The Best Mountain Retreats In California

The Transverse Ranges that run along the southern coast of California are home to some of the most beautiful woodlands in the country. There are around twenty peaks to climb if you are serious about your mountaineering but even if you just want a nice weekend getaway there is still plenty to see. Exploring the woodlands that lie at the bottom, you will find a whole host of great wildlife and picturesque views around every corner. Going abroad to visit natural wonders is expensive but it is important to travel. There’s no need to miss out when you’ve got this amazing area right here at home. If you’re considering a trip out to California, these are some of the best places to stay along the ranges.

 

Santa Ynez

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Santa Ynez City is at the heart of this region, situated in the center of the valley near the mountain range. As well as hiking in the mountainous area, the city itself has lots of great things on offer. The original architecture from the late 1800’s still remains untouched, giving the whole place a magical feeling and a rich historical heritage. Any wine enthusiasts out there shouldn’t miss Santa Ynez, the whole region is littered with vineyards. There is also a casino resort there if you’re feeling lucky.

 

San Fernando

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By far the best place to visit in the San Fernando Valley is Sherman Oaks. This lovely little neighborhood is a bit more up to date than Santa Ynez if the history and vineyards don’t do it for you. There are plenty of places to stay like the Best Western Plus Carriage Inn while you enjoy this wonderful suburban area. It has often been described as a mini Los Angeles as it has plenty to offer. The Galleria is home to loads of shops, restaurants, cinemas and even a gym if you don’t want to put your fitness regime on hold while you are away. For something a bit more wholesome, visit the farmer’s market that they hold every Tuesday.  

 

Sierra Madre

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This small community in the foothills boasts some of the best hiking spots along the ranges, as well as much more. Sierra Madre is perhaps most famous for its old playhouse that has survived since the 1920’s. They put on shows that appeal to all ages and tastes so make sure that you catch one while you’re there. Another claim to fame that the area has is the world record for the largest flowering plant in the world. The Wisteria is almost 150 years old and it is certainly a sight to see. Every year, in early spring, when it is in full bloom, there is a festival dedicated to it, so make sure to head down if you visit during the period.

 

Topatopa

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The center of the Topatopa region is the town of Ojai. This is a great choice for anybody that is passionate about their food. There is a great farmer’s market here as well and the region is a big producer of olive oil. You can take a tour of Ojai Olive Oil to learn how it’s made and get a few free tasters. Other attractions include Bart’s Books, the oldest outdoor bookstore in the country. If you’re an avid collector it’s certainly worth a look as they carry a lot of rare books and first editions.

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The Key Things To Consider When Emigrating To Australia

So, you’re planning a big change (a really big change), and are thinking about packing up and moving to the land down under. Maybe you’ve already booked your flights, and all your belongings are in boxes already. Whatever stage you’re at of your emigration adventure, the following things are worth considering, to ensure your journey goes as smoothly as possible.

 

Work

 

Work could well be the reason for your move. If you’ve secured a job in Australia already, then well done; that’s great news. However, you need to reflect on the changes and impact to your life the job may bring you. Try to think about how your new income or wages will affect the lifestyle that you’re used to; it might work out that you have more spare cash at the end of each month. However, if, after you’ve researched into the cost of bills, groceries, and living in Oz, you realize that you’ll need to curb your spending habits; it’s a smart choice to create an action plan of where and how you’re going to do this. By clearly understanding what your new job and lifestyle will entail, you’ll ensure a smooth adjustment to life in Australia and a happier future there.

Image source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/late-running-work-job-24068/  

 

Accommodation

 

You’ll need to sort out rental accommodation before leaving so that you and your family feel as settled as possible when you all arrive. There are plenty of resources online, and you should utilize them, and set aside money for deposits and essential items you’ll need when you get there. Even if your belongings are shipped over in time, it can take a while to find where you want to live in the long run. You might need to use a service like canningvalestorageunits.com.au so that you have the time to find your ideal property whether you’re buying or renting. If your household items are stored safely as you continue your search, you’ll have peace of mind, and it will be a weight off your shoulders.

Image via PEXELS

 

Lifestyle

 

The fun can begin when you embrace your new lifestyle in the Australian sunshine. It’s worth finding groups and activities that you and your family can all get involved in. If you’re experiencing new and fun experiences together, it’ll keep your bonds strong, and you’ll be able to meet new friends so that you can start building your new lives. Sports like surfing or paddle boarding are great options if you want to make the most of the coast. But, if you’re feeling less inclined to dip your toes in the sea, then try to have a regular activity like a walk in your nearest park together. It will be something the whole family will look forward to.

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Homesickness

 

Emigrating anywhere means you have to make a huge adjustment and sometimes, sacrifices. However, fortunately, there are services that allow you to video call friends and family for free; so figure out a time slot that best suits you both and ensures you speak to those back home whenever you can. Remember that they’ll be missing you just as much as you’re missing them. For some tips on combating homesickness, check out gooverseas.com and take everything step by step; you’ll be an expat before you know it.

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How To Prepare For Your Trip To India

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If you’re planning on going to India, there are a lot of things you should do in order to properly prepare for the trip.

With this guide, you’ll be able to stay organized and get all the boring things out of the way, so you can focus on having a great time once you’re there.

 

 

Where do you want to go?

 

This is probably one of the hardest things to decide on if you haven’t already thought of exactly where you want to go.

India is packed full of such variety, there are so many things to see, and choosing where you want to go all depends on how much time you have. If you know you’re staying for a while, you have the option to move around a lot more than if you were only staying for a few days.

It’s a good idea to get a guide book as this can recommend areas to stop in, as well as what you can do while you’re there.

 

 

Book your transport in advance

 

A lot of people don’t actually like to book flights and trains in advance because they see it as a restriction, especially if they decide they want to go somewhere else instead, or even stay where they are for a little bit longer than planned.

But it’s very wise to book in advance because the number of people traveling to and from India has increased an awful lot. Even more so by train, as the prices have been dropped a significant amount.

The more popular the train route, the more likely it is to be filled in within a short period of time, so make sure you book before it’s too late.

 

 

Book your accommodation

 

It can be very tempting to wait until you’re in India to get your hotel, because you can try and get a better deal by negotiating rates, but if you’re going to a larger city, it’s best to book your accommodation beforehand, otherwise it may just end up causing you too much hassle. You want to be able to go straight in and find you room after hours of transport, rather than messing around walking the streets trying to find a good offer.

Another benefit from booking online before you arrive is that many companies have deals connected to flights, so you may end up paying a lot less if you book the flight and the hotel together, than if you do it separately. So that’s definitely something you should think about.

 

 

Go to your doctor

 

Your health is always your number one priority when planning a trip overseas. Depending on where you go will also depend on what preventions you should take, so speak to you doctor so you know what kind of injections you will need before going to India. The dates of when you plan on going are also very important, so make sure you have the right information otherwise you may not be getting everything you need.

 

 

Get your visa

 

Anyone who plans of traveling will need a Visa For India unless you’re already a citizen. You will need this before you arrive in the country, otherwise you won’t get in.

If you only plan on staying for under 72 hours, then you can obtain a Transit Visa instead.

 

 

What to pack

 

When you start packing for India, it’s important to consider the country’s dress standards. We all know that certain body parts are covered in India as a form or respect, now whether or not you plan on doing this is entirely your choice – it’s not your culture, so you can wear whatever you want. But having said that, it’s always nice to make an effort and show your respect to other people’s beliefs.

Don’t forget to pack any medication that you take, along with personal care items and money. It’s also a good idea to bring some plug adapters for any electronics you may have.

 

 

How to get around when you’re there

 

If you’re in a big city, then taxis are probably the best way to get around. Not only do they know the best routes to take, but they are extremely cheap too.

If you’re getting a taxi from the airport, you should use a pre-paid service to avoid the risk of being scammed.

 

Trains are known for being very overcrowded and pretty old. They’re fine for short trips, but you probably won’t want to travel a long distance on them, especially not overnight, because it definitely won’t be the most comfortable night you’ll have.

 

 

How to stay healthy when you’re there

 

Whatever you do, don’t drink the tap water, even if it’s filtered doesn’t mean it’s 100% clean, so it’s just not worth the risk of getting ill. This means ice cubes too, so tell them not to put any in your glass if you’re ordering a drink in a restaurant.

 

Always have travel insurance when you go abroad. No matter how fit and healthy you are, you can never know what may happen when you’re away, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

 

 

How to stay safe when you’re there

 

It has been reported that assaults on women in India have increased, but because of this, there are now extra safety precautions that have been made. For example, there are now women-only rooms and floors in big hotels that are offered to any female travelers and guests.

 

Avoid looking at people for too long, as this can be considered rude, even if you’re smiling. So if you feel eyes on you, don’t feel the need to stare back, just keep on walking in a polite manner.

 

Do all the research you can about India and the places within it. The more you know about the area, the safer you will be. So familiarize yourself with the local information, as well as the dangers and even scams that take place.

 

Don’t walk around with your valuables on show, so that means any expensive jewelry or gadgets you may have – keep them hidden; otherwise you will just be asking for trouble.

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Turn Your Home Into A Castle – Literally

Castles were bulwarks of the medieval era, dominating the landscape wherever they were erected. In the middle ages, they were primarily designed to be battlements and to defend vast tracts of land, but they still doubled up as homes.

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With the invention of the cannon, castles ceased being defensive installations, but they didn’t end there. In the eighteenth century, people looked back on the castles of the medieval period with a kind of romantic fondness. They loved the chivalry, the tales of Arthur and the majesty that battlements evoked. As a result, they began building their own mock castles – homes that included elements of castles like rounded towers but were still luxury living accommodation nonetheless.

 

Golden Fort

 

One example of a castle that was built for living was Golden Hill Fort. This fort was built on the Isle of Wight back in the 19th century to defend against a French invasion. The fort itself was never actually used in battle. More than a hundred years later, after the Second World War, Golden Hill was converted into a series of beautiful apartments. These apartments became holiday homes where people could enjoy all that the Isle had to offer.

 

When Golden Hill was first bought by Kevin Clarke and Sean Cousins, it was a shell of a building. They worked tirelessly with local planning officials to return the building to its original state. That meant extending the building and getting a roofer to extend the roof, and making sure all 22 chimneys were of uniform height. According to Kevin, the roof was made waterproof for the first time in over a hundred years.

 

Features

 

Now that the roof and the foundations are secure, Golden Hill Fort has been transformed with all manner of luxury conveniences. Guests enter the compound through a trick tunnel with electric gates at either end. When they’ve been through both gates, they enter the refurbished central courtyard, originally designed as a parade ground to muster the troops.

Wikimedia Commons

 

There’s also other mod-cons like CCTV, allowing all entrances to the castle to be monitored remotely. On the roof, guests can enjoy communal gardens and stunning views of the island and the sea all around.

 

Prices

 

Having your own castle is by no means cheap. The average unit, which is just 1,386 to 3,250 square feet will set you back more than $600,000 to $1,500,000. When you consider the types of properties you could get for a similar cost, that’s a lot. But it’s not often that you get to live in a gated community from the middle ages, complete with battlements that’ll keep the riffraff and the French at bay.

 

According to David Brock from the heritage foundation, converting industrial forts into modern homes is relatively easy. Thanks to their modern designs, they share a similar design language with modern homes. But converting castles with stone towers is a lot more difficult. If you want to do this type of thing, you’re better off doing it yourself.

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Get A Piste Of The Action

Whilst it is incredibly exciting that Spring is only a few short weeks away it does, unfortunately, mean the ski season is coming to an end.  We know, we feel it too!

 

However it isn’t too late to head out and enjoy a few more weeks of adrenalin fuelled fun and, with a few little tweaks, you could make this a little bit more luxurious than your last ski trip.

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Heading out to Aspen is a fantastic idea.  The tail end of the season does mean you might lose a little snow quality as the main bulk of tourists have been going hard on the slopes for a few months now and fresh snow is falling less and less, however it does have the added bonus of meaning there are a few last minute deals to snatch up.  If you are in a position to hightail it out of work with 24 hours notice, you could save yourself a small fortune.  Hurrah!

 

This little saving might give you just enough to invest in some pretty awesome airport transportation, rolling into the resort in chauffeur driven style without lugging your skis and bags on a shuttle bus or into a hired car.  Also, who needs a hired car on a skiing trip anyway?  

 

If you have got a great deal on accommodation then you may feel tied to one resort, but the best thing about Aspen is you have so many options and so much access.  If you have been lucky enough to bag a week or two in Snowmass then you are probably not going to want to head off anywhere else.  You have 5547 acres of skiable area, so even though it is renowned as a family resort, there is plenty of space to get away from the crowds and ski your own route.  There is an average of 300 inches of snowfall and it boasts a vertical drop of a whopping 4406 ft.  With some of the best black routes on offer you can test your skills or take a more peaceful approach on one of the novice runs.  

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Travel is essential for keeping us healthy of mind and increasing our acceptance. You learn so much about culture and other people.  Skiing in Aspen is no exception to this rule, there is a gorgeous town with pretty little streets and vibrant colourful buildings.  You will find some great bars and brilliant restaurants to spend your evenings in and get to know the locals, who adore the tourist trade.  If you fancy trying something a little different, and give your ski boots a rest, then head off on a dog sleigh adventure.  Everything is provided, even the food, so all you have to do is turn on and tune out.  Enjoying the incredible scenery with only the sound of galloping paws surrounding you.  
We don’t know what you are waiting for? Get online and hunt down those end of season deals.  This time tomorrow, you could be on the piste!

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Are You Ready For The Ultimate Road Trip Adventure?

We’ve all thought about packing our things up in the car and taking off on an adventure at one stage or another. But while the thought of an impromptu weekend away may sound perfect, an organized trip will almost certainly take things to the next level.

 

You’ve saved up your money. You’ve taken two weeks off work. And now you’re ready to put the wheels in motion for what could be the trip of a lifetime. What are you waiting for?

 

Let’s kick this baby into overdrive.

Roads Winding Road Trip Road Trip

Roads Winding Road Trip Road Trip

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Preparing Your Transport

 

Arguably the best thing about taking an epic road trip is that you can marry your love of a great vacation with your love of driving. However, it’s imperative that your vehicle is prepared for the long drives ahead. Not least because you will be entering unfamiliar territories.   

 

In addition to checking the car’s health, it’s often worth investing in a Sat Nav and a dash cam. If you plan to travel with the whole family, keeping kids occupied with an in-car DVD can have a huge impact too. There’s more to a road trip than driving alone, but this is a crucial element. Get it right, and you’re already halfway to enjoying the perfect vacation.   

 

Plan, But Leave Room For Flexibility

 

Your road trip allows you to visit multiple places in a very short space of time. So if you’re going to utilize your time effectively, planning ahead is a crucial element. Otherwise, you could waste valuable time deciding on attractions to visit. Besides, there’s nothing quite as frustrating as missing a great opportunity through poor preparation.   

 

On the other hand, you never know when you might suddenly see an event that wasn’t promoted. Alternatively, you may get a chance to buy tickets to a big sporting event or music gig. Find the right balance between following a schedule and being spontaneous, and you will not go wrong.

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Pre-Book Accommodation

 

Throughout your journey, there may be times when a quick night stop in the motel will suffice. Likewise, many adventurers love the thought of sleeping under the stars and camping for at least some of the trip. Nevertheless, you will need a sense of comfort.

 

Just because you are on a road trip, it doesn’t mean you can’t spend a few days in one location. Cabin rentals are a great way to enjoy a short stay in luxury while having a great place to enjoy some family adventure before hitting the road once more. Moreover, a good night’s sleep will work wonders for the driver. If nothing else, having these elements in place will help you stick to the basic itinerary.

 

Be Prepared For Activities

 

Whether you’re traveling by car or RV, you should have ample space for packing key items. In addition to clothes and essentials, you should pack footwear designed for treks and other adventures. This one tip will open up a whole world of new adventures.

 

Specialist equipment for activities like rafting will be provided on site, so that isn’t a problem. As long as you pack torches, spare cell phones, and other key items, you’ll have nothing to fear. Above all else, the confidence gained from being prepared will allow you to seek far more enjoyment too. So strap in, the trip of a lifetime awaits.

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Once in a Lifetime: Some Unique Travel Experiences You Shouldn’t Miss Out On

There are some things that you need to experience first-hand to comprehend how special they are. These are once in a lifetime experiences that you simply can’t afford to miss out on. If you are planning your future travel plans, you should definitely include some of these unique travel experiences. Find out some more information about some of the best below.

 

Swim in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

 

Iceland might not seem like a typical tourist destination, but the island has a surprising amount to offer. It has a few interesting cities, a very unique culture, natural beauty and the Northern Lights. On top of all that, it has the Blue Lagoon. This stunning natural lagoon is open to the public, and you can swim in it whenever you like. Despite the freezing cold surroundings, the water in the lagoon is always warm, and you can make the most of it. It’s a great way to relax and warm up, so don’t miss it. The mineral contents of the water are also said to have its own health benefits, so you have plenty of reasons to seek it out.

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Explore Thailand and Teach There

 

Not many people know it, but Thailand is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Despite the country being small on the map, around 66 million people live there. The capital is Bangkok, and it attracts tourists from all over the world throughout the year. But if you want to see a different side to the country and leave a positive legacy there, you should teach English to local children. You can volunteer in Thailand and do this whenever you like. It’s something a little different, and it offers a unique way to see the country.

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Walk in Japan’s Bamboo Forests

 

Japan has all kinds of natural wonders, as well as the artificial man-made metropolis of Tokyo. But of all the natural sites you must see in Japan, the enchanting Bamboo Forests are among the very best. In fact, they’re breathtaking. The bamboo stalks tower over you so high, and the atmosphere is one of a kind. It’s like a normal forest, but at the same time, it’s completely different and unique. It’s the kind of thing that you really do have to experience for yourself if you want to understand it. Head to Kyoto if you want to find them and walk through them at your own pace.

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Hike Machu Picchu

 

Up high in the Andes Mountains, you’ll find the abandoned 15th-century citadel known as Machu Picchu. It was only discovered in relatively recent times, and seeing a city made 600 years ago is something you can’t do often. It has been untouched and unspoiled, and now tourists head up the mountain to see it for themselves. It’s something that you should definitely do once in your life because there is quite simply nothing else like it on Earth, so it shouldn’t be missed. You can go up there yourself or join a guided tour if you want more structure and guidance.

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