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To Cruise Or Not To Cruise? by Kathryn Whittaker

There is a saying: you haven’t lived until you’ve cruised. Cruises today have become the hottest way to spend holidays. Researchers have found that one in four Americans dreams of cruising around the world. In recent years, discount cruises make cruising available to people of all ages and all levels of income.

What makes a great cruise vacation? First-rate accommodations, exotic locations, sumptuous meals, world-class entertainment, and top-notch facilities – all that for less money. All these features are included in a cruise package even a discount one. You can relax, get pampered, and discover new countries without the stress and jet lag most people experience during vacations abroad.

Research shows that today when picking a way to spend a vacation, people search for something that is drastically different from their everyday life. They seek to completely change the way of living – at least for a short period of time. Psychologists find that the more the difference, the better would be the rest and relaxation. That’s why people go to African safari, hike in a Guatemalan jungle, rent boats in Normandy, or stay on a small island in the Caribbean’s.

A cruise ship is extremely different from the way most people live. You can stick to a scheduled routine or you can sunbathe all day long. It does not matter if you buy full-price or a discount cruise. Even a discount cruise offers all the same features of cruise vacation. Cruise ships today offer the tourists the best of the traveling industry: spas, gyms and restaurants with lots of diet choices, facilities for kids with professional personnel, lots of sports activities from skating to tennis, casinos and even theatres.

When planning a cruise or buying a cruise package, even a discount cruise, you should always make sure to check what is included and what is not. A discount cruise package normally includes the cruise ship transportation, meals and snacks, accommodation, access to the gym and other sport facilities plus, nightly entertainment. However, gambling and spa visits are not usually standard. Most often, the cruise package includes a trip or tour to some of the exciting places on the cruise itinerary.

If not specifically discussed, you would have to pay for your flight to the port from where the cruise leaves, as well as for medical services if these are not covered by your medical plan. On board, you will have to pay for bar beverages except for those that come with meals. Be prepared to pay extra money for any visas that you need, and don’t forget about travel insurance.

You’ll find all the things included in the cruise package are listed in the travel agency brochure. If you are not sure, ask the agent beforehand so you know what to expect.

Have you read enough to start searching for the next available discount cruise package for your family? Make sure you remember these most popular cruise destinations: Bahamas, Bermuda, Caribbean, Hawaii, and Mexico – these are great cruising destinations all year round!

About The Author

Kathryn Whittaker writes articles on a number of different topics. For more information on Cruises please visit and for additional articles on Cruising

Tips for Keeping Your Money Safe While on Vacation by Peter Shannon

When it comes to spending money on vacation you have three main choices. Credit cards, cash, or traveler’s checks.

Credit cards are the safest way to pay for your vacation. If they are stolen you have limited liability and they are easily replaced. The ability to dispute the charges with the credit card company give you protection against poor merchandise or service.

Many transactions such as hotel reservations and car rentals are impossible without a credit card. When traveling overseas you can usually get the best exchange rates using your plastic but beware. The credit card companies have been charging high fees for the privilege and usually don’t tell you ahead of time.

The downside to credit cards is they can be unreliable, especially overseas. You can be in for a real hassle if your card is declined by the merchant or a foreign ATM machine. The chances of this happening are real and increase dramatically when traveling to second and third world countries.

When you use your credit card, don’t let it out of your sight even if it means following your waiter to the register. Before you put the card back in your wallet make sure that it belongs to you.

Cash is the most reliable way to carry money but of course, it is the least safe. American cash is accepted everywhere and you can often haggle for better prices with cash.

But there are many dangers when carrying cash. The most obvious is that it makes you a target for thieves. Don’t flash it around.

Hide your cash on your person but not in a waist money belt. Find or make a pocket on the inside of your clothing where it is difficult to get at. Then keep a small amount in a spare wallet for your walking around cash. You can keep one credit card in with the cash and it doesn’t hurt to throw in some other expendable junk to make it look good. This is what you hand over if you are robbed.

Don’t keep all your cash on your person. Hide some in your personal belongings. Be inventive about finding good hiding places. The hotel safe is a good place to stash a portion. If you spread it around then you won’t be cleaned out in one shot.

Travelers checks are arguably the best way form of money for your vacation with. You can use them almost as readily as cash and they can be easily replaced.

The best way to handle your vacation money is with a combination of all three methods.

About The Author

Peter Shannon is the owner of Here you will find a large collection of vacation and getaway ideas for travelers searchable by theme and location.

Tips for Better Vacation Photos by Peter Shannon

Here are a few tips that will improve the quality of your vacation pictures.

Modern cameras allow are now all point and shoot. But there is one thing that we do have complete control of and that is the composition of the photo.

Good composition can be achieved by anyone. Before you click, take a second to think about three things.

What is the center of interest in the picture? It may be a building, person, animal, or a landscape feature. Whatever it is, stop and get a mental focus on it.

What is the best viewpoint? Maybe you should move to the left or right, back up or get closer, zoom in or out. Each spot will present a slightly different background and foreground. Try to eliminate distractions, things that intrude unnecessarily into the picture.

An easy way to estimate the composition is to make a viewfinder with your hands. Put the tips of your thumbs together, hands flat. Make a square using both thumbs and forefingers. Hold the square up in front of you so that your subject is visible through it.

What makes an effective background? You don’t want the background to contain objects that are irrelevant to the center of focus. A good background will not immediately draw attention away from the foreground by being too powerful.

What makes an effective foreground? Ideally the foreground should catch the eye and lead it to the center of interest. Or it can serve to frame the picture as long as it adds interest and doesn’t become too overpowering.

When taking long shots, don’t let the sky dominate. Look for ways to introduce perspective in the foreground. A road, path, or other objects with strong lines can lead the eye deep into the picture.

A long shot is fine if you are specifically trying to include something in the background. But often it’s difficult to recognize who is in the photo. Don’t be afraid to get in close when the subject is a person. Closeups can get yield some great facial expressions, especially if the shot is unplanned.

Using a digital camera? Go crazy and take a million shots. That way you are sure to have plenty of good pictures and just delete the ones you don’t want.

About The Author

Peter Shannon is the owner of Here you will find a large collection of vacation and getaway ideas for travelers searchable by theme and location.

Tips for Vacationing on a Budget by Peter Shannon

Looking for some vacation money saving ideas? There’s nothing wrong with vacationing on a budget. Hey, we all can’t travel like the rich and famous.

You save all year to get the money for a well earned vacation. You want to stretch your vacation budget but still enjoy yourself. Sounds like a good plan. To help you out I’ve together some vacation money saving ideas that I hope you will find useful.

If you have a particular destination in mind it pays to plan ahead. Research the attractions and facilities. Find out what specials or discounts they may have going. Look for other things to do or see nearby so that you can make good use of your time and cut down on the running from place to place.

Plan your vacation for the off season. You can usually get better deals on lots of things like plane tickets, hotels, car rentals, cruises and lots of other things.

If you have friends or relatives nearby your destination consider asking them if you can stay with them. Don’t be a freeloader though. Even though you help pay for the groceries and other expenses your host incurs, it’s still a good vacation money saving idea.

If you are flying try to plan your trip for when tickets are traditionally cheapest. That would be Feb thru May and September thru December (except the week before Thanksgiving and the two week period before Christmas). Try to avoid flying on Friday afternoons as this is often the busiest time of the week for airlines.

Meals can be expensive at restaurants so you can save some money by packing food for the road.

When eating out try to avoid the places that obviously cater to tourists. Find out where the locals eat. Ask around. The smaller family owned places usually have better food at better prices. You may have to go a little out of your way but it is usually worth it for some vacation money savings.

Hotels are typically more expensive the closer you get to a major attraction. With a little planning you can find a good balance between price and distance.

When picking hotels don’t just go by the ratings. Compare the amenities they offer. Often you will find that you really don’t need everything offered by that 4 star hotel and you can do very nicely at the 3 star…with a better price!

Consider buying or renting an RV. You travel at your own pace. Cooking and bathrooms are always close by. You can meet a lot of other friendly RVers who will usually be glad to point out the best places to go.

When traveling by car you can save fuel by renting a smaller fuel efficient model. Packing light, reducing your speed and maintaining proper tire air pressure will also cut the gas costs.

Make sure that your car is ready for the trip. Good tires, oil change, tune-up and all that good stuff. It’s a heck of a lot cheaper and more convenient to deal with these things before you go rather than on the road somewhere.

Check out the local transportation system of buses, trains or trolleys. These can be considerably cheaper than using taxis.

Camping is a great vacation money saving idea. There are lots of campgrounds around. They are cheap and you may end up with an experience that outshines anything you can get a fancy hotel.

Plan activities that don’t require a lot of money. Hiking, and swimming are good ones. Local Museums and historical sites are often very reasonably priced as well as being quite educational and fun. The big theme parks have their appeal but you can really go through the cash at those places.

Plan picnics. These can be excellent vacation money saving opportunities as well as a chance to really relax and enjoy the local area.

Avoid buying souvenirs. It’s easy to get caught up and blow a bundle on these overpriced goodies. Set some mental rules ahead of time about how much you will spend on souvenirs and it will be easier to stick to it when the time comes.

I hope that you find some of these vacation money saving ideas helpful. Make a plan and stick to it. There’s no reason why you can’t have a great vacation without emptying the bank account.

About The Author

Peter Shannon is the owner of Here you will find a large collection of vacation and getaway ideas for travelers searchable by theme and location.

What to Bring While Vacation Hiking and Walking by Peter Shannon

Here are some suggestions for your walking – hiking vacation equipment. This is not intended as a complete list, just a guide to get you thinking.

The most important item to bring is a quality comfortable daypack or backpack to carry your goodies in. There are few things to keep in mind when choosing the right pack. Wider shoulder straps are more comfortable than narrow ones. Look for extra padding. These two things can save you a good deal of discomfort.

You can also look for packs that have an attached belt that goes around the waist. This can help tremendously to support the weight of the pack.

Make sure you get a pack that is big enough to carry the items you have chosen to bring. This will vary from person to person so try to plan ahead before you purchase your day/back pack.

Look for a pack with quality material that will hold the shape. Multiple compartments can be useful for finding things quickly.

If on a guided tour, keep in mind that the company will probably be moving the big baggage for you.

Water is not an optional item. You should carry enough water to last for the whole duration of your walk. Unfortunately water is fairly heavy and bulky. This is another reason to get a quality comfortable pack that has room enough to hold your water bottles.

The Food that you bring will depend on your individual tastes and the nature of the walk you are planning. High energy snack foods are popular because they are light and carry well in the pack. Others are salty foods, trail mix, hard candy and electrolyte powder or drink.

When it comes to clothing – be prepared for anything.

The key is layers so that you can adjust easily to changes in weather and temperature. For the inner layer, avoid cotton as it absorbs moisture thereby keeping it close to your body. Best are man-made “poly” type fibers. These will wick moisture away from the body.

This includes your socks. A thin inner poly layer can be covered with a thicker layer of another material for cushioning.

The outermost layer should be wind resistant and don’t forget a raincoat. If you are properly prepared walk in the rain can be a wonderful experience.

Make one of your optional layers a heavy wool sweater along with warm wool hat. These can be extremely useful when “sunny and cool” suddenly turns to “cloudy, damp, and cold”.

You can never count on fair weather. Plan for the worst. But don’t let a little bad weather discourage you. Think of it as “atmosphere”. A little wind and rain will make the next pub stop that much cozier.

Invest in a good pair walking, running or hiking shoes that do not bind either at the toes or on the sides. Be sure to break them in before using them on the extended distances.

A hat, preferably with a wide brim, will help keep you cool and protect you from the sun. A bandana is good head protection and is an all around useful item to have.

Sunglasses with polarized lenses are essential eye protection.

For skin protection you will need +30PF or higher sunscreen.

Walking Stick

Moleskin or molefoam for blisters

Insect repellent


First-aid kit

Flashlight (make sure the batteries are fresh)

Camera, film

Notebook and pen





Electrical outlet converter (depending where you travel)

About The Author

Peter Shannon is the owner of Here you will find a large collection of vacation and getaway ideas for travelers searchable by theme and location.

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