Monthly Archives: March 2017

Visit A National Park With Your Kids

The very first National Park was Yellowstone, designated as such in 1872. A few years later, in 1916, the National Park Service was formed, to protect and share these special landmarks, which by then included a few more, like Sequoia and Yosemite, among others.

One of the seven wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon, was designated a National Park in 1919. Living in relative close proximity to it, I have visited it often, and it still never looses its magic. Every day, a cloud, a sunny day, can make a difference in how this vast canyon looks. The amenities around the top have changed over the years, especially on the South Rim, since the ever-growing crowds required more amenities, and ways to help everyone enjoy it. However, the canyon itself is still the same, still as spectacular as ever.

Some of the parks preserve the “work of men”. Mesa Verde was the first park of this kind, designated as such in 1906. With lots of ancient dwellings, the site is spectacular. Like Chaco Canyon, accessible through a dirt road, off the beaten track and quiet, these sites give us a glimpse into the lives of people who came before us.

We have parks protecting areas as diverse as redwood forests, snow-capped mountains, pristine lakes, rainforests, high and low desert areas, and archaeological sites. By designating them National Parks, they are protected, we can enjoy them as much as visitors before us have, and make sure those who come after us will as well.

Personal Loans – Travel Smart

With the ever expanding lending market catering to almost every kind of loan, it is now possible to get financial assistance for almost every conceivable thing that the human mind can think of. And, that includes holidays. So, if you have been postponing some very deserving R&R plans, then you can now take advantage of the present situation.

It is up to you what kind of loan plan you prefer to take. Ask the financial advisers of the bank or lending society to find out the best personal loans deal for yourself. You may even apply online and compare the different APR rates provided by different companies. Most sites also offer a budget calculator that you can use to calculate how much the loan is going to cost you. That way you have a clear idea about how much money you will have to pay at the end of each month to the lender.

Now, that you know where the money is going to come from, lets focus on how to make your trip comfortable but economical at the same time. Money flows like water in most overseas trip. But, the following tips might just help you stretch your cash for an extra mile.

Shop around for good deals

Look at this as a warm-up run. Hunting for good bargains is a knack that everyone should master. Go online and search extensively for good deals on air fares and hotels. Check out offers from consolidators, travel agents and web sites for more ideas. Even if you are going for a package tour, hunt out cheap bargains. If your trip is more flexible, then you can book directly with the airlines or hotels.

A Travel Guide to and From the Granada Airport

From the city center, Granada is roughly 12 kilometers away. Take the taxi from the airport to your hotel because you definitely can’t take a stroll from there. If you decide to use the cab, you would have to pay around 30 euros for the fare. For a much cheaper ride, you can always take the airport bus service. This one would take you directly into the heart of Granada or drop you off at the different stops along the way. The buses leave and arrive in accordance with the airport’s departure and arrival times. Because the Granada airport has limited international flights, many tourists prefer to use the Malaga Airport for their travel abroad instead. The Malaga Airport is the one nearest to Granada and you are bound to find more flights from there. From the Malaga Airport to Granada and vice versa, the travel time is around 90 minutes by car.

There is a train that could take you to Granada as well, although it isn’t on the high speed line. Drop off at the Avenida de Andaluces and just take a cab. The train is ideal for people coming from faraway cities like Seville, Madrid, or Almeria. However, the best way to travel from the Granada airport to any point of Spain is through a hired car. The network of roads from the Granada Airport has improved greatly after several years. If you plan to take the long drive from Granada to Madrid, the road tour is worth a 5-hour drive. To Barcelona by car, travel time could take up to 11 hours.

The Granada Airport, being an international airport in its own right, keeps a good number of car hire companies with offices within its grounds. Avis, Europcar, and Hertz have car hire facilities at the airport that you can take advantage of. Try to book prior to your arrival to ensure yourself a good vehicle to drive all over town.

Arrival and First Impressions

Many of you will know that I am originally from Austria, but that I have been living in Toronto for more than 20 years. I left Austria early on, by myself, at the young age of 20 and found a permanent home in Canada’s largest, most multicultural city. I always realized that I originally came from a beautiful country, but somehow the big wide world was calling me and settling in Canada’s most cosmopolitan urban centre has been a great decision.

In the early years I used to go back home every year when my father and grandmother were still alive. My mother had already passed away more than 20 years ago. But from 1995 onwards, after the death of my father and grandmother, I paid very few visits to Austria and thinking of my home country often brought back sad memories of people that had passed away. So for almost 9 years I did not travel back home at all until in 2004 I decided to go back for my 20th high school reunion which in itself was an interesting experience.

Now, almost three years later, there was a big reason to go back to my home town: my brother Ewald’s 50th birthday. This big round birthday of my only sibling was an event I simply couldn’t miss. And in addition, I made the decision to discover my part of Austria through the eyes of a travel writer and really take advantage of the sights and activities that my home town and its surrounding regions have to offer.

So this Thursday I boarded an Air Transat plane to fly from Toronto to Vienna and one hour into it I realized that we also were making a stop in Montreal which added about two hours on to the trip. As an astute traveller, I always try to save money on travel, and Air Transat was about $500 less expensive than going with Air Canada or Austrian Airlines. But I also realized that Air Transat planes are packed in very tightly and there is very little space between seat rows. As a matter of act, when the lady in front of me tilted back her seat rest I almost thought she was going to knock my teeth out.

Another Way to Enjoy Boracay

Roughly, fourteen years after my first visit. I took my wife, and I decided to have our 2nd honeymoon there to renew our vows. We were booked for a 4-days, 3-night stay on December 10-13, 2013. A month prior to our travel date, the Philippines was hit by super typhoon ‘Yolanda’ (Haiyan) where most of the Eastern Visayas Region was hit, including Boracay. Flights were cancelled and guests were stranded for a couple of days. Some of the guests scheduled after the typhoon up until those booked around December, foreign and local, intentionally cancelled their hotel bookings upon seeing how massive the damage was and expecting major rehabilitation and on-going relief operations. And so, I made sure that hotels and commercial establishments were up and running before we came. I kept on trying to recall the vivid memory I had in Boracay when I first came to visit. It’s a bit hard but one thing’s for sure: I cannot, in any way, remember any resorts and restaurants just right along the shore line. In a normal pace, December would have been a peak season in Boracay but because of the typhoon, we were lucky to have witnessed what Boracay is like during the lean season.

I was looking for the “crowded and polluted shoreline” side of Boracay which I had seen countless times in the news and in Facebook. I was, in a way, frustrated because I saw it myself that Boracay was not as exploited as how they portray it to be. There were only a few people and it was peaceful, and the water was so clear. The beach was still picturesque just the way I remembered it fourteen years ago.