The First Time Camper – Top Travel Tips

With summer comes the opportunity to get outside and enjoy the long warm days and the cool crisp nights. It’s a time to leave the confines of the city and head to seclusion of the wild. Leaving your cares and worries behind, so you can simply relax and in turn, relax simply. It’s time to go camping.

So, let’s be honest, for some people the mere thought of camping is far from a vacation. To others, however, it’s a great escape; a chance to spend time outdoors and to reconnect with the spirit of nature. Now, if you’re a first time camper it is important for you understand a few things up front. Unlike staying in a traditional hotel or condo, you have to differentiate between essential items to pack and those that are more luxurious and probably not needed. For example: will you be staying in place that has cell phone service or Wi-Fi? Do you need an entire make-up bag or can you get by with just a few basic items? Most importantly, how do you plan to stay warm, dry, and fed during your camping trip? The key to safe and successful camping is knowing what necessities to bring with you and what to leave behind.

Your needs may be very different depending on the type of camping you plan on doing. If you are camping in a rustic cabin, tent camping at a campground, or hiking into the woods and pitching a tent they will all call for varying items. Since it is a good idea to have some camping experience under your belt before you go off deep into the woods, your best bet is to start by reserving a campsite at a campground. Even then, there are some important thing to consider when packing for your trip.

Utilities

Before you even start to make a list of items to pack, be sure to find out if the campground has available utilities. If they do not provide electricity, for example, then bringing that plug in cappuccino machine won’t be of much use. Alternatively, you can bring battery operated equipment, but be sure to take additional batteries. If the campground offers running water and hot showers, then you don’t have to worry about taking gallons of water to weigh you down. Finally, find out if there is a grill or fire pit provided so you can plan on how you will be cooking your meals. Getting this information ahead of time will go a long way in avoiding unneeded frustration later.

Weather- Plan for Rain

As much as we would all like to think that our trip will be rain free and that weather forecasting is a perfect science, the fact is, it is always best to plane for the worst. This means planning for both rain and sunshine alike. There is nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the night, only to find the floor of your tent soaking wet. So regardless of the forecast, place a tarp or large piece of plastic under your tent to help keep you dry. Also, be sure to have plenty of seam sealer and duct tape, just in case you spring a leak… or two.

While you’re at it, it’s a good idea to also pack some ponchos, raincoats, or umbrellas as well. These items can help you stay dry so that you can still enjoy your activities even when the weather doesn’t want to cooperate. I always like to bring additional socks with me, too. Since there is no clothes dryer nearby, it is pretty miserable to have to go around with wet feet. These items don’t take up much room, so they’re worth adding to your list to pack.

Protect Your Skin

While it can be fun soaking up the warmth of the hot sun, it’s no so fun getting a nasty sunburn. The sun can be deceiving, so make sure to bring sunscreen with a high enough SPF level to keep your skin protected. Generally, this is going to be a SPF of 30 or higher and I tend to prefer the type that won’t run with sweat. Be mindful of younger children, the elderly, and those with fair skin may need a stronger version. Having a hat with a visor to wear while you are out walking, by the lake, or on the water will add an additional layer of protection during those unexpected heat waves.

Protect Yourself from Insects

Regardless where you camp, a few different kinds of insects will probably cross your path. Bring at least one can of insect repellent with you on your trip. You will most likely enjoy the outdoors a lot more if you’re not spending all of your time swatting away pesky pests. That being said, be sure to check your clothes for any insects that might be hiding in there.

Thick Layers

Because warm days can quickly turn to chilly nights, you will want to pack for all occasions. Go ahead and throw a swim suit in your bag, but you will also want to pack a long sleeve shirt, long pants, and a sweatshirt. If you are camping in a warm climate you may not be concerned about the chilly nights, but it is still important to think ahead, consider weather patterns, and pack accordingly. Bottom line; it is always better to peel layers off than to wish you had brought warmer clothing.

Food

One of the greatest things about camping is being able to experiment with cooking. Whatever you decide to cook on your trip, also consider the essential tools to make the process easier. Tinfoil works wonders when cooking vegetables, for example, and don’t forget to bring a spatula or grilling fork if you’re cooking meat. As much as you might like to only pack paper plates and plastic utensils, you will not be very happy when your plastic fork melts while flipping steaks over the campfire. This doesn’t mean you have to pack the whole kitchen (after all the goal is to pack light), but you will want a few multipurpose tools to make your cooking experience a little easier. Finally, if you are packing meats, condiments, or dairy products, be sure to have large enough cooler that will maintain temperature during your trip. Remember, depending on where you are staying, ice may not be readily accessible. You don’t want your food to spoil before it can be eaten.

Planning for a camping trip may seem like a lot of work, but planning ahead and ridding your packing list of unnecessary items can help simplify the process. When all is said and done, the most important things to consider are your basic fundamental needs: food and water, shelter, clothing, and safety. Everything else is optional and can only add to the enjoyment of your camping experience.

Camping is an opportunity to reconnect with nature, enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, and experience a different way of life. Enjoy the essence of camping by leaving a few luxuries behind and getting away from the hustle and bustle of your everyday routine. By keeping it simple and planning ahead, camping can be a fun and stress free way to enjoy the great outdoors while spending quality time with friends and family.

Where to Find Vacation Deals – A Guide to Comparison Search Tools, Travel Discount Apps, & More

There are many ways to find vacation deals these days. The average person who once didn’t have access to airfare and hotel discounts can now easily look over and compare tons of great deals for business travel, vacation packages, cruises, and more. If you’re wondering where to find vacation deals, you’re already off to a good start.

One place you’ll want to look is comparison sites. These sites work with most major and budget airlines in the world, hundreds of thousands of hotels, all the car rental companies, dozens of cruise lines, and so forth. They provide search tools that are easy to use. All you have to do is enter the dates you’re interested in traveling, your departure city, intended destination, and number of people traveling. There are options to search for airfare alone, hotel accommodation alone, car rental alone, cruise fare, or a combination of these. Sometimes extra savings are possible if you bundle everything at once.

If you don’t have anything specific in mind, there are “Daily Deals”, “Vacation Packages”, “Things to Do”, etc… sections to check out. You will be able to view all of the current deals on both domestic and international vacations.

While this is a great way to find discounts on popular vacation spots like the Caribbean, Cancun, Vegas, Paris, New York, Orlando, Hawaii, etc… , you still might be wondering where to find vacation deals at destinations that aren’t as popular. Just enter the first couple of letters of the destination and the search function will automatically suggest the name of that destination as well as the nearest airport. Play around with the dates – the more flexible you are, the easier it will be to find a discount rate.

Where Else to Find Vacation Deals

Another place to find travel discounts is with newsletters and apps. Have the newest deals sent right to your inbox or smartphone the very second they pop up. Some apps will even let you specify your budget and the destinations you are interested in. There are newsletters dedicated to general travel deals and some that are for specialty travel, like Caribbean cruises and Maui adventures.

There are bidding sites as well that will allow you to bid on hotel rooms and airfare. However, you need to be particularly savvy and this strategy isn’t for everyone.

Now that you know where to find vacation deals, be sure to use a service that is reliable and offers 24/7 customer service, whether you choose to the search and comparison option, newsletter service, app, etc. Also, use promo codes and other special offers to bring the price down even more.

Get all of the savings opportunities you need online. It is by far the best place to search for, find, and compare travel rates. You can also book right through the sites or apps. This is where to find vacation deals and affordable business travel services. Be sure to use online coupons when you book your trip.

Are You Eligible for These Sunshine State Travel Discounts?

If a Florida vacation is in your future, then find out if you’re eligible for these travel discounts in the Sunshine State. Although they are relatively easy to get, if you don’t know how or where to apply for them, you’ll totally miss out on some hefty savings.

Save at the Toll Booth

First and foremost, if you have a significant dexterity disability, you may be eligible for a free pass when it comes to Florida’s toll roads. The Disabled Toll Permit saves drivers both time and money; and although it’s often overlooked by visitors, it’s easy to obtain if you meet the minimum qualifications.

In order to qualify for a Disabled Toll Permit you must have:

  • A valid driver’s license
  • An upper limb or dexterity disability that prevents you from tossing coins into a toll booth basket
  • An adapted vehicle

The permit is valid for five years, and it can be used at manned toll booths throughout the state. Just show the toll booth operator your permit, and you’re good to go. For more information about the Disabled Toll Permit, call (800) 983-2435.

Once you receive your Disabled Toll Permit, you can also apply for a Sun Pass non-revenue mini transponder. There is a $4.95 fee for this electronic device that attaches to the windshield, and allows users to pass through unmanned toll booths at no charge.

For more information about a Sun Pass non-revenue mini transponder, call the Florida Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged at (561) 488-5344.

State Park Savings

Additionally, veterans with a service-connected disability can receive a free military entrance pass, good for admission to all Florida State Parks. This lifetime pass is valid for park admission of up to eight people, except at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife and Weeki Wachee Springs parks, where it’s good for up to two people.

Proof of identification, service-connected disability and honorable discharge are required. Acceptable documentation includes:

  • Valid driver’s license.
  • Documentation from Department of Defense or another appropriate agency of service-connected disability.
  • DD Form 214 showing honorable discharge.

The military entrance pass can only be obtained in person at any Florida State Park. Surviving Spouses and parents of US military members who have died in combat are also eligible for this pass.

Honorably discharged veterans can also receive a 25% discount on individual or family passes. These passes, which are valid for one year, are good for admission to all parks. A valid driver’s license and a DD Form 214 are required to get the discount; and like the military entrance pass, it can only be obtained in person.

And if you don’t qualify for either of those passes, but you plan to visit a number of Florida State Parks, you can still save some money by purchasing an individual or family annual pass. These passes are good for one year and they can be purchased at any state park entrance. The individual pass is priced at $60, while the family pass costs $120.

So plan ahead, bring your documentation, and rack up some savings on your next Florida vacation.

Affordable Travel Packages: Tips for Choosing the Ideal Vacation Package for Your Upcoming Trip

Finding and choosing the right vacation package has never been easier. There are so many tools on the internet to help you find discount hotel deals, bargain airfare, and more. Whether you’re looking for last minute deals or all-inclusive vacations, all you have to do is look over affordable travel packages and compare all of the offers. Which one is ideal for your travel needs?

When evaluating a package, one of the important things to consider is accommodation. There are so many types of accommodation, including budget hotels, chain hotels, hostels, cabins, inns, large resorts, serviced apartments and condos, etc. If you plan on spending most of your trip outdoors and have access to reliable transportation such as a rental car or bus, it’s okay to stay at a cheap hotel with basic amenities.

Do you really need an all-inclusive package? Are the “inclusions” even worth paying for? It all depends on what you really want out of a vacation. For most people, airfare, clean room, free breakfast, and free Wi-Fi is enough. Before selecting an all-inclusive package, ask yourself if you can do without some of the stuff it comes with.

Another important consideration is location. There can be hotels all over a city. Don’t think that just because you’re getting a room at a low price that you will be saving money. Depending on its location, you could end up paying more on a car rental, bus, or taxi. You might not even have to rent a car if your hotel is located walking distance from all of the places you plan to visit. At the very least, there should be a supermarket within walking distance so you can grab a few necessities.

Beware of Scam Affordable Travel Packages

Always know EXACTLY what you are booking and paying for. Don’t get scammed by so-called “affordable travel packages” that have hidden fees. Not that all of them do – some really are good bargains. You still need to be careful. It also helps to read the terms and conditions to understand the cancellation process. Some packages will charge you money if you have a change of plans and have to cancel. You might even come across some no-refund type of offers.

Use Google Maps or some other type of interactive street map for a better understanding of where a hotel is located in relation to restaurants, shops, bus stations, the airport, train stations, beach, etc. Having an idea of where everything is located will make it easier to sort through affordable travel packages.

Where can you find the most affordable travel packages? At online websites, there are some amazing deals to be found. Whether you to go on a cruise, fly to a big city, stay at a ski resort, etc., just use online discount codes to get a good bargain.