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planning

Planning
Five Ways to Practice Mindfulness When Traveling
Do research. Plan trip. Get on plane, train, or in an automobile. Spend hours, sometimes days, in transit. Get to XYZ amazing destination and immediately begin thinking about how to have the best Instagram posts, take the most amazing photos and use all the amenities at your hotel. Sometimes it is hard to stay ‘in the moment’ Unfortunately, the stress of getting to a destination, along with the pressure to make the most of it and document every moment, can cause a traveler to lose sight of actually experiencing the experience. As a result, more travelers are looking for techniques…
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Planning
Splashing about in Thrilling Indoor Water Parks
Fun water characters by Nadia Ali   The best thing about summer has got to be splashing about in water, after all, who doesn’t like getting wet when the days are balmy and hot. While many kids and adults look forward to the seasonal opening of the summer water parks there’s always the worry about the unpredictable weather, going on a rainy day or when there is extreme heat, dehydration or sun burn. So, what other way can you enjoy a water park without having to wait for summer or worry about the weather? Check out these indoor water adventures…
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Planning
How to reconnect with your teenager through travel… if even for a little while.
Part of my vision as a Travel Ambassador is to impart the notion that traveling actually has the ability to help improve peoples lives, not only for the short run but perhaps even for the long haul. Taking a vacation is not the cure all for whatever ails you nor will it whisk away that which you are trying to escape from, but it most certainly will deliver new ideas, perspectives and friendships into your life. Traveling will also give you great insight into what makes us and those around us tick. My boys in Costa Rica, hiking in the…
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Planning
Foreigners win with South Africa’s financial woes
Johannesburg, one of the greenest cities in the world If you ever think about how politics influences your travel, it’s probably because you want to avoid war or terrorism. I never imagined politicians could affect travel by making a currency so weak that you should jump on a plane and go immediately, because a country has become so cheap to visit. Well – say hello to South Africa! Come and experience amazing safaris, be awed by Table Mountain, pay homage to Nelson Mandela and drink our delectable wines. Since our government worked through three finance ministers in a weekend and sent…
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Planning
Ten Items All Women Should Have in Their Suitcases for That Tropical Getaway
This article is going to give you some packing ideas for women because 1) I am a woman who loves to travel and needs to pack often and 2) if your significant male other is anything like mine, you have to fight to get him to wear a shirt with a collar instead of a tee-shirt so don’t even agonize over what to pack for him. Seriously. Throw a few items in a suitcase for him and you are done. Shirts? Pants? Underwear? Check, check, and check. Now, we ladies are a little bit more particular. Since I have been…
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Planning
Majestic Windmills of Amsterdam
Majestic Windmill by Njaj Amsterdam is the beautiful capital city of the Netherlands. It is a city steeped deep in 17th century history through its buildings, streets and canal ways. It is home to windmills or windmolen as they say in Dutch – the language of Holland. There was once 10,000 working windmills in this region which have withered down to a mere 1000. They were once used to produce flour, mustard and oil and are an inherent part of Dutch culture and history. Nowadays, there are only a few working windmills in Amsterdam, still tourists flock to see…
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Planning
Top 5 Things to do in Ireland
Irelands Lush Countryside by Florian Fuchs When you think of the country Ireland, the color green may instantly comes to mind, as do its green patchwork and grassy hillsides. Officially known as the Republic of Ireland and nicknamed the Emerald Isle, its magical scenery attracts visitors from around the globe to gaze at the jaw-dropping landscapes and to delight in the taste of its signature drink, Guinness. A trip to Ireland is truly an inspiration. Ring of Kerry by tiramisustudio at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
The Ring of Kerry Known as one of Ireland’s longest and oldest trails, the Ring of Kerry boasts…
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Planning
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water
A shaded forest with dappled sunlight dancing between the trees; a clear stream that cascades over a severe, silver rock face; a certain hush, save the occasional bird and the crunching of leaves underfoot, and there, in the middle of it, a house like a no other, rising from a waterfall. Exterior view of Fallingwater from www.fallingwater.org There’s a reason why Frank Lloyd Wright remains one of America’s most beloved architects. Falling Water, the stunning summer home that Wright designed for the wealthy Kauffman family in the 1930s, garnered instant fame for its daring position within (and incorporation of) the…
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Planning
1,000 Places, Plus the Next Top 5 Emerging Destinations
Uncharted territory is a thing of the past, but there are still plenty of fabulous places to visit before they’re overrun by hordes of spring breakers.  And if there’s anyone who can predict the top 5 up-and-coming travel destinations, it’s Patricia Schultz, author of the New York Times Best Seller 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. Best selling author Patricia Schultz at the Philadelphia Travel Expo At a travel show earlier this year, Schultz shared her favorite emerging destinations, ranging from forgotten marvels of Asia to splendid and mysterious regions of South America and the Caribbean. Many of these…
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Planning
Beyond Harrod’s: The Lowdown on London Shopping
Harrod’s may be the most iconic of London’s retail establishments, but don’t let that keep you from visiting other locales.  If you’d rather avoid the crowds and get a true taste of what Britain has to offer, try these lesser-known alternatives. Just around the corner from Covent Garden is the Royal Ballet, which is connected to the Royal Ballet School through a breathtaking above-ground tunnel. Covent Garden: If you’re looking for quaint oddities amongst architectural splendor, look no further than Covent Garden.  Its stalls (centered in the Apple Market section) offer everything from collectibles and antiques to traditional handicrafts with…
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Planning
Camping 101
Camping can be a great way to get closer to your family in every sense of the word.  You’ll be able to roast marshmallows over a roaring fire, huddle together for some stargazing and finally snuggle up in your tent at the end of the night.  You can invite a few friends to join you, plan an entire weekend around your favorite hike or wine tasting festival, or just get away from the hustle and bustle of ordinary life to take it easy for an evening. But if you’ve never roughed it before, the prospect of rolling into a camp…
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Planning
6 Mobile Apps to Ensure you Travel Happy
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net Traveling today can take all kinds of twists and turns from unexpected delays to problems with airfares. Wouldn’t it be great if you had your own travel assistant who would advise you of the best way to resolve the issue and seek out helpful information for you? Well, that’s exactly what a travel app can do. Once you start looking for travel apps you will find there are dozens upon dozens to look through in order to decide which one is best for you. Here’s a few that are sure to help you…
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Planning
3 Things to Do in Boquete, Panama if You’re not a Birder or Mountain Hiker
Perched in the misty hills some 3,800 feet above sea level in central Panama, the small town of Boquete (Spanish for ‘the gap’) has attracted countless visitors  interested in the flora and fauna of the cloud forest since its founding some 100 years ago. Boquete’s elevation gives it a dramatically different climate and feel from the lowlands and tropical coasts that are usually associated with Panama, yet some of these areas are just 40 miles away. You leave the heat and humidity of David, the provincial capital city, and start moving upwards, dropping degrees almost with each mile. The region’s climate…
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Planning
How to Not Break the Bank on Your Next Cruise
Beautiful sunset on a cruise. Many years ago, cruising was only for the rich and famous. Sumptuously furnished ocean liners traversed the oceans of the world while gorgeously dressed, wealthy individuals sipped champagne and mulled over how best to spend their millions. This is definitely not the case any longer. Pretty much anyone can cruise now – today, thousands of people are traversing those same oceans, swilling tropical drinks with a little umbrella in it and trying to forget that they have to go right back to work when they get home. Cruising is for singles looking to meet their…
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Planning
Stop, Drop, and Roll – It’s Not a Fire Drill, but the Perfect Way to Pack!
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user Mattbuck   I used to take an exorbitant amount of clothing when I traveled. Used to car trips where we had plenty of room and no weight restrictions, I crammed everything in just in case I might change my mind about what to wear. So when I began to travel more often by air, I had some serious adjustments to make in packing attitude. Some people manage to walk on a plane with one small carry-on or backup but that person is not me; I still need some choices and want to look fashionable…
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Planning
Yuletide Lights Around the World
Christmas Tree image courtesy Feelart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
There’s something about festive Christmas lights twinkling and blinking in the night that enhances entire cities at once. Thousands of decorations, led light displays, over-sized ornaments suspended high above busy shopping areas, and magical state-of-the-art lighting that transforms everyday streets into an extravaganza. Some destinations around the world are well known for their festive lighting displays that attract visitors from near and far to stand in awe of inspiring themes.

New York Times image courtesy of Antoine Henrich at FreeDigitalPhotos.net Close to home for American readers is New York, where the festive lights…
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Planning
Cruising the Islands of New England with Blount Small Ship Adventures
A bridge and secluded home. If you have never visited New England, as we hadn’t, a cruise of the area is the best way to visit and really enjoy your trip. And the Islands of New England cruise on the Grande Caribe from Blount Small Ship Adventures is the best cruise to take. One of the most wonderful things about cruising is that you can take your cozy, comfortable cabin along with you on your travels! Unpack once, then spend your week relaxing on board as you drift along visiting some of the most well-known locations in New England.   The…
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Planning
Can Upstart .italo Break Trenitalia’s Grip on Italian Rail?
Independent travelers know that train travel is one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to get from Points A to B in Europe. For decades, Italy’s Trenitalia has dominated the landscape for anyone looking to get almost anywhere by rail. But in the last two years, a new upstart has been trying to disrupt the Italian rail system, and they just might do it if the Italian government doesn’t exert enough financial pressure to make the company fold. .italo looks to give Trenitalia a run for its Euro .italo (www.italotreno.it) is owned by NTV (Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori or ‘new…
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Planning
Stunning Winter Sun Breaks
Winter Sun Getaway by Nadia Ali     Brrr, it’s getting cold outside! The temperatures are dropping, the days are getting shorter, and keeping warm inside the house has become a top priority. But fortunately for travelers who are seeking a winter vacation, January is the cheapest month to fly away. At that point, the annual big rush to get home for Christmas is over and the must-visit destinations to stay for New Years have already come and gone, so airlines have no choice but to lower their prices to lure you to that winter sun break.   So, where…
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Planning
Stylish, stunning and chic – and now cheap too
Stunning Cape Town – now ranked as one of the world’s cheapest cities. Photo: Cape Town Tourism If you’re looking for a cheap holiday, Cape Town has probably never topped your travel agenda. This gloriously swanky South African city has won so many travel awards that you naturally assume it’s going to pack a punch in the price department too. It’s been ranked as the top holiday destination for 2014 by the New York Times and the UK’s Guardian, and it’s always in favor with the flush Condé Nast class. It’s also this year’s World Design Capital and was named…
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PlanningTravel IQ
10 handy luggage tips to make sure you don’t arrive empty-handed
Lately I’ve had a lot of bad luck with my luggage while traveling on long-haul flights. My bags were delayed three trips in a row – reaching my destination only 1 to 3 days after I had arrived. After these three consecutive luggage mishaps, I was confident the airlines could not mess up a fourth time. They didn’t – but my bout of bad luck did not end with that fourth flight. Arriving at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, I was relieved to see my distinctive gray-with-orange-border suitcase appear on the luggage carousel. But while lugging it off, I noticed…
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Planning
Living it up in Livingstone, Zambia
The sweet, raw-onion and acrid wood-smoke smell of Africa rushed to greet me as I stepped off my plane in Livingstone. I was here to experience the famous Victoria Falls which was first discovered by explorer David Livingstone, a Scottish medical missionary, in 1855.   The Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya, which in Lozi means ‘the Smoke that Thunders’, have captivated the imagination of mankind for thousands of years and is one of the world’s seven natural wonders. It has the largest single curtain of falling water on the planet – the rumble of 700-million litres of water per minute can…
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Planning
The Spiritual Traveler, Or How to Make It Through Your Trip Without Killing Someone
Have you ever noticed that despite being a spiritual person—or a good person—it all goes out the window when you hit that airport security line? Perhaps that’s what airports were designed for; to test your spiritual mettle. I travel. A lot. So on my overseas trip of nearly 30 hours in the air, I created these quick tips to keep your sanity, and maybe a little bit of your spiritual practice, intact:

Act As If

My husband, deeply spiritual man that he is, hates to travel. That is, he loves the idea of being there, but he hates the process…
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Planning
7 Ways to Save on Airfares
There’s nothing like boarding a plane, sitting back in the seat and enjoying a movie, reading or some sleep before landing at your holiday destination. But with the cost of airfares on a steady increase it’s becoming harder to find the right price for that desired destination. Airfares change throughout the week and even during the day, so, how do you know when is the best time to get more bang for your buck? Well, now you can do something about it. Timing: When booking flights timing is everything. Some argue that that Tuesday is the cheapest day to book…
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Planning
What To Do When Things Go Wrong
I wrote a piece a while ago about the risks of travel.  My point, mainly, was this:  Travel means taking risks, and travelers, in turn, should be prepared for things to go wrong.  Why?  Because, on the other hand, it is just so awesome when things go really, really right. There is nothing you can do to guarantee your safety.  Should you get blackout drunk by yourself, and stumble alone down a dark street?  Best to not do that, whether abroad or home.  Should you loudly advertise where you are staying, wave a lot of money around, and talk about how new…
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Planning
The Secret of my “Souq-Cess” — 10 Tips for an Enjoyable Market Experience
Whether you call it a souk, mercato, bazaar or market, visiting a city’s local shopping destination is a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and get a feel for everyday life. There are countless types of markets: Livestock, produce, “wet” (meaning usually freshly killed or still living poultry, meat or fish), gold, spice, night, craft and more. No matter what you are shopping for, it is more than likely that there’s a market somewhere that sells it. While you may not be looking to stock a kitchen or outfit a house, purchasing at least one item from…
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Planning
The Risk of Solo Travel (and Why It’s Worth It)
Amman, Jordan If you’ve been following travel news at all–or, perhaps, just news in general–I’m sure you heard about Sarai Sierra, a young American mother traveling alone in Istanbul who went missing and was later found on the side of the road, half naked, bludgeoned to death. My heart broke when I heard the news. I’m sure I wasn’t alone. Sarai’s story hits close to home for a lot of women who travel, solo or otherwise. Safety is always a concern when venturing out into the world, or even out your front door. For me, it hit especially close. While…
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Planning
When Gray Skies Pollute Your Travel Plans
Smoke from a forest fire blankets the Moscow airport. (Photo by Sergei Gutnikov/Wikimedia Commons) If wishes were horses, travelers would have a whole herd of sunny blue skies greeting them wherever they went. Unfortunately, in today’s industrialized society that is not always possible. Air pollution, whether man-made in factories or nature-made by forest fires, is a fact of life. Air pollution is hazardous to one’s health, especially for people who suffer from respiratory ailments. Just because a person has respiratory problems, however, doesn’t mean he can only be an armchair traveler. With proper precautions, a person with asthma or chronic…
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