Trip Preps Seven Easy Steps To A Safer Road trip

September 27, 2013 by  
Filed under Traveling tips

Okay, you’ve made the decision: you’re going on a cross-country vacation, and instead of renting a car, you’ll be taking your own. Take these few simple precautions to ensure that your trip is as safe and enjoyable as possible:

1) Plan your trip strategically.

“Doing your homework” may not sound very exciting or romantic, but many an adventure has been derailed by lack of planning. Know where you’re going, the route you expect to take, and how long it should take you to get there. Travel-related Internet sites and your local AAA can help you to plot a course, find lodging and fuel stations, and avoid construction or heavy traffic. Have a good road atlas and maps in the glove box.

2) Make sure that your car is mechanically sound.

Before embarking on our trip, make sure that your vehicle is in top condition: engine, cooling systems, brakes, and other vital systems. Check the oil and other fluids before leaving. Lastly, make sure that your tires are in top condition and properly inflated; the experience of having to change a flat tire or wait on the roadside for assistance is not likely to enhance your vacation.

3) Be ready for common (and uncommon) roadside emergencies.

Forewarned is forearmed. Though it may seem unlikely, proceed as if you expect to get a flat tire or a radiator leak. Pack the standard essential items such as a tire-changing kit (including a spare tire), jumper cables, and road flares. Beyond that, let your imagination roam and prepare for the worst—carry extra windshield wipers, an approved gasoline container, motor oil, elastic tie-downs, or whatever else you could potentially need.

4) Carry food and beverages in the car.

Even if you plan to stop for meals, it never hurts to have provisions in the car with you. If you break down in an isolated area, you’ll at least have food and drink to sustain you until help comes.

5) Pack a standard first-aid kit.

Prepackaged first-aid kits come in a variety of sizes and levels of complexity, and are easy to just stow in your car. Packing your own kit, though, allows you to individualize its contents according to the medical needs of you and your family. Include standard first-aid fare like bandages, antiseptic ointment, an antibacterial cleanser, alcohol, tweezers, and fingernail scissors. For medications, include an analgesic, an anti-diarrheal, a medication for motion sickness, and an antihistamine.

6) Make frequent stops.

For reasons of health and comfort, it’s far better to make frequent stops. Individuals who are elderly or suffer from poor circulation should be able to get out of the car and move around briskly, about every 90 minutes if possible. Individuals who aren’t will still benefit from short, frequent bouts of exercise to relieve the stiffness and discomfort of sitting immobile for extended periods of time.

7) When fatigued, stop for the night.

Often vacationers try to “drive straight through,” making as few stops as they can manage. Sure, this may get you to your destination a little more quickly…or it may keep you from arriving at all. Fatigue dulls your senses and slows your reaction time, decreasing your ability to respond quickly and effectively to circumstances. The usual remedies for sleepiness while driving—rolling down the windows, turning up the radio, and drinking caffeinated beverages—only postpone the inevitable. Stop somewhere for the night, if you can. If necessary, pull over to the side of the road and revive yourself with a short nap. If your body’s trying to tell you that it needs rest, it’s best to listen.

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The Road Trip Less Traveled

August 29, 2013 by  
Filed under Traveling tips

When President Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act 50 years ago, he may have started the glorious tradition of the great American road trip. Seasoned travel writer Eric Peterson takes full advantage of the public works project, and in his book “Ramble: A Field Guide to the U.S.A.” reveals some brilliant, off-the-beaten-path landmarks you won’t find in a typical guidebook. And with Microsoft Streets & Trips 2006 with GPS Locator, you can plan stylized getaways to unique destinations such as those Peterson has discovered.

Ale, With A Sideshow

Of Bad Art

Whether you’re a high roller or a rock ‘n’ roller, the Northeast offers something for everybody. Where else can you grab a bite at the Big Apple’s oldest bar, McSorley’s Old Ale House in Manhattan, take in a sideshow on Coney Island and still make it up to Dedham, Mass., for a stop at the Museum of Bad Art-all in a day?

A Mason-Dixon Good Time

After eating a drumstick in Gainesville, Ga., where it is illegal to eat fried chicken with utensils, head to the birthplace of miniature golf in Fayetteville, N.C. Save a day to tour the Jim Beam bourbon distillery in Clermont, Ky., but make sure to see Elvis at Graceland in Memphis, Tenn., before overnighting at the Shack Up Inn in Clarksdale, Miss.

Chili, Hoosiers and Jazz

When in Cincinnati, eat as the locals do and get some chili-smothered spaghetti for the road-then fight off heartburn in David Letterman’s Alley in Muncie, Ind. After a nap and an antacid, visit the Green Mill in Chicago, one of Al Capone’s favorite clubs, and take in some of the best jazz in the country.

Rope and Road Trip

For road trips, Texas offers a bit of everything. In Amarillo you’ll find the Cadillac Ranch, where spray-painted Cadillacs become art. In Dallas you might uncover the conspiracy on the grassy knoll, and in Austin you can enjoy the nightlife on famous Sixth Street. Whatever you do, remember the Alamo.

Bigfoot, Bubble Gum And Trolls

Over the Rockies lies a land of wonder with some oddities thrown in for good measure. In San Luis Obispo, Calif., you can add your chewy mark to the offbeat work of art known as Bubble Gum Alley, then travel up Highway 101 to Northern California’s redwood forests, allegedly the domain of Bigfoot. If you fall in love on your trip, get married at Voodoo Doughnut in Portland, Ore., or just get a mammoth apple fritter to go. Visit the graves of Jimi Hendrix and Bruce Lee in Seattle, but beware of the Fremont Troll lurking under the Aurora Bridge.

Once you decide between finding Bigfoot or visiting the Museum of Bad Art, the next step is getting there.

Tips For A Flawless Family Road Trip

August 12, 2013 by  
Filed under Travel information

Getting the family together for a road trip can be quite an exercise. And between heavy traffic, bored or restless kids and driver fatigue, the process of “getting there” can test anyone’s patience.

But some diligent planning – for everything from fuel costs to rest stops – will make the experience enjoyable rather than frustrating.

AAA offers the following advice for families planning their next road trip.

Before You Go

* Take some time to plot your journey from beginning to end. Plan your trip online using www.aaamaps.com for point to point driving directions. If you don’t have access to the Internet, contact your nearest local AAA travel office for a custom-made triptik.

* Calculate your gas costs. If you are looking to pinch a penny on fuel, visit www.fuelcostcalculator.com. This site helps motorists forecast the cost of fuel for their trip based on the specific vehicle’s make, model and year.

* Give your car a checkup. Have your vehicle inspected by a certified auto technician. To find a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility in your area, visit www.aaa.com.

* Remember, timing is everything. As you plan your trip, make time allowances for traffic jams, road construction and other factors that may reduce your expected speed.

On the Road

* Start fresh. Rather than leaving early after staying up late packing clothes and loading your vehicle, get plenty of rest the night before your trip. Driving drowsy is extremely dangerous and results in many crashes and deaths each year.

* Be safe. Make sure that all passengers are secured properly with safety belts and child safety seats as needed. Choose the proper child safety seats for your children and make sure the seats are properly installed. Up to 90 percent of child safety seats are incorrectly installed.

* Keep your family engaged. If you are traveling with children, they’ll need something to keep them busy. Be sure to bring games and books to help them pass the time. Many vehicles now feature on-board DVD players that can help keep children entertained for hours.

* Stop periodically to stretch your legs. Take a break every two hours or every 100 miles, especially if you are traveling with children and pets. To avoid driver fatigue, make arrangements to alternate with other drivers. – NU

Thailand Rules Of The Road

August 2, 2013 by  
Filed under Travel information

He, who is in front, has the right of way.

Bigger fish have the right of way over smaller fish.

The pecking order – 18-wheelers, trucks, buses, farm equipment, CRV/SUV, car, Baht bus, tuk-tuk, pedicab, motorcycle, motorcycle with food cart attachment, pedestrian.

Crosswalks are merely white lines painted on the road and serve no other purpose.

Painted lines to separate lanes serve the same purpose as crosswalks.

Traffic light countdown timers tell you exactly how much time you have to run the red light.

Traffic police exist solely to wave their arms, blow whistles, and collect bribes.

Minor traffic infractions – driving a motorcycle without a helmet, illegal turn – are 200 Baht fine – either to the traffic cop or after waiting 4 hours at the police station.

Right turns on a red light start when the red countdown timer hits “10”.

Stopping at a red light is optional when making a right turn.

Pedestrians should look both ways 4 times before crossing a one-way street.

Sidewalks are alternate routes for motorcycles.

Pedestrians are allowed to cross streets one lane at a time, pausing on white-line lane dividers.

Every driver and pedestrian is protected by Buddha.

Maximum amount of riders on a motorcycle is 5.

If a foreigner is in a taxi, and the taxi gets into an accident, it is the foreign passenger’s fault.

If a foreign driver gets in an accident with a Thai, it is the foreigner’s fault, regardless.

A fine for a major accident will be directly proportionate to how much money you have in your wallet and savings account.

Driving drunk on wet, slippery roads is authorized during the Songkran holiday (Thai New Year).

Take A Rv Road Trip With Holiday Trails Resorts

July 28, 2013 by  
Filed under Travel information

Thinking about taking a RV road trip this year?

You’ve come to the right place. In addition to the benefits of a multi-park system for a home-park, Holiday Trails Resorts members can also have a reciprocal system attached to their rv resort membership. This way members can stay at all the parks within the Holiday Trails Resorts system for no nightly fees and at resorts within the Coast to Coast Network for about $8- $13 US per night! With usual rates between $25 – $75 per night for full hookup, imagine what you will save and the places you could go!

Coast to Coast: Has been around since 1971 and is an affiliation of resorts across North America. There are over 500 resorts to choose from at the following rates:

$8 US per night at Classic Parks
$8 US per night at Deluxe Resorts
$13 per night at Good Neighbour Parks
25% off of nightly rack rate at Best Parks

Your Deluxe Membership includes access at these rates to all these parks as well as discounts on condos, cruises, flights, rental cars, and golfing. The tripsetter system makes booking reservations online or over the phone easy. In order to be a member of CTC you need to have a homepark. why not have a whole system with Holiday Trails Resorts?

Langkawi Attractions By Road.

July 5, 2013 by  
Filed under Destinations

A great way to see Pulau Langkawi‘s many attractions is to rent a car and drive from place to place at one’s own leisure. Car hire is reasonably priced and the island is linked by a network of pleasant roads with ample signages.

A great place to start your sightseeing tour is to begin at Kuah town itself, where the tourist information centre is based (next to the town’s mosque). Grab all the brochures and maps which you may need and you’re ready to go.

Within the vicinity of the jetty and the tourist information center is the harbourside’s parklands which houses the Dataran Lang and Lagenda Park – the former a landscaped square with a concrete statue of the Langkawi eagle and the latter a 20-hectare park commemorating the island’s legends in sculptural form.

Heading west from Kuah town will take you to the rural countryside surrounded by paddy fields. Let the road signs lead you to Makam Mahsuri, the grave of the island’s legendary heroine. Being the island’s most popular legend, this tomb/shrine is to Langkawi what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris.

Going back to the main road will lead you to Pantai Cenang, the island’s longest stretch of beach with the most happening nightlife. This beach houses the highest concentration of accommodation providers, ranging from budget chalets to five-star resorts, and is therefore the liveliest spot.

Laman Padi, a “rice museum” is also located at Pantai Cenang for those interested in all aspects of rice farming. The Underwater World, a colossal aquarium with a fascinating collection of freshwater and marine life is further down the same road.

From Pantai Cenang, take the route to the airport. A go-cart racing centre is situated along the way for those who are game to participate. Past the airport is the small town of Padang Matsirat where the very disappointing Beras Terbakar or “Field of Burnt Rice” is located. Legend has it burnt rice still appear, the remnants of an 18th-century crop which was put to torch by local villagers to prevent invading Siamese troops from taking it. At the most, you will see a pitiful bowl of burnt rice in a plastic casing flanked by a signage.

From the Padang Matsirat junction, follow the signage to Pantai Kok, a picturesque stretch of beach which some say is the finest in Langkawi. You will come across a red Thai-style structure along this road which was actually a Hollywood prop for the film Anna and the King starring Jodie Foster and Chow Yuen Fatt. Built as the Summer Palace for the Siamese monarch in the story, the structure has since been “recycled” as a tourist attraction. The admission charge is a bit steep but the place itself is well maintained and worth a visit. Cultural performances also are carried out at regular intervals here.

Beyond Pantai Kok is Burau Bay, the other contender for accolade of the island’s most beautiful beach. Burau Bay is actually a delightful cove flanked by the mysterious peaks of Gunung Mat Cincang. Two resorts sit on both ends of this cove: the Burau Bay Resort and the Berjaya Langkawi Beach Resort, both built to blend with the surrounding environment.

Further up from Burau Bay is the waterfalls of Telaga Tujuh (Seven Wells), a playground of fairies according to local folklore. Only the fit and enthusiastic outdoor-type should attempt the thirty-minute hike up the falls. Back track from Telaga Tujuh and turn towards Datai Bay, where “250 million-year-old rainforest meet the sea”, or so the brochure claims.

Two of the island’s most luxurious resorts, The Datai and The Andaman are nestled among trees in seclusion here. A breathtaking golf course and a spectacular waterfall are also in the vicinity. The coastal road along Datai will also lead you past the Ibrahim Hussein Museum and Cultural Foundation, a showcase for Malaysia’s most famous artist, and a Crocodile Farm where the main attraction is a deformed croc.

Moving up the north coast, you will find Pasir Hitam (The Beach of Black Sand) where the sand is streaked in black, and Kompleks Budaya Kraf, a crafts’ complex of traditional craft products such as batik, silverware and pottery.

At Padang Lalang turn right for Tanjung Rhu (Rhu Cape), a beautiful beach with shallow lagoons and vast sand flats during low tide. Visitors can also hire boat rides here to mangrove forests and the legendary caves nearby.

Head west on the main road back to Kuah and you will past Air Hangat Village, a cultural centre around a natural hot spring, and the Galeria Perdana, a museum devoted to Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Dr. Mahatir’s collection of gifts.

Besides attractions on Pulau Langkawi, one can go island hopping to the neighbouring isles, each with their own coves of crystal-clear waters, snorkeling spots, eerie caves and fascinating folklore.

Top on the list of must-see islands are Pulau Dayang Bunting, the archipelago’s second largest island with a freshwater lake in the center, Pulau Singa Besar which houses a wildlife sanctuary, and the superb Pulau Payar, a designated marine park teeming with corals, fishes and baby sharks.

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