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Month: March 2016

Tips For The First Time Camper

Tips For The First Time Camper

With summer comes the opportunity to get outside and enjoy the long warm days and the cool crisp nights. It’s a time to leave the confines of the city and head to seclusion of the wild. Leaving your cares and worries behind, so you can simply relax and in turn, relax simply. It’s time to go camping.

So, let’s be honest, for some people the mere thought of camping is far from a vacation. To others, however, it’s a great escape; a chance to spend time outdoors and to reconnect with the spirit of nature. Now, if you’re a first time camper it is important for you understand a few things up front. Unlike staying in a traditional hotel or condo, you have to differentiate between essential items to pack and those that are more luxurious and probably not needed. For example: will you be staying in place that has cell phone service or Wi-Fi? Do you need an entire make-up bag or can you get by with just a few basic items? Most importantly, how do you plan to stay warm, dry, and fed during your camping trip? The key to safe and successful camping is knowing what necessities to bring with you and what to leave behind.

Your needs may be very different depending on the type of camping you plan on doing. If you are camping in a rustic cabin, tent camping at a campground, or hiking into the woods and pitching a tent they will all call for varying items. Since it is a good idea to have some camping experience under your belt before you go off deep into the woods, your best bet is to start by reserving a campsite at a campground. Even then, there are some important thing to consider when packing for your trip.

Utilities

Before you even start to make a list of items to pack, be sure to find out if the campground has available utilities. If they do not provide electricity, for example, then bringing that plug in cappuccino machine won’t be of much use. Alternatively, you can bring battery operated equipment, but be sure to take additional batteries. If the campground offers running water and hot showers, then you don’t have to worry about taking gallons of water to weigh you down. Finally, find out if there is a grill or fire pit provided so you can plan on how you will be cooking your meals. Getting this information ahead of time will go a long way in avoiding unneeded frustration later.

Weather- Plan for Rain

As much as we would all like to think that our trip will be rain free and that weather forecasting is a perfect science, the fact is, it is always best to plane for the worst. This means planning for both rain and sunshine alike. There is nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the night, only to find the floor of your tent soaking wet. So regardless of the forecast, place a tarp or large piece of plastic under your tent to help keep you dry. Also, be sure to have plenty of seam sealer and duct tape, just in case you spring a leak… or two.

While you’re at it, it’s a good idea to also pack some ponchos, raincoats, or umbrellas as well. These items can help you stay dry so that you can still enjoy your activities even when the weather doesn’t want to cooperate. I always like to bring additional socks with me, too. Since there is no clothes dryer nearby, it is pretty miserable to have to go around with wet feet. These items don’t take up much room, so they’re worth adding to your list to pack.

Protect Your Skin

While it can be fun soaking up the warmth of the hot sun, it’s no so fun getting a nasty sunburn. The sun can be deceiving, so make sure to bring sunscreen with a high enough SPF level to keep your skin protected. Generally, this is going to be a SPF of 30 or higher and I tend to prefer the type that won’t run with sweat. Be mindful of younger children, the elderly, and those with fair skin may need a stronger version. Having a hat with a visor to wear while you are out walking, by the lake, or on the water will add an additional layer of protection during those unexpected heat waves.

Protect Yourself from Insects

Regardless where you camp, a few different kinds of insects will probably cross your path. Bring at least one can of insect repellent with you on your trip. You will most likely enjoy the outdoors a lot more if you’re not spending all of your time swatting away pesky pests. That being said, be sure to check your clothes for any insects that might be hiding in there.

Thick Layers

Because warm days can quickly turn to chilly nights, you will want to pack for all occasions. Go ahead and throw a swim suit in your bag, but you will also want to pack a long sleeve shirt, long pants, and a sweatshirt. If you are camping in a warm climate you may not be concerned about the chilly nights, but it is still important to think ahead, consider weather patterns, and pack accordingly. Bottom line; it is always better to peel layers off than to wish you had brought warmer clothing.

Food

One of the greatest things about camping is being able to experiment with cooking. Whatever you decide to cook on your trip, also consider the essential tools to make the process easier. Tinfoil works wonders when cooking vegetables, for example, and don’t forget to bring a spatula or grilling fork if you’re cooking meat. As much as you might like to only pack paper plates and plastic utensils, you will not be very happy when your plastic fork melts while flipping steaks over the campfire. This doesn’t mean you have to pack the whole kitchen (after all the goal is to pack light), but you will want a few multipurpose tools to make your cooking experience a little easier. Finally, if you are packing meats, condiments, or dairy products, be sure to have large enough cooler that will maintain temperature during your trip. Remember, depending on where you are staying, ice may not be readily accessible. You don’t want your food to spoil before it can be eaten.

Planning for a camping trip may seem like a lot of work, but planning ahead and ridding your packing list of unnecessary items can help simplify the process. When all is said and done, the most important things to consider are your basic fundamental needs: food and water, shelter, clothing, and safety. Everything else is optional and can only add to the enjoyment of your camping experience.

Camping is an opportunity to reconnect with nature, enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, and experience a different way of life. Enjoy the essence of camping by leaving a few luxuries behind and getting away from the hustle and bustle of your everyday routine. By keeping it simple and planning ahead, camping can be a fun and stress free way to enjoy the great outdoors while spending quality time with friends and family.

How To Save Money In Any Family Vacation Destination

How To Save Money In Any Family Vacation Destination

Ask anyone who currently has a family or was part of one, which is essentially everybody, and they will tell you some of their most memorable life moments took place while on family vacation. Vacations are the perfect time to reconnect with your family and step away from your busy life to relax, enjoy each other’s company, and recharge from the stressful realities of everyday living. Finding the perfect family vacation destination can be tricky and planning any trip can be costly. Don’t stress yourself out before going on vacation, follow these 5 ways to save money the next time you plan out your perfect family vacation.

1. Plan ahead.

Taking the time to plan out your vacation will allow you enough time to consider your options and go with choices that are not only fun, but fit your budget. For those who are resourceful and enjoy planning, the internet is full of travel companies and agencies fighting over your business. Peruse different options yourself using many travel sites on the internet devoted to budget conscious vacation planning, or visit a trusted travel agency to help you save money.

2. Choose the perfect destination.

While this may seem like a no brainer, the perception of your money being well spent depends on how much enjoyment you get from your vacation in the first place. Identify what style of vacation you are looking to have with your family. Do you have younger children, or are they older? Do you plan on having a quiet and peaceful time, or do you plan to be very active both during the day and at night? Often times, finding the perfect family vacation destination that suits your exact needs can be the most important choice you make.

3. Use user-review sites and travel forums.

Take advantage of the knowledge of those who have come before you and research your options on user-review sites and travel forums. These are great places to read what previous customers in your same shoes thought about their experiences. These sites can provide you with valuable information on what options are worth your money and which ones are not.

4. Read what bloggers and locals have to say.

Along with reading about previous vacationers’ experiences, try finding a local blog or reading a local online publication. These will be full of useful and honest information you can use to prioritize your activities, find the best lodging and restaurants, and most importantly, save money.

5. Use social media to your advantage.

In today’s tech savvy world, businesses may sometimes offer discounts for posting to your social media. You can sometimes take advantage of the discounts by, for example, snapping a few photos and uploading them, checking in at that restaurant for a 5-10% off discount, or simply tagging your friends throughout your vacation adventures.

The Reasons You Should Visit to San Jose California

The Reasons You Should Visit to San Jose California

Why are the millennials moving to San Jose, California? Well let me tell you!

This lovely city is located just below the Bay Area and often times played second fiddle to the popularity of San Francisco. Now with the tech industry booming, San Jose has cemented its place on the map and it’s a metropolitan and highly sophisticated place to live. Here are a few fun things you might not have know about this city that will make you want to make your way over to San Jose.

1. San Jose actually is known as the ‘capitol’ of Silicon Valley as it’s the biggest city in this booming tech region. Think Apple, HP, Google and so many more!

2. San Jose is not so little after all. The metro population is actually 1.8 million.

3. The average paycheck for 22-35 years olds is $79,331 a year. Not too bad indeed!

4. In general the city gets 301 days of sunny weather. Because mountains on three sides surround the city it keeps the downtown protected from getting too much rain or fog, unlike San Francisco just a little to the north. It’s literally the poster child for the “Sunny California” moniker.

5. Big business goes on in this city and the surrounding areas. If you are interested in a tech start-up or dream of working for any of the hundreds of technological companies that are nestled in and around the city this might be the place for you!

6. Beautiful nature surrounds this bustling city. There are so many day trips outside the city with San Francisco, Berkley and Napa wine region less than a two-hour drive. Or perhaps you want to explore the beautiful mountains or check out Alum Rock Park with it’s 740 acres of beautiful greenery.

7. It’s a hub for art and culture. There are over 12 different museums in the city including the Tech Museum of Innovations that features hands on technological innovations that really celebrate what Silicon Valley is known to do best!

8. And finally San Jose is an extremely really safe place to live. Their crime rates are very low and it has been listed as the 7th safest city in America to live. Not to bad at all!

Hope you enjoyed these 8 fun facts and these are only a taste of all the great and exciting things that living in this city and California has to offer! And good luck if you are moving to San Jose, California.

Facts About Las Vegas

Facts About Las Vegas

There are some facts about the Sin City that you probably have not heard of.

Technically, many iconic hotels of Vegas are not found in Las Vegas City. Part of the Strip and the famous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign are, in fact, located in a separate township known as Paradise, Nevada.

There is an attraction located within Las Vegas City boundaries called Vegas Vic, an oversized neon cowboy that dominates downtown’s famous Fremont Street. It is the world’s largest mechanical neon sign.

A secret city is below the city. Miles of tunnels, initially built to shield the desert town from flash floods, accommodate hundreds of people without homes.

On the strip is the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, named after the girlfriend of founder and famous mobster Bugsy Siegel. Actress Virginia Hill was nicknamed “The Flamingo” since she had red hair as well as long, thin legs.

In the middle of the 20th century, Sin City had its own prejudiced Jim Crow laws, which excluding low-salary service jobs, banned African Americans from the hotels and casinos of the developing city. Even famous performers such as Nat King Cole and Louis Armstrong had to enter and leave the venues where they were performing via the back or side doors. In 1953, famous actor Sammy Davis Jr. swam in the swimming pool for whites-only at the New Frontier Hotel & Casino. After that, the manager ordered the pool to be drained.

When the Moulin Rouge became the first interracial casino of the city in May 1955, it made history. Joe Louis, a legendary boxer and part owner stated that it is not the launch of a Las Vegas hotel, but “history”.

From the 1950s to the early 1960s, the city was known for presenting a special type of show. Only 65 miles northwest of the city, at the test site in Nevada, the US Department of Energy tested nuclear devices. The city’s Chamber of Commerce saw an opportunity to generate income and decided on distributing calendars that advertise detonation times plus viewing location options.

On Thanksgiving Day of 1966, renowned recluse Howard Hughes checked in the strip’s Desert Inn, renting the whole top two floors. When he extended his stay past his 10-day reservation, he was requested to leave. He, instead, started negotiations on buying the 715-room area. He completed his purchase after three months.

It takes approximately 10 minutes to get a marriage license at the bureau located in downtown Las Vegas, which opens at 8am and closes at midnight. That is why about 10,000 couples get married in the city every month.

Do you like shrimp cocktails? Over 60,000 pounds of shellfish are consumed in the city every single day. This is more than the other cities of the country combined.

The Eiffel Tower’s half-scale model outside Paris Las Vegas was initially planned to be full-size, but because it is too close to the airport at 3 miles, its size had to be reduced. On the contrary, the Sphinx in Luxor Las Vegas is in fact larger than the Great Sphinx of Giza, the original.