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Best Apps for Learning a New Language

Check out these incredible applications that can help you master a language or at least learn enough to enjoy a vacation in a foreign land.

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Traveling to foreign countries used to be daunting because of the language barriers but not anymore. We used to have to take classes and read textbooks to learn a new language, but boy have times changed. Now with new technology, you can learn a language in no time, all on your smartphone.

Check out these incredible applications that can help you master a language or at least learn enough to enjoy a vacation in a foreign land.

 

Rosetta Stone

The industry leader in language technology, Rosetta Stone has cornered the market for over a decade. They debuted with CD-rom technology but have evolved to a fully functional app that is easy to use and simple to master.   They use technology to immerse you in the language instead of the old way of memorizing terminology and translations.  

Now you can learn 24 languages all on your smartphone with ease. They even included a recording feature that allows you to see if you are saying thing s properly by running it through a proprietary TruAccent technology.

 

Babbel

An old steadfast option is Babbel, which has been around for years. They offer short 15 minute sessions that help you master the language before you know it.   They offer speech recognition and is designed for people who come from different mother tongues. This makes it universally accepted all over the world.

 

Mondly

Mondly has perfected the immersion technique that was first popularized by Rosetta Stone. The app replicates conversational scenarios that would happen in the real world so you can prepare for a trip like no other application on the market. With 33 languages included and fun games and visual tools, this is one of the most popular language apps out there.

 

Duolingo

Free should be the optimum word associated with Duolingo. The free app has plenty to offer including fun games that make learning easier than most. Check this app out solely for the price; oh did I mention it’s FREE!

 

Pimsleur Unlimited

The Pimsleur method is nothing new; it’s most likely the style you were taught in school. It’s been around for over 50 years and Simon & Schuster have published this version. For a nominal price you can learn the same way your Spanish teacher taught you.

Lesson plans for everyday usage so the knowledge stays fresh. Broken down into simple 30-minute lesson plans, this application really makes it easy. Included are flash cards, matching games and fun role-playing conversation tools that make learning an experience like going to a class form the comfort of your smart phone.

 

 

HiNative

This app works on a shared economy backbone where users from around the globe help each other learn each other’s language. This tool connects people from different countries and allows you to connect on many levels. This app helps you pronounce things the way locals do so you fit in easier and can hold conversations better since you aren’t learning from a book.

 

Stop language barriers form holding you back from incredible vacations and adventures. The world is your oyster, so get out there and find some pearls.

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Travel

Explore the Magic of Florida’s Glowing Waters

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Whether you call Florida’s Space Coast home or travel there for business or pleasure, be sure to set aside time to explore the splendor of Florida’s glowing Indian River lagoon. When you participate in a late-night tour in a clear-bottom kayak courtesy of A Day Away Kayak Tours, you’ll experience firsthand the beautiful, mind-boggling effects of dinoflagellate bioluminescence — water flashing blue and green and illuminating literally beneath your feet. It’s something you simply don’t want to miss.

What is bioluminescence?

If you’ve ever spent time in the summer as a child trying to capture fireflies in a jar, you know what bioluminescence looks like. It’s that flash of light that may last but a second or for several seconds. According to the Smithsonian Institution, bioluminescence is created by a living organism as a result of luciferin, a chemical compound reacting with oxygen. Unlike other sources of light, it generates little heat and is therefore considered a cold light.

What organisms cause bioluminescence?

We’ve mentioned fireflies already. And some fungi also cause bioluminescence. But most bioluminescent creatures including some species of fish, jellyfish, worms, sea stars, and even sharks find their home in the ocean. The spectacular bioluminescence found in the lagoons of Florida’s Space Coast is created by dinoflagellates, miniscule single-celled organisms in the algae family that are typically found in marine plankton.

Why do they glow?

According to National Geographic, there are many reasons why some organisms glow. For example, some squids will use their bioluminescence to confound their attackers. The sudden flash creates a deer-in-the-headlights frozen reaction to predators giving them time to quickly slip away. And the brittle star, a type of sea star will detach a bioluminescent arm so its predator will chase after it leaving the main body of the star to escape. (It’s little matter to the brittle star as it will grow a new arm in its place.) Other sea creatures including worms and small crustaceans use their bioluminescence to attract suitable mates. Earthbound fireflies use it for the same reason.

Dinoflagellates flash blue light whenever the water they are in is disturbed, including when hungry fish swim by — or when curious kayakers paddle through. Scientists believe their response works to distract predators while also attracting the kind of prey those predators might prefer to dine on.

Where can bioluminescent waters be found?

Bioluminescence can be found in Jamaica, the Maldivian Islands, and other warm water ecosystems, but you don’t have to go nearly so far to experience the beauty of bioluminescent plankton. The Indian River lagoon on Florida’s Space Coast and the Banana River near Cape Canaveral provide amazing kayaking opportunities to enjoy this magical experience.

When is the best time to see the glowing water?

Dark, moonless nights anytime between the months of May and November are good, but if you want a truly fiery night, July and August are prime time. You can experience this extraordinary phenomenon from a traditional kayak, observing glowing droplets of water as they swirl from your paddle, or you can immerse yourself in the magic completely with a clear-bottomed kayak and perhaps catch a glimpse of a graceful manatee as it glides below you.

The choice is yours.

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Travel Vaccine Checklist: What Vaccines Do You Need for Your Upcoming Trip?

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Are you planning on leaving the country? Before you depart, it is a good idea to check in with a travel clinic for a pre-travel consultation to see whether or not you require any vaccinations or booster shots. 

Give yourself plenty of time because the full effects of immunizations can take anywhere from four to six weeks to manifest, and some people may require more than one dose. 

You will, of course, want to ensure that you have had all of the standard vaccinations that are recommended for daily living in the United States. If you take precautions against these diseases at home, they won’t be as dangerous for you when you go to other places where they are also found. 

What Else Do You Require, Exactly? 

The vaccinations you need are going to be determined by your destination. 

Check to see that you are up to date on all of the usual immunizations, including for COVID-19, measles-mumps-rubella, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, chickenpox, polio, hepatitis B, and the yearly flu vaccine. 

Hepatitis A vaccination is a must for travel to most of the world except Western Europe, North America, Japan and Australia and New Zealand. A typhoid vaccinations is also recommended for many tourists destinations. In addition, other specialized vaccinations may be recommended depending on where you are going. For instance, you are required to get vaccinated against yellow fever if you are intending to travel to particular regions in Africa or South America. 

However, if you are traveling to places like Canada, Japan, Australia, or New Zealand, as well as Western Europe, it is quite unlikely that you will require any destination specific vaccinations. 

In the event that you want to go to a region of the world in which contracting malaria is possible, your physician will prescribe you medication to ward against the disease. Although it is not a vaccination, you will need it in order to defend yourself. Make sure you take all of your anti-malaria medication, including the pills that are prescribed for after you return home. 

You should also take precautions against getting bitten by mosquitoes if you are going to be traveling to a region where mosquito-borne illnesses, such as dengue fever or Zika, are prevalent. Vaccines against these diseases may not currently exist. 

If you go to the “Travelers’ Health” section of the CDC website, you will find out just what you need to bring with you to your destination. You are able to search depending on where you are going as well as any unique requirements that you may have, such as whether or not you are pregnant or take medications that have an effect on your immune system. You may also be going somewhere with limited access to medical care if you are going on a humanitarian mission or to provide assistance following a natural disaster. In addition, the website provides a “healthy travel packing list” tailored to the specific nation that the user would be visiting.

As you prepare for your trip, make an appointment with the travel health experts at Travel Bug Health or visit their website to learn more: https://www.travelbughealth.com 

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Travel

Warning: Don’t Get Scammed on Vacation

Scammers, criminals and lowlifes await you on vacation; so if you want to stay safe, avoid these popular scams. Don’t be a victim to immoral people all over the world who are waiting to swindle you out of your hard earned money. Tourist are conned and stolen from every day in every possible way imaginable. […]

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Scammers, criminals and lowlifes await you on vacation; so if you want to stay safe, avoid these popular scams. Don’t be a victim to immoral people all over the world who are waiting to swindle you out of your hard earned money. Tourist are conned and stolen from every day in every possible way imaginable. I’ve had some of these happen to me so everyone is susceptible.

Common scams:

Pick Pocket

This is number one for a reason, it happens all the time. Why do people not take care of their valuables? First rule of traveling: NEVER keep your wallet in your back pocket!

Simple rule but so many people fail to follow it. I carry a traveler’s wallet, it slings over my shoulder and I keep it under my shirt. The pickpocket would have to literally take my shirt off and only my wife and doctor have that privilege.

Women keep your purse under your jacket or double wrapped around your wrist. Ladies, your purses are a huge target and pickpockets can plan their attack from any angle.

Pickpockets run all sorts of scams to get your attention away from the fact that they are taking your wallet. Here are the most common pickpocket scams.

The Bump

This is a great diversion, since you are physically being bumped; all your attention is being diverted to the initial strike. While you are being bumped, your wallet is skillfully being taken out of your pocket or purse. When in large crowds or small areas pay extra attention to your loot.

Misdirection

This is usually a two-person scam. The first criminal is somehow stealing your attention while the accomplice cleverly snags your goodies. The misdirection can be anything from asking for directions or trying to sell you something. As long as they break your concentration and you are sidetracked, they’ve already won. Again, an easy way to avoid this widespread trick is to keep your wallet or purse safe.

The Spill

Pickpockets will clumsily spill something on your clothing and while they haphazardly try to clean it up, they are expertly pilfering your stuff. So, if some stranger spills coffee on you, DON’T let them help you clean it up. They will not only get coffee on your fantastic pea coat, but they will be spending your cash in no time flat.

Taxi Scams

The Overcharge

This is the most common one and happens everywhere, even in your hometown. Taxi drivers can spot a mark from a mile away and will exploit your naivety for their benefit. I’ve had this happen to me a few times and its more common than you think. The cab driver will either take you on an extremely long route or flat out overcharge you. They think you have no idea where you are going and they are probably right. The key is to ask someone knowledgeable that you also trust how to get somewhere and how much it should cost. The airport has many officials that should help you and your hotel concierge will provide you with all the help you need.

Wrong Change

This scam isn’t just relegated to cabbies, any shop or restaurant employee will try this scam on you. Image for a second that you are in a foreign land and you are unfamiliar with the currency or exchange rate. You simply try and pay for something and the clerk gives you change, how e=on earth are you supposed to know what’s right? This is a tough nut to crack, but a little pre-planning and homework should fix this. It helps to actually know what the currency is and how much the exchange rate is. It isn’t hard work to find these things out. Here is a handy currency converter you can use for free.

An additional nugget of knowledge: Never get in an unmarked cab, these illegal taxis will scam you, guaranteed.

Other Popular Scams

Free Jewelry

Never trust anything that seems like too good of a deal. If a person tries to give you free jewelry, food or really anything, it’s probably a scam. They will give you the free thing then immediately demand money for it. When you at first don’t pay, they will make a huge scene and hope that this makes you pay. The key to staying safe is simple, never take anything from anyone.

Overly Aggressive Woman

This is an age-old scam, send an attractive woman to hit on a guy, she gets him to buy her drinks and then something happens. This is where the narrative changes; the woman drugs you, a man comes up pretending to be her boyfriend or she pickpockets you. Any of these are no good and can easily be avoided by being smart. Nobody wants to wake up with his or her kidneys gone or their passport missing.

Scammers are out there everyday trying to get over on someone, flip the script and be one step ahead.

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