Five Vacation Planning to Save You Time & Money on Your Vacation

Vacation planning is fun and easy so you don’t need to get overwhelmed. The first thing I want you to do is to take a deep breath and don’t panic. If you’ve never done this before, relax. I am here to help you with some simple steps to plan a great vacation.

1. Determine Your Budget.

There are many ways to go about determining your budget, but I usually set a price of how much I want to spend (per person) and then go from there to determine how to find the best travel deals based on where I want to go on a cheap vacation. You need to be reasonable regarding what the budget will be for your vacation or getaway. A very realistic and reasonable budget for a cheap vacation is between $800-$1200 per person including airfare, hotel, car rental, food, tips, and airport parking. I’ve traveled all over the country on business and the average budget for a two-to-three day business trip is about the same amount so it’s a very reasonable for a cheap vacation for an entire week (especially when it involves air travel and a much longer stay).

2. Choose Your Destination.

Here’s a little insider travel secret. I’ve traveled to some amazing vacation destinations at amazing prices, but I don’t usually choose my destination. The destination chooses me. It can get a little frustrating but I can tell you that if destinations did not chose me, I would never have went to Jamaica and seen a live starfish swimming underwater when I was snorkeling off of a beach in Negril, climbed the Great Wall of China, traveled through the Panama Canal or met a baby sloth at a sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica just for starters. I went to those vacation destinations not because I had a deep desire to travel to Montego Bay, Beijing, Panama City, or Puerto Limon, but because I was chasing a travel deal. Now, vacation planning via chasing a deal is a great way to get cheap vacations and save a lot of money. I have been on some incredible trips and gone to vacation destinations I never would have had at the top of my travel destinations “bucket list,” but I realize chasing the travel deal has prevented me so far from going to Tahiti’s island paradise of Bora, Bora (my life long travel dream) and I still want to do the “Sound of Music” tour in Salzburg, Austria. So you usually have a choice: chase the best travel deal or choose your travel dream.

3. Book Your Airfare, Hotel, and Car Rental.

When you’re vacation planning, the best way to save hundreds of dollars on your vacation is to book everything together as a complete travel package. I don’t have any technological reason as to why this saves you money, but it does. Feel free to experiment with your own online travel booking engine of choice with this concept by making queries separately and then as a package, but it’s been done before and proven to save you money. I do know that Rovia Travel has the best online price 68% of the time as compared to Travelocity and Expedia according to a recent independent survey by Topaz International so you may want to check them out.

4. Research Your Vacation Destination & Plan Your Travel Itinerary.

Researching my vacation destination and planning great itineraries is one of the things that I sort of excel at in vacation planning because I love researching the hot tourist attractions of the vacation destination I’m visiting. I know some people just like to “wing it,” but that lack of vacation planning can really add hundreds of dollars to your trip. There are two great ways to do your research. First, there are so many online tools at the local tourism offices of the areas your visiting that have all the main information at your fingertips, plus many have coupons or travel deals you may not have been able to find in other ways. The second thing I like to do is pick up a great guide book for the destination I’m going to. Frommer’s Travel Guide Books and Rick Steves’ Travel Guide Books for Europe are very well researched and written and these authors update their books almost yearly so you know you have up-to-date information.

5. Make Two Checklists.

Now you need to make two checklists for your vacation planning. One is a list of things to do before you go on vacation. This includes finding a pet sitter, getting a neighbor to pick up the mail, calling your mobile phone service to arrange for a text/email package while you’re away if you’re traveling internationally, secure a passport or visa (if you need them), get medical vaccinations if necessary, call your credit card companies to let them know you’ll be traveling and what cities or countries to expect charges to come up on, and things like that. The second list for your vacation planning is a list of things to pack.

Now that wasn’t so bad, was it? Now you see how simple vacation planning is even for an inexperienced traveler. These are the basics of vacation planning and now that you know how to plan your vacation, we have a lot of extra bonus my travel website (see below) to help you discover a world of ways to see the world. Bon Voyage and have a fabulous vacation.

Safe For Seniors

It’s important to consider travel safety tips for seniors before setting out on an excursion. Seniors who need to travel alone or with companions need to consider general safety measures and .

This article will give some safety tips to seniors. It will help them appreciate bother free trips, whether they are going on a weekend trip, or if they choose to take an experience abroad.

Vital Travel Safety Tips for Seniors

Specialist Checkup – The most vital step for seniors who need to stay safe on a trip is to get a physical checkup from their doctor. It’s vital for your specialist to discover that you don’t have any prior sickness that may keep you from making a tough outing. Your specialist may likewise refer you to a few specialists in the nation or region that you plan to visit.

Immunizations – You may require a few vaccinations before you go. A considerable measure will rely on upon the zone of the world where you expect to travel. Vaccinations against hepatitis, cholera and yellow fever may be proposed or even needed.

Likewise, verify that you are furnished with a worldwide immunization card, so you understand what antibodies you have been given, and in instances of yellow fever, some travel operators may confirm that you have been given a vaccination. Without it, you may not enter or leave a few nations.

Keep away from unclear transportation – In some nations, some transportation can be greatly hazardous. Case in point, in Thailand and Indonesia, a few transport drivers travel at a high speed and mischances are normal. Various African nations and Russia have poor carrier safety norms. Staying away from some of these circumstances could avert mishaps.

Seniors should additionally travel by recognized organizations. If you are drawn nearer by outsiders and advised that they can take you to your destination at a less expensive cost than a known organization, you ought to be watchful as they could loot you.

You ought to additionally search for transportation that gives safety belts because you never know when a mishap can happen, and seat belts can spare your life.

Tell Family and Companions of Your Whereabouts – You may need to leave a schedule with family and companions, so they know where you are. You can likewise keep them updated each couple of days on the Web. Facebook and Twitter are extraordinary approaches to give moment reports on your area. You can likewise keep individuals redesigned by email.

Register with the Consulate – If you want to visit a nation for an increased span of time, or if you want to live there, you must tell them and give them your location. This helps them contact you if a crisis happens in your family, and your family can’t contact you, or if something else happens.

Safety in Numbers – You are more secure when you go in little groups. If you walk around alone, you are an easy focus for burglars and different criminals.

If you like to walk alone, ask trusted neighborhood natives where the most secure parts of town are, and verify you walk around amid the day hours and not during the evening.

Use simple Clothing In the city – A last safety tip for seniors is to do whatever it takes not to stand out. You would prefer not to wear some extravagant garments with a costly watch, or have two cameras and a video recorder dangling from your neck. In traveler areas, this could spell inconvenience for you.

Try not to convey much cash on you, and dependably keep additional fifteen or twenty dollars in a simple to get places, just to use if you are looted. It’s ideal to have some cash when you are ransacked than not to have any.

Conclusion

A bit practical decision skill goes far. If you consider how you stay safe where you live, you must utilize some precautionary measures when you travel. Continuously consider safety in the first place, and you can evade numerous issues when you travel.

Phuket : Party Like a Rock Star! And Other Phuket

When it comes to visiting Thailand’s largest and ever-popular island of Phuket, you are almost guaranteed a time full of thrill, excitement and adventure at nearly every corner. With vibrant streets exuding fun times and great memories to be had, your upcoming trip to Phuket will be nothing short of extraordinary and unforgettable. If you are trying to figure out what to fill your days with while there, consider taking part in the following Phuket while exploring the beautiful area…

1. Visit the Beaches

With just one step onto the golden sands of any of the Phuket beaches, you will quickly learn as to why so many people make their way there each year. Depending on the type of beaches you typically enjoy, there is truly one to suit any and all preferences. For a party scene close to all the craziness of the city, spend a day amongst the large crowds at Patong Beach. For those in search of something a bit more peaceful but within close distance to Patong or Phuket Town, try Kata Noi, Freedom Beach or Karon Beach. Of all the Phuket , this is one of the best. Soak up the sun, dig your toes in the sand and take in the beauty that surrounds each one of them.

2. Marvel at the Temples

Thailand as a whole is filled with some of the most spectacular and magnificent Buddhist temples. No matter what religion – if any – you are a part of, simply standing in front or exploring within the walls of these incredible temples is absolutely awe inspiring. The two that are not to be missed while scanning our Phuket : Big Buddha and Wat Chalong. If and when you do visit both of these, come prepared with appropriate clothes and a respectful attitude towards the many orange-robed monks you are very likely to meet while there.

3. Find Treasures at Markets

If it is one thing that the Thai people know how to do well – though there are dozens – it is the way they put on a market. If you are hoping to bring home little Thai trinkets and treasures, the markets will have all of that and so much more. Wander through either the Weekend Market, Indy Market or Sunday Night Market and get ready to be blown away by all of the magnificent and incredibly cheap finds that you are sure to fill up your suitcases and backpacks with. Not only are the handicrafts, clothes and jewelry at the markets fantastic, the food alone is to die for. Head there on an empty stomach and ready and willing to try anything remotely tasty looking that comes your way. Don’t eat get too full, or you may miss out on the other Phuket !

4. Explore the Waters by Boat

If you find that lying on the beach is simply lacking that thrill you were hoping would take place during your time in Phuket, then head out on a fun and exciting boat tour to explore the beautiful waters just off shore. Whether you want to hop on a catamaran, a classic Thai longtail boat, a double capacity sail boat for you and your loved one, a decked out yacht or a zippy speed boat, the options are far from few and guaranteed to have you loving every single minute on board. For all those water lovers, this may be your favorite of all Phuket While out at sea, you will get the chance to take part in some fun activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, island exploring and of course some excellent sun bathing. This is one experience you will undoubtedly not want to miss out on while in Phuket.

5. Enjoy the Vibrant Nightlife

Phuket knows exactly what they are doing when it comes to creating some fantastic places to enjoy a night out on the town. This is especially true if you are staying in or near Patong as the area is home to the famous Bangla Road. Make your way there to see a plethora of extremely interesting, unique and lively bars and clubs that will absolutely have you walking away with some crazy stories to tell for those back home. If you are into a more laid back scene (and not enjoying the other Phuket ), head to a beach bar along the shores to sip on your favorite cocktail while breathing in that salty ocean air and as always, taking the time to soak up all of the magnificent beauty that Phuket has to offer each one of its guests.

All of the Phuket should not be ignored. Just remember to pack your suit and suncscreen… and oh yea, make sure you are well rested before the party starts!

China

Survival China and Tricks

These China , Survival Techniques, will help you get around and make your trip to China easier, so you will be able to experience the real China with a little less stress.

China is an odd beast that needs to be respected; the major cities, Beijing, Shanghai, and Xian, all have their own personalities.

Some complex situations that you think would be an organizational disaster turn out to be great and you wonder afterward what all the fuss and worry was about. Then the simplest of tasks can turn out to be a major calamity.

This is when you have what we call here a “China day”.

These days come and go and are part of the experience of everyday travel in China. One needs to have an open mind when travelling China. It is a place with thousands of years of history and culture that is trying overnight to adapt to Western ways of living.

You need to have a very open mind when you Travel in China.
I have listed below a few China that will make life that wee bit more bearable on your Travel China experience.

China – Be Toilet Wise

o Never expect a clean toilet 100% of the time.

o Be prepared; Carry some tissue.

o You may have to use a squat toilet, again if you know this before hand it is not a shock. If you don’t know how to use a squat toilet, try the following experiment at home.

While holding onto something for support with both hands, lower your body down into a low squat position, so that the cheeks of your bottom is almost touching your heels or the back of your calf. Now, let go with your hands. See if you stay in this position for at least 1 minute. If you fall backwards or you cannot get up, then a squat toilet could be a problem for you! Practice, you will be happy you did.

o If you see a clean toilet, Go… it may not come again for a while.

o There are many public toilets around the cities, usually the ones you pay for are OK, (RMB .5), the others best to stay away from if you can. You will soon notice them as you walk around the cities.

o Be warned that public areas like bus and train stations are usually what I class as “tough toilets”, however if gotta go you gotta go.

o Outside of the major cities, the toilet systems are old or have very narrow plumbing /pipes and get blocked easily. In these cases a small basket is usually beside the toilet, this is for your used toilet paper.

One of the best China Travel toilet Tips I can give you, is use hotel lobby toilets; these are everywhere and are always clean. Still they may not always have toilet paper. It depends on the class of hotel that you are using.

I do not wish to scare you. However, of all the China in all the other web sites I have read, this is a topic not often mentioned, but it is very important to us all.

So outside of the major cities conditions can be tough. But most of the time everything will be fine, especially if you book a tour; everything will have been checked out before hand. However even the best laid plans can go wrong, so be prepared, the toilets in the smaller cities, towns and villages can be scary.

China – The Food

o The food is great and the variety is overwhelming. Most of the time you get to choose what you eat, or you can recognize what you’re eating, however sometimes you do not get a choice. Carry a chocolate bar or something; this will keep you going until some food that you can recognize turns up. Drink bottled or boiled water, as the tap water is NOT safe to drink, this is for the whole of China. Even boiled water, while sterilised can contain a lot of minerals and iron deposits that you probably do not want in your system. The safest bet is to drink bottle water. Tap water in most big cities is OK for brushing teeth.

o Eating habits – Most Chinese people have a great habit of being very noisy when they eat and lunch and dinner times can be a wonderfully noisy celebration, food tends to go in all directions, its just part of being in China.

o People also smoke at the table while everyone is eating, so some restaurants get very loud and smoky.

o If you get stuck what to order as most of the menu’s are in Chinese just look at the table next to you and point to the dish you fancy and ask how much it is, this system works really well and know seems to mind.

o I have a basic menu that will help you order safe food, (no Cats or Dog) this will enable you to visit a larger selection of restaurants, not just the tourist ones with high prices. You can carry it with you and use it in the local restaurants where most will be able to serve what is on it. This way you will know what you are eating.

These local places are very cheap and the food it great. Contact me if you would like me to send it to you.

China – Taxis

o China – Taxis – Taxis are an experience that can have you griping the seat and gasping for breath; however you soon get used to it, after the first few rides, you’re an old hand.

o The taxis in Shanghai are, overall, quite good. Try to get the Blue, Blue’ish Turquoise, Gold and White taxis, these are the best… these are the four major taxi companies and are generally recognised by their single colour paintwork. The others are OK, just older and a rougher ride (the others also may have faulty metres). No drivers will speak English.

o Carry your hotel or accommodation business card with you, written in Chinese, this helps if you get lost walking around town.

o In all the taxis around the country you will see the drivers name and taxi registration number in plain sight. If you have any problem, or if you think you have been over charged etc, just take this number down, make a big fuss about it, and the driver then should wake up and fix whatever problem you have. Even better is to take the receipt. This has all the trip details on it and you can ring the taxi company if you want to take things further or if you’ve left something in the taxi.

o The government takes rip-off drivers in all cities, Beijing and Xian especially, very seriously and if you complain they will lose their license. This is their livelihood. So far I have had not one driver in 3 years that has not backed down and we have then agreed a price for the trip or solved our problem.

o In Shanghai, it is common practice for taxi fare increases after 11pm. However, one can usually bargain for a 20% discount, which will get the fare back to the pre-11pm rate.
Be strong with the taxi drivers, never-the-less, keep your cool, smile and negotiate.

China – Shopping

o China – Shopping – China is a shopper’s paradise, Markets, Bargains; Top labels… anything and everything if you have the time. With clothes, the larger (Western) sizes can be quite hard to find, however in the major cities where you get a lot of tourist traffic, you can find them.

o Electrical gear, DVD’s, Cameras, stuff like this is not worth buying in China, Hong Kong is still the best place for this.

o Store hours in the major cities are from 10am to 10pm, 7 days a week.

o Visa card is still the best card to carry, with ATM’s in good supply all with PLUS access etc.
There is usually a surcharge for use of VISA, MasterCard or other forms of credit card.

o Wait on purchasing if you can, look around to get a feel for the prices. The Chinese are VERY experienced at selling and know that we halve the opening price when bargaining.
In the markets go for 25% of what they first ask; go so low that they let you walk away. This will give you an idea of the bottom price. The resulting end-price will probably be around 40% to 50% of where they started.

Whatever the market people say, they are used to pushing and haggling for best prices. Do not worry about being too hard, they are used to it and will not sell you an item unless they make a profit. Don’t be concerned with the apparently hurt body language when you go low – it is all part of the game. As soon as they have wrapped up your first purchase, they will try to sell you something more. Remember to keep smiling and having fun while bargaining.

China – Medical Treatment and Records

o Most hotels will have a doctor that you can see. In the major hotels English will be spoken.

o Always take a small first aid kit, cold remedy, headache tablets at the very least. WATSONS is a very large chain chemist. Most of the remedies, tablets etc, that you may require should be in these shops. These shops are all over China.

o There is a great network of pharmacy type shops; these are indicated by a Green Cross. There will always be a 24 hr Green Cross pharmacy in the city you are in. It is handy to carry a Phase book, as no one will speak English, however you will end up with something that will help.

o INPORTANT POINT – for most of the mass produced packet type medicines, the packaging will be written in Chinese on one side, English on the other. However in the shops you only see the Chinese side. Have a good look, turn the packs over, it gives you a lot more confidence knowing you can read the package.

o If you have a specific medical issue, take records, most of the Doctors will have OK written / reading English, even though their oral English will be poor.

China – Telephone

o Using the phone is as easy as at home. However the person picking it up will not speak English or have very broken English… the Major 4- or 5-Star Hotels will all be OK.

o What is worth doing is buying a Chinese Telecom SIM card, they are about RMB100 and with this you get RMB50 in calls, the other 50 is for the price of the SIM card; this SIM card will go into all major brand phones and work OK.

By doing this, people can reach you within and out of China if there is an emergency. If you have a couple of phones, you can short (txt) message each other (SMS). Also you are able to call your tourist guide, hotel etc if you have any major problems. It is a cheap way to keep in touch.

NB.Before you buy a Chinese SIM card, check that it will work in your Cell / Mobile phone. There are plenty of China Telecom shops that can help.

China on when NOT to move around China.

o Spring Festival, this would be the Chinese New Year time, around the end of January / Early February

o Early May; Labour day Holidays

o Early October; National Day Holidays

Of all the China National Day is the biggest one. Millions of Chinese travel at these holiday times of the year. Most are travelling back to home towns or visiting family. Hotels, trains, planes, cars, buses, and roads are all crowded to the maximum. Major congestion, everywhere.

Also travel fares are at their full price. No discounts are offered!
Stay in one place and enjoy where you are. It’s best and causes fewer hassles.

China – TV

o If you want to watch TV, most of the major hotels will have cable and if you are in the smaller places, the national channel, CCTV9 is in English. Over the last couple of years it has got a lot better, with some great China programs, news and views on people and places around China.

China – Airport Tax

o There is a “construction fee” at almost all airports.

Domestic flights RMB 50
International flights RMB 90 – which is to be paid in local currency.

Just recently, tickets are being tissued with the Construction Tax included; however make sure you have the Tax money with you just to make sure.

I hope some of these China will come in handy and will make your trip to China that little bit easier.

If you have been to China and wish to share your China , please feel free to contact me anytime.

John Mckenna

http://www.Travel-the-Real-China.com