Plan Vacationing with Children

Planning a vacation when you have children can be quite difficult. There are a lot of additional things that you have to consider when including children on a trip. The age of your children will have a huge impact on how you plan for your trip.

The first thing you will need to do is decide what you are doing on your trip. Although places such as amusement parks are very popular, you don’t need to have a vacation that is centered around kid’s activities. You will find that there are thousands of things for kids to do and explore in a variety of places. If you are planning a trip overseas, the trip itself can be an adventure. Don’t limit a vacation with your children to brightly colored rides and cartoon characters. A child is never too young to experience new places and new cultures.

Once you have decided where you are going, you will need to book accommodations. Holiday villas can be a great choice for a family. There is ample room for a whole family and typically you will have outdoor space allotted as well. These holiday rentals can allow you space to bring grandparents or even a nanny so that you can spend some time alone with your partner. When planning a trip to a city, you might consider a holiday apartment. Quite often people who are traveling elsewhere over the holidays will rent out their apartment. You can get great deals this way. There are also holiday apartments that operate only as short term rentals. These are typically located in convenient locations which are helpful when you have kids. You are always better off if you do not have to travel far to see what you came to see.

One of the first questions should concern food. When you stay in a hotel, you usually expect to eat your meals at a restaurant, but most holiday rentals are what would be considered self catering. Even if restaurants are available locally, you might want to cook some of your meals yourself. Does your rental have a kitchen? Does it have food storage? Is cookware available or does it need to be brought from home. These are examples of questions that you should find out when planning your meals. The more isolated your rental, the more critical the food question becomes. Self catering in France means something totally different than self catering in Montana, so make sure that you are prepared for any eventuality. Wherever you go, you are going to need to eat.

It is important that you do a good job when packing for children as well. It is best to dress your children in layers so they are ready for the weather, but also so that you can peel off a dirty shirt before heading into a restaurant. Remember to pack some toys or electronic games for the plane or car ride. If your child takes medication, you will want to carry it in your purse or backpack. It is also a good idea to pack over the counter children’s medication if you are traveling overseas. This will allow you to feel more comfortable if your child gets sick. It can be difficult to find medication and to know the proper dose to give if you are not familiar with the language.

One tip that helps many travelers with children is to put everything in labeled zip top bags. You can put an outfit into each one, label it with your child’s name, and then press the air out. This way you can pack a lot more in a suitcase, as well as be able to quickly find what you need. If you have several children, or they are young, this can be especially handy.

As long as you take some time to properly plan your vacation, traveling with children can be fun. Taking a vacation together is something that you will cherish for a long time.

The Villa Life, Jamaica

So you’ve rented a villa for your Jamaica vacation. Now what? Well if you’ve rented a luxury, staffed villa here’s what you might expect:

Your driver will meet you at the airport in a comfortable, air-conditioned van. On the drive to your villa, he will indicate points of interest along the road and provide refreshments- if it is a long drive do not hesitate to request a stop. Upon arrival at your villa you will be greeted by your staff; they are your caretakers for the duration of your stay and you should feel completely at ease making reasonable requests of them. Get to know your head-of-house as he or she will be your primary point of contact should you have any questions about the villa and how it operates. Your cook will handle grocery shopping and meal preparation. She will prepurchase your first few meals plus pantry staples, then finish the week’s shopping after meeting with you. A typical grocery budget is US$210 per adult per week (more in some villas) … less for children. This may vary up or down depending on market prices and menus. If you wish to go to the various markets with your cook, feel free to do so. Otherwise, simply review with her your likes and dislikes and she will handle everything while you stay at the villa and relax. At some of the villa colonies, like Tryall, it is possible for your cook to charge groceries to your account, which you then settle at the end of your stay. At most of the independent villas, unless you’ve arranged for a mealplan, your cook will request money for shopping; she’ll bring you receipts and change.

The size of 4,000 sq miles makes Jamaica the third largest island in the Caribbean. The capital of Jamaica Kingston is where most activities are centered. Jamaica, today, is one of most popular travel destinations for vacationers. People around the world flock to the island for a Jamaica vacation, for its weather, culture and entertainment, or just to spend a weekend in luxury Jamaica Hotels. Jamaica is where you can enjoy the different styles of home life and you can help yourself to fruits from the trees in the countryside though the most important dinners are jerk chicken, and fish with coconut milk and spices. Almost everybody in Jamaica speaks English . Driving in Kingston is a challenge for new visitors because there are no signs. With the popularity of the Internet, a typical vacation plan to the Island of 2.7 million population starts with the search on the Web to look for perfect Jamaica Hotels and Resorts. When you know the history of Jamaica, your visit to the Island will never be the same.

The day starts while guests are still asleep. The cook quietly places pots of steaming Jamaican coffee and platters of fresh fruit outside your bedroom door or at the breakfast table. Full breakfast is served when all guests are ready. A typical breakfast may include fresh orange juice and several fruits, banana fritters or plantain, eggs, bacon, pancakes or cereal. Light lunches are usual in Jamaica, then for dinner your cook will prepare her own mix of Jamaican specialties … including delicious homemade soups and desserts, ackee and saltfish, jerk pork or chicken, shrimp or curried goat. Lobster, too, when in season … she can of course also serve traditional American fare as you request. Warning: Jamaican cooks are excellent and portions are big. Your chambermaid and laundress will care for every detail of your bedroom and bath … providing a daily supply of fresh linens and flowers and returning your neatly-folded laundry each afternoon before turning down your bed each evening. The gardener will maintain the pool and grounds immaculately each day. Larger villas are staffed by a butler who serves, tends bar and generally facilitates. Available on request are a masseuse, children’s nanny and chauffeur. At the conclusion of your stay it is customary to tip for good service. Villa staffs, like most jobs in the service industry, rely on tips as part of their overall compensation.

Recommended gratuities tend to be around 10% of the villa rental in High Season ~ 15% of the villa rental in Low Season (some villas have more specific guidelines). These percentages apply to the entire staff, not to each individual staff member. In each villa, you will find a gratuity guide advising you how tips should be distributed among your staff members based on their seniority- in some cases you can pay the entire amount to the head of house or directly to the property manager for distribution. Once you have experienced the villa lifestyle, it is only natural to be intrigued by the prospect of owning one of these extraordinary properties. Whether it is an existing villa or a home site on which to build the vacation house of your dreams Jamaica’s experienced real estate agents will help you find it.

What are the advantages to staying in a villa over a hotel? The only true privacy you get in a hotel is in your bedroom or suite. In a villa everything belongs to you ~ the pool, the sun beds, the terrace, the music, the TV ~ it is your home every minute of the day. You will only see the people you wish to see. Even your staff will become “invisible” if that is what you want, appearing only at those times you ask them to serve you. In a villa you decide everything from what you eat to the time you eat it. And yet, despite having all these major advantages, a villa vacation compares very favorably on price with a hotel.

Certain villas include temporary memberships in private clubs such as Tryall, Round Hill and Wyndham Rose Hall that offer a host of activities including golf, tennis and watersports. Those actually located within a villa colony offer the best-of-both worlds, with the complete privacy of a villa vacation and all the amenities and social opportunities of a fine resort.

Jam-boree, Jamaica’s Visitor Newspaper

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Matt_Helm

Aviation – Really Part Of Our Lives

I often wonder how things affect the way I live. In particular something like aviation. We tend to think of it as a means of transport and of course it is. But how much of a role does aviation actually play in our lives?

Let’s first look at just one aircraft. Take the Boeing 737. First introduced in the early 1960s, this plane has been in service pretty well constantly since then. Naturally, there have been modifications. Slight tweaks and changes to improve performance and safety. This is no different than other aircraft. Consider this: there is a Boeing 737 taking off somewhere in the world every FIVE SECONDS. Take that in for a moment. Remember, this is just one make of aircraft! These are not company figures but data gathered from reliable air traffic movement sources

Look at your television daily. I guarantee you will see an image of a Boeing 747 – or a jumbo jet as it is more popularly known. Now, these things move between 400 and 500 people at time over distances of thousands of kilometres every day.

Now I have given examples of two of the more popular aircraft in the world today. Aircraft we are familiar with and ones that if we travel occasionally, we are likely to use for both short and long haul journeys.

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Let’s take a look at another way that aviation could affect us all. Most hospitals today have facilities to land helicopters. These fantastic machines are used for a number of things in a normal daily lives. The one to which I refer is the lifesaving machine that transports an unfortunate patient from say a road accident in the fastest possible way, therefore cutting down the time before the patient receives treatment.

We also come across the helicopter – quite often daily – when we travel freeways to and from our places of work. They monitor traffic conditions and congestions and are able to report to the appropriate authorities, if there is a need to send emergency vehicles in the event of road problems.

More and more, private aircraft are taking to the skies. Companies invest in air transportation as a way to alleviate the problem of traffic snarl ups and rail congestion. They are no longer the toys of the rich, but a logical means of conducting business in a quick and efficient way.

I have referred principally to the topic of aviation in our daily lives and in particular civil aircraft. However, we do not realise that we are always being protected by military aircraft that patrol our skies. Often we do not hear or see them – but they are there, or at least I hope so.

Day after day we have military aircraft taking off and landing somewhere in the world, often not taking part in military exercises, but in fact performing humane acts like delivering food to needy nations and flying much needed medicines and other supplies to different parts of the world.

As an avid aviation admirer, I must say that it doesn’t cross my mind very often just how much aviation does intrude into our lives, but technology and other advancements have made them virtually indispensable.

Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Aviation

Options of Travel Accommodation – from Discount Hotels to Luxury Villas

When vacation rolls around, we all want to splurge. After all, we have worked our butts off for an entire year, just to be able to afford a week of luxury and serenity. For this reason, the last thing we want to do is book a dingy hotel, which may include cockroaches or other strangers for roommates. Fortunately, with the internet becoming the biggest travel agent in the world, it is possible to splurge in style.

The most difficult part of booking a vacation is figuring out where you want to stay. From discount hotels to luxury villas, it can get frightening when prices become a large player in our decision. Luckily, there are hundreds of websites which can provide more information which will help you reach your verdict. For most travelers, they want a bargain. At Orbitz.com, the service will find the cheapest airfare packages and even suggest hotel accommodations and car rentals for you. Most people do not mind splurging on a luxury villa, if they know that they can get everything else for a bargain.

Although every dream destination offers great discount hotels and luxury villas, there are particular places which present lavish accommodations for a more reasonable price. For instance, Bali luxury villas and Bali villa rentals are wonderful options. Although both are great for any family, Bali villa rentals are more for people looking to stay for long periods of time. With Bali villa rentals, vacationers can spend their time on the beach for weeks, not having to worry about the stress of switching hotels or destinations. On the other hand, Bali private villas are also worthwhile. Most of these villas have master bedrooms, multiple bathrooms, which are all fully furnished. There are also private gardens and pools fit for royalty. With all of these amenities, it is no wonder why people do not mind spending money on luxury.

If you are still looking for a beautiful destination yet just cant seem to afford a Bali villa rental or luxury villa, there are discount hotels available. Many of these Bali resorts offer wonderful amenities, and are anything but dirty or cheap looking. By doing your research on the internet, you can effortlessly find a beautiful area to stay in. However, it is important to make sure the offers are legit. If there is any fine print, make sure you read it! Many vacationers often get stuck in a deal, when they forget to read between the lines. Therefore, it is important to look closely at any deal, before you decide to use your credit card on the internet. Although people assume that discount hotels are anything but lavish, many of the resorts are just as breathtaking. With many deals and secret offers online, it is no surprise that people are finding beautiful but discount hotels to stay in. The secret is to check all of the travel sites, including Hotels.com. This will provide you with a great way to find your dream lodge – whether it be a luxury villa or a discount hotel

What Every Cell Phone User Should Know about Mobile Phone Unlocking

If you are a cell phone lover, chances are you are aggravated with at least one aspect of your cell phone plan. Of course we all wish something about it was better – whether it be the sound quality, roaming charges, or the amount of service was get. But what if we had the opportunity to unlock our mobile phones? We have all wanted to switch services but keep our old beloved phone. Luckily, technology has now given us the means to do so. Better yet, it’s legal!

Mobile phone unlocking is a great way for people to get the most from their cell phones. We have all tried out a service that just doesn’t provide us with enough features, yet we haven’t wanted to go through the hassle of switching phones. Fortunately, mobile phone unlocking is extremely easy and legal! Although most cell phone companies want you to believe that they put cell phone locks on their devices, it is actually false. Of course no company wants you to leave! Every bright business wants to not only keep you as a customer, but keep your monthly cash that you send to them so frequently. Therefore, you have every right and ability to unlock your phone if needed. However, some companies will try to lock it permanently, so it was crucial to stay alert.

Another benefit to mobile phone unlocking is that it could save you a lot of money in the long run. For instance, if you were an avid traveler and wanted to save money on international phone rates, you could change your service. If you kept the same service, you would be charged for roaming fees, thus leaving you with an unnecessary bill. By unlocking your cell phone, you could spend more money on other features!

The greatest part about mobile phone unlocking is that is simple to access! Surprisingly, there are cell phone unlock codes you can use to do this procedure. Many websites online offer such codes that usually are quite affordable, ranging from $5-$10. However, some phones may need more than a cell phone unlock code. For instance, if you have a certain Motorola model, a data plug may have to be used to connect to a programming unit. This will reprogram your phone and allow you to pick another service.

Although mobile phone unlocking is a great way for people to switch services, not all phones can be unlocked. The only phone companies that have this feature are AT&T;, Cingular, and T-Mobile. If you are not using a GSM company, chances are your phone has no ability to unlock. Nevertheless, if you have the opportunity to unlock your mobile phone, and you want to change services, then it is a wonderful opportunity. We now have the freedom to do what we want, when we want it. Cell phone companies are no longer holding us with these plans that cannot be changed. We finally have realized the secret and for that reason, cell phone unlock codes will always be our favorite feature.

Business Card Etiquette for International Businessmen

In a globalized world, international businessmen require more than certain skills and knowledge in their corresponding financial or commercial branch, but also the basic understanding of customer’s local culture to avoid frustration, misunderstanding and even potential embarrassment.

Whether a company or any independent professional, should research not only to get cheap international plane tickets to make the trip more affordable, but also acquiring basic facts about regional culture and etiquette, including business cards.

If you are involved in international business, then you need to keep up with your client’s country values, norms, behaviors, and even everyday facts including art, food, fashion, architecture, etc. The more you learn about your clients’ nations, the more opportunities to close successful deals. However, any solid relationship begins by recognizing the importance of learning the proper etiquette.

Business cards are usually the first thing that any customer or prospective client will get from you, so you should make sure they cause a positive impression on them. The way they perceive you from the beginning will leave a lasting impression in their memory, giving them right from the start the impression whether to create a business relationship with you.

As an example, getting cheap international plane tickets to attend a meeting abroad is fine, but your cards must reflect you are not trying to save costs. Every nation has different idiosyncrasies, but general business card etiquette encloses the guidelines to make the best impression on current and potential clients.

Becoming a successful businessman or businesswoman is easy if you simply read a little bit about customs and practices of the region where your partners, co-workers and clients live. Knowledge is generally the best guidance, pointing you in the right direction for creating international lasting business, fulfilling both intentions and expectations coming from each partner involved.

Furthermore, business card etiquette is only one aspect of great importance when it comes to international exchange of business cards, because unlike America or Canada, in other countries, business cards have very different meanings, and not only a convenient way of capturing essential personal or businesses details.

This way, business cards in the United Kingdom are relaxed and involve just a little ceremony. Keeping the cards clean and presentable, even if carried in a pocket, but in Japan, business cards are exchanged with great ceremony and they should be kept in pristine condition, given them with only one hand and always received with two hands. Whether you want to present color business cards is another consideration.

Getting cheap international plane tickets save money. Invest that money in quality cards that speak by themselves about your business, and include in them your title, university degree or any other honor, if you have any, because many countries all over the world place emphasis on status and hierarchy. Business card printing should always be done professionally.

With different approaches, business cards, whether for department stores or collection agencies, are considered as a representation of the owner, consciously or unconsciously, so make sure to apply what the proper business etiquette demands in every region where you move.

Stephen Kreutzer

A beach wedding is a romantic’s dream. The sand, water and sunshine make it such a peaceful location for a wedding. With any outdoor wedding there comes many considerations. A beach wedding also brings extra concerns because of the sand and water. The following gives considerations that any couple should make when planning a beach wedding to make sure that everything goes off smoothly.

1. Weather. This is a typical concern for any outdoor wedding. Beaches are windy, open spots, so there are more weather concerns than if the wedding were to be held in a backyard. Winds can get strong and therefore anything that could blow away or tangle up in the wind should be avoided or secured. The sun is also strong at the beach. Guests comfort should be considered. Guests should be made aware so they can bring sunscreen and dress appropriately. Shade should also be provided. Rain is always a possibility, so the couple should rent a tent just in case.

Wedding entertainment has an endearing importance, as the bride and the groom are interested in entertaining the guests to make the day memorable. Music entertainment also means performance either by musicians and singers, solo or in groups. A pianist playing your favorite music while the guests enjoy the delectable food can be very soothing.

2. Special Beach Concerns. Beaches are made of sand. People sitting in chairs sink into the sand. This means a couple should rent a floor for the ceremony. The tide is another consideration. The couple should know when the tide comes in and how far, so they can plan the wedding in an area where they will not be flooded out. Due to the windy, noisy nature of the beach sound is another consideration. The couple should think about having a sound system to broadcast their wedding so guests can hear. If the beach does not have restrooms then the couple will have to rent those as well. Another thing for the couple to think about if using a public beach is that other people may be around. It is important to not stage the wedding in a popular spot. The rules of the beach must also be followed, so the couple should check those out ahead of time.

These two points mention the major things couples often overlook when planning a beach wedding. Of course the size of the guest list may affect some of these considerations. Whether or not the reception will also be at the beach may bring on more things to think about as well. Beach weddings are romantic and they often go smoothly. When couples really plan out the event a beach wedding can make this magical day even better.

Stephen Kreutzer is a freelance publisher based in Cupertino, California. He publishes articles and reports in various ezines and provides wedding tips at Just Wedding Savings!

Gothic and Modern Barcelona

When you decide to visit Spain, Barcelona should be on the top of the list of the cities worth visiting. It’s the most unusual and the least Spanish city in the whole country.

Barcelona is one of the largest cities in Spain and one of the main tourist destinations. It’s also the capital of Catalonia, a province with its own language and big ambitions.

Millions of visitors Barcelona receives every year, are attracted by the original architecture and live attitude.

The conditions for tourist in the whole travel infrastructure are perfect. Barcelona has more than 300 hotels, like Madrid, but the capital of the Spain is twice as big as Barcelona.

When you think of Barcelona architectural attractions Antonio Gaudi buildings are the first things that come to mind. The best known is his unfinished structure – Sagrada Familia (the Holy Family) cathedral. This masterpiece of the architectural thought has became the symbol of the city. Its image adorns the postcards, photos and travel guides devoted to Barcelona.

Barcelona has small Gaudi museum – in Apartment and office block – La Pedrera, – also of his work. His style is unmistakable and is noted for clear, bright colors and the untraditional lines.

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Old city with almost two thousand years history, Barcelona survived its rises and falls. After Roman and later Arabian invasions, in Middle Ages Barcelona became one of the most significant cities of the Mediterranean. If you like to sink into the medieval atmosthere, you can visit the houses of the nobility, which still adorn the centre of Barcelona.

Don’t forget shopping when you come to Barcelona. Its most famous shopping street La Rambla (also called Las Ramblas) has the numerous amount of the prestigious boutiques and the small shops with the works of the local craftsmen.

Barcelona has gained its glory not only by its architecture, but by the people born in the city too. Pablo Picasso, Juan Miro, Jose Carreras, Montserrat Caballe and the above-mentioned Antonio Gaudi – are the greatest Barcelona citizens.

One of the unique attractions in Barcelona is Barcelona Aquarium. It’s the biggest aquarium in Europe with more than 300 species of the sea fauna. 80-meters tunnel goes under the huge oceanarium with sharks and the rare fishes.

Barcelona is also one of the Spanish sport centers. Its stadium “Nou Camp” (or “Camp Nou”) is considered to be one of the best stadiums in the country, and Barcelona clubs (football and basketball) are always among the leaders of the Spanish championships.

Barcelona warm climate makes the city a very popular destination for summer trips and beach holidays. The most of the beaches are situated around the Olympic Village, built in 1992 for the Olympic games. The only problem is that they are often overcrowded.

If you like to book hotel, please visit Barcelona hotels

Cheap International Plane Tickets

The best place to buy cheap international plane tickets is online. We’ve tried travel agencies and they can’t compete with the discount ticket websites. You can search google (“cheap airfare South America”, for example), or go straight to one of the well-known sites, like Expedia, Travelocity, Cheap Tickets, Hotwire or Priceline.

I just did a quick search for the cheapest airfare from Tucson, Arizona, to Buenos Aires, Argentina, using the five sites mentioned. They ranged from $1221 down to $873, and there were fares as high as $3728. Hotwire happened to have the cheapest, but they were the worst of the five when I searched for a domestic flight earlier. You cannot say which service will find the cheapest international plane tickets from week to week. My number one money-saving tip is to always check several websites when shopping for inexpensive flights.

My Accidental $1000 Discovery

Before going to Ecuador, I searched several websites that deal in cheap international plane tickets. The cheapest airfare from Traverse City, Michigan to Quito, was $1720. Out of curiosity, I checked Miami to Quito, and it was only $400. Airfare from Traverse City to Miami was $300. Book two separate flights and save more than $1000! The discount sites aren’t set up to check in this way (yet), so you have to do this on your own.

If your first flight is late and you miss the second, you may not get a refund, but it is still cheaper (every time I checked) to just book a flight to Miami and catch a flight to Quito without a reservation, thus avoiding this problem. This strategy is best for those in towns without international airports. If you live in Miami, you already have cheap international airfare.

Courier Flights

As an air courier, you can get really cheap international plane tickets. Courier companies ship material in the luggage space of an aircraft passenger because it can be quicker, cheaper, and more reliable than sending the shipment unaccompanied, since checked luggage bypasses many of the typical customs delays. The courier company begins by purchasing airfare, and then they resell the plane tickets to you. In exchange for your luggage space, they give you a discount on the airfare.

An Example Of A Courier Flight

I saved over $150 on my plane tickets this way when I went to Ecuador the first time. I had to walk several suitcases of car parts through customs, but there was a representative of the courier company on either end, and I did get to look inside the luggage, so I knew what I was carrying. I had to carry a plane propeller on the return trip, but it wasn’t too much trouble, and made a good story.

Limitations To Courier Travel

You generally can only be an air courier if you travel alone. Once in a while, a courier company will have opportunities for flights on or near the same date. Otherwise, your travel partner can pay full fare on the same flight. You also can usually only bring carry-on luggage, since the point is for the shipping company to use your checked luggage allowance.

Really Cheap Courier Flights

Sometimes air couriers fly internationally for free, and almost always very cheap. It is a matter of how badly the company needs you and how flexible you can be (can you fly to Paris on Friday?). In general air courier opportunities are becoming rarer, due to the recent heavier regulation of international flights. There still are opportunities for cheap tickets, though. You can find out more at The Air Courier Association Website (www.aircourier.org). The ACA can also help you get really cheap plane tickets by way of airline ticket wholesalers, discounters, last minute specials, and stand-by travel.

More Tips On Cheap International Plane Tickets

When searching for fares using the discount websites, try several different departure and return dates if you can. The difference of a day or two can save you a lot. There is little logic to airfare pricing, so don’t try too hard to figure it out. Just be aware that if you leave on Friday instead of Wednesday (or vice-versa), you may save $100.

Check the boxes that say “any time” for departure and “2 or more connecting flights”. Even if you aren’t sure that you want to leave at midnight, see what your options are-the savings might change your mind. Whenever the search criteria allow you choices, take the ones that are the least restrictive for the airlines. Again, if the savings aren’t enough, you can always book first class, direct flights, or whatever you prefer.

Buying your plane tickets at least a week in advance is usually cheaper. Also, there can be a dramatic difference (but not always) if your trip is over thirty days. You may want to cut it from 32 days to 30 to save hundreds of dollars on your fare. Play with the dates on one of the websites mentioned. You never know what you might discover.

Want To Go Really Cheap?

You can take a bus to a major city, if you don’t live in one, and then take an international flight from there to save quite a bit of money. My wife and I recently went to Ecuador for six weeks. The cheapest discount website plane tickets we could find were $3400 for the two of us. By taking a bus to Miami ($352 round-trip for 2), then flying from there to Quito ($622 round-trip for 2), we saved over $2400 – even after the taxi fare from the bus station to the airport. That’s a lot of money to us, certainly worth an extra day-and-a-half on a bus. (The whole six weeks cost less than $2500.)

The bottom line is that if you spend a few minutes or an hour to do some research, you might save hundreds of dollars. Good luck and happy travels.

Steve Gillman first hit the road on his own when he was sixteen, and traveled alone across the United States and Mexico at 17. Now 40, he continues to travel with his wife Ana, who he met in Ecuador. His website, Everything About Travel has many of his travel stories, plus tips and information on travel in the U.S. and other countries. Going on a volcano tour and camping at Walmart are some of the more unique experiences documented.

Travel Connections – Staying In Touch

Travel connections with home are easier than ever. New calling cards, cell-phones, e-mail, satelite phones, and better phone lines everywhere are making it a smaller world. Here are some suggestions on how you can stay in touch – when you want to.

E-Mail: The Travel Connections Champ

Most libraries in the United States now have internet access. When traveling the country, we often stop in small towns to use this free service. We check e-mail and even check our bank accounts. In other countries, finding internet accesss is even easier. When computers are too expensive for most people, there’s demand for cheap internet access. The result is that, in places like Quito, Ecuador, there’s an internet cafe on almost every corner.

Hotmail and Yahoo still offer free e-mail accounts. Sign up now, if you haven’t already. Then, wherever you are in the world, your friends and family have a way to contact you and you have a way to contact them. For some reason, even though the internet largely operates by way of the same phone lines, it’s more reliable than phone service in many countries.

Snail Mail

You’ll may still use the Post Office when you travel. Pre-address and stamp your envelopes if you’ll be writing family, friends, or whoever. Usually, it’s easy to find a mail box, but a hassle to find stamps and envelopes. When you need something sent to you while on a trip (in the U.S.) have it addressed to your name, then “general delivery,” and the city and zip code where you’ll be in a few days. The package should be waiting at the post office when you arrive.

Phone cards are a great help when traveling in the United States. You’ll need an International Calling Cards while traveling aboard.

Phone Cards

Phone cards are a great help when traveling in the United States. The best are not even cards, but accounts that you recharge on the internet. The one we use costs just 2.9 cents per minute to call anywhere in the U.S., with no connection charge. It’s only 15 cents to call my wife’s family in Ecuador (It cost me over $2 per minute just 4 years ago). The only extra charge is 50 cents for pay phone use, which is mandated by law for all cards now.

You use these accounts by funding them on the internet, using any credit card. With most, you can open an account for $20. You get a toll-free number to call, an account number (usually your home phone number), and a 4-digit PIN. To place a call, you dial the toll free number, then enter your account number, PIN, and number you’re calling. Many buttons to push, but then you can call Paris, France for 3 cents per minute. That’s cheap! Recharge your account from anywhere there is internet access, and you’ll never have a phone bill, since you pay in advance.

Other Travel Connections Tips

E-mail a list of important information and numbers to yourself, like the one to call if your credit card is stolen, or the number of the U.S. Embassy where you’re going. E-mail yourself a copy of your passport, and other important documents. When you need these things, they’ll be available in any internet cafe in the world.

Staying in touch is a mixed blessing. I find it less than comforting to have the protection of a cell phone when my brothers and I go into the Canadian wilderness. It means constant calls, and worries that could have been forgotten until the trip was over. My final tip then, is to call friends and family when they’re not home, and leave nice messages on their machines. Then they’ll know you’re okay, and if they need to contact you, they can e-mail you.

Steve Gillman hit the road at sixteen, and traveled the U.S. and Mexico alone at 17. Now 40, he travels with his wife Ana, whom he met in Ecuador. To read their stories, tips and travel information, visit: http://www.EverythingAboutTravel.com