Thursday, March 20, 2008

Coast Surfing Verse

Them’s The Breaks... Surfing Australia's NSW Central Coast

Surfing on the Central Coast is more a lifestyle than a pastime. And with 31 official beaches, it’s no surprise!

Buggeries, Half-tide Rocks, The Box, Catho, Ghosties, Moonie, Frazer, Gravelies, The Haven, Macs, Copa, North Avoca, Sharktower, the Pines, Avoca Point, Bushpig, The Bend, Littles, Pellos, Wambie, Shelly, North Shelly, Shelly Point, Forries, Norah Head, Bateau… the list goes on! And let’s not forget the infamous Crackneck… No prizes for guessing the origin of that name!

Central Coast life revolves around its beaches, and it’s a sad (if unusual) day that you can’t find a wave.

As local champions Shane Powell and Ross Clarke-Jones would doubtless agree, there’s nothing quite as exhilarating as the steep drop of a nice clean wave. Giving yourself up to a big wave can be quite a scary commitment, but the pay-off is well worth it. Long board, short board, or body board – when you take the drop, you really know you’re living.

To some its a religion, to some, meditation. Some even say it’s better than sex! But no matter what they say, they get out there!

Central Coast surfers are dedicated. For those unfortunate enough to have a job, dawn patrol is a daily ritual. And forget about shark feeding times, there’s enough light to catch a wave well after sundown! Kids can’t get enough. Despite it being an official school sport, kids spend every afternoon, every weekend, and their entire holidays in the surf. Even local business owners work around the tides and the swell. And one thing’s for sure – if the surf’s up, you wouldn’t be the only one chuckin’ a sicky! cough…

A quick scan of the local Yellow Pages and you’ll discover plenty of local surf schools, surf clubs, boardriding clubs, and surf shops. You might also wanna check out the Surfing Australia website, or the local online surf report, .

Author, Glenn Murray, heads advertising copywriting studio Divine Write. He can be contacted on Sydney +612 4334 6222. Visit for further details or more FREE articles.

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Australian Travel Opus

Australia's Fraser Island – Escape Forever

For all its conveniences, modern living leaves a lot to be desired. We spend our days enduring the ever-increasing pressures of work, the city’s oppressive unfriendliness, the daily commuter grind and the aggressive reality of impatient road-ragers.

Is something missing?

Unfortunately, work is a reality for most of us. So too is city and suburban living, dreary weather, pollution, traffic… But it doesn’t have to be all there is to life. Try something that puts you in touch with who you really are. Try something elemental. Try something that soothes your soul.

Try Fraser Island.

Fraser Island isn’t just an island paradise. It’s a unique and luxurious combination of Australia’s rich natural heritage, its earthy roots, its wholesome majesty, and its refreshingly simple essentials. It’s a chance to touch the fine sands, to drift in the temperate water, to bask in the sun that seems all yours… It’s your chance to partake of a life that most Australians have forgotten.

Spend a week on and in turquoise waters, a week without shoes with the sand between your toes, a week fishing and perhaps living off your catch. Your perspective can’t help but change.

It’s not a mere fleeting appreciation. It’s something you take with you.

Fraser can help remind you that you’re not your job. How important are the forms and the filing, the meetings and memorandums? You can learn a lot about yourself when you take away all the things that don’t matter.

And really… is there any better way to experience this epiphany than in paradise?

Fraser Island certainly is a paradise, no matter which way you look at it. At the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, and a short boat ride from Hervey Bay in South-East Queensland, Fraser is 124 km from tip to toe and 16 km across the middle. At 163,000 hectares, it’s the world’s biggest sand island.

Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s all just sand. Not by a long shot! The whole island is laced with crystal clear fresh water streams, and deep midnight blue fresh water lakes. In fact, with over 40 fresh water lakes – it’s home to half of the world’s known ‘perched’ lakes. It also boasts a dazzling diversity of plants and animals (including Australia’s purest strain of dingo), and an amazing variety of spectacular landscapes, from 120 km of non-stop tropical beach to dense and towering rainforest, weathered headland to ochre gorge, inspiring cliffs to wandering dunes, eerie mangroves to wind-blown salt pans.

What’s more, you have your choice of accommodation, so you can choose your own level of ‘communion with nature’. From 4? star luxury resorts to rental retreats to motels and units, right through to the good ‘ole campsite. Whether you’re a sucker for a bit of pampering, or you’re perfectly at home with a tent and a campfire on the beach, Fraser is a great provider.

And great accommodation is just the start… The island boasts average temperatures of 29°c in summer and 22°c in winter, so it’s no surprise that outdoor activities feature prominently on the agenda. Adrenalin addicts and dedicated sunbathers alike will appreciate the vast range available. From sunrise to sunset (and beyond), there’s always something for everyone. The only problem is choosing! Fishing, 4-wheel-driving, eating, sailing, bird-watching, bush-walking, swimming, eating, whale & dolphin-watching, shipwreck exploration, eating, beauty therapy, massage, lazing in the sun, eating, beach volleyball, tennis, cricket, eating, canoeing, sailboarding, snorkelling, eating… And needless to say, a few quiet drinks might make their way onto the agenda as well…

With so much to offer, it’s no surprise that the Fraser Island was originally known as K’gari – or ‘Paradise’ – by local Aboriginal peoples.

Fraser Island certainly is “paradise for everyone”!

Four Wheel Driving

Being a sand island, the only mode of land transport is 4WD. Of course, for many visitors, that’s the main attraction. 4WD enthusiasts from all around the world visit Fraser Island to pit themselves and their vehicles against the rugged terrain found all over the island. From the hard-packed seashore to the shifting dune to the forests of the interior, Fraser Island is the ideal 4WD location.

Don’t be scared though – it’s not all about extreme driving for experts! Whether you’re an novice, or you just prefer a more leisured pace of life, you’ll find a much more sedate satisfaction in one of the many organised 4WD tours offered around the island. Or if you just want to get out on your own, you can hire a 4WD for a day, and indulge in a bit of quiet exploring.

No matter which option you choose, though, there are a few ‘ground rules’ you should observe. Remember the dangers of driving on the beach. The further you adventure from the shoreline, the softer the sand. The softer the sand, the more likely you are to get into trouble. Generally speaking, keep your speed down, and remember you’re in a World Heritage listed environment… so be careful.


No island holiday would be complete without a lazy day or two spent fishing. Beach fishing is the big drawcard for Fraser Island. And with 150 km of ocean beach to choose from, why wouldn’t it be? Middle Rocks, Sandy Cape, Waddy Point, and Seventy Five Mile Beach are just a few of the choice locations available for you to finally get the better of ‘the one that got away’.

The famed ‘tailor run’ occurs on the eastern (ocean) side of the island between July and October each year. In the angling world, this time – known as ‘tailor season’ – is a much anticipated event, with huge schools of big fish working the beaches. But if you can’t make it between late winter and early spring, rest assured, tailor season is just one date to mark in your calendar. The western side of Fraser has been known to reward the odd angler with a fine bag of bream, whiting and flathead.

Angler’s Advice

Pick the fish you’re after, and take advantage of the handy hints below to make the most of your fishing trip.

Fish: Tailor
Bait: Pilchard, 3 hook gang, lure
Timing: Late July to October
Location: Eastern Beaches

Fish: Dart
Bait: Pippies or worms
Timing: All year
Location: Eastern Beaches

Fish: Bream
Bait: Flesh strips, mullet gut, fowl gut, pippies
Timing: May to September
Location: Rocky outcrops on east coast or creeks on the west

Fish: Whiting
Bait: Worms, yabbies, pippies, prawns
Timing: All year
Location: Low tide on the east, creeks on the west

Fish: Flathead
Bait: Live baits, pilchards, lures
Timing: All year
Location: Rocky outcrops on east coast or creeks on the west

Fish: Jewfish
Bait: Whole mullet, tailor fillets, beach worms
Timing: May to September at night on the full moon, low or high tide
Location: Deep gutters and rocky outcrops

Of course, many more varieties are there for the taking, including mackerel, tuna, and reef fish. And if you’re not indisposed to a bit of sea fishing, you can book a berth on one of the larger boats launched to take advantage of the red emperor, coral trout, maori cod and parrot to be found off the Continental Shelf and local reefs.

Water Sports

As you’d expect, Fraser Island plays host to a vast array of water sports. Whether you’re after a lazy drifting afternoon – cocktail in hand, or an invigorating workout, there’s a water sport for you. All fitness levels (and energy levels!) are catered for.

Ease yourself into the aqua-life with a refreshing dip at one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Surrounded by pure white sandy beaches, the clear blue waters of Lake McKenzie are without doubt amongst the most idyllic to be found. Alternatively, exercise your imagination with a visit to the ghostly shipwreck of the “Maheno”, then submerge yourself in the crystal clear waters of Eli Creek.

Fraser Island sits on a huge reservoir of fresh water, and is home to numerous spectacular fresh water lakes, including some perched high above sea level. You have your choice of over 40 lakes… Lake Wabby, Champagne Pools, Basin Lake… to name but a few. Clearly, Fraser Island is amply equipped to pamper even the fussiest fresh water connoisseur.

For something a little more strenuous, why not hire paddle ski or canoe and paddle yourself up Dundonga Creek. It’s generally a 1 hour round trip, so by the time you return, you’ll be ready to settle back into some more relaxed pastimes.

Whale and Dolphin Watching

Every year from August to October, you can book a berth on a whale watch cruise. Enjoy a fantastic half day of sun, salt, and ocean breezes while keeping your eyes peeled for Fraser’s famous migrating humpbacks.

The annual humpback migration is truly an awesome spectacle. Family pods take a well earned rest in the waters west of Fraser Island after travelling 5000 km from the icy waters of the Antarctic. The sight of a 15 tonne (that’s the weight of 11 elephants!) adult female humpback rearing out of the ocean is absolutely awe-inspiring.

And don’t worry… if your holiday doesn’t coincide with the migration, you can still catch a cruise questing for dolphins, dugongs, turtles and the odd Indo Pacific Humpback.

Speak to your hotel or resort for information about organising a whale or dolphin watching cruise. Alternatively, contact Kingfisher Bay Resort and ask about their tours.

Tips & Reminders

* Access to Fraser Island is via vehicular barge or catamaran
* 4WDs only on Fraser Island (there are no paved roads except in resorts)
* Don’t feed or pet the dingoes (or any other animals)
* No domestic animals allowed
* Most activities on the island can be enjoyed individually or as part of a booked tour group
* You’ll need permits to 4WD or camp
* 4WDs can be hired on the mainland or on the island
* Don’t leave food unattended
* All but the hardest sand can be unpredictable and perilous for a 4WD
* High and low tide gutters around dawn or dusk are best for fishing
* If four wheel driving, take a good map and a tyre pressure gauge

For further information about all aspects of Fraser Island, including accommodation, hire guides, and barge booking details and timetables, see

How Much?

* Accommodation - Prices vary from approximately $4 per night if you’re camping right up to $850 per night for the VIP room at the 4? star luxury of Kingfisher Bay Resort.
* Permits - A 4WD vehicle permit will cost you $31.85. Camping permits are $4 per person per night or $16 per family per night. Children under 5 are free. To purchase a permit or obtain detailed information, call the Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service at Rainbow Beach on (07) 5486 3160.
* Vehicular Barge Access - Barges operate daily from Hervey Bay and Rainbow Beach. Tickets start at $82.20 return per vehicle per driver. Extra vehicle passengers will cost $5.50 each. Several barges operate with different destinations on the island. Most require bookings.
* 4WD Hire - Rates start at around $90 per day for a Suzuki Sierra, up to $130 per day for a Landrover Defender (depending on the duration of hire).
* Flights to Queensland - Qantas offers return flights to Hervey Bay via Brisbane from $407 departing Sydney, and from $527 departing Melbourne.

Author, Glenn Murray, heads advertising copywriting studio Divine Write. He can be contacted on Sydney +612 4334 6222. Visit for further details or more FREE articles.

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Cheap Europe Travel Ode

Finding Discount Prices on European Vacations

Imagine saving 30%-40% in airfare expenses as you get ready to travel to an exciting, exotic location. How exciting would that be? Inexpensive European vacations to travel Italy and Ireland travel can be found if you're willing to do just a little research. You don't have to be an expert at hunting down the most discount airfare, just spend a little time comparing departure dates and times. European vacations to travel Italy and Ireland travel and traveling overseas is an activity that more and more people are engaging in these days, and, believe me, you can find some incredible bargains on the internet.

If you're schedule is flexible, you'll find Fantastic prices on European vacations to travel Italy and Ireland travel.

For example, when traveling to London England, you'll save a lot of money if you can go before June and after September. The summer months are the busiest. But, if you search for European vacations to travel Italy and Ireland travel during the shoulder or off-season, you'll find some cheap flights that will save you a lot of money. Why give that money to the airlines when you can use it for sightseeing or eating in nicer restaurants? When traveling overseas be sure to allow plenty of time to obtain your passport. In addition, international travel will usually require longer check-in times at the airports. You'll need to pass through customs when you arrive at your foreign destination and you'll need to do it again when returning back to the U.S.

Spend a little time doing some research on the internet and you'll be very excited with the great European vacations to travel Italy and Ireland travel prices offered. You'll be in control of how much you pay and that'll make your vacation that much better.

Author, Mike Yeager, Publisher:

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Cheap Flighting Poem


Finding Cheap Airfare Tickets for your Vacation

Finding cheap airfare tickets for your vacation is very important as you plan your next vacation. Imagine saving 25%-35% in airfare expenses as you get ready to travel to an exciting, exotic location. How exciting would that be? Cheap airfare tickets for a vacation can be found if you're willing to do just a little research. You don't have to be an expert at hunting down the most discount airfare, just spend a little time comparing departure dates and times.

If you're schedule is flexible, you'll find Cheap Airfare Tickets for your next vacation.

For example, when traveling to Madrid Spain, you'll save a lot of money if you can go before June and after September. The summer months are the busiest. But, if you search for cheap airfare tickets for that vacation during the shoulder or off-season, you'll find some cheap flights that will save you a lot of money. Why give that money to the airlines when you can use it for sightseeing or eating in nicer restaurants?

Spend a little time doing some research on the internet and you'll be very excited with cheap airfare tickets offered. You'll be in control of your vacation and how much you pay and that'll make your vacation that much better.

Author, Mike Yeager, Publisher:

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Discount Travel Serenade

Cheap Tickets, Discount Airfare, Cheap Cruises, Hawaiian Vacations, Las Vegas Vacations or Cancun Vacations

Finding the best deals for cheap tickets has just become easier. In the past, if you wanted to find cheap tickets and discount airfares you had to contact a travel agent and explain where and when you wanted to go. They would do some research and eventually get back to you with a deal. Well, not anymore!

Today you can seek out and find cheap tickets and discount airfares offering the best deal, just by entering a few words into a computer right from your own home. Are you looking for cheap cruises, Hawaiian vacations or an exciting Las Vegas vacation? Well, in a few minutes you can find a plane ticket that will take you anywhere you want to go. You can search out the Cheapest, most Discounted airfare originating from anywhere and going to anywhere...literally in the world.

You choose your destination, you choose your schedule, you choose which ticket price suits YOU best and when you're finished, you complete the transaction, right from the comfort of your own home. Cheap tickets and discount airfares, it can't get any easier than that!

The best Cheap Tickets and Discount Airfares resource you'll find.

When shopping online for cheap tickets and discount airfares, be sure to compare prices with flight departure times and schedules. Seasonal variations can affect travel prices and flight schedules. You'll find that searching for and purchasing a plane ticket online is easy and fun.

Author, Mike Yeager, Publisher:

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Mexican Relaxing Verse

The Chance To Travel Mexico And Stay At Some Beautiful Mexican Resorts

Cancun vacations offer white sandy beaches, warm tropical sun and beautiful blue water. Some of the finest Mexico resorts can be found in Cancun. One of the great things about deciding to travel Mexico is the short time it takes to get there. Only a couple of hours flying time and you can be staying at one of many Mexico resorts offering you the chance to relax, tan and even travel Mexico.

When you decide to travel Mexico you'll find that even though you're in a foreign country, there are many familiar U.S. hotels and restaurants. Beautiful Mexico resorts, beautiful beaches and people are all waiting for you.

The very best in lush Mexico resorts are on the internet, so you can travel Mexico in style.

When you decide to travel Mexico here are some of the things to consider doing: snorkeling in warm, blue water in the afternoon. Renting some jet-ski's and feeling the spray of the surf splash your face as you frolic like a kid with a new toy. Have you ever felt the thrill of being lifted into the air under a big, billowy parasail? What an experience! Imagine the breathtaking view you would have as you floated above the sun, the sand and surf with the warm tropical breeze blowing through your hair. All this and more is yours when you choose to "get away from it all" and travel Mexico

Remember, the dollar is very strong in Mexico and your travel money will go a long ways towards your vacation expenses.

Author, Mike Yeager, Publisher:

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South America Adventure Opus

Treasure in the Andes

I awoke to strange surroundings, my first view of the plaster-peeling room in which I had spent the night being afforded by the early-morning sunrise on the Bolivian Altiplano. After arriving near midnight in the frigid darkness of the high desert, my thoughts had been only of how quickly I could unpack my sleeping bag and crawl in. Now as I peered out of the window, it became apparent that I was in a quadrille, the famous architectural style of squares-within-a-square that is a hallmark of the former Spanish Colonial Empire from California to South America. My "room" consisted of a small shack, which with a series of other small, straw-thatched, adobe huts, defined the walls around a central courtyard paved with flagstones. There was no heat source, and thus my morning dressing routine required only that I emerge from my sleeping bag, it having been too cold to consider removing my several layers of clothing the previous night.

The courtyard upon which I gazed had been the home of a Polish mining engineer who came to seek his fortune in the fabled land of the Inca, drawn, as many before him, by stories of fabulous wealth. The first reports of silver to reach the Spanish Colonial authorities came from a Spanish priest in 1537, although the Inca had undoubtedly extracted the precious metal for their own use before that. I had also come to seek my fortune in this place, not by extracting tons of silver ore, but by unraveling the geological history as a subject of thesis research. In fact, I was living my dream of working as an exploration geologist amid remote, rugged surroundings, as the only Norteamericano for a hundred, and probably three hundred, miles.

I exited the courtyard through a low wooden door that represented the only means of egress, and found myself on a narrow, cobblestone street bounded by the adobe walls of other quadrilles. The stygian darkness that accompanied my arrival the previous night had concealed the size of the town. I trudged up the street, panting for breath in the thin, 12,000-foot air. Upon reaching the outskirts of the village, which required only a few minutes, I assailed a ridge and, upon reaching the crest, took in what the view afforded. I surveyed a desolate landscape devoid of trees or vegetation, save for the small, wind-worn tufts of spiked grass that dotted the hillsides. The Bolivian Altiplano stretched to the horizon in all directions, broken only by jagged mountains that floated in a shimmering, salt-tinged mirage in the distance. The bright blue sky similarly stretched everywhere to the horizon, unblemished by the smallest cloud, until merging with land in the parallax of distance. The blazing white sun constituted the sole occupant of the sky, and although its rays burned my skin and faded my clothes within days, no warmth seemed to emanate from that orb. Instead, the biting wind tore through my layers of clothes, chilling me even as I was being sunburned. The thin air, lack of vegetation to provide perspective of distance, the expanse of blue sky, and blazing sun combined to induce a detached, dreamlike state of near-hypoxia in which concepts of distance and time ceased to have meaning.

The village below was laid out in a grid, consisting of four streets by five streets, and apparently little changed since the 16th Century. There was no electricity, no running water, and no source of heat except bundles of mesquite acquired at some remote location. The source of water that was available was frozen except for two hours in the afternoon. A haze of mesquite smoke hung over the village, nestled in a shallow valley within a larger depression. The village appeared to have some natural fortification, hidden by a ring of volcanic hills. The valley breached the ring of hills along a fault zone, which fractured the rock into three giant spires. In local lore, these three great rock spires were known as Tres Gigantes, or the Three Giants, and appeared in pictures with the patron saint of the town. Who knows but that the founding saint, Saint Christopher, might have been the same Spanish priest that first reported the presence of silver to the outside world?

The surrounding hills were white, the volcanic rock having been altered to the consistency of powdered sugar by acidic solutions. But rather than tasting sweet like sugar, the powdery rock was alkaline, like corroded battery cables. Far from being associated with the feelings of defeat and failure evinced by a dead battery, this natural acid-bleached rock constituted the bulk of the silver resource at the site and was a source of great excitement. The countless miners who toiled to wrest high-grade ore from wide silver veins would have found it impossible to recognize this as silver ore. How ironic that for centuries, miners had removed silver ore from the district until all thought it exhausted, when in fact the vast bulk of silver occurred in this white, crumbly rock, unseen to the naked eye. As often occurs in life, great treasure may lie at our very feet if only we could but recognize it.

Author, Sandin Phillipson: I am a geologist, and have visited several countries in Latin America and Europe, and have worked on various civil engineering and mining related issues throughout the U.S. and other places. I have written journal articles from a scientific viewpoint, but thought it would be fun to write about some of my travel experiences on a more informal level. I have other photos and geology related items at

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Shopping Travel Ode

Why You Never Have To Pay Retail Prices For Anything - Ever Again

I step into my local mall, and into a leading top brand clothes store. I see a jumper I like and while feeling the soft material casually lift up the price tag - and I almost feint with disbelief. How much??? That's more than I make in 2 days! I quickly stop caressing the fabric and head toward Big Als Unbranded Clothes Discount Centre for a sweater within my budget range (which unfortunately will no doubt look as if it were knitted by my 5 year old Niece.)

Sounds familiar? Well it really need not be this way. It actually amazes me how many people do not use wholesalers and government auctions to save money on just about anything they could ever wish to purchase. It's possible to get regular discounts of 50% and more on top brand items just by knowing WHERE to shop.

Let us begin by looking at Government Auctions. While this article will focus on the USA and UK it's worth noting that government auctions are held in many other countries too. A government auction is held to auction off various items (often at rock bottom prices) that the government has legal ownership of. The type of items auctioned by various government agencies include vehicles, electronics, real estate, computers, jewellery and a lot more.

In the UK, the types of government agencies that will offer up bargain goods and properties include the police and C&E - there are also private liquidation's due to corporate bankruptcies. Many hundreds of auctions are held yearly and there are scores of bargains to be had in most of them. It's not unusual to pickup a brand new widescreen TV at ?30 or top spec PCs and laptops from a mere ?200. It's possible to learn more here:

In the USA there are also similar bargains to be had, and the government agencies often auction off cheap land and properties in addition to the usual range of electronics, vehicles and household goods. Just some of the bargains in recent times include assorted jewellery $600 in value being sold for just $20 and an actual house being sold at 50% below its market value. More information on government auctions in the USA is available here:

So are there any catches? Surely not anyone can just turn up and help themselves to all the bargains that they can carry home? Well actually, that's just the way it is. Anyone can attend, you just need to know where and these auctions take place.

Not a lot of people realise it, but it's also possible to pick up massive wholesale bargains, just by ordering goods from a good wholesaler. There is a lot of apprehension with a lot of people when it comes to buying from wholesalers - many people are afraid that they will get turned away, that wholesalers will only sell to huge retail stores with many thousands of dollars to spend. While some wholesalers do have minimum orders, many do not at all and will gladly accept orders from you and me. You can check out some really good wholesalers here:



So there you have it - a way to save a lot of money on just about anything that you want to buy. The best thing is that you can just as easily use this information to actually make money. How? eBay is the worlds biggest auction site by far, enjoying billions of page impressions per month (and this number is growing!). People will buy and sell almost anything on eBay, and some sellers have actually made selling on eBay their full time jobs. Many of them use the government and wholesale sources to buy stock cheap before reselling on eBay at good profit margins.

Whether you're looking to save money or make money on top brand goods, wholesalers and government auctions are the way forward. Find out a list of auctions and wholesalers that you can visit and then just DO IT! You may well be pleasantly surprised with what you come home with.

Author, Tukshad Engineer - To discover hundreds of more top money saving ideas along with the best wholesalers, government auctions & discount sites visit To subscribe to my newsletter, packed with money saving suggestions & the biggest internet discounts send me a mail:

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Travel Insurance Saving Poem

Vacation Insurance... Saves Your Money, Time And Frustrations!

Don't forget your vacation insurance before you take off for any travel.

I am very serious when it comes to insurance, I do not want to take any chances, I grew up in a family with my mother as a sole bread winner, my Dad passed away when I was 10 years old without any insurance. Life was very very difficult then.

So the same goes with vacation insurance too!

It can cost you an extra few thousands of dollars if the cruise or tour operator goes bankrupt, or if you need to shorten your vacation due to sickness or injury.

Quick Tip

The biggest myth would be that your normal health insurance covers you when you are away, or that since many travelers visit an area or region, access to medical care is easy or affordable.

Here's a quick guide to understanding what a good vacation insurance should cover for any travel.

1. Travel Curtailment

If you or an immediate family member becomes seriously ill or is injured during the vacation most vacation insurance companies would reimburse you for the unused portion of the vacation.

2. Travel Cancellation

You would be reimbursed if the cruise line or tour operator goes out of business. It would also reimburse you if you have to cancel the vacation due to sickness, a death in the family or other calamity listed in the insurance policy.

Travel cancellation is very different from a Cancellation Waiver that many cruise and tour operators offer. Waivers are relatively inexpensive. They provide coverage if you have to cancel the trip, but they have many restrictions.

They must be purchased when you book the trip and will usually not cover you immediately before departure. Most importantly, waiver is not insurance.

2. Personal liability

Personal Liability is important in case of legal liability, arising out of one's negligence in causing a third party injury (or death) and/or third party property damage.

Some traveler insurance companies even insure against the loss or theft of golfing equipment and laptops.

3. Luggage/Baggage/Flight Delay

This feature comes along with a "Time" excess, meaning that the traveler insurance companies only compensate when the delay exceeds a certain time frame. The limit for loss of luggage/baggage/flight varies, usually with a cap for individual items.

4. Emergency & Medical Assistance and Information Service

Look for those 24-hour services that offer information on visa requirements, foreign exchange, weather forecasts and medical advice et cetera.

Emergency evacuation is very helpful indeed for inexperienced travelers or travelers with medical conditions or for those who are traveling to more remote and less traveled places.

These service centers may also offer emergency assistance in the form of embassy, legal, interpreter and medical referrals.

Most vacation insurance policies would compensate a couple of hundred dollars for each day of hospitalization up to the maximum limit indicated in their respective packages.

This is solely to compensate the traveler for the number of days spent in a hospital overseas and should not be mistaken as hospital or medical reimbursement, which takes care of the hospital and ward charges.

4. Accidental Death insurance

Personal accident coverage, which is to compensate the insured for permanent or temporary disablement or death as a result of an accident.

2 Main Types of Vacation Insurance

Annual Policy

Most traveler insurance companies offer vacation insurance on annual basis as well as per trip basis. Annual policies cover unlimited trips made by the insured during the entire year provided that each trip does not exceed a certain number of days, usually 90 days.

No declaration is required.

For frequent flyers, this type of cover would be most ideal in terms of cost and convenience.

Family Vacation Insurance

Family packages are also designed to cater for immediate families traveling together. Definition of immediate families would mean you, your spouse and your children.

Family vacation insurance are usually priced lower premium than if individual insurance policies were to be taken up for the whole family.

Special Features ALERT!

Go for vacation insurance policies come with higher deductible and this translates into lower premium.

The worst case scenario is you may end up having to bear the first $40 or $50 of every claim that you make.

Deductible: (Also known as Excess in UK, NZ, AU) This is the amount that the insured must pay before the vacation insurance starts paying for your claim.

This may be an annual amount, an amount for the duration of the policy, or an amount for each incident. Choose the latter.

For those of you who intend to engage in water or winter sports during your vacation, it would be wise to take up your insurers who offer free coverage for such activities.

Some traveler insurance companies may charge an additional premium for this extension, so it is better to check this point before you effect your cover.

Unfortunately, the definition of water sports in the typical travel policy does not include scuba diving.

Not surprisingly, bungee jumping is excluded from most policies. Watch out for age limits imposed by some traveler insurance companies, meaning that persons exceeding a certain age are excluded from their coverage. But if you belong to this elderly group, fret not.

There are traveler insurance companies that do not impose any age limit and offer the same coverage at no additional premium loading.

A unique coverage that is being offered in the traveler insurance market is the "Car Rental Excess". This feature takes care of the excess amount that the insured normally has to bear (under the motor policy taken up at car rental companies) in the event of damage to the rented vehicle while driving overseas.

Price of Vacation Insurance also known as Premium - Premium Computation

For "per-trip" policies, the premium payable hinges considerably on the number of days of travel, the country of destination and choice of plan.

For example, if you are from Europe, a vacation in USA warrants a much higher premium than a trip within Europe for the same number of days.

Some traveler insurance companies provide the option of higher limits of coverage at of course, a higher premium.

If price is of concern, it is advisable to keep on hand the premium schedule from a few traveler insurance companies for comparison before you activate your insurance before each trip.

Claim Procedure

I consider this the most important aspect of buying a vacation insurance.

All traveler insurance companies will require you to lodge your claims within a certain time frame. You would be required to complete and submit a claim form, which can be obtained from the traveler insurance company.

In almost all instances, your claims must be accompanied by relevant documents, such as medical receipts for medical reimbursement or hospital cash; a police report for loss of money or personal documents; an official letter from the airline in cases of flight or lugguage delay and loss of lugguage if within custody of the airline.

In all cases, call up and inform your traveler insurance company immediately for necessary advice.

There you are... now with a basic knowledge of vacation insurance, you are equipped to choose the best suited to your travel needs and you are all set to fly!

Author, Jonathan Tan, has traveled as a business traveler extensively within America, across Asia and Europe. Last minute travel is the norm for him, you can check out his Last Minute Vacations Guide at

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Free Worldwide Travel Serenade

How To Travel The World For Free

It sounds like a dream doesn't it? Hopping onto a plane and taking a flight to the destination of your choice. Imagine collecting your flight tickets to New York, London, Goa - or wherever takes your fancy - and not having to pay a cent for them.

For a few people, this dream is actually a reality. How? Simply put they have discovered a little travel secret - namely that a lot of companies will actually pay the travel expenses for you to oversee their package or document from one country to another. Now this may bring to mind images of having to smuggle a microfilm past some dodgy russian customs ala James Bond, but the reality is nowhere near as exciting or dangerous - which is great news for the budget traveller. The even better news is that with a little know how, any adult can act as a courier and score free and deeply discounted flight tickets to the destination of their choice.

It's completely legal and can save you thousands in saved airfare every year. Courier companies are continually on the lookout for willing travellers to carry their items overseas. There is nothing sinister about it and nothing is hidden from the authorities - the traveller is paid with a deeply discounted (and sometimes free) air ticket. According to a survey by the Air Courier Association the standard saving that travellers get when they act as a courier is 85% on the normal flight price. There isn't a travel agent in the world that will match such a discount.

So what are your responsibilities as a courier? Well it's as simple as turning up to the airport on time and meeting the courier companys representative at the destination airport. As soon as you walk through the customs area at your destination, your job is over.

What are the drawbacks of this deeply discounted travel? Well for a start you're probably only going to be allowed one carry on bag as your luggage - so learning how to travel light & pack efficiently is essential. It's also important to have some degree of flexibility in terms of when you're able to fly, though usually you can get many flights comfortably in advance. You also need to be at least 18 and obviously have a valid passport.

Assuming you're ok with these drawbacks, you can really fly to just about any destination at incredibly low costs. You can learn more about how to be a courier at or if you are looking for more budget travel tips check out

Ready to go? The whole world awaits you!

Author, Tukshad Engineer - Discover how to travel at great discounts & even for free at: If you’d like more details on the best travel bargains available anywhere please email me at (best travel newsletter in the world today including destination reviews & regular deep discounts).

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South America Adventure Verse

Adventures in Bolivia

As a graduate student, I finally had the opportunity to work on a project in southern Bolivia. Although I had spent previous summers camping alone while conducting fieldwork in remote areas, this was to be my first journey overseas, to a country known variously for coca growing, revolution, and the final resting place of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

La Paz is nestled in a series of steep valleys that are eroded in a jagged, blasted moonscape of sun-baked volcanic rock. One of the city parks is called "Valle de la Lunas" or Valley of the Moon. The city has sprawled up the valley slopes onto the Altiplano, or high desert. As my taxi drove from the airport over the lip of the high desert, the city was spread out below, partially obscured through a haze of heavy smog. After finding the company office, a driver took me to a hotel in the old part of the city, popular with young, dominantly British and Spanish backpackers. Left to my own devices for several days, I taught myself the phrases and words to order breakfast and dinner, and wandered through the open-air market to practice my nascent Spanish skills on vendors of flashlights, jeans, and trilobite fossils. I found Bolivians to be the friendliest of people, who seemed to delight in talking to a Norteamericano. At first, I felt no ill effects from climbing the steep streets in what has been described as the World’s highest-altitude capitol city. After several days, altitude sickness left me with a feeling of exhaustion and constant headache in spite of six weeks of hiking in the Colorado Rockies.

At last I was to depart for the exploration camp in southern Bolivia, as the pickup laden with fuel drums and survey stakes arrived to collect me. My driver, Nicco, guided the pickup through the bustling, chaotic streets of La Paz and we rolled south on a two-lane, newly paved highway toward Oruro, a hot, dusty, windblown town that represents the end of pavement. There, the sun-baked main street was covered in a one-inch layer of dust that was excited into whirling vortexes as lines of Volvo flatbed trucks trundled through. Gray, windblown silt covered the cobblestone street, sidewalks, building facades, and withered decorative trees to produce a desolate dreamscape devoid of color. We rolled through a featureless landscape beneath an endless expanse of blue sky and mercilessly bright sun. As the daylight began to wane, the highway degenerated into a pair of deep ruts across the featureless desert, passing desolate adobe towns. We forded streams of frigid meltwater from the Cordillera Oriental, often breaking a thin film of ice. Night fell and still we rolled south, now across the Salar de Uyuni salt flat. Despite the heater in the Mazda 4x4, the cold crept in, and in the ghostly play of the headlights, the shimmering white deposits of salt might have been snow drifts. Time dragged, with only the constant rumble of the tires on hardpan marking a cadence in the darkness that surrounded the small, heated compartment of the pickup. At last we reached a town, a sign of human habitation in what seemed increasingly like a harsh wilderness. Not a single light bulb was evident as we thumped slowly over the cobbled streets. Dark shapes shuffled along the sidewalks, and the shadows of adobe buildings rose and fell, capering in the glare of the headlights. Stars, bright and brilliant as diamonds, but equally as cold, seemed to provide the only other light. Amidst this scene of harsh desolation, the corpses of dogs littered the streets, frozen stiff where they had ultimately succumbed to the uncaring elements.

After another three hours of crawling through the frigid darkness, the road seemed nothing more than a gully, with sagebrush whipping the sides of the truck. Almost imperceptibly, we left the desert and a sheer rock wall suddenly loomed out of the darkness. The truck climbed the rapidly rising road, which clung to the side of the cliff, and the engine whined in protest at the exertion caused by the steep grade and thin air. In the days to come, my own heart and lungs would register a similar wheezing protest. We passed through a looming cleft in the rock wall, beneath towering ramparts massed in the impenetrable gloom. Suddenly, the truck stopped and we had arrived. Arrived where? In the dim light, I could barely discern an adobe wall. There were no lights, no sound of people or animals, and no hum of machines that we have come to expect virtually everywhere in North America. In the dead quiet, pitch black surroundings, I might have been standing in a cavern instead of in front of the quadrille where I would live for the next four months. I had arrived in Bolivia.

Author, Sandin Phillipson: I am a geologist, and have visited several countries in Latin America and Europe, and have worked on various civil engineering and mining related issues throughout the U.S. and other places. I have written journal articles from a scientific viewpoint, but thought it would be fun to write about some of my travel experiences on a more informal level. I have other photos and geology related items at

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Air Flights Opus


Fractional Fairytales - Private Air Charter

Once upon a time, long, long ago -- in the early 1990s -- the concept of fractional ownership in private aircraft was born, and there was much rejoicing throughout the land. People who never believed they'd be able to afford, or justify, owning a private jet suddenly had the opportunity to purchase partial ownership in one.

"At last," the people thought, "there is an affordable alternative to commercial airlines and private air charter. No longer will I be at the mercy of someone else's set schedules and destinations. I can fly where I want, when I want. No longer will I have to suffer interminable lines, deal with impersonal clerks, or eat indigestible meals. I will have my own private jet at my beck and call!"

But, like all fairy tales, there is more myth than truth in this tale. In reality there are few, if any, advantages to fractional ownership over private air charter.



Fractional ownership is more convenient than private air charter.


While it may seem that ownership, even partial ownership, of a private plane affords unparalleled convenience, the reality is far different. Whether the issue is a last minute booking, scheduling an intricate itinerary, or making certain that specific accommodations are attended to, private air charter can generally meet or exceed the services offered by a fractional broker. For example, while many fractional companies offer an eight-hour booking to take-off guarantee, Air Royale typically provides you with an aircraft in three hours or less. With over 5,500 private aircraft in our worldwide network, a take off can often be arranged within minutes of picking up the phone. And with Air Royale, you will have unparalleled choice in the type of aircraft you can choose for your flight, from a 8 passenger Lear Jet to a lavish Boeing Business Jet to a commercial airliner. While fractional ownership does permit you the option of flying in a type of aircraft other than the one you partially own, such an option requires complicated conversions of flight hours and often extra operating costs, and, with the limited fleets of most fractional operators, may take extra time to arrange.



The hourly cost of flying in a fractional aircraft is much lower than private air charter.


While the hourly charge of flying your fractional aircraft may seem to be hundreds, or even thousands of dollars lower than private air charter, depending on the class of aircraft, the true story is more complicated. Consider the fees the owner of a fractional must pay: in addition to the purchase of the share in the aircraft (hundreds of thousands to a million dollars or more), there are also monthly maintenance and operating fees (hundreds of thousands of dollars a year), along with insurance (more tens of thousands of dollars). And on top of all that, you will still pay an hourly fee for flight time. In contrast, when you book a flight through Air Royale, all you are paying for is the flight. When you add up all of these costs, Air Royale's hourly rate may be anywhere from one-half to one-third less than the typical fractional aircraft company's total hourly rate for a similar class of aircraft. You should also be aware that the monthly operating expenses charged by fractional companies are generally much higher than their actual costs of maintaining and operating the aircraft. Also, when the fractional company sells the aircraft at the end of the term of your contract, you will only recoup a fraction of your original investment. With Air Royale, there are no hidden fees. You will be quoted the total cost of the flight you've arranged, and that's all there is to it.



The fractional company's aircraft are all brand new, so they must be better and safer.


At Air Royale, we know the importance of safety. We also know there is more to safety than simply the age of an aircraft. All of our network aircraft are rigorously maintained according to FAA standards, and each is equipped with the latest avionics, including GPS and Traffic Collision Avoidance Equipment (TCAS) to ensure your safety. Our aircraft owners embrace independent safety auditors such as Wyvern, Q-Star and Argus. The interiors are tasteful, luxurious and kept immaculately clean for your comfort. The service is lavish and personalized -- everything from the choice of food to the in-flight entertainment is yours for the asking. Each aircraft is also equipped the latest technology for your business and personal convenience, including AirCell telephone equipment for direct dial calls and checking your e-mail.



Well, at least I own the darn plane!


While no one can deny the thrill of ownership, it is simplistic to believe fractional ownership is equivalent of owning your own plane. It would be similar to owning a time-share and believing you own the whole resort. The truth is, while you technically own a share in a particular plane, in effect you have a contract with the fractional company that allows you to use any equivalent aircraft in the company's fleet for a specified number of hours each year. You will rarely, if ever, fly on the plane you partly own. Unlike a plane you actually own, you will have little say over who uses your aircraft, how often it flies, or how far it goes. All of those decisions are in the hands of the fractional company managing the program, which provides the pilots, maintenance, and storage facilities for the plane. May we humbly suggest if you truly desire the pleasure of owning your own plane, then you should own your own plane, not a fraction of one. Otherwise, private air charter is clearly the much more economical and convenient choice.



Okay, so maybe fractional ownership isn't the way to go. But there are other air travel plans, such as charter block membership and air travel debit cards, which seem to offer certain advantages.


True, there are many plans for selling blocks of air travel time, and more are invented every day. But do they really have advantages over traditional charter air travel? Hardly. The problem with schemes like charter block membership is that, like fractional ownership, they require the prospective client to pay a great deal of money up front, with even less to show in return. For instance, Company A sells a charter block membership that consists of 25 hours in a small jet. It costs $39,000 up front for the membership, plus an additional $1,200 for each hour of flight time. The total cost is $69,000, or $2,760 per hour of flight time. If you pick up the phone to charter the same type of jet from Air Royale, the cost is only $1,650 per hour, a savings of $27,750 for the 25 hours. Quite substantial. Is there an advantage, in terms of scheduling or convenience, to paying more for the membership? No. Does the higher price reflect some other benefit of the program? Not at all. And, if you are interested in an even greater price saving, Air Royale does offer to sell blocks of charter air travel time -- but unlike the plan referenced above, if a client commits to purchasing a block of time, we never require any payment up front. Our clients only pay for the time as they use it.

Fairy tales can be enjoyable, and we can often learn many lessons from them, as long as we keep in mind the difference between fantasy and reality. If you want to be the hero of your own tale, just remember that in terms of cost, convenience, and service, let Air Royale be your knight in shining armor. Keep this in mind, choose wisely, and you too will live happily ever.

Author, Eric Elfman - For more information on private jets and air charter, please visit our site at

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5 Star Budget Travel Ode

How To Have A 5 Star Holiday On A 2 Star Budget

Travel, Holiday & Flight Discounts - Getting The Best Travel Deals Online

Love to travel? The international traveller has never had it so good in terms of being able to afford to see the world at discounted prices. Sometimes there is a huge over-supply in holidays and this leads to a slash in holiday prices. Below you're going to learn just how to spot cheap holidays as well as the best places to find them, particularly if you’re based in the UK.

Companies That Offer Regular Travel Bargains

Let's start off with some online companies that have been known to offer good travel discounts. It's best to keep checking these sites regularly as good offers will get snapped up almost immediately. - If you can travel within 30 days it's possible to find some incredibly cheap last minute fares including flights and accommodation. I've seen 7 nights including flights and hotel to Ibiza at prices of just ?99. Of course Ibiza is not everyones cup of tea - which is why you'll find equally good deals to Edinburgh, Alicante, Palma, Faro and several other desirable locations. I have also seen 7 nights at a 4 star hotel including flights to Majorca and the Belearics at just ?130. - Very similar to Travel Travel but also includes a host of cheap city breaks. - Again, several travel deals. Also includes properties for sale from abroad. - Just discounted airfares and holidays to several locations. - Look around for some excellent last minute offers from hundreds of holiday providers. Some real gems available. - One of the more well known online providers but these guys really do provide some very good last minute deals. - Good French packages including cottages and ferry crossing at discounts. & - Good for inexpensive channel crossing deals.

Worldwide - For great deals on world wide flights only offers try these:


Discount Hotels

It's possible to pickup some good discounts on hotels all over the world. Try the following places for European stays in particular: (European Hotels)

Also checkout the Formule 1 series for cheap stays in France.

Saving Money On Travel Insurance

In the UK, you can save money on travel insurance simply by picking up discounted travel insurance from the Post Office.

Some Travel Secrets To Get You The Best Prices

Like most things, there are many tricks available to secure the lowest possible fares for flights, hotel and all forms of world travel. Every year there is a huge surplus in flights and holidays. Holiday companies have to estimate how many holidays will be demanded for any particular location and time - they never get it just right. Every year there is a surplus on certain holidays and flights, and if all places haven't been filled by the final few days, you can pick up some really dramatic discounts.

Flights and accommodation are priced according to supply and demand - and this supply and demand follows a certain pattern. Once you know the situations where supply exceeds demand, and you know the right time to buy, you can save big time. A good example of this are fly by drives to the States - typically mid-November is when the cheapest fly drives are available and you can pick up deals for under ?150 for 14 days (I've seen them as low as ?99). Keep an eye on teletext holidays if you're interested in this type of deal. If you do not mind coming back on Christmas day you can also find some stunning deals available. This may not be ideal for family trips but certainly for the lone traveller it's a worthwhile option to check out.

How to spot cheap deals - With a little know how you can really figure out which flights and holidays are likely to be put on special offer as late deals. It all boils down to supply and demand - A good example of this is the late availability deals on teletext. 7 Nights in Lisbon, flights and self catered all included for ?79 IF you waited a few days before departure. This was initially offered at ?149 a month or so before. But how is it possible to know that the price would come crashing down to just ?79? The secret is to contact the company offering the deal and ask them how many seats are left. In the Lisbon case there were just 14 seats booked 5 days prior to departure - there was no chance of this holiday being booked by departure date and the result? A massive discount offered to those who booked at the last minute. This is how the holiday business works and now that you know this you can make incredible savings just by making a few calls on holidays you're interested in.

Car Hire & Day Trips should always be booked outside your holiday booking company otherwise you'll almost certainly pay a premium. Usually there are specialist shops in most town centres that have been setup to provide car hire/day trips and you can save quite a lot of money using them.

London Airport Parking - Parking in London & other UK locations can get very expensive. Try London Airport Parking and Airport Parking UK for inexpensive parking options.

I really hope this helps all of you track down some incredible bargains.

Happy Travelling!!!

Author, Tukshad Engineer - How I Manage To Fly To Any Destination At 80% Discounts Each And Every Time: If you’d like more details on the best travel bargains available anywhere please email me at

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Egypt Wonder Poem

Seven Wonders of the World - Light House of Alexandria

This light house of Alexandria was one of the useful of the seven wonders of the world (for the sailors to return to the Great Harbor), which is a small differentiates it, when compared with the other wonders of the world. The mirror which was mounted on this lighthouse could reflect the light more than 35 miles off-shore. Of the 6 ancient destroyed wonders, this was the last to be destroyed around 1480 AD.


On the ancient island of Pharos, now a promontory on the harbor of the city of Alexandria in Egypt.


This lighthouse was built around 280 BC and was around 134 m in height. This was built in the city of Alexandria.

The light house had a good mirror which can reflect the sun light to a very long distance. Mythical stories used to say that this mirror was used to burn the enemy ships.

The Macedonian conqueror, Alexander during his successful reign, had tried establishing approximately 17 cities in the name of Alexandria. The only one survived long was the one in Egypt. That too even this city was not completely built by Alexander. The completion of the construction of this city was achieved by his commander Ptolemy I Soter.

Ptolemy connected Alexandria to the Pharos island by a bridge. It was realized that the sailing in this coastal region is very dangerous. That is why he decided to build a light house. This project was initiated during Ptolemy's reign in 290 BC and completed after his death by his son Ptolemy Philadelphus. Sostratus who lived in the same time as Euclid, was the architect. This used to remain in the harbor for centuries. This wonder of the world also depicted in the Roman coins that time.

The writings of the Arab conquerors are very good source of information about this lighthouse. The new rulers moved the capital to the Cairo. So this place had lost its importance. Three earthquakes stuck in various periods (around AD 956, AD 1303 and AD 1323 ) have damaged the lighthouse significantly. The during AD 1480 the Egyptian Mamelouk Sultan, has built a medieval fort at the same place. That was the end to the story of the light house.

There are some more tales to the light house. Sostratus after he completed the lighthouse wanted his name to be carved on the light house. This was not allowed by Ptolemy II Philadelphus. Ptolemy II wanted his name to be carved on the structure. But what Sostratus did is he first carved his name underneath, put plasters on it and then carved Ptolemy II's name. After some years, the plasters worn out and his name has come out to be known to all.

The design of the lighthouse was unlike the modern slim lighthouse towers. This was built in 3 stages, each built on top of the lower.

This lighthouse was so popular that the word Pharos came into French, Spanish and Italian to mean lighthouse.

Author, Muthukumar.V, - Seven Wonders of the world - Ancient Times:

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London Tour Serenade

Secrets Of The London Tube

Although it's many years since I left my home in London I still occasionally use The Tube, as the London Underground is affectionately known.

Hold on. Affectionately? Does anybody actually hold any affection for the network of tunnels that run beneath the surface of our capital, or the rolling stock that runs through them?

They’re over-crowded, far too warm and stuffy (the temperature in the tunnels is about 10 C higher than at ground level), and the views are pretty dire. In central London, all you’re likely to see is the dark walls of the tunnels, although if you’re lucky, you might just get a glimpse of another train passing in another tunnel through one of the gaps between them. Funnily enough, contrary to popular belief, the majority of The Tube is actually over ground. Not that there’s much scenic stimulation along those stretches either. You might see some fascinating factories, some interesting piles of rubbish that have mysteriously grown along the sidings and a few back gardens, but nothing much else.

Anybody who’s ever regularly used The Tube during peak hours will tell you that using this particular form of transport can take great courage and will power. The platforms are crowded to the point where those at the front, closest to the lines, can find themselves fearing for their lives. We’re warned to stand behind the line, which is painted about three feet away from the platform edge, but with all those people behind you, all wanting to get forward and have a chance of getting on the next arriving train, the platform edge can quickly become dangerously close.

Having a position at the front doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a place on the next train though. Oh, no. Whether or not you’ll actually get on it will depend largely upon where on the platform you’re positioned and whether or not the carriage doors will be in front of you when the train stops. If you happen to be standing between two doors, then you’re very unlucky indeed. One way around this is to look at those ‘stand behind’ lines. As the rolling stock on each line of the underground are generally of the same type (the trains differ from line to line) and stop at more or less the same point (note: more or less… this isn’t an exact science), the ‘stand behind’ lines will be more worn where the doors are likely to be. Find those spots and you’ll have a better change of boarding the next one, unless of course the lines are freshly painted, in which case, bad luck.

This next point should be obvious to everybody but unfortunately, my experience tells me that this isn’t the case. When the train stops, even if you’re lucky enough to be standing in front of the doors, LET PASSENGERS OFF THE TRAIN FIRST! Don’t just push your way on, even if others are doing so. It’s bad manners and can cause nasty accidents.

Once on the train, you’ll no doubt have to stand as there are few seats compared with the amount of passengers being transported during peak hours. It’s standard etiquette to offer your seat to elderly passengers and those carrying small children, whether still in the comfortable confines of the womb or otherwise. Anybody else will have little chance of finding a seat. The more experienced underground travellers have their strategies though; they'll target a seat. Those reading are unlikely to be travelling just a few stops, and although they could have been travelling for ages already, they rarely make good targets. Study people’s faces. If they look bored, they’ve probably already been there a while so maybe they’ll be alighting soon? Mind you, people do get very bored very quickly on The Tube, so they could just as easily have joined the train at the station before yours.

When it comes to seats that are vacated during the journey, there’s a general unwritten rule. Whoever is standing closest to a seat that becomes available has the greatest claim to the seat. He/she can choose to offer it to a fellow passenger, but it’s against etiquette to make a dash for a seat where the privilege of sitting obviously belongs to another.

Speaking of unwritten rules, there are a few others that should be observed if you don’t want to unduly annoy your fellow passengers. The one that’s probably more annoying than any other, is the subject of occupying seats unnecessarily! Bags and other inanimate objects do not have the right to a seat. Sure, if the trains relatively empty, by all means pile them on a seat, but don’t imagine you can do this during peak times, even if you enter to train at its station of origin where seats are still aplenty. Rather than have a small child occupy a seat, you might consider holding your toddler on your lap, too. Mind you, the rush hour on The Tube isn’t the best place for small children to be, so your best bet would be to wait a couple of hours before making your journey.

Getting back to those bags, another point worth thinking about is what to do with large bags if you have to stand. Do as seasoned tube travellers do, and put them between your legs. No, I don’t mean stuff it up your jacksy, I mean place your bag on the floor and straddle it, one foot on either side. It’ll take far less room this way than if you stood beside it, because your feet still won’t be much further apart that the width of your torso. Standing with your legs apart also make balancing easier, and when those trains are dashing through winding tunnels, swaying from side to side, you’ll need all the balance you can get. An added advantage is that should anybody decide to steal your bags, having body contact with it means you’ll be more likely to feel it being moved.

Body contact. Yes, that’s another subject. I wish I knew how many times I’d felt a ‘lump’ being pushed against my backside on a crowded tube. Please…if anybody who's guilty of this is reading, is it really necessary? I understand that the jiggling motion of the train whilst pressed closed to the body of a member of the opposite sex might cause a sensation that could lead to embarrassment, but it surely isn’t necessary to make a show of it?

On some lines, and at certain stations, a voice will tell you to “mind the gap”. The posh female voice is known as Sonia, because she “gets on ya nerves” and “the gap” is a terrifyingly wide opening between the platform and the train door. Being of voluptuous proportions, I’ve never had a fear of disappearing down the gap, but the thought of getting my leg stuck down there has been pretty scary. For goodness sake pick up small children and carry them.

The deepest part of the system is at Hampstead Heath (Northern Line), where the rails are approximately 220 feet below the surface. Being the deepest part of any line, you’d expect to find the longest escalator here wouldn’t you? But you’d be wrong, because of all the 409 escalators, the longest is actually at Angel station, where the escalator is 197 feet long with a vertical rise of 90 feet. That’s one awesome escalator!

Whilst on the subject of moving stairways, I have to tell you that sometimes they don’t work and you have to walk up them, like it or not. There’s nothing quite like getting off a crowded tube train, feeling hot and sweaty and probably in need of murdering somebody, only to be presented with an out-of-order escalator that appears to be several miles long. Unless you’re ultra fit, it just isn’t funny. If they are moving, please remember to stand on the right hand side allowing those who want to walk up or down access to the left. You'll find that passengers often feel the need to run down escalators, causing danger to not only themselves but others travelling the escalator with them. It's a bad habit that you shouldn't indulge in.

Despite being uncomfortable at times, The Tube’s a relatively safe means of travelling around London. The most famous accident must surely be the Moorgate disaster, back in 1975, when 43 people were killed. The second disaster was in 1987 at King’s Cross, when a fire killed 31 people. There have been no other major disasters. There have been a few bombs placed on tube trains over the years, but none have actually exploded on packed trains. The 253 miles of railway is, however, renowned for its suicides. Jumping in front of a tube train seems to have been a fashionable way of killing oneself for quite some time now.

Using the tube is relatively inexpensive with a trip for an adult costing anything from ?1.00 to ?3.60, depending on the length of the journey. This is measured by zones, with zone 1 being within central London. The more zones you travel through, the more they'll charge you. Logical really. Child fares are available for those under 15, under five's travel free.

If you need to know which zone you'll be starting from or how many zones you'll be travelling though, 'TubePlanner' is a useful site to visit ( The journey planner here is actually easier to use than the one on the official London Underground site (, although don't tell them I said so. You'll be able to access information such as quickest route, journey time and the fare. You can also look up tourist attractions and find out exactly how to get to them.

Those who use the tube often will always complain about it, but the truth is, without it, London would come to a stand still. The streets of London are already chock-a-block with traffic as it is so any attempt at transporting 900 million passengers over ground each year would lead to nothing less than chaos.

It may not be perfect, but it's by far the quickest and most convenient way of travelling through London. And hey.... even the map's easy to understand!

Author, Sharon Jacobsen, grew up in East London but moved to Norway at the age of 19, returning to England in 1998. She now lives in Cheshire with her partner and two of her three children. Besides writing, she is currently studying Social Science with The Open University, runs a web site where women in the UK can meet other women for platonic friendship (, potters in her garden, knits and reads everything she comes over.

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Europe Travel Verse

How To Enjoy Croatia

1. Why Croatia ?

Croatia is the closest Mediterranean destination to central Europe. It takes 2 hours by plane from London, 45 minutes from Munchen... Croatian natural beauties are significant and amongst the best preserved in the world ( over 5,800 km of coast, over 1,000 islands, numerous national parks ... ). More about Croatia find on the official web site

2. How to Croatia ?

Traveling by car you have to keep in mind that the traffic is increased in summer season. National ferry line is Jadrolinija and the national airline company is Croatia Airlines

3. Where in Croatia ?

Although the inland of Croatia is beautiful as well, lot of tourists decide for one of the places along the Croatian coast. Most of the beautiful places in Croatia are located on the Adriatic sea coast ( National Park Brijuni islands, Roman arena in Pula, National Park Kornati islands, old towns Dubrovnik, Zadar, Trogir, Sibenik, Split, National Park island Mljet ... ). Having one day trip in inland you can visit more Croatian beauties like National Park Plitvice lakes, National Park on river Krka, National Park Paklenica, ... )

4. Stay (sail) in Croatia ?

Usually tourists rent a hotel room or an apartment and spend a week laying on a beach not aware that there are plenty other places around worth to be visited. Instead of changing hotels and moving your stuff from one place to another trying to see as much as possible , you can rent a boat ( skipper if necessary ), visit all the places along the Croatian coast and islands and have an extraordinary holidays. Croatian coast has 1000 of islands so there are no big waves and high sea. The conditons are perfect for nice and easy sailing. There are no long distance routes across the open sea. You can achor anytime you want and take a swimm. The price for sailing holidays in Croatia is equal to price for a hotel accomodation. More about yacht charter in Croatia find on web site ( or ). There you can find a complete yacht charter offer in Croatia: more than 1500 charter yachts belonging to all relevant charter companies in Croatia ( having at least 10 to 100 boats in their fleet). You can compare the prices for different boat models and select the most appropriate one.

To answer the question how to enjoy in Croatia - sail in Croatia!

Author, Neven Grubisic: I have no bio so far.

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Road Trip Opus

A Mindful Road Trip: The Perfect No-Goal Vacation

It's the beginning of spring break, and we're heading south. That's all we know.

Our family is greatly anticipating what may be our last road trip for a long, long time. There's a lot of excitement in our house right now as we are shifting into a whole new phase for each of us.

My husband is launching a new business. I am writing a book. Our 17-year-old daughter is preparing for college in Nova Scotia in September. Our 16-year- old daughter is heading to Brazil for a year-long Rotary Exchange in July. Our 14-year-old daughter is playing a sport for the first time in her life. Our 13-year-old daughter is considering transferring to an arts magnet school in order to immerse herself in her passion—dance.

This is the end of an era. In a few months, we will never have all four of them living at home again. The next year will bring all kinds of changes, and we feel we need to grab this chance to hit the road together in our trusty, dusty minivan.

It's time for our favorite kind of vacation—the make-it-up-as-you-go meander through undiscovered (to us, anyway) territory. We'll get up really early, jump in the van, and just go. No reservations. No schedule. No destination in mind.

We love this no-goal travel. We learned years ago that the happiest times we spend together are those in which we are free to experience each moment as it comes without planning the next.

Back in 1998, we decided in one day to pack up the kids and take off to India and Nepal for three months. It's not as though we simply quit our jobs and left. That would have been far easier.

We had plenty of responsibilities—we owned two small retail businesses, an import/export company, an old commercial building with a leaky roof, and a house we had just finished remodeling.

We felt restless and ready for adventure, and making the choice to go was instantaneous and unanimous.

We sold one business, liquidated another, put the third in a coma. We found someone to take care of the leaky roof, and another to stay in our house. We yanked the kids out of school and within six weeks of making our decision boarded a plane—six excited travelers carrying six small backpacks.

The girls were 7, 8, 10 and 11. People thought we were insane.

The first two months we spent in India visiting the former host families my husband had lived with during his own Rotary Exchange when he was 16. The third month we had reserved for Nepal. We planned to fly into Kathmandu and spend four weeks on our own. We had no agenda, no reservations, no contacts. We weren't the least bit concerned about it.

From the very first day, it was clear this was going to be a really special experience for our family. We found a clean, friendly hotel, the Red Planet, with a room big enough for six of us. It was $15 a night. Our window faced the rear of a nightclub, and we giggled ourselves to sleep as Pink Floyd and Michael Jackson were blasted from the speakers outside. One of our daughters became quite adept at unclogging the toilet and bathtub drain.

We wandered the curving streets, marveling at the sights and sounds. Each meal was an adventure as we made it a point to invite single diners to join us. We met fascinating people of all ages from around the world.

Highlights include dashing into a tiny Italian restaurant during our first two hours in Kathmandu as we were caught in a torrential downpour—our first rain since leaving Oregon. A hilarious but fairly sleepless night sharing a tea house room with rats. Children, especially young boys, trailing us everywhere we trekked. Breakfast on our roof with a breathtaking view of the Annapurnas. Ducking to avoid spider webs dripping with dew while riding elephants in the early morning. Exploring richly scented temples. Spontaneous dancing in the streets.

We have never, ever laughed more than we did on that trip. I had to use an asthma inhaler—not for any allergies, but because I laughed so hard that I started wheezing! Every single day was full of absolute joy and discovery. It didn't matter in the slightest what we were doing. We were together, we were exploring, and we were having the time of our lives.

Granted, a road trip to southern Oregon isn't nearly as exotic. Still, what we learned in Nepal is the magic of being in the moment. Our kids discovered the power of being present and open to whatever the day may bring.

It's a priceless lesson we feel fortunate to have learned early. That trip was a gift that keeps on giving. It provided a shining example of true mindfulness for our growing daughters.

We're heading south. Our intention? To be together. To explore. And to laugh our heads off.

I'll bring my inhaler.

Author, Maya Talisman Frost, is a mind masseuse. Her work has inspired thinkers in over 70 countries around the world. This article appeared previously in the Friday Mind Massage, a free weekly ezine serving up a satisfying blend of clarity, comfort and comic relief. To subscribe, visit

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Business Travel Ode

Alternatives for Business Travelers

"I'm coming home. I've been away too long. Been away so long. I'm coming home" – Ian Thomas, in Coming Home

I still recall my road warrior days. It seemed like every other week, I was hopping on a plane for Orlando or Vancouver or Palm Springs or Washington or Chicago or Toronto.

It might not be Rome, Paris, and Monte Carlo, but Washington, Toronto and Orlando are pretty classy places. I went to crucial meetings. I was an important person. I was a frequent flyer.

However, after a while, all the towns begin to look the same. One airport hotel looks amazingly like another. Surely the taxi driver in Washington and the taxi in Orlando were twins separated at birth. I was yearning to just stay put. I had had enough of hotels and restaurants

Traveling sounds glamorous until you have to do it over and over and over. Especially when you have a family, you want to spend some time at home between the episodes of jet lag. Comfort becomes a much bigger deal, and you want every place to feel like home.

You just can't do that in a hotel. Not in a Marriott. Not in a Sheraton. Not in a Hilton.

I wish I knew then about two other options.

Private Vacation Homes (or rental villas)

Private vacation homes, known also as holiday homes or villas are essentially houses that rent on a weekly basis. They are not much help for fly-in meetings. For those, only an airport hotel will do.

But if you plan to be in town for the better part of the week, there is nothing like kicking back in your own private home – a rental home, of course.

"Hotel rooms are cramped; a villa is spacious with room to walk about. Hotel rooms have a TV and desk in the bedroom; a villa has surround sound TV and stereo with comfortable couches and chairs in various parts of the home. A hotel has a public pool; a villa has a private pool," says Florida villas rental agent Stewart Granville. "It's private. It's comfortable. It's like a home away from home."

Mr. Granville notes that a vacation home rental also serves as an office away from home, with one room dedicated to the office. "In a villa, you don't have to sit on your bed when you type those memos. And what a great way to entertain business contacts."

Mr. Granville specializes in villas in America's vacation heartland: Orlando, Florida. Business travelers often bring their family along to enjoy Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and other famous theme parks. The family plays while the business traveler works. When the meetings are over, they all head for Disney together, perhaps for another week. With family in tow, a private rental home makes much more sense than a crowded hotel room.

Bed and Breakfasts

Bed and Breakfasts are also an option. Although they do not offer the same privacy and space as villas, they are warmer and more homey than a hotel. And like a hotel, they rent by the night, not by the week.

Is a bed and breakfast for you? If a relaxing atmosphere is more important to you than room service, a bed and breakfast is for you, yes. They are comfortable and relaxing, so the business traveler can walk confidently into his meeting free from stress and worries.

Bed and Breakfasts are growing more popular for weekend getaways in the country, but most major urban centers have bed and breakfasts right in the heart of the city...and these are ideal for road-weary business travelers.

So forget about room service and the mint on the pillow. For a stay of several days, the business traveler can rent a spacious, private vacation villa. And for just a night or two, it's a warm and comfortable bed and breakfast.

Written by David Leonhardt, freelance writer, and an online and offline publicity specialist. Contact him at: or visit his website at For Florida vacation villa rentals: For Orlando vacation home rentals:

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Vacation Kidding :-) Poem

Vacation In Comfort With Kids

It takes a special person to travel with kids – a parent. Children have their own needs. Their idea of a vacation is more "adventurous" than a parent's. They need constant stimulation and they can get as tired as they are tiring.

There are many top ten type lists of tips for traveling with children: how to ensure they eat well and drink enough, how to dress them for weather variances, how to provide the stimulation they need, how to make sure they don't drive off with the family car and leave you stranded in the Mojave Desert, etc.

This list is how to travel in comfort – without tying the children to the roof rack -- which hopefully will reduce your stress.

Make sure you have plenty of room while traveling.

This is easier said than done. On a plane, everybody is cramped. On a train, everybody is cramped, although a little less so. On a bicycle... don't even try it.

If you are driving, get a mini-van. Sure, you might be more of a "car" type, and you might have resisted buying a mini-van so far. But pick up a rental van for the vacation just to give the kids a little more room for fighting. (Make sure it has a roof rack, just in case.)

Reality check: Cram enough people into a tiny space and watch everybody get stressed and enraged. See my humorous but true article on hippo rage: .

Accommodations along the way can be tricky. Usually it involves a cramped motel for just long enough to sleep, then back in the cramped car (or somewhat cramped mini-van). This is not anybody's idea of a home away from home.

An accommodation alternative is to camp. When not sleeping, you have all the space in the world (unless you have to huddle under the tarp while the storm passes through). I love camping, but not everyone enjoys a good early morning wake-up wrestle with a grizzly as much as I do, so a motel might be required.

Make sure you have plenty of room when you "get there".

My childhood vacations, often involved wandering around lost. Assuming you are actually heading for a destination, make sure to have lots of room when you get there. This part is easy. But it requires thinking outside the box. Forget hotels, motels, and inns. Look for private rental homes.

Probably the biggest destination for families is Walt Disney World in Florida. Good news – Orlando, Kissimmee and the surrounding area is just teeming with private vacation homes for rent. In Florida they call them vacation villas, and they offer all the space of home (without having to fix a leaky sink or oil the door hinges or mow the lawn.) Here are some examples of vacation home rentals in the Disney area:

Sharon Baillie is a private villa owner in the Kissimmee area outside Orlando, just a few miles from Disney World. "Our guests enjoy the spaciousness of our 6-bedroom home ( ). They love the private pool and the private yard in which they can relax," she says. "Parents love the space for children to run around outside, and we leave a box of toys in the garage. So while the parents rest, the children play – and let their parents rest!"

Be prepared for "children being children" events.

Sometimes, stress hits you from behind when the unexpected happens. Like a cut or a scrape ... or a child getting sick. Sharon Baillie told me that is why she tells all her villa rental guests where the first aid kit can be found, and exactly where to go for medical attention. This is particularly helpful for her many guests from abroad who are unfamiliar with the US healthcare system.

She also makes sure her guests are informed about local pollen and viruses in Florida, so that parents can be prepared. Stress is so much more enjoyable when you are prepared for it, don't you think?

Booking tickets to theme parks and making reservations for just about everything in advance, makes the trip less stressful. There is little more difficult than managing young children while trying to get into a theme park or show that requires prior booking.

And to prevent wandering around lost, pick up a AAA Triptik in advance – not that it ever helped us.

Try having your children baby-sat. This might mean bringing along a nanny, such as a grand parent (It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it.). The car might be more crowded, but if you've rented a spacious home for the week, it could just be doable. The other option is to hire a local baby-sitter once or twice. Vacation Home owners can set this up for you, and some hotels might be willing to, too.

When you are single, you can go on adventure vacations. When you are a parent, you get vacation adventures. Here are three of mine:

So there you have it. Three ways to reduce the stress of traveling with kids, so you can actually relax on vacation. After all, isn't that what vacations are supposed to be about?

Written by David Leonhardt, freelance writer, and an online and offline publicity specialist. Contact him at: or visit his website at For Florida vacation villa rentals: For Orlando vacation home rentals:

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