Avoid These Money Mistakes & Save Your Holiday

Even after planning and budgeting your vacation meticulously, simple mistakes can make your holiday’s bill balloon to a shocking total. Protect yourself and your holiday this year. Stop yourself from making the following mistakes before they do a number on your finances.

Relying too much on credit cards

Studies show you’re less likely to fork over cash than you are to swipe plastic. Many psychologists believe it’s because you have to physically hand over bills and coins when using cash, while cards tap into a seemingly never-ending supply of intangible credit. Unfortunately, there is an end to it, and you’ll find it quickly if you’re constantly using your cards to pay for your trip.

Credit makes it especially easy to lose track of the true cost of your vacation if you leave the States. The price at the till will be in the local currency, and you won’t see what you actually paid in USD until you receive your statement. Depending on the exchange rate between the US and your destination, the difference could be astounding. You may also face hefty currency conversion fees, transaction fees, and other surcharges.

Avoid using credit cards by taking out cash whenever possible. Your bank typically offers the best exchange rates, but you may find other affordable options abroad. As for those situations when you can’t avoid using them, make sure you pack the card with the fewest charges.

Forgetting about your responsibilities

The world doesn’t stop just because you’re busy working on your tan at the beach — though it’s easy to believe it has when you’re staying at one of these oceanside resorts. No matter how relaxed you get on your trip, don’t forget you still have responsibilities back at home. Bills and other payments are due on time regardless of where you are in the world.

You can avoid missing important due dates by setting up automatic payments through your bank. It’s easy to set up a schedule of pre-authorized payments for utilities, credit cards, and even rent, so you’re never at risk of forgetting a bill again.

Not thinking about backup

Automatic payments certainly make life easier, but they also make it easier to overdraw on your accounts. That’s because these payments come at a time when you’re spending more than you normally would, and you might use the cash you’ve devoted to an automated payment on a souvenir for a loved one back home. If you aren’t quick to catch your mistake, the payment will attempt to go through. Without enough funds in the account, you’ll be stuck paying late fines and/or overdraft fees.

You can easily avoid this issue when you think about supporting your finances carefully with a budget and online loans. A budget can help you strengthen your finances by tracking and eliminating unnecessary expenses. This helps pad out your savings, so your finances can handle both bills and fun shopping on a holiday.

If your budget is already tight, you might not have unnecessary expenses to eliminate — in which case you can find loans online that help you cover emergencies simply and quickly. Online lenders like MoneyKey offer installment loans that work faster than traditional assistance. These products also have more forgivable repayment terms than the typical small-dollar loan. To see what those terms may look like, review the available quick online installment loans and compare them to other cash flow solutions. It’s important you find an installment loan that fits your financial capabilities, so you can bounce back from your mistakes faster.

Though many travel guides will remind you of the importance of planning and budgeting your trip, these aren’t the only ways you can keep your costs low. Simple mistakes can be your biggest financial foes when it comes to your vacation. Eliminate the ones mentioned above, and you’ll keep your holiday on financial track.

To Rent Or To Buy: How To Know If You Should Rent Or Buy A Vacation Home In Florida

Happy family on summer vacation. Travel and adventure concept

Are you ready for a second home? Find out whether it makes more sense to rent or buy a vacation home in Florida.

Beach houses are a great way to bring everyone closer together for a weekend of family fun and when you rent or buy a vacation home in Florida, you can enjoy your time even more.

With some of the best beaches in the country and a ton of activities to do, Florida is a great place to visit or move.

If you’re considering buying or renting a house in this area, then read on to learn what you need to think about before signing on the dotted line.

Things to Consider Before You Buy

When you buy a vacation home in Florida, it can feel like a dream come true. But if you haven’t given it enough thought, then you could get yourself into trouble. Consider the following before making a purchase.

Can You Afford It?

No matter how you look at it, a second home is a huge financial commitment. You will most likely be handling two simultaneous mortgages as well as taking on the cost of buying furnishings for your new properties.

When you tack on the cost of maintenance, taxes, and utilities, you can be left with little money for anything else after paying your bills.

In addition, many of the vacation homes you can buy in Florida are situated in flood and wind zones that account for incredibly high insurance prices.

These costs can be found out by asking your real estate agent for an estimate from previous years when you tour a home.

How Often Will the Property Be Used?

For it to be worth a purchase, other than for investment income, you should plan to spend at least two months at your property every year.

When you buy a vacation home in Florida, you may not always be able to get to it often. The commute from your primary residence or work may be too far to make it a practical place to visit frequently.

This is important because when you do arrive, you will have to spend some time cleaning and performing maintenance on the property. This takes valuable time away from your vacation.

To be sure you will use your property, many professionals recommend renting a beach house for a year in their destination city. This allows them to take stock of the costs and accessibility without making a permanent commitment.

Will You Rent It Out?

Many people who know that they won’t be using their beach house all the time choose to rent out their property while they aren’t there. Having rental income can help to take care of some of the costs of upkeep and pay your mortgage during the off-season months.

But if you rely too much on off-setting your costs with rental income, you may put yourself in a bad situation.

If you home sits empty for too many months or is damaged and cannot be rented for a period of time, then you could be struggling to find the funds to pay your mortgage.

Do You Have a Long-Term Plan?

Many people who buy a vacation home in Florida are entering their retirement years. If this is your situation then you need to consider how comfortable you will be at your new home in your old age.

You will need a property that has convenient access to health care and a master bedroom that is on the first floor to ensure you can get around easily.

What Are the Rules?

Not every community will allow you to rent out vacation homes as a rental property. Some associations have rules about rentals that require you to have renters stay for a set number of months.

Make sure you look into both the city and home owner’s or condo association rules to be sure your plans will be approved before you make a purchase.

What Are All the Costs?

Beyond your home itself, you may have to pay for lawn-care or pool-care as well as services like cable and internet.

In addition, you may want to purchase things for water sports like kayaks, paddle boards, canoes, or a jet ski.

Do You Have an Emergency Plan?

When you buy a vacation home in Florida, you will always be at the mercy of hurricanes and other natural disasters. It’s important that even if you aren’t at your home when a storm rolls through, it’s still protected from wind and water damage.

Make sure that you talk to some neighbors and other people around the area the home is in to see if there is a someone who can secure your home in the event of a storm.

The last thing you want is to be watching the storm on the news from home and wondering what state of disaster your beach house is in.

How Will You Protect Your Home When It’s Empty?

If you have a vacation home that you aren’t in all of the time, then you need to make sure it is protected when you are out of town.

Consider installing lights that are on timers and asking a neighbor to occasionally park in your driveway. This will make it look like the home isn’t sitting vacant.

You should also have someone come by to get your mail and pick up any fliers that might be on your doorstep.

Buy a Vacation House in Florida

Florida is a great place to invest your money and bring your family for wonderful experiences. Its beautiful beaches and world-class amusement parks make it the ultimate place to buy a vacation home.

Make sure that you consider how often you will be using the home and whether you will be renting it out before you decide to buy a vacation home in Florida. There are different rules and regulations in place that can affect your long-term plan.

You should also consider all the costs of your purchase before you go through with it. You don’t want to be surprised by a bill down the line or not have enough to buy toys to enjoy at your new property.

If you are an adventurer and long to vacation in the best parts of the globe, then check out more of our articles.

5 Steps to Having the Best Holi Experience

So, you finally decided to give Holi a chance. This vibrant festival which has been getting loads of global attention should be on your top lists of festivals to visit. Not only does it show the culture of India, but it is also one of the only rituals where anybody can participate, regardless of where they are from.

A trip to India on Holi is not an easy task. You always need to keep your eyes open for things that might be culturally insensitive. Or about the dresses you should wear on Holi. Also, Holi has a vibrant culture of drugs surrounding it which is something to keep in mind.

So, here’s five ways you can step up your Holi experience.

  1. Book your hotels in advance.

The best vacation planner makes a world of difference on Holi times. Remember, the places you visit during Holi, be it Varanasi, Vrindavan or any other place, are all popular with locals.  Book your holidays in advance if you want a place to stay.

Pro-tip? Always keep in mind where you have to travel from the hotel in India. Be smart, walk for the most parts. In ancient places like India, you’re likely to find something beautiful at every corner.

  1. Leave the DSLR at home

Unless you are at a specific place where watercolors are banned, Holi is a nightmare for electric appliances. Keep your phone close, but, your camera needs to sit at home when you indulge in colors.

Don’t worry; these colors don’t fade in a day or two, so you will still get the chance to take as many selfies as you want.

  1. Don’t drink bhang

Bhang, a part of the ritual of Holi, is a controlled substance. So, unless you have specific experience with it, avoid the drink at all costs. In replacement, you can get as many Holi sweets as you want.

A kind reminder that bhang is also not legal in most of India, so, if you get caught in possession, you might face significant jail time.

  1. Leave the water to the pros

Gulaal or powdered color was how the traditional Holi was played. The colors that most parties in India use are usually filled with heavy metals and can be toxic when ingested in large quantities. It is probably on the safe side to stick with dry colors.

Also, now, most of the people in India are switching to herbal colors in the public spaces, ask about them if you are unsure about what to buy.

  1. Be respectful

Holi is religious, so, if you don’t understand a particular part of the ritual, or feel uncomfortable, don’t fight it. Walking back to a hotel is a better idea.

Have some friends as a back-up if you just want to ask questions. They will also help you find the best Holi parties in town where you can just let your hair down.

So, that is it. Get yourself ready for the most colorful vacation you will ever have. Maybe, you will find something has changed within, who knows?

4 Places to Consider for Your Next U.S. Vacation

The summer months always bring an increase of planned vacations. The United States has many beautiful destinations that are perfect for planning an upcoming summer vacation.

Anaheim, California

Image via Flickr by Orange County Archives

Many tourists flock to the warm sunshine and abundance of entertainment attractions in southern California. Anaheim has something for every type of traveler. Its most famous attraction is Disneyland, but you could easily split your time between Downtown Disney and the nearby big city of Los Angeles. You can also visit Knott’s Berry Farm, an old-fashioned amusement park in the city.

The Anaheim area is home to many wonderful art exhibits and is just a short distance from the Pacific Ocean. Spend the day swimming in the warm ocean water or explore the entertainment of downtown Anaheim. The wavy ocean waters are perfect for learning to surf. Make sure you check out accommodations that put you central to everything Anaheim has to offer.

Poconos, Pennsylvania

The Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania are an exceptional outdoor vacation destination. You can ski in winter along the snow covered mountaintops at the Camelback Mountain Resort. You can also spend an afternoon hiking and exploring nature and the local wildlife at the Hickory Run State Park.

Be sure to bring along your camera for the breathtaking views of Bushkill Falls and Dingmans Falls. Choosing the right hotel accommodations in the Poconos is important to ensure you are in an ideal location for your favorite outdoor activities.

Jekyll Island, Georgia

Jekyll Island is just off the coast of Georgia and is surrounded by water entertainment and beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean. It is a great family-friendly vacation destination with plenty of family-oriented activities. The Georgia Sea Turtle Center has an on-site turtle hospital that rescues local turtles and offers daily educational tours.

Summer Waves is a refreshing water park with seven exciting water attractions. You can also spend a relaxing day splashing in the water at Driftwood Beach. The beach gets its name from the abundance of large overgrown trees, giving it a unique look. Click here for many family-friendly hotel accommodations on the island that are sure to meet your family’s lodging needs.

Raleigh, North Carolina

Image via Flickr by NCDOTcommunications

Raleigh is a traditional Southern city that is full of charm and history. Whether you are looking for fine dining cuisine, historical attractions, or family-friendly parks, Raleigh has it all. Just a few of the museum attractions worth visiting include the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, the North Carolina Museum of Art, and the Historic Yates Mill County Park.

You can also enjoy the warm Southern weather while strolling among the historic downtown cities. Many of the traditional architecture remains today, and the Executive Mansion and Historic Oakwood are places worth visiting. Book a hotel room in the downtown area of Raleigh to have all of the best entertainment attractions within walking distance.

You do not have to leave the country to have a memorable and entertaining vacation. Any of these U.S. destinations is the perfect place to head for your next vacation.

8 Best Hot Springs in the World You Have to Visit

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Hot springs are one of the best ways to find relaxation and solitude while on vacation. But, what are the best hot springs to visit? Click here to find out.

Have you started your Bucket List yet?

If so, what kind of adventures and amazing destinations is it filled with? The Earth is packed with natural wonders just waiting for you to discover and explore. Among these wonders are natural hot springs. People have been enjoying the relaxation and healing benefits for thousands of years.

Hot springs are formed by the discharging of geothermal hot water at a specific geologic location. On average, these healing mineral-rich waters stay around 104 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year.

8 Best Hot Springs in the World You Have to Visit

Hot springs are one of the best ways to find relaxation and solitude while on vacation. But, what are the best hot springs to visit? Read on to find out.

1. Banff Upper Hot Springs, Alberta, Canada

Few places on Earth are as beautiful as Banff, Alberta, Canada. Seasons dictate popular activities in Banff, from skiing in winter, to biking, fishing, and rock climbing in summer. But Banff’s Upper Hot Springs can be enjoyed year-round.

Located 5,200 feet above sea level, these hot springs were originally considered a sacred healing site. The water is mineral-rich in calcium, magnesium, sulfate, sodium, and bicarbonate, making this the ultimate destination for soothing tired muscles and healing damaged skin.

2. Deception Island, Antarctica

Deception Island Hot Springs is located where an active submarine volcano formed a caldera in the middle of the South Shetland Islands. The temperature of the waters of these springs vary from ice cold to 158 degrees Fahrenheit.

Because the island’s heat is hidden beneath the surface, visitors will often dig into the black sand beaches to feel the geothermal heart after taking a plunge into the freezing water of the sea.

3. Travertine

Travertine Hot Springs is tucked into the foothills of the Sierra in Bridgeport, California, a two-hour drive from Yosemite Valley. Travertine offers only a few shallow pools, heated to 104 degrees at their hottest point, but are lined with mineral-rich clay and filled by ground-fed spring water that trickles down a rocky vein of colorful stone and algae.

These springs are swimmable and easily accessed from Highway 395, so be prepared to enjoy conversation with a Spa Mate.

4. Terme di Saturnia

These geothermal springs are located in North-Central Italy. According to legend passed down by the Romans and Etruscans, the Terme di Saturnia were created by lightning bolts thrown by the Roman God Jupiter, during a violent quarrel with Saturn. The lightning bolts missed Saturn, causing the formations.

These hot springs were once popular among Roman nobles long ago. Set in the Tuscan countryside, it features two waterfalls and pools of 98 degree water rich in sulfur, carbon, sulfate, and bicarbonate-alkaline. The main thermal waterfalls are the Mills Falls, located at an old mill, as well as the Waterfalls of Gorello.

The mineral-rich spring water of Terme di Saturnia offers plenty of relaxation, reduces various skin problems, and acts as a deep antiseptic cleaning agent.

5. Dunton

Next on our list of the best hot springs, is Dunton Hot Springs in Dolores, Colorado, located in the San Juan Mountains near Telluride. They offer waters rich in calcium-bicarbonate, iron, manganese, and lithium, at temperatures ranging from 85 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit.

The six pools of Dunton Hot Springs are part of a restored ghost town built in the 1800’s. To get there, you must fly into Durango and then drive. The hot springs has been totally revamped in recent years and now boasts the #7 Luxury Hotel in the U.S.

6. Grand Prismatic

The Grand Prismatic Spring located in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming is one of Yellowstone’s best hot spring and the world’s third largest. It’s bigger than a football field, at 370 feet in diameter. The thermal water ranges between 63.3 and 86.5 Celsius.

This hot spring has bright bands of color. These multicolored layers get their hues fr8om different species of heat-loving bacteria that live in the cooler water around the spring. The center of the pool is deep blue because water scatters the blue wavelengths of light more than others, reflecting blues back to our eyes.

7. Blue Lagoon, Iceland

This is another of the world’s best hot springs. This thermal spa in Grindavik is the most popular in Iceland. It is actually a man-made lagoon, built in 1976 for filling water from the geothermal power plant that supplies hot water and electricity to 45,000 Icelanders.

Visit this Icelandic hot spring feels like you’ve traveled far from Earth and arrived on a distant planet. The mix of seawater and fresh water is packed with a natural exfoliate called silica, and microorganisms around in the water stimulate collagen production.

The Blue Lagoon features a swim-up bar and restaurant, and the 98 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit water is so good for your skin that the lagoon boasts its own line of popular skincare products.

8. Pamukkale, Denizli, Turkey

Pamukkale is a group of hot springs located in Denizli province of Turkey, located below the ruins of Hieropolis. Pamukkale translates to “cotton castle” in Turkish. Known as the Sacred Pool, this divine dip lives up to its name. The eye candy here is a panorama of gleaming white terraced layers of calcium carbonate.

Formed over many centuries from at least a dozen mineral-rich hot springs spilling across the steep slope, the pools feature silvery stalactites that look like something out of a dream.

This natural wonder is our number one pick for the best hot springs to add to their bucket list of places to visit.

Where To Start

Once you’ve begun researching the natural hot springs of the world, the hardest decision will likely be where to go first.

One strategy is to start with the hot spring destination nearest to your home and work your way out. Or take the opposite approach by going big right out of the gate. Ultimately, there is no wrong answer. We have all been blessed with an amazing planet rich with natural wonders.

The natural hot springs of the world offer a healthy and rejuvenating experience. Start enjoying them now, and over the course of a lifetime you just might be fortunate to visit the all. Lucky you!

Contact us and feel free to leave a question or comment.

7 Questions to Answer When Choosing a Family Vacation

Are you in the process of selecting a family vacation destination? Are you finding it difficult to make a final decision? Are you looking for answers in hope that it will provide you and your family with a trip that you will remember for the rest of your life?

Before you can pack for your trip, you need to get a few important details in place. It all starts with choosing a destination.

Using Expedia will make your life a bit easier, as you can compare the best family vacations online, which gives you confidence in every step you take.

If you’re on the fence and need a push in the right direction, there are a few questions you can answer. By addressing these, you’ll find it much easier to select a family vacation destination that makes sense for every member of your traveling party.

  1. What fits your budget?

It would be nice if you could afford any and every destination, but you know that this may not be the case.

For example, you may have your eyes set on the Kimpton Epic Hotel in Miami, just to find that it’s a bit out of your price range.

Here’s the good thing: with so many destinations to choose from, you should be able to find one that suits your budget. Once you have a number in mind, you can then begin your search.

  1. What works in regards to timing?

While some families have the ability to take a vacation at pretty much any time of the year, this doesn’t hold true for everyone.

Maybe you can only travel during the summer months. Or maybe you find that it’s easiest to take a trip during the holiday season.

You need to know what will work for your family in regards to timing, as this will help you answer a variety of other questions. For instance, taking a trip during the off-peak season will save you money.

  1. Where does your family want to go?

It goes without saying that you want to treat your family to a vacation they will always remember. For this reason, you need to answer this question a soon as possible.

If you’ve got an aspiring movie maker in the family, a trip to Iceland could be an inspiring trip for a young video editor.  Check out this blog from Square Ship to see why. On the other hand, a young artist may benefit from a trip to Italy’s art museums.

Once you know where your family wants to go, you can then begin your search for the perfect destination. You may find that your family wants to hit a local beach. Or you may find that they would rather to skiing in the mountains.

It’s not always easy to get to the bottom of this question, but once you do you’re in better position to move forward with booking your trip.

  1. What types of activities does your family like?

This goes along with the question above. Does your family like to swim in the ocean? Do they like to ski? Do they enjoy sightseeing?

Don’t be shy about asking your family for feedback on what they want to do on their trip. This will go a long way in putting you in a better place as you research a variety of destinations.

  1. Are you seeking a certain type of weather?

This doesn’t matter to everyone, but some people consider it a “deal breaker.”

Don’t be surprised if you hear from your spouse that they only want to vacation in a warm weather destination. Or don’t be surprised if your child tells you that they want to visit an area where they can play in the snow.

  1. How will you find a hotel with the right amenities and enough space?

Regardless of where you’re visiting, you should be able to find a handful of hotels that suit your needs.

You should begin your search with a list of amenities that you absolutely need. Along with this, make sure you can find a hotel room or suite with enough space for your entire family.

  1. Will you fly or drive to your location?

This is a matter of preference, but time and location may have an impact on your answer.

If you’re vacationing nearby, you may want to drive. This can save you time and money.

Conversely, if you’re vacationing in a destination thousands of miles away, you’ll want to think long and hard about booking airline tickets.

Final Thoughts

These are just a few of the many questions you should answer when selecting a family vacation destination. There are other things to think about along the way, but these questions (and your answers) will put you in position to make a confident decision.

What steps do you take when booking a family vacation? Is there anything you try to avoid along the way? Is there anything that has allowed you to make the right choice in the past? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Should You Stay In A Hostel or Hotel When Traveling?

When you’re planning a trip, whether domestic or abroad, there are plenty of things to consider. One of the big decisions you’ll have to make is where you’ll stay, and there are quite a few options available to the modern traveler, but which is right for you?

Should you stay in a hostel or a hotel on your next trip? It’s a big question, and people have to weight the pros and cons of each before making a decision.

The following are some of the key things to consider are you’re deciding.

Cost

For a lot of travelers, the decision between hostel or hotel comes down to something incredibly simple: the cost.

A hostel is almost always going to be cheaper than a hotel, but you’re also going to have a sacrifice luxuries for this lower price.

Of course, if you want to save money there are still ways to make it happen, such as browsing Yatra hotel booking deals or signing up for email lists that will alert you when hotels have special pricing events.

Do Your Research

When you’re planning a trip, you’re going to find that there are lots of great hostels and hotels, but finding the right one boils down to doing your research. You want to read as many reviews as you can, and you might luck up and find a hostel that offers many amenities of a hotel at a fraction of the price.

Just because you go the hostel route versus a hotel doesn’t mean you have to give up all luxuries on your trip.

If you find a hostel and the price is right but you read reviews, and it seems like it’s far away from where you’ll be spending time at your destination or it’s dangerous, it’s probably not going to be worth the cost savings. You might be better off spending a little more and going with a hotel.

Speaking of security, while hostels can offer unique experiences, hotels are almost always going to be safer. Hotels have security and key cards as well as other protections in place to keep visitors safe, so bear that in mind.

Privacy or Socializing?

Every traveler has a different idea of what they’d like their trip to be like. If you value privacy and quiet time to relax when you’re done sightseeing for the day, you’re probably going to want to skip the hostel.

On the other hand, some people might prefer a hostel to a hotel, not because of the cost, but because it gives them a built-in opportunity to socialize with other travelers, meet friends, and just be around people.

Some people like this and some hate it, so it’s a personal preference. At a hostel, you might even be able to share a nightly meal with the other travelers.

If you’re traveling alone and want to meet people while you’re away a hostel can provide that, where a hotel probably isn’t going to.

Finally, think about additional costs that could come up depending on whether you stay at a hostel or hotel. For example, if you find an inexpensive hotel but it’s far from the city center, are you going to be spending extra money on transportation? If so, the cost of the hostel and hotel might ultimately balance out.

Don’t Overdo It: How to Properly Relax on Vacation

Are you one of those people who turn up at work on the first day after a vacation, saying “I’m exhausted; I need a vacation?” It may indicate that you have enjoyed your break, but has the vacation achieved its other purpose—to restore your energy? Perhaps you need to take a different approach to vacations, to enjoy them while relaxing more.

A Change Is as Good as a Rest

Relaxing on a vacation is not the same as doing nothing. You can keep quite active, but doing different things from your normal daily routine. So you can relax while hiking, playing tennis, swimming, or learning bridge. Engaging new parts of your brain helps the parts which usually work hard to ease off. Engaging your body more than usual stimulates the endorphins which make life feel worth living.

Drown Out Those Accusing Voices

Much of our working life is driven by a culture of both guilt and shame—guilt that we are not performing as well as we should, and shame that other people might notice. As a result, we tend to schedule every moment to prove our value.

Get away from that attitude on your vacations. The culture in which we live prizes activity and achievements and that often means we feel we must return from vacation with a good account of how we used the time. Wrong! You are not there to please anyone but yourself and the family or friends you are with.

Balance Things Out

A vacation is a time to get some balance back into life. Often that means following our instincts. Eat when you feel like it; sleep when you feel like it; run when you feel like it; dream when you feel like it.

If you love exploring a big city, do it on foot. Boston, for instance, is a wonderful place to walk around, and the walking pace is very good for you. But there is a lot to see, so have a comfortable hotel to retreat to when you have walked enough, the Boston Marriott Cambridge is well-placed and very relaxing.

If your vacation is more physically relaxing, then choose a hotel with a pool or a fitness center and treat yourself to a daily workout.

Work on Relationships

We are creatures whose welfare largely depends on our relationships. Observations of other primates indicate that a vital part of their relationship structure is what happens when they are chilling out. If you are away with family or friends, spend idle time with them and absorb other people’s ways of relaxing. If you are responsible for a family, understand that the kids need to relax in their own way, which seems pretty active to an adult.

Making the Most

“Vacation” comes from a word that means “emptying.” Getting the best out a vacation is not always a matter of squeezing in as much activity as possible. It is also about making space to refresh body, mind, and soul for the routine life that we must return to.

The Value of the Tourist Experience

Just itching to get out and see the world, experience things you never have before, visit places you’ll likely never see again and learn new (and sometimes unusual) things about other cultures? Then now maybe the perfect time you became a tourist again.

But beyond being a mere form of entertainment, what else does “the tourist experience” offer? Why do 10 million people visit the Great Wall of China each year, why do 4 million people tour the Statue of Liberty annually, and why do half a million people trek their way through Redwood National Park?

The answers are as diverse as the places visited and the people spending their time, money, and energy on. But here are 5 key benefits of being a tourist that keep the travel industry alive and well year after year:

1. A Change of Pace and Scenery

Too many of us get ourselves into a rut. We go through much the same motions, day after day, week after week, all year long. Consider that no matter where you go as a tourist, someone is living there as “a local.” They may see every day what you’ve traveled hundreds of thousands of miles to see.

Breaking up the monotony of life, having a unique experience you’ve never had before, and finding plenty of memorable and photo-worthy moments, is part of what it’s all about.

2. Today, It’s Convenient and Affordable

Tourism is more “doable” to the average American today than it ever has been in the past. Anyone can quickly buy tour tickets at GoNYTours.com, for example, and be set up for a very affordable but very exciting and thorough New York City double decker bus tour.

In fact, you can plan and pay for nearly your entire trip (minus, perhaps, some restaurant and souvenir shop stops) from the comfort of your own computer chair. Additionally, if you can’t quite afford an international trip at the moment or are just a bit leery about leaving “the good ol’ USA,” there are endless worthwhile tourist opportunities right here at home.

3. Free From Usual Responsibilities

As a tourist, you are freer than at almost any other time during your life. While a certain over-your-shoulder or via-smartphone management of home matters is necessary, the fact is, you are largely freed up from your usual responsibilities. That alone can make tourism exhilarating. It also means you have more time to “take in all in,” contemplate the “meaning of life,” and mull over past treasured memories even as you are making new ones.

4. Family Time

Family vacation is a veritable American icon, a tradition so deeply ingrained in the national psyche that to remove it would be like ripping out our very heart and soul. OK, perhaps, there may be a bit of exaggeration there, but you catch my meaning. Time together with your same loved family but in a totally new environment is the ideal chance for family bonding time that leaves a lasting, positive impression.

5. Romantic Getaways

Finally, we mention one other prime reason for becoming a tourist: romance. There is no denying that tourism itself is “romantic” in a way, and thus, it’s no surprise that romantic partners love to spend time with the one they love as tourists exploring the sights, culture, cuisine, and historical landmarks of places they’ve never been before.

If honeymoon and anniversary getaways are any clue, it’s obvious that being a tourist is 100% compatible with being in love.

Michael Briese – Vacationing the Right Way; on a Budget

Next year’s vacation time will be here before you know it and it is time for you to plan now because your tight budget demands it.

Well imagine if you could have a phenomenal vacation next year and not do a bank heist to get it done. Before we start however you should make sure you at least some bank, so find yourself a stock broker like New York based, Michael Breise and ask him to help you invest some money now to pay for that 2018 vacation.

Then listen to these tips on how to stretch your vacation dollars so you have a top-notch vacation and never get broke and busted.

Make a Firm Travel Budget

Your first step is to create a realistic travel budget for yourself. Include the cost of travel including in country or city travel, accommodations, meals, visas, entertainment, mementos you might want to purchase, and leave yourself a contingency budget of 5% just in case.

When you make your budget you can decide how you can get to spend your vacation where you want. You simply have to get it done within this budget. So use this strict amount to begin planning for your trip.

Be Smart About Traveling

Go out of Season – The difference in prices for airfare, hotels, and attractions in and out of season can be as much as 75% of the price. So picking when you go somewhere is a great way to get a high quality vacation at a fraction of the normal cost. During off-season, the goal of many vacation focused businesses is to create any revenue possible. So have a look at the places you would like to go and begin comparing prices of travel and accommodations at those places. Pick the times of year when prices are lowest.

If you can only go on your vacation during in season times, book your travel and accommodations long in advance of your trip. A booking 3 months in advance can save more than 60% off airfare and a comparable amount off hotels. This is the same case with places like AirBnB where most landlords place a premium on having their rooms occupied rather than getting the top rate. Make a lower offer and agree to pay long in advance and see if anyone bites. You might be surprised.

Go to less travelled places – People usually only know of one or two places in a state or country when many times the less known places provide a better vacation without the crowds or the price. In Australia, most people know about Sidney and Melbourne but fewer visit Perth or Brisbane even though they are just as beautiful and cheaper. Similarly with Canada where Vancouver and Toronto are the top destinations. Fewer consider Calgary, where the skiing and hiking is some of the best in Canada. If you travel to New York look at other places besides New York City. By going to these less traveled places, you can have unexpected adventures, get more personal attention and a much bigger back for your travel buck.

By planning and being smart about how and when you travel you can save enough money for a Rolex, and tell your Facebook friends about your wonderful vacation.