• Recommended International Travel Bookings Site

    Money Magazine recently had a good article on “booking sites” and brought to my attention, the site Vayama.com   If you are planning an overseas trip, you should check it out.  We are looking for an eastern Africa safari type trip (assuming Ebola does not move into that area) so I used the site and was quite pleased.  I went on to try out different traveling scenarios in Europe and southeast Asia.  Vayama Logo

    Vayama will give you multiple options of airlines and give the lowest price for each.  You can filter it by number of stops and price it in the currency of your choice.  You then pick the airline and deal of your choice and drill down further.  In addition, Vayama gives direct links from other discount booking sites and allows you to transfer your proposed itinerary directly there.

    For example, I searched for a flight from Barcelona, Spain to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and was given 18 airlines with their lowest price.  The lowest was Emirates Airline at $833 roundtrip.  I was then given the option to go directly to Priceline and three others.  Priceline beat the $833 price by one dollar on the same airline. Funny how that happens.

    Vayama is a fun site to play around with.  It has a category called deals where you pick your city or region and a choice of trips are displayed.  They go on to describe some of the highlights of the region.


  • Favorite Adventure Travel Shoes

    Here’s a suggestion for those of you looking for the perfect shoes for adventure travel to tropical climates.  Keen sandals have served us well in Egypt, Vietnam, Panama and the Galapagos Islands.  They have a thick tennis shoe type base, toe protection and a canvas web type top to keep your feet cool.

    Keen Travel Shoe

    Keen Travel Shoe

    Both Stephanie and I have walked 20+ miles in a day on rough terrain and in coastal wet environment with these sandals.  They’ll last you years.  If you travel light, this can serve as your only shoes.  You can wash them out when they get a little stinky and they are ready to go a few hours later.

  • Monterrico – Best Beach in Guatemala

    If you want overseas adventure travel and off the beaten path, consider the Pacific Coast of Guatemala (see Location Map).  Tourism is in its infancy and there are beautiful beaches and majestic rocky shores.

    Main St Monterrico Guatemala

    Main St Monterrico Guatemala

    Believe it not, this street is the main street of Monterrico our coastal destination. As you can see, no tourists! The local people were so nice, helpful and curious about us.

    We chose Monterrico as our destination because we love Antigua Guatemala in the highlands and wanted to drive to explore the Pacific Coast after we left Antigua.  Monterrico was large enough to have some bars and restaurants and within 3 hours drive of Antigua.


    Scenery on the Road to the Pacific Coast

    Scenery on the Road to the Pacific Coast

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  • Kenya Adventure

    Our friend Shannon Knisely traveled for a Kenya Adventure recently as a volunteer of the Global Autism Project and Ms. Knisely was nice enough :) to give us her story and some fantastic photos.  Click on the icon photos for a full size.


    I spent 2 1/2 weeks in a suburb known as Karen, located approximately 30 miles outside of Nairobi, Kenya in May 2014. A small group of therapists who work with children with autism volunteered through a company based in New York, New York called Global Autism Project (a non-profit agency that establishes and maintains partnerships with autism schools around the world).

    Global Autism Project sends a team of volunteers to each site 2 times per year and provides staff and family training, consultation, and support with program development for the children being served at these schools.  We spent 10 days with the amazing staff and children at Kaizora Consultants! Our focus for this trip was natural environment teaching (NET). I was amazed at how motivated and compassionate the staff members were at the center – so willing to learn! I noticed a sign on one of the walls of the school that said, “Children only learn as fast as we teach”. Love it!

    About Nairobi:

    Nairobi is the most populous city in east Africa as well as one of the most prominent cities in Africa.  This was mostly uninhabited in the late 1800s until it became a rail depot on a British owned railway that linked Mombasa (coastal city in southeastern Kenya) to the neighboring country of Uganda, on the western border of Kenya.

    Our group stayed at a guesthouse in Karen called the Bush House. They provided us with breakfast and dinner each day, hot showers, laundry services (for an additional cost), and a community area with a t.v. and some couches.


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  • 24 Hour Rule for Refunds on Airline Tickets

    Here is a little known rule that may help you out one day.  According to National Geographic Traveler Magazine, since 2012, the US State Department of Transportation has a rule that requires all airlines selling tickets in the US to hold your reservation without you having to make a payment, or allow you to cancel your reservation without a penalty if you do so within 24 hours.

    The one exception to this rule is that if you are a week or less from your departure, you are stuck with the reservation.

    Keep this rule in mind if you make a mistake with your reservation as I have done a few times.  I remember once where I booked the ticket in the wrong month and ended up with a $100 penalty.

     See our post on “Finding Deep Discount Airline Tickets