Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Everyone Can Travel!

Grand Canyon, Arizona
Everyone can travel, if they get good information.  Traveling can be about more than fun.  It can be about education.  However, traveling can also be expensive, exhausting and time consuming.  Today, I have some tips on maximizing your vacation time while also saving money.

Making travel arrangements well ahead of time will definitely help you save money.  I always have plans lined up in my head.  Some don't work out, some do.  I find every possible ways to make things happen.  Minimizing last minute expenses can help you trip stretch further. 

Rocky Mountain, Colorado

Hit the gym or run a couple of miles outdoor, before you board your flight.  You feel like you get more tired after working out, but it helps when long flights are hard on your body as your muscles can easily cramp from maintaining the same position for extended periods.  At least stretching before boarding a flight can lessen any cramps.

The London Eye, UK

If you are driving, plan your road travel to miss rush hour in any city you will be in.  Google map on your smart phone is pretty reliable to check traffic conditions most of the time.  Once I was stuck in traffic in Seattle for hours during rush hour in the heavy rain.  Vacation turned into a nightmare.  If you are flying, take an early flight to avoid a delay in your flight.  Chances are that if one flight is delayed, the flights immediately after that flight have to be delayed.  It may be hard if you're not a morning person but the initial morning flight has the least amount of delays.  

World of Coca Cola, Georgia

I can be a night owl or an early bird, when it comes to travel.  I had a 6am flight to Colorado to visit the Rockies.  I took the red eye flight to Atlanta, Georgia, picked up a rental car at ATL, then I drove 200 miles straight to Alabama.  I know those crazy adventures are not for everybody.  

Traveling is fulfilling and interesting, and you never know what you might find.  Get out there and cross a few things off your bucket list!

I receive messages from twitter followers asking about my facebook fan page.  I don't have one!  I know I'm a bit behind, actually, way behind.  I'm still very new to Pinterest.  

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

How to avoid expensive and hidden travel extras

University of Oxford
Taking a trip can be tons of fun.  This world has an infinite number of destinations to explore and experience.  The chance to encounter people and culture that differ from your own is intriguing, but it is also possible to plan simpler trips.  Here's the thing.  There are lots of treasures that can be found near you, or wherever you go, if you have an idea of where to look. 

University of Edinburgh

As you plan your vacation, try and be open minded about the destination.  While you may have your favorites, checking out new places in the area.  Visiting Universities cost less money than touring the most tourist attractions.  There are so much to learn at the University campuses.  

Rocky Mountain National Park
If you are a motorcycle enthusiast, riding a bike can make a wonderful solo trip.  The ride is so enjoyable, it uses little gas and can move quickly in heavy traffic.  Check out to find fellow travelers that you can share your time with and talk to, and maybe split the transportation costs if you get along.  This lets you make friends and share experiences to avoid making mistakes or missing some great spots on your own trip.

The White House
Most car rental outfits do not rent to those under 18, and some do not rent to those under 25.  If you're under that age, you may need to pay a higher rate, or extra fees.  Just to be aware of that, in case you don't know.  Your car insurance policy may already provide you with some of the coverage you will need, to drive a rental car.  My policies include some basic coverage for third party liability.  I also have credit cards that cover car rental loss and damage.  You don't need to buy expensive collision coverage at the car rental place.  That will lower the amount on your rental car bill.

Pinnacle National Park
(that's me lifting the gigantic rock)
Check the carry-on policy with the airline you are traveling with.  Most airlines will allow a small carry-on along with something like a backpack or a purse.  Spirit Airlines charges fees for carry-on luggage.  It can cost up to $100 per luggage (if you don't pay ahead of time during check-in) as of July 2014.

That is all I have to write about for today.  There will be so much more to write about in near future.  Our world is one enormous place for exploring.  There will always be a destination perfectly suited for you to visit.  Regardless of where you want to travel, a new destination is always waiting to be explored.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Oyster Point Waterfront

5 mile walk on Scenic Bay Trail at Oyster Point Waterfront in South San Francisco.

Oh no.  Should have been set as 'Walk', not 'Run'

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday Travel Photo #4: Lake Havasu City, Arizona

During the holiday season at the end of 2012, I drove over 3000 miles with my copilot Leo the weird cat, who can't live without car rides.  We stop by Lake Havasu and spent a day there.  This is one city you should endeavor to visit when you are embarking on solo travel next time.  It was a pleasant and memorable experience.  Though we got here via a road trip, it was a trip packed with lots of fun and wonderful experiences.

Lake Havasu, Havasu City, Arizona

Havasu City Overview

Havasu City is located in Arizona, United States. The city was formerly a rest camp for Army Air Corps during World War II. Lake Havasu City lies in the shores of the Colorado River, which is one of the choice locations for organizers and lovers of water sports. 

On September 30, 1963, a resolution of the Mohave County Board of Supervisors gave rise to the establishment of Lake Havasu City. As at that time it was named Lake Havasu Irrigation and Drainage District, making it a legal entity. The city was incorporated in 1978, and is now called Lake Havasu City.

Top Attractions At Lake Havasu City

1. London Bridge

Lake Havasu City plays host to one of the world's most talked about bridge; the London Bridge. London Bridge stretched across the lake to a small island in the Colorado River. London Bridge is one of Arizona's most popular attractions of Lake Havasu City, and this could be as a result of the towering walls and archways of the London Bridge that has stood in the waters of the Colorado River since 1971. The night view of the London Bridge is so colorful that tourist/visitors are always amazed at the sight of it. When next you want to embark on a solo travel, don’t forget to pen down Lake Havasu City as one of the places to visit.

2. Parker Dam

Parker Dam is another popular attraction of Lake Havasu City. It was built between 1934 and 1938 by the Bureau of Reclamation, and it was built to provide water and power to the people of the lower Colorado River Basin.
Another interesting fact is that Parker Dam is the deepest dam in the world; 73% of its total height of 320 feet is below the riverbed and only about 85 feet of the dam is visible. You might want to make Lake Havasu City your next solo travel destination because only then will you be able to view this amazing Dam live and direct.

3. Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge

Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge is yet another attraction in Lake Havasu City, located in the area within eastern La Paz and Mohave-Counties, in Lower Colorado River Valley region. A lot of activities like nature walk, bird watching, hiking, and kayaking goes on regularly at the Bill Williams River. This place is worth visiting when on a solo travel trip.

How To Get To Havasu City, Arizona

Visitors can use road trip to Lake Havasu City because the city is within driving distance of 2 international airports; Phoenix and Las Vegas international airports. So once your plane lands at any of the airports, you just need to use road trip for a few hours to get to Lake Havasu City.

From Las Vegas: Make your trip with U.S. 93 / U.S. 95 South to Interstate-40 E, and then from there take AZ-95 South.  Of course, we stopped by Vegas, my all time favorite place on earth.   From Phoenix: Take Interstate-10 West to Vicksburg Road (Exit 45), then take a right turn at Vicksburg Road, and then turn left on AZ-72. Go right at Riverside Drive/ AZ-95. 

“People who don’t travel cannot have a global view, all they see is what’s in front of them. Those people cannot accept new things because all they know is where they live.” – Martin Yan

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Traveling Alone is Fun and Exciting

Traveling alone is interesting, and many ways exist for making your plans better.  Here's some tips for your next solo travel:

Silver Falls
In this internet era, booking online is a best way to start your vacation planning.  Make the most of your travel budget by booking air travel, rental cars and hotels online where you can easily access reviews and photos of hotels for quick comparison.  I'm a budget traveler, but I don't sacrifice my safety or comfort just to save some money.  Customer rating and review are very reliable.  I follow Airfarewatchdog for last minute air fare deals, discounts and sometimes mistake fares.

Generally, you can save money when you book flights with one or even more connecting flights.  But check the layover times to make sure it is feasible.  I had 5 hour layover time when I was on solo trip to South Dakota, but I got a lot of work and studying done, and even created a blog post.  I chose that fight because it was the least expensive flight from SFO to RAP for the entire July, the peak summer time.  The layover can definitely put you at the airport waiting for several hours.  If you don't get access to the club lounge, Waiting on seats for hours at the departure gate is definitely more painful.

Georgia Aquarium
Give your itinerary to at least one family member.  My family enjoys many annoying travel confirmation emails that I forward to them every time I travel.  The itineraries should include the address and numbers of your destinations, in case you disappear.

Pack a small bag of clothespins; you would be amazed at how useful these will turn out to be.  Many hotel bathrooms provide clothesline right above the bathtub.  I didn't even notice them until I started traveling solo with my 75L backpack.

Hogwarts at Oxford University
Don't spend time lounging at the hotel buffet.  Head to the hotel gym, pool or walking track.  You can stay fit and energized when traveling.  I get more exercise when I travel.  I walk everywhere as long as it's safe to walk and it's a descent walking distance, instead of paying for transportation.

Travel can be a great educational tool for your personal and professional life.  Traveling to foreign lands provides you with and ideal opportunity to teach the younger generation about how the workings of the world beyond your own country, and it is also completely safe.

Rather than exchanging dollars for the currency of the country at the airport in which you are traveling, use an ATM which gives a better exchange rate than what an individual has access to.  Many people think that using ATM will cost a lot of fees or commissions.  Check out Charles Schwab Bank.  No ATM fees.  Unlimited ATM fees rebates worldwide.  Credit cards with no foreign transaction fees are my first choice, but I found out that a lot of small businesses and venting machines for express buses tickets in the UK and Ireland charge small credit card fees.

Taking a solo trip can be quite exciting, as you see new places and always learn new things.  If you're new to solo travel, you'll make a mistakes for the first few trips.  But that will make you improve your future travel plans.

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new".  -Albert Einstein