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Picture it: — you’ve booked your trip, set your itinerary, and think you’re ready for the trip of a lifetime. But then, something happens. Your companion gets sick, your luggage gets lost, your connection gets delayed, and now you’re stuck with all your expenses. It happens more than would you think.

I religiously buy travel insurance for every trip. Thankfully, I’ve only ever had to use it twice — once when I had an allergic reaction on my birthday a couple of years ago in Bangkok, and another time in Muscat, Oman when I woke up in excruciating pain. I wrote about that experience here: That Time I Got an Ultrasound of My Balls in Oman.

If you’re a frequent traveller, it makes a lot of sense to invest in an annual travel insurance plan like the ones offered by Allianz. It’s usually much less expensive in the long run, and you’ll never run into the financial hardship that many travellers endure because they “just forgot” to buy travel insurance before their trip. Just set it and forget it.

As you probably know, the only predictable thing about life is its unpredictability. This is especially true when you’re traveling. You might think travel insurance is just another expense, but it’s actually something every smart traveller needs to have. Here are a few reasons why.

The Trip Has to Be Cancelled

You never know when you might have to cancel that vacation you were looking forward to. Maybe you or a family member gets sick. Maybe you end up having to work. Or maybe you have a family emergency.

Whatever the reason, you don’t want to get stuck paying for a trip you won’t be able to take. In situations like this, it’s always a good idea to have travel cancellation coverage. This way, you’ll be reimbursed for any prepaid travel costs you might have already spent.

You Get Sick or Injured

One of most common reasons for a trip ending early is because someone needs medical attention. In fact, studies have shown that between 30 to 50 percent of travelers get sick during their vacation. And your health insurance back home usually doesn’t cover foreign hospital visits. Many of these hospitals will want thousands of dollars in cash before they get to work.

This is where travel medical coverage comes in handy. Having this will give your peace of mind while you’re away from home, and you won’t have to worry about any giant medical bills.

In Case of Natural Disaster

Mother nature is one thing you can’t predict. Some places are prone to disastrous events such as hurricanes, tsunamis, and earthquakes. If you’re destination is damaged by an event like this, there’s a good chance you’ll lose whatever money you’ve already spent.

Having travel insurance will help you avoid this situation. In this case, you’ll be reimbursed if there’s a natural disaster Some services will even help you arrange a new trip to a location that hasn’t been damaged. You might actually get to take a trip to a place you didn’t expect.

Your Flight Was Cancelled

Unfortunately, these things can happen. Let’s say your vacation is over, and you’re ready to return home. You get to the airport only to find your return flight home has been cancelled because of bad weather. What will you do now?

Having travel insurance would help you come up with a new plan. Either you’ll be able to pay for a new ticket home or you’ll be able to stay the night in a hotel. Otherwise, you’ll be spending money for a flight that never happened.

Lost Luggage

This is something that happens more often than airlines would like to admit. Getting your luggage lost or stolen can really make it difficult to enjoy your trip. This is especially true if there are things you need while you’re away such as medication or business-related items. It’s also a fairly normal occurrence for luggage to be delayed and arrive later than you do.

When you have travel insurance, you’ll be reimbursed for any clothes or personal items that were lost during your flight. If not, you could end up paying a lot of money for all of your lost belongings.

There is a Terrorist Event

Terrorism is a sad reality of today’s world. Odds are, it’s something you won’t have to worry about. Still, a person has to be prepared for it. This is especially true if you’re visiting a country that’s considered politically unstable. This could include countries such as Egypt or India.

Luckily, terrorism coverage is something that’s often included in your travel insurance. This will cover any pre-paid travel expenses you might have in case of a terrorism event or a mandatory evacuation. Hopefully, you’re not going to need it, but it’s good to be prepared just in case.

You Miss a Connection

Missing a flight isn’t always your fault. Sometimes, connections are delayed because of bad weather or mechanical issues. In cases like this, you shouldn’t be punished for missing your connection.

With missed connection coverage, this isn’t something you’ll have to be concerned about. With this kind of coverage, you can get booked on the next available flight if something happens that’s beyond your control. If the next flight can’t be booked for a day or two later, you can also be reimbursed for expenses such as meals and accommodation.

You Lost Your Passport

Needless to say, you’re going to have a hard time getting home if your passport is lost or stolen during your trip. Or you might be prevented from leaving in the first place because of a missing passport. Getting it replaced can be a very long, tedious process if you’re not ready ahead of time.

Travel insurance will help you replace a lost passport. It will also cover any costs you might have in getting it replaced. Furthermore, you will also be reimbursed for any extra costs that might be involved in getting back home.

You Have to Return Early

Sometimes, you’re not able to enjoy your entire vacation. You might get sick or have a family emergency, and you have to return home early. Without travel insurance, you’ll most likely get charged for changing your flight. This is true even if you’re returning because of an emergency.

If you buy travel insurance, you will get reimbursed for this charge. It will also cover any prepaid expenses that haven’t been used yet. You never know when you might be forced to go home early, and it’s always good to be prepared.

These are a few ways in which travel insurance can make your life easier the next time you go on vacation. Without it, you could be paying a lot of money for a trip that never happens. So next time you plan to leave the country, don’t forget to buy travel insurance. You’ll be glad you did when something unexpected happens.

This post is sponsored by Allianz Global Assistance (AGA Service Company) and I have received financial compensation.

The post 9 Reasons Why You Should Always Buy Travel Insurance appeared first on Man On The Lam | Travel & Lifestyle Blog -- A Curious Gentleman's Guide to Escapes and Escapism.

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Well, it’s been a crazy couple of weeks around here. And the universe seems to be paying me back for all the perceived good deeds I’ve done in the past. Karma can be a bitch, but she’s also a warm and fuzzy BFF if you’re on the right side of the divide. In short, I’m going to Siberia — one of my dream destinations. No, really.

It’s a tale involving a nickel mining company, a secret Facebook group, the most northern city in the world, and probably because I’m Canadian, that most underrated of sports — curling.

Here’s the story. My pal Cailin O’Neil from Travel Yourself posted the simplest of queries in a Facebook group for Canadian travel bloggers “Anyone else get invited to Siberia?” Cailin couldn’t go because of a scheduling conflict, so the darling girl offered up my name to the organizers instead, and voilà…just like that, I’m off to the Arctic Circle.

Why Siberia?

So why Siberia? Who’s organizing this show? And why do they want to make Siberia — of all places — a tourism destination?

Well, have you heard of Siberia? Yes THAT Siberia — the cold, barren, eternally frozen wasteland where Russians send their prisoners. At least that’s the stereotype. Siberia has been desperately aching for a positive marketing spin for decades in my humble opinion. And the spin machine attempting to do it that justice is an organizing committee called FOLLOW UP SIBERIA. (I think it’s put in all caps out of respect — I mean, you gotta have balls to take on a Goliath like the general public’s perceptions of Siberia.)

The idea is to educate people — not only foreigners, but Russians as well — that Siberia is not the land of snow storms and gulags that we think it is. It’s more modern than we think, and yes, there are people that actually choose to live there. It’s got trees and lakes and miles and miles of natural wonders.

The FOLLOW UP SIBERIA team is using sports as the common thread to unite people from across the globe, and the whole shebang is being funded by one of the largest nickel mining companies in the world, Nornickel.

Now I know what some of you are thinking: “Siberia is the LAST place I would like to go!” Not for me though. I’m drawn to the odd and quirky and out of the way, and Siberia has all of those in spades. Some people dream of Tahiti, I dream of places like Siberia.

One of the other things that I was drawn to about the trip was this line in the About section of the FOLLOW UP SIBERIA website:

The “FOLLOW UP SIBERIA!” program stays out of politics.

I know sometimes I get hung up on Russia’s current administration and its policies and treatment of marginalized groups, but I will do my darnedest to keep my big trap shut. Every country has beauty to offer, regardless of who is at the helm.

I know the question on your mind, and probably the real reason you’ve read this far — how does curling fit into all of this? The trip includes a visit to the city of Dudinka to attend the Arctic Curling Cup 2018 and to meet some of the curlers. I’ll also be visiting Norilsk — the most northern city in the world. What’s interesting to me is that both Dudinka and Norilsk are “closed cities”, meaning that even Russians need a special permit to visit. How cool is that?

Win A Trip to Siberia

Now here’s how you can go to Siberia too.

The trip I am going on (May 24 to 28) is one of four trips that FOLLOW UP SIBERIA is organizing. Entering is as easy as taking a photo, or short video of  “A Piece of Siberia in My City” — basically something that reflects your perception of Siberia — and posting it to Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Weibo or VKontakte with the hashtag #FOLLOWUPSIBERIA. (Note that Twitter is NOT one if the social media platforms included.)

Ten winners will be chosen for the next three trips, scheduled for August, October, and December 2018. The most active winners from those rounds will be invited back to attend the 29th Winter Universiades in Krasnoyarsk in March 2019.

Anyone from any country can enter, and you can see the full rules and more details on the FOLLOW UP SIBERIA website (click on the RULES section on the top right of the homepage) or on the FOLLOW UP SIBERIA Facebook Page.

I am pumped to go to Siberia!! How about you? Is Siberia on your bucket list? Let me know in the comments below.

Note: All photos courtesy of FOLLOW UP SIBERIA

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The United States wine market is more robust than ever. 2017 statistics show that there are more than 4,000 wineries in California alone and more than a dozen states are home to an array of businesses that produce wine. With so many different wineries creating a variety of wine types, you may find yourself overwhelmed with choices when you decide to start sampling and learning about it. However, there are a few tips you can keep in mind as a novice wine drinker, especially if you want to start pairing it with some of your favorite meals.

1.     Approach Wine With a Playful Mindset

Finding wines you enjoy does not have to be a chore. In fact, you may want to approach it with a playful mindset and treat it almost like a game. Overthinking the process may cause you to become frustrated and abandon the project altogether. Before you start looking at different wineries and flavors, remind yourself that even though you are new at this, there is more than one approach to finding a wine that suits your palate and that you do not have to model your education after one specific style.

2.     Start a Wine Journal

Recalling the names of wines you want to try or those you have enjoyed in the recent past can be a challenge, especially when you are out shopping and want to pick up a fresh bottle to go with dinner that evening. One way to keep all this information organized is to start a wine journal. You can use almost any kind of small, portable notebook, keep a digital copy on your smartphone, or use a wine app if you always have your smartphone on hand.

Keeping a wine journal does not have to be complicated. You can jot down winery names you want to research, flavors you have tried and whether you liked them, and unusual brands you hear about in passing. Organize your journal in a way that is suited to your own creative style and you might be likely to use it more often.

3.     Build Your Wine Vocabulary

While there is no correct way to talk about the wines you enjoy, learning the basics might help you communicate more effectively when you take a tour at Alexander Valley wineries or get together with other wine enthusiasts. Even learning a few simple terms such as “nose,” “balance,” and how sweet and dry wines differ on the palette may allow you to feel more confident when discussing different vintages with others.

 4. Make Wine Discoveries a Social Event

Discovering new wines can be more exciting when you make it a social event. Create a wine club with your friends and tour vineyards and wineries together. Plan trips to other states to try wines that might not be available in your area. Train and bicycle wine tours can also be an enjoyable group activity, especially during the summer and early fall, when the fields and trees riot with color.

Being a wine novice means you have a great deal to learn about this fascinating beverage’s flavors, terminology, and history. However, since so much of the fun is in making these discoveries, you may find yourself immersed in everything they have to offer.

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For some pet owners, a trip is not much of a fun experience if their four-legged little family members can’t come along. Small doubt travelling with pets can be a hell of a stressful journey both for the owners and the animal companion(s). However, with a good deal of a thoughtful preparation, you may grant a totally safe and comfortable adventure for all members of your family. And if you have no one to travel with – check out uabrides.com for best female travel buddies.

Here are some of the most useful tips for travelling with pets:

  • Keep your pet comfy and safe in a ventilated container or carrier. You can find quite a range of different soft-sided hard shell plastic crates available at pet stores. No matter which one you select, make absolutely sure it is spacious enough for the beloved fluffy family member of yours to stand, sit, lay and move in. One additional thing: it would be a pretty smart decision to get your four-legged buddy used to the container even before the journey.
  • Get your animal geared up and ready for long trips by taking him out on several short drives, step by step lengthening overall time in the carrier and in a moving car. And do not forget to always buckle up the carrier, so that it will not slide or anyhow shift as a result of a sharp turn or a quick stop.
  • Your pet’s feeding schedule for the time of the journey must start with some really light meal several hours (usually 3 to 4) prior to your departure. Avoid feeding your fluffy family member in a moving auto, even during a long drive.
  • Make absolutely sure you never leave your animal on its own in a parked car. Especially on a hot summer day, even with all windows rolled down, a parked vehicle can become a real furnace in a matter of minutes, leading to an animal suffering a heatstroke. In freezing temperatures, a car might act more like a refrigerator, keeping in low temperatures and thus causing your pet to freeze.
  • Think over your pet’s travel kit. Traveling with pets in car will require papers, snacks, a bowl or two, a leash, a plastic bag for the waste, some grooming supplies and, most importantly, a first-aid kit for domestic animals. In addition, pack your furry friend’s favourite toy to give him a sense of home and familiarity.
  • For those travelling internationally with pets: make sure your animal has a special identification microchip along with a collar and a tag with some contact info for the time of your trip. In this way, dogs should be wearing flat (but never choke!) pet collars. When travelling with pets on airlines feel free to leave your little companion in the plane’s compartment for animals.
  • Do not allow your beloved animal to ride with the head out of the car’s open windows. He might be easily injured by flying or fixed objects. Furthermore, keep the pet in the backseat in the carrier or with his harness fastened to a seat.
  • Concerning the point of keeping your animal well hydrated, opt for some bottled water. Consuming water from the area he is not used to can result in digestive disorders for your precious pet.
  • If you are a frequent traveller with your animal family member, you might wish to invest in some rubberized floor mats and waterproof covers for the seats of your car, which are available at all auto product retailers.
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Costa Rica is a delightful place to visit. This rugged Central American nation, with coastlines touching the Caribbean and Pacific, is a famous vacation destination because of its natural abundance.

This country’s breathtaking natural beauty transforms it into an enchanted kingdom. It’s a land of rainforests, waterfalls, beaches, and active volcanoes. And, not surprisingly, it’s also well-known for its abundant biodiversity. Its protected jungles teem with spider monkeys, quetzal birds, toucans, sloths, and jaguars.

The people of Costa Rica, known as Ticos, or residents, abide by a charming attitude, epitomized by the phrase pura vida, which means the “pure life.” You’ll hear this naturalistic philosophy echoed everywhere you go, from San Jose, the cosmopolitan capital, to its lush rainforests and sun-drenched beaches.

There is always more to do in Costa Rica than you have time for. In just a few days, you can zip line through lush rainforests on a La Fortuna Zipline Canopy Tour or go fishing in turquoise waters with Fishing Costa Rica Experts with over 20 years of experience with boat charters and fly fishing.

Packing for Your Trip

You’ll have to pack more than your usual holiday outfits, preferring things that wick away moisture, dry quickly, and protect your skin from the scorching sun and ravenous insects.

Here are a few suggestions on what to take:

  • Pack a raincoat and a light jacket (waterproof if possible) for rainy days.
  • Pack sneakers, water shoes and hiking boots for all your treks.
  • Pack a sunhat, sunglasses, and sunscreen as protection from the blazing sun for your day trips and excursions.
  • Pack insect repellent to avoid getting bitten and stung all day.
  • Pack beach towels and sarong for your beach days.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to toss a Spanish Phrasebook into your suitcase.

Things to Do and See

Looking back, your time in Costa Rica will all seem like a whirlwind of happy adventures. You’ll be preoccupied with tours and sightseeing, taking day trips and excursions, and embarking on cruises, sailing trips, and water tours.

Some days, for instance, you might visit the Hanging Bridges and the La Fortuna waterfalls, go to National Parks like Tortuguero National Park or the Manuel Antonio National Park, or luxuriate in the hot springs at Baldi or Tabacón. On other days, you might take in a Guachipelin Adventure Zipline or a San Jose Rainforest adventure. And if you’re particularly athletic, you may also spend days hiking around the famous volcanoes, like the Poas Volcano, the Chato Volcano, or the Volcan Arenal.

Where to Stay

While Costa Rica has its fair share of accommodations, from guesthouses and inns to five-star hotels and luxury resorts, it also offers some unusual and fascinating places to stay.

Here is a quick checklist of options:

  • If you want to live on a working farm, then stay at the Finca Rosa Blanca Country Inn.
  • If you want to sleep near a waterfall, then stay at the Peace Lodge at La Paz Waterfall.
  • If you want to wander around a 500-acre nature preserve, then stay at the El Silencio Lodge and Spa.
  • If you want to hang out at the beach, then stay at the Kurà Design Villas, the Arenas Del Mar, or the Milarepa bungalows.
  • If you love the quiet majesty of volcanoes, then stay at Arenal Observatory Lodge.
  • If you want to experience the chatter of the rainforest, then stay at Pacuare Lodge, a lofty treehouse.
  • If you want to unwind at a natural hot spring, then stay at the Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort.
  • If you want to do your yoga while overlooking the Pacific Ocean, then stay at Anamaya Resort, a yoga retreat.

There are so many things to do in Costa Rica that if you don’t plan your itinerary ahead of time, you’ll be overwhelmed when you get there. By not preparing ahead of time, you’ll miss out on many of the wonderful adventures awaiting you. The last thing you want to do is hear from fellow travelers on your flight back about the volcanoes you should have hiked, the zip line tours you should have experienced, or the waterfalls you should have seen.

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When you think of blue lagoons and shady palm tree in India, the thought of Alleppey surely hits your mind. Alleppey, also known as Alappuzha, is that place which is blessed by the beauty of the backwaters of Kerala. As this place is unique regarding both beauty and bounty, thousands of tourists visit Alleppey every year from every part of the world. Because of this, exciting activities have come up in Alleppey which every tourist must pursue when in Alleppey. Thus, while you opt for flight ticket booking to explore the backwaters here, take a look at what Alleppey has in store for you and your loved ones.

  • Take a Comfortable Cruise in the Serene Backwaters: The backwaters of Kerala are famous all over the world for the cruise facilities that are provided to the tourists. The houseboats that tale the tourists on a cruise are quite lavish. The visitors can opt for a day trip as well as a nightlong stroll on the serene backwaters. There are several houseboats that can take the tourists on a trip. These houseboats need to be booked in advance if you don’t want your trip to get delayed. The chances of getting confirmed spot on the houseboat for a day trip is still possible. However, for a night stay on the backwaters, you have to consult a travel agency and get your tickets in advance.
  • Take a Stroll on the Alleppey Beach: Though many tourists visit the Alleppey beach every day, this beach is quite clean compared to the other popular beaches in Kerala. The Alleppey beach is the perfect place for spending a day with your family. You can build a sand castle while watching the birds flying over the enormous sea. You can even take a quick swim in the sea or opt for adventure sport. There are several cafes on the beach of Alleppey that are quite famous. You should definitely visit these places to get a taste of the local cuisine presented at par with the international standard.
  • Get the Benefits of an Ayurvedic Massage: The benefits of an Ayurvedic massage are ample. Thus, when you get the opportunity to get yourself treated with the help of the ancient techniques, you must not miss the chance. The spas and therapy centres in Alleppey have well-trained professionals who will help you to get rid of your pain. These spas and therapeutic centres use natural elements like oil extracts, floral extracts and others to treat your pain. Thus, you can be relieved because you will not be exposed to anything harmful under any circumstance. You can even purchase products like natural oils and take the same back home for daily use. It will surely help you to lead a healthier lifestyle.
  • Experiencing Simplicity at the Krishnapuram Palace: When you think of a palace, you tend to imagine the grand hall lined with polished furniture. You try to imagine how beautiful the glittering chandelier is. However, what if the gorgeous high ceiling was replaced with a simple tiled roof? It won’t seem like a palace to most of us. However, one such authentic palace of Kerala, name, the Krishnapuram Palace, is situated only a few kilometres from Alleppey itself. This palace has a vast collection of paintings and murals, including the biggest mural of the state of Kerala – the Rajendra Mural is famous especially among the students of art who try to copy this 11-feet long masterpiece.
  • Experience the Onam Festival: Last but not the least, you cannot miss the grandeur of the Onam festival in Alleppey. With the snake boat race making the crowd cheer for their favourite team and a hearty meal consisting of the authentic local cuisine, this is truly enjoyed by the tourists.

Alleppey is a beautiful destination. Thus, keep an eye out for cheap flight booking and plan your next vacation in Alleppey soon.

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Wouldn’t it be nice to go out of town and just get away for a while?  Do you ask yourself that question a little too often? Have you caught yourself at work daydreaming about lying on the beach with a cocktail in one hand and a good book in the other? Do you wish for quality time with your family building sandcastles and jumping over waves? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then it is time to plan a vacation. But where to? Choosing the perfect Florida beach town for a fun and relaxing getaway can be tricky. You have worked hard to save up these highly coveted vacation days and you do not want to waste them in the wrong place. Are you looking for an adventure with arts and culture, an exciting party vibe, or an opportunity to spend time with family? Depending on the type of vacation you are hoping for, certain towns make more sense than others so let’s look at three different options.

Key West and The Keys

Known for its historical attractions and active nightlife, Key West could be just the vacation spot you have been looking for. If you get tired of lying on the beach, tap into your love of history by touring one of these famous places.

Ernest Hemingway’s Home: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Pauline moved into this 1851 Spanish Colonial mansion in 1931. Also functioning as a museum, the Hemingway house exhibits Hemingway’s personal belongings as well as antiques that the couple collected over the years. Included in the tour is Hemingway’s studio where he wrote several of his well-known books such as To Have and Have Not.

Harry S. Truman’s Little White House: Built in 1890 to serve as the naval station command headquarters during the Spanish-American War, this property became Truman’s winter White House in 1946. In fact, it ended up being the place where later presidents would also come to relax. It is still in use as a presidential retreat as well as a business venue and museum. The museum houses interesting papers and documents from Truman’s visits and his time spent in Key West.

Miami Beach

Do you love white sandy beaches with a flair for excitement? Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway or want to party the nights away, Miami Beach has it all. One of the hot spots to check out is South Beach (aka SoBe). Always buzzing with the fun and unique, there is never a dull moment to be had! Packed with lots of outdoor activities, from rollerblading to people-watching on the boardwalk, there is always something fun to do. South Beach is also home to many beachfront cafes and seafood restaurants for the foodie at heart. If you are interested in the smaller village vibe, head over to Coconut Grove. Known for its bohemian charm, the little community was settled in the 1800s, making it the oldest village in Miami that has always had residents. With a wide range of fun to-dos here, you can check out the little art galleries or enjoy a day of hiking or biking.

Seaside

Want a more laid-back, easy living experience for the whole family? Head out to Seaside, Florida. Known for its unique design as a master-planned community, Seaside is not your average tourist spot. It is environmentally friendly with the appeal of a walkable city. Perfect for the more family-oriented vacationer, this town offers a more intimate alternative for a more relaxing getaway. Explore the beach or the weekly Farmers Market every Saturday. You can see how this wonderful community comes together to support one another: It is home to a few annual events that attract visitors from all over the country. The Seaside Half Marathon and 5K Race is notorious for bringing many notable athletes to the wonderful little beach town. The city also hosts a Songwriters Festival that happens every year, bringing music to the forefront of Seaside. Its homestyle charm and beachy vibe make Seaside the perfect little home away from home. Just let your cares go and give you and your family some well-deserved rest and relaxation.

Now that you have a better idea of what each of these places bring to the table, it’s time to choose the Florida beach town that is right for you and your much-needed getaway. Are you in the mood for peace and quiet, family time, or adventure and culture? Or maybe you need some more excitement in your life? Either way, Key West, Miami Beach, or Seaside has exactly what you are looking for. From the gorgeous beaches to historical museums to a thriving nightlife, each one is sure to make the most out of your valuable time off. All you must do is make your decision and start packing! Be sure to bring an extra swimsuit and clothes – you may choose to stay on vacation and never come back.

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As a millennial, finding the right place to rent can be more of a hassle than it is really worth. If you are having trouble coming up with your moving into a new home checklist, the 9 items below might give you a good place to start.

1. Fast Internet Access

One of the basics of #MillennialRenting is the ability to access the internet and do all of the things that you enjoy without too much of a hassle. Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and all of the other sites that we use day to day are just better on a high speed connection. Apartment complexes with access to high speed internet are a must if you really want to relax when you come home from work.

2. Pets Allowed

Jokes about millenials aside, tons of us have pets and there aren’t that many communities that are that welcoming to our friends. Some communities won’t allow pets, some will only allow one pet, some restrict by size, and still more restrict by breed. If you have a pet or are thinking of getting one in the future, making sure that you choose a community that allows you to have you pet and ensure that they will have access to walking areas is important. Most companies will make this information public, so you don’t have to worry about filling out an application only to find that Fido isn’t welcome.

3. Athletic Facilities

No-one has time to actually go to the gym and work out these days. An extra 10 -20 minute drive out of your way just isn’t going to happen. Pick a complex that has access to either a gym or a pool to make sure that you will stay in shape, save yourself time, and maybe make some new friends along the way.

4. Amazing Staff

While talking to people can be stressful, good staff in an apartment home community are able to make it so that you have a more enjoyable experience while living there. Everything from staff who get your application processes quickly to skilled maintenance people who respond to emergencies can fall under this category and usually companies will include this idea in their tenant checklist that they use to attract renters. Check your local ratings website or look at the ranking in google to see if there are any big complaints from people who have lived in the complex before you. Angry people tend to leave reviews, so if there is an issue it will likely be mentioned there.

5. Freedom Of Expression

While most places won’t let you decorate or paint, there are places that are even stricter, controlling what you can have on your balcony, what you can have in your window, and how many things you can hang on the wall. Your renters checklist should always have more information about these policies as an important sticking point. After all, who wants to get fined for hanging out a band poster?

6. Free parking

This is high on most people’s rental move-in checklist, but it should still be mentioned. Parking is expensive, having to find areas that are close enough to your place to actually carry in your groceries is frustrating, and paying to go home to sleep is just too much to deal with. Make sure that the apartment you are moving into is offering free parking for the residents. Ideally, this would be covered as well, but if you have the choice between paying to park and parking in an uncovered area, always choose the free options.

7. Good Floor Plan

On your to-do list for moving is likely the idea of getting better furniture or really finding your style, but you can’t really do that if you can’t fit everything you want into your home. Sometimes the square footage of an apartment isn’t that important, but the floor plan is. The floor plan of older apartments can be frustrating and it really isn’t made to mesh with more modern furniture ideas. This especially applies if you want to try and be more minimalist or participate in the movement towards mindfulness of your smaller space. Always look at the floor plan and make sure that the pieces you own or are planning to buy will actually fit into your new home.

8. Dishwasher And Newer Appliances

Newer appliances will use less power and make it so that you are able to spend less on your power bill. Homes that have newer appliances may even have hookups for a washing machine. However, the thing you should be most interested in when you are making a rental move-in checklist is the possibility of having a dishwasher. While it isn’t that much work to do your own washing up, a home that is easy to keep clean and lets you sit down and relax in the evening is going to have a dishwasher. This is one of the most sought-after things in a flat that you plan to live in for a long time.

9. Good Light

Having good lighting in a home is extremely important. It saves you money on electric, can help your home feel less depressing, and generally will make it look nicer if you have company over. If you are looking to make your new flat a home, you will want to make sure that it has the best possible lighting. Dank and dark units are just going to depress you, making it frustrating to live there and making you crave a change.

On the flip side, if you are looking to rent to millennials in 2018, you should offer as many of these things as possible.

If you are a renter, you should maximize the potential of your new home by checking as many places as possible. The world (or at least the city you choose to live in) is your oyster.

In any case, whether you’re the renter or landlord, you can check out sites like HomeLet to see what options are available.

What do you look for when you rent a home? Do you have your own renter’s checklist you follow?
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Being the capital city of the Mexican state of Jalisco, and the second most populated city in Mexico, you’ll never run out of things to do in Guadalajara. It is also considered to be one of the country’s main cultural centers. Whereas Mexico City can be frenetic and fast-paced, Guadalajara is typically more relaxed and laid back. One of the more interesting Guadalajara facts is that many distinctly Mexican traditions, such as mariachi and charreadas, have their roots here. If you’re interested in taking a uniquely Mexican vacation, then this is the place to go.

At this point, you might be wondering what to do in Guadalajara. There are many Guadalajara, Mexico points of interest that can keep a person busy for their entire vacation. From museums to zoos to cathedrals, there’s always a myriad of things to do in Guadalajara on offer. So let’s get started.

35 Things to Do in Guadalajara, Mexico 1. Spirit of Jalisco Tequila Tour

Of course, tequila has its roots in Guadalajara, making this the perfect time to go on a tequila distillery tour. You’ll learn more about the histories and distilling processes of your favorite brands, such as Espolòn Tequila. If you love tequila, then you won’t be disappointed.

2. Guadalajara Historic Downtown Tour

Taking a tour of the Guadalajara downtown is one of the best ways to get acquainted with the city. In this way, you’ll some of the city’s old, colonial-style buildings, historical monuments, and beautiful fountains. Going on a tour such as this will also give you a better idea of what to do in Guadalajara.

3. Guadalajara Zoo

If you’re an animal lover, then this should be one of the first places to visit in Guadalajara. The Guadalajara Zoo is considered by many to be among the most important zoos in Latin America. A few of its main attractions include Bengal tigers, lowland gorillas, and polar bears. There are over 2000 animals to be seen overall, and a person can easily spend the entire day seeing everything it has to offer.

4. Guadalajara Cathedral

For those of you looking to visit a beautiful cathedral, Guadalajara has you covered. This is a truly gorgeous building with gothic towers, stained-glass windows, and incredible oil paintings. It also has a fascinating history behind it, having been destroyed and rebuilt a number of times in its past.

5. San Juan de Dios Market

Shops abound all around Guadalajara, but place to go if you want to do some Guadalajara souvenir shopping (or just regular shopping too) is the San Juan de Dios Market. It holds the title of the single largest indoor market in Latin America, and has everything from clothes, music, movies, video games, and more. Many of the vendors allow haggling, making it a great place to find some deals.

6. Rotonda de Los Jaliscienses de Ilustres

This is a neoclassical style monument that honors the memories of great people who came from Jalisco. These include people who’ve made significant contributions to the arts, sciences, politics, and human rights. It’s a beautiful landmark, and a great place to stop and have a picnic with your family while learning more about Jalisco’s history. 

7. Selva Magica

Hang on to your hats — literally — because this is among the more exciting Guadalajara attractions. Selva Magica is one of the largest amusement parks in Mexico. It contains over 35 attractions and is one of the many wonderful places to go in Guadalajara with kids. Or if you’re really looking for a thrill, try some of the more extreme rides there such as the Bullet roller coaster.

8. Parque Agua Azul

This is the perfect place to go if you want to get away from the city. Parque Agua Azul is the city’s oldest and largest park. It has walking trails, an aviary, an orchid house, and a butterfly sanctuary. You can often find some entertainment happening here as well, such as concerts and outdoor theater.

9. Los Colomos

Los Colomos is another beautiful park for those of you who love to be in nature. This one in particular is popular among bird watchers, and it features a traditional Japanese garden. There is also a section specifically reserved for camping if you’d like to spend your vacation in the great outdoors.

10. Regional Museum of Guadalajara

The Regional Museum of Guadalajara is a must see for anyone who loves both art and history. This museum contains many works and artifacts that document the history of western Mexico. The building itself is a work of art in its own right, featuring an open plaza and several gorgeous courtyards.

11. Museum of Arts University of Guadalajara

This is another one of the fantastic museums in Guadalajara. It’s the place to go if you really want to experience Mexican art at its finest. It contains works by some of the most famous artists in Jalisco’s history, such as Carmen Bordes, Javier Arévalo, and Martha Pacheco.

12. Museum of Paleontology Guadalajara

If you have an interest in paleontology, then this is one of the best places to visit in Guadalajara. It houses fossils that were discovered in the Jalisco region, including woolly mammoths and saber tooth tigers. There’s even an exhibit known as The Bridge where visitors are challenged to identify the bones of different animals.

13. Museo de la Ciudad

This is one of Guadalajara’s newest museums, and it’s dedicated to chronicling the city’s history. This encompasses its colonial times starting in 1542 all the way up to its modern day. It also frequently holds activities in its courtyard, such as music and book readings.

14. Instituto Cultural Cabanas

Also known as Hospicio Cabanas, this is one of the oldest and largest hospital complexes in Latin America. These days, it is dedicated to the politically charged murals of famous Mexican artist Jose Clemente Orozco. These murals helped establish the Mexican Mural Renaissance, and therefore had a very strong influence on the history of Mexican art.

15. Ex Convento del Carmen

Ex Convento del Carmen is an old church from the 17th century that is now being used as an art gallery. It features five exhibitions that are dedicated to painting, sculpture, and photography. It also holds different activities throughout the week such as Musical Tuesdays and Literary Wednesdays.

16. Museum of the Incredible

This is the museum to visit if you’re looking for something a little more quirky and unique. Instead of paintings and sculptures, you’ll see wax figures of famous historical figures. It’s a very popular tourist destination, and is one of the most unusual things to see in Guadalajara.

17. Casa Museo López Portillo

This 18th century neoclassical building was once the home of the López Portillo family. Today, it features antique furniture and artwork from all around the world. The building itself is incredibly beautiful and often holds events like concerts and art exhibitions. It’s definitely something you should check if you’re wondering what to do in Guadalajara.

18. Pub Crawl Guadalajara

This is a great option for those who want to experience the Guadalajara nightlife. You’ll explore all the best bars and pubs of Colonia Americana while having some drinks and meeting new people. It’s a fun way to unwind and make new friends while you’re on vacation. 

19. Templo Expiatorio del Santisimo Sacramento

This Catholic church is widely considered to be the greatest neo-Gothic style building in all of Mexico. It features giant stone pillars and incredible stained glass windows. It’s an absolute must see if you’re a fan of beautiful architecture.

20. Barranca de Oblatos

This is where you go if you want to do some Guadalajara sightseeing. Barranca de Oblatos is a massive canyon carved by the Rio Grande de Santiago, and is considered by some to be the Mexican version of the Grand Canyon. It’s a gorgeous natural wonder, and was also the site of many important moments in Mexican history.

21. Plaza Tapatia

Another happening place to go if you want to do some shopping while you’re in the city, The Plaza Tapatia is a large plaza that’s full of local vendors. You can often find street performers here along with a sculpture dedicated to the immolation of the Aztec deity Quetzalcoatl.

22. Guadalajara Metropolitan Park

In Guadalajara, what to do if you want to get away from the busy city is visit the Guadalajara Metropolitan Park. This park consists of over a hundred hectares, as well as bike trails and secluded seating areas. It’s something you have to see if you love being outdoors.

23. Centro Cultural El Refugio

This is a former orphanage that now serves two distinct purposes. By day, it’s an art gallery featuring plastic arts, ceramics, and other works of art. By night, you get a dimly lit guided tour of the building while actors reenact its spooky history. Perfect for those who love a good scare.

24. Acuario Michin

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The Acuario Michin is the largest aquarium in Latin America. The tanks are huge and contain numerous kinds of fish, sharks, rays, chameleons, and more. You’ll also learn more about the various aquatic ecosystems throughout Mexico. This is a great activity to check out for those of you that have kids.

25 Plaza de los Mariachis

Of course, Guadalajara is the birthplace of mariachi music, and this plaza is where it all started. It’s recommended you visit the Plaza de los Mariachis at night, which is when the music really gets going. You have to see at least one mariachi performance to get the full Guadalajara experience, so make sure you check it out before you leave.

26. Trompo Magico Museum

If you’re looking for what to do with kids in Guadalajara, this museum is an ideal place to visit with your children. Trompo Magico Museum is a kid-friendly museum with several educational exhibits and play areas. The museum is often visited by groups of school children, which gives your kids a great opportunity to play with the local children as well.

27. Huichol Wixarica Art Museum

The Huichol Wixarica Art Museum is a museum dedicated to the Native American Wixarican people who originally lived in Jalisco. This is an opportunity to learn more about their culture and religion, as well as view their colorful artwork and artifacts. It’s perfect for those who would like to learn more about this fascinating culture.

28. Paseo Chapultepec

Paseo Chapultepec is an art walk on Chapultepec Avenue, and is one of the most creative areas in Guadalajara. In this place, you’ll find musicians, booksellers, painters, and artists of all kinds. It also features many beautiful sculptures and fountains. It’s the place to go to experience Guadalajara’s more creative side.

29. Plaza Andares

Plaza Andares is a massive shopping mall located in the Guadalajara metropolitan area. It’s one of the largest malls in the country and contains many brands that will be familiar to American visitors. If you’re in the market for great shopping opportunities in Guadalajara, then this is the place to check out during your stay.

30. Teatro Degollado

This is an old, neoclassical theater that was originally inaugurated in 1866. A gorgeous monument to Guadalajara’s culture, this theater frequently hosts ballets, operas, traditional Mexican dances, and many other kinds of performances. Make sure to see if there’s anything interesting happening here when you visit.

31. Palacio de Gobierno

This 18th century palace houses the government offices of Jalisco. It’s worth visiting for the magnificent murals painted by Jose Clemente Orozco and Miguel Hidalgo. There’s also multimedia museum about the history of Jalisco located on the ground floor of the palace.

32. Guachimontones

Among the many very exciting day trips from Guadalajara for fans of archaeological sites is Guachimontones. Located about an hour from Guadalajara, this site is known for its pyramid-like ruins which consist of concentric circles. This is something that’s not seen anywhere else in Mexico, making it a truly unique attraction in its own right.

33. Coronilla Street

This is the perfect place to go if you’ve been to a few museums, but you still want to experience Guadalajara’s more creative side. It features several small cafes and art shops, as well as a massive, colorful mural of Frida Kahlo. This is Guadalajaran culture at its best.

34. Nuestros Dulces

The name may mean “Our Sweets” but the big draw here is actually tequila. This little candy shop that could made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for most different tequila bottles in one place. There are currently 1799 different tequila bottles available in the shop in Tlaquepaque. If tequila is not your thing, there is plenty of candy of course as well to keep you satisfied. Tequila and candy — what more could you want?

35. Tlaquepaque

Tlaquepaque itself is a must-see in Guadalajara. Lined with colourful shops and the aromas of tasty appetizers and mains wafting from its myriad of restaurants, there is something to see and do for everyone in this upscale neighbourhood.

In Guadalajara, things to do are never in short supply. As you can see, it’s a magnificent city full of art, culture, music, and history. There’s nowhere else in the world quite like it, and it’s a place that everyone should visit at least once. So what are you waiting for? Get yourself to Guadalajara.

What are some of your favourite things to do in Guadalajara? Let me know in the comments section below.

The post 35 Things to Do in Guadalajara, Mexico appeared first on Man On The Lam | Travel & Lifestyle Blog -- A Curious Gentleman's Guide to Escapes and Escapism.

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Bangkok has plenty to offer that doesn’t involve Buddhist shrines, statues, or sacred relics. Although you can take taxis in the city to many out-of-the-way sites, part of the fun is getting there using public transportation. Choose a great IHG hotel close to public transportation and be sure to check out some of my trip recommendations that will make you rethink your perceptions of Buddha-centric Bangkok.

Airplane Graveyard

In a country with a rich military history and a large number of daily flights, it shouldn’t be surprising that decommissioned airplanes need a place to go. However, the Bangkok Airplane Graveyard is one of the few in the world where you can see both military and civilian aircraft alike, and that you can actually climb aboard these abandoned aircraft, seeing what they look like after years of neglect and decay. Most of the aircraft in the graveyard are Boeing 747s, but some are smaller planes, as well. Just head towards the back and start poking around in the grass — you’ll find plenty.

Siriraj Medical Museum

Known as the “Museum of Death,” the Siriraj Medical Museum is one of the most interesting museums in the world. Made up of five smaller museums, the Siriraj explores the causes of death, the human anatomy, and even the treatment and preservation of bodies after death. Some of the most famous exhibits are the mummified remains of the first known Thai serial killer, pieces of Homo Erectus skeletons, and even whole-body dissections with cross sections for closer examination. This museum is not for the faint of heart, but it’s definitely something that remains in your memory long after your visit.

Nightingale-Olympic Department Store

While the name implies that goods can be bought here, shopping is not the main attraction at Nightingale-Olympic. Instead, the department store appears to have been frozen in time, with goods covered in dust, eaten away by time, and forgotten about for years on end. You can still find multiple goods for sale in the sports and musical instruments categories, and although new, they somehow seem to complement their older counterparts nicely. Visitors say that the strange exercise and massage machines are among the most interesting finds and note that all of them are still operating.

Bangkok’s Canals

While today the Bangkok action is centered on its main thoroughfares, for thousands of years the city went about its day-to-day through a system of canals that are still in operation today. Floating markets, tours of the canals, and even private rental boats offer a glimpse into the city’s love affair with the water. Some tours will even take you near the houseboats that crowd Thonburi and other districts, showing you the life of modern fishing families in Thailand and the brightly decorated boats that they call home.

Prapadaeng Park

While the majority of Bangkok has managed to separate itself from its jungle roots, Prapadaeng Park has managed to preserve a lush and living jungle in the middle of the city. More than 20 kilometers around, the area is best explored via rented bicycles for around 100 baht per day. Access to the jungle is achieved via a ferry, and the area includes a floating market and Buddhist temple for those wanting to explore less natural options in the area.

The post Hidden Spots to See in Bangkok appeared first on Man On The Lam | Travel & Lifestyle Blog -- A Curious Gentleman's Guide to Escapes and Escapism.

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