Post Date Dec 7

Chill Out With Dunes And Lagoons: Brazil Style

Everyone thinks about beaches like Copacabana or Ipanema when asked about Brazil for travel. Maybe heading up river on the Amazon to the rainforest to explore one of the lungs of our planet. There is a whole other side of the country to explore that feels like it doesn’t even belong on the earth. Somewhere to chill out and slow down. Parque Nacional dos Lençóis Maranhenses in the northeastern state of Maranhão is a vast landscape of sand dunes and lagoons that is like no where else. It is accessible from the São Luís airport with regular TAM flights connecting to the rest of Brazil.

Brazil Dunes and Lagoons

Photo Credit: Vitor 1234

No jungles and the howling monkeys or chattering birds to disturb you chill time. Just the sound of wind across sand and water. Wide open vistas and hardly anyone else around. A unique experience in a bustling modern country like Brazil. No fighting the traffic of Sao Paulo’s notorious rush hour. No need to weave your way around the construction mayhem as Rio de Janeiro prepares for the 2016 summer Olympics. Big skies and hours to contemplate where you are in the world.

Brazil Dunes

Photo Credit: 2ilorg

Your chill out time will not be disturbed by the backpacker hoards chasing a cheap beer adrenaline buzz on the back of 4-wheel drive sand buggies here. The park is a protected zone that does not allow for motorized vehicles. You are left with the natural beauty as the party happens somewhere else. This is a perfect place to find your bliss rather than listen to someone else drone on about their bliss. This isn’t a party to see who can have the most spectacular tumble after speeding down a sand dune.

Not For Your Bliss

Photo Credit: Rick McCharles

All of this may not apply to you. Bliss may well be found comfortably pampered on the massage table at a spa with a lovely cocktail and refreshed skin. Or heaving with a crowd at 128 beats per minute on the dance floor as the DJ spins together another killer set. If unique nature and distance from people will guide you back to your centre point then this should be on you travel map.

Post Date Dec 7

The Magic of South America

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Peru. Chile. Bolivia. Argentina. Brazil. Columbia. The heart of South America, giving rise to images of steaming jungle, exotic creatures, wide rivers, and untold adventures. There is a magic that exists here; a sense of wonder and delight, discovery, and lost excitement.

Machu Picchu

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Photo Credit: pdvos

The lost city of Machu Picchu sits high on a hill in the Peruvian jungle. Hidden for many years by dense vegetation it has been reclaimed and restored and now gives a glimmer into what life might have been like when the Incas ruled this great land. The 5-day Inca Trail hike is the best way to get to the site, offering not only stunning views from the Andes mountains but also crossing through other, important Inca sites that provide even more context as to just how expansive this ancient civilization was.

Salar de Uyuni

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Photo Credit: Patrick Nouhailler

The salt flats of Bolivia appear to be, for all intents and purposes, a moonscape that couldn’t possible exist on earth. Covering more than 4000 square miles and with an elevation change of barely a meter over that area, the salt flats hold water and create a mirror effect that has to be seen to be believed. Beyond creating interesting, and funny, photo opportunities there is also the chance to see native pink flamingos and fabulous cloud formations.

Rio de Janeiro

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Photo Credit: Rubem Porto Jr.

It is the stunning juxtaposition of ocean, and city, and mountains that give this great city its jaw-dropping reputation. From Sugar Loaf mountain to the awe-inspiring greatness of Christ the Redeemer; from Copacabana Beach to Ipenema Beach; from the great boardwalk to the favelas climbing up the hillsides, Rio is a city that invites exploration and rewards with hidden treasures.

If you’re looking to visit this magical land, there is no better way to get there than LAN. With regular flights, outstanding comfort, and great service you’ll find yourself soaking up the magic of South America and will soon be planning your return visit.

Post Date Oct 24

Keepin’ it Clean

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Taking a trip is always exciting, but sometimes you get so caught up in where you’re going that you forget to take care of important details at home. The better you prepare for your vacation or family trip, the more you’ll be free to enjoy yourself. You don’t want to find yourself on the plane suddenly remembering that you forgot to pack some essential item or that you left the heat on. Before a trip is the perfect time to do some straightening up and cleaning around the house relying on household products to get the job done. Wouldn’t you rather return to a nice clean house rather than a mess? Here are a few suggestions.

De-clutter and Clean Up

This is a good time to throw out some items you don’t need. For items that are in decent condition you could either sell them or donate them. If you’ve been thinking about rearranging some furniture or doing some redecorating, you might want to make a few changes before leaving for your trip. You don’t have to go overboard, but if you make the changes now you can view your home with a fresh perspective when you return. Then you can decide if you prefer the new arrangement or the way it was.

Once you’ve straightened up, you might want to do some environmentally friendly cleaning. That way, your home will look and smell nice and fresh when you get home. White vinegar is great for removing odors and stains. Another inexpensive household cleaner is baking soda. This is especially good for deodorizing the refrigerator while you’re way. Lemon juice can also be great for cleaning and leaving everything smelling fresh.

Packing Tips

If you make a list well in advance of your trip, there’s less of a chance you will forget anything. Whether you write it down in a notebook or on an app on your smartphone, you can start the list a couple of weeks ahead of time and add to it at your leisure. The only danger to this approach is that you’ll end up making the list too big. This brings us to another principle of stress free travel -packing light.

Most people tend to over pack. Before you pack your entire wardrobe, try to be realistic and consider what you are likely to need on your trip. If you plan to do any clothes shopping on your trip, this will also reduce the amount that you need to take with you.

Prepare Well So You Can Relax During Your Trip

By making the necessary preparations ahead of time, you can make it more likely that things will proceed smoothly on the day you embark on your journey. Leaving everything till the last minute, on the other hand, almost guarantees that you’ll feel stressed out and end up forgetting something.

Post Date Sep 16

Umbrella Strollers, Diapers and Bottles: Packing for a Baby

file000727293127Deciding to go traveling with a baby can be a big decision in itself. There are so many things to worry about such as where to go, whether to fly or drive and whether you will even enjoy traveling with a baby. Once you have sorted all this out, there is still the question of what you need to take. The answer – quite a lot!

Here are some of the items I suggest packing when you are traveling with a baby.

  1. Stroller

The biggest question parents of babies ask themselves is whether to take a stroller or not. In general, I recommend that you do. However, this is definitely the time to leave your bigger, bulkier strollers at home and to do some research into the best umbrella stroller to take with you. A lightweight option that still lies back so that your baby can sleep on the move is the best choice.

  1. Diapers

There is no need to take a thousand diapers with you unless you are traveling far off the beaten track. Diapers are generally easy to find in cities anywhere. I suggest you take enough for the first couple of days so you do not need to worry about it as soon as you arrive at your destination.

  1. Bottles and Formula

If your baby is bottle fed, then you need to take a few bottles, formula and cleaning equipment. If you are traveling domestically then you do not need to take much formula as you can buy it as you go. However, if you are traveling internationally, I suggest taking enough formula for your entire trip. Formula quality varies, and if your baby has a favourite one then they may not be happy having to switch to something else. I also like to travel with this bottle warmer. If your baby expects warm formula, then you will need something to warm it on the go.

  1. Portable Crib

A portable crib is invaluable when traveling. Although many hotels may have a crib available, many will not. Even if the hotel has cribs, they often can’t guarantee that it will be available when you arrive. For this reason, I always travel with my own. For road trips, I have a cheap portable. When flying, there are some great lightweight travel cribs that you can take with you. Here are some suggestions.

  1. Lots and lots of clothes

As you would already know, babies get dirty. Always travel with lots of spare changes of clothes. Take several changes on board flights with you as well and always be prepared for the worst.

There is no reason that you can’t still have a relaxing vacation with your baby. The best way to ensure this happens is to be prepared! Hopefully by taking the items above, you will have an easy and fun vacation.

Post Date Sep 5

Creative Games to Play While On Vacation

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Family vacations are something everyone looks forward to. Traveling with kids, however, can be challenging and expensive. Setting up a savings account is a great way to ensure all your tracks are covered before setting out on an adventure with the whole family. Looking into options like a market linked gic will help gain you the most funds while protecting your initial investment. If they’re not happy everyone feels stressed out, especially on long car trips. It doesn’t have to be that way! Planning ahead and bringing some simple, basic items along on the trip makes getting to your destination fun and memorable!

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Image Source: orangebrompton

Great Entertainment Items to Bring 
Items you bring to keep everyone entertained don’t have to be complicated or expensive. Here are some ideas to start with:

  • Pencils and pens
  • Washable markers
  • Loose-leaf paper or tablets
  • Small maps you’ve printed before the trip
  • A printed listing of car brands and styles
  • Yarn or other string
  • Laptop desks

With these materials, you can play traditional games like hangman, connect the dots or tic-tac-toe. You can also use printed maps to play the license plate game. Look for license plates from each state. When you see a plate, color in the state or make a check mark for each state. The person who finds license plates from the most states in a limited time wins.

Another fun game is searching for different models of cars and checking them off as they’re found. I Spy is another fun game, where you find things along the way and have others guess what you’ve found. Kids love these games. They help increase awareness of surroundings and help to improve skills like memory. With yarn, older kids may enjoy crocheting or knitting. Younger children love using yarn for homemade lace-up cards.

Games To Play With No Supplies

If you’re looking for games that require no accessories, here are some to try:

Telephone
A game where one person whispers a story and the next person whispers it to his seatmate and so forth until everyone has heard it. The last person repeats the story out loud. This causes laughs because the story is usually different from the original.

The Alphabet Game
Find items that begin with letters of the alphabet, or search for alphabet letters on signs or license plates. Go from A to Z and the first person to spell the alphabet wins.

Restaurant Game
Everyone thinks of their favorite restaurant like McDonald’s, Burger King or Taco Bell. Search for signs, billboards or radio commercial advertisements. The one who finds their restaurant name the most times is the winner.