Whether you are from the East Coast looking to escape to the West or you’re from the West and looking to explore something new, New Mexico is a great place to take a family vacation. There are so many beautiful things to see and do. Regardless of how old your children are, you can find things to do for just a couple of days or a full week. Let’s take a closer look.
Play in the Sand Dunes
At White Sands National Monument, you’ll find the world’s largest gypsum dune field, according to Just Go Travel Studios. Located on the northern portion of the Chihuahuan Desert, this is a beautiful place to play, take family photos and explore. You can grab some free maps at many locations in the area. The sand is pure white, the sky is blue, and you’ll feel like you’re inside the pages of a book. You’ll be dealing with a lot of sand, so bring some items along that will help you clean up rather than trek a bunch of sand into your vehicle when you’re done.
Go See the Fish
According to Budget, the ABQ Biopark Aquarium is a great place to visit with young children. This aquarium is located directly next to the Rio Grande in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It’s easy to access, there is plenty of parking, and you can keep the kids busy for hours with all there is to see and learn. There is also a botanical garden attached to the facility. Plan to be at this location for at least a couple of hours, if not more. You can easily spend a good majority of the day at the ABQ Biopark Aquarium if you pack a lunch and take your time.
Check Out the Local Cuisine
This is a great area that is rich and diverse in culture. Head to Santa Fe if you want to try authentic sopapillas and chile rellenos. El Corral Café offers authentic Mexican cuisine at affordable prices that your whole family will enjoy. Even the pickiest kids will love trying things like churros, homemade enchiladas and Spanish rice. The great thing about New Mexico cuisine is that you can dine out incredibly affordably throughout your whole trip.
There is so much to see and do in New Mexico that will help you and your children learn about the culture and people. You should plan to spend at least a couple of days in each area so you can truly absorb all of the culture there is. This is a memorable trip that you and your family will enjoy looking back on for years to come.
(BPT) - Planning a trip abroad? That’s exciting! But you have lots to do and less time than you think to get it done. What do you need to accomplish before leaving?
Here's a handy checklist to help you get your ducks in a row.
If you have a current passport, check the expiration date. Many countries require that you have at least two to four blank visa pages, and that your passport be valid for 6 months past the last day of your trip.
If you don’t have a passport or it needs renewal, get that done first. The U.S. State Department announced an increase in processing time for passports to 6-8 weeks. Even a higher-cost expedited passport can take three weeks.
Fortunately, FedEx Office is teaming up with RushMyPassport to offer further expedited U.S. passport services. Stop by one of 2,000 FedEx Office locations or visit FedEx.com/passport to complete your application. You can even purchase government-compliant passport photos at their locations. There are six options:
This doesn't include shipping, so add one day or more for shipping, or arrange pick-up at their location in select cities.
Some countries don't require visas for brief visits, but you should check well before leaving. Find the country at travel.state.gov/destination to determine necessary paperwork and allow several weeks for the process. You will typically need to visit the website of that country's embassy for current visa requirements and instructions. FedEx Office does not currently offer visa services, but plans to in the future.
If your destination country doesn't require a visa, they may require proof of sufficient funds for your trip, proof of onward or return flights and a passport with one blank visa page valid for 6 months beyond the date you arrive.
Bring along information for the U.S. embassy and consulate, in case of emergency. You should also carry contact information for family members in case anything happens to you. Leave a copy of your travel documents (such as passport) and itinerary with someone back home and carry copies with you (separate from originals, in case of loss or theft).
Savvy travelers carry a combination of cash, traveler’s checks and credit cards in separate locations. Learn overall currency exchange rates and make a cheat sheet with that country’s equivalents of $5, $10 and $20. Remember, exchange rates change daily and vary depending on where you exchange money.
Exchange some at the airport when you arrive. Then exchange more in a touristy area posting competitive exchange rates to find better deals.
Consult your doctor to catch up on vaccinations. Find out if the country where you’re traveling requires vaccinations for entry, or which are recommended, on the CDC website: wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/travel-vaccines. Vaccines should be administered a month ahead for maximum effectiveness.
If you take prescription medications, bring them in their original containers, plus a copy of the prescription(s).
Some health insurance policies cover you overseas, but many don't. You can purchase travel insurance to ensure you’re covered for both doctor or hospital visits and for transporting you to a hospital if necessary. Some renters or homeowners insurance policies cover loss or theft abroad, but you can purchase additional coverage if they don't.
Planning ahead will not only ensure a hassle-free trip, but will give you peace of mind in case the unexpected happens. Knowing what you need before you go will make your trip memorable — for all the right reasons.
These general guidelines are not exhaustive. Be aware that laws change and vary from country to country. Check relevant resources including travel.state.gov/destination for information about your destination.
The US boasts an abundance of places that allow you to experience the true beauty that is present in this world. From towering mountain ranges to lush forests, you can immerse yourself in a variety of landscapes that demonstrate the wonder of this nation and its natural scenic beauty. Here are three US travel destinations to visit if you want to feel the awe-inspiring wonder of nature.
The Hoh Rainforest
Located in Olympic National Park in Washington state, the Hoh Rainforest is an amazing example of a temperate rainforest. A variety of hiking trails make it easy to get up close and personal with the wonder of this unique destination. This rainforest boasts the highest annual precipitation in the country. In fact, according to Dew Drop Inn, the Hoh Rainforest gets a grand total of 140 to 170 inches (or 12 to 14 feet) of precipitation a year! The lush green growth of the forest is something to behold and unlike any other spot in the US. The Hoh Rain Forest is home to a “hall of mosses” where there are tons of beautiful, tall trees that have various mosses growing on them. It makes the rainforest look like a true otherworldly nature wonderland.
The Smoky Mountains
Spanning both North Carolina and Tennessee, the Smoky Mountains is an expansive demonstration of the beauty of nature. According to Smoky Mountains By Owners, the mountain ranges, some of the oldest in the world, boast the most biodiverse ecosystem in the whole National Park System. While visiting the Smoky Mountains, you will encounter a myriad of wildlife including black bears, coyotes, deer, bobcats, and elk. At over 6,500 feet, Clingman's Dome is the highest point in the park. Visitors can climb to the top of Clingman’s Dome's observation tower to be rewarded with views of this impressive mountain range and its biodiversity.
Rocky Mountain National Park
There is a variety of amazing National Parks throughout the US. According to Elevation Outdoors, one of the most stunning is certainly Rocky Mountain National Park. With mountain peaks towering over 12,000 feet and over 260,000 acres of wooded paradise to explore, there is always something new around every corner. Although it is opened only seasonally, Trails End Road is a must-see drive for anyone. The beautiful Sprague Lake area offers majestic views of the Continental Divide, helping you to feel connected to the power of Mother Nature. As a bonus, the nearby town of Estes Park is a charming place to call home base while exploring this gorgeous region of the country.
The United States is truly full of natural treasures. There are beautiful forests, mountains, and plains that are available for anyone to explore. Regardless of your travel destination, be sure to take the time and effort to disconnect from the real world so that you can truly appreciate them. Your oasis of beauty and tranquility is waiting for you!
Looking for a vacation that’s not only fun, but also meaningful? Wish you had more time to volunteer in a way that really makes a difference? There’s a simple solution: Plan your next vacation around a great volunteer opportunity.
(BPT) - Looking for a vacation that’s not only fun, but also meaningful? Wish you had more time to volunteer in a way that really makes a difference? There’s a simple solution: Plan your next vacation around a great volunteer opportunity.
Whether on your own or with the entire family, volunteering on vacation is a wonderful way to explore a favorite destination or someplace you’ve always wanted to go, while contributing to a cause you care about. It's also one of the fastest growing travel trends in 2019. According to a Google Consumer survey, one in four travelers report that they plan to volunteer on an upcoming trip, and almost half of travelers (47 percent) say they would choose a vacation destination based on a volunteer opportunity they are passionate about.
With the Travel for Good program from Travelocity, you can easily explore volunteer activities in popular vacation destinations all over the U.S. Most activities require anywhere from just a few hours to a whole day.
Here are just a few of the types of opportunities you can find on their interactive volunteer map.
Concerned about hunger?
Travel to New York City to volunteer for Rescuing Leftover Cuisine. This nonprofit organization saves food from New York City restaurants that would otherwise go to waste, and then delivers it to folks who need a helping hand.
Or visit Washington, D.C., to sort food donations, stock shelves and assemble nutritious food packs for elementary school children at Food for Others. Volunteers age 12 and older can sign up for weekday shifts, making it a great opportunity to teach your tween or teen children about how they can make a difference.
Care about animals?
You can spend time at The Nashville Zoo, one of Tennessee’s most popular attractions, to enjoy the wildlife while assisting at one-time volunteer opportunities for special events like the adults-only Brew at the Zoo and holiday-related celebrations for Easter, Halloween and more.
Or if you love cats and dogs, consider volunteering your time to help out at an animal shelter, such as Best Friends Animal Society in New York, Lucky Dog Animal Rescue in Washington, D.C., or PAWS Chicago.
Passionate about the environment?
Plan a trip to California to volunteer with Surfrider Foundation, which organizes regular beach cleanups around the Bay Area. Or head farther south to help out at San Diego Coastkeeper, an organization that helps make sure San Diego's waters are safe and clean.
In the Big Easy, help Green Light New Orleans work on sustainable, eco-friendly projects, including installing energy-efficient light bulbs in residential homes, installing rain barrels to collect stormwater runoff and other good deeds.
Want to help build healthier communities?
You could spend your vacation in San Francisco, getting your hands dirty while tending the land at Alemany Farm, the largest urban farm in San Francisco, which educates visitors on how to become healthy food producers and gives away all the food it grows for free.
Or help teach hygiene habits to vulnerable groups in Las Vegas with a volunteer stint at Clean the World Foundation.
Finding a place where you can volunteer on vacation may seem daunting, but it's easy to locate nonprofits in need in some of the top cities across the country by checking out www.travelocity.com/travelforgood. The site also offers tips from fellow volunteer travelers for your next adventure. Make your next vacation both memorable and meaningful by finding the right volunteer opportunity for you.
The Gulf Coast is a beautiful place to go on an adventure. From the emerald-colored waters to the wildlife, there is a lot to see for all ages. Here are three tips to making your Gulf Coast adventure the best you will ever experience.
Experience the Seafood
Seafood is a great treat to experience all that the Gulf Coast has to offer. You may want to take advantage of this perk especially if you live in a place where you cannot get fresh seafood on a daily basis. Not only does eating fresh seafood add a lovely beach vibe to your adventure, but fish is also a wonderful addition to a well-balanced diet. The Gulf Coast delivers a variety of specialties when it comes to seafood. Try cracking some delicious snow crab, indulging in some delicate pink salmon, or enjoying some spicy shrimp tacos at a nearby Mexican spot. Be sure to ask about daily catch specials.
Stop for Fun
There are plenty of activities to do along the Gulf Coast. The beach is one of the most popular attractions for those that visit the coast. Here you can learn to surf, go snorkeling over a coral reef, or swim with the dolphins! Another fun thing to do on the Gulf Coast is to stop at the local pier on your beach. There you will find restaurants, shops, and sometimes even carnivals. Be sure to ask the locals what their favorite thing to do on the Gulf Coast for some "off the menu" fun.
Rent a Waterfront Condo
One of the best things you can do for yourself on your coastal adventure is to rent a waterfront condo or house. This is beneficial for cutting down on transportation costs while getting the most beautiful view. Many of the waterfront condos and houses offer private beaches for their guests to enjoy. Often, they also have amenities such as beach chairs, umbrellas, and discounts on bike and surfboard rentals. Another perk to renting a waterfront condo or house is the private pools. As soon as you finish swimming, your room is only a few minutes away from where a warm and inviting shower awaits you.
From the seafood experience to the wonderful perks of waterfront condos, the Gulf Coast has a lot to offer. Take advantage of the sights, the water, and the activities to have an experience you won't forget.
Want more travel in your life? Check out these other great articles!
Whether it’s a permanent way of life or a practical way to satisfy your wanderlust, you may be surprised by how easily an RV provides the perfect solution for your lifestyle. Sleek new models and high-tech innovations are attracting younger and more diverse people to the RV lifestyle. Consider these tips if you’re thinking about giving an RV lifestyle a try.
Pro Tips for Living an RV Lifestyle
(Family Features) Recreation vehicles, or RVs, are increasingly popular. Sleek new models and high-tech innovations are attracting younger and more diverse people to the RV lifestyle.
Whether it’s a permanent way of life or a practical way to satisfy your wanderlust, you may be surprised by how easily an RV provides the perfect solution for your lifestyle. It’s something automotive expert and TV host Rutledge Wood has enjoyed for years.
“So much of my life has been on the road that it was natural for me to fall in love with the RV lifestyle,” Wood said. “Whether it’s covering NASCAR or traveling with my family, I can’t think of a better way to enjoy life on the road than in an RV.”
Consider these tips from Wood if you’re thinking about giving an RV lifestyle a try:
Start with a rental. Owning an RV offers an affordable alternative to traditional vacations, and renting can let you try before you buy. Renting an RV allows you to do a practical, hands-on test drive to learn more about the features and characteristics you need. You might find you need more or less space than you originally imagined, or you may discover a motorhome suits your family better than the towable styles. Renting lets you experiment so you can be confident you’re getting the RV that’s right for you when you decide to buy.
Check out the latest innovations and models. At the first-ever RVX: The RV Experience show, RV manufacturers unveiled an array of new models, concept vehicles and prototypes that will transform the future of RVing. Cutting-edge features and technologies, including advances in safety and livability, may appeal to all types of RV users from families to tailgaters to luxury travelers. Learn more about new RV models and innovations at RVX.org.
Make your RV a home away from home. If you keep your RV stocked with basic supplies, nonperishable foods, linens and clothes, you’ll be ready to go nearly anytime, anywhere. From items like toiletries to accessories for your favorite activities, an RV lets you keep the essentials on board at all times so when the open road calls, you’re ready to answer.
Talk with other owners. Visit a local RV campground and you’ll most likely find a friendly community willing to share information and advice. Ask what you should know about owning an RV and seek out answers to questions you may have about features, care and ownership. Find out what lessons owners learned the hard way and what pleasant surprises they’ve discovered. You can also find RV owner forums and groups online to learn more about RV ownership, such as the Go RVing Facebook page.
Create a bucket list. The RV lifestyle offers nearly unparalleled freedom and flexibility. The options for places you can go, and the things you can see and do, are virtually endless. Start a list of all the destinations you’d like to conquer and experiences you’d like to collect then start mapping out how to make each journey a reality.
Learn more about how to begin your RV adventure at GoRVing.com.
Photo caption (man): Rutledge WoodSOURCE:
Hitting the open road continues to be an increasingly popular vacation option for families. As spring approaches, the idea of exploring the country in full bloom encourages many families to begin planning an RV travel adventure. For travelers looking to experience the outdoors, consider these tips.
5 Ways to Rev Up for a Travel Adventure
(Family Features) Hitting the open road continues to be an increasingly popular vacation option for families. As spring approaches, the idea of exploring the country in full bloom encourages many families to begin planning an RV travel adventure.
With more than 18,000 RV campgrounds across the United States spanning everything from vineyards to beaches to mountains, there's something for nearly everyone. There are also campgrounds that cater to certain lifestyles, like family-friendly, rustic or lux, for the ultimate adventure that fits your personality.
Travel expert Misty Wells believes living the outdoor life helps her keep a healthy connection with her two children. From fishing to paddleboarding to kayaking, Wells and her family do it all. For travelers looking to experience the outdoors, she offers these tips:
To take the first step toward your family’s RV adventure, visit GoRVing.com.SOURCE:
The options for experiencing an amazing vacation are so plentiful, such as exploring a cruise port, eating and drinking your way around a city or simply visiting a new destination, you may find yourself struggling to narrow down the choices. Once you’ve determined how you’d like to spend your time, you can begin to explore some hot travel destinations, such as these.
Bucket List Travel Destinations for 2019
(Family Features) Taking time to go on vacation or to just unplug from everyday life can be beneficial, and there’s certainly no lack of options when it comes to choosing an ideal vacation spot. The options for experiencing an amazing vacation are so plentiful, such as exploring a cruise port, eating and drinking your way around a city or simply visiting a new destination, you may find yourself struggling to narrow down the choices.
By focusing first on what type of vacation experience you would enjoy most, the details of the location may more easily fall into place.
“Often, would-be vacationers get so hung up on figuring out where they want to go, they forget to consider what they’ll do when they get there,” said Matthew Phillips, director of travel for AARP Services, Inc. “It makes sense to keep location in mind when it comes to considerations like climate, but knowing what types of activities, entertainment and sights you hope to experience can help ensure you plan a travel experience of a lifetime.”
Once you’ve determined how you’d like to spend your time, you can begin to explore some hot travel destinations, such as these:
California: Rent a car and take a road trip down the California coast and experience sunshine, culture and more as you drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco. It may be one single coastline, but California is filled with scenic views of the Pacific Ocean and tourist attractions, such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Hollywood sign.
Caribbean: There are few better ways to escape the cold weather than with a Caribbean cruise, where breathtaking excursions, first-rate cuisine, exciting nightlife and spectacular entertainment fill every day and night. There are dozens of cruise options available, so it’s a good idea to do plenty of research and look into special incentives and offers to complement the experience. For example, the AARP Travel Center powered by Expedia provides exclusive offers to members on select cruises, including up to $1,000 in onboard credit.
Florida Gulf Coast: The warmer seasons are perfect for unplugging and relaxing by the sand and water. Head to the beaches of Florida and get a room with a view so the water is never out of reach. For example, Sarasota, Florida offers miles of beaches, including Siesta Key, known for its majestic waters and luxurious amenities.
Southwest France: Explore the beautiful wine-growing region of Southwest France through a fascinatingly historical and invigorating river cruise. For example, the Uniworld Bordeaux river cruise allows guests to sail three rivers: the Garonne, the Dordogne and the Gironde. The experience blends land and water with archaeological and historical tours, artisanal wine tastings, sprawling gardens and charming villages to explore. Take your experience a step further and see the sights while feeling like a local by going on a spotlight tour, an intimate way to uncover hidden gems.
Singapore: If you want to immerse yourself into a completely new and unique culture, hop on a flight and explore Singapore, commonly referred to as a “shopper’s paradise” for its emerging brands and bargains stores. Enjoy both the urban and natural attractions while indulging in the eclectic dining scene. Singaporean cuisine is full of diverse plates, such as bak kut teh, laksa and friend carrot cake, derived from several ethnic groups.
If you’re ready to start planning a satisfying getaway, a resource like AARP Member Benefits can assist with planning and saving money along the way. Learn more at AARPBenefits.com/travel.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
AARP Services, Inc.
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