Dealing with emergencies while traveling

Aug 22, 2014 by

Dealing with emergencies while traveling

No one likes to think about the worst happening while they’re on holiday, but unfortunately emergencies can, and do, happen, and usually when you’re least expecting them. It is essential, therefore, that you take the time to plan for every eventuality before stepping on to that airplane; you most likely won’t ever need your contingency plans, but you’ll be so glad that you made them!

Be prepared

Accidents and illness do happen, so make sure you plan for every eventuality. Be sure to pack a first aid kit, including any medications you usually take as well as water purifying tablets, insect repellant, painkillers, and diarrhea medication; these can be difficult to pick up abroad, especially if you don’t speak the language. Be mindful of local safety regulations, such as beach warnings and no swim signs, and book any activities with reputable companies.

If your valuables, documents, or personal belongings get lost or stolen, it can be very difficult to retrieve them, so you must make plans for the worst. Take multiple forms of ID on your travels – kept separately, of course – and split money into different hiding places. You could even divide luggage into different suitcases should one go missing. If you suspect theft, report it to the local authorities immediately. They will be able to provide you with a crime number, which will be essential in claiming any insurance.

It is possible to run out of money while traveling, particularly if you decide to do something different, come across some unexpected charges, lose access to your bank account, or fall into difficulty. Make sure you create a separate, emergency budget; this should be money that is kept apart from your travel funds – whether that’s in a different account, an emergency credit card, or as cash that’s stored in a second wallet or money belt – that can be accessed in case of crises. It is also a good idea to research the practicalities of a money transfer service and to ensure a friend or family member is able and willing to transfer funds to you from home, should you require. Check out a website such as www.transfast.com for more information; you’ll find a plethora of advice regarding the services on offer.

Things to do before traveling

It is vital to take out insurance before your trip, and make sure you know what it does and doesn’t cover. Health insurance is a must, covering you in case of illness or injury. Find out if your personal, or home, insurance will cover you against the loss or theft of documents or personal belongings while you’re away. If not, take out additional travel cover, and always be sure to take your insurance card away with you.

Research the local healthcare systems that are in place to help should you suffer an accident or come down with food poisoning or a mystery bug. It is also a good idea to purchase a good phrasebook, enabling you to communicate distress and symptoms.

Have you thought about who you’d contact in case of an emergency? It’s a really good idea to take note of the contact details for your embassy abroad; also make sure you have the details of friends and relatives who could be contacted if necessary.

With a little planning and preparation, you’ll be ready to enjoy your getaway without a hitch.

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Paris in the Summer

Jul 18, 2014 by

Paris in the Summer

Why visit Paris?
During the summer months of May to September, the vibrant city of Paris is a fantastic destination for families, couples and singles alike. With gloriously warm weather, long sunny days, a variety of fabulous festivals and a plethora of exciting things to do and see, a summer break in Paris is an experience not to be missed.

Being the peak of the tourist season, the summer months bring huge crowds and it is highly recommended that you book flights and accommodation well in advance. Despite this, the majority of events, activities and excursions that can be enjoyed this time of year are geared towards tourists, making it a splendid time to visit. There are some spectacular last-minute deals available online so book your flights, find a hotel that suits your needs, take out a summer holiday insurance policy and head to Paris for a wonderful getaway.

A music-lovers paradise

For outstanding summer entertainment, Paris has something for everyone to enjoy. The Paris Street Music Festival is particularly favourable as all of the bar, café and street performances offer free admission. With local and international musicians playing everything from heavy metal and rock to jazz and blues, it is little wonder why the Paris Street Music Festival is one of the city’s most popular events. Held every June, most performances begin after sunset and continue throughout the night until the early hours of the following morning.

Another excellent open-air music event is the Paris Jazz Festival. Held between June and July in Bois de Vincennes, this festival features some superb jazz and blues musicians and is definitely an event to remember.

See the city from the river

No trip to Paris would be complete without seeing the major sights. During the summer there is no better way to do this than by taking a boat cruise along the River Seine. There are many different companies offering day trips, evening cruises that include dinner services and hop-on, hop-off transportation. Many of the best sights such as Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and the National Assembly building can be viewed from the river.

Take in the stunning scenery in Paris’ parks and gardens

Another perfect way to enjoy a sunny afternoon in Paris is by relaxing in one the many stunning parks and gardens that are dotted around the city. Luxemburg Gardens is simply delightful with its elegant flower displays and ponds and offers fun for the whole family with pony rides, boating activities and tennis courts to enjoy. Bois de Vincennes is also beautifully landscaped and features lakes, picnic areas, a zoo and a funfair, as well as some amazing open-air concerts throughout the summer months.

 

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3 Adventure Vacations You Can Do with Your Kids

Jul 1, 2014 by

3 Adventure Vacations You Can Do with Your Kids

Just because you’ve left your younger days behind and have a tyke or two attached to your vacation plans doesn’t mean you have to ditch your sense of adventure. In fact, getting your kids involved in something more than just chilling on a beach or visiting the latest theme park is a great way to get them engaged with nature, get a taste of culture, and get their minds active.

We’ve compiled a list of adventure activities that are suitable for kids, without you having to worry about their safety! They all combine to offer a little bit of everything and suit a wide range of budgets, whether you’re looking for a long getaway, a daytrip activity, or something a little creative.

Rafting

This activity is often seen as an adrenaline-filled adventure, with a furious pace that’s just unsuitable for children. But while some are indeed a little too risky for the young ones, there are many rafting trips you can take that go through routes that are a little lighter on the danger. Bikeraft specialises in rafting trips and has a couple of great options that are tailored for kids (the Idaho rafting one being our favorite) – check them out at the company’s official site. Always make sure that your guides have the professional background to handle the waters, that’s the main thing to keep in mind.

Geocaching

The ultimate treasure hunt is quickly becoming one of the hottest outdoor activities on the planet. And it’s not limited to adults either. It’s an excellent way to engage your kids with the outdoors, as it uses a game element to spice things up a little bit. Head on over to geocaching.com to have a browse through over 2.1 million geocaches that are currently active – you should be able to get GPS units made for kids for as little as $70.

Cultural Treks

Suggesting a museum or an art gallery isn’t the best way to introduce your kids to a little bit of culture – they’re associated with stuffy and boring exhibitions, perhaps even seen as a form of punishment rather than a fun vacation or daytrip. Instead of placing the focus on the culture, try a softer sell and inject a little bit of adventure by taking your kids on a cultural trek to Machu Picchu, for example. The lost city of the Incas is a true wonder of the ancient world and there are custom guided tours that

Whether you decide to go for a rafting vacation or a covert cultural pursuit, we’re confident any one of these activities will satisfy your urge for adventure, enrich the lives of your children, as well as bring your family closer together. And you won’t even have to give up that adrenaline rush that you’ve grown accustomed to!

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Top 10 Museums to Visit in South Africa

Jun 24, 2014 by

Top 10 Museums to Visit in South Africa

South Africa is a relatively young country, although one that has already had a very dramatic past, characterised mostly by social conflicts, cultural differences, wars, and disruptions. The country has numerous museums that depict this often turbulent past, and we will look at 10 or so of the most important.

A recent entry to the list, but probably the most important, is the apartheid museum in Johannesburg, which is dedicated to illustrating the past racial conflict and also the social history of South Africa. Segregation based on race was the essence of the apartheid, or separateness, and the museum illustrates this in all its appalling manifestations. For an objective and factual account, this is a very impressive museum.

The Cradle of Humankind is an anthropological museum north of Johannesburg and a World Heritage Site from 1999 as approved by UNESCO. It depict the first origins of man in Africa based on fossil finds, with the most famous being the 1947 discovery of ‘Mrs Ples,’ a 2,3-million-year-old fossil, by Dr Robert Broom.

The Hector Peterson Museum in Soweto south of Johannesburg depicts the tragic death of this young boy and many other students during the Soweto uprising in 1976. During this uprising, students took to the streets in protest against being taught Afrikaans, which was then the language of the oppressive apartheid regime.

The South African National Gallery in Cape Town is the country’s leading art museum, depicting the great works of the Dutch, French, and British artists from the 17th to 19th centuries, while many contemporary exhibitions are also held.

In Pretoria, there is the stately mansion called the Melrose House Museum that depicts the lifestyles of the aristocracy in the late 19th century with a fine collection of furniture, linens, crockery, and more.

The National War Museum in Johannesburg has a brilliant selection of World War logistics and information while the James Hall Transport Museum is the largest in Africa and depicts 400 years of transport used by man and beast.

The Robben Island Museum depicts life of political prisoners in South Africa on this barren island off Cape Town that also held the country’s greatest freedom fighter Nelson Mandela. Days were mostly sweltering in summer and cold in winter, and isolation from the outside world was near total.

In Bloemfontein is the Anglo Boer War Museum that depicts the tragedy of this three-year war between the Boer settlers in their Republics and the British colonialists. This was meant to be a short war but turned out to be protracted as the Boer guerrilla tactics deceived standard British tactics. Ultimately, the Boer farms were razed, and women and children taken to concentration camps in order to defeat the mobile horse-mounted Boer fighters. Ultimately, 26,000 women died of disease and malnutrition.

Then there is also the National Museum in Bloemfontein, established in 1877, which is a natural history, cultural history, and art museum. Finally, the Nelson Mandela National Museum is on Vilakazi Street in Soweto. This is where Mandela lived from 1946 to 1962, and it was declared a National Heritage Site in 1999.

If you’re planning on visiting South Africa, find your cheap tickets on Gumtree classifieds for any of these awesome museums.

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How to Get Your Car Ready For Summer Cruising

May 30, 2014 by

How to Get Your Car Ready For Summer Cruising

As the temperature starts to warm up after a particularly long and brutal winter, it’s natural for a man’s thoughts to drift to the highlights of summer. Frosty beer, epic barbecues, classic road trips, and lazy beach days approach. But on a warm summer night, there’s nothing better than pretending you’re in American Graffiti and cruising around town with the top off and windows rolled down. Although many of us go through the steps of winterizing our cars each year, it’s also important to make sure your hot rod is in tip-top shape for summer. Hot temperatures and harsh sunlight can wreak havoc on vehicles, so you’ll want to check in and make sure everything’s in proper working order.

Image Source: Remi Duvergey/Wikimedia Commons

Give Tires a Once-Over

Keeping tires property inflated may seem simple, but it’s a fundamental part of ensuring that your car meets performance expectations. Click here to visit the website where you can compare performance stats and see if your car is measuring up. If it’s not, it may be due to underinflated tires. If you use different sets of tires for winter and summer, you can inspect them both as you swap one out for the other. Signs of damage, uneven wear, or excessive wear and tear are all reasons to buy a new set.

Keep your Car Cool and Hydrated

In warm weather, one of the primary causes of breakdowns is engine overheating. Before you hit the road this summer, clear out any leaves and other wintry debris that may have accumulated around the radiator or air conditioning condenser. Check all car fluid levels, from oil to brake and transmission fluids. A well-lubricated car is a happy car. You can check the level and colour of the oil by pulling out your car’s dipstick for a quick visual inspection. If it’s black, change the oil immediately. Ideally, the oil will be amber and meet the fill mark. Make sure your radiator tank is full of coolant, which should be changed at least once a year.

How to Get Your Car Ready For Summer Cruising

Image Source: Dvortygirl/Wikimedia Commons

Check the Brake Pads

Your brakes can take a real beating over the winter, when they’re subject to extreme temperatures, deep puddles, or ice. Winter traffic tends to be more stop-and-start than the freewheeling cruising of summer, which can accelerate wear and tear. Give your brake pads a closer look to see if there are visible signs of wear, including crumbling, discolouration, or cracking.

Give it a Good Wash

Winter batters your car with ice, sand, salt, and grime; and it shows. Before you show off your wheels this summer, get them in shape with a thorough cleaning. A high-pressure spray of water can get salt and sand out of all the little nooks and crannies on your car’s exterior, including the underbody. Give the interior a vacuuming and wash, getting rid of any signs of mildew or grime that made its way inside during the winter. It’s worth washing the engine bay as well to ensure that any winter-related damages are easier to spot.

These are all relatively small and simple tasks which can ensure that your car is up for the challenges of summer. If you’re planning a lengthy road trip, it also doesn’t hurt to take it in for a mechanic’s inspection. Take a look at your owner’s manual to see when you’re due for a check-up, and enjoy a summer of cruising around with ease.

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