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Monthly Archives: March 2016

Travel Guidebooks

Travel guidebooks are like bibles for most travelers and sources of information salvation in a tight spot. Just try to avoid the horror section.

Travel Guides

You’ve saved up some hard earned cash and are ready to hit the road. If you don’t have a firm destination in mind, you’ll inevitably find yourself sitting in a bookstore somewhere reading travel guides. Regardless of the brand, you usually get an overview of the destination and particular areas recommend by the author. Hotels, restaurants and so forth will also be set forth. This is particularly good for such establishments as they often can raise their prices above anyone else in the area!

Of course, you already know all of the above if you’ve so much as ventured out of your house at any point in your life. Our discussion today focuses on the fear factor of travel guides. Yes, I am talking about the warning sections.

Travel Warnings

Every travel guide contains a chapter of horrors. The chapter is typically called something like “stay safe” or “a word of caution.” In legal terms, these sections are known as the “CYA” area, which stands for “cover your…” Reading them is wise, but the editors go just a little overboard.

I once took a spontaneous trip to Asia. I literally walked into an airport, purchased a ticket and picked up a travel guide on the way to the gate. As the 19-hour flight got underway, I had the novel idea to actually read something about my travel destinations. Halfway through the horror section, I was ready to hijack the plane and return to Los Angeles. The various disease that were clearly going to kill me included:

1. Malaria – Okay, I already knew about this and wasn’t that concerned. Fever, the shakes, joint pain – hey, that’s traveling!

2. Japanese Encephalitis – A disease carried by mosquitoes that attacks the brain and causes neurological damage resulting in blindness, paralysis and, well, isn’t that enough? I’ll never look at Sushi the same way again.

3. Dengue Fever – Carried by mosquitoes that are active in the day, this little bugger does nasty things to your joints and there is no cure. Not to be confused with “disco fever,” an equally dangerous disease from the 70’s.

4. Schistosomiasis – My personal favorite. The larvae of flatworms burrowing into your skin cause this nasty little disease! Visions of the bursting stomach scene from the first Alien movie moved uneasily through my mind.

Being skeptical, you’re undoubtedly thinking such nastiness is specific to Asia. If so, I invite you to explore a travel guide for the location you live in the next time you’re blowing time in a bookstore. You might be surprised to learn about the nasty things all around you.

One of my all time favorites was a warning I read in a travel guide for Brazil. No less than five pages were spent discussing a tiny bug that could be found on the beaches. This aggressive little guy could be expected to burrow under your toenails if you didn’t wear shoes on the beach! I have my doubts. I seriously doubt the “Girl from Ipanema” strolled by wearing boots!

Now, I am not suggesting in any way that you ignore the various health warnings. Read the horror section of your travel guide and form your own opinions. After all, you might be the unlucky soul who gets schistosomiasis.

If You Know Your Travel

Stringent airport security rules, influx of finally fit baby boomers who have just retired, changing security needs, and the constant growth of niche travel are some of the trends witnessed in the travel and tourism industry in 2007. The tourism industry in the United States is booming like never before owing to better infrastructure, increasing flight availability, and lowest airfares. Some of the prominent trends in the word of tourism have been listed below:

Financially strong baby boomers: Baby boomers, who have toiled through the years and have recently retired, are using this time to explore new travel destinations. Even those who may continue to be a part of the labor force even after retirement will occasionally travel to distant places to take some time off from their busy schedules and relax.

Baby boomers are particularly flocking to spas and prominent health resorts to enjoy a quiet and rejuvenating spa vacation. Number of chain hotels these days offer spa-like amenities coupled with interesting health programs like detoxification wraps, aromatherapy, salt baths and so on to lure this segment of travelers.

Cruises: A growing number of affluent travelers these days prefer to stay on the cruise to enjoy a long holiday loaded with fun and excitement. The cruise industry is currently involved in providing cruising opportunities to middle income groups as well through competitive holiday packages to nearby destinations.

For the boomer populations, cruising is synonymous with safety, affordability, entertainment, and adventure. Royal Caribbean cruises seem to be a major attraction for this group of travelers due to strategically and conveniently located homeports offered on the Caribbean itinerary. Cruising is also preferred by younger generations, honeymoon couples, and families to break free from busy schedules and enjoy a relaxing holiday on board.

Green Travel is in: Since the year 2007 is expected to be the warmest year, green travel is going to be in great demand. Travelers will be on the lookout for hotels and airlines with “green” ratings. Hybrid car rentals and eco-friendly destinations will therefore be important components of the green travel plan.

Connoisseur Travel in great demand: In recent years, Americans are particularly drawn to Connoisseur travel, the most obvious example being growing popularity of wine tours in the past decade. Instead of exploring secluded beaches, connoisseur travelers prefer to spend their time gathering information about their area of interest may it be wine, antiques, jewelry, architecture, or historical artifacts.

Travel the Amazon River

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ear the word cruise and frequent travelers automatically picture an ocean-going vessel ready to carry thousands of passengers along the most scenic waters of the world. But those accustomed to luxury travel are well aware that some of the best cruises in the world are taken on mighty rivers like the Nile, the Danube, the Mississippi and, of course, the Amazon. The Amazon is the second longest river in the world and empties into the Atlantic Ocean along the coast of Brazil. While other rivers feature cruises on smaller vessels, the Amazon is massive enough in width and depth to support some of today’s luxury cruise ships. A number of cruise lines with five-star reputations, like Crystal, Holland America, and Silversea to name a few, provide regular itineraries that include the Amazon River.

For travelers who are looking for eco-friendly ways to visit remote areas of the planet, what better way to leave a negligible footprint than to visit pristine rainforest areas by ship? Cruise passengers experience the jungle environment with minimal disruption to native habitat, while they enjoy all the first-class accommodations and amenities that the best cruise ships have to offer.

The major cruise lines that sail the Amazon River provide unique shore activities at several local stops. Travelers can enjoy a wide variety of jungle and wildlife tours either on foot or via motorized vehicles. These stops occur at remote native villages where the ambience of the spot is truly authentic, not just an artificial place recreated for tourist entertainment. The Amazon rainforest is one of the few remaining places in the world to experience nature in its original form. Add this destination to your travel itinerary if you wish to experience unspoiled rainforest before civilization creeps in.

For an even closer view of the Amazon River and its environs, consider taking a luxury class riverboat cruise where the Amazon is the only destination. Adventurous travelers can spend nearly two weeks aboard a luxury craft exploring the remote reaches of the exotic Amazon River amongst some 600 species of native birds plus all kinds of other wildlife. For those seeking eco-travel, these cruises offer unparalleled opportunities to visit the Patanal wetlands, the largest wetland in the world and home to the Caiman Ecological Refuge.

For the most remote Amazon adventure, consider a luxury riverboat cruise that originates in Peru and sails the upper Amazon. Visualize a small ship that pampers just 12 passengers with a crew of 14 to see to their every need. This cruise includes the services of naturalists who are available to locate and interpret the unique ecosystem of the upper Amazon. Naturalists guide travelers on personal tours in small boats into the remote Amazon estuaries and the Pacaya Samiria Reserve, a protected rainforest area established by the Peruvian government in 1982 with over 5 million acres.

It is important to remember that cruising on the Amazon River takes travelers to a remote and undeveloped area of the world. What are considered luxury standards on the Amazon do not necessarily compare to luxury standards of major cruise lines or five-star resorts. It’s important to use the services of a qualified and experienced travel consultant to insure that you do business with a reputable travel company in the area. Five-star luxury travel is readily available in Brazil for those who know where to find it. Of course, Rio de Janeiro, the departure point for some river cruises, is one of the top luxury travel destinations in the world, renowned for first-class shopping, dining, accommodations, culture and nightlife.

Where to Find the Best Traveling

Even the most seasoned travelers seek advice before starting out for their next destination. This holds especially true with unique and under-developed travel spots. But with whole sections of bookstores dedicated to the fine art of traveling, where do you begin to find the practical information you need to make your trip a successful one? Instead of forking over a wad of cash for a number of semi-useful book guides, consider the Internet as a great resource to find the information and advice you need. Here are a few of the best Internet resources I found that provide useful travel tips for free.

1. Wicked Good Travel Tips. Seasoned travelers offer words of advice and lead an online community of travelers. The guide is most useful as a forum in which travelers can share tips and experiences to help make someone else’s trip a success. A special trip-planning guide helps future travelers plan a vacation that is catered to their interests and needs.

2. Let’s Travel Radio. This is an Internet travel radio show with an insider’s twist. It provides information on how to find the best travel bargains, what to pack, how to feel at home abroad, how to stay healthy when you travel, and how to be street smart in a foreign country. The site also gives a list of practical traveling tips to make your trip go as smoothly as possible. From preparing for emergencies to avoiding extra costs, this site gives you the low-down on how to make any trip a traveler’s dream.

3. Lonely Planet. Have you always wanted to visit Sardinia but don’t know where to begin? This site offers tips and destination advice for even the most unique and out of the way places. With links to hotels and hostels, travel services, an extensive traveler’s forum, and destination guides, the Lonely Planet Web site gives ample inspiration and know-how for you to get out there and see the world.