All posts by Jessica Lippe

Road Trip Vacation First Timer? You Need To Read This

I’m taking a quick break from the summer camping theme to go on two back-to-back camping trips! While I enjoy that, enjoy this post!

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An epic road trip is, without a doubt, something that every keen traveler should experience at least once. Road trips offer a freedom that few other forms of vacation can provide; you are able to go wherever you want, for as long as you want, at whatever time of day you want. There’s no need to worry about rushing to the airport on time or waiting for a bus to the local historical site; you set your own rules, and travel in the style that suits you and your family only.

Of course, while road trips do offer all the benefits detailed above, they are far from a worry-free choice for a vacation. As well as managing concerns such as preparing your car for the trip and finding a hotel that lines your chosen driving route, you will have to face arguably the biggest road trip problem of all: trying to pack too many items into your vehicle.

Why this is such an issue

Over-packing your car may not sound like the biggest worry a road trip can throw at you – and perhaps, in and of itself, it’s not that much of an issue. However, what over-packing your vehicle does is produce a number of additional problems. These include:

  • Having to spend more on gas than you otherwise would due to the car being overweight

  • Struggling to organize your luggage due to it being crammed into a confined space

  • Spending large amounts of money in the lead-up to the trip on “road trip essential” items… that you never actually use, as you either cannot find them, or they are not actually as “essential” as the manufacturer would have you believe

However…

… the above points are accurate, but they cannot be taken in isolation. Reading through the above, it would be tempting to ensure you don’t overpack, by taking as little as possible; instead, you’d just visit the likes of AromaTech to grab an essential oil air freshener, throw a change of clothes in a bag, pack a tire repair kit, and then you’d hit the open road, a veritable Marie Kondo of traveling.

Unfortunately, this isn’t possible. Road trips require substantial preparation and you will need to ensure you have the essentials you need – but without going overboard!

Five tips to keep in mind when packing for a road trip

  • Weigh every item you are considering packing in your vehicle. If an item weighs more than its usefulness merits, leave it behind.

  • Be realistic about what you will be able to buy on the road. For example, there’s no need to take a spare bottle of shampoo – if you run out, you’ll be able to buy one during your trip.

  • However, don’t rely on being able to buy esoteric items. If an item can’t be bought at your nearest corner store, don’t assume you’ll be able to find it easily on the road.

  • Don’t pack the car to the brim. You will almost certainly want to buy items along the way, so you’ll need space to store these items.

  • If you’re really struggling for space in the trunk, consider a roof rack or even a trailer – though bear in mind both of these options will also increase your fuel consumption.

In conclusion

With the above thoughts and tips in mind, you should be able to ensure that your first road trip experience avoids the usual over/underpacking problems that cause so much stress. This should, in turn, leave you free to enjoy the road trip in style.

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5 “Travel Different” Ideas For Your Next Trip 

Now, if you’re reading this blog, then you’ll already know that traveling is awesome no matter what form it takes. However, there is sometimes an issue: we end up taking the same kinds of trips. If we’re culture vultures, we make whistle-stop tours of the world’s greatest cities. If we’re the rough and ready type, then we go for off the beaten path, budget destinations, and so on. There’s nothing wrong, necessarily, with this, but it is sometimes a good idea to mix up how we travel from time to time. Below, we take a look at a few ideas that’ll have you doing things a little differently next time you venture forth.

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City v Nature

Most people place themselves on one side of the “city v nature” debate, but there’s no reason to be so absolute. Cities can be a lot of fun, even if you’re normally off swanning around the mountains. Likewise, the great outdoors can work its charms on you even if you’re more of a fine dining and fancy hotel type of person; it’s where we belong, after all! So the next time you’re revisiting one of your popular destinations, think about mixing things and going to the other end of the spectrum. Who knows…you might like it!

A New Activity

It’s a big and beautiful world out there, and there are a million and one things you can do. If you haven’t made an activity the basis for your trip before, then what are you waiting for? There’s much enjoyment to be had by going on a skiing, surfing, or hiking vacation. If you want to try your hand at surfing, book yourself into an Outer Banks oceanfront hotel; the region is highly recommended for watersports. For skiing, it’s about picking a mid-size resort (avoid the gigantic resorts until you have the activity down). And for hiking…pick a beautiful spot, and get out there.

Follow a Theme

If you’re looking to add some structure to your travels, then why not look at following a theme? If you’re a literature fan, you can follow a tour through your fictional or non-fictional heroes footsteps. There’s much to enjoy about retracing Hemingway’s travels through Spain, for instance. If you’re a foodie, then it’s hard to imagine a scenario where traveling through Italy, tasting the fine food (and just a bit of wine), won’t make your heart sing.

Slow Travel

If you have a few weeks to play with your next travel adventure, why not practice the art of slow travel? With this, you’ll spend a few weeks just in one place, soaking up all that it has to offer. You learn much more about a place the longer you stay there! Most people try to cram in as much as possible into their trips, but you might just find that visiting one place very well is better than just passing through several places. Give it a try…it might just change the way you travel for good.

Stay tuned for more “travel different” ways involving camping!

Caving, Camping, and Cooking

A few years ago, I took a camp cooking class at my local REI. The class instructor asked everyone what their cooking experience was at camps. As I thought back to the camping I had done, I realize I had mostly gone to restaurants or otherwise eaten cereal or other easy-to-make things. I had to tell him I didn’t really have experience, despite all the camping I had done.

Ever since then, I decided that I wanted to explore different ways I could cook at camp. My most recent camping experience was at Oregon Caves National Monument. While I had hiking, camping, and caving, I also got to enjoy delicious food thanks to Mountain House!

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I arrived at Cave Creek Campground, the rustic campground that is part of the Oregon Caves National Monument, on a Friday. I spent the afternoon setting up camp and enjoying the camp amenities. My campsite was right next to the creek! After a few hours of exploration and relaxation, it was time to start making dinner, which turned out to be relaxing as well!

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I decided to make chicken and rice. Now that sounds like it would be difficult to make at a campsite, but Mountain House made it super easy. Mountain House is a maker of freeze-dried camping food. They’re actually also based in Oregon, so it only felt right to use them on an Oregon camping trip! (Though I’m sure they’d be delicious no matter where you are.) Here’s all I had to do:

Step one: Boil water.

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Step two: Pour some water into the packet.

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Step three: Zip up the packet and wait a few minutes while it “cooks”.

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Step four: Enjoy! While this meal is tasty as-is, it’s also totally customizable. I decided to slice up a tomato and add that to the mix.

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After that, all I had to cook was the mandatory things that you have to cook for every camping trip: s’mores!

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Even the next morning, breakfast was simple, filling, and amazing. Mountain House makes breakfast meals as well, and I had those meals on both Saturday and Sunday morning.

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I spent most of Saturday away from the campground. The main attraction of Oregon Caves National Monument is about four miles uphill from the Cave Creek Campground. I went up there and opened and closed the caves that day! I took the first tour of the day, which told of all the stories about the cave held. And then I took the last tour, which was candlelit!

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In between those two tours, I went hiking, visited the visitor center at the Chalet, and took a guided tour of the Chateau.

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Because there weren’t any fires allowed in this area, I enjoyed some of the snacks I brought, and I got a little meal at the 50s-style diner in the Chateau. However, after the last tour when I went back to camp, I was craving another Mountain House meal!

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As I was camping, I realized that it was a great way to save money. My campsite only cost $10 a night, which is only a fraction of the price of a room at the Chateau! Because of that, I was able to take two tours, and I still had money left over for future adventures. Cooking my own food is something that always saves me money, whether I’m camping or at home. Mountain House made that easy to do even at a basic campsite. All I needed was hot water. (If for some reason you can’t get hot water, I tasted it before it was cooked. Trust me, it’s still good!) Even though I was eager to devour all of the Mountain House meals that I brought, if for some reason I wasn’t able to eat them, no worries. They’re good until 2048!

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(In case it wasn’t obvious, Mountain House provided me samples in order for me to write this post. No other compensation was made.)

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Have you ever camped at a National Park or Monument? Tell me about your experience in the comments below!

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88 Things Every Camp Staff Member Needs to Know

In the last issue of Camp Business Magazine, I shared 88 of the many things I’ve learned while working on staff at several camps. If you’re in the middle of summer camp or considering doing something like this in the future, get a step ahead by learning these tips!

(If you want to read the published article, check out the May/June 2018 of Camp Business here.)

Getting the Job

  1. Camp is a wonderful gateway to a variety of jobs.

  2. You definitely shouldn’t get a camp job just for the money, especially since it’s pretty easy to find better-paying jobs. But since most of your expenses are covered, it’s a good job to work at while saving up for college, travel, or another big expense.

  3. Even if you have a specific position at camp, you may still sometimes find yourself doing things that weren’t mentioned in your job description.

  4. When you work together, eat together, play together, and live together, a sense of community is bound to form.

  5. The work you do can leave an eternal impact.

  6. Lots of camps experience this form of natural staff recruitment: As campers, young people see how fun it is to work at camp and wish they could do all the crazy things that their goofy counselors do. Many decide to apply once they are of age.

  7. Do you know someone who works at a camp? This can be advantageous in so many ways. They can give you tips for how to fill out your application or what to say in your interview. Ask if they could provide you with a reference. Some camps that have difficulty recruiting enough staff offer a refer-a-friend program to current or former workers. They’ll get a gift card or another bonus when you join the team, making this beneficial for both of you.

  8. You can also use traditional job search methods, like Craigslist and job boards, to try to find a camp that’s hiring.

  9. If you’re considering working at a camp, but cringe at the thought of being surrounded by a dozen kids at all hours of the day, don’t worry. There are many hats you can wear while working at camp, and counseling is an optional one.

  10. Working at camp can be advantageous for all ages and all walks of life.

  11. Camp can be a lifelong career!

  12. Plan ahead and apply early.

  13. Some camps are old-fashioned, while others are up-to-date on the latest technology. This means that figuring out how to apply is kind of like a scavenger hunt. You may find an application online, or you may have to snail mail your resume to the camp’s address.

  14. Camp requires sacrifice, and for some it takes more than others.

  15. You might be stuck with roommates you don’t know, which could turn into a positive or negative experience.

  16. Time is a major commitment. Camp takes up most, if not all, of summer, and it’s often more than a 40-hour workweek

  17. You’ll often miss out on sleep, alone time, and even bathroom time.

  18. Camp work is truly not for everyone.

  19. Camps aren’t limited to summer.

Packing

  1. You want to be prepared, because missing even one key item could leave you miserable. You don’t want to face mosquitos without insect repellant, or the sun without sunscreen, or Bible camp without a Bible!

  2. Overpacking will lead to what’s known as “stuffocation”: too much stuff crammed into tight quarters.

  3. Your roommates won’t appreciate your belongings overflowing into their space!

  4. Many camps will mail you a packet of onboarding information. Or, if the camp’s in tune with the 21st century, it can be found online. This packet might go over the camp rules, employee information like how you’ll get paid, and maybe even a map of the camp property. But the most important part of this packet is the packing list.

  5. Who said you had to keep things in a suitcase? Most big-box stores sell dresser-style drawers made entirely of plastic. These are about as lightweight as a suitcase, but so much more organized and better-looking.

  6. Regular bedding is a lot easier to clean than a sleeping bag.

  7. If you think you might get cold at night, flannel sheets are great.

  8. Find out what kind of decorations you’re allowed to have. (You may be limited, since nails, tacks, and adhesives can ruin walls.) Even a simple poster can brighten up a room, provided it’s in good taste.

  9. Camp bathrooms are used by a lot of people, and often don’t have much room to keep your toiletries.

  10. You should make sure to bring kitchen supplies especially if you’re on a special diet that calls for eating differently than what the camp will serve.

  11. If you wear a uniform at camp, you’ll probably only need a couple other shirts to wear while sleeping and on your days off.

  12. Camp clothes should always be practical for the environment.

  13. But be sure to pack at least one nice outfit. You’ll end up in a situation where either you use it, or you wish you brought it!

Child Wrangling

  1. Working at a kids’ camp is about the midpoint between being a babysitter and being a parent.

  2. If you’re a counselor, see if you can get a list of names of all your campers, before camp starts if possible.

  3. Prioritize learning real names over camp names. That’s the name you’ll need in the event of an emergency, as well as the one they’re most likely to respond to when you’re calling them.

  4. Start by learning the troublemakers’ names first. They’re the ones you’ll have to call out the most!

  5. When you’re in charge of campers, you’re really on the clock 24 hours a day. But hopefully you can take at least a few of those hours to sleep.

  6. Night and morning routines help establish a daily rhythm and set the right kind of mood for the time of day.

  7. Homesickness is bound to happen. And like a disease, it can quickly spread to more campers.

  8. Treat campers with special needs like the other campers as much as their disability allows. They are more than their disability.

  9. On the first night at camp, make sure that every clothing tag, toiletry, and book has a first and last name somewhere on it.

  10. Keep your eyes open for former campers when you’re out and about.

All Fun and Games

  1. Games may not seem as important as other aspects of camp. But in reality, games are an excellent skill-building opportunity, can open up conversations and teambuilding with campers, and are even a great marketing technique as campers will tell their friends about the fun they had.

  2. If there is a game or another activity that you don’t like, that’s okay. But campers should never be able to detect a hint of your animosity toward it.

  3. Teamwork is an important part of camp.

  4. If your camp has low ropes, a challenge course, or other teambuilding activities, try to do that with your team as soon as you can.

  5. Just about every activity can be more fun when done in the dark with glow sticks.

  6. Night hikes are a fun, educational, and memorable experience for all ages.

  7. The typical recipe for s’mores includes marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate, but don’t feel limited to that. Get creative with your substitutions and add-ons. The options are limitless.

  8. You can make indoor smores using chocolate syrup and marshmallow crème- this is a good option if you don’t want kids messing with fire.

Work Perks

  1. Camp provides you with an “outdoor education” of sorts. It’s a great time to learn a few nature facts you might have missed in school.

  2. If you have a fear of heights, you’ll probably have several opportunities at camp to challenge this fear.

  3. Camp would be the best place to wait out an apocalypse.

  4. Due to remote locations and other circumstances. the internet connection and cell service aren’t always the greatest, and some camps still don’t offer any connectivity at all.

  5. Going unplugged is good for you. It helps you become more mindful of your surroundings and what you’re doing. You get to live in the present. You get to learn to enjoy the silence.

  6. Camp can energize you by making you feel more useful, but it can zap your energy just as easily.

  7. It can be hard to get enough sleep, but try to the best you can. Be strict about enforcing quiet times, as it’s good both for you and the campers.

  8. You work an active job, so you probably won’t need to get up two hours early to go jogging.

Camp Crushes and Courtships

  1. If you work at a coed camp, a couple crushes are bound to arise among your coworkers, or even involving yourself.

  2. Many camps have adopted the “No Purpling” rule because the pink people at camp and the blue people at camp should not be close enough for their colors to blend. (For the record, the “No Purpling” rule also implies no “hot pinking” or “baby blueing”.)

  3. Although you’re probably sleeping in separate buildings from the opposite gender, you do spend most of your waking hours with your coworkers at camp. Because of this, you may feel closely connected to your coworkers, and at a faster pace than connections like these normally take.

  4. One problem with beginning a relationship outside of your normal environment is that it can be difficult to transfer this new romance back into your normal environment.

  5. If you have a significant other for a camp coworker, it shouldn’t be obvious to your other coworkers. Treat everyone equally, and don’t put anyone in the position of your third wheel.

  6. If you don’t want to deal with guy-girl drama, or you want to avoid the temptation that can come with coed camps, it might be advantageous for you to look for a camp that’s just for your gender.

  7. Camp provides a relationship benefit even for those who don’t end up in a relationship: You have the opportunity to observe the opposite gender act in ways at camp that you may not see in other environments.

Avoiding the Health Center

  1. If you see a safety hazard, either fix it or report it to someone who can.

  2. Make sure to remind your campers to take their meds when they’re supposed to.

  3. If you can handle it, offering to clean up vomit can be a big help. Yes, it’s gross. No, it probably isn’t in your job description.

  4. Make sure water is readily available.

  5. Wearing helmets on the rock wall and not diving in the shallow end applies to everyone, not just kids!

  6. One of the best things you can do is take care of your own health. Set a good example when it comes to wearing sunscreen, drinking water, and staying on trails.

  7. Ideally, all camps should provide all their staff with CPR and first aid training, but if camp doesn’t provide this, you should take it upon yourself to sign up for a course before the camp season.

  8. Traditionally, “camp food” meant cheap, tasteless bulk food. If that’s what you’re picturing, you’ll be glad to know that fewer and fewer camps are dishing up these mystery meals.

  9. If you have any concerns for your own personal health, call ahead of time to see how camp can accommodate you.

  10. It can be difficult to work at camp while simultaneously dealing with a health concern like diabetes, epilepsy, or asthma. But it’s certainly not impossible.

  11. Get to know your camp’s protocols. Follow the rules, even when no one’s looking.

Camp in Real Life

  1. Camps often hire on-call or part-time staff to help in the kitchen or with activities during weekend retreats throughout the year.

  2. Many leadership and office staff work year-round, so you could land a full-time camp job if you want to work through every season.

  3. There are many differences between camp in summer and the rest of the year. It’s typically toned-down, being less of a crazy place and more of a place to find rest and recharge. The atmosphere is definitely different.

  4. Working at camp is no vacation. But it can provide skills that help you enjoy travel more.

  5. You might be able to benefit from employee discounts on camp stays.

  6. Many camps offer staff reunions that allow their seasonal alumni to return in the off season to catch up on life.

  7. Even if your camp doesn’t offer staff reunions, it can still be beneficial to visit your former camps.

  8. Camp provides many positive, happy memories. But these experiences can sometimes bring hurt and heartache as well.

  9. Even in tough times, a camp community will help each through it.

  10. Camp can open doors not only at work, but also in extracurricular and volunteer activities.

  11. Your time at camp will prepare you for a whole slew of opportunities, wherever you go.

  12. Summer ends, the campfire goes out, and campers leave. The turn of the seasons at camp demonstrate how fragile and fleeting life is. But we are working for something far greater than that.

5 Things to Know Before You Camp in Europe


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If you’ve been keeping up with my blog recently, you’ll know that I have made the summer 2018 all about camping! You’ll also know that I undertook the most incredible tour of Europe with just my backpack for company, and fell in love with everything the continent had to offer. Yes, Europe has my heart. Because of this, it’s got me thinking… what if I could combine these two travel adventures to create one epic vacation? Camping around Europe is something that is definitely on my bucket list, but I’ve realized that there are a few differences between camping grounds in the United States and camping grounds in Europe. These are the 5 things to know before you camp in Europe…

You don’t have to be in the middle of nowhere

If you’ve ever been camping in the United States, you’ll know that the camping grounds are normally in the middle of National Parks, or secluded in areas that are surrounded by wildlife. Of course, these sites are normally incredibly beautiful, but they can leave you a little out of sorts. One of the best things about the camping grounds in Europe is that you don’t have to be in the middle of nowhere! There are many campsites just a short bus or train journey outside of major cities such as Amsterdam, Venice, Prague, Bruges and more.

You have to be respectful

Every single country is different, and every single culture is different. This means that there are certain dos and don’ts that you have to abide by when you’re traveling across the world – especially in Europe. If you’re planning to camp in Europe, it’s important that you remember to be respectful at all times. One of the main issues travelers come across in Europe is that people in France, Italy and Spain have a different take on alcohol. In their eyes, alcohol is to be savored rather than binged, so you need to ensure that you do not disrupt or offend your neighbors during the evenings.

The prices are a little odd

If you’re a seasoned camper, you will probably know that most campsites offer set prices for their pitches in North America, no matter the number of people in the RV or the camper. However, things are a little different in Europe. Many camping grounds in Europe charge per person, per tent, and even for each vehicle. Because of this, it’s important to research camping grounds before you rock up. If you don’t want to pay a fortune, you might have to reevaluate your destination for the evening!

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It’s all about timings

In Europe, there is a high season and a low season for camping – and I’d recommend that you don’t visit Europe for a camping trip during the low season. The high season normally takes place between June and late August, and visiting a campsite during this time will offer you everything you could possibly need to have the best camping vacation. There will be other campers, restaurants, stores and more, and it will be a hive of activity. However, as soon as the weather starts to turn and Fall starts to etch closer, many campsites shut their doors, close their stores, and seal up their restaurants. Because of this, it’s almost impossible to camp during the winter months.

The sanitation facilities are inclusive

While there are still some camping grounds in Europe that offer both male and female restrooms and shower rooms, many offer facilities that are for both men and women. Many campsites offer cubicles that have a shower and a lavatory in it – you just have to be very careful in the morning, because you don’t want to press ‘the flush’ to realize it’s the ‘ON’ button for the shower!

Camping in Europe is definitely on my agenda in the next few months, and if you’re planning on booking your flights and pitching your tent with me you should probably get yourself up to date with these little differences! Have you been camping in Europe? Share your experience with me in the comments!

Announcing the Summer 2018 Theme: Camping!

I am thrilled to announce that this summer, JessicaLippe.com will be tackling a topic that we’ve mentioned before from new angles. I love camping. I love all kinds of camping! If you’re not so sure about camping, stay tuned. Because camp options and the ways you can go about them are so diverse, camping really is a travel activity that everyone can enjoy.

Don’t believe me? Here are some of the possible topics we will cover this summer:

  • Using camp as a money-saving accommodation for a regular vacation.
  • Making camp feel like a faraway, adventurous destination, even if you’re only minutes away from home.
  • “Day camp”- enjoying camp activities while sleeping in your own bed in your own house.
  • “Glamping”- making camp feel fancy.
  • Different camp accommodations like tents, campers, RVs, cars, cabins, and hammocks.
  • A day in the life on your campsite
  • How to pack for a camping trip
  • Doing it yourself vs. Joining a group camp
  • How to save money, and even make money, on a camping trip
  • Camping in adverse weather conditions
  • And of course, personal stories from trips I will be taking this summer!

What camp-related topic would you like me to cover? Let me know in the comment section down below!

PS- If you’re going camping this summer, or on any kind of trip or staycation where you want to catch up on rest, be sure to check out the summer 2018 issue of Girlz 4 Christ Magazine. In addition to its usual fun and meaningful articles, the issue theme is “rest” and filled with ways to relax at home and on the road. Get a free subscription to Girlz 4 Christ just by clicking here!

Savannah: The Perfect Setting For Your Next City Break

One of the many gorgeous fountains in Savannah, Georgia. (Credit)

Georgia is home to plenty of delightful cities, but none come close to the serene beauty of Savannah. It’s one of the most underrated places in the US, with big names like NYC, Orlando, Boston, Seattle, and New Orleans all taking the limelight. If you asked someone to name the top ten places they’d like to visit in North America, it probably wouldn’t make their list.

However, this is because hardly anyone knows of the delights that Savannah brings to the table. It’s one of the best places you can go for a quick city break, with something interesting lurking around every corner. To prove this to you, here are some of Savannah’s best highlights:

The Food Is Exceptional

Even if you know nothing about Savannah, you can probably guess the food will be pretty amazing. It’s a Southern city, which means it brings all the best Southern cuisine to the party. There is an absurd amount of great food here; from homecooked fried chicken to strange treats like earl grey cookies; everything is covered. It’s somewhere for foodies to enjoy, and there’s somewhere great to eat for every meal of the day!

It’s An Affordable City

My biggest annoyance with traveling around the US is that so many of the ‘popular’ cities are way too expensive. They capitalize on all the popularity and ramp up prices across the board. Here, things are different. You can find a hotel near Savannah, Georgia for a lot less than you’d probably expect. It’s affordable to stay in this city for a few days – and you can stay in a nice hotel while you’re at it! Food and drink are also very cheap, it’s a great place to go if you want to have fun without worrying about how much you’ll spend.

There’s So Much Beauty

It always helps when you go somewhere that looks beautiful. Partly because it means you can get some great photos for your Instagram page, but mainly because it just puts a smile on your face when you walk around and see so much beauty staring back at you. Savannah has some awesome architecture that will blow you away, along with a selection of gorgeous squares filled with trees, green grass, and stunning statues. There’s no shortage of natural or man-made beauty here, and you’ll love it.

The People Are Friendly

Who wants to travel somewhere and be met with sourfaced locals? Not me! Thankfully, you don’t have this problem in Savannah, as you’re made to feel welcome the moment you arrive. There’s the classic Southern friendliness in the locals, they’re always happy to help point you in the right direction, or suggest somewhere to eat. It makes a massive difference to your overall experience when you’re surrounded by happy and helpful people.

I’m fairly confident most of you had never considered Savannah as a city break destination before today. I’m also optimistic that it will now be firmly in your thoughts! It’s a city with so much to offer, and these were just a few of the many highlights!

3 Awesome Travel Destinations For Fashionistas Who Love Animals

We (humankind that is) are not alone on this planet. We share it with a beautiful, expansive and fragile ecosystem made of plants and life forms so diverse and numerous that there’s a good chance we still haven’t discovered them all. Those of a fashion conscious disposition owe a great debt to the beauty and diversity of the natural world. We find inspiration in it all the time, from leafy patterns to animal print to sourcing our clothes from sustainably sourced natural materials. We are also increasingly aware of the impact our fashion has on the natural world and most of us vote for positive chance with our wallets. We eschew fur, suede and leather and opt instead for man made alternatives. We decry fast fashion for its environmental impact and look instead for more sustainable and less wasteful clothing choices. For those who love the natural world and the animals that live therein, there can be no better way to unwind to spend time with some of these glorious creatures from all over the world. Here are some excellent vacation choices for fashionistas who love animals…

Image by Pixabay

See leopards in Tanzania

It seems that fashion will never get over its on again off again affair with leopard print. Perhaps this is because people will never stop wanting to hint at their wild nature while also paying homage to these beautiful, graceful and savagely efficient predators. Yet those who love leopards and other big cats like tigers are often given cause for chagrin when faced with attractions that enable you to pet and interact with (obviously drugged) jungle cats. The only way to see these magnificent creatures without impinging on their lives is in their natural habitat. Check out https://www.leopard-tours.com/ to do exactly that. You’ll get to see these incredible cats in their habitat and on their own terms. Your contributions will also help to conserve and protect their habitat.

Walk with elephants in Thailand

Elephants are gentle giants whose wisdom and grace is all too apparent for those who see them up close and personal. Unfortunately, many of them have also been subject to enormous abuse at the hands of the logging and tourism industries. Fortunately, sanctuaries are popping up around the world where these hard working and often horribly abused creatures can live out their days in happiness and plenty. No longer will they have to carry heavy tourists on their backs or drag carts of logs up hills. Visit a place like Phuket Elephant Sanctuary and you’ll see just how much love, care and attention goes into giving these wonderful animals a safe haven. You’ll even be able to walk with them and feed them too.

See wild coyotes in Rocky Mountain National Park

North America is also home to numerous wonderful indigenous species and many breathtakingly scenic national parks. For our money, though, one of the best has to be Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. Aside from the incredible topography this is one of the few places where you can see an abundance of the tragically misunderstood coyote. Walk the Coyote Valley Trail and you’ll learn a great deal more about these beautiful and fascinating canines.

Happy trails!

The Best Locations For A Sunny U.S. Vacation

Whether you’re from another country or you just don’t travel out of your state very often, there are so many wonderful destinations to see in the U.S. Maybe you’re an explorer, or maybe you’re more of a relax-on-the-beach type of traveler. Whatever the case, there’s a trip that suits everyone in this fascinating country. But there are certain spots that promise sun and spectacular sights throughout the year, so here are some of the best locations for a sunny U.S. vacation.

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California.

We obviously had to start with California. It’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, but the sunshine and sweltering heat are only two reasons why this place is so fantastic. You should start with the vibrant and exciting city of Los Angeles. As pictured above, this city is famously the home of Hollywood. It’s an intriguing place to see outside of pictures and movies, but it’s definitely worth exploring. You should walk up Hollywood Hills to admire the city from a greater height; the Griffith Observatory is well worth visiting up there too. Of course, L.A. also offers the famous Venice Beach with its boardwalk stalls and impressive skaters. It’s a city that’s hard to summarize in one paragraph because there’s so much to see there.

San Francisco is another beautiful Californian city that you simply have to visit. Its iconic cable cars are a great way to travel around the city, and you should admire some of its classic Victorian architecture if you have the time. Make sure you see Alcatraz Island too. It’s a fascinating historical place, but it’s also stunning; colorful gardens are now grown on the island, and it’s developed its own intriguing ecosystem. Speaking of nature, you really need to see some of the incredible national parks in the state too. Yosemite Valley is particularly mesmerizing. You could stay in the Château Sureau if you’re looking for pleasant and peaceful accommodation. It’s nice to get away from the noise of the city to admire the natural beauty of California. But you can soak up some sunshine wherever you are in the state.

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Florida.

Florida is the east coast’s answer to California, in many ways. It’s a beautiful state with sunny beaches, tropical trees, and stunning views. Whilst California has Disneyland, Florida has Disney World. Now, if you’re the type of tourist who loves theme parks and nostalgic throwbacks (whether you’re traveling with your family or even your friends in their twenties and thirties) then Florida probably beats California on this front. As you can see from the photograph above, Disney doesn’t hold back on the theatrics. It’s the perfect place to go if you want a fun vacation with a healthy dose of sunshine at the same time. There are other amazing things to do in the state, of course, but this is definitely the best place to start.

Texas.

Texas is another great state to visit if you want sunshine and plenty of things to do. Being the biggest state in the U.S., it’d be hard to see every fantastic thing in the state during one vacation, but you should definitely visit the city of Houston. The Space Center is an incredible place to visit; it includes a huge collection of moon rocks and even a Saturn V rocket. It’s a very cool place for space fanatics. There are also plenty of incredible things to do in Dallas. The Sixth Floor Museum is a fascinating tribute to John Kennedy, and it contains many intriguing eyewitness accounts and photographs from the day he was shot. Six Flags is a great theme park that’s only a short drive away from the city too. Obviously, California and Florida both beat Texas in the amusement park department, but Six Flags is still a lot of fun.

 How To Plan A Vacation Without Headaches

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Would you like the organize a vacation this year without all the stress you usually encounter? Are you sick and tired of coming home from a break feeling more worn out than you did when you left? Then you’ve come to the right place today because this article offers some fantastic advice on the best ways to ensure you cover all the bases when planning your next family vacation. Hopefully, people who read this post will manage to put all the essentials in place and ensure their family can have an excellent and memorable time, wherever they might decide to go. Of course, there are always things that can go wrong with your vacation, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do everything within your power to take preventative measures.

Book your flights in advance

While it’s sometimes possible to save money on flights if you wait until the last minutes to make your booking, that is not a reliable strategy for families. The last thing you want is to turn up to the airport hoping for the best because there is a chance you might not get on a flight for a while, and there are no guarantees the price will make that approach worthwhile. So, do yourself a favor and make sure you pay for your air travel at least three months in advance. Experts like those at https://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/11/whens-the-best-time-to-book-a-flight.html say that will give you the best chance of finding flights that are not overpriced. Of course, there are many different comparison websites you can use to ensure you find the best deals. Search Google to discover the most popular ones out there at the moment.

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Arrange accommodation ahead of time

You need to follow the same approach when it comes to arranging accommodation for your family. During busy periods, many hotels will sell out, and so you should only wait until you land in a few specific instances. For example, if you plan to travel to somewhere like India; you might benefit from booking your room when you arrive at the hotel. That is because you could pay around ten times as much for the accommodation if you make the booking online. There are also lots of guest houses that do not advertise on the internet. However, if you intend to travel to any Western country; you should always make reservations ahead of time. That way, you know where to tell the taxi driver to take you when you arrive at the airport.

Double check your passports

The last thing you want is to arrive at the airport and discover that one of the people in your group does not have a valid passport. For that reason, it is vital that you double check everyone’s documents a couple of months in advance when you book the flights. Some countries have strict rules when it comes to the expiry date of the passport. If the document expires within six months of the time you plan to travel; it is sensible to apply for a replacement. Some airlines ask that passengers have at least six months validity on their passports before they will let them fly. That is because you can often stay in a country for three months or longer without an extended Visa. So, it’s possible you might struggle to come back home.

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Apply for necessary permissions

Depending on where you plan to travel in the world, there is a chance that you might have to pay for Visas and other travel documents. Using the same example as before, those who plan to visit India will have to apply for the file permissions to gain access to the country. However, India provides exceptionally lengthy Visa documents for between three and five years. Other countries take a similar approach. For people living in the US, Visas are usually required for travel to hundreds of different countries. Still, in many instances, you only need them if you plan to stay in the nation for more than three months. Your government’s website will provide all the details you require.

Plan your itinerary

You’ll want to make sure you arrange lots of action-packed days during your vacation. However, you won’t want to spend an hour every morning working out what you want to do and how to make the arrangements. Instead, you should take the time to research the destination online before you plan to travel. You can then take a look at all the most famous sights, parties, and activities. Create an itinerary before you fly so that you have a basic idea of what you want to do during each day of your trip. That should help to ensure you never find yourself without something exciting to occupy your time, and it should also mean the kids don’t spend all day complaining they’re bored. Also, be sure to ask the little ones if there is anything they would like to add to the itinerary.

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Purchase entertainment tickets online

There are many websites where you can purchase tickets for almost anything online these days. Make sure you use that fact to your advantage when it comes to planning the itinerary and ensuring you have something fun to do every single day. Most sites feature calendars like you find at https://www.vegastickets.com/events-calendar and similar domains. That makes it easy for you to search for events happening during your trip and pay for all the tickets ahead of time. You should follow that process, no matter where you plan to travel in the world. Nobody wants to become bored in the evenings where there is so much to keep them entertained. However, if you wait until the last minute; you might struggle to get tickets for some of the most popular shows.

Ask your doctor about vaccinations

If you’re going to visit an African country or somewhere in Asia, there is a reasonable chance that you might need some vaccination injections before you fly. That is especially the case for your children, and so you’ll need to consult your family doctor as soon as possible. Let them know which country you are going to visit, and the professional can then advise on the best course of action. In most instances, you should only need one or two injections to ensure you are safe when you travel. If your kids are less than enthusiastic about the idea, be sure to tell them what can happen if they get bitten by a mosquito and contract malaria. With a bit of luck, that will help even the timidest children to see sense.

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Learn to use the walking sat nav on Google

It’s impossible to get lost when you spend time in a foreign country if you learn how to use the walking sat nav feature available from Google. You can either download their Maps app or use the search app on your smartphone. It all depends on which phone you have at the moment. The best thing about the Maps app is that you can enter your destination, and the software will work out the fastest pavement route for you to follow. Once the root is ready, you no longer require an internet connection. The app downloads all elements of the map it requires in advance. So, there is no need to stress about those extortionate roaming charges from your cell phone provider. Set the root in an internet cafe, and then you can get from A to B without a connection.

Get the right insurance policies

Lastly, you need to make sure you have all the right insurance policies in place for your family. If you become ill or injured in a foreign country, there is a reasonable chance you will end up with a massive medical bill if you don’t have the correct insurance. For that reason, it is wise to conduct a lot of research before you board the plane. Speak to health insurance companies on the telephone. Let them know which country you are going to visit, and listen carefully to the advice you received. Do not make the mistake of attempting to cut back on spending when it comes to the policies you purchase because you need extensive cover at all times. You never know when one of your kids might get ill or injured, and you won’t want to wait around at the hospital before the doctors agree to treat them. So, insurance is essential!

You should now have a reasonable idea about some of the things you will need to think about when it comes to planning a vacation without headaches. If you manage to cover all the bases mentioned in this post, there is a decent chance you will have an excellent time when you go away with your loved ones this summer. People who ignore or overlook any of the suggestions on this page are setting themselves up for failure. Considering that, go and check those passports before it’s too late, and start searching online for events you can attend with your family during your stay. Above all else, start having fun!