A few things to pack for travel emergencies

When you are traveling, unexpected things always can happen. Really, it’s inevitable. Stuff will happen and it will occur at the “best” times. Traveling has its way of doing that. You don’t want to over pack, but you also want to keep a few things on hand to make sure you are prepared when disaster strikes.

Travel emergencies to prepare for

First and foremost, carry photocopies of your important documents, like your passport, driver’s license and health insurance card. Bring an extra cell phone charger that can also charge a tablet (if you have one). Keep these photocopies in a separate place from your original docs.

Since I always pack light, I also carry a few pocket size stain removal packets handy. If you only have a few changes of clothing, it’s nice to have to get the stains our right away. I also always carry a backpacking first aid kit with me when I travel. And it’s a wise move to pack some extra energy bars with you in the event you are traveling after hours and restaurants are closed.

A couple of other items I would highly recommend are a small LED flashlight, a few extra batteries for it and a water bottle… at all times have the water bottle.

I hope you enjoy the emergency travel tips… Please post some of your emergency travel tips below in the comments. I’m sure I overlooked some of those that others value as extremely important.

Happy and safe travels!

Best Things To Do In Vancouver, Washington

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For this Texas guy, Vancouver, Washington was extremely refreshing. I was there a few weeks ago and the temperatures were in the 60s, compared to the 90s in Texas. I actually wanted to get out of bed early, so I could walk in the crisp cool air outside. Very rejuvenating, but enough about the temperature.

Vancouver is a town that even though there are nearly 2.4 million people living there, it has a smaller feel in many areas of the town. It’s a very modern city, with people living there from all over the world. So the conversations can go from local talk to global interactions very quickly. It was fabulous to meet some people originally from Europe and even Australia while I was there.

What to do in Vancouver

Well, here are my top 3 MUST do things while you are visiting Vancouver. My wife and I were there for 5 days and it was great to be able to spend that time carefree and not feeling rushed. Vancouver is a laid back big city and we enjoyed the luxury of just taking our time to see the things we wanted to see and do.

Stanley Park

You gotta check out this park. You will probably recognize this magnificent park from pictures you’ve seen of Vancouver. The 14-mile long seawall rumbles along Vancouver’s waterfront. It’s alive with activity where the local folks hang out, jog, cycle and walk. Lots to do around this park. Trust me on this one. It’s extremely family friendly as well, so take the kids if you have some. They will enjoy it too! There’s Vancouver Aquarium there as well, so when you’re finished seeing the natural beauty, you can go check out the aquatic life there.

Fraser Valley Wine Tour

My wife and I are wine connoisseurs, so we were really looking forward to a full day out in wine country. Rather than taking a bus tour, we decided to get a limo instead from Vancouver, WA limousines. I know, it sounds expensive. But for the joy of riding around in luxury and not having to sit on a bus with a load of other people, we splurged. A little… The tour was fantastic and we got to see a part of Vancouver that many people just don’t venture out to. The wine was fabulous and taking the limo was a surprise for my wife. I can tell that all of our future wine tours will involve a limousine as well now… lol

Vancouver Lookout

What a great view! They have a panoramic observation deck there where you can get a 360 degree view. We saw the Olympic Peninsula Mountains, North Shore and looked down on Stanley Park, which I mentioned before. The lookout is situated on the top (55th floor) of Harbour Centre building in downtown. It’s over 550 ft to the top… whoa. This is not for those who are petrified of heights, but my wife and I enjoyed the views and the heights! Tickets are around $15/USD, so take some extra cash or a credit card.

Overall, Vancouver was a great experience that I would highly recommend. Take your time while you are there to enjoy all that the city and country side have to offer. Cheers!

How To Travel Light

In the comedy movie Four Rooms, a witch whose entire luggage consists of a single broom states that she “likes to travel light”. Now, your idea of traveling light doesn’t need to be nearly as extreme – you can still pack the essentials without bringing yourself down with a heavy backpack.

The basics of your luggage
Light or not, you’ll need to carry some sort of backpack with you. Its size should depend on your specific needs – even some who would call themselves light packers will still have a humongous backpack accompanying them, and that’s fine.

The duration and type of your trip determines how heavy your luggage should be. For example, will you have access to a washing machine? If not, you might need to double the amount of clothes you intend to bring along.

In terms of clothing, consider the conditions around the places you visit. If it’s something like a tropical rainforest, feel free to pack only light T-shirts and shorts. But if there’s chance of a sudden ice age coming about, don’t get caught freezing because you were too lazy to pack a jacket.

If you’re going to a place that isn’t exactly brimming with modern appliances, you’ll probably want to carry a week’s worth of clean clothes just to be on the safe side, as well as enough towels and similar accessories.

While it might not seem necessary as you’re packing, you could quickly realize that carrying an extra pair or two of quality shoes is a sensible idea. If the only shoes you’re bringing along are the ones you’re wearing, a simple misstep into a muddy puddle can easily ruin your trip and force you to walk around all native and barefoot. Shoes can also decide to break down anywhere and anytime, so be sure to have that extra pair around.

Accessories – documentation, money, useful products
Have all your documentation with you so you don’t end up lost in translation: your ID, passport, driver’s license – heck, even a birth certificate can’t hurt. Also, don’t rely on credit cards – always keep a modest amount of locally-accepted cash on you in case of an emergency. That way, you won’t end up having to pawn your $500 watch for $20.

Aside from that, here are 4 ExOfficio products you should consider bringing with you to make the trip more pleasant and travel light, regardless of the destination:

  • Ziwa Insect Shield Pants: These will protect you from ticks and similar critters without forcing you to spray anything on yourself, and they’ll also help you look fashionable.
  • Sun Protective Clothing: The sun is nice and all, but too much of it can burn you and even cause cancer later on in life. While all clothing offers some degree of sun protection, ExOfficio’s line does a much better job of it.
  • Sol Cool Clothing: If you’d like to go a step further, these clothes will make you feel cooler in the sun on top of protecting you from harmful rays.
  • Pocket System Clothes: These use ‘smart’ icons on clothing to help you store your items of importance more efficiently.

Best Travel Gear For European Backpack Trip

We’re not gonna lie – it takes some guts to decide you’ll gonna go on a European backpack trip, and even more guts to actually go through with it. This type of journey will probably take you through many different countries, some of which can seem exotic and strange. To make things more difficult, you’ll only have a single backpack to fall back on when making pit stops.

It’s probably going to be a big pack, though, so there’s no reason not to fill it with everything you could need. A trip across several new countries is no joke – it’s best to prepare yourself for an Indiana Jones-like expedition, even if you’ll mostly drive around and explore sights. Here is the best travel gear for a European backpack trip – take as much of it as possible, but not enough to weigh you down.

  • The right backpack: The ‘pack you’re carrying should be comfortable to wear, large enough to carry all the necessities and, preferably, resistant to the elements. You’re probably going to be doing your version of “Singing In the Rain” at some point, so you don’t want your stuff getting soaked.
  • Umbrella: If you’re not one to sing in the rain, you can make great use of a sturdy umbrella. These things come in all sizes; you can carry one without even noticing.
  • A sleeping bag: While it does add a bit of bulk to any backpack, you’ll probably be glad you had the foresight to carry one. There’s no guarantee you’ll always be near a B&B by nighttime, nor is there a guarantee that the beds will be sanitary. The sleeping bag should also be warm enough to protect you from bouts of cold weather; this is especially true if you’re making the trip during autumn or winter, as European weather can be harsh.
  • Compression sacks: These novelty items are actually a blessing for those who like to travel light, especially when only a single backpack is involved. They’ll let you carry more stuff in less space by opening up a portal to another dimension (or just compressing the stuff).
  • Hygiene-related accessories: Getting adventurous is no excuse to get smelly. Soap, deodorant, shaving razors, a soapy water mixture, paper tissues, wet tissues with alcohol… These are just some of the things that you should have on you to avoid giving your countrymen a bad rep.
  • A first-aid kit: Hopefully you won’t have to use it, but in the case of an accident, it could end up saving your life (or someone else’s).
  • A flashlight and some tough rope: These are pretty self-explanatory. Neither takes up a lot of space, and both can be incredibly useful to those traveling a bit on the grubby side.
  • Something to read: Now we’re getting to the fun bits. Since you’ll be lacking space, you could make much greater use of an eBook reader than a book or few. However, you’ll need a waterproof casing for it, and you’ll also depend on a power source to charge it. Should your backpack fall into the wrong hands, an e-reader is also a lot more likely to get stolen than a copy of “The Da Vinci Code”…
  • Music player: Like the eBook reader, an audio player will also depend on electricity and will need to be charged even more often, but will prove to be invaluable for those long and potentially lonesome walks. The reason we don’t just suggest you listen to music on your phone is simple: two batteries are better than one, especially when power sources are scarce.
  • A plug converter: This mini-gizmo could easily mean the difference between charging your devices and traveling Stone Age-style, so make sure not to lose sight of it.
  • A working mobile phone with GPS and roaming: Your regular phone service probably won’t work in another country. Before setting out on your trip, talk to your mobile service provider and have them enable roaming so that you can call, text and use the internet from abroad. As for GPS or a lack of it, we already mentioned Stone Age travel is no fun, right?
  • Something to take pictures with: While not exactly a necessity, how else are people going to know how much fun you had on the trip? Taking a quality camera with you to capture all of those sights and marvels of architecture is a worthy consideration. A tripod and selfie stick are optional, depending on backpack space and the traveler’s love of selfies.

How To Travel Abroad With Children

There’s no question about it – children can complicate a traveler’s life. If you thought going to a convenience store with a toddler was difficult, try another country or even a continent. You’re always going to be faced with a choice: either leave your children behind for the trip or bring them along with you.

How to travel abroad with children

Having children tag along is cool – they’ll learn more about other countries and cultures and have a lot of fun. But it’s not always all games – bringing your child with you shifts the focus of the trip from fun and adventure to responsibility. If you’re fine with that, here are some ways to make traveling abroad with children easier.

Think about your child’s age and behavior first
Traveling with children can be an entirely different experience based on how old they are. Your 16-year-old can put on a safari hat and act as your assistant, handing you the map when needed. If you’re bringing a child that’s only a couple years old, however, it’s a different ball game.

You’ll need to ensure that the child is comfortable wherever you go. In the case of small children, you might need to carry another piece of heavy luggage in the form of a car seat or something along those lines. A specialized toddler backpack can help take a load off your hands while also giving your child a great view.

The needs and safety of your child
Obviously, bringing your child with you means another set of luggage to think about. However, you’ll have to be even more prepared here: children are more prone to accidents and getting sick than adults, meaning you should always have some type of first aid kit.

If you haven’t done so already, have your child undergo a comprehensive allergy test. Places abroad can introduce new hazards to those with allergies. If your child has one, make sure to inform yourself on the amount of exposure to the allergen at the place you’re visiting.

Another thing to consider is that just because a place looks fun doesn’t mean it’s safe for your child. Most of the time, your children will be up to try just about anything – it’s your duty as a parent to avoid placing them in any dangerous situation, or simply one they should not be a part of.

Talk to your child about the trip beforehand
What’s the best way to make the trip a great, long-lasting memory instead of that one thing your children will resent you for years to come? Talk to them about the journey ahead.

Give your children a step-by-step of everything you expect from the trip: the places you’ll visit, the people you’ll encounter, and any scary animals that might come looking for a pat on the back or some walnuts.

This is going to go one of two ways: either your child will reply „Can’t wait!“ to everything or they won’t want to go. Trying to persuade your children a little is fine, but if they really don’t want to have anything to do with the trip, you might have to consider calling it off.

Things To Do In Corpus Christi, Texas

It might not be as popular or well-known as some of Texas’ bigger cities like Austin or San Antonio, but Corpus Christi still holds its own in terms of fun, and then some. Since the city’s name translates to ‘Body of Christ’ from Latin, one might expect a religious destination with a heavy Christian theme. Instead, you are treated to a fun coastal town with plenty of stuff to do. Here is some of it…

Segway tours around the city
Segways get some bad rep for being the lazy person’s bicycle. That being said, if you’ve seen one, you’ve probably wanted to try it out – these things are a lot of fun, but also way expensive. In Corpus Christi, you can tour the city with a guide while driving around on your very own Segway. Supposedly, they’re not difficult to drive, and the risk of collision with pedestrians is minimal…

Texas State Aquarium
Even if you’re not a fan of sea life (unless it’s on your plate), Texas State Aquarium is worth visiting just because it lets you to get up close and personal with animals of the ocean like very few establishments do. From special glass mini-cages that let you observe fish as if you were inside the tank, to the possibility of touching many of the 250-some species, you might very well leave the place feeling like a mermaid (or mer-man). Those who didn’t watch Jaws can even touch some of the more dangerous specimens, such as sharks.

USS Lexington
You probably haven’t had too many chances to board an aircraft carrier and check it from the inside out, especially not one with as much historical value as the Lexington. It acts as a museum of sorts, and also gives you a feel of what being one of the crewmen back in the 40s would have felt like.

Other museums – Science and History, Botanical, Selena museum
The Lexington deserves its own section as a museum-like destination, but that doesn’t mean other Corpus Christi attractions of the sort are any less… attractive. For science and history buffs, there’s the Museum of Science and History – each of the two wings offers interactive exhibits and a chance to learn more about the city. Even if you don’t have much love for plants, visiting the South Texas Natural Center will be a memorable visit. It’s not just plants, though – there’s also a ‘butterfly house’, as well as many exotic birds and reptiles on display. Afterwards, you can check out Selena’s Museum, a memorial to the life and work of singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, who died in Corpus Christi.

Padre Island Seashore
Sure enough, it wouldn’t be a proper coastal city without stunning beaches, and the Padre Island Seashore has a few terrific ones. You’ll be able to park right next to the water, enjoy a pristine beach with crystal-clear water and enjoy a nice picnic in the Padre Island Park afterwards. Oh, and you’ll get to see a bunch of sea turtles being released, provided your timing is right.

Nightlife locations
After the sun sets, it’s time to hit the city and enjoy the nightlife. Do you like surfing, or even just the idea of it? The Executive Surf Club will truly assimilate you into the lifestyle. How about sports? At the Talons Sports Bar, you can discuss your favorite club surrounded by a lively atmosphere. Other popular places include Dr. Rockits Blues Bar – even if you’re not a fan of blues music, this bar might win you over with its entertainers and quality of service. If you’d like a taste of the Cuban lifestyle, the Havana Club is a great lounge with some unique music being played around the clock.

Other places worth visiting
If you have a penchant for fishing, the Bob Hall Pier is a spot you won’t want to miss. The entry rates are cheap, and you’ll be able to compare your catches with other anglers looking for their big score. The American Bank Center is often home to many events you would otherwise watch on TV – if you time it right, you’ll get to see some WWE superstars in action, or perhaps your favorite contestants of Dancing with the Stars. Since we didn’t mention any food-serving establishments yet, the Whataburger Field lives up to its name for the most part – while the food is pricey, you’re more likely to think “What a burger!” due to its taste. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy some neat baseball games between minor leaguers that can still swing a mean bat.

Best Towns To Summer Vacation In Colorado

Colorado isn’t all about snow – many of its towns make for a great summer vacation spot. In true Colorado spirit, though, there are winter-themed parks and attractions even during the height of summer. Here are some of the state’s best summer vacation towns.

Best Towns to Summer Vacation In Colorado

Boulder
With plenty of quality inns and B&Bs, Boulder is a great vacation spot during any season, although many prefer to hit the road during summertime. Most people familiar with the area visit with a specific spot in mind: the Chatuauqua Historic Landmark. Once you’ve checked in one of the scenic cottages, you’re free to explore miles and miles of hiking trails all around the place. When you’re ready for something with a bit more substance, you can enjoy a quality meal at the historic Chautuauqua Dining Hall, active for over a century. Boulder is also home to the biggest farmer’s market in all of Colorado, as well as a Pearl Street Mall – a place full of interesting people and great shopping opportunities.

Estes Park
The only downside to this beautiful town is that it tends to get crowded – it seems everyone knows how awesome it is. If you’re fine with being around lots of folks, though, this is one spot you can’t afford to miss. If you’ve always had a thing for the cowboy lifestyle, but never got a chance to experience it, now’s your chance – Estes hosts a mid-July event called the Rooftop Rodeo. It lasts for 5 days and has everything that a modern cowboy could hope for. The Rocky Mountain Nature Association will help show you what living in the wilderness might be like – nothing like horseback riding and animal tracking with your charged iPhone safely in tow. Of course, Lake Estes is a sight of its own, and also a great spot for fishing or plain old boating.

Steamboat Springs
If the previous locations seem a little ‘dry’ for a summertime visit, Steamboat Springs might be what you’re looking for. Despite the size of the Yampa River, tubers still manage to make the place seem packed as they all look to catch a break from the heat. If you’re not content with just slacking away and would instead prefer to stay active, Steamboat Lake is great for pretty much any water activity involving a floatation device: with easily accessible rentals, you are always invited to try your luck at canoeing, kayaking or rafting. Those who prefer a boat will also enjoy the ample fishing opportunities in the area – Steamboat Lake is one of the top fishing spots in Colorado, and you can really score some nice catches that will round up a ‘camping in the wilderness’-themed visit.

When done with the natural sightseeing, there are plenty of modern attractions to choose from. How about going toe-to-hoof with a mechanical bull or trying out a daring slingshot bungee jump at the Coca Cola Adventure Zone? No matter how you’ve planned out your trip to Steamboat, it’s sure to be a memorable way of spending your summer vacation time.