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Why not take the initiative and find your own ways to cheap travel by making your own discount? As you know, hotel and rental car owners dont just offer you discounts at random. Usually, they offer discounts during off-peak seasons. As a savvy traveller, do you know that you can take the initiative and create your own travel discounts easily? Below are some quick and easy methods for doing so:- If youre planning to stay for more than a week, call the hotel that youd wa...

How To Create Your Own Travel Discounts!

How To Create Your Own Travel Discounts!Why not take the initiative and find your own ways to cheap travel by making your own discount? As you know, hotel and rental car owners dont just offer you discounts at random. Usually, they offer discounts during off-peak seasons. As a savvy traveller, do you know that you can take the initiative and create your own travel discounts easily? Below are some quick and easy methods for doing so:- If youre planning to stay for more than a week, call the hotel that youd want to stay in and ask for week long stay discounts, these can range for percentages off your room price or even a free day.- Check detour flights other than the straight one youre bound to get when you inquire. You can get cheaper overall prices if you choose to book two flights instead of one. Some people have been able to save as much as $2000 by doing this.- Find web-only discounts or coupons which some hotels and airline owners provide especially for those willing to reserve online. You can save as much as 50% on your travel costs by going this way.- It is always better to buy food at the grocery and cook it yourself rather than eating everyday at a restaurant. You wont want to spend all of your pocket money on food. Restaurants tend to have cheap and sometimes unhealthy food, ensure your own health as well as your pockets health by cooking your own, that is, after all, the reason why theres a stove in your hotel room.- Travel to places which boast of natural beauty but have lower costs of living, prices here tend to be lower. Take the Philippines or Malaysia for example, both have great views and tourist spots but come without the hassle of overpricing, English speaking natives are also a plus for these countries.- Package deals usually save a lot, airfare and lodgings combined into one are usually cheaper compared to paying for them separately. Some travel agencies even provide trio packages which include airfare, hotel and car rental, you can save a lot if you have the industriousness to canvass.Now you have no reason not to plan your next trip this holiday... and you can now do it cheaper for a change!

Do I Need to Speak Thai in Thailand?

Do I Need to Speak Thai in Thailand?

Speaking Thai will get you lots of smiles and better deals while on your holiday in the Land of Smiles. But, you can get by knowing just a few words.The traditional greeting in Thailand is Sawasdee (pronounced Sa-wat-dee) and a polite article is added to the end. For women, ka is added. For men, kharp is added. This is not required but is used 99% of the time. So the typical greeting would be Sawasdee khrap (or ka) to say Hello.This is usually accompanied by the other traditional Thai greeting the wai. This is done with palms together, fingers pointing upward. There are different levels of wai from lower class to higher, from worker to boss, from average person to royalty. There are also times when someone wai's to you and you are not required to return the wai. For example, if a small child wai's you, you are not required to return it just acknowledge it with a smile.Typically after saying hello, or sawasdee, you will be asked one of two things. Sabai dee mai, or geen kow mai. It is normal to be asked if you are fine or if you have eaten. You may also be asked where you have been or where you are going bpai nai mah or bpai nai.The Thai language is not that difficult to learn and there are many resources online. There are also paid programs like Pimseleur or Berlitz. Many sites also have downloadable mini-dictionaries in English, Thai and phonetics. This way you can try to speak the word or phrase and as a last resort, just point. You can also download files so that you can hear how words are pronounced.I have had both bad and good experiences speaking Thai. Some people like the fact that I can speak enough to get by and can understand more. Some tell me that "I know too much" and I take this as a compliment since that means that they cant rip me off.Knowing the language isnt essential but sure helps when giving a taxi directions, ordering a meal, or asking where the bathroom is. My problem is that I lose a lot of the language skills between vacations. Not being able to speak the language at home causes me to lose a lot of my vocabulary. I try to keep current online chatting with people from Thailand, but chatting using phonetics is not the same as actually speaking Thai.The best thing to do is try to pick up a few words with some of the free sites online. Print out a dictionary or phrase book and bring it with you. Try and speak and ask for help. Everyone will help if they see you are willing to learn.Give it a try speak some Thai and have some fun with it. If you make a mistake, learn from it. You will find that you make a lot more friends speaking the local language.Chok Dee Khrap (Good luck)

Pattaya Balloon Chasers

Pattaya Balloon Chasers

Almost every night of the year, you will be able to find a party at one of the thousands of Pattaya bars. Some nights, you will be able to find many more.The tell-tale signs that a party is going to be happening is you will see the girls blowing up balloons. They will decorate the outside of the bar with strings and strings of balloons.It may be for one of the girl's birthdays or it may be the anniversary of the opening of the bar. There are also times that tourists plan parties for their birthday or to celebrate a major event, like their divorce.Whatever the occasion, there will usually be some food to go along with the balloons. Typically, it is roast pig on a spit with plenty of side dishes. The food will be free, but you are expected to buy a drink or two.On major occasions, like Christmas or New Years, just about every bar in town will have a celebration. Many pigs will sacrifice their lives to satisfy your appetite.There are many expatriates, and some tourists, that get accused of being balloon chasers. These guys look for the parties in hopes of a cheap or free meal. They can be seen nursing a coke and stuffing their faces with all the food in the buffet line.Balloon chasers are known to frequent the Pattaya forums to see the party listings. They will mark their calendars and hit all the parties they can. Believe me, there can be 3 or 4 major parties going on at the same time in different parts of Pattaya on any given night.There is nothing wrong with chasing balloons as long you arent a cheap Charlie. Buy the host or hostess a drink and get one for yourself. Eat your fill, but dont be a pig about it. Also, check and make sure that it is not a private party you are crashing. Most are not.I have seen some guys that just buy a coke for about one dollar, and then heap the food on their plates and wolf it down. Once they have had their fill, they are gone. They dont even say hello or buy the host a drink.Throwing one of these parties can cost $200 - $400 for the birthday boy or girl, so show a little class, and at least buy the host a drink.You may also see at a party for one of the female employees, that the girl will be wearing a flower necklace. It is tradition to give the girl a gift by stapling some Baht to the necklace. Even if I dont know the girl, I will give her 100 Baht. After all, we are all there to have some fun and it is a party.Partying in Pattaya can be a blast and there are many, many parties going on every night. Hit as many as possible but show a bit of class and chip in by buying a drink or two. Be a Pattaya Balloon Chaser, have fun, but dont be cheap about it.

How to save money when visiting Orlando, Florida

How to save money when visiting Orlando, Florida

Many people still see a trip to Walt Disney World and sunny Florida as a once-in-a-life-time trip. They look at the cost of flights, accommodation, car-hire, park tickets and spending money and think that it really will cost the earth.Today, this is not the case.If you invest a little time into researching and planning your holiday not only will you get more out of your time, but also more importantly, you will save lots of money.So where do you start. Firstly, forget the notion that to visit Florida and Orlando, you need to book a package holiday. Although this is unarguably a quick solution, you are paying either a travel agent or a tour company for the convenience. Start thinking independent travel, break the holiday up into its component parts, and you will begin to see ways you can save.Flights. Shop around for your flights, if you can book well ahead you can often secure the lowest prices, as airlines often increase their prices as the seats begin to fill. This will also mean that you, with many airlines, can choose your seats, allowing you and your party to sit together, (or apart if you choose). If you are looking for a last minute deal, dont despair. There are still bargains to be had. Some companies buy seats in advance to sell on as last minute deals at prices which are reduced below the carriers own prices. Accommodation. Holidays have come a long way recently. You no longer have to spend your well-earned rest crammed together with your friends or family in a double hotel room. Or pay a premium just to get connecting rooms. Now you can easily rent an entire vacation home in which to really relax and enjoy your holiday. Take a look at a Condo or a Townhouse. These offer you a full home from home with plenty of space to spread out and enjoy yourself. Most Condo and Townhouse rentals are located in wonderful communities which provide all the facilities you would expect from a luxury resort including swimming pools, hot-tubs, gyms, tennis courts and much more. Because a Condo or Townhouse can offer you two, three or four bedrooms you will very quickly find yourself saving lots of money when travelling with a party. Car-Hire. When you organise a package holiday many companies will include a car. The only problem is they do not include insurances. These are the most expensive part of the car-hire deal. Shop around and you will find you can get a far better deal by yourself, and often you can get a bigger and better car for less money. A few companies even offer all-inclusive car-hire deals, which really do include all your insurances in one low price. This will save you a lot.These are the three biggest expenses you have when considering a visit to sunny Florida. But when you shop around and look at the options available to you, you will see that you really can save a lot of money, and have a great holiday. A little work at this end will help you get the most out of your time and pocket when visiting Orlando.

Passport Safety Tips

Protect Your PassportYour passport is the most valuable document that you will carry abroad. It confirms your U.S. citizenship. Please guard it carefully. Do not use it as collateral for a loan or lend it to anyone. It is your best form of identification. You will need it when you pick up mail or check into hotels, embassies or consulates.When entering some countries or registering at hotels, you may be asked to fill out a police card listing your name, passport number, destination, local address, and reason for travel. You may be required to leave your passport at the hotel reception desk overnight so that it may be checked by local police officials. These are normal procedures required by local laws. If your passport is not returned the following morning, immediately report the impoundment to local police authorities and to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Passport FraudLaw enforcement records show that U.S. passports are sometimes used for illegal entry into the United States, or by criminals abroad seeking to establish another identity. This can cause embarrassment to innocent U.S. citizens whose names become associated with illegal activities. To protect the integrity of the U.S. passport and the security of the person bearing it, consular officers overseas have found it necessary to take precautions in processing lost passport cases. These precautions may involve some delay before a new passport is issued.Safeguard Your PassportCarelessness is the main cause for losing a passport or having it stolen. You may find that you have to carry your passport with you because you need to show it when you cash traveler's checks or the country that you are visiting requires you to carry it as an identity document. When you must carry your passport, hide it securely on your person. Do not leave it in a handbag or in an exposed pocket. Whenever possible, leave your passport in the hotel safe, not in an empty hotel room, and not packed in your luggage. One family member should not carry all the passports for the entire family.Guard Against ThievesCoat pockets, handbags, and hip pockets are particularly susceptible to theft. Thieves will use all kinds of ploys to divert your attention just long enough to pick your pocket and grab your purse or wallet. These ploys include creating a disturbance, spilling something on your clothing, or even handing you a baby to hold! You can try to prevent theft by carrying your belongings in a secure manner. For example, consider not carrying a purse or wallet when going along crowded streets. Women who carry a shoulder bag should keep it tucked under the arm and held securely by the strap. Men should put their wallets in their front trouser pockets or use money belts instead of hip pockets. A wallet wrapped in rubber bands is more difficult to remove without notice. Be especially cautious in a large crowd - in the subway, on buses, at the marketplace, at a festival, or if surrounded by groups of vagrant children. Do not make it easy for thieves!I always make a color copy of my passport and visa and carry that with me and secure my passport in the hotel safe. Some countries require you to always carry your passport on your person. But, most will not have a problem if you carry a color copy.

The World Could Use a Hand

Why Volunteer Overseas?Travel to new destinations, live in exotic locations and feel a tremendous sense of achievement attained only by making a difference with vital humanitarian and preservation projects. Volunteer travel is the ideal way to make a difference while still having the adventure of a lifetime. Here are a few of the reasons why volunteering is an excellent way to travel:Learn about another culture, language and way of life, while making a positive contributionPackage holidays on the Costa del Sol keep a lot of people very happy, but many of us need more. For those who loathe the idea of lying on a beach for weeks on end, volunteering is the way forward. Volunteering offers you the opportunity to experience life most people only dream about or see on BBC travel programs. Volunteering programs frequently take place in exotic locations and you feel a tremendous sense of achievement as you make a difference. Enjoy an adventure with like minded peoplepeople who want to return home from their holiday with the satisfaction that they have made a lasting impact that changes lives and helps preserve the planet. Everyone has different goals. But if your goal is a bit greater than avoiding tan lines, then volunteering might be your calling.Grow, and remember who you areIt is not hard to get sucked into the rigors of daily life how many pairs of shoes can we afford or where can we get the latest accessories for our iPod music player. Volunteering is a wonderful way to peel off the layers and to remember who we are, and what we are capable of, away from consumerism and the trials of our own societies. Volunteering can be very challenging. Leave your mobile phone behind and delve into the work and goals at hand. You will find that you can do things you never dreamt yourself capable of. Oftentimes the work you complete with your hands is not the most lasting effect. Getting to know the local communities has an impact that might be less visible, but it is certainly very strong. By making new friendships you will remember as well as teach and remind others that we are all people with hearts and minds, dreams and aspirations, who want to feel safe and happy. Volunteering breaks down barriers and makes the world smaller. It is a marvelous way to put the world, as well as our personal lives, in perspective.Get international experience in a field of interestAre you studying social work or African wildlife? Chances are there is a volunteering opportunity out there that will add a whole new dimension to whatever your field of study may be. A degree is one thing, but having hands on experience in the field cannot be replicated in a classroom.Power pack that CVVolunteerism is a wonderful way to make your CV a bit juicier. Employers value CVs from people who have vision and drive, and volunteering during your vacation is a lot more impressive than a ski holiday at Meribel. Volunteering overseas shows your potential employer that you are committed, flexible and patient.All this on a budgetVolunteering remains one of the least expensive ways to travel overseas and gain international experience. Although volunteering programs are generally less expensive than standard tourism, programs are not free and oftentimes not cheap. Volunteers usually cover their own flights, insurance, room and board, as well as other costs and a donation to the project itself. Volunteering placement organisations also charge a fee to cover their costs. Unless you are a medical professional or you are planning on committing more than a year to a volunteering program, chances are you will have to pay to volunteer. Volunteer placement programs work hard to provide an enriching, cultural experience for the volunteers while simultaneously making concentrated efforts in accomplishing volunteering goals. There are hundreds of different volunteering organisations, so it is necessary to do the appropriate research and use caution when choosing your program. We realize that there is a lot to choose from! But this really is a good thing, because it provides you with more choice, and it provides more opportunities for potential volunteers. Volunteering organisations are responsible for helping to recruit and build an army of volunteers, and this is absolutely necessary in order to make a sustainable impact on the planet and its lives.SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE SENDING IN YOUR CHECKSay goodbye to hot showersVolunteering is very different than going on a holiday where you expect the meals to be gourmet and the beds to have fresh linens daily. Volunteering requires patience and energy, flexibility yet drive. Oftentimes conditions are basic, food is tasteless, plumbing and electricity is unheard of, and youll be sleeping in a sleeping bag. The focus of volunteering programs is not about the creature comforts, rather the activities that forgoing modern amenities can afford. Many programs take place in developing countries or exotic places where life is simpler, and you will surprise yourself at how little you need to truly be happy. So before sending in your check, take a nice hot bubble bath, order a pizza and sit down for some prime time television because these are just a few of the things you will go without on your program.Volunteering is different than changingMany of the communities where volunteering programs take place are steeped in centuries of culture and tradition. Respecting the local culture is a vital part of volunteering, so any feelings of western superiority should be left at the airport.Why are you volunteering?Volunteering overseas is a true test of your tenacity and ability to adjust. You will undoubtedly find it very difficult at times. Chances are you will be volunteering and working with a group of people from many different cultural backgrounds and of many different ages. Some programs take place in very isolated areas where you will most likely be working very hard for results that are not immediately evident. This can be hard work. It is important that volunteers realize and respect this before committing to a program. Volunteering is an endeavor to embrace life and help others, yet there are cases of people choosing to volunteer to escape bad marriages, depression, or other general unhappiness at home. Its important that you are happy at home before you embark on a volunteering program or else you will most likely not find the experience an enjoyable one.Brace yourself!Volunteering can provide you with the experience of a lifetime. There are so many opportunities to learn about new ways of life, cultures, languages, skills and more. Go into your program with an open mind and remember to remain flexible. There are always unforeseen bumps in the road, especially in developing countries. Nothing ever goes as planned, such as missed flights, lost baggage, protests blocking road routes, stomach bugs, corrupt government officials and various other problems that will most likely arise. This is all part of the experience so just brace yourself, hold on, and enjoy the ride!

Summary

Why not take the initiative and find your own ways to cheap travel by making your own discount? As you know, hotel and rental car owners dont just offer you discounts at random. Usually, they offer discounts during off-peak seasons. As a savvy traveller, do you know that you can take the initiative and create your own travel discounts easily? Below are some quick and easy methods for doing so:- If youre planning to stay for more than a week, call the hotel that youd wa...