(BPT) - When winter cold and snow force you indoors, you might dream of getting away to somewhere warm and sunny that offers plenty of energizing fun and a much-needed change in the weather. Planning for your spring and summer vacations is a great way to score some budget-friendly deals. It also helps you beat the winter blues by giving you something to look forward to.
But where to go, you might ask. One great option is Florida's Space Coast, a destination that, while renowned for its ties to the U.S. space program, also offers an astonishing abundance of adventure-filled, outdoor vacation activities.
If you're starting to explore your spring or summer vacation possibilities, here are some can't-miss things to do that make the Space Coast an out-of-this-world destination:
* Take a nighttime "bioluminescence" kayak tour along the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge or Cocoa Beach. These tours allow you to get up close and personal with some of the glowing creatures who magnificently inhabit the waters along Florida's Space Coast.
* With so many great beaches, the area is an ideal destination for surfers and other water sports enthusiasts. Here, you can visit the flagship Ron Jon Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach - a 52,000-square-foot, multilevel store offering a huge selection of surf boards, swimming attire and other surf-brand apparel. Meanwhile, at the nearby Ron Jon Surf School, you can arrange a surfing lesson or even rent a paddleboard.
* Immerse yourself in nature at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, a 140,000-acre park that is home to at least 1,500 species of plants and animals, including alligators, manatees and a wide variety of birds. If the time of year is right, you can also take a guided nighttime Turtle Walk to observe sea turtles as they lay their eggs.
* The region is a paradise for birds, making it the perfect place to host the annual Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival, normally held early in the year. Bird-watching, or "birding," is just part of the fun at the festival, which also offers entertainment, unique dining experiences, special events and more.
* In Titusville, sign up for a Coast-to-Coast Bike Tour and get an up-close view of the region's vibrant wildlife areas and historic sites. Or, for an epic ride, venture out on your own along the Coast-to-Coast Connector Bike Trail.
* Get your adrenaline pumping with a zip line aerial tour. Brevard Zoo's Treetop Trek allows you to zip line, crawl or climb your way through acre after acre of lush Florida landscape.
* The Space Coast is one of the few places you can personally witness a rocket launching into space, and it is breathtaking. Rockets carrying satellites into orbit or transporting cargo to the International Space Station launch periodically throughout the year. You can find the launch schedule at SpaceCoastLaunches.com.
To learn more about Florida's Space Coast and plan your spring or summer getaway, head to visitspacecoast.com.
(BPT) - Whether it's business travel, family road tripping or a romantic getaway, exploring new places is exciting. You may be counting down the days until you leave, but if there's one thing you dread, it's packing. Deciding what earns a spot in your suitcase is hard enough, let alone figuring out how you can fit it all in.
Do you look with envy at savvy jet-setters who seem to navigate airports with ease while only toting a small carry-on? It's because years of travel experience has taught them some packing tricks that make the process simple. Now you can use these same strategies to pack with ease no matter how near or far you plan to travel.
Select double-duty clothing items.
Check the weather for your destination so you pack only items appropriate for the forecast. You won't need that big sunhat if rain is coming. Want to take it one step further? Choose items that multitask. For example, a large scarf can be a stylish accessory and also be used as a blanket on the plane or at the beach.
Pack toiletries strategically.
If possible, only bring samples and travel sizes of items to save space. Then leave them behind at the end of the trip to open up luggage space to bring home mementos. To avoid luggage spills and explosions, place toiletries in plastic bags or add plastic wrap to the tops before screwing on the cap.
Choose time-saving tools.
Air drying hair takes forever and hotel hair dyers are often slow and unreliable, so pack a lightweight, folding dryer like the Panasonic EH-NA27-K Nanoe Compact Hair Dryer to streamline your beauty routine. The nanoe technology draws moisture from the air to create moisture-rich ions that penetrate each hair shaft ad enhance hair's smoothness and shine. Need more incentive? The unique Quick-Dry Nozzle is designed to dry hair faster, so you can spend less time getting ready and more time enjoying your vacation.
Fold to prevent wrinkling.
To prevent wrinkles on delicate items, try wrapping them around soft, bulky items. For example, wrap a silk blouse or cotton trousers around a sweater. Avoid folding clothing any more than necessary. In fact, many people use a rolling method for packing clothes to save space and prevent wrinkles.
Utilize odd-shaped items.
Shoes take up a ton of luggage space, so strive to select no more than three pairs, and wear the heaviest or bulkiest pair while traveling. Place shoes along the sides or bottom to strengthen the bag and then stash items inside to maximize space (like socks, nylons and deodorant).
Eliminate makeup mayhem.
Only bring makeup essentials on a vacation and pack multi-use items such as a lipstick that can also be used as a blush. To prevent shadows and pressed powders from cracking, place a pressed cotton pad between the powder and the lid.
Grab a few plastic bags.
One of the most versatile things you can bring on a trip is also one many people forget: resealable plastic bags. Whether you need a bag for bringing toys down to the pool, a place to put dirty clothes throughout your trip, or something to place that soggy swimsuit in before you check out of the hotel, plastic bags are your secret weapon.
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