One of the most common items on the retirement budget: travel. If you play things smart, you won’t have to dip too much into your retirement nest egg. Some retirees investigate possible refinancing options with tools like a mortgage refinance calculator to find cash for retirement travel, but if you’re looking for simple and easy ways to save some money, check out these 5 tips.
1. Don’t be shy about your age.
I know, I know. You knock off a few years to remind yourself that you’re still young at heart, but when you’re on the road or overseas, divulging your real age can reap all kinds of senior discounts on lodgings, vacation packages, attractions, cruises, car rentals, and even plane tickets.
Many airlines, foreign and domestic, offer all kinds of discounts to seniors and retired individuals. Those that don’t often have senior air passes, which allow you to fly to multiple destinations in a country for a set price. Hotels have senior discount programs, some that go as high as 50 percent off the listed rates. Add in AAA discounts and a charming smile and you can drastically cut the amount you spend on travel.
2. Take part in AARP programs.
Joining the AARP makes you eligible for all kinds of discounts and savings. Being a member can get you savings on things even better than the average senior discount. You have the usual hotels and cruises, but AARP members also get deals on restaurants and general activities. Even better, the AARP will notify you via email of any special or limited-time offers.
3. Travel out of season.
Now that you’re retired, there’s no need to schedule your vacations around the summer and holidays. Visiting destinations during off-peak season provides all kinds of benefits aside from the initial price tag. You don’t have to deal with huge crowds or the hot summer sun.
Just make sure you pack for the season and check the hours of attractions in the area. Some museums, for instance, will shorten their hours or shut down completely once peak seasons pass.
4. Don’t rush.
There’s no need to rush. You have all the time in the world, so instead of taking a plane, consider alternate forms of transportation, like trains and car rentals. They’re a bit slower but will still get you to your destination. Trains are much cheaper than planes, omit the hassle of security lines, and offer a new and exciting yet nostalgic experience. With Amtrak, you can even check two bags for free. Try doing that with any major airline.
Car rentals offer a touch more independence as you hit the open road. Gas can be pricey, however, so make sure the initial discounts offer significant savings.
5. Bring along the family!
Traveling with your family allows you to split costs on lodging and food while also giving you the opportunity to travel with your loved ones, and that kind of opportunity is truly priceless.
Have fun and make plenty of memories!
You’ll find a ton of horses and ponies for sale in Florida, showing that the equestrian traditions are alive and well. Horses have played an intimate role in the development of human society, far beyond their status as companions and creatures bred for racing. Whole civilizations were raised—and razed—with assistance from horses. They were imperative to the success of society and were lauded to the point of myth. Let’s take a look at some such horses from mythology and folklore.
Alexander III of Macedon, better known as Alexander the Great, was known for creating one of the largest empires of the ancient world and creating a foundation for military tactics still used today. Alexander the Great became something of a mythic hero, but his mythology is nothing compared to his own horse, Bucephalus.
Bucephalus was a real, actual horse, but not much is known about him save for his dark coat, giving a lot of room for potential myth. Bucephalus, which translates to “ox head,” was reportedly a huge animal that, in many accounts, couldn’t be tamed, partly due to its wild nature, partly because it was reportedly afraid of its own shadow. Then Alexander the Great came around and tamed the horse into submission. Other more mythic reports state that the horse was bred with heroic attributes and presented to Alexander’s father. An oracle prophesied that whoever rode Bucephalus would become king of the world.
Norse mythology is filled with interesting, whimsical elements, from ships made entirely of the toenails of the dead to giants sprouting from feet and armpits. Odin, the Allfather of Norse gods and ruler of Asgard, was a great warrior, and like all great warriors of old, he rode into battle on his trusted steed, Sleipnir.
Sleipnir’s identifying characteristic was his eight legs, indicative of his greater speed and strength. Odin’s horse was considered the best of all horses, capable of traveling over air, land, and sea. In some stories, Sleipnir could even go into the underworld. Odin and his many-legged horse were instrumental throughout Norse mythology and even became the precursors to Santa Claus and his reindeer.
Kelpies were water horses born from Celtic folklore. More malevolent than the horses of gods and ancient leaders, kelpies are believed to haunt lakes and rivers in Ireland and Scotland. Descriptions differ from region to region—some say they had skin like seals, while others say they appeared as ponies with dripping manes.
Kelpies were said to lure humans, particularly kids, into deep waters to drown and eat them. In some stories, a water horse would convince a child to ride it, at which point its skin would turn adhesive, allowing the kelpie to drag the child under water. Talk about an effective way to keep kids from playing around bodies of water.
The next time you ride your horse, remember the mythic traditions and folk stories that have come out of horse riding.
With summer coming to a close, plenty of young people are moving from their previous lives as college students into the “real world,” filled with taxes, rent and bills, and attempts at employment. Others are simply braving the swift transition from warm, beach-filled days to colorful leaves and pumpkin pie. Whatever your situation, now is the time to make the most of summer’s last few rays. Here are some last hurrah activities for summer’s end.
1. Go on a road trip.
With the wide array of new and used motorhome for sale, now is as good a time as any to go on a road trip with your family or close friends. This is a particularly good opportunity for recent college grads. You don’t have to worry about work, family, or paying off your student loans just yet. This is the most freedom you’ll have in a while, so take advantage of it.
Camp in one of America’s many beautiful national parks, from Yellowstone to Sequoia. Visit some of the country’s historic sites, head to a beach you’ve never been to, or take in some art and culture from museums. Partake in the nightlife of the many bustling metropolises. There’s so much more to the world beyond what you already know. Just going one city over can garner all kinds of new experiences.
2. Party hearty!
Send out the invites, put out the cheese platter, and celebrate the last bits of great summer weather with all your closest friends and family members. Head to the beach for a bonfire or classic clam bake. For you amateur grill masters, this is the last chance to use your barbecue until next summer, so make it count. Grill up those burgers and kebabs, or change things up with a homemade grilled pizza with some kale chips. Top it off with some delicious wine or sangria.
3. Get active.
Take advantage of the still-long days by getting out and sweating it up. According to the government, you should be getting at least two and a half hours of exercise a week, or about half an hour a day for five days a week. You don’t need any more convincing about getting some exercise, so just go out and do it. With the great weather, don’t assume you have to do something boring or stay in the confines of a gym to get your heart pumping. Go for a bike ride, or pull on your hiking boots and find a nearby trail. Shred it up on your skateboard. Play with your dog. When it’s too hot for any of that, do some laps in the pool.
4. Get through your summer reading list.
Whether you’re catching up on the classics or looking for something new, you should have no problem finding something amazing to expand your mind and satisfy your literary hunger. Take your book out to the park or patio and read in the effulgent sun. By the time you get back to school or back to work, your mind will be filled with so many good stories and new words.
Summer’s almost over, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had. Go out there and find an adventure!
With so many Fleetwood RVs for sale, it’s apparent that the road trip is as popular as ever, spilling into all months of the year, even outside the summer rush. Autumn brings a slight chill in the air and beautiful colors as far as the eye can see. Some areas of the world warrant better views than others, so let’s take a look at some fine road trip destinations for fall foliage.
The Greater New England Area
The New England region as a whole is home to the country’s best views of autumn leaves. The cozy towns and heavily forested terrain add to the already beautiful, scenic views throughout America’s oldest region. The leaves in New England start to change color in early September, so plan early. Some places to go include:
- Maine: Baxter State Park offers more than 200,000 acres of public forest and wilderness for amazing views of untouched land. Enjoy over 200 miles of hiking trails that allow you to delve deep into Maine’s historical and natural roots and enjoy the fall colors.
- Vermont: Take the 88 mile foliage tour that loops through Woodstock, Ludlow, Killinton, Gaysville, and Barnard. The route offers some of the prettiest views in the country with plenty of fun attractions, like the Taftsville Country Store, along the way.
- Connecticut: Country roads wind throughout Connecticut and give you brief glimpses of the state’s inherent history. Take a drive through Old Saybrook or picnic in Natchaug State Forest.
- New York: You can’t visit New England without a stop in the Big Apple. New York isn’t all just skyscrapers and taxis. There’s plenty of nature to be had throughout the state, particularly in the Hudson River Valley. Take a trip up to the Point Lookout Inn for an amazing five-state view festooned with the yellows, oranges, and reds of autumn.
The crème de la crème of autumn road trips in the Midwest is the Lake Superior Circle Route, which winds around Lake Superior, passing through Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, curling into Ontario, Canada.
East of Madison, Wisconsin, is the Kettle Moraine State Forest. The state forest features several glacial land forms, dense forests, and hilly terrain. Take advantage of the wonderful views as you romp through the various hiking trails in the area that includes parts of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.
The Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountains are best known for skiing opportunities, but they offer plenty of fall colors for eager leaf watchers. Aspen, as the name implies, is home to an unending stretch of aspen trees that turn a wonderfully warm golden hue come fall. White River National Forest, just southwest of Aspen, comprises 2.3 million acres of idyllic land, providing a perfect backdrop for leaf enthusiasts and photographers.
Some people take their leaf watching very seriously. Expect plenty of large crowds during peak season, plan ahead, and have fun!
By now, summer vacation is a standard part of life. It’s the three months that kids and families look forward to every year, a chance to kick back, relax, see the sights, explore the country in a Tiffin RV, and think of anything but school, but the vacation wasn’t always the institution that it is today. In fact, for the longest time, it was nonexistent, leaving kids stuck in school. Let’s take a brief look at the history of summer vacation.
Before Vacation: A Horror, A Tragedy
There was a time when vacations didn’t exist, at least for the average American. The first vacationers in the early 1800s were the privileged elite, but for everyone else, vacations were rare and unheard of. The two factors that kept vacations and the middle class separate: Puritanism and school.
Puritan roots are deep and had people working six days a week then taking the day of Sabbath to go to church. Puritans held the belief that working was virtuous and that idleness led to temptation and vice. In other words, labor was good, vacation was suspect.
In terms of school, kids stayed in class 11 months out of the year. Urban schools had all of one break per quarter. That sounds rough, but school was a necessity for the immigrant working families that needed a safe place to send their kids while they earned their wages. Rural schools, on the other hand, had extended breaks in the fall and spring that gave kids the chance to help out around the farm with planting and harvesting. Not exactly much of a vacation.
And Then, A Bright Light
Around the mid-nineteenth century, the world began to rethink the whole working and going to school all year thing. Doctors were touting the importance of getting away from work for health. Even some ministers were beginning to switch their staunch stance on “idleness.”
That’s where the Methodist Church came into the picture. The concept of idleness meant drinking, partying, and all of the stuff that a priest would look down on, so Methodists created campgrounds and resorts with a slight religious bent. Middle class believers could take vacations to these religious resorts without worrying about compromising their morals.
On the school front, Horace Mann, a politician and education reformer, thought that 11 months of school probably wasn’t a good idea, going so far as to say that over-stimulating kids’ minds would lead to stress, insanity, and full mental breakdowns.
So in 1840, the first summer vacation was instituted, and teachers, students, and parents breathed a great sigh of relief.
A Road Less Traveled
Family vacations grew in popularity after World War II, giving way to the family road trip. Families packed into motorhomes and visited national parks, historic sites, amusement parks, beaches, lakes, and more. It didn’t hurt that gas was only 28 cents a gallon either.
Whether you’re in school or an office, remember that vacations are wonderful and offer numerous benefits to your mind and your physical health.
Some flyers spend the plane ride with their eyes closed and Sennheiser headphones strapped securely to their ears. Others enjoy the in-flight entertainment or queue up their favorite movies on their laptops. Photographers, however, stare out their windows, keeping their eyes on the horizon, the clouds scudding across the sky, skyscrapers in the distance. They wait, cameras in hand, for that perfect moment to capture. Here are some tips to help you get some beautiful aerial shots from your plane window.
1. Seating matters.
Obviously, you’ll want a window seat, but there’s a lot more to consider, particularly when it comes to the plane’s wings. If you don’t want a wing in the shot, choose a seat that is closer to the front of the plane. Bar that, choose a seat in the main back of the plane, but remember that wings sweep to the rear of the plane. You may get the wings in your pictures even if you’re in the tail of the plane.
2. Know the plane’s route.
The route your plane takes to get to its destination determines the side of the plane you sit on. Fortunately, most airlines offer you the ability to track a flight. Look up a flight number on an earlier date to see the intended route of your flight. Once you have the general route figured out, use Google Maps or ask photographer friends for landmarks and subjects to shoot.
Wind patterns, delays, and other factors often decide the path of arrival and departure, and you obviously won’t know the route as well as the guy wearing the Bose A20 headset in the cockpit, but your general guess will usually warrant the best views.
3. Light is your enemy.
At least light from inside the plane. Most shots you take will be at a bit of an angle off the window, which means you might get a bit of a reflection or glare. Turn off overhead lights. Use a scarf, in-flight magazine, blanket, or, if you don’t have anything else, your hand to block light. This becomes even more important at night.
You can also try pressing your camera to the window to block out light, but this makes your camera susceptible to the shaking of the plane, which can cause blur.
4. Learn to shoot sunrise and sunset.
Depending on whether you’re flying east or west, sunrise and sunset can last anywhere from a few minutes to a whole hour. This is when seating matters. If you’re flying west in the summer, you should sit on the right side of the plane to capture the sunset. In the winter, you’d sit on the other side of the plane. Use the Photographer’s Ephemeris mobile app, which displays the position of the moon and sun from any point in the world.
Above all, take care of your camera. When it comes to passenger aviation supplies, it’s probably more important than anything else in your carry-on. Good luck with your photos!
Some pilots love the convenience of being able to pack up their flight cases and go essentially wherever they please in a short amount of time. Some pilots just love the look of getting decked out in aviation products and accessories. Some love the miracle of human flight. Whatever your reason for flying, the one common denominator is the amazing views. As a pilot, you get to see the world from a different angle. Even the hometown you know and love seems like a completely different place. Here are three places with some of the greatest aerial views.
1. The Grand Canyon
One of the seven natural wonders of the world, a thriving tourist attraction, and one of the most historically significant sites in America, the Grand Canyon was carved into the earth by the Colorado River over the course of millions of years. The preserved rocks and layers of sediment mixed into exquisite, colorful landscapes make it a visually overwhelming experience.
It’s not the biggest or deepest canyon in the world, but there’s plenty of the Grand Canyon to love, measuring 277 miles long, 18 miles at its widest point, and a maximum depth of over a mile. An aerial view gives you a look at the Colorado River, the depth of the canyon, and the absolute beauty surrounding the deep cut in the earth.
2. Paris, France
Paris is a mecca for artists and hopeless romantics, filled with amazing culture, rich history, delicious cuisine, interesting people, and plenty of attractions. From the Eiffel Tower to the Arc de Triomphe, Paris has plenty of things to see and do. The city is easily regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and that becomes even more apparent seeing it from above. The Eiffel Tower is the main fixture, while roads split away from it. As you pull away, the hustle and bustle of the city peels away to reveal the lone architecture, the winding streets, and the rooftops. Fly over Paris at night. It’s easy to see how people can fall in love in the City of Light.
3. New York, New York
The most populated city in the United States, New York is a hub of life and activity. Its five boroughs bring a wealth of diverse culture and cuisine. It’s a constantly changing city, but one that seems timeless all at once, a city that, as Woody Allen once said, exists in black and white. Aerial views are dramatically beautiful—the huge skyscrapers, dwarfed bodegas, constantly moving taxis, all bordered by the harbor. It’s an intriguingly beautiful cutout of modern America.
So prepare your aviation headsets, throw on your favorite pair of aviator shades, and remember to bring a camera. You’ll want to remember these sights when you land.
With summer in full effect, more people are suiting up in sports apparel and hitting the trail. Aside from the excellent exercise, hiking or running a trail gets you closer to nature and wilderness, stripping away the stress and hustle and bustle of everyday life. Here are a handful of the trails that take you through some of the most beautiful parts of the country.
1. Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Wisconsin
Planned for an end length of about 1,200 miles, the Ice Age National Scenic Trail winds its way across Wisconsin, passing through the amazing geological features cut into the landscape by ancient glaciers. Visitors are treated to a wondrous display of glacial features and wooded landscapes replete with a diverse range of wildlife, including porcupines, deer, grey wolves, and black bears.
Access the trail via Kettle Moraine State Forest near LaGrange or at the Sugar River State Trail just south of Madison. Make sure you layer your running clothes. Although lakes, rivers, grassy fields, rolling hills, and ridges now replace the ice from 15,000 years ago, the trail still experiences chilly temperatures, some areas more than others.
2. Poison Spider Mesa, Utah
Poison Spider Mesa is located in Moab, an area more popular with mountain bikers and ATV enthusiasts, but the sandstone and slickrock trails offer just as much fun for trail runners. The preferred path is a 13-mile loop that features amazing views of the sand and red rock.
Despite the name, you won’t find any venomous spiders here. What you will find is plenty of sun and heat, so bring plenty of water and apply the sun block. Men’s and women’s running clothes should be thin and light for maximum comfort in the Moab desert.
3. The Long Trail, Vermont
The Long Trail runs the length of Vermont—about 272 miles—and is considered the oldest long-distance trail in the United States, established between 1910 and 1930. Starting at the Massachusetts state line, the Long Trail goes north up to the Canadian border.
The southern half of the trail proves milder compared to the north, but runners can expect steep uphill climbs and sudden downhills throughout the trail. On the bright side, you get some amazing views of dense forests, mountains, and fresh ponds.
4. Shut-In Trail, North Carolina
Built by industrialist George Vanderbilt in the 1890s, the Shut-In Trail was designed to connect the Biltmore Estate in Asheville and Vanderbilt’s hunting lodge just below the summit of Mount Pisgah. At 18 miles, the trail isn’t the longest or most difficult of runs, but it offers a plethora of plant life and wildflowers. In fact, the trail was named after the mountain laurel and rhododendrons that grow around the trail in the summers, creating a distinct shut-in tunnel effect.
5. Tahoe Rim Trail, California and Nevada
The Tahoe Rim Trail measures 165 miles and passes through two states, a state park, three National Forests, and three Wilderness areas. Circling Lake Tahoe, the trail takes visitors from peak to peak, supplying plenty of panoramic views, wildflower meadows, and groves of conifers. The trail is broken into eight segments, ranging from 12 to 33 miles in length, giving you the opportunity to match the trail to your skill level.
What are you waiting for? Take a hike!
Pilots have the best job in the world–constantly flying high and traveling to new, exotic locations. For the times when you have a few days to spend in one of those places, you’ll need to pack your flight bags efficiently and neatly. Unfortunately, most grown men can’t seem to pack their bags properly, leaving their clothes wrinkled and unkempt when they do finally reach their destination. Never fear! Here are some methods to pack a bag properly to avoid wrinkles and creases.
The Fold and Roll
This is the traditional method that works well enough, but depending on the length of your trip and the items you’re packing, there are better ways.
- Roll up clothes that won’t wrinkle easily—t-shirts, jeans, underwear, cotton slacks.
- Fold dress slacks, shirts, and coats.
- Place the rolled-up clothes at the bottom of your bag and the folded garments on top of the rolled clothes. The bottom layer will act as a cushion, keeping pressure off the more wrinkle-sensitive garments.
- Place socks, shoes, toiletry bag, pilot headsets, souvenirs (when you pack for the return trip), and other accessories in the sides of the bag.
As soon as you reach your destination, make sure you unpack your bag, placing folded items in your hotel drawers and hang your folded items.
Bundle Wrapping is a more effective means of packing and involves placing certain pieces of clothing between the folds of another to prevent the formation of creases and wrinkles.
For a dress shirt, tie, and a t-shirt:
- Button the top, middle, and bottom buttons of your dress shirt. Lay the shirt face down and fold the sleeves into the shirt so that it forms a straight line down the edge of the shirt. You should end up with the two sleeves lying flat behind the shirt.
- Lay your tie along the length of your shirt and place a folded t-shirt on top of the tie at the point where you plan to fold the shirt.
- Fold the dress shirt over your tie and t-shirt. Any excess tie should be folded over your shirt. You’ll end up with a small, neat package.
Check this link for a more in-depth look at bundle wrapping and a handy diagram for visual learners.
Packing is best when you have a sturdy bag with a lid design that provides you full access to the interior. Consider purchasing a new suitcase or pilot bag, wherever pilot supplies are sold.
And remember that the best way to avoid wrinkles is to pack light. Create a packing list and you won’t have to worry about over-packing. Good luck, and happy travels!
Summer is coming up, which means hundreds of families across the country are getting ready to hit the road and explore some of the best parts of our nation. Unfortunately, even with the best laid plans, you are only human. Here are some common road trip blunders and the best ways around them.
1. Leaving your keys in the car.
Locking your keys in the car is one of the most frustrating things imaginable, especially when you’re traveling. Newer cars with remote door openers are designed to prevent you from locking the doors when the keys are in the vehicle.
Older cars with the classic key may take a bit more work. While you might be tempted to use the old wire coat hanger trick, the best solution would be to call roadside assistance. If you are prone to locking your keys in your car, consider getting a car key replacement or copy, placing it in a little magnetic box, and hiding it somewhere on the metal surface of your car’s frame or body. Contact your local automotive locksmith prior to your trip to create some Ford replacement keys for your car.
2. Not setting a budget on the little things.
You’ve spent weeks preparing for the trip, carefully planning out gas, hotels, rentals, maybe even airfare, but then you go and buy a pack of chips and a souvenir pen without so much as a second thought. Turns out, all those little things add up, and if you’re taking a week-long trip, breaking $5 bills here and there, you could easily end up spending over $100 just on those little things.
If you have kids, give each of them an allowance. Make sure that they understand that once they spend that allowance, it’s gone, and you won’t be helping them out. You can do the same for adults and debit cards as well.
3. Forgetting to sleep.
This is a big problem, and while the “sleep when your dead” mentality seems great at first, in reality, it’s not the best idea. A road trip is rougher on the body than you think, and not getting enough sleep at night will only make the rest of your trip a total drag. Being sleep deprived makes you a sluggish grump, which will rub off on those around you and make for a generally unpleasant time. It’s okay to plan for the fun stuff, but make sure you plan for sleep as well. Get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night or plan for some naps throughout your day.
If you have trouble sleeping the night before a trip—nerves, adrenaline, excitement—consider taking some melatonin. This is a natural sleep aid that will help you sleep without feeling groggy in the morning.
4. Traveling with people you don’t like.
They make tasteless jokes, they are constant party poopers, and you get to spend hours in a car with them. Choose your travel companions wisely. You may get annoyed with someone during the trip, but it’s easier to forgive and forget with someone you love.
You’ll likely experience a wide range of other blunders, but try your best to plan ahead and you should have a road trip filled with more fun than stress.