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Don’t Ride Elephants on Vacation!

We have all seen photos of people riding elephants in Thailand while on vacation and wanted to check that off our bucket lists. I was just like you until I heard about the appalling torture these poor animals go through, just to get them ready…

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We have all seen photos of people riding elephants in Thailand while on vacation and wanted to check that off our bucket lists. I was just like you until I heard about the appalling torture these poor animals go through, just to get them ready to be ridden.   These majestic creatures are beaten and abused just so tourists can ride them.  AN elephant doesn’t have the rights a human does, so we have to speak up for them.

Don’t feel bad for wanting to ride an elephant, shoot; it’s been a dream of mine for years. I had no clue as to the widespread abuse these poor creatures endured, instead, the incredible photos and videos captivated me. Just picture yourself sitting upon these gargantuan beasts as they trudge through picturesque jungles and wade through uncultivated rivers. Thailand is a land of mystery and undiscovered beauty, so why not ride an elephant to top off the trip? You shouldn’t because it’s only proliferating these animals abuse and neglect.

The elephant is notorious for never forgetting, so why would you want to be apart of a smart animals’ demise.

The Asian elephant is an endangered species as there are less than 2,000 living in the wild in the jungles of Thailand. Many are being displaced due to rampant deforestation and illegal poaching. The elephant tourism industry is responsible for the illegal capture and trade of these endangered animals. These wild elephants, many are captured as babies must then be trained for foreign tourist to ride them. This training is considered torture as violent techniques are employed.

 

Baby elephants are tortured so they will allow people to ride them, which is quite unnatural to them. The process of taming these baby elephants is called “Phajaan” or “the crush.” This process involves stealing the babies away from their mothers and licked in very small cages, where they are beaten into submission using clubs and sticks with sharp hooks on the ends. These barbaric techniques aren’t subject to any regulations, as the Thai government simply looks the other way.

These poor baby elephants are continuously tortured until their spirits are broken and sometimes they die in the process.

An elephant’s spine isn’t strong enough to properly support the weight of a human. Years of being ridden create extreme pain in these animals and often when they stop performing, they are put down. Many organizations try to save these ill-fated creatures before they are killed.

Most travelers have no idea of the rampant torment involved in elephant tourism. An excellent organization is trying to change that, the Elephant Nature Park. Located in the jungles of Northern Thailand, the ENP is involved in the protection and care of mistreated elephants as well as educating tourists.   Over 30 elephants are being cared for on the 250-acre park. Tourists are brought in to learn and care for these regal animals in the proper ways. Here, you can walk the animals; feed them and even help them bathe in a river.

The park offers visitors the chance to make a difference in an elephant’s life and stay connected long after their trip receiving progress reports and updates. Also, the park is registered as a non-profit foundation; so all proceeds go to help the elephants.

Elephant training has been going on in Thailand for hundreds of years, but now their sole purpose is tourism. Before they were used in the timber industry and even in the Thai military.

I won’t think poorly of you if you have ridden an elephant in the past. However, if you chose to ride them knowing what torture then endure, I’ll know how you feel. Sure, the experience would be memorable, but the poor elephants won’t soon forget either. Can you handle being part of hurting these beautiful creatures… I know I can’t.

If you’d like to donate to the Elephant Nature Park (ENP), here is a link. Travel with your heart and let’s stop the torture of these magnificent animals for good.

 

 Photos courtesy of TheGuardian, YouTube, elephant-world, speak up for the voiceless, Kaleenaskaleidiscope 

Read the full article over at the ExpertVagabond 

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Travel

Stay Safe from the Summer Sun

We’ll share insights, hassle free tricks and clear up some common misunderstandings about sunscreen.

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Summer is here everyone and so is the intense sun so it’s about that time that we talk about how important sunscreen is.   There are certain things about sunscreen that we all should know and we made this helpful list to inform the masses. We’ll share insights, hassle free tricks and clear up some common misunderstandings about sunscreen.

 

No Skimping

It’s important to get sunscreen on every part of skin that gets sunlight, which includes your hairline, scalp and ears. Dermatologists see skin cancer pop up in these spots more often than any other. That’s a direct reflection of how people often skimp in these danger zones.

 

Anti-ager

Sunscreen doesn’t only keep you from getting torched by the summer sun; it also acts as an anti-ager. Yes, sunscreen makes you look younger, awesome! No need to get Botox injections, instead just use some facial sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher everyday, even on a cloudy day. Sun exposure really messes up your skin especially after years of neglecting sunscreen. If you want healthy looking and feeling skin for years, just use sunscreen.

 

Tan equals damage

Remember that no matter how pretty your tan is it is still skin damage. The sun’s rays are powerful and no amount of base tan will help you out. Keep SPF on anytime you go into the sun, just to be safe.

 

SPF Sprays are good

Don’t worry about spray tans not covering you; as long as you follow the instructions, the spray actually does its job. I do the 1:3 rule, that’s spraying 1-inch from the skin and I make 3 passes with the spray.

 

Higher SPF the Better

The SPF is usually much lower than it’s marked because of user error. I tend to go with an SPF around 50 because when using a SPF of 30 it’s really only about 15. We usually don’t apply a thick enough layer to actually get the listed SPF.

 

Umbrellas don’t have SPF

Umbrellas may block some of the sun’s harmful rays but more UV rays make it through than you think. That’s why umbrellas are never substitutes for good old-fashioned sunscreen. Umbrellas are great, don’t get me wrong, but they need to be used along with sunscreen instead of replacing it.

 

Baseball caps are not great

Sure baseball caps block the sun from your eyes, but they do nothing for the rest of your head and neck, which is why a sun hat is exponentially better.

 

Rash guards

Stop wearing a white T-shirt to keep the sun off of your tender skin and try a rash guard instead. Did you know that a white T-shirt only has an SPF of 7 and when that shirt gets wet it drops the number to 3. Wow, that’s not very good, so now you’ll understand why rash guards are the way to go. They have sun protection built in and won’t make your skin break out from friction.

 

Skin cancer

Just using sunscreen won’t guarantee anyone from not getting sun damage or cancer; it will only help prevent it.

 

Just use sunscreen and you won’t have to worry about all the negative effects the sun can and will have on your body.

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Destinations

Ukraine: An Underrated Tourist Destination In Europe

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When many people think of taking a European vacation they probably imagine strolling along the Seine with their lover, or seeing Michelangelo’s David in Florence. I mean, those are both two amazing things to do. However most people would even consider traveling to Ukraine. It is a country at war, the winters tend to be unbearable, and Eastern Europeans have a reputation of being unfriendly. All that being said, Ukraine is still an underrated tourist destination and one that should be on travelers radar.

What Is There To Do In Ukraine?

Ukraine is a large country. In fact, it’s the largest country entirely in Europe. This means that there is something for everyone! From adventure travelers to those just looking to relax, you can spend months exploring the country and still not tire of things to see and do.

If you are looking for a city break you can’t skip out on the capital of Kyiv, nor the cultural capital of Lviv. For adrenaline junkies you can go skiing in Bukovel, or white water rafting in Vorokhta. And if you are just a good old nature lover then camping by the sunken city of Bakota or the uninhabited Dzharylhach island could be for you.

5 Amazing Places To Visit In Ukraine

1. Lviv – A Beautiful City In Western Ukraine

The cultural capital of Lviv has a storied history. From being the capital of the kingdom of Rus to a part of Poland, the pearl of the Austrian Empire to the gem of an independent Ukraine. There are so many things to do in Lviv almost anyone can have a great time.

For dining I highly recommend a trip to the most popular restaurant in Lviv, Kryivka. This restaurant in a bunker under Rynok square is themed, but don’t let that put you off. The walls are papered with interesting artefacts from one of the most tumultous periods in Lviv history. Youc an see old military medals, propaganda posters, and plenty of old (non-functioning) weapons.

2. Bakota – A Less Than Easy Place To Go Camping Like A Local

The site of a submerged city, Bakota, is currently a reservoir connecting to the Bug river. This is a very popular camping spot for Ukrainians and there are plenty of activities you can do. I like to just relax and enjoy nature, but you can go boating, fishing, or hiking the cliffs around the area.

You will need a car to get there as public transportation doesn’t really exist, but that just means you’ll have to do a bit of car camping.

3. Dzharylhach Island – The Largest Island In The Black Sea

Dzharylhach Island is an uninhabited island in the Kherson region of Ukraine that is another beautiful place to camp. You can only get there by taking a ferry from the mainland, and there are no accommodations other than tents. Rest on the soft white sand or play with the dolphins that come very close to shore.

If you do spend some time there you have to try the island specialty – stingray borsch! This soup is made daily by the shanty little cafe near the pier. And don’t forget to see the sunset by the famous Dzharylhach Lighthouse!

4. The Pink Lake – One Of The Most Unique Places In All Ukraine

Located on Arabatska Strilka, about 6 hours by bus from Kherson City, is one of my absolute favorite places in the whole country. Officially named Henichesk Lake, this natural pink lake is an amazing sight to behold.

The color is due to a non-harmful bacteria that thrives in the high salt content of the lake. Many people even take salt home to cook with it, I know I brought a few kilos back! Make sure to wade out as far as you can go so you can see the most naturally pink section.

5. Kyiv – The Capital Of Ukraine

No list about places to see in Ukraine would be complete without Kyiv. A capital going back all the way to Kievan Rus, the city is a mix of classic Eastern European architecture and ugly Soviet commie-blocks. However don’t let the ugliness deter you. The city is lively and fun if you know how to do it right.

Spend some time at the Bukta food center on the Dniper river, or hit up an amazing pool party in the warm months. Walk through beautifully manicured parks and see the Mariinsky Palace, or visit the Pechersk Lavra – an historic cave monastery filled with the bodies of Orthodox saints.

About the author:

Alona Tiunina is a travel blogger from Ukraine who has been to (almost) every region in the country. When she is not traveling she enjoys binge watching Netflix and scouring airline tickets for her next trip.

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Travel

Super Secret Summer Travel Deals

 Let’s explore some exciting ways to save money on your family vacation or your super singles weekend getaway.

 

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The temperatures are rising, your kid’s school is winding down and it’s almost time for your yearly summer vacation, but how can you afford it? Not to worry, we have the super secret deals on all your summer vacation needs. Whether you prefer a beach destination, outdoors adventure or swanky five-star hotels, we got the hook up. Let’s explore some exciting ways to save money on your family vacation or your super singles weekend getaway.

 

Cheapest Destinations

Of all the popular destinations this summer we found the three with the best deals and most enticing perks.

Canada

This is the season to check out Canada and see what this great country has to offer. Not only is Canada beautiful and widely overlooked on vacationer’s travel lists, but this is the country’s 150th anniversary so all of their National Parks are free to visit. Yes, I said FREE. You can check out what these amazing Canadian National Parks have to offer, like the pure unbridled natural beauty of Banff National Park for free.

Canada’s dollar is also worth less than the American dollar, so your money goes a long way up North. On average you will save 20-30% on everything because of the favorable dollar price.

 

Yellowstone

If you want to stay in the states, Yellowstone National Park is a great way to go. See the epic geysers and all the other natural wonders that prehistoric park offer.  Head up to Wyoming and check out the vast 3,500 plus square miles of untouched nature and see some serious wild animals. Expect bears, wolves, elk, bison and antelope, just to name a few.

 

Fort Lauderdale

If fun in the sun is your vacation of choice, Sunny Florida is a great way to catch some rays and swim in the warm Atlantic Ocean. Ft. Lauderdale is a much cheaper destination than its pricey neighbor, Miami. Get the same weather, same powder white sandy beaches and all the beach amenities for half the price of nearby hot spots. You can make day trips to Orlando for Disney or Universal Studios and check out the awesome Everglades National Park too.

 

Best Airline Deals

If you are looking to fly on vacation saving big on flights can help with your overall budget. Check out these airlines that are seriously cutting prices this summer and offering up great deals.

Norwegian

If you are looking for awesome deals check out Norwegian Airlines, who offer the best deals to Europe right now. The Scandinavian company is hooking customers up this summer so check them out if you want to go to Europe.

 

 

WOW

Offering the cheapest deals to Iceland and parts of Europe, WOW Airlines is hurting other airlines with their bottom basement prices. It’s a great time to fly to Europe with these super cheap deals.

 

Side Notes:

 

Avoid Sunday July 9

The busiest travel day this summer will undoubtedly be Sunday July 9th, the Sunday After July 4th. This day will be a nightmare on the roads, in the air and in terminals at airports and train stations all over the U.S. Avoid travel on this day if at all possible.

As always Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the cheapest and least busy days to travel so book your flights and trips on these two days.

 

Unlock some serious summer savings and turn the vacation of your dreams into a reality.

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