Frugal Travel Tips For Marrakech, Morocco

Marrakech can be a bargain for savvy tourists. The two must see’s in Marrakech, Djemaa el-Fna and the Souks, are free. Frugal even if you can’t resist making purchases.

The landmark I use to orientate myself is the tower of the Koutoubia Mosque. The tallest in the city, it can be seen from anywhere near the Medina, the old city.

The Food Stalls At Djemaa el-Fna

From the tower of the Koutoubia Mosque, the Djemaa el-Fna is only a couple steps north.

During the day, this square is filled with dancing monkeys, orange juice carts (2 Dirham – approximately $0.54 U.S. – for a glass of orange juice – note: a common “trick” on tourists is to charge extra if you wish no ice, remember this is a hot country with little portable refrigeration, ice is at a premium to the plentiful oranges), and other entertainers.

But the real action starts at sundown. The food carts come out and so do the bargains. The posted prices are usually for the locals, expect to be charged a higher price if you don’t speak the language, especially if you don’t want to haggle. Still you can get a bowl of the famed chick pea based harira soup for 2.5 Dirham (approximately $0.69 U.S.). The round loaf of bread commonly eaten with this soup can be purchased for 1 Dirham ($0.27 U.S.).

The Souks

The Souks are a maze of little shops situated right beside the Djemaa el-Fna. These stalls can be confusing and enterprising locals will insist that paid guides are needed. Unless you’re looking for a specific stall, they’re not. If you get “lost”, simply walk in one direction until you exit.

The Souks are one of the best places to get souvenirs including fabrics, leather shoes, and tajines (the cone like clay dishes used to prepare local cuisine). For spices, the grocery stores are a better bargain. For best deals, haggle. It’s expected by shop keepers.

The Menara

You may be tempted to visit the Menara, another free site. We saved the taxi fare and trekked out there by foot. We were disappointed. It consisted mainily of a giant pool of stagnant water with one small shell of a building. The building charges an admission fee.

Unless you have a burning desire to see olive groves or a common teenage hang out site or have too much time on your hands, spend your energy exploring other more interesting areas of the city.

Marrakech is a wonderful, fascinating city filled with exotic sights and smells and tastes. And with proper planning, it doesn’t have to break your travel budget.

Holiday Stress Relief – 12 Days of Christmas Stress Busters

If you’re looking at the Holidays as just another stress to add to your already overloaded schedule and life, I’ve got some tips you won’t want to miss. Keep reading for Stress Buster Tips that will keep you moving through the Holidays at warp speed with a smile, plenty of laughter, and cheer to spread around.

1. Minimize. Cut out the excesses, whether it’s food, people, gifts, expenses, or extra duties, cut them out of your life.

2. Personal Time. Give yourself a few minutes of down time every day to regroup, refocus, meditate, and alleviate stressors.

3. Focus. Do one thing at a time. Don’t try to get it all done at once, choose one thing and do that, then do the next thing. (It does help to have a list and mark off each item as you complete it.)

4. Allocate Chores. Delegate chores to others and allow everyone to carry the load normally left for you to bear. Move toward cooperative living.

5. Simplify. Who says the party has to have three kinds of desert? How about providing one desert that is extra special and plenty for everyone to have seconds if they choose? Or add a delightful selection of toppings?

6. Housekeeper. Hire a housekeeper for the holidays. Even if it’s just once a week for a couple of hours to dust and vacuum, if you hire someone else to get that part done, the rest is easier to face.

7. Services. When companies offer services to go with products you purchase, accept them, allow them to take care of details and you enjoy an extra five minutes at the spa getting your nails done.

8. Laughter. Take time each day to laugh. If you feel the stress building up, take a moment right then and read a funny story. Enjoy life! Laughter was created to bring joy – LET IT!

9. Rejuvenate. The most relaxing thing you can do some days is simply to take a nap. It doesn’t have to be long, but five minutes can revive you.

10. Resourcefulness. Be resourceful. If you think you can’t do it, you probably can’t, but…if you think you can, you’ll find a way. Look for options that you might not normally think of. Brainstorm solutions.

11. Ask a friend to lunch. Take a moment during this season to remember your friends and family. A real moment, actually sit down across the table from one person and focus on all the things you’ve missed in that persons life. Truly catch up.

12. Enjoy. Take time to enjoy Christmas. Christmas is the celebration of Christ’s birth, take some time this season to reconnect with Jesus Christ and remember who He is and what He stands for.

Are you ready to enjoy a true 12 Days of Christmas experience?

Tropical Island Vacation Advice

Tropical Islands are one of the famous holiday destinations. The beauty of these islands, the pleasant calm weather and the fun activities it offers, attract every person who is looking for a peaceful living. They are good for family vacations or complete getaway vacations. Many honeymooners and couples choose these islands for romantic getaways.

The most soothing elements of nature are found at the tropical islands. That’s why, People who are sick and tired of their urban lives choose to relax and renew themselves here.

The amazing fresh air, fresh vegetables and fruits, clean environment are miraculously healing and relaxing for the human mind and human body. Besides the natural beauty of the island, the most developed spas and massage centres are located on the tropical islands. For some people it’s just the sound undisturbed naps on the islands that heal and refresh them completely. Therefore tropical island vacations are so refreshing and relaxing.

While going and planning Tropical vacation one needs to consider many things like health, safety, budget, convenience etc. Following are suggestions and advice for a truly amazing and stress free tropical vacation.

1. Plan in Advance:

It is important that one plan early as travel arrangements and bookings have to be made. If planning for Tropical Island Vacation with the family, one should inform every member of the family in advance to ensure everyone’s availability. Children and parents should decide and make the vacation plan together.
Planning in advance is also important to make sure that hotel rooms are available, to do proper research, make reservations and important bookings and to avoid any problem at eleventh hour. To really enjoy the trip, the duration of the vacations should be at least more than a week.

2. Decide And Choose According To Budget:

For a stress free vacation, one should be plan a holiday friendly budget. One should also consider some extra expenses. Some hotels charge more and there are many hidden charges as well. One should do proper search and also consider several alternatives when deciding what service to avail.

One should also make a good search for different holiday deals. A travel agency can also design a vacation or travel package according to your budget and requirements.

3. Packing for Tropical Island vacation:

For a Tropical Island vacation, you would need a little extra packing. The packing should be started a few days prior to leaving. One should pack important stuff like first aid kit and pain relief medication etc. The tropical islands are a part of the developed world. Most tropical islands provide you with all the basic and luxurious amenities so one is not required to pack everything.

4. Involving Friendly Locals:

A good way to ensure you do not miss anything worth seeing or visiting, you should hire a guide or friendly local volunteers to show you the place around.

5. Important contacts:

Another important advice for the Tropical Island Vacation is to have all the necessary contact information to make the tour safe and hassle-free. The important contacts one must include are tour operator (travel agency), local cab company, local emergency responders, your doctor etc.

6. Language:

When visiting a tropical island where English is not spoken, it is advisable that you should know a few words and important phrases of the local language. One should keep a notebook where all the important keywords and phrases are written in the local language. These phrases and keywords include Help, I need the police, stop, I need a doctor, hospital, I had an accident, I need cab, I need English translator etc.

It is very helpful to do a lot of research before visiting a place. One should do research as well as talk to the people, to have the best idea of what one might need or face on a Tropical Island Vacation.

London – The City of Dreams

London, the capital city of England, which is located on the River Thames is a famous attraction for visitors from across the world. It is a dream destination for all the wanderers and visitors as it has the charm and elegance that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. It is a leading global city of the world with a large number of tourist attractions that feed your eyes with the best sights of great museums, west end shows, and interesting sites such as the London Eye, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and much more. London has some classic elements that set it apart from every other city in the world. Being one of the most expensive cities in the world, it is a multicolored, peaceful and exciting destination. Travelers get amused by its breathtaking beauty and the charm that makes them visit the city again and again.

The major attractions of this city include the British Museum, London Bridge, Tower of London, Borough market and the famous wax museum, known as the Madam Tussauds that exhibits wax statues of the famous celebrities including Queen Diana, Bill Clifton, The Beatles and several others. Piccadly Square is yet another sight-seeing spot for the tourists, crowded with people doing various activities and grabbing the attention of the visitors. It is one of the busiest square of the world. Your trip to London can never be complete without visiting the London Aquarium, which is known to be one of the largest aquariums in the world that has many large tanks and a large variety of sharks in it. There are several other attractions such as the Hyder Park, Royal Mews, Marble Arch, St James Park and the Russel Square.

There is something for everyone in London and you’ll never feel bored during your stay or visit. It has the virtuosity to entertain and make people connected to each other. You are definitely going to lose your heart to its impeccable grace that will make you visit it more frequently. You can meet new people, talk to them, share, connect and be friends with them, no matter which religion or nationality you belong to. The aura of this city will force you to comprehend about the fact that it is surely a city of your dreams. To live your dream, you need to explore it first and you can do it by planning trip soon. Book a cheap flight to London and land to this city of dreams to experience the best city of the world.

Tips For Successful Day Hiking Trips

Hiking, backpacking, trails, hiking boots, outdoors, wildlife, flora, fauna, GPS, compass, water, snacks

Individuals, couples, and families can take day hiking trips, a perfect opportunity to get away for quality time and fun but without spending a fortune. Taking a few precautions will ensure a fun and safe trip.

Although hiking for a week would be wonderful, with the current economy, there are a growing number of people who will head out and spend a full day doing nothing but hiking. In addition to being fun, hiking is great exercise and a wonderful way to clear the mind in the beautiful outdoors. When trying to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, day hiking trips are an ideal solution.

The following are helpful tips for a successful trip, getting the most from all day hiking trips.

Heading out Early

Start by heading out early. The earlier someone can start day hiking trips the more time there is to enjoy the outdoors. While it might seem early, if a person or persons can get on the trail at 4:00 am, they will benefit in a number of ways.

For one, there would be the chance to reach further trails, see wildlife that might not be out later in the day, have the opportunity to watch the rising of the sun, and avoid heavy crowds on popular trails. For high altitudes, leaving early would get the person to the summit by 11:00 am, allowing plenty of time to explore and enjoy the beautiful views before heading back down.

Keep it Simple

An important tip for day hiking trips is to keep backpacks light and simple. Because this is only a day trip, people need to carry only what is absolutely necessary to include food, clothing, flashlight, GPS or compass, water, and first-aid items. The light load will make hiking the trails easier, which allows people to venture out onto more difficult trails.

Keeping a Pace

Even though day hiking trips are for a single day, people need to find a good pace and then keep to it. This does not have to be high speed but just consistent. A common problem found with many beginner hikers is going fast and then having to rest often. Instead, the individual will enjoy the adventure far more by moving at a consistent pace and making fewer stops.

Food Items and Water

For day hiking trips, some food will need to be taken but this should be healthy, light, and food that increases energy. Great options include dried fruit, trail mix, health bars, and even a good, old-fashioned peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Of course, water is key for day hiking trips or any trips.

One option for people who want to climb high during day hiking trips but who do not want to carry an abundance of weight, they can take with them yellow flags and extra bottles. Then, as they make their way up the trail, they can place bottles along the trail with yellow flag markers. That way, when they come back down, they do not have the extra weight but still have ample water.

Best Tips for Traveling Alone in a Car Trip

If you must travel alone in a car, here are a few things you need to know and be aware of to help you survive the trip. You can make the trip as pleasurable or as adventurous as you want. Always set a timetable for departure and arriving and try to stick to it. Make allowances for emergencies or problems.

Before you take the trip include the following tips in your plans:

1. Prepare your mind – avoid stress of any kind before getting on the road

2. Prepare your body – make sure you get a good night of sleep and rest

3. Prepare your car – have your car tuned up, oil changed, brakes checked, tire rotated and in good condition, extra fluids in the car (oil, brake, transmission, windshield, antifreeze, etc.) and make sure your windshield wipers and lights are working properly

4. Plan your route – find out the nearest hospitals, hotels, rest stops and restaurants

5. Let someone know your route and check in with that person at designated times to be safe

6. Have your cell phone charged and available for emergency calls.

7. Take along a map or GPS and have it handy or ready in the event you get lost or need directions.

8. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes to drive in

9. Travel with suitcases or bags in trunk of car for safety reasons

10. Try to map out or organize your route (beware of road construction and detours)

11. Have a small amount of cash or traveler’s checks in the event your credit or debit card does not work

While traveling during the trip follow these tips:

1. Try to travel during the day. At night is too risky, especially if the car breaks down.

2. Make frequent or regular stops to break the monotony of driving.

3. If you feel tired or sleepy pull over at the nearest safe place and stop or get a hotel room to spend the night and wake up refreshed.

4. Take along a snack (gum or candy) if it doesn’t make you sleepy

5. Listening to the radio or music is usually good for some people

6. You may want to drive with windows down a little to get fresh air

7. If at all possible do not sleep in the car alone

8. Wear a pair of shades if the sun is too much of a strain on your eyes

After reaching your destination follow these tips:

1. Take a nice hot shower and rest or get some sleep

2. You may want to eat a nice meal after resting

By following these tips your trip alone should be much easier and stress-free. Rather business or pleasure driving alone can be a memorable experience.

Tips For Your All Inclusive Jamaica Vacation

If you are planning an all inclusive Jamaica vacation, there are plenty of things you should know before you go. When traveling outside the United States, it is good to do your research about the country that you are visiting so you know what to expect.

When you fly into Jamaica you will be landing at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. Most of the major airlines fly directly into Jamaica which makes entry rather easy. Passports are required for all passengers arriving by way of air or sea, so make sure to allow yourself enough time to apply for your passport and receive it before your departure date. When it comes to spending money, most major credit cards are accepted throughout the country, so you don’t need to worry about having a lot of cash on hand.

Depending on what you plan on doing while in Jamaica, lightweight tropical clothing is the best thing to wear throughout the entire year. If you are traveling to Jamaica in the winter months, it is a good idea to take a light sweater with you to wear in the evening. If you plan on going out to a fancy dinner, the resort for your all inclusive Jamaica vacations may require men to wear a jacket and women to wear casual dresses or slacks.

Don’t forget that you are traveling to a tropical climate. This means that if your skin is prone to getting sunburned, that the risk will be even higher. So make sure that you bring a hat a some sort of cover up that you can wear on the beach, just in case. You also don’t want to forget your camera when traveling to Jamaica. The waters that surround the island are such a bright blue that you will wanting to take plenty of pictures.

If you plan to drive while in Jamaica, you should also know that they drive on the left side of the road. This can be quite tricky to adapt to when you are used to driving on the right side. Just make sure that you obey the posted speed limit and pay close attention to where you are going. If you don’t feel like braving the roads yourself, your all inclusive resorts Jamaica will probably have a shuttle on-hand to take you where you need to go. You can also call a taxi cab or the local bus service as well.

Luxury Cruise Deals Can Mean Vacation Savings

Finding luxury cruise deals is something that nearly everyone can do if they take a little time to do some research on what type of cruise they would like to take and spend some time comparing cruise rates. There are two ways to approach this; you can go wherever the best deal is or you can have a particular destination in mind and see if you can find a cruise deal that fits your plans.

With well over three hundred different ports of call to choose from it is not hard to find a trip to where you want to go. Because of the competition within the cruise industry it’s usually not to hard to find a discount special wherever you want to go. It may take a little research, but when trading time for savings it can be well worth it.

What many people don’t realize is that there can be a few choices they need to make while looking for that elusive discount cruise rate. There are quite a few cruise lines out there with different sized ships that cater to different types of people.

For a truly pampered and more intimate cruise try one of the smaller cruise ships that are becoming more popular. They are capable of carrying from maybe a dozen passengers up to a hundred or so. These ships have a more personal feel to them but because of their size and more exclusive feeling the prices may be higher then you are expecting. This does not mean you can’t find good deals on these smaller cruises but you’ll probably have better luck with the larger companies that operate the much larger cruise ships.

The largest cruise ships hold upwards of three thousand passengers and have all manner of activities and amenities on board. Because of the fierce competition within the industry it is vitally important that the cruise lines fill their cabins for each cruise. During the off-season they offer all manner of cruise deals to keep their ships at capacity. Having empty cabins is bad for the bottom line and the larger the ship the better the chances of getting a good discount.

Calling the cruise companies directly and simply asking what sort of specials they have currently or coming up in the future is probably the easiest way to find those money saving deals. Travel agents and travel sites on the internet are another good place to get prices. The biggest money saving tip anyone can get is to shop around. Don’t jump at the first “cruise deal” you get, you may be leaving money on the table.

Self Catering Holiday Tips

If you want to go on a self-catering holiday, there are some specific things that you can do to make it better and easier for you. First, you want to make sure what cottages and other arrangements are available where you want to go. If a fancy, full-service hotel is in the same price range most people would want that instead. However, not everyone feels that way. Some people want these self-catering cottages because they can accommodate a lot of people so an entire family or big group of friends can stay together without being split up into a bunch of different hotel rooms. This is rather important for most people. Find out before you book something, how many people it can accommodate and whether you can get it for the time you want for a good rate.

 

Depending on when during the year you’re planning on taking your holiday, you might find that you can move it by a couple of weeks and get a much lower price because you will have moved into the off season for tourism. If you can go during that off season you can get lower prices and sometimes other added benefits that you wouldn’t be able to get otherwise.

 

You should also be sure you understand what ‘self catering’ actually means so that you can be prepared for your stay and bring anything that you need to have with you. You don’t want to show up unprepared for your holiday, because you could end up having a bad time. If you have pets that you’ll be bringing (a lot of people like to travel with their dogs, for example) you’ll also need to find out whether they will be welcome there, if you need to pay extra, and if there are any special rules or regulations that go along with bringing a pet on your self-catering holiday. Get those things out in the open so that you don’t have a nasty surprise when you arrive and are expecting to relax. You should also do a little bit of research into the area, so you know where you can go to eat and what you might want to see while you’re on holiday.

Packing Tip: Road Trip With Friends

We got this question from a Travelista who is going on a super fun road trip this summer with two of her friends. She wanted to know how she and her fashionable (read: overpacking!) friends could pack better and with only one weekend bag each. They also would have access to a laundry facility. Luckily, I had just experienced this with some friends and have some great tips to share.

1) Sharing means caring. Bring pieces that you can all share and that go together (if you have similar style and are similar in size) – it’ll triple your own trip wardrobe! Make sure your colors are coordinated, too. The beauty of that is that you will each look different and have your own flair with every piece! Plus, it gets your creative juices flowing. Shoes take up the most room, so if you have the same size, expand your shoe choices by sharing them, too.

For example, I shared a light boho blouse with my friend Jenn – and no one was the wiser! We wore it differently and for different occasions, so with one piece, we expanded our outfit choices in a snap. It almost made a complete round when our friend Eva considered wearing it over a very light black romper and letting it hang off the shoulder.

2) Keep it simple. Wear pieces that are interesting enough in detail but have simple silhouettes. That way you can layer them together or just add accessories (hat, scarf, funky sandals, etc.). A cool off-the-shoulder top in a square shape could go with jeans, shorts or a skirt or over a tank dress. Shorts with a subtle but fun pattern make your outfit more interesting but look different with different tops (plus you can dress them up or down).

3) Double (or triple) up. I have a fabulous scarf from Urban Outfitters that I use as a shawl at night, a scarf on the plane, a sash around a maxi dress, and a sarong on the beach (you might be able to get away wearing it as a skirt, too!). It’s a wide scarf (probably about two feet in width but looong enough to wrap around my waist, neck, etc.). I also have a tube skirt from American Apparel that can act as a skirt, tube top, or tube dress for night or day. You can layer a cool button down or oversized tee over it for day or dress it up with your scarf at night.

4) Accessorize! A hat changes an outfit in a second as does a scarf and the rightjewelry. Don’t forget your bathing suit and that you can actually wear it underneath your clothes like tanks (if you are going somewhere with a beach and it’s okay to expose the top a little).

A fedora is the perfect piece to add polish to any casual beach outfit.

5) Plan your pieces. Bring at least one skirt, one sundress or tankdress, one pair of shorts, and one pair of pants (including leggings, jeans, super-light summer pants or cropped pants). You will be wearing one of those at any given moment, so it’s not much. Top-wise, I would recommend a cool button down, a cardigan or light jacket of some sort that goes with everything, two comfy/funky tees, a tank, and a blousy top that can dress up shorts or loosely go over a tank dress. For feet – low-wedge sandals (dress up or down), casual flat sandals, and Toms slip-ons.

6) Bring only one of everything. Share hairdryers, flat irons, shampoo, etc. I always find that at the end of the day, these are things I pack last and don’t have room for!