Arizona: Exploring The Copper State

When you’re looking for summer jaunts all-year round, you can’t get any better than Arizona. Even in winter, the hot and dry climate gives you that taste of summer when Santa should be on his way! As part of the United States, Arizona has some of the most incredible terrain, with high mountains, rocky and deep canyons, and man-made wonders like the Hoover Dam, which has to be seen in person to appreciate how immense a structure it is. And while there are plenty of world famous places the state can boast of, such as the Grand Canyon, here are a few of the other star attractions and things to do in the Copper State.

Hiking Around The Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

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This conservation area, home of Lake Powell, as well the Glen Canyon Dam, covers 1,254,429 acres of mainly desert. Lake Powell is one of the man-made structures that have made this state famous, and is the largest artificial lake in the United States and was formed in 1964 as part of the Glen Canyon Dam. A primary hiking spot for tourists, people come from all over the world to visit the Antelope slot canyons, where the combination of the light and the rocks creates some beautiful imagery. No doubt you will come back with some really great photos while also enjoying some brisk exercise.

Balloon Rides Around Phoenix

To see Arizona bathed in a wonderful orangey glow while taking part in a sunrise balloon ride is a mixture of fear and wonderment. The view is fantastic, but if you’ve got a fear of heights, one may cancel the other out! But once you see the saguaro and the buttes you’ll soon forget yourself. There are plenty of companies that offer this package, and Float Balloon Tours offer breakfast or dinner with wine from a local vineyard. If you wanted to see the state from a different angle, you would certainly achieve this!

See The Monument Valley Tribal Park

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The views from Monument Valley look like something from another planet, and with these sights, it’s very easy to transport yourself away from the hubbub of daily life. The sharp rock formations and sand dunes, massive in size, make for a daring but rewarding terrain. There are photography tours for people who would like to capture some images, but many people tend to drive by on the highway nearby and soak in the view that way. Either way, you must see it in person.

Walk Around Bisbee

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As a former mining town near to the border of Mexico, its proximity to the mountains makes for perfect imagery from the comfort of this sleepy town. You can see over the border into Mexico and enjoy a casual walk around the shops and meet some interesting locals who have tales to tell of the old mining days, or you can head to the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum to get a look at the history close up. It also won Best Historic Small Town in Sunset magazine and USA Today online reader poll in 2016!

Staying Safe On The Road

There’s nothing more important than your own safety. When you’re at home, you always make sure that you lock all your doors and windows, that you get taxis home from parties, and that you don’t make too much small talk with strangers. But for some reason, the second we start travelling, all that caution often tends to fly out of the window. Here are some tips on how to stay safe when you’re travelling…

Budget Carefully

It’s important to make sure that you don’t blow all of your money too quickly. It can be tempting to buy tons of souvenirs and to splash out on exciting new food, but the fact is that you need to make a daily budget and stick to it. The best thing about money isn’t what you can buy with it – it’s the freedom that it gives you. If you have spare money then you can leave that bed bug infested hostel with the scary hulking guy in the corner of the shared room, and stay in a nicer hotel for the night while you regroup. Money means that you can get a taxi home instead of waiting on a street corner for a night bus for an hour. Make sure that you budget for things like that as well as fun treats.

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Know The Area

Obviously it’s impossible to know absolutely everything about a city that you’re travelling to, but you should get to know the local public transport system to some extent so that you know how you’re going to get home whenever you go out, and you should also make sure that you have a local taxi company number in your phone in case you want to get home quickly. Google around on sites like www.travelsphere.co.uk to find out where you should go in the local area, and make sure that you talk to fellow travellers to figure out where you shouldn’t go by yourself, particularly at night.

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Don’t Carry Too Much

You should make sure that you’re as mobile as possible at all times – wear comfortable shoes and make sure that you haven’t over packed. Not being able to carry your backpack and move properly really isn’t a particularly safe way to be. When you go out in the evenings, make sure that your passport is in the money belt around your waist instead of in your bag, and that you aren’t carrying too much money. You should also ensure that all your expensive things are locked away at your hostel in a safe.

 

Trust Your Instincts

Your instincts are the most important things that you’ll travel with. If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, don’t feel any shame or embarrassment about getting out of there immediately. Your own safety should be your priority at all times, and your instincts might have picked up on something that the rest of your brain hasn’t quite caught up with, like someone sitting too close to you or looking at you in a threatening way. Make sure you use the cab number in your phone or hail a licensed taxi to get back to wherever you’re staying.

 

Christmas in Peacock Lane

After living in Portland, OR, for many years, I finally got to visit this place that becomes magical during the holiday season. It’s in a neighborhood in the SE Portland which becomes pedestrian only area for the last two weeks of every December.

This is an old Portland tradition since 1920. Every house here are fully decorated with extravagant Christmas lightnings and ornaments. My girls had a blast walking in front of every house and checking out all the different themes and dazzling scenes.

The event is absolutely free, but we had to park couple blocks away from Peacock Lane. It does get crowded pretty quickly as soon as it gets dark.

Check out the pictures of Peacock Lane in Portland, Oregon…hope you like them.

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The Things Every Modern Traveler Should Do

To be a truly modern traveler, there are some things that you definitely need to do. There is no sense in wasting time and money when there are so many contemporary ways to save both of those things. And there are wise ways to use the internet and some prior knowledge to make the most of any trip.

Use Apps to Find Improvised Accommodation

There are so many great apps that can help you out when you’re traveling in a foreign country. Apps like Airbnb can be particularly useful when you are looking for ways to save money on accommodation. Those city hotels can be really expensive, so why not stay somewhere that’s a little more affordable for you? You can find places to stay for the night using these apps, so it makes sense to give them a try. It makes traveling truly affordable for everybody, so that can only be a good thing.

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Research and Discuss Locations Online

It’s always best to make sure that you know as much as possible about the location you’re heading to before you get there. This gives you a head start and helps to ensure you don’t waste time once you get there. Thanks to the internet, there are plenty of ways in which you can research and learn more about a location. You should also use forums to talk to people who have traveled there before. You can often learn a lot from other people. Things like the India travel forum can help a lot when you are heading to a location for the very first time. Take advantage of other people’s knowledge and experience to avoid mistakes.

Go Where Other Tourists Don’t

Real explorers don’t stick to the tourist hotspots. Instead, they take the time to explore the country a bit more than that. You don’t get to see much of a country and the way it works when you stick to the tourist traps too much. So, learn more, use your research, and go to the kinds of places that most tourists don’t. This is the only real way to see the country for what it really is and understand the people’s way of life. If you ask me, that’s what traveling is about. And it’s something that more and more people are now doing as the tourist traps become less interesting to people.

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Use Your Social Media Accounts Wisely

There is a right way and a wrong way to use social media when you’re traveling. The first thing you should do is make sure that you use it in a way that is safe. If you are traveling alone, then you could be at greater risk of being followed because you’re vulnerable. And if you let the whole world know where you are on social media, the risk is even greater. So, you should make sure that your accounts are set to private. This means that you can control who sees what you post on these sites. You can also use social media to stay in contact with everyone back home too.

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Common Travel Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

We are only human, and we are prone to make mistakes. When you are traveling, the results can be a little more dramatic than they normally would be, though. We aren’t in our normal environment and don’t have all of our friends and family around us. So if things go wrong, it can prove to be expensive or mean you have to end your travels. So here are some common mistakes that people make when they travel. Then you can know what to look for and make sure you avoid them.

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Not Getting the Right Visas and Travel Documents

One easy mistake people make, is that they don’t get the right travel documents that they will need. Certain countries need certain pieces of information about you before hand, to allow you in. Take the United States of America, for example. You need to get a pre-clearance ‘visa’ if you are going to be there for under 90 days. So you should apply online, somewhere like www.official-esta.com. If you arrive and don’t have this filled in, the chances are very slim that you will be allowed in. So check this kind of thing as soon as you have booked flights.

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Not Having Enough Time Left On Your Passport

A lot of people think that if their passport is in date, then it will all be fine. But some countries require there to be a certain length of time left on your passport. The US needs you to have at least six months left on your passport. Countries like the United Arab Emirates need you to have at least three months left on the passport. So you do need to bear this in mind. Make sure you allow yourself enough time to get a new passport before you travel if needed. You can find more information on a site like www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

Overpacking

When you are traveling, you don’t need to pack as light as possible. There will be certain restrictions on your method of transport. Plus the fact that you will have to take the luggage around with you. So you don’t want it to be too heavy. So only pack what you know you will use. If you’re not sure, then leave it behind. It is always good to have a little extra space in your suitcase to take things back with you.

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Not Using a Budget

When you are planning a trip, you will no doubt have a budget. The worst thing that you can do is to not stick to that budget. If you run out of money, then things can be pretty disastrous. So set a budget before you go and check on how you are doing at the end of each day. You don’t want to miss out on doing something, just because you ran out of money.

Missing a Flight

When you need to catch a flight, you need to allow plenty of time. You need to be at the airport often around two hours ahead of the flight. But you should take into consideration traffic and times of transportation to get you there. If you miss a flight, it can prove rather costly. Not all travel insurers will cover for it either. So plan ahead and allow plenty of time.

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