6 Simple Ways to Save Money When Planning a Holiday

Travelling the world is a lot easier and affordable than it used to be; even distant and remote locations have become far more accessible over time. However, like many people, you’re probably always on the lookout for simple ways to save money when planning a holiday. Every saving, big or small, helps.

1. Buy Luggage From a Wholesaler

Reliable luggage can be expensive, especially if you’re looking for luggage that’s both secure and weatherproof. Check out online wholesale retailers like Luggage Direct for a wide variety of luggage options at discount prices. Sometimes, you can even take advantage of free delivery.

2. Travel During Non-Peak Periods

When you’re booking flights or accommodation, costs are usually lower during non-peak times, i.e. not during school vacation or public holidays. Obviously, there are times when you really need to travel regardless of the time of year, but when you do have a choice, choose wisely!

3. Fly With Low-Cost Carriers

There’s so much competition out there now with airlines doing everything they can to secure your business. If you have a tight budget, a low-cost carrier can often be a good way to go if you don’t mind sacrificing a few creature comforts. Even with the separate costs of meals, comfort kits and entertainment, it will probably still cost less in total than flying with a conventional airline. Keep in mind that conventional airlines occasionally have big sales so it’s a good idea to shop around.

4. Join Frequent Flyer Programs

There are a number of frequent flyer programs where you can earn points from flying, as well as shopping at your usual retailers. Some supermarkets link their rewards cards to frequent flyer programs with various airlines. There’s also the option of using a frequent flyer credit card (see which ones your bank has), so you’ll earn points when you use your credit card(s). Look out for offers in which you can earn double or triple points to help your points balance increase a little faster!

5. Use Online Booking Sites

Travel agents sometimes charge a fee for their assistance in arranging your vacation. There are countless websites for flights and accommodation bookings with many also helping you compare prices. Beware of sites that charge you booking fees though. Sign up for newsletters and alerts so you’ll hear about promotions and sales first.

6. Only Pack Necessities

People all over the world fall into the same trap – packing far more than you need for your trip. If you’re travelling on low-cost carriers, your luggage weight limit will be set. While everyone is permitted to carry 8-10kg (depending on which airline you fly with), you can be slugged with a hefty fee if you’re even slightly over the limit. That’s an unnecessary waste of money. Be judicious when packing.

Travelling doesn’t have to be a ridiculously pricey affair. It just takes some common sense and you need to keep your eyes and ears open for businesses trying to get more money out of you. Be aware of the discounts that may be out there and make sure you’re looking in the right places. How do you save money while planning a holiday?

How to Set Yourself Apart

Building a look is all about stacking elements together; you have to think about how your shoes match your socks and how your shirt matches your tie and so on. In many ways, having a plan is actually more important than the elements themselves. If you go into your wardrobe choices with an overall plan for how you’d like to look, you will probably end up looking fine. You should decide the centrepiece of your look and design around that.

Tie

Many men will instantly gravitate towards the necktie as the centrepiece of their look. For men, the necktie is so often the only part of the wardrobe that is very different from what everyone else is wearing. If you put on a navy blue suit and a lighter blue shirt, how many other guys in your office will be wearing the exact same thing? The answer is probably quite a few. That’s why the necktie holds so much prominence as a way to distinguish yourself from others. While this is somewhat effective, it has come to be expected. One compelling way to set yourself apart, especially in an outdoor meeting, is the sunglasses.

Sunglasses

Sunglasses are oftentimes overlooked as fashion accessories. Very often, they are thought of as purely utilitarian devices for blocking some of the sunlight from your eyes. Obviously, that is their primary purpose, but they cover your eyes, so they are obviously going to be a focal point. With this season’s designer Ray-Ban sunglasses, you can set yourself apart from everybody else at the office.

When you have to meet a client out in the field, matching your suit to a well-designed pair of sunglasses can signal that you are a man who takes himself seriously. Working with a tie that matches your suit is pretty standard, but a pair of shades that complement your tie can really signal you are thoughtful.

Benefits of Sunglasses

In addition to being a great way to set yourself apart as a fashionable guy, sunglasses offer many of the obvious benefits. First and foremost, they protect your eyes from UV rays; that’s obvious. In addition to that, though, they offer some benefits in a business setting. When you are trying to conduct a meeting, talk with a client, or finalise a deal, you want to be able to read your sheet of paper. If you’ve ever held a white sheet of paper in the sun, you know how hard that can be. A good pair of sunglasses makes it possible.

Most business goes down on an electronic device now, though. White sheets of paper reflect annoying amounts of sunlight, making them very hard to read. Electronic devices, on the other hand, become washed out by too much sunlight and are very hard to read. If you can, you can turn up the display’s brightness, but this does not always make it easy to read. Your best bet is a pair of sunglasses.

Sunglasses are all about function, but that does not mean they can’t be fashionable. Building a look around a pair of sunglasses signals to your clients that you’re serious.

What Exactly Makes An Online Casino A Good One?

Have you ever wondered with the multitude of online casinos there are nowadays, how you figure out the really good ones from the not so good ones?  Although nothing beats actually experiencing a casino for yourself, because everyone’s view is different, there are some key pointers you should keep in mind when you are trying to pick the online casino you are going to invest money in games and try to win those big prizes with.

Trusted And Fully Licensed

By far the most important, and probably the most obvious factor you should have in mind when looking at a specific online casino is to make sure it is fully licensed and trusted.  Only gamble your money with sites that have been granted with a license within a licensing jurisdiction of either Costa Rica, Kahnawake, Netherlands Antilles (Curacao), Antigua, Malta, Gibraltar, Isle Of Man, Alderney or the UK.  Avoid depositing any money or playing any games with a casino that does not have the proper licensing as you can never be sure they will pay out.

What Do You Know About The Casino?

Obviously if you are going to gamble and essentially spend your money with a particular casino, it is wise to find out as much as you can about them.  Do they own more than one gambling portal and do they have a good track record with customers within the gambling industry?  Always be weary about online casinos where information is very sparse about it.

Look Out For Signs It Has Been eCOGRA Approved

Another sure-fire way to know if an online casino is trustworthy or not is by looking to see if they have eCOGRA approval.  This is a testing agency for online casinos in the UK who put each site through a very rigorous vetting procedure and check for fair practices, before giving their approval or not.  While it is true that casinos do need eCOGRA approval, it does make them more appealing and secure and players are more likely to gamble with them.

The Actual Gaming Content

It is important not to over look the actual content itself.  Modern online casinos should have a good mix of games to offer the best variety to players.  Look out for casinos that have Bingo, Keno and Arcade Games as well as the more Vegas-style card and table games such as roulette and poker.

Great Customer Service

Customer service is such an important aspect of online casinos, and you can assume that any casino that wants to be considered or ranked as one of the top 10 real online casinos should have a helpful and friendly customer service network.  Both members and non-members should be able to contact via a variety of methods, a fully manned customer service team that can help with all of their queries and questions.

Car Camping Tips for Hitting the Road Right

Whether you love boondocking in remote country or your idea of roughing it is a full-service park with a mini-golf course and arcade, car camping can be an absolute blast. For many, the opportunity to tent out under the star-spangled heavens with the luxury and shelter of a well-stocked vehicle at your disposal beats a hotel room every time.

As with any endeavor, proper planning goes a long way toward ensuring a safe and pleasurable car-camping trip. Here are a few handy tips for getting the most out of your next getaway!

Pack the Essentials

Even if you’re not backpacking some far-flung and lonesome trail, you need to be prepared for contingencies when you’re camping. Bring along an emergency supply of food and water as well as warm clothing and blankets, just in case a mechanical breakdown (see below) strands you on some remote backroad, or an unexpected storm washes out or snows in the route to your campground.

The proper safety equipment also includes a first-aid kit: You want to be able to handle, at least for the time being, anything from scrapes and nicks to a bone fracture or break. (It’s a good idea in general to have medical supplies stored in both your vehicle and your home.) If you have vital prescriptions, bring extras in the event you’re delayed getting back to civilization. If you wear contact lenses, bring a pair of glasses along as backup.

A Dependable Vehicle

Car camping obviously relies on a vehicle in good working order. Whether it’s a Kia Sorento, a Toyota Tacoma, or any other rig, give it a once- (or twice-) over before hitting the road–topping off fluids; checking hoses, wires, and connectors; assessing tire pressure and condition; confirming working lights; and replacing or restocking, if necessary, your jumper cables, extra fluids, extra belts, extra windshield wipers, and other go-to supplies. Car problems can derail an entire holiday, so you want to cover your bases and prepare for the unexpected as best you can.

Reference Materials

These days, a smartphone or other mobile device gives you an awful lot of information–both critical and trivial–to tap into away from home. Such technology, though, isn’t a substitute for old-fashioned print references, especially when you’re well outside the range of a cellular tower.

For one thing, obtain and bring along a large-scale map of the area(s) in which you’ll be camping. Car campers sometimes neglect this, but many prime recreation sites are off the beaten path and accessed via long, confusing networks of unpaved, poorly maintained roadways, and a detailed map’s critical for staying on-course. Furthermore, day hiking’s one of the pleasures of any car-camping vacation, and hitting the trail–even a short one–means having a map to consult.

It’s also a great idea to bring along various guidebooks focused on the region you’re exploring, and even novels, poetry, or essay collections with the same geographic focus. When you’re stuck in the car during a prolonged rainstorm, it’s wonderful to have some absorbing and edifying reading material on hand to pass the time–and to deepen your appreciation of the setting.

Around the Campfire

Campfires have near-universal–and deeply primal–appeal. That said, they’re one of the arenas most easily abused by novice or negligent campers. For one thing, you should always check the current fire regulations for the area in which you’ll be camping: In periods of hot, dry, and/or windy weather, campfires may be temporarily banned to lessen the risk of sparking a wildfire.

It’s best to acquire firewood in the vicinity of where you’re camping to avoid spreading timber pests. If gathering your own wood is allowed, focus on dead and downed branches and twigs and spread out your collecting so you’re not depleting these ecologically important resources in any one spot. And if you’re camping in a place where timber’s scarce–such as an alpine pass or a sparse desert–consider forgoing a fire altogether.

Have water and a shovel on hand to effectively control and douse your blaze. And make sure the campfire’s completely extinguished before heading for bed or leaving your campsite.

Car camping’s a lifelong, family-friendly adventure that can introduce you to some beautiful landscapes and healthy outdoor activities wherever you pursue it. So get packing and hit the highway!

Jesse Murillo works in education and is a real camping enthusiast, regularly organizing school trips and adventures with her own family. She has owned a used a number of different SUV’s and knows what is needed to meet your needs. Her ideas and suggestions can be found on a variety of leisure and family-interest websites she writes for on a regular basis.

 

Aussie Water Sports Gear Guide 2015

Australia is one of the top destination spots for wakeboarding. When it comes to outfitting a boat for skiing or wakeboarding, there’s a whole world of gear from which to choose. How can you keep your shopping habits in check and narrow down your list of wants to those things that you absolutely must have? Use this guide to help you determine which items require your attention this year, those things that are worth saving up for, and how to decide if something is essential or just fun to have.

Things That Need Your Attention Every Year

When it comes right down to it, there’s no use purchasing fun accessories for your boat unless it is actually water-worthy. This means a yearly investment in maintenance and quality care. Big Air Australia lists an array of suggested water sports gear on their video page, including:

  • Top quality cleansers and wax
  • Metal polish
  • Wiper blades
  • New filters, engine zincs, belts, and oil
  • Replacement parts for anything that has been damaged

When it’s time to gas up, choose the correct fuel additive to protect your engine from today’s problematic (for boat engines) ethanol-blended gasoline.

What Deserves a Serious Investment?

If you haven’t already outfitted your boat with a wake tower, then this should be at the top of your list. In addition to the tower, you’ll want to take a look at top quality wake tower speakers and, of course, a waterproof source of music, maybe some headlights, and the following:

  • Portable ballast pump
  • Ballast bags for better wake
  • Added storage
  • Waterproof action camera
  • Wakeboard Upgrade

How to Sort the Needs From the Wants

Some of the most troublesome shopping situations occur as boating enthusiasts get distracted by gear that isn’t quite necessary. For example, you definitely need some boating eyewear. These protective glasses will protect your eyes from the harsh glare of the sun reflected off the water and can improve visibility while driving the boat. A trendy pair of sunglasses might be rationalized this way, but make sure that the glasses offer the UV and IR ratings necessary to actually be protective. Use similar judgement for footwear. For most decisions, you can simply apply the “Will it improve the ride?” test. Should you purchase an umbrella for the back of your boat? Ask yourself if it will improve the ride? If you usually travel with a group, then the added shade might be exactly what you need. Should you get another DVD showcasing your favorite athlete? Most people will have to place that in their “want” section. Then there are those no-brainer decisions between a new set of life vests and a fun new vintage sign for the shop. Naturally, after you have made the purchases that you need (maybe a new set of great-gripping gloves?), feel free to indulge in some of those wants.

Why Does It Matter?

As you browse through your favorite wakeboarding supply website or visit your local shop, you’ll be confronted by a lot of gear. Some of it will last through multiple seasons, this includes those tower speakers, and others may need to be replaced year after year, think about all that wax, but when you have clearly defined those items that get top priority, you’ll be much happier. Don’t get side-tracked by those items that probably aren’t more than a soon-to-be-regretted impulse buy. Next time you’re in Australia make sure every purchase goes toward improving your wakeboarding/boating experience as this land has plenty to offer.

Tips for taking your pets on holiday

Many pet owners are taking their pets with them on holiday, particularly as more of us are taking UK breaks than ever before. This can be a great adventure for the family as well as the pet, however it’s important to remember that you need to prepare for a pet-friendly holiday beforehand so that everybody has a great time, bearing in mind that that some animals find a change in routine to be stressful. Here are a few tips for what to plan for and organise:

Your destination

Double-check that your accommodation is pet-friendly as, understandably, not every holiday home, hotel or campsite accepts animals. If you are going abroad, you will need a passport for your pet for mainland Europe. If you plan to go further afield, check the UK government’s website for details of regulations that will apply, for example, there is a legal requirement in some countries that your dog has an ID tag or collar when in public places. Also, from April 2016 you will need to microchip your pet – which is anyway a really good idea in case they ever manage to abandon their collar and get lost.

Your pet’s health

Plan to have your dog or cat checked out by a qualified vet before travelling. It’s particularly important to ensure your pet is free from ailments before you set off and that vaccinations, etc are up to date. You’ll find an impressively wide range of branded wormers and treatments for fleas on a new website from Bob Martin Vetcare, plus useful “how-to” videos demonstrating techniques for administering these, and also for grooming your pet. Your holiday will be more relaxed and enjoyable however, if your pet is in tip-top condition before you travel.

Your journey

Pets, particularly dogs, often enjoy travelling, but it’s important to make sure this is the case before you leave. If you are travelling by car or train, make sure you have had some short outings – sort of practice runs – with your pet beforehand. If your pet is not a good traveller and prone to travel sickness, consult your vet who should be able to recommend something that will deal with this during the trip. Do be considerate and allow for lots of comfort breaks and chances to stretch the legs – particularly for dogs, if your journey is a lengthy one.

Your checklist

When packing, be mindful of your pet’s needs as well as your own. Include their pet bed or blanket and bowls for food and water, leads and collars including ID tag, toys and medication if needed. Pack the pet passport and contact details for your own vet as well as a practice local to your destination, in case of emergency. Make sure you have a pooper-scooper and bags and a harness or pet carrier, and bring flea and worming treatment even if the vet has given the all clear

Finally, do check out the Bob Martin Vetcare site where there are helpful products for alleviating pet stress and anxiety, which may prove very useful for your dog prior to and during your holiday travel, helping the whole family enjoy the experience.

Best methods to travel the world

As self-defined dreamy travellers, we gaze longingly upon our destinations, each moment eagerly awaiting the point of arrival. What other reason do we endure the long airport queues and rigorous security checks, exhausting long-haul flights or gruelling coach rides? Without the prospect of a new adventure, our weary feet simply would not budge. However, travelling isn’t all about the destination, of course – too often, we forget to savour the “getting there” and all the unpredictable, delightful surprises (and challenges) that come with it.

Dream big, think big, do big

For many cruise ship enthusiasts, the destination is the journey. Modern cruise ships offer an unparalleled experience with world-class entertainment, prime cuisine, luxury accommodation and extensive recreational facilities. Themed cruises are a great way to spend time mingling with likeminded folks and to enjoy new shores. Many major operators now adhere to more progressive environmental guidelines as well, reducing energy use where possible and implementing renewable systems.

Some sea dogs go a step further and buy their own vessel. The top of the line is the luxury yacht, a type of travel that beautifully touches on the balance between high adventure and refined living. Mikati’s superyacht is one of the world’s most revered hi-tech vessels and combines state-of-the-art engineering to garner a perfect, well-rounded experience on the water – ideal for travel. The Mikati’s successful business enterprise isn’t the only one to set sail on a luxury yacht, but it certainly knows how to capture the lure of the sea.

On the road (or rail) again

Journeying cross country bears an entirely different romance, but it’s not without its charms. Travelling by train isn’t just a fast and efficient way to rush from point to point, but a true journey in every sense of the word. Sweeping landscapes of rural towns, mountains and moors shrouded in mist, bustling cities, blissful coastlines and sprawling plains are just a few of the views set to meet the observer’s keen eye. Trains tend to pass through the more scenic parts of the country, and there are usually a few interesting characters here and there to boot. Best of all, it’s affordable and comfortable, not to mention an experience all unto its own in regions where train-riding is integral to the local culture.

Of course, for many of us, nothing beats an old-fashioned pair of wheels when we hit Route 66, or even our own two feet when crossing Yellowstone. Backpacking remains a popular and highly praised sport, demanding street smarts, reasonable fitness and an absolute passion for taking the path less known. Nothing will give you a more immersive, challenging or rewarding experience – and it’s little surprise that it is considered the “rite of passage” mode of travel for many youngsters yearning to see the world.

Ultimately, travel is what you make of it. If you sit back, relax, and savour what the world has to offer and embrace each experience whole-heartedly, then your journey will be the destination in itself.

Smart Packing Tips You Should Know About

There are a lot of circumstances in which you might need to put your packing abilities into action, including moving house, changing office, or just going on holiday. There are different ways to pack, depending on the context, but packing for a trip away can be more stressful than you anticipate. If this is an activity you usually have trouble with, here are some smart packing tips you should know about – give them a try and you may be surprised by just how quickly and easily you can get everything packed.

Right Luggage

Having the right luggage is always a good place to start. Think about how long you are going away for, how you are travelling, and what types of things you are planning to take. Structured bags usually have wheels and are a better choice if you are travelling by air, while softer bags provide less protection but are easier to fit into smaller spaces. If you are on the hunt for some new luggage, take a look at what specialists such as Luggage Direct can offer you, then make a decision from there.

Plan

Plans are a great way to make sure you are organised – and that you don’t miss anything that might be important! Make a list of everything you think you need and be sure to consult this on the day you pack. If you are especially concerned about forgetting something specific, you can go a step further and temporarily store this item in your suitcase in the days or weeks leading up to your trip.

Pack Less

Try to be as versatile as you can with your clothing choices. Pack clothes that can either be worn in a number of different ways or clothes that can be easily matched to others. Aim to wear each piece of clothing more than once. Quick-drying underwear are also very helpful, as it means you don’t have to pack and store dirty underwear for the duration of your trip.

Space Efficiency

Use the space you have in your suitcase or luggage as efficiently as possible. This usually means packing larger items before smaller items, and grouping bottles and trinkets into smaller plastic bags for easy access. Rolling up clothes to make space for other, less flexible items is another way to make the most of your luggage space.

These tips will take the stress out of packing for a holiday and will hopefully allow you to truly relax and enjoy your time away. There are plenty of other smart packing tips you might want to try, but depending on the items you are packing, the duration of your trip and where you are going, you may find some methods more effective than others. Trial and error is your friend and – in time – you will find a set of tricks that work for you.

Do you have any smart packing tips that you use when you are getting ready for a holiday? Which ones do you think are most effective and why? Leave your tricks or advice in the comments section below.

Best sailing adventures around Australia

Sailing is the perfect activity for those who love exploring. If you wish to embark on a sailing adventure, then Australia is an ideal destination, as it offers many stunning sights and areas to explore.

Sailing provides many benefits. Being out on the open water provides you with plenty of freedom and gives you a sense of adventure, as you can explore a variety of destinations. Sailing is also thought to provide many health benefits, from improving your muscular strength to helping you feel more relaxed. Being out on the water also enables you to gain experience and improve your sailing skills, allowing you to venture out even further.

Sailing does not need to be an activity that is suitable only for the wealthy. You can enjoy all the benefits of sailing even if you are on a budget. There are boats, boating equipment and destinations that are suitable for those who are on a budget but wish to do some traveling out on the water. Sailing gives you the opportunity to visit a number of different locations, so you can easily explore a variety of areas without having to worry about spending too much.

There are many luxury marinas and harbors that are worth a visit and ideal for those who are looking for a destination where they can spot the rich with their yachts. If you are planning to sail around Australia, then Sydney Harbor is often a popular place for spotting wealthy boat owners. If you wish to venture further out, then France and Italy have luxury marinas and harbors that are worth exploring. Port de Cannes in France is popular with wealthy yacht owners, whilst Marina de Capri in Italy is an ideal place to spot a celebrity’s luxury yacht.

There are many different destinations that are ideal for sailing. Whitsunday Islands, located in the heart of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, are a particularly stunning location and a popular choice for sailing. You can also venture out to New Zealand, which offers many great opportunities for sailing. Whangaroa Harbor, which is situated on the northern coast of Northland, is considered to be one of the beautiful harbors in the world and is particularly ideal for those looking for a peaceful sailing location.

Lord Laidlaw’s superyacht is an example of a luxury yacht that is perfect for exploring the seas. An avid boater, Lord Laidlaw helped to design the yacht and has also built a fleet of sail yachts, which has helped him to become a professional sailor. In addition to embarking on sailing adventures, he also has a passion for boat racing, competing in events such as the Loro Piano Superyacht Regatta.

With so many areas to explore, embarking on a sailing adventure has never been easier. Sailing is highly beneficial to those looking for an activity that provides them with plenty of freedom and the chance to get a taste for life out at sea.

Sealing the Deal: Tourist’s Questions for Top Travel Discounts

Did you know that you could save a substantial amount of money on your next vacation just by asking the right questions? Well, it’s true. Because the prices on many of the components of a vacation package can vary greatly, it pays to do your research and to ask the following questions when planning out your journey.

What is Included or Not Included with Your Accommodations

You’ve studied the lodging options for the destination that you’re interested in visiting and found a few that fit into your budget. But before you book your room, call and ask or check the lodging’s website to see what is included in the rate. Some extras can really add up. For example, parking may be included for free at some accommodations but cost between $15 and $25 or more a day at another location. Wi-Fi is another extra that can be free or cost you a pretty penny each day.

Does the Destination Offer Family-Friendly Lodging?

Because vacation condos, townhomes and houses offer more room to spread out in than a hotel room, they are a great choice for families. And unlike most hotel rooms, these accommodations typically boast full kitchens, so that meals can be eaten in on occasion. Not having to go out to a restaurant for every meal can be an excellent way to save money on a vacation. Many destinations, such as Mount Tremblant, offer a wide variety of accommodations to choose from, so check out your options before booking.

Ask About Packages and Deals

Many accommodations offer packages that can either save you money over the regular rate or give you some extra value for your dollar. For example, you may be able to get a discounted rate if you book a certain amount of nights, or you might get a free game of golf or ski lift tickets if you purchase a special package.

Attractions, such as amusement parks and ski resorts, also offer package deals, so if you’re planning on visiting more than once, consider buying a multi-day pass.

Ask About Tourist Deals

Vacation destinations often offer special discount cards for popular attractions or coupon books that are filled with deals for restaurants and activities. So make sure to check out a destination’s website or call its tourism office to see what they may have to offer you. If the destination itself doesn’t have a tourism office, most states and provinces — such as Quebec — do, so contact them.

It also pays to sign up for local social couponing sites, such as Groupon or Living Social. These sites offer daily deals on restaurants and a variety of activities, including such things as Segway tours or boat cruises.

Check Out Review Sites and Ask Questions

Sites like Tripadvisor and Yelp can be a font of information. By reading the reviews and posting questions, you could learn what attractions are worth your hard-earned dollars and which ones are  over-rated. These sites can also advise you on the best times to visit an attraction or to do a specific activity. For example, you might learn that an attraction offers discounted rates after 4:00 p.m.

Carmen Johnson works as an executive PA and is used to negotiating travel discounts. She likes to be able to share her insights online and is a regular contributor for a number of travel websites.