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Don’t go to the snow without packing these!

Winter is in full swing as snow is falling and temperatures are dropping. The snowfall this season has been extraordinary and outdoor enthusiasts are in freshie powder heaven. The snow has reached record levels in parts of California, Colorado and Utah so if you are a winter sport adventurer then the season is upon you. […]

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Winter is in full swing as snow is falling and temperatures are dropping. The snowfall this season has been extraordinary and outdoor enthusiasts are in freshie powder heaven. The snow has reached record levels in parts of California, Colorado and Utah so if you are a winter sport adventurer then the season is upon you. If you’re planning a trip to a mountain resort then you can’t forget to pack these must have items.

Ski pants, jacket, gloves and a warm hat go without explanation, because if you need to be told to bring these then maybe you shouldn’t be going in the first place.
Here are some items that are often forgotten.

Warm socks
A good pair of ski socks are so crucial to your comfort and often overlooked. Many people just toss their old gym socks in their ski bag and call it a day. Boo to you I say. Any skier or boarder worth their weight will tell you that cotton is not the way to go. A wool blend or synthetic sock is the best way to go. I advise a trip to your local sports store or ski shop to find the perfect pair. When shopping for socks, make sure they are not too tight because proper circulation is key to keeping your extremities nice and toasty.

Long johns or Thermals
Fashion be damned when skiing or snowboarding is all about keeping warm and dry. Layering is your best friend and it’s always smart to start off with a quality pair of thermal long underwear.  Steer clear of the cheap stuff and invest in a nice pair, this time I recommend cotton or a blend. Synthetic fabric doesn’t breathe as well and you want sole of the heat to escape so you don’t sweat too much.

Hand and feet warmers
These little buggers are a lifesaver. What many people don’t understand is that skiing and snowboarding is actually about 60% sitting in the ski lift, so hand and foot warmers come in handy. See what I did there, pun time!  These guys can be found at almost any store in a colder climate, usually by the checkout register. If no luck there, I guarantee them to be at ski shops or a sporting goods store. They cost less than a few dollars and last up to 8 hours.

Adventure pack
A good quality adventure backpack or waist pack are key to any good ski trip. When buying one, look for a secondary securing apparatus like a waist or chest strap. This will help with all the vigorous activity you are about to do.
A good pack can hold all your stuff and so much needed water. Staying hydrated is important and often over looked because you are in cold weather. I like a pack that also has a hydration system, like a Camelback.

Goggles/sunglasses
It’s so bright in the mountain during the day it’s crazy. My first time skiing I was amazed at how blinded I was from the sun reflecting off the snow. Grab a cheap pair of shades that you don’t mind breaking or losing.
Nighttime skiing can be dangerous without a good pair or goggles. The wind is whipping around and snow can be blinding, so quality goggles can save the night.

Sunscreen
Everyone always forgets the sunscreen. I understand, you figure it’s cold and you are all bundled up, but you don’t know want to look like a raccoon when you return home.  I recommend a strong sun block, SPF 50 or above and get a waterproof or sweatproof one. You’d be surprised at how much you actually sweat when skiing or snowboarding.

Helmet
We aren’t all professional snowboarders or skiers so grab a helmet and wear it. They serve multiple purposes; a) to keep your noggin safe and b) to keep that same noggin warm. Most of your body heat escapes through the head and a stocking cap doesn’t always work best. You can rent a helmet at every reputable ski resort and most ski rental shops. They want you to come back so they always offer helmets for safety reasons.

Comfy sweats
When you get off the slopes and take a long hot shower or jacuzzi you are going to want some comfortable sweats to lounge in, believe me. The warmer and softer the better, your sore body will thank you.

Flask
I’m not advocating skiing or snowboarding drunk but a little nip of an old flask always warms you up from the inside out. Maybe save this for after your skiing is done for the day or maybe not, I’m not your parent or guardian.

GoPro
These little guys are awesome and getting increasingly more affordable. They are impact and water resistant so throw them into your adventure pack and capture all the amazing memories. Just make sure the battery is charged and memory card is empty so you don’t accidentally tape over your kid’s recital.

Good luck out there and remember to have fun, life is too short.

 

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Vacation like a King on a Pauper’s Budget: Maldives

Vacation on a Budget in the Maldives Maldives has quickly become one of the world’s hottest vacation destinations. Commonly referred to as “paradise on Earth,” the Maldives is a group of naturally formed coral islands located in the Indian Ocean. The Island country is home to crystal clear waters, vibrant coral reefs and the perfect […]

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Vacation on a Budget in the Maldives

Maldives has quickly become one of the world’s hottest vacation destinations. Commonly referred to as “paradise on Earth,” the Maldives is a group of naturally formed coral islands located in the Indian Ocean. The Island country is home to crystal clear waters, vibrant coral reefs and the perfect temperature above and below the water.  

The island chain is enjoying newfound fame, thanks to recently being featured in the 2010 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. You may remember Bar Rafaeli and Brooklyn Decker heating up the already hot beach, or maybe you paid attention to the beautiful surroundings.

The Maldives is a Muslim country so contrary to many rumors alcohol is illegal except on a few select resorts. This is one of the reasons the Maldives are considered a favorite among families. Don’t let the lack of alcohol stop you from having the time of your life in this paradise lost. I would visit sooner than later as the super secret vacation destination will soon be over populated and overrun by hotel chains. The island’s best attribute has to be their unbridled beauty, which is seriously unmatched.

The island chain boasts some of the world’s most pristine beaches, untouched reefs and incredibly opulent resorts.  Many of the resorts offer private villas, with glass bottoms, situated over the crystal clear ocean.  These stunning views don’t hold a candle to ITHAA, The first and only underwater restaurant.  Located at the Hilton Maldives, this restaurant sits completely under the Indian Ocean, where diners can enjoy freshly caught seafood in a human aquarium.  The dining experience was second to none and definitely a bucket list situation.

Popular among the Dubai elite, Maldives isn’t just a playground for the rich, if you plan the trip right. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to make your vacation memorable and budget friendly.

Everything on the island can be affordable if you eat like the locals, stay in a neighborhood guesthouse and travel by the regional ferries.   The most expensive price tag will be your airfare, unless you are flying from Dubai, it’ll break your bank. A good budget to stick to would be roughly $60-100 USD a day including accommodations.   Since there is no alcohol allowed on the islands, you can scratch that added costs off your budget.

You can find a room in a local guesthouse for around $40 USD per night and that is way cheaper than any hotels.  Here is a website that helps you find guesthouses in Maldives. This also gives you an insider view on the islands and their inhabitants. It’s always cheaper to live like a local when traveling.

Getting around is easy if you stick to the ferries (side note: they don’t always come and when they do its rarely on time). You must remember that you are on an island so it completely runs on island time. You don’t have anywhere you must be so relax, tyke your time and enjoy the scenery.   Y=the only time I would recommend renting a speedboat is when you need to make it back to Male´ to catch your flight. In that case, a speedboat rental is only $30-40 USD.

You won’t spend much on food and beverages as long as you eat local. Many resorts have 5-star restaurants but remember you will pay a pretty penny for those. I was able to keep my daily meals to under $20 USD and I think I ate like a king. The seafood is plentiful and the freshest I’ve ever eaten.

Aquatic activities are dirt cheap and around every corner. You can’t walk 50 feet on the beach without seeing someone doing an awesome water sport. The snorkeling is possibly the best in the world with some of the most vibrant coral reefs and abundant aquatic life.   Average snorkeling trips will run you roughly $20 USD and that’s for an all day excursion. I was able to find a scuba trip where we dove with whale sharks for under $100 USD. Possibly the most majestic activity I’ve ever done.

I was amazed at how cheap the trip to Maldives ended up being. Overall I spent less than when I go to the Caribbean. SO moral of the story is, there is nowhere on these green earth that isn’t accessible if you plan accordingly and budget correctly.

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American Is Modifying Their Boarding Process (Again) As Of March 1, 2017

Just a couple of weeks ago I wrote about how American tweaked their boarding process, which seemed to partly be a result of them formalizing Concierge Key as a status level, and adding Platinum Pro as a status level. At the time, here’s how American updated their boarding process: ConciergeKey members First Class and U.S. Military Business […]

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Just a couple of weeks ago I wrote about how American tweaked their boarding process, which seemed to partly be a result of them formalizing Concierge Key as a status level, and adding Platinum Pro as a status level.

At the time, here’s how American updated their boarding process:

  1. ConciergeKey members
  2. First Class and U.S. Military
  3. Business Class, Executive Platinum and oneworld Emerald
  4. Platinum Pro, Platinum and oneworld Sapphire
  5. Gold and oneworld Ruby
  6. AirPass and Priority
  7. Group 1
  8. Group 2
  9. Group 3
  10. Group 4

Well, I’ve just received word that American will once again be adjusting their boarding priority for travel as of March 1, 2017. Here’s how it’s described:

On March 1, 2017, American Airlines will launch a new, simplified boarding process. In the future, all customers will be assigned a group number (1 through 9) based on their ticket type, elite status level and priority. We will call the group number in our announcements rather than all customer types. The boarding order will be the same, with only minor exceptions. The change is in how we refer to each group on boarding passes and announcements. Our ConciergeKey members will be invited to board prior to general boarding.

So rather than all priority passengers simply having “priority” written on their boarding passes, they’ll now have a boarding group. Here’s a chart with the new boarding order:

American-Boarding-Process-1 American-Boarding-Process-2

On the surface I think it’s logical to put everyone (except Concierge Key members) in an actual group, rather than just having a bunch of “priority” passengers, who in reality have different priorities. It avoids confusion.

At the same time, I think it’ll take some getting used to for people, since paying for priority boarding and getting put in Group 4 sure doesn’t make you feel as special.

So these changes seem logical enough and should make things easier, even if on the surface the thought of nine groups (and the first four being priority) doesn’t seem great.

What do you make of American’s updated boarding process?






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Check Out This Proposed Trail Across America!

This epic proposal promises a coast-to-coast trail for the ultimate outdoorsman. 

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Come one, come all, but especially come cyclists and hikers. There is a new project proposal of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), the nation’s largest trails organization. that offers the possibility of the greatest trail in America. For the first time in American history, “The Great American Rail-Trail” will be the longest and most ambitious trail project of its kind. Only the highest trail quality types are suitable for this project. From long-distance cyclists to casual explorers, to runners, all will be able to appreciate the journey set forth by this proposal.

Stretching over 3,700 miles, the trail will reach between Washington DC to Washington state. Foot-based travelers will traverse over 125 existing trails, greenways, and additional multiuser paths through 12 states: Washington D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and finally Washington. At the moment, over 52% of the route is pre-existing.

 

Criteria set forth by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy demand that a minimum of 80% of the trails are initially separated from vehicle traffic. Eventually, 100% of the trails are expected to be separated. Once the proposal, funding, and expected successes are in place, 90 trails gaps between these pre-existing trail will be completed.

For over 30 years, the RTC has had their mind of this incredible new project. They have worked with several dozen state agency representatives and hundreds (if not thousands) of trail partners to accurately assess and plan out the preferred trail routes.

The trails featured on this national treasure will represent the beauty and trail priorities of the states that contain them and as well as their local jurisdictions that host and maintain them. Plus, this project will be an unbelievable catalyst for local economic development and provide new services and routes for long-distance travelers.

The RTC has partnered with state and local trail officials to define the premier and preferred route for this “first-of-its-kind” trail. A comprehensive route assessment was established after a 12-month long analysis using detailed GIS (geographic information system) database with information from more than 34,000 miles of existing routes. Reviews from 300 state and local trails were explored to plan future trail additions as well.

 

“We have the chance to create from that vision a national treasure that unites millions of people over thousands of miles of trail… This trail is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to provide – together – an enduring gift to the nation that will bring joy for generations to come,” stated Ryan Chao, the president of the Rail-Trail Conservancy.


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