Camping: The Best Way to Experience the USA

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The desire to set out across the globe and explore all that America has to offer is an urge that spans centuries. But which way is the best way to experience the USA?

You could take a road trip along world famous Route 66 and stay in motels, or fly first class and stay in swanky hotels, but if you’re looking to explore the best that the USA has to offer, consider camping instead. Why? Read on…

For the Freedom

When you camp, there’s a lot less to worry about. No reservations, documentation, wondering if your hotel will be as good as the reviews promised. Instead, it’s just you, your tent, the earth and the stars. What could be more freeing than that?

For the Budget Conscious

Hotels have their advantages: they generally offer an array of amenities, gadgets and a comfy bed. They’re also costly. If you’re on a budget, don’t let that stop you from planning your dream adventure. Travel on the cheap and carry your accommodation.

For More Time

When you’re camping, there’s no hitting snooze or falling back to sleep in an extra large bed. Instead, nature has its own way of adjusting your body clock and waking you up. Whether it’s the sun rising or the sound of birds chirping, camping provides longer days for exploring.

For Quality Downtime

Back to those hotel amenities. After a long day of site seeing, you’d probably go back to your hotel, have a shower, and put your feet up in front of the TV. But when you’re surrounded by nature, your evenings become quality time. You can write in a journal, talk with friends around a fire, or simply enjoy the peace and quiet.

For the Escape

Without Netflix, takeaway or social media, you’ll also find that you unwind in a way you didn’t even know you needed. A break from technology, political debate and celebrity scandal can do you the world of good.

For the Landscapes

While many of these points could apply to camping anywhere in the world, when it comes to the USA, people often forget about the countryside. It tends to be the cities like the Big Apple or Las Vegas that draw in the tourists. Instead, go camping and enjoy all of the extra sites that America has to offer.

Ulimately, camping in the USA adds an extra dimension to your travels that will make your trip even more special. Finding sites can be hard work (although companies like Trek America have got your USA camping trip), but it’s definitely worth the effort!

Traveling to Seattle This Fall

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Seattle is a spectacular place to visit at any time of year, and it is particularly beautiful in the fall. If you’re planning a trip to Seattle during the autumn months, you’ll probably want to get the most out of your time in this breathtaking city. The following tips may help you to make your stay as special as it should be.

Woodland Park Zoo

Fall is the perfect time to stroll through this amazing environment. You might view a broad range of animals, from reptiles to mammals to birds. You may enjoy interactive exhibits that include giraffe-feeding, bird shows, and a petting zone. This zoo is an ideal spot for both kids and adults.

Washington Park Arboretum   

The Japanese Garden at the Washington Park Arboretum is not to be missed; it is one of the most highly regarded Japanese Gardens outside of Japan itself. The Pacific Connections Garden features gardens that reflect the beauty of countries such as Chile, New Zealand, and China. The wealth of features at this arboretum makes it a great place to explore when you’re in the area.

Chihuly Museum and Garden

Another place to put on your list is the Chihuly Museum and Garden. Blown glass crafted by this exquisitely talented artist may be found in a stunning assortment of unforgettable shapes, colors, and sizes. The glass on exhibit will linger in your mind long after you leave this memorable attraction – and you may even be inspired to create an abstract costume for upcoming fall festivities and costume parties.

Great Pumpkin Beer Fest

The Great Pumpkin Beer Fest is at the top of the list for those who appreciate pumpkins, beer, or both. If you’re going to be in Seattle during the second week in October, you may want to make your way over to the Georgetown neighborhood to indulge in an astounding selection of pumpkin beers. While you’re there, you may participate in games, watch a marching band perform, enjoy a costume contest, and delight in the fare offered by local food trucks. This is an event for those who are 21 years or older.

Fall Foliage

Don’t leave Seattle in autumn until you’ve viewed the vibrant foliage of the season. A wonderful place to do this is at Discovery Park. The sprawling park offers a wide range of terrain, including sand dunes, cliffs, woods, and meadows. The hues of the season are worth numerous treks along the park’s trails, and children can frolic in an on-site playground designed just for them.

Fall is a glorious time to be in Seattle – if you’re planning a trip to the city in the autumn, you will not be disappointed with your choice of travel destination. Make sure that you pack warm clothing, so you can enjoy the outdoor activities that will make your fall visit one to remember.

 

This article was contributed on behalf of Stita Taxi, your number one choice when in Seattle. Make sure to check their website when looking where to find items you lost in their taxi.

Krakow Guide – sightseeing during Krakow Tours

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Krakow attracts millions of tourists every year. It’s fascinating history, amazing buildings and museums and well-developed tourist infrastructure are the basis for this attraction. Lots of professional, qualified guides help to make the experience of visitors even better. For you trip to Krakow, here are some of the places that a guide can help bring to life and make your visit truly unforgettable!

What Krakow guides can do for you

We definitely recommend Krakow sightseeing with a guide for new visitors to Krakow, whether in an organized group or not. Guides not only serve as your walking, talking historical resource but they can also help with any number of the practical matters associated with travelling. They can take a lot of stress and responsibility off you for a very reasonable fee. On top of all that, sightseeing with a Krakow guide comes with all the little extra nuggets of local knowledge and details that you don’t find in guidebooks.

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The most popular Krakow Tours

A walk around the Old Town usually starts with a path called the Royal Route and takes in all the most important places, from the remains of the old city walls, the main square and Cloth Hall, St. Mary’s Church and Grodzka street all the way to Wawel Castle. Listening to Krakow guide explain the origins of the famous altar in St. Mary’s will surely be among the most memorable moments of your trip to Krakow.

The Royal Catherdral and Castle on Wawel hill are places of extraodinarily rich history. Guides can help you to get more out of your stay in the castle complex by helping to arrange reservations for the many exhibits that are hard to get tickets for on the day. Avoiding the crowds and going straight to the front of the line saves time that you can use for getting more into your day of Krakow sightseeing.

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You can have a very unique experience just a few minutes away from Wawel in Kazimierz, the old Jewish Quarter of Krakow. You can arrange for your visit to be organized around certain themes that you guide can focus on. For centuries, Kazmierz was an area where the Christian community (with its Baroque Skalka church and medieval Corpus Christi and St. Catherine’s churches) lived right next to the Jewish neighborhood (where you can see their seven synagogues today). The sites in Kazimierz can be an introduction to a deeper understanding of the fate of Krakow’s Jews during World War II and make it clear why Steven Spielberg chose to film much of Schindler’s List here. Just across the river from Kazimierz is the Podgorze district, site of the Jewish ghetto as well as Oscar Schindler’s factory.

Krakow is full of great places that a local guide can add your tour to make it even more special. It’s full of sites that are hard to get to if you don’t know your way around and places that don’t get many visitors at all because they’re off the beaten path. You might be able to make your way to, for example the incredible Bendictine Abbey at Tyniec but it’s a lot easier with someone who knows how to take you straight there. Go to http://guide-krakow.com/ for more information about how easy it is to hire a local guide.

Museums with Krakow city guides

Bear in mind that only licensed guides have the ability to take you through certain museums, including the Underground Museum in the main square and the Schindler Factory Museum, two of the most popular attractions in the city. They’re both divisions of the Krakow City Museum and offer amazing trips into the past. The first offers a fascinating look at aspects of ordinary life in Krakow in the Middle Ages and makes great use of modern interactive methods to share its treasures. This is definitely a must-see but especially for families with kids. The museum in the Schindler factory shares what life was like in the city during the Nazi occupation as well as a look at pre-war life in the Jewish community. It’s extremely well done and not to be missed. Taking your guide to these places means you don’t have to bother with reservations for one of their guides. It’s worth visiting both places with a specialist who can enrich your visit with extra details and background.

Planning Your Winter Ski Break?

If you are looking for a skiing holiday, you might be asking yourself just when the skiing season ends.

It all depends where you intend to take that winter ski break of course, although there are resorts throughout Europe where the season extends right through April and, in some cases, even into May. Close to the glaciers of the Austrian Alps, the season is open all the year round.

Ski Resort Info reports that there are ski resorts open in the United States right through to the end of August.

In short, therefore, there is nothing untoward in planning your winter ski break even when the first buds of spring are beginning to appear at home in the UK.

What are some of the important steps when preparing that intended break?

Keep fit

  • there is no half-hearted or short cut route to gaining the fitness you are likely to need for proper enjoyment of your skiing holiday;

Ski insurance

  • however fit you are, accidents may still happen and result in injury to you or to others;
  • this makes arranging ski insurance an important part of your preparations;
  • its focus is likely to be on providing sufficient cover for any medical emergencies that may require your rescue from the slopes and treatment in hospital;
  • an equally important element of ski insurance is the public liability cover it offers in the event of your causing injury to anyone else on the slopes;

European Health Insurance Card

  • whilst preparing the paperwork you may need, if you are going to skiing in Europe don’t forget to check the validity of your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and, if necessary, renew it – it’s free;
  • an EHIC gives to access to publicly funded health and emergency treatment in the country or countries you are going to visit – it is certainly no substitute to appropriate ski insurance but may ease your access to some facilities you may need;

Check your gear

  • the essential kit for a successful skiing holiday may be summed up in three words – skis, boots and clothing;
  • if you own your own skis, make sure that they are properly serviced under the guidance of a professional;
  • boots may be more important than the skis themselves and are the piece of kit you are likely to buy before buying skis – clearly, they need to fit your individual requirements and, if you are renting them, don’t be afraid to try several different pairs before settling on the ones that suit you the best;
  • clothing needs to keep you warm, but not hot and today’s materials help to keep you at just the right temperature – remember that woolen undergarments have a better chance of staying warm than cotton if you do get wet.

It might be evident, therefore, that some advance planning, rather than a spur of the moment decision, is likely to lead to a more successful and enjoyable ski holiday.

Insiders Highlights: Nice, France

Image Credits Malasoca, CC0

If you’ve ever toured the Côte d’Azur, the chances are you will have at least passed through Nice, or maybe flown into Nice International Airport, on the way to your destination. Yet Nice is worth a lot more than just a fleeting glimpse through a car window.

With its Italian feel, old world charm, and year-round sunshine, Nice attracts both backpackers and the world’s celebs alike. Add a day to your itinerary to visit some of the city’s most interesting areas, or take a week and enjoy the sights, cuisine and buzzing nightlife of this most beautiful of cities.

The Avenue Jean Medecin, with its modern designer stores, is the city’s main shopping area. Since Nice introduced trams in 2008 the avenue has been transformed into a pedestrian-only area. Window shopping is the norm, and tourists and locals alike gather to enjoy the bustling atmosphere while strolling in the warm Mediterranean sunshine.

On your stroll down the Avenue you will come upon the Notre Dame Basilica on your right, recently transformed from a dull grey to a sparkling white after a long overdue facelift. Then, as you get nearer the Place Massena, upmarket fashion and accessory stores begin to proliferate, until you reach the square itself, where trams can be caught to every corner of the city.

While in the square, look out for another large pedestrianised area which is full of souvenir shops, coffee shops and snack bars. Now is a good time for a refreshment break, while you ponder whether to catch a tram to some of the city’s other areas, or join the famous Promenade des Anglais, a 7 km boulevard stretching along the Baie des Anges toward the port.

If you don’t fancy a 7 km stroll dodging the skateboarders, then look for signs in the square for Vieux Nice (Old Nice). The beginning of medieval Nice town, the area still has its narrow alleyways and 17th century charm – but be warned, it’s a tourist magnet during the day. Early morning is a good time to visit, when you can also take in the local daily market. That said, if you want to go local, it is a great place to stop off for a real local lunch, or return in the evening and enjoy some traditional Nice cuisine.

After lunch there is plenty to keep you busy. Walk to the top of Castle Hill for a fabulous view of the waterfront. The castle unfortunately is long gone. It was destroyed by the French in the early part of the 18th century, when Nice was still a part of Italy.

Finally, if you prefer to ride and take in more of the city, then the regular bus and tram services charge just €1, no matter how far the journey. And for those interested in the history, culture, and art of this famous city, entrance to the many public museums is completely free, although the plethora of private art collections do charge an entrance fee.

Book your Nice airport transfer with Holiday Taxis – the smarter way to arrive.

How to save money on your car hire excess insurance

If you are planning to hire a car this summer, you are probably aware that you are going to need some element of insurance – a minimum of third party cover in order to stay road legal in most countries of the world.

You are also likely to want to protect yourself against the risks of theft or accidental damage to the vehicle – threats for which you remain personally liable for the duration of the period of hire. This requires a further level of insurance.

Are there ways in which you might save money on that insurance?

It is suggested that there are essentially two possible course of action – one appearing to be eminently straight forward and apparently hassle-free, the other having greater potential for actually saving you money on your car rental insurance.

The easy way

UK and European car rental companies, in particular, seem to go out of their way to help the customer. Insurance against third party risks, theft and accidental damage is seen as important both by the company and its customers, so a package is neatly bundled into the overall cost of hiring a vehicle.

It may be difficult to disentangle just how much you are paying to hire the car and how much to insure it, but the all-inclusive price may save you the bother of having to do so. You might even overlook the need to establish just what the insurance covers – and, perhaps more importantly, just what it excludes.

Any insurance package is also likely to include an excess, for which you remain financially responsible in the event of loss or damage to the vehicle. Since the excess is typically in the region of £1,000 to £1,500, the rental company may also offer you excess insurance.

The smarter way

It may be more difficult, but if you are interested in saving money on your hire car insurance it still pays to shop around.

Indeed, a Guide to Car Rental published by the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association recommends that you specifically ask the hire car company about what is covered in any insurance package, the nature of any exclusions and the amount of excess you may need to pay in the event of loss or damage.

A major money saving precaution, however, lies in your avoiding any excess insurance package offered by the rental company. These are widely considered to be an expensive way of protecting your liability and still leave you responsible for the cost of any damage to certain areas of the vehicle – typically, the roof, undercarriage, wheel, tyres and windows.

Instead, you might want to consider the competitively priced car hire excess insurance products marketed by independent specialists which may be bought entirely separately before you embark on your journey.

These typically include any damage to the whole of the car (so the roof, tyres and underside etc), giving more comprehensive cover than some car rental packages.

You might consider standalone car hire excess from such a UK-based provider to represent better value for money and to offer a more secure and reliable prospect of prompt reimbursement of any excess you are required to pay to the car rental company in the event of a claim.

Get the correct insurance for going off piste

Winter sports holidays are one thing, going off piste in search of your adventures on the slopes may be quite another. The very description of off piste skiing and snowboarding immediately conjures up a quite different picture of the scale and order of risk.

For that reason, off piste experts at Henry’s Avalanche Talk make no bones about the need for ski travel insurance that covers everything from mountain rescue, to medical emergency treatment and eventual repatriation to the UK. It is an essential part not just of having off piste fun and staying safe whilst you are enjoying it.

The website puts the cost of mountainside rescue, medical attention and flights back home as high as £30,000 to £50,000.

Specialist insurance

The appropriate insurance may be all very well and necessary, but the fact is that some policies restrict the cover you enjoy if you are skiing off piste – specifically, the removal of cover if you are skiing off piste without a guide or the exclusion of loss or damage to rented equipment, warns an advisory note on the government website.

Given these restrictions and exclusions, it is important that you check your ski travel insurance very carefully before venturing off piste and, if necessary, arranging specialist winter sports insurance to cover these particular risks.

Playing your part

It is a basic principle of insurance contracts that the insured takes every reasonable step to mitigate the risk of loss or damage by behaving as though the protection of an insurance policy was not in fact in place.

The following are some of the more basic steps you might take to prepare yourself for any foray off piste:

  • another major cause of injury is simply collision with other skiers – take care when judging distances, therefore, watch your speed and make sure that your travel insurance provides adequate public liability indemnity to protect you against claims from injured third parties;
  • wearing the right safety equipment is also important – some resorts insist on the use of helmets, for example, and many insurers make their use a condition of cover;
  • further essential safety equipment for those venturing off piste includes a shovel, a radio transponder and a probe;
  • alcohol and skiing off piste certainly do not mix – not only is your judgment likely to be even more impaired by the effects of alcohol at higher altitudes, but you may be invalidating your insurance policy if you persist in skiing whilst under the influence.

If you are hoping to go off piste during your next skiing holiday, therefore, it is even more important to ensure that you have the necessary, specialist ski travel insurance to keep you – and others – safely protected.

How You Can Benefit From Take A Digital Detox

The reason we take holidays is to unwind and relax and forget about our ordinary, busy lives back home.  We live at a time when powerful technology is at our fingertips however and this technology keeps us so well connected to everyone and everything in our lives that it is very difficult to ever truly have a complete break.  This is why more and more people are taking a digital detox at a yoga holiday or retreat.

We all are familiar with the situation aren’t we?  You are somewhere nice and sunny sitting on the beach or relaxing by the pool and  because you decided to bring your mobile phone with you; people continue to contact you because they can.  This means that if there is a problem at work, even if you can’t personally deal with it, you will still find out about it.  By taking a digital detox however, as you will see in the following article, you benefit from escaping the stresses and troubles of your everyday life and are free to completely recharge your batters and relax.

A More Fully Immersive Yoga Experience

If you already regularly practise yoga, you may find that while it is definitely doing you some good; the results are not happening quick enough.  When you take a yoga holiday though, you are able to devote all or as much of your time as you want to yoga and meditation.  Because you have the opportunity to focus and really concentrate on your breathing techniques, meditation and yoga poses; you are more likely to feel significant changes both physically and mentally.

Deeper And More Effective Relaxation

It’s all in the name often used to describe yoga holidays – retreat.  That conjured up images and feelings of getting away from it all, a stark contrast to what happens when you go on the average holiday.  When you digital detox you give yourself the chance to really relax and meditate.  Even if you consider yourself to be quite an accomplished mediator; when you take this type of holiday you will find that there are still things you can improve on.

No problems, no technology means a clear mind that you can start to fill with positive ideas, thoughts and contemplations.  It is also possible that as you meditate on your problems that they are easy to let go of and not as bad as you actually thought they were.  This can also help you to evaluate your life and put things in their proper perspective and place.

We are sure you will agree that while the above list is in no way exhaustive; the benefits of trying to digitally detox on a yoga holiday are very attractive.  Who can honestly say they would not enjoy even a few days away from it all where no one can contact you unless it is a real emergency?  We can certainly say that we would love to take that kind of holiday.

Places to shop in Houston

Houston certainly has a lot going for it, and if you’re in town, you can expect to have a great time. With plenty of great nightlife spots and a wide variety of sporting facilities there is a lot to do in the day and night time. However, one of the best things about Houston is the excellent shopping. If you love flexing the plastic, this is the place to be, with some incredible stores and excellent retail chains that allow you to get your shopping on in a big way. In this article we will look at a few places you can get some retail therapy in Houston.

If you’re heading to Houston and you want the latest styles, you could do a lot worse than travel to Abejas. This incredibly popular and famous little boutique store holds all the major fashion,and it has a very strong reputation. You will spend a fortune here, but you can also expect to find the latest styles around too. Come here if you want the very latest in fashion and you will most certainly not be disappointed.

Pinto Ranch is perhaps the most ‘Texas’ store here. Carrying everything the modern cowboy or cowgirl could ever want, it also has a number of high end fashion items for the outdoors types. If there is a hidden frontier type inside you, this is the place to let them out. A quality store, it is famous in the local area simply because it offers the very best in ‘Western’ style clothing.

Bespoke shirts

Hamilton Shirts is another equally famous store. Run by the same family for a very long time, it offers hand made bespoke shirts for the more discerning gentleman. The quality here is exceptional, and people travel from miles around just to get their hands on one of these shirts. Well worth looking into if you want to dress for success, or even just to buy for someone else.

If you’re at that wonderful stage in your life where wedding bells are on the horizon, you are well looked after in Houston. Known for it’s incredibly large and exciting weddings, the area has some excellent stores that offer wedding rings and engagement rings of real quality and distinction. You can certainly find something here if you’re about to pop the question with an engagement ring, and there are also a number of Houston jewelry stores that offer fantastic products.

It’s one of the best places to shop in Texas and the sheer range of stores and goods is incredible. Take the time to explore the area and you’ll soon find that it is possible to get whatever you want in Houston. A fantastic place to shop and explore, Houston has it all when it comes to retail therapy.

So you can have a great time just exploring the city, or you can choose to spend some money in the wide range of stores. It’s up to you. But everyone who goes to Houston finds that it is a great and dynamic place to be.