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Travel America’s West Coast This Summer in an RV

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There’s so much to take in

The west coast has much to offer everyone, from crowded sunny beaches, lush woods, and sand dunes to magnificent rocky coasts. As more families are renting RVs for their family vacations take a look at these stunning locations in California, Oregon, and Washington to add to your trip itinerary.

There are also some of the top restaurants and museums in the country.

Interstate 1

Highway 1 runs along the coast for more than 655 miles, beginning at Dana Point, just south of Los Angeles, and providing vistas and intriguing stops along the way.

Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Solvang

Santa Barbara and Ventura are located halfway between the large cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco. Santa Barbara is a little more formal, but Ventura has a more carefree surfer attitude. Despite their distinct differences, these two cities have a lot to keep tourists occupied.

Try Faria Beach Park in Ventura for beachfront RV camping, with breathtaking views of the Channel Islands.

Look into Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort if breathtaking mountain vistas, riding horses, and convenient museum access to the Sea Center at Santa Barbara are more to your liking. 

Consider taking a day excursion to Solvang if you plan to remain in this region for a few days. There are many things to do in this “small piece of Denmark,” including wine sampling and delectable Danish pastries. 

Big Sur

Big Sur, a rocky coastline with breathtaking Pacific Ocean vistas, may be found farther along Highway 1. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, dubbed “little Yosemite” and located on the Big Sur River, provides 1,000 acres of hiking and animals under the forest’s magnificent and ancient West Coast monarch. You can only find these oldest living trees along the West Coast.

While in the area, you may want to think about going to Hearst Castle to see the magnificent house of the late William Randolph Hearst, which has spectacular pools and unrivaled vistas of the San Simeon region. After the tour, stop by the Hearst Ranch Winery, close to the museum entrance, for a quick sample of regional wine. 

Oregon 

Although there are many lovely places in California, it’s not the only western state. Oregon boasts numerous worthwhile interior road excursions and stunning and distinctive coasts. 

Crater Lake

Go inland to Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, a deep lake inside a dormant volcano. A massive volcanic explosion 7,700 years ago resulted in the crystal-clear, deep-blue lake formation. It’s incredible, to put it mildly. 

Coast of Oregon

Oregon’s shoreline is distinct and stunning, marked by spires and other rock formations, dunes, and lush woods. These West Coast road journeys will likely pass through many lush vegetation and woodlands.

Bandon

Bandon is a stunning section of the Oregon coastline that is home to an abundance of marine birds and is well-known for more than just its granite spires and offshore rock formations. Consider lodging at Bullards Beach State Park, which has a lighthouse at the end of the beach and provides plenty of hiking opportunities.

Portland Dunes

Don’t overlook the Oregon Dunes, stretching over forty miles along the shore. You may find great day-use places, just south of Florence, including Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park and the Oregon Dunes Overlook.

Tillamook

Are you an ice cream fan? Or is eating cheese more your style? Visit the Tillamook Creamery for lunch and a behind-the-scenes tour of their business. If dairy does not satisfy your appetite, try fresh seafood or a craft beer from the North Coast Food Trail, which includes establishments from all over Oregon’s North Coast. Before continuing your journey north, stop to see “Terrible Tilly,” the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse.

Washington State

Both Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens are stunning in their unique ways. At almost 14,000 feet above sea level, Mt. Rainier provides breathtaking vistas and outdoor recreation. At the same time, Mt. St. Helens is home to a museum that overlooks and honors the location of the amazing 1980 eruption.

Island of Orcas

Horseshoe-shaped Orcas Island, located among the magnificent San Juan Islands, is a must-see. This beautiful paradise provides infinite outdoor activity, fine art and culture, clear lakes, and thick woods. Moran State Park, Mount Constitution, and the many farms dotted across the island are other must-see locations. Also, don’t pass on taking the island’s breathtaking driving tour.

Try Oceanfront Camping at Quinault Casino in Washington if you want a break from your west coast road adventures.

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Destinations

Giving Back While On Vacation

  

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There are actually extremely simple ways to give back to the country you are visiting so that you can help save lives while still enriching your own.

Traveling is mostly about you getting away from the stress of your everyday life. You also get to experience new cultures, buy excellent moments and just get a better sense of how the world around you operates. All-in-all, for the most part traveling, is all about you. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. There are actually extremely simple ways to give back to the country you are visiting so that you can help save lives while still enriching your own. That doesn’t mean you have to spend your whole vacation volunteering, you can spend all of your time on yourself while still giving to the less fortunate. So next time you consider heading out on a journey try some of these easy tips so you can not just enrich your life but you can enrich plenty of others as well.

 

 

If you search online you can easily find plenty of groups that make it easy for you to volunteer. These groups take donations from hospitals, clinics, medical suppliers and good samaritans that are packed in a suitcase and all you have to do is bring the bag along with you on your journey. Volunteers take all of these awesome donations and pack them into a bag that is passed on to you and all you have to do is deliver the bag.

 

Of course, before you head out to the airport with your bag you should always unpack the suitcase and check everything in the bag to make sure that they meet security requirements. However, the groups usually help by putting a letter in the bag that lets customs know what the supplies are for and where exactly they are headed inside the country that is also signed by a healthcare professional.

 

You won’t have to take any actual medicine with you, these are just supplied that other countries are in desperate need for so the everything packed in the bags is completely legal and classified as a humanitarian aid. You might be worried that checking bags gets kinda pricey, but most airlines will let you check these bags for free once they know that it’s filled with medical supplies.

 

These life-saving donations are only really useful when you travel to a developing country. London or Tokyo don’t really need medical supplies delivered, but if you’re traveling to Cuba or Honduras or somewhere like that then your donations will be very much appreciated and you will very likely save at least one person’s life. This may be a tough task for the beginner tourist, this is the type of endeavor that only people who are comfortable doing should try and do. They have never had a security incident the entire time people have been delivering medical supplies but a lot of people have gotten freaked out while trying to make the drop-off.

A lot of these remote places see people working incredibly hard just to get the medical supplies they need which we take for granted, like latex gloves or insulin syringes. So if you want your trip to make a very real difference then consider helping these remote areas in need by delivering them with some much needed medical supplies.


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Destinations

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

Luxury Traveling Without Luxury Spending

High-end vacations are pricey enough for travelers to carry the weight of paying extra for a little bit more of the lavishness. That’s where travel agents come into play and help you get that great steal.

 

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     Michelle Higgins of The New York Times is proof of this slightly overlooked hack when she visited the Grand Canyon in August with her nine-year-old daughter. She booked a two-night stay at the Enchantment Resort in Sedona, Arizona. Upon arrival, her $299-a-night double queen room reservation was upgraded to a two-bedroom, two-bath suite with a kitchenette, a fireplace, and dual balconies facing the Boynton Canyon.

      Apart from those, she was informed by the receptionist that their daily breakfast could be taken either in the room or at the hotel restaurant. Moments later, a golf cart serviced them to their spacious suite where a service attendant arrived with a fruit and cheese platter and a personalized welcome note. Such VIP treatment wasn’t due to Higgins being a famed personality but to her old-fashioned way of booking – with a travel agent.

 

 

     When most travelers have turned to independent booking as it credits flexibility, control, and cost-cutting by booking through websites, luxury travelers with a minimum spending of $300 a night could use a travel adviser/agent for better deals, specifically ones from large consortia like American Express, Signature Travel Network, or Virtuoso for their longstanding partnerships with travel companies. Senior Vice President of Preferred Partnerships for Signature Travel Network Phil Cappelli claimed, “We buy a considerable amount from the travel providers and are able to secure additional benefits for guests.” Perks referred to can include airport transfers, complimentary breakfasts, late checkouts, spa treatments, and room upgrades, among others. When using a travel agent, the aforementioned extras come at no additional cost.

 

   

       For American Express Platinum card members, long as they book through American Express Travel, they are given access to the benefits (which vary by card level) whether they talk to an agent; book online; or through the app. Same goes for Virtuoso.com and Signature Travel Network with shipboard credits and exclusive, personalized perks offered to users.

 

     The relationship these travel agents have with tourism services (e.g. hotels, cruise lines) is a two-way street; as the agents drive up sales to reap benefits for their clients, they also receive commissions. To lower the risk of encountering a travel agent who’d prioritize his/her incentives before your experience, it’s recommended to respectfully ask how he/she is compensated. 

 

     Going back to Higgins’ experience, with thorough research prior to consulting Beth Washington at McCabe World Travel, a Virtuoso member, she was able to stumble upon the cheapest, nonrefundable rate of Enchantment worth $623.38 and an option offering flexible cancellation worth $718.76 for two nights. Virtuoso’s rate was the same as the latter, incorporating daily breakfast (a $30 credit per person, per day) and $100 credit for spa or golf. Since Higgins’ daughter wasn’t eligible for spa sessions because of her age and golf wasn’t really their thing, the Virtuoso adviser offered the credit to be applied to food and beverage instead.

 

 

   In lieu of going through the hassle of planning a complex vacation by yourself, travel agents are relied on by tourism sectors like cruise lines, aware that purchasing a cruise experience involves multiple choices like room categories, restaurants, and land excursions.

 

     To get the most out of your luxury vacation whilst keeping your savings at bay, below are the three mentioned travel adviser consortia and their perks that come with booking through one of their members:

 

American Express Platinum Card Members

 

     Perks inclusive of early check-in and room upgrades when available; complimentary daily breakfast for up to two guests; $100-valued “unique amenities”; guaranteed late check out at 4pm; and five times the usual number of AmEx points or the ability to use Pay with Points on prepaid stays at Fine Hotels and Resorts Properties on AmexTravel.com could help you save about $550 at 1,100 hotels worldwide on a two-night stay.

 

Virtuoso

 

     Similar to AmEx’s benefits, Virtuoso also offers complimentary meals and Wi-Fi services and depends on the hotel’s availability for upgrades, early check-ins, and late checkouts. Additional perks may include complimentary airport transfers, spa treatments, and other meals – all with estimated savings of more than $500 per stay, available at 1,400 hotels in 100 countries.

 

Signature Travel Network

 

     With up to $500 savings on a two to five-night stay in luxury hotels, you can get complimentary full breakfasts, food and beverage credits, spa treatments, airport transfers, room upgrades, early check-ins, and late check-outs, varying by hotel.

 


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