The Downside To Different Cultures

Experiencing different cultures is one of the main benefits to travel. Nothing beats getting out and seeing a way of life different from your own. While some people chase the sun, others stroll around the streets and speak to locals. It’s the best way to spread your wings and see the world from a different angle.

But, it would be naive to think that experiencing different cultures will be all plain sailing. Travelers face a variety of setbacks, from language barriers to risks to their safety. Those safety risks are what we’re going to focus on. In some destinations, it’s necessary to take armed guards wherever you go. You might encounter tourist targeting thieves, or even open yourself up to kidnapping. But, those aren’t the only  risks. Different cultures have different hygiene standards, and these could be a problem, too. But, you shouldn’t let fears for your safety stop you seeing the places you want to see. There’s no reason you can’t stay safe in dangerous places. All you need to do is follow these steps.

 

KNOW WHERE YOU CAN GO

If you’ve chosen to visit a location that’s considered ‘dangerous,’ it’s important you know where you can and can’t go. In many destinations, like Brazil, the dangerous areas are near to heavy tourist areas. Wandering down a side-road is all it would take to find yourself in trouble. The best thing you can do to avoid that eventuality is to research before you leave. Find out which areas pose the biggest threat to your safety, and pre-plan routes which take you around them. If there’s something you really want to see in dangerous areas, find out the safest ways to travel. It might be that you need to alert guards to your presence or avoid acting in a certain way.

BE AWARE OF THE RISKS

It’s also essential to know what risks you’re exposing yourself to. Read recent news articles about the area to find out. Are you opening yourself to kidnapping? Or, perhaps the risk is less violent, and more to do with the environment itself. Different countries have different laws about pollution and dangerous chemicals. Excessive amounts of pollution could expose you to benzene and other harmful chemicals. If you do suffer while you’re away, it’s important you file a benzene lawsuit and get the medical treatment you need. But, avoiding the situation is the best way forward. There may also be different hygiene standards for water. All these things are easy to discover beforehand.

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GET THE RIGHT KIT

Once you know the risks, you can buy equipment to help keep you safe. In some areas, a face mask may be necessary to reduce your intake of chemicals. Or, you may want to stock up on a water filters to ensure you can drink from taps, etc. This gear is cheap to buy but could save your life. It’s also worth taking a first-aid kit wherever you go. Having basic medical supplies will make a huge difference.

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Things to Consider Before a Road Trip

The all singing all dancing road trip is still a top idea for people wanting to get away and do something a little different. It can be a really liberating and freeing feeling to just throw your essentials into the back of your car and head off onto the open road, however there are some things that need your consideration first.

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Stay Safe

 

If you are planning to drive anywhere through vast expanses of land you will need to make sure you have enough water, food and petrol to keep you going in case you don’t find anywhere to stop and refuel (yourself or your car) for long periods of time.

 

You will also need to be mindful that you don’t get too carried away with the freedom and liberating feeling that a road trip brings. It is easy to think that the normal driving rules don’t apply on a legendary road trip, but drinking and driving, for example, is a big no-no. A sure-fire way to bring an abrupt end to your trip is having to search out the best DUI attorney to get you out of an alcohol induced car accident.

 

Clean Your Car

 

Your car is inevitably going to go through the mill on a road trip. Spending hours at a time, for days on end, in your car means that you are certainly going to need to give it a little TLC upon your return. However it is easy to forget that before you go you should also be giving your car a thorough clean out to ensure that when you set off your car is clean, organised and ready to go.

 

Mechanical Check

 

You should also go to see your local mechanic to make sure that your car is up to a big road trip and that it is not going to let you down at the most inopportune moment. Tell your mechanic that you are planning to go on a road trip so that they know the specific areas that they need to be looking for. They will need to check that your fluid levels are healthy, that your brakes are at optimum functionality, that your tires are fully pumped and still reasonably new and anything else that could potentially cause you any problems along the way.

 

Plan

 

We know that it is not considered ‘cool’ to plan a road trip to the nth degree however a little light planning can avoid a lot of problems later on. Over Scheduling a trip can mean that you miss lots of the details that you were really excited about as you realise that you are running out of time. On the flip side, not doing enough research on the places you will be passing through will mean that you can miss some really amazing things along the way.

 

To avoid, putting in unnecessary extra miles at each new destination, research hotels and accommodation in each area that you intend to stay in. After a long day driving the last thing you will want to do is circulate a new town or city for hours looking for places to stay so this research and pre-planning will really pay off in the long run.

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Top Tips for a Summer Road Trip

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Summer is here! Which means sunny road trips with the windows down are just around the corner! Not only are they a way to save money on airfare and to have some fun-filled adventures on the road, but how else are you going to get to the mountains? Whether you’re traveling with a minivan full of kids or you’re taking a trip up the coast with your friends, here are four top tips to help ensure a road trip to remember, for the right reasons!

 

Bring a paper map

 

Before you see the dreaded “no service” pop up on your smartphone, which will keep Map Quest or Siri from getting you where you need to go, make sure to bring along a paper map or a print-out from your go-to site for directions, just in case. They may feel old fashioned, but they are reliable and don’t run out of battery in the middle of nowhere! After the trip, you can always get crafty and turn those maps into coasters or add them into scrapbooking pages.

 

Charge up your gadgets

 

We all have our must-bring gadgets for road trips, like smartphones and tablets, but don’t forget the accessories that go along with them, like a solar charger, which lets you power up your cell phone, digital camera, or iPad from wherever you are. Another must-have is a universal car inverter to keep laptops, and DVD players juiced up since they often don’t hold more than two to three hours of battery power. Also, grab a headphone splitter so two can share the audio of a DVD or audiobook.

Photo credit: Pexels

 

Don’t forget the essentials

 

Just because you’re away from your home and your kitchen, doesn’t mean you need to eat fast food or camp out in restaurants at meal times. Remember to bring along plates, bowls, napkins, and utensils, then taking excursions to the grocery store for food you can easily prep on your own, like sandwiches and salads. Be sure to bring a cooler, too! Even picking up oatmeal packets and cereal bars is better than snacking on donuts for breakfast at gas stations, and it’s a lot healthier and economical, too.

 

If you are driving through some serious heat, be sure to stock up on a tonneau cover or two to cover the seats. This means that when you get back to the car after spending an afternoon exploring, you won’t be sitting on burning chairs. Reuseable water bottles, flasks, and a camping stove are also useful when on a road trip.

 

Set expectations

 

When traveling with a group, whether beloved family members or favorite friends, communicate beforehand (in-person or on the phone) to talk about what each person wants to do and see in order to manage expectations during the trip. Arrange a pre-trip pow-wow to avoid potential tensions that may arise if one person dominates the itinerary. Also, be flexible to ensure everyone in the car has a good time and gets to do many of the things they want to along the way.

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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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Over the Hill? You Can Still Go Exploring

To set forth and explore the great outdoors is usually thought of as an activity reserved only for the energetic, sprightly youth, but this isn’t the case. While it’s unlikely that you’ll be climbing Everest once you’re past middle age (though it does happen!), there are still plenty of opportunities for you to challenge yourself by throwing yourself into a new surrounding. If you’re looking for a new adventure to inspire you to live again, look to the outdoors: there is much more to do than you might think.

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Packing up the RV

One of the good things about traveling when you’re older – rather than when you’re younger – is that you usually have more money to hand. If you do have money you can spend on traveling, look at buying an RV. This will enable you to travel to remote areas, while still being able to stay in comfort. Recreational vehicles can range quite significantly regarding comfort and so on, so there’ll be a vehicle to match all budgets. Once you have it, you can point the vehicle in whichever direction looks appealing and hit the road.

Travel Adventures

There are plenty of options too for those who want to travel further afield. It’s all about finding an exciting travel adventure and throwing yourself into it. So long as it’s an activity that is not age-specific, such as walking or kayaking, then you’ll be able to do it without a problem. There are plenty of amazing destinations that are off the beaten path that is suitable for all ages; take a look at the account of Mosquito Bay Puerto Rico from thriveafter50.com, for instance, and you’ll see that having once in a lifetime experiences don’t stop once you pass thirty. If you want to challenge yourself even further, you can find guided tours that can take you to the depths of the Amazon Rainforest and other spectacular sites, full in the knowledge that you’re traveling with an expert.

Into the Water

Another way to explore the world is to find an activity that you know you can do anywhere, and then use it as a framework when you go to other places. Fishing is one way to do this: you can do it no matter how old you are, it can be as challenging or relaxing as you like, and you’ll get to discover some of the world’s most beautiful waterways. Every day will be a little bit different, and you’ll be able to eat your catch at the end of the day. This activity can be done from the Arctic all the way down to Australia: plenty of scope for seeing new places!

A More Luxurious Camping Site

There comes a time when it becomes uncomfortable to camp. At that stage, you don’t need to put your camping days to bed: you just need to find a new way to camp! Glamping stands for glamorous camping and offers all the joys of camping combined with accommodation that is much better than just a tent and a bed. Perfect!

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Tips for Traveling in a Car with Pets

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If you hate to leave your furry friends at home when you head off on a road trip, why not bring them along next time?

 

Bringing your pets along for the ride is a great way to have more fun on the road, not only because pets make everything better but also because you won’t spend quite so much time worrying about how they’re doing.

 

If you do decide to bring our four-legged companions with you, you should make sure that you make things as safe as possible for them. Most of us do everything we can to mitigate any potential accidents and injuries for ourselves and our human passengers, but not everyone goes to the same care when they have pets in the car. Don’t be like them and make an effort to really keep your pets safe in the car. Here are some simple tips to help you do just that:

 

Safely Secure Them

 

Perhaps, the most important thing you can do to keep your pets safe on your next road trip is to ensure that they are safely secured into the car. The best way to do this is by placing them in a carrier or crate that is well ventilated and which can be strapped into the car much in the same way you’d secure a car seat for a child. You can also buy straps that can be slotted into the seat belt buckle on one end and your pet’s collar on the other, but these allow for more movement, so if you have a nervous or overexcited dog or cat, you might not want to use them.

 

Feed Well in Advance of Traveling

 

Unless you’re going to be on the road for a very long time and there’s no way of getting around it, you should avoid feeding your pets while your vehicle is moving and you should aim to feed them a light meal around 4 hours before you set off on your journey. This will help to prevent any upset stomachs, especially in pets who aren’t used to traveling. If they need to be fed again during travel, try to find a safe spot to pull over and let them eat safely while the vehicle is static.

 

Monitor the Temperature Carefully

 

When the weather is warm, it can be so easy for your vehicle to overheat and this could cause heatstroke, and even death toy our pets if you aren’t careful to keep the car well-ventilated. Similarly, if it is very cold outside, your car could become too cold and cause your pet to freeze to death. Obviously, you would be devastated if either of these things happened, so keep the windows rolled when it’s hot and bring lots of blankets to keep your pets warm if it’s cold outside, and never, ever leave your pets in your vehicle unattended for long periods of time.

 

Pack a Pet Travel Kit

 

If you want your pets to be as happy and comfortable on the road as possible, you should think about packing a pet travel kit. This should include the basics like food and water, and a bowl from which they can eat and drink, as well as a favorite toy or two,  to help your pets feel more at home. You should also pack leashes, medication, an animal first aid kit and anything else you could conceivably need.

 

Practice

 

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Before you take your pets on a long journey, if they aren’t used to traveling in the car, you should take them on a few shorter journeys first. This will familiarize them with car travel and build up their tolerance so that they do not get distressed when you go on your big trip.

 

Think About Identification

 

If you’re going to be traveling far from home, then you need to ensure that your pets can be easily identified should they get lost. You can do this by ensuring that they are microchipped and by putting a tag, which contains your cell phone number, the address of the place you’re going and other important contact information on it.

 

Keep Them Away from the Windows

 

Although lots of dogs seem to love riding with their head out of the window in cars, it’s actually a pretty dangerous thing to allow. Not only could they be injured by objects flying through the air, but they could also potentially fall out of the window if it’s cranked right down and they aren’t secured.

 

Do you travel a lot with your pets? What do you do to ensure that they are as safe and comfortable as possible during the journey?

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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.

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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.

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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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