Take It Outside: New Orleans Outdoor Fun

Hello, Spring! While the actual first day is still a few weeks away, the weather in New Orleans keeps rising to the perfect temperatures… low 70s and humidity-free! Why not take advantage of clear skies and balmy temps and explore outdoor New Orleans? Take it outside with our perfect-weather picks.

Spend at Day at City Park

Smack-dab in the middle of New Orleans sits City Park, a public green space that is 50% larger than NYC’s Central Park. On any given day, there will be intramural sports teams practicing and playing, golfers (and mini-golfers) trying for that elusive hole-in-one, school children on field trips learning about the botanical gardens and century-old live oak trees, joggers running along the myriad of tracks and walkways and art aficionados viewing the latest traveling exhibit at NOMA: New Orleans Museum of Art.

It’s easy to spend an entire day here, especially when it’s a pretty one. Wear your sneakers and something comfy, so you can be prepared for any and every activity. After you work-up an appetite, grab lunch at CafĂ© NOMA. It’s central to the park, located inside the museum and by the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group – the perfect combination!

Mix n’ Mingle at the Lakefront

While New Orleans is known for the Mighty Mississippi that flows through it, there is also another body of water that creates its northern border: Lake Pontchartrain.

On a beautiful day, head to the lakefront for fishing, sailing, paddleboarding and more. No boat? No problem! There are boat captains ready to take you out on 600+ sq. miles of water. If venturing out onto the water is not your style, try one of the many waterfront restaurants lining the shores. Try and grab dinner around 6 o’clock and you’ll catch one gorgeous sunset over water.

While on-the-water activities are fun and waterfront restaurants are delicious, one of our favorite things to do will always been just sitting along the lakefront, watching the sailboats pass by.

Walk on the Wide Side at Audubon Zoo

Hop on Magazine Street and head all the way to its end for Uptown’s Audubon Park. You’re just 6 miles from downtown, but will feel worlds away.

The Audubon Zoo is one of New Orleans’ best attractions. Kids and adults both love the swamp exhibit, complete with a houseboat and bathtub, in which the Louisiana black bears love to lie on a warm day. Monkey Hill, one of the park’s oldest and most cherished spots, was created in the 1930s to show New Orleans children what a hill looked like. No, that’s not a joke. Audubon Zoo’s quirks have made it one of New Orleans’ prized attractions.

Not quite ready to head back to the bustle of downtown? The Fly (located next to the zoo) is a local favorite for picnicking, sunbathing and catching up on a great book. The green space sits on the banks of the Mississippi River, so it’s the perfect spot to watch barges traveling to and from port.

5 Tips Every First Time Frio River Cabin Guest Needs to Know

Thousands of visitors flock to the Frio River each year to enjoy the rugged and beautiful Texas hill country. For a lot of those vacationers, they choose to stay in a Frio River cabin to enhance their experience. A cabin on the river is a great option for those planning on taking advantage of the many water activities available. Cabins are convenient and certainly more comfortable than camping. If you are a first time cabin user, though, consider the following five tips to make the most of your trip:

1. Consider your location.

The Frio River runs through several counties, including Uvalde County, and makes its way through Leakey, Concan, Utopia and also Garner State Park. The state park is better for those who like crowds, while areas like Utopia and Concan are less crowded. More rural areas offer more rugged beauty and privacy while more popular areas can afford more activity. Consider Concan for a smaller town that offers access to tubes and kayak rentals but is still less crowded than other, larger areas.

2. Know which amenities are important to you.

There are cabins available for most needs. Consider whether you are looking for a more rugged experience or in the market for a more luxurious stay. There are cabins that come furnished while others require the user to bring linens, etc. Frio River cabins come in different states and are rented privately by families and also by larger companies. Privately owned cabins can offer unique and personal experiences while others owned by larger entities can save you time and money. Just evaluate your needs first to know which type of cabin you are searching.

3. Travel during the off-season to save money.

Summertime and the weeks of Spring Break are probably the busiest times of the year for the Frio River. When the sun is shining and the Texas heat is reigning, the Frio River offers visitors a chance to enjoy the outdoors while staying cool – a rarity for a Hill County summer. However, the Frio River is a great option during the cooler months, as well, for those enjoy hiking, kayaking and fishing. A bonus for the off-season months includes deals and specials. Take a look online to find these coupons and special offers or contact the visitors’ bureau.

4. Plan to plan ahead.

If you are looking to stay during the busy season, make sure you make your reservations early. Many places, like the local state park, fill quickly. As an added perk for reserving early, you may encounter specials. Sometimes discounts are available for rentals, including tubes, kayaks, coolers, etc. Take a look in the area, as well, for special festivals and local attractions.

5. Use the resources available!

Today’s technology enables vacationers to plan early and thoroughly. Don’t forget the local visitors’ bureaus as well as the Chamber of Commerce centers and tourist centers. Local residents who know the area well and can offer great tips and suggestions for finding a Frio River cabin often work in these offices.

5 Cool Facts to Know About Garner State Park

Would your ideal vacation spot be a perfect natural haven filled with hiking, canoeing, tubing, geocaching, and even dancing? For many the answer is yes, and each year many outdoor enthusiasts choose Garner State Park as their ideal summer destination. Chock full of numerous nature-based activities, loaded with Mother Nature’s wonders, and highlighting the beauty of The Frio River, this state park could be your prime location for summer outdoor adventures as well. Are you unfamiliar with this amazing state park in Uvalde County? Here are 5 cool facts to know about Garner State Park.

1. Location

This beautiful state park is located in Concan, Texas on the southwestern edge of what is known to be the Edwards Plateau in the Balcones Canyonlands. It was created during the Cretaceous age due to fault line activity. Deep cliffs and mesas define this picturesque canyon land and surround clear rivers and streams perfect for fishing, canoeing, and tubing. The location, although visited by many year after year, remains mostly unchanged by human activity. The natural changes that occur due to weathering, flooding, or plant growth are allowed to constantly redefine the landscape without human intervention.

2. Wildlife

Being that the naturalness of this park is preserved as much as possible, much wildlife live and thrive there. Visitors to the park will frequently spot this wild life around them. Squirrels, raccoons, and white-tailed deer are the most common, but more exotic animals exist there too. Look for Rio Grande turkeys and mourning doves amongst a whole selection of various birds. If you are a bird watcher then you are in for a treat. The golden-cheeked warbler and black-capped vireo, both endangered species, nest in the park from spring until summer.

3. The Frio River

Rising from springs as the West Frio River, it promptly joins 2 other tributaries and flows southeast for 200 miles before draining into the Nueces River. The name Frio means cold in Spanish and this name perfectly describes the fresh cool waters that lure swimmers and campers up and down the length of its banks. This river is given a shout-out in the song, “All my Ex’s live in Texas,” by George Strait who grew up in Frio County.

4. Geocaching

Merge the joys of hiking and exploring with a scavenger hunt and you have geocaching. Hundreds of geocaches are hidden throughout the park and can be found using a GPS device or an app on a smart phone with GPS capabilities. The GPS device tells you how far away a geocache is and you must go off searching for it. They can be hidden in trees, under rocks, or even placed behind signs and landmarks. Often times a geocache will house a log book so you can write in your name and claim victory over that treasure forever.

5. Dancing

Back in the 1940’s during summer evenings, people would gather at the park’s concessions building and host a dance. This tradition has survived to this day and the park hosts dances each evening. They are very popular and require early arrival as they fill up quickly.

As you can see, this national park is a wonderful vacation destination filled with wildlife and natural beauty.

A Step-By-Step Guide to Plan Your Dream Trip

You’re not alone if you want every vacation of yours to turn into a dream trip. Despite all the time and money that goes into the planning process, not all trips go the same way. While some turn out to be a huge hit, others are a lesson to plan better the next time and avoid making the mistakes of the previous trips.

Many of us fret at the thought of planning for the trip. We trust professionals better than ourselves. That is perfectly fine. However, more than once in a while you need to take the plunge and plan your trip exactly the way you want. After all, it’s your dream trip! Here’s all you need to know to have the time of your life.

1. Destination Selection
This is possibly the most important step. If you get it wrong, you get your whole trip into a mess. While it might look like merely opening up a map and selecting a country or a city, it has to be more than that. Every place on this planet is beautiful. However, not all of them are perfect for your ventures.

Gladly, the internet is overflowing with travel guides and experiences that help you get to know where you should head towards for a dream trip. Get to know the destination and the list down at least 10 reasons why you think you should go there. Once done, also list the possible shortcomings of planning a trip to this particular destination.

2. Budget Friendly Trip
We love this phrase and the search engines show these keywords more than anything else. Of course, everyone wants to spend their hard earned money in the finest manner. Even when the inflation rates have globally gone higher, there’s every reason why you should travel often because saving can be done in plenty of ways.

Budget is critical to your trip and you must take out a good amount of time to settle down all the finances. This is where you get the bookings done after an extensive research, use miles and points to save money, find out ways you can save more on travel and food costs and allocate a budget for every tiny expenditure you can possibly think of.

3. The Dream Packing
Most of us fail when it comes to packing and we end up merely stuffing the luggage bags with everything and anything. Packing might seem like an insignificant part of the whole fun until you end up realizing it’s really the most important one. Packing the right stuff, whether it is clothing or travel gadgets is crucial and packing the right amount is even more so. Get systematic, list down items and be question yourself repeatedly because no one can enjoy a trip with a burden of unnecessary luggage!

Opportunities To Have An Amazing Getaway in Red River, New Mexico

Preparation for a trip to Red River, New Mexico should be a highlight in anyone’s travel Rolodex. After all, you are visiting cool, new places such as the Rockies and Carson National Forest, inspiring places that showcase the natural beauty of the country. Nothing hurts an adventure more than a vacation seemingly falling flat on its face.

But what exactly can be considered ‘amazing’? It isn’t that hard, and it may require you to think a little differently, but you’d be surprised how easy ‘amazing’ can be. Here is a breakdown of five ways you can have an amazing getaway when visiting Red River, New Mexico:

1. Enjoying Amazing Weather – The mountains provide some of the most temperate weather imaginable. Temperatures can often be an amazing mid-70s during the day and chilly in the evenings enough to warrant some hot cocoa and quality time by the fire. Granted, it is a small thing to be excited about, but when you are planning your next vacation, keep in mind that an amazing opportunity does not have to be too extravagant.

2. Plan to be Comfortable but Have Fun with It – Even with such great weather, be sure to check out the local weather as a way to help plan. Their Chamber of Commerce website actually provides a weather report & live webcams to help. But, try to think of planning your clothing as a fun “pre-vacation” activity for the whole family. Make the fun continue & raise the level of amazing as you plan a night out on the town in Red River with the family stepping out “dressed to the nines.”

3. Physical Fitness – Because it is the great outdoors, and because you’ll be moving around, a trip to Red River, NM provides plenty of ways to get out and exercise. There are plenty of trails to hike that appeal to all members of the family. For those that are a little more adventurous, mountain biking, skiing, and snowboarding offer a “cool” way to keep your heart pumping.

4. Be a Picture Hound – While not be a vital item, having pictures of your amazing trip to Red River, NM is the icing on the cake of an awesome trip. Mountains & forest landscapes are why people visit this area of New Mexico, so make sure it looks good on film. In this day and age, it should go without saying, but be sure to travel with all necessary chargers and batteries.

5. Putting Family First – Stress levels and anxiety can build to dangerous levels as we spend more time looking at computer screens and sitting at desks for hours at a time. This, in turn, can create a toxic, unhealthy relationship with our family. A getaway to a mountain town like Red River allows you to build memories with your family because you are doing more together. You’re taking the time to put what is most important in your life first — the people you love most.

Visiting Red River, New Mexico would not be complete without a sense of adventure! Be open to new, exciting experiences, and trip of a lifetime will be just around the corner.

Here Are Some Tips Business Class Travelers Need to Take a Note of

Whether you are a business traveler or a luxury one, tickets are mostly hard earned and need to be utilized in the best manner to ensure you’ve paid a price that is completely worth it! Most of the times, travelers are not aware of their rights and several perks for which reason they simply do not ask for everything their ticket could get them.

Flying business class is awesome. The luxuries are unmatched for and it’s a blessing when it comes to long haul. However, for it to be peaceful you need to ensure you travel the right way. Here are some tips for travelers that will change the way they fly.

Allow Yourself Enough Time
One of the most appealing reasons that compel me to get a ticket every time are the airport perks. There’s a strike difference when it comes to business class and that really sets the tone for the journey itself. But the perks are of little benefit to you if you don’t get to the airport early. Business class has dedicated check-in counters that speed up the entire process. Once you’re done, you can relax at the luxury lounges. If you arrive just in time to check-in, you’re not utilizing an attractive perk that you pay for!

Chauffeur Services
Another reason of choosing business class over others is the royalty treatment you get when you arrive at the airport. Most airlines offer complimentary chauffeur services door-to-door. The cars have to be booked in advance to ensure they are available for you. Most of the times it’s a limousine ride and I don’t know why anyone would like to say no to it!

Know Your Seat
The business class cabin is extraordinary if you compare it with the economy. Spacious seats, lesser crowds and fantastic services just make it all the way better. However, it is also very important to know that not all seats are the same. Just like some economy seats are better than others; you need to know the seat configuration and book accordingly. There are plenty of platforms where you can book your seat. All you have to do is to book in advance to ensure your favorite one doesn’t get booked already.

The Business Class Amenities
Business class flights are loaded with amenities, which makes your whole flying experience far more glorious. From food to the amenity kits, everything is better when you fly business class. Although all these comforts mean you can sleep well throughout your flight, it is worth it to stay awake and enjoy these perks. It’s particularly so great to see all the personalized services you get from the crew.

10 Great Fall Destinations

The Smokies
The Great Smoky Mountains of Colorado and North Carolina come into their own during the fall months. You just need to check out a few photos to witness the gorgeous scenery on offer. Rustic red leaves and beautiful orange skies make this wild haven the perfect place to spend a couple of weeks. The Smoky Mountains are one of the most popular places to visit in the USA. But don’t let that deter you because crowds have started to wind down now. You’ll be able to enjoy backpacking in isolation, exploring the surroundings for yourself. There’s plenty of places to stay too with great little hostels and welcoming hotels for any traveller.

Glacier National Park
If you want to spend the fall roughing it, we suggest you head across to Glacier National Park. This destination is perfect if you’re looking for adventure. You won’t find much regarding accommodation but you will find the perfect spot for a camping trip. Bathe in the crystal clear streams and explore this rugged terrain on foot for yourself. The lucky ones will find an abundance of wildlife if they venture far enough into the forests. You might even spot a bear or two! This destination is nothing short of a backpackers dream if you’re brave enough.

Columbia River
Or, how about taking a trip to Columbia River. The beautiful location boasts a scene like nothing you’ve seen before. Cross a rickety bridge and gaze down at a waterfall, plummeting over the edge of a towering cliff into the gorge below. Of course, you don’t just have to walk across it. Daredevils can try their luck at white water rafting. The river is unforgiving and you won’t be able to tame it, but you can certainly have fun trying to stay afloat. Don’t worry, there are plenty of guides to make sure you don’t get in too much trouble. If you just fancy gazing at the scenery, there are plenty of mountain roads. You can drive all across the landscape as the leaves start to blush, leaves falling on the paths ahead. It’s quite a dazzling scenic route, particularly as you climb ever higher.

The Berkshires
Would you like to enjoy this fall in class? The Berkshires are the place to be with stunning accommodation and world class dining. Celebrate the fall in luxury, lavishing in the wonders of beautiful rustic cabins. Pick the right place to stay and you’ll have a gorgeous view of the world below. There’s stunning woodland to wander through the day and in the evening, have a lovely glass of wine on the porch. Watch the sunset over a breathtaking landscape with New Yorkers who always fit this destination into their year.

New York City
Or, how about heading to where they are escaping from. You can take a trip to NYC this summer. Central Park is in full bloom, and it’s the perfect time to visit the city. It’s a quiet time of year in Manhattan, and you’ll find plenty of the tourist attractions far less crowded. The weather’s often perfect too. You’ve dodged the heat waves are summer, and you’re getting in before the winter winds of December. There’s also the fall sales that are not to be missed for keen shoppers.

San Francisco
Tourists have left San Francisco by fall leaving you to the reign of this magnificent city. Walk or drive across the famous golden gate bridge and enjoy the pleasant breeze from both sides. You can still appreciate incredibly scenery in San Francisco. Take a cable car up to the surrounding mountains and gaze down in wonder at the city below. Worried about the cost of such a popular destination? You can cut costs by staying in a hostel outside the city, away from the hustle and bustle.

Yellowstone
We’re back in the wild world now with Yellowstone National Park. This massive stretch of land is filled with tourists, backpackers and families in the summer. You’ll be lucky if you find a single space to park your camper van. In the fall, the park is just as beautiful and vacationers have headed home. A quiet, peaceful area to spend the fall will make you forget the park homes one of the biggest dormant volcanoes in the world.

The Golden Coast
It’s not too late to get that beach holiday. You can explore the golden coast this fall and walk across stunning sands. It’s still warm enough to take a dip and plenty of watersports activities are available. If you want to try waterskiing for the first time, this is the perfect place.

Wine Country
Or, how about a relaxing autumn season in wine country, California. Drive through a gorgeous, lush landscape, filled with countless vineyards. Learn how to taste wine and pick up a bottle or two of the most delicious beverages you’ve ever tried. Forget France; this is the best location for indulging your appetite for something sweet.

Jackson Hole
Or, finally, how about heading to one of the best ski resorts in America. There won’t be snow at Jackson Hole Wyoming just yet, but the mountain resort is still a beautiful fall destination. Take the Aerial Tram up to the highest mountains and stay at an all American lodge. Complete with good food, great company and fantastic service for your end of year vacation.

Why Traveling Is The Best Teacher

Great education is not confined to books. Real knowledge comes from exploring new places and avenues. When you go on a journey, you discover a lot of things that you were previously unaware of. You learn and grow from experience instead of sitting in a classroom or reading from a book. Kids benefit a lot from traveling as visually seeing things that you previously only read about in a book, is more appealing to their mind. Not just children but even adults grow more inquisitive and curious when they travel. There are many reasons why one should travel as often as they can:

Break The Monotony: Nothing can be more repressive than leading a monotonous life. It is stifling and blocks the mind from being lively and creative. Staying at one place and following a fixed schedule every day can be nerve racking after a while. When monotony tries to drag you down, it’s a sign to pack your bags and head down the road seldom taken, quite literally.

Discover New Culture: The world is full of wonders just waiting to be explored. The view that frames your desktop screen looks even more beautiful when experienced in real life. New places are inhabited by new people that we don’t encounter on daily basis and they have their own unique way of life. Living amongst strangers and discovering and learning their culture is far more appealing than reading about it in a book. Different cultures have different kind of cuisines, social behavior, way of dressing and interests. You learn so much more by interacting with them and such interaction stay with you longer than words you just glanced off from a page.

Learn New Language: Different places have different culture and different languages. Often we try to learn new languages at institutions and find it to be quite a challenging task. Very few have experienced the charm of staying with locals for a while and learning their native tongue. It is the best and most exciting opportunity to expand one’s cultural horizon.

Discover More About Yourself: The last but the most important aspect of travelling is that you learn a lot more about yourself when you travel. It removes you from your regular surroundings and everyday affairs. You encounter different situations and people during the journey and each experience is enriching. It teaches you something new about the world and how you tackle different situations. The way you deal with things far away from home teaches you something new about yourself. Also, travelers always have the best stories to tell.

The Top Qualities And Features You Should Look For In A Good Hotel

Going on an out-of-town or country vacation can rarely be a cheap endeavor. Air flight tickets or gas expenses can already eat up a chunk of the money you allotted for this trip. A lot of money can also go into various food or dining expenses as well. Of course, you will also have to spend a lot of money into the hotel room or accommodation where you and your family or trip buddies will stay during your vacation.

There is no escaping the fact that your chosen accommodation will be one of the biggest expenses that you will have to prepare for when you go on a vacation. As such, it is important to make sure that every penny you spend on your selected accommodation is worth it. And you can do this by making sure that you choose a hotel that has the right qualities and features.

The best hotel does not only boast of a grand lobby, beautifully landscaped garden, Olympic-sized swimming pools, and spacious rooms with a complete functioning entertainment system. There are other key qualities and features that you should look for a good hotel worth checking into. These include the following:

Warm and genuine staff reception and treatment – The best hotels have employees that exude sincere kindness, cheerfulness, and warmth. In short, everyone that works in the hotel, from the front desk to the concierge and housekeeping, should make all their guests feel comfortable and important throughout their stay. And as a guest, you should feel the genuine warmth and kindness of the staff and not because they are paid to be hospitable to you.

Properly appointed rooms or suites that meet your specific requirements – Today, the best hotels make sure that you are assigned to exactly the kind of room you requested for. They make sure you will stay in the room class or category and in the location (floor, proximity to elevators, etc.) you requested for. A good hotel should offer more than just a bed, bathroom, and TV set as well – it should provide distinctive accents and amenities that help you experience the local flavor. As such, hospitality consultants say that best hotels today should have rooms and suites that showcase high-quality bath and beauty products, and a basket of local treats like snacks and other goodies. They should also have ample drawer and closet space, a safe, hangers, free bottled water, robes and slippers.

Everything is clean and orderly – The best hotels are always clean. The rooms, dining halls, washrooms, and every facility should always be clean and in order. The housekeeping staff should always spend sufficient time to clean your room thoroughly as well.

Simple and easy booking – Lastly, whether you book a hotel online, on the phone, or through a travel agent, everything should be a simple process. It should be easy for you to contact a knowledgeable, helpful person if you have questions, changes to your initial booking, or some specific requests.

5 Best Beach Hotels in the Caribbean

Have you always wanted that perfect holiday by the beach? If the answer to this is a yes, your best bet would be an escape to the Caribbean islands. With pristine turquoise waters and white sands, The Caribbean has all it takes to spend THE holiday of a lifetime. As irresistible as it may sound, The Caribbean offers you a lot more than just pristine beaches and conch shells, there’s partying and fun. So, if you are all set to go on a holiday, pop into your swimming gear and make sure you book the best hotel before you go.

It’s not all that grim, looking for a hotel in the Caribbean. However, you might want to know the best 5 hotels to stay, while you are holidaying in the Caribbean. The Caribbean consists of a host of islands that have their own charm. Hence, it would be a great idea to spend one or two nights in some of those islands, get the feel of Caribbean culture, relishing sea-food cuisine, water sports, music and history. You can enjoy the live music at the Tobago Island or spend a day roaming around the historical towns of Havana. You can enjoy water sports at the Bahamas or Cayman Islands. Scuba diving is a must try if you are visiting Cayman Islands or you may just relish on the magnificent view of the Piton peaks at St. Lucia.

Luxury beach hotels are quite popular in the Caribbean and you can get excellent deals on bookings. Mentioned below, are five of the best luxury beach hotels that you may consider looking at, while you are at the Caribbean.

– The SPA Retreat Boutique Hotel- Located in the island of Jamaica, it’s definitely the most romantic retreat you can go to. Whether it is a romantic escape for you or just a wellness nirvana, this hotel is “the” place for you in the Caribbean. There are eighteen hand-crafted stone cottages that overlook a spectacular garden. The hotel offers fabulous in-house Spa facilities for an absolutely relaxed and soothing spa experience.

– Caribbean Club – When you travel to Caribbean don’t miss the stunning Grand Cayman Islands. The Caribbean Club located at the Seven Mile Beach is an idyllic destination that is a home away from home. There are thirty-seven villas provides you with the most exotic and adventurous feeling on this picturesque island.

– Jade Mountain Resort – Situated in the beautiful St. Lucia Island this luxury beach resort spread majestically over 600 acres of land this hotel gives you your own private pool glides. This architectural wonder is surely a place that you should visit once while you travel to the Caribbean.

– Hermitage Bay – Located in the island of Antigua this intimate beach resort comprises of only twenty-five cottages so that you get a tranquil environment even on the busiest of days.

– Tortuga Bay Hotel Punta Cana Resort & Club – This club was established in 1971 in the Dominican Republic. The hotel has its old world charm that is pure bliss for every traveller.