loads of good comedians in Las Vegas, and they give a great night of amusement. If you are looking to entertainment very much then you might desire to check out one of the enormous Vegas headliners.

Perhaps the most popular form of Vegas shows are the Cirque de Soleil shows. There are some different shows presented on the strip for you to pick from. Visitors come from all around the world to enjoy this awesome blend of circus and performance art. Going to see a Cirque show, you are definitely to undergo something that you have never felt before, and it is well worth the price of ticket!

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Areas of Interest in Tropical North Queensland

By Joseph Richards
The Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest and Atherton Tableland can all be found in Tropical North Queensland. Tropical North Queensland is the only spot on earth where the rainforest meets the sea.

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the natural wonders of the world. It stretches some 2300 kms and can even be seen from space .More than 2,000 species of fish and innumerable species of hard and soft coral are found in the waters here which makes it extremely popular for snorkelers and scuba divers .The whole area is strictly monitored by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority but this is all for a very important reason. This place is so beautiful and so breathtaking that it is imperative that it is conserved for future generations to enjoy .The Barrier Reef is also home to wonderful wildlife above the water too, such as a huge variety of tropical bird life as well as dolphins, sharks, whales, turtles and sea snakes.

At 1200sq km the Daintree Rainforest, just north of Cairns, is the largest around. It is home to over thirty percent of the regions frog, marsupial and reptile species as well as sixty five percent of all Australia's bat and butterfly population.

If you drive west of Cairns you will come across the Atherton Tablelands. Here you will discover cute little towns, villages and many great attractions. This is a great place for a little getaway.

You must keep in mind the time of year you are visiting and what the weather will be like. It is wiser to travel to these places during the Australian winder (June to August) and the summer months tend to have high rain fall, monsoon and cyclones.

About the Author:
If you are interested in Port Douglas Hotels you should go to www.tropicalnorthqueensland.com. Here you will also be able to find a variety Port Douglas Accommodations that you are looking for.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Middle East key growth area for World Travel Market

The Middle East region is one of the largest growth areas at World Travel Market with both visitor and exhibitor numbers increasing year on year.
This year WTM will welcome over 400 exhibitors from the region where new products and services will be launched further increasing awareness and recognition of this growing tourism region.
Along with the growth of Middle Eastern representatives at WTM, increasing numbers of visitors from around the world are interested in finding out more on the region and actively selling it to their customers. 36% of visitors, comprised of over 8,000 international senior buyers who attended WTM 2007 actively sell the Middle East to their clients.
More than 47,000 travel professionals, senior management and buyers are expected to attend World Travel Market 2008 at ExCeL London, representing regions, countries and industry sectors throughout the world.
It is this scale and calibre of visitor which has persuaded the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) to sign on as WTM’s Premier Sponsor for 2007 and 2008 and, according to its Director General, His Excellency Mubarak Al Muhairi, the sponsorship is paying dividends.
“Last year we used WTM for the international launch of our new brand and achieved huge global awareness. This year we will build on the solid foundation of the past 12 months and have major announcements in the pipeline for the show.”
“Overseas promotion is a key strategic business priority of ADTA’s five-year plan 2008-2012 which looks to achieve 2.7 million hotel guests a year by 2012 – 1.25 million more than the annual guest stay achieved last year. This managed approach to growth holds out substantial opportunity to the travel trade and hospitality investors who are looking to play a role in the advancement

Travel Etiquette - the new travel rules

People are travelling more frequently and farther afield than ever before, thanks to the huge growth in affordable travel and easier access opening up of areas previously off the beaten track to visitors. The exhibitor list for November’s global showcase, World Travel Market, in London underlines how the world is getting smaller as more destinations target tourism. But does travel broaden the mind? As we jet off to distant lands and come face to face with different cultures are we really savvy travellers? Apparently not, judging by the plethora of etiquette guides in high street and online book stores telling us how to behave when we travel so as not to upset our hosts. They could be just more examples of political correctness gone mad, of course. Yet the trend would seem to show that while we are taking holidays in ever more exotic and distant lands, our understanding of these country’s cultures and the sensitivities of their people is sadly lacking. We may have smiled at HSBC’s series of TV adverts highlighting the differences in cultures around the world, notably the business traveller whose Chinese hosts order ever-larger eels for him at dinner because he mistakenly thinks he has to eat everything on his plate, but committing faux pas in other countries is a serious issue and can have repercussions. In 2004, the government of Thailand announced that it would publish an etiquette guide for visitors to try and tackle the problem of insensitive foreigners after posters for the film Hollywood Buddha showed a man sitting on the head of Buddha – deeply offensive to the nation of devout Buddhists. The poster also upset monks from Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Burma and sparked large demonstrations. It was quickly withdrawn by the producer, but not before the damage had been done. Uncouth behaviour while on holiday is another no-no which can upset locals as well as embarrass fellow holidaymakers. We all know about Brits behaving badly in Mediterranean holiday hotspots such as Ibiza or Faliraki, on Rhodes, from TV documentaries. But it isn’t just a British phenomenon. Germany’s Travel Channel produced its own guide advising German travellers how to behave abroad in 2005 after conducting a survey which found three out of five holidaymakers from the country cringed when they encountered loud-mouthed and beer-swilling compatriots abroad. Lack of understanding about what is acceptable in other countries is again a problem, too. “Many German tourists are naively oblivious to the most commonplace rules of behaviour in other countries,” the guide said. They included blowing your nose or using a toothpick at a meal table, both practices considered acceptable at German dinner tables according to the respected Knigge Guide to Etiquette. But lack of cultural understanding is a two-way street, with local residents often unaware their habits or blunt questions may offend or upset visitors. Prior to this summer’s Olympic Games in Beijing, officials from the Dongcheng district of Beijing put up posters to educate locals on how to properly welcome visitors during the Games. They advised residents to avoid asking questions about visitors’ age, salary, love life, political views, religious beliefs and other sensitive topics commonly discussed. Other pre-Olympics campaigns aimed to educate Beijingers included how to queue and to avoid spitting in the street. Silly questions posed by visitors to tourist attractions run by WTM exhibitor English Heritage take the biscuit when it comes to lack of understanding about where you are visiting, however. During a tour of palatial Osborne House on the Isle of White, the former summer home of Queen Victoria, one visitor asked if it was where Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne lived. Another asked why the English were so fond of building ruined castles.

The next level of life coaching - a travel coach?

Professional coaches are a part of everyday life now. As we try to manage our ever-stressful lives we seek help from experts for everything from health and fitness to careers, finance, image, parenting, relationships, time management, spiritual development and personal goals in our lives.Now, according to World Travel Market’s Global Trends research commissioned by Euromonitor International, more people are turning to travel coaches to ensure they enjoy a personally fulfilling trip when they go away. It says time-starved travellers are employing coaches not only for advice on where and how to travel but also how to use their previous leisure time to ensure that they return mentally stronger and ready to tackle life’s challenges.North America is the trendsetter, and travel mentors are particularly popular with business travellers. The coaches examine clients’ life and career goals to plan how travel can help achieve them. They even handle logistics of trips, which can be long and often involve helping companies with sabbaticals or job relocation for employees.Individual travel coaches are also prevalent, advertising their services in mediums from local directories to online communities. The advice does not come cheap, either. A focus on the emerging trend in 2006 in the New York Times cited fees of $500-$2,000 or more per month for up to four one-hour sessions per month, in person or over the phone, backed up by emails and text messaging. One Toronto company specialising in personal development training undertakes travel coaching trips. Its inaugural trip took six women on a nine-day trip to Italy with their personal coach, the reason for coaching in new environments being to allow people to examine their own personal “environment” according to the company’s website. “During this trip to Italy, the women and Italy each provided a landscape upon which the women could examine their choices about how they treated themselves, how they felt about their beauty and, consequently, how they expressed themselves in the world,” it enthuses.As for the need for travel coaching, it adds: “When we journey into another country or culture, we automatically see that life happens in very different ways. We are reflective of our own situation, culture, beliefs and choices.”Lifebreak coaching is how one San Francisco-based trainer describes his one-on-one programme to help clients plan and take their much dreamed-of sabbatical, such as sailing off the Greek coast for six months. “Lifebreak coaching is for anyone who's looking to refresh, renew, or recharge their life by stepping off the daily treadmill and trying something different for awhile,” he says. Visitors to the World Travel Market trade show at London’s ExCeL in November are unlikely to find coaching gurus on stands of exhibiting destinations. However, travel coaching has made its way across the Atlantic. Polish-born writer and sometime London resident Rafael Wlodarski, author of several guide books for WTM exhibitor Lonely Planet, has travelled through more than 60 countries and offers travel coaching and consulting in person or by phone. Topics include advice about responsible and ethical travel, helping motivate people to plan, save for and enjoy the trip of a lifetime and discussing cultural sensitivities, “reducing culture shock and laying the foundation for a richer travel experience.”A four-star Welsh guesthouse even offers guests an on-site holistic therapist “to soothe away the stresses of the day” – in case its private Brecon Beacons garden and airy bedrooms don’t do the trick.

Top Travel Trends for 2009

Authentic travel, second-city travel, and "climate" sightseeing

American Express Travel specialists revealed their top travel trends for 2009, including the continued growth of trends that have been building steadily over the past year. Though some emerge out of this year’s economic downturn, others show travelers determined to create new and fulfilling travel experiences despite the economy.

Second City Travel— Visiting smaller, lesser-known cities within a destination can yield a more affordable, though equally enriching, vacation experience. For example, visiting Birmingham, England instead of London; or vacationing in Calgary, Canada instead of Toronto.

Tried and True Travel— Travelers are expected to return to destinations that they know and love in greater numbers. Not only is it a safe way to ensure an enjoyable vacation, it allows travelers to explore destinations more thoughtfully, while giving them a true sense of costs.
Closer to Home Travel— Expanding beyond this year’s “staycation” trend, travelers are expected to seek “closer to home”, affordable alternatives to overseas destinations. For example, visiting Montreal instead of Paris.

Vacation Home Rentals Support Multi-Generational Travel— Vacation home rentals and villas that offer multi-generational families a “home away from home” experience while on vacation, will continue to gain popularity.

Value Vacations Expected to Grow— Value oriented vacations, such as all-inclusive resorts and cruise lines that continue to expand their offerings will become more appealing to travelers that had not considered them in the past.

Other trends indicating that some consumers are moving forward with their travel plans regardless of the economy are:

Climate Sightseeing— A growing number of travelers are moved to visit destinations threatened by climate change such as the Galapagos, Machu Picchu, Alaska and Canada’s Churchill, an area whose polar bears are threatened by extinction.

Authentic Travel and Niche Tours— According to American Express travel agents, demand for vacations driven by special interests will continue to rise in 2009. Among these, agents named both “authentic travel”— experiencing a destination more intensely through longer stays and deep cultural immersion— and niche tours, where groups of people with like-minded interests travel together.

Solo Travel— Travel agents expect to see a rise in solo travel due to lifestyle factors, and the rising age of couples getting married.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Five Tips to Better Travel


We asked the busiest traveler we could find, John Storey, worldwide director of public relations for Lacoste, for ways any man, woman, or child could improve the quality of their transit.

1. If you fly regularly, make friends with the premium-services director at your local airport. He or she can make things happen for you in a pinch.

2. If you pay full fare for any flight, demand a paper ticket. In case of any problems or delays, you can get your paper ticket endorsed and transferred to another carrier.

3. If you ever have to switch planes in the UK, do not carry on more than one bag. When you touch down, they will make you go through immigration in order to check in again.

4. If you travel with extra luggage or sporting equipment, British Airways allows each passenger a piece of sporting equipment in addition to his luggage allowance.

5. Don't try to bluff your way into an upgrade. They are not free, and you will just look ignorant. The best way to get an upgrade is to always fly the same airline.

The Best Travel Gear for the Man on the Go

Whether you're carrying on, checking, or doing the whole wheelie thing, this luggage makes practical, stylish sense



To Carry
Bags made of buttery soft leather are great in theory. But for those of us who live in the real world of dog-eat-dog airports and freak rainstorms, it's wiser to invest in a light-weight, durable nylon bag. This Coach "gear bag" is scratch-resistant, waterproof, and, if you're not up for abandoning luxury altogether, trimmed with leather.
Top: Nylon weekend bag ($398) by Coach.

To Wheel
Easy on your arms, light in your stride. Practically speaking, the wheeled suitcase is a no-brainer. But there is the small matter of pride, that itching notion that a real man carries his bag, so if you must wheel, do it with some what-are-you-looking-at style. With, say, a Louis Vuitton Darnier case in cool, masculine graphite and black.
Bottom left: Leather-and-canvas Darnier trolley bag ($2,230) by Louis Vuitton.

To Check
Ever see luggage loaded into the belly of a plane? Sides of beef get more respect than your precious cargo. Tumi's signature ballistic-nylon exterior can handle whatever Bernie that baggage handler can dish out, and this 24-inch wheeled case — just big enough for a week or so away — is expandable by up to two and a half inches in width.
Bottom right: Ballistic-nylon suitcase ($750) by Tumi.

All Abloom in Georgia

By Mercie Hallow

Cherry blossoms are widely situated in Asian countries such as China, India, Japan, Korea and Philippines. Cherry blossoms or its Japanese counterpart name Sakura is a pink flowering tree. It is very symbolical and an icon widely used in Japan and China. It is always mentioned in songs, films and lyrical plays where it symbolizes love, beauty and friendship. Cherry blossoms are also found in other countries such as Germany, United States, Canada and United Kingdom.

Sakura or Yoshino cherries in the United States are located at the Sakura Park in Manhattan. History tells that the cherry blossoms are actually a gift from Japan to US on 1912 as a symbol of the two countrys friendship. Well, that was before the Pearl Harbor bombing at least. Japan reportedly donated 3,020 pieces of Yoshino trees to United States where it was then planted at the Sakura Park in Manhattan. The park continues to draw in tourists up to the moment.

The Cherry Blossom Festival in Macon, Georgia is an event commemorative to the 300,000 pieces of Yoshino trees in Macon. This town is indeed the cherry blossom capital of America where it gathers locals and tourists from near and far to witness and commemorate this annual event. How the Cherry blossoms in Macon, Georgia got into existence is indeed a unique and warming history to tell.

Yoshino cherries in Macon has a history as rich as its trees. In 1949 a horticulturist named William Fickling Sr. upon discovering a Yoshino cherry tree in his backyard. He happened to chance upon the same tree again while visiting in Washington and thus began his quest to plant as many as possible with the help of his enthusiastic neighbors.

Carolyn Crayton, a female philanthropist learned about this mission and upon seeing how beautiful these trees were, invited Fickling to plant the same trees in her hometown. Soon the 300,000 cherry blossoms began in existence at the very heart of Georgia.



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Down Sleeping Bags Provide Superior Comfort And Warmth


By Sam Bradford


There have been many advances made in the area of sleeping bags, since the days when cowboys used bedrolls to sleep. Today many materials and designs, that are quite high tech are used to provide you with warmth even on the chilliest of nights. Below are some things you should think about when trying to find your next sleeping bag.

You will probably go on at the very least one camping trip in which the temperature at night will turn chilly. You would be wise, because of this fact, to purchase a sleeping bag which has a rating for the lowest temperature range that you would experience on your outdoor adventures. In the summer you may only need a sleeping bag with a +35 degrees and over rating.

For the higher altitudes in the warm summertime, or the spring or fall months, the bags probably need to be a +10 to +35 type rating. The wintertime adventure seekers need to look at the range of -10 to +10 for the rating on bags. Now for the ones going on the long cold weather expedition type trips, they will need the warmest bags of all with the -10 or lower type rating.

You need to know that these ratings are just estimates for the lowest temperatures the bag will work to warm you at. So just use these numbers to steer you in the right direction, everyone feels the cold at different levels. You may get so warm that you don't like a lot of blankets on you when you sleep, if this be the case then go 10 degrees less warm on your sleeping bag (or the +35 rated). But if you get cold real easy then go 10 degrees warmer.

The most critical section on your sleeping bag is by all means the insulation. The sleeping bags today either have down or synthetic insulation in them. They each have there pros and cons. Down is the one that does best in the warmth given compared to what it weighs.

Down is nice, light and very easy to compress to roll the bag up, but gives you fantastic insulation. How do you think geese can be so warm and fly too during the cold weather? Reports show that down is durable over the long haul and even can insulate after you using the bag for years.

But don't sell the synthetic bags short though, the ones being sold today are very high quality and are still being improved upon. This type of bag is a bit heavier to carry weight wise, but has higher performance when wet than down does. Yes the one big con or negative point about down is that when it is wet it is no longer able to insulate you.

So for those wet condition type trips definitely reach for the synthetic sleeping bags. Another thing to remember is that while you will find people allergic to down the synthetic has a reputation of being hypoallergenic. Down will cost you more than the synthetic, which is more reasonably priced. You can have your budget and your fun!



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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Holidays are great fun and right now there are lots of good deals available both offline and online. Grab yourself a bargain holiday today!


By Sofia J Booth


Holidays are something that a lot of people dream about and many people are lucky enough to go on holiday once a year which is fantastic. A lot of people enjoy holidays and they are probably one of the only times when people can properly relax and enjoy life.

Holidays are usually very variable in terms of prices and you can find them in a variety of places online and offline. You should be able to get some great deals at the moment. The best places to find holidays are usually online on major websites and main comparison websites which will help you get the best deals.

Finding a place you want to visit should be easy because there are literally hundreds of destinations available for your holidays. A lot of holidays are separated into different categories which are usually Sun, Beach, Sports and family or couples holidays.

If you have a few locations that you'd love to visit then you should definitely consider holidays at the moment because things are cheaper right now. If you're not really sure where you want to go then there are plenty of places to help you decide on destinations for your hoidays.

Holidays are really fun and are supposed to be the time for you to relax and enjoy the world and your life with no distractions from work etc. Holidays abroad are very popular but there are holidays available in the UK where you can stay in country hotels or take city breaks to London or other major cities.

Holidays are perfect for relaxing and this is why so many people take holidays each and every year in order to relax and enjoy themselves. To make sure that you get the best deals possible you should always do some research online and offline before you buy any package deals.

You should start your research online because the majority of the best deals are available on major UK holiday websites and blogs. You should definitely look up the hotels for your holidays so that you can read reviews and learn about the facilities and the services available where you'll be staying.

Holidays abroad are by far the most popular and some of the most popular destinations include France, Spain and of course The Canary Islands. Most holidays abroad are popular because of the climate and the beautiful scenery - many European countries are ideal for sun, sand and beaches.

If you're interested in going on holiday abroad then you should look into the climate as well as the scenery so you can get a feel for the place before you go. Make sure that you look at some reviews of the area you are planning on visiting just to make sure that you're going to enjoy yourself and that the service is to your standards.

You won't have a problem finding the review and opinion websites because there are plenty available online. Lots of them cover holidays so you should get the info you need. You will definitely need to do research when you're looking for hoildays abroad because it's vital to get all the information you can possible find.

You will need to do more research than simply looking at pretty pictures on holiday websites so make sure you're prepared. A lot of holidays are easy to find and many places will be simple to book. Make sure that they are suitable for your tastes and have the facilities you need.

Overall, holidays are a great venture and you'll certainly have a fantastic time away if you plan your trip accordingly and do the research you need to do. Holidays are popular with a lot of people and they will remain popular for a long time to come. Travelling the world is great fun and you should have a great time.



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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mauritius Cultural Travel: Add Spice to Your Romantic Beach Vacation

By Andrew Muigai

Mauritius Island is one of Africa's most famous travel destination for luxury beach vacations. Yet, besides its spectacular tropical beauty, the Island has a rich culture that many visitors often overlook. This culture is a unique combination of the cultures, traditions and religion of many immigrant populations that came to the island at different stages in the history of Mauritius.

Europeans, Africans, Chinese, and Indians are just some of the populations that have shaped culture in Mauritius. Most of these communities have had religious and cultural customs and festivals as old as four centuries or even more.

Diverse cultures co-exist in perfect harmony in Mauritius, making the island an interesting cultural travel destination. It is not unusual for example to find a Chinese pagoda next to a mosque, or churches and Hindu temples in very close proximity.

The rich cultural heritage of Mauritius is also manifested in the country's cuisine, which is a mixture of oriental cuisine brought in by Indian and Chinese migrants, and traditional western cuisine from the island's colonial past. There are also several foods unique to Mauritius, some of which combine the finest flavors of the west and the east to suit the Mauritius' distinct taste.

Mauritian folklore is also a living tribute to the variety and depth of Mauritius culture. This is illustrated by the many different folkloric dances that are unique to the people of Mauritius. There are also numerous chances of watching sophisticated Indian dances if not the Chinese lion and dragon ones.

Mauritius has a fair share of wildlife and bird species, including some brightly colored birds. The game parks are a great place to see most of these. Other places worth visiting for relaxation include the capital city - Port Louis, and the neighboring Mahebourg town. Adventure travel enthusiasts will also find it worthwhile visiting Rodrigues for diving, Caverne Patate for caving, Mount Limon and Mount Malartic for trekking expeditions, and the area around Port Mathurin for coastal hiking.

All travelers to the island require a visa to get there, with the exception of USA, EU, and Japan passport holders, and citizens of commonwealth countries. Before traveling to Mauritius it is advisable to check the most up-to-date visa requirements information. A number of international airlines and shipping companies can get you to the Island. You can obtain comprehensive information on the shipping services between Reunion and Mauritius Islands from the Mauritius Shipping Corporation based in Port Louis.

Mauritius' national airline - Air Mauritius - operates scheduled flights to Rodrigues Island. Within the island, you can travel by bus and taxi or you can hire a rental car. Taxi fares are high especially at night, and you have to negotiate the fares before starting your trip. At some tourist hotspots, boats for hire are available.

The best time to take a Mauritius holiday trip is from July to September when humidity and heat are lower. Tropical rains are likely from January to April and this is the appropriate time to visit Mauritius if you are looking to have romance indoors.

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A Delicious Shrimp Feast

By Mara Hernandez-Capili

Ahoy seafood lovers! Shrimps are delectable seafood that is always a classic favorite. Whatever cooking style used to cook the shrimps it is always a treat especially if its summer. There is no other best way to spend summer than to eat delicious summer favorites. The feature summer menu for now is succulent and mouth watering lobster.

Yes, lobster. Even just the thought of its tender white meat flavored commonly with butter and garlic makes my mouth water with pleasure. Lobsters are deemed to be a fine dining food and are sometimes a pricey commodity because of its high price. Lobsters being hard to cook and a daunting task to do is a common misconception. Preparing and cooking the lobster is quite easy. Lobsters can be bought through a local fish monger with the claws safely tied away from our fragile hands.

Lobsters should be frozen for about 30 minutes to let it sleep or to be in a state of "coma". Remove the rubber bands used to tie the claws (for security purposes) as it can alter the flavor of the lobster. Next is to place the lobsters immediately in boiling water, cover tightly and leave it for 30-45 minutes time, until it reaches a bright color red. Remove out of water and let cool in a pan.

Gently twist the tail to remove it from the body. Using kitchen shears cut along the lobsters underside until the meat is released. Crack the claws using lobster cracker to release the juicy, tender and flavorful claw meat. Lobsters are best served with lemon butter sauce. Grilled lobsters are also a favorite summer dish as well as shrimp salads and grilled barbecue shrimp kebabs.

Hmmm. This is really a tempting read. Don't we wish there's a shrimp feast we can attend right now? The Chesapeake Beach in Maryland is hosting its annual shrimp feast. Please come and attend the festival to enjoy their mouth watering lobsters.

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Famous Raycliff Manor in Missouri

By Mercie Hallow

Its time for a little, if not, huge scare. Catch a glimpse of the popular haunted attraction and be spooked at the creative use of effects that will surely give you goose bumps. The spooky experience starts as early as falling in line, as ghouls entertain the people about to come in.

The Manor has an equally interesting story to tell. It tells of a mad scientist living inside the Manor who devised a scheme that sucks up fear from his victims and keep it hidden inside the confines of the house. The visitor then is expected to feel these fears and actually see the ghosts that forever haunt the dreams and imaginations of these unluckily victims. In here, visitors can see effective visual effects and cinematics of ghosts. The production team behind this really paid a lot to ensure the richness of the experience of the goers and feel every cent worth of their pay.

The production team behind Raycliff Manor employed very talented actors that portray as ghosts and evil spirits. Very good visual effects coupled with the latest technology in make-up and costume effects make the whole experience frightening up to the very end. A big and burly man was reportedly seen kissing the ground after coming out of the haunted attraction. Talk about getting spooked!

In March, there will be a blood donation portion at the front gate of the Manor in cooperation with the Blood Center of the Ozarks. The chosen institution is the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks. A discount coupon is handed out to donors to enjoy privileges as a donor. Radio station will be broadcasting live on this event.

Come to the Raycliff Manor and see, experience and feel the fear as you see ghosts of your nightmares come to life! Be a part of this exciting and spine tingling experience that was only brought to you by the Raycliff Manor in Joplin, Missouri.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Basic International Travel Tips

By Jane Farasi

Some basic but important international travel tips are always found useful whether your trip be business, holiday or visiting with friends and family.

Plan of travel

Have your plan of travel put together well in advance. This will include not just where you are going, but when you hope to get there. Note your departure and arrival dates and the fact that you may be crossing different time zones.

Inform the people to meet you on arrival accordingly. Carefully note your flight details such as connections, change of terminals, transit arrangements, baggage allowances.

If a US citizen, register your travel plans with the State Department for emergency purposes.

Among your important international travel tips is to be conversant with the laws, visa and other travel regulations of your destination as these apply to you.

Travel documents and travelers checks

Make sure your passport and visa are valid and ready in good time before your date of departure. Don't delay or miss your trip because your travel documents are not ready on time.

Update any other documents that may be required and useful at your destination like an international driver's license. Find out if you need any other forms of ID like your marriage certificate and remember to pack them.

Change your money into travelers checks. This is still the easiest and safest way to protect your money and if lost or stolen they are replaceable.

Health and medical

Different destinations may require certain vaccinations. Take these on time and get the necessary certificates.

Besides these, get from your doctor adequate supplies and/or prescriptions if you are on medication. If you wear glasses carry an extra pair just in case of breakage.

These are basic important international travel tips. Then you can be sure you are not refused entry once you get to your destination.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Honolulu: A Hawaiian Taste of Flair

By Mercie Hallow

The Hawaii Island is surrounded by water and considered to be an archipelago. Lots of tourist of different colors and races flock the island especially during the summer season where tourists can enjoy basking in the sun and marvel at its beautiful natural surroundings. Hawaii is definitely a place best celebrated for its tropical warm climate, if a gorgeous vacation and summer destination is what you want. Hawaii is a beach haven, a perfect romantic place for honeymooners and a dream wedding venue packed as one.

Honululu is Hawaiis capital city situated in the heart of Hawaii. Honolulu comes from the local Hawaii name which actually means "sheltered bay. This is a city widely acclaimed since it is where the elected American President Barack Obama was born. Honolulu being the busiest city of Hawaii houses its governmental and financial hub. Waikiki is the famous district of Honolulu as it houses Hawaii's thousands of hotels, malls, its splendid restaurants and other Tourist spots.

Waikiki beach is widely recognized to be the most famous if not the best beach in Honolulu, Hawaii. It boasts of a magnificent view of its famous tourist attraction, Hawaii's The Diamond Head. Waikiki Beach is now seen to be a surfer's haven although it is reported to have long lolling period of waves which make it an ideal place for newbie surfers. Waikiki beach also has beaches that have rocky sea bottoms.

The Honolulu Theatre for youth which comprises of talented young ones is showing an adaptation of the Musubi Man a local Hawaiian childrens tale which is an adaptation of the classic Gingerbread Man. The Musubi Man is the story of how a rice cake shaped boy having a heart made up of umeboshi, eyes of takuan, a nori jacket and red ginger mouth came off running so as not to be eaten by the taro owners wife.

The tale told of the rice cake boy's adventure as he escapes and as not to be eaten by the one who made him. In this adventure he met a radical surfer who was also in a secret desire to eat him. The story was then concluded with its usual Hawaiian flair.

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Beer-y Exciting Arizona!

By Mercie Hallow

A bottle of beer is oftentimes referred to a males drink. Beer is the third most popular drink next to water and tea. Beers have light to medium tangy flavor and considered as the most famous alcoholic drink. The basic ingredient of beer is water.

Beers are manufactured in a process called brewing. Brewing involves mixing together the two base ingredient of beer which is water and malt. The starch is broken down into sugar and transformed to beer during fermentation process where yeast is also present. A manufacturing plant for produced beer is called a brewery. Early breweries date back to the 16th century.

Beer festivals are events held all over the world that commemorate and celebrate the historical and cultural significance of beer. These festivals though are not free for all and have certain rules and regulations to follow for the safety of all. Adults 21 and above are encouraged to participate in the festival backed up with a valid ID. Firearms and pets are also discouraged to allow entry inside the festival premises. Beer festivals showcase beer vendors, live bands, food kiosks and entertainment and fun activities for the participants.

Attendees who are intoxicated prior to the event are not encouraged to enter the festival grounds. The Great Arizona Beer Festival is a fundraising festival for the benefit of the Sun Sounds of Arizona. Sun Sounds of Arizona is a public media arm of the state which is a radio that distributes information for sight challenged people. It features different present information that could bring about the welfare of these kinds of people.

The Great Arizona Beer Festival is also kind to the attendees drivers who do not drink because they need to drive their companion home safely. To boost their morale (while perhaps waiting while everyone else is drinking and having fun) a special drivers place is allocated for them. Equally exciting activities can be found in this area where a live band, food kiosks and interesting activities can also be done.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

5 Most Popular Last Minute Travel Destinations

By Brad Alexander

Florida They call this the all-year round state due to the all year round warm climate. Orlando is just packed with theme parks meaning hotel accommodation is in abundance and there is bound to be a cheap deal just waiting for you or other last-minute travelers like you. Florida is also home to Miami where you will be able to lap up its golden beaches and quality nightlife. For those travelers that enjoy shopping and fishing then you would need to head over to Key West, where you can lose yourself in vast shopping malls or off shore for a quiet bit of sea fishing.

New England Coast - If you need a last-minute destination during the fall, there?s no better place to pick than the New England Coast. Its spectacular fall foliage is famous worldwide and you can enjoy it for free just by walking around. The same beauty shall greet you whether you?re traveling to Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, or some other place in the New England coast.

Paris The romance capital of Europe is Paris and that goes all year round. Its a pretty crowded city but there is also so much to see and appreciate from the history of this important historical city. In Paris, there are plenty of famous attractions to see and activities to do for the whole family. Take a trip up the Eiffel Tower, and you will see the whole city from a different perspective, although you might get a bit dizzy. but you'll the Versailles Palace and other famous buildings. Within Paris you will also find Disney Land, so that would be an awesome day out for the kids and you may have to accompany them on some of the really fast and scary rides. But the thing to remember is that you are in a very romantic city and you will be able to feel the mood while having a coffee in one of the typical street cafes or while dining in one of many typically Parisian restaurants.

New York New York, New York. I just love that Frank Sinatra song that really makes you feel as you already know New York, the city that never sleeps. Last minute travelers should consider this vacation destination at least once as you just never get bored in the Big Apple. Wonderful skyscrapers surround you as you take in the experience of a lifetime and don't forget to have a meal in one of the restaurants high in the clouds and get some the most awesome views you will ever see. New york has also become a very safe city to travel to, so you can relax and get to know some of the New Yorkers, who are really loving people.

Nevada, which is the gambling state and lies home to the money making town of Las Vegas, with literally millions of visitor every year that arrive from all destinations. Las Vegas in a gamblers town and also reaches out to travelers that like to stay in luxury accommodation, to be able to have a wide choice of banquet meals and who enjoy leading entertainment. The great thing about Las Vegas is that you get all of those travel perks at extremely reasonable rates and you don't have to gamble if you don't want to. But if you do you can enter in a number of fantastic casino arenas that make you feel like you really are on top of the world, so chance yourself to a little luck and you may win enough for another last minute travel vacation.

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Cruise Destinations

By Ray Walberg

There are many different types of cruises to take when you want to find the perfect vacation destination. Many cruise ships offer plenty of activities, food, and entertainment while you are aboard. You will be able to relax on the deck, meet new people, and look out on the ocean. This is a relaxing adventure for anyone who wants to get away from it all. When choosing a cruise, you should first see what is offered by different cruise lines. Senior cruises, singles cruises, family cruises, and standard cruises are all options that you have. Depending on your circumstances, you should choose the cruise that best suits your needs.

In addition to these types of cruises, the length of the cruise will also determine which one to go on. Shorter cruises tend to have more parties and a younger crowd, whereas longer cruises will have more retired people and those who want to see the sights of a new country.

Depending on how much time you have to spend on a cruise, you should choose the one you find most appealing. If you want to visit several countries from Florence, Italy to Alicante, Spain, you may need to take a longer two or three week cruise.

Many cruises dock in certain ports, which will be fun and exciting, especially if you have never traveled there before. You will be able to shop, take tours, or wander around by yourself for a day or more. Some cruise ships dock in several ports before returning home, so there will be plenty of time to see the sights. If you are interested in this type of cruise, you should see when they are available and which times best fit your schedule.

When taking a cruise, you have the option of traveling alone or traveling with a group. While some people enjoy being alone or meeting new people, others prefer the company of their family and friends. You should find a balance between resting and participating in activities that others are interested in. If you want to travel alone and spend some time reading or watching the ocean, then going on a cruise alone is your best choice.

Planning a cruise when traveling alone is the same as planning one when traveling with a group. You should explore your options and choose a cruise that includes activities you want to participate in and docks in cities you have always wanted to visit. When traveling alone, should not choose a singles cruise unless you want to meet new people. Those who take these cruises expect other people to be there for the same reasons. But if you are looking for new friends and want to take a singles cruise, there are plenty of destinations to choose from.

In order to have the best time possible when taking a cruise is to choose a destination you have always wanted to visit. This will give you something to look forward to while you are sailing the ocean. Cruises that dock in exotic ports are the most fun.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Redfish and Speckled Trout Fishing Like a Machine

By Captain Kyle Tomek

It isn't every fisherman who will look back nostalgically on the Spring 2008 fishing season - but there are a few out there who will smile fondly. Despite that, most anglers are just glad it's over. Spring 2008 was the windiest that has been seen in decades; there was just one baitfish which salvaged these horribly windy spring days for many middle coast guides and anglers.

We all know that summer is the time for tides and the shrimp migrate in the autumn; but spring is the season of the minnow - the glass minnow. These flashy little creatures show up in the shallows in schools of thousands. Drawn by this display, pelicans and other birds descend on the flats for weeks at a time. Speckled trout and redfish will be waiting for their chance to feed as well. If you can wait for them to get hungry enough, you can bring in quite a catch!

On the brink of one of the windiest days last spring, Capt. Ken Sabin and I guided a large group of fishermen from Dallas and Austin. Winds had just swapped from the south at 20 mph to the north at around 30. Mother Nature's last minute decision to alter the wind's direction did a fantastic job pulling out the tide and muddying up every inch of wadeable water.

Upon leaving the Matagorda Harbor, Sabin and I were ambushed with recommendations by returning guides to cancel rather than attempt to wade in the blown out waters. We opted to give the customers a fighting chance at catching a fish rather than sending them home from a fishing trip that did not even involve a boat ride.

A wide cove on the south shoreline with a waist deep western bank was full of bait that was situated over thick grass. Pelicans slammed the water with high dive assaults. Within casting distance of the baitfish school, we lined up and affixed our wading boots in firm mud. Despite a falling tide and decreasing clarity, I was confident fish would move in. Brown Lures makes a glow and chartreuse soft plastic lure that worked well to produce the initial strikes by matching the glass minnows' darting features. Dark strawberry and white succeeded in drawing undersized fish. A cruising redfish soon felt the hooks from a miniature chrome topwater. The bite remained slow, as I have seen it so many times before, until minimal sunlight remained. The real numbers of fish filed in.

The baitfish were now trapped by the receding tide and minnows jumped and flipped over while the trout jumped right out of the water to catch them! It was a full on feeding frenzy and we were in just the right place.

Typically, to draw the trout above water you would reel fast and keep the lure above the surface but the most solid hookups came when we slowed down the retrieve. As a token of the outing's success, we had full limits of redfish!

If you're still waiting for the right time to get out on the water, stop waiting; but don't be afraid of the dark - after dark can be the best time of all!

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Four Great Places to Visit When You Travel

By Paul Erikson

Historical sites are the wonders of the world. These ancient sites were constructed by our ancestors and give us windows into our past. They help tell us where we come from, how we though, and how we developed. They gives us information about societies long since dead but not forgotten. There are many historical sites in the world but the four best are Machu Picchu, Tikal, Angkor Wat, and the Pyramids. Each of these places, spread out around the world, are the remnants of once vast and powerful cultures.

Machu Picchu- Meaning Old Peak, this site is situated thousands of kilometers above sea level. This place is located high up in the Andes mountains and was once part of the Incan Empire. It is a world heritage site that needs to be preserved as it is considered to be a sacred place by the local people. Not much is known about the site as it seemed to be abandoned only a few hundred years after use but many theorize it was a summer home for the Incan king. Every year, millions of people venture over the Incan trail to see this ruin.

Tikal- Tikal is a world heritage site with beautiful temples that give us a peak into the lives of 7th century Mayans. This world heritage site is located in Guatemala and attracts millions of visitors a year. Luckily, they all come in the afternoon so if you wakeu p early, you can have this amazing place to yourself to explore. There are thousands of temples here and most are still buried under the jungle. It's a surreal experience walking around with just you and the jungle animals.

Angkor Wat- Angkor Wat and the Angkor temple complex are the most visited tourist attractions in the world. People come from all over the world to see the remains of this lost city. It has been featured in many movies and everyone is familiar with it. Located in Cambodia, Angkor was once the capital of the Khmer civilization. Built in the 12th century, there are hundreds of temples and structures here to explore. The most famous is the main temple of Angkor Wat, Bayon, and Te Phrom, the last being featured in the movie Tomb Raider. Make sure you come early to beat the crowds.

Pyramids- Pyramids are the most appreciated buildings that have stood the test of time. Situated in Egypt on the banks of river Nile, pyramids are a major tourist attraction. There are many pyramids in the world and around Egpyt but when people talk about the pyramids, they are talking about the great pyramids of Giza. These three goliaths give us insights into the ancient Egyptian culture, one of the oldest in the world. For a small fee, you can even explore the insides of these great structures, which take back over five thousand years.

These historical sites teach us about the development of human thought and society. While there are many historical and great sites in the world, these four teach us about the biggest and oldest civilizations in the world. These are truly grand monuments to civilizations long past that have stood the test of time. It's important to visit and learn from these places but also ensure they are protected for future generations.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Basic International Travel Tips

By Jane Farasi

There is some basic important international travel tips that always come in handy whether you are going on business or vacation or just visiting.

Have an itinerary.

Put a careful itinerary together in advance, starting with your expected departure and arrival dates. Be aware of where and when you will be crossing time zones and how these affect your itinerary.

Inform the people to meet you on arrival accordingly. Carefully note your flight details such as connections, change of terminals, transit arrangements, baggage allowances.

If a US citizen, register your travel plans with the State Department for emergency purposes.

One of the important international travel tips is that you be conversant with the laws, visa and other travel requirements of any foreign country that you will find yourself in, and especially your destination as these apply to you.

Travel documents and travelers checks

Make sure your passport and visa are valid and ready in good time before your date of departure. Don't delay or miss your trip because your travel documents are not ready on time.

Update any other documents that may be required and useful at your destination like an international driver's license. Find out if you need any other forms of ID like your marriage certificate and remember to pack them.

Travellers cheques are still the safest and most convenient way to carry your money. Change it.

Health tips

Different destinations may require certain vaccinations. Take these on time and get the necessary certificates.

Besides these, get from your doctor adequate supplies and/or prescriptions if you are on medication. If you wear glasses carry an extra pair just in case of breakage.

Your trip will be easier with these important international travel tips. Don't find yourself denied entry on arrival because you forgot something.

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Top 10 Travel Destinations

By Musarrat Sheikh

Has the thought ever occurred to you ever as to where people usually go for their yearly vacations? From the travel patterns of the people world over, there has emerged a common must list, and it is imperative you know the list, as it can help you plan in your own. Below are the top 10 destinations and their attractions. Before you move, remember to save enough to make the most out of your trip.

1.France. Who would not love the fascinating culture and architecture of France? It is also considered one of the most romantic places in Europe. Definitely, you should not fail to visit Paris but since you are already in France, do not miss the small cities around it as well. These will surely leave you breathless remember, its Europe!

2.Mexico. One of the must-see countries for frequent travelers is Mexico because of the scenery, arts, nightlife, food, beaches and its glorious culture. Everyone in the family or your group of friends will definitely enjoy. Usually, visitors do not fail to visit Acapulco and Guadalajara but there are also a lot of places around worth dropping by.

3. China - China has been recognized world over for it's ancient history, the brave warriors and their rich culture. One of the seven wonders of the world, The Great Wall of China. China is the land of mysteries, be it history, medical or plain philosophy. If you visit China, you should see Shanghai, Xian, Beijing and Guilin. Finally, China is the place to shop to your hearts content. The goods are dirt cheap.

4.Ireland. A lot of travelers flock to Ireland because of its countless attractions like monuments, museums, castles, music, golf, and fishing. Also, a popular destination to frequent travelers is the marvelous Emerald Isle.

5.Southern California. Well, who does not want to go to Universal Studios Hollywood, Disneyland, Legoland California, Alcatraz Island, Golden Gate Bridge, etc? Due to an unending list of places to visit, one of the most popular travel destinations is California.

6. Canada - Canada is the second biggest country in the world, and being that they have a lot of attraction spots to visit. Their culture is diverse, and they are peaceful people. Places such as North Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax should be on your visit list, apart from their natural scenery. If fishing, hiking, rafting and other adventure sports interests you, then Canada is the vacation place for you.

7. Italy - A trip to any of the European countries will only make it memorable for you. Italy is one of those places. Italy has Rome and Venice and Florence. Shakespeare mentioned these places in his famous plays. Some of the lesser known places to visit are the Italian Alps and the Lake District.

8.Spain. An interestingly diverse country that attracts tons and tons of tourists. Their amazing flamenco dancers, bullfights, beaches, landscapes and architectures make Spain one of the must travel destinations.

9.Thailand. A place where friendly locals welcome tourists with big smiles, which is why it is called The Land of Smiles. A lot of people travel in Thailand because of the well-known beaches, food, cheap stuffs, and the spectacular architectures like the Buddhist temples.

10. East Africa - East Africa is a place for nature and wild animals. If you are a nature photographer and love a bit of adventure, this is the place for you. Some of the rarest animals are found in East Africa. Do not miss their safaris that go to Nakuru and Serengeti National Park.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Beginners Guide To Shark Fishing

By Jerry Collinsburg

Every sport there is has a category that is set aside for the extreme. Believe it or not, there are some that were not scared by the movie Jaws and they choose to seek out sharks instead of run from them. If you are so bold as to take on shark fishing, you should understand some basics before hitting the open waters.

Sharks can be found all over the world, most of them like water temperatures to be in the 75 degree water range, give or take. If you are serious about fishing for big sharks you should try and stay away from extremely warm waters.

There are some main fishing items you will need before you go shark fishing. This will consist of multiple fishing rods, the more lines you have out the better chance you have of catching a big one. These fishing rods and reels should hold at least 200 yards of line and at least 60 pound test.

There are many types of bait that you can use, you could use live bait, which is preferred, cutting the tail off will increase the scent of the bait also. Chum will also greatly increase you chances of hooking up with a shark, bloody the waters and they will come.

You will need to know what species of shark you are fishing for, this will give you an idea of what size hook and bait you will need. Once you have that figured out and have the chum in the water it is time to get the fishing lines in.

Once you hook up with a shark for the first time, you better be ready and have your safety strap on. Some sharks will run form the boat while others will charge towards you making the fight easier in some cases, also some sharks will drag the bait while others will just take it in quickly with one bite.

Landing a shark requires help, and your helper should have experience. One option would be to gaff the shark, and be careful when shark is on the boat as they will stay alive for a good amount of time when out of the water. If the shark is too large and you want to keep it you will have to drag it in the water back to base with a wire or rope.

As sharks have been overfished, you should only keep a shark if you have plans to eat it, use it in a tournament or if you believe it is a contender for the world record. You can have your picture taken with a shark without killing it.

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