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Things To Do Deep In The Heart Of Texas

The Southern states in America have such a wide range of culture that it is hard to chose where to go. New Mexico has Spanish colonial architecture with a Hispanic culture. California is mostly associated with Hollywood, but it has roots in the cultures of Spain, Asia, Mexico, and the Eastern United States. But the one state you should really try to visit is the Lone Star State. Texas is a big area – about the size of most of Europe – so you’re better off choosing one city to explore during your visit. Here are a few hot destinations to help you narrow down your choices.

 

Austin

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If you’re a fan of music, Austin is a great place to tick off your bucket list as it’s the live music capital of the world; there are roughly 200 live music venues that you can catch a show at pretty much any day at any time, either at popular venues like the Moody Theatre, or downtown in hole-in-the-wall bars like The Continental Club on South Congress. Austin is also home to the largest urban population of bats in North America, estimated at 1.5 million bats. Each night, from mid-March to November, the bats emerge from under the Congress Avenue Bridge at dusk to blanket the sky as they head out to forage for food. Surprisingly, it’s become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Texas.

 

Mt Pleasant & Titus Country

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See the naturally beautiful side of Texas at Mt Pleasant & Titus Country. The pristine lakes, mountains, and preserved nature trails get visitors away from the hustle and bustle of city life that some have come to associate with Texas. Starting your day at magnificent hotels like the Super 8 Mount Pleasant, you could choose to go down to the lakes and indulge in some fishing, sunbathing, swimming, or hiking, or you could book a visit to Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards. Here, you can enjoy even more spectacular views, an extensive Tapas menu, and during the late summer you are welcome to join in the fun of harvesting the grapes. Mt Pleasant is also known for its great fresh produce, which you can buy at the local farmer’s market. It’s just the kind of country retreat that the doctor ordered.

 

Houston

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A vibrant culture scene awaits anyone who makes a stop in Houston; not only is it home to the NASA Johnson Space Center, but so many fascinating museums that you probably won’t see anywhere else. The Houston Museum of Natural Science is the closest you’ll get to visiting Jurassic Park, especially since when you see features like the Stegosaurus and a gigantic T-Rex in the 30,000-square-foot Hall of Paleontology. Houston also caters to even the most eclectic fashion senses, with clothing stores that specialise in authentic, vintage cowboy boots, as well as stores that feature designer labels like Lanvin, Stella McCartney and Valentino.

All the places in Texas offer a unique experience, so try ticking a few off your bucket list.  

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What To Look For In Your Next Hotel

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When you’re choosing a hotel to stay in during your next break, it can often be hard to know what you’re looking for. To start, the place you’re going is unknown to you, and you won’t be able to make a judgment about the area it’s in, making it hard to know if you’d want to be there. From there, you will encounter issue after issue, all caused by a lack of information about the place you want to visit. Of course, though, it doesn’t have to be this way. Instead, you just need to find a better way to look for your hotels. To help you out, this post will be going through some of the most important considerations to make when choosing this part of your vacation.

 

  • Cleanliness

No one likes the idea of spending their holiday somewhere dirty or poorly kept. Instead, you want to be able to sleep easy knowing that you won’t have to do any work like this yourself. Modern hotels are often given a hygiene rating by the government of the area they are in. But, alongside this, you should also consider looking up some reviews to make sure other customers haven’t found the place to be dirty before.

 

  • Service

Once you know that a place will be clean, you can start to think about the people working there. In a lot of cases, the service you get during your break will have a huge impact on the amount you enjoy it. So, making sure that you get the right service is very important. To make this easier, hotels will usually have a star rating which indicates the quality of the experience you can expect.

 

  • Food And Drink

Along with the way that you’re treated, you will probably also be concerned about the food in the hotel you choose. Thankfully, this isn’t such a big issue for a lot of people. But, it could be worth making sure that there are other places to eat nearby. This will save you from having to eat food you don’t like if the hotel is unable to provide for you properly.

 

  • Features/Services

Some hotels have gyms, sports fields, and other active equipment. Others, though, will have cinemas, bars, and even nightclubs, all to keep their guests entertained. Of course, the different options your hotel has will make a huge difference to your stay. Examples like the Cambria Hotel & Suites Roanoke have a wide-range of options and will appeal to most people. Some places, though, won’t have such a great choice.

 

  • Entertainment

Finally, the last area to consider before you start to pack your bags is the entertainment you’ll be able to indulge in during your vacation. A lot of people find themselves bored during the evenings they spend a way, and this is a shame. Some hotels are famed for providing some of the best entertainment in the world, from live shows to things you can get involved with, there’s plenty on offer for those willing to look around.

 

Hopefully, this post will give you a good idea of the different options you have to consider when you’re looking for the best hotel for you. A lot of people don’t consider everything here and will make a choice based on ease. But, this will often result in a poorly chosen place and will make you and the other guests you’re with feel bad.

 

 

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Must-Have Beach Accessories for Your Next Summer Vacation

Summer might be coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan ahead for future vacations in the sun. If you’ve ever gone to the beach and realised you’ve missed something, then it can put a huge strain on your mind that ultimately ruins your trip. So in order to prevent that from happening, here are a couple of must-have beach accessories for your next summer vacation.

Umbrella

An umbrella at the beach is an indispensable tool. It’s perfect for keeping the sun’s rays off you and it creates a nice bit of shade to keep you cool when the temperatures rise a little too high. Certain umbrellas are great at protecting you from harmful rays, but they need to be combined with the next item on the list to ensure you have ample protection.

Sunscreen

Sunscreen comes with many benefits that should not be ignored if you’re going to be spending time on the beach. It helps to protect your skin from harmful rays that come from the sun, thus reducing your chances of developing conditions like skin cancer or sunburn. There are different types of sunscreen and even certain brands that cater towards different skin types, which means it’s important to do a little research on the best brand for your body.

Sandals

Accessories are important when you’re on the beach, but perhaps the most underrated accessory to take is a pair of high-quality Hawaiian sandals. It allows your feet to breathe when you need to keep them dry, and sandals can also make it more bearable to walk on the hot golden sands of whatever beach you’re on. They also offer foot support if you have trouble walking on uneven surfaces, and they’re cheap and easy to carry around in a bag.

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Food

Beach food can be incredibly expensive depending on where you’re visiting. An ice cold drink can cost twice as much as it does in a bar or a cafe, and food can be quite expensive despite being relatively average (unless your beach is blessed with fantastic food!). In fact, most people wait until they’re out of the beach then get food afterwards. Unfortunately, staying hydrated and giving yourself something to snack on during your stay at the beach can be important, which is why you should always pack a bit of food with you. If you want to keep your drinks cool, then don’t hesitate to bring an icebox—your friends will thank you for it.

 

Entertainment

Let’s admit it; beaches can get relatively boring if you’re not hanging out with your friends the entire time. Even then, being at the beach can sometimes be a little dull. This is why taking a book, a portable speaker system or even a volleyball can greatly enhance your trip to the beach. It gives you something to do, it’s a great tool for socialising and it helps to keep the fun going. Don’t overestimate how much entertainment there is at the beach—take something so that you don’t get bored!

 

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The 2 Sides of Hoover Dam

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Did you know that Hoover Dam is between Arizona and Nevada? Yes it is. I only came to know when we visited few days ago. All I know is that Hoover Dam is a very famous landmark in Boulder City, Nevada. It was built around 1931 and completed 5 years later.  After visiting the famous attraction, I learned that the Hoover Dam spans from one end of Nevada and the other end of Arizona.

 

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(The Hoover Dam from the Arizona side and behind is the Memorial Bridge)

 

We drove from our hotel in Las Vegas to Hoover Dam. The drive was approximately 45 minutes without any congestion. We even got lost and drove all the way to Arizona and had to turn back to reach the road towards the entry of the Hoover Dam gate.

 

We crossed the Hoover Dam and parked our car on the Arizona side. The view was spectacular! We walked towards the sign board that indicated that we were in Arizona already. The road uphill after the state sign has more views of Hoover Dam and the surroundings. And I find them very beautiful despite of the very hot and humid weather that day.

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The water was a bit low when we visited but there were still some small sailboats sailing by beyond the buoys. We took some pictures from the upper road that has a balcony ledge on the side of the dam. After that, we went back to the car and drove to the other side, which is the Nevada side and parked in the car park.

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If you are visiting the Hoover Dam for the first time, it has a small restaurant and a merchandise/souvenir shop near the entrance, and car park. Few meters away from the shop is the Spillway House which was originally built in 1987. It was rebuilt last 2013 and has been set to house events for a beautiful vista of the Hoover Dam and the Lake Mead. All these are in the Nevada side of the dam.

 

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I just wished that the weather was not very extreme as there was a heatwave at the time of our visit. We weren’t able to cross the Memorial Bridge.

I don’t recall every paying for entrance when we entered and cross the Hoover Dam. The only fee we paid for was the parking.

 

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(This is in the Nevada side as you enter The Hoover Dam)

 

This is a perfect place to visit when you are already in The Strip in Las Vegas due to its proximity. You can either join a tour organized by your hotel or pre-booked with a tour operator of your choice. You may also drive there on your own if you don’t want to follow a rigid timing and want to explore at your own pace. You can check the web for directions on how to get there coming from The Strip of anywhere in the US if you are driving. However, consider traffic and weather conditions too when visiting. We could have stayed longer if it wasn’t from the high temperature. It is still a very memorable experience!

Address: Hoover Dam, Las Vegas, NV 89156

 

 

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Fancy Getting Wet And Wild In Florida?

Posted in beaches, holidays, travel, travel tips, US
on September 5, 2017

Thousands of people choose Florida as the ideal destination for a beach holiday each year. And, with hundreds of miles of beaches and famously good weather, it’s easy to see why. If you’re after white sand and blue sea, this destination won’t disappoint.

But, it would be doing Florida a disservice to assume that the water filled fun stops there. In truth, this destination offers a lot more than that for those who are after a wet and wild holiday. In fact, a little research will reveal that Florida has some amazing water related activities to try out. To give you an idea, we’re going to look at a few of them here.



Aquatica, Orlando

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We couldn’t write this without mentioning water parks. In all honesty, you’ll be spoilt for choice here. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that there are endless water parks in this destination. Would we expect any less?

But, today we’re going to focus on Aquatica, Seaworld Orlando’s water park. To see why this was the best pick for this list, you only have to look at rides such as the Dolphin Plunge. Not only do you get the thrill of a fast paced water slide. You also get to glide through the enclosure of the park’s Commerson’s Dolphins. These creatures are playful by nature, and will often dart along with you. So, you get the water park fun, and the experience of underwater life to boot!



Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, Sarasota

In keeping with the marine theme, you could head to Sarasota’s Mote Marine Lab, host to an incredible 135,000-gallon shark habitat. Here, you can witness ongoing research which is sure to give you a real in-depth perspective. Plus, you can book up to enjoy fun activities, such as a shark encounter, or even your own breakfast with sharks. With amazing accommodation like the Regency Inn & Suites only 15 minutes away, there’s no excuse not to pay this place a visit. For keen marine enthusiasts, it’s an absolute must.


Neptune Memorial Reef, Key Biscayne

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For something a little more unexpected,  head to the Neptune Memorial Reef in Key Biscayne. This art piece, designed by Florida local Kim Brandell, is an underwater world unlike any other. This piece is a Neptune Society sponsored cemetery and forms a natural reef underwater. Swimming around the 16-acre site may chill your bones a little, but it’s something you won’t forget in a hurry. If you’ve always wanted to see a city underwater, now is your chance.



Venetian Pool, Coral Gables

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Your water filled stay wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the world’s largest freshwater swimming pool. The Venetian Pool is the only pool listed in the National Historic Register, and was formed out of a coral rock quarry in 1924. This amazing spectacle has a natural filter system which refills the pool daily. As well as being an amazing sight to see, a swim here is sure to be one for your history books.

 

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Don’t Make These Typical Mistakes When Travelling in Spain

Travelling through Spain is wonderful. Warm weather, friendly people, stunning beaches and a relaxed lifestyle. Spain truly is somewhere you can go when you need a break from the daily hustle and bustle. But, as with any other foreign country, you need to be prepared for what could happen on your trip. Many people make mistakes when planning a trip to Spain. Don’t let it happen to you.

 

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Driving Through Spain

Looking at Spain on a map and actually being there are two very different things. Driving through Spain looks as simple as simple can be on a map, but you may find it stressful if you decide to take the challenge on. Firstly, Spain is a much larger place than most people realize, and secondly, Spanish drivers aren’t exactly known for their courtesy. If you’re planning to drive on your vacation, you could be putting yourself through unnecessary hassle. There are much easier ways of getting around.

 

A Secluded Hotel

The thought of being away from city life and taking time to relax is tempting, but being too far away from town and city centers could be a mistake. The point of travelling is to experience the culture of a new country and you won’t get that experience if you’re forced to stay in your hotel. You may find that you waste a lot of time going to local shops, restaurants etc. and travelling back to your hotel. Being within walking distance of main attractions will allow you to experience authentic Spain and be near local amenities for emergencies.

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Sticking to Your Own Habits

When in Spain, do as the Spaniards do. While you’re travelling through Spain, you may notice that the locals have different eating habits. The timings of their meals are often different to other countries, but it’s important to go with the flow. Many people make the mistake of eating lunch at their normal times and then venturing out of their hotels to find that local shops or attractions are closed. Spaniards usually take long breaks to avoid the midday heat and eat lunch afterwards. So, it’s worth waiting to eat your meals the same time as them and join in with the locals and learn Spanish so you aren’t caught out.

 

Pack Heavy

Most people visit Spain during the Summer months, but if you’re planning a trip when the weather is colder, don’t be tempted to pack heavy. Spain is full of long walks and stairs and steep hills. Each time you leave your hotel, you may have to be prepared for a work-out. Similarly, you don’t want to be dragging a heavy suitcase through cobbled streets and alleys that are difficult to navigate.

 

Open Jaw Ticket

When travelling through Spain, many people make the mistake of flying to and from the same city. Having an open jaw ticket will ensure you can fly into Barcelona but leave from Madrid, saving you time and hassle.

 

Travelling through Spain is certainly an experience, but don’t make the common mistakes of others.

 

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Bringing Modern Convenience To The Tradition Of The Road Trip

Posted in travel, travel tips
on August 26, 2017

The Great American Road Trip is a rather proud tradition for stateside travelers. There’s no doubt that it saw some decline as air travel became cheaper. However, now that air travel seems to be suffering a lot regarding customer service, there are more people taking to the roads than ever. Many are finding it isn’t always the picnic they expected it to be. However, while the same gorgeous routes are still out there, there’s a new modern convenience you can add with a little preparation. In keeping you safe, comfortable, and entertained, here are a few twists to add to the next trip.

 

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Never lose yourself again

We’re not going to advocate that you research every single destination you plan on stopping at because where is the fun in that? However, having a route planned out in advance, knowing where your gas stops and your sleeping spots are, is important. There are tools like Roadtrippers available now that can help you plot out your journey through just about any road in the country, highlighting everything you might want to know on the way. You don’t have to stick rigidly to that route. However, if a turn or a stop catches your eye and you want to go explore, just make sure you know how to get back to the plan before you go veering way off it.

 

A little breathing room

In the past, the only really comfortable road trips are those that made use of RVs. Older fashioned trailers might add a little more space but they weren’t exactly convenient to use. Nowadays, however, a teardrop trailer can prove spacious enough to carry what you need, but comfortable enough to heighten your camping experience, too. Some of the more modern models even contain quality features like USB chargers and power outlets so you never have to worry about your smartphone running out of juice. With cooking and refrigeration features in some, modern trailers allow you to actually have a more diverse range of stops. You don’t have to worry about reaching that motel if you can just stop up somewhere, cook your family dinner, and camp right there.

 

There’s an app for that

Let’s not make any mistakes. Boredom can become a serious factor on a road trip. While you should try to make the most out of the sights and stops, sometimes you just get stretches of road with very little to appreciate. It can be good for a little Zen time here and there, but you’re going to have to think about on-the-road entertainment. Your mobile device won’t only help liven things up with a great road trip playlist. Party games like Bluff Wars and What Would You Choose can provide a few hours of entertainment. They don’t have to prove a distraction the entire way, but only to lighten the mood so no-one feels like the trip is becoming a waste of time more than anything.

While modern convenience is all well and good, don’t forget that the road trip is supposed to be an old-fashioned exploration. Don’t prioritize screens over sunsets and don’t let DMs dominate.

 

 

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