Featured post

Urban Height-Seeing

The Roosevelt Island Tram carries passengers over the East River.

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No — it’s an aerial tramway, a type of incline lift in which an enclosed cabin is suspended from 1 cable and pulled by another. Trams in North American cities such as Portland, OR; New York; Palm Springs; and Vancouver, British Columbia, provide families with the opportunity to go sightseeing from above. Here are some of the best.

Portland Aerial Tram, Portland, OR

The most exhilarating tramway in North America is also one of the newest: the Portland Aerial Tram. This sleek, $57 million method of public transportation opened in 2006 and travels between the South Waterfront terminal, adjacent to the Oregon Health & Science University Center for Health & Healing, and the upper terminal at the Kohler Pavilion on OHSU’s main campus.

Traveling at 22 mph, the passenger cabins rise 500 feet on the 3-minute trip over Interstate 5, the Lair Hill neighborhood and the Southwest Terwilliger Parkway.

On a clear day, views from the tram are breathtaking. As each cabin climbs, riders can look out on the Willamette River and the eastern edge of the city, which boasts a number of skyscrapers. In the distance, they can see the Cascade Range of Oregon and Washington, including the usually snowcapped Mount Hood.

After riding the tram up and back, wander into the South Waterfront neighborhood and marvel at some of the area’s new eco-friendly development. There’s not much infrastructure in this part of town yet, but the new Bambuza Vietnam Kitchen in the John Ross Tower is a great place to relax over a bowl of pho.

MORE: Portland Tips From Native Son Aaron Goodwin

Grouse Mountain Skyride, Vancouver, British Columbia

Rising nearly 1 mile to the top of its namesake peak, the Grouse Mountain Skyride offers unparalleled views of Vancouver, the nearby Gulf Islands and the sparkling Pacific Ocean.

While the tram is fun just about any time of year, the best time to go is in the winter, when towering Douglas fir trees that line the mountainside become covered with snow. During the slow-going 12-minute ride, the trees look like something out of a Dr. Seuss book. Peering down on them only adds to the sense of wonder.

But there’s more to the tram than merely the ride itself. In the summer, families can check out the Refuge for Endangered Wildlife (included with mountain admission), where 2 orphaned grizzly bears and a timber wolf play in a protected and secure sanctuary. During colder months, winter sports reign supreme; daily rentals for downhill skiing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are available for an additional fee.

For dinner, visiting families can enjoy a meal at the Observatory restaurant at the Peak Chalet, where entrees such as salmon and halibut have a Northwestern flair. Afterward, check out the movie at the Theatre in the Sky, which showcases a breathtaking scenic overview of southwestern British Columbia from an eagle’s perspective.

MORE: Explore Vancouver’s Unique Neighborhoods

Roosevelt Island Tram, New York City

The Roosevelt Island Tram in New York City is perhaps the most iconic tram in North America, as well as one of the oldest. It opened in 1976 and runs along the northern side of the 59th Street/Queensboro Bridge, connecting Roosevelt Island to Manhattan’s East Side.

Views from the tram are incredible. As the passenger cabins cross the East River at 16 mph, riders can look back on Midtown skyscrapers such as the Chrysler Building, the Citibank Building and the Empire State Building. Another treat: an aerial view of the United Nations complex, just south of the bridge along the river.

Talk about bargains: The 4 1/2-minute ride costs about the same as a basic subway fare. Pop-culture fanatics will love knowing that they’re riding part of recent history; the attraction had a cameo in the 2002 Spider-Man movie during the climactic battle between Spidey and the Green Goblin.

Save for the views of Manhattan, there’s not much to enjoy on the Roosevelt Island side of the tram. On the Manhattan side, however, families with a hankering for sweets will love Serendipity 3. This upscale diner serves lunch and dinner, but it’s famous for its frozen hot chocolate and the $1,000 Golden Opulence Sundae, which comes with top-shelf ice cream, chocolate and an edible, 23-karat gold leaf.

MORE: New York City’s Top 10 Attractions

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, Palm Springs

In Chico Canyon outside Palm Springs, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway climbs more than a mile from the floor of the Coachella Valley to near the top of 10,834-foot Mount San Jacinto. The 10-minute ride transports visitors to a different world, as the temperature at the top can be 40 degrees colder than it is at the base.

As the passenger cabin chugs skyward, riders can marvel at views of Palm Springs and the Palm Desert, as well as the hundreds of windmills that convert breezes into energy on the valley floor. The Salton Sea in southeastern California is also visible, and from the very top, vistas stretch all the way to Mount Charleston outside Las Vegas.

Passengers disembark at the Mountain Station in the alpine wilderness of Long Valley and Mount San Jacinto State Park, where they can hike 54 miles of nature trails, take a burro ride or play in the snow during winter months. Backcountry camping is also available with a permit.

Two restaurants offer very different dining options atop Mount San Jacinto. The Pines Cafe, a glorified cafeteria, offers a variety of menu selections, while the Peaks Restaurant offers a contemporary California menu that features a variety of fresh vegetables and greens from the Coachella Valley. Both eateries are open for lunch and dinner.

Featured post

Cuba’s Coral Reef: The Best We’ve Never Seen

coral reef, underwater, bright colors,

The 1950s were a time of profound change in the Caribbean. Over the previous several hundred years, island economies had been locally based and agriculturally driven. But in the latter half of the 20th century, in a shift brought on by the advent of airline travel and other factors, these nations moved from farming to tourism. Americans, armed with new superpower success and leisure-time dollars, took aim at the sun-washed beaches and crystal blue waters. The Caribbean was in the crosshairs, especially the Yankee favorite of Cuba. Alas, those American tourists’ wealth would have to be spent elsewhere. So would their vacations. Cuba had its own plans.

The collapse of Cuban-American relations due to revolution and then embargo is a tale of epic consequence still felt today. But one of the most surprising aspects of this story and the resulting 50-year absence of American tourists in Cuba is the subsequent condition of the seas around this 770-mile-long island — in particular, the remarkable health of the beautiful coral reefs that line its southern shores.

Worldwide coral decline is common knowledge. According to David Guggenheim, founder and president of Ocean Doctor, a DC-based non-profit that’s dedicated to ocean conservation efforts in Cuba and elsewhere, “It’s basically coastal development and overfishing; that’s what’s killing reefs. Sedimentation and nutrient pollution fueling the growth of algae, which then smothers the coral.”

No matter your stand on the causes of global climate change, this fact is indisputable: Corals all over the world, in all seas, are dying by the acre. The demise of these animals and the delicate reefs they construct, so fundamental to marine ecosystems, is one of the dreariest and most definite indicators of ocean environmental damage on a global scale. Coral extinction spells doom for ocean systems — and, possibly, for the planet. “The problem is we’re not only fertilizing the oceans with sewage and agricultural runoff,” Guggenheim explains. “We’re also taking out of the ocean the fish that eat the algae and keep the reefs clean. That’s what’s led to the loss of 50% of the coral cover over the past 50 years. Half the corals have died in the Caribbean in that time.”

Explore the Great Barrier Reef

Explore the Great Barrier Reef, one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World.
  • Snorkeling in Hawaii’s Reefs
  • Escape to the Caribbean Islands11 Photos
  • Best Caribbean Beaches10 Photos

In response to this bleak reality, in the 1990s, Cuba took bold action to create extensive coral reef preserves. The basic purpose of these preserves was to provide safe havens for fish to regain balance in populations. But it also assured that all development in these areas would be viewed as a potentially lethal threat against the reefs. “Corals are sensitive to a lot of things, both local and global threats,” Guggenheim says. “But so far, it appears to be the local threat that has much more of an impact.” For all these decades, development on Cuban shores has been curbed where it might have such a deadly effect. Fish have been left alive.

The results, quite simply, are healthy coral reefs, some of the most bountiful in the world. They are the direct beneficiaries of strict environmental policies and the ironic upshot of absent droves of tourists, specifically Americans.  Says Guggenheim: “By stemming US tourism, the embargo has limited the amount of coastal development in Cuba that would have been needed to accommodate those millions of Americans. Also, it limited local fishing, recreational and otherwise,” allowing the reefs to thrive.

So with American tourists now predicted to return to Cuba in droves, will these policies hold? How can the island maintain its precious natural resource and still build 5-star hotel rooms with ocean views? It’s one of the big questions for the years ahead. “Already, they’ve announced 12 new golf resorts just to accommodate US tourism,” Guggenheim says. “China is building at least one of those specifically to meet US demand.”

There’s optimism, for the moment. Guggenheim’s group, for one, has begun a new initiative called CUSP — the Cuba-US Sustainability Partnership — to encourage sustainable tourism “by engaging private-sector investors, corporations and non-governmental organizations in Cuba in a unique partnership that’s committed to a code of ethics and guiding principles.” The lucky fact is that large-scale resort development is coming late enough to Cuba that its leaders now have the real opportunity to create a better form of tourism than found elsewhere in the Caribbean. Cancun, for example, is the exact model of what Cuba doesn’t want to become.

“Places like Cancun — it was an empty promise,” Guggenheim says. “They displaced the local community. The good jobs went to outsiders, and the lousy ones to locals. They lost their community, their culture. What stands there now is an Americanized caricature of Mexico for the tourists — and they killed the coral reefs, the natural resources.”

He continues: “Look at Cancun, and you see Cuba’s possible future — and that scares the hell out of me. We’ve actually turned it into a verb, the ‘Cancunization’ of the Caribbean.”

Guggenheim’s message? Cuba can be different. Considering the strength and resilience of a people who have had to live through 5 decades doing without, they seem uniquely qualified to resist the forces that might otherwise destroy their delicate underwater environments. “Cuba can be the shining green jewel of the Caribbean,” Guggenheim declares. “They can do for global sustainability what they’ve already done in medicine and biotechnology. If someone wants to learn how to do it right for sustainable energy, organic farming and tourism, it’s a no-brainer. They’ll go to Cuba!”

For American tourists, especially those donning tanks and masks and plunging into this new scuba paradise, the lesson is humbling. We are visitors to this legendary island, nothing more, nothing less. Embrace the beauty without damaging it. Again and again, we’ve seen the effects of tourism gone wrong. Cuba — so ironically, so poetically — is our chance to get it right.

Featured post

The Best Vacations You’ve Never Heard Of

old temple in bali on lake during the day

Hawaii. St. Barts. Jamaica. There are certain places that always come to mind when thinking of a heavenly beach vacation. But what if you wanted to think outside the box? Experience a vacation that’s truly unique? To help you, we’ve uncovered some of the best-kept secrets in the travel world.

Puri Lumbung, Bali

The Lumbung Cottages were once rice granaries integral to local Indonesian farmers. However, when farming techniques advanced, these storage facilities became obsolete, and they were converted into the charming accommodations at the Puri Lumbung resort. This unique tourism project benefits the local village of Munduk and, in accordance with the Bali Tourism Institute, protects the environment.

Accommodations at Puri Lumbung include standard and family cottages, a jungle cabin, and villas that offer private verandas and views of the Java Sea. Guests here are encouraged to unplug from their everyday lives and find restoration in the simple pleasures of the Balinese way of life.

North Bali and Munduk feature beautiful scenery and provide the perfect setting for jogging, hiking and nature walks. Visitors are free to explore the tropical rain forests, rice terraces and local farms. There is a deep connection between this resort and its community; most activities strive to provide guests with a deeper understanding of the Balinese lifestyle.

Maravu Plantation Beach Resort & Spa, Taveuni, Fiji

The Maravu Plantation Beach Resort is located on Taveuni, the third-largest of Fiji’s 300-plus islands. It is committed to an environmental policy that preserves and protects Taveuni’s natural beauty. Recycling, composting, and employing and buying locally are just some of the green practices used daily at Maravu.

The private accommodations here are called “bures,” and the creme de la creme is the Treehouse. Situated at treetop level among an ancient rain tree, the decks and verandas offer uncompromised views of the ocean and surrounding forest. The large outdoor courtyard features an open-air shower and elegant Jacuzzi spa. Stay in the Treehouse and receive 2 complimentary massages, 2 Fijian sarongs, a trip to Bouma waterfalls and a half-day tour of Taveuni’s west coast.

With only 30 guests at a time and 40 full-time employees at the resort, the service is first-rate. The staff offers guided nature walks and tours; explore the Vidawa Forest Walk and the waterfalls and natural pools of Bouma and Kulanawai. Jungle tours will take you to volcanic Lake Tagimaucia. Diving, golf and tennis are also available to guests.

Ecohabs, Tayrona National Park, Colombia

The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is one of the highest coastal mountain ranges in the world, and where those mountains plunge into the clear blue Caribbean Sea is Tayrona National Park. The park is roughly 58 square miles and is one of the most biologically diverse coastal zones in the Americas, where jungle footpaths meet palm-fringed beaches. Additionally, archaeological sites left by Tayrona’s indigenous tribes can be found throughout the park.

The Ecohabs resort is a chain of secluded cliffside huts. You reach the resort after an hourlong trek through the Colombian rain forest. If the hike sounds a bit too strenuous, take the alternative beach route on horseback. Once you reach your ecohab, you are met with a spiritual retreat constructed of all-natural materials. The views are breathtaking and encompass the entire nature park.

A beautiful and relaxing spa offers a medley of treatments to counterbalance adventurous days amid the beaches and jungles. Guided tours and hikes are offered to guests of this uniquely beautiful Colombian resort.

Amanpulo, the Philippines

Located on a private island in the Philippines, Amanpulo features blissful beaches and calm indigo waters. There are 42 casitas available to guests of the island, each fashioned after the traditional Philippine bahay kubo. The hillside casitas offer beautiful sea views; those on the beach have private paths leading down to the sand. All the lodgings feature private wooden sundecks for sunbathing and relaxing during your time off from exploring.

On an island this beautiful, it’s natural that daily activities revolve around the water. For those who enjoy scuba diving and snorkeling, the reefs and clear waters are simply perfect. The resort is only too happy to provide equipment and lessons to guests.

Another popular nautical pastime is windsurfing. This sport is best enjoyed between December and April, when the northeast trade winds blow an average of 23 mph. Amanpulo also has a small fleet of boats for those seeking to sail the seas, and lessons are available for all skill levels.

This exceptional resort knows that good food and drink are essential vacation elements. Sulu View is a wonderful breakfast spot, and the intimate Kawayan Bar is a floating bamboo platform perfect for private dining. Enjoy a romantic dinner at Shigerino’s Place, which is nestled on a hillside, providing incomparable views.

Enjoy to see an unforgettable Miami in the tropical waters of Biscayne Bay manner

During this trip the city skyline, Fisher Iceland, Miami Beach and the port of cruise and cargo districts Miami to see. You will also see the Miami Bay Tour By Boat houses of the rich and famous, including Gloria Estefan  Shaquille O’Neal  P Diddy  Rosie O and more. All boats have plenty of indoor and outdoor use. Lower halls are closed, and are equipped with all facilities with air conditioning. Upper decks are open air with partial awnings.

Soft drinks, beer, wine, cocktails and snacks are the best of both worlds on this incredible journey is available for purchase at board. Get. You will visit our city on land and water. Visit Ocean Drive, Little Havana, Downtown Miami, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove and Bayside Marketplace. After about 1.5 hours dodging Iceland Star Iceland, Iceland Hibiscus, Palm Iceland in Bayside, Iceland Queen Yates will make for a boat ride. You can download the homes of celebrities and where movies were filmed. Then Bayside Marketplace will have Miami to Key West airport  time to lunch and to have time to remember for shopping. Sit and relax for an unforgettable annotated bilingual tour on the scenic Biscayne Bay. See the spectacular coastal locations in Miami, including the beautiful downtown Miami skyline, the Port of Miami, Fisher Iceland, Miami Beach and Millionaire Row  the homes of the rich and famous. Drinks as well as snacks are available for purchase on board during this trip of 90 minutes.Our modern yachts Iceland Queen, Island Lady and the Miami Lady, offering comfort and style for up to 140 passengers. Each boat has a lower air space, shuttered windows and a terrace where you can take in the fresh sea breeze and a canopy that protects against the sun and light seasonal rain. Do not forget to buy their favorite drink, a cocktail or a snack from our full cash bar.

Please contact our entry will receive their boarding pass 30 minutes before departure. Iceland Queen Cruises is located in Bayside Marketplace through the main entrance directly to the water. Our sales office is located next TO THE music scene in the middle of the mall and near Tradewinds Bar and Grill.Iceland Queen Cruises has earned its reputation as the first choice for visitors, residents and businesses when planning a trip to Miami. extensive fleet of ships Iceland Queen a variety of opportunities surrounding Miami area of water to discover whether it is traveling to a private tour of Miami or Miami, including cruises, dance cruises Dinner cruises edges and.

The Most-Awesome Abandoned Places in the Whole World

Pripyat

After the greatest atomic fiasco the world has ever seen, the little city of Pripyat god a handle ‘the apparition city’. Worked in 1970 to serve as a home for Chernobyl atomic plant specialists, this city lived just 16 years. In 1986, the departure request was given and more than 40,000 individuals left their homes, not realizing that they’ll stay away for the indefinite future.

The life of Pripyat finished suddenly, leaving indications of liveliness everywhere throughout the city. Today, very nearly 30 years after the fact, at first look the city resembles a common one. Schools, taxi stations, healing facilities, even structures with clothing drying on their galleries, don’t give away the frighteningness of this spot. In any case, then, you begin seeing hush. Spooky hush overpowers you, so it’s nothing unexpected why the primary travelers that came here left after just 15 minutes.

Pripyat is still a relinquished territory and will be for a long, long time (researcher gauge that the city will be ok for people in around 400 years!). Be that as it may, travelers do come here. Solo East Travel offers Chernobyl and Pripyat visits once a day.

The Solo East Travel is the organization that can securely get you there. Their base camp are at the Office 105, #10, Proreznaya St. in Kiev. In the event that there are more than 30 individuals in your visiting bunch a major transport (up to 45 seats or more) will effectively be orchestrated from Kiev.

Mirny Diamond Mine

Mirny is a residential area, with under 40,000 natives, however is a standout amongst the most acclaimed in Russia. It is a genuinely remote town, encompassed from the chill and wild Siberian woods. Be that as it may, quite a long time ago, Mirny was the focal point of world’s jewel generation.

Amid the 60′, Mirny was the greatest precious stone mine on the planet. Its top years of operation saw the Mirny mine delivering more than 10 million carats of precious stones, a great rate of them were diamond quality. Be that as it may, then, it began to dry out. At long last, in 2011, the site was shut. The laborers left, leaving the 2-nd greatest opening on Earth behind.

An intriguing reality is that the airspace over the mine is shut even today, a couple of years after the mine was surrendered. The purpose behind that are charged episodes including a few helicopters falling in the chasm, in the wake of being dragged down because of air temperature contrasts and sudden streams.

As per the BBC, the town is entirely untouchable to individuals without an uncommon license and the powers respect any nonnatives with extensive suspicion.

Ryugyong Hotel

The Ryugyong Hotel is a 105-story pyramid-molded high rise still under development, in Pyongyang, North Korea. Its name (“capital of willows”) is additionally one of the authentic names for Pyongyang. The building is otherwise called the 105 building, a reference to its number of floors. It is, by a long shot, the tallest working in North Korea.

Begun as an aggressive pet task of Korea’s pioneer Kim Il-sung in the 90’s the Ryugyong lodging by one means or another turned out to be a catastrophe. The development swung to squander and the unfinished building now remains amidst Korea’s capital, Pyongyang.

The opening of the lodging was booked a few times yet put off. The Ryugyong Hotel has been the subject of disparagement by worldwide media, who have alluded to the lodging as “The Worst Building in the History of Mankind” and the “Inn of Doom.”

In 2010, the principal Western journalists resulted in these present circumstances lodging and the first photographs were taken. Ideally, North Korea will soon open their outskirts to whatever is left of the world and maybe, with the assistance of others will finish this lodging. On the other hand who knows, perhaps this lodging will stay like this to serve as an indication of one period in their history.

Sadly, you likely won’t have the capacity to visit the inn, nor the nation, in actuality. The fringes of North Korea are still shut for the Westerners.

Manor Miranda

This is a most loved spot of European phantom seekers. The negligible outline of the Chateau Miranda gives away a frightening quality and on the highest point of that, this present house’s history is chilling also. In its long history, this building filled for some needs, of which the most hair-raising was a halfway house.

The manor was implicit 1866 by the English designer Milner under commission from the Liedekerke-Beaufort family, who had fled from their past home, Veves Castle, amid the French Revolution. Their relatives stayed in the palace until the episode of the World War II, when it was assumed control by the legislature and transformed into a halfway house. At that point in the 80es, the château got surrendered and came back to the Liedekerke-Beaufort family. They had no aspirations of restoring it, nor offering the château, so Chateau Miranda transformed into a noteworthy motivation for ghastliness story scholars.

Manor Miranda is a stronghold close to the town of Celles in the Belgium district of the Ardennes. The town itself is a vacation destination and is an unquestionable requirement visit on your way to the mansion. Discussing that, you better pick up the pace as the legislature is wanting to cut it down soon.

City Hall Station, New York

When it was made, in 1902 it was proposed to be a pride of New York, yet in an a large portion of a century, The City Hall station got shut, leaving wonderful structure for nobody to appreciate it. These days, it serves as a turning station for one and only metro line. In any case, individuals have understood that this station is a jewel of design and now a huge number of sightseers visit it consistently.

The general population going by the previous ‘Manhattan Main Line’ are shocked by the strange style of the station’s stage and mezzanine. The lights, hued glass tilework and metal crystal fixtures are a magnum opus of the twentieth century plan.

You can get to this station on the off chance that you enter the metro at the Civic Center in Manhattan, New York. The “6” train used to make all travelers leave the train at the Brooklyn Bridge stop, yet that is no more a case. On the off chance that you have somewhat additional time, you can remain focused prepare and observe the City Hall Station as the train makes its turnaround.

Salto Hotel

In 1923, the building was built as an extravagance house by and had rapidly turned into an image of the delight and tastefulness of the high society nationals of Colombia.

This spooky building appears like it came straight from a ghastliness story. It is put on a bluff, simply over a tremendous chasm. It looks verging on like its fashioners suspected that wasn’t sufficiently spooky – they chose to manufacture it in a dull, gothic style.

The deserted inn turned into a suicide Mecca in the past quarter of the century, which to a great extent added to its notoriety. The apparition stories were made up, which pulled in inquisitive guests from everywhere throughout the world. That incited the legislature to transform it into something significantly less unnerving – a gallery of biodiversity and society.

The inn is found pretty much 30 km southwest of Bogotá, the capital city of Colombia and is effortlessly open by neighborhood transports.

Hashima Island

Hashima Island is regularly called Gunkanjima, which interprets as ‘Ship Island’. The name has nothing to do with war, yet with the state of the island. It is a moderately little Iceland (6.3-hectare), so it’s no big surprise it was the town with the most astounding populace thickness on the planet in the 50es. The motivation behind why individuals came here in any case was to work in a coal mining office.

In any case, in 1974, the processing plant got broke and the residents of Hashima pressed their things and pushed ahead searching for a superior life. They deserted enormous solid condo structures and a gigantic encompassing ocean divider, which turned into a ceaseless motivation for specialists and travel lovers. Indeed, even the makers of the most recent James Bond film, discovered Hashima intriguing and utilized it as a motivation for the home of the fundamental scalawag.

Hashima is a completely deserted island in Japan, close to the shore of the city Nagasaki. As of April 22, 2009, the island is open at the end of the day for open visits, with two administrators, Yamasa-Kaiun (from Nagasaki Port) and Kyodo Co. (from Nomo Island) giving watercraft trips.

Indented Yacht

Deface Sem Fim (“Endless Sea” in English) is a Brazilian yacht that was wrecked, sunk and thusly got solidified in ice. The yacht had a place with the extremely popular Brazilian columnist and business visionary João Lara Mesquita Mar Sem Fim went on its last excursion in 2012 when four adventurists went off the Antarctic coast to film a narrative.

The translucent waters of the Antarctica are the motivation behind why the Sunken Yacht got to be known over the globe. The boat looks truly astonishing, when seen from the surface as the unmistakable waters of the Ardley Bay permit precisely that. It looks truly amazing and we can appreciate in it with no blame as nobody was murdered nor harmed when the watercraft sank.

The Sunken Yacht is situated around 1,200 kilometers south of the tip of South America, in Maxwell Bay of Ardley Cove, Antarctica. The best way to arrive is with a composed endeavor.

Michigan Central Station

Nothing symbolizes Detroit’s gaudy ascent and astounding fall like the Michigan Central Station. No other building embodies exactly how much the car business provided for the city of Detroit – and the amount it took away.

Toward the start of the twentieth century, the Motown was the spot to go in quest for occupations. Individuals from all around the globe were coming to Detroit and the city became quickly. That is the reason in 1913, an amazing train station was fabricated. Its motivation wasn’t to be only a traveler rail warehouse, yet a noteworthy point of interest of the city. When it was developed, the Michigan Central Station was the tallest train station on the planet.

Be that as it may, throughout the years, something turned out badly and the station was surrendered in 1988. These days the Michigan Central Station is an equivalent word for tragic, demolished structures that had seen much more promising times. Be that as it may, it has turned into a top spot for graffiti craftsmen, who made a urban landmark out of this relinquished building.

The Michigan Central Railroad station ascends over the southwest Detroit with the Ambassador Bridge in the back. The station is effectively acc

Feeling so Lonely during Your Days? No worries!

Have you ever felt so lonely during your days? What do you do when you are feeling so lonely? Well we know that no one who wants to be lonely. Everyone wants to have someone that they can share about and be together about. If you live only by yourself, you will feel the emptiness in your life and no one wants that. Actually, we are not living alone. Starting when we are born, we have parents who will be with us. The parents and also our family will always be with us to support us no matter what the condition is.

You can start to have the traveling time to reduce the lonely feeling that you have. You can try to travel to Europe to have the great experience in holiday. When you feel so lonely during your holiday time in Amsterdam, you do not need to be worried. You can contact escort girls Amsterdam to have the great partner that will be able to help you no matter the condition is. You will feel so happy and you can have the perfect time in your days. You will be happy since they will accompany you to enjoy the great occasion in Amsterdam.  For the further information, you can contact them to have the further details.

Then, when we grow up, we should be able to move to another part of place to start our new life. Sometimes, we should move to another city in order to work. Then, we will be separated with our beloved family. When you are alone in this time, maybe you will feel so lonely. When you feel so bored and lonely at this time, you do not need to be worried. There are many kinds of things that you can do in your life. Good luck!

http://tokyo-honpo.com/sexiest-call-girls-in-france

You may find it extremely boring when you are visiting Brussels and do not know what to do. When you are in this kind of situation, you may need someone to accompany you so that your day in Brussels seems to be more delightful. There can be a lot of escort girls waiting for you to call them. One of the best places to find them is actually the Girls46.com.

This site offers gorgeous and charming girls that are ready to be with you in any direction you take. You can view their gallery of Brussels call girls to find the one that attract you best. Various call girls in Brussels will be available in this site that you can choose them depended on your taste and preference. Whether brunette, blonde, green-eyed, black-eyed, Slavic, Asian or dark are available on the gallery. Thus, it is as simple as click the best girl you like.

If you are looking for private escort company which provides huge collection of stunning girls in Brussels that ready to escort you, Girls46.com will be the best one that you can find. Here you can find high class and professional escort girls that will make your day in Brussels more amazingly wonderful. They will be ready to any kind of event you throw including romantic dinner in the best restaurant or such VIP resting on private parties. It is inevitable that you will get impressed by their best services.

You should not register to the site once you want to see the galleries. Then, you will see the available girls’ real picture on the galleries. It is also possible for you to see other girls that available for traveling and available in other cities. Furthermore, the website is certainly user friendly and you will not get any difficulty in choosing the best one that suits your taste.

5 Tips for Finding Loopholes on Your Way to Startup Success

Whatever your destination may be, if you look hard enough and travel smart, you can discover a way to get there faster. They’re called loopholes and they are usually right in front of you. You need only to take your blinders off to see them.
Here are 5 tips that are sure to help you accomplish your dreams with more ease than you ever thought possible.
Know Your Destination
Before you become a master of identifying loopholes, you have to make sure you clearly define your end goals. The first step you take before embarking on a cross-country road trip is to punch in your destination’s coordinates into your GPS. The same concept applies before tackling any objective. You should begin with your desired end point in mind.
Map Out Possible Solutions
There will always be alternate routes available when traveling to your destination. It is being able to identify which path is most worth traveling. If you want to go places and get there in record time, you need to think beyond the immediate and obvious contributing variables. You can’t simply consider approximate miles and estimated arrival time and call it a day. You need to account for traffic, unexpected accidents and possible road blocks.
Cover all of your bases. Begin by asking yourself, “How can I accomplish my goal in the quickest and most effective way possible?” Then map out at least 20 ways to make that happen. Don’t shorten your list when you hit a creative block — sometimes it’s the last answer that renders the best solution.
Identify Your Vehicle
Once you’ve selected the most efficient course, consider the mode of transportation you’ll need to take that ride. What compromises are you willing to make to get there faster? Do you need a career change or will your current vehicle get you to the same intersection without taking up too much time? Are you willing to risk financial security, even temporarily? Do you need space for others? Most importantly, decide if you have what it takes to be the driver and be able to recognize when it’s time to hand over the wheel to another passenger.
Use Your Mirrors
Loopholes are like potholes; you often don’t see them until it’s too late and you’re stuck with a flat tire and headache. Keep your eyes open and proactively be on the lookout for when the next one might arise. Talk to others, share your ideas, reflect on your past and ensure you are staying true to why you started in the first place. It’s easy to get off-course and miss the exit if you’re too busy checking your rearview for what you’ve left behind. Maintain your focus, follow the signs (and your gut)…and yes, U-turns are okay! Mistakes are bound to happen. Learn from them and keep moving forward, only this time put the pedal to the metal.
Put the Top Down
What’s the point of a road trip if you’re not going to enjoy the ride? Roll down the windows, lower that top and embrace the winds of change whipping across your face. If you’re excited about where you’re heading, you’ll travel faster — it’s that simple.

Proven Travel Tips To Make Sure Your Trip Is A Success

Traveling is an invaluable educational experience. It helps you to see new ways of living and doing things. To get away from your home and dive into a world you’ve never seen. Getting to see it in person, far outweighs any inconvenience you may experience during travel.

Create a list of the items you need to pack. Well in advance, you need to craft a clear list of everything that you are going to need. Even if you actually pack the stuff at the last moment, you can still be organized and avoid packing unnecessary stuff.

If you’re using a smaller airport, check its website to see which airlines fly in and out of there. A lot of these airports have charters which won’t come up in searches, and you could end up with a much cheaper fare.

Anytime you are traveling, be aware of all your belongings the entire time. If you’ve got a purse, keep it tucked under your arm neatly. Bags with easy-to-use zippers may appear tempting at first, but they are also tempting to criminals who want to steal your stuff. Carefully evaluate your bags for security risks when choosing one for traveling.

A lot of car rental companies require their renters to be at least 18 years old, and some even require them to 25. If you’re 25 or under, you may pay a slightly higher rate and may need to give a credit card. Some cities do not allow senior citizens to rent cars. When you are making your reservation be sure to ask the age restrictions.

When traveling, ask the hotel you’re staying at if they will give you the same hotel rate they give to locals. Some hotels cut locals a break. If there is someone you know in the city you will be visiting, see if they can ask about discounts. You can save a lot this way.

Jet Lag

If you want to quickly adjust to another time zone, you should aim to keep yourself awake until around 8pm local time. If you go to bed early, even if you’re tired, it can make your jet lag stay longer because you keep your body in sync with the time zone from home. It’s easier to overcome jet lag if you adjust to the local time as quickly as possible.

If you plan to travel out of the country, bring bottled water. The water of foreign countries is often not purified and could cause your to get sick. You should even use your bottled water when brushing your teeth. Although it may seem inconsequential, you could get sick even from the small amount of water used when you brush your teeth.

When traveling to new countries, keep a card handy with a few important words in the local language, such as any foods you might be allergic to. If you’re a vegetarian, this tip can be used to let servers know what it is you can eat. Cards help ensure that your dining experiences are positive ones.

Carry a pillow and small blanket when you travel. A comfortable pillow and blanket is always something that can make a trip more pleasurable. Airlines can provide them, but many run out. If you bring your own, you know that it’s clean, too.

When you fly, seat children away from aisles. Either you or another adult should be between the aisle and the child. Children are very curious and can hurt themselves by reaching out when there’s a cart coming through. They are more likely to remain seated this way.

When you fly, you can free yourself from dragging around your luggage. This will save you some time. Let FedEx or UPS deliver your things straight to your destination. This may cost you some more money but it is valuable.

Do not schedule your time too closely when traveling by car, particularly if one of your passengers requires a potty break. Your trip will not be destroyed nor will your plans be ruined if you allow 10 minutes stops occasionally. This will alleviate some of the grumpy travelers and cut down on whining.

When traveling with young children, pack nutritious snacks. If you plan on traveling with kids in your car, bring along plenty of munchies. This helps them stay busy, nourished and happy. A small bit of junk food goes a long way here.

When filling out traveling insurance, be honest. If you’re sick, let the representative know all about it. A company will probably not pay your bill if they find out you already had an illness. That means you will be responsible for the bill in full.

Make sure you pack an extra pair of glasses or contacts if you need them. Do not take the chance of going on a trip with only one pair. Do not pack your extra glasses in your carry on luggage in case it gets stolen.

There is no reason you cannot make your travel dreams a reality and see the world’s amazing sights. Travel gives you the freedom to explore things in your own unique way. In this way, you will have something to anticipate when life is dull. Your memories of the trip will never fade. Do not delay! Begin planning your trip now.

A Blog for Travel Agents The 5 Best Practices for Offering Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is a very unique way for travelers to transfer risk. Unlike auto and medical, it is not legally required. While awareness on the need for travel insurance is rising, it seems to be towards the bottom of the list of insurance priorities (right next to insurance for blenders and utensils bought online).

As a travel agent, the travel industry is your livelihood. Protecting your livelihood is imperative to your success. Is a family more likely to booth another trip if they had to cancel their trip and cut their losses or if they were reimbursed for their cancellation? Probably the latter.

We know it isn’t always easy to get into a travel insurance debate, and we don’t necessarily want you to seem like the guy rooting in our corner. We want agents to inspire travelers to look into travel insurance, because it is for the greater good of the travel industry.

In this post, we’re going to go over how to inspire your travelers to take action and be proactive in risk management.

Many travelers still view trip insurance as an addition versus an inclusion of their travel package. With insurance they can embark on their voyage, knowing they have coverage if unfavorable circumstances arise.

So what do you do? How do you get your clients to gain awareness and understanding around the need for travel insurance without casting a dark shadow over their booking experience?

1. In the Beginning

There is nothing like buying a product from a company, only to find out that in order to get everything you need, the price has got to go up. As consumers, we hate that.

This is no different for a traveler. If you include the cost of travel insurance in the initial quote for their trip, you are less likely to surprise them and put them on the defense. By including it in the package, you are not only letting them know the cost up front, but you are also letting them know you stand by the product and view it as a necessary item for a successful travel investment.

You have confidence in the destinations you specialize in. Having confidence in your insurance provider will work the same way.

2. Provide Knowledge

Giving your clients information on travel protection, in a way which is easy for them to understand, is going to be beneficial to both the traveler and yourself. Let them know they have options but not it a way that overwhelms them.

When I go to the grocery store after work, I have already made 20-30 decisions throughout the day. I don’t want to be overloaded with the choice between 57 different spaghetti sauces. While it is nice to know there are 57 different choices, I am going to choose one quickly that is most relatable to my experience with spaghetti sauce. Oh, homemade basil? Yes, please!

It is the same for your clients during their travel booking process. They are already planning their vacation, which already involves a lot of decisions (most of which are exciting). They don’t want to feel overloaded with insurance information in a way that feels unrelatable.

3. Tell a Story

Everyone loves a good story, with good reason. We want to feel human, we want to relate to others. This is especially true during the buying process. There are so many products and information in the world, it is easy to feel like a number. If your client begins to feel like just another number in the insurance market, they will lose interest quickly.

Chances are, you have known a traveler that has lost on their travel investment because they were not properly insured. You also probably know someone who was able to protect their travel investment because they did their homework and got themselves suitable coverage. Tell those stories. If your client can relate to loss, protection and risk, they will better understand why travel protection is a good investment.

4. Ask a Question

Asking your clients the right questions, in regards to travel coverage, will help them better understand the possibilities without making them defensive. If you tell your client their medicare coverage doesn’t apply overseas, it may make them feel as though they are in need of defending the coverage they have, even if it isn’t adequate. It is better to ask questions and help your client come to the realization there is a need for travel protection than it is to tell them they are wrong in their assumptions.

5. Empower the Traveler

You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. Cliche, I know, but this can have more than one meaning. You can lead your client to their dream vacation, but you cannot make them have the perfect trip. You cannot stop the clouds from moving in or the hurricane from landing on their destination’s door.

Really, protecting their dream vacation is up to them, just like enjoying the sand between their toes is. Shine light on how travel protection is a way to ensure they are traveling safe and securing their investment. When we are proactive in our lives, we put the what ifs behind us and take one step towards enjoy each moment for what it is and that is a good feeling.

How to Create the Perfect Itinerary

The key to success in traveling is to plan the trip well. Not only web-based applications planners to mobile applications, but the ability to plan a trip or itenerary is also needed.

Itenerary contains about which destinations will be visited, how long it will be there, what places to visit, how and at what price it takes to reach the sights.

Having managed to get a plane ticket, reserve a rental vehicle, and also packing luggage premises quickly, there are some things that are less obvious but equally important. Here’s how to prepare a perfect itenerary.

Thinking realistically

In traveling, of course, you will be tempted to visit the many attractions. But try to make a list of places to be visited are then sorted by priority. It is useful to determine how long it took for a vacation in one place or how long it takes to get there.

Travel guide books, maps and also the opinion of other travelers who have to travel you wish to travel can be instructional material if it is to draw up itenerary. Consider also local holidays in your destination tourist destinations that could affect the flight schedule, the opening hours of attractions, and other things.

After these things done, you can think realistically based overview of the transit time, the possibility to visit tourist objects, and also prioritize the attractions to be visited.

Travelling by car
Determine exactly every step
In every way to the places to be visited, determine the estimated travel time that is precise and detailed. For example, the travel time to the airport. Just look at the possibility of things you can do like to eat before your flight arrives. Such estimates can be determined by knowing the bus departure schedule, the level of congestion on the way, or opt for the airport with a rental vehicle.

Advanced flight is the key
Advanced flight or transit schedule your vacation can be a vulnerable point. Substitution aircraft will increase the likelihood of a delay waiting for a plane or a flying schedule. In addition, the advanced flight will also potentially interfere with your rest time at the airport.

If you can not avoid transit flight, be sure not choose the schedule that is too close. Take flight schedule with an interval of several hours to switch planes and providing anticipation in case of flight delays.

Use websites and applications
In the era of information technology today presented sites and applications that assist in making itenerary and also share travel stories. For example Triplt.com site that lets users create itenerary online and automatically sends it to yourself and also for your friends and family. This site automatically enter the information related to your travel such as maps, directions and weather into itenerary.

Tripcase.com also similar to Triplt.com that provide similar services that help in organizing your trip. The site will send airline schedules, vehicle, hotel list, and another confirmation.

Another site is TripHobo.com working to organize itenerary and help you gather information. Please enter the start and end of your trip, then the site will give recommendations how to reach these places, what activities to do, the info attractions such as opening hours, ticket prices, and the estimated time if you want to visit the sights.

Set best plan

Itenerary you adopt is not legally binding because it was a rough draft. All that has been planned to be missed. Enter the free day in your itenerary to the possibility of finding interesting things that you find during the trip that was not previously known.

Best Itenerary often is that flexible. Things to do more to specify every detail of the trip such as time-time that used to rest or to the bathroom.

30 Tips for Better Trail Riding

  • Desensitize your horse to scary situations you may encounter on the trail in a safe environment, such as an arena.
  • Gradually introduce him to traffic where you can control the situation.
  • Before you even think of hitting the trail, you and your horse should have mastery of basic skills in the arena. You should have whoa and go, steering, and control at all gaits.
  • If your horse isn’t used to riding alone, build up his confidence by going out for short jaunts frequently, working up to longer rides as his confidence grows.

    Don’t tailgate! Maintain one horse length between horses.

  • Before you trot or canter on the trail, check with the other riders in your group.
  • In a mixed-levels group ride, put an experienced rider in the lead and another at the end.
  • If your group is well matched in skill level, take turns riding in the lead, middle and end positions.
  • Negotiate road crossings as a group so that no horse is left behind on the other side of a busy roadway.
  • Horses feel safest in a herd, and some may panic if they feel deserted. It’s best to keep all riders in your group together, although experienced horses and riders may be fine venturing off alone.
  • At water stops, wait until all horses are done drinking before leaving the watering place. Some horses won’t drink if they are distracted by the fear of being left behind.
  • If your horse tries to hurry home, refocus his attention by asking him to ride in serpentines along the trail, or flex to give his shoulder.
  • Rather than pulling straight back on the reins when your horse dives for a bite of grass along the trail, try pulling him left or right while you encourage him to move out.
  • Mind your multi-use manners: Show courtesy to hikers, bikers and others sharing the trail. You are an ambassador for equestrians!
  • If you crave competition, consider participating in a judged trail ride (trail trial), endurance ride or competitive trail ride.
  • Looking for adventure with your friends or family? Some camping facilities, state and national parks offer amenities to accommodate horses, including corrals.

    Approach slippery, slick or rocky trail conditions slowly. Keep yourself centered in the saddle, so you don’t throw your horse off balance.

  • Clean up after yourself: If you parked your rig at a trailhead, don’t leave piles of manure and other mess behind.
  • Save our trails—join the Equestrian Land Conservation Resource to work for land access and preservation on a local or national level. www.elcr.org
  • Wear a helmet with an extended visor for added sun protection.

    21. Be seen: If you ride out at night, reflective tack and clothing is a must. Wear dayglo orange in hunting territory.

  • Keep your tack in good repair. You don’t want a cinch or bridle to break out on the trail.
  • If you only trail ride on the weekends, make sure the ride you choose is within your horse’s current fitness level.

    24. When you set out, always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.

  • Carry a cell phone on your body, rather than in a saddlebag, in the event that you and your horse part company. Attach an ID tag somewhere on your horse’s gear as well.
  • Pack a basic first-aid kit for horses and humans.
  • Don’t let your horse choose to charge up hills—a change in pace should be decided by you.
  • Reevaluate your horse’s saddle fit on trail. A good arena saddle doesn’t always make a good trail saddle.
  • If you use protective legwear for your horse, make sure it can withstand the rigors of trail riding. You shouldn’t come home with burrs and/or sand in your horse’s boots or wraps.
  • Insect populations can increase on the trails.

Tips for travel writing

Write in the first person, past tense (or present if the action really justifies it), and make your story a personal account, interwoven with facts, description and observation.

  • Many writers start their piece with a strong – but brief – anecdote that introduces the general feeling, tone and point of the trip and story. Something that grabs the reader’s attention and makes them want to read on. Don’t start with the journey to the airport – start with something interesting, not what happened first.
  • Early on you need to get across the point of the story and trip – where you were, what were you doing there and why. If there is a hook – a new trend, discovery or angle – make that clear within the first few paragraphs.
  • Try to come up with a narrative thread that will run throughout the piece, linking the beginning and end; a point you are making. The piece should flow, but don’t tell the entire trip chronologically, cherry pick the best bits, anecdotes and descriptions, that will tell the story for you.
  • Quotes from people you met can bring the piece to life, give the locals a voice and make a point it would take longer to explain yourself. Quote people accurately and identify them, who are they, where did you meet them?
  • Avoid cliches. Try to come up with original descriptions that mean something. Our pet hates include: “bustling markets”… “azure/cobalt sea”… “nestling among” … “hearty fare” … “a smorgasbord of…”.
  • Don’t use phrases and words you wouldn’t use in speech (such as “eateries” or “abodes”), and don’t try to be too clever or formal; the best writing sounds natural and has personality. It should sound like you. Don’t try to be “gonzo” or really hilarious, unless you’re sure it’s working.

Advertisement

  • Check your facts! It’s good to work in some interesting nuggets of information, perhaps things you’ve learned from talking to people, or in books or other research, but use reliable sources and double-check they are correct.
  • Write economically – don’t waste words on sentences that could be condensed. Eg say “there was a…” not “it became apparent to me that in fact there existed a…”.
  • Moments that affected you personally don’t necessarily make interesting reading. Avoid tales of personal mishaps – missed buses, diarrhoea, rain – unless pertinent to the story. Focus on telling the reader something about the place, about an experience that they might have too if they were to repeat the trip.

 

 

Five more tips from Guardian travel writers

Author Giles Foden says he always feels travel writing benefits from a cinematic approach, in that you need to vary the focus – wide lens for setting and landscape; medium lens for context and colour; zoom lens for detail and narrative – and switch between the views in a piece. It may sound a bit precious, but it’s a very handy tip for varying the pace of an article.
Andy Pietrasik, head of Guardian Travel

Travel journalism should add to the wealth of information already out there in guidebooks and on websites, so try to seek out the more off-the-beaten-track places to eat, drink, visit – often the places locals might frequent. Revealing a new or different side to a destination will give your story a richness that you won’t get with a description of a visit to the tourist cafe in the main square.
Isabel Choat, online travel editor

Advertisement

What sets good travel writing apart is detail, detail, detail. Which cafe, on what street, overlooking what view? You must sweep the reader up and carry them off on the journey with you. Paint an evocation of where you are so we can experience it along with you. Be specific and drop “stunning”, “breathtaking” and “fantastic” from your lexicon, otherwise it’s just a TripAdvisor entry.
Sally Shalam, Guardian hotel critic

An important rule of creative travel writing is to show, not tell, wherever possible. Readers want to feel as if they’re eavesdropping on a conversation, or being shown something secret and magical. People don’t like being told what to think. If a child wearing rags made you sad, for example, describe the child, their clothes, the way they carried themselves. Assume readers are sentient. If you write it well, they will “feel” what effect the encounter had on you. This is much more powerful than saying, “I felt sad.”
Mike Carter, Guardian contributor and author of One Man and his Bike

My golden rule when writing a piece is to include as much visual description as possible. It’s easy to presume a lot, but your readers don’t know what you’ve seen. So explain it as vividly as possible. Don’t ever describe something as “characterful” or “beautiful” – this doesn’t mean anything to anybody but you. Describe things as if you were explaining them to a blind person. To say a building is “old” isn’t good enough; explain the colours, the peeling stucco, the elaborate, angular finishes on windowsills, the cleaning lady in a faded blue smock who was leaning out of a second-storey window with a cigarette dangling from her mouth. There is a thin line between elaborate, colourful, evocative writing and pretentious tosh, but it’s better to lean towards the pretentious tosh side of the spectrum than to be dull and presumptuous.

How to Fight Back When Your Flight Is Canceled

AS thousands of passengers who were caught up in the latest bout of snowstorms along the East Coast can attest, when weather disrupts the system, travelers are basically on their own. Just getting someone on the phone to confirm a new flight was a major headache for travelers who had been stranded for days in cities up and down the East Coast during the holidays.

Take Adam J. Brill, an analyst at a software company from Jersey City, N.J., and his wife, Elizabeth. When their JetBlue flight home from Fort Myers, Fla., was canceled on Dec. 26, the couple called the airline no fewer than 25 times in an effort to confirm their seats on a new flight. Each time they heard the same recording: JetBlue was experiencing unusually high call volume because of the storm.

Eventually the Brills were rebooked on a return flight four days after their original flight home was scheduled. It too was canceled the day of travel, but not because of the storm, which had stopped. Rather, the plane didn’t make it to the airport because it was stuck in a different city. Unable to afford any more time away from work, the couple rented a car and drove home to Jersey City — a 22-hour trip.

“Ultimately I understand that weather has the power to negatively impact travel plans,” Mr. Brill said. “While this started out as a weather delay, the way my trip ended was entirely preventable.”

While flight delays and cancellations are unavoidable during bad weather, some of the related service issues are not. That’s why it’s important for travelers like the Brills to know what they can — and cannot — expect from the airlines so that they can act quickly when flights go awry. It’s not just enough to know your rights. You need to be persistent and use everything at your disposal, from social media to the fine print in ticket rules. Here are some guidelines.

Tweet for Help

Even though problems like bad weather, air traffic delays and mechanical issues are hard to predict and often beyond the airlines’ control, most carriers automatically notify travelers — at least those who have signed up for flight alerts by e-mail, text message or phone call. Those alerts, which many passengers fail to sign up for, combined with Twitter, can put you ahead of the pack.

Increasingly airlines, including JetBlue, Southwest and Delta, are using Twitter to notify passengers of major flight cancellations and assist in rebooking. Last year, Delta created a dedicated Twitter account for customer service issues, @DeltaAssist, with reservation agents online Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Eastern time. Because of the viral nature of Twitter, with Twitterers habitually “re-tweeting” one another’s posts, customers who reach out to the airline via Twitter may get a quicker response than they would by phone or another communications channel as airlines attempt to quell any negative publicity.

For example, Mr. Brill was disconnected on two separate calls, after holding for nearly 20 minutes each time, when trying to find out what happened to his canceled Thursday flight. While waiting to speak with an agent on the third try, he reached out to JetBlue via Twitter and received a response. The Twitter team at JetBlue rebooked the couple on a flight from Southwest Florida International Airport to Kennedy Airport in New York the next day. But because there was no guarantee that the flight would leave, and the couple needed to return to work, they decided to drive instead.

Ultimately, JetBlue reimbursed the Brills $431 in hotel, toll and car rental expenses, which might have had something to do with the 25 Twitter messages Mr. Brill sent out to the airline during the long drive home, and the detailed follow-up e-mail he sent to the company about the ordeal.

Read the Fine Print

The Department of Transportation doesn’t require airlines to compensate passengers for damages when flights are delayed or canceled, according to the Aviation Consumer Protection Division. Each carrier spells out how it handles canceled flights in a “contract of carriage,” which can be found on the airline’s Web site. Print this out before you head to the airport, so when issues arise you will have the pertinent pages on hand for reference and even show to an airline employee who may not be familiar with the details.

For example, JetBlue’s customers whose flights are delayed for an hour after departure because of a “controllable irregularity” like a maintenance issue are entitled to a $25 credit good for future travel and $50 for delays from two to five hours. Delta says it offers meal vouchers to passengers delayed for more than four hours after departure time and will put passengers up in a hotel when the delay is between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. You may also demand a refund for a canceled flight from any airline — even if it’s because of inclement weather — if you decide not to take the trip.

Europe does better by passengers. European Union airlines flying to or from a member state are required to pay customers up to 600 euros, or about $790 at $1.31 to the euro, depending on the length of the delay and length of the flight, when the problem is the carrier’s fault. Even for weather delays of at least two hours or more, passengers are entitled to hotel rooms and meals. The rules also apply to any flight by any airline departing the European Union, though enforcement outside Europe can be difficult.

Advertisement
Continue reading the main story

Advertisement
Continue reading the main story

Avoid Being Bumped

The last passengers to check in for a flight are often the first to be bumped when a flight is oversold. So be sure to check in before you head to the airport. Many airlines allow customers to check in online, as much as 24 hours in advance.

If you do get bumped, ask for cash, not a voucher. Passengers who are involuntarily bumped and rebooked on another flight within two hours after their original domestic flight time (or within four hours for international flights) are entitled to $400 in cash, according to the Department of Transportation regulations. If they are not rerouted within that two-hour window, they are eligible for up to $800.

Even stricter rules apply in Europe, where compensation ranges from 125 euros to 600 euros, depending on the length of the flight and the amount of time the passenger would be delayed.

At least one airline, Delta, recently introduced another twist to the bumping game. In November, Delta started taking bids from passengers at check-in willing to give up their seat on oversold flights. The move, the airline stated on its blog, blog.delta.com, eliminates the “auction process” at the gate and avoids inconveniencing passengers. But it’s also a way for the airline to pay less for freeing up seats when a flight is oversold.

Report Lost Bags Immediately

If your bags don’t make it off the plane, report the lost luggage to airline personnel before you leave the airport. The Department of Transportation makes this clear in its Fly-Rights guide, adding: “Insist that they create a report and give you a copy, even if they say the bag will be in on the next flight. Get an appropriate phone number for following up (not the Reservations number).”

Most airlines will try to return your bags within 24 hours but make no promises about reimbursing you for your costs. In fact, liability rules favor the airlines, not the passengers. For a trip within the United States, an airline can invoke a ceiling of $3,300 a passenger on the amount of money it must pay if the bag cannot be found, according to the Transportation of Department.

Airlines generally determine the amount of compensation they pay based on the depreciated value of the baggage. But it’s up to you to submit a claim, and waiting too long to do so could invalidate that claim. Many airlines require travelers to file an initial complaint before they leave the airport. If the bag is never found, American, for example, must receive a written claim no later than 30 days after the initial report. For Delta, it’s 21 days. All the more reason to pack light and carry on.

Heli-Skiing in Alaska Check Out the Planet’s Most Extreme Winter Sport

uper-advanced ski and board hounds are heading north to take advantage of the planet’s most extreme winter-sports experience: Heli-skiing in Alaska.

Here in the Great Northwest, vapor trails of powder, tracing the rugged glaciated slopes are the visual norm, making Alaska the Holy Grail for those who worship the great snow wave.

Make no mistake, the difference between schussing at a Rocky Mountain resort and heli-skiing hedonism in Alaska is just as vast as the disparity between struggling in East Coast slush and tearing up West Coast powder.

The first thing to know about heli-skiing holidays in Alaska — and we know, this is very basic — is that ski lifts are not part of the equation.

Sure, there are a few Alaskan resorts with traditional lifts and below-tree-line terrain accessible to skiers and riders of all levels. But you’ve come to the farthest reaches of the continental United States to ride uncharted terrain, and a whirly bird is the only chariot that can deliver you away from the masses to your peak mountain experience.

Helicopter rides of a few minutes or more are your way up the mountain. And all heli-skiing action takes place in the southwest of Alaska in the Chugach Mountains near the town of Valdez.

To powder hounds, the name Valdez hardly conjures a doomed oil tanker. Rather, the town is a prime departure point for forays atop glaciated peaks where razor-sharp ridges and plunging chutes tempt daredevils to dip their tips into the great white beyond.

In addition to Valdez, other heli-ski guide services operate out of the towns of Cordova and Girdwood. The best bet for planning a trip is to get organized early (spots are often filled a year in advance) by contacting individual tour operators about packages on offer.

Don’t be afraid to approach organizing your trip with all the detailed vigilance of planning a wedding — after all, a heli-skiing holiday involves a serious outlay of cash for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and you want to make sure you get the best operator for your individual needs. Here are a few companies we recommend.

Points North Heli-Adventures, Inc.


The only heli-ski operator using the remote southeastern side of the Chugach Mountains as a base, Points North Heli-Adventures accesses more than 1,500 square miles of rideable terrain. An average day takes in 20,000 to 30,000 vertical feet and an intermediate skiing ability is advised for all participants. PNH is the only heli-ski operator based in Cordova, a roughly 30-minute flight from Anchorage (there are also daily flights from Seattle and Juneau), and the company’s season runs from late February to late April.

Chugach Powder Guides

When it comes to diversity of offerings (including heli-skiing, snow-cat skiing and resort-based operations from Alyeska Resort), this company scores big. The guaranteed access to between 80,000 and 100,000 vertical feet per seven-day heli-itinerary is a big lure for adrenaline junkies. And the exclusive mountain setting of the company’s high-end heli-hotel, the Tordrillo Mountain Lodge, makes for the ultimate in downhill decadence (packages include lodging, air transfers from the Anchorage airport, all meals and heli-flights). Chugach Powder Guidesare based in Girdwood, AK, roughly 40 miles south of Anchorage. Access to Tordrillo Mountain Lodge is by ski plane in winter or float plane in the summer months (40 minutes flying time from Anchorage).

Valdez Heli-Ski Guides


Catering exclusively to advanced and expert riders, this Valdez-basedoperator offers heli-skiing packages that include lodging at the Valdez Harbor Inn. Seven-night packages include accommodation, breakfast and lunch and a guaranteed 30 skiable runs out of 36 helicopter rides. The company also offers single day packages (with six runs).

A few things to know:

The season: The heli-skiing season runs only 12 weeks, from February to the end of April. The earlier part of the season means colder temperatures– but also deeper powder stashes, which can easily reach waist height. In April the powder is more likely to come to your shins, but longer daylight hours and warmer temperatures have their own appeal.

The terrain: All Alaskan heli-ski operators access the same terrain in the Chugach Mountains, where weather patterns born in the Gulf of Alaska mix with cold Arctic air to produce powder that’s uniformly fabulous. To ensure safety and lessen the avalanche risk, the skiers proceed one by one down the slopes, following the guide who leads them to safety stops along the way.

Heli-Time: Safety standards are uniformly high and helicopter quality, maintenance and pilot prowess is not an issue when deciding between the various companies. You should, however, inquire if the company charges all heli-time (hours flown) up front, as flight time that’s cancelled due to the region’s often-tumultuous weather patterns is usually not reimbursed.

Puerto Rican Outdoor Adventures

The unique island of Puerto Rico is home to diversified climates and distinct terrains. Lush jungles and rivers meet mountains, dry forests and miles of beautiful coastline, making this the perfect destination for nature enthusiasts. From caving to zip-lining, this small island has enough adventure for everyone.

Caving
Much of Puerto Rico’s geologic landscape consists of soft limestone, ideal for cave formation. Two of the island’s best-known caves are Angels Cave and Ro Camuy Cave Park; both are large and perfect for spelunking. Angels Cave is home to natural pools and striking calcite formations. Thrill seekers can begin their exploration with a 200-foot rappel down Angel’s Sinkhole.

Camuy Caves is one of the world’s largest, most dramatic cave systems. Only a small part of this preserve is open to the public, consisting of 3 sinkholes and 2 caves. However this subterranean labyrinth is full of breathtaking beauty: an underground river, dense tropical vegetation climbing toward the sunlight and the dramatic Clara Cave. While many choose to explore on foot, all of this is comfortably visible from the park’s trolley system. The grounds also include a cafeteria, picnic area, gift shop, walking trail and an exhibition hall. Advanced explorers can arrange for special tours and rappelling trips through other sections of the park.

There are many travel agencies that offer adventurous caving programs. Aventuras Tierra Adentro and Adventours provide private tours, transportation, equipment, knowledgeable guides and safety instructions.

Sail and Snorkel
Puerto Rico offers spectacular snorkeling; when the conditions are right, visibility extends from 50 to 75 feet. Mona Island, Caja de Muertos and Fajardo are some of the island’s best locations for undersea exploration.

Off the shore of remote Mona Island, reefs are alive with rainbow-hued fish, moray eels, turtles, clownfish and octopuses — it’s the single largest concentration of reef fish life in Puerto Rico. Bring your own snorkeling equipment (most hotels will rent them) because none is available on the island.

Off the city of Ponce’s coast, Caja de Muertos offers some of the best snorkeling in the Southern Coastal Plain region. Several adventure outfits, like Island Venture Water Excursions, will transport you to this remote spot for a full day of snorkeling. On Puerto Rico’s eastern coast, the crystal clear waters along the Fajardo beachfront are mainland Puerto Rico’s best snorkeling spots.

Companies like The Sailing Catamaran will sail you to any of these remote Puerto Rico islands for a full day in the sun. Ground transportation to and from the boat can be arranged; a delicious, fresh lunch buffet is served; beer and mixed drinks are readily available and, of course, snorkeling equipment is provided.

Zip-Lining
Companies like Puerto Rico’s Acampa offer a bevy of adventure tours, chief among them being a trek and zip-line through the Toro Negro rainforest. Located in Cordillera Central, the Toro Negro rainforest is much less visited and 1,000 feet higher than the El Yunque rainforest. Transportation to this remote ecosystem is included in the tour; then trekkers will hike down through a coffee plantation to enter Quebrada Rosa, a beautiful and unspoiled creek. From here, adventurers will climb and rappel down a waterfall, enjoy a meal prepared by a local family, and zip-line back through the forest above waterfalls, canyons and lush forests.

Hike El Yunque
In Puerto Rico’s humid interior, the Caribbean National Forest, known more commonly as El Yunque, covers 28,000 acres of mountainous rainforest terrain. The trails here are cloaked in tropical ferns and palm trees; some lead to hidden waterfalls where hikers are encouraged to cool off. Other more aggressive trails climb to mountain summits — these are recommended for active hikers only. The trails here are rigorously managed by the US Forest Service, as are the picnic facilities and paved trails for those who need assistance.

Island Walkers is a small outfit that offers guided tours through this magnificent array of ecosystems. Your guide is owner, John Druit, who vowed after visiting El Yunque on an ethnobotanical expedition in the 1970s to protect the jungle from deforestation. His passion and knowledge are both unmatched and contagious.

Florida Outdoors Adventures

As appealing as Florida’s 663 miles of sandy coastline may be, there’s more to the state than the view from a beach towel.

From the coral reefs dotting the turquoise waters offshore to the waving saw grass plains of its swampy interior, the Sunshine State offers a bounty of natural beauty to explore.

Take advantage of the balmy year-round climate, and add an active element to your next Florida getaway. These adventures are easy day trips from major urban base camps, yet still off the well-worn tourist path. Mouse ears definitely not included.

Bike Through the Everglades
Cars aren’t allowed beyond the visitor center at the Shark Valley entrance to Everglades National Park, 38 miles west of downtown Miami. A two-hour tram tour covers the 15-mile paved loop that penetrates the park’s interior, but hitting the trail with a rental bike from the gateway kiosk allows for quiet contemplation of this swampy plain the Miccosukee called Kaa-ha-yat-le, where alligators languish in the saw grass and wood storks, ibis and great white herons probe the brackish water for fish. A 65-foot observation tower at the halfway mark provides panoramic views up to 18 miles across the subtropical wilderness, the largest in the U.S.

Tip: Paired with an airboat concession and gift shop, the ramshackle Coopertown Restaurant outside the park has served fresh-from-the-marsh meals of catfish, frog legs and gator tail since 1967.

Swim With Manatees
From October through March, up to 400 endangered West Indian manatees congregate 70 miles northwest of Tampa at Crystal River, where a confluence of spring-fed waters provide a constant 72-degree comfort zone.

Book two months in advance during peak season to join one of Birds Underwater early-morning trips to swim with these easygoing aquatic mammals, which reach nearly 10 feet in length and weigh up to 1,200 pounds. (Surprisingly, early sailors mistook them for mermaids!) Tours are offered year-round, but the local manatee population drops to 30-40 in summer and clear-water sightings aren’t guaranteed.

Tip: Drive 10 minutes south to learn more about these gentle creatures at the Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park, home to an underwater manatee observatory, rehab center, and three-times-a-day ranger talks.

Paddle With Alligators
One of Florida’s few officially designated “Wild and Scenic Rivers” runs through Myakka River State Park, about 20 miles east of downtown Sarasota. Rent a canoe or kayak on site and paddle the 14-mile section that flows within the park boundaries. The marshes along the route provide fertile feeding ground for sandhill cranes, bald eagles, ospreys and a legendarily large alligator population. The park is also a wonderland of family-friendly activities, from camping and airboat rides to bicycling, fishing and junior ranger programs.

Tip: For a bird’s-eye view on this tropical ecosystem, follow the Boylston Nature Trail to the park’s canopy walkway and 74-foot observation tower.

Horseback Riding Along the Coast
Amelia Island, 33 miles northeast of Jacksonville, boasts America’s only state park with horseback riding on the beach. Within the 200-plus acres of Amelia Island State Park, at the isle’s southern tip, Kelly Seahorse Ranch runs one-hour rides four times a day on a private trail through hardwood forest and along the shoreline. The pace never exceeds a trot, but views of salt marshes, the Atlantic surf and the occasional bottlenose dolphin make for an invigorating five-mile ride.

Tip: Set the stage for romance by booking into the Amelia Island Williams House, a 10-room B&B housed in an 1856 antebellum mansion in downtown Fernandina Beach.

Snorkel/Scuba on Unspoiled Reefs
Even Miami natives have trouble pinpointing Biscayne National Park on a map. The tucked-away locale in Homestead (an hour’s drive south of downtown Miami) and the strict limits on boat traffic yield the healthiest coral reefs in South Florida, home to midnight parrotfish, angel fish, schools of sergeant majors and sizable barracuda. A single snorkeling boat visits the reefs Wednesday through Sunday; scuba trips launch on Saturday and Sunday — often accompanied by dolphins jumping in their wake.

Tip: Before heading back to Miami, make a beeline to El Toro Taco, a family-run BYOB Mexican joint in Homestead that’s low on cost and high on spicy authenticity.

World’s Best Places to Go Skydiving

If you’re ready to take the plunge, here are some of the best-loved skydiving sites, or drop zones, around the globe, each with their own magnificent perspective for your viewing pleasure as you plummet through the atmosphere.

1. Fox Glacier, New Zealand

There are a bounty of shockingly beautiful drop zones in New Zealand, a ground zero for extreme sports and arguably the top country in the world for skydiving, perhaps the most extreme sport of all. A consistent favorite here is Fox Glacier, an 8-mile-long glacier located in the remote Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island. As you free fall, knees in the breeze, marvel at the view of the wild coastline along the Tasman Sea and the snowy rugged peaks of the Southern Alps.

2. Interlaken, Switzerland

Thinkstock
With a long history as a hub for adventure sports, Interlaken continues to rank for many divers as one of the most scenic drop zones in Europe. With views of Italy, France, Germany and Austria stretching out past the snow-capped peaks of Jungfrau and the Matterhorn in the Alps, Interlaken skydiving is a thrill for beginners and experienced divers, too. “Barreling down on the Swiss Alps at near terminal velocity speeds is a ride I will never forget, “ says first-time diver, Andrew Price. And the dive operations here run as one would expect of Switzerland — as smoothly as a cuckoo clock.

3. Dubai, Palm Jurmeirah

Thinkstock
Relative newcomer amid the leading drop zones in the world, Dubai has been catching up, namely by hosting one of the biggest annual international skydive championships, a competition sponsored by The Emirates Aerosport Federation (EAF) and Skydive Dubai. Unlike the other drop zones in this list, Dubai is a city jump. Here you fly over the Palm Jumeirah, the artificial archipelago made of reclaimed land jutting out from the city’s urban marina, where you’ll get a mind-blowing view of the Persian Gulf and the whole of Dubai.

4. Snohomish, Washington, United States

Getty Images
As you fall through the sky above Snohomish, WA, your eyes might pop, but not from the winds that make a falling skydiver’s cheeks and lips flap in the breeze. No, your eyes will pop from the sheer glory of the 360-degree panoramic view that surrounds you, featuring Mt. Rainier and Mt. Baker in the Cascades Mountain Range and the green San Juan Islands. From mountain to sea, this drop zone is renowned for being one of the most gorgeous in the US.

5. North Wollongong Beach, Sydney, Australia

iStock
Captain Ahab would never have believed one could whale watch from 1,400 feet in the air, but if he’d had the chance, I’m certain he’d have done it. Indeed, the feeling of seeing the world from a bird’s perspective is thrilling, and even more so when that view includes the shoreline of Sydney, Australia, with whales and dolphins frolicking in the deep blue waters. Offering both tandem and solo jumps, the dive centers in this area let you land on North Wollongong Beach itself — so you could opt for a swim right after touchdown. Now that’s a good day, mate.

6. Pattaya, Thailand

iStock
Reportedly the only full-time drop zone in Southeast Asia, the skydiving in Thailand’s Nong Kho Reservoir near Pattaya is an adventure traveler’s dream come true. With a hair-raising view of the western coast of Thailand, you fall into lush green fields to find a safe landing with support from this drop zone’s well-trained international staff. Located about one hour south of Bangkok, the dive center here has a shuttle to and from the backpacker haven of Khao San Road, so you can get back to Bangkok, if you must, in time for a celebratory post-dive curry and Thai massage.

Animals in the Caribbean

Animal lovers seeking a creature-oriented vacation can’t go wrong in the Caribbean. From rare birds and colorful reef fish to majestic whales and jumbo sharks, animals are aplenty from Puerto Rico to the Cayman Islands. So pack up the fish identification cards, bird binoculars and sharky snacks, it’s time to go on a critter quest.

Reptiles, Fish and Birds on Mona Island, Puerto Rico
Forty-two miles west of Puerto Rico lies Mona Island, a 13,000-acre protected reserve where as many as 100 endangered species and 270 types of fish make their home. Known as the “Caribbean Galapagos,” the island features hawksbill and leatherback sea turtles, red-footed boobies and the indigenous Mona iguana. The island is uninhabited, but camping is permitted and many outfitters offer multi-day camping and snorkeling trips. Leatherback turtle nesting season lasts from April to October, when a massive migration of hatching babies make the break from nest to the sea.

Caribbean Reef Sharks in the Bahamas
If your bucket list includes the sight of a shark’s mouth close to your face, your dream is as close as Nassau, Bahamas. Stuart Cove’s, a full-service dive resort, offers a 2-tank scuba dive at sites where Caribbean reef sharks congregate. The first plunge takes certified divers along a steep underwater reef wall. Sharks swim alongside the group as they head to a feeding site. On the second plunge, divers kneel on the sandy bottom in a semi-circle around a bait box. Guides then control the release of food using long poles. Watching the 5- to 8-foot sharks devour their feed is not dangerous; Caribbean reef sharks do not associate humans with food.

Humpback Whales in the Silver Banks
Between January and March, humpback whales mate and calve in the Silver Bank, a region in the Atlantic between Turks and Caicos and the Dominican Republic. Snorkelers can slip into the water and swim with the majestic 10- to 12-foot calves as their mothers watch from below. Participants get close to the whales on inflatable rafts and guides give instruction on how to approach the curious calves using slow, gentle movements. The Aggressor Fleet offers week-long expeditions departing from Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic on the 120-foot Turks and Caicos Aggressor II, which sleeps up to 18 guests.

Birds and Bats in Trinidad
Trinidad’s mountainous terrain is full of animals, especially those that fly. The Asa Wright Lodge near the city of Arima is considered one of the premiere birding locations in the world and is home to more than 170 species of birds, including toucans, manikins, tanagers and the rare oilbird.

Travelers interested in bats should head to Mount Tamana, the highest point in the island’s Central Range. Guides lead hikers up a steep, 30-minute climb to an intricate cave system, where more than 500,000 bats roost during the day. At sunset, the group returns to the entrance of the caves to watch as a constant stream of bats flies within inches of peoples’ faces.

Stingrays in Cayman Islands
These graceful, prehistoric fish usually stay hidden, burrowing into sandy ocean floors, waiting for prey. But in the Grand Cayman’s North Sound at the aptly named Stingray City, local southern stingrays glide through the water, suck squid from your fingers and gently brush your face with their wings. (Don’t worry, they don’t sting, unless you pull their tail.). Scuba divers kneel at 10 to 12 feet on the sandy ocean floor while snorkelers hover on the surface of the water or swim in a shallower location for a look.

Whale Sharks in Utila
The smallest of The Bay Islands of Honduras in the Caribbean Sea, Utila is one of the best places to swim with the elusive whale shark, the world’s largest fish. The best time to find the pelagic creatures, which average 30 feet in length, is March to April and August to September, although a few of the solitary animals can be found off the north shore most months of the year.

Tips for a Stellar Camping Trip

Sleeping under the stars is not always as simple as it sounds. Just think of all the planning that goes into selecting the right camping gear and campground in the first place. Before your next great, outdoor adventure, you might consider a refresher in campsite basics such as fire building and food preparation safety. Check out our camping list of essential dos and don’ts to help you prepare for your trip.

Do check out the gear reviews at campist. While heated chairs, cordless bug zappers and even portable showers may seem high-tech and cool, consider the type of trip you’re planning (multi-day backcountry backpacking trip, or family camping excursion in developed campgrounds). Check out campist to avoid any impulse purchase.

Don’t forget camping essentials. Must-bring items for your backpack include a first-aid kit, compass and maps, and emergency equipment. It may be tempting to leave behind these essential, but seemingly boring basics, especially when trying to pare down your backpack content. Still, after minor trouble on the trail, you may find yourself longing for the bug spray or roll of gauze you left behind. (Check out our camping tips and tricks for more suggestions on must-have camping gear.)

Do leave behind a copy of your itinerary. People can only help in the event of an emergency — if they know your whereabouts. Leave behind a detailed copy of your travel plans, so friends or family can follow-up with you to ensure you get home on time.

Do confirm the campground’s pet policy. Before bringing along your 4-legged friend, don’t forget this step. While most national parks do not welcome pets, many state and private campgrounds require a small fee. DogFriendly.com offers a list of pet-friendly campgrounds and RV parks with amenities such as off-leash areas. If you do bring your dog along, pack a leash, tether, a collapsible water bowl and plenty of food.

Do arrive before nightfall. Setting up camp in the dark can be complicated even for seasoned campers. Getting a head start ensures you can explore your immediate surroundings and build a campfire for food and warmth while it’s still light out.

Do follow fire safety protocol. To keep you and your natural surroundings safe from fast-moving fire, fire safety protocol is a must. The national nonprofit Tread Lightly! offers guidelines for campfire safety, including tips for safely building a fire if the site doesn’t include a contained fire ring. Resist the urge to pile on the firewood to maintain a small and controllable fire; also let the fire burn to ash before turning in for the night.

Don’t limit your meal variety. Franks and beans for breakfast, lunch and dinner? C’mon, you can do better than that. With some planning and the right equipment, you can get creative with campfire cooking. Whip up eggs and pancakes in a cast iron skillet, and prepare fish (even better if it’s freshly caught!) steamed with potatoes and vegetables in a foil packet. You can also add variety to your campground meals with gourmet prepared foods from Packit Gourmet.

Don’t leave food unattended. Your campsite should be tidied up before you go hiking for the day or go to sleep. Follow posted signs or ask the camp ranger or campground attendant about proper food safety to avoid unwanted animal encounters. Some campgrounds provide bear lockers to store your food during your stay.

Do your part to minimize your eco-footprint. While communing with nature is nice, so is being ecologically mindful. The most important way you can help is to leave with everything you came with — especially your trash. Also, bring along an extra trash bag to collect any litter left behind by less-considerate campers.

Remember, you’re not likely to encounter a helpful hotel concierge or 24-hour convenience store along the path to your campsite. Taking the time to organize and plan will make your time on the trail more pleasant. Now, all that’s left to do is grab your backpack and lace up your hiking shoes for a worry-free camping trip.

Great Spots for Glamping

Combine sleeping under the stars with the perks of a swanky hotel. Glamping — that’s glamorous camping — lets you savor the great outdoors without leaving behind the comforts of home.

Sure, you’re trading in 4 walls for sturdy canvas. But no shortage of comfort awaits your visit, with electricity, real beds (no air mattresses here) and even bathrooms in spacious tents. No need to lug your camping gear or struggle with tent assembly, either; that’s all taken care of at these glamping accommodations around the world.

Banyan Tree Madivaru
Common campgrounds rarely make you think “glamour.” Not this one. With the Maldives as its backdrop, this sprawling campsite — it’s called a villa — comes with sturdy timber floors and elegant teak furniture. Tents in each of the resort’s 6 villas feature king-sized beds, billowing white curtains and a bathroom with a private outdoor shower (a pair of spa beds is included for a facial or massage.) Each villa also has a private pool and deck area. Playing the role of camp counselor, an island host leads visitors on snorkeling trips to Madivaru Island’s lagoons and reefs, plus dolphin and manta safaris in the Indian Ocean.

El Capitan Canyon
This coastal resort oozes Southern California cool. Get cozy and search the night skies for the Big Dipper from the comfort of a bed in an adventure yurt; it includes a canvas roof with a domed skylight in the canvas roof. Embrace the camping community spirit through yoga, docent-led hikes along the Bill Wallace trail or family-friendly summer concerts of jazz, funk and surf music. During the summer, a professional storyteller spins tales of the sprawling night sky’s constellations and the Chumash Native Americans who once called this land home.

Longitude 131°
This eco-friendly campsite in Australia’s Outback doesn’t skimp on comfort. Each of the campsite’s 15 airy tents includes king-sized beds surrounded by a wall of blinds. With a flip of a switch, check out Technicolor sunrise over Ayers Rock, or Uluru, the large sandstone rock formation that makes this area famous. Take your pick from activities such as a sunrise stroll through the desert for the sights and sounds of Uluru at dawn as the birds greet the new day. You can also customize a private tour with a luxury 4-wheel drive, helicopter, Harley or even camelback journey. Return to camp for a 3-course meal at Table 131°, a restaurant in the desert where the chef uses native Bush ingredients both common (macadamia nuts) and unique to western palettes (fruits such as pepperberry and quandong) to create local specialties such as Wagyu beef, kangaroo, NT Barramundi and Tasmanian salmon.

Teapot Lane
Enjoy the secluded Irish countryside at this campground in County Leitrim, Ireland. Set up camp in any of the 2 cabins or 3 dome-shaped yurts with king-sized beds and wood-burning stoves. Down the road, a local organic farm sells veggies to prepare a stir fry in the campground’s communal kitchen. The nearby town of Bundoran has a reputation as a surfing spot; it’s even played host to European surfing championships. If you’re hoping to catch some Zs instead of waves, indulge in a reflexology massage or kick back by the campground’s fire pit for an evening of craic (that’s Irish for fun) with a few pints and traditional Celtic tunes.

The Resort at Paws Up
Montana
Relish the Big Sky Country while sleeping in a tent with multiple rooms, bathrooms with showers, and beds with comfy linens. The fanciest tent, Tango Point, includes a jetted tub and dining room. Forget anything at home or just looking for more ways to relax? Your personal camp butler will bring you an extra pillow, help get the campfire started (and supply the s’mores) or suggest nearby resort activities such horseback riding, yoga and fishing. The camp chef prepares rustic family-style meals in the dining pavilion, such as ribs smothered in chipotle barbecue sauce, bison steak and smoked trout cakes. So, leave the camp stove and water purifier at home – that air mattress, too! You’ll find the posh comforts of home at these sites, with the great outdoors just beyond your posh glamp door.