Isola Maggiore – The Italian Island Ripe For Relaxation

 

Stepping ashore from Lake Trasimeno onto the little Umbrian island of Isola Maggiore, it’s not hard to see why St Francis of Assisi once chose to live there as a hermit. A statue by the shaded lakeside commemorates his stay on the island throughout Lent in 1211, when he is said to have slept on a rock.

Today, with no traffic at all and only one small village – where the buildings along its main Via Guglielmi date from the fourteenth century – Isola Maggiore is truly unspoiled. Only the presence of a small albergo, the occasional restaurant, a gelateria, and the tiny sprinkling of kiosks around the little jetty, show any real sign that the centuries have moved on.

Paths criss-cross the island, leading up through ancient olive groves to the top of the hill, where the twelfth century Chiesa di San Michele Arcangelo sits overlooking the turquoise waters of the lake. Inside this church, the ancient frescoes – some of which are attributed to the school of Giotto – are still in wonderful condition and a guide is always on hand to explain about them.

There are two further churches on the island (plus a couple more, which sadly only remain as ruins). The comparatively ornate Chiesa del Buon Gesu on Via Guglielmi can be found open most days, although the church of San Salvatore, reached via the earthen steps climbing up by the albergo Da Sauro, is generally closed.

The fishing village, as it then was, enjoyed its peak during the fourteenth century, after a Franciscan monastery was built there in 1328. Centuries later, after its closure, the Guglielmi family acquired the monastery, building a castle in the grounds in the 1880s, where they lavishly entertained guests from the mainland.

Over the centuries, Lake Trasimeno grew more and more shallow, making life for the island’s fishermen increasingly hard. As the fishing declined, so too did large numbers of the population, and with them went the Guglielmis. The family did, however, leave the strange legacy of Irish lace.

The Marchesa Elena Guglielmi introduced the Irish lace technique in the early 1900s, setting up a Lace School on the island. Today, although fewer than 20 islanders now live on Isola Maggiore, you can still see one or two ladies making lace in front of their homes, and the Lace Museum displays many exquisite examples from the island’s past.

As for the castle, in 1944 it was used for several months as an internment camp for political prisoners, then later fell into disrepair. Today, although inaccessible to the public, it is very slowly being restored.

Across from the Lace Museum stands the Casa del Capitano del Popolo (‘The Captain’s House’), which tells the history of this enchanting island.

The fishing may have declined, but it is still possible to enjoy carp, tench and pike fresh from the lake, served in any of the island’s little restaurants. Dine on a tranquil terrace as the sun sets and the water gently laps… what more could you ask?

Kumbhalgarh – Hill Fortress of Mewari Rajasthan

 

Rajasthan, the largest state in India, was historically a region fragmented into 18 princely states, 3 chieftainships and was united only by a term which was coined by the British, ‘Rajputana Agency/Province’, until 1949 AD. Even today a fleeting glance might fool you into thinking that this place is all about deserts and camels to the west, forests and wildlife to the east (and south) and a place where everyone’s mother tongue is Hindi (it is also the official language of the state); but one needs to take a closer look in order to understand that this land is just as geographically, culturally, linguistically and cuisine-wise diverse as any other part of India.

Some of the major historical regions of Rajasthan are Dhundhar (includes Jaipur), Hadoti (includes Kota), Marwar (includes Jodhpur), Mewar (includes Udaipur, Chittorgarh), Shekhawati (includes Churu, Sikar, Jhunjhunu), Godwar (includes Falna, Abu), Mewat (includes part of Alwar, Bharatpur, Dholpur), Vagad (includes part of Banswara and Dungarpur) and Ajmer. While these regions are relatively smaller when compared to the huge size of India; they have their own dialects, their own style of cooking, their own deities, and last but not the least their way of living is in harmony with the geographical conditions (we need to remember that Rajasthan is all desert in the west, semi arid in the north and central, extremely hilly in the south and all green in the east) of their environs.

Being such a fragmented region since time immemorial meant that there would be rivalries amongst kingdoms and when differences weren’t resolved through dialogue, war was inevitable. So, from a security point of view it was imperative for all the rulers of Rajasthan to defend their realms and that would mean constructing forts. The more the better, the bigger the better! It is a representation of this fact, that Rajasthan has numerous forts with each built differently as per the local landscape and environs, which prompted UNESCO to choose six of the most unique ones as World Heritage Sites. This article focusses on one such fort, of the Kingdom of Mewar, which is not only one of the oldest in Rajasthan but also one of the most massive ones to be constructed in the history of India, ever!

Located in the wilderness, at a distance of 100 kms from the tourist’s paradise of Udaipur, a fort of gigantic proportion stands; a UNESCO World Heritage Site which a majority of tourists and people, generally, tend to ignore. They don’t ignore this fort because it is not worth looking at, they don’t ignore this fort because it does not have its own legendary stories to tell, they don’t visit this fort simply because they are not aware about this place. The sole aim of writing this article is to correct that anomaly so that whenever a tourist or traveler visits Udaipur or any destination in Rajasthan he/she does not miss out on a monument which has the second largest wall of Asia at 36kms, second only to the Great Wall of China, and some of the finest palaces and temples ever constructed in this region.

Constructed on the orders of Rana Kumbha of Mewar (and hence named after him, Kumbhalgarh simply means the Fort of Kumbha) between 1444 – 1458 AD, this expansive fort was constructed on a series of hills at the border of the realms of Mewar and Marwar. A fort built by a Jain ruler Samprati in the 2nd century BC and some temples located in the same area pre-dated the fort. As per legend when Rana Kumbha’s men could not erect a major bastion he was suggested by an ascetic to conduct a human sacrifice to appease the elements. It is believed that after some futile searching the ascetic offered himself for the sacrifice. The spot of his beheading has a temple there. After this, construction of the fort was undertaken successfully in full swing and as per folklore Rana Kumbha (who ironically was assassinated by his son in the same fort!) burned large lamps to facilitate the construction of fort even during night hours.

Rana Kumbha had a prowess of architecture as well and he had designed (or co-designed) at least 32 of the 84 forts constructed during his lifetime. One of the salient features of this particular fort designed by him and his architect Mandan were the bottle-shaped bastions (bulbous at the base, narrow at the top) whose purpose was to desist escalade warfare (the opposing armies could not prop up their wooden ladders, to storm the fort walls, without the fear of breaking them as they would have been forced to be kept at an angle). These unique bastions were complemented with walls which were over 7 metres wide in some places (enough for 7 horses to run side by side).

This gargantuan fort, replete with palaces (built in Rajput architectural style along with some influences Mughal architecture coming in at later stages), temples (constructed in the Nagara (North Indian) and Maru Gurjara (West Indian) styles of architecture), step wells, dams and multiple levels of defensive walls was a defender’s delight. Historical facts ascertain this fact, that while this fort faced numerous sieges the opposing armies, no matter how qualified and huge they were, could never break into Kumbhalgarh (the only time the Mewar army defending Kumbhalgarh surrendered, in 1578 AD, was when they ran out of ammunition!). It is no wonder that whenever rulers of Mewar felt threatened they would head here for safety.

This fort’s importance can be judged from the fact that it was here that the toddler Rana Uday Singh was sneaked here (in 1538 AD) to prevent him from being assassinated following a palace coup, by Panna Dhai. The legendary Maharana Pratap, the eldest son of Rana Uday Singh, was born here (on May 9th 1540 AD), in the ‘Jhalia ki Malia’ (Palace of Queen Jhalia). Some decades hence when Maharana Pratap lost the, furiously fought, Battle of Haldighati (1538 AD) it was to Kumbhalgarh where he headed to and even though Mughal emperor Akbar laid an elaborate siege to capture him he managed to leave the fort successfully, after he ran out of ammunition.

This fort was restored, at some places, and renovated by Maharana Uday Singh II in 1905 AD. He restored the battlements, the bastions and built the wonderful Badal Mahal after pulling down some old structures.

Some of the major monuments which stand out from the rest in Kumbhalgarh are the Char Bhuja Temple (near Ram Pol), Baavan Deori Temple (a unique Jain Temple with 50 minor and 2 major sanctum sanctorums!), Badal Mahal, Rana Kumbha’s Palace, Ganesh Temple, Neelkanth Mahadev Temple amongst others.

Once the rulers of Mewar relinquished their claim over Kumbhalgarh, which happened the moment they signed the Instrument of Accession in 1949 AD, the royal sheen went away from this place. What’s left now is a couple of villages, inside the fort premises, whose inhabitants claim to be descendants of the royal servicemen appointed as caretakers of the fort.

Even today, if one takes a walk over the impenetrable walls of this over 500 years old fort, the eerie silence present there would serve as a catalyst and enable one to feel the vibes of the bloody battles which were fought here by the defenders against a rampaging army to keep the fort and their sovereign safe, even at the cost of their lives.

The Hill Fort of Kumbhalgarh might have been neglected by a majority of tourists and history enthusiasts of the world since quite some decades now, but it would take them only one visit to realise what Emperor Akbar’s great armies and other foes of the Mewar rulers felt when they gazed upon this fort, it’s ‘brute strength’.

Things To Do In Seattle – 10 Premier Attractions

 

Once the land of the Native Americans, Seattle is rich in its natural beauty. Nonetheless, it is not far from civilization and sophistication. It gives you both the City and the Countryside under one roof. Here’s a list of the 10 premier locations in the “Emerald City.” These are the top choices with locals and tourists.

1. Pike Place Market –

Established in 1907, this public market is one of the iconic attractions in Seattle overlooking the Elliot Bay. It is spread over 9 acres of land and is home to more than 200 independent businesses. Started as a Farmer’s Market, you can treat yourself to fresh fruits, vegetables and sea food or take home floral bouquets, clothing, handicrafts and locally made jewelry.

2. Space Needle –

The Space Needle is a symbol for Seattle. Standing tall at 605ft, this observation tower was built during the 1962 World Fair. The Observation Deck at 520 ft offers breathtaking views of Seattle by day and night. It is open year round except on special holidays. If you get hungry, you can grab a meal at the SkyCity restaurant.

3. Chihuly Garden and Glass Center –

A recent addition to Seattle, the Chihuly Garden and Glass Center is a phenomenal glass exhibit. It is divided into three sections namely the glass house, the garden and the interior exhibit. You can purchase a combined ticket for the Space Needle and the Chihuly Center to save a few dollars. If you do get a chance, watch it by night.

4. Woodland Park Zoo –

Woodland Park Zoo is a real treat for nature lovers as it attempts to preserve local and exotic animal species by recreating natural habitats. There are over 1,000 species of animals and birds segmented into various exhibits. There is a nature-themed play space for children called the Zoomazium. You can bring a picnic or eat at the cafes and food kiosks.

5. Olympic Sculpture Park –

This is one of the premier tourist destinations in Seattle not only on account of the art it has on display but also for its stunning design and architecture. A walk here will give you a glimpse of the city, the harbor and the sparkling waterfront.

6. Seattle Aquarium –

The Seattle Aquarium near Pike Palace gives you a new way to explore the underwater. The aquarium is home to over 380 species of fish, marine animals and invertebrates. You can see the colorful fish through the underwater dome and pet creatures at the two large touch pool tanks.

7. Washington State Ferries –

This is a government agency that organizes exciting boat rides to tour the Puget Sound area. On board you can grab a hot drink or simply stand on the deck and feel the light sprays of salt water on your skin. You can also take a ferry to Bainbridge Island.

8. Ballard Locks –

The Hiram H. Chittenden locks popularly called the Ballard locks connects Lake Union and Lake Washington to Puget Sound. The best time to visit is when the fish are going through the ladder. There is a specially designed 21 step structure that enables the fish to transfer from the saltwater to freshwater. You can see the fish swim through the ladder through the glass panels below.

9. Museum of Flight –

If you are an aerospace enthusiast, this place won’t disappoint. This museum takes you back into history with its 39 full-sized aircraft. There is Boeing, Air Force One, Concord and Connie to name a few. Many of the exhibits are from World War I and II. You will spend hours here without getting bored.

10. Seattle Art Museum –

When the climate does not quite favor an outdoor saunter, you can drop in at the Seattle Art Museum. It is quite big in size and showcases amazing highlights many of them belonging to Native American and Asian cultures. Comparatively, it has a smaller collection of European Art.

8 Quirky Things to Do in London

 

There is so much to see and do in London, especially if you’re based in one of the central hostels in London. Once you’ve seen the iconic attractions, why not explore the weirder, wackier side of this grand old city.

1. Ripley’s Believe it or Not – Head over to Piccadilly Circus and prepare to have your mind blown. From quirky exhibits to a breath-taking laser race, this is definitely one fun venue that shouldn’t be missed for the young, or the young at heart.

2. Sample the Beers of the Ages on a Pub Tour – If you’re a serious beer lover and have £20 to spare, you can book a pub tour of London’s East End, courtesy of Alternative London. This is a pretty good deal if you’re staying in one of the hostels in London and want to make the most of your limited time and have some fun to boot.

3. Chill Out in the Swimming Ponds of Hampstead Heath – There’s nothing like an ice-cold dip in the middle of winter to get your blood flowing again! Hampstead Heath’s swimming ponds are open all year round, ready to give you chills and thrills with a dip in the waters.

4. Gourmet Toast in Clapham – Feeling hungry? As in, really hungry? Breads Etcetera offers huge portions and you can eat as much as you can handle of their freshly baked bread. Pair it will one of their delicious omelettes and you’ll be good to go for the whole day.

5. Shop for Umbrellas at James Smith & Sons – London is renowned for its rain and you’ll inevitably need an umbrella if you don’t want to get sopping wet every time you step outside the hostels in London. You can always grab a cheap one, of course, but why not stay dry in style with a brolly from one of London’s most iconic stores, which has been around since 1830?

6. Dine Among the Dead – Always felt that your average restaurant is somewhat lacking in dead animals preserved in life-like postures? Then you may fancy visiting the Les Trois Garcon restaurant. Located in Shoreditch, you can enjoy a delicious feast under the watchful gaze of a host of stuffed (but very real) animals. It’s a taxidermist’s dream, but it’s not for everyone – although it’s certainly different!

7. Get Your Laugh On for Free – Monday nights in the Theatre Royal Stratford East are reserved for a bevy of stand-up comedy acts, and the best part is Comic Mondays are free! This is a great night out and very easily accessible from the central hostels in London.

8. Learn Some Fake History – Speaking of laughs, Bullsh*t London is a two-man comedian act-slash-walking tour of the South Bank. For £10, you can enjoy a two-hour long tour with a skewered, tongue-in-cheek version of London’s grand old history. Perfect for those who lean toward the irreverent.

Jason H. Cunningham

Top 3 Activities in Salzburg Every Tourist Must Do

 

Salzburg is one of the most stunning cities in the world, and its historical legacy alone is enough for any tourist to fall in love with it. Whether it is the city’s ancient cathedrals and castles (which have endured for centuries), the scenic landscapes made iconic by the movie The Sound of Music, or simply the sheer beauty of the gardens and public parks of the city, there is something for every tourist in this lovely Austrian city. Fortunately, today’s travellers can now rely on a Salzburg shuttle service to get them to their accommodation quickly and easily, and once there, the following activities should be on any itinerary.

Go on a Cycling Tour on the Set of Sound of Music

Once the Salzburg shuttle service has transported you to your accommodation, it’s time to get out and explore. Although it’s the fourth largest city in Austria, it is very accessible and easy to get around – and there is so much to see! One of the highly recommended and most popular tours is a cycling tour around several locations used as sets in the 1965 musical film, The Sound of Music. Fans of the movie will be able to channel their inner Maria as they are guided around the iconic locations where the film was shot, including the beautiful Trapp Villa and Hellbrun’s gardens. It will take around 20 minutes from the Altstadt to the Trap Villa, but the pleasant cycling and the fantastic destination will not disappoint. Moreover, those who are self-confessed fanatics of the film could elevate the experience even more by booking a room at the Trap Villa and spending the night in one of the most important icons in 20th century cinema.

Explore the City on a Historical Tour on Foot

Even without the Sound of Music tour, the city is an amazing destination that caters to many different types of tourists. For those who appreciate history, there are more than enough old cathedrals, museums, monasteries and castles in this UNESCO World Heritage Site. While many tourists prefer to explore the city on their own-arriving from the airport and getting to different destinations is easy enough with the Salzburg shuttle service -there are also guided tours that usually last for two hours and include numerous stops in the lovely Baroque city, including the famous Salzburg Dome Cathedral.

Mozart’s Geburtshaus

Any trip to the city would not be complete without a visit to Mozart’s Geburtshaus, birthplace of the world-renowned classical music composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Your Salzburg shuttle service may even take you past Mozart’s Geburtshaus on the way from the airport. This incredible townhouse is filled with amazing collections that allow visitors an intimate glimpse into Mozart’s earlier life. The most notable items housed in the museum include the mini violin Mozart played when he was a toddler, a number of other instruments, and many portraits.

While there are so many other attractions that are well worth visiting in this fabulous city, missing these three should not be an option.

Backpacker Jobs – Make Money on Your Backpacking Journey

Traveling across the globe has often been viewed, by the majority, as a luxury affordable only to the rich. This is not true for the backpackers, especially those with a job. Backpackers are travelers that prioritize low-cost international travel.

The idea of backpacking is to spend the least possible money and have the most exotic experience away from home, as most Backpackers could not afford high-end traveling. However, due to the mere fact that Backpackers have to place low-cost at the top of their mind, their trips are usually restricted by the tight budget, as a result they fail to get the most of their travel.

Having said that, there is an effective option for Backpackers to further minimizes their cost and maximizes the fun backpacker jobs. It is now becoming more common for Backpackers to work on their journey.

There are many reasons for Backpackers to work:

To save the cost of trip. Earn extra money to finance the expenses of traveling
Some employers provide free accommodation for backpackers, this help to solve lodging problem. A great opportunity to meet more of the local people as well as other travelers around the world.

Learn more about the culture of the locals. Backpackers would have a more unique experience and exposure when they indulge themselves in the community of the place they are traveling to.

The common jobs Backpacker Jobs are:

Fruit picking. This is especially the case in Australia, south of England and New Zealand.

Bar work. Backpackers could easily find bars hiring in many places from Scotland to the United States of America.

Teaching English.

Waiter/Waitress.

Telemarketing

Hotel work

Backpacker jobs are widespread in many countries like America, United Kingdom, Australia etc., offer jobs specifically to backpackers because of their flexibility of schedule. Depending on which country the Backpacker wants to work, the procedure will differ (eg. Australia only offers Working Holiday Visa once if one wants to work during their vacation, and will be restricted to a regular Tourist Visa the next time).

It is advisable for Backpackers to research thoroughly on their backpacking destination before leaving for their trip to find out the procedure of obtaining the working permit to avoid working illegally, for example, while getting a job in the Europe is easy, there are certain requirements to be satisfied before working, those that do not meet the standard but chose to work regardless of that would be considered as illegal worker and would therefore be deported back to their own country with their own cost.

Michael Lim is a student that has been studying abroad and have travelled to many countries. Traveling has always been his passion but finance forms a limitation to his desire to see the world.

Having said that, he has resort to Backpacking as this is a form of budget traveling affordable for most people, on top of this, he is consistently looking for ways to eliminate money as an obstacle and achieve his dream to travel around the world. The current field and project he is working on is Backpacker Jobs which enables him to finance his trips and at the same time, share his ideas and methods with people of the same interest.

Backpacker Insurance for Gap Year Hazards

Backpacker insurance for gap year hazards should never be ignored. A gap year adventure should be the most exciting trip that any young person will experience in their lifetime. That first taste of freedom and adventure, where you inevitably hook up with like-minded travellers and make memories and lifetime friends.

In all the excitement and anticipation of the trip it is natural to want to ignore the potential hazards – and with a heap of good luck nothing will go wrong. After all, you have spent many months planning the trip and doing your research…

Many gap year travellers choose popular long-haul destinations such as Thailand, Vietnam, Africa and Australia – all a long way from home. Needless to say, setting off on such a fantastic adventure would be crazy without the peace of mind of a quality Backpacker travel insurance policy tucked in your rucksack. The importance of researching your destination(s) cannot be emphasised strongly enough.

With any luck you will not run into any hazards such as earthquakes, volcanic activity, typhoons or tropical diseases along the way, but with some preparation and knowledge you can be ready to face anything thrown at you.

We always recommend that travellers visit the website of the British Foreign Office for the latest travel advice, and this service is offered for free by most governments. Staying safe and personal security on your travels is always a concern. You’ll need to be aware of the current political situation and potential hazards you could encounter – and, most important, what to do and where to go for help if anything does go wrong.
Personal safety and security is of prime concern, as most countries have problems with pick-pocketing, mugging, drink spiking, and various scams.

Being caught in possession of any illegal drugs or substances can, in some countries, result in very serious charges, imprisonment, and even the death penalty!Read up on the local laws and customs of the country you are visiting and respect their rules and dress codes to avoid trouble. Again, it is important to know that travel insurance is unlikely to cover any claims related to your use or possession of illegal substances or abuse of alcohol.

A cheap backpacker policy automatically covers a range of sporting activities that are considered hazardous. Always check the policy to see what is and is not covered before you set off on your trip. One-off activities like a bungee jump or elephant ride are normally covered.

Most important is to have excellent cover for Medical Expenses – and always check that it includes Repatriation. Falling ill or sustaining an accidental injury while halfway around the world in a remote area could cost many thousands of pounds. You may need to be flown to a neighbouring country for specialised treatment – all very expensive. Without insurance you, or your family will have to foot the bill. Your consulate or embassy is on hand to provide limited help, but they do not pay your bills, and ignorance is no excuse…

One of the biggest problems travellers face is the loss or theft of their passports. This is something normally covered by your travel insurance. The nearest consulate or embassy will help you to obtain a new travel document, but it is not free!

A cheap backpacker policy should also provide cover for things like Mugging, Missed Departure, Scheduled Airline Failure, Hijack, Personal Liability and Legal Expenses. Most Backpacker policies are cheaper because they are ‘light’ on cover for luggage and possessions. There’s no point paying for cover that you do not need.

If you are busy planning your gap year adventure and are under the impression that insurance is unnecessary, or you have not factored the cost into your budget, why not discuss it with your parents or family members. Rather than set off uninsured, ask if they will purchase a policy for you as a farewell gift. They should be motivated to help, because allowing you to travel uninsured may bring them a world of trouble if the worst should happen and you run into hazards while you are on the other side of the world.

The news is full of tragedies of this type all the time – where families suffer hardship and often have to organise fundraisers to find the tens of thousands of pounds needed to fly their loved ones home. The cost of a Backpacker policy is such a small price to pay for peace of mind for you and your family.

 

A Memorable and Romantic Camping Getaway

Embarking on a romantic camping getaway is a wonderful idea for a romantic date to those who are nature lovers and adventurous couples, especially those who really adore the great outdoors. Planning an escapade like this is a great way to spend an anniversary date, propose to your future fiance, spend a special occasion or you may just want a relaxing hideaway to relieve your stress from the daily grind of a fast phased urban life.

For sure, couples will want to make their romantic camping retreat to be a memorable one. Bringing the right camping equipment as well having a completely thought out plan are the key elements to achieve the goal of a perfect outdoor getaway. Here is a checklist of reminders in mapping out your plan as well as choosing the right camping gear, supplies and accessories to complement your memorable romantic escapade:

Decide on a cool destination. With your budget in mind, make a research for a great destination of your camping trip. You can check the internet for a potential location. Look for a venue with the amenities that would suit your interests and hobbies as a couple. If you both love water sports, you can check out great beach resorts nearest you that has the facilities and equipment for the fun water activities you love.

If you are a fan of the reality TV show Survivor, you can go trekking and set camp in well known forest trails or go mountain climbing. The sky is the limit as to where you can go as it will really depend on the budget you are allocating for the travel as well as the amount of time you are available to be away from your respective jobs.

Make out some romantic activities. After you have decided where to go, list down a number of special romantic activities you can do aside from the usual activities the location has to offer. Since a romantic atmosphere is already set up for you, it would be wonderful to come up with some amorous bonding activities to make everything extra special and memorable.

Even though you are outdoors, you can still arrange a candlelight dinner complete with a sumptuous charcoal grilled dinner, a bottle of champagne and some flowers on the side. You can also order a symphonic string orchestra to play your favorite love songs. An MP3 player with portable speakers will accomplish that setting. You just have to be passionately creative and the ideas will flow endlessly to create a warm and romantic atmosphere, enjoy your intimate moments together and ultimately result to a memorable camping getaway.

Whip up a fine food menu. The next important thing to remember in planning the travel is food. Plan your meals and snacks menu for the duration of the camping trip. Every meal should be covered with some extra food supply of can goods for emergency purposes so there would be no chance of starving yourselves in the great outdoors. There are easy to prepare and quick cooking recipes that would still taste and appear first-class. Make sure you have sufficient energy giving foodstuff to nourish yourselves since you will need them to sustain the passionate and adventurous activities ahead.

Gear up with the right equipment. After you have decided your destination, come up with a delightful food menu and planned the activities for the entire trip, it is time to make a checklist of the necessary camping equipment, accessories and supplies, which you need to bring depending on what you have planned so far.

This is crucial in the planning process since you have to make sure all bases are covered. It can really spoil the camping trip if you forget a certain equipment, gear or supply but only realize it when you are already at the camping site. Moreover, choose reliable and well-known name brands for your camping gear and equipment to ensure quality and satisfactory performance.

Basic camping stuff you may need to bring would include a quality camping tent, sleeping bags, air mattresses, portable table and chairs, beds and cots, coolers for your foodstuff, portable cooking stove and grill, lanterns and flashlight, utensils and utility knives, as well as other equipment and accessories for your planned outdoor leisure activities. For your safety, bring your mobile phone, compasses and flares, a portable first aid kit in case an emergency situation comes along.

There are specialty stores available that can provide all the equipment and supplies for your camping needs. You can also check the internet websites to find the trusted and reliable brands to ensure you quality and performance. They likewise have the expert staff who can give you advises for your camping getaway.

Dress up to the occasion. Wear the proper clothing attire and shoes depending on the location of the planned getaway. Bring extra clothes, shades, sun block lotions, baseball caps and other clothing paraphernalia which you think are essential – all depending on your destination and the planned activities during the trip. Wearing the right stuff will give you comfort and safety while enjoying all the activities of your outdoor escapade.

Organize well in packing your stuff. After completing an inventory of all the stuff you need to bring for the trip, the next important tip is to smartly pack them in an organized manner, especially the food. Separate the hot food stuff from the cold ones. Plastic or aluminum food keepers are great for your food ingredients and cooked food.

Do not forget to bring along your trusty coolers for your drinking water and cold beverages, packed with enough ice to last the whole journey. You can write on a notepad a list of all your belongings and where you packed them so you will be trouble-free looking around when needed during the trip.

Keep safety and security in mind at all times. Finally and most importantly, employ a culture of safety and security in planning your getaway. Choose a well-known or recognized campsite or trek trail as your destination. Help and assistance will not be far away in case of emergency.

There is a great amount of risk in going to the wild and unrestricted locations. You do not want your romantic escapade to be ruined by an animal attack or any untoward incident. Always keep in mind that a completely thought out plan and a sensible choice of camping equipment are the key elements you need to remember to have a memorable and romantic camping getaway.

A Christmas Vacation for the Family (Ideal Places to Go To)

Christmas Vacation Ideas for the Work at Home Dad

In countries like the Philippines, the yuletide season extends from the beginning of October all the way to January the following year. Quite different from western traditions, don’t you think so? But no matter which part of the world you are, if you believe in Christmas, then you know that this is perhaps one of the most celebrated holidays in the world of Christianity.

Well, the way people celebrate this holiday season may vary between each family and individual. This doesn’t mean, though, that we can’t get excited this early for the coming of the most wonderful time of the year! Christmas is really fast approaching when October sets in and November is just around the corner.

With Christmas about to knock on our doors, I am fairly certain that there are some of you who are already cooking up plans for the coming holidays. Having said that, there are amazing vacation destinations that you may want to consider for your family. Depending on your budget, there are specific locations that are perfect for a family vacation that you certainly won’t soon forget, whether you and your family are aiming for a tropical or a white Christmas.

If you and your family are accustomed to a snowy white Christmas, then it would be perfectly logical to seek a more tropical theme this time around, don’t you agree? Tropical family vacation destinations are quite popular these days, especially among those who are tired of the stereotypical white Christmas that the late Bing Crosby made famous in his hit single of the same name. You can forget about wearing winter clothes, mittens, wooly scarves and bonnets, and go instead for your shades, sunscreen, and snorkeling gear.

Tropical destinations that are close to the coastlines are popular among many vacationers who are looking for that beautiful beach ambiance. The world class beaches and resorts in Australia, Florida, Hawaii, and the Caribbean are particularly among the favorites.

They offer affordable packages that include first-rate hotels and lodging, fine dining and exotic restaurants, as well as memorable and fun activities that you and your family will definitely enjoy. If you think about it, getting this family vacation package is actually an awesome Christmas present, and one that you all absolutely deserve.

On the other side of the isle, people who have been spending a winterless Christmas for the most part of their lives may want to consider a white Christmas themselves. You can book a trip for your family to stay in mountainous vacation spots for the holiday season, where the stimulating aroma of pine trees, the serene view of white capped mountains, and the crackling sound of the fireplace will engulf you in white Christmas bliss.

You, your spouse, and the kids can enjoy a day of skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobile riding. And if you want a more intimate holiday experience with your family, you can choose to rent cabins where you can share hot cocoa and slightly burnt marshmallows. It would be nice to be free of all the electronic gadgets, wireless communications devices and entertainment consoles that take up most of our time, don’t you think so?

If you are on a tight budget, getting a family vacation for the yuletide season doesn’t have to be an all-out spending spectacle. If you want to experience a white Christmas, you can swap houses, or trade places, with close friends or relatives who want to experience a sunny Christmas of their own.

You do not have to spend much to experience a memorable Christmas. The most important thing is that you are spending it with family and friends. That we can all agree on, right?

4 Steps to Create the Ultimate Promotion Plan For Your Eco-Tourism Company

Creating a result-driven promotion plan for your luxury eco-tourism hotel, lodge, accommodation, or touring company can be highly effective if you have the right mindset and proper strategies to gain exposure and attract more visitors.

Before you can create an online promotion plan for your high-end eco-tourism company, it’s important to ask yourself the following fundamental questions:

  1.  What are my goals for the future of my luxury eco-tourism company?
  2.  What do I want to achieve through my online promotion efforts?
  3.  What do I want people to know or perceive about my brand?
  4.  What action do I want people to take as a result of my efforts?

Once you have a clear understanding of what you want your online promotion efforts to accomplish, it’s time to create a strategic plan. Some people find planning dull, overwhelming, or downright boring. I can assure you, the more you plan, the more you are clear about what you want and where you want to go, the easier your efforts will be, and you’ll achieve the results you want more easily and quickly.

Here are 4 steps to creating a promotion plan that delivers results for your eco-tourism company:

Step I:

First, you have to know what you want to achieve. You must define success. If you have a strategic objective, use that as a guide. In addition, I suggest you sit down and interview yourself.

Some of these questions might include…

  1.  What type of visitors do I want to attract to my accommodations?
  2.  Do I want to build solid relationships with a handful of key bloggers?
  3.  Do I want my Tweets mentioned in Condé Nast Traveler?
  4.  Do I want to be featured in Travel + Leisure online?
  5.  Do I want my eco-tourism business to win a Responsible Tourism Award?

Be honest with yourself. What is it that you really want? Write it down.

It’s important to note that success isn’t always about having 4,000 fans or 8 million Facebook or Twitter followers. What’s more important is the connection you build with your online network. If you only have 100 fans or followers on Facebook or Twitter and a handful are retweeting your posts, that’s much better than having 300 fans or followers and no one interacting with you or sharing your information.

Step II:

Depending on your goals and the nature of your eco-tourism company, decide how you will promote your company online. By no means are you expected to use every possible online platform-you’d end up pulling your hair out.

Instead, use vehicles and platforms that will meet your needs and objectives. This sounds simple enough, but you’d be amazed how many eco-tourism companies are unclear why they’re doing what they’re doing. Do you know why you’re on LinkedIn and Digg, or even have a blog? Do you have a Twitter account because you were told that’s what attracts clients, or are you Tweeting with a purpose? Again, this goes back to step one-you have to set goals and know what you want.

In deciding how you will promote and what online platforms are best for your eco-tourism business, take inventory of what you’re doing now. Make a list of what’s working and what isn’t. Look over the list and ask yourself why that is. Are you actually connecting with your target market or key influencers? How can you better engage your network? Are you on the right platforms to connect and engage?

Once you are clear, choose a set of 2 – 3 social media platforms that you plan to be active on. If you’re already on a few and they work for you, stick with these social media sites. Remember, it’s better to be active on a few than to be on too many and never participate or add to the conversation.

Step III:

If you have an eco-travel blog or plan on starting one, create a blog editorial calendar. Eliminate last minute blogging, topic searching, and optimizing by creating an editorial calendar in advance. Here you can break down each topic you would like to discuss on your blog over the course 1 – 3 months.

When you have a blog schedule, sit down and write a few blogs at once, remembering to incorporate key eco-travel phrases in the first paragraph of your post-without being unnatural. Some key phrases you might use are luxury eco-travel company, sustainable tourism, FTTSA certified, green travel, and eco-tourism company.

Batching is always a great way to hone in on your writing skills and get a few posts out of the way.
It’s also extremely helpful to create an organized blog promotion schedule in your plan. Each week, set aside time to comment on like-minded blogs, ask other bloggers if you can be a guest blogger, or ask others to guest blog for you, and request to be on like-minded blogrolls.

Some like-minded blogs could be about eco-travel, sustainable living, general travel, travel photography, eco-tourism outfitters, and eco-friendly product blogs.

Step IV:

Set time durations for each task. When creating a plan, you want to ensure you set specific time durations you will spend on each task. If you don’t do this, you’ll quickly find yourself over stressed and unclear of the time you’re spending on these tasks. In your plan, write the specific time you will spend on each platform and what days you will post on these platforms. Often, setting weekly tasks is the best way to digest a larger promotion plan.