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Monthly Archives: June 2018

Cheap Getaways Info Guide

• Want to go out of the country for a few days? Consider flying with budget carriers like WOW Air and Norwegian Air. Even though the latter is based in Europe, it’s now offering low-cost rates from US airports to other places in the world – including the Caribbean. Its rates are so cheap that it’s forcing some top US airlines to drop their international fares in order to compete.

• Plan your meals ahead of time. Look for a hotel that offers free breakfast. Do research on the cheapest restaurants nearest to the hotel you plan to stay at, and what kinds of meals they offer. Doing this will help you plan your budget before you even leave. Another option is to simply head to the nearest affordable grocery store on your first day at the hotel or inn and buy your own food. Most hotel rooms have a microwave and small fridge at the very least. If you cook your own meals, you won’t have to worry about tips.

• Make a list of the top places you want to go and sign up to receive alerts whenever there are cheap getaways to any of those locations. Some travel alert apps and tools even allow you to specify a budget and will filter the results of the newest offers so that you see the packages that don’t exceed your specified budget.

If you simply love to travel and want to get away for a few days, it’s a good idea to keep up with the hottest tourist spots for some ideas on where to go.

Some Ideas for Cheap Getaways

Right now, some of the most affordable getaways in the US include:

• Grand Canyon

• Las Vegas

• Tucson

• Williamsburg

• San Antonio

• Memphis

• Salt Lake City

Some affordable international getaways include:

• Bali, Indonesia

• Mazatlan, Mexico

• Chile

• Morocco

• Cape Town, South Africa

• Crete

No matter what you’re looking for in a vacation, you can count on cheap getaways being available to suit your tastes (and budget)!

Get a Russian Tourist Visa

Russian Website St. Petersburg Guide

I used St. Petersburg Guide for $19.99 USD per person with fast turnaround service in a couple of days. I then went to the Russian Consulate website for my area in the USA and filled out the Russian visa application form. After following all the instructions and filling out the forms, I sent my application off along with the $193 fee in a cashiers check. Seven days later I picked up my passport in person with the visa page inserted and was ready to go to Russia!

Allow Enough Time

I did this about 2 months in advance of my travel.

I got a tourist visa which is valid for only up to 30 days. The dates you state on your visa application must be within that time frame. For example, I picked July 15 to August 15 as my dates of travel but actually arrived on July 18th and left on August 3rd. They are strict about not wanting the traveler to enter BEFORE the initial date stated, nor can you leave AFTER the date stated.

Get Your Migration Card Upon Arrival in Russia

Once you enter the borders you will get a migration card. It is a little piece of paper that fits inside your passport. (Don’t lose it!) You use that migration card to register within 7 days of your arrival. They are strict about that too. Usually your hotel can do this service for free. But in my case, I had rented an apartment from Airbnb.com so I was able to use the services of St. Petersburg guide again.

St. Petersburg Guide arranged to go to the Post Office to obtain the stamp and bring the card to me. This was most helpful as I don’t speak Russian proficiently and didn’t want to stand in a line all day. I agreed to meet Max, the liaison, at the local Starbucks to retrieve my card. It was as simple as that.

White Christmas in La Tania

To really get into the spirit of things, why not book a dogsledding excursion? There are few things that make you feel more alive (not to mention festive) than speeding through a picturesque Alpine forest, pulled by a team of excited dogs. It’s a delightful opportunity to combine a traditional Christmas aesthetic with a very exhilarating sport, and is especially recommended for dog lovers.

On Christmas Eve, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity for a torchlight ski descent. The younger children will be able to descend by lantern-light, while adults will light their way by flaming torches. A torchlight descent is an amazing experience at any time of year, but with the spirit of Christmas in the air, it’s absolutely magical. Follow it up with an evening tucked up in your cosy ski holiday accommodation with a few friends and you’ll be in for a Christmas Eve to remember.

Around this time of year, La Tania and its surrounding areas frequently play host to a range of Christmas markets. These can offer a chance to do a bit of Christmas shopping, or even to grab a few decorations as mementos so this magical experience will be echoed in future years. On top of this, you’ll find a range of traditional foods and other treats to make a visit well worthwhile.

Many local restaurants serve a festive menu around Christmas time – although bookings will be limited so be sure to book well in advance. You can expect plenty of hearty, cheese and meat-based Savoyard specialties, fitting in to the indulgent spirit of the season beautifully. If you don’t want to celebrate in a restaurant, and you’re self-catering, search out some local produce and delicacies in the markets and enjoy a small, intimate meal in your ski holiday accommodation.

Yes, Santa comes to La Tania! Every year he makes a dramatic entrance on the slopes on Christmas Eve, giving the children a chance to greet his arrival. He then spends the evening going from chalet to chalet distributing parents, so if you’d like him to visit your ski holiday accommodation (it’s a real treat for the little ones), you’ll be able to arrange this in advance.

Headed to a Ski Lodge

1. Waterproof clothing. First things first, you’re headed to a ski lodge and temperatures are likely colder than you expect. In addition to the typical items you might think of, such as heavy sweaters, hats and gloves, you’ll need to purchase items like wool-blend waterproof socks, waterproof ski jackets, gloves and pants to stay comfortable during long periods of activity on the slopes.

2. Ski socks. Ski socks are waterproof and will help keep your feet warm and dry. They also provide extra padding that you will be thankful for once you begin tackling the bumps and curves of the ski slope.

3. Neck gaiter. A neck gaiter is a tube worn around your neck that can also be pulled up over your mouth to protect you from the wind and cold while skiing or snowboarding. It may not be as fashionable as a scarf, but once you’re exposed to the cold temperatures, you’ll be glad you have it.

4. Long underwear. To stay warm, you’ll want to dress in layers, including long johns, or long underwear.

5. Ski equipment. You’ll need poles, boots and skis, but you can rent those items at your destination. You may, however, want to shop for ski goggles – which will come in handy should it begin to snow – and a helmet and pack those items for your trip.

6. Snacks. Don’t forget, skiing is physically demanding! You’ll want to keep your energy levels up by eating healthy snacks. Items like pretzels, fruit and grain bars, dried fruit and vegetables and nuts are great options to have on hand.

7. Hydration pack. It is important to stay hydrated while skiing and hydration packs are a great option if you’re unlikely to take frequent water breaks. Hydration packs can be worn comfortably on your back and allow you to easily drink while active. Remember to refill them on your breaks!

8. Moisturizer. Winter conditions are cold and dry. Pack moisturizer for your face and body to keep your skin healthy and comfortable. You’ll also want to purchase a lip balm with sunscreen to keep your lips properly moisturized and protected from the sun.

9. Sunscreen. The risk for overexposure to the sun’s UV radiation is increased for skiers due to higher altitudes and UV rays reflected by the snow. To avoid increased risk of sun damage and skin cancer, sunscreen should always be used during outdoor activities, even skiing!

10. Hand warmers. Hand warmers are small, disposable packets that provide on-demand heat. They can be activated by air, a solution or battery-powered and range in staying power for anywhere from one to 10 hours.

Winter Day Trips in Iceland

• Geological wonders
You can opt for Grand Golden Circle day trip which is accessible even during winter. This compact tour will cover Pingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall and the Geysir geothermal area where the hot spring Strokkur erupts after eight minutes.

• Natural ice caves
Among the unique wonders of this beautiful nation, one of the natural attractions that are really stunning is the natural ice caves which form in Vatnajokull glacier. They start to melt in the summer season. The blue ice caves create an impressive sight, and they differ in size and shape. Sometimes you may come across quite a few of these temporary ice caves while at other times you may see many of them. You can go on a day tour to these caves by flight from Reykjavik.

• Northern Lights
You need the ideal weather conditions along with appropriate solar activity and a bit of luck to view the Northern Lights. Of course, you will require a clear sky to see the spectacular aurora activity. You have to avoid full moon nights. You should run a check on the websites which provides aurora forecasts. If you can travel all the way to the northern part of Iceland where there are extended hours of darkness, then your chances of catching aurora borealis will increase.

• Relaxing day at the spa
The natural hot springs are an integral part of Icelandic culture. You can relax your muscles in the volcanically heated pools which trace their origin back to the Viking days. In recent times, most of the incredible locations have installed geothermally heated pools with hot tubs. The Blue Lagoon spa is a favorite tourist attraction. It is situated in a lava field. The presence of mineral salts helps in the relaxation of the body.