Grand Canyon Helicopters

Tour Departures

There are two locations for taking a helicopter tour, and one of them is in Vegas, while the other is in Arizona. Helicopters that depart from Vegas fly to the West Rim and the choppers that depart from Tusayan fly to the South Rim of the Canyon. Just so you know, there are no flights between the two rims. So if you want to take a helicopter tour of the South Rim, but you’re staying in Vegas, then you need to take a plane to the South Rim where you can then begin your tour.

Another thing to know is that the temperatures are colder at the South Rim. That’s because the South Rim sits at an elevation of 6700 feet. The West Rim, on the other hand, has an elevation of only 4700 feet. At the South Rim, daytime temps from December to March hover around 40 to 50 degrees in the day and they drop to 18 to 25 at night. The West Rim has warmer daytime temperatures that reach into the 60s and 70s, but the nights are a little chilly with 40 degree temps.

It’s even possible you’ll see snow on your winter Canyon tour. The snow usually doesn’t last too long in the area, so it isn’t too common for tours to get grounded due to the weather. Snow events usually happen on the South Rim, it’s unusual for it to snow on the West Rim, but it does happen occasionally.

Refunds For Canceled Tours

If a bad storm does cause your helicopter tour to be canceled, your tour operator should refund all of your money. The only time you may run into trouble is if you book your tour through a tour consolidator that is in the business of buying and filling empty seats because they can remove the refund policy from the deal. For that reason, you want to buy your Canyon tour directly from a tour company and avoid middlemen like Expedia, Hotwire, and Priceline.

Also, consider what you will wear on your winter tour. Dressing in layers is the best way to go. Decide on your base layer. A t-shirt or a warm polyester shirt is a good choice. You probably have tops like that already and won’t need to buy anything new. Wear a sweater on top of your shirt and a warm jacket or parka on top of that. Also, be sure to wear sturdy shoes with wool socks, warm pants, gloves, and a scarf.

Dressing for the weather is more important than ever if you book a landing tour. The only place you can take a landing tour is from Vegas to the West Rim, since the helicopters at the South Rim can’t land at the Canyon. When you take a landing tour, you can add on tickets to the Skywalk, enjoy a Champagne picnic, or take a boat ride on the Colorado River. The landing tours fill up fast because they are very popular with Vegas travelers, so be sure to book your tour as early as you can.

Travelling in Spain

Toll roads are virtually empty and most of the motorways, with the exception of large town interchanges like Bilbao or Madrid they are very light with traffic and on the whole drivers here do not seem to be in such a rush.

Something we learnt yesterday from a fellow driver you can easily be caught speeding on toll roads as your entrance and exit times are recorded and if you show excessive speed you can be fined on the spot at the exit barrier.

Talking to a cyclist, helmets are to be worn according to the police although locals never seem to bother; or with lights. However this chap told us he had been fined 250 euros for being drunk in charge of a bike and not wearing a helmet on a major road.

There seems to be zero tolerance for any drink driving situations.

The quality or most Spanish roads we have travelled on is excellent, I cannot vouch for mountain trails, which look frightening as you pass the mountains on the motorways, as they wind precariously up the side of the mountains, but the main roads are fine. Most motorways seem little more than dual carriageways that link most towns in a complete network of easy travel. The exits to neighbouring towns are clearly marked in plenty of time and traffic peels off to the right to be re-directed from roundabouts to smaller destinations, whilst the motorway traffic continues on.

Certainly in the wintertime traffic moves with ease through most towns, drivers are halted every few yards by lights at intersections and pedestrian crossings so although traffic moves fairly slowly it feels quite laid back and lazy, but it keeps moving. There don’t seem to be traffic queues in the towns we visited, certainly not in the wintertime. We also had a pretty easy journey from Bilbao to Costa Calida, with our car piled high with possessions!

It seems some laws change in different regions however here is a link that may be helpful to you: Reg. NCV 01 047305 A CIF NG54504931 Email [email protected] gmail.com, (provided by an expat to help drivers understand various traffic rules in Spain), there may be variances in different regions, but be sure to carry your passport in the car or an official copy and spare lights, spare glasses if worn, first aid kit and accident triangles.

We are still discovering Spain as we have now moved here for the winter; we are enjoying the warm climate and peaceful venues, and will leave the summer heat and crush for others to enjoy!

Tips for Passport Renewal

  • Don’t wait for the expiry date: This is a common doubt and therefore we are addressing it on priority. Most people start work on the renewal of their passport well after the expiry date has gone by. This is wrong. Instead, initiate the renewal process even before you hit the expiry date. Start renewing at least 9 months beforehand because there are many airlines that could refuse to accommodate you if your passport expires within six months.
  • Don’t go to random people: A lot of travellers use the online passport service portals to get their passport renewed. However, you need to ask yourself how many of these are genuine. What’s more is that these random agencies are going to charge you a bomb and still can’t guarantee that they will be able to get the job done. Instead, just opt for the government passport office. You will receive all the guidance that you want.
  • Use recent pictures: Your passport renewal application is most likely to get rejected if you are not using recent pictures. Don’t wait for one rejection to open your eyes. Instead, be smart and keep a bank of recently clicked pictures ready for use.
  • Document submission: These days most of the passport renewal application cases require the users to download an application form from the government website, fill in the details and submit the documents mostly by mail. If you are going to mail the documents, ensure that it is sealed properly. Also, use a traceable method of mailing so that you know when the documents are delivered.

Catered Ski Chalets

This may sound blindingly obvious, but you might be surprised to know just how many people leave their own equipment at home on the assumption they will be able to rent some upon arrival, only to then find that it is not quite as readily available as they had hoped. A variation on this is making sure that you understand how much your hire charges are likely to be.

Do you understand what your catered ski chalets are offering by way of food included in the price?

There can be some surprising variations here, but it doesn’t need to be a problem, providing you haven’t been caught unawares by them upon arrival.

Is all of the equipment you are taking with you fully serviced and ready to go?

We are all busy and many of us are inclined to put off little jobs. Discovering that there are problems with your ski equipment after you’ve arrived on holiday is likely to lead to frustration and delay.

Don’t forget that your free European health cover isn’t full holiday insurance. It won’t, for example, pay for your medical repatriation if you are injured. Don’t overlook this area or decide to make false economies by not taking out cover. If you have a problem and don’t have appropriate insurance, the costs could prove to be literally ruinous.

Arriving at, say, 3.00 am without having previously notified anybody might cause you some embarrassment! Not to mention inconvenience.

If this sounds like further obvious advice, keep in mind that some research indicates approximately 10% of British travellers leaves home on international travel journeys having forgotten their passport! The chaos, frustration and intense disappointment that can result, to say nothing of the loss of money, can be substantial. Top tip – pack your passport in advance in your bag or a coat you are certain you will be wearing on the day. Don’t leave it until the morning of your departure.

Some catered ski chalets may operate one form or another of damage deposit system for newly arriving guests. This should never be sprung upon you unexpectedly and it will normally be made very clear at the time of booking. If it is a cash deposit, make sure that you have the money available and you don’t need to lose time the following day going to ATMs.

Florida Yacht Charter

The Cruising World magazine has recently rated the Gulf Coast of Florida the top yacht chartering destination in the whole of the US and for good reason. The immensely popular Fort Myers is a wonderful place to start your yacht charter in Florida. As relaxing as it is beautiful, Fort Myers offers the convenience of several top-notch marinas and is home to the City Yacht basin. This easy accessibility to Florida yacht charters marks Fort Meyers as a popular starting point. While there, be sure to take in the astonishing riverfront homes and peek at the estates of two of America’s shining stars – Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.

A yacht charter in Florida simply wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Naples. Touted as a hub for the wealthy, Naples has more than its fair share of five-star restaurants and other upscale amenities. Indeed, Naples is the place to be if you’re intent on treating yourself like a star. Luxurious day spas combined with the beautiful scenery and delectable dining may make Naples you’re favorite stop on your Florida yacht charter.

Another great stop you could chose to make while on your yacht charter in Florida would be St. Petersburg. This bustling city is a tourist’s dream come true, with a dazzling array of shopping areas and resorts, plus world class golf courses. While sailing in and around St. Petersburg, be sure to take note of the exotic wildlife. Bald eagles, manatees and osprey are just a few of the species that inhabit the region.

Indeed, the ease of chartering a yacht in Florida makes it perhaps the best choice for people who’ve never before experienced the joys of yachting. If you do chose to treat yourself to a yacht charter in Florida, you can rest assured that the relaxation and dreamlike memories you’ll gain will be with you for years to come.

Fossil Rim Wildlife Center

The 1970s saw the birth of the Fossil Rim Wildlife Ranch as a business man’s personal retreat where he could enjoy being with his animals. It would later transform into an animal refuge and attraction with over 1,000 animals housed there. Similar to many other parks, Fossil Rim has several guided tours like the family tour or the adventure tour that you can reserve. However, if you prefer drive through the park with the family on your own it can be done as well. This allows you to take your time and explore the scenic drive path at your own pace. If you choose to tour Fossil Rim this way you can buy the CD or guide book at the Admissions Center. Please make sure to follow all the rules for the safety of your family and that of the animals. Whichever you choose, just seeing the animals is an unforgettable experience that everyone in the family will truly cherish.

The park offers so much more than just driving tours, whether guided or not. For example, if you would prefer the family can learn and dig for fossils in the fossil pit with the added benefit of a guided tour through one of the park’s preserve area. After so much excitement, the family will surely be hungry. The Overlook Café is the place to eat when exploring this park! You and the family not only get some good food, you also get a great view of the surrounding areas.

At the end of the day, you will have a great trip to Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, Texas. Build it up on the drive or plane ride there for your little ones by learning more about the animals you’ll see and animal conservation in general. Once there, just relax and have a memorable and fun time as a family. Couple this experience with camping and hiking and you will certainly create and nurture a love for animals and the environment as a whole in your children.

Family Getaway to Dalaman

Ancient Ruins

Some of the most popular ruins near Dalaman are in Aga Limani. Families enjoy a short hike through the cove and to see the ruins of Lydea. Hippokome or the “city of horses” is another popular site for ruins exploration. This ancient city is situated on a hillside, and easily reachable with a Dalaman car rental. There are six tombs to view right within this area.

Other ruins in the region include stone cut tombs in Gokdag, Lycian in Kayadibi, the ancient city of Oktapolis in Bozbel, and Hisar. There is many an adventure waiting for families, as well as plenty of photo opportunities amongst these ruins.

Pristine Beaches

Want to swim in a warm, blue lagoon? The Blue Lagoon is a natural spot where it’s only a couple Lira for admittance, and so worth it! Visitors enjoy the beauty and kids are safe because the water is shallow. Enjoy the sunshine and snack bar, swim, or even take out a kayak.

Turunc Beach is another popular destination, and features wind surfing and other watersports are popular here, and there is a promenade leading to the nearby village.

With a Dalaman car rental, one can travel from beach to beach and take each one in not missing a thing as Dalaman is home to many breathtaking beaches and bays.Be prepared to take in some very photographic views and feel your cares melt away.

Phenomenal Waterparks

Looking for a unique spot where you can spend quality time with your friends, family and kids?

Aquapark is the leading waterpark in Dalaman, Turkey and it’s easily reachable with a Dalaman car rental. This is a park where guests are invited you to spend a day cooling off on the most amazing water attractions. There are slides and attractions for all ages so it’s appropriate for a family holiday destination. The well-known wave pool, crazy rivers, kid’s lagoon and variety of slides makes for the perfect day out.

Shopping and Dining

If shopping and dining sounds like the perfect day out, hop into a Dalaman rental car and visit some of the most prominent places for shopping. Shopping is relatively cheaper here, so there are great bargains to be had! Markets are great for clothing, handbags and shoes. Visit the many unique shops right in town.

As far as dining, a Dalaman car rental can get the family to any type of restaurant. Turkish cuisine is plentiful as well as many cafes and local eateries that offer stunning views. Don’t skip the roadside restaurants; they often have the best tasting food.

Night Life

A Dalaman car rental will get travellers to Olu Deniz. Evenings along this promenade are filled with ice-cold cocktails and a variety of dance bars. After this, head to the village of Hisaronu for some late night festivities. Another hot spot is Tequila Bar and Restaurant at the Marcan Beach Hotel. Their specialties are Margaritas and Mojitos, but everyone is sure to find their favourite. Classic rock is the choice music played here, and they even pass out sparklers to patrons.

Viva La Bali

The island feel is quite different from that of Thailand and the surrounding Indonesian islands, an overgrown town or dwarf city runs the entire width of the island providing a bustling metropolis Indonesian tourist culture. I say tourist culture as this is not the Indo way of living, I am quite sure that if you were to visit a dainty town in the mainland half the public would be 24 hour taxi drivers and the other half selling bracelets, but nevertheless the air is highly charged and the area has a good overall feeling.

Surfers from all over the world hit up the semi famous beaches surrounding the area known as Kuta which promise reliable and powerful waves, the perfect opportunity to show off to the thousands of bikini clad girls which line the shores. Kuta beach itself is well known for world famous surf competitions drawing in large names and mainstream watersports brands from Australia. So much so that Bali is one of the only places in Asia you can find actual genuine clothing from the manufacturer whose brand is attached to it. This is not to say that fakes are not abundant presenting a humorous juxtaposition between the towering Billabong surf equipment store and the guy who stands outside muttering ‘Billibang’ under his breath and motioning to his collection of rebranded Primark quality garments.

A sporty place for sure, Bali isn’t only known for its surfing but has a great reputation for almost all watersports; Rental and tour shops line the streets and shores offering wake boards, wind surfing, kite surfing, jet skis, banana boats, speed boat trips, snorkeling tours, kayaking, paddle boarding, scuba diving and personalized experiences.

Surrounded by mountainous areas the coast and ocean are not the only places for a holiday maker to entertain themselves. Trekking and hiking routes web the terrain with the option to go alone or with a tour guide.

Bali is split up into several sections, some better known for some things and of course other for others.

A great draw for Suba Divers Bali is part of what is known as the Coral Triangle, an area with incredibly high and diverse marine biological species, in the triangle alone more than 500 Coral reef building species can be sighted. This might not sound as impressive until I tell you it’s about seven times as many as can be found in the islands making up the Caribbean.

Aside from sport related activities the nightlife in Bali covers a full range from disgusting but affordable to Norwegian posh, something for everyone a guy with little imagination might say. Or if you are looking for daytime low energy entertainment please check out Bali’s museum district, famous for sculptures, artifacts, leatherwork and metal work, Indonesian art has come a long way but has never ceased to be fascinating.

The province Indonesia includes not only Bali Island but a few other nearby land spits. One to visit would be Nusa Penida to the West, or take a trip to Java and Lombok, enjoy your trip.

Exotic Lombok Island

Part of its charm is its undeveloped nature, coupled with a very relaxed and low key environment. Most of the travelers that make their way to Lombok are adventure-seeking souls who absolutely love being outdoors. These type of explorers are drawn to the island’s varied landscapes and activities such as surfing, hiking, snorkeling and diving. One of the highlights for many adventurous visitors coming to the Lombok region is trekking Mt. Rinjani.

Domestic tourists prefer vacationing in Lombok than in Bali for a couple of valid reasons. But the main reason is perhaps the big difference in the overall travel costs. In Lombok, accommodation, food and sightseeing tours are much cheaper. Another great thing about Lombok is that a large part of it is not mass tourism-oriented. Large gated complexes and noisy bars have not taken over the beach scene. If you want to truly experience rustic Lombok, consider a homestay in farmhouses, mountainside villages or simple homes on the beachside.

Staying with a family provides several advantages such as learning the authentic way of island living especially for the Sasak people. Your hosts may also offer to take you fishing, farming, hunting and even show you how to cook local dishes. And speaking of dishes, Lombok is known for its red and green chilies and spicy cuisine. This is quite understandable for an island that literally means chili in the Bahasa Indonesia language. Grab the opportunity to taste local dishes and accompany it with the fiery condiment called sambal.

The beaches of Lombok are quite stunning and they do not get as crowded as Bali’s. If you long for seclusion, venture to the southwest section of the island. Lombok also has some sandy stretches that can muster up huge waves. This is why the island receives a large number of surfers every year. Some of the most popular places to tackle the surfing breaks include the tiny Gili Nanggu Island and Bangko-Bangko (Desert Point).

To get a taste of Lombok’s passion for the arts, organize some village visits either on your own or with a tour company. By doing so, you will get a nice opportunity to see how locals expertly dye fabrics using the traditional technique called ikat. There are also a number of artisans who can masterfully make and decorate pots. You can also drop by the Sayang Sayang art market, and shop for excellent locally made crafts and products like pearl-decorated wooden boxes and baskets made of strong rattan.

Encountering the Iberian Lynx

The Coto Donana

This part of Spain is considered to be one of the most important of the world’s protected areas. It provides a crucial habitat for those migratory birds that pass by on their way from Europe to Africa and, of course, is the only place on the planet that the Lynx still survives. The spectacular landscape is made up of two major ecosystems: the Mediterranean pinewoods and scrubland, and the huge salt marshes, which are part of a large floodplain. The scrubland is supported by one of the largest aquifers in Spain and, consequently, the area sees many species of plants, including rockroses, rosemary and the mastic tree.

The Iberian Lynx and Other Creatures

Definitely the most biodiverse area in Europe, the Donana is a wonderful place to explore on a wildlife holiday. There are over 300 species of birds that can be seen, and 130 of those make this place their home during the breeding season. There are also 37 species of mammals, 21 different reptiles, 11 amphibians and plenty of freshwater fish species. The number of insects is still debated but it is certainly enormous.

The king of the Donana is definitely the Iberian Lynx and is certainly the star on any wildlife holiday. These timid creatures have steadily decreased in number over the last 200 years and southern Spain is the only place where isolated breeding populations have been seen. Heavily spotted and with long legs, the feline has a short tail and a distinct beard around its face. They also have prominent black spots on the ears.

Other creatures to look out for on a wildlife holiday to this area of Spain include the Spanish Imperial Eagle, which is another of this area’s most famous inhabitants. There are only around 10 pairs living in the park and the bird is also considered endangered.

The Spur-thighed Tortoise joins the group of species whose existence is threatened and which has found refuge in this region. There is something quite magical about these ancient looking reptiles and it is hard to believe that one day they may no longer be with us.

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