I Almost Forgot to Pick Up Some Gifts for My Family on My Trip to Canada

I had to go to Canada to work out some issues our main corporate office was having with data sharing with our offices in Canada. We had offices in two buildings in the same block. Their IT specialists were trying to track down a problem with the small server farm, and they asked me to come up and help. I had never been out of the country, and I had to get papers to get out and back in. I promised my wife and two children I would get them something, and I shopped at the Calgary duty free stores on the day I was leaving to come back home.

I felt so embarrassed for forgetting to take some time to find a unique gift from Canada for each of them before getting to the airport. It completely slipped my mind. Continue reading →

I Almost Forgot to Pick Up Some Gifts for My Family on My Trip to Canada

I was so happy when my daughter told me that she had finally been asked by her boyfriend to become his wife. I knew he was going to ask her, but it took him a few years before he did. He wanted to finish college and get established before proposing, which is one of the reasons why they decided to pay for their own wedding. My husband and I still wanted to do something special for them, so I decided to look into the cost of a Toronto party bus.

I knew that they were going to have a huge wedding party, and I thought it would be a fun way to provide transportation for all of them. Continue reading →

My Sister Needed Cheering Up

When my sister got divorced, I was really worried about her. All of us could tell she was better off without her husband, but she thought that she was still in love with him. She fell into a depression that I was bound and determined to make sure she crawled out of. When I saw her making her first jokes, I knew that she was finally seeing the daylight. I wanted to do something really special for her so I looked into Toronto party bus rentals. I figured that if a group of her friends could show her a fun night on the town, she would be on her way to finding herself again.

I wanted to get a party bus because I knew that it would be a night where no one would want to take responsibility for driving. We were planning on having as many drinks as it took to make her realize she no longer needed him. I really didn’t want to go clubbing or even go to one of our houses, because it had to be neutral territory. Continue reading →

A Boost in Motivation with a Promise

The local kids hockey team had been on a losing streak for a while, and they were feeling pretty down about it. I thought that a little motivation would help them win, so I promised the kids that if they won the next game, they would get a pizza party and a ride on the Toronto party bus limo. As soon as they heard this, the kids went to the rink to practice their shots. It was like one of those inspirational sports movies where the kids go through a training montage and get ready for the big game against the opposing team.

The kids worked so hard that they didn’t want to leave. Continue reading →

Thailand Martial Arts and Outdoor Adventure Travel – Long-Term Travel in Thailand on a Budget

1. Amazing Adventures in Thailand

A few years ago, I decided to migrate the majority of my efforts, lifestyle and long-term ninja training programs to Thailand. This decision was based on number of pros as compared to our original California program. First, I like change and I like to stretch what we can offer to students. I have run programs in Europe, the United States and now Asia equally.

Does it mean that California or the United States does not have a lot to offer? No, it just means there are other options and I have a lot of pros to talk about for the Adventurer that can financially manage a long term trip to the U.S. or Europe.

Thailand has a lot to offer serious students and adventurers. Especially those participating in our long-term Martial Arts Training camps.

There is a popular commercial in Thailand called – Amazing Thailand. It highlights the plethora of adventure and fun that is available in one small location.

In Bangkok for example, you can spend time shopping in a 7 story mall (even purchase Ferrari in one of the stores), visit historical temples (feel like a king in the Grand Palace or say hello to the emerald Buddha), or perhaps enjoy an endless variety of nightlife (have a drink on top of the world overlooking the city). Bangkok is an internationally known pit-stop and great for students to spend some time adjusting to the Asia before heading out to see what else Thailand has to offer.

For me, the major draw to Thailand was the tropical outdoor options that are available. I have taken students to the mountains of Pai near Chiang Mai to the warm blue waters of the Andaman sea. We have trained on beautiful islands like Koh Samui and climbed some of the best rock climbing available in the world in Krabi province. When you are not training in the martial arts, there is plenty of adventure in Thailand.

Enjoy a fresh and extremely healthy coconut on the beach, or go snorkeling and diving for a price that you can feel great about. Feel like checking out the bridge over the river Kwai or exploring the Erawan Waterfall in Kanchanaburi? No problem. How about taking a trip to Hua Hin where the King lives and enjoy the long ocean strip. You name it, adventure is abundant and access to that adventure is made extremely accessible.

It might sound silly, but many of my students found that renting a moped and cruising around the islands to be one of the best experiences. Simple adventures like taking a long tail boat from one island to another can be quite thrilling. Adventure is often equated to new experiences and Thailand has plenty to offer.

I believe Thailand offers the best of Southeast Asia, but one of the added benefits to being in Thailand is that with a hop, skip and a jump you can be in experience new adventures in Vietnam, Malaysia, Laos, or Cambodia. You can stretch that just a bit to visit China, Singapore, Hong Kong or further to places like Taiwan and Japan. When you are in Thailand, other locations in Asia feel closer and you are more likely to explore.

What Thailand has to offer is of course amazing. However, the real benefits of Thailand hit when we get practical and this is determined by how much of a hole any trip will have on our pocket book.

2. A big reason students love Thailand is financial

As with any functional service – money is an important tool. Students that attend my programs, often do so for long periods. Many students prefer 1-12 months of training as opposed to weekend seminars or weekly courses that often cost far more.

Another benefit of a long-term program in Thailand is the students lower personal costs as compared to what they would pay in the States. There are too many discounts to list here, but here are a few to consider.

3. Cheaper Food in Thailand

You can pick up a decent healthy meal for about $2.00 in Thailand, and that is in a restaurant. On the street, you can get a filling bowl of noodles for 50 cents. In California, you are lucky to get a meal for $5.00 (though Subway helps with their $5.00 foot long sandwiches) and 50 cents might buy you a candy bar. I also tip a minimum of $5.00 in restaurants in the States. A tip like that in Thailand would be outrageous, even 20 Thai Baht is high and that is less than a $1.00

4. Entertainment can be costly, but not in Thailand

In Thailand, you can see a movie for about $5.00. In California, a movie ticket can cost you closer to $10.00. In addition, the quality of movie theaters in Thailand is often superior to what you find elsewhere. For example, you can choose to sit in a reclining mini couch, and choose your seats in advance (even pay less depending on where you want to sit). In the States, if you cannot choose your seat in advance you are forced to arrive early to get a good seat and also be forced to sit through previews and commercials.

This savings extends to almost every sector of entertainment, whether you want to rent a motorcycle, go to a nightclub or ride an elephant, the costs in comparison are outstanding.

5. Shopping in Thailand

Although students and adventures may not have shopping on their mind, it can still be a factor for those that like to buy and why not save some money in the process. Thailand is famous for getting a great deal on your purchase and has shopping streets all over the country. You can pick up designer jeans for $20 as opposed to $200 or invest in a work of art. I managed to buy gifts for Christmas for everyone in the family in Thailand and spend the same amount (including flight, hotel and gifts) as I would have spent just on the gifts themselves (judging from my normal spending habits) in California. I also am able to buy items that are unique and not just another gadget to clutter their closets. Many people have made their short term stay in Thailand into a business and fund their new lifestyle by purchasing items in Thailand to sell in the States.

6. Travel in Thailand

You can travel from the mountains of Pai (north of Chiang Mai) all the way south to the islands of Koh Phi Phi (where they filmed the movie the Beach) for about $60. This would cost you in the hundreds in the States. When I lived in Pai, I would fly to the city for only $30. The bus ride down the mountain is about $5 and takes 2 hours. This travel savings extends to almost every type of travel in Thailand. You can take a taxi anywhere you want for about $10 an hour or hop in a tuk tuk for $5.00 and take a scenic route. Students have rented mopeds for an entire month in Pai for only $50 or $150 in more expensive locations like Samui Thailand. If you want to jump on a short flight to Cambodia to see the Angkor Wat (a wonder of the world) or take a train to Malaysia – no problem, and it won’t hurt your pocket book. I often fly to Singapore from Bangkok and it costs me less than it would to fly from city to city in California.

7. Housing and accommodation in Thailand

A great thing about Thailand is that you have a choice of stay that will meet every budget. In California, a typical hotel is $100 per night and for a month at a basic hotel you will pay about $3,000 or more. This is usually without Internet, without food and without additional benefits. In Bangkok for example, you can get a one-month stay in a great hotel that will include internet, give you a great breakfast buffet (usually for two), swimming pools, fitness gym, lounge use and daily maid service all for $1,000. Not to mention these locations can be found with a small kitchen area – much like Extended Stay of America only at half the cost. Now $1,000 a month may not be cheap to many, but this is for an upscale location. You can also stay in a small house for as low as $200 a month in many locations. I have stayed in a $2,000 a month location on a tropical island and I have stayed at a $300 a month location on the same island. Both locations were great and no, you do not have to live in the alley to get a great price.

All of this is very important to a long-term student of the martial arts. They often only have so much money to spare and they need it to last them a long time. Students that come to California programs often run out of money in a few weeks (going out to town to eat, seeing movies, buying ridiculously pricey popcorn and hanging out with friends). Whereas in Thailand, they can stretch that same money into months and actually get more entertainment – not to mention enjoy the splendors of a tropical island or globally famous city.

8. Medical care

One time flying to Thailand for another adventure I couldn’t help overhearing the couple in front of me. They were not together but seated next to each other. One person asked the other why they were going to Thailand. His response at first startled me. He said he was going to Thailand to see a dentist as it was just too costly in the States by comparison.

I have not seen a dentist in Thailand however I do remember a student that had a cavity removed for only about 500 baht in a great location off of a main Soi in Bangkok. I also remember visiting the hospital in Chiang Mai and after visiting three doctors for three separate issues (thought I would try to get as much covered as possible at the same time) it only cost me about 1000 Thai baht (about $35 U.S. Dollars). Naturally, this person must be getting some major dental work done to spend $1,000 or close to it to fly to Thailand to see a dentist.

However, Thailand is famous for those looking for high quality medical care for a low price. I often catch myself saying, “I will wait till I am back in Thailand to get that checked out.” Many people have a poor view of Thailand when it comes to health care. Yes, you don’t have to get a prescription when you want some medicine to fight off a major virus and you don’t have to get 5 screenings before you can see an expert. All of the facilities I have been to in Chiang Mai, Bangkok, and even the island of Koh Samui have been top notch locations with modern equipment and English speaking doctors. I would wager that I received more attention and better care than I have in the States.

As a martial artists and adventurer – it is important to know that when I am traveling that there are up-to-date medical solutions in the event of an accident.

9. Culture of new locations

I once heard that there was more culture in Yoghurt than there was in the California. This might be why websites like EscapeAmerica.com are springing up supporting life outside our borders. Some people are looking for more than freedom of speech. Now I love California and I am proud to be an American, so I will not have much to say about negative concerns. However, having run adventure programs for the better part of 20 years and teaching students for the same amount of time, I know where they can get more for their money.

An exciting part of travel and adventure is meeting new people and learning new languages. Going to places like Thailand will offer a NEW approach and with that comes a benefit that is hard to measure. If you live in the United States already, traveling to another location in the U.S. will not offer much variety. It is hard to grow if you are not challenged to adapt to new locations, meet new people and learn new languages.

10. Friends in Asia

Naturally, you can meet friends almost anywhere you go, but there is something unique about traveling in a country with others of like mind. When you are abroad, you will meet others that have taken the time and have the time to spend – people from all over the world. In California, you are likely to meet more people just like you. This can be boring. My first trip to Thailand I made good friends with people from places like Holland, England, Norway, Australia and of course Thailand itself.

11. Time to play in Thailand

One of the reasons I created my long-term program was to offer a lifestyle that is against the grain of modern society. If, for example, you come to a typical city in the United States, you will meet people that are more than likely following a very specific path. They are working, going to school or busy with their family or business.

Long term students can however get together easily to take a road trip almost any time to either explore a new location, go rock climbing or take a road trip. The same ability to meet new people and adventure with them spontaneously is available in Thailand. This is because Thailand and places like Bangkok is an adventure hub of the world.

In a typical city in the U.S. you are more likely to be challenged with schedules and a tight work week. In Thailand and for students and adventurers alike, the weekend is whenever they want it to be.

12. Moving to Thailand

I ran my long-term martial arts program in California for more than 5 years. I have not had one student of hundreds, move to California (other than to train at our camp) for a new lifestyle. However, with only a few years in Thailand, I have had already three students that are trying or have tried to move and set up life in Thailand (outside of our program). Is it because their American dollar will go a lot further? Is it because they have additional freedoms they are excited about in a new country? Is it because they can escape the almost forced social strategy that is pushed in the U.S.? Any of these might be true, and they are a few reasons that so many foreigners attempt to set up life in Thailand. Even if it is just for a change of pace and a break from the typical norm. Many might head home in a year or two refreshed and ready to settle down in their home country.

My last visit I met a man that was to only be in Bangkok for a few weeks decide to move and live there. He was only there to organize shipments of gems to the U.S. and realized he could spread his wealth and live like a king as opposed to just getting by in the States.

One of my students made the comment the first week I introduced him to Thailand that he had seen enough to know he never wants to come back – that same person is now living in Thailand and has been for more than a year now. It only took another week to convince him that his typical Untied States views of Thailand were way off base.

Do students want to live in Thailand? Some might, but the point is that for a long-term program to be successful, you need to be able to survive in a location long term. As a child, living on a tropical island was a dream and a goal. Living on an island in Thailand is not as challenging as some might think.

Our program also serves as a stepping-stone for introducing students to a new life. I too am able to fully appreciate the good with the bad. As I am from California, I am spoiled with majestic mountains and National Parks like Yosemite. However, I have found that I appreciate the wealth the United States has to offer by living abroad.

13. Freedom to be YOU

As a U.S. citizen you truly have a lot of freedom, but you will only begin to respect your real freedoms when you travel to a country where you have even more opportunities to do what you want and how you want to live. In Thailand, for example, if you want to live in one location for a week or months, it is very easy to do so without the hassle of paperwork, credit checks and other headaches that limit you from actually feeling free. Naturally, every country has limitations and Thailand has many. However, for the long-term martial artist or adventurer – Thailand has plenty of options to make you smile.

Consider being able to pick up a moped in a matter of minutes, or rent a 1 month serviced apartment without anything other than your passport (and the ability to pay of course). In the States, most houses or apartments that you rent (other than outrageously expensive hotels) charge you first month’s rent, last month’s rent and a security deposit. Many only charge a security deposit, but this is usually the same as the rent.

In Thailand, there is a lot of flexibility with how you decide to use your rental space too. Usually you are not charged more if you have more people in your room. This is great for students that are looking to adventure with friends and get the best deal. If book a hotel in the States (including Extended Stay Hotels) and add another adult, you will most likely be charged more for the same room and service. If anything, they should be giving you an additional benefit, such as breakfast.

My point is to point out the positive benefits for long-term students to choose Thailand as their destination for growth. I expect everyone to return home with tales of adventure and eventually settle down where they are happy and can make a successful life for themselves. However, the truth is that jobs will always be there and family and friends will be waiting for you to return. Therefore, while you are focused on training and personal growth, you might as well get the best adventure and experience that your money can buy.

14. Self-Power

I remember something that I either read or heard from a public speaker more than 20 years ago. The quote or text was something like this:

If you want to be a success – leave home.

Thinking about my experiences over the last 20 years, I would have to agree that my time away from home has taught me some very important lessons. Thailand has a lot to teach any open minded individual, but the big lesson is already available as the student must leave their country and embark on a journey. This step alone is a big step for any adult and one that I believe will help to teach them more about who they are as a human being.

One of the major differences between our martial art system and others label based martial art styles is the fact that we really push self-powered training and personal growth. It is about creating a lifestyle that you love.

I remember traveling for the first time on the boat to Koh Phi Phi island from Phuket thinking how great it would be to share this experience with students. It reminded me of the feeling Bruce Lee’s character might have felt on his island trip where he was headed to deal some kung-fu fighting in the film Enter the Dragon.

What about you? Have you ever been to Thailand? Have you ever dreamed of going to Thailand? Do you know anyone who had been to Thailand? Share your experience or thought with us!

Join NinjaGym Live-In Martial Arts and Adventure Camp in Thailand and bring balance to your Mind (with the mental martial art of Winjitsu), Body (by teaching the Martial Arts and Ninjutsu) and Spirit (outdoor adventure – travel and climbing). Whether you want to learn how to become a Ninja, get in shape fast with our NinjaGym fitness boot camp, or be part of the an island adventure, we can help.

Adventure Travel – Washington

Adventure Washington

Adventure travel into Washington state and you will be surprised at what you will find. Travel along on roads where the forest is so thick you can’t see the mountain losing your sense of direction and discovering the secrets the forest has hidden within. Enjoy the crystal clear waters and friendly locals and some of the most scenic landscape of any US tour.

Traveling along the southern border of Washington along the border of Oregon you will find the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Byway for eighty miles you can discover scenic views, cascading waterfalls and a replica of Stonehedge. Horsethief State Park is where you will find Stonehedge and ancient Indian writings on the rock. You will see the paragliders above you feel the power of the river around you and be filled with adventure within.

Interior Washington adventures are not hard to find when you travel the one hundred twenty mile White Pass Scenic Byway by car. Here you will find virgin forests, meadows full of wildflowers, salmon fishing and enjoy views of wildlife while passing through two National Forests.

Hiking in Mount Ranier National Park if the weather permits is a heart stopping experience. The largest glacier in the lower forty eight states sits on the top of the mountain along the rocky top. You should take a hike here and travel as far as you feel your endurance will hold out. The weather on the mountain can be dangerous so keep your safety in mind. You can hike for a while and head back to the bar with beautiful views of the mountain and just kick back and just enjoy nature.

While visiting the Cascade Range you will want to stop and view the devastation and the quick recovery of the mountain by visiting Mount St Helen’s while your in the area. You will realize the power of nature both to devastate and heal it will put your ability to control nature into perspective. Vacationing in Washington would not be complete without a visit to the Pacific Ocean. Here you will find the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean you can travel along the coast by car and see wild orchids, lupine, ferns and many other beautiful plants.

The blue waters of the Ocean are home to gray whales and other sea mammals seeing these enormous creatures in nature is not a sight you will soon forget. Visit Ocean Beach State Park and spend the night. At low tide you can visit tide pools that are full of life and wonder. This area gets over one hundred inches of rain per year so have your rain gear handy.

A visit to Washington will have you seeing green for the entire adventure vacation. Keeping your eyes seeing green, your mind filled with wonder and you will know before you go home that you will be back.

Traveling With Wheelchairs and Strollers in Israel’s North

Long ago, or so they say, an angel appeared to one of a band of thieves who made a living robbing travelers in the Upper Galilee. “Turn over a new leaf,” warned the angel, “or bad things will happen.” In the morning, the thief begged his comrades to change their ways. Annoyed, the group hatched a plan to get rid of their newly reformed friend. They asked him to help carry out one more heist before going straight. Placing him atop an enormous cave as a lookout, they waited for an opportunity to throw him down into the abyss. Suddenly the cave collapsed – except for the narrow strip on which the “good” thief stood. Only he remained alive . . . standing on the remains of Keshet (Arch) Cave.

Until a very few years ago, Israel’s most delightful natural phenomena and unique historic sites were out of bounds to parents whose toddlers were in strollers, anyone with a cane, and people who could only move about in wheelchairs. That meant that whole families were stuck at home staring at the walls, while the rest of the country was enjoying riverside trails, waterfalls, unique memorials and stupendous views – and picnicking in the forest.

Not any more, however – at least not in the Upper Galilee and Golan Heights! Here are 10 great sites suitable for just about anyone!

1) Spectacular Me’arat Keshet (Keshet Cave): Off Route 8993 Once accessible only to good hikers, Keshet Cave is situated inside the Jewish National Fund’s beautiful Adamit Park. Get there by following Route 899 east from Rosh Hanikra and heading north at the sign for Kibbutz Adamit (Route 8993). To reach the cave itself, drive down to the lower parking lot and take the paved route marked with a green trail marker. After you’ve seen the cave, you can picnic near the parking lot.

2) Montfort Observation Point: Off Route 899, east of Kibbutz Eilon Situated on the slopes of a hill and surrounded by rich green trees all year ’round, the Montfort Citadel is a dazzling sight. It is particularly stunning in late afternoon when the setting sun lights up portions of the fortress. Montfort was originally built in Roman times. During the early Crusader period a small fortress was put up on the same site, apparently to defend a French nobleman’s estate. Decades later, the German Teutonic Order decided to set up its own headquarters. They bought Montfort (“strong mountain”) %u2011 in 1228, then expanded and beautified the citadel until it became one of the loveliest in the whole Crusader Kingdom. Your best view of Montfort is from within the JNF’s Goren Park, situated in the heart of the largest natural forest in the country and above the longest riverbed in the Galilee %u2011 Nahal Kziv. Drive through the forest to see winter anemones and cyclamen and, in spring, orchids and the flaming flowers of the Mediterranean rosebud. When the scenic drive splits, take the left (higher) road. Pass a campground and a ranch, park in the lot, and follow a paved route to the Montfort Observation Point for a breathtaking view of the citadel and the lush, green riverbed. You come out of the park on Road 899, near Kibbutz Granot. This is the back entrance to Goren Park, so if you prefer you can begin your trip from this end.

3) Tel Dan Nature Reserve: Off Highway 99 east of Kiryat Shmona According to legend, long ago each of the three rivers went its own separate way. For millions of years they bragged and boasted, all three claiming to be the biggest and most beautiful body of water. Finally, they asked God to descend from above and to decide between them. When the Lord couldn’t make up His mind, goes the story, He suggested that all three join together. The ancient wise men of Israel say that the Dan actually won, because the word Jordan means “came out of the Dan”. Few sights are more refreshing than a delightfully flowing river – like the glorious Dan. At the Tel Dan Nature Reserve, an excellent wheelchair – accessible path takes you over and right next to the river, with its deliciously rushing waters. The circular path takes about 45 minutes, during which you can enjoy the thickets on both sides of bridges built over the Dan’s flow. On one side, you may see exceptionally tall Syrian ash trees endemic to Turkey and accustomed to freezing whether. And only a few meters away from the Syrian ash, stand thriving laurel (bay) trees, the kind whose leaves are used for cooking. Laurel trees need a Mediterranean climate, and that, too, is found in the reserve! Excavations at Tel Dan have uncovered unique and fascinating remains, some of which have been restored. These are not wheelchair accessible, so instead, follow up your trip with a visit to nearby Beit Ussishkin. A natural history museum offering a fascinating overview of the region’s natural phenomena, it is also the only place in the world where the whole development of the biblical city of Dan is on display. Here you can find artifacts from four biblical eras: the time of Abraham, the period of the Judges, the Israelite Conquest and the divided Kingdom.

4) Sa’ar Waterfall: Off Highway 99 at intersection with Route 989. Few sights in Israel are as impressive as the extraordinary multi-layered Sa’ar Waterfall. The waterfall’s source is Nahal Sa’ar, a river which acts as a natural border between the limestone-covered Hermon mountain range and the basalt rocks of the Golan Heights. Nahal Sa’ar flows from the Hermon in the direction of the Banias River, dropping 500 meters in only seven kilometers. The top layer of the waterfall is 20 meters high; the bottom an additional seven. A brand-new wheelchair accessible path takes you right up to a great observation point next to the waterfall. Now everyone can delight in this glorious sight – but only you if they come during the few weeks in early spring when the waterfall flows (late February, early March)..

5) Ancient Katzrin Village – near modern Katzrin, on Route 9088. When you visit an archeological site, your imagination has to work hard to fill in the holes. The restorations at ancient Katzrin, however, offer a unique and effortless peek into the past. Located about one kilometer east of modern Katzrin, the village was re%u2011created by archeologists and experts in Jewish law, and realistically portrays Jewish life between the 4th and 7thth centuries. A new, paved path takes you right to the restored ancient-house-under-construction, a completely restored home, and the famous Katzrin synagogue. Recently introduced, a golf cart is available to take visitors along the path as well! It isn’t necessary to reserve but is a good idea in season. Phone: 04-6962412 Round off your tour with a stop at the Golan Archeological Museum, in the modern city center (also on route 9088). Here you can view unique and exciting remains from the nearly 3 dozen Jewish villages that studded the Golan Heights long ago. Buy a combined ticket for the village and the museum, and hold onto your ticket stub!

6) Salukiya Springs: Off Highway 87 between Bashan and Katzrin Junctions. Full of tiny waterfalls, this charming little park features wading pools for the kiddies and a dry path for the grownups. Mei Eden, the large mineral water company based in nearby Katzrin, helped develop the site for visitors and says it bottles water from these springs in its factory. Little pools feature the riverbed frog, an amphibian that lives in sweet water and is up to 7.5 cm long. Fruit trees and old buildings remain from the Syrian period on the Golan. Absolutely enchanting, shaded by eucalyptus trees, this site was developed with local materials, mainly dark, basalt rock. The path, although not asphalt, is well-suited to strollers and wheelchairs.

7) Mitzpe Ofir – Ofir Lookout: Off Route 789, road leads west 2 kilometers north of Moshav Givat Yoav. In your zeal to find just the right view of Lake Kinneret, don’t forget Mitzpe Ofir! Towering nearly 480 meters above the lake’s shimmering waters, the spot served as the perfect outpost for Syrian sharpshooters from 1948 until the Golan Heights came under Israeli control during the Six Day War. The troops must have had a field day – not only did they have an excellent view of the settlements below, making it easy to take potshots whenever they wished – but in April they could feast their eyes on the wild, pink-and-purple blossom called the Mesapotamica iris (iris aram naharayim, in Hebrew). With the help of the Jewish National Fund, Jewish Agency and the Local Council, Mitzpe Ofir was developed by Jimmy Sha’al of nearby Moshav Givat Yoav as a memorial to son Ofir: the youth died of a long, lingering illness at the age of 16. A grove of 16 olive trees, planted here, symbolizes each year of his short life. The stone picnic tables and overlook near the parking lot are accessible to wheelchairs (paving consists of flat basalt rock); hike up the hill to a second, unusual group of stone tables with a stupendous view of Lake Kinneret, Kibbutz Ein Gev, Kursi, and, on the other side of the water, Tiberias and the mountains of the Lower Galilee.

For the Average Traveler Who Needs Money Saving Travel Tips

Many families are finding it hard to come up with the money to take a vacation, with the rise in prices for almost everything in the last few years. But taking a vacation does not have to be expensive. There are many money saving travel tips to be found to save the average traveler a lot of money.

Regardless of age or income, everyone can benefit from money saving travel tips. Whether aiming for a four-star, week-long vacation or a weekend getaway, there are travel tips that can save you money to be found with a little searching. These tips can save you money on everything from hotels, to airfare, to food.

Money Saving Travel Tips For Lodging

One of the best money saving travel tips for saving money on lodging is compare prices. Prices for hotel rooms can vary greatly, even if the hotels are located close to each other. If booking a hotel room online, check several different sites for the same hotel rooms. Chances are the price on one site will be lower than the prices on other sites. Another way to save is with a Travel Membership.

Another tip for saving on lodging is” try to be flexible”. For example, in Hilton Head, a hotel room with an ocean view is more than twice as much per night than the hotel room with all of the same amenities but without an ocean view directly across the street. If you are intending to spend your vacation days on the beach, an ocean view may not be necessary and that extra money could be spent towards something else. With a little research, money saving travel tips can save you quite a bit of money over the length of your vacation.

Money Saving Travel Tips For Dining

One of the biggest expenses of any vacation is food. With some money saving travel tips and a little prior planning, you can minimize the amount that you will pay for dining. The first tip is to research restaurants in the area before leaving on vacation. This way you know what types of restaurants are in the area and the price ranges for these restaurants. Many people on vacation walk into a restaurant that they have never been in before and pay a much higher price than they intended to spend for the meal. By choosing which restaurants you will eat in before you leave for the trip, you will eliminate the possibility of sticker shock when you see the menu.

One of the most overlooked money saving travel tips for dining is to request from the city you are planning to travel to, a guide to the local restaurants. Many of these guides include money saving coupons to restaurants in the area to entice you into eating there. Whether the coupon is for 10% off or 50% off, they are still saving you money you would have had to spend anyway. By doing a little research and learning some money saving travel tips, a vacation does not have to be as expensive as expected.

You can also get lodging that comes with a fully equipped kitchen, so you can cook some of your own meals. Most places you vacation have a local grocery store or deli near by. This is a great way to save. On a romantic get away you can do breakfast in bed and be spoiled by your love. If you have the family with you, having a kitchen will save you a ton of money on food. Just make sure Mom gets a break from the kitchen. Remember, this is her vacation too.

How to Write Great Travel Blog Titles

This post shows you how to write great post titles. Are you looking for more visitors to your travel blog? One key is writing post titles that contain keywords and that at the same time are attention grabbing. Here is how:


These days it is easy to go unnoticed. I worked hard on a blog post about Cordoba province in Argentina. Alas, this post, that I worked so hard on, never got more than a few views over several months. So, I decided it was time to do something.

EXAMPLE 1 – Original Title.

Of brunettes, fernet con coca and UFOs…

I thought it was clever, it sounded quite poetic and literary.

Improved title:

How to see a UFO in Cordoba, Argentina.

That gets your attention! It´s a cheeky post title, because I don´t tell you really how to see UFOs but where to see them (if you believe in them of course!). A post title that begins, ´How to…´ is a proven marketing technique that WORKS! Suddenly this post became one of my most searched for posts, quadrupling the number of views in only a week.


ITBC youth rally, 2008, Holland.

The ‘ITCB’ for example is an organisation that only people who collect travel memorobilia are likely to know about. So wanting to sensationalise the post title as much as possible it became this:

Bizarre travel collections: Shrunken heads from Peru.

And again it became one of my most popular posts. The second post title tells you a lot more about the content and it really piques a persons curiousity.



The original titles contains no keywords (words that people are going to use in a search engine to find your post), so not many people are going to see the post. However, How to see a UFO in Cordoba, Argentina has the keywords HOW TO, SEE, UFO and ARGENTINA, words that people are very likely to search for in Google, if for example they want to find out info on where and how to see UFOs in Argentina.


ITBC youth rally, 2008, Holland is a very technical title that is going to confuse and put many people off having a look at the post. Bizarre travel collections: Shrunken heads from Peru contains the keywords SHRUNKEN, HEAD, PERU and COLLECTION, all things that people are likely to look for in Google.

American Express Travel Suggests Aruba Vacations Hard to Beat

From a traveler’s point of view, Aruba can be divided into two coasts. The southeast coast has the white sand beaches, turquoise seas, and warm waters. The northwest coast is exposed to the Atlantic, and therefore has rougher seas with treacherous currents and a rockier coastline. These two extremes contribute to Aruba’s growing reputation for being a “Desert Paradise”.

Weather in Aruba

Unlike a desert, Aruba’s weather is mostly the same, having no extremes, while maintaining relatively consistent temperatures. But because of its more southern location in the Caribbean, the heat of the sun can be stronger than other Caribbean islands. A constant light breeze tempers the hot sun to create a cooling effect. The lack of rain is what really marks Aruba as a desert paradise. Most other Caribbean islands have a wet season and are prone to storms and hurricanes. Yet according to the information gathered by American Express Travel, the weather is almost always dry in Aruba, with most rain showers coming at night and lasting only a little while. Aruba is also on the outer hurricane zone, meaning it is rarely hit or affected by other storms.

With this lack of rain comes a lack of the lush vegetation that the other Caribbean islands are known for. The combination of comparatively sparse vegetation, and the seemingly endless beach, Aruba is definitely a desert island. But all things considered, Aruba is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world. Most tourists see Aruba as remotely luxurious. And while this island of endless sand seems a bit like a desert, the waters bloom with tropical fish, perfect for diving, snorkeling, and fishing.

How Much Does it Cost and How to Save Money

Some travelers consider Aruba a relatively expensive place to go. However, while Aruba flights tend to be more expensive, hotels are often better deals. Unlike the Florida Keys or the Bahamas, Aruba is a long flight from almost all major airports. Aruba’s pricing is best described as moderate, offering both upscale and moderate accommodations and packages. There are some upscale hotels in Aruba who offer American Express Travel Deals, bringing the high end pricing down to something more reasonable. If you plan to do a lot of activities or dine out a lot, it’s a good idea to purchase a Visit Aruba discount card. With this card you can get deals in a lot of places, sometimes a 5-10% discount. You can also take a look at Free Discount Coupons to save some money. American dollars are accepted virtually everywhere at a decent exchange rate. The exchange rate given in shops is about 1.75 florins to the dollar.

Like most island destinations, American Express Travel representatives say that groceries and other supplies are all imported from elsewhere, so prices tend to be high. Ling & Sons Grocery is the closest to the resort area which has good prices, high quality and is one of the least known to tourists.