Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Discover Today’s Hottest Vacation Trends

Today’s hottest vacation trends range from family oriented getaways to wildly exotic adventures. What’s more, some of the trendiest destinations are not typically thought of as desirable vacation spots. If you are looking for a different kind of vacation, think about stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new.
Did You Say Vietnam?
Americans are suddenly interested in the exotic. Flights to Tanzania increased 50 percent in 2013, surprising travel experts. The surge is likely due in part to reduced airline fares, but Tanzania is not a destination typically at the top of a vacationer’s wish list. It’s not the only unusual choice for tourists, either. Ecuador, Vietnam, Malaysia and Turkey are all seeing spikes in the numbers of vacationing American tourists. Chris Cuddy, CCO of CheapOair.com, believes the increased interest is partly due to the fact that Americans get so little vacation time compared to much of the world. When Americans plan their vacations, they choose places that feel like real getaways. Countries like Tanzania, with its unique combination of ancient culture and sweeping landscapes are particularly attractive.
What’s So Special About Tanzania?
Tanzania is the largest country in East Africa and one of the poorest in the world. It hardly sounds like an attractive tourist destination, but it is one of the most visited countries in Africa. In fact, the tourist industry is responsible for an improved economic outlook. There is no question that the reason people go to Tanzania is because of its alluring landscape and abundant African wildlife. The Serengeti National Park is famous for its lion, leopard, African buffalo, cheetahs, zebras, wildebeests and gazelle populations. The once abundant African elephant still lives in small herds in the northern parts of the park. The annual migration of over 1.5 million brindled wildebeest and approximately 250,000 zebras brings thousands of tourists to the park each year. The park landscape includes savanna, grassland plains, woods and rivers. For Americans, a trip to Tanzania is a trip to another world and that’s exactly what they are looking for.
A Vietnam Vacation
The scene of a long, tragic war and now a single party Communist state, Vietnam, too, seems like an unlikely vacation destination. It is, however, one of TripAdvisor’s 2014 Travelers’ Choice Award winners and its capital, Hanoi, made its Top 25 Destinations list. Popular tourist destinations in Vietnam include Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Sapa, Nha Trang and Hue. Visitors to Hanoi’s 54 Traditions are treated to an exhibition of cultural artifacts and collections including local art, clothing and shaman tools. The Old Quarter is 40 streets of history. Historic neighborhoods, architecture and shops selling goods of all kinds provide a glimpse of the past. A 2014 Travelers’ Choice Award attraction winner, the Vietnamese Women’s Museum features the contributions of women to the country’s culture and history. Highlights include exhibits defining women’s roles in the family, military conflicts, commerce and how the role of women changed throughout history.
Everybody’s Welcome
Another hot vacation trend that can be as laid back or exotic as you want is the multigenerational vacation. Family vacations don’t mean just Dad and Mom and the children anymore. A multigenerational vacation includes Grandma, Grandpa, aunts and uncles as well. Families often live far apart and increasing numbers choose to spend the family vacation time together. Planning a multigenerational vacation means taking into account the fact that older relatives may have less physical stamina than children and children have relatively short attention spans. It can be a bit of a balancing act, but spending a vacation together is a great way to strengthen the family bond.
Here are some great multigenerational vacation ideas to keep everyone happy:
  • Take a cruise: Cruises are great choices for taking a family group that includes people of all ages. There’s something for everyone. Children can participate in programs, activities and games; adults can play bridge, sit by the pool and see shows. Some cruise lines have nurseries, so parents can have some alone time, if desired.
  • Go on a city safari: Some cities, like Washington, are tailor made for a multigenerational vacation. Choose lodging within walking distance of the best attractions. Elders can choose which attractions they want to tackle and head back to the hotel if they need to. The White House, Capitol, Smithsonian and historical monuments are all free. If you go during the holiday season, you can see the National Christmas Tree, attend special programs and enjoy the celebration.

Visit a themed resort: Specifically geared to satisfy the interests of every age group, resort themes vary from Wild West dude ranches in the American Southwest to European discovery tours. Most offer a wide range of options to fit the family’s interests and budget.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What Happened?


I've been MIA for several days. I want to write a lot of things here but I just don't have the mojo to do it. I tried a couple of times but I end up putting it in the draft folder then deleting it altogether.

Anyway, I've been busy going around both online and offline stores to look for things I need to put in the box I'm sending to the Philippines. The last delivery came in late last week and we spent last weekend going around the mall as well as other stores. It was night time already when we got back home but we were able to pick up some stuff so I was happy, tired but happy. I was finally able to tape it close earlier this week and it's now waiting in the garage ready to be picked up by the cargo company later this week. According to him it will reach its destination either last week of January or first week of February. A little late for Christmas but oh well....

With the box all packed, my Christmas shopping is almost done. The list for Santa has been fulfilled except for one item. It's actually a pretty short list so it didn't take a lot of time to get it done. We're actually racking our brains now as to what else to add to it. Our little one is obviously over that stage when all she could ask for were toys and more toys which made her list before almost impossible to fulfill. I remember one year when she requested for a 'rotary phone'. They're virtually non-existent unless you want to pay by the thousands to get a real [vintage] one. We got her one but it's not really a rotary phone, only one that resembles one. It was good enough for her. She was just 7 at that time.

As for me and my other half, we don't get presents for each other anymore. Sometimes we surprise each other with something but they're usually for fun only. This year we may not even do that since we're planning in doing something early next year. Last year we went out of state for Christmas. This year we're staying put. The main reason we went out of town then was to see snow...and family of course. We did that already so we'll be home for Christmas this time around.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Good 'Ole Guitar

My sister in law used to be a lead singer in a band. That was more than 30 years ago. They had a lot of singing gigs both locally and abroad. Aside from singing, she also played the guitar so one of her first purchase when they got their first gig to sing abroad was a Yamaha guitar which she used until she quit her band to start a family. That Yamaha guitar though didn't retire because I remember using it a lot and toting it with me everwhere I went when I was still in college as well as I when I started teaching. She let me use it for as long as I wanted to but when I had to teach overseas, I decided to return it to her because I didn't want to lose it or damage it in my travels. I now have my own guitar so I don't have to borrow. But even if I have a guitar of my own, I still think about that first guitar I had. I wonder where it is now. I probably should ask next time I talk to my sister in law.

December...already?

I'm sure I'm not alone in wondering as to where time went, right? It seems to be the case, at least to me, every year. Why is that? I guess we're too busy with life that it still catches me off guard when I realize that another year is about to close.

Anyhooo...I've been MIA for about a week now. I've been around. I even drafted a post a few days ago but for some reason, I don't feel like I should post it. It's one of those posts where I just sort of babbled away so into the trash bin it goes.

I've been sort of busy lately. I'm trying to find stuff for loved ones for the season of giving. I've been on it for the last several months actually and I'm not done yet. I was supposed to send the box 2 months ago to make sure it will make it by Christmas but it's quite hard because I don't want to just get something and them not liking it so I did what I said I wouldn't do. Ask them what they want. I did that a couple of years ago and things got out of control [read: budget!]. This time around I specifically said that I can only get what can fit in the box and there's a limit to my 'resources'...LOL. Fortunately they listened...haha. I still got a few surprises for them but most of what I got are 'special requests' so to speak. I'm still waiting for some stuff to be delivered. Hopefully, the box will be out the door by next week. Goodluck to me....