Kagoshima, the Path Less Traveled

When you think of Japan as a travel destination, the larger cities come to mind, Tokyo, Osaka, and Kobe for example. Did you know though, there’s a place on Japan’s southernmost island of Kyushu that’s known as the Naples of the east? That city is Kagoshima and if your interest is piqued, let’s take a look at what Kagoshima has to offerContinue Reading

World’s Most Dangerous Roads – A Rough Holiday

There are different places where you will come across the most dangerous roads, and the condition in which your car is in does not determine whether you can manage to pass through these roads or not. These roads are located in different areas, and they all have names. They have been used for many years, and some are half constructed, making it more dangerous.

From far, you may think that the roads are normal and completely safe. This is not the case when you get near. The death rates on these roads are high, and this clearly shows how risky it is to drive on such roadsContinue Reading

Tried And True Advice For Camping With A Baby

My husband and I love everything that includes the outdoors. During the pregnancy of our son, our excitement grew as we anticipated all of the camping trips the future would hold. We dreamed of teaching him to fish, hunt, and hike, but most importantly to love being active in the outdoors.

Our son just had his first birthday and he has already journeyed amazing places: to shores of Northern California for a week of abalone diving, to the top of Half Dome to witness the view, and even ice fishing in the lakes of Utah. We’ve been making our dreams come true! But with all our anticipation and planning, we didn’t account for the experiences that ended up making our dreams worth living. And so, I hope to impart with you some laughs, some motivation, and hopefully some wisdom so you can live a few dreams of your own.

Babies Can Be Explosive

The first camping trip. Our excitement was palpable. Just as we were rounding the corner to pull into the campsite our little two-month bundle of joy decided to perform a bowel movement that exploded through every crevice of the diaper, through multiple layers of clothes, all over my lap, and onto the seat of the grandparent’s truck. Just the perfect way to start the week out right? To give you an idea of how bad it was, we ended up throwing his little socks away! What followed would break anyone’s heart: a wailing naked baby lying in the cold, flat on a hard picnic table…then a trip to the nearest town for bigger diapers. Lesson number one: always expect the unexpected… and pack multiple sizes of diapers.

Babies May Like Their Bed Better Than Yours

A spur the moment camping trip took us exploring in the mountains of Northern California for a free and easy access camping spot. It took us longer than we expected to find a place and so we finally settled for a very small campground on a lake. Now, so you get the full effect of my story, very small means possibly 11+ camps in 100 yards… give or take. We rumbled into camp after dark and probably woke up every camper in the process of setting up. Then, proud of how prepared we were, we tucked our little 8 month bundle of joy to bed in his portable crib for a peaceful sleep… it didn’t last very long. Shortly thereafter he awoke and decided he had slept long enough in thatuncomfortablecrib, did not want to sleep with us, and wanted every single person to know how unhappy he was. Thus, the crying ensued – for hours. Needless to say, we packed up very quickly the next morning and were on our way home. Every other camping experience has also resulted in one of us forking over our sleeping bag and mat for him to sprawl out in. We have now learned to pack for comfort to avoid horrible sleepless nights and angry neighboring campers.

The Moby

Always bring along a baby carrier. We were gifted a hand-me-down, never used, Moby wrap. We didn’t know much about it, but this carrier is a heaven send. We now swear by the Moby wrap. This elastic wrap was especially my favorite when our son was an infant. It snuggled him up on our chest keeping him in a swaddled position so he could sleep anywhere. It kept him very warm on the cold camping trips and was the only carrier that did not hurt my lower back. I will tell everyone to get the Moby. On our hike up Half Dome we used a baby hiking backpack; it was very comfortable and we had no trouble at all – our son even took his naps! For this hike I highly recommend getting ready by working out with home gym exercise equipment.

Although, our dreamed up adventures ended up being full of mishaps and sleepless nights, those made the most fun memories. All that hard work is so we can look back and laugh, so we can learn to love, and so we can pass on our love and passions to our children.

The Maya Ruins: A Bucket-List Destination

If you’re looking for a relaxing tropical vacation with hefty dose of adventure, consider taking a trip to see the Mayan ruins.

Mexico has become well known for its all-inclusive vacation options, which give travelers a slew of food and entertainment at budget prices.

But with all the sun seekers flocking to Cancun and the Riviera Maya, a relative few leave their hotels to venture into the jungle and see these wonders. If you’ve ever been to one of these all-inclusive mega resorts, you know that’s because you don’t NEED to leave for anything… However, I intend to make a case for exploring outside the serene, manicured grounds of your hotel and stepping into the world of the Maya!

The Maya civilization flourished throughout Latin America beginning around 2000 B.C. They had extensive knowledge of science and physics– knowledge they used to build massive pyramids. Unfortunately for the Maya, their civilization began to drastically (and mysteriously) unravel around the year 800 A.D., and it wasn’t long before the jungle swallowed up their magnificent cities.

Thanks to increased tourism in the area and a modern appreciation for this lost society, many abandoned Maya sites have been reclaimed from the vegetation and are now accessible to the general public. Some of them, such as Chichen Itza and Tulum get a lot of tourist traffic and run much like on-site museums. Chichen Itza is often offered as an “add-on” excursion if you book your trip through a site like Expedia or Travelocity.

The Mayan city of Tulum is a beautiful set of ruins located on a cliff overlooking the greenish blue ocean. A wooden stairwell leads down to a gorgeous sandy beach that is popular with locals. It’s easy to get to from all the major resorts and because it’s a coastal site, Tulum is unique in its location– most other Maya sites are buried deep in the jungle.

So there are also several ruins that are, well… off the beaten path. One of these is the city of Coba. It takes a bit of effort to get to, but I think you’ll see– it is WELL worth it! Upon arriving, you can rent a rickety bicycle (about $3!)for your jungle exploration. There are endless paths that guide you through different parts of the abandoned city. Most of what remains at Coba is still concealed by trees and vegetation, so you will truly feel like an explorer as you navigate the jungle to find the many structures, steles and pyramids the Maya left behind. Coba has one of the taller pyramids in the Yucatan and unlike many other Maya sites, you’re still allowed to climb it!

If you do choose to go to Coba (or any Maya sites in Mexico, really…) here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Sunblock is a must-have. It’s much cheaper to bring a few bottles of your own than it is to purchase it there. (The prices are high in the tourist zone, even for Mexico!)
  • Remember to bring plenty of bug spray.
  • Your clothes will probably get very dirty, so wear something you don’t care that much about. You’ll have a lot more fun if you’re not worried about getting mud on you!
  • One more thing– Mexico is still a developing country. This is especially apparent when visiting places outside of the resort zones. Use caution when traveling, do your own research and always be safe.

The Maya left us many mysteries about their civilization and culture. They were skilled builders and artists and had a complex society that we are still learning about. So the next time you want an adventure, why not go explore some Maya ruins? It’s one for the bucket-list!

Make The Most Of Your Travel Plans

It is a well-known fact that traveling is usually a fun and relaxing experience. However, there are tips that you can follow that will make the quality of your vacation even better. The following article will explain what some of those tips are. Some of the following information may even surprise you.

Sign up for a travel price watcher. This feature offered by many websites lets you enter in destinations you travel to frequently and it watches them for you. When the airfare or hotel price drops by an amount you choose, the site will send you an email alerting you to the change. This will save you the hassle of checking on the price daily.

Avoid taxis whenever possible. Taxi fares can be very expensive, so to save money on transport, use public transport, or if the destination is not far, walk instead. If you have no choice but to take a taxi, make sure you barter with the driver to get the best deal.

Try to look into getting a suitcase alarm for your personal belongings. This way, if anyone tries to steal your luggage or bags when you are not looking, an alarm with go off, alerting you of the potential theft. These alarms are not expensive and are easy to find.

A great tip for anyone traveling abroad is to investigate the availability of hostels as alternatives to pricey hotels. Not just for young people, most hostels are open to all travelers, and offer safe, clean and affordable places to stay in exciting cities across the world. Choosing hostels over more traditional accommodations is a great way to save money and meet new friends.

If your suitcase doesn’t have a divider, a firm piece of cardboard can make an excellent divider. Just put the cardboard in the middle of your suitcase. Pack some clothes on one side of the cardboard and some on the other. This will help to keep your clothing organized and easy to unpack.

When traveling with a baby, use the hotel’s coffee machine to sterilize your bottles. Wash all the different parts to the bottles using soap and hot water. Plug up the sink and place all the bottle items in it. Allow the coffee machine to fill with water and then turn it on. Wait for the water to heat up and then pour the hot water over the bottles, nipples and rings. Repeat as necessary, completely covering the items with the water. Let them soak for at least five minutes, and your baby will have a sanitary bottle to drink from.

Bring a ruck sack with you when you are traveling on an airplane. Since many airlines are charging fees to check luggage, a lot of travelers are choosing to stick with carry-on bags instead. These bags are typically small, so to ensure that you have enough room for all of your stuff, take a ruck sack. It will fit into the overhead compartment and has a lot of space in it.

Going on a trip away from home can make you want to take a bit of home with you. To ensure that you don’t take too many things, only take the toiletries that you need. Make a list of toiletries that you generally use throughout your day and can’t live without. Pack the ones that are most important to you.

Your baggage can really weigh you down on a trip. Carefully consider your clothing choices. There’s no reason to take half of everything you own! Take clothing that you can easily rinse out in a bathroom sink, or in a bucket if the situation so demands. Make your choices mix and match, so a few items will be worn several items in different combinations.

Kids need something to do during down time at the hotel. Kids will always have more energy than you and time in the hotel can create cabin fever very quickly. Bring a bag that has toys, books or any other activities that can keep your children occupied and having fun while you relax.

In conclusion, there are many tips that can easily be followed to optimize your traveling experience. By learning and memorizing these tips, you have learned that there are things about traveling that you never even knew. Just remember, vacations are about fun, so first and foremost, relax and enjoy yourself!

Prevent a Lost Luggage Disaster on your next Vacation

There is nothing worse than arriving to your vacation destination and waiting for your bag to drop onto the luggage carousel and realizing it is not there. There are many reasons why airlines lose your luggage but a few things you can do to cope with the loss or preventing it from happening in the first place.

Start with the best carry-on bag you can find! It is much harder these days to pack everything you need in your carry-on luggage as airlines post stricter baggage restrictions when flying. The limits in your baggage size, weight and liquid limitations mean you have to be choosy about what goes in your checked bag and what you can bring with you. However, if you invest in a good lightweight carry-on bag it may make or break your trip. Be sure your bag is regulation carry-on size, this should include the wheels if you choose a wheeled bag.

Pack your carry-on as if it is your only bag! Always pack a day or two’s worth of clothes on your carry on luggage so that you have something to where in case you checked in bag gets lost. A good rule of thumb for packing a carry on bag is imagine it is the only bag that makes it to your destination and think about what it would be like to live on just its’ contents for 24-48 hours. Choose clothing items that will mix and match between day-wear and evening. Pack one bathing suit, set of PJs and comfortable shoes that you can wear day or night should the need arise. Choose the most important toiletries and pack travel size options – keep the airline’s liquid limitations in mind.

Checked Luggage Lessons – Identify Your Bag
By far the most important luggage tip is identify your bag. Be sure to put a sturdy luggage tag on your bag with up-to-date information including you name and address. Remember you are not only trying to make your bag easy to spot on the carousel, but if it does get lost you want to make it easier for the airline to identify your bag in a warehouse of all the stolen bags. Add a personal decoration to your bag so that you will be able to see it clearly when it is on the carousel. This is especially important if you still have the classic black luggage bag that everyone else has. You may want to invest in a decorated or coloured bag with an easy to spot pattern. However, don’t assume that you are the only one with the same fancy bag as they are increasing in popularity so make sure you are picking up the right bag before you leave the airport.

Know the Baggage Allowance – Get a Luggage Scale
Familiarize yourself with the baggage allowances for your airline before you pack for your trip. Many airlines are now charging for any checked baggages and if you bag goes over the weight restrictions be prepared for a hefty penalty. Start off with a lightweight bag and consider the weight of the empty bag as part of your allowance. Investing in lightweight luggage is a must for travelling by plane these days, most bags will take 10lbs off your limit before you even start adding items.

Use your carry on and checked bag allowance together and spread out heavy items such as shoes and books to stay within your allowance. Be sure to use travel size toiletries and avoid full-size bottles of shampoos and lotions as they add to the weight of your bag.Buy a handheld luggage scale to help keep your baggage in line with these restrictions.

Pack Smart and Easy
You don’t have to pack everything in your home when you leave for vacation. Be frugal and creative when choosing what to pack. Add items like nice t-shirts that can be worn casually with shorts or as a dressy top for evening wear. Remember that you can wear some items more than once, and more often than not that is what you end up doing anyway. The same pair of comfy shorts are great for the beach or on a travel excursion during the day. Choose clothes that have similar colour palettes and make the most of what you pack rather than packing a day and evening outfit for each day of your vacation.

Guide To Finding Excellent Hotels in Ottawa

If you’re interested in visiting Ottawa, it’s likely going to be very important to you that you end up in a hotel that you’re happy with. Where you stay during your trip can make a huge impact in your overall happiness with your stay in Ottawa. With so many hotels Ottawa has to offer, you need to be willing to do a bit of research regarding the options. While some people are set on finding pet friendly hotels in Ottawa because they want to bring along their dog, others may just want a modern room with all of the latest amenities.

Most people are curious about what kind of amenities they will receive while staying in hotels in Ottawa. The preferences of people can vary quite a bit depending on who they are traveling with and what the purpose of their stay is. Many families are interested in hotels with pools because it’s a great way to keep their kids entertained and happy throughout the vacation. People who are traveling for business will likely find wireless internet to be essential and a business room with fax machines and printers a must-have amenity.

Hotels are scattered throughout Ottawa, making it hard for you to figure out where you want to stay. In order to choose the best location, you need to consider what you will be doing while staying in Ottawa. If you’re here to have a nice time relaxing inside of the hotel, you may not care much about where you are staying. Those who want to visit many of the great landmarks and popular destinations of Ottawa will need to be a central area. Checking out whether or not the hotel offers free parking or shuttle service can also be helpful when you’re considering the locations that are available.

The cost of your stay in hotels Ottawa is likely going to be a huge factor when you are trying to narrow down the options. A lot of people are interested in staying at a nice hotel, but not willing to spend a lot of money doing so. Taking the time to call around and browse online can help a lot when you want to find a great rate. You’ll likely notice that some higher rated hotels are priced higher than other hotels that are not as popular. Considering your needs and budget should help you find the perfect balance between cost and comfort.

An easy way to lower the cost of your stay in Ottawa is by qualifying for different discounts on your hotel. Many hotels offer special promotions such as staying three nights and giving you the fourth night free. You could also save a lot of money by carrying a particular credit card, traveling during and off-season, or by booking early. Taking into consideration all of these ways that you can save money should help you find a lower cost on your hotel reservations and prevent you from overspending on your trip.

Many people are wary when booking a trip because of the high costs that can sometimes be related to their hotel stay. In order for you to be completely happy with your choice of the hotel, you need to be willing to research the choices that are available by using the internet and calling the different choices. You’ll likely notice that some hotels lack in amenities, but may offer surprisingly low rates. Instead of automatically brushing off some hotels due to their locations, you need to first consider where you would like to stay and how much you’re willing to pay. Keeping an eye on what details make different hotels a good choice can help lead you to best fit possible.

Caring For Premature Babies With Birth Defects

The joy and euphoria that comes with the arrival of a new baby can sometimes be accompanied by a great deal of anxiety when parents find their baby is sick or premature. The birth of your baby is a joyful and exciting experience but what happens if the unexpected occurs and your baby arrives early, or is born sick?

Giving birth prematurely is a traumatic event that, for many parents, can be a nerve-wracking and overwhelming ordeal. Feelings of anxiety, grief and even guilt prevail, with many mothers believing that events are somehow their fault. An additional stress factor for such parents can be the fact that many hospitals are unable to provide premature babies with the intensive care required, which means that babies born in hospitals around the country are transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in one of the major maternity hospitals. Being cared for in an environment such as this is vital to enable these babies to receive the skilled care and attention that is paramount for their wellbeing. When their condition stabilises, they are returned to the special care unit in the hospital nearest to their home.

Why Did This Occur?
Coping with a premature or sick baby can be a huge challenge and you are likely to have many questions, foremost among them may be why this has happened to your baby. The NICU is regarded as an alien, high-tech environment and can provoke intense levels of stress for many parents. The sight of your very small, fragile baby in an incubator surrounded by lots of equipment and wires can be very upsetting. Your first feeling may be one of utter helplessness, followed by a myriad of emotions including guilt. This is completely normal. You might start to wonder whether something you did, or did not do, during pregnancy could have caused this to happen. Was my job the reason for this? Did I look after myself properly? Was I eating the right food?

Your doctor and nurses will advise you to put aside any feelings of guilt and blame that you may have for the simple reason that, very often, no one can tell you why this has happened. About a third of preterm births occur for no obvious reason. With some births it may be pregnancy linked, as is the case with twins or triplets. However, the important thing to remember is that no matter how small your baby is, or how sick, you need to have confidence that he or she will get the very best care from the neonatal doctors and nurses, and other staff in your hospital. Despite their fragility, these babies are usually strong and real little fighters.

Learning To Cope
This is a time of great psychological stress and conflicting emotions. Premature birth interrupts the natural order of pregnancy, often with little or no warning. Parents are in shock and often confused about their role. Both you and your partner will be trying to stay strong for each other during this time, and this may lead to you both concealing your real feelings. Mum will still be trying to cope with the physical effects of having a baby. She might have had a difficult pregnancy or birth and could be feeling unwell. If mother and baby are being cared for in different hospitals, she will, of course, be missing her baby. This is not how dad expected fatherhood to begin. He may feel helpless and frustrated regarding his inability to help his new son or daughter. He may be feeling overwhelmed by the intensive care environment, worrying about financial concerns and the demands of home and work life. Whatever your feelings, don’t keep them to yourself. It is important for each of you to share your anxieties.

Family Matters
It’s natural for you to want to be with your premature or sick baby as much as possible, but you must learn to pace yourselves. Sit down with your partner and agree how best you will share the visits. If there are other children at home, try and engage the support of the extended family. Explain to the children that their new brother or sister is not well enough to come home yet, and will need to stay in the hospital for a while. Encourage the baby’s siblings to talk about their new brother or sister and, although many hospitals will not allow visits from children to their special care units due to the risk of infection, take photographs of your newborn to show them how he or she is developing.

Tell your children what is happening in simple words and be honest with them. Younger children will be wondering why their parents are always in the hospital. Older children might also be worried about the baby. Tell them what they can expect to see in the photographs so that the equipment used in the care of their baby sister does not frighten them.

Taking Care of You and Your Premature Baby

  • Talk to your partner. Talk to your family. Talk to the nurses and doctors taking care of your baby.
  • Take time out just to be together.
  • Actively participate in your baby’s care whenever possible.
  • Organise family and friends to share the housework, school runs, shopping and other things to relieve you of those stresses.
  • Remember you need to rest whenever the opportunity arises.

Air Travel During Pregnancy

Whether you’re trying to get in a “babymoon” to Paris with your significant other before the birth, or just driving up to see grandma for the holidays, traveling while pregnant poses some unique challenges. Many expecting mothers are afraid to travel during their pregnancy and some of them would not travel internationally at all. So can you travel while pregnant?

If you’re planning on flying to your destination, talk to your doctor first, and check the airline’s flight restrictions. As for most women air travel during pregnancy is safe, there are some conditions, such as clotting disorders, that may make it a better idea to keep your feet on the ground.  The best time to fly is generally during the second trimester. At this time morning sickness has usually settled down and you are not at a significant risk for preterm labor.  Many doctors recommend avoiding flights in your third trimester, as the pressure change can sometimes result in early labor.

One unfortunate reality is that your distance from the bathroom is going to be an issue.  Morning sickness, smaller bladders, and heartburn during pregnancy are often facts of life. If your taking a flight, consider getting a seat close to the front where you will be near the restroom. If driving, make sure you have an understanding travel companion.  If your doctor has suggested any medication for stomach upsets during your pregnancy, be sure to bring a supply along, since travel can sometimes play havoc on already stressed digestive systems.

There are a few steps you can take to increase your comfort in traveling.  Be sure to bring along some snacks and bottled water to prevent dehydration and hunger throughout the trip. If at all possible, try to take a break to walk around every two hours to prevent stiffness and blood clots, or at least flex an move your ankles while sitting.  Be sure to keep any seatbelts strapped under your belly, but do wear them for both your safety and the safety of the child.

It’s also a good idea to wear comfortable clothes and pack light.  Hauling a heavy suitcase behind you is uncomfortable in the best of circumstances, but can be downright miserable when pregnant.  When it comes to shoes, definitely invest in some comfortable flats that you can see walking for long distances in. You may also want to look into pregnancy socks, as these can help support your foot and promote circulation.

There are a few special considerations if you are traveling abroad. First of all, talk to your doctor about any immunizations you might need and how that might affect your pregnancy.  There may also be local illnesses that are common where you are traveling that aren’t serious enough for immunization, but can still lead to some discomfort.  Try to stick to bottled or filtered water and avoid produce stands, as there are most likely bacteria that your stomach is not used to handling.

You should also check with your insurance company to ensure you are covered where ever you are traveling.  If you are going to be gone a reasonably long time, you may want to bring along your medical history, just in case it is needed. Be sure to know your blood type and other important personal medical information.  Try to bring along more of any medications you take than you think you will need, just in case your travel plans get delayed.

Travel during pregnancy can be a special time to bond with your significant other, family, or friends, or just spend some time to yourself before the excitment of the new baby comes.  Once the plans are in place, try to relax and enjoy yourself, accept that sometimes in travel things don’t go as expected, and have a great time.

White Water Rafting In Moab Utah

Utah is known for many great outdoor sports and activities. You can go skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, hiking, rock climbing, rafting, and much more. There are so many great places to visit, and white water rafting in Moab Utah is one of the most popular things that people come to do from all over the world. If you are interested in rafting in Moab Utah, then there are some great sources of information online.

When you are planning a white water rafting trip, the first thing you need to consider is how long you would like to go rafting. You can do full day trips, half day trips, and you can even do trips that last up to six days. If this is your first time rafting, then going for a half day or full day would be best. You do not want to overdo it on rafting, especially if you are in really rapid waters. You might not enjoy day after day of rafting if you do not know what to expect.

Next you need to consider the cost of your adventure. The cost goes up when you choose to raft for a longer period of time, so it can get quite expensive if you have a large family. You can spend the day rafting for under $100, however, so this is a good deal if you would like to get a day of rafting in while you are on vacation. You can also look for good deals if you are choosing to go toward the beginning or end of a season. Sometimes rafting companies will offer good deals if they are not getting as much business as well.

Another important thing to consider is age and weight. Some particular sections of the river have specific weight and age requirements because they are more dangerous than others. For instance, some rapids require everyone to be over forty pounds, which usually means that the individuals on the raft will be at least five or six years old. Some rapids require children to be at least eight if there are high waters that are dangerous, so make sure that your children are old enough before taking them.

Rafting usually lasts from the early spring to the beginning of fall because this is the best time to ride the rapids. The temperature is very warm during these months, and there is very little or no chance of snow. The waters tend to be higher during this time as well because of the runoff that occurs from the snow in the mountains, which is partly what makes rafting so much fun.

If you are new to rafting, rafting in Moab Utah, then it is a good idea to take a class before you go on your first adventure. You need to know what to do in an emergency situation, and you can learn how to control your weight in the raft so that you don’t get thrown off. Some rafting companies require you to take a class, so find out beforehand.

Rafting in Moab Utah is something that you will always remember if you are daring enough to get in the water. You can also experience some of the other exciting things in Moab if you do not want to go rafting the entire time. Sometimes it’s good to do a variety of things so that you can say you experienced the best of Moab. Rafting will probably be one of the most memorable things, however, because you will be taken for a fun adventure with an experienced rafting guide. The rafting guides have to be experienced, otherwise they wouldn’t be allowed to take you.