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Adventure Travel to Mexico

Be safeMexico is America’s premier beach destination. Here, we’ve created a travel guide for you so that you can make the most out of your Mexico experience!

Inner Regions of Mexico

Mexico is a vast, vibrant, country, with a rich culture and history. The inner regions of Mexico are filled with mountain cities, heavily influenced by beautiful Spanish Colonial architecture. There are large, more modern cities like Monterrey or Mexico City, as well as traditional villages like San Miguel and San Luis Potosi. All of these destinations feature historical ruins, preserved from ancient civilizations.

Amazing Beach Destinations

The Mexican Riviera offers numerous gorgeous destinations, including, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, Acapulco, Mazatlan, Ixtapa, Manzanillo, Huatulco, and Cancun. Each of these cities features some of the greatest, most amazing beach destinations in North America. The Mayan Riviera is another fantastic destination, because unlike the Mexican Riviera, it offers not only beautiful beaches but beaches with easy access to some stunning Mayan ruins, as well as the greatest diving spots in the world.

Mexico local Travel Guides

You don’t have to worry about money in Mexico, traveling here on a budget is incredibly easy. Some world travelers manage to survive on a budget of just 600 US dollars. Many colonial cities offer cheap, yet charming hotels. If you want to live like an authentic Mexican, get to know the locals! Living like the local people will save you a lot of money. You can look for rent signs that will give you an extremely affordable room.

Be sure to find a local travel guide to give you a real tour of the city, don’t go to expensive tour guides sponsored by international companies, as their tours are often not nearly as fun. As soon as you have found an excellent place to stay, you can start planning out the activities you’ll do. There are all kinds of things to do, including a visit to the Mercado, local villages, shows, attractions, scenic sites, and beaches. Almost everything is inexpensive, and the experience is priceless.

If you’re only going to be in Mexico for a short time but still want to explore, then it is best to plan ahead of time. There are accessible, affordable transportation systems in Mexico, including the bus system. This is probably the best way to travel around in Mexico, as it is cheap and will get you wherever you want to go. Remember that safe transportation is essential to making the most of your trip, and please be sure to take caution when traveling. Only go with people you trust, and make sure all of your belongings are secured.

A safe trip is a fun trip!

Orient Express

Ride the Rails in Luxury on the Orient Express

With its epic cross-European route, spanning from London to Istanbul, the Orient Express is arguably one of the most storied train lines in the world. With its beginnings around the fin de siecle and its aesthetic roots in 1920s glamour, the train has remained a popular luxury tourism hotspot well into the 21st century.

We made an interactive timeline on it, in fact.

And even through all the hype, the Orient Express definitely deserves its place at the forefront of European travel. After all, we’re talking about the train that Vanity Fair said called: “The train against which all other luxury trains are measured.”

It boasts fully-restored 1920s and ’30s carriages, French chefs, luxurious cabins attended by cabin stewards and a lot more!

If you’re looking for a venue for a party to remember, it’s also worth noting that Orient Express-affiliated trains all offer private hire. They cater for both the big gala dinners and the private sightseeing tours, although at the price point they’re based around, it’s definitely something to keep for an incredibly special occasion.

But if you keep you’re eyes peeled, they do feature special offers. Right now, they’re offering two free nights at the Hotel Cipriani in Venice if you book before 31 March. Maybe a bit of a drop in the bucket considering the prices on the world’s premier luxury train, but every little helps…

Already seen enough of southern and central Europe to last a lifetime? The Orient Express umbrella also includes classic train routes through the UK, Southeast Asia and Peru. And if you’re more in the mood for trading Europe for cross-Russia and China tours, the Trans-Siberian Railway is pretty fantastic (if maybe a bit more of a roughing-it adventure than some people might go for).

Have you been taken a turn on the Venice Simplon Orient Express? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below.

road trip

Road trip essentials

Here’s an interesting fact for you – people love road trips. It’s true. Especially where I come from, in the US of A.  We love a good road trip.

Yes, long commutes are terrible when they’re to and from work and holiday traffic is a headache when you’re crammed onto the motorway with a bajillion other poor schmucks, BUT road trips are a completely different animal.

You see, road trips aren’t so much about the destination as they are about the journey – oooh, metaphor for life? Indeed.

So, if you’re planning a road trip this year (perhaps a drive to the Scottish highlands, a trip through French wine country or a jaunt along England’s southern coast), then take note of these road trip essentials:

Snacks

Food on a road trip is a must. Why? Because sandwiches from service stations are soggy, and you know it. Instead, pack some of this delicious stuff, such as:

  • salted almonds
  • a small, lunch bag-sized cooler with chilled bottles of water and cans of diet coke (or whatever beverage you prefer)
  • apples and grapes, because you have to peel oranges and dried fruit might make you gassy (just something I’ve heard)

Music

Groovy tunes are essential to any road trip. Though you might be tempted to fill your playlist with all your fave jams, consider sticking to the road trip theme. For example:

  • ‘King of the Road’ – Roger Miller
  • ‘Ramblin’ Man’ – The Allman Brothers
  • ‘You Can Go Your Own Way’ – Fleetwood Mac
  • ‘I Drove All Night’  – Roy Orbison or Celine Dion, whatev!
  • ‘Jump in my Car’ – The Hoff
  • ‘Drive My Car’ – The Beatles
  • ‘Hit the Road Jack’ – Ray Charles
  • ‘On the Road Again’ – Willie Nelson

Also, podcasts and audiobooks are a great way to mix it up when you’re sick of making conversation  and/or you get to the end of your playlist.

Games

Games are a great way to pass the time and get to know your fellow road trippers. These are three of my favourite games to play in the car (notice that ‘I Spy’ is not one of them):

  • The license plate game

If you’re travelling through the US, take note of each state license plate you spot and try to get all 50 (Hawaii is always a tough one!).

  • 20 questions

An oldie, but a goodie, 20 questions is the one where you pick  a person, place or thing (or an “animal, vegetable or mineral” if you’re my Mom) and make everyone else try to guess who/where/what it is within 20 yes-or-no questions.

  • Same Name Pub Game

If you could go to the pub with any four people in the world (dead or currently living), who would they be? Oh, one catch – they all have to have the same name. For example: George Best, King George, Boy George and George Foreman. Fun game. Hours of entertainment.

Pit Stops

Before you take off, plan some pit stops to enjoy along the way. If you’re travelling through the UK, why not have lunch at England’s oldest pub? A cross-country US road trip wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the world’s largest ball of twine. If you’re driving through Europe, take a gander at the world’s largest coffee pot, located in Selb, Germany.

First Aid Kit

Hopefully, you’ll never need to use your first aid kit, but it’s still a good idea to have one anyway. Though cloth bandages, cotton swaps and those tiny medical scissors probably serve some purpose, painkillers and plasters are what really comes in handy.

So, there you have it – snacks, music, games, pit stops and a first aid kit. Now you’re ready to hit the road!

What would be your ideal road trip? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Garage Door Opener Repair Tips

garage door repairAccording to digitalmediafactory.net a garage door opener is actually divided up into a couple different components. There is the actual garage door opener that resides at the top, attached to the beams above, that actually is powered by electricity. By pressing either the button that is near the door leading into the home, or using your remote, each time that you press the button, it will activate the device causing it to go up or down. The easiest problems to fix are typically associated with the remote controller, almost always being a dead battery problem. It is also possible that it could have been dropped, causing it to fail when you attempt to use it. However, if neither the button at the door, or the handheld remote, is allowing the door to move at all, it is likely the garage door opener itself which is experiencing problems. Here are a few garage door opener tips that you can use to discern what is going on with yours.

Different Types Of Garage Door Openers

There are so many different companies that make garage door openers, it’s hard to believe. Companies like Chamberlain, LiftMaster, Craftsman, and Sommer all make state-of-the-art equipment that is designed for both efficiency and safety. Some of them are designed with keyless entries, and also provide you with multiple remotes. Others will allow you to use rolling codes, and also encrypted radio signals so that criminals cannot break-in. The top models tend to have multiple lights for maximum visibility, a light delay, and a control panel so that you can try to affect repairs. All of these can have problems, and here are a few of the most common ones.

Garage Door Opener Tips For Common Problems

There are three very common problems with garage door openers that can cause it to malfunction. The first is that the electricity is not powering their garage door, usually the result of it being unplugged or the circuit breaker has been tripped. The second reason is that the wiring for the garage door opener has been compromised in some way. It may have shorted out as a result of an electrical surge, or it could simply be old enough to begin to malfunction. The other problem is associated with the motor, and if it is not causing the chain or cables to rotate, it’s not going to move. If that is the case, it may need to be replaced in order to resolve the issue. Other problems include the belt breaking, or becoming loose, or the chain doing the same. Most of them have multiple parts that can break down internally, some of which can be repaired, whereas others will simply require you to completely replace the unit.

Troubleshooting Garage Door Opener Problems

If you have noticed that your garage door opener is misaligned, or bent, this could definitely be causing problems with opening and closing it. If you notice that the lights did not blink, which is very common on most of these units, this could mean that the opener is not functional at all. As mentioned before, the battery could be bad, but it may also have to do with your keypad. If you are opening this with your cell phone, the application may also be malfunctioning, and any of these problems can be resolved by a professional garage door repair company. Other things to fix or replace include the wall switch and wires, or replace the receiver on the garage door opener itself. You could be sending a signal, but if it is not receiving it, it is simply not going to function no matter how many times you press the button.

These are just a few garage door opener tips that you can consider when trying to figure out why her garage door is not opening or closing. It can be problematic, so much so that you may have to call a professional into diagnose what the problem actually is. They will also be able to determine what is wrong much more quickly than you will, and will more than likely have the parts and tools with them that can resolve the problem. Either way, these simple tips will show you to where the problem actually lies, allowing you to either fix it yourself or call in the garage door repair company to complete the repairs for you.

car lock

Repair Of Car Locks? Leave It To The Professionals

car lockIf you have ever researched car repair online, the chances are that you literally found thousands of articles and videos on how to do it yourself. One of the things that those articles or videos told you to do is probably to remove the inside door panel. Except if you are into auto mechanics heavily, that is quite a scary thought.

Another thing the articles or videos may tell you is that your dealer probably does not have the part you require and that you may have to get it at the local salvage yard. Obviously, the salvage yard may pull the part for a small fee. However, it still conjures up images of walking through rows of dead cars looking for one with a similar make and model to yours so that you can yank of the part that you require.

The reality is that for most people, car lock repair is not a do-it-yourself activity and is something best left to the professionals. The lock repair professionals understand exactly what they are doing. It is far easier to call a car locksmith who can probably solve the problem in as little as 10 minutes as opposed to fumbling around and trying to get the door panel back in place once you have taken it off. The alternative is driving around with the door panel in the back seat until you find a mechanic friend to put it back for you.

In case you break your key off in the lock, you will find numerous articles and videos online all explaining in detail how you can extract the broken portion of the key using a jigsaw blade, hacksaw blade, and dental pick. Once you are successful in getting all of these stuck in the key alongside the broken lock, you can embarrassingly explain to the car locksmith why your car door resembles something like a malfunctioning inspector gadget.

The reality is that most of the people are not that into do-it-yourself repairs on their own vehicles. They would rather pay for someone else to do it properly than to risk the extra damage they might do. This is perfectly fine. In the end, they will probably be saving money anyway.

Finally, the next time those Do It Yourself car lock repair videos, or articles tempt you to think about the consequences, look up the number of our local locksmith, and make the call!

Arches National Park, Utah

Exploring America’s National Parks

One of the best ways to see the sheer size and incredible diversity of the US landscape is to explore its national parks. The country has 58 national parks, each showcasing the unique natural beauty of the region they’re in.

Here’s just a glimpse at what’s waiting for you in America’s National Parks:

Arches National Park – Utah

Arches National Park, UtahThough Utah is best known for its large Mormon population and its famous Salt Lake, the incredible sandstone arches located near the Eastern city of Moab also give the state its unique identity. While enjoying these majestic natural structures, you can also lookout for local wildlife, which includes species of red fox, bighorn sheep, peregrine falcon and mountain lion.

Glacier National Park – Montana

One of the most stunningly beautiful examples of Montana’s pristine natural landscape is Glacier National Park, where vibrant blue lakes shimmer next to snow-capped mountains and lush green forests. For a truly harrowing experience, travel up the park’s famous ‘Going-to-the-Sun Road’, an extremely narrow roadway that winds upward to some of the best viewpoints in Montana.

Everglades National Park – Florida

Unique in both its culture and its landscape, you can witness Florida’s subtropical wetlands in this incredible natural reserve. The Everglades National Park features a range of ecosystems, from Cypress swamps to coastal prairies. It has a rich history as well, with several Native American tribes – most notably the Seminoles – having once called it home.

Denali National Park – Alaska

Home to the highest mountain in North America, Mt. McKinley, this park and nature preserve offers you a true taste of the Alaskan wilderness. The park is home to populations of grizzly bears, black bears, caribou and grey wolves, among other arctic wildlife. Though the park is most famous for its mountineering, you can also enjoy dog-sledding or snowmobiling during your visit.

Death Valley National Park – Nevada/California

Experience the dry, desert lands of the Great Basin with a visit to this iconic US National Park. From deep canyons to rippling sand dunes and creased salt-flats, Death Valley is certainly one of the most interesting  geological regions in the country. Though the daylight hours are ideal for moutainbiking, hiking and four-wheeling, Death Valley at night time offers some of the best stargazing you’ll probably ever experience in your life.

Of course, this is only a selection of the many brilliant US National Parks that you can explore on your visit to North America. A popular way to see the parks is to incorporate them into a regional road trip, and you can plan your route based on whichever park you most want to visit.

What US National Park do you most want to visit? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

The world’s most romantic holiday destinations

You’ve just tied the knot the man or woman of your dreams, the bouquet has been tossed to the to the eagerly awaiting scrum of singletons, and now you’re off to one of the most romantic places in the world with the most important person in your life.

Setting the right foot forward when you decide where to go will really have no bearing on the long road together, but if you’re going to do it once you might as well do it properly.

Here are some of the world’s most romantic destinations:

Four Seasons Resort, Bora Bora

Four Seasons Resort, Bora BoraFrench Polynesia in the South Pacific epitomises the stereotypical dream of the exotic island getaway. Volcanic mountains covered in lush rainforests, and a lagoon that should be right out of a shampoo commercial, Bora Bora is probably the most beautiful of all the South Pacific islands. All year round the average temperatures are between 25-30 degrees, so no matter when you have your wedding,  honeymoons are guaranteed to be warm, balmy and in the lap of absolute luxury. If that’s not enough to convince you, the Four Seasons Resort was voted the number one romantic hotel in the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2012.

Poipu, Hawaii

Poipu, HawaiiThe Island of Kauai is the most northerly of the Hawaiian chain, and will be an experience to enlighten the senses. It is sometimes referred to as the “Garden Isle” with its tropical forests, winding rivers and cascading waterfalls and over 50 miles of beaches. Some parts of the island are only accessible from the sea or air so you’ll definitely get that sense of true idyllic isolation while you stare longingly into each other’s eyes under the coconut trees. Poipu is on the South Shore where the beaches have been voted the best in the USA.

Royal Davui Island Resort, Fiji

Also making it onto the Tripadvisor top ten list was this luxury resort in Fiji. Located in the Beqa lagoon, this tiny island sanctuary offers the kind of intimacy you can’t find in a large resort. With just 10 acres of lush green landscape and only 16 villas to choose from privacy and seclusion are number one here. Visitors here may have to pinch themselves to make sure it’s not a dream.

Mariaggi’s Theme Suites Hotel, Canada

In the heart of Winnipeg near Lake Manitoba, this hotel will give you an unforgettable world-wide experience with its luxury tropically themes rooms such as Africa-Safari with its intricate stonework jacuzzi, ivory white steam shower, and intricately handcrafted artwork and statues from Nairobi and Kenya. The ultimate romantic setting is the Rome room containing an oversized green jacuzzi under a canopy of grape vines; or maybe you’d prefer the Japan-Samurai penthouse with its elegant statues and flowering trees bringing out the Zen.

No matter your tastes, you’re sure to find the perfect destination for a honeymoon you’ll never forget.

What are your most romantic holiday destinations? Let us know!

New Jersey, USA

One time, I decided to work in the USA for the summer

New Jersey, USABetween my 2nd and 3rd years at uni’ I decided it was time for an adventure. So after very little thought, planning or deliberation I took off to work in the USA for the summer. Due to the very helpful people at Work America and despite my lack of planning or preparation I managed to pull everything together, get a job organized and arrive in South New Jersey safe and sound.

So I moseyed on up to this town called Wildwood having very little idea of what to expect; I knew it was a beach resort with a theme park and a boardwalk, but that was the extent of my knowledge. It turned out that the name was rather apt; Wildwood was mental. The first interaction I had with any locals was when a kid rode past on a bike and shouted out a comment about my rather pasty Scottish completion. It was something along the lines of “Yo Milkybar, careful you don’t melt”.

It turned out that Wildwood was like an American equivalent to Blackpool; no heirs or graces, but plenty fun and full of tremendous banter. The boardwalk was filled with shops selling gaudy souvenir tat, the bars were filled with extremely loud Americans whooping it up and the theme park was filled with hyperactive kids out of their minds on sugar.

Now, the job I found was as a Ride Operator at a theme park called Morey’s Piers. My first duties involved dressing up as neon colored ghost pirate and scaring people silly on a haunted river ride. I loved it. And Morey’s Piers were pretty decent employers, the pay wasn’t great, but they did help out in a lot of ways including recommending accommodation, providing internet access, setting up bank accounts and making sure we had access to cheap international calls.

After a few weeks on pirate duty I was promoted to the position of mascot escort due mainly to penchant for banter. This job involved basically being the personal body guard of a dude in a giant skateboarding seagull costume. It turned out that this position was actually vital to the survival of the seagull dude; left to his own devices he surely would have perished at hands of a swarm of sugar crazed manic children.

Being the mascot escort certainly had its perks; seagulls obviously cannot talk so I had to do the talking for him, meaning I spent most of my time chatting to people who were in a rather good mood. Also, due to health and safety reasons, the guy in the suit was only allowed to wear it for 15 minutes at time before taking a 15 minute break. So, half of my day was spent chatting to happy people and the other half was spent hanging out in the break area.

I could write pages and pages about all the fun shenanigans I got up to that summer and all the amazing people I met, but I’ll just sign off by saying that if you’re thinking of working abroad this summer just go for it; remember to stay safe, but don’t let your fears hold you back. Get out there and have an adventure, I certainly enjoyed mine.

Have you been abroad to work for the summer before? Planning to go this year? Feel free to tell us about it in the comments section.

Useful Travel Resources:

  1. http://www.underwatertimes.com/news.php?article_id=10098472365
  2. http://rocwiki.org/Front_Page/Talk
  3. http://www.learsfool.com/