Contents

Lets face it. For many of us, our dream vacation may not quite fit into our financial possibilities. But with persistent determination, diligence and discipline, your dream vacation could be much closer than you may think! Here are 3 easy steps to your dream vacation.1. Join a Home exchange program. When it comes to a dream vacation, you simply cannot get any better that FREE!! Home exchange programs allow you to swap homes with other home-owners in your dream vacat...

Three Easy Steps To Your Dream Vacation!

Three Easy Steps To Your Dream Vacation!Lets face it. For many of us, our dream vacation may not quite fit into our financial possibilities. But with persistent determination, diligence and discipline, your dream vacation could be much closer than you may think! Here are 3 easy steps to your dream vacation.1. Join a Home exchange program. When it comes to a dream vacation, you simply cannot get any better that FREE!! Home exchange programs allow you to swap homes with other home-owners in your dream vacation destination. This means you save on costs of accommodations! There are several excellent home exchange websites that provide great information about swapping homes. We recommend "Travel The Home Exchange Way" and "Know Your Trade" . There is no better way to fast forward to a dream vacation! 2. Put your credit cards to work for you! Just about everyone uses credit cards in one way or the other, so as long as you are going to use one, why not let it work for you? Get a credit card that allows you to accumulate credit-card miles, which you can then use for FREE travel awards, travel upgrades and many other luxuries you may otherwise have to dish out large sums of cash for. So before you make your next charge, find out if your current credit card offers any travel rewards. If not, its time for a switch. There are many credit cards that award airline miles, cruise vacation points or hotel points.Caution: Do NOT make unnecessary charges on these travel award cards merely to get a free airline ticket! Use the travel reward cards to pay for necessary expenses! The trick is to use the card to make purchases you would have made with cash. Then pay off the card to a zero balance each month. That way, you made a purchase you would have made with cash anyway PLUS are piling up points toward great travel awards.3. Liquidate unnecessary assets. So now you got free accommodations and a free airline ticket. But what about spending money? Most of us have stuff all around the house that we seldom ( read:never) use. Why not sell it and use that cash as spending money on your dream vacation? You can hold a virtual yard sale by using Craigslist and Ebay to you sell stuff you no longer use or need. Remember, one mans junk is another mans treasure. Follow these three easy steps and you may be enjoying your dream vacation much sooner than you think. It really is as easy as 1-2-3.

Food And Other Treats In Maryland

Food And Other Treats In Maryland

Maryland is a small state, but it has a lot to offer those who want to see the ocean one day and spend time in the country the next. With larger cities such as Baltimore and Annapolis, and smaller cities such as Chevy Chase and Bethesda, you will be able have the best of the country, the city, and the beach scene. Maryland is home to Ocean City, which is a hot spot during the summer months. If you love seafood and going out a night, you will want to stay in Ocean City during July and August. There are many rental properties for you to rent and enjoy during your stay.In addition to beautiful beaches, Maryland is also home to vineyards that produce great tasting wine. You will be able to tour several vineyards in one day as they are usually close to each other. Many vineyards have acres of land that is used for growing grapes and other fruits as well as for hiking, walking, and boating. Vineyards host parties, weddings, and other events for most of the year. If you want to visit Maryland in the fall, you will be able to taste good wine, apple cider, and home cooking if you decide to stay in one of Marylands bed and breakfast inns.The cities in Maryland offer plenty of shopping and food opportunities. You will have fun walking through downtown Baltimore and Annapolis. These towns have many small shops for you to visit. The food is a mix of different cultures and offers some of the best seafood you will find anywhere. Within close proximity to Washington DC, you will be able to visit the nations capital for a day or two. This is a wonderful way to see many monuments, statues, bridges, and other tourist attractions that Washington DC has to offer.Maryland is close to a large number of states including Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and West Virginia. If you live in any of these states, visiting Maryland is easy. If you want to take a day trip, you will still be able to see a lot of what Maryland has to offer. Many people will take day trips on the weekend when the weather is nice.With many colleges and universities in Maryland, there are always events and celebrations during the year. While there are certain places in Maryland that are only open during certain seasons, you will find plenty of smaller places that are open all year long. From small parks to canoe trips on the Potomac River, Maryland has something for everyone. You should find out more about particular activities you want to participate in so that you can make reservations or get directions

Wonderful South African Safaris

Wonderful South African Safaris

Oh the beautiful South Africa. Endowed with rich tapestry of culture, vast lands, unequalled safarisSouth Africa is truly a place for one who wants to reconnect with nature.South African safaris are home to wide spectrum of animal species including the celebrated group of five: the buffalo, rhino, lion, elephant and leopard.They were not named so because they have gained great popularity but because they mainly offer the experience of witnessing the dance of life happening in sight of travelers. They are the hunters that give fright to their preys. Thus, excitement for their viewers.Game viewing, as this activity is called, is typically done with walking safari. However, due to the increase in popularity of canoeing, horseback riding and camel safaris walking becomes only one of a tourist' option. It is designed specifically for the hardy souls though and for the physically fit.A standard walking safari is composed of 8 to 12 persons aged 12 to 60. This lasts for 3 days and 2 nights. With other modes of game viewing however, one should be in company of a guide.The flagship of all South African safaris is the Kruger National Park creation of Paul Kruger, the president of Transvaal Republic in 1898. His advanced vision sparked the idea of creating wildlife sanctuaries and preservation areas to let nature continue growing at her own rate.With the Kruger National Park, South Africa is truly unrivalled in its immense resources. The big five aside, South African harbors some of animal world's most interesting games such as the wild dogs, cheetahs, spotted hyenas, warthog, an array of antelope species and jackals, hippos, and zebras. Kruger Park is also home for some 500 species of birds and 140 species of mammals.With its 20, 000 sq. km land area of unspoilt land, Kruger offers visitors not only its animal resources but also its wide spectrum of plant species.South Africa safaris are not only made famous by the Kruger National Park, they also placed their names in top African destination through the fame of The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park- one of the biggest wildlife conservation areas in the world.It is not for the fainthearted though. This is the sight for the distinguished black-maned Kalahari lions along with other animal species like bat-eared foxes, blue wildebeest, gemsbok, and the likes.While on South African safaris, never forget to take some images of wildlife with you. Capture them in photos if you can. Animals such as those that thrive in nature pass only once. It would be wise if you can have a token of remembrance from them.

Guanajuato Living: The Way Life Really Is

Guanajuato Living: The Way Life Really Is

I am miffed. I am sitting in my casita (little house) in Guanajuato moaning and groaning about something over which I have no possible control. I feel like swooning to the bed and uttering vile curses, but, as my wife often reminds me, What good would that do?I have written about this aspect of Mexican life before in my books and columnsthat which is stinging like a bee in my bonnet right now. I am sitting in front of a computer right now whose internet DSL connection is deader than a doorknob. I am sitting in a casita with not one drop of drinking water left to soothe my burning thirst. Dead Internet and not a drop of water is what are tormenting me right now as I hack out these words. But things happen you say and you are right. Things happen. The only problem is that when they happen in Mexico they happen here like nowhere else upon the earth (except possibly in the rest of Latin America, Spain, and Italy)!As I have lamented before, life in Mexico as an American expat is smooth sailing until something bad happens. Until something comes up that requires even a small level of cooperation and a modicum of efficiency, life here is pretty good. The climate is great, the food is fantastic, cost-of-living is low, and we are treated fairly well by our Mexican neighbors. Truly the stereotypical hospitality of Mexicans toward foreigners is well deserved and easy to encounter even as tourist. All goes well until something doesnt.Something is bad now.Inexplicably, when the guys who deliver the bottled drinking water get it into their heads to stop coming around your street, you are at the mercy of God Himself for your water needs. Without committing a cultural insult and actually confronting them, you simply have no explanation for why they will suddenly decide it is your time to die from dehydration.The way this works is that the companies who bottle the drinking water send their guys in bottled-water laden trucks to cruise the streets yelling a plaintiff cry, AguaAgua! You have to run to the nearest window and scream this back at them. They follow the sound of your screeching until they make eye contact. They ask how many bottles you need and then haul your water into your house.This process falls apart sometimes. For reasons I cannot begin to understand, they will suddenly stop coming to your house. They will offer you no explanation for trying to kill you by dehydration nor will any of your dying neighbors know why either. You can call the companys phone number and they will promise vehemently to come running to your aid with life-sustaining water. However, once again a TMO (Typical Mexican Operation) takes place when you finally reach someone to order water:"They will swear upon The Virgin of Guadalupe (the patron saint of Mexico) that water is on its way and, of course, this means that it will never show up. Water will never come."Currently, we are at 10 phone calls and counting. Our record so far has been calling for 7 days before they showed up with some water.The internet, when it crashed, took us 25 phone calls before getting someone who could tell us they tested the line and that the trouble was on their end. The person gave the usual vain promise to get it fixedI am not holding my breath! I will have to go to an Internet caf to file this story.Let me share a story that happened to us on the way to watching The Da Vinci Code:We got to the movie theater thirty minutes before the ticket office was to open. Four oclock rolled around and no ticket seller materialized. We stood in line, with scores of others, for forty-five minutes until some janitor appeared to reveal that he had finally been able to reach the theater managers cell phone. She was at a party and told this poor schmuck that she was having too good of a time to get away, and if someone wanted to, they could come and get the keys to the ticket office and sell tickets. Otherwise, she told him to tell us, we would have to wait for a later showing when and if she returned.Now, I would love like anything to tell you that this sort of thing is an isolated incident.It is not.In fact, I can imagine this happening everywhere in this city and perhaps this country. I can imagine this philosophy of Qu Ser, Ser, or The sun will come out tomorrow, dominating everything that has anything to do with anything in this country! I cannot intellectually offer any other explanation for how life functions here. This sort of worldview dominates all aspects of life.And, it is a different worldview: Qu Ser, Ser, whatever will be, will be. The futures not ours to seeQu Ser, Ser.Lest you think this the rantings of a crazy Gringo (a term which Mexicans have called me to my face), let me tell you of a conversation Ive had with a few Mexicans.Ive spoken with educated Mexicans who have had dealings with other countries on an academic or business level. What theyve told me is that Mexico could afford to adjust this The futures not ours to see worldview to become more efficient in their academic and business dealings.One friend, a veterinarian, is trying to go to the States to earn a Ph.D. When he called the school from which he graduated here in Mexico to get a transcript, he was told that they didnt have time to send his transcript to an American university. They told him to try back next year. Can you imagine?One of my wifes former ESL students is a Masters level chemist. In the course of her job, she is often required to call companies in Mexico as well as the rest of the world for supplies. She tells us that when she calls a Mexican company, the representative tells her he will get back to her. He never calls. Or, the person tells her any information whether it is correct or notTMO! However, in dealing with American, German, or Japanese suppliers, she is called back within the hour and with all the information she needs.In the incident at the movie theater, one of our fellow victims was a young man who obtained his Masters degree from an American university. When the manager of the movie theater finally showed up, he read her the riot act for making all of us wait. He ended up getting us into the movie for free. He was not willing to accept this Mexican worldview of inefficiency andwell, rudeness.What else am I to call it? Is that my culture coming through? Perhaps. But, answer my argument and do not attack me personally by calling me a Crazy Gringo. This practice is inefficient and rude, is it not?Most Mexicans, not all, seem to tolerate a level of service not tolerated outside of Latin America.Americans and Germans could afford to adopt a little of the Mexican worldview of Whatever will be, will be. We are too anal-retentive when it comes to time. We could afford to loosen up a bit. And, things over which we truly have no control, we need to say along with our Mexican brothers, Ni Modo (I cant do anything about it)but only over those things that we really and honestly cannot control.Calling someone back when you say you will, showing up on time for an appointment or calling to cancel, coming with the water when you say you will, showing up with the keys to the movie theater ticket office, fixing my Internet, etc are all things which can be controlled.Can they not?

Safety On A Great Barrier Reef Vacation

A Great Barrier Reef vacation will almost always include Great Barrier Reef Snorkelling, Great Barrier reef diving, or at least wading around in shallow water, or walking on coral cays.You need to be aware that The Great Barrier Reef has several very dangerous marine animals, so you need to be on your guard all the time you are walking on coral, in shallow water, snorkelling or diving.The most common dangerous animals of the Great Barrier Reef includes jellyfish, several species of fish, sea snakes, octopus, and even certain shellfish that can potentially be fatal to humans.In fairness if you take the right precautions, and you know what to look out for, you can reduce the danger, and still enjoy the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef on your Great Barrier Reef trip.The list of dangerous marine animals plus a brief description follows.Box Jelly Fish.This is one of the most dangerous creatures on the reef, and can be found swimming close to the shore from November through to March.It gets its name from the shape of its body, which is a box shaped bell with clusters of tentacles extending from each corner, which can reach up to 3 metres in length. They are nearly invisible because they are so transparent, and the strongest advice is if you want to swim off a beach in the summer months, then swim inside the netted areas.Their sting is agonising, however a single sting is bearable, but the problems tend to arise from panic, causing entanglement with the tentacles and a lot more stings. Enough venom can kill an adult, or drowning due to the panic. If the tentacles are stuck on a victim then they can be neutralised by pouring vinegar on themIrukandji JellyfishThis is very small, being only a few centimetres in diameter, and it is to be found at the northern end of The Great Barrier Reef. They tend to be found in the deeper waters of the reef, but can be swept inshore. Divers and snorkelers are most at risk, and they usually appear in the summer months November to March.The sting goes unnoticed for possibly as long as half an hour, but then the venom begins to take hold, and it can be strong enough to hospitalise adults. Although its small its very dangerous, because you wont see it unless you are specifically looking.Blue Ringed OctopusIt is the only dangerous octopus in the world, and is the size of a golf ball, and looks cute. The Blue Ringed Octopus has a beak that can penetrate a wet suit and poison that can kill an adult in minutes, and there is no known antidote.It lives in rock pools and coral, and is very dangerous when the blue rings glow an electric blue, when it feels threatened. It is spectacular when this happens, and it attracts children, so they need to be warned not to touch anything!!The bite doesnt hurt, and will happen if you pick it up. Within a few minutes the venom will give breathing difficulties and nausea, and worse still if it triggers an allergic reaction.Cone ShellsCone shells look very pretty but this shellfish is one of the most dangerous animals on the Great Barrier Reef.The problem is that there are many different types of Cone Shells all over the Reef, some harmless, and some so deadly they can kill a human, as they have the most potent neurotoxins known about, in their venom.If you add to this they have attractive shells then holidaymakers pick them up, and if threatened the Cone Shell will fire a harpoon like dart into the victim. You will know if this happens or if you stand on one when walking, because the sting will be felt straight away.Lion FishLion-fish are members of the Scorpion Fish family and are found all over the Great Barrier Reef. They are difficult to see, and much sought after, but they hide up in crevices and small caves. The fact that they like shallow water makes them a threat to swimmers, because they have venomous and extremely large fin spines that can penetrate the skin, giving immediate pain resulting in muscle swelling, cramps, nausea, fainting and even death.They can be recognised because they have stripes similar to a zebraStone FishStonefish are ugly looking creatures, mottled green - brown in colour, with 13 dorsal spines that release a poisonous toxin when pressed, so stepping on one is a very painful experience. The pain can be excruciating and death is a possibility..They are found mainly in the warmer northern half of the Great Barrier Reef, and they live on top of rocks or the seabed, where they lie motionless,, and their camouflage colours make them almost impossible to see. They are therefore a danger at low tide when walking along the beach, so footwear with thick soles is important. The severity of the pain and the symptoms will depend on the depth of penetration of the poisonous spine.Finally there are 15 species of sea snakes on the Great Barrier Reef, and all of them produce lethal venom. The good news is they have small fangs and arent aggressive, and no-one has died from a bite.Stingrays can be very unpleasant if you stand on their tail, as they whip up and can cut you very badly. You must ensure your anti tetanus is up to date before leaving home.All this makes depressing reading, but remember tens of thousands of people take a Great Barrier Reef vacation every year, and only a very few are unlucky, so be sensible, take precautions.Check out more Australia vacation Information http://www.worldwidevacationspots.com/categories/Oceania%26%2339%3Bs-Hidden-Hotels/Australia/

Travel Health Insurance Is A Smart Buy

No one wants to think about getting sick or having an accident while they're on vacation. Unfortunately, this can happen. When it does, travel health insurance can prove to be a very beneficial buy.Travel "health insurance" is a temporary policy that provides coverage to people while they're on vacation or in transit. It can work in conjunction with or independent of regular major medical coverage. This type of insurance is very commonly offered to those using a travel agent, booking a cruise or going on a package trip.The perks of travel insurance even when major medical coverage is in place include:* Pricing. Travel insurance is typically a very small purchase on top of trip pricing. Although the few dollars would likely be more enjoyed spent on wining and dining, if something does happen, it will be worth every penny in most cases. Typically, this coverage costs no more than a dinner out on a trip.* Out of network coverage. While most major medical coverage plans will offer some protection anywhere in the world, under any circumstance, they won't always function at their full amounts. For example, those who get sick on a cruise ship might find their basic co-pay plan will only cover 50 percent of a doctor's visit on board the ship or perhaps even none. The "travel health insurance" policy, however, will cover this and a whole lot more. Out of country travelers, too, find this coverage very beneficial for covering them when nothing else will.* Availability. In most cases, some form of "travel insurance" is available to people without medical examination require. It won't cover pre-existing conditions for the most part, but it can make dealing with a crisis away from home a whole lot easier.* Peace of mind. Just having this low-cost coverage while away from home can give vacationers a certain peace of mind. Since vacation is about relaxation, ensuring this can really help make a trip.While travel insurance can be a huge perk for those who need it, not everyone does. People traveling in their own general regions, for example, might not require this coverage or even really benefit from it. If major medical coverage will remain in full force during the trip, there's probably no reason to go to this extra expense. Check with regular health insurance to find out, however.If major medical coverage isn't available, a travel health insurance policy can be doubly important. The relatively low expense involved in this kind of coverage can really prove beneficial is something does go wrong.Although this type of coverage is generally offered through a booking agent, it can be purchased by travelers on their own. A basic Internet for phone book search will typically net some great results on places to go for this type of policy.Vacationing is about having fun, relaxing and doing new things. Unfortunately, sometimes bad things happen to travelers. When they do, travel health insurance can provide an extra level of comfort and peace of mind.

Summary

Lets face it. For many of us, our dream vacation may not quite fit into our financial possibilities. But with persistent determination, diligence and discipline, your dream vacation could be much closer than you may think! Here are 3 easy steps to your dream vacation.1. Join a Home exchange program. When it comes to a dream vacation, you simply cannot get any better that FREE!! Home exchange programs allow you to swap homes with other home-owners in your dream vacat...