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Annabelle

Tips for Picking a Hotel That Is Safe and Affordable When Traveling

When you’re on the road in a location you aren’t familiar with, choosing a hotel can be difficult. You are unaware of a myriad of details that could lead you to picking just a good or a great location to stay. How do you know which ones are safe and which ones are bug-infested rats nests? Knowing where to get the details and how to interpret them can be a science. Here are a few tips for finding the perfect hotel while away from home.

Consider How Long You’re Staying

The duration of your stay should be high on the list of things that go into your decision. If you’re just passing through, a lower-end hotel is perfectly acceptable. You can handle one night on a less than comfortable pillow. However, if you’re going to be there for an extended period of time, you’ll want to find a safer, more affordable hotel.

Ask for Recommendations

If you have a contact within the city you’re visiting, ask them for recommendations for a hotel. Avoid asking people on the street; many hotels in foreign countries will give kickbacks to people who recommend tourists stay there. If you want a truly unbiased source, check with someone you trust.

Look at the Location

You’d ideally want to find a hotel that’s in a central location to the rest of the city. However, keep an eye on your surroundings. Are there a lot of people, or does the area seem deserted? Is it well-lit? If your place is robbed during your stay you may consider getting a lawyer as it might be to hotel’s fault. Issues including inadequate maintenance can be preventable by quality operated hotels. Knowing whether the area you’re in is safe or not can help you decide whether to book the hotel or not.

Consider Family-run Hotels

Rather than going for a major chain with all of the luxuries, look for a smaller, family-run hotel. These are similar to bed and breakfasts. While they may not have all of the amenities you’ve come to expect at a hotel, they can provide a comfortable bed and a safe place to sleep for the night. Isn’t that really all you need?

Avoid Party Hotels

If you’re trying to find a safe place to stay, avoid hotels (or hostels) that are home to a lot of parties. These places are difficult to get any rest in, and the number of drunken shenanigans can get tiring quickly. These hotels are obvious at first glance, usually because they cater specifically to the tourist crowd. If you look for a locally-run hotel that serves business travelers within that country, you can find cheaper deals.

Follow these five tips to save money and get a good night’s sleep. Best of all, most of these are applicable whether you’re within the US or abroad.

Common Mistakes People Make When Buying Their First Vacation Home

A home is probably going to be the largest purchase most people will make in their lifetime, and a vacation home requires even more to think about. As such, there can be a lot of pressure to make the right decisions when obtaining a vacation home. Unfortunately, sometimes people do make big mistakes. With that in mind, here are some of the most commonly made mistakes you should make sure to avoid when buying your first vacation home.

Forgetting There Are More Expenses than Mortgage Payments

One mistake made by first time homebuyers occurs because they are unaware that owning a home requires far more expense than a monthly mortgage payment. Many people may decide to take on a mortgage when they finally have enough income to make the monthly payment. However, this ignores many of the other routine expenses that can be involved.

Common Mistakes People Make When Buying Their First Home 2

This includes things like property taxes, home insurance premiums, electricity bills, water bills and even dues paid to a homeowners’ association. Certainly make sure you know all the expense that will be required to own a specific home before you agree to buy.

Not Getting the Best Home Loan

Another common mistake occurs when new homeowners select the wrong mortgage. The loans you can get will vary depending on the area you are looking at, so it’s important to keep that in mind. There are many home loans beyond the standard mortgage that are designed specifically for people who need financial help obtaining a home. You can find many of them on this website from a mortgage lender in Austin.

This includes options like loans from the Federal Housing Administration, the Veteran’s Administration and the US Department of Agriculture. Loans from these government agencies often come with great benefits for consumers like interest rates lower than regular mortgages. Make sure you qualify for such options before choosing a conventional mortgage.

Choosing a Home Before a Loan

The first step to buying a home should always be getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Part of the reason some people don’t is because they are nervous about the pre-approval process. They may assume that they’ll only be approved for a loan for a home much smaller than they actually want. They may also worry about being rejected outright. However, these fears are often misguided. Being pre-approved for a mortgage first will help you choose the right home from the beginning instead of having your hopes dashed later.

Overall, buying a vacation home is a big deal. There is a lot of decision making required, and it will be a huge financial commitment. Make sure you are well informed on the whole process so you can put some your fears at rest.

Ice-Breakers: Your Checklist For a Successful Winter Fishing Trip

Ice-Breakers - Your Checklist For a Successful Winter Fishing Trip

While going on a fishing trip in the winter time can be a wonderful break from the pace of normal fishing, such an endeavor also requires a slightly different amount of preparation than a normal weekend on the lake.

Research Your Quarry

Look into the type of fishing that you intend to catch. A properly informed fisherman knows when to set out the gear, at what time to expect a peak catch and what to expect when they get a tug on the line.

Keep Warmth in Mind

Make sure to pack multiple layers of clothing and start with some thermal underwear, also known as “long johns.” While it may offer some mild melting effect on the ice surrounding it, a heater is recommended when fishing in harsh cold; this may be less of an issue if you will be fishing within a lake-standing structure. Pack extra sets of clothing in the event that one or more layers gets soaked with water in the event of a fall through the ice.

Think About Safety

It never hurts to be safe when fishing. While you might not think to bring the usual safety attire involved in boating, fishing on the ice runs the risk of slipping through and falling into the water. Be mindful of safe-looking thickness for the ice you’re going to be fishing on. Also consider wearing cleats or other footwear that gives you some traction when walking across slick surfaces or through thick snow.

Look at Your Options

If you don’t live in an area where the conditions are perfect for winter fishing, you can always venture elsewhere for the experience. If you’re looking for the adventure of a winter fishing trip, without all the ice-breaking, you can participate in guided fishing at Queen Charlotte Safaris on Haida Gwaii, where several major salmon runs meet. Winter fishing doesn’t have to mean trudging onto a frozen pond with an ice pick—all you need for a great adventure is water, chilly air, and plentiful fish.

Useful Tools for Breaking Up Ice

While it becomes obvious that you’ll need some sort of tool to break the ice for your fishing spot, such as an auger or even a felling axe, you will also need a skimmer-a large slotted spoon to keep new ice from building up and impeding your fishing. The next thing to consider is what sort of fishing you plan on doing

  1. A traditional rod laden with baits and lures.
  2. Wooden or plastic tip-ups. These differ from a rod in that the line is supported by a static spot and the fisherman grips the line. The end result of using a tip-up is that the overall experience of catching a fish is less intensive.
  3. An old-school spear. Bear in mind that some jurisdictions limit which varieties of fish can be caught with this approach.

If you’ve followed these points about preparation and what to pack, then your winter fishing trip should go swimmingly. Stay warm and enjoy the art of the catch!

Cruising USA: What Travelers Need to Know About Driving in the United States

Cruising USA - What Travelers Need to Know About Driving in the United States

Driving in the United States for the first time can be an exhilarating experience. Because the traffic laws are different from most other countries in the world, it can be very confusing for international travelers. Here are a few things you need to know about US roadways and how to behave while driving in the States.

Wear a seatbelt at all times.

There are laws in place in the United States that require all passengers and the driver to have a seatbelt on whenever the vehicle is in motion. Failing to abide by this can result in legal action, and that’s not something any traveler wants to experience.

Yield to emergency vehicles.

Ambulance, police officers, and firefighters often need to get somewhere fast. When you see an emergency vehicle approaching from behind you, do what you can to pull over and clear a path for them. When you are waiting at a stop light and hear sirens, take a look around and don’t move until you’ve determined where they’re coming from and where they’re going.

Pay attention to the speed limit.

The maximum speed for a specific road is posted at various places along the highway. This speed can chance greatly depending on location; for instance, in school zones, it drops down very low, but on the interstate highways it can be as high as 70 mph. Knowing what the speed limit is and abiding by it is important for preventing legal consequences.

Make sure you have insurance.

In the United States, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle on the roadway without at least liability insurance. This insurance protects your assets in the event of an accident and covers the repairs to the other person’s vehicle. Having underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage is also important, even though many neglect to get it. For this reason, according to an underinsured & uninsured motorists attorney, many people who are injured in car accidents are under-compensated for the damages. Of course, ensuring your own vehicle is properly insured is important too.

The United States drives on the right hand side of the road.

Many countries drive on the left side of the road, but the United States sticks to the right. This can be a confusing experience, especially for drivers from Ireland and the UK. However, knowing this — and abiding by it — is important for preventing accidents. Under no circumstances should a car be driving straight for you.

Following these five basic rules will help you make the most of your travels to the United States. Make sure to brush up on the specific rules of the highway.

Traveling via Public Transportation: What Precautions Should You Take?

Safety experts offer guidelines that every passenger on public transportation can use to remain safe. They say that people should always be on alert and pay close attention to their surroundings. People should keep an eye out for unusual packages or items. Report suspicious people or items to emergency personnel or the local police department.

Rights and Responsibilities

Anyone riding a bus, taking a taxi, or using a shuttle should always understand what they are required by law to do and what responsibilities the law says transportation companies are responsible for in their state. Understanding public transport etiquette like letting disembarking passengers exit the bus before embarking passengers enter the vehicle is expected from bus riders. If you are hurt from the result of an injury from public transportation, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to see what actions are best for you. You can find more information at http://www.ladahlaw.com/nevada/personal-injury-lawyer.

Cover and hide

All valuables should remain out of sight while using public transportation. Jewelry, phones, and wallets need to stay hidden. Women can wear their bags under their coats and button them up to hide their valuables. Men can put wallets in their front pocket to minimize a pickpocket strike.

Items to watch for

Being alert is a critical piece of advice experts can give to the public. People need to be on guard for illnesses, terrorist attacks, and explosive devices. Items left alone could be a sign of a potential problem. People acting erratically, talking unusually, moving strangely, or behaving abnormally should be reported to the driver, police, or other emergency personnel.

Suspicious packages

Any strange package, especially alone, should be investigated in a safe manner. From a distance, the passenger should look for leaking materials, exposed batteries, wires of any color, size, or length, and attached messages. Any employee, police officer, or emergency worker should be immediately alerted.

Oddly-behaving people

Public transportation users should be on the lookout for people who are staring at someone or everyone in a strange way. People who appear overly nervous may or may not be a problem, but they should always be watched closely. Even people who appear like they are lost can be harmful. Any suspicious behavior from people should be reported to an employee or police officer.

When people ride public transportation, they must actively take part in their own safety because things do happen. Vigilant bus riders and taxi riders are an important part of the security of public transportation because their expertise in their surroundings helps them identify threats before bad things happen. Experts also say to refrain from using cell phones and music devices to stay focused on safety concerns.

The Top 10 Best Family Winter Vacations for 2015

The Top 10 Best Family Winter Vacations for 2015

A winter vacation provides an opportunity to spend time with your family while enjoying your favorite winter pastimes. Here are the ten best family winter vacations for 2015.

Head North to…Alaska?

Alaska is great in the winter. Travel is much cheaper and you will experience the Alaska everyone wants to see. You can catch the Aurora Borealis, try dog mushing, and participate in lots of outdoor activities.

Go see the Mouse, and Harry Potter.

In winter, the temperatures are mild in Orlando, Florida. Walt Disney World and Universal Studios are magical with elaborate decorations and shows. If that isn’t enough, you can head over to the Gaylord Hotel and experience the ICE exhibit.

It’s all about the Bahamas, baby!

Warm weather served with an insane waterpark and glorious beaches defines Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas. This resort will thrill the whole family.

Fancy a Victorian Christmas?

Cape May, New Jersey will take you back in time for a more traditional Christmas experience. The charming seaside Victorian town offers a holiday train, caroling, breakfast with Santa, gingerbread house construction, and dozens of other activities for your kids or the kid in you.

How about we hit the slopes?

Snowmass, Aspen, Colorado provides every conceivable snow sport, and caters to every age. There is even a ski gear rental service called Ski Butlers. They will come to your room and fit your family, offer support while you enjoy your ski vacation, and then come pick up your gear before you leave.

Sun and sand for me please.

Clearwater, FL on the Gulf Coast is a relaxed community that is perfect for families. A warmer weather option where amusements abound and great restaurants beckon to those who want a little more laid back vacation.

Explore the “other” New York.

Families love the Adirondack Mountain region for its sporting activities and quiet, cozy cabins. If you dream of staring out at a beautiful winter scene with a steaming hot cup of cocoa in your hand, you could do no better than the Adirondacks.

What kid wouldn’t want to visit a place called Smugglers’ Notch?

This Northern Vermont resort has incredible children’s programs, skiing, a zip line canopy tour, snow shoe trails, and lots of other fun activities and programs for the whole family.

Mom, can we go to the Mall?

This mega mall houses hundreds of stores, an aquarium, Nickelodeon Universe, the Minnesota Children’s museum, many restaurants, a comedy club, adventure golf and a mirror maze. There is even an on-site hotel if you want to avoid Minnesota’s winter weather.

Choose a location and bundle up with your family on vacation this winter. There is no better time to make memories.

 

All Geared Up: 5 Essentials for Your Next Hunting Adventure

Most experienced hunters know that having the proper gear can make the difference between a successful hunting trip and a failed one. The problem is that every year new products hit the market claiming to help you hunt better than ever before. When packing for your hunting trip, how exactly do you figure out the must-haves from the dead weight? The following list features items that we feel can make a difference. Consider these essentials when packing:

Rifle Scopes
If you are going on a backpacking hunting trip in the mountains, you will certainly need a scope for your rifle. There are lots of different opinions when it comes to which rifle scope is best, sufficing to say that it is essential to have one and to know how to zero it. Different retailers offer numerous different rifle scope options along with mounts and other accessories. Since quality rifle scopes can tend to be high in price, seek out discounts and codes from places like Discountrue for retailers like Brownells.

A Hunting Knife (or Knives)
For most hunters, the moment just before the trigger is pulled or the bowstring is released is the most exciting and enjoyable part of the trip. However, once that moment is over you will (hopefully) have some skinning and field dressing to do. A good hunting knife can make the job easier and faster.

A Quality Backpack
You will need to be able to carry all of the other gear on your essentials list so you will need a good backpack. Camouflage backpacks are the popular option when hunting and you may want to choose one without multiple pockets since those can limit the amount of space in the backpack.

Trekking Poles
While these are more commonly associated with hiking, they are valuable on a backpack hunt. Of course, it is possible to hunt without them; however, they can make all the difference and will likely join your list of essentials once you try them.

A First Aid Kit
When you are out in the woods and far from help, the ability to take care of injuries on the spot can literally be the difference between life and death. Accidents do happen no matter how careful you try to be. You should be should be able to disinfect and dress wounds if they occur as well as splint broken bones and handle minor problems like blisters on feet. At the very least, your kit should have bandages and antiseptic ointment along with pain medication and cold drugs.

Obviously, you will need more than just these items for a successful hunt. However, the items above should be among your priorities when packing. They can ensure that your hunt is safe and successful.

6 Entertainment Ideas for your San Diego Vacation

If you are planning a vacation to San Diego, you will never run out of entertainment ideas to explore. This top destination spot has wonderful weather year-round, and it is perfect for a family vacation, getaway for two, or a group adventure. The many attractions, restaurants, and sights to see have made San Diego one of the top cities to vacation in.

Balboa Park

Families that want to kick off their vacation on a good foot should explore Balboa Park. The park not only includes the legendary San Diego Zoo, but many people love the parks, 14 museums, and several theaters on-site. You could also visit one of the many recreational centers or restaurants located within the boundaries of Balboa Park.

Cabrillo National Monument

If you want to enjoy an adventure, fun in the sun, and brush up on your San Diego history, the Cabrillo National Monument is a great entertainment idea. The Cabrillo National Monument has been designated as a historical landmark. The park is not only home to a variety of pristine beaches, but it also consists of beautiful tidal pools and historical lighthouses. Take advantage of the wonderful panoramic views, including the San Diego icon, Old Point Lighthouse.

Tour Brew Hop

If you want to take a tour in San Diego, plan to take one that is entertaining. Brew Hop is one of the most famous tours in this California city because it offers visitors the chance to visit some of the top breweries in San Diego. You will not only experience world-class beers with your buddies, but your hours touring will be filled with nothing but fun. Each unique tour is led by a VIP host who ensures that your tour goes smoothly.

Viejas Resort

You don’t have to travel to Las Vegas to enjoy a great casino; you have that option in San Diego! There are a variety of entertainment ideas that you can choose from, including shows and events, bowling, and more. You can dine in one of the many restaurants, including restaurants that serve gourmet meals. Be sure to try your luck at the slots, bingo, and a host of table games. Take a group tour or shop at one of the outlets at Viejas Casino and Resort while vacationing in San Diego.

Catalina Island

Your vacation in San Diego would not be complete without a trip to Catalina Island. This is one of the largest islands off of the coast of Southern California – it is the most populated island. You can take advantage of the many activities, including paragliding, snorkeling, and hiking. Be sure to check out the many shopping venues and restaurants on this island. You can also enjoy the movie theater nights, concert series, karaoke outings, bowling, and a host of other entertainment activities at Catalina Island.

Legoland

This is one of the most popular entertainment venues for families traveling to San Diego. Adults, teens, and children love this destination. You can ride a variety of rides, including the Royal Joust. If you love water-rides, prepare to get wet when you go to the Pirate Shores site at this venue. There is so much that you can enjoy when you visit Legoland in California.

When planning your vacation to San Diego, be sure to consider the six entertainment ideas listed above. You will find a variety of activities and attractions to enjoy, regardless of who is traveling to San Diego with you. Prepare to be amazed, enjoy the warm weather, and have a great time!

Escaping the Cold: 6 Destinations to Consider for your Fall Break Vacation

It is the fall with summer long gone. The vacation mode is still in high gear to get one last warm vacation experience in before the holidays. There are a host of destinations with more than a warm climate to offer. Activities from water sports, hiking, golfing, and more can be found in these following six vacation stops.

Las Vegas

Go land-lock and have a fantastic time. This city has more to offer than just casinos. The biggest names in entertainment have shows in this paradise in the desert. A variety of cuisine with affordable pricing and buffet-style abounds. Weather is always nice with clear evening skies for cruising the strip. Hotel packages with resort-styled pools, cabanas, and stainless steel grilling stations add more allure.

Key West

Every day is a beach day in this city. Bath tub warm waters will have visitors participating in a host of water sports. Scuba diving, snorkeling, and jet skis are just some of the activities to enjoy. Known as the Conch Republic, fresh seafood of a large variety is available. Book a deep sea fishing trip and grill dinner. They say New York never sleeps, but the same can be said about Key West.

Myrtle Beach

The beaches of South Carolina have a flavor all their own. Weather is the perfect high 70s with cooler evenings. This city has all-inclusive packages from places like Sands Resorts where guests do not have to leave the resort. Nestled on the Atlantic Ocean, panoramic views and sea breezes will captivate. Flawless golf courses, water parks and four or five star hotels are more incentives.

Miami

For spectacular beaches, international cuisine, and a busy nightlife, this city has loads to offer. The fall season has low humidity for carriage and rickshaw rides along Collins Avenue. Forget about an itinerary in this city, just put on the sun screen and head out. Plenty of flights and hotel room packages make this an attractive destination.

Cancun

Pulling out passports to a warm and exotic location in Mexico is a definite option. There will be plenty of sun and night life with authentic cuisine. This is another location for all-inclusive fun. While Cancun is known for its beaches and sun, visiting the Mayan ruins would offer a world-class ancient museum experience.

Paris

Keep passports near for this lovely destination. Paris is at its best during the fall season as temperatures are crisp for evening strolls along the Seine River or at a scrumptious meal. The top museums in the world are located here with the Palace of Versailles as an example.

The suggested fall trips listed could be a bucket list. Vacationers can spread them out over a period of years. Each season offers its own set of activities. Have fun with planning these vacations as they are the spice of life. Don’t forget the camera!

How to Safely Enjoy the Nightlife in a Foreign Country

How to Safely Enjoy the Nightlife in a Foreign Country

What better way to learn about a new culture and enjoy a new place than to immerse yourself in the nightlife? Travel is a fantastic way to make new friends, try new things, and broaden your horizons. To ensure your safety while you enjoy a new place, follow the tips below.

Write Down The Address of Where You’re Staying

It can be easily to become lost or disoriented after drinking in a foreign place, and pickpockets know how to take advantage or a drunk tourist trying to find his or her way home. Keep the address of your hotel on a note in your phone so when it is time to go home, you can pull it up quickly, find a cab, and go home.

Let Someone Know Where You’ll Be

It may annoy you to do this at home—what if your plans change? Do you really have to tell your mom everything?—but in a foreign country, the old maxim holds true: better to be safe than sorry. Let loved ones know where you’ll be so that if something goes wrong, they know where to look.

Leave The Valuables Behind

Tourists are easy targets for robbery and other crime, so leave your valuables—credit cards, passports and other documents, and jewelry at home in your safe. Carry a little cash to pay for dinner and a few drinks, but travel light.

Don’t Leave Your Drink Unattended

This is a good nightlife tip in general—keep your drink with you at all times and, if you must leave a drink behind when you step outside or into the restroom, order a new one when you return.

Drink Responsibly

Go with a friend who can help you limit your drinking. You want to actually remember your experiences in a foreign country, and doing something you’ll regret because you’re too drunk is never a good idea, but especially in a foreign country. Remember that many countries measure their alcohol content differently, so be aware of how much alcohol you’re actually consuming and never get behind the wheel when you’ve been drinking. This is good practice for wherever you’re enjoying your night out, whether it’s in a foreign country or not. Many countries are similar to the US in that they have laws regulating behavior while intoxicated. Being caught driving drunk, which Lawyer Ben Sessions says often comes with serious criminal penalties, will not only ruin your night but can affect your legal standing for years to come.

Choose Location and Friends Beforehand

New friends are fun, but your judgment will probably be better in daylight while you’re sober. That doesn’t mean you can’t mingle with the locals! Make friends earlier in the day, and then enjoy each other’s company in the evening.

Above all, trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Stay safe while traveling and enjoy the nightlife, but trust your gut. Enjoy the fantastic opportunities that foreign nightlife offer!