Getting the Best of Both Luxury and Nature

The concepts of luxury and getting back to nature typically don’t go hand-in-hand; but what if there was a way to have the best of both worlds? For those who seek the elusive “luxurious nature getaway,” a trip to Tofino with accommodation at any one of the town’s resorts is in order.

But wait – isn’t Tofino a place for surfing, beach bums, campers and hikers? It’s true that Tofino is the surf capital of Canada. Aside from surfing, the ruggedness of the area calls out to all types people looking for first-hand, west coast wilderness experiences. However, the breathtaking beauty of the area soon began to draw a different crowd, a crowd that preferred to not get muddy. Luckily, west coasters also know a thing or two about luxury and relaxation. The twisting road into town is lined with turn offs to some of the most stunning accommodation on Vancouver Island. Should you choose to follow a driveway to its end, you’re likely to come across amazing beachfront buildings. Classic west coast décor consists of towering cedar features, high ceilings, a fireplace or two and nautical finds such as glass floats, shells, sea stars and driftwood. Cool colours set a calming tone and warm lighting draws you inside.

Depending on how up-scale you choose for your getaway, your resort accommodation can span anything from coastal cabins on the beach, to stunning ocean view lodges in the woods or beautiful suites accompanied by five-star amenities and massive picture windows. No matter which style of resort you choose, they always have a few things in common; number one being that you’ll completely forget you’re visiting a major tourist destination. While resting your head just minutes from the bustling town, the resorts’ secluded atmospheres make you feel like the coast is yours alone. Hugged by the temperate rainforest, which collides with long stretches of sand beach, getting back to nature is as easy as stepping out onto your room’s balcony. If you’re lucky, you may even see some whale spouts over your morning coffee.

Finally, there’s a reason ocean wave soundtracks are commonly played at spas. Why not open a spa then, where you simply need to open the window to play that amazing soundtrack on loop? Again, tucked into that rejuvenating setting of towering Douglas firs and cedars next to stretches of wave pounded beach, are more than a few resorts that feature brilliant, coastal-themed spas. Do yoga to the natural cascade of crashing waves, soak in outdoor Jacuzzis looking out towards the ocean, or enjoy a massage in what feels like a secluded rainforest escape. Besides being surrounded by the natural beauty of Tofino, many spas use locally made and sourced products. You can’t get much more back to nature than having it directly applied to your skin.

Perhaps the only downfall of the Tofino area is that something like the perfect, luxurious back-to-nature getaway probably fits into many people’s dreams, but not so much their wallets. Luckily, there’s a solution for that too. A visit to Tofino in the rainy (albeit still absolutely beautiful) off-season can cut accommodation costs nearly in half. Being able to watch the winter waves and storms from the picture window of your room at a beautiful, coastal resort might even be better than in the summer.

Eight Expert Tips Of Traveling With Your Toddler

Let me begin this article by stating that what you’re about to read is not for faint hearted mothers. If you think that your bundle of joy is a source of “joy” and delight when you are about to step out the house then either you’re kidding yourself or you’re in denial.

In my three years of motherhood, I say with no shame or guilt that travelling with toddlers can be an absolute nightmare! A thirty-minute flight with your “little one” can turn your world upside down if you’re not prepared for it. I can sense some raised eyebrows and a lot of hate coming my way but let’s be honest; we’ve all been there! We have seen the once cooing and murmuring babies turn into ferocious monsters throwing fits of tantrums everywhere and anywhere before our eyes. Below is a checklist of how to keep your kids smiling and happy when you’re on the go!

1) Car Seat – We cannot emphasize more on investing in one when you’re on the go! Not only is this essential for the safety of your child but with proper shoulder straps and a soft padded seat, the child remains comfortable throughout the journey.

2) Tablets – I am a big fan of this option. My once iPad serves the duty of a travel buddy for my son when he his mother runs out of all ideas to keep him happy. Various child-friendly apps like Talking Tom, Angry Birds and Temple Run takes his attention while we’re travelling.

3) Presents – Before starting our journey, my husband and I have made it a habit of getting at least one new toy car or a useless set of keys. We give it to our son the minute he starts showing signs of boredom, and it cheers him up. This new object will keep him occupied during the entire journey, and you can keep your focus on the road.

4) Take Your Pets – If you’ve taken the wheel and cannot entertain your child along the way then let your pet swap places with you. If your child enjoys the company of your pet (kitten, puppy, parrot or a hamster) and your pet poses no hazard or danger for your child then let them it sit it with your little one.

5) Music – Kids enjoy music, at least mine dances and try to keep up to the beats of Beyonce. I am not for loud music or anything not meant for the ear drums of a three-year-old. You can play his favorite lullaby or Wheels on the Bus to keep him happy.

6) Bottle and Food – Keep your child’s bottle ready in your baby bag alongside his favorite treats like chocolate chip cookies and apple juice to keep him well fed and hydrated along the way.

7) Clean Diaper – A couple of diapers, wipes and a changing seat is a must have in your baby bag. A hand sanitizer and wet clothes are also essential after you are done with changing his diaper

8) First Aid Kit – This is an absolute must have in the car or in your baby bag which contains pain relievers and essential supplies to treat minor injuries.

The Best Texas Vacations Include These Five Things

Texas vacations are the stuff of legend, at least if you ask a resident of the great Lone Star State. After all, Texas, though thoroughly metropolitan in many areas & very much an international destination, still has wildly diverse landscapes, climates, elevations, and all of the things that lay claim to the notion of the ‘Wild West’ characteristics that evoke tall tales.

In other words, Texas has a lot to offer, but with so much to offer, there comes a need to really define what a vacation in Texas is all about. What are the absolutely “musts” that are a part of the quintessential Texas getaway?

In the same way that a buffet doesn’t count unless you go through the line three times, here are at least five things that any Texas vacation must have to be legit:

1. Driving – If there’s one thing that Texas is known for it’s that you can drive for hours in just about any direction and still be within its borders. The highways & byways of this great state are, in many respects, the definition of what a road-trip is all about. No matter if it’s I-35, I-10, I-45, I-30, or Hwy 6, if you’re heading out on vacation, you need to drive just to for the experience.

2. Road-side Gourmet Food – As you hit the road & partake of water & sodas, you’re going to need to take a pit-stop. While most people might find this a necessary evil and want to move on ASAP, you might want to take a minute to see what kind of eats are available. Whether it’s tacos or barbecue, you’re sure to find something amazing.

3. Small-Town Good Eats – On the subject of food and small towns, any Texas vacation wouldn’t be complete without discussing the almost “mythically-good” you got out of that one town with the great grub on Main Street, Texas somewhere. A perfect example would be the BBQ in Brenham, TX and throughout Washington County, Texas. It may be small-town ‘cue, but it’s world-class.

4. Fun in the Sun – No Texas vacation would be complete without hanging out by the pool, or even better, by the lake. Though there are some pretty popular places around the state, these can get very crowded. Try the more relaxed avenues of the Blue Bell Aquatic Center & Lake Somerville State Park and Trailway.

5. A Sense of Adventure – OK, this may seem a little hokey, but when it comes right down to it, taking a vacation in Texas is all about getting the most out of what the state has to offer. Sure, there’s a push by many cities to become couture & fashionable, but you can find that anywhere. You need to hit the road and explore what the state has out away from the ‘big city’. Be willing to try new things, and don’t be afraid of tangent trips as they may form some lasting memories for you and your family.

Escape The Winter in Your Life With a Shared Vacation in Paradise

It’s at times like this, when a nor’easter is plowing through the northern states, that I recall what it was like to hibernate during part of the winter in Connecticut, or at least, wish that I could.

Were it not for my battle with arthritis, and my parents’ health issues, we may have lingered there a year or two longer. However, we were feeling a sense of urgency the year that we moved, especially after several powerful snowfalls. So, we packed our bags and (like the birds) headed south for the winter, and never quite returned.

Now, fifteen years later, I’m still amazed that I survived as long as I did in New England. Don’t get me wrong. I still love the country scenes in the fall and the quaint coastal towns. It’s where I first fell in love with the sea, especially when visiting Martha’s Vineyard.

However, when it comes to finding healing, whether it’s for an achy hip, sore back, or the countless other conditions that often accompany aging, there’s no better place to do it slowly and gracefully than in sunny Florida.

It’s also a wonderful place to heal from life’s other formidable challenges, and specifically those which deal with the heart. This assessment comes, not from a cardiologist, but from a life coach who recognizes the benefits of enjoying a retreat in paradise.

There is one place, in particular, on the South West coast of Florida. Sarasota is a city which was long known as the ‘hidden jewel,’ but its many amenities have drawn increasing attention to it over the years. Internationally, it’s famous for the sugary white sands of Siesta Key, which was voted the country’s number one beach. The beauty doesn’t stop there, however, because its dazzling scenery gives it the aura of an Emerald City. With its wide range of water sports, festivals, cultural events and arts and entertainment, it’s now in a league of its own.

When it comes to healing, there’s no better way to nurture the inner soul than to be surrounded by breathtaking views and wonders of nature. Here, one can take a lovely cruise, and spot playful dolphins and graceful manatees in the bay. A fishing trip can offer a relaxing way to collect one’s thoughts, as well as a spectacular sunset viewed from the beach.

Sarasota, with all of its charming amenities, can thrill the soul and rejuvenate the spirit. The aroma of great food wafting through the air, offers culinary comforts that can echo back to visits to a Grandmother’s house. The vast selection of nearby restaurants is nearly mind-boggling.

These are but a few of the reasons why Sarasota is such a popular destination. Our visitors are offered the warmth and comfort of the city’s Five Star resorts, along with fun activities for those who’re ready for a little adventure. Arts and healing classes are available, as well as planned group activities and social events. For visitors who’d like to participate, they’re welcomed to Morning Prayer sessions, life coaching and meditation on the beach.

Our ‘shared vacations in paradise’ offer great opportunities to fellowship with newly made friends, especially other singles, in planned events which are being scheduled throughout the year.

Being very spiritual, I appreciate the enormous blessing that Sarasota offers, especially to someone who’s just faced a difficult season in their life. In an ideal world, one shouldn’t have to balance the pain of a recent divorce or significant loss, with the frigid winds of a brutal storm baring down on them. Of course, there’s no city that’s perfect, but there should be a place which offers a pleasant escape, at least, for a while. That place is Sarasota, Florida.

Getting The Best From Your Tanzania Safari Tours

Tanzania has a rich human history to it considering that this is where the earliest human fossils were found. Apart from the amazing fact of being the oldest areas to be inhabited in the world, it also boasts lots of wild animals and exotic birds making it a great destination for those who love safaris. This is also home to the highest mountain in Africa. Safari tours to this great country will allow you to enjoy the very best of what it has to offer, but just like any other holiday destination, there is a need to plan in advance to ensure that you have the most memorable moments during your stay.

1. Know and visit the top attractions

You can never run out of places to visit and things to do while in Tanzania. The top most areas you should consider making part of your safari list include Mount Kilimanjaro which is now an inactive volcanic mountain and so you can trek and climb and get to see volcanic cones. The Serengeti National Park, Ngongoro Conservation Area, Pemba Island and Ruaha National Park are some of the other interesting areas you should definitely make part of your tour. Other areas you will find worth visiting are Bongoyo Island, House of Wonders and Lake Victoria and Lake Manyara National Park.

2. Get a tour guide and find the right tour package

Tour companies located in the country put together safari packages to suit the different preferences of the visitors and tourists. Choose the best company and go through the safari packages to ensure that you get one that has just what you wish to enjoy. In case you cannot find anything suiting your preferences, you can always find out how possible it is for the service providers to put together a personalized tour just for you. If you are new in the country, then a tour guide will definitely come in handy. The guide will not only help you explore and relate to the attractions but can also get you familiar with the local Swahili language where need be.

3. Choose the right travelling season

Tanzania has dry and wet seasons throughout the year and the conditions can determine just how much you get to see and enjoy. When choosing your private safari tours, ensure that you time them to a season that will get you the most from the visit. Dry seasons seem to be some of the best to take a safari but you can compare both seasons and choose according to what you feel is most ideal for your kind of visit.

4. Pack right

Considering safari tours are generally outdoors, you should prepare by ensuring that you pack right for your tour. Pack clothing according to the weather conditions, but also according to the rules, especially when visiting animal parks. If you are not sure what is ideal you can always get insight from your travel agent. A camera and binoculars are some of the other things you may want to bring handy.