Five Tips To Safekeep Your Belongings During Travels

Travel is a great option for people who want a break from life’s routines and to have a breath of fresh air. Seeing amazing sights and trying new activities sounds like a perfect way to unwind and have fun. However, to keep your vacation smooth and relaxing, there are just a few things you want to avoid. One of the biggest things you want to avoid  is losing your belongings.

You do not want to taint your vacation with a bad memory of losing an item, especially if it is a valuable one. But since you are out and about, the possibility of losing a thing or two is high. If you become careless, you might even lose your whole bag or luggage. But of course, you do not have to experience this travel nightmare. Safekeeping your things during travel is just a matter of being extra careful with your belongings. The following five tips to safekeep your belongings during travels can help:

Bring only the essentials.

Guarding your things starts with packing. Remember to pack light by bringing only the things you need. Keeping an eye on your things becomes more difficult with the more stuff you bring. So think twice and ask yourself if the item is really necessary before adding it to your bag. In the end, you free yourself from the burden of carrying heavy luggage and at the same time, lessen the risk of losing things on the road.

Keep highly important items with you at all times.

There are some things you cannot afford to lose while traveling such as a passport,other important travel documents or a gadget that is necessary for your work. To avoid the trouble of losing these highly-important items, it is advisable to keep it in a bag that you can conveniently carry on you at all times.

If you are traveling overseas, these items should always be in your carry on bag instead of the check-in luggage. You can take care of important items more closely if they are always with you. Likewise, you will easily notice the moment anything goes missing. One of the things you usually carry with you when traveling is a camera. Avoid the chance of losing it by adding a strap so you can conveniently wear it like a necklace.

Keep your cash and cards in different bags.

It is not a good idea to store money or credit cards in a single wallet because you do not want to end up penniless in case you lose the purse that contains all your cash and cards. To make sure you will not lose all your cash in one go, divide your money into different purses or bags. You can keep some money in your carry on bag then stash some bills in a secret purse in your other bags.

Label your bags and belongings.

One simple way to protect your phone, bag, camera or other important items is by labeling them. With information containing your name and contact details, you make it easy for your lost items to make their way back to you. It is also a good idea to add an identifying mark on your bags or items so you can easily identify it such as a ribbon or a sticker. Some bags or gadgets can look identical, so it is wise to add something that will make it easy for you to instantly identify or spot it from a distance.

Double-checking before leaving is a must.

Going back to a hotel or any accommodation you stayed in just to retrieve lost items can be such a hassle and the possibility of getting your things back can be grim. So make it a habit to thoroughly check the area before checking out. Do not rush and inspect every nook and cranny of the room, especially the areas where you can accidentally leave things such as drawers and closets. It would not hurt to also look for items under the bed.  

You deserve a great, hassle-free vacation, so spare yourself the burden of looking for your lost belongings. Save precious time and make the most of your leisure time by taking necessary precautions to take good care of your things.  

Brad and Julie DuncanFive Tips To Safekeep Your Belongings During Travels
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Skills & Traits You Need To Develop To Be A Savvy Traveler

“Some people look for a beautiful place, others make a place beautiful.”
Hazrat Inayat Khan

People usually associate travel with leisure. Even tasks such as working and studying sound more exciting when done while traveling. For this reason, the idea of visiting different places generally appeals to all. You would usually be thrilled for a chance to do some sightseeing, explore breathtaking places and experience new things.

However, not every trip can be as relaxing as you want it to be. Traveling is a privilege that comes with unique challenges. The ability to handle the hassles along the way is what separates a regular traveler from the savvy one. If you wish to make the most out of every vacation, take note of the following skills and traits you need to develop to be a savvy traveler:

Useful Skills

Language fluency.

It seems like basic knowledge that every traveler should memorize a few basic phrases in the local language or dialect of the country or place they are visiting. The smart travelers, though, strive to improve their foreign language skills to be beyond basic. If you are fluent or at least have intermediate knowledge about the language of the place you are going to, conversing with the locals would be a breeze.

Language is often a barrier when trying to connect with someone in a foreign country, and when locals hear you speak in their native tongue, it breaks down that barrier. Learning a new language is not easy, but if you want to visit new countries, you can start by studying widely-spoken languages such as Spanish, Mandarin and Hindustani.

Map-reading skills

One of the most important things you should pack when going to an unfamiliar place is a map. Still, a map will be useless if you do not know how to read it. You do not want to get lost or waste time looking for directions, so making an effort to understand different parts and features of a map will be very useful. You can always install GPS apps, but in times when technology is not so reliable, your map-reading skills will come in handy.

Research abilities.

Books and travel guides are a great help, but sometimes your research abilities start when you arrive at your destination. It takes inquisitive skills to quickly know your way about the new location. Apart from being curious, you are also attentive about the new surroundings, so you won’t miss important information. Your exploration journey will help you score the best deals, find a great restaurant or discover unique tourist spots.

First-aid knowledge.

No one wants to think about accidents and other mishaps when travelling. Yet, the smart traveler knows what to do in cases of unexpected incidents. Seasoned tourists know the importance of keeping a first-aid kit in their bags. Moreover, they also make an effort to enroll in first-aid classes to gain knowledge about responding to emergency situations.

Essential Traits

Be positive and patient.

Sometimes, travelers discover flaws that somehow ruin the picture-perfect scenario of a place in their mind. The real traveler, though, first notices the good side rather than the bad things. Moreover, people who love seeing new places do not let slight disappointments get in the way. Rather, they view discoveries as lessons that keep their enthusiasm about the new place alive.

Aside from staying positive, a wise traveler can tolerate trivial things that can easily annoy others. They have self control because they know that losing patience over small matters does not help.

Be friendly and confident.

If you are always too shy to approach strangers, or do not want to meet new people, it is probably better to stay at home. One way to make your travel an enriching experience is by interacting with the locals. Being friendly and confident are key traits you cannot set aside.

Traveling is a journey that is full of surprises and sometimes you cannot fully prepare for it. However, having the skills and traits mentioned above will greatly help you ensure a pleasant trip all the time.  

Brad and Julie DuncanSkills & Traits You Need To Develop To Be A Savvy Traveler
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Four States to Consider For Your Last Minute End-of-Summer Trip

As the weather cools and the days become shorter, you may want to embark on one last end-of-summer trip. If you are itching to get on the open road or add more frequent flier miles to your collection, don’t fret. There are still plenty of beautiful North American sites waiting to be explored. Below are 4 states that offer sun, water and tons of fun. Each heading links to a website where more information can be found.

  1. CaliforniaThe Golden State

With ideal late summer temperatures in the mid 70s and 80s, California is known for its unbeatable weather. The ocean views, diverse terrain and bustling population make this state one of the most popular destinations in the country. California offers everything from southern deserts and coastal mountains to soaring redwoods in the north. Home of Disneyland, Hollywood, the Lakers’ LeBron James and the Warriors’ Kevin Durant, California is never short on entertainment. However, if you’d prefer a more tranquil scene, there are plenty of locations that fit the bill. Try one of the places below:

o Highlights: Vineyards, greenery, wine tasting

o Highlights: Spas, Armstrong Woods, Scottish-style golf course

o Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

o Humboldt Redwoods State Park

o Red Rock Canyon State Park

o Malibu Creek State Park

o Gaviota State Park

  1. FloridaThe Sunshine State

Boasting the longest coastline of any state in the nation, Florida is a tropical paradise. Late summer temperatures hover around the high 80s and low 90s – perfect for travelers who enjoy a bit of heat. Although hurricane season is a factor to consider, this state offers endless beaches and a vibrant nightlife. The Kennedy Space Center, Universal Studios and the Daytona 500 International Speedway all reside here. To top it all off, Florida’s Everglades National Park houses a variety of unique, wild animals and swamps full of gators! Check out the links below for a few of Florida’s gems.

o Highlights: Water adventures, wildlife, fly fishing

o Highlights: Family friendly fun, holiday events, themed restaurants

o Highlights: Beaches, sports teams, celebrity sightings

o Highlights: Caribbean vibes, great food, shopping

o Dry Tortugas National Park

o Biscayne National Park

o Crystal River Preserve State Park

o Florida Caverns State Park

  1. North CarolinaThe Palmetto State

Waterfalls, tree house resorts and train rides are just a few of the charms that you’ll find when you visit North Carolina. With average September temperatures in the 70s and 80s, the weather is an attraction within itself. Tourists who visit often rave about the beaches, hiking, biking, ATV tours and fine dining. With a rich historical timeline, North Carolina also offers numerous museums and monuments to experience. Check the list below for summer vacation spots that the whole family can enjoy.

o Highlights: Island beaches, Wilmington Riverwalk, Cape Fear River

o Highlights: Bald Head Island Seaside Golf Club, Bald Head Island Maritime Forest Preserve, sailing

o Chimney Rock State Park

o Dismal Swamp State Park

o Fort Macon State Park

o Hammocks Beach State Park

o Lake Waccamaw State Park

  1. ColoradoThe Centennial State

While Colorado is famous for its beautiful winter snow scenery, it still has plenty of excitement to offer during the summer. In September, temperatures range from the mid 70s to low 80s. The Rocky Mountains and Colorado River provide a gorgeous backdrop for tourist to enjoy, but they aren’t the only natural wonders in this state. Canyons, foothills and sandstone cliffs all work in harmony to add to the majesty of the landscape. In the heart of the city, there’s no shortage of activity. Sports venues and busy restaurants bring the metropolis to life. For more links to a few fun summer escapes, check below.

o Highlights: Red Rocks Amphitheater, Union Station, baseball

o Highlights: Hot springs, rivers, rock climbing

o Highlights: Camping, off-roading, paragliding

o Highlights: Fishing, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, mountaineering

o State Forest State Park

o John Martin Reservoir State Park

o Golden Gate Canyon State Park

o Lone Mesa State Park

o Lake Pueblo State Park

The United States flaunts an impressive list of states that are more than worthy of a last-minute summer trip. If you are on the hunt for an adventure that will provide memories to last a lifetime, consider one of the 4 states above.

Brad and Julie DuncanFour States to Consider For Your Last Minute End-of-Summer Trip
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Four Travel Mistakes You Should Avoid For A Great Vacation

Travel has evolved from needing to hire a professional to handle your cruise or beach vacation, to now being your own personal travel agent. It can be confusing trying to sift through quotes for last minute flight plans, travel tips, and hotel stays. But even the most seasoned tourists sometimes place all their focus on their family’s vacation ideas while completely forgetting to address common travel pitfalls. If you find yourself knee-deep in rental car research, but still haven’t thought about how to truly make the best of your upcoming vacation, keep reading for 4 easy-to-fix mistakes that travelers commit.

Overbooking Your Itinerary

It’s tempting to over-plan when visiting a new place. There are so many things to do and see that you feel there isn’t enough time to get it all done. When given only a few days, hitting all the major landmarks and tourist spots is nearly impossible. Still, we try anyway. We think that visiting every notable site within a city is what makes a trip great. In reality, it’s not. The memories we create are what make it worthwhile. When we choose to prioritize quantity over quality, our hectic schedules can cause rushed visits, stress on the family, and exhausted bodies. Who wants those types of memories? So, instead of placing your focus on how many places you can force into a tight schedule, think about how many places you can realistically enjoy within the day. Plan time for rest breaks, meals, and thorough exploration of your chosen destination. Yes, you may have to forgo a site or two, but look at the bright side- that gives you the perfect excuse to return!

Failing to Bring the Proper Apparel

Different terrain calls for different apparel. Sometimes you think you’ll be able to wing it without purchasing climate specific items, only to get to your destination and learn that you really do need them. Hunting down a local store and making a last minute purchase can be expensive and time-consuming. Skipping the item all together can make for a long, uncomfortable stay. To avoid both scenarios, spend time at home determining which clothes, shoes, and accessories are necessary for the most enjoyable stay. Even if you don’t already have what you need, you’ll at least have the time to search for the best deal.

Visiting During the Wrong Time of Year

Timing is everything. In some areas of the world, the weather can make all the difference in determining if you have the time of your life or a trip you’d rather forget. Even in locations where extreme weather isn’t a concern, you should still consider whether the time of your visit lines up with a major event, concert, or festival there. Nothing’s worse than getting home, only to find out that if you had pushed back your vacation a few weeks, you could’ve attended a famous local celebration. Make sure to do your research prior to booking travel deals and airline tickets.

Taking Too Many Pictures

We live in a digital age where sites like Instagram and Facebook serve as a time capsule and highlight reel of our life’s best moments. Many of us have even invested in expensive cameras to help cast our memories in the best possible light. Consequently, we tend to spend tons of time trying to capture the perfect shot or record an epic video instead of being present in the moment. On vacation, this could mean missing out on the full experience that you traveled such a long way to relish. You have the opportunity to take time to be enveloped by the feelings, smells, and ambiance of your environment. So remember, it’s fine to take a few nice pictures to add to the collection, but don’t let the views seen through the lens replace the unfiltered view through your own eyes.

Organizing a vacation is tedious work. However, enjoying a well-planned trip makes it all worthwhile. When preparing for your next getaway, take a few extra moments to make sure that you’ve avoided these 4 travel oversights.

Brad and Julie DuncanFour Travel Mistakes You Should Avoid For A Great Vacation
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The Best Places to Spend Christmas

There’s no better time of year to travel than Christmas. Whether you’re traveling internationally or domestically, every city has its traditions and customs to offer. Each culture has their own food, music, toys, and decorations to celebrate this joyous holiday and the locals love to share their Christmas traditions. While there are many fantastic places to go for the holidays, these are our favorite places to spend Christmas.

New York City, New York

It may seem like a cliched Christmas vacation spot, but you can’t miss this Northeastern bucket list city. New York City, combined with twinkling Christmas lights and a dusting of snow, looks like a winter wonderland. NYC is world-renowned for its food and shopping. There’s no better place to purchase some Christmas gifts, and get a little something for yourself. No trip to NYC during Christmas would be complete without seeing Radio City Christmas Spectacular or the Nutcracker. Families of all ages will love everything NYC has to offer.

Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland

If you’re looking for an international winter adventure, then Finland is the place to go. Legends claim that Rovaniemi, Lapland is the official home of Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus. This magical city offers a year-long Santa Claus village for those who want to see Jolly Saint Nick in the off-season. The village is also home to the Santa Clause Main Post Office, a real post office where you can send a postcard to your friends and family back home. This is the perfect spot for those with young children or those young at heart.

Cologne, Germany

Cologne is world-famous for their Christmas markets. The markets sell anything you would possibly need to celebrate Christmas. They offer everything from music, art, toys, and food. The scent of roasting chestnuts and fresh gingerbread will fill the air. Live music and art demonstrations will keep you entertained as you stroll, shop, and explore everything these extravagant markets have to offer. It’s undoubtedly one of the best places to spend Christmas.

Each city has traditions that will wonder and amaze you. You’ll love wandering the streets taking in the festive decorations and munching on local delicacies. Don’t forget to attend the local shows and activities. It’s an excellent opportunity to meet the locals and learn about local Christmas traditions. Whether you head to New York City or Cologne, Germany,  you’ll love spreading some holiday cheer in these Christmas wonderlands.

Where’s your favorite place to spend Christmas?

Brad and Julie DuncanThe Best Places to Spend Christmas
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5 Places You Should Visit in Scotland

Scotland is famous for its breathtakingly beautiful landscapes, their iconic cottages peppered throughout the countryside, and of course the notable bagpipes and kilts. But there is so much more to Scotland that most people aren’t aware of. Be sure your trip to Scotland makes the most of what the country has to offer by visiting these 5 must-see spots. Read on to find out 5 places you should consider visiting the next time you head to Scotland.

Prehistoric Monuments

Make sure you get your dose of history and visit some historic sites while you’re traveling your way through Scotland. The country is filled with loads of history and all kinds of astonishing monuments and sites, so be sure to check out the parts of Scotland where the ancient past can still be seen.

Seaside Towns

Scotland’s jagged coastline is home to some of the most scenic seaside towns you can find across the globe. Consider traveling through some of these charming little towns to experience a bit of small-town Scotland and some of the most stunning sights you’ll see.

Old Course at St. Andrew’s

Scotland is known to have invented the game of modern golf at its famous course at St. Andrew’s off the east coast. Golf has been a signature sport in Scotland since the 15th century, and this golf course might just be the reason why.

Glasgow

While the country is full of beautiful towns and is rich in history, Scotland also has some of the best shopping and nightlife towns to create the perfect getaway. Glasgow is a port city on the western side of the country and is home to the cultural scene of the country today. Make sure your Scotland trip includes a stop in Glasgow to check out the music scene, the museums, and the shops.

Edinburgh Castle

If you want to visit one of the most impressive historic fortresses in the country, the Edinburgh Castle is the place to go. The infamous hilltop castle is located in the country’s capital and takes over the city’s skyline with its beautiful towers. Be sure to stop by this gorgeous castle to see the gorgeous architecture for yourself.

Scotland makes for the perfect destination for your next adventure with the whole family or just a relaxing getaway. Be sure to consider these 5 places you should visit in Scotland. 

Brad and Julie Duncan5 Places You Should Visit in Scotland
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How to Pass as a Local on Your Next Adventure Abroad

It’s no secret that the best way to get the most out of a trip overseas is to take in everything your destination has to offer and fully commit to experiencing the city in the most immersive way possible. But just exactly how do you immerse yourself in the culture and everyday life of those who live there? How do you become an experienced traveler? Have you always wanted to find out how to pass as a local on your next adventure abroad?

Do as the experts do, and follow these simple steps to pass as a local in a city you’ve never even been to before.

Do your research.

First and foremost, do your research. This may seem obvious, but researching your destination is the most essential step in learning how to pass as a local. Look up everything from the weather and the currency your destination uses to the closest restaurants to your hotel and the events that are going on while you will be there. Familiarize yourself with the typical wardrobe of the city and make sure to pack accordingly so you don’t stick out like a sore thumb on the way to lunch.

Learn the language.

If you’re headed somewhere that speaks a different language, look up some common phrases or important questions you will need to ask while you’re there. Definitely learn appropriate greetings, and know how to use please and thank you. Bonus points for knowing certain phrases like “Where can I find a city map?”, “Do you know where I can find the closest train stop?”, or “Do you speak English?” They will come in pretty handy when navigating the city if you’re not 100% sure where you are going – which brings us to the next tip.

Study a map before you get there.

Having a general idea of the layout of the city will prevent unnecessary confusion and aimless wandering about the city when traveling – and you won’t have to walk around the city with your iPhone barking directions at you. At the very least, know which public transportation systems are located closest to your hotel and where to find a convenient place to grab a bite to eat.

Consider visiting during the low season.

If at all possible, think about visiting the city during the low season to really live as the locals do. Avoiding swarms of other visitors is the key to not feeling like one, and you will gain a more authentic feel of the city’s culture when it’s not overflowing with tourists. In some cities, events and activities will cost less all while escaping the typical crowds that come with the peak season travelers.

 

Brad and Julie DuncanHow to Pass as a Local on Your Next Adventure Abroad
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Travel Light: Go Farther and Go Further

Though “farther” and “further” often get used interchangeably, there is a subtle difference. “Farther” refers to physical distances, as in, “I could throw the baseball farther than my brother could.” Whereas, “further” refers to a metaphorical distance, as in, “Success felt further away than ever before.” When it comes to traveling, travel light, both literally and metaphorically. It will help you to travel farther and go further in life.

How to Pack Light to Go Farther

When you’re literally packing to go on a long journey, it may seem necessary to pack a huge bag full of everything you could ever possibly need. You’ll probably feel the urge to overpack in the hopes that you’ll be able to establish the comfort of home wherever you go.

But, all of that preparing and packing only serves to defeat the purpose of traveling. When you pack light, you’re not only able to go farther without the weight of your bags making you sluggish, but you’re also able to go farther in the sense that you’re able to leave your home behind and truly experience the beautiful, transformative discomfort of travel.

How to Travel Light to Go Further

If life is a journey, then ultimately, our experiences are the baggage we bring with us wherever we go. Some people feel downtrodden, weighed down by the heft of the life they’ve led. Others have backaches from toting around particular moments in their lives; they carry the stress of their grudges on their shoulders.

The weight of the world can be lifted from those aching shoulders, thankfully. When you unpack your experiences, get rid of the negative experiences that only add weight and don’t offer any informative value, and you repack that baggage to be considerably lighter, you’ll find that you can go further than ever before. In fact, you may just soar.

How to Unpack at the End of the Journey

Don’t toss out every negative experience you’ve ever had. Many of those horrible things that have happened to you have informed who you are today. Instead of holding onto them as terrible reminders of the past, take a hold of what you learned from those experiences. Fold them up and incorporate those lessons into your pack.

At the end of your journey, unpack your metaphorical—and your literal—bags, and you’ll more than likely find that you’ve picked up a new thing or two along the way, and that alone will be worth the trip.

Brad and Julie DuncanTravel Light: Go Farther and Go Further
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