Category Archives: Tours and Trips

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10 Cheap Things To Do In Florida

Florida vacation 1960A trip to Florida is an opportunity for the holiday of a lifetime. With unrivaled opportunities to soak up sea, sun, scenery and local culture, there are things to do in Florida for every type of vacationer.

Trips abroad often have a large price tag – but it’s important to remember that cost is not as important as value.

Here are ten of the best cheap attractions in Florida to help you make the most of your trip, don’t forget that you can usually find Orlando theme park tickets for a discount online or buy them when you are at the gate:

Orlando Science Center
Science and technology take centre stage at this experience-based museum.
Price: Adults $17; seniors aged 55 or over $16; children 3-11 £12.

Titanic: The Experience
Take a walk through the infamous liner in the world’s first permanent Titanic exhibition, which offers a one-hour guided tour.
Price: Adults $19.95; seniors $17.95; children 3-11 $12.95; under 3s free.

Harry P. Leu Gardens
The garden collections on show at this scenic Orlando attraction are some of the most beautiful and extensive in the US and the world.
Price: Adults $7; children up to 12th grade $2; Monday 9am to noon – free entry.

Princeton Park and College Park Pool
If you’re looking for something a little more active, this site offers a basketball court, swimming pool and fitness equipment, as well as stunning scenery.
Price: Free

Cocoa Beach
What would a trip to Florida be without spending some time on its famed beaches? Renowned for its beautiful sand and amazing surf, Cocoa Beach is a good place to start and it’s located in close proximity to a range of family villas at Davenport Lakes, meaning added convenience for holiday-goers.
Price: Free

Kissimmee Manufacturers’ Mall
If discounted fashions and gadgets are up on your agenda, or you just want to cast your eye over the offerings, this outlet shopping centre will be your dream.
Price: free (apart from your purchases of course!)

Dr. James R. Smith Neighborhood Center
Among the 22 acres of this visitor attraction are shade, trees, spray pool, as well as atmospheric lighting and picnic tables for you to relax among.
Price: free

Clear Lake Park
Fancy a bit of fishing in the great outdoors? Even if you’re not a fan of heading out from the dock, there’s plenty to keep you busy.
Price: free

Orange County Historical Museum
Gain an insight into the history of the sunshine state through this amazing museum, which brings the lives of past central Florida residents to life.
Price: free – donations welcome

Club Firestone
Looking for some action after dark? Club Firestone is housed in a 1920s-built venue and renowned for being one of Florida’s largest dance arenas.
Price: covers from $5 – plus cocktails!

Sandboarding Instructions in Peru ccImage by Palegoldenrod on Flickr

South America for Adrenaline Junkies

Guest Article by Max Walsh

Backpackers heading to South America are in for a treat. Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires and La Paz are some of the world’s most famous and intriguing cities. And the beaches; everyone goes for the beaches. But the life of a backpacker is more than sightseeing and sunning yourself on the beach; any trip has to be the adventure of a lifetime.

So, there’s bungee jumping, skydiving, and snowboarding in New Zealand and Australia; but what does South America have to offer? Here’s what.

Mountain biking the death road, Bolivia

Riding the Deathroad in Boliva cc image by Wanderlass on Flickr
You may be a mountain biking specialist, knowing all there is to know about Shimano shoes and Specialized bikes, but that won’t necessarily prepare you for cycling the death road in Bolivia. Don’t worry you won’t just be grabbing any old rusty bike and taking your chances on your own; it’s one of the biggest attractions in the country. That doesn’t make it any less scary though!

Descending 3,400m from a high mountain pass near La Paz to the tropical lowlands of Coroico, the North Yungas Road is said to be the most dangerous in the world. Prior to the new road being constructed in 2006, the narrow unpaved highway was responsible for hundreds of deaths every year, with cars and busses toppling over the cliff sides at the rate of one each week. Nowadays you can throw on your cycle clothing, jump on the back of a bike and ride hard with one of the many tour companies offering trips.

Sea kayaking the Patagonia, Chile

This is a haven for extreme sports junkies, with climbing one of the biggest draws here. Coming in a close second is sea kayaking. Travellers will find hundreds or glacial lakes and crystal clear waters traversing the Andean Mountain Range and the fjords. The scenery is awe-inspiring. Get yourself on a tour (ranging from 2-9 days) as much of the lakes are un-spoilt, so a guide is essential.

Sandboarding in Huacachina, Peru

Sandboarding Instructions in Peru ccImage by Palegoldenrod on FlickrWhen you mention getting on a board in South America, snowboarding in Argentina probably springs to mind; but for those heading to Peru there’s the chance of some adrenaline fuelled action without the snow. Sandboarding in the large dunes found in this spot 5 hours outside Lima is the perfect alternative for those winter sports lovers dying for their fix. It’s not as fast, but it’s still cool.

Piranha fishing in the Amazon, Brazil

OK this one may not involve throwing yourself down a sand dune or pushing your body to the limit, but piranha fishing is still pretty damn scary. Your guide will take you out in a boat on the Amazon while you drop a line for these feisty fish.

Other favourites include ziplining in Ecuador, Bungee jumping in Brazil, kitesurfing on the Brazilian coast and canyoning in Mexico. What will you choose? 

The Glorious Caravan Lifestyle

It’s that time of the year when people are thinking of heading back to school and work from their summer holidays, but there’s still plenty of time for the last hurrah of summer, so don’t give up the caravan lifestyle yet! If you’re in the US, you may be on your way to Burning Man in a few weeks, the festival runs from August 26th to September 2nd and if you haven’t been to Nevada’s third largest city (that only exists for two weeks of every year) you can just make it if you get your motor home or caravan in shape now.

Burning Man Caravan

First of all, let’s make sure we have some definition. A motor home is a house with an engine, in the states we call them RVs. A caravan, on the other hand, is a house on wheels that you tow behind a truck – commonly called a 5th wheel, camper, or (in the UK especially) a caravan. Back in the old days a caravan was made up of a fleet of camels or a huge merchant group, but that’s not what we’re talking about here at all. We’re talking about RVs and campers and mobile homes and fifth wheels. If you’re RVing in the UK, one thing you don’t want to forget is to make sure that your caravan is insured. If you need insurance, take a look at the Caravan Club Website, they offer insurance and roadside assistance in the UK and Europe. If you’re caravaning in the USA, check out AAA (The American Automobile Club) – they also offer roadside assistance and RV insurance.

In addition to insurance, there are a few other things you won’t want to forget before you head out on the road for that momentous trip before life takes off again. Roadside assistance isn’t going to help you a whit if you don’t have a cellphone that gives you coverage wherever you are going. International sim cards are cheap and easy, but you’ll want to make sure that you have an unlocked GSM phone or you may get a terrible surprise. Also, if you’re heading to Cornwall in the UK or Napa in California – don’t forget that you need to have a safe place to park before you start drinking the tipple or sampling the wines – while you can still boondock in many places, local rules and regulations are making it harder and harder to just roll up somewhere, park, and camp – make sure that you know where you will spend the night. You don’t want to get caught in a situation where you’ve had a few too many and then you have to move the rig! On that note, it may be wise to keep a designated driver.

Burning Man

Make sure you know where the spare tire is and how to change it! A few years ago we got TWO flats on the way from Burning Man and since it was a Sunday in small town Nevada – there was nowhere to go. Lucky for us, we did find a Walmart and they were able to repair our flat tires. That’s where roadside assistance would have really come in handy.  By the way, you can usually boondock in Walmart parking lots, which is why you see so many RVs and Caravans in them.

A couple additional notes before you head out on your way. Seatbelt laws apply to RVs too, so when the vehicle is moving, passengers should be seated and belted in. For caravans, there should not be any passengers in the trailer while you are under way, so while the glorious road life of a caravan gypsy is exciting – legally you can’t be moving around while the vehicle is moving around. This can be a costly mistake if the police catch you!

When cooking in your mobile home, make sure that you have plenty of ventilation and have a fire extinguisher handy. Have you ever seen those burned out shells of caravans on the side of the motor ways? Guess how those fires happened? Usually from someone cooking and not having an extinguisher.

While it may seem like a good idea to climb up on the roof and sunbathe, the truth is that you can damage your RV or caravan severely by walking around on the roof. Take care not to fall through and make an extra skylight! Most of all though – have fun. Living in a caravan can be one of the most enjoyable ways to take a holiday – whether you are heading to the last of the summer festivals, out to the playa, down to the sunny Costa Brava or the French Riviera, or over to the chilly Irish coast – drive careful, park where you can wake up and enjoy the beauty of nature, and don’t forget to have friends over for martinis!

Happy Camping!

Burning Man Photos Courtesy of Robert Scales via Creative Commons License