Storage of Your Camping Gear

You have bought the good quality camping gear for those great adventures with the family; now you need to look after your investment so you may use your gear over and over and have it ready and in good condition for the next outing.

Mostly commonsense, but things are not always that obvious and there is always just the right [ or the wrong place ] for your gear depending upon how much gear you have and where you live.Obviously tucked away underneath the house may not be the best way to care for those material items such as sleeping bags and tents, etc

Tents;

Tents should always be stored in a dry place away from insects and mice that may eat or live in your investment without your permission.

Before packing your tent away , make sure it is completely dry inside and out; this will prevent mould and mildew and that rotting smell that will spoil a good nights sleep.If you get caught in the rain and have to pack up your tent wet, just wipe,dry and air it out when you get home otherwise the fittings and stitching will get stressed and possibly rot.Make sure the tent pegs are always packed in their own bag with no sharp ends sticking out to tear any fabric and pack them inside the tent; otherwise they will get lost somewhere just when you need them.Check that all the fittings and fabric is in good condition as well.Don’t put your tent under a pile of heavy items in case some of the poles get broken.The tent that you have is to be your home away from home so it is important that it be maintained correctly and more so if the weather becomes bad.

Sleeping bags

These are usually fairly robust but don’t like dampness at all, they could use a good airing at times although just stored in a dry place away from insects and mice is all they need.

Stoves and Lighting

Ensure these are all clean and in good working order and carry a spare bulb/mantle for those bits that may get damaged or broken and of course check that the tanks are in stable condition [not rusted or damaged] and even make sure the tanks are full if the next use is not too distant.Protective cases will stop damage that may arise from being incorrectly packed or just an accident of some sort ,and these are fairly important in the case of gas lighting with their brittle glass components.

First Aid Kits;

Stockup the various items and possibly carry extra of those items you know you may need/use more than usual.

Backpacks;

These are robust and only require a nice dry spot

Cooking Gear;

Gather all your cooking gear together and replace all those things that just disappear or become unusable for some reason and give them a rough check that they are all clean and easily found.

Your cooking gear is great if it is self reliant and you don’t have to raid the kitchen and find the things you need every time you go camping;once again sturdy containers for storage are important.

Keeping all your gear organized and ready can save you lots of time when it comes to packing the car for your next trip away as you will have lots to remember and should be start of a great memorable camping adventure.

When packing the family car to get away, it is best to pack the heaviest things at the bottom and the things you may need readily available [ like jackets etc, in case the weather gets bad] to be put upon the top.

A little advanced preparation will save lots of headaches later
and ensure a happy,comfortable and safe camping adventure for you and your family.

Ten Reasons to Move to the Costa Brava

After France, Spain is Europe’s most popular holiday destination, and the apparent dominance of France is to a large extent due to visitors in transit elsewhere. In 1996 between 1.2 and 1.3 million European tourists visited Spain. It is therefore not surprising that many of them become interested in buying a home there. Spain’s property market generally has enjoyed strong growth, with the Costa Brava enjoying a particularly large rise in values. About 20% of foreign owners are more or less permanent residents of Spain, while the remaining 80% bought their property for either holidays or investment purposes.

The Costa Brava is particularly attractive because
· Summer heat is less intense than further south,
· Scenery is spectacular,
· There are beautiful well-preserved mediaeval towns like Pals and Peratallada everywhere,
· Catalonia is well run with good roads and railways
· The A7 motorway is never more than a few minutes drive and connects to the French network
· Barcelona is easily accessible
· Golf courses are numerous and of the highest standard all year round
· In winter, there is good skiing in the nearby Pyrenees
· There are cheap flights to Girona/Costa Brave airport and to Barcelona and Perpignan.
· Eating out is inexpensive and a real pleasure
· The cost of living generally is reasonable.
That is an impressive catalogue of benefits. Add that attractive property is still fairly freely available and competitively priced and you will quickly understand the popularity of the region.
Many different nationalities settle here, but unlike further south they are all intermingled, with no “English” estates or “German” estates. The whole atmosphere is much more cosmopolitan. That does not suit everybody.
Before buying anything, do visit the area in and out of season. Resorts that are a buzz in summer often die completely in the winter. To most Catalonians, the Costa Brava is where they go for their summer holidays; they don’t live there, and they don’t even visit at week-ends out of season. If you are buying just for summer rentals and/or your own summer holidays, that does not matter, but if you are thinking of permanent residence, it is a critical factor. Never assume that you may be able to rent your property in winter. It is most unlikely.

If you are thinking of semi-permanent or even permanent residence, you may be concerned that you will find it hard to make friends here, and therefore be somewhat isolated. This is generally not so. Most residents are retired or semi-retired and it is fairly easy to meet new people, particularly of course if you play golf. Incomers tend to be of a similar age and background, even if from different countries. They too want to make new friends.

This may be an advantage or a disadvantage! You will also suddenly find that you have many friends in England wanting to visit you. Some of them may be friends that you thought of only as acquaintances. It can also be difficult for visitors to understand that you are not there just to entertain them, but have your own life to lead as well.

All in all though, the Costa Brava is a terrific place to holiday or live as long as you have thought through your purchase correctly. Our experience comes as part of the package, and our job is to make sure that you make the right decision for you. This is not the Costa del Sol either in terms of weather or life style, but it is culturally rich, welcoming, and offers a great life to those that respond to what it offers.

A Review of Princess Cruises

The Princess Cruises is a cruise line based out of California in the United States of America. The company was founded way back in the year 1965 and has been offering its passengers with some of the most memorable journeys and vacations ever since. The main rise to popularity for the Princess Cruises came with the launch of The Love Boat TV series which featured two of its cruise liners, the Pacific Princess and the Island Princess.

Embarking on a cruise with the Princess Cruises can be extremely exciting and scintillating. Moreover, the company offers its travellers with award-winning service and features which ensure that each of its guests have a great time while on board. One of the main charms of the Princess Cruises is its excellent cruise itineraries which cover some of the most exotic locales of the world. With over 1000 cruise itineraries and 300 ports to choose from, tourists are also spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a journey aboard the Princess. Moreover, each of the ships sailing under the Princess flag boasts of world-class service, sumptuous food and Maharaja style luxury. Voted as the Best Cruise Line Itineraries for 7 straight years, the Princess Cruises are second to none when it comes to sailing and luxury cruise liners.

The popular Cruise ships

The Princess Cruises also boast of a huge fleet which sail all over the world on various itineraries. Some of its most popular cruise ships are the Caribbean Princess (Sailing in the Caribbean Islands), the Coral Princess (Specifically built to sail in the Panama Canal), the Crown Princess (Sailing in the Caribbean Islands), the Golden Princess (Sailing in Alaska and Hawaii) and the Diamond Princess (Sailing in Alaska and the Mexican Riviera).

Great On-Board Experience

Another reason for the immense popularity of the Princess Cruises is its magnificent on-board experience. The ship is packed with activities and things to do for tourists of all ages to keep them content and occupied from sun rise up till sunset and beyond. One of the most popular sights aboard the Princess is its piazza styled atrium which becomes the stunning centrepiece on each of the ships. These atriums are spread over several decks and feature panoramic views of the ship, the signature Vines Bar and International Café and a breathtaking spiral staircase.

Other popular activities aboard the Princess Cruise Ships are poolside activities, cooking demonstrations, digital photography workshops, a variety of sports such as golf and ping-pong, vast libraries, mesmerizing nightlife, grand casinos, designer boutiques, art auctions, youth centres and teen lounges and pampering spas. A few of the most popular innovations aboard the Princess are anytime dining options and Movie Under the Stars. The latter is extremely popular amongst couples and lovers since they offer an extremely romantic opportunity to watch a movie with loved ones in a 300 square foot, 69000 watt poolside movie theatre. This experience is made even better with personalized touches such as cosy blankets, chaise lounges, complimentary popcorn and cookies and milk.

One can also experience a behind the scenes ship tour which allows passengers to get a glimpse of how the ship runs and functions. The tour is offered once or twice each day and allows passengers to catch a glimpse of the control room, print shop, medical centre, photo lab, bridge, laundry room and other areas which are typically visited only by the ship’s crew.

Heavenly living accommodations

The living accommodations which are offered by the Princess Cruises are also amongst the best. Passengers can choose from a range of accommodation options which include basic interior cabins, Ocean view cabins, cabins with balconies, mini suites with balconies, suites with balconies and grand suites. Irrespective of the choice of accommodation taken, passengers can expect to be treated to a range of excellent amenities and in room luxuries. The large and extremely comfortable beds, beautifully made bathrooms, pleasant décor and in-room entertainment options ensure that guests have a great time not only on board but in the rooms and cabins as well.

Lastly, the Princess Cruises is also one of the few cruise liners which still follow the century old traditions of Bon Voyage where family members and friends can board the ship to say goodbye to their loved ones before the ship embarks on its journey.

Zambia… What an Amazing Country!

When you travel abroad, especially far away from home you
want to have peace of mind. The same applies if you’re on
an African safari. If your desire is to meet friendly, warm
people then travel to Africa’s peace haven, Zambia. In
Zambia you’ll find that which you most desire, the warm
African welcome.

Peace, stability and friendliness describe Zambia. It is a
country incredibly endowed with natural resources, the
heritage of a natural safari country. Just imagine these
amazing sites:

1 – The Victoria Falls, one of the world’s most spectacular
waterfalls, is considered the world’s largest curtain of
falling water. It measures 1701 metres wide and plunges
down to 111 metres. The torrent of water plunging over
a steep cliff creates a deafening roar and sends up billows
of spray that can be seen 30km (19 mi) away. Thus the
local people have called it Mosi-oa-Tunya, meaning
“the smoke that thunders.” And the view from Zambia
is awesome.

2. – The wild untamed Zambezi River. From its source at
Kalene Hills to its mouth at the Indian Ocean the Zambezi
measures a whopping 3,540 kilometres. And 2,572km is
in Zambia.

The river passes through changing scenery. The wild and
exciting Barotse Flood Plain the site of the colourful
Kuomboka ceremony by the Lozi people, the violent
torrent at the Victoria Falls and the 122m deep Batoka
Gorge the river cuts, the serene Lake Kariba behind the
hydroelectric dam. And this lake has a great history.
Finally the wide Lower Zambezi surrounded by wild game.

3 – Add to your travel itinerary the Nchanga Open Pit one of
the largest open cast mines in the world but the largest in
Africa. Operations started in 1957 and today it measures
4,700m long, 2,400m wide and bottoms up at 335m. Zambia’s
major economic activity has remained copper mining.

4 – Visit the 19 national parks and 34 game management areas.
All these constitute 30 percent of the 752614sq km of Zambia.
The management areas buffer the game parks and the parks are
strategically located throughout the country.

5 – The unbelievable yet fascinating wildlife in pristine
wilderness. The Zambian national parks are considered to
have the largest concentration of game in the world. The
variety of animal species is wide with over 202 mammals that
include the Big Five: lion, giraffe, leopard, rhino and
elephant.

Annually there is a wildebeest migration in the Liuwa Park.
Take a look and see the endemic red and black lechwe antelopes
in the Kafue Flats at Lochinvar, as well as the Busanga and
Bangweulu Plains. Birding is popular in all game parks but
Lochinvar is Zambia’s prime birds sanctuary. Meet the
crested cranes, saddle-bill storks, egrets, wood ibis, vultures
and the rare shoebill stork.

6 – Travel to Livingstone town near the majestic, awe-inspiring
Victoria Falls now accepted as the southern African Adventure
Centre. Here you may choose any adventure of your choice:
White water river-rafting, bungi jumping, river boarding, skiing,
fishing, abseiling, off high way 4×4 driving, elephant back
safari, river safari, micro-light and helicopter flights over the
Victoria Falls.

Livingstone is a town of three museums; one is Zambia’s prime
museum, another is a railway museum and then there is the
Victoria Falls field museum. Take a detour and visit a tribal
village. Choose your accommodation from the many
theme-designed hotels and lodges.

7 – The Zambian weather is mild and pleasant despite the
country being in the tropics. The high altitude at between 1200m
and 1500m above sea level ensures that. There are three distinct
seasons; the cool and dry season between April and August,
the dry and warm between September and November and the
warmer and wet season between December and March. However,
the most popular time to visit is during the cool and dry
winter season between April and August. These are cool
crisp days and cool nights!

Zambia is beckoning you! The pristine wilderness, the
profusion of wildlife including birds, the exquisite sunsets,
the changing landscapes and natural habitat and the warm
Zambian welcome of its friendly people. All these make
your travel to Zambia a pleasant destination in African
travel. It’s a safari visit you’ll treasure forever.

…And you’ll never forget to exclaim” what indeed an
amazing country”

——————————————————–

Enestle Zimba is geologist of over twenty years and manages Zambia African Safari (ZAS) part time. Enestle is dedicated to the promotion of safaris and tourism in Zambia and the conservation of wildlife and the environment.

Our 4-Night Disney Dream Cruise

We’ve visited Disney World in Florida more times than I can count. After so many years of driving to Florida and visiting every theme park in Orlando, it was time for a change. Our bags and passports were ready to travel abroad.

We knew we wanted to go on cruise and we knew we wanted it to be on a Disney ship. After years of wonderful Disney experiences we felt loyalty to the brand and comfortable with their level of family entertainment. We began our research online and started laying out our plan. The first questions we answered were “Where and when are we going?”. Traveling with my my wife and two daughters, we wanted to make sure we had as much available without spending a small fortune. We decided on a four night Bahamian voyage from Cape Canaveral, Florida to the Bahamas. We decided to sail the second week of January to save on Disney’s off-season prices. The itinerary included a stop at Nassau, Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island in the Bahamas) and a full day at sea.

We drove from New York to Jacksonville on Saturday, Jan. 19th 2013. This 14 hour drive has become a yearly ritual for us, so it was just an ordinary occurrence. We departed Jacksonville at 9:00am the following morning in order to arrive at Cape Canaveral in time for our 1:30pm boarding hour. Cape Canaveral is incredibly easy to get to from I-95. We followed the signs to terminal B and before 1:00pm, we were already dropping off our bags and parking our vehicles.

Disney’s terminal at Cape Canaveral offers on-site parking at $15 per night rates. Higher rates apply for premium parking. I’ve read many reviews of families saving about $30 by parking off-site at private parking lots or hotels. Although this may seem like a bargain, I suggest parking at the terminal simply for the convenience. The parking lot is directly connected to the terminal via catwalk. This makes disembarking a breeze, too. Once you round up your bags, all you do is walk across the street and get in your car. No need to wait for any further transportation or taxi’s.

Check-in at the terminal was incredibly fast and easy. Be sure all occupants of your stateroom are together. You will need to sign some paperwork and take a picture that will be used for identification when boarding or disembarking. The entire check-in process, a few pictures, and waiting for our boarding number to be called took roughly twenty minutes. Once we walked into the gangway, we took some more pictures, then entered the ships atrium.

The Disney Dream’s atrium is a huge, rectangular, three-level gathering area adorned with an art-deco glass chandelier, marble steps, a grand piano, and a statue of Admiral Donald Duck. Once onboard, we hardly had a chance to take in the sights before we offered two dining options: option 1 would send us to deck 11 aft for a buffet lunch at Cabanas while option 2 led us down one level to the Enchanted Garden lunch buffet. We chose the Enchanted Garden. The buffet offered many seafood selections like shrimp and crab legs as well as a carving station, cold cuts, vegetables, salad, and grilled lamb chops.

Immediately after lunch, we headed to our stateroom. Our family had chosen a category 4A family verandah room on level 9. Once we entered the room, the first thing we did was figure out the lights. We had to insert a room key at all times in order to turn the power on in the room. Once we figured that out, we explored the balcony. Once we pulled the curtain and opened the sliding glass door, we knew this was the place we’d spend most of cabin time. The balcony added approximately 30 square feet of outdoor real estate. The glass wall offered unobstructed views of ocean while sitting or standing. The balcony had two chairs and a small coffee table that served as our breakfast table every morning.

Once we were acquainted with the room, it was time to head to our station for the mandatory drill. Once the drill was over, we headed to the pool deck for the sail away party. The kids liked the dancing Disney characters and the streamers flying everywhere. Definitely a good time if you have kids. Shortly after the party started, the ship pulled away from the terminal, sailed slowly down the jetty and into open ocean. We watched our first sunset from the deck 12 sports area. Our cruise was finally underway!

That evening we dined at Animator’s Palate. The Disney Cruise Line offers a rotational dining assignment which guarantees at least one meal will be served at each of their three main restaurants. Animator’s Palate is an homage to the artwork of Disney. It also features giant screens depicting characters from Pixar’s Finding Nemo. Our table was directly next to one of the screens. Before we knew it, we were being interviewed by Crush, the sea turtle. The girls really got a laugh when Crush called my glasses “sea goggles”. Our evening ended with chocolates and folded towel swan waiting for us in our room. It was a great way to finish off a very busy day.

We woke up the next morning at 8am knowing that room service will soon deliver our morning order of the day. The coffee, donuts, cookies, hot tea, juice and milk were delivered right on time! We poured our drinks, grabbed our snack and headed right for the balcony. Once outside, in the horizon, we could see some pilot boats approaching and land mass growing behind them. We were slowly approaching Nassau. Once we pulled into Prince Georges Wharf, the ship performed a 180 degree turn in the basin and backed into the port. Directly opposite of our ship was the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas (an Oasis-class ship – the biggest passenger cruise ship in the world). Directly behind this mammoth ship we could see the towers of Atlantis.

Atlantis is located on Paradise Island just north of Nassau. This resort island would be our destination for the day. We booked a tour of the Atlantis Resort through the cruise line. The $59 excursion granted us transportation to and from the terminal, a guided tour of the hotel, and full access to the aquarium and the predators lagoon. We gathered on the ship at D-Lounge to get our wrist bands, hand in our release forms and wait to be escorted to the buses. Once 11am rolled around, our excursion group disembarked the ship and walked about 5 minutes to the bus. The bus, which seated 20 passengers, was perfectly clean, air-conditioned, and proper working order. The bus driver also served as our tour guide of downtown Nassau. The drive took us through the government district as well as famous hotels and landmarks.

Once we reached Atlantis, we were greeted by our hotel tour guide. He first walked us through the stores and fashion boutiques in the hotels lobby. It’s very reminiscent of a Las Vegas-style hotel. We then walked across the hotel casino and main lobby. The tour then proceeded to the underground ruins area called “The Dig”. It’s suppose to mimic an archeological dig of Atlantis’ ruins. The main attraction here is the giant aquarium filled with tropical fish and huge manta rays. Afterwards we toured the main pool grounds of the resort which offered great views of the famous hotel towers. A bit more walking led us to the Predators Lagoon. Here you will walk through an underwater tube surrounded by sand sharks, sting rays, barracuda, and colorful tropical fish. Once the tour ended, we were free to explore any of the grounds we had previously visited including the casino. Around 4pm, we boarded our bus and headed back to downtown Nassau.

Downtown Nassau is full of souvenir shops, retail, and jewelry stores catering to the cruising tourists. The area is very popular and can seem very crowded at times. Despite the crowd, we always felt safe walking around and wish we had more time to explore the area. We did manage to stop by the local Tortuga Rum store for some excellent rum cake!

Once we headed back to the terminal, we walked directly to the immigration office for a passport stamp. The attendant stamped all our passports in no time and with no questions asked. Afterwards, we went through the security check-in and boarded the ship.

Our second evening featured a dinner at the Enchanted Garden. The a la carte menu featured seafood options but also chicken and pork entree’s. If you’re a picky eater you can always order from the kids menu which includes more familiar selections such as burgers, hot dogs, pizza, pasta, and chicken fingers. Every meal also includes an appetizer and dessert. Our evening ended once again with chocolates and a folded towel puppy wishing us a good night.

The third day started with a knock on our door as room service was being delivered Our morning coffee and tea led us once again to the balcony and beautiful view of Castaway Cay! The parasailing and glass-bottom boats were sailing by as we walked out. We could also see the workers on the shore prepping the jet-ski and boat rental areas. The line of cabanas and colorful buildings served as a backdrop to the sparkling blue waters of the Cay. We only had one thing in mind: let’s hit the beach!

Once we left the ship we were greeted by Lilo and Stitch posing for pictures. We also took some pictures of the Dream before boarding the tram car to the beach. Once we reached the beach we picked up three floating tubes, changed into our bathing suits, and hit the water. The beach was gorgeous and offered picture-perfect views of the Disney Dream. This was mid-January so the water was about 70 degrees. It wasn’t ideal swimming temperatures but the sun was hot enough to keep us warm.

Around 1pm we decided to eat at the nearby restaurant, Cookies II, an outdoor grill-style eatery. Cookies II served up burgers, hot dogs, ribs, chicken, as well as a variety of salads and sides. Endless drinks and an ice cream are also available. Dining at these restaurants is included in the price of the cruise so no extra money is required on the island. If you wish to rent any beach equipment once there, you simply swipe your room key and the charge will added to your room.

After lunch, we decided this was perfect time to head back to the ship and hit the Aqua-Duck ride. We boarded in a flash and headed straight to deck 12. There was a very short waiting line for the ride, much shorter than we had seen previously. We rode the Aqua-Duck several times before finally heading back to our stateroom. When we did arrive at our room we had pirate bandana’s waiting for us on our bed. It was pirate night!

Our third dinner was at the Royal Palace. It was also pirate night on the Disney Dream. The entire staff is dressed in the pirate garb and a surprisingly large amount of guests wore full pirate costumes! The menu also featured a pirate theme with selections such as Jolly Roger’s salad, and Jack Sparrow braised short ribs. The evenings festivities also included the “Pirates IN the Caribbean” live-action show followed by the “Buccaneer’s Blast” fireworks! At the time, the Disney Dream was the only vessel featuring fireworks at sea. They were a real treat! We we retreated to our stateroom we were greeted by a folded towel monkey hanging from the ceiling and a handful of chocolates spread out on the bed.

Our fourth day was a full day at sea. With no set plans in mind, we knew this would be our only chance to sleep in late. We also knew this would be our only chance to explore the ship. We had our room service delivered at 9am this morning. We spent a good amount of time just relaxing and enjoying the view from our verandah. We then headed out on our ship exploration campaign. Our first stop on the ship was the outdoor promenade on level 4. After walking around the promenade, we headed indoors to the shutters photo studio. After a quick review of the family pictures, we decided to buy the DVD package which includes every printed 8×10 along with a digital copy for future printings.

We then headed to level 3 forward to visit the retail stores. Here we picked up all our souvenirs including Disney Cruise sweatshirts, shot glasses, and resin models of the ship. We then decided to walk the three levels of the atrium where we encountered a photo-op with none other than Captain Mickey Mouse himself! Immediately afterwards, we headed to the Walt Disney Theater to see the musical show “Believe”. “Believe” is a tale of father who’s so busy with his work to realize the real important things in life are not things, it’s people. The show is must-see for all families and I highly recommend it.

Further exploration of the ship took us around the multiple lounges and clubs in decks 4 and 5. We then headed to deck 11 aft for lunch at Cabanas buffet. After lunch we trekked across the 11th and 12th decks exploring the pool areas, sunbathing lounges and sports complex. Seeing all the fun had us rushing back to our staterooms and changing into our bathing suits for a few more rides on Aqua-Duck. My wife also had time to take in a few rounds of Bingo while we spent our time outdoors.

Our last dinner on the Disney Dream was once again at the Royal Palace. The menu featured a French theme with appetizers like French Onion soup, and crème brulee desserts. Entrees included beef tenderloin, baked salmon, organic chicken breast, and others. Our final evening also featured a folded towel rabbit, some more chocolates and a customer satisfaction survey. They’ll also give you a brochure for booking future sailings which includes an onboard discount of 10%. After dinner, we packed our bags and placed them outside our door for pick-up. It was our final night on the Disney Dream and our final view of the starry sky from our balcony. Our Dream vacation was coming to an end and much sooner than we’d like.

Our final morning on the Disney Dream offered a sit-down breakfast at the Royal Palace. It was the final chance to exchange pleasantries and well-wishes with our dining staff. Our waiters, which had been with us throughout the entire voyage, were cordial and incredibly attentive. For those four evenings and final morning, they were part of the family. It’s all part of the Disney charm that keeps everyone exclaiming how wonderful Disney destinations can be.

Camping With Man’s Best Friend

Man’s Best Friend

Man’s best friend your dog, and you, can go camping and have lots of fun.

Look at it as a walk that doesn’t end, during which he gets to spend all his time with you.

For us campers, it can give us another means of security and another way of bonding.

Things You Need To Do

For those of you who are wanting to get involved in this great adventure with their pet, there are some things you need to do to make this as fun as possible for both of you.

Bring Him Along Slow

First time camping pooches should be shown the wonders of nature slowly.

City or urban dogs need to be brought along slow because of their tender pads on their paws, and they need to get used to all open spaces and wonders of nature.

Start with taking them on some day trips to state, county and conservation Parks

The Great Outdoors

The wide open spaces will help your dog get used to unpopulated areas.

He wll also find new odours and sights in this stress free environment.

Going on nature and hiking trails will also help your dog gain muscle strength and fitness before you go camping.

Being A Responsible Dog Owner

As we enjoy the companionship of our dogs, they become a member of our families.

Going with us on family outings, walks, trips around town, just about everywhere we go they tag along with us.

Thats fine because we care about them so much.

Its not always the same with camp owners who feel dogs are not man’s best friend in their camping area.

They have good reason to be.

A lot of dog owners are not very good in keeping their pets leashed or cleaning up after them.

They also don’t abide by the camp rules the way they should, but many irresponsible dog owners feel the rules don’t apply to them and their dogs.

Of course because of these pet owners , we all suffer, thus there are now many campgrounds not allowing dogs.

Check ahead to see if the campground you’ re going to allows dogs, and if so, are they allowed on the trails, or have special trails set aside for dogs.

Also some campgrounds charge two dollars a night for dogs as well.

Taking Care Of Your Dog

As loving, caring, pet owners, we need to find a way to take care of our dogs while we go out on the trails with our other family members.

We could take turns dog sitting with family, friends, other campers with dogs.

One thing we need to do is make sure we are good responsible pet owners. Check ahead before you go camping with man’s best friend.

Here Are Some Pre-Camping Tips

Try to take your dog for a pre-camping visit for possible needed shots, and a Rabies shot tag for his collar.

Look at a possible Lyme disease vaccine.

Take with you a current copy of his records and his vet’s phone number.

Pick up a proper dog license & ID tags for your dog with their name, your name, etc.

Microchips, tattoos and pet registries can be used.

Bring medications and a copy of prescriptions.

Try to get a site with some shade for your dog.

Supervise your dog closely around children, other visitors and other dogs.

Keep your dog quiet. Frequent and continued barking disturbs the wildlife and other campers.

Let your dog have time to adjust to his new surroundings. Give him time to rest.

Try to use ziplock bags to pick up after him and properly dispose of it in appropriate trash containers.

Keep an eye on how weather conditions effect your dog, heat, cold, rain etc.

Consider use of a crate for travel and short term restraint, while you are near. Your pet could be stolen if not watched carefully.

You should be aware that your dog will have increased exposure to ticks and fleas.

Take the proper tick/flea collars, repellants or use Frontline applications.

Other diseases can also be transmitted by wild animals and insects.

A Dream Vacation

What is the meaning of a “dream vacation”? What is so magic about the word “vacation”? The word itself is so exciting and is looked forward with kid like anticipation all over! Kids and children like to take time away from school for change! Adults eagerly wait for the annual vacation! Take time off the routine office work. While Americans use the word “vacation”, rest use “holiday”! In the past, upper class families would move over to their summer houses for a small part of the year, while leaving the usual family home vacant at least for a while. In Toto, this precious time was used to refresh and replenish the spent energy; all for a change.

Understanding the objectives of a meaningful vacation or a holiday is the first step in having a “dream time”. A vacation is not meant to be a stressful and painful ordeal! Vacations are time to rejoice. Travel and be together. Planning well ahead means a well earned and happy vacation. Packing a well planned itinerary would probably make a big difference. Vacation time is meant for leaving behind all disappointments, sadness and failures of the year! Return back with full vigor and charged up spirits. Looking forward for a brand new year. Vacations are for every one! For adults and kids. Teens and elders.

Before taking any vacations, just ponder over the action plan. Discussing with family members could make one’s vacation worth remembering for many years. Just dot down what you would like to do during the vacation. What do the other family members want from this vacation? Do they need fun and relaxation? What about those kids? Arming them with constructive activities during vacation could make them more intelligent and enterprising. Try to consider the age and temperament of the children. As they tend to get tired easily, packing too many activities in a day can make them dull on the next day. Just give respect to your kid’s interests and hobbies. A pet loving kid may like to be among wild animals in zoos! While a studious and art inclined one may like museum or an art gallery. A sport loving teen may like to visit a sports arena like Super Bowl! Or a quiet one may just keep himself aloof and play video games on his PS2 or X Box.

Orlando Vacation Homes – Comparing Homes to Hotels

When staying in Orlando, you really do have a lot of choices … sort of. One of the big decisions that the travel sites and the travel books will alert you to is whether to stay on property or off.

And to be perfectly honest, Disney hospitality can be very nice. We like the hidden Mickeys and the themed swimming pools, but on our last trip to Disney World, my wife and I looked at each other and asked, “We paid $250 a night for that?”

A Little Perspective

Did you know that you can get a room at the The Waldorf-Astoria® for less than $250 a night? It comes with neato robes, too!

Florida Lemons

The fact of the matter is, you have many choices, and not all of them put you into 250 sq feet or so of living space.

I compiled this chart for a 1st week in March stay for a family of six …

                 Price/night      Sq. feet       Sleeps 

Doubletree          $ 168             608         4-6  

Holiday Inn         $ 190             485          6 

Caribe Royale       $ 166             500         4-6 

Caribe Royale 

(big suite)         $ 316           1,260          8 

Sheraton Vistana    $ 218         497-910          8 

Disney Value Resort $ 218 (2 rooms)   260          8 

Disney Moderate     $ 338 (2 rooms)   314          8 

Disney Deluxe       $ 578 (2 rooms)   400          8 

Beach Club Villas   $ 350           1,080          8 

3 BD/2 BA 

Vacation Home       $ 150           1,600          8

When you look at how much you pay, the hotel option leaves you wondering what the differences are.

Hotels – Tried and True

Hotels offer a standard quality of accommodation. They’re centrally located – and this is especially true in Orlando. Disney’s hotels are right on their property, and therefore the closest you can get to the “Magic.” However, they’re small, don’t offer cooking facilities, and it can be difficult to get off of Disney property easily (say, to visit another park).

The Vacation Home Alternative

Orlando boasts an amazing number of vacation homes. These are detached homes that are individually owned. They have full size kitchens, several bedrooms and bathrooms, and many have private pools and/or hot tubs.

You do need to have a rental car. The homes in Orlando are between 10 to 15 minutes away from the parks at Disney World. My vote is that it’s nice to get away in the evening to your own private home and pool, but some people prefer to be surrounded by the theme parks 24/7.

In addition, there is no room service at a vacation home. However, most homes are within several blocks of a grocery store, so stocking up on your favorite foods (both fast and not-so-fast) is easy.

For a family of six, these two differences add up to serious savings, both in terms of time and money. Having a car means we have choices in terms of getting to and leaving the parks. On a busy evening, we may choose to have dinner at one of the resort restaurants and pay for valet parking (or skip dinner and just pay for parking anyway). At the close of day, we can then skip the long monorail/bus/boat lines, and take the much shorter resort monorail.

In the morning, having a ready supply of breakfast foods means the younger members of our family don’t have to wait until everyone is showered and ready to go before being able to eat breakfast.

Conclusion

If you’re looking to take a group or a family larger than five people on a Disney vacation, and if having a rental car and a full size kitchen appeals to you, then you owe it to yourself to try a vacation home.

Thinking of Cruising Go Carnival!

Stepping out of your car at the departure port is only the beginning. If you’ve never cruised before, get ready for a vacation of a lifetime. The excitement that builds up before you step onto the cruise ship is not as big as the excitement you get once you actually start your adventure at sea.

Carnival Cruise Line definitely does a good job with keeping their guests happy and satisfied throughout the trip. The second you board the ship and place your belongings into your cabins, you’re constantly greeted with warm and friendly smiles from every employee on board. If you’re in need of something at any point in time, whether day or night, an employee will always be there to help you. Before the ship departs, everyone on board meets up in the theatre and goes over a safety briefing. This lets everyone know that they will not have to worry about their safety or anyone else’s safety while embarking on the journey at sea.

One of the best things about cruising with Carnival Cruise Line is there is always something to do. Whether it be early in the morning, middle of the day, or late at night. You may just be looking forward to getting to the ports of call, but its not just the destinations you’re traveling to that are worth getting excited for, the days at sea are spectacular also. There are activities for all ages day and night, and tons of entertainment which you really get to experience during those days at sea. I mean, some crazy hilarious entertainment such as dance offs and harry chest competitions. The activities that happen on board bring families and friends together and even help you make friends as well, that you could potentially keep in touch with for a lifetime. When your stuck on a boat for a few days with people, it’s nice to make new friends that you can hang around the casino with, maybe take dance lessons with and more. And Carnival definitely makes it easy to do so.

While on board, the employees try and bring people together with all of their shows, entertainment on the deck throughout the day, and so on. It’s nice seeing everyone gathered around in one big area laughing and dancing together. It makes the trip that much more exciting and fun.

Aside from all of the entertainment, the food on the ships are out of this world also! You are guaranteed to never be hungry during your vacation, with the pizza bar, ice cream stand, and food buffet they constantly have on the deck. It’s extremely tasty food too! Also, every night there Is a timed dinner for your family and friends to enjoy and most of the time, you get your own table, depending on how many people you have and all. But the food there is amazing also. It’s a three course meal that will be hard to forget! And trust me, you’ll definitely leave full. Aside from the food, these dinners are a great time to share exciting events that occurred throughout your day on board, or to talk about the excursions your family and friends took part in that day. During this time once again, the employees will always make sure you’re having a good time! Some nights they dance, sing, and get you’re friends and family involved too. Every second is full of fun and laughter.

When it comes to ports of call, the employees on board are there to make sure you have a great time their as well.

Carnival Cruise Line has left me and many others happy with full of unforgettable memories, and has had me wanting to go back on another cruise since the day I stepped off of the ship, it also has me now wanting to work for the Cruise Line Industry at some point in the future.

If you’re thinking about booking a cruise at some point in the future, try out Carnival Cruise Line, so that you can leave your vacation happy and full of unforgettable memories also.

Camping in Europe is a Matter of Style

In Europe, hotel charges bite far deeper into budgets than you would sometimes expect. In Britain there is the inexpensive alternative of bed and breakfast. This does not exist to such an extent in the rest of Europe.

One way of getting around this, particularly for friends planning to travel together around the Continent, is hiring a car and, in summer, staying at camp sites.

Europeans are fond of the outdoors and there are camp sites wherever people holiday. There are, perhaps, three types of camping: luxury, pretty snazzy and bring your own tent. Which you select is up to your budget and style. But note most carefully that if you are taking your own tent you MUST camp in a proper listed camp site. You cannot pull into a field and hope for the best. It is illegal and strongly discouraged.

The three classes

Eurocamp is primarily intended for motoring holidays and is particularly suited to a group travelling around Europe by car. Eurocamp provides a choice of six-berth tents or six-berth caravillas, which appear to be of a very high standard.

Luxury first: Eurocamp,  a subsidiary of the Next group of clothing stores, has well over 100 sites in France, West Germany, Spain, Yugoslavia, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy and Austria. Many are away from the population centres in the Swiss Alps, the French Riviera, Tuscany, Innsbruck and the German Black Forest, but Eurocamp also has sites in Florence, Paris and Munich.

The caravillas – 9.5 m long by 2.5 m wide — and tents — 5.2 m by 4.9 m – come with cooking facilities, pots, pans, crockery and cutlery. The caravillas have showers and toilets. Both forms of accommodation include a double bed and four single beds.

The campsites come with a variety of amenities — most have restaurants, bars and either a swimming pool, lake or beach. All campsites have running hot and cold water, modern washing facilities and fresh water taps close to the tents. For some this will be paradise. For others, perhaps, a form of hell.

Many of the sites are in France, in the Loire Valley, Dordogne, Riviera, Provence, Pyrenees, Brittany, Normandy and Picardy. Free child care is provided at about half the camp sites.

Mid-level comfort

Self-Drive motoring holidays in Europe for the independent motorist. These are camping and mobile homes in France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The minimum stay is three nights. The cost of your camping is included in the package price.

To check out prices I invented a family, parents and two kids, with a saloon car coming from Britain in May and spending five nights camping. The answer came back: The price of your holiday is EUR404 ($US508) including accommodation and crossing, but excluding insurance and maps.

Bring your own tent in true camping style

covers UK, Ireland, Spain including the Canary Islands, Germany, France, Portugal, Czech Republic, Denmark, Poland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg which is pretty well most of Europe.

Note that this is both a listing of camping sites and a booking centre. It does not guarantee the quality of the sites although, from experience, outside of the annual European holiday in August they are generally quite splendid and civilised. In almost every case you have to take your own tent and gear.

This is just a brief sampling. You can explore the Internet until your eyes grow dim. Use a Google search and just type in camping Europe. Then pick and chose.