It’s All About the Water in La Jolla!

La Jolla, California is a water lovers paradise. Located just a short distance north of the dynamic city of San Diego, La Jolla is an easy day trip or a spectacular spot to spend a little longer.

Image via Flickr by Joel Olives

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Don’t be a holiday target – how to minimize the risks

Whether you are a nomadic traveler, living a life on the road commuting from state to state to visit the landmarks, monuments, and attractions of the US, or flying to a European destination for that holiday of a lifetime, the risk of theft of your valuables is very real. Wherever there are large numbers of people, from a crowded beach to a music concert, there will be those who want to relieve you of your prized possessions – and they’re very good at it. So how do you minimise the chance of becoming another statistic?

Travel Insurance:

It’s surprising how many travelers, especially the younger set, don’t bother to buy any form of travel insurance, and live to regret it. Hopefully, everyone’s holiday will go smoothly without any mishap, medical emergency or criminal activity, but unfortunately, annual figures tell us otherwise. Travel insurance can be tailored to suit your requirements. If you have a number of expensive digital products, paying a little extra and buying insurance to cover replacement of same is well worth considering.

Hotel Security:

Hotel security has improved enormously in the hotspots and big cities of Europe. Most rooms will have a safe, but if they don’t, the hotel usually has a secure safe in the reception area. Nonetheless, don’t just walk into the reception with a handful of valuables and cash. Put it all in a bag, tape it up and put your name and room number on the package.

Don’t leave valuable items lying around in your hotel room. Even if you’re taking a shower, put mobile phone, tablet or cash in drawers or under cushions. Out of sight out of mind minimises the risk of opportunist theft by anyone who has the authority to enter the room.

Holiday Apartment Complexes:

If you’re staying in an apartment complex, security may not be as high as that in hotels, although apartment security is improving. Apartment theft makes up a large proportion of insurance claims, yet the majority of these could so easily be avoided. In most of Europe’s hotspots, with daytime temperatures often in the mid/the high 30s, and nighttime temperatures in the upper 20s, travelers walk into their rooms and throw open every window and door they can find.

Unfortunately, they often choose to leave patio doors and windows open to cool the apartment when they go to the pool or out for a meal. The fact your apartment is on the fifth floor is no guarantee you won’t get a visit from our light-fingered friends if you leave them an open invitation. The same applies when you retire for the night. Having enjoyed a gourmet meal with a few glasses of wine you’re sure of a good night’s sleep. Your unwanted visitors rely on that. As you sleep, they creep in through the open patio doors and tip-toe around the apartment relieving you of everything of value. Lock your apartment as you would lock up at home.

Round the Pool or on the Beach:

If you intend to spend a day around the pool or beach take with you the minimum you’ll need. Okay, so the mobile phone and Kindle are a must, and enough cash to get a baguette and drink. If you are holidaying with friends or family make sure someone stays with the valuables while the others go for a swim. Don’t heap everything together and throw a towel over them. Hidden eyes will be watching for you to do just that. By the time you come out of the water and manage to find your sunbeds, they will be minus your valuables. The same with bags and rucksacks; never leave them unattended.

Out and About:

Whether doing a little sightseeing, or out on a bar crawl, don’t wear the family jewels. Nothing attracts your friendly local bag snatcher than all that bling sparkling in the sunshine.

It’s difficult for the ladies to go out without a bag. If you can’t make do with a money belt or bumbag, choose a shoulder bag, and put the strap over the head. Never leave it unattended; anywhere. For men, leave the wallet and cards hidden in the apartment, they’re a pickpocket’s favorite item. Spread the cash about, fifty each in two or three pockets and maybe fifty in a sock.

It all sounds very melodramatic, but really it’s just common sense and being a little streetwise. A little forethought will ensure you’re not the ones spending precious holiday time arranging replacement funds to get home.

 

How to use your Mobile whilst on the Road without it Costing you the Earth

There aren’t many things that are as exciting as a road trip, packing your car and hitting the open road. You may deliberate on what to take with you when packing, but the chances are your mobile phone will definitely be in there so here are some tips to ensure you don’t come home to a nasty big phone bill.

Avoid Roaming Charges

If you intend flying overseas to do a road trip there, you want to avoid all those exorbitant roaming charges. Check your phone and make sure that it will work overseas. Verify with the provider to ensure that your phone is operable overseas.

Look at your phone plan to see how much is it going to cost to make phone calls or download some e-mails while traveling abroad. You may want to consider buying an international data or calling package. An international plan is a good investment and you simply need to call your provider and request a temporary plan that will work in your destination of choice.

Some Data Saving Tips

  • You may want to have a break from your mobile device while on a road trip where you basically just one to text one or two people to let them know you’re safe. You may buy a text package before leaving. There are service providers who will provide you with a global messaging package that starts at as little as $10 a month for 50 messages sent from any country.
  • When you pack for your road trip, make sure that your chargers and adapters are packed in your close-at-hand bag so that if your suitcase gets damaged or stolen you have these devices with you so you don’t have to resort to buying these accessories at the next stop you make where the costs to purchase them will be double your original price.
  • Did you know that you can save data in Google Maps? You don’t have to go into Google Maps each time you’re looking for navigation information. You may just download the area you need to visit in Google Maps and you will be saving so much data when navigating. This will save you a lot of data and it improves the experience if you’re traveling through a low reception area. To save a map to use offline, simply open Google Maps and find the place you want to save. Hit the bottom info bar and Download. Select the region’s size you want to save and name it.
  • Download your entertainment. Before you take off on your trip, download entertainment before you leave. One of the best ways to do this is to make use of free wi-fi hotspots wherever you can to save data. Download movies or your favorite music when you’re in a wi-fi area and set yourself up with some good entertainment for your road-trip. Also, all the best audio streaming apps offer ways to listen to music without having to stream them using your data. Spotify, for instance, allows you to download your playlist and with Google Play Music, as an example, you can download everything – playlists and radio.

Android phone users, for instance, can have some control over their data consumption because, with Opera Max, a compression app, you can actually save data surfing on the Internet. In the app, you’ll be shown which apps on your phone have the greatest data savings potential.

Know your Data Usage

A road trip is so exciting, but not if your Android or iPhone keeps running out of cellular data before your new data comes in each month. Before you can manage your phone’s data usage, understand how much data you have used by going to your Settings and looking at your Mobile Data Usage. By following these data saving tips you can ensure that you don’t run out of data while on a lonely road.

Ensure that you’ve got all the entertainment you want and the ability to still make contact with those at home about where you are and that you’re also safe.

 

Earn Money Whilst You Travel

Packing up and jetting off somewhere can seem like a seriously unrealistic dream, but more and more people are managing to make it a reality. A lot of people may be fooled into thinking that you need to be rich to be able to take some time off to travel, but this really isn’t the case. Nearly anywhere you go in the world has wifi now and there are plenty of ways to earn money for traveling on the internet. So as long as you have a laptop and an idea of what projects you could undertake to earn enough cash to keep you traveling for as long as possible.

Learn how to trade online

Learning to trade online can seem like an incredibly daunting task for someone who has no previous experience with the stock market – but it really doesn’t have to be. There are many online trading websites like CMC markets that will allow you to get started more or less straight away. Once you have signed up you will be able to trade in instruments like stocks and shares, forex, CFD’s and spreadbetting. Before you travel it may be worth opening up a practice account with an online stockbroker so that you can get used to the markets before you actually invest any cash. You can register online for trading accounts without having to make an initial deposit. Many of the online trading websites actually have mobile apps as well. This is vital for you to keep track of investments when you are unable to get to a laptop. Before you leave for your travels it is also worth learning how to set up stop losses and automatic buy orders. This will help you minimise losses if you are going to go off of the beaten track for a few days and you won’t be able keep checking on your investments.

Pick up some paid writing work

A lot of people don’t know this – but you don’t actually have to be an English graduate to pick up freelance writing work. If you are competent in English and able to write well thought out articles then you can easily pick up some writing work online. The two main broker websites that allow you to do this are Textbroker and Greatcontent. The way it works is that you register with them and you are then given a sample article to write. Once you have done this you will be given a rating. Each piece of work you write is rated, but it is common for you to keep the rating you were given at your initial assessment. You will then be able to log on and select any of the articles within your rating range. Once you have completed the article the client will either accept, reject or send back for revisions. You can easily build up relationships through the website with different clients who may give you private work – which can earn you a little bit extra.

Sell photos online

Chances are you looked up a few websites on your destination before you traveled there and the big secret to these websites is that the photos probably were not taken by the person who owns the website. Stock photos can be big business for some people and if you are traveling and snapping away any way you might as well make some money from your pictures. Websites like Shutterstock and Fotalia allow users to register and sell their pictures online to people looking to use them for their websites and blogs. Once you establish yourself and sell a few pictures you could even sell them privately by making a social media page or a quick website. As long as you take quality, clear pictures there will always be a market for them. You will need to remember that if you are going to sell your pictures onto a third party you will not be able to use them yourself. Along with the picture you are also selling the rights to use the picture so if you also share it on any of your social media channels you may be challenged to take it down.

 

Family Fun Things to do Near the Dreamstyle Stadium

Albuquerque is a city of contrasts. The Old Town dates back to 1706, when it was founded as a Spanish colony, and today, the area features historic architecture reflecting its colonial period. The modern downtown, sitting high in the desert, offers museums, galleries, and a robust culinary scene highlighting the area’s famous chilies.

The city’s close proximity to hiking, mountain biking, and other outdoor activities makes it a haven for lovers of the outdoors. A favorable economy and an active artistic community only add to the overall vibe of this dynamic city. Perhaps best known as the home of the International Balloon Fiesta, New Mexico’s largest metropolis attracts visitors from all around the world. Here are a few of the best activities for family fun.

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center~

Long before the Spanish arrived in New Mexico, this region was home to a large variety of Pueblo people. The fascinating and diverse history of these indigenous people is excellently portrayed in this educational museum, which is filled with art, history, and a series of cultural events.

New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science~

“Jurassic Park” comes to life in the form of enormous fossil exhibits, including a T-Rex skull, which is sure to delight kids of all ages. Thanks to the IMAX theater, 75 million years of history, and extensive hands-on exhibits, the whole family will relish a visit to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.

International Balloon Fiesta~

Image via Flickr by Woody H1

For a full week each year, the sky over Albuquerque is filled with a rainbow of colors as almost 600 balloons launch every single day during the International Balloon Fiesta. Many describe this festival as essential for any bucket list, due to the beauty, color, and spectacle it offers. Single- and multi-day passes are available, so the whole family can join in the fun.

Sandia Peak Tramway~

Climbing 2.7 miles from the desert below to the 10,378-foot summit of Sandia Peak, this tramway is the longest in the world. The views are spectacular any time of day, but sunset is especially striking. Upon arrival at the top, visitors can enjoy hiking or some lunch and shopping at the small welcome center. However, the main attraction is the view.

Maxwell Museum of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico~

It isn’t often that a university is considered a family-friendly attraction, but the University of New Mexico’s small campus offers up many art exhibits, several museums, and a performing arts center. It’s easy to find many lodging options near the newly renamed Dreamstyle Stadium, which is the epicenter of the campus. The Maxwell Museum of Anthropology also has a wonderful collection of ancient Mimbres ceramics.

In addition to these sights, Albuquerque offers up parks, colorful cafés, and water parks that offer enough activity to satisfy all members of the family and keep them wanting to return for more. Albuquerque’s dry climate and high altitude make for a pleasant climate, and the city has an extraordinary number of options for outdoor fun, culinary adventure, and cultural highlights.

 

7 Cool Things Totally Unique to Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh sits at the junction of three rivers and has moved far beyond its former reputation as a steel town. Today, it embraces both its industrial past and its millennial future. Pittsburgh is routinely touted as one of a handful of American cities that offer affordability along with a high standard of living. Trying to break free of its gritty image and moving toward a hipper vibe, this is a city on the rise. Here are seven really cool things that are totally unique to this historic city.

Image via Flickr by Always Shooting
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Discovering the Hidden Charms of Indianapolis

Indiana’s state capital and largest city offers a world of sightseeing and dining options. As it’s home to the Indy 500 and multiple sports teams, that segment of tourism seems to get all of the attention. However, Indianapolis also has an up-and-coming food scene, and local breweries are popping up all around the region. As the birthplace of David Letterman, home to Frank Sinatra’s singing debut, and the site of the country’s best children’s museum, Indy is far more than it first seems. Here is a guide to Indianapolis and a look at this Midwestern city’s unique sights and flavors.

photo credit toledo589ad

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HOW TO SPEND A LONG WEEKEND IN CAMBRIDGE

Originally published by Mary at the Calculated Traveler on May 27, 2017

A trip to Cambridge, Massachusetts, is a journey through history, art galleries, museums, and higher learning. Throw in some shopping and some good eats, and you have the perfect long weekend getaway.

GET EDUCATED AT HARVARD UNIVERSITY

How to Spend a Long Weekend in Cambridge - Harvard University

Image via Flickr by Michael HicksNo trip to Cambridge is complete without a visit to Harvard University — the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Famous alumni of this prestigious university include John F. Kennedy, Barak Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates. Tours, both guided and self-guided, are available. You can choose among a number of Cambridge hotels that will keep you close to the sights and attractions you enjoy.

Harvard Square Hotel is conveniently located three blocks from the University. With a hotel this close, you can pretend you’re an Ivy League student living on campus but without having to share a dorm room. While you are playing student, strolling through Harvard Yard, check out the rare books at Houghton Library, find some culture at the Harvard Art Museum, stop into the COOP for some Harvard U souvenirs, and grab a bite at Mr Bartley’s Burgers.

GET CREATIVE AT THE RAY AND MARIA STATA CENTER AT MIT

How to Spend a Long Weekend in Cambridge - Ray and Maria Stata Center at MIT

Image via Flickr by Tony WebsterHome to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the contemporary, deconstructivist style of the Frank Gehry-designed Ray and Maria Stata Center contrast the traditional architecture of the buildings of Harvard. The unique exterior and interior design has received much criticism — positive and negative — so form your own opinion while you’re there. This isn’t the only place to find creativity on campus; MIT is home to some fabulous art galleries as well as many outdoor art installations to fill your Instagram feed.

How to Spend a Long Weekend in Cambridge - Kendall Square

Image via Flickr by SoeLinWhether staying in a historic or a contemporary hotel near MIT, you can be in the middle of all the action at hotels near Kendall Square. This 10-acre redevelopment includes restaurants, shopping, 2.5 acres of open space, an outdoor concert venue, a farmers market, and canoe/kayak rentals by the river. Where to eat? Why not pack a picnic or enjoy an outdoor patio meal?

HAVE A 3-D EXPERIENCE AT THE MIT MUSEUM

How to Spend a Long Weekend in Cambridge - Hologram Collection MIT Museum

Image via Flickr by A.M. KuchlingWelcoming over 130,000 visitors each year with a collection of over 1 million objects that explore the concept of idea-innovation-invention, the MIT Museum archives the history of the MIT and holds the largest collection of holograms in the world.

Should you wish to consider hotels near the MIT Museum, Le Meridien Cambridge-MIT is one example that’s a few blocks away, next to University Park Common. When it comes time to eat, I’ve heard great things about Craigie on Main, the James Beard award-winning French bistro run by Chef Tony Maws. Alongside its regular menu, Craigie on Main also offers five-course tasting menus as well as brunch on Sunday.

BOSTON IS ACROSS THE RIVER!

How to Spend a Long Weekend in Cambridge - Davis Square

Image via Flickr by spi516

Cambridge sights are plentiful, but Boston is across the Charles River should you wish to explore further. Davis Square is a great neighborhood to call your home away from home since it’s midway between both cities, and you can find a good variety of Davis Square Hotels.

I HOPE YOU’VE ENJOYED THIS WEEKEND GETAWAY THROUGH CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS! DID I MISS ANYTHING?

Featured Image (top) via Flickr by Tony Webster

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Greek Islands – Where to Go and How to Get There

Anyone with the travel bug like us will love exploring new places. Today I want to introduce you to some of the Greek Islands in Southern Europe and, hopefully, inspire you to book your next holiday on one of them (or more!). With over 200 islands inhabited in the Aegean and Ionian Seas, it’s hard to discover which one is right for you as each one lends itself to a different type of vacation, so here is an overview of my top four.

greece-boat-lake

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