Tips For Baby Passport Photos

Getting your baby’s first passport is a pretty exciting moment and it is something which you will no doubt want to keep long into the future. What many parents struggle to deal with however is getting the passport photo right. The reason why this is challenging is because there are a strict set of rules which must be complied with, and babies do enjoy wriggling around.

It is always best to use a professional service here and if you type ‘passport photos near me’ into the search engine you’ll find many options. If you cannot find a good option then the Post Office also runs this service. When selecting a company to use, you’ll find that some specialise in infants and babies, so be sure to go with them. When having the photo taken, here are some tips on keeping your baby in place, and the rules which must be met.

Passport Photo Rules

  • High quality digital or film camera must be used
  • Camera to subject distance no less than 1.2 metres
  • Even lighting with no shadow on face
  • White or grey background
  • No red eye
  • Print size is 35mm wide and 45mm high
  • High quality, glossy prints, minimum of 200 gsm
  • No editing at all on the photo

Now here are the rules regarding the position of the subject:

  • Eyes must be open and clearly visible
  • Neutral expression on face, no smiling or grimacing
  • Subject should be in the centre of the shot
  • No hair or head covering
  • It is possible to send a photo of your infant with an open mouth, this is accepted

Tips on Getting The Right Photo

As you can see from some of the rules above, getting your baby to stay in place and adhere to the rules is not always easy. What you should certainly anticipate here is taking a large number of passport pictures of your baby, because it only takes one wrong movement for the image not to meet requirements.

In terms of your baby’s eyes being open and visible, this can be achieved through the use of a toy behind the camera, which will attract their gaze. Bear in mind that this won’t work every time, so bring a number of items to hold up.

You will need a friend or your partner to help out here, so that one can hold the toy and the other can hold the baby. Kneeling down behind your baby is the best way to keep them in place, just make sure that you don’t create a shadow and that you are out of shot.

In terms of having your baby maintain a relatively straight face, the best way is to show them something that fascinates or confuses them. Failing this you will simply have to take multiple shots.

Once you have your shots, arrange for passport photo delivery and then it will be simply a waiting game to see if your baby’s photos have been accepted. However, by following these tips you will have a much greater chance of getting the right passport shot.

Incredible Places you Must Witness when in Colorado

If you are trying to find a fun family destination that will not break your budget, inspect Colorado. There is a wide variety of activities; from museums to beautiful views of nature. Surprisingly, there are many free activities. Even those with a fee are usually affordable. Here is the Colorado Travel Guide you must read before traveling to Colorado.

PIKES PEAK

Pikes Peak rises 14,100 feet above water level. The view from the highest is amazing though be ready for quite a temperature difference (dress appropriately!). Drive to the summit of Pikes Peak on Pikes Peak Highway. The other options to reach the summit is via hiking the Barr Trail and the Pikes Peak Cog railway.

ROCK LEDGE RANCH

This pioneer homestead is a living history museum. As you travel through the three distinct areas you will learn about the homestead and the pioneer life from costumed staff who set about their day as the pioneers would have. This is one of the best things to do in Colorado and is a fun activity to learn about the history in a natural setting.

SEVEN FALLS- 2850 S. Cheyenne Canyon Rd, Colorado

For a tremendous view of the waterfall take the 224 steps staircase to the top of the waterfalls. You may find the stairway to be scary and it can be overwhelming for kids. But there’s also a mountain elevator that leads to the Eagle’s Nest overlook which offers spectacular views of the Seven Falls. The falls are lit in the dark (at certain times of the year) and look amazing. Be warned the sole restrooms are on the far side of the parking zone so make certain to use them before making the walk to the falls.

UNITED STATES OLYMPIC COMPLEX- 1750 E. Boulder Street, Colorado

Learn all about the training complex that hosts many of America’s finest Olympic level athletes. See training facilities and listen to stories about several famous names who have trained here. The garden area has fun displays to keep the youngsters interested. The tour moves along fairly quickly therefore the kids didn’t get bored thereon.

SOLO’S RESTAURANT- 1664 N. Newport Rd, Colorado

Though this is often a restaurant, it is appropriate to incorporate with tourist attractions way to its quirkiness. This aviation-themed restaurant includes seating for 42 passengers inside an intact Boeing KC-97 tanker! Great aviation memorabilia on the walls. the youngsters will love visiting the cockpit! there’s an in-depth children’s menu.

Estes Park

Estes Park is found 64 miles North-west of Denver and sits at the door of the Rocky Mountain park. Rocky Mountain Park is 7522 ft. above water level with peaks ranging from 8500 fit to 14000 ft. It’s filled with deep canyons, grassy meadows, rivers, wildlife, and breathtaking views.

Estes Park is filled with life and bubbling with fun. There you will find all kinds of speciality stores and unique restaurants (ever try Rock Mountain Oysters?) to not mention all the candy & sweets! within the speciality stores, you will find all kinds of antiques & collectibles, leathers & furs, and Native American Arts plus more speciality items. it’s not uncommon to ascertain a herd of Elk hanging out not far away from all the fun. Things to try to do in Estes Park are hiking, climbing, fishing, golfing, sightseeing, wildlife watching, horseback riding, museums, and rafting. There’s also a winery with a gathering.

Great Scenic Places to Visit in Colorado

Colorado offers amazing activities, many lodging choices, and friendly faces. You will leave the city filled with fun memories, without draining your bank account! Another great scenic place to go to in Colorado is the Royal Gorge. There you will find one of the best things to do in Colorado – Royal Gorge Bridge which is claimed to be one of the world’s tallest suspension bridges. Standing at the highest of the bridge and searching down 1000 ft. to the river below may be a breath-taking spectacular view. They even have a “Royal Gorge Route Railroad” where you will take a train and sit back and luxuriate in the magnificent view.

Authors Bio – Shreyashi is a software engineer in the US. Along with her work schedule, she has managed to travel all the 50 States of the country and wants to pen down her experiences, journeys, and joys through her write-ups and share them with the world in her blog – Travel the Food for the Soul. You can find more details on https://www.travelthefoodforthesoul.com/about-me/

How to Redeem DVC One Time Use Points for Your Disney Vacation

Did you have a Disney vacation planned before the pandemic hit the globe? Do you want to know if you can still redeem your DVC one-time use points? If you are looking to learn more about using and redeeming DVC points, read on.

Without a doubt, Disney is the largest theme park brand all over the globe. The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida is the most visited theme park in the world. In 2018, 20.8 million visitors came to see the beloved Disney characters and attractions.

Because of its popularity, accommodations can be hard to find. Thus, Disney created a system to help visitors find places to stay. This system uses DVC one time use points, which we will discuss further below.

1. What Are DVC One Time Use Points?

Disney Vacation Club (DVC) points are exclusive to members of the Disney Vacation Club. The DVC provides a way for members to stay in a deluxe-level Disney resort. DVC members buy limited timeshare points that they can use for stays at DVC resorts.

Members can also bank, borrow, and transfer these points from another contract. If you can’t do any of those, you have the option to use DVC one time use points. DVC one-time use points are 24 extra purchasable vacation points for each Use Year.

Are DVC Points One-Time Use?

As its name goes, yes, each one-time-use DVC vacation point is only usable once per Use Year. If you need more vacation points to get your dream vacation, you can buy up to 24 points. Some members can buy more than 24 points, which we will explain later on.

2. How DVC One-Time Use Points Work

Once you buy these one-time-use Vacation points, you can use them to get DVC accommodations. You have a 7-month booking window. A member can also use them for Disney Collection and World Collection reservations.

However, you must make sure that the booking window for the trip is open. For example, Disney Cruise Line reservations aren’t open yet. You can’t use your one-time-use DVC vacation points to book a ticket until it opens for reservations.

There are other limitations to these one-time-use vacation points. You can’t use them for Home Resort Priority. You also cannot buy them for Concierge Collection reservations. When you buy DVC one-time use points, make sure you check a few things.

First, you need to make sure that you buy vacation points at the time you make the reservation for them. Also, remember that you can’t cancel or refund the one-time-use vacation points. You also can’t bank, transfer, or borrow them.

If your trip can’t continue or you need to cancel, your one-time-use DVC points will expire. To learn when it will expire, check the end of your Use Year. Also, note that rates for DVC one-time-use vacation points are subject to change.

3. Who Can Buy DVC One-Time-Use Points?

Every DVC member can buy up to 24 one-time-use DVC points per Use Year. You don’t need to sign up or do anything else to get this benefit. Whether you bought DVC points from Disney or got it from a resale, you can buy one-time-use vacation points.

Some members can buy more than 24 points per year. This is available to members that have more than one contract with different Use Years. People who have several Use Years get different membership numbers for each Use Year.

Are you considering purchasing DVC points for your dream Disney family vacation? Use this DVC Points Calculator to know how much you need to buy enough points for your trip.

If you still need more vacation points to book your ideal resort, you can also try DVC rentals. Another owner can rent you their DVC points and book your desired reservation on your behalf. The pricing for DVC rentals will vary, but they often start from $16 per point.

4. Where Can I Buy DVC Points?

If you have a booking that lacks DVC points, you can buy one-time-use points to complete it. You don’t need to go to a website or physical location. All you need is a phone and the number of Member Services.

The telephone numbers for DVC Member Services is (800) 800-9800 or (407) 566-3800.

5. How Do I Redeem My DVC One-Time-Use Points?

Let’s say you already bought DVC one-time-use points and have enough to book at a DVC resort. Redeeming your one-time-use vacation points is as easy as booking DVC accommodations online. You can also call the number for DVC Member Services to make your reservations.

6. Where Can I Use My Vacation Points?

You can use your DVC points for a romantic getaway, family vacation, or reunion at any DVC Resort. Use them for resorts like the Aulani DVC Villas in Ko Olina, Hawaii, for example. You can find a ton of great DVC resorts all over the world, be it in Asia, the Caribbean, or Central America.

7. Other Things You Need to Know About DVC Points

How Much are One-Time-Use DVC Vacation Points?

Right now, you pay a fee of $19 per Vacation Point. Each one-time-use point is worth $16.89 plus $1.10 tax and $1.01 resort tax. For 24 extra one-time-use DVC points, you’ll have to pay a fee of $456.

The Rule of Four

Disney has a Rule of Four guidelines for those who want to book and check into DVC Resorts for their trips.

The rule says that you cannot book and travel on the final 4 months of your current Use Year. Hotels excluded from that rule are the Disneyland Resort in California and Tokyo Disney Resort. However, if you booked your stay more than 4 months before the end of the Use Year, you can travel to those DVC resorts.

Redeem Your DVC Points

That’s it for our guide on how to use and redeem DVC one time use points.

We hope you picked up useful info from this quick guide on Disney Vacation Club one-time use points. Now, you know what you need to do so your vacation points don’t go to waste.

Do you want to learn more about the Disney Vacation Club? Do you plan on seeing what else you can get or do to make your Disney vacation memorable? Check out our other guides now for content on everything Disney and more.

Travel Guide: 7 Essentials To Make Your Road-trip Awesome

In order to have the best road trip that you can possibly have, you need to make sure that you are packed and prepared for the best and worst-case scenarios. By going through this list, you can see the top 7 essentials that you should consider adding to your list of things to pack for your next big family road trip.

Safety First: A first-aid kit.

One of the worst things that can happen during a road trip is someone getting hurt. You can avoid this disaster from happening by making sure that you pack a first-aid kit for your journey. You will want to fill it up with things like band-aids, hydrogen peroxide to clean wounds, bandages, and medicine.

A GPS or Map.

To avoid getting lost, you should purchase a road map or a GPS system to have in the car with you on your travels. You will also have your phone that can work as a GPS device, but sometimes it is easier to just have the system tell you where to go so you don’t have constant texts coming up on your map. If you already own a GPS system, make sure that it is updated for the trip so that it doesn’t take you on roads that are under construction or no longer exist.

The right insurance.

If you were to get into an accident on the road, you will want to have the best comprehensive car insurance. Even if you don’t get into an accident, adding miles to your vehicle can sometimes make your insurance go up. With the right insurance company working with you, you won’t have to worry about that bill at the end of the month.

The right snacks.

To keep everyone fed on the road, you will want to make sure that you pack the right snacks. You might have a plan to stop into different restaurants on your travels, but that doesn’t mean that those few meals are going to be enough to keep everyone happy on the road. Packing things like chips, Pop-tarts, and beef jerky can keep everyone fed and happy while waiting for the next stop.

These snacks are enough to fill up hungry stomachs, but not enough to keep them so full that they won’t eat their dinner when it is time.

Healthy and delicious beverages.

Water is the best source of hydration when on a road trip, however, water can get bland and boring after a few hours. What you can do about this: Buy juice packets. Make sure that you are stocked up on water bottles for your trip, and give your kids access to the flavour packets. You can buy flavours like fruit punch, grape, and lemonade. This is so they have something delicious to drink when they get tired of regular water.

Road activities.

Everyone is going to get bored at some point during this trip, but there is something you can do about it. You can pack activity books, colouring books, word searches, and even mobile gaming devices that your kids and bring with them for the trip. You will have endless fun, and you will prevent any boredom from the kids, by packing things that will keep them entertained.

There are digital tic tac toe and Connect4 games that are battery-powered. You can buy those and keep them in the back seat so the kids play together and won’t bother you about when you are getting to your next stop.

Devices and car chargers.

You should pack any and all mobile devices that you can fit comfortably in the car. If this trip is going to last a few days, or even a few weeks, you don’t want things to feel different than how they feel at home. To keep everyone comfortable, bring all of your favourite mobile devices. But keep in mind, if you are bringing along a mobile gaming system, a phone, a tablet, or even your laptop, you will also want to pack a car charger. A universal car charger can help charge all of your favourite devices so that you and the rest of your family never feel bad when the battery runs out and your fun goes away.

There are a lot of ways that a road trip can go wrong, but if you look at this list closely and pick out the things that you think would keep your family the happiest, you can avoid a lot of disaster on the road. These are the top 7 things to consider packing, there are more options, but these will cause the least amount of clutter in your car. And everyone will be fed, hydrated, and entertained for as long as you need them to be.

Why are Off Road Caravans Better?

If you’re in the market for a caravan, there’s a lot to consider. Firstly, your budget, size of the caravan, and what’s important to you on the inside. The most important thing to consider though, is how you intend to use it. Many folks are happy staying on the highways, spending their time in caravan parks and easy to reach places. If that’s your cup of tea, there are plenty of options available. But if you like to spend time in areas that require some bumpy travel, then you’ll need to consider off road caravans.

Better suspension for a smoother ride

One of the key features you’ll get with any off road caravan is a tougher suspension. You’ll need it if you’re going over gravel roads or even tougher terrain. Some of the most beautiful places in Australia require a bit of tough driving, and the suspension in an off road caravan helps you get there. Standard suspension won’t cut it, but you’ll often find the shock absorbers on these outback models mounted at 90 degrees, giving you extra comfort on handling capability.

Caravans built for comfort

If you thought you had to sacrifice the creature comforts to get a tough caravan you can take off the beaten track, think again. Most off road caravans are still luxurious inside, giving you everything you need for a comfortable trip. Also, your drive might be a little bumpier than a normal highway trip. So, you’ll find many of the internal features are adjusted for safety inside the cabin.

Off road campers and caravans are also designed with added extras to keep you more comfortable out in the bush. These include additional solar panels, extra batteries and plenty of water tank capability.

Built with a stronger frame

These vehicles are purpose-built for roughing it, and a big part of that is the stronger frame. When you go off the beaten track, conditions are different. As a result, the frame of your caravan is likely to wear differently than normal. That’s why off road caravans have a strong aluminium frame, riveted into place for additional strength.

The chassis also gives you extra durability. Whether it’s a dual or single axle, both variations are built for strength. It will usually feature a 6-inch chassis and 4-inch riser, and for added toughness you can get it hot dipped galvanised. Extra support beams also provide more strength and reliability.

Get to more places

Finally, the main benefit of an off road caravan is the ability to get to places you normally couldn’t. Standard caravans and RVs are great for driving on highways, comfortable roads and caravan parks. But if you want to get a little further into the bush, the road isn’t always going to be your best friend. For peace of mind that your caravan can stand up to the tough conditions you throw at it, your best option is always an off road model.

5 Factors to Consider When Choosing Vacation Rentals

Couple Arriving At Summer Vacation Rental

So, you’ve finally whittled down your options and decided on your next vacation destination. Now it’s time to find the perfect place to stay!

There are many factors to consider when choosing vacation rentals, like who you’re traveling with and how much money you want to spend.

While it may seem overwhelming at first, these five considerations will help narrow down the search in no time.

1. Price

When choosing vacation rentals, start with setting your budget.

There is no point in scrolling through endless pages of luxury rentals if they’re out of your price range. At the same time, if you’re looking to splurge why not immediately cut out the no-frills options by upping the minimum nightly price?

2. Read the Reviews

Never underestimate the value of references and reviews. You’d be amazed at the information they reveal about both the property and the owner/property manager. Overall, they help to verify that you’re booking through a reliable source and that what you see in the photos is really what you get.

Reviews from previous guests also provide all sorts of insight you’d be hard-pressed to find through other sources. We’re talking things like how comfortable the mattress is to the neighborhood café serving the strongest coffee.

3. Location

Consider the purpose of your vacation. Are you looking for peace and tranquility or do you want to cut loose and party like a rock star? Choose your vacation rental location accordingly.

The same is true in terms of travel companions. Vacations with friends yield completely different accommodation needs than a romantic getaway or a trip with the kiddos.

If staying in a condo, apartment building, or other multi-unit complex, take note of the proximity to high traffic areas if noise is a concern. This includes things like the pool or elevator.

Finally, how do you plan to get around? If you don’t have a car, be sure you can walk or access public transportation/ride-sharing, etc.

4. Amenities

Speaking of cars, parking can be a huge issue and expense in both city and beach destinations. Is it included with your vacation rental? If so, how many spaces/parking permits are provided?

Whether it’s gas, electric, or kitted out from a top solar company, you should always confirm what utilities are included. As Americans, we often [incorrectly] assume that heating and air-conditioning is standard anywhere. If you are traveling internationally though, this is not the case.

Are you one of the 4.7 million US workers who are doing your job remotely? When choosing a rental, check that there is Wi-Fi and that the speed and connectivity suit your needs.

Some rentals include extra amenities like bicycles, sporting equipment, upgraded kitchen and bathroom accessories, and so forth. Decide ahead of time if these things are a necessity or an added bonus.

5. Don’t Skip the Fine Print

Make sure that you understand the final price, indicative of all fees and taxes. There is nothing worse than thinking you’ve found the perfect spot and then having the price turn out to be hundreds more than you were expecting.

It is also vital to check the cancellation and date change policies before making a booking. Don’t forget about the security deposit – if there’s not one, are you responsible for any accidental damages?

Choosing Vacation Rentals Can Be Fun!

Your choice of accommodation can make or break your vacation. Armed with these tips, you’ll be on your way to finding the perfect home away from home.

We hope our guide to choosing vacation rentals has been useful. Keep browsing our blog for more travel tips and inspiration!

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Your Online Air Ticket Booking

According to a survey conducted by Statista in 2018, about 22% of internet users aged between 18 and 29 revealed that they made an online air ticket booking in the last one year. Such a survey may have different outcomes in 2020, given the impact the coronavirus pandemic has made across the globe.

The pandemic continues to wreak havoc for airline companies, with restrictions in flights and plane carrying capacities. If you are planning on a cross border trip, you may have to make ticket bookings early enough and probably pay more for them to secure a seat.

Here is a quick reminder of the common mistakes you may want to avoid.

Booking the Wrong Date

Choosing the date seems quite simple, but you could end up messing it up by the time you are through with the booking process. You can input the correct date first but then go back and forth a few steps and the date changes without your knowledge.  As such, you could end up with a ticket showing a different travel day. Although you may manage to make amendments, be sure it will cost your time or even some unexpected fees.

Be Keen on Flight Timing

The flight timing can be somehow confusing, especially if you do not quite grasp all clock systems. Besides, you could get easily confused by a flight scheduled at 12:00 am as you wonder if the carrier means midday or midnight. While this may is obvious for some people, it would be best if you can take caution and ask for some help if it’s problematic.

Do You Have Enough Time for Connecting Flights?

A connecting flight may be cheaper, but it could cost you even more if you aren’t careful. You need some time to get to the next airport to catch the next flight. You can be sure it won’t take you less than an hour to the next airport. Besides, if you have some bulk luggage, it could take time to transfer.  Therefore, be sure to check your landing time and the departure time for the connecting flight.

Is Your Passport Valid?

Having a valid passport sounds obvious for anyone traveling across borders. However, you may want to know that most countries do not just need a valid ticket.  Some require that it be valid for at least six months. Besides, some carriers want the passport’s validity to extend to the date you plan to get back.

As such, take time to check the state policies and the airline policies and ensure your passport meets their requirements before you book.

The Passenger Details

When filling your online air ticket booking, be sure to type the details right. Your international flight could turn out problematic if the details differ from what the passport has.  Ensure the names match and be keen not to feed a passport number digit wrong.

Whether you are flying for a business conference or havingsome fun, it’s good to have a smooth flight. Online booking sites made the bookings more comfortable, so remember our tips and be careful not to complicate everything at the last minute.

Best Cheap Travel Trailers: How to Camp on a Budget

Camping is amazing for so many reasons – it’s healthy, exciting, social, action-packed and above all things incredibly kind to every kind of budget! Everyone deserves to have a glorious getaway to melt the stresses of day to day life away, regardless of how much they might have in the bank. If you’re looking to schedule yourself a getaway, you’re interested in making camping a part of your lifestyle or you’re wanting to adjust your routine to be a little more budget friendly, these money saving tips will lead you to your best and most affordable camping trip yet…

Best Cheap Travel Trailers

In order to have a fantastic and savvy camping stay, you’ll need to head into the grounds equipped with the right gear! A camper trailer is undoubtedly a bit of an investment, however, you’re putting your hard earned money into a future proof model that keeps giving back over the years. A one time expense gives you all the freedom, comfort, safety and convenience that you could possibly need for literally countless years to come! In order for your camper trailer to be truly timeless, you should have a good think about the size of your camping clan. Consider whether you’re going to be growing your family in the near future, hosting guests for holidays or joining with a regular group of fellow campers to make the best capacity choice possible. Not sure whether you can realistically fork out for a brand new camper trailer any time in the near future? Not to worry! There’s a myriad of options for amazing quality second hand camper trailers out there. You’ll have to stick to reputable, Australian made providers to ensure that you’re purchasing a pristine, perfect quality pre-loved camper.

Money Saving Hacks

And now for a few savvy pointers to save you some pennies whilst you get out there and enjoy all that nature has to offer!

Buy in Bulk

Any good saver knows the power of purchasing in bulk. This comes in especially handy when you’re planning your meals. Try to plan dishes that use largely the same or similar ingredients in order to get those bulk buys in. Keep breakfast dry and simple to save yourself money on rustling up three hearty meals each day. You can also purchase essentials such as first aid gear, fuel and sunscreen in bulk to keep yourself prepared for those camping trips to come.

Camp in the Off Season

Camping in the height of summer or on popular public holidays can rack up a hefty site fee. Curb the inflated expenses by sticking to adventuring during the off season instead. You’ll enjoy quieter campgrounds, uncrowded serene natural spots and plenty of resources all around you in the off months. Make sure that you contact your ground of choice to check that it’s still up and running in the off season.

Head to Free Spots

Hey, some camping spots are completely free! It’s all a question of sniffing them out, so do plenty of research and look into spots that you can camp at for nothing.

Perfect your Packing

Perfect for packing to avoid having to stop off and panic buy expensive essentials. Proper preparedness saves you so much money, stress, time and energy – so get working on it for your own sake!

Stay Close to Home

Lastly, if you want to keep your trip as budget friendly as possible, keep it close to home. You’ll cut down on fuel, food and travel expenses!

Follow these trailer and camping trips for a fun and savvy camping trip.

4 Epic Adventures to Take When You Become Smoke-Free

Becoming smoke-free is perhaps the best health decision you’ll ever make. Smoking alone claims the lives of about 800,000 people in the US every year and costs billions in public healthcare costs. Not to mention, traveling as a smoker is something of a pain, since you’ll likely run into smoke-free areas, spend the trip craving nicotine, and can’t participate in or fully enjoy physical activities like hikes or free drives.

Millions of people are dumping their smoking habits or switching to tobacco-free alternatives like https://blackbuffalo.com/ to enhance their travel plans, and we’ve put together the perfect list of four epic adventures for when you do finally quit. These adventures will take you all over the world, hiking through some of the most difficult terrain, witnessing amazing vistas, and beholding some of the world’s most incredible natural wonders.

So grab your backpack, put the cigarettes down, and let’s take a journey toward your next smoke-free travel plans.

1. Freediving In Mexico

You’ll definitely want to quit smoking for this one because freediving requires advanced lung function, and you can’t exactly hold your breath for long when your lungs are coated in tar. You won’t get any advanced equipment for this experience, just you, your lungs, and some artificial flippers to help propel you through the water.

Experience the serenity of the ocean with freediving. You’ll be free to move as you please, to dive as deep as you can, and you’ll feel a certain connection between you and the water. Some freedivers can train themselves to hold their breath for several minutes at a time, experiencing the ultimate ocean/human connection! Smoking certainly would disallow such activities, as your lung and heart function are both severely compromised when you’re a smoker.

Smoking affects tiny air sacs in the lungs (among other structures) called alveoli, which fill with air when you breathe in and assist in the gas exchange with red blood cells. When you smoke, these tiny air sacs become damaged, decreasing your lung function. You’re also breathing in carbon monoxide, which is a harmful gas that attaches to red blood cells and inhibits their ability to transport oxygen.

If you want to experience the might and majesty of the Caribbean Sea, you’ll want to leave smoking behind before you try freediving. You’ll feel much better knowing you’re not going to pass out while you’re 20 feet underwater!

2. Hiking The Appalachian Trail

One of America’s great wonders, the Appalachian Trail stretches through nearly 2,100 miles of terrain covering 14 states. This beautiful scenic trail will guide you through rough mountain passes, scenic forests, serene rivers, and much more, and is certainly bucket list material.

The trail itself was begun in 1921 and was finished in 1937. Since then, it has been adopted and maintained by the National Park Service and is one of the foremost destinations for nature lovers in the United States and abroad. The abundance of flora and fauna will leave you in awe, and the scenic landscapes are reminiscent of an oil painting or something from a fantasy story. This is truly the crown jewel of the East Coast.

Imagine trying to hike through rough mountain terrain while being a smoker! The air is much thinner as well at higher altitudes, so you’d likely experience a lot of breathing difficulty as you climbed higher and higher. The best solution? Quit smoking before you step foot on the trail, so you can maximize your experience.

3. Backpacking Through The Kamikochi-Yari-Hotaka Circuit

Rated as one of the very best backpacking trips in the world. The Kamikochi-Yari-Hotaka Circuit in The Northern Japanese Alps is truly a spectacular experience for the experienced backpacker. From the lowest paths to the highest peaks of the mountains, this trip is sure to capture your imagination and your breath, and that’s bad news if you’re a smoker!

You’re going to need a lot of nerves to traverse this trail, as the paths get pretty thin in some places, to the point where you’ll need chains to navigate them! This truly isn’t for the faint of heart, but still falls under the category of epic adventures if you ask me.

4. Sahara Desert Camel Trip

The Sahara Desert in Northern Africa is truly a natural wonder. The shifting sands change the overall size of the desert with the seasons, but conservative estimates put it at about 8.6 million square kilometers or about five million square miles. Temperatures can reach a soaring 114 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, and dip as low as 24 degrees F at night.

If you’ve always wanted to see this natural wonder, you can take a camel trip through the desert and experience the full might of its splendor. Head to Morocco for day or night camel treks, or take a three-night nomadic adventure through the desert and experience what indigenous people have been doing for centuries. This is truly a culturally rich and diverse landscape, and you’ll learn much of local culture and the massive Saharan Desert before you.

The Best Whale Watching in New England

Imagine watching from the bow of your boat as a pod of whales leap through the water, the majestic mammals jumping alongside as if racing you to the horizon. For many, it’s one of the most memorable and evocative experiences of any North American vacation, with some of the world’s best whale watching found in New England.

The waters off New England offer endless possibilities to see many species of whales in their natural habitat, from Humpback whales to Finback, Right, and Minke whales. The whales migrate to the rich feeding grounds in the waters off the east Coast of America in the summertime, feasting on the multitude of mackerel, herring and other fish that live in the Atlantic Ocean.

One particular honeypot for whales is the Stellwagen Bank, a giant underwater plateau bursting with marine life which lies under the water 35 kilometers east of Boston. This plateau has been a constant feeding ground for whales, and is the reason why in the 18th and 19th century the lucrative whaling business was centred around the New England towns of Nantucket, Provincetown and New Bedford. Whale hunting used to be a huge business, with the mighty animals being killed to provide oil for lighting, whilst their bones were also used for everyday objects like corsets and umbrellas. Thankfully, the practice was banned in America in 1973.

Where and when to head for the best whale watching in New England

The best whale watching in New England takes place between April and October, and can be found anywhere along the east coast from Rhode Island in the south to Maine in the north. There are numerous tour operators that offer trips on large boats; however, the best way to get up close to these magnificent animals – if you can afford it – is on a luxury yacht charter around the best New England destinations with your own specialist on board.

Top three spots for best whale watching in New England

Newport

Newport is a great place to catch a glimpse of some of the biggest mammals on the planet, with Finback whales of up to 70 feet having been spotted off the coast of Rhode Island, as well as Humpback and Right whales. A word of warning however: Rhode Island’s whale watching season tends to be slightly later than other areas in New England, as whales can be spotted here as they migrate southwards to the Caribbean, where they spend the winter.

Cape Cod

Another spot to head to for the best whale watching in New England is Cape Cod in Massachusetts; its famous ‘arm’ shape peninsula stretches out into the ocean, with pods in Cape Cod Bay never being too far away. The very tip of this peninsula is called Race Point Beach, which has become one of the best locations to see seals up close, as well as the occasional humpback whale frolicking in the waters beyond. Further south in Massachusetts, a number of tours leave from the island of Nantucket, also home to the Nantucket Historical Association Whaling Museum.

Portland

Further up the New England coastline takes you to Maine, and the town of Portland. Whale watching notwithstanding, this particular area of New England is a delight to visit with stunning shorelines, lighthouses galore and rich maritime history. But if you are looking for the best whale watching in New England you won’t be disappointed, with pods of Humpbacks, Finbacks and Minkes all having been spotted off the coasts in recent months. Visitors will also get the chance to see other wonderful creatures such as North Atlantic White-Sided Dolphins, Harbor Porpoises, Basking sharks, Ocean Sunfish and Sea Turtles.