• 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.

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    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

     

  • Chunking Travel Strategy

    The self-help inspirational guru, Tony Robbins  teaches a “chunking” strategy to methodically reach goals.  He gives an example in one of his audios on using chunking to reach your travel goals.  Planning an extraordinary once in a lifetime trip to an exotic part of the world can seem so complicated that many people never make the first step.

    Chunking is a strategy to break things up into smaller much more doable tasks (chunks) that allows you to break the inertia and move toward your goal.

    Here is how this might work……….

    1. Get Inspired

    One way to get started is to imagine that dream trip that you would talk about for the rest of your life.  This is one that you always fantasized in the back of your mind but never seriously looked into.  Create a vision of you in that location and imagine how it would feel.

    2.  Research

    Research can be fun and should feed your enthusiasm.  Google the location.  Go to travel message boards to read feedback from others such as TripAdvisor.com.  Go to Google Earth and zoom in on the location.  Google Earth has photo icons embedded into the locations.  Click these to get a sense of what you will see.  I remember zooming in on a remote beach in the Philippine Islands and seeing beautiful remote beaches with mountains along the shore.  Total inspiration!

    3. Prepare a budget

    This often stops people cold but can be simplified.  If you don’t have the cash to pay for the trip now, decide how much per pay check you can contribute to a to a travel budget. For example, if you can contribute $50 per paycheck and you have 26 paychecks per year, that would give you $1300 in a year.  Many payroll departments can have this money direct deposited into a separate account for you.  This gives you a starting point for planning.  The length of time for saving the money and amount of money saved per paycheck can be adjusted based on your personal preference.

    4. Determine approximate ticket and accommodation prices

    Prices change based on seasonal and other factors but with some research, you can come up with estimated prices for plane tickets, a room, a cruise price etc.  There are some aggregator sites that will drill down into a lot of the large travel agency sites and give you the best deals out there.  See my articles on deep discount plane tickets and discount accommodations.  Come up with a budget that fits with your savings goals.

    5. Plan it out

    With a budget and approximate prices, you can now plan out dates for your trip.  Plan on actually booking the trip a month after you have saved enough cash.  To keep costs down, plan around the prime tourist season if possible.

    6. Remember the details

    As the trip date gets closer, remember to plan for the pets, the kids, the plants and potential vaccines.  Also, remember to have enough prescription meds and if needed, pills for malaria, sea sickness and stomach sickness.

    Breaking your planning into these type steps can take the fear out of the process and get you moving.  The most important step for me is step 1, get inspired.  If you want to do something badly enough, you can make it happen.