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sports carTaking to the open road for a weekend getaway or a longer trip across the country is a great way to enjoy your sports car. After all, one of the reasons you chose the car was to go on long, scenic drives.  Cruising scenic highways on your way to the mountains or the beach is your dream.

The reality is a little different, emphasis on “little.”

The average sports car, especially a convertible, has a fraction of the cargo space of larger vehicles.  This means that when you’re packing your trip luggage you’ll have one-half or one-third the cargo space as your neighbor’s sedan and one-tenth what you’d get if you were driving an SUV. If you’re driving alone this will be difficult. If you’re going on a romantic getaway or taking a buddy trip, space will really be at a premium.

Planning ahead is going to be key, especially when it comes to luggage.  Here are a few tips for reducing luggage.

  1. Know what you need rather than what you might want.
  2. Downsize toiletries to smaller bottles/containers and remove any duplicates. Remember that hotels have soaps, shampoos, even lotions and conditioners that you can use.
  3. Minimize clothing. Check if the hotel or B&B has laundry available or if there is a local service you can use at your destination.
  4. Consider shipping any large, necessary items to your destination. This is only feasible for extended vacations, but can be worth the expense.

When you’re planning your trip there are a few other things you should take into consideration.

  1. Tune up your car. If you’re going to smaller communities or remote locales, there may not be a mechanic to help with foreign or sports cars.
  2. Remember you are not a race car driver – take your time and drive with care.
  3. Check the parking. Not every hotel offers parking these days, let alone secure, covered parking that will keep your car safe from thieves and the elements alike.
  4. Consider the season. If you want to drive with the top down, make sure the weather report says it will be possible. Otherwise you might as well borrow the neighbor’s sedan.

Think ahead and set some priorities and you’ll have that amazing road trip of your dreams.

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photo by: pedrosimoes7
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Sports tourism is a thing.  Fans travel around to watch their team at other arenas, and it is actually a ton of fun.  Exploring a new place and enjoying good, old fashioned competition between your team and another is a great way to spend some vacation time.  Well, good news, motorsport lovers!  You, too, can enjoy your own speedway vacation!  Yes, it takes a little planning and logistical work, but the rewards are, frankly, too good to pass up.

The first thing you want to do if you’re planning a weekend alone with just you and the car is figuring out whether you want to watch a race or do the driving yourself.  Spectating can be fun, and driving even more so, but that distinction will determine what tracks you go to and what events you’ll get to see or participate in.  An easy example is that, if you want to watch a race, the Daytona 500 is a fairly big one, while if you’re looking to drive, Virginia International Speedway offers not only a great track, but on-site accommodations, not only for you, but for your car as well.

Daytona 500The second step is the part that is most annoying: the logistics.  Getting hotel reservations is key, as sleeping in parking lots isn’t very good for your back.  Then comes transportation.  If you’re going as a spectator then you can go hog wild and take whichever way you like, but it’s a different story if you want to run your own car.  You could always drive the car you want to race to the track, but you might wind up without a ride home.  The best bet is to drag your racer on a trailer, which does the double service of preventing unnecessary wear and tear on your darling, and also ensures that you won’t have to make some emergency repairs on your Mach 5 to convince it to limp back home.

Oh, but there’s more!  Ticketing is, sadly, not a thing of the past.  If you want to make it past security then you will need a ticket for your event.  Most tickets are for general entry, which doesn’t cover premium seats or services.  You might get to take a picture of a driver, but if you want front row seats at the finish line, plus an opportunity to have your picture taken with your favorite driver, you may have to invest in a special package.  Cheaper tickets are more affordable, and still make for an amazing experience, but naturally, the pricey ones are pricey for a good reason.  Bigger races and events will require tickets for spectators, but it’s a different story if you want to race.

You can’t drag your own car out and expect to race at Laguna Seca if Scott Tucker is racing in the the American Le Mans series that day.  You’ll have to plan your trip around large events, unless you plan to race in them (which involves qualifying and a whole lot of other stuff).  But it’s not too bad—most of the time a simple phone call to the track you want to visit will reveal the dates that they will allow you to do a couple of hot laps.

The final step?  Execution.  Driving, flying, walking, or biking your way to your destination and enjoying the sound of unrestricted engines, the smell of gasoline, and the 200mph blur of your favorite driver’s car.

Have you ever had a racing vacation?  How did you plan it out?

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Traveling does not carry a heavy price tag if you know where to go and how to find discounts. There are a wide variety of travel destinations for the budget conscious traveler. If your New Year’s resolution is to see the world, then now is an excellent time to get started.

Where in the World Should I Go?

Head to destinations that have a low cost of living so that you can afford to budget. Rio, Brazil’s capital, was named one of the best destinations to go in 2013 because the upcoming World Cup will cause the price to skyrocket in 2014. It’s a good time to travel there because the cost of things is still low, but the infrastructure for the influx of tourists is up and running.

Copacabana Beach

Copacabana Beach

If the rich culture and scenery of South America does not warm your heart, you can head to chilly Gothenburg, Sweden. Though Stockholm is quite expensive, Gothenburg stands out as something of an anomaly among the expensive cities of Scandinavia. There’s a lot of culture and a distinctly Nordic flair that is particular to the city.

If Europe is more your style, then go east towards the less touristy countries and then head out of the city. The beauty of Slovenia or Georgia features striking mountain peaks and gorgeous natural surroundings. The culture of these countries is also distinct and less touched by Westernization than other countries in the region. Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to get around in English and people tend to be friendly. For more suggestions you can head to Lonely Planet’s website and take a look at some other budget travel destinations for 2013.

How to Get Cheap Tickets?

Traveling during the low season is the best way to get the most for your money. Many people tend to travel in summer, so if you head on vacation in any other season you’re likely to pay less. Websites like Cheapoair or Orbitz will offer up deals, both last minute and for future travel. You can use Skyscanner’s website to find affordable tickets. This site constantly updates the newest and cheapest flights on the internet, saving you the trouble and time of searching.

Where to Stay

One of the main costs of travel is hotels. This is why the savvy budget traveler often avoids hotels during travel. There are amazing hostels scattered throughout the world. They are cheap, reliable, and some have private rooms for rent at a fraction of the cost of what a hotel room would cost.

More adventurous travelers can stay with an open-hearted and minded stranger through a travel website called Couchsurfing. This site allows for travelers to connect with locals who want to offer them a free couch or room to stay in. This is an excellent way to get to know the country’s culture from the locals.

contributed by Alex Soultan, an experienced travel blogger whose work has appeared on numerous blogs and travel sites. Soultan is also a retired financial planner who has written on financial topics including personal investment strategies, money mutual reviews, and debt management.

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One of the more fascinating and memorable vacations you and your family can take in the United States is a road trip down the nation’s historic Route 66. Due to the fact that the scenic highway passes through eight different states, and was constructed nearly one hundred years ago, there is no shortage of roadside attractions to thrill tourists from around the world. So do a quick maintenance check, put air in the tires, pack up the car and head out for a family adventure!

The Famous Route 66

Route 66 was established in 1926 and formed a 2,448 mile long highway which extended from Illinois across the U.S. into California. Along the way the highway passed through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.

The highway has become a famous landmark in American culture because it served as a major transportation route during historically significant periods. During the “Great Depression” of the 1930’s, thousands of people used Route 66 to migrate west to escape drought and economic misfortune. The highway was also used extensively during World War II in mobilizing the nation’s war effort.

Route 66 was de-commissioned in 1985 due to the construction of the more modern Interstate Highway System.

Route 66 Association Hall of Fame & Museum

Located in Pontiac, Illinois, the Route 66 Association Hall of Fame & Museum is a must see, particularly for fans of the animated film “Cars.” The museum features the car and van of the artist Bob Waldmire, on which the movie is based. In addition, the hall of fame has plenty of Route 66 memorabilia on display.

Blue Whale of Catoosa

One of the more popular attractions for a road trip along Route 66, which the kids are guaranteed to love, is the Blue Whale of Catoosa. The giant Blue Whale is located in Catoosa, Oklahoma, and is a dock from which swimmers can jump into the famous swimming hole.

Cadillac Ranch

The subject of Bruce Springsteen’s famous 1980 song and countless movies, videos, and television shows, Cadillac Ranch is one of Route 66’s most recognizable landmarks. The site, which is in Amarillo, Texas, features ten graffiti and paint covered Cadillac’s buried front first into the ground.

Although Cadillac Ranch was moved from its original location in 1997 to a site near Interstate 40, it is still easily accessible and remains a tourist favorite.

Santa Monica Pier

Many tourists conclude their road trip along Route 66 by visiting the historic Santa Monica Pier in California, which serves as the unofficial end to the historic highway. The 100 year-old landmark is also the gateway to the Route 66 souvenir shop, Ferris wheel and various other rides at Pacific Park.

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Traveling often puts stress on the body and the immune system, resulting in sickness and overall fatigue.  This can happen whether you are traveling for work or for fun.

When you travel for business, you are often busy with meetings and appointments that do not always allow you to get enough rest.  If you travel internationally for business, you have to adapt to a new time zone and variations in food.

Even traveling for pleasure can leave your body in a tired state from the extra activity.  If you have pre-existing health issues, it can be a concern to travel in a foreign country where you are unsure of the medical care.  Here are some tips to help you deal with health problems that result from travel and ways to avoid others.

Jet Lag

Jet lag is most noticeable when you travel a long distance and can make you feel tired and nauseous.  The best way to deal with it is to avoid alcohol and caffeine before and during the flight.  Drink plenty of water to keep from being dehydrated.  Adjust to the local time by staying awake even though you may want a nap.  Before you leave for your trip, begin to change your schedule to what it will be at your destination by staying up later or getting up earlier, depending on where you will be going.

Altitude Sickness

This becomes a problem when you travel to high altitudes and suffer from lower amounts of oxygen.  To prevent this issue, drink a lot of water to keep from getting dehydrated.  Adjust to high altitudes slowly.  You can visit a higher altitude during the day and go back to the lower altitude at night.  Altitude sickness can be dangerous so pay attention if you feel dizzy or light-headed.

Eating and Drinking

If you are not sure about the water quality in a foreign country, avoid drinking tap water.  Instead, drink either bottled water or other canned beverages.  Foods to avoid when traveling include:

  • Raw fruits and vegetables
  • Raw meat, fish, or eggs
  • Dairy products from local markets
  • Food that has been left sitting out for several hours

Stick to eating at well-known restaurants rather than trying out unknown eateries unless you have done your research.  Not all countries have regulations on how these places operate.

Other Concerns

Pack plenty of bug spray if you will be spending time outside.  Some areas have insects that are disease-carriers.  This can also be a problem when swimming in local waters unless they are treated like in hotel pools.  Many parasites live in the waters of Asia, Africa, and South America.

Traveling has its own set of hazards, but you can stay healthy if you are prepared for your destination.  Check with your doctor if you have any health issues that may be concerning while you are away from home.  They can give you advice on how to cope in a foreign location.  Then you can relax and enjoy your trip.

contributed by Sara Minter, a guest blogger and writer who focuses on nutrition, health and medicine for several online health magazines and blogs.  She is especially interested in the intersection of convention and alternative treatments as well as health supplements and vitamins.

 

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Whether it is shaking your hips by sapphire blue pools, enjoying drinks with friends in a college crowd resort, or sipping a chilled pina colada on a white sandy beach, Spring Break is the time to say goodbye to the winter blues, and hello to some well-deserved pleasure in your life. Ready for some memorable sun soaked fun? Here is a guide to the Top 7 Spring Break getaways for your hedonistic (or chill-out) pleasure:

Acapulco, Mexico

Head down south for free flowing beer, glistening beach bodies, barely there thongs, MTV beach parties and the wild-side college crowd for a sleep deprived Spring Break getaway in Acapulco!

Negril, Jamaica

Open air bars, pool side DJs, sun drenched bikini contests and the musical treat of JamFest are all here but can just as easily be traded for kicking your sandals off, sitting back and watching the crystal clear Caribbean waters drift on by for an authentic Jamaican experience.

Daytona Beach, Florida

This classic Spring Break destination offers free beer, affordable hotels and late night partying to world famous DJs. It might not be the popular Spring Break getaway it once was, but maybe it’s a trip down memory lane. Or you could just lay yourself out on one of the 23 miles of beaches in one of the best places to live.

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Looking for something a little more high-end? Think champagne chic in this increasingly popular destination, made famous to the MTV watching crowd not from the West Coast, by the show “The Hills”.

Nassau, Bahamas

Rum punch, live bands, water sports, swimming with dolphins, but most of all, how could you pass up a trip to the private party island, Blue Lagoon for your Spring Break Getaway?

Cancun, Mexico

Mexico’s Caribbean goes crazy in Spring Break with tanned bodies filling the beach and pool parties during the day and dancing at night. Watch out for the celebrity visitors such as Fergie and 50 Cent who have visited in the past.

Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Looking for something more than the normal Spring Break Getaway experience? Palma properties give you the choice of the traditional Spring Break experience, partying alongside drink drenched Spanish tours, allowing yourself to experience some incredible activities such as a jungle safari, swimming with dolphins or even an ATV tour.

Where will you go this Spring Break?

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When one lives in a city, one either owns a house or an apartment, or they rent. But what about when on vacation. If traveling for an extended period of time, it makes sense in many instances to find an apartment rental site to work with. They will have listings of possible apartments for rent or for sublet for the amount of time in which you are staying in the city. This is great if you plan an extended stay, and you really are looking to get to know a city. Such is true when touring historical sites in various North American towns. Many of them contain so many sites, that to visit for just a short amount of time is really a shame.

This is the case for the Canadian city of Toronto. There is a variety of sites which vary from public house where festivals and celebrations occur, to national museums of arts, science and history, to castles and sites of historical significance to explore. There are ten museums that are in the Toronto area and one of them is the famous mansion called Spadina. The Austin family lived there for 3 generations and in 1984 the grounds were open to the public for the first time. The building has been updated and renovated but contains the original furnishings and decor, with exhibits and artifacts of the long history of the family.

Another family home that is now open to the public is the Gibson House Museum . This home was built by the owner, David Gibson in 1851. Gibson had immigrated to Toronto from Scotland, who gained his historical significance as one of the first map makers and land surveyors in the city. This as an achievement that he accomplished on his second trip to the city, as he was forced to leave the country for a bit and stay in the United States. Upon his return is when he built this home, a home where the public can step back into time and learn a bit about the style and the elegance of that part of Canadian history , as well as discover interesting facts about the men and women who first occupied this area of Canada.

These are just two, of the significant museums in the city…and a mere fraction of the places to visit and discover in this region. Taking an extended vacation and staying for a significant length of time will allow one to discover so much more than a short stay in a hotel will allow. When you stay for a time, rent one of the neighborhood apartments Toronto will become a bit of a home away from home. Who knows? You may just decide to look for a place for good, once you discover all that this beautiful Canadian city has to offer.

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Bangalore is one the largest cities in India and is regarded as one of the world’s largest high tech hubs, so it’s only natural that Bangalore is also home to some of the most luxurious hotel’s in the world as well.

Speaking of luxurious hotels, the Taj West End is without a doubt one of the best hotels that a person can hope to stay in. The word “Taj” refers to a crown in Indian culture and the Taj West End is definitely one of the crown jewels of Bangalore.  The Taj is conveniently located next to some of the leading technical firms like Marlabs, Mindtree, and IBM.

The Taj Mahal itself is widely regarded as one of the seven wonders of the world; in fact, many people regard it as one of as one of the most spectacular of the seven wonders and the Taj West End Hotel is on its way to reaching similar status.

So what makes the Taj West End so wonder-ful? Well if you’re in Bangalore odds are that you are there for business, which is not to say that Bangalore isn’t a great place to visit on holiday, it’s just that will all of the companies stationed out of Bangalore it is a huge business travel destination. One of the great things about the Taj West End that few other hotel offer is the telepresence conference room that is available for guests that might need to participate in a video conference. Furthermore, all of the rooms in the Taj West End come with a conference phone with international direct dial, so if you are working for Marlabs, a global company you can make a conference call from the comfort of your own guest room.

Obviously the Taj West End caters to business travelers with amenities like a 24-hour business center with secretarial services center but that doesn’t mean the Taj West End isn’t luxurious. Each of the 117 rooms in the Taj West End has a queen sized bed, a balcony, a conference phone with international direct dial, Wi-Fi, and a Plasma screen television. What’s more, guests at the Taj West End can also choose from 10 different pillows from the hotel’s pillow menu including: a natural wool pillow and even an aroma therapy latex pillow.

So the next time you’re in Bangalore ask yourself if want to stay in the Taj West End or would you rather just have an an unremarkable time instead.

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Chicago is the 3rd largest city in the United States and the largest in the state of Illinois.  It sits on the western shore of Lake Michigan – one of the largest lakes in the world.  2.7 million people call the city home and it is a melting pot of different races and cultures.  The city leadership is focused on economic, social and environmental sustenance.

Chicago has not been around a long time, it was founded in 1833.  But during that time it has seen massive growth and development into and business, finance and industrial center.  It is currently listed in the top ten for the world’s richest cities.  At the center of this growth is O’Hare International Airport which is the second busiest airport in the world and along with rail, road and shipping part makes Chicago a hub for transportation and distribution.  The city is currently home to many Fortune 500 companies including Boeing, Kraft Foods and Sears and excels in the manufacturing and food processing industries.

The financial center of Chicago is one of the world’s top ten.  This is because of the strength of capital markets and labor pool, as well as cultural, political and information resources.   The financial sector of the city is home to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the Chicago Stock Exchange where investors trade stocks, mutual funds, and agricultural futures.  The city is home to the Chase Bank, headquartered in Chase Tower.

Greater Chicago has the 3rd largest science and engineering industry within the metropolitan US.  It is home to the technology giant Motorola and to the education center the Illinois Institute of Technology.

The Chicago Center for Green Technology was developed in 2002 and is now a the country’s role model for sustainable design and technology. This technology center serves as one of the most comprehensive green design and educational resource in the country.

The Green Building Resource Center is an invaluable tool for those interested in learning about sustainability, green technology and green building. It is a must-see for builders, developers, facility managers, architects and homeowners looking to incorporate sustainable design practices and green materials into their next building project.

The Green Building Resource Center’s resources include a green materials database, the building green suite, a library of sample materials and books, building code information as well as reference materials and journals.

Article courtesy of Chicago DUI attorney serving drivers in in the Chicago vicinity.

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From tip to tip Canada has so much to offer when it comes to vacationing that it’s almost impossible to take it all in. Regardless of the kind of vacation you are looking for, Canada has it. If you are looking for an urban adventure you can hit Toronto or Montreal and live it up. Or you can take to the open road and enjoy the scenic views of the East Coast or the wheat fields of the Prairies.

Bright lights, big city
Canada’s cities offer you the best in entertainment, dining and nightlife. They’re also filled with museums and loaded with history. You can visit the country’s capital, Ottawa, and take in parliament. Or maybe Toronto, with its hot nightlife, amazing shopping and theatre is more up your alley. Or you can hit Old Quebec for a romantic getaway.

Sounds expensive, doesn’t it? But the great thing about Canada’s cities is that there are accommodations for all price points. You can choose to stay in a top-notch, expensive hotel if you want. Or you can opt for a cute little B&B or a more reasonably price motel. You can also check online to see if there are any deals or packages in your chosen city.

Canadian Rockies by train
One of the greatest sights in Canada is the Rocky Mountains. Magnificent and awe-inspiring, they have to be seen in person to be truly appreciated. And while looking at some mountains doesn’t exactly sound like a fun vacation it can be when you are viewing them from a train. In fact, you can plan your whole Canadian adventure on a train, taking in the Canadian wilds and also staying in wonderful resorts along the way with Canadian rockies coach tours . These all inclusive trips can help you save the energy of planning every step of your vacation and can save you money. Or you can plan part of your vacation to include taking in the sights by train. Either way, it’s an experience you won’t soon forget.

East Coast experience
Campfires in the evenings with marshmallows and hotdogs. Ceilidhs at night with the best fiddlers in the world. An early morning fishing trip. Lobster for lunch. When it comes to summertime adventure you can’t go wrong with a trip to Canada’s East Coast. Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island have so much fun to offer that you won’t want to leave! For a truly adventurous experience, pack up a tent or two and go camping! The East coast of Canada comes alive in the summertime. You can go hiking, whale watching, take in some Highland games or spend hours at the beach. You can also take in a Gaelic class in Cape Breton, see where author Lucy Maude Montgomery lived in PEI, walk on the floor of the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick and take in the colourful sights of Newfoundland.

The ultimate Canadian vacation
If you have the time you can combine the above three vacation for one ultimate Canadian vacation. You can travel from one end of Canada to the other to get the full experience. And this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what Canada has to offer. You can stop in any Canadian city or town and find something fun and exciting to do. And you don’t have to break the bank to have fun in Canada. Camping and B&Bs don’t cost a fortune and have the benefit of adding to the experience.

Regardless of the type of vacation you are looking for you can find it in Canada. Canadian vacations are fun and affordable and will have you falling in love with the country in no time.

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