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Better Safe Than Sorry When Traveling In Mexico

  

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     Mexico is a beautiful country with plenty of amazing cities that are certainly worthy of a vacation. And, for the most part, it’s actually a much safer country than some people may think. But unfortunately, it still has it’s dangerous elements. And there are certainly things you need to know about before you head there. So if you’re planning on checking out Mexico anytime soon, make sure you read through this article first and are properly prepared.

DO YOUR RESEARCH

Of course! You already know this. That’s why you’re reading this article!

But more specifically, you should make sure to research the specific area in Mexico you’re going to visit. And there are certain places that need to be outright avoided altogether. Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, and Tamaulipas are all states that have a been hit with a Level 4 do-not-travel warning. This is because they have higher than average rates of carjacking, armed robbery, kidnapping, and even murder.

But there are plenty of other areas that have lower level do-not-travel warnings or none at all. So make sure you’re going to the safer spots!

WATCH WHAT YOU EAT AND DRINK

This one has been around for a while, but it’s still just as important today. Food and water safety is still a major concern in many parts of Mexico. So be sure to take bottled water with you everywhere you go, avoid tap water altogether, and when eating street food (which, honestly, you have to do. It’s Mexico!) stick to the places with big lines of both locals and tourists. If everyone’s eating there, there’s a much better chance the food is safe!

SPEAKING OF DRINKING… DO IT IN MODERATION!

Look… this is Mexico we’re talking about. It’s almost not worth it if you’re not going to drink at least a little! But just be careful. It’s best to never drink too much, and it’s especially best to not take alcohol from anyone you don’t know.

It’s also important to be very careful where and when (if at all) you’re at at night. The crooks come out at night so you’re much more vulnerable to any number of crimes when you find yourself on the streets of Mexico at night. And if you’re drunk… well, you get the idea.

 

KEEP LISTS AND MAKE COPIES

No matter where you go on our next vacation, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. And that, of course, goes for Mexico. So be sure to bring a list of important contacts should something happen. And you’re definitely going to want to make copies of any and all important documents just in case any of them get lost or stolen. Just be cautious and cover all your bases!

ONLY USE REGISTERED TAXIS

There are plenty of people just waiting to scam tourists in Mexico. And cabs are a perfect opportunity to do just that. So if you need to take a cab while you’re there, only use registers cabs or, hopefully, use transportation offered by your hotel. Sure, you could save some money by using unregister cabs. But the chances the driver might try to rip you off are just too high. So only travel with drivers you know you can trust!

ONLY STAY AT POPULAR HOTELS AND RESORTS

What better way to decrease your odds of ending up around untrustworthy people than staying at the most popular hotels and resorts?! They’re popular for a reason, after all. So you can be sure they offer the best service, including security. If a given hotel or resort had a bunch of instances of robbery or worse, you can be sure they would not be popular options. So when it comes to accommodations, just go where everyone else is!

INVEST IN A MONEY BELT

This one is huge. There are all kinds of pickpockets in Mexico just waiting to steal some foolish tourist’s wallet. So carrying around a wallet is the last thing you want to do! Especially considering it’s best to carry plenty of cash anywhere you go. A money belt will protect your cash and cards from getting stolen as they’re much more difficult to get (or get inside of).

And while we’re at it, leave the expensive watches and jewelry at home! You’re on vacation to relax, not look your absolute best. You’ll thank me when you make it back home and nothing you care about was stolen.


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Destinations

How to Choose the Best Italian Restaurant

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In a recent survey, Italian food was crowned the world’s favorite cuisine.

But how do you find the best Italian restaurant when you get that craving? It’s not just about pizza and pasta anymore. Italian food has so much more to give.

So if you’re feeling hungry, let’s take a look at a few things you can do to ensure you’re getting the best of the best.

If you’re serious about Italian food, it’s important to do some research before visiting a new restaurant. A few key questions you will want to answer are:

  1. Who are the owners?
  2. Is the food authentic?
  3. Is the restaurant self-service or table service?
  4. Do they serve other cuisines?
  5. How are the reviews?

Ideally, you will be able to find the answers on the restaurant’s website. However, in some cases, you may need to look further, such as on social media. 

Who Are the Owners?

Great food comes from passionate Chefs. When trying to decide how to choose a restaurant, the owner should play a part in your decision.

Finding an Italian restaurant run by an Italian is a great start. Chances are the food is more authentic, having been passed down through the family. 

However, it is possible to find authentic and delicious food made by a non-native. The key is to avoid franchise restaurants with generic menus that are the same at all locations. 

Is the Food Authentic?

A few keys things to take into account when checking out an Italian menu are:

  • Italian food is usually seasonal
  • The dishes shouldn’t be covered in cheese and sauce
  • It’s so much more than just pasta

Great Italian food changes with the weather and highlights quality ingredients. They use lots of fresh vegetables, and rarely will you see a bowl full of pasta drowning in sauce. 

Is the Restaurant Self-Service or Table Service?

Typically, a self-service restaurant is thought of as a lower class of dining experience than table service, and in some cases that is accurate. 

On the other hand, when you learn more about it, you can see why many restaurants are changing their business models – especially in the current climate. By removing the servers, the restaurant has the opportunity to focus more on the kitchen and the quality of food. 

Do They Serve Other Cuisines?

Although you should be looking for a variety of dishes, a kitchen that serves up a variety of cuisines might not be the best option when it comes to quality. 

A restaurant that is trying to cater to everyone is less likely to be the best option if you want real Italian food. Their focus is more on getting tables booked than what they are serving. 

How Are the Reviews?

Checking reviews is a must. Any great meal can be spoiled by a rude server or an unappealing atmosphere. 

Search for local Italian restaurants and see what people have to say. In many larger cities and towns, you should be able to find reviews left by tourists. Look for those by visitors from Italy to get the most trustworthy information. 

It’s Ok to Order Pizza

Italy is the home of pizza, after all, so don’t be ashamed to order one when you find the right Italian restaurant for you.

By doing a little research beforehand, you should be able to find a place that will offer you some authentic local cuisine, along with the familiar favorites. The difference will be the quality of the ingredients which you will no doubt be able to taste. 

Check out our food section for more help with finding your next great meal. 

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Destinations

Best Vacations for the Recently Retired

Work is done and you have little to no responsibilities since you recently retired, so what are your excuses to not travel?

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Work is done and you have little to no responsibilities since you recently retired, so what are your excuses to not travel? It’s time to enjoy your golden years and travel to some fun destinations. If you saved for your retirement, hopefully you put in some sort of travel budget so you can see the world, and stay in amazing hotels like the Marriott. Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age and that means a huge influx of retired travelers is set to hit the world’s top destinations. We can’t travel like we used to so let’s explore some excellent vacations for retirees.

Ireland

Who hasn’t dreamed of strolling through the rolling green hills of Ireland? The lush green country is a perfect vacation destination for the retired set. Dublin is a great place to start to see some of the oldest buildings in all of Europe and taste the perfect pint at the Guinness brewery. There is so much to see in Ireland you can really take your time on an extended trip and enjoy everything Ireland has to offer.  The perfect vacation for the recently retired.

Sicily

If Italian food is your favorite or if ancient architecture is your bag, Sicily is for you. Who hasn’t wanted to check out Palermo, the lively capital that boasts spectacular cathedrals and delicious street food? The small island off the coast of Italy’s big toe is the perfect destination for retired folk. The islands slow pace and miles of gorgeous beaches make Sicily a great spot. Many Italian-Americans track their heritage to Sicily and those Baby Boomers can visit their ancient roots.  Retired people will love the vibe of Sicily.

Australia

The flights to Australia will take up to 21 hours so you need to spend some time there to make it worth it. Now you are retired and you have literally nowhere to be, it’s the perfect time to take an extended vacation to the land down under. Australia has something for everyone, with major cities, extreme outback and wonderful beaches. You must see Sydney Harbor, the Great Barrier Reef and a kangaroo. Other than that, explore Australia at your own pace; you have all the time in the world.

U.S. Road Trip

If times what you have, why not take a coast-to-coast road trip across our great country. America has so much diverse landscapes that you can experience so much on a road trip. For a real adventure rent a recreational vehicle and take your time, see all the sites you want and do it in style. An RV can be rented at very affordable prices and offers a unique experience many have never lived. See the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, drive historic Route 66 or make your own route.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Why not take a road trip on the most scenic highway in America, the Blue Ridge Parkway. This picturesque 470-mile drive connects Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and the Great Smoky Mountain national Park in North Carolina. The road follows the peaks of numerous mountains along the way giving off spectacular views and winding through some cute little towns.   There are some seriously cute places to stay along the way and more than enough activities to keep you entertained.

Rocky Mountaineer

Maybe you should let someone else drive so you can soak up all the incredible views along the Canadian Rocky Mountains, in the Rocky Mountaineer, a luxury train. Enjoy sitting in glass domed train cars so you can see beauty at every angle. There are multiple options available to satisfy any urge. You can get coastal views or strictly mountain routes. You can decide among many options to make the vacation fit exactly what you want.

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Destinations

Why You Should Visit Hawaii

 I break down each island in the chain and tell you why you should visit each one

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Hawaii is paradise on Earth and one of the most traveled to destinations on the planet, so why all the hype? I break down each island in the chain and tell you why you should visit each one. Check out paradise in each of its unique forms from the laid back vibes of Molokai to the big city by the beach in Oahu’s Honolulu.

 

Oahu

Oahu is home to the largest city in all the Hawaiian Islands and is the most populated. There is a huge military population on Oahu as the Navy has its base, Pearl Harbor. Honolulu is the island’s only “big” city and Waikiki is the party destination if you are into that sort of thing. Not all of Oahu is a party destination, as many parts of the island operate at a much slower pace. Check out the North Shore for bohemian beach towns and world-class surfing.

For some interesting attractions, check out the Polynesian Cultural Center or the sunken remains of the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor. The beaches are world-class and the resorts are massive.

 

Hawaii (Big Island)

The largest of the Hawaiian Islands by far is Hawaii or “the Big Island.” This massive island features almost every climate in its rich ecosystems. There is often snow on top of the mountain peaks that are surrounded by rainforests and deserts. The big island features a wide variety of terrain and activities. Check out some of the best surfing, snorkeling and hiking the world has to offer. The island is split into two main sides, the leeward side, which is very dry and arid, and the wayward side, which is the wettest region in America.

Make sure you check out Mauna Kea, the world’s tallest mountain, measured from the sea floor up. There are also two active volcanoes to check out where you can see lava flows.

 

Maui

The most all-around island in the chain, Maui has a little bit of everything. Every major resort has a luau and we recommend checking one out for some culture and unlimited mai tais. This island has all the outdoor activities you could ever want with some incredible hiking, surfing and snorkeling. The weather is perfect and the sun is usually shining.   Take a hike to the crater of a volcano at the Haleakala National Park.  

 

Kauai

Known as the garden island, Kauai is easily the most beautiful of the main islands. This is also known as the lovers’ island and the retirement island as most guests are on their honeymoon or well, old. There aren’t too many spots open past 8pm and the island’s nightlife is almost non-existent. There is some of the best hiking and outdoor activities in the world.

Check out the Na Pali Coast, a rocky, 20-mile section of the island that is unreachable by car and where you’ll recognize the beginning of Jurassic Park. Take a helicopter tour of amazing waterfalls and secret beaches galore.

The most impressive feature is the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, the Waimea Canyon.

 

 

Lanai

The smallest of the Hawaiian Islands that are open to the public, Lanai is mostly owned privately by billionaire Larry Ellison (Oracle). This island used to be a huge pineapple plantation and is now home to two Four Seasons resorts. Golf is god here as two of the best courses in the US are located here.

 

Molokai

The most remote Hawaiian Island is Molokai, which has hardly any infrastructure and has very few visitors each year. The pace is slow here and they only operate on island time. Come here if you want to chill hardcore and not do many touristy activities, as they don’t really exist here.

 

Find which version of paradise you like the most and check it out. Hawaii has a little of something for everyone; you just have to find it.

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