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Strategic packing for the casual traveler.

pack_lightI have realized, as I have traveled more and more, that I had to develop a strategy for packing. A strategy that allows me to have only what I need, but most of what I want while I am away from home.

The key to cheap holidays is always packing light, but not too light. The last thing we want is to lug extra stuff through airports, shuttle buses, and hotels. And now with airlines charging for checked luggage, we want to carry on as much as possible to save money and keep your holiday as affordable and low cost as you can. Plus, when you pack light, you tend to save more money since you don’t have as much room to buy tons of expensive souvenirs.

While we want to prepared for anything, we don’t want to carry items we are not going to use. Look at the items you are packing. Is there anything you are packing “just in case”? Could you run out to a local store and replace that item cheaply if you actually did in fact need it? If yes, don’t bring it.

Most hotels have complimentary combs, razors, shaving cream, and other toiletry items in the event that you forget or loose yours.

When it comes to clothes, this is where some of us have a hard time choosing what to bring. Firstly, don’t bring anything that you don’t feel comfortable wearing at home. Chances are, you won’t feel comfortable wearing it on vacation either.

Choose clothes that match each other. Make sure each shirt or blouse that you bring match at least three of the shorts, skirts, or pants. You can change the outfits by accessorizing. Accessories take up a lot less space than clothing.

I also choose clothing that doesn’t wrinkle, that can possibly be worn more than one time, that has pockets. I want to enjoy my time away without thinking about my clothes. I also bring a few pieces that I could rinse out in my hotel room sink just in case and it would be dry the next day.

By strategic packing, we carry less, have less worries and enjoy our vacation more!

Discount Honeymoon Cruises

Trying to plan a honeymoon can quickly become a headache, especially when traveling out of the country.  You have to search for hotels and lodgings, places to eat, and make reservations for activities or excursions.    Let’s face it, on your honeymoon you’ve got better things to do than wasting time finding these accommodations.  And then the expense of it all can be overwhelming and trap you into debt.   All of these problems can be eliminated with discount cruises.

Each cruise line offers different onboard activities.  Many incorporate rock climbing, gyms, swimming pools, tennis courts, basketball courts, movie rooms, and a host of other entertainment.  Don’t forget to sign up for dancing lessons with the ship’s dance instructor.   Then there is the abundance of feasting that occurs every day.  You have your breakfast, brunch, lunch, teatime, dinner, and the midnight buffet.  There is no end to the delectable cuisine that is provided to tantalize the taste buds.  Just make sure to pack your stretchy pants.

Embarking on a cruise is not just about staying on the cruise ship.  These shining vessels will take you to some of the most remarkable places on Earth.   One of these exotic destinations is Tahiti and French Polynesia.    The waters surrounding the islands are a clear sapphire blue, the valleys and mountains are lush green, and the locals are warm and hospitable. In these paradise-like conditions spend time scuba diving or snorkeling in the amazing coral reefs, or explore a lagoon aboard a glass-bottom boat.  Also try windsurfing, parasailing, or jet skiing off the shores of one of the many islands.  Or just relax on one of the white sugary beaches in the shade of a palm tree, listening to the sounds of the sea.

Caribbean cruises are some of the most popular and include wonderful deals and discounts for cruise travelers.  Eastern Caribbean cruises usually sail from Florida to ports such as St. Maarten/St. Martin, the Bahamas, St. John, St. Thomas, and Puerto Rico.  This route usually includes less sailing time, as the islands are closer together, and more chances to explore the islands, shopping, and plan excursions for the day.

Western Caribbean cruises begin in Texas, New Orleans, or Florida.   From here you will dock in enchanting locations such as Grand Cayman, Key West, Jamaica, Belize, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Cozumel or Playa del Carmen.   Depending on your itinerary, the time at sea will usually be greater due to the distance between the islands.  So the land excursions will be varied, but you can enjoy a host of water activities, opportunities to soak up the local culture, learn about Mayan ruins, and plenty of shopping.  Discount cruises are definitely the way to go for an unforgettable honeymoon.

Are Contiki Tours Worth the Money?

contiki-toursIf you are planning to take a large trip and see more than one place or country, you may be looking into some tour companies. Group tours can be fun as you are never alone, you can meet some great people, and tours cover a lot of your expenses in their price, like admissions to certain attractions. But when comparing different tour companies, you may ask yourself: Are Contiki Tours worth the Money? Below we will try to help answer that question.

When looking at the Contiki group tour information, it can seem like the prices for their tours are steep. You will also notice that depending on what time of the year you plan to travel (winter vs. summer) prices will climb accordingly. However, if you look deeper into what your money buys you, Contiki may be worth the money.

Your Contiki trip will not include your flights, so you must budget for this large extra expense. It is possible to get some great deals on flights, especially if you are not flying direct. The price that is listed for your trip includes, your lodging from the night before your tour starts until the last night of your tour, breakfasts every morning and many dinners, admissions to the main sites on the tour, and your transportation during the tour.

Contiki tours have optional sites to see which cost extra, so if you want to see some of them, bring extra money. You also will be in charge of paying for your lunches and about half of your dinners. The main parts of the trip are covered, however, and they can add up quickly when trying to plan a trip yourself.

When traveling with Contiki, you also have the option of traveling budget or traveling superior. Budget traveling is of course cheaper and you arguably get a better backpacker experience. The places you stay at are still nice, but are a lot cheaper. Overall, if you would rather travel “solo” but with a group, Contiki is a great choice.

Umbrellas For Your Beach Resort Vacation

Umbrellas made for the beach are different than rain umbrellas. Besides the obvious that they are larger in size they have a corkscrew bottom than can drill its way into the sand to stay. You will want an umbrella like this for ultimate use at the beach and not have to spend the entire time fighting your umbrella to stay put. This is great for those days when the wind is really gusting. The last thing you want is your umbrella to end up down the beach broken and torn to shreds.

Some beaches side hotels and vacation spots, such as resorts, already have beach umbrellas built into their resort for guests to rent or for complimentary use.. If you are at one of these locations make sure you start your day near one and claim it. You may not think it is necessary but you will want to use it throughout the day. Set up your area with one or two umbrellas and mark your territory. If you are going to fall asleep in the sun make sure you are under an umbrella.

Umbrellas made for the beach can also be handy other places as well. If you have a child who plays soccer or football is it great to have one while you are watching practice as many of these places do not have shade. Even for rain they can be handy with your folding chair and have some protection from the elements.

Even if you have umbrellas don’t let it replace sun block for you and your family. You will need to make sure that you are protecting your skin no matter how much sun exposure you get. If you are not regular beach goers make sure your sun block has not expired as it will not work. Have fun in the sun and don’t forget to look for your beach umbrella for sale or rent to make it a great day where you don’t get burned.

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