The billion-dollar question of this month is where are you going to celebrate your New Year’s Eve? With the second and third waves of Covid19 case spikes and new lockdowns around the globe, many people have already ditched their new year’s plans.
But not all is bad news. The vaccines are already being administered and there are plans put in place to vaccinate most of the developed world by end of 2021 and the entire world by 2024.
Those who are lucky enough to travel next year, we have some great suggestions for you. If not this year, you can always make your plans for 2022. Hey, there is nothing to lose by planning ahead!
Have your pick from the below-mentioned destinations. Whether you want to kiss below the Big Ben or party hard in New York, we have it all laid out for you.
If you think that you cannot stand and enjoy in any busy street of Las Vegas you are wrong. The whole city comes alive with fireworks set from the seven rooftops. Apart from the exciting countdown and dazzling fireworks, the city becomes sans-car.
All the streets host all-night parties, displaying talented bands from around the world. Get caught up in the thrilling excitement of laser shows, wild parties, and over-the-top concerts.
Those who have a bit of refined taste ought to change their option from Las Vegas to London. When the needle strikes twelve, pull your loved one closer and kiss them hard.
The massive tower above you is an epic landmark to start your New Year. Thousands of tourists from around the globe gather for the countdown and witness the 10 minutes light show.
If you want something other than the Big Ben tower, then head to London’s Eye that gives you a spectacular view of the star-studded night sky.
Get ready early so that you get a head start to reach Times Square. It is in hullabaloo during New Year’s Eve. And if you want to make it to Times Square to see the Final Countdown, then you better be prepared to stand in long lines and endure the cold.
The high-tech light shows in Times Square rivals any other show in the country. You cannot miss the pulsating energy emanating from people around you, expecting a grand 12 ball to drop.
Scream, dance, jump and let go of yourself in the busiest New Year’s Eve crowd.
BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
Indulge yourself in some debauchery. And you can get involved with sin this New year in British Virgin Islands. Do not underestimate it for its size. It is one of the hottest party spots for the New Year.
Those who have fat wallets and overflowing bank accounts can head here. There is a 48-hour long party, and it included dirty dancing, drinking, and debauchery.
Spend your time with sexy people this New Year’s Eve on an exotic Caribbean beach!
RIO DE JANEIRO
If you had enough of sin, then offer prayers to Gods to forgive you. Something of the same nature happens in Rio. All the citizens come together in Copacabana Beach and offer prayer to the sea goddess Yemanja. You can participate in the ceremony only if you dress in white.
After offering your prayers, you can throw the flowers in the crashing waves of the beach, which takes the petals to the goddess.
The ceremony is not the end of New Year but the start of an awesome celebration. In the Beach live concerts as well as dance performances take place. Be a part of Rèveillon!
In the city of Edinburgh, New year is not about the new day of the year or the last day of the year. There is a string of events leading to an extraordinary celebration. It starts from 30 December and continues till 1st January Next year.
On the first day of the festivities, there is a light torch procession, on the next day there is a night of outdoor concerts and open-air parties. The culmination of the Celebration is at twelve when a breathtaking explosion lights the sky above Edinburgh Castle followed by tons of Auld Land Syne.
1st January is not for the lazy, take a dip in the chilling water of the Forth.
If you were not a part of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, then this is your chance to jump at. The Bahamas get crazy good during New Year’s Eve and New Year.
A parade replicating the Carnival moves through the streets, displaying glitzy costumes and performances. After the fireworks at midnight, all the crowd gathers at the beach to enjoy the parties.
There are plenty of places where you and your family can celebrate New Year’s in the Bahamas like the Grand Lucayan and Atlantis.
If you’re from the United States, you probably think of it as just “home.” But the US is one of the biggest countries in the world, with incredibly diverse geography, and you could explore it for years without getting bored.
Just as the song says, “from the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans white with foam…”
Sunrise on South Padre Island, Texas
Many people have the goal of visiting all 50 states, and our family is no exception. In the past two years, our family of six has traveled the US full-time and visited 45 states.
Counting previous trips, we’ve actually been to 49 out of the 50 states (just Alaska left to visit!), so it’s safe to say we are experts on traveling with a family in the United States!
Why Travel the United States
The US contains a vast array of geographical landscapes and cultural experiences. You can enjoy a tropical beach in Florida, explore the deserts of the southwest, visit Hollywood and New York City, see a volcano in Hawaii and a glacier in Montana, ski down a mountain in Colorado, admire the prairie grasslands in Kansas, and so much more.
And it’s all incredibly accessible! When you travel within the continental US, you can reach every area by car or RV. Laws are generally the same from state to state, and you can freely travel across state borders.
When our family decided to move from the southwest US to the east coast, we thought, “Why not take our time getting there?”
Two years later we still haven’t settled down. We are traveling full-time and loving every moment. While we do want to head overseas, the 2020 pandemic delayed those plans, so in the meantime we are just enjoying seeing as much of the beautiful USA as possible.
Devil’s Bridge in Sedona, Arizona
How to take a family gap year
We started with the idea that we’d take one year off to work remotely, homeschool our kids, and travel — what’s become known as a family gap year. Now is the perfect time to take a family gap year, as modern technology has made travel more accessible than ever before.
Many full-time traveling families live in an RV, but we don’t. The six of us travel in our minivan and primarily stay in Airbnbs for four weeks at a time. This lets us take advantage of the hefty discounts that Airbnb owners often offer for long stays, enjoy the physical space of a house or apartment, and really experience each location like locals.
1. Sell or rent your house and put your mortgage/rent money toward your lodgings, and
2. Work remotely and homeschool.
If you’re willing to give up the comfort of having a homebase, at least temporarily, and you have a job that you can take on the road, then you have ultimate freedom!
Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico
How to visit all 50 states
Our route to 45 states in two years has been a little…how should I say this? All over the place! We’ve made three loops across the country so far with a fourth coming up soon.
We like to visit the southern states in the winter and the northern states in the summer (for obvious reasons), and we’ve been alternating exploring new places and revisiting old favorites. We often stay for about a month at each location, but sometimes we visit destinations for just a weekend, in between longer stays.
However you decide to travel the US, there’s beauty and fun to be found wherever you go!
Glacier National Park, Montana
Must-Visit USA Destinations for Families
Hopefully the information that follows helps you to plan your ultimate USA travels, whether you hit the road full-time or make separate trips over a number of years. We haven’t been everywhere, but we’ve been a lot of places, and these are our favorites!
We began our travels in the Pacific Northwest, an area of the country that we had never visited before. It was like a magical land, always misty with very tall trees and rocky beaches.
Our Airbnb on Whidbey Island even had a family of deer that liked to relax in the yard.
Must-visit destinations in the Pacific Northwest:
Check out the “disappearing cannons” at Fort Casey
Attend the annual Kite Festival
Fly a kite at the Whidbey Island Kite Festival
Learn about whales at The Whale Museum
Go orca watching at Lime Kiln Point
Go up in the Space Needle
Visit Understory at the Amazon Spheres
Watch the fish throwers at Pike Place Market
Take a boat ride at The Center for Wooden Boats
Ride a wooden boat on Lake Washington
Browse the shelves at Powell’s Books
Get a Voodoo Donut
Visit the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center
California is a unique state that deserves a category to itself. Spanning almost the whole Pacific coastline, there is much to see from the northern vineyards and redwood trees to the bustle and beaches of southern California.
Must-visit destinations in California:
Hug a giant redwood tree
Visit a Sonoma vineyard
Drive across the Golden Gate Bridge
Visit Fisherman’s Wharf
Have some chocolate at Ghirardelli Square
Drive or walk down Lombard Street
Ride a cable car
Ride a cable car in San Francisco
Drive the Pacific Coast Highway
View from Pacific Coast Highway
Walk the Santa Monica Pier
Hike to the Hollywood sign
Learn about space at the Griffith Observatory
Visit Griffith Park for great views of Los Angeles
We lived in Arizona for 15 years, so we are well-acquainted with the southwest! Growing up in Maine, I never knew the desert could be so beautiful, but the vistas of the southwest are something wonderful to behold.
Just keep an eye out for rattlesnakes, tarantulas, and scorpions, all of which we encountered at one time or another!
Must-visit destinations in the Southwest:
Walk the Las Vegas Strip
Drive through colorful Zion National Park
Drive through Zion National Park for gorgeous vistas
Stay at the Wigwam Motel on Route 66 Drive Gate’s Pass in Tucson for gorgeous desert views Watch a gunfight in Tombstone Marvel at the Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon makes every jaw drop
Attend the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta
Stand in four states at once!
Another state big enough to have its own category is Texas! As they say, everything is bigger in Texas. There are several major cities with lots to offer, from Austin to Dallas to Houston, and there’s also quite the impressive coastline on the eastern side.
Our favorite Texas cities are San Antonio and South Padre Island.
Must-visit destinations in Texas:
Spray paint the cars at Cadillac Ranch
Add your mark on the cars at Cadillac Ranch
Tour the Alamo
Take a boat ride along the Riverwalk
South Padre Island
Ride the go-karts at Gravity Park
Visit the rescued sea turtles at Sea Turtle Inc.
Take a sandcastle building lesson
Learn how to build the perfect sandcastle on South Padre Island
Florida and the Gulf Coast
We love visiting the Gulf Coast, from the rich history in New Orleans, to the miles of white sandy beaches in southern Mississippi, Alabama, and along the Florida panhandle.
As a family with young kids, we’re no strangers to the theme parks of Orlando, and we love the tropical paradise of Miami and the Keys.
Must-visit destinations in Florida and the Gulf Coast:
Visit the French Quarter
Listen to some jazz music at Preservation Hall
Eat a beignet at Cafe Du Monde and a muffaletta from Central Grocery
Relax on the perfect sandy beach in Gulf Shores
Attend a Mardi Gras parade on Dauphin Island
Visit Disney World
People-watch on South Beach in Miami
Visit the southernmost point in Key West
See the mermaids at Weeki Wachee
These mermaids perform incredible feats underwater!
There’s so much history, culture, and good food to be found in the south! Visit in the fall or spring for weather that’s “just right”. We fell in love with South Carolina when we visited on our travels and now plan to settle down there and live the beach life!
Must-visit destinations in the Southeast:
Walk through the dreamlike UNC botanical gardens in Charlotte
The UNC Botanical Gardens are straight out of a fairytale
Try all the flavors of moonshine at the Kentucky Mist Distillery in Myrtle Beach
Watch the sunrise from Surfside Beach
Take a carriage tour through the streets of Charleston
Make some music at the Musician’s Hall of Fame in Nashville
Try Nashville Hot Chicken (if you dare)
Tour Sun Studios in Memphis
The Mississippi River
Take a riverboat cruise on the Mississippi River
See the Spanish Moss in Savannah
Try all the flavors in the World of Coke tasting room in Atlanta
The mid-Atlantic is where our country was born! There are lots of historical sites to visit in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and New York, gorgeous beaches along the shore, and of course the one-and-only New York City.
Must-visit destinations in the Mid-Atlantic:
Stroll the Virginia Beach boardwalk
Visit Historic Jamestowne
Hike part of the Appalachian Trail
Hike the Appalachian Trail in West Virginia
Tour the three branches of government
Visit the national monuments
Explore the (free!) Smithsonian museums
Watch the pandas at the National Zoo
Say hi to the pandas at the National Zoo
Tour Independence Hall and visit the Liberty Bell
See a Broadway show
Go up to the crown inside the Statue of Liberty
Visit Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and Central Park
Visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum
Spend a day at Coney Island
Ride the rides or enjoy the beach at Coney Island, New York
New England will always be home to me! I love the beaches and port towns of Maine and New Hampshire and the rich history of Massachusetts. Visit in the summer for beach weather, in the fall to see the gorgeous leaves, or in the winter if you’re brave!
Must-visit destinations in New England:
Walk the Freedom Trail
Take a Duck Tour
Visit Faneuil Hall
Watch the fish at the New England Aquarium
Enjoy the picturesque foliage in fall
There’s nothing like the fall foliage in New England
Go shopping in Kennebunkport
Have the greatest pizza of your life at Pizza by Alex in Biddeford
Eat pier fries in Old Orchard Beach
We spent four weeks in Louisville, Kentucky, and then explored the rest of the midwest on a whirlwind three-week excursion, hitting all the hot spots. Here are some of our recommendations for a trip through the midwest!
Must-visit destinations in the Midwest:
Tour Churchill Downs (attend the Kentucky Derby if you get the chance!)
Watch baseball bats being made at the Louisville Slugger Factory
Visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Go duckpin bowling
Drive a racecar with the Indy Racing Experience Driving Program
Sing in Studio A at the Motown Museum
Take the Coney Dog Challenge
Take a reflection picture in the Bean
Visit the Art Institute of Chicago
Put your forehead against the glass at the top of Willis Tower
Eat a Chicago-style hotdog and deep-dish pizza
Visit the Milwaukee Public Market and get something cheesy
St. Louis, Missouri
Go up in the Gateway Arch
Look out on the west from 630 feet high at the Gateway Arch
I wasn’t sure if we’d ever make it to some of the central states, because we tend to take routes that don’t pass through them. But on our mission to visit as many states as possible, we made sure to head that way! What can you see in the middle of the US?
Must-visit destinations in the Central US:
Visit Mount Rushmore
See Chimney Rock (remember it from playing Oregon Trail?)
Chimney Rock: even better than the 8-bit version!
Go 650 feet underground and explore a salt mine
Visit the National Oklahoma City Memorial
The Mountain West region encompasses lots of different terrain, from the Rocky Mountains in mile-high Denver, to Yellowstone’s effervescent springs in Wyoming, and the frozen glaciers in Montana.
Must-visit destinations in the Mountain West:
Eat baked potato ice cream at Westside Drive In
Looks like a potato, tastes like ice cream!
Glacier National Park, Montana
See a glacier
Drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road
You’ll never forget the gorgeous views at Glacier National Park
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
See Old Faithful erupt
Marvel at the Grand Prismatic Spring
Yellowstone is a truly unique geographical experience
Stand a mile high on the Denver Capitol Building steps
Tour the haunted Stanley Hotel
Visit Garden of the Gods
Alaska & Hawaii
Alaska is the only state we haven’t visited yet, but it’s in the plans! Hawaii was our honeymoon destination back in 2005, and we hope to visit again someday with the whole family.
Must-visit destinations in Alaska & Hawaii:
See the Northern Lights
Tour a volcano
Watch the surfers at the North Shore
Attend a luau
Walk on a black sand beach
I hope this has given you a ton of great ideas for how you can travel and experience the United States with your family. There is truly so much to see and do, from coast to coast!
Megan Tenney travels full-time with her husband and four children. At Family Gap Year Guide, she teaches regular families how to take life on the road! Grab her free guide on how to afford full-time travel and live your dreams of seeing the world with your family!
Whether you’re South Carolina is a coastal southern state well known for its delicious food, beautiful beaches, and historic landmarks, making it a perfect choice for your next US-based-trip — and that’s just scratching the surface.
And don’t get us started on all the hidden gems like unique roadside attractions, notable architecture, and roaming wildlife.
We’re certain that as soon as you discover all the wonderful sights, bites, and adventures awaiting you in the Palmetto State (the official nickname for South Carolina referring to the state palmetto tree), you’ll be planning your visit.
Before you book your travel, keep in mind that because of the heat and humidity that states in the Sun Belt Region experience over summer—just like the other southern states—it’s typically recommended that visitors plan their trips in spring (between March and May) or fall (between September and November).
Whether you’re visiting for your annual family trip or are checking out the lay of the land before applying to colleges, you can count on having plenty to do.
Are you thinking of road-tripping through South Carolina? If so, you’re in luck because there is plenty to see, especially off the beaten path.
Depending on your interests, you can create your own adventure as you travel throughout the state, or even through just one city. To help you find the best interest-based travel recommendations, we’ve broken down activities into several groups:
If you’re an avid camper, you’ll want to take advantage of the beauty that awaits you in the great outdoors of South Carolina.
Whether you’re seeking out a water-side venue or a mountain view, one of the 47 State Parks will have what you want. From rustic cabins in Table Rock State Park to lakeside villas at Dreher Island State Park, the unique camping experiences that await will win over any nature-lover’s heart.
You probably know about the many famous museums and widely visited historical sites that Charleston is known for, but why not add a few less-crowded stops to your list.
Make time to visit Fort Fremont (which was abandoned and said to be haunted), the Bertha Lee Strickland Cultural Museum (and other sites that are part of The Green Book Tour), and the Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site.
Of course, the Angel Oak is on your must-see list, but there are many other natural wonders to make time for.
The “Tunnel of Trees” on Botany Bay Road is something you have to see if you like to bask in the beauty of nature.
And don’t forget to make your way to the Canyon Lake in Devil’s Fork State Park where plenty of hiking trails, waterfalls, and some of the best South Carolina trout fishing in Lake Jocassee await you.
Next stop by at Boneyard Beach, one of the best secret beaches in South Carolina. It’s located near the northern end of a little known South Carolina island called “Bull Island”.
Lastly, visit the ACE Basin, one of the largest undeveloped estuaries along the Atlantic Coast of the United States.
Driving through South Carolina, you’ll see there are a variety of attractions that will give you an excuse to pull over and stretch your legs. Nostalgic Station will take you back in time with vintage eats, memorabilia, and more.
Looking for more of a thrill? The Alligator Adventure Animal Park in North Myrtle Beach is worthwhile.
If you’re a fan of House of Cards, don’t forget to stop by the Peachoid in Gaffney.
Then there are the quirky roadside stops that you won’t see anywhere else like the:
World’s Smallest Police Station in Ridgeway — roughly the size of a bathroom (in use until 1990)
UFO Welcome Center in Bowman — consists of a 42-foot-wide flying saucer built out of wood, fiberglass, & plastic
Kazoo Museum in Beaufort — one of the largest collections of kazoos in the world
Side view of the UFO Welcome Center
You know when you go to the South, eating is a major part of your trip, and luckily, South Carolina has plenty of variety. From classics like good southern BBQ and fresh seafood to more modern fare like noteworthy vegan cuisine, you can find a delicious meal wherever you end up.
BBQ Charcoal Grill
Good Southern BBQ
If you’re craving some of the best barbeques in the country, you’re heading to the right place. South Carolina boasts countless BBQ establishments (there are hundreds of them) that are sure to please.
Did you know that South Carolina has a reputation for being the only state to offer all four types of barbeque sauces (mustard, vinegar and pepper, light tomato, and heavy tomato)? If you didn’t even know there were four types, then you’re in for a real treat.
While you may have heard of Lewis Barbecue in Charleston or Swig & Swine in Mount Pleasant, there are plenty of other BBQ spots to explore outside of their popular cities. Seek out smaller roadside establishments like Belly’s Southern Pride in Lexington, Big Bill’s Low Country Bar-B-Que in Georgetown (which is known for its buffet), or Cannon’s BBQ & More in Little Mountain.
Like most coastal states, South Carolina also serves up a delicious plate of fresh seafood. From Po’ boys to Shrimp platters, your tastebuds will be delighted pretty much anywhere you decide to go, but if you want to find some little-known spots that have great reputations, start with these restaurants:
Flowers Seafood Co. (Edisto Island)
Lee’s Inlet Kitchen (Murrells Inlet)
Dave’s Carryout (Charleston)
Vegan Cuisine (Greenville)
Fried Shrimp Platter
As you can probably imagine, traveling through the South can be difficult when you have dietary restrictions, so you may have to search a little harder for your food options.
However, if you’re vegan, you’re in luck because we have the scoop on Greenville (also known as G-Vegas) which has become a hot-spot for vegan cuisine. You’re covered for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
Try a refreshing smoothie at Kuka Juice to start your day, some jackfruit tacos at White Duck Taco for lunch, and end the night with delicious vegan pizza at Sidewall Pizza.
Plan Your Trip to the Palmetto State
In recent years, tourism has been breaking records as visitors flock to this beautiful southern state. According to the Courier and Post, over 7.3 million visitors explored South Carolina in 2018 alone.
Hopefully, these tips for seeing South Carolina off the beaten path have inspired you to add the Palmetto State to your travel bucket list and create an itinerary that’s carefully curated to suit your interests (and taste buds).
Sunset in Charleston
However you choose to spend your time in South Carolina, you can expect to find three things to be true, southern hospitality will follow you wherever you go, the food will be some of the best you’ve had, and the experiences you have will stick with you forever.
Alexis Maness has a Bachelor of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications and is a contributing editor for 365businesstips.com as well as a marketing expert for Undergrads Moving. Alexis specializes in topics related to business, marketing, finance, and hospitality and tourism.
There are many ways to spice up your travels and ensure that you are getting everything out of them in terms of comfort and convenience. And with so many things to consider on the market, making the right choice can be admittedly a bit difficult.
In this blog, we will look at why we believe a Camper Van is one of the best travel investments you can make to improve the quality and comfort of your travels. If you haven’t thought about a van as an option yet, it’s definitely something worth looking at.
6 Benefits of Owning a Camper Van
If you are dreaming of hitting the open road, amid this coronavirus pandemic, then consider a camper van aka motorhome.
Balancing Comfort & Utility
Volkswagen Autosleeper Clubman GL
The best thing about a van is also the main reason for its existence – it combines comfort and utility, and balances them in a great way that gives you the best of both worlds. It’s hard to overstate how useful a van can be when you have a larger family to ride around with, or a lot of luggage to take with you.
And it can also be great for certain special situations, like when an emergency comes up that requires you to rest somewhere on short notice. All in all, a van can cover many of the important bases for traveling efficiently.
Note: Camper vans due ton their smaller size can be parked in your garage or driveway, which eliminates having any additional storage fee.
If you haven’t looked into camper vans yet, you may think that these beasts must cost a fortune. But you would be surprised to know that camper vans are affordable for most people who already owns cars, SUVs, or minivans.
Despite the extra space and additional features, the basic models aren’t much more expensive than a standard minivan. With gas prices at all time low and improved fuel utility, this means you’ll be able to hit the road without overspending on gas.
Note: Camper vans are more fuel efficient than larger RVs.
Easy Maintenance, Affordable Insurance
An Old Volkswagen Camper Van
On top of that, your typical van isn’t that difficult to maintain either. It doesn’t take a lot to keep it in a good condition compared to a regular car, and finding a good insurance quote should not be a problem if you look around.
For example, sites like Quotezone (UK) can provide you with a van insurance quote, but do make sure you’re looking for camper van insurance and not commercial vehicle insurance. While Quotezone is primarily aimed at car and van customers, it can be a great starting reference point for your future search.
Great for Couples and Friends
A Talbot AutoSleeper 1991 model
Imagine road-tripping with your significant other. Or, with your best friend. All without having to worry about having a fixed itinerary or hotel bookings. With a camper van or motorhome, you can make plans as you go. Not only this provides you the privacy and freedom, it is also adventurous.
Any Class B Camper Vans are completely self-contained, which means it makes them a popular choice for camp grounds. You don’t have to worry about pitch a tent, use an outhouse, or cooking outdoors all while battling unpredictable weather or unfamiliar places.
Even if you don’t travel with a family, a van can still be a great investment into your trips that can make them much more comfortable and convenient. If you like getting together with new people, this is one of the best options you have, and you can even throw small parties in there from time to time.
Of course, it can be difficult to keep things clean with so many random people coming in and out, so consider that in advance as well. If you can handle that though, a van is definitely something that will be right up your alley.
We can’t talk about anything that weighs over a ton and moves at such high speed with a metal body without considering safety. Safety is a huge priority for us and it should be all of us.
The good news is all newer models are built incredibly sturdy. Plus these days, you get powerful disc braking systems, parking sensors, backup cameras, etc. in almost all standard models, without paying anything in extra.
These factors and more should get you on the right track and should show you the benefits of investing in a good van.
If you’re still not convinced, just talk to some people who’re already using a van regularly, and get their input. You’ll definitely get many positive responses, and will learn a few more reasons for potentially giving this idea a go if you’re still on the fence about it.
Rosana Beechum is a freelance writer who loves to talk about all things lifestyle, including travel, fashion, money-saving hacks, and more. She’s traveled the world and contributes articles that offer practical advice and tried-and-tested tips.
Like many others, I began 2020 with grand ideas and plans. One of those plans included visiting Switzerland to ski in Zermatt for my first wedding anniversary.
Then the Coronavirus came through and turned everything upside down.
On the morning of our anniversary, it was a crisp spring day in North Carolina. One of those days where the sun rises but that warmth doesn’t quite touch your skin.
Thankfully the sky was a clear baby blue with puffy white clouds scattered to the horizon.
Instead of waking up with a view of the Matterhorn and skiing for the day, we set out for the Blue Ridge Parkway with a picnic basket full of food and a full tank of gas. We started out just over the Virginia line in Galax and headed south.
Blue Ridge Parkway
One of the most beautiful drives in the USA
Rolling fields – used as farmland for years – lined the Parkway until we got into a more wooded area where walls of rhododendrons grow tall. In the summer these really put on a show with their dark pink flowers against the forest green leaves.
With nowhere to be, we pulled off at each overlook and read the signs that the National Park Service have installed.
You can learn all kinds of cool things like how the National Park Service purchased farmland surrounding the Parkway so they could preserve the look for future generations or areas that are best for viewing birds of prey.
Top 7 Spots on the Blue Ridge Parkway
A series of waterfalls, the upper and lower, are located a short distance off of the Parkway. It’s an easy hike that’s perfect for kids and families, but be sure to watch your kids near the water.
There are some more strenuous routes if you hike to the lower falls and if you explore more of the Linville Gorge Wilderness there are camping options and hikes for all skill levels.
With abundant interconnecting trails, Doughton Park is a hidden gem when it comes to hiking or backpacking. The park is skipped over by many for Stone Mountain State Park that is located right next door.
Bluff Mountain Trail
Don’t underestimate the options here. And obviously it is the perfect spot for an afternoon picnic.
The further south we went, the more dramatic the overlook views became with the mountains slowly growing taller around us. Just south of Doughton Park (MP 241.1) we stopped at the Alligator Back Overlook and parking area.
Alligator Back Overlook
The view from the overlook was amazing but the real gem is found when you head up the Bluff Mountain Trail. The sign said a 20-minute walk to Bluff Overlook so we grabbed our backpack with food and water and started off.
It wasn’t long until we were out of breath (or maybe that was just me) because of the steep trail and don’t get me started on the stairs. However, the reward was well worth it. After walking through a heavily wooded area, it was like a movie scene where the characters see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Suddenly we stepped out into that light and were greeted with an incredible view of the beautiful mountain tops sprawling into the distance. You could count the peaks for miles.
This provided a magnificent view but the ground was completely made of stone so not the best picnicking spot. We continued on for about 10 minutes until we made it to a shelter with another fantastic view and the perfect spot to sit for lunch.
View from the picnic spot
The sun was shining down making it much warmer than when we began our journey that morning. My ham & cheese sandwich in hand, I drank in every last drop of Vitamin D and relished the view over the Blue Ridge Mountains.
That heart-pounding hike was more than worth the effort.
As we made our way back down, bellies full, and laughing all the way, it wasn’t hard to realize how lucky we were. Lucky that the Blue Ridge is our backyard playground.
Turns out you don’t have to be in another country to have a proper celebration. You can find adventure right outside your back door.
In the shadow of Grandfather Mountain, Rough Ridge can be reached by the Tanwha Trail in a parking area directly off of the Parkway.
Once you reach the top there is a beautiful view of the mountain and the Linn Cove Viaduct.
Linn Cove Viaduct
The Linn Cove Viaduct is a long, concrete segmental bridge which snakes around Grandfather Mountain. It was one of the last major construction projects on the Blue Ridge Parkway which runs 469 miles (755 km) linking Shenandoah National Park to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
If you love flowers, specifically rhododendrons, then visit here in early June. These beautiful pink blossoms line the hiking trail like you’re in the middle of a romance movie.
Plus it’s an easy one that takes you to breathtaking views. My favorite kind of hike.
At the end of the Blue Ridge Parkway right before you get to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park you’ll find the Waterrock Knob hike. These beautiful views are best enjoyed at sunrise or sunset.
View from Plott Balsams Overlook
Travel Tips for Blue Ridge Parkway
Best Time to Visit
The Parkway can be enjoyed during any season. Spring and summer are best for flowers and great hiking weather.
Fall brings beautiful colors that cloak the trees in red, orange, and yellow as far as you can see.
Fall colors view from the Blue Ridge Parkway
In winter the views are even better if that’s possible. Be sure to check the National Park Service Website for road closures as it is commonly closed due to ice, snow, or other safety hazards like landslides and fallen trees.
Where to Stay
Sunset view in Blue Ridge Mountains
There aren’t many hotels close to the Parkway unless you stay in Cherokee or Asheville on the North Carolina section. You will find many adorable cottages and Bed & Breakfasts though.
You’ll have to make a tiny detour into small towns to pick up food for the most part as there aren’t many restaurants directly on the Parkway but Western North Carolina offers some incredible cuisine.
Many of the Inns also have restaurants like Fire Mountain and Pisgah Inn mentioned above. You can also try interesting places like the Gamekeeper which serves items like bison steak and ostrich sausage or Louise’s Rockhouse which sits on the literal corner of three counties.
In most areas the speed limit is 45mph. In crowded places, it will go down to 35mph and through pedestrian areas, it will be 25mph.
The Blue Ridge Parkway website is incredibly helpful to map out your route and find things to do. The National Park Service also provides great technical information about what is open and the Visitor’s Centers.
Anna is a travel blogger based in North Carolina who helps busy women take advantage of every moment given off work. She loves packing as much as she can into a short itinerary and making the most of any vacation. You can find more of her work at her blog,Stuck On The Go, and follow her journey on Instagram.
Finally, after long days of researching different places, itineraries, and activities, you have decided on a place for your next big trip. You can move on to the next part: the preparation process. And if you’re like us, the top spot in your prep list is probably the budget.
Chances are, you already have an amount in mind, and you might have some money put away specifically for that purpose. This doesn’t mean that you want to spend it all, though. In fact, if you’re reading this article right now, then you’re probably looking for ways to make the most out of it, and maybe even reduce your projected expenses altogether.
How to Plan and Budget for a Big Trip
Well, don’t worry because you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we are going to share with you the different ways on how you can stick to your budget and travel within your means.
It’s not the length of your vacation but your preparedness. Let’s get started.
List down your priorities
Do you have non-negotiable plans on your trip? Do you have an experience that you really want to check off from your bucket list? What are the expenses that you are willing to sacrifice in order to have more funds for that activity?
For instance, the main reason that you want to go to New Zealand in the first place is because you really want to go skydiving. That’s awesome! Hence, you might want to look into cheaper accommodations and travel options.
Sign up for insurance
One thing that can ramp up your expenses is when something unexpected happens whilst you’re away. Hence, having a travel insurance in place will always be a good investment, and will prove invaluable if something does happen.
If you’re really short on cash, then you can look at different loan options such as personal loans for fair credit so you won’t have to tap into your set travel budget anymore. It’s much easier if you have a perfect credit score.
Make preparations early
Last-minute flights are not only difficult to book, but they can cost more as well. Hence, take note on when the prices drop so you can get the best travel deals. This is only possible, though, if you have started preparing for your journey at least a few months ahead of time.
Same applies for rental cars and hotel bookings. Lastly, if you are planning to visit a popular city, most budget tours gets sold out in advance. Make sure to do your research and book any budget tours you are interested in. (An example could be, City tours with guides, transportation, and meals.)
Sell unwanted goods
We all have that old books or furniture or that camera or old iPad which we do not read anymore! You may even have clothes that don’t fit you or interest you anymore or that pair of boots. A simple rule you can apply when trying to get rids of things is this: of you haven’t touched it in a year, you don’t need it.
It is therefore wise that you put such items on sale at a website (eg. Craiglist), apps (Offerup, Facebook Marketplace), or simply do a garage sale.
Be prepared to cook
Aside from airfare, another huge expense is the cost of your meals. You can reduce this significantly by booking a room that has a functioning kitchen and by cooking your meals yourself.
Travel with friends
Here’s another way that you can save money. Most activities cost less when you split it with more people. Hence, don’t hesitate to ask around if anyone wants to tag along. After all, you’re not the only person with travel goals.
Roaming fees can be off-the-charts if you’re not careful. Hence, we suggest you to communicate with your loved ones online instead. In fact, you can even bring your own wireless broadband when traveling or better yet, make use of free wifi hotspots in various locations.
Enjoy public transport
Or walk! Skip the taxi. Not only will you be able to save on transport costs, but you’ll also be able to enjoy a more authentic experience this way.
Keep your money safe
Go out of your way to protect yourself from theft. There’s nothing more expensive than losing money. Use a front-pocket wallet. Don’t put all your money in one place. Don’t withdraw large amounts of money at a time.
Keep an emergency fund somewhere people will never guess even if they rummage through your things, like inside an empty bottle of lotion. Get creative!
Favor experiences that you can do for free
There are a lot of museums that offer free guided tours and concerts. There are also cultural events like festivals that are always fun to be a part of but won’t cost you a single cent. Walking along the beach also won’t cost you anything as well but we’re sure the sights will be splendid.
You’ll be surprised by how much you can actually enjoy and explore for free, especially if you prepare for your trip early and do your research beforehand.
Resist the temptation to buy things
Finally, don’t buy a lot of souvenirs. We know that you’ll probably only visit Bali or Mumbai once in your whole life, but that doesn’t mean that you need to buy a lot of stuff to remember your trip by. Pictures can serve the same purpose and it won’t cost you anything.
A memento or two is enough, and only buy something pricey if you’ve actually listed it down as one of your top priorities, which brings us back to our first tip. And with this, our article has actually gone a full circle.
Pick your destination wisely
There are wannabe travelers all around, planning a trip that is never going to happen. We are saying “never going to happen”, because the majority of us have full-time jobs and a tight budget.
How are we going to make that trip to Hawaii or Singapore? We keep thinking, planning, plotting but the vital link we all forget is “money.” Now that we have covered the money part, there remains one last step.
You must decide where you want to go and carefully narrow your lists of available options. Pick a destination that fits both your budget and your dream. Those who want to travel abroad might like to take a decision on a country where their currency is valuable than the local currency.
For example, Americans and Canadians can plan a trip to the Caribbean and Europe, Indians can plan to visit Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Thailand, Europeans can travel to Hawaii, China, Greece, and Morocco. A Smart way to choose your destination is to check your currency value. And…cheap flight tickets.
Use Google Flights
Google flights is hands down the best free tool that you can use to find a flight that is both viable and available. Even if you are planning a last minute trip. You can set your home destination and then play with the dates (into future) to find a cheap deal.
We hope that you have found our article helpful. By keeping the tips we have shared with you in mind, we’re sure that you will be able to make every dollar count in your trip.
We wish you safe travels!
Lidia Staron is a part of Content and Marketing team at Open Loans. She contributes articles about the role of finance in the strategic-planning process.
From Miami, Florida to the Pacific Northwest, down to the Caribbean, to all the way to the Baltics, and back down south in the good ole US, we have found amazing vegan eats.
Come on a plant-based journey across the world with us and let us inspire you!
A delicious vegan burger
To start, let’s say when you think of South Beach, Miami, and all of the food options there, you might not think of it as being a vegan-friendly destination. But, when we spent a weekend in Miami, we found it to be a vegan paradise. 🙂
We went to the hip, graffiti-covered neighborhood of Wynwood to find a couple of spots. We started off at Charley’s Vegan Taco’s CVT.
Charley’s Vegan Taco’s
This hip taco shop with a beautiful mural inside offers quite a big menu of vegan treats. The vibe was cozy as soon as you walked in the door.
It was originally started in Tulum, Mexico. Someday, we will have to make our way down to the original and report back as to which one is better!
We started off with the Mushroom Ceviche – Oyster mushrooms, sunflower seeds, avocado, garlic aioli, and cilantro sprouts.
We spent a whole summer in 2019 trying ceviche all around the states, and this version was the best we had. It was the most flavorful and creative out of any.
We then moved on to our entree portion of the meal. We decided we would share a burrito and an order of tacos.
We ordered the El Diablo burrito.
We had been craving burritos recently so this one hit the spot. It came with Abuelita’s rice, black beans, chorizo, chicharron prensado, fried plantain, jalapeños, shredded lettuce, onion, maldita sauce, garlic aioli, creamy green salsa.
The Plantains in it were a game-changer, as they always are, they added a beautiful sweetness to the spice of the Jalapenos. Such good flavor all through every bite.
For our Tacos we chose the Carne Sin Carne option. Which came with 3 tacos.
Chicharron Prensado Taco – porkles cracklings stewed in red morita pepper sauce, served with fresh mango chutney, garlic aioli, onion cilantro
Chicharron Verde Taco – porkless cracklings stewed in green tomatillo salsa, topped with vegan creme, onion, cilantro
Jackfruit pulled “Pork” Taco – jackfruit in ancho pepper adobo with shredded lettuce, cured red onion, vegan creme, and creamy green salsa.
These tacos were beyond incredible. I think my favorite was the Jackfruit pulled “pork”, such an incredible flavor profile.
Overall this experience was amazing. The vibe inside is fantastic and the staff is really wonderful.
We met the head chef Bryan, he introduced himself and gave some insight into the dishes and then went back to making delicious foods. After a few minutes, he came back out to check on us and our meals to make sure we were enjoying ourselves and our food.
Very cool! Highly recommend this spot.
Our next food adventure took us to North Miami Beach and L’Artisane Bakery. This place is beyond incredible. With pastries and sandwich options there is something for everyone and every hunger level.
We ended up going here two mornings in a row, with a pop in on our way back to our hotel after the beach because it was so good.
Our personal favorite was the Guava & Cream Cheese danish. A must at the bakery, the sweet and savory flavor is impossible to resist. We definitely could not and are still craving it all this time later.
Our first visit to the bakery we shared the VTE ”Vegan Travel Eats” Croissant, a beautiful breakfast sandwich with hash brown, sausage patty, Just Egg patty, shiitake bacon & aji amarillo aioli. What an amazing treat. Everything you want from a sandwich to start off your day all in one.
On our second visit, we decided to get a couple of sandwiches along with our guava and cream cheese danish.
We went with… Wild Mushrooms Croissant: this came with sautéed wild mushrooms, fresh thyme, black truffles foam, vegan parmesan cheese, mushrooms crumble.
This is such a beautifully savory sandwich and we highly recommend it. We were sad to see the last bite go.
Croque Monsieur Croissant: this came with vegan deli ham and was so delectable and delicious. If you have ever had this kind of sandwich you will be blown away by how good this one is.
Overall L’Artisane Bakery is one of the best options we have found for vegan food and pastries. It is a smaller yet cozy shop so it can be hard to find a table. But as we did on our first visit it is well worth taking it to go and eat while enjoying North Miami Beach just a short walk away.
Let’s go out now to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, getting here was a beautiful journey by ferry from Seattle. I definitely did not plan on getting seasick on the ride over, I highly suggest bonine or the free motion sickness medication they offer before you leave. Just in case!
One might not think I was excited or ready to get food. But quite the opposite, I was so excited to hit land and walk to get our first meal in Victoria! We dropped our luggage off in our rental car and wandered over to…
The Very Good Butchers
The Very Good Butchers in a food hall/market right in downtown this is by far the best butcher I have been to. It is a fully functional butcher shop. They butcher beans, so you can get your deli needs taken care of and order from a small menu of hot dishes they have at the shop.
Using mostly beans in their patties and their dogs. The flavor and texture that they have created is unreal.
This ended up being our favorite of the trip and kind of ruling our trip eating and snacking game. In our time in Victoria, we tried out…
Jackfruit Poutine: This poutine was no joke the best poutine I have had… hands down. The bbq sauce on the pulled jackfruit was so good and smoky. Fries cooked to perfection and the curds were even better here!
Mac N’ Cheeze: This was an extra cheezy mac with bread crumbs and we added jackfruit to it. Everything you want in a mac n cheeze.
We also got these deli options to go…Bangers in a Blanket: One of their delicious British style bangers wrapped in their homemade dough and cooked to perfection!
Pizza Pocket: A square pocket of goodness, It is stuffed with their homemade marinara sauce and their homemade pepperoni. What an awesome treat.
Meatball Sub: What a tasty meatball sub! On homemade focaccia roll with their cheese strips. Good to grab for a delicious on the go meal.
The portions here are way bigger but I would not recommend sharing, it is too good to only get one option!
Let us take you to a small cozy spot in Nassau Bahamas! As the locals say you have to go up and over the hill from the tourist spot to get here.
Locals might also think you are druggies wandering here but they are very friendly, just be careful and keep your wits about you, and maybe do not go at night.
Eat Right Delight
This small but cozy restaurant in King David Nassau, Bahamas is a hidden gem for sure. When you enter you come into the very small dining and take out area and the menu is on the wall.
They always have specials running, so make sure to ask what the special of the day is! It has a small bench for you to sit on while you await your delicious food. Then on the wall by the window, there are two stools set up with a small shelf/table to eat on.
Once you decide what you are going to order you peek your head in through a small hole in the glass that looks into the kitchen.
Everything is made as you order by Shanique so it takes a little while but it is well worth the wait. As we were hanging out and waiting for our food we met two really great locals who turned out to be friends of ours to this day. Like our friend Cliff Riley, pictured below, a Bahamian singer sharing beautiful positivity, who sang to us while waiting for his food!
With Cliff Riley, Bahamian singer
So many good conversations happen around food. These were a couple of the best. The chef/owner Shanique is incredibly nice as well. She is always smiling as she cooks for you. I cannot wait to return to this place!
Every person who walked in the door was greeted with a smile. Most of the locals that came in seemed to know her and how delicious her food is.
Note: If you are arriving in Nassau on a cruise ship, it is walkable, around a 35-minute walk. If you walk to the market street and take a left and keep walking you will find it!
I would also recommend downloading maps.me from your app store if you have not for and downloading the map of Nassau while you are in town! Stay on the main road, Market street, on your way. Once you get there. Enjoy!
We asked Shanique to make us something she wanted us to try and to remember this place by. I am pretty sure it was a variation of the…
Thai noodles – these noodles she brought out to us had such incredible flavor. Covered in beautiful veggies and another one of her sauce creations.
We also got to sample a sliver of her pizza and it was really incredible! Thinking about it right now makes me hungry!
On our second time back, on the Keeping the Blues Alive At Sea cruise, we ordered her Spaghetti with “meat” sauce.
This was the best spaghetti we have ever had. The sauce was incredible. We did not ask for the secret ingredient that made it so tasty but we are pretty sure it had some cinnamon in it.
Everything she makes is light, we did not leave feeling too full. We felt quite good even after scarfing down the whole dish.
Spicy Mushroom Sliders (another special) – These little sliders packed so much flavor. From every bite, our noses ran and we got more and more sad every bite knowing this amazing food journey would end.
The spice mixed with her mushroom patties is one hell of a mixture. Just hope she has these when you walk in!
This is such a special spot. Feeding the folks of Nassau incredibly good food that is healthy! We cannot wait to return so we can try some more delicious food! A really special restaurant.
Next stop is Tallinn, Estonia, one of our favorite cities we have been to. It has incredible history and architecture from the 1500s. Anything from castles, to modern buildings to communist-era all concrete builds. You can find it all in Tallinn. Old meets new and is bustling with tech. One of the tech capitals of Europe actually.
You have more than likely used one of their biggest contributions to tech and communication… Skype.
More than anything the people of Estonia are kind and welcoming, they want to show you how great their country is and show you a fantastic time. They also share the love with their food.
We found a few amazing options but our favorite by far was Tru Kitchen, we went twice and made friends with the owner and a few of the staff. We genuinely miss our friends and the wonderful food they shared with us.
Tru Kitchen is outside of Oldtown Tallinn, about a 15-minute walk. It is in an old industrial-looking warehouse, which by the time we go again I am sure will be hip and painted in some funky way. When you walk in you are immediately transported to another place.
Plants all over, a few couches along the wall, incredible music vibes, and super friendly Estonians ready to help you out. The owner, Kristo Rosenvald, became a friend of ours very quickly.
Each time we came in he personally greeted us and had nice conversations as long as he could. Then there was the food, what dreams are made of.
Pita Sandwitch (their spelling) – Normally I would not have ordered this sandwitch except that the owner and a few other of our new friends told us it was the favorite menu item. Naturally we had to try and holy hell we were not disappointed, until the end, when it was gone of course.
Served with Voner (a vegan version of doner), roasted carrots, portobello, and a miso mayonnaise. It left us wanting to get 5 more for our journey, but we were too full and let it be a dream to have again.
Tumeric Chickpea omelet was our introduction to beetroot. It was used at every vegan restaurant in the baltic states and is incredibly good. Along with beetroot it came with pickled fennel and green pesto. Another simple dish done perfectly and just bursting with flavor. From the first bite I was sad watching it disappear with every bite.
Grand Leaven Breakfast Sandwitch (their spelling) – this sandwitch comes on local bread from a bakery right across the alley from Tru, it is remarkable how fresh it is. Topped with Kimchi, a perfectly cooked portobello, an avocado, and vegan cheese and served open face, this sandwitch has so much flavor in every bite.
Its only flaw is that it is hard to concentrate on what part is the best because it is all so incredible. 🙂
After our few times here to chat, eat, have tea, and play backgammon, we felt right at home. We had a hard time leaving this magical city.
We will be back and when we do, the first place we will head to is Tru to see our friends and share a beautiful meal.
Traveling Europe in January we noticed a trend in a lot of locals, Veganuary, this was a lot of Europeans way to start off the year with a nice cleanse for their body.
Even though we were seeking out these type restaurants, a lot of others had a couple of special dishes in order to meet Veganuary’s needs. It makes it more accessible to travelers who might be in a mixed travel party of vegans and non-vegans.
Last but not least, come on back with us to our hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. A city full of incredible cuisine, maybe not so known for their vegan offerings.
The Southern V
One restaurant, in particular, The Southern V, will keep you far from feeling deprived of wonderful Southern cookin’. Open since 2017 in the location they are in now they aim to be the staple for southern cuisine in Nashville! Their menu has so many amazing options but these were our favorites.
Nashville Hot “Chicken” – This seitan based Hot chicken is incredible. The spice they bring is hot enough for you to feel it but not be overwhelmed. As a staple in Nashville cuisine this dish is up there with any in the city, better I would think!
BBQ Jackfruit Nachos – This beautiful “American” sized plate of jackfruit nachos was out of this world. Enough jackfruit to cover any chip you can find under the beautiful toppings. Mix and match the veggies you would like and enjoy this incredible dish.
Turnip Greens – Whoa! Talk about flavor, these greens will blow you away. Incredible spice and flavor will make you sad when they are gone.
Mac N “Cheese” – This mac was some of the best I have ever had, and believe me as a picky eating kid Mac N’ Cheese was one of my few food groups that I ate out of. The thick and creamy sauce with amazing texture and taste. Your friends who are scared of vegan food would never know the difference, probably would say this was better.
Southern V has all the fixings you are looking for in a down south meal right here in Nashville.
I think people get the wrong idea when it comes to veganism. What you have to give up, what you miss out on. But in fact, you are not missing out on anything.
Chefs work that much harder to get past the stigma to get people into the restaurant and then make incredibly creative and delicious food to keep people coming in.
We have found some of the most creative food while traveling and experienced a rich culture within the vegan community.
No matter where you travel there is always somewhere to find a plant-based meal if you look hard enough, and that looking is part of the fun and beautiful way to get to know the culture where you find yourself.
We hope you enjoyed our plant-based wander around the world! Peace signs up!
My name is Nik Sheasby, I am half of the wanderlustmoonduo. I have toured with bands for the last 13 years while traveling for myself on the downtime. I started my travel later in life but dove in head first once I was able to. I love immersing myself into new cultures and meeting new people. Traveling has been my life and also saved my life. I want to share my world, seeing our beautiful world, with you. Spread love and humanity. Peace Signs up!
Watching parents progress through age can be challenging, to say the least. The person who raised you and acted as a strong, powerful role model slowly loses their faculty as they grow old—and before you know it, you’re caring for the person who cared for you since you were a baby.
This transition could happen gradually as their condition worsens, or it could happen overnight if they unexpectedly slip, fall, and break a bone.
That’s why it’s critical for families to be proactive and plan for this chapter of life before anyone is caught off guard and thrown into a caretaking role they’re not prepared for.
Mix this with your travel plans and your lifestyle, and it gets tricky. Today, we’ll talk about 3 things you should know when caring for an aging parent.
Daily Living Requirements Must Be Met
How do you gauge whether your parent needs additional assistance as they progress through age? It’s a delicate line to walk. You don’t want to offend their dignity or autonomy, but you need to know that they can safely meet the daily living requirements essential to their emotional and physical well-being.
Keep a close eye on their condition to ensure they independently perform the following activities every day:
Bathing or showering
Personal hygiene (grooming, brushing teeth, etc.)
Functional mobility (getting in and out of bed, sitting down and up from a chair)
Many seniors develop age-related illness or mobility issues that impede their ability to conduct their daily activities with ease. They might show signs of cognitive decline and forget to take their prescriptions, or it may prove unsafe for them to walk up and down the stairs after recent surgery.
Whatever the case may be, you’ll need to find them the appropriate help. This may be in the form of you stopping by at lunch to make sure they took their meds, hiring a qualified professional for help, or retrofitting their home and installing the proper safety equipment.
This transition is inevitably challenging. Adult children may be in denial, not ready to accept their parent’s decline in health, and elderly parents may be reluctant to ask for help due to guilt, shame, or stubbornness. However, taking an honest look at their condition and identifying where they need support is the first step to helping them live out the last years of their life most comfortably.
There are Ways to Pay for Senior Care
As health weakens and parents show increased symptoms, many adult children worry over how to pay for senior care. You want the best possible treatment for your parents, but how can you afford it without placing a financial burden on your own family? And how do you know which type of treatment program is best?
Fortunately, there are several ways to pay for senior care without mounting expensive medical bills. Take a look at the options below:
Medicare Part A – Original Medicare includes provisions for different types of inpatient care during temporary stays at a hospital or skilled nursing facility. This form of senior health insurance also provides hospice care for terminal illnesses and may cover the costs of at-home nursing care in severe cases.
Supplemental Medicare – Also known as a “Medigap policy”, supplemental insurance can be used to bridge the gap between services not covered under Original Medicare Part A and B. This offsets the out-of-pocket costs for dental care, dentures, eye exams, hearing aids, and more.
Investment Accounts and Retirement Savings – According to LongtermCare.gov, the average monthly cost of living in an assisted living or nursing facility ranges from $3,600 to $6,800, which could be very difficult to afford on Social Security alone. When your parent can no longer safely age in place, they can receive the treatment they deserve by tapping into the interest accrued on their investment portfolio or the money they’ve placed into a savings account.
Be sure to take advantage of the publicly funded programs that offer financial assistance for the elderly if you need extra help covering medical expenses.
Charities such as Meals on Wheels can provide your loved one with warm food and friendly smiles when you can’t be there, while the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development may be able to find your parent an affordable place to live.
Estate Planning Should Be Aligned
Unfortunately, it’s not a matter of “if” your loved one will die, but “when”. As they develop signs of age, it’s wise to go over their estate plan to ensure their affairs are in order. It can be uncomfortable to discuss what will happen once a parent passes, but it’s crucial to talk about it in advance.
Having a plan laid out will not only minimize stress following their passing, but it will also help minimize the amount paid in taxes, court costs, and legal fees. It’s likely that your parents began preparing their estate when their children were born, but it’s worth reviewing in case any changes need to be made.
For example, a divorce in the family or the birth of grandchildren could warrant names being added or removed. Your parent may have acquired a business since then, in which case they’ll need to formally document who it will be transferred to, or they might have opened a bank account but have yet to record the information necessary for an heir to access the funds.
Go over the documents in detail to confirm nothing’s left out, and if they haven’t already created a plan, make it a priority while they’re still in good health. Talking through various options from the comfort of home will make you and your parents feel much more comfortable as you prepare.
It’s important to have these conversations with your parent(s) well before their condition deteriorates and they have their full mental faculty. Otherwise, family members might feel rushed into a decision and emotions can run tense. Difficult conversations are never easy but going into them prepared helps smooth the discussion.
Come to the table with these talking points in mind and your loved one can rest assured they’ll receive the best care possible.
Kaelee Nelson received her Master degree with an emphasis in Digital Humanities and pursues her career as a writer in San Diego, currently writing for 365 Business Tips and GoodLife. She enjoys informing readers about topics spanning industries such as technology, business, finance, culture, wellness, hospitality, and tourism.
With growth comes prosperity. With prosperity comes an increase in travel and tourism. With an increase in travel and tourism comes pollution, ecological damages, and pandemics.
No, this post is not about Coronavirus. This blog is about the future of travel. This blog is also about how you can practice and promote sustainable travel.
By 2050, with all other economic sectors having greatly reduced their CO2 emissions, tourism is likely to be generating 40% of global carbon emissions.
The main cause is an increase in the average distance traveled by tourists, which for many years has been increasing at a faster rate than the number of trips taken.
In other words, more people are traveling to faraway international destinations than they did in the past.
Travel and tourism is related to traveling for leisure, business, or visiting friends and family. Tourism also involves primary transportation to the general location, local transportation, accommodations, entertainment, recreation, food and dining, and shopping.
Approximately, 72% of tourism’s CO2 emissions come from the transportation aspect of travel (moving from point A to point B), and 24% from accommodations related activities, and roughly 4% from local activities including eating.
Airline travel alone accounts for more than half of all travel-related CO2 emissions. Do whatever you can do to minimize this part.
How To Promote Sustainable Tourism
The world is massive and has endless possibilities. There is so much that we haven’t seen, and if we don’t travel, we aren’t going to either. Looking at Instagram photos and YouTube videos can only do so much for our wanderlust.
Traveling is adventurous, exciting, and stimulating, and I believe that everyone should make an effort to reach out beyond their borders. That said, it is important to be environmentally conscious while you are traveling. Hence, the promotion of sustainable tourism is essential.
In today’s post, I am going to discuss 10 practical ways to promote sustainable tourism.
Sustainable tourism is the concept of visiting somewhere as a tourist and trying to make a positive impact on the environment, society, and economy.
This can be done either by staying at a place longer than a few days and visiting adjacent countries, attractions, cities in a single trip instead of making multiple long-distance round-trip flights.
The future of our planet and climate change is in our hands
When Possible, Take Direct Flights
Planes are responsible for a significant amount of carbon emissions, and they are an essential part of traveling, yet we can start moving on sailboats to avoid these emissions.
So, how can we make our travel more sustainable and decrease the impact we have on the environment.
Did you know? Planes emit most of their carbon emissions during takeoff and landing. This means that connecting flights are more damaging to the environment as compared to direct flights.
Therefore, whenever you have the option, choose a direct flight, these flights maybe a little more expensive than connecting flights. Still, they are more convenient and use less fuel as well, which is also suitable for sustainability.
If you are planning to stay at a hotel or a hostel while you are traveling, make sure that the place you chose is environmentally conscious. This will allow you to decrease your carbon footprint. Moreover, you should try to be sustainability-conscious as well.
For example, try not to waste any energy, water, or food. Make sure that you don’t cause any noise pollution, either.
Finally, you should also try to find accommodation that is locally owned so that you can support the local economy.
Only Use Reusable Stuffs
Reusable coffee cups
While you are traveling, you should try to minimize the use of disposable items such as plastic cups, bottles, and straws.
We know that plastic isn’t good for the environment, therefore, when you are traveling, make sure that you keep some useful accessories with you, like a grocery bag for shopping, a glass water bottle, a travel mug, etc.
Leave the Place As You Found It
A clean beach in Greece
This is an essential rule to follow when you are traveling in nature; for instance, if you are hiking or camping. You should try your best to have no adverse effects on your surroundings.
This means that you shouldn’t damage any local plants or trees and be as eco-friendly as possible. In short, you should leave the place as you found it.
Support the Local Food Vendors
A local fruit seller
If you are a foodie like me, you can appreciate the local cuisine and street food or exotic locations. Whenever I am traveling, I take some time to check out the local street foods, and when I’m visiting a restaurant, I choose one that is locally owned.
Instead of eating at fast-food restaurants owned by global conglomerates, I prefer eating at local establishments so that my travels can benefit the local economy.
Moreover, trying out local foods allows me to experience a whole new array of flavors and cuisines. So, make sure that you give it a try as well.
Pack Light and Smart
Carry only the necessities
One of the first lessons to becoming a master traveler is to pack light. You should always aim to travel with a single backpack or small trolly case.
If you do have a large bag, then traveling in the local transport will be more difficult for you. You will have to take a taxi or use an online ridesharing app, which can result in extra carbon emissions.
Moreover, this is bad for your budget, and if you are using ridesharing apps like UBER, you are once again benefiting large companies rather than the local economy.
Therefore, pack light, but more importantly, pack smart. This is a skill that you will develop with time, so keep making an effort. For instance, once while traveling, I got a painful ear infection; luckily, I knew how to treat an ear infection at home.
Now I always keep some medications with me, because it can be challenging to find a good doctor sometimes, like when you are on a camping trip.
Volunteer to Help Local Communities
A group of UN Peace Corps Volunteers in Ukraine
One of the best ways to travel on a budget and have a significantly positive impact on the world is to volunteer with organizations like the peace corps. Not only will they fund your travels, but you will get a chance to help communities in need all over the world.
If you don’t want to make a long-term commitment with the peace corps, many other non-profit organizations will allow you to volunteer for a shorter time.
Use Sustainable Transport Wherever Possible
A bike parked in Amsterdam, Holland
When you are visiting another country, you will need to move around. Now, what form of transportation should you choose? Your objective should be to minimize your carbon emissions; therefore, for longer routes, choose public transport vehicles like busses and trains.
You can also use public transport to move around locally, but these days, most big cities have electric scooters that everyone can apply through an app. These are quite affordable and convenient as well. You can also consider renting a bicycle for the day.
Respect the Practices of Local Culture
When you are traveling to a foreign country, you will encounter different religions and cultures. To be a sustainable traveler, it is also essential that you respect the practices of the local people.
This means that you should try to be discreet when people are praying or doing cultural rituals. Also, make sure that you follow the appropriate dress code when you are visiting places of worship.
In short, don’t be insensitive and do some research.
Gondola in Venice / Climate change and its impact on Tourism
Raise Awareness About Sustainable Travel
Lastly, apart from following all the tips mentioned above yourself, you should always try to raise awareness in others.
This can be achieved by sharing your sustainable traveling experience with others through vlogs and your social media accounts. Moreover, you should talk to fellow travelers about sustainable traveling as well.
Katherine Joseph writes this article. She has been wearing hearing aids for over twenty years and still is a veteran of the audiology industry. She gives a holistic view of the hearing aid industry and the equipment available at DoctEar.
Let us face it! It has been our dream since childhood to visit Disney World at least once in our lifetime. Planning a trip to Walt Disney World puts you in good company. It is the flagship of Disney’s worldwide theme park empire and is, by far, the most popular theme park resort in the world.
Year after year, Disney World has been one the most visited vacation resort in the world, with an astounding number of attendants averaging over 50 million tourists annually. The figure speaks volumes about its out-of-proportion popularity.
Disney World at Nighttime
Though many people around the world want to visit this wonderful entertainment complex in the United States of America, very few, know the marvelous rides and attraction sites this place has to offer.
Long story short, going to Disney World will be an exercise in futility if you miss out on the following 10 top best attractions of the place. Mark them in your checklist and be sure to enjoy them right from the get-go.
Magic Kingdom Park
Magic Kingdom aka Cinderella’s Castle
It is a theme park inspired by a fairy tale castle of a movie made in 1950. It represents the classic story of Cinderella rising from being an orphan to a princess. T As the protocol goes, you will get a chance to be a princess or a knight at its very own salon.
Moreover, you can get to experience fine dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table, which is a once in a lifetime thing. But make sure you reserve a seat for yourself, or you might miss this opportunity.
A wedding is unarguably the most important day of an individual’s life. This is one reason why we leave no stone unturned to make it a memorable occurrence. But if there is any place in the world that truly deserves to host your dream wedding, it has to be none other than Disney Wedding Pavilion.
Concerning the wedding ceremony, the Disney Wedding Pavilion is everything you can venture to imagine.
It is based in a dazzling setting, which will charm each one of the guests on your list with spectacular views and romantic archways. In addition to providing aesthetic pleasure, it serves as an ample picture-point for guests. Everything is designed in such a way that they make up for a great background for photography.
Fireworks seen from Disney World Boardwalk
Disney’s boardwalk occupies the area of roughly 90000 square feet. Here, you will witness an endless streak of shops, nightclubs, and restaurants. What could be better than shopping around and munching one of the most delicious foods you will ever have in your life?
Simply put, if you have an appetite for the typical nightlife of a metropolitan, the boardwalk is surely your cup of tea. This attraction is commonly referred to as a village on the water.
As you stroll along, your kids are quite likely to come across street performers. Talking about the most popular sites of this place, they are Atlantic Dance Hall and Jellyrolls.
The park is a special treat for animal-lovers. Whether you are fond of African, Asian, or species that belong to other vast and varied parts of the world, you can watch them all buying a single ticket. The park is also home to several animals that are almost on the verge of extinction. Rest assured, the experience is bound to cast a spell on your mind.
Speaking of formalities, you can explore the animal kingdom from 9 AM to 5 PM. Therefore, be smart to manage your time, or else you will go end up regretting big time.
Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park
Blizzard Beach Water Park, Disney World
Are you one of those many people who are the victim of poor work-life balance? If yes, then you would be spending only a fraction of your time with the family, and even taking your kids to a local park might seem like an uphill task.
Attractions like Blizzard Beach Water Park allows you to splash into action and have fun with your family that you have been missing all these days.
Ranging from Summit Plummet to Runoff Rapids, it has tens of innovation water slides that will shock you. However, it would be a mistake to assume that the place is all about water. There are also numerous delicacies in Frostbite Freddy’s Frozen Freshments and Lottawatta Lodge. It is hands down one of the very famous attractions in Disney World.
The American Adventure
The whole point of going on a vacation is taking a much-needed break from hectic life. There is no harm in opting for a vacation spot that educates you and your children in a fun way. That is where Disney’s American Adventure swings into action.
The American Adventure at the Disney World
Once you step into this place, you will fall in love with American history, partly because America has a very proud history and partly because of the way this history is illustrated here.
From great depression to the deceleration of independence, many other historical landmarks are recalled during the projection. Those who have already been through this adventure will assure you that no one can walk off from the theatre without getting a deep sense of American history. Guess what, and you do not have to be time-bound for this show. So if you do not make it in time, you can always wait until the next round begins.
ESPN Wide World of Sport Complex
The ESPN Sports Complex is erected on a massive real estate. If you are into sports, this place will facilitate you to compete in nearly 60 top-tier games, taking the factor of age completely out of the equation.
Of course, not all of us are sports-enthusiasts. But if you are, you can choose to be a spectator and cheer for your team.
Our planet has been going through wear and tear since the dawn of history. However, in the last few decades, our ecosystem has collapsed like anything, and scientists say that the worse is yet to come. Provided unprecedented threats to our planet, it becomes even more important to visit this attraction.
The Awesome Planet film was made in partnership with Disney Conversation Fund to tell the story of our beloved planet and why it is important to take care of it. It calls upon the people to think and pay attention to global emergencies such as climate change and many others. Awesome Planet will do a world of good to you and your family in terms of igniting civic sense.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Hollywood Studios at Disney World
If you have been a fan of Disney films, you cannot ask for anything better than Disney’s Hollywood Studios. As it turns out, there is a huge fan-following of Disney films because Hollywood tower remains the busiest place in the entire Disney world throughout the year.
Hollywood Studios owes much of its popularity to the recent openings, namely, Stars Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story.
Since the opening hours of this attraction keeps on fluctuating, staying on top of the time-management will be the key.
American Heritage Gallery
This list surely cannot come to a close without mentioning the name of the American Heritage Gallery. It showcases the heritage of America by displaying authentic artifacts along with some contemporary works as well. It is a major tourist attraction as it represents the richness of American culture.
Main Street, Disney World
Taking a few pictures here and there and getting to know more about the diversity of the American culture would be a great use of your time at Disney.
The Final Verdict
Undauntedly, every part of Disney World is gold. But if you lack time and other resources to explore all of it, then sticking to the places mentioned above will guarantee not only unlimited fun but also the best return of your investment at the same time.
Las Vegas is the kind of place, where you set your foot and your money gets drained. The glitzy clubs, high-end resorts and not to mention the notorious casinos cost copious amount of money.
Many of us walk on a tightrope while traveling. It comes in handy to know some things which can be done freely. That too in Vegas!
BUT FIRST, WHERE TO STAY
We like Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. Located adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center and just one block away from the Las Vegas Strip, it offers classic entertainment and some of the largest rooms in Las Vegas. For all the accommodation issues, visit link and they will look after you.
FREE CIRCUS SHOW
Circus-Circus is a place where you can watch the show for free. On the compound, acrobats perform stunts and magicians weave their magic. You can take a seat to your liking and get awed by the sheer perfection at performances.
Every day this world’s largest permanent circus gives away a ten minutes free show. The Cirque de Soleil also offers free tours in months of August from 11 am to 11:30 am. Have fun gawking at the massive production house.
VIEW INCREDIBLE ART
Las Vegas is not only for partying. It has got some brilliant artists. You can stroll the city and come across some artsy campuses where you can discover upcoming talents. The City Center campus sports artwork of famous artists.
Inside the mall, you can see Shards of Color – a masterpiece of James Turrell. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas & P3 studio are places where you can have a tour by yourself, and without the artistic geniuses.
WANDER THE STREETS
On the streets of Vegas Boulevard, you need to have the immense will power to resist the shops. The Grand Bazaar Shops offer you open-air shopping. You can stroll around and do some window shopping.
If hungry, you can dine here as well. From 10 am to 10 pm you can indulge your eyes in drooling over things you want to buy.
If you find something in your budget, you can buy it. There is a multitude of shops to explore in the Strip. You can visit the museum – The Polaroid Fotobar.
There are no entry fees to pay. It has a vast collection of photos from great photographers. Or Click a selfie in front of Swarovski to make your friends jealous!
Hershey’s chocolate world, as well as M&M’s world, are places which are heaven for chocoholics. You can enter here for free.
But be warned the chocolaty delights which will be displayed in front of you are sin incarnate. You will be tempted to buy them.
Some of you may be familiar with Francis Bacon, while others may not have heard of this name before. Therefore, let me first introduce you to Francis Bacon, also, the father of empiricism.
“Knowledge is power.” – Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon was an English philosopher and statesman. He argued science could be achieved by the use of a skeptical and methodical approach whereby scientists aim to avoid misleading themselves.
His works are credited with developing the scientific method and remained influential through the scientific revolution.
Statue of Francis Bacon in the Library of Congress, Washington DC
Below is Bacon’s essay on travel, published in his book called the Wisdom of the Ancients (1609). There is a lot to chew on here. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Francis Bacon on Travel
Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of the experience. He that travelleth into a country before he hath some entrance into the language, goeth to school, and not to travel.
Young men travel under some tutor or grave servant, I allow well, so that he be such a one that hath the language, and hath been in the country before; whereby he may be able to tell them what things are worthy to be seen in the country where they go, what acquaintances they are to seek, what exercises or discipline the place yieldeth; for else young men shall go hooded, and look abroad little.
Have Travel Diaries
Have a camera and travel diary
It is a strange thing that, in sea voyages, where there is nothing to be seen but sky and sea, men should make diaries; but in overland travel, wherein so much is to be observed, for the most part they omit it as if the chance were fitter to be registered than observation.
Let diaries, therefore, be brought in use. The things to be seen and observed are, the courts of princes, especially when they give audience to ambassadors; the courts of justice, while they sit and hear causes; and so of consistories ecclesiastic; the churches and monasteries, with the monuments which are therein extant; the walls and fortifications of cities and towns.
And so the havens and harbors, antiquities and ruins, libraries, colleges, disputations, and lectures, where any are; shipping and navies; houses and gardens of state and pleasure, near great cities; armories, arsenals, magazines, exchanges, burses, warehouses, exercises of horsemanship, fencing, training of soldiers, and the like; comedies, such whereunto the better sort of persons do resort; treasuries of jewels and robes; cabinets and rarities; and, to conclude, whatsoever is memorable in the places where they go, after all which the tutors or servants ought to make diligent inquiry.
As for triumphs, masks, feasts, weddings, funerals, capital executions, and such shows, men need not to be put in mind of them; yet they are not to be neglected.
Learn the Language
If you will have a young man to put his travel into a little room, and in the short time to gather much, this you must do: first, as was said, he must have some entrance into the language before he goeth.
Soak the Culture
Then he must have such a servant, or tutor, who knows the country. Likewise, as I have said before, let him also carry some cards, maps, and books, describing the country where he is traveling to which will serve as a good key to his inquiry.
Also, let him keep a diary; let him not stay long in one city or town, more or less, as the place deserves, but not long; nay, when he stays in one city or town.
Let him change his lodging from one end and part of the town to another, which is a great adamant of acquaintance.
Let him sequester himself from the company of his countrymen, and diet in such places where there is good company of the nation where he travels.
Let him, upon his removes from one place to another, procure recommendation to some person of quality residing in the place whither he removeth, that he may use his favor in those things he desireth to see or know: thus he may abridge his travel with much profit.
On Travel Acquaintance
As for the acquaintance which is to be sought in travel, that which is most of all profitable, is acquaintance with the secretaries and employed men of ambassadors, for so in traveling in one country he shall suck the experience of many; let him also see and visit eminent persons in all kinds which are of great name abroad, that he may be able to tell how the life agreeth with the fame.
For quarrels, they are with care and discretion to be avoided; they are commonly for mistresses, healths, place, and words; and let a man beware how he keepeth company with choleric and quarrelsome persons, for they will engage him into their own quarrels.
On Returning Back
When a traveler returneth home, let him not leave the countries where he hath traveled altogether behind him but maintain a correspondence by letters with those of his acquaintance which are of most worth.
Kids having fun in Thailand
And let his travel appear rather in his discourse than in his apparel or gesture, and in his discourse let him be rather advised in his answers than forward to tell stories.
And let it appear that he doth not change his country manners for those of foreign parts, but only prick in some flowers of that he hath learned abroad into the customs of his own country.
Note: At this time we strongly recommend against traveling anywhere in the world due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. To fight this pandemic it is important that all of us do our best, so the world can go back to normal with the least amount of human suffering.
That said, and assuming we are over Covid-19 by the end of the summer and your feet are itchy to travel. What should you do? Where should you travel to? What are some of the great deals?
If you are thinking of visiting the USA, how do to apply for a US travel visa or an ESTA? What travel documents would you need The steps and documents required will be determined by your country of citizenship.
Let us explain what is ESTA and how can you apply one.
How to Apply For A USA ESTA VISA
What is ESTA?
The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (also known as ESTA) is an automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). It mainly applies to visitors who are coming to the US either by air or sea.
Is ESTA a Guaranteed Entry?
Travel authorization via ESTA does not mean that you are guaranteed entry to the United States. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers determine admissibility upon travelers’ arrival.
The ESTA application collects biographic information and answers to VWP eligibility questions.
When Should I Apply for ESTA?
It is strongly encouraged that ESTA applications be submitted at least 72 hours prior to your travel. But you can apply as soon as you begin preparing your travel plans. The US CBP’s website says that “In most cases, a response is received within seconds of submitting an application.”
Note: Passengers (including babies) without an ESTA will be denied entry into the US at the port of entry. There is a small fee for applying for ESTA application.
Do I need ESTA to visit US Territories?
Yes, ESTA is also needed for visits to territories such as Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands.
Do I need ESTA if I am traveling from Canada or Mexico by car (land)?
No. ESTA is not needed when arriving by land from Canada or Mexico.
Note: The United States is very strict with its immigration policies and if you are caught entering the country illegally, you will be deported and jailed depending on your crime.
Is My Country Eligible?
As of November 2019, there are 39 countries in the US Visa Waiver Program. Visitors may stay for 90 days in the United States which also includes the time spent in Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, or the Islands in the Caribbean if the arrival was through the United States.
The ESTA is only required if arriving by air or cruise ship. It is not required if arriving overland or on local ferries such as between British Columbia (Vancouver and Victoria) and Washington State.
ESTA Eligible Countries
How to Check Your ESTA Status?
You must know your ESTA status before you travel to the US by visiting the ESTA website. First, to know if your country is among the Visa waiver program countries (listed above), and second, to check the status of your application.
In case your country is not on the list of VWP countries, then you must apply for a US Travel visa through a US embassy in your country of residence. Please note applying for a US travel visa is a substantially lengthier process that may require an interview with a U.S. Consular Officer.
ESTA vs. US Travel Visa
At times, some people combine the two documents such as ESTA and US Travel Visa as one; forgetting that they are two different documents. If you are eligible for ESTA, then you must check your ESTA status online.
How Long Is ESTA Valid?
Each travel authorization under ESTA can be valid for up to 2 years. However, a Visa Waiver Program traveler must obtain a new ESTA authorization if they are issued a new passport, or change their name, gender or country of citizenship.
Entry under the Visa Waiver Program is only valid for a combined maximum stay in the US and its surrounding countries of 90 days. The admission period cannot be extended under the ESTA program. If a longer stay is intended, a proper US travel visa is required.
Third-Party ESTA Websites
Some websites offer to complete ESTA applications for a fee, often many times more than the required $14 USD fee charged by the US Government. Access and application through the official U.S. Government website are available to any visitors to the U.S. who qualify under the ESTA program.
Even if one of the third-party websites is used, passengers themselves still have to complete the same form.
Exercise caution though (if using a third party website) as concerns have been raised that third-party sites could be used for identity theft, credit card fraud, or the distribution of malware.
Note: Since this is an ongoing situation, we’ll be updating this article every day! Last updated: March 16, 2020.
If you are like me, you must be anxious about when this Coronavirus mess will end and when your life would get back to normal! Well, worry not because like everything in nature, nothing goes on forever and this too shall pass away!
Microscopic photo of Coronavirus. The spikes on the outer edge of the virus resemble a crown thus giving it that name.
At the time of this writing, the virus has spread to over 160 countries and territories. Therefore, for now, we strongly recommend that you maintain social distancing, stay put in your home, save some money, catch up on great books, finish those binge-worthy TV shows, and start that passion project of yours that you always wanted to do!
Note:Do Not Travel Right Now(even if you can, because you may not show any symptoms and therefore can carry the virus with you and infect the otherwise isolated population and other people at higher risk. Please use common sense and exercise patience.)
Let’s say, coronavirus gets under control (maybe even completely gone) and we are all in the clear. Also, let’s say if you have been itching to get out of your town and you are ready to travel, the first thing to check would be any still-remaining effective travel restrictions.
Assuming most of the travel restrictions have now been lifted (let’s say by May 2020), below are our top 10 recommended destinations which are either Covid19 free or with only foreign cases (i.e. no community transmission reported).
We have traveled to 6 continents so far and Antarctica has been on our list for a long time now. Well, keep in mind though if you live in the northern hemisphere (US, Canada, Europe, etc.), your winter month is summer-time in Antarctica.
So, why not visit a place which has no permanent human settlement and no cases of Coronavirus!
Big Island, Hawaii
Although Hawaii (Oahu) has cases of Coronavirus, all of them except one were imported. There are no reported cases of Coronavirus cases in the islands of Kuai, Maui, and Big Island.
The isolated environment, which Madagascar hosts, makes for exotic flora and fauna. The biodiversity that is present here is unique, in comparison to anywhere else in the world.
If you ever visit Madagascar, you will fall in love with the island’s plants and animals, which exist nowhere else in the world.
So far there has been no positive cases of Coronavirus here and therefore makes it a safe destination to visit.
You may have heard of the Galapagos Islands from Charles Darwin’s voyage. It is a remote volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Ecuador. It’s considered one of the world’s foremost destinations for wildlife viewing.
The isolated terrain of Galapagos makes this island a heavenly shelter for a diversity of plant and animal species, many of which are not found anywhere else in the world.
Just at 134 kilometers, southwest of Mauritius lies the magical destination, Reunion Islands. It abounds in volcanic scenery and the tropical climate makes it a beautiful getaway for travelers.
Furthermore, Reunion’s magnificent volcanic landscape makes it a paradise for hikers. With little to no crowd and the remoteness of this destination, nothing gets safer than this island in the Indian Ocean.
Well, if North Korea has open borders then they would have been severely impacted just like South Korea and since they are a closed border country, they seem to be doing fine at this time of the global pandemic.
But Why am I talking about North Korea! Because it’s not easy to go there and it may not be on your travel bucket list. But, Mongolia might be.
And if it gives you any reassurance then know that just a few weeks after the first coronavirus case was announced in China on December 31, 2019, Mongolia announced they would be closing the borders with China. They were the second country to do so, after North Korea.
They have had Covid19 cases but if it’s among the isolated, less crowded countries in Central Asia and therefore a safer place to visit compared to any other country in that region.
Alaska announced its first case of Coronavirus on March 12 (much after the rest of the US). Furthermore, the case happened to a foreign tourist. So far, Alaska due to its remoteness and harsh winter condition has been safe from Covid19.
Like Alaska, Greenland reported its first case of coronavirus on March 16 with a person with travel history. That said, in the western hemisphere, remote places like Alaska and Greenland are safer destinations as compared to densely populated cities of Europe and North America.
I wish we could say the same about Iceland. We’ll continue to monitor the situation in Iceland and update this blog if it seems to be a safer place to visit in 2020.
Nepal has only reported one case of coronavirus (a student who traveled from Wuhan, China). Since then the student has recovered and there has been no additional cases of coronavirus reported in Nepal.
Given that there are active Covid19 cases in both neighboring India and Pakistan, I would wait a few more weeks to see how the situation progresses in South Asia. Also, note, like Nepal, Bhutan has only reported 1 case and there have been no cases reported from Bangladesh.
Islands of the Caribbean
Most of the tiny island countries in the Caribbean have been either coronavirus-free or with less than 5 cases at maximum. The hot and humid climate definitely helps this region.
However, we recommend flying instead of taking a cruise for now until everything settles down. The point is to minimize human contact. Both flights and cruise have their how risks but flights are shorter. Also, pick one destination instead of a multi-day cruise that visits several islands.
Hostel traveling is one of the best ways to explore the world as a young person. These communities that dot every major city on the globe are hot spots for like-minded voyagers looking to visit faraway cultures and people.
However, life on the road doesn’t come without dangers to personal safety. In this article, we’ll highlight a few simple steps to ensure a fun and secure stay at a hostel, particularly if you are a teen traveler.
Find the Right Location
Finding the right location is one of the greatest ways to ensure safety while visiting a new city. Visiting a new destination (often abroad) is fun, but the cost of travel gets substantially high the further away you travel from your home.
Staying in Hostels is one effective way to budget your expenses but hostels are all about who will share the place with you, how far it is from the city center, public transportation, and what’s the cost when compared against Airbnb or Hotels.
Therefore, booking a hostel should be done carefully so that one doesn’t end up staying far from the places they want to explore. If you plan to drink, look for locations close to the nightlife of your city. It’s better to have a short journey back to bed in the nighttime.
Do Advance Research
There are several websites specifically dedicated to this form of travel, and each site posts helpful information such as they type of hostel, the type of community found there, and what to expect from a stay.
Make sure to find one that fits your personality, as this will mitigate culture shock and oftentimes depression.
Also, do some research about:
common travel scams in particular destinations you are planning to visit
the nearest embassy of your country
note down phone numbers for hospitals, ambulance, and police
shady neighborhoods to skip
First thing first, find out the legal drinking age in the country you are visiting. And, do not drink in if you are not of age. Drinking is just one tiny way to have good times but traveling offers so much more. Be mindful, present and curious. Let your senses be overwhelmed by the new experiences (so you don’t feel like you are missing on anything).
Another tip is to drink responsibly (if you must) and if you are traveling in a group, then go to a bar with your group. Do not accept drinks from strangers no matter how friendly they appear.
Pack Light & Carefully
Take care when packing for your trip. Remember that most hostels sleep six to ten people in a single room, so the space you live in will be shared with strangers.
Therefore, all your personal items will be in a common space that is potentially open to thievery. Remember, the quickest way for a trip to be ruined is to lose something important.
One great strategy to minimize the threat of robbery is to be a packing minimalist. When gathering the items, carefully revise and prune the list of items that you will bring.
Expensive clothing shouldn’t be brought if it isn’t necessary, along with high-priced electronics that won’t be of use on the trip. Bringing fewer items will decrease your chances of getting something stolen abroad.
Bring a Lock
Inevitably, some valuables will have to be brought on your trip. Passports, money, and cell phones are part of every travelers’ arsenal when living in hostels. In order to keep these items protected, it is imperative that a lock and key is brought on your journey.
Almost every location will offer lockers to store your gear either for free or for a small fee. Using a locker will allow for important documents and information to be kept in a safe place while exploring the city’s sights or bars. Don’t hesitate to bring one!
In addition to standard mixed-gender dorms, some locations will offer private rooms for booking. Private rooms are great options for additional privacy if you do not want to share living space with strangers.
Additionally, they can add another level of protection to personal items while visiting cities across the globe.
Another option for female globetrotters is all-female dorms and hostels. While these hostels and rooms come fewer and further between, they can provide additional safety and security for women traveling abroad.
Be sure to look for these options if one has concerns about privacy or living with men.
Some additional precautionary tips to keep in mind are:
Ask the hostel staff for security advice or anything you should know about
Don’t open the hostel doorfor strangers
Make a copy of your Passport and email it to yourself
Hide some backup money somewhere safe. This is just in case you lose your wallet/purse
Plan to check-in at your hostel before dark for the first time
Don’t leave your hostel alone late at night (no matter how safe you feel)
Trust your gut “feeling” but also use your brain (it is better to be safe than sorry)
I hope these easy to follow steps help when planning your next trip! The world is a gift, and everyone should have the opportunity to see every part fearlessly.
If you love traveling, then you have to admit at some point in your life you have envied the airline and cruise employees because they get to travel to so many destinations (for Free)!
Well, up until just a few decades ago, people were very, very limited with regard to where they could work unless they specifically had a job that involved international travel.
Most people never had the opportunity to work from another location (whether a farm or factory or an office building), let alone work across the globe.
This meant that not only you could never enjoy the experiences of those that were lucky enough to travel for work (example: traveling salesmen) but also you were bounded by “how many vacation days you get”.
Time & Money Equals Travel
You need both the money and free days to travel. Without a job, there is no money. And even with a job which pays money, if they only give you two weeks of vacation, how can you fulfill your dream of traveling the world!
In other words, you need flexibility in life and work to be able to travel.
How to Find Work Abroad
Depending on the type of work you do, you may find that you can work from anywhere in the world.
This is great for those who want to expand their horizons by traveling but do not want to give up on their ability to earn a living doing something they have experience in.
The Rise of Remote Work Culture
Find work where all you need is an internet connection
Of course, these days, with the rise in the gig economy and remote work, this has all changed. The digital age powered by cheap and fast internet connectivity has made it possible for people from many different backgrounds and industries to collaborate and work around the world.
Not only is this made easier by being able to work remotely from another location but also because learning new languages has become more accessible.
For instance, you can take online French, Spanish, or Japanese lessons from Live Lingua to help you get to grips with the lingo so you can work more efficiently and score a higher chance of finding a job when living abroad.
Making business partners in Kenya
With some types of jobs, all you need is a computer and internet access, and you are all set to enjoy the working adventure of a lifetime.
American Peace Corps Volunteers in Ukraine
Some tips that can help when it comes to working efficiently abroad include:
Research the Area Properly
One thing you need to do is make sure you research the area or areas you are planning to work from properly.
This doesn’t mean just checking out the best sights and attractions to explore in your spare time – it means looking at factors that could affect your work such as internet access and speeds in the area.
Also, look at things such as living costs in the area, as this could impact the viability of you heading over there to work.
Learn the Language
When it comes to working efficiently, it is important to learn the language for the destination you plan to work from.
There are all sorts of times where you may need to be able to converse, whether it is with local clients in relation to work or whether it is with service providers when it comes to services you use for your work.
Learning how to speak the language will make life far easier for you when it comes to working abroad.
Make Sure You Have Necessary Visas
It is important to remember that there may be differentVISA requirements and requirements for other official documentation depending on where you plan to work from.
You don’t want to end up working there illegally, obviously! So, make sure you are well aware of the documentation you need and make sure everything is in place before you head off to work abroad.
You can get plenty of information online about what you need, so you should be able to get it all sorted out in plenty of time.
Learn About Cultural Differences
Another thing to do is to look at cultural differences between what you are used to and what the culture is like in the area you will be working from.
If you are unaware of these differences, you could end up offending people without even knowing it, which is definitely not good for work if you will be dealing with the locals.
Respect the Traditions
So, make sure you look into the culture before you head off,as traditions may be very different where you are going compared to where you are at the moment.
Another thing to keep in mind is clothing. Try to wear as much ethenic or neutral clothing as possible because that shows your willingness to mingle with the locals and it also demonstrated you are respecting their values and traditions.
Research the Currency
You should also take some time to research the currency in the area you will be working and/or living in and compare it against the living costs in the area.
Again, this will enable you to determine the viability of living and working in that area in terms of finances. You can get online to look up this information but bear in mind the fluctuations with some currencies – you will need to keep a close eye on this.
Avoid Politics and Religion
Discussing politics and religion in a workplace setting is often considered off-limits, and perhaps for good reasons. When you are living and working in a foreign country, be extra cautious and avoid taking sides, picking favorites, or insulting or dismissing someone’s beliefs and values (whether right or wrong).
If you have strong opinions, one way you can express those is through Twitter and blogging. If your opinions are critical of the people in power in those countries, and if your main objective is to travel and not start a revolution, then it is also wise to keep yourself anonymous on these online platforms.
Thanks to digital technology, the world really can be your oyster when it comes to working around the world. The above tips will help to ensure you can work efficiently and that you have everything you need to start working in destinations around the world.
Once you have picked up a skill that is in demand and can be done online (or something like teaching certifications), have mastered the local language, and learned about local culture and traditions, you will find it much easier to settle in destinations you are not familiar with.
You can then get on with doing your work, earning money, and enjoying an adventure all rolled into one!
It’s wintertime! It’s cold, and we are all looking forward to a way to escape from those freezing blizzards. Just like birds do, it is thus time to head south for warmer temperatures and to take a break from the stress of your workplace.
If you are planning to go for a winter vacation, you are probably thinking of enjoying a cozy fireplace atmosphere while looking outside the window to the snowy mountain.
Well this winter, why not try something a lot different than usual. Have you ever thought of taking a cruise for your winter vacation?
Top Destinations for Winter Cruises
Cruises are the best way possible to explore the world’s most beautiful places. Whether you book a private cruise or choose one of the many itineraries available for families, we have selected the best destinations for winter cruises.
With our recommendations, you can be sure to book only the best winter vacation for you and your loved ones.
A Caribbean Vacation
Are you looking for a luxurious and glamorous experience that will take you from Boston to Miami? Then a Caribbean itinerary is best for you. Beautiful beaches, amazing wildlife and exciting adventures are waiting for you.
Perfectly warm water and equally beautiful beaches are spreading both on easter and western Caribbean routes. Whatever cruise you choose, you’ll enjoy thrilling activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, sunbathing, and many more.
You can also book a private island experience, which features an expansive water park in the Bahamas. However, if you are on a budget, you can also enjoy a 21-night cruise from Miami to San Juan, and maybe head to New York just in time for New Year’s celebrations.
Emperor Penguins in Antarctica
For those that enjoy cold weather here is a cruise idea that will take them to an even colder destination. Yes, this may sound like an odd idea, but many travelers choose Antarctica as their winter destination.
Although this region is now far more accessible than it used to be in the past, there are still only a few vessels that are built for forging through the iceberg-flanked passageways.
Antarctica is one of a kind experience. The snowy white surroundings, blossom ice, silence filled with calming sounds of nature and clear blue skies make the mesmerizing sights of Antarctica.
For a bolder experience, you can book a flight-cruise trip and fly over the breath-taking swells of the Drake Passage. As you can imagine, these cruises are not recommended for families with little children, but couples and solo travelers will definitely love this adventure.
Drake passage on the way to Antarctica
Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia are only some of the gems that Southeast Asia has to offer. This area provides lovely weather in winter, while it would be too hot and humid in the summertime.
Singapore is the central hub for cruise ships and a popular stopover for many travelers, but there are many other cities waiting for you.
If you wish to experience a river cruise, several companies offer itineraries through the Irrawaddy River. This will make you discover the beauty of places like Vietnam and Myanmar.
Sydney Harbor Bridge
If you have ever dreamed of viewing the majestic Sydney Harbor Bridge, then you should definitely book a winter cruise to Australia. January and February are usually the warmer months, but many tourists gather here in December for the New Year’s Eve fire celebrations in Sydney.
With its vibrant coffee shops, posh wines, local jazz music, and unique street art, Australia is the perfect destination to keep you and your fellow travelers warm. Your children will love it since this country is able to accommodate each of your family member’s needs.
Just don’t forget that Australia is our planet’s sixth-largest continent, meaning that you may need to book more than one cruise over your lifetime if you wish to visit every city and enjoy all the Australian landscapes.
A Navy battleship docked in Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii
Hawaii is, for many travelers, the quintessential destination for winter vacations. Despite what you may think, it is possible to book an unforgettable cruise and explore this area of the world while still being on a budget.
In other words, you don’t need to invest all your money to spoil yourself. For an unforgettable adventure, you can try a 15-day itinerary which includes a trip to Hawaii from Los Angeles or San Francisco.
The majority of Hawaiian itineraries originates from Vancouver and sometimes cruise ships stop in Mexico on their way to Honolulu. From January to March is usually the best timeframe to visit Hawaii, with some occasional whale spotting in the ocean.
On the other hand, this means that ships may be busier than usual. Consequently, we recommend booking your cruise to Hawaii as soon as possible, ideally in the summertime.
Norway Northern Lights Cruise
Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)
Spectacular natural light show. This is how we can describe this natural phenomenon called the northern lights. For those brave enough to face one of the coldest destinations and witness some of the best views in their life, Norway will be an unforgettable winter destination.
The Norwegian cruise from Oslo to the Arctic Circle is a very beautiful experience overall, however, the highlight of this particular cruise makes it special. Seeing the northern hemisphere’s spectacular light show is equally mesmerizing for those that will enjoy it from the deck and those not willing to compromise the worm and cozy cabin or ship’s lounge.
As with each natural phenomenon, it can not be guaranteed to you that you will for sure witness it during your stay there, however, sipping a cocktail or enjoying a hot cup of tea cruising around the Arctic Circle sure makes it possible.
Though the temperatures are very low, this one of a lifetime experience is totally worth it. Moreover, there are many other activities you can enjoy on Norwegian ports such as ice-fishing, husky sledding, snowmobile safari, that will certainly keep you warm.
The Northern Lights cruise is once in a lifetime experience and something every person should see. It truly is a magical journey. As it is Norway, so is every other cruising destination – enjoyable and memorable.
Cruises are pleasant all-year-round and are the best way possible to explore and enjoy our beautiful planet.
Henry David Thoreau was an American essayist, poet, and philosopher. A leading transcendentalist, he is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings.
Below are some of Thoreau’s thoughts on travel and being present in time. We hope you’ll enjoy this selection just as much we enjoyed compiling it for you.
You Don’t Need Money to Travel
One [of my friend] says to me, “I wonder that you do not lay up money [but yet] you love to travel; you might take the cars and go to Fitchburg today and see the country.”
But I am wiser than that. I have learned that the swiftest traveller is he that goes afoot. I say to my friend, suppose we try who will get there first. The distance is 30 miles; the fare 90 cents. That is almost a day’s wages.
Well, I start now on foot, and get there before night; I have travelled at that rate by the week together. You will in the mean while have earned your fare, and arrive there some time tomorrow, or possibly this evening, if you are lucky enough to get a job in season.
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary.
I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.
On Wandering in the Wild
Life consists with wildness. The most alive is the wildest. Not yet subdued to man, its presence refreshes him. One who pressed forward incessantly and never rested from his labors, who grew fast and made infinite demands on life, would always find himself in a new country or wilderness, and surrounded by the raw material of life. He would be climbing over the prostrate stems of primitive forest trees.
I wish to speak a word for Nature, for absolute freedom and wildness, as contrasted with a freedom and culture merely civil — to regard man as an inhabitant, or a part and parcel of Nature, rather than a member of society.
Our Perception Changes
There is hardly anything that shows the short-sightedness or capriciousness of the imagination more than traveling does. With change of place we change our ideas; nay, our opinions and feelings. We can by an effort, indeed, transport ourselves to old and long-forgotten scenes, and then the picture of the mind revives again; but we forget those that we have just left.
It seems that we can think but of one place at a time. The canvas of the fancy is but of a certain extent, and if we paint one set of objects upon it, they immediately efface every other. We cannot enlarge our conceptions, we only shift our point of view.
The landscape bares its bosom to the enraptured eye; we take our fill of it, and seem as if we could form no other image of beauty or grandeur. We pass on, and think no more of it: the horizon that shuts it from our sight also blots it from our memory like a dream.
In traveling through a wild, barren country, I can form no idea of a woody and cultivated one. It appears to me that all the world must be barren, like what I see of it. In the country, we forget the town, and in town we despise the country.
The Pleasure of Traveling
I have all my life delighted in traveling, though I have never enjoyed that pleasure upon a large scale. Wood, water, wilderness itself had an inexpressible charm for me, and I had a dreamy way of going much farther than I intended, so that unconsciously my return was protracted, and my parents had sometimes serious cause of uneasiness.
On Taking Long Walks in Nature
It is true we are but faint-hearted crusaders, even the walkers, nowadays, who undertake no persevering, never-ending enterprises. Our expeditions are but tours, and come round again at evening to the old hearth-side from which we set out. Half the work is but retracing our steps.
We should go forth on the shortest walk, perchance, in the spirit of undying adventure, never to return—prepared to send back our embalmed hearts only as relics to our desolate kingdoms.
If you are ready to leave father and mother, and brother and sister, and wife and child and friends, and never see them again—if you have paid your debts, and made your will, and settled all your affairs, and are a free man, then you are ready for a walk.
I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits unless I spend 4 hours a day at least—and it is commonly more than that—sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements.
I, who cannot stay in my chamber for a single day without acquiring some rust, and when sometimes I have stolen forth for a walk at the eleventh hour of four o’clock in the afternoon, too late to redeem the day, when the shades of night were already beginning to be mingled with the daylight, have felt as if I had committed some sin to be atoned for,—I confess that I am astonished at the power of endurance, to say nothing of the moral insensibility, of my neighbors who confine themselves to shops and offices the whole day for weeks and months, ay, and years almost together.
The New World
Sir Francis Head, an English traveller and a Governor-General of Canada, tells us that:
“In both the northern and southern hemispheres of the New World, Nature has not only outlined her words on a larger scale, but has painted the whole picture with brighter and more costly colors than she used in delineating and in beautifying the Old World. The heavens of America appear infinitely higher, the sky is bluer, the air is fresher, the cold is intenser, the moon looks larger, the stars are brighter, the thunder is louder, the lightning is vivider, the wind is stronger, the rain is heavier, the mountains are higher, the rivers longer, the forests bigger, the plains broader.”
The Joy of Nothingness
Sometimes, in a summer morning, having taken my accustomed bath, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in a revery, amidst the pines and hickories and sumachs, in undisturbed solitude and stillness, while the birds sing around or flitted noiseless through the house, until by the sun falling in at my west window, or the noise of some traveller’s wagon on the distant highway, I was reminded of the lapse of time.
I grew in those seasons like corn in the night, and they were far better than any work of the hands would have been. They were not time subtracted from my life, but so much over and above my usual allowance.
I realized what the Orientals mean by contemplation and the forsaking of works. For the most part, I minded not how the hours went. The day advanced as if to light some work of mine; it was morning, and lo, now it is evening, and nothing memorable is accomplished.
The Cost of Anything
The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
Ruins photography is a relatively new form of photography that focuses on the aesthetic and artistic value of modern urban decay. It’s increasingly becoming popular and getting notoriety.
In ruin photography, the subjects are typically large industrialized cities (e.g. New York City, Chicago, or Detroit) but can be any landscape, building, or symbolic representation of modern ruin and deindustrialization.
An abandoned factory hall in ruins
Ruins photography aestheticizes the abandonment and decline of the city most of all and has sparked conversations about the role of art in various revitalization and restoration projects from Detroit to Berlin.
San Galgano Abbey Ruins
Popular staples of ruins photography can include abandoned houses, neglected factories left over from the Industrial Revolution or auto industry booms, as well as bridges, abandoned lots, tenant or apartment buildings, or gutted theaters or offices.
Heiligendamm Villa Ruin in Germany
The style relies heavily on lighting, detail close-ups, long shots, and digital imaging.
Ruins photography is different from historical architectural photography in that it does not focus on comparisons between past and present but instead focuses on the state of the subject and how it came to be dilapidated.
Summit Castle, Burgruine in Switzerland in Ruins
Ruins photography as a way of marketing for potential tourism, while yet others have insisted that it can serve as a powerful call to action to do something about the city.
Detroit, Michigan is a major center for ruins photography. Since manufacturing jobs began leaving the city in the 1950s, Detroit has not only seen a decline in population, but also has seen many buildings and homes abandoned, vandalized, and destroyed.
Many other major cities and smaller settlements that once thrived have decayed over periods of time, some even becoming ghost towns due to economic hardship or civil unrest.
The town of Centralia, Pennsylvania, saw its population vanish due to a fire that spread from a nearby cemetery and ended up sparking smoldering flames in extensive abandoned coal mines below the district.
The state of Pennsylvania has blocked roads to the area, but there are about ten vigilant inhabitants that remain. Other examples of urban decay include Gary, Indiana, and Camden, New Jersey.
Hashima Island, Nagasaki, Japan was an empty island that became populated due to its coal deposits. Home to some of Japan’s first concrete high rise buildings, it became a ghost town when petroleum replaced coal.
Another example of a ghost town is Kolmanskop, Namibia, built by Germans into a successful diamond mining community. After the mining stopped and the workers left, the desert repossessed the area.
From the pristine beauty of Alaska to the eye-popping skyscrapers of New York, America is an incredibly diverse nation, which provides an impressive array of entertainment.
We have carefully selected the top iconic destinations that define tourism in America. They range from natural to architectural.
THE GRAND CANYON
“I believe in evolution. But I also believe, when I hike the Grand Canyon and see it at sunset, that the hand of God is there also.” ~ John McCain
The majestic magnificence of the Grand Canyon is hard to describe in mere words. It would be a futile attempt to do justice to the 1.2 million acres of exotic beauty.
The Colorado River created this unique structure over the course of centuries. From the river to the rim you will find an ecosystem so rare that it is hard to find anywhere else in the world.
Imagine California Condors flying over the clear blue skies, while the Coyotes sing their song.
You may feel like an expert tracker while looking for wolves throughout the valley. However, you will have no difficulty finding tiny fluffy squirrels that are so cute you will want to take them home.
Your muscles will cramp, sweat will pour, but the epic moment of hiking Grand Canyon will be a lifelong memory. If you want to cool off during the hike, try swimming in the pools of the Mountain Valley.
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
“In the wilderness, I sense the miracle of life, and behind it, our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia.” ~ Charles A. Lindbergh
Under the blanket of blue sky, Yellowstone National Park is full of every blessing of nature. It is the only place on Earth where you can view the highest number of colorful hot springs.
The highest lake in North America, Yellowstone Lake, is the namesake of the park.
Valleys scattered around the park are home to diverse wildlife. In these valleys, you can spy on grizzly bears and bison. Furthermore, the park occupies a vast area. Consequently, it is split into eight groups for easier access.
The Giant Prismatic Hot Spring looks like it belongs on Mars. The dark blue center fades into orange splashes along the edge. Plus, the beautiful Bridge Creek winds through the vegetation forming a natural bridge.
Gushing streams, graceful basins, roaring streams, and swelling waterfalls are in every corner of the park.
STATUE OF LIBERTY
“The first time I saw America was from my perch on the mast of a Spanish naval ship, where I could spot Statue of Liberty reaching proudly into the open endless American sky.” ~ Jose Andres
A token of freedom given by France to America stands proudly on Liberty Island. Gustave Eiffel, the man who built the Eiffel Tower, also built the Statue of Liberty.
This 305-feet-high statue depicts the Roman Goddess – Libertas. Piercing the skyline of Manhattan, it best symbolizes the character of America.
You need to take a ferry ride to reach Liberty Island from Jersey City. Once you enter the monument, it is free to look around and explore the American masterpiece.
The stairs wind up from the base of the statue to the crown. You must book a reservation ahead of time to have access to the top. This copper enigma is an emblem of peace and freedom for the entire country.
JOHN F.KENNEDY ASSASSINATION SITE
“Things do not happen; Things are made to happen.” ~ John F. Kennedy
America might be a young nation, but the history still runs deep. The assassination of John F. Kennedy occurred in Dealey Plaza in 1963.
The Sixth Floor Museum now stands on the site of the assassination. The museum displays the planning hub of the sniper, which was redesigned and displayed here.
The general aesthetic of Dallas is super-modern. However, Dealey Plaza is a reminder of that time when Mrs. Kennedy was drenched in red blood and the nation suffered a great tragedy.
HANAUMA BAY BEACH
“So that the monotonous fall of waves on the beach, which for the most part beat a measured and soothing tattoo to her thoughts, seemed consolingly to repeat over and over again…” ~ Virginia Woolf
Roads that are often traveled become beaten and boring. Hanauma Bay beach was beaten and boring once, until recently when it was declared a protected area. Every woman envies curves.
The elegant curving shoreline of Hanauma Bay beach in O’ahuHawaii is no exception. Volcanic eruptions formed this ancient caldera, which eventually eroded to form the bay.
The turquoise blue water has a plethora of coral displayed across the ocean floor. If you do not harm marine life, you are allowed to snorkel in the bay.
The beach closes every Tuesday to replenish the ecosystem since it is a maritime natural preserve.