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Responsible Holiday Adventures

The Meaning of Eco-Tourism

The concept of ‘Eco-tourism’ came into its own in 2002, when the United Nations celebrated the “International Year of Eco-tourism”. The International Eco-tourism Society defines eco-tourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people”.

Eco-tourism puts focus on local cultures, wilderness adventures, volunteering, cultural and individual growth, and learning new and better ways to exist in our world. It is classically defined as travel to destinations where the flora, fauna, and cultural heritage are the primary attractions. Responsible eco-tourism includes programs that minimize the adverse effects of traditional tourism on the natural environment, and enhance the cultural uprightness of local people. In addition to evaluating environmental and cultural factors, there are initiatives by hospitality providers to promote recycling, energy efficiency, water re-use, and the creation of economic opportunities for local communities. All of these factors form an integral part of eco-tourism.

What are Eco-Tourism Holidays?

In a nutshell: a holiday that does not contribute to the damage of an environment and does not put existing species at risk! Over time people in different communities have become aware of the adverse effect of tourism, and have put structures in place to ensure their landscape stays protected. If you’d like to contribute to a community plus have a great holiday… Look for the eco-tourism signposts i.e. accommodation built with natural, locally found materials whose staff comprise of local people. The hotel or lodge should have environmentally sound energy and water-saving policies. Holidays should help preserve environments and encourage and maintain traditional cultures rather than contribute to their ruin.

There are some wonderful, informative eco-tourism holidays where you can have a special adventure plus contribute to the surrounding communities. Here are some examples…

Botswana: Okavango Delta

The Okavango Delta is one of the largest inland deltas on earth and one of Africa’s most beautiful and unique wetlands, supporting an abundance of wild animals. For Africa as a whole, and in the Delta in particular, the single greatest attraction for safari-goers is the lion. As carnivores at the top of the food chain, lions are a key component in the Okavango ecosystem and need to be carefully managed.

In 1997 Christiaan and Hanlie Winterbach, two experienced wildlife biologists, set about constructing a scientifically sound, long-term ecological monitoring programme and lion research project in a Wildlife Management Area in the south-western part of the Delta, providing visitors with a unique opportunity to track & study lions in the wild! The Delta also offers an overabundance of other wildlife and birdlife.

Christiaan and Hanlie Winterbach have set up and co-ordinated the lion surveys since their inception in 1995 under the guise of Tau Consultants (already members of the World Conservation Union), in co-operation with the Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks. Having worked and studied in Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa, Christiaan, a zoologist is able to offer first-hand information on the behavioral patterns of lions while Hanlie, a botanist, introduces travellers to a world of evolving flora that survives in this incredible Delta. A large percentage of the money paid for this experience goes directly to the camp, enabling them to continue their vital work.

South Africa: Tsitsikamma Forest Nature Reserve

Lush indigenous vegetation and forests framed by majestic mountain ranges on the one side and the Indian Ocean with its pristine white beaches on the other make the Garden Route, situated on the East Coast of Southern Africa, one of the most beautiful parts of South Africa.

This is an ideal eco-tourism holiday with accommodation available in the Tsitsikamma private nature reserve, set on the edge of the Tsitsikamma indigenous forest. The hotel has breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys and Tsitsikamma Mountains. The 14ha property is zoned a private nature reserve by Cape Nature Conservation.

In addition, a newly constructed path to Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary gives guests the opportunity to view numerous indigenous species such as Stinkwood and Yellowwood trees, a variety of Fynbos and wildlife such as Bush Pig, Bush Buck, Lynx, Otters, Baboons, Monkeys and prolific bird life including the Knysna Loerie, whilst enjoying the hour long walk starting at the lodge.

Activities in the area include: nature walks, bungy jumping, boating, a forest journey, horse riding, golf, canoeing, sandy beaches, boat-based whale and dolphin watching trips or even an aerial view (flights are available…)

Cheap Flights From UK To Different Countries

Many internet sites provide information about cheap flights from all major UK Airports like Manchester, Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted. The sites have a tie-up with several airline companies namely Virgin Atlantic, Delta Airlines, KLM, British Airways, United Airlines, American Airlines and American Airlines. Some of these sites have collaborated with the air companies to announce discounted air travel to several travel destinations during the festive season. This is an independent company, free from interference by any travel conglomerate, technology or media. These sites aim to simplify the bargain hunting for cheap flights on the internet in the UK.

There is a marked absence of contention for cheap flights from Europe towards Africa. This is mostly true for Nigeria, which has very few direct cheap flights from London, even though, demand being high. However, there is enough demand for cheaper flights, mainly towards South Africa, especially during winter, when the characteristic weather in South Africa is comparatively favorable. Since intercontinental airport hubs are a rarity in Africa, there is greater chance of finding flights with links through other European airports, chiefly Charles de Gaulle of Paris, Amsterdam Schiphol or Frankfurt International. Chances of finding flight connections through Brussels, Lisbon or Milan are bright. Many leisure airlines offer flights to Egypt, The Gambia, Morocco and Tunisia from major regional UK airports. Apart from London, cheap leisure flights are available from Manchester, Birmingham, East Midlands and Bristol, towards Africa.

Along with British Airways, several Asian airlines are offering direct services, making flight to Dubai from London an intense competition. There is no shortage of flight to Dubai routes from the other UK regional cities, owing to Emirates emerging, the airlines from Dubai. Virgin Atlantic offers daily flights to Dubai, from Heathrow London. In spite of several direct cheap flights to Dubai, the cheapest flights may often require changing the plane typically in Paris or Amsterdam. This is true for cheap flights to Dubai from outside London. Of course, from Manchester and London, other cheap flights are available via Middle East cities like Doha. The price of flights varies according to demand; mainly, because of several onwards connections to New Zealand, Australia and Asia are available from Dubai.

Relaxations of bilateral restrictions have expanded the range of cheapest flights to India. Majority of the growth has been in the two main hubs of Mumbai and Delhi. From London other cities linked with direct flights are Bangalore, Kolkata and Chennai. In addition to the established links from Manchester and London, new flights from Birmingham add to the chartered flights operating to Goa. In spite of the increase in direct flights to India, demand still outstrips supply. This means some of the best deals are on connecting flights operating through hubs like Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Try some unconventional options like foreign bucket shops, charter flights, bumping, ethnic bucket shops and courier flying. All in all, there is absolutely no dearth of choice for the cheapest flights to India.

Prime Outdoor Adventure Spots In South Africa

The oceans and seas, mountains and hills, rivers and waterfalls, what else could be on the list of an adventurous human being? Well, not everyone is up to extreme stuff, but adventure is always there to awaken your fears and turn them to excitement of discovering new things in life. The element of risk is always there with the change of weather condition in a certain place, but after you’ve experienced a new thing, it’s all totally worth it.

Why don’t you give yourself sometimes an opportunity to travel? Or maybe a reward for yourself for working too hard and stressing everyday of your life to pass your reports or to impress your big boss. There’s a lot more things around you for you to discover. Introduce yourself to a new culture, expose your skin a little more on the sun, and let your eyes see the beauty of our surroundings. Drop your paperwork for a while, grab your travelling bag, and get yourself ready for an unforgettable adventure!

If you’re up for some African continent adventures, let me introduce you to South Africa’s fantastic attractions. First of all, Cape Town, which is famous for its scenic beauty, it is a port city beneath the Table Mountain. It is stunning from sea to sky. It’s great for jogging, climbing hills, diving or driving the coastal roads. If you don’t want to break a sweat, just watching and enjoying the majestic view while you’re in Cape Town will already satisfy your effort to go there.

Next on the list is Johannesburg which is the largest city in South Africa and it’s one of the 50 largest urban agglomerations in the world. It is now commonly called as El Dorado due to the extremely large gold deposit you can supposedly find along the Witwatersrand.

Next we have Durban, which is a surfing city with Golden Mile beachfront. It has seen as the most major attraction for tourists because of its warm subtropical climate and wonderful beaches. The Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve is also a great place to visit. If you’re more on hiking trails, this is absolutely for you. It is famous for God’s Window. The breath-taking panoramic view of Blyde River Canyon will take all your problems away even just for a while.

If you want some landscapes and spectacular wildlife, you can explore the Kruger National Park. As they say, it is the most exciting safari destination. It is truly iconic in the history of South Africa. If you want to see some lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards and buffalos in person then going on a wild safari trip will surely fulfil your needs. Seeing the animals in their natural habitats is much better than seeing them in zoos. That could be one of exciting stuff to put on your bucket list. The large and wide area to drive with your professional and trained guides will surely complete your vacation and stay in South Africa.

If you want to explore more, South Africa has other destinations to offer including The Winelands, Garden Route, Robben Island, Wild Coast, Rustenburg, Mossel Bay, East London, Port Elizabeth, Knysna, KwaZulu-Natal, Oudtshoorn and a lot more! Do not limit yourself experiencing good things in life and wonderful creations to enjoy.

Like South Africa, life has also more to offer when it comes to adventure. Go out and find out those offers! If you have extra available time and extra available money to spend, then why not treat yourself and your loved ones to some getaway. Relax, enjoy and be adventurous!

Group Travel Planning And Traveling Tips

Thinking about traveling with a group? Group travel can be one of the most rewarding ways to see the world and visit popular destination sites; not only is the vacation care free, but you can make lifelong friends on the way! If you are planning on experiencing group travel for the first time soon, here are some traveling tips to help you have the best group vacation experience.

Have Group Will Travel

Did you know that many group travel companies love it when you already have an established group to travel with? If your church society, school class, hobby club, social group, or extended family and friends want to take a vacation to an exciting destination together, tour operators are happy to handle all the details so your group can travel simultaneously without the hassle of planning the vacation, gathering payments or handling travel documents. This is one of the best ways to travel with a group since you already know the members of the organization, share a common interest and nobody in the group has to handle the tedious details!

Finding the Best Group Travel Services for You

The best group vacation company is the one that meets your needs and provides you with the vacation experience you were looking for! There are all types of tour operators such as adventure travel services, group travel for singles, and senior group travel companies. First, pick a travel company that is specialized in the type of travel you want (unless you already have a group of people to travel with). Then make sure the tour operator is respected and well established in providing escorted vacations. Just because a company claims they have led groups before does not mean they are an established tour operator! Just think, you are leaving all the details and traveling plans up to someone else; that is a lot of responsibility and your happiness is on the line! Make sure you pick a respected, established travel company that is specialized in the type of travel you are looking for and has built relationships with its travel partners from years of doing business together.

International Traveling Tips

If it is your first time traveling overseas then learning about the country you are going to visit is important even when traveling in a group! Simple things like charging your phone might be challenging if you are traveling overseas. Escorted travel companies will try and alert you about native customs and give you international traveling tips, but you might also want to learn the basic “hello” and “goodbye” greetings as well as how to say “yes,” “no” and “thank you” in the native language of the countries you will visit. Don’t forget to pack your passport and any additional documentation you might need for medical purposes; it is good to bring the phone numbers of your home physician in case your medical history needs to be accessed while on vacation.

Unfortunately, going on vacation is a treat that most people only get to do once a year! Group travel can be very rewarding and allow you the comfort of experiencing a foreign land without the feeling of being alone. Tour operators also make sure you have the best travel experience possible so that your escorted vacation becomes your dream vacation.

Formal Night On A Dinner Cruise

Cruises are typically a laid back affair, but despite being a way to relax and take a vacation, it`s fun to dress up nicely from time to time. If you’ve never been on a dinner cruise before, you`ll probably want to ensure that you know what to wear for formal attire.

Formal Night on a Cruise: What to Wear

Cruises are typically a laid back affair, but despite being a way to relax and take a vacation, it`s fun to dress up nicely from time to time. Formal nights allow just that. If you`ve never been on a dinner cruise ship before, you`ll probably want to ensure that you know what to bring for formal night.

Dressing Up on a Dinner Cruise

It`s normal to dress semi-formally for dinner on a cruise, particularly if you are eating in the nicer dining room, as opposed to ordering in or eating at a more informal area. A nice dress or slacks and a blouse for women are appropriate for these dinners, a suit or slacks and a tucked in button-down shirt work well for men.

Another opportunity to dress up a bit would be when you hit the dance floor on the cruise ship. Many people prefer to wear nice clothes and shorts are generally frowned upon in this case. These are the normal situations that you would find yourself dressing up for on a cruise. Nothing terribly formal and the atmosphere is still relatively casual. Not so on Formal Night.

What to Pack for Formal Night on a Cruise

The formal night on a cruise is meant to be one of a kind and it shows. While a nice suit can be acceptable for a man, tuxedos are now the norm on many cruises. Just think of what you would wear to a nice wedding . . . if it would pass there, then you`re probably good to go.

Women have far more choice in what to wear. Formal ballgowns are definitely an option, but your most elegant “little black dress” can also be very appropriate. Again, imagine wearing it to a wedding and you`ll know if it`s formal enough. Women may choose to wear brighter colors, like red or emerald green, but when in doubt, stick to black or white to be sure you`ll fit in.

For women, matching shoes and jewelry is a must. If you have an elegant gold chain or something more formal such as a string of pearls, that will dress up any outfit. Matching earrings add an extra touch of elegance to the outfit, too. Add a touch of more formal makeup and do your hair up for the ultimate in elegant looks.

Can You Rent?

Often cruise ships will have a tuxedo and dress rental where you can pick up something for the evening that will be appropriate. However, these rentals are usually booked very early, so make sure to book as soon as you board, or even earlier, if possible. This requires that you be aware of the option, of course, so you`ll need to talk to your cruise ship representative about the Formal Night.

If you find that you are just really stressing out about the dinner cruise event, just make it easy on yourself. Call up the cruise line ahead of time to find out just what is required. Are they offering rentals? Will there be a theme to the Formal Night? Preparing yourself for this event will keep the stress levels to a minimum and allow you to truly enjoy the cruise.

Formal Night is a night meant to be super romantic and beautiful. While not everyone enjoys dressing up, it is still a wonderful occasion to enjoy your partner and have fun in a more upscale environment where you can be the belle of the ball or the prince of the hour for a short while. Just be prepared and arrange everything ahead of time to make sure you won`t be thinking about the event the whole time.

Finding Unique And Exotic Travel Deals Right Here In The US

For the larger travel web sites; travel deals are generated when they purchase airfare seats, hotels and rental cars in bulk and then resale to the general public at reduced rates.

The same holds true for discounted cruise deals and hot vacation spots. He who has the cash flow to purchase travel in bulk do extremely well in the resale.

However, there is another travel deal that is generated consistently that the general public usually is not aware of. This is the travel deals created by the smaller resorts and off the beaten path travel spots.

With any purchase of sight unseen you run the risk of the vacation NOT being what you expected. You can be fairly sure that your accommodations will be as advertised when you purchase from the large travel web sites.

This leads us to why the ” travel review” sites are so popular. You can go to any of these sites and read what other traveler’s have written about the destination you are interested in visiting.

This leads us to another concern for the independent traveler; unless you know exactly where it is you want to travel you may never know about the exciting, wonderful, beautiful, inexpensive, travel deals throughout the world that have been totally safe for Americans in the past.

Getting small private resorts, travel agents and travel suppliers to be consistent with their marketing efforts has not proven successful. In the pass their ad campaigns have been hit and miss, now and then. Unless a cash flow rich travel agency decides to promote one of these small and unique travel destinations in the San Francisco Chronicle or the New York Times; the general public may never know of the hidden travel spots.

Yes, this is a time when we must be extremely aware of our surroundings, regardless of what county we are in; but we don’t have to leave the US to find really nice exotic places alone the Eastern seaboard or the hidden islands and coast line off the southern states here in the US.

Travel Agents receive press releases and flyers on remolded, inexpensive, small, out of the way resorts, via their fax lines all the time. Its one thing for them to receive this information and another for them to promote them. And why should they? Good business persons promote that which will increase their income! And many of travelers go to the larger travel sites for vacation packages.

So for the independent traveler who wants more from his/her travel experience – research is the key. You don’t have to leave the US to find new and exciting places to travel — However, you do have to take the time to find them.

Travel Insurance Destination Report

Eastern Europe is a great place to visit. Some good travel insurance tailored to meet your needs is all you really need for peace of mind. International travel insurance which covers all concerns and personal needs is strongly recommended. General note on health: Eastern Europe is a region for which travelers will require a comprehensive vaccination program. Travelers with existing medical conditions are advised to take appropriate precautions.

Turkey- Health and Safety

Turkey is an emerging tourist hot spot, with many modern and ancient attractions.

Health

Urban areas: The Turkish cities are pretty reliable, particularly in the tourist zones. However, in some areas these conditions are patchy.

Rural areas: Remote areas are sometimes very basic in terms of health facilities, despite the Turkish government’s efforts, and it’s advisable to be realistic about health concerns.

Safety

Turkey doesn’t have a reputation for theft or targeting tourists. However, some areas of the country are subject to domestic policing and security issues including the Kurdish separatist movement. Get current information about any local issues when traveling.

Insurance

It’s advisable to have an all round travel insurance policy as basic risk management.

Russia

Russia is one of the great travel adventures. However, there are some issues for travelers, and good travel insurance is a must.

Health

Russia has its own local health issues, including some major communicable diseases. These vary between regions, and it’s a good idea to go for a comprehensive vaccination program.

Safety

Russia’s crime problems are well known, particularly in major cities. They shouldn’t be underestimated, either, when traveling. It’s advisable to be cautious and take sensible precautions.

Insurance

Full coverage, with extras, is considered appropriate for Russian travel needs. Although Russian health care facilities are excellent, they’re also potentially expensive. It’s a good idea to go for full health coverage.

Hungary

Hungary is a beautiful holiday destination. It’s a former Eastern bloc country, and like others has been recovering from relatively backward standards of living amenities.

Health

Health services are adequate, but in some areas old sanitation and facilities are issues. In remote areas medical services may be a problem.

Safety

Although Hungary is one of the safer countries in Eastern Europe, tourist targeting and theft are known situations.

Insurance: Good basic cover, with selective extras, is the recommended approach.

Croatia

Croatia has become a popular tourist destination since the civil war. Some areas are still showing signs of the conflict, and tourist facilities vary considerably.

Health

Health services and amenities may vary regarding standards and availability in different regions.

Safety

Croatia is considered safe by Eastern European standards. However, there is a level of minor crime and there have been reports of tourists being targeted.

Insurance

Full cover is considered the best option, with extras selected where appropriate.

Travel insurance tip: It’s well worth investigating online travel insurance. You can get excellent levels of coverage, at very good rates.

How To Book Cheap Discount Airfare Tickets

One of the best way of getting discount airfare tickets when booking through an agent is to ask whether there is any low airfare because if you don’t ask them they won’t tell you. They will expect you to pay the usual amount you see on the notice board. Sometimes they may be specials which are not meant for the apex or economy class because few of the agents are not always motivated to find the cheapest ticket. The reason is because they are ignorant of the discount the next cubicle has been selling all week or maybe the commission may not bother them much.

In addition, purchasing a ticket on the internet is not a good way to get the cheapest price because some companies just list the actual price there unless you are familiar with their tricks then you may be able to find a discount at some pages of their website. When you meet a travel agent you might be given the cheapest price or a test price, it is good to compare and be wise when a deal presents itself. A good strategy is to book the fully refundable tickets early and the best value then proceed for something better to add up, wait at least three hours between flights for changeovers or international departures. The best deals are offered directly by airline websites, try to sign up with the airline and they will notify you via email of restricted discounts about some specials a few days before the flight, some of these include Southwest, Continental, United, American, Northwest, U.S Airways and Carnival etc.

Furthermore, some courier companies sell cheap tickets in return for using your checked luggage allotment for business stuffs like computer parts or documents which they need to ship to somewhere very fast. This means that if you carry baggage’s that has less weight, it is a good advantage to get discount airfare tickets. You should play your own part by coming up at the airport on time to meet someone with tickets and board the airplane, you do not even handle the checked luggage.

Nevertheless, if you have short amount of travel then courier flights are the best options for you, their return flights are scheduled two to thirty days after their departure flight. They normally require your presence for the return flight, sample of courier air travel include New York to Paris $250, Los Angeles to Hong Kong $400, Los Angeles to Sydney $400. Whenever courier companies are desperate at the last minute they give out free flights. If you fly with them always they can give you free ticket or bring down the price.

Moreover, Charter flights lease out an airplane for a particular date and route for example New York to Paris and then sell the seats. They normally charge very low price which may go lower as flight time draws near and still vacant seat remain unsold. Some charter companies include Tower, Martin Air, Council Travel and Lauda. Most airline companies know that some passengers won’t make their flight because of that they always overbook to maximize revenue and efficiency. At times, they have more passengers than seats inside the plane then it means they must deny flight to some. What they normally do is to ask for some volunteers that are willing to give up their flights for one on the next available flight. If no one responds they offer a voucher for a free flight plus a seat on the next flight, at times they give up to $500 in cash. This normally happens during busy holidays, on Mondays, Sundays and Fridays, it is called bumping. If you would love to be bumped then you must arrive early to place your name at the first volunteer list and never check your bag.

Some Great Options For Senior Citizen Tours Around The World

More and more seniors are becoming active late into their lives. Despite the massive obesity problem prevalent in certain parts of the world, there are people out there who are indeed becoming more and more healthy. Whether this is because they’re just tough or because of medical advances, what matters is that people are starting to live longer.

Those who live longer will eventually want to start travelling around the world. The travel industry has not ignored this, creating an entire segment of businesses dedicated for senior travel, which includes domestic and foreign destinations as well as cruises.

Senior travel is often specialized – there are some deals out there that are specifically for them, as they might want something different from the usual vista of travel that the youths want.

Each elderly generation is successively more tech savvy than the last, having been exposed to this technology earlier in their lives than the previous one. The next generation of the elderly might like more of the same things as the youths of that generation.

There are companies that offer a wide variety of tours – everything from local to international, ocean and land, is available if you can find it. A senior that wants to get a good deal can easily find it if they can use the internet.

There are many options available to them, such as extended vacations and escorted tours. Those options are available over land and sea from agencies that have a ton of experience behind them.

The hidden idea here is that senior groups bring in the most money, because they’re just so many of them travelling right now. It’s not just the travel industry that has realized this – many industries around the world have figured out that if they want to make money, they’ll need to pay attention to the grandmothers and grandfathers.

Packages of all kinds are available depending on the needs and wants of the senior traveler.

The Adult Only Cruise

When looking for an adult only cruise, it is just as important to think carefully about your budget and the specials you encounter as it would be if you were planning a trip with a big family. While a smaller industry, those vacation companies that cater to singles and sexually adventurous couples act as a sort of microcosm of the larger travel industry as a whole. Many trip packages are virtually identical to their family-friendly counterparts, save for nudity clauses and perhaps some of the entertainment offerings. Always popular among those looking for a bargain are all- inclusive deals. How do they stack up against a la carte options?

Benefits

An adult only cruise that offers an all inclusive package will have several benefits to the adventurous traveler. The biggest benefit is that you don’t have to worry about your budget skyrocketing out of control while on the trip. This can happen much more easily than you might think. In between all the debauchery, you’re going to want food, drinks, souvenirs, and more. It’s easy to go overboard, so to speak. A pre-paid package will also give you the ability to create a plan ahead of time that perfectly fits your budget. If you go a la carte, it may be hard to determine if you can even afford the trip.

Disadvantages

Of course, the all inclusive adult only cruise isn’t going to be for everyone. Be careful about the company with whom you book the trip. Sometimes ” all inclusive” isn’t exactly what it seems. Tips won’t be included, of course, but many packages will also exclude alcohol, dessert, and certain forms of transportation. Some people also find that these packages are a bit too restrictive. Although nothing is stopping you from spending more money once on the trip, you may not realize until later that you would rather be doing one thing while your trip itinerary says you’re doing another.

Finding Packages

Your local travel agent may not be of immediate help when it comes to booking an all inclusive adult only cruise, but there is a world of possibility out there. It is a fairly explosive industry and you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a good vacation package. Do your research before picking a company, however. Try to find some reviews. One ship may have a very different idea of what constitutes ” all inclusive” than another. The same can be said for the term, “adult activities”. Make sure you know what you’re getting into before booking that trip.