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Depression, anxiety, stress, phobias, and disorders – they are all invisible illnesses that affect many people. If you live with a mental health condition you may know that sometimes there can be a bit of trial and error finding treatments that work for you and your illness. But when you find something that helps your condition – it is a truly great feeling!

There is a lot of information around these days about emotional support animals, both positive and negative. Licensed mental health professionals can, and do, prescribe ESAs as part of a legitimate treatment plan for a range of emotional and psychological conditions. But how does it work? What is it about emotional support animals that can actually help you feel better?

Well, often it is a case of the seemingly small things that can add up to create something wonderful. In this article, we will take a look at some of the everyday things you may take for granted with domestic animals or pets that are, in fact benefiting your health and wellbeing in many different ways.

How can an emotional support animal make you feel better: 1. They let you pet them

When you think about it, it is a privilege really that another living being lets you pat and stroke them. Yes, it can be obvious that it feels pretty good to them – you see their tail wag or you hear that mighty purr! But when an animal loves your touch and responds it shows they have built up some trust in you, and who you are.

Patting and stroking an animal is also very calming. The repetitive motion helps you relax and can take your mind off other things that may be worrying you. Also, as humans, we are tactile beings. One way we feel connected to life is through our sense of touch. When a cat or dog reciprocates and puts their paw on you to let you know they are there for you, you know you are loved.

Scientifically, a cuddle with your pup or cat also triggers a release of a chemical in your brain, oxytocin. This is the very same bonding chemical that people with children experience when they interact with their offspring. What’s more, it is mutual. Scientific studies have shown that animals too are releasing oxytocin when they are being cuddled and stroked.

2. They help create healthy routines and responsibility for another

The care you give to an emotional support animal or pet can help you to create and stay in healthy routines. If you are not feeling motivated to get up and get breakfast, an animal is likely to soon let you know it is time to place some food in their bowl.

While emotional support animals do not need any specific training to do their “job”. This does not mean that you will not still be teaching them toilet training and the responsive behavior expected of a cat or dog you interact within your home. The process of training an emotional support dog some basic commands such as sit, stay, and lay down can build a feeling of confidence and respect between you both.

Caring for an animal can also help you learn about accepting the needs of another living being. As much as you may feel one with your animal, there is an acceptance that comes with realizing they have their own set of unique nutritional, health and daily care requirements. Living with an animal can be a great way to appreciate and come to understand that there are both differences and similarities in diversity.

3. They are right here, right now

Having an emotional support animal in your life can help distract you from negative thinking about the past or worrying about the future and bring your focus to the present. Domestic animals are also well known for seeming to sense when a person is upset and responding to that.

Pets and animals live in the now. They are not too worried about what happened yesterday or might happen tomorrow. It is what’s in front of their nose that matters in any giving moment.

Most well-bonded animals will give you a warm welcome when you walk in the door after being out. They will also respond enthusiastically at the sight of their favorite toy, or their leash as an indication you’re about to indulge in a little light R&R with them.

4. They move – you move

Living with any type of animal is going to encourage you to move your body through the activities and type of interaction you have with them. They all need feeding, and you may groom, play, and exercise with an emotional support animal to various degrees depending on the type of animal.

Taking a dog for a walk is a great activity that is a win-win for both you and the animal. Walking helps with both brain and body function. It strengthens your bones and muscles, and to get the much needed Vitamin D that our bodies need sunlight to make.

If vigorous exercise is your thing to reduce stress, think about a dog that loves to run to keep you company and motivated with your running to help you sweat it out.

5. They can provide a sense of security

Emotional support animals are not only about cuddles, comfort, and companionship. Even an animal that is not a “security dog” as such can offer a sense of security in your home or when you are out. Cats and dogs are super-sensitive beings, and will usually soon alert you vocally, or by their behavior, to any unusual sounds or sights in their environment.

People with emotional support animals often find that their presence also helps them to get out of the house. For example, someone with agoraphobia may feel secure enough to go for a walk around the block with their dog by their side. Or someone with phobias around flying may find the presence of their ESA on the flight helps them stay calm throughout the journey.

But wait, there is more!

Studies of people with pets have also shown that people who live with animals have lower blood pressure and cortisol levels. Both of which play an important part in how we handle and manage stress.

Emotional support animals are not limited to dogs and cats. But thinking about how a past or present pet in your life has helped you feel better can be a good start for thinking about ways they may do so in the future! Learn more by visiting CertaPet.com

The post ESAs can help you feel better by doing these five things appeared first on Travel to Blank.

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Some Americans are familiar with Filipino American stars like baseball’s Chris Aguila, basketball’s Brian Heruela and of course, boxing’s Manny Pacquiao. If you are a stateside traveler feeling gung-ho about an active holiday, there are plenty of superb activities to offer in the sports-mad nation they hail from. So whether you are yearning to go for the burn or enjoy activities which are slightly more sedate, here are five tips for a Philippines sports vacation.

3 activities you can do in the Philippines: 1. Diving

The azure seas and sumptuous sand beaches of The Philippines make it one of the world’s best places for underwater exploration. Although there are lots of spots to choose from, Cebu may be the best — diving into the depths here can bring you in close contact with huge shoals of sardines, thresher sharks and even spectacular whale sharks. Book a Cebu diving holiday with PADI Travel and you will explore excellent dive sites like Nalusuan Island and Talima reef — simply stunning.

2. Boxing

The most famous fight held on Philippine shores must still be the Thrilla in Manila — but there is much more to the nation’s fighting legacy than Ali and Frasier’s 70’s slugfest. Apart from Pacquiao, elite Filipino boxers also include world champions like Nonito Donaire, Jesus Salud and Brian Valoria, while Bago City is regarded as the nation’s boxing capital. There is a thriving amateur scene, with the PSC-Pacquiao Cup probably being the foremost competition.

Elite amateur fights can sometimes be more exciting and competitive than their professional counterparts, so check the sports section of the Manila Standard for details of events during your break.

3. Golf

If sauntering along the fairway in the sunshine while testing your mettle against water hazards and bunkers is your idea of bliss, The Philippines is a great place for golfers.

There are superb greens at courses near Manila, Clark, Tagaytay, Boracay and Cebu — so you can center a golf trip on one location or tour around to sample as many different courses as time permits. Find more great golf info at Philippine Trails — this travel company can create a tailor-made golf trip that suits you to a tee.

How to plan your vacation to the Philippines?

How to find a Hotel in the Philippines?

You may need to book Philippines accommodation in several cities and towns, depending on the nature of your vacation — but if your main priority is peerless luxury, Raffles Makati is tough to beat.

This Pinoy outpost of the iconic Singapore brand oozes the timeless elegance you would expect — from the luxe leather sofas and red velvet armchairs in reception to the mahogany furniture in the suites, everything has an air of effortless glamour.

How to book flights to the Philippines?

You can fly to the Philippines non-stop from US cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco in around 14 hours, while a one-stop flight from New York City takes around 19 hours.

It is a long haul, but by booking early on sites like cheapflights.com, you can bag a return ticket for under $500. And whether your departure point is Oakland or Ontario, reserve airport parking at Looking4.com and store your ride securely for the duration — it’s more relaxed than packed public transport.

That is the end of our list, but please leave your own Philippines sports tips in the comments section.

The post 5 Tips For a Philippines Sports Vacation appeared first on Travel to Blank.

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Havasupai campground reservations for the entire 2019 season open on February 1, 2019 at 8AM (Arizona Time) at HavasupaiReservations.com. This year, an account is required, so make sure to set it up in advance as the reservations will most likely sell out in a matter of minutes.

The small Native American village of Supai is nestled deep in the Grand Canyon. This remote village is a popular hiking destination for visitors from around the world. What attracts people to hike 10 miles each way, deep into the Grand Canyon is the crystal blue waters of the Havasu Creek and the breathtaking Havasu Falls.

If you are not already, you should will be planning your trip to Supai to enjoy Havasu Falls, Mooney Falls, Beaver Falls and the countless other beautiful spots. In 2019 the Havasupai Tribe has drastically updated their rules and requirements for visitors, so we have compiled all the information you need to visit Havasu Falls.

Hike to Havasu Falls in Arizona, USA - YouTube

Table of Contents
  1. New Havasu Falls Information For 2019
  2. Campground Pricing
  3. How To Make a Reservation
  4. Official Transfer System
  5. Pack Mule Waitlist Request
  6. Trip and Travel Insurance
  7. When is the best time to visit Havasu Falls?
  8. Getting to the Hilltop Trailhead
  9. Four Day / Three Night Itinerary to Havasu Falls
  10. About The Havasu Falls Campground
  11. Important Havasupai Rules
New Havasu Falls Reservation Information For 2019
  • All campground reservations for 2019 are for 3 nights / 4 days visits to Havasu Falls.
  • Campground reservations are now officially transferable.
  • All Pack Mule reservations are now required in advance and made online.
  • Reserve any available dates from February 1, 2019 through February 29, 2020.
  • Trip and travel insurance options available for purchase.

2019 Havasu Falls Campground Reservation Pricing
  • $100 per person per weekday night
  • $125 per person per weekend night (Friday/Saturday/Sunday nights)

These prices include all necessary permits, fees, and taxes charged by the Havasupai Reservation.

This means that a three night stay can range from $300 and $375 per person depending on the overlap with the weekend nights.

How To Make a Reservation to Visit Havasu Falls

All visitors to Havasupai and Havasu Falls require an advanced online reservation. The reservations for campground spots for the whole 2019 season start February 1, 2019 at 8 AM (Arizona Time).

On February 1st, sign in to your account any time before 8 AM at 8 AM the page will automatically refresh and the “Make a 2019 Campground Reservation” button will activate.

First you choose the number of people for your reservation, with up to 12 people per reservation. Remember it can be easier to find available reservation spots for smaller groups.

On the next screen it will shows a calendar view with all available start dates. With so many people trying to make reservations at the same time, by the time you click on an available date, it might no longer be available. It is best to have all members of your reservation attempting to book to increase your chances of getting tickets.

Once you select a start date, your selection is held for a couple minutes allowing you to review the reservation arrival and departure dates, number of people, cost per person, and total cost. When you click to continue, all information fields on the next screen automatically fill in using your account information and you will then be able to review or edit that information prior to purchasing.

There is only one name on the reservation and the person named on the reservation must be present at the Tourist Check-in Office in the Village of Supai with photo ID.

All reservations are paid in full at the time the reservation is made and are non-refundable, non-changeable, and non-transferable, except via the Official Transfer System. If you are caught trying to resell or purchase a reservation outside of this official transfer system, the reservation can be canceled with no refund and you can face a permanent ban from Havasupai.

Official Transfer System for Havasu Falls Reservations

Plans change and friends back out last minute. That is the reality of planning travel, especially as a group, months in advance. At the same time, what if you missed a Havasu Falls reservation this year?

If you do not wish to use one or more of the spots on your campground reservation it is now easy and hassle-free way to transfer one or more or all of your campground reservation spots and have the funds returned back to the original payment card.

To transfer a reservation spot, simply view the details of an existing campground reservation from your account, choose how many spots to transfer and generate a Transfer Link.

The spots remain on your reservation and the transfer is pending until someone purchases the spots, either directly via the Transfer Link, or from the Campground Reservation Cancellation Page. The transfer is only complete when another person uses the Transfer Link to pay for the spot(s) directly on HavasupaiReservations.com.

Once the transfer has been completed, your reservation is updated to reflect the transfer and your funds, minus a 10% transfer fee, will be returned to your original payment card for each transferred.

Online Pack Mule Waitlist Request System

Many visitors find utilize the Pack Mule Service to carry their gear roundtrip from the Hilltop Trailhead to the Campground Entrance and then back again to the Hilltop Trailhead, for a more enjoyable adventure.

If you are interested in joining the Pack Mule Waitlist, after you have successfully made a campground reservation, you can put in a waitlist request for a pack mule. There will not be an option to get a mule in person when you arrive.

Due to new higher welfare standards for the Havasupai pack mule, there will be significantly fewer mules available this year. If you do not join the waitlist immediately after making a campground reservation, there is a good chance you will lose this opportunity.

Being on the Pack Mule Waitlist is not a confirmed reservation, until around a week prior to the arrival date. You can cancel your waitlist request at any time, but if/when your request is approved, your Confirmed Pack Mule Reservation is non-refundable, non-transferable, and non-changeable.

Each mule can carry up to four soft sided bags with a maximum weight of 32 pounds per bag. The maximum baggage size is 36 inches long, 19 inches wide, 19 inches tall.  Ice chests or coolers are not permitted.

Trip and Travel Insurance Options

After making a reservation to visit Havasu Falls the tribe is now providing the option to purchase third party trip and travel insurance. During the summer Monsoon season, extreme heat or flooding can close the area to visitors. While your tickets will be made transferable in this situation, any flights, car or gear rental are not covered without this additional insurance.

When is the best time of the year to visit Havasu Falls?

With demand so high, the best time to visit Havasu Falls is whenever you are able to get a reservation.

Tickets sell out in just a few minutes, so it is good to be as flexible as possible and have plenty of backup dates for when reservations open up on February 1, 2019. Narrowing down what season or month you want to visit might be possible, but keep your options open.

The air temperature is similar to Phoenix, but once you reach the campground there is plenty of shade and water keep cool.

The cooler months are great for hiking and exploring during any time of day, but can get chilly in the canyon overnight. Visiting during the warmer months it best for enjoying the clear blue waters, but it also requires early morning hiking. The water temperature is roughly 70 degrees all year long.

With the scenic beauty of the canyon, the breathtaking waterfalls, and exotic camping along Havasu Creek there is no bad time to visit Havasu Falls!

Getting to the Hilltop Trailhead

The Hualapai Hilltop trailhead is located at the end of Indian Road 18, 60 miles from the turnoff from Route 66. Indian Road 18 is an open range with occasional cows crossing the road, requiring extra care when driving, especially at night. Plan for this drive to take at least 90 minutes no matter what your GPS says.

The closest gas station nearly 70 miles away from the trailhead in Peach Springs or Grand Canyon Caverns. Make sure to have enough gas in your car to go at least 200 miles before leaving one of those towns. Also, make sure you have a spare tire as we came back to a flat after our hike into Havasu Falls.

There is plenty of parking at the trailhead, but can get tight, especially with an RV or campervan. Simply do not park in the “No Parking” areas and do not park in the road.

What is the ideal trip length to Havasu Falls?

Well, no matter what we think, the Havasupai tribe has decided that all reservations to Havasu Falls in 2019 require a 3 nights and 4 days stay. Technically speaking, there is nothing stopping you from a shorter trip if your vacation time does not allow for a full stay, but you will be paying for the additional nights.

Four Day / Three Night Itinerary to Havasu Falls
  • Day 1: Hike in and set up camp
  • Day 2: Rest, relax, enjoy and explore
  • Day 3: Hike to Confluence
  • Day 4: Hike out
Day 1: Getting to the Havasu Falls Campground

It is a 10 mile hike from the Hilltop Trailhead to the Campground entrance. It is a rocky and sandy desert trail into the canyon so plan on 3-5 hours for the hike in and 4-6 hours for the hike out. Start the hike early in the morning to beat the heat, but remember night hiking is not permitted.

From Hilltop Trailhead to the Village of Supai it is an 8 mile hike. The hike starts of with steep switchbacks down the exposed canyon wall, so is best to complete before the sun gets too high. There are then several miles winding along the canyon floor. Along this trail you will most likely encounter the pack mules, which should always be given the right of way.

Right before you reach the village, the dry sandstone canyon bursts with greenery as you approach the  Havasu Creek at the beginning of the village of Supai.

Once in the village, you have to check in at the Tourist Office which is open from 6am to 6pm from May through October and 9am to 3pm the rest of the year. Bring a printed copy or screenshot of the email confirmation of your campground reservation. Also write down your license plate number that is parked at the trailhead to register it at check in.

Only the person named on the reservation can check in at Tourist Office with photo ID and get the wristbands for everyone on the reservation. No one is permitted to proceed past the Village without a wristband, so make sure that everyone in your group has one before hiking onwards. That means the reservation holder must wait for everyone in the group to arrive and everyone in the group must wait for the reservation holder.

From the Tourist Check-In Office it is another two miles to reach the Campground entrance. Along this track of the path you will encounter the first two natural water features; the New Little Navajo Falls and the Rock Falls.

To reach the base of the 50ft New Little Navajo Falls, you need to make your around several large boulders and swim through the cool creek to get close. Get in the water and enjoy the morning in the beautiful pools above Rock Falls or below Navajo Falls.

Then head the rest of the way to the campground and set up your camp before exploring the area. Spend the afternoon enjoying Havasu Falls, which is right at the start of the mile long campground.

Day 2: Relax in Mooney and Beaver Falls

Wake up on day two with some breakfast and head towards Mooney Falls, situated at the far end of the campground. To get to the bottom of Mooney Falls you have to walk through a small cave and then climb your way down a set of chains and ladders. It might look steep, but just make sure to always keep three points of contact with the wall. Some people even find it fun! Enjoy your morning there and pack a light lunch down to enjoy at the bottom of the falls.

After lunch keep hiking on towards Beaver Falls, it is an easier section of the hike the same climbing skills as Mooney Falls, but does have a few additional wooden ladders and river crossings. Enjoy the waterfall and head back for dinner at the campground. You do not want to leave Beaver Falls too late, as climbing the ladders and chains at Mooney Falls can get trickier as it begins to get dark.

Day 3: Hike to Confluence

Wake up early and get ready for a long hike on day three to Confluence, where the Havasu Creek meets the Colorado River. This is a longer hike and you pass Mooney Falls and Beaver Falls along the way, which you enjoyed the previous day to better manage the time.

The hike to Confluence is not any more difficult than the section to Beaver Falls, there is just much more of the trail to do! It is especially important to plenty of protein rich snacks and water on this hike as you will find yourself hiking in quicker bursts as you find the endless photo opportunities.

NPS photo by Erin Whittaker.

As you plan your timing for the day, remember you will want to arrive back to the campground before dark for safety reasons and allow yourself enough time to rest.

Day 4: Hike out to the hilltop

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and The Coca-Cola Company. All opinions are mine alone. #SnowshoePower #CollectiveBias #skicocacola

With three unique ski areas boasting 157 skiable acres and 1,500 feet of vertical, Snowshoe Mountain is hands down on of the best place on the lower East Coast to experience winter fun. We enjoyed a weekend getaway to Snowshoe, a scenic six hour drive from Raleigh, North Carolina.

On our drive to Snowshoe we stopped at Kroger in Roanoke, VA to get food supplies for the weekend as our room featured a kitchenette in the Allegheny Springs in the heart of Village Central.

Since we were planning to spend ample time on the mountain we bought Core Power® at Kroger, with 26 grams of protein per bottle to keep us energized throughout the day. Core Power® will be introducing an updated Core Power 14 oz with 20% more ounces per bottle, 80% less sugar for your diet (vs. previous formulation) and still 26 grams of protein per bottle!

With several inches of fresh snow on the ground we were excited to see all that Snowshoe Mountain has to offer under the bright and warming sun, even though it was below freezing the entire weekend.

Several years out of practice we both stuck to the green trails to get back the feel of the snowboard. The resort also offers many blue square and black diamond trails across the mountain along with one double black diamond trail for those more experienced riders.

The first day in Snowshoe we spent getting used to riding the snowboard down some easy hills and making our way onto the ski lift, without falling off while getting off. By the end of the second day, we could make it all the way down the green trail with only one or two falls.

So much more than ski and snowboard at Snowshoe Mountain

Honestly our favorite our adventure at Snowshoe mountain was not just the 60 trails and 157 skiable acres, but the other activities available during our stay.

Coca-Cola Tube Park

We had an amazing afternoon at the 8-lane, 6-story Coca-Cola Tube Park. There is no need to walk to the top of the hill with a special tube lift, where you can sit back and enjoy the ride to the top. When you reach the top be prepared for a heart pounding ride to the bottom, reminiscent of our younger days.

If you are looking for a downhill ride spinning to your heart’s content, make sure to tube down the first lane closest to the lift.

Tickets to the Coca-Cola Tube Park are $15 during weekdays and $20 during weekends/holidays for a two hour set session and include your very own tube rental. The Tube Park is located at the Silver Creek ski area and is easily accessible by the free Snowshoe shuttle bus.

Unique dining and shopping outlets

Even though we enjoyed our Core Power® Chocolate one of a kind protein, fueled by fairlife®, while on the mountain, after a day on the slopes we are ready for some rest, relaxation and food. We have the option of cooking our own meal in the kitchenette in our room at the Allegheny Springs lodge or go out for a bite to eat at the handful of restaurants and bars on the top of the mountain.

Live music and Events

As the sun sets the fun does not stop on Snowshoe mountain. There is a variety of daytime events, festivals, competitions and live music. Throughout the winter The Connection features DJs and live music each weekend along with stand up comedy shows to keep you laughing late into the night.

Core Power® Hot Chocolate Recipe

Ingredients:
  • 6 oz Core Power® Chocolate
  • 3 Tbsp Hot Chocolate Mix
  • 6 oz Water
  • 10 Mini Marshmallows
  • 1 Crushed Peppermint Stick
  • A pinch of Cinnamon
  • Whipped Cream
Instructions:
  1. Bring 6 oz of water to a boil on the stovetop.
  2. While water is boiling measure out 3 Tbsp of hot chocolate mix into a mug.
  3. Crush one candy cane or peppermint stick with a thick glass cup.
  4. When the water begins to boil, turn off heat and let sit for two minutes.
  5. Pour 6 oz of hot water into the mug and stir for 15 seconds.
  6. Pour 6 oz of Core Power® Chocolate into the mug and stir to mix.
  7. Top with whipped cream, peppermint stick, a pinch of cinnamon and marshmallows.
  8. Enjoy by the fireside or overlooking Snowshoe Mountain.

Book your Snowshoe West Virginia Ski Vacation

In celebration of the 45th anniversary of the founding of Snowshoe Mountain by Doc Brigham you can book a 4-night stay and get 45% off your 4th night.* This deal is good at any of the 30 different Snowshoe managed properties across the mountain top or base of the mountain. No matter which lodging you chose to stay, there is a free shuttle bus to take you across the mountain to reach any part of town or the start of the ski slopes that you are looking for.

While you are making your online accommodation booking there is also the option to purchase lift pases, snow tubing tickets and other activities including snowmobiling and off-roading tours. Prices do vary depending on the day of the week and proximity to a holiday. At the same time some activities do fill up in advance, so it is best to schedule your stay and book in advance.

If it is your first time skiing or snowboarding Snowshoe Mountain offers a great special to get yourself on the slopes. With a Group Beginner Lesson Package, it includes rental equipment, lift ticket for the day and a group class for just $145, which can be the same price as a same day rental and lift ticket.

* This offer is valid for stays between 11/12/18 and 3/20/19 and is based on consecutive night stays at any Snowshoe managed vacation rental property during non-holiday dates. Offer is not valid for December 26, 2018- January 1, 2019; MLK Weekend: January 18-20, 2019; President’s Day Weekend: February 15-17, 2019. Be sure to mention 4th night at 45% off when you book in order to receive your discount. This offer is based on availability and cannot be combined with other offers, some restrictions apply. Offer is not redeemable for cash and is limited to one use per customer. Deposit and cancellation policies apply.

The post Snowshoe Mountain West Virginia Ski Vacation With Core Power® appeared first on Travel to Blank.

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A popular question we receive as travel bloggers is how do we afford to travel full and tips to find cheap flights. We are always on the lookout for a cheap flight deal as an expensive ticket can break your travel budget.

In this article we will share with you six tips to find cheap flights. Follow these tips when you plan your next vacation or getaway and you will be surprised how much money you can save on traveling.

1. Use a fare aggregator website

Before buying a ticket we love doing research. We compare prices on several different websites until we find a good price on tickets or a cheaper airline. We use Kayak.com, Google Flight, Skyscanner, Momondo, and directly on the airlines website to find the best deal. We have seen that Kayak is cheaper when traveling within the Americas while Skyscanner is cheaper when flying in Europe. Of course, that has being our experience but you should always check several options!

2. Set Flight Alarms

You can set up flight alerts on different websites to get an email when prices are lower than average or trending down to a specific destination from your departure airport. This is the best option if you have flexible travel dates.

3. Be Flexible

This might be a little bit harder when you have to plan your vacations ahead of time but having flexible travel dates can save you a considerable amount of money on flights. For example, Kayak has the option to search for a flight including +/- 1, 2, or 3 days from your desired travel date. Skyscanner allows you to see pricing for a whole month.

Be flexible on the dates you can travel as well as the destination you want to visit. Kayak or Skyscanner both have the option to search the cheapest flights from your departure airport to any destination. Choose your desired travel dates and find the best destinations to visit in your budget.

4. Make your own travel package

If you are not able to find a good price for flights it can be cheaper to build your own itinerary on different airlines. For example, searching round trip from Raleigh to Madrid, Spain the tickets where showing for about $1,200.

We know that flying from Boston to Madrid is cheaper so what we did is buy a round trip ticket from Raleigh to Boston and another round trip ticket from Boston to Madrid, saving almost $400 by doing it this way. The only thing to be careful with additional baggage fees, as national flights often have different baggage allowance than an international destination.

5. Try flying from an alternative destination

Flying from or into an alternative airport might be less convenient, but if it saves you big bucks then it is worth doing. For example, when We want to fly from Raleigh to Guayaquil, it is always cheaper to fly from Greensboro, which is serviced by Spirit Airlines. Even though Greensboro is 80 minutes from Raleigh, the tickets can end up being half the price, even when taking into account driving to the airport.

6. Use an incognito window to do your search

Yes, opening up an incognito window to book a flight is helpful. At first, we were not sure about using incognito to search for a flight, but after trying this method found it actually works!

The thing is that the airlines and third party sites leave cookies on your browser. This way the company knows when you are searching a route multiple times and can raise prices as you appear to be closer to buying a ticket. A good way to avoid this is by opening a new incognito window each time you search for cheap flight deals.

Save this article for later

The post 6 Helpful Tips to find Cheap Flights appeared first on Travel to Blank.

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Pricing for 2019 visits to Havasupai and Havasu Falls are not yet finalized. Havasupai Reservations at February 1, 2019 at 8:00 AM Arizona Time and the required permits sell out for the whole season within hours of reservations going on sale.

The Village of Supai has been one of the most beautiful villages we have visited in the United States. Havasu falls is one of the most famous and Instagramed place in the US. There are 5 Havasupai Falls in the Havasupai Indian Reservation: Navajo Falls, Fifty Foot Falls, Havasu Falls, Mooney Falls and Beaver Falls.

The pools at the waterfalls stays about 21°C (70 °F) year round, which is perfect when you go during spring, summer or early fall.

There are several hikes you can do and waterfalls to see besides the most popular Havasu Falls, most notable Mooney and Beaver Falls. You can also hike to Confluence, where the water of Havasu Creek meets the Colorado River at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. 

How long should you stay?

We visited Havasu falls for 3 days and 2 nights, and it was the perfect amount. We did every hike we planed with plenty of time to relax and enjoy the water. If you only have time for two days one night, we also created a post to fit everything in a shorter time frame.

How to Plan your trip to Havasu Falls?

If you are planning on visiting Havasu Falls you must buy your permit on February 1st, as the permits sell out for the whole season within hours of reservations going on sale. The reason for this is because there is a limited amount of visitors allowed at the grounds. You can buy a permit for 2, 3 and 4 days. There is no day hiking permitted anymore, so you must have your permit. You can buy your permit at: http://theofficialhavasupaitribe.com/.

Once you buy your permit, keep your receipt with you as you make your way down to Havasu Canyon, as there are checkpoints to verify all visitors have paid.

How to get to the Havasu Falls?

Easy, you need to hike there as there is no road to the Supai village. You will need to drive to Hualapai Hilltop and then start your 10 miles hike.


There are several ways to reach this remote village you can either have a long hike or fly in by helicopter. I promise that if you choose to hike or even to fly in you will not regret it, there is a reason why thousands of people keep visiting this small paradise. 

If you choose to hike from Hualapai Hilltop, it is 8 miles to the Supai village and then 2 additional miles to the campgrounds and waterfalls.

Tip: Start hiking as early as possible (before sunrise) to take full advantage of the cooler air and the shade. Bring enough water for the whole hike as there are not water fountains or any drinking water available along the path. We recommend to bring at least one gallon just to be safe. 

Another way you can get to the falls is by riding a horse or a mule. You might need to make a reservation ahead of time. Some people recommend one to two weeks prior to your trip. For the reservation you must call the tourism office (928) 448-2121.

The most expensive way but I think pretty cool to do it is by helicopter. The cost for a helicopter ride into the canyon is $85 per person each way. Each person is allowed 1 carry-on bag. Any additional luggage is charged by the weight. You do not need a reservations so you can just show up at Hualapai Hilltop and sign in before 10am. It takes approximately 15 minutes to fly from Havasupai Hilltop to the Supai village. Either way if you want to see the waterfalls and camp in the campgrounds you must hike 2+ miles from the village.

Hiking Havasu Falls Travel Video:
Hike to Havasu Falls in Arizona, USA - YouTube
A bit about hiking to Havasu Falls

We read so much about this hike that at first we were a little bit afraid of going to such a long hike, but to be honest it was way easier than expected. There is one time that the hike gets hard and tedious and it is on your way out of the canyon. The rest of the path is pretty much flat with some small hills here and there.

It is a long hike, so do not let that tricky you, even though it is an easy hike going down and going back until the canyon, you are still hiking 10 miles each way to the campground, so your feet will be sore.

We recommend to pack as little as possible for Havasu Falls. Take literally what you will need and nothing more. If you end up needing something there is a small store in Supai with everything you need. It might be a little bit pricey but at least you are not carrying it in and out of the canyon. 

You are not allowed to do a day hike, so you must have a reservation, which have already sold out for 2018. You also need to bring your ID and your credit card as they check at the Havasupai Tourist Office in the Village. 

Hiking to The Supai Village

To start your hike you need to park your car at Hualapai Hilltop. Start hiking between 5 and 6 AM so that by the time you reach the village the tourist office is open for check in. You have to go through the village to get to the campgrounds either way. 

Switchbacks!

The way down to the village starts off easy as you are going down the canyon edge along a steep of switchbacks. The first miles are in the exposed “wash” before you enter the canyon. It can get sunny depending on the time of day you start your hike so please use sunscreen. I did not use it and my whole legs and face were left burning for days.

The next few miles you are hiking through the canyon, where you will encounter small hills either up or down. Along this part of the path you will most likely meet the horses that carry luggage heading in the opposite direction. You can hear the echo of the horseshoes from quite a distance in the canyon. Remember to step off the path and give the right of way to these beautiful creatures to avoid any unnecessary injuries.

After nearly 8 miles of walking from your car, the landscape begins to burst with luscious greenery as you approach Havasu Creek, right at the entrance of the village of Supai. Here you need to check in at the tourist office to get a wristband. There is also a place to fill up your water if needed and a store where you can top off any supplies. To many people’s surprise there is a post office in town, the perfect place to send yourself a souvenir postcard.

Hiking from Supai to the campground and Havasu Falls

From the village itself it is another two mile hike, along the river, to the campground. Along the path you will pass the first two waterfalls that give you a glimpse of the even more majestic waterfalls to come. There is one detour for both New Little Navajo Falls and the Rock Falls. 

If you are not the type of person who likes to carry, even when your bag is light, you can send your bags with a mule or in the helicopter. I do not like using mules as I think it is not good for the animal, but that is my personal conviction.

We carried all of our stuff, which was not much. We took literally enough to make it through the weekend and nothing more. People around us were surprise with how little we took, but for us it was the perfect amount and we had a blast!

Depending on the time of the year, I will say bring the amount of water. We went during early Spring so it was not as hot as during summer, so we both drank 2 litters of water each on the way there and 3 liters of water each on the way out. You can refill the water at the village and at the campground, although sometimes they can run out of water. You can always purchase drinks at the local store.

On the way back to the car, we recommend to leave at 5:00-5:30 AM, the latest so you can be out by 10 AM and not suffer from the radiant sun. You do not want to be in the switchbacks pass 10 AM it gets super sunny and hot. The total time for us was 4.5 hours. It took us one hour to get to the village from the campground, and 3.5 hours from the village to the exit. We moved our tent the night before to the closest spot available from the start of the campground. You want to hike the least on your way out plus you want to get as early as possible to the switchbacks.

On our way back out of the canyon we saw people starting their hike at 10AM, big mistake. It is so hot and trust me you do not want to walk 10 miles in the heat of the sun.

Hiking Distances

From the parking lot at Hualapai Hilltop to the Village is 8 miles (13 km), to the campground and Havasu Falls is 2 (3 km) more miles, from the campground to Mooney Falls is 0.5 miles (0.8 km) and from Mooney Falls Beaver Falls 1 mile and to Confluence is  from the Hualapai Hilltop 20 miles.

Be aware: This trail distances are just one way.

About the waterfalls of the Havasupai Indian Reservation New Navajo Falls

Half way between the village and the campground is your first pair of waterfalls. After a massive flood in 2008, New Navajo Falls was created as the water was diverted from what is now the dry Old Navajo Falls. To reach these base of this 50ft falls, you need to make your over several large boulders and swim through the cool creek to get close.

Rock Falls

Rock Falls is just a short walk down stream from New Navajo Falls. Not only is it a beautiful waterfall to photograph, but up above the falls there are several pools perfect for relaxing and swimming. If the flow is low you can even make your way right up to the edge of the falls, but be careful.

Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls is the most famous waterfall out of all the ones you will explore during your stay at Supai Village. This beautiful 100ft waterfall is right before the campground, so it is really easy to access throughout your stay and perfect to swim in. You cannot miss this waterfall tumbling into the bright blue pools below, as you pass right next to get to the campground.

Mooney Falls

The Mooney Falls waterfall is located 2.2 miles from the village and right at the far end of the campground. The campground leads to the top of the falls, where you can get magical photos and views.

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Looking for the best things to do Los Angeles over the weekend? The sprawling city of LA has some of the best culture, food and attractions in the country to be enjoyed with its 284 sunny days a year. There is something in the city for every type of traveler to enjoy.

As one of largest cities in the United States, Los Angeles can be a bit overwhelming to first time visitors it is important to remember that visiting attractions across the city can be a longer than expected drive especially during its extended rush hour. Getting a rental car in LA might be the best choice to get around while visiting.

6 of the Best Spots to Visit in Los Angeles 1. Santa Monica Pier

The Santa Monica Pier is one of the most famous landmarks of Los Angeles. On the pier you can find an amusement park. restaurants, food carts and speciality shops. It is probably one of the busiest piers on the West Coast and the perfect place to watch street performers or the setting sun.. 

2. Venice Beach

Walking along the Venice Beach Boardwalk is a highlight of Los Angeles which is not to be missed. It is one of the most Instagrammable places in LA. It is the perfect beach to chill or enjoy an active afternoon. In Venice Beach you will find many different coffee shops, restaurants and shops. 

3. Hollywood

You cannot leave LA without visiting the Hollywood Walk of Fame. This hall of fame covers 15 blocks with over 2,500 brass stars in the sidewalk, in honor of famous musicians, actors, directors, producers, musicians and even fictional characters.

4. Hollywood Sign from Griffith Observatory

At the Griffith Observatory you can enjoy the Samuel Oschin Planetarium as well as a panoramic view of Los Angeles. You also get a great view of the Hollywood sign from here as well. 

5. Hike Behind the Hollywood Sign

It is a light hike that takes you behind the Hollywood sign where you can enjoy fantastic panoramic views. The are three more popular trails: Mt Hollywood, The Canyon Boulevard, and the Cahuenga Peak. 

6. Urban Lights at LACMA

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is home to one of the most iconic spots in the city. It is home to the Urban Light sculpture with 202 restored historic street lamps just asking for a photo shoot.

How to get around in Los Angeles

Public transportation is not an option in LA due to its limited reach and frequency. We recommend to rent a car in Los Angeles but to keep in mind that Los Angeles has one of the worst traffic in the country. Parking is not easy to find near all the attractions but can easily be cheaper than always using an Uber. 

The post 6 Best Things to do in Los Angeles on the Weekend appeared first on Travel to Blank.

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Instagram stories are a great way to grow your community and remind your followers you are there. With tons of people and countless accounts you have to keep up with the Instagram algorithm to maximize your audience. To capture your audience’s attention you need to go the extra mile and using Instagram stories is a great way to do that.

Instagram stories need to be catchy, fun and authentic to keep your followers interested and eager to interact with you. It is a good idea to have your stories informative, fun to watch and sometimes even inspiring. This of course all depends your brand. Never forget the personality of your brand when creating content. 

While Instagram stories are always evolving, we have done extensive research and testing to bring you the best tips for you to bring your Instagram stories to the next level. 

Tip #1: Have personality and create high quality content

People are following you for a reason and that is what you need to focus on. Create high quality content based on your niche and what you audience has learned to expect from your account. It is important to share useful tips, some behind the scene stories to keep it real and gain trust, and of course something to inspire your followers. We all love to have something inspiring to read or see during a busy day.

Keep your stories real. No one likes to see a perfect life all the times, as it is not realistic and your audience can see right through it. It is good to show all the great things that happen but it is even better when you add that real life story line and show how there are hardships to deal with.

One thing that works well is adding location tags to your stories. This is an added opportunity to show up on the location highlights so more people can find you and let your readers where where you are recording the awesome stories.

Tip #2: Highlight your best Instagram Stories

Remember new people are visiting your profile every day so it is important to keep your most relevant stories alive. A good way to do this is by creating different highlights for each topic or creation. We created one called “About Us”, so every new follower get to know us better. You can create different highlights for each type of occasion, travel destination, recipes or anything you think is worth showing to the world for longer than 24 hours. 

Tip 3#: Be consistent and do not over do your stories

No matter your niche it is important to post Instagram stories constantly, but not constantly. No one wants to see 50 stories from your account every time they check Instagram. It is good to pace yourself and your account throughout the day and post a couple of new stories every hour or so. When we have good content we try to post approximately 10-15 Instagram stories throughout the day, so we appear first on our followers feed no matter when they check. 

Tip #4: What apps to use to create epic Instagram Stories

Creating nice eye-catching images might take more time to create than just recording a video, but trust me, you will see positive results by investing your time. There are several of our favorite apps to help create Instagram stories. 

Unfold or Canvas:

Both Unfold and Canvas have templates to use, so you do not need to create layout from scratch for each new story. You can even save you make to keep your Instagram stories consistent over time. 

Hyperlapse or Framelapse

A hyperlapse is a bunch photos pasted together and made into a video. On my trip to Quebec with other bloggers I discovered this gem and truly love what it does. You just have to focus the camera, press record and hold it for at least one minute to get a cool video. This app is great to record walks from point A to B, to record the sunset, or recipes. Anything you think will look cool recording and displaying in a sped up video. 

Tip #5: Be precise and straight to the point 

For anything important that you are showing in the story, be precise. Iff possible have it written on the story itself, as many of your followers are not going to be watching with their volume on. If it is an important announcement that you want your audience to hear, sure to add a GIF that says volume on or something similar. 

Tip #6: Be creative and pop!

You have less than a second to draw someone’s attention to your story. Every story must be unique and catchy, but not time consuming to create. One thing that works well is using GIFs, boomerangs, and artistic stories. Besides using the apps mentioned above you can always create something unique in Instagram that does not consume much of your time. I will share you a couple of simple ideas to help improve the look of your Instagram stories.

Text with shadow:

Creating a text with shadow is possible if you copy the same text twice and give each set of text a different color. Then place one on top of the other with a slight difference in location to create the shadow effect. You can choose any color by holding down on any color of the color wheel and then it will pop up an option with tons of colors as well as using a drop eye tool. 

Use the keyboard and your imagination:  

Did you know that your keyboard as more than just letters and numbers? Besides the common emojis there are countless symbols you could use to make your story more unique. Also, give yourself a little room to design a unique text layout with the handy Instagram tools like changing fonts, colors, symbols, highlighters, etc. 

I hope these six simple and easy Instagram story tips will help you take your Instagram to the next level. It does take time and commitment to grow an active community on Instagram, but an investment in time and learning to create the best Instagram stories possible is completely worth it.

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The post 6 tips to create awesome, fast, easy and good looking Instagram Stories appeared first on Travel to Blank.

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Budapest is the capital city of Hungary and one of the most beautiful cities we have had the pleasure of exploring across the world. Remember when planning your trip to Budapest to pay attention to the weather and any local holidays that can impact your vacation. This complete practical guide covers everything that you should know before visiting Budapest.

Where to stay in Budapest

We stayed at the Art’Otel in the Buda side of the city. It is perfectly located just few blocks from the Buda Complex and the Chain Bridge, and a short walk to metro and bus stop. The best part of the hotel is the view from the bedroom as you can overlook either the Fisherman Bastion or the Hungarian Parliament.

If you want to stay in the Pest side, we recommend the Eurostars Danube Budapest, in the heart of the Jewish Neighborhood. It is close to the most famous ruin bar, szimpla, the Jewish synagogues and Deak Ferenc Ter.

Hotel prices in Budapest are quite reasonable. The two hotels we recommend are super affordable considering they are 4-star hotels, with a great location and new rooms. The room rate varies from 60 to 80 euros a night depending on the season and when you book your reservation.

Important information for your visit to Budapest

Transportation: The best way to move around Budapest is by foot or public transportation. If you rather using a taxi, keep in mind that they do not have Uber anymore so you will have to download their local app, Taxify.

Currency: In Hungary you can pay pretty much everything with your credit card, although it is always good to carry cash just in case. Their local currency is the Hungarian Forint (HUF). 1 Euro equals 322 Hungarian forint and 1 USD equals 286 Hungarian Forint as of November 2018. The best way to look for the current exchange rate is on Google.

Attractions: The Budapest Card includes public transportation, entrance to a handful of museums and up to 50% discount on other famous attractions and restaurants.

How to get from the Airport to Pest side?

Depending on where you go in Pest, but if you go to the Jewish Neighborhood the easiest way is to take the bus 100E towards Deak Ferenc Ter.  The bus leaves every half an hour and it goes straight from the airport to Deak Ferenc Square. The cost for the bus is 900 HUF and it runs from 4AM to 12:30 AM.

How to get from the Airport to the Buda side?

It will be the same as to the Pest side but then from Deak Ferenc Square you have to take the metro M2 towards Deli Palayaudvar M.

The best means of transportation really depends on where in Budapest you want to go. The easiest way to find out is using Google Maps to search from the airport to your hotel and it will give you the information you need to get to the right place.

Where to leave your luggage?

It is quite common to have extra time when you arrive before check in or on the day you are leaving after check out to continue to explore Budapest. It is best if you do not have to drag your luggage around the city with you. If you are staying at a hotel, that would be your best option as it is cheaper, if not free and safe. If you are staying at an Airbnb or hostel then Luggage Storage Budapest can be an excellent option.

What you should see in Budapest?

Budapest has many attractions that are not to be missed during your visit. Its highlights include the Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion, historic Jewish Quarter, and the Hungarian Parliament. For a complete list of things to do in Budapest check out our complete walking guide to Budapest.

The post Practical Travel Information Guide for your trip to Budapest appeared first on Travel to Blank.

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Warsaw, Poland is a vibrant city with a tragic past that underwent a rebirth after being completely destroyed in WWII. It is a city that mixes history, beauty, and modern architecture. In this Travel Guide to Warsaw you will find all the information you need to start planning your trip to this fast growing city.

When is the best time to visit Warsaw?

The best time to visit Warsaw, as any other destination is during the shoulder seasons as the weather is still nice and accommodation prices are cheaper. In Warsaw those months are late April to June or from late August to September. Avoid visiting Warsaw during the Summer as it gets hot and there are more tourists, even though can enjoy more of the surrounding green areas. We have been to Warsaw in late May and late October and both times were magical. In the fall we were able to witness the foliage, which made the city even more colorful and beautiful. 

Warsaw Travel Video:

Experience Warsaw Vacation Travel Guide - YouTube

How to get to Warsaw

The best way to get to Warsaw depends from where you are coming from. We flew from Madrid, taken the train from Krakow and the bus from Berlin. If you are flying into the city, you most likely will arrive at the Frederic Chopin Airport. The airport is about 25 minutes away from the Old Town and you will have to take a private bus, public or an Uber to get to the city. When traveling with multiple people or large amount of luggage it is actually cheaper and easier to take an Uber. 

If you are taking the train into Warsaw, you will be arriving to central station. If you arrive by bus we recommend using FlixBus as they have a wide network of bus routes across Europe with comfortable seats and great service!

How to Get Around Warsaw

It is really easy to travel around Warsaw as they have really good public transport and it is a very walkable city. We use Google Maps to get directions as it also has the information of what bus or tram to take along with the cost.

Where to stay in Warsaw

It all depends on your preferences and your budget. Our first time in Warsaw we stayed at Hostel Helvetia. The second time we rented an apartment called “Little Home,” which is perfectly located but is on the third floor with no elevator. 

How expensive is Warsaw?

Warsaw is not as expensive as other major European cities like Berlin or Paris. We found it pretty affordable, not super cheap nor too expensive. A rough estimate we spent between $40-$60 per person per day including eating out 2-3 meals, transportation and attractions. Once again, it all depends on the activities you choose to do, where you would like to stay and eat. 

Should I have a travel Insurance?

Yes, the answer will always be yes, no matter where you go! We always make sure to travel with an insurance in case things get awry. We use WorldNomads.com as it has a simple and flexible search system that helps me get the right insurance for any type of trip. 

What to do in Warsaw?

My favorite activities include visiting the Wilanow Palace, the Palace on the Isle, the viewpoint at the Palace of Culture and Science, taking a bunch of photos at the Warsaw University Library Rooftop Garden, visiting the Royal Palace, stroll down the streets of the New Town and the Old Town. While in the Old Town make sure to go up to the St. Anne’s Church Observation Deck for a panoramic view of the square and the whole city.

For more info about what to do in Warsaw check our other guides: 18km Walking Guide to Warsaw, What to do and see in Warsaw, and A complete Photography Guide with the best Photo Spots in Warsaw, Poland.

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The post A practical and complete travel guide to Warsaw, Poland appeared first on Travel to Blank.

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