Powered by copious amounts of caffeine and a neverending sense of wanderlust.
Pools are a timeless feature that has been used on residential properties for several decades. As a common product that is used in backyards, they are known to offer plenty of fun for all ages. When you're looking to enjoy the feature, there are a few advantages that come with owning a pool.
The summer season is known to have record-breaking temperatures, which can make it difficult to spend time outside in the heat. You can cool off during the summer months by taking a dip in the pool where you can swim, play games, and avoid feeling cooped up indoors.
When you want to host parties or entertain your guests, a swimming pool is an ideal item to use to allow your family members and friends to have a fun time while visiting your home. You can welcome your loved ones to play volleyball or wade in the water while hosting an outdoor barbecue. You'll also have an easy way of throwing a birthday party or a celebration that is centered around the pool during certain months of the year.
You can improve the visual appeal of your backyard with a pool that works as the focal point of the setting and improves the aesthetics of the space. You'll have the freedom to create a custom pool that complements the architecture of your home and looks contemporary with its design. You'll get to explore different options by visiting the website of the contractor. Consider adding rock formations to the pool or a waterfall, which will create a lush outdoor oasis that feels like an escape. The pool can also make the property easier to sell by allowing it to stand out on the market once you list it.
Owning a pool can allow you to improve your health by staying fit with the exercise that it will provide. Enjoy swimming laps, which will increase your stamina and make it easy to maintain a healthy weight. Aquatic exercises can also be performed by non-swimmers who live on the property. Swimming and wading in the pool can also improve your sleep each night because it can cause fatigue by reducing your body temperature. You can rest better at night and alleviate different types of sleep apnea.
Pools offer plenty of entertainment and enjoyment for both children and adults. By installing the product, both you and your family will enjoy a higher quality of life.
Walking to many different landmarks and attractions in a city can be a bit tiring. This is especially true for people who are not in the best of shape. Luckily, there is an easy way for people who are on vacation to enjoy all of the great sights that a city has to offer. A bus tour gives a person a very comfortable way to see many important things in a city. You will also be able to see these things in a very short period of time. This is helpful if your time is limited and you will not be in a certain city for very long. Here are a few of the tips you can use to make your bus tour as enjoyable as it can possibly be:
A tour bus that is packed with tourists is not the most enjoyable place to see the sights. It is much better to be on a tour bus that has some empty seats that allow you to have some elbow room. You want to avoid a situation where you and the other people are packed into the bus like sardines. One of the easiest things you can do in order to prevent this situation from occurring is to schedule your bus tour on a weekday. Avoid the weekend at all costs. It does not take a genius to figure out that NYC bus tours will be much more packed on the weekend.
The location of your seat on the bus will determine how well you are going to be able to see various things during the tour. The people who get on the bus early will obviously take all of the seats that are located by windows. They will also fill up the top deck of the bus. This is why you should always get to the place where your bus tour will depart as early as possible. Being one of the first people to get there will guarantee that you will get one of the best seats on the bus. This will mean that you will be able to take photos that are unobstructed by other people on the bus.
Mother Nature can sometimes wreak havoc on your bus tour plans. Going on a bus tour on a rainy day is bad for several reasons. First of all, you will get soaked if you are sitting on the top deck of the bus. The pictures you take will be dreary and depressing because of the dark skies and the rain obscuring the thing you are taking a picture of. You should only take a tour of a city when it is looking its best. You do not want your memories of the city you went to on vacation to be of bad weather. This is why you should keep tabs on the weather forecast and schedule your bus tour of the city accordingly.
Not many people enjoy being stuck in rush hour traffic. Make sure that you book your tour in the middle of the day so that rush hour traffic will not be an issue.
It seems everybody and their mother has a travel blog nowadays, but the question of how to successfully monetize your travel blog is more common than ever. Sure, because travel blogging is becoming more widely accepted as a legitimate career, but at the same time the influx of new travel bloggers has really made it much more competitive. It's harder to stand out, and even harder to make enough money off your blog to fund your travel lifestyle 100%.
Earlier this year I ended my life as a nomad after 2,700 days -- nearly 7-1/2 years -- when I got a condo in Thailand. When I first started traveling, travel blogging was still in its infancy. I was just blogging to blog. Then it became my career. And eventually it led me to a more lucrative career. But we all have to start somewhere.
There are an endless number of affiliate programs and platforms out there, however Amazon Associates is undoutedly the best of them all. Given that Amazon.com and all their international stores (like Amazon.in and Amazon.ca) are already well-known and well-used in countries around the world, people are already used to making online purchases via Amazon. So why not recommend the products you actually use to your readers?
Never endorse anything that you do not use or believe it. Everyone who knows me or reads my writing knows how much I love my a7Rii camera. Sony didn't pay me to say that. They didn't even give me a discount on my camera. But I love the thing, it is amazing, and when I mention this I include the Amazon link. Why not? It's an easy $130 commission each time someone buys one, simple as that.
Vary the price range but focus the products. Don't affiliate link everything. Stick with your niche but find items of vastly different prices within that category. You might see a higher sales conversion rate with lower-priced products, but high-priced products earn impressive commission rates, especially if you are able to more than a half dozen a month.
It's not just Amazon, either. There are platforms like Commission Junction which represents tens of thousands of brands from diverse industries around the world. Test a few out of the period of a few months and see which works best for you.
If you have a travel blog, then you are pretty much guaranteed to have an About page. Unfortunately one that people forget is a media/PR page. Something that says "work with me, this is what I can do, this is what I have done, and this is what I will do for you."
It doesn't matter how people found your travel blog, all that matters is why are they there. Obviously there will always be readers, but more and more you find brands, agencies and PR companies searching for blogs that fit a particular niche. Their needs can vary greatly so be sure to put whatever useful abilities you have.
For myself, I would "up-sell" different services over the years as my skills and areas of focus shifted. At first it was web design and freelancing writing. Then I added in photography and SEO services. Next came consultant work and video production. But that was just me. Your services could be anything. You could be a traveling tattoo artist or diving instructor or ESL teacher. Whatever your hobbies, skills or passions are, the only way to find interested clients around the world is to mention this stuff. Of course it helps if you don't just mention this on the "hire me" page but that these same passions form a recurring theme to your blog.
Never put any prices online. This should be a given. If a marketing company from Singapore or London approaches you, you are going to want to charge them more than say a marketing company in India or Vietnam. Your rates should be based on the value that the brand receives, not your expenses. Make sense?
I've turned countless readers into friends and some into clients. Even a couple readers into assistants. It doesn't matter how or why people found your blog so much as the relationship you form with them. So be honest. Just don't be afraid to promote yourself a lit bit either, if you know that you are no one special. (Just know where to stop because no one likes a braggart.)
The only different between blogs and ebooks is that blogs are free because the content is more scattered. eBooks cost a little bit of money but will cover everything you want to know about a topic -- often times more.
Write a lot about Indonesia? Take your 10 best articles, update and fine-tune them, then put them all together and sell it as an Indonesia eBook.
Sunset in Bali
Take a lot of stunning photos? Find a common theme, or several themes, and put together an eBook series with the photos, behind-the-scenes information on the photos (how/where it was captured, even technical details) and a few tips for someone wishing to photograph the same place, or mimick the photograph style at a new location.
The only limit is your imagination and creativity.
Nowadays there is no shortage of marketplace software and e-commerce platforms that allow you to create your own store online and begin selling things directly to your web site visitors. This is especially popular with professional photographers, as quality photos can be turned into anything from stationary to apparel or even sold as stock photographs.
Using platforms like Photoshelter or marketplaces like Etsy and Zazzle to create an additional revenue stream without having to do any extra work. Plus there are more new options available every day.
Honestly, monetizing your blog is not about making $1,000 week doing any one thing. It's about having a variety of different income streams so that if something ever stops working, you are still working. Some methods will earn you more than others. Some will work better with you or your brand's personal style and/or needs. And some might end up being a waste of your time. But if you never do any research and never test anything out for yourself, well then you will never learn.
For me travel blogging started as a hobby and then became a career. Now I find myself writing less and producing videos more. But I would never have gotten here without learning how to monetize my blog and fund my nomadic lifestyle.
By means of a strange acculturation process while growing up, I'm more connected to the American culture than I am to the Portuguese. As a result, the United States is high on my list of countries to visit (and the list of offbeat attractions grows with it). I'm still in the romancing phase, but I'm already liking my odds in Arizona and in Pasadena. I have my eye on several attractions in these areas and more, and I'm interested in the best hotels in each area.
I love a good alien story, especially if it mixes an “X-Files” vibe with some futuristic storytelling like H.G. Wells' “War of the Worlds”. However, you can visit some “other-worldly” attractions without leaving this planet. The Lowell Observatory and the Cinder Lake Crater Field are two offbeat must-sees in Flagstaff. I wonder if I can find an alien-themed hotel in Flagstaff? Or at least one with a mysterious alien story behind it.
Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona via James Jones
The Antelope Canyon is hardly a secret and it's very high on my list of beautiful sights. The most photographed rock formation in the American Southwest is one guided tour away when you visit Page. To continue exploring the scenery beyond the canyon, check with your hotel in Page for tour recommendations.
Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona via Todd Petrie
Do you know the Talking Heads' song “Road to Nowhere”? Well, in Yuma, things go a little further with a “bridge to nowhere”. No, it's not a metaphor. The Gila River was diverted in 1968, and today the McPhaul bridge crosses (oddly) over sand and rocks. I have a series of postapocalyptic-themed photos for that bridge in mind, meaning the visit could be emotionally draining. Finding a hotel in Yuma for some well-deserved R&R would do the trick.
Did London Bridge really fall down like in the nursery rhyme? Technically, it was sinking due to structural problems, and in the late 1960's, the city sold the bridge to the highest bidder — a local entrepreneur in Lake Havasu City. Booking a romantic stay at a Lake Havasu City hotel and a stroll on the bridge shipped overseas, block by block, sounds like a great story to tell.
London Bridge in Lake Havasu City via Ken Lund
Hoverboards are not a real thing (yet) but Dr. Emmet Brown's house is. Fans of “Back to the Future” wouldn't the Gamble House be an offbeat must-see? This could (probably) only be topped by a Buffalo Wing soda. I'm not entirely sure I would handle the sugar rush at the Rocket Fizz, the place where these strange soda flavors come from. Tasting wouldn't be a problem; narrowing down the weirdest ones to taste would. How do you top this off? Perhaps with a stay at a Hollywoodesque hotel in Pasadena, where you can pretend to be a star with a quirky taste for strange sodas.
The Gamble House in Pasadena, California via Ken Lund
There are many difficulties in regards to owning a business. In the current day and age, there are millions of other companies out there all trying to get the attention of the public. The best way for you to make a name for yourself is by making sure that you take advantage of what the age of the internet can do for your company. Social media is going to be your best asset when it comes to generating awareness about your business. When you know how to handle the various social media platforms out there, you will find it much easier to get in touch with your customers. Here are a few points to keep in mind when you are just beginning in the world of social media for your business.
Social media is an encompassing term. There are tons of different websites that fall under this umbrella, and each one is going to have a very specific way of allowing you to post. Twitter is known for being a great way to connect with others all around the world, but you have to do it with 140 characters or less. There are, of course, ways around this such as shortening links with the right applications or posting several tweets in a row that follow one thought. Still, you will need to know how to use Twitter the right way to get people to pay attention to you. Facebook allows you to post more than 140 characters, and you can share pretty much anything that you would like. The downside of posting on Facebook is that people can easily hide your page, or a lack of proper promotion can keep your information from coming up on the correct feeds.
Instagram is an excellent platform to explore because you can get your message across simply by posting one image at a time. This allows you the chance to cultivate a look that is specific to your brand, making it easily recognizable to the public. Hamptoncreek, the tech food company behind the eggless product “Just Mayo,” is a great example of how to use Instagram to develop an individual style. The posts on this account are bursting with bold colors that aid in drumming up interest in the various products that the company offers. If you are going to use Instagram for your business, be sure to have a method to how you go about the process.
One of the biggest reasons to utilize social media for your business is because it gives you a unique chance to interact with your consumers and the public in general. Be aware, though, that this will not always be the most constructive of conversation. When you open yourself up to the public, you get what the public has to say. If you have ever been on social media and looked at some of the comments that people leave on posts, you know that there can often be unjustified and harsh criticisms. The best way for you to handle this is to positively interact with those that have something to say. Do not ignore those who have something to say. Instead, choose the ones that you will interact with wisely.
When you are able to balance how you interact with fans on your social media accounts, you are easily able to cultivate the right image for your business. Consumers like knowing that companies listen to what they have to say. Prove that you are willing to respond to criticisms by actually doing so on social media. Be sure not to engage when something gets too crazy, but do not feel like you have to ignore these comments either. It is your social media and you can do with it what you wish.
When it comes to using social media to your advantage, there are a lot of different ways for you to go about the process. Be sure to find your own voice. When you infuse a bit of yourself into your attempts at connecting with others on the internet, you will find that you are able to handle everything that is thrown your way. Take your time, figure out what you want to post, and be sure to get out there and make it happen. Once you do, you will be ready for a whole new way of conducting business.
Palm Springs is a modern oasis in the desert of Southern California, a beckoning jewel for all those look for a hip yet laid-back retreat from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles. The city is known for its breathtaking beauty, natural hot springs, stylish hotels, gorgeous golf courses, and amazing spas. Here is a look at some of the most affordable boutique hotels and resorts in Palm Springs.
Discreetly tucked away in a quiet residential neighborhood in downtown Palm Springs, Royal Sun Inn is the ideal hotel close to the action but away from the loud, busy streets. Their comfortable rooms come standard with a flat screen TV, private balcony or patio, free Wi-Fi and free breakfast. It's also a great place to stay for families because of the large outdoor pool and barbecue pits. The best part, however, is the price. Royal Sun Inn is one of the least expensive hotels, given its many amenities, making it the perfect choice for budget conscious travelers.
When it comes to affordable luxury, look no further than Riviera Resort & Spa. With rooms starting at just over $100 a night that look like something costing three times as much, this resort is the way to live the life of a rock star without breaking the bank. The property has funky, stylish decor, spacious rooms with amazing views of Palm Springs' natural beauty, marble bathrooms, world-class spa, modern fitness center, and two beautiful pools. It's even pet-friendly! What more could you want?
Photo by rheinitz via flickr
Colorful person? Then, Saguaro Palm Springs is the hotel for you! This rainbow-colored hotel is as vibrant on the inside as it seems on the outside. Colors combinations you've never imagined flow together in an impressive, stylish design that is a visual treat. Their gorgeous rooms come in a variety of combinations and offer either a mountain or a pool view, whichever you prefer. However, it is the property's two restaurants and Iron Chef Jose Garces that the hotel is most proud of. So if you want somewhere to stay that is a treat for all five senses, there is no better place to stay than Saguaro Palm Springs.
Palm Springs ... or Polynesia? Why choose between the two when there's the unique fusion that is Caliente Tropics. Staying here is like stumbling into a lush tropical oasis at the edge of the desert. Sure, it may take you by surprise — but 5 minutes later you are calling it home and never want to leave. Guests can partake in less stereotypical Palm Springs activities such as shuffleboard, frisbee, or a backyard barbecue. All the other activities are still around, but for those who crave the laid back island lifestyle, this is the place.
When location trumps all, stay at Ivy Palm Resort & Spa within walking distance of downtown. The property has a thick foliage cover that is a stark contrast to the boring desert themes that pervade most of the hotels in Palm Springs. Two pools, a spa, and fitness center allow guests to relax in this natural shade. The friendly staff will help coordinate all your around-town activities, and a free daily breakfast will give you the energy to start the day, so make sure to get out and have some fun!
Headed to Chicago? Let's take a look at some of the best boutique hotels located in and around town for all budgets.
View from the W Chicago Lakeshore. Photo via flickr by micahb37
Located right in the heart of Chicago, the W Chicago Lakeshore is the premiere lakeside hotel in the Windy City. Recently completely a $38 million dollar renovation, the W Chicago is now more stylish and comfortable than ever before. Their stylish rooms are immaculately decorated with a funky fresh modern design that will instantly impress every guest with a sense of style. Want more? The Museum of Contemporary Art is just a few minutes walk away.
Crystal ballroom at the Millennium Knickerbocker. Photo via flickr by hbkim
As the name implies, the Millennium Knickerbocker is a historic hotel full of classic decor that will instantly transport you back in time. After all, when was the last time you heard someone use the word knickerbocker? The hotel highlights include an amazingly exquisite dining hall that if reminiscent of a classic, bygone era will a large emphasis on wood carvings and ornate chandeliers. However the rooms are as modern as they come with all the modern conveniences, spacious marble bathrooms and amazing views of the city.
When looking for a reliable budget hotel chain that won't break the bank? This is where La Quinta Inn & Suites excells and their Chicago Downtown hotel is no different. Located in the financial district, guests here have convenient, easy access to the theatre district and downtown Chicago, as well as tons of great shopping and dining options. Rooms and suites at the La Quinta Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown come in a variety of configurations but are minimally furnished, making this hotel the idea choice for the budget-concious traveler who only needs their room for sleeping.
View of (and from) Hotel Burnham. Photos via flickr by bpende
Travelers looking for a nice boutique hotel right in the heart of downtown Chicago action but with a slightly subdued, intimate feel need look no further than Hotel Burnham, a Kimpton Hotel. This 100% non-smoking has enough amenities to making leaving the property unnecessary. Relax with an in-room spa session or be social and meet a few fellow guests at the nightly wine evening. Stay in shape with their fitness center or indulge in excess with their delicious 24-hour room service from the hotel's restaurant. You can even bring your favorite furry friend because Hotel Burnham is pet-friendly.
Suite at the Champage Lodge in Willowbrook. Photo via flickr by discoverdupage
Quietly located 20 miles outside of Chicago in Willowbrook is the Champagne Lodge & Luxury Suites, a perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of the Windy City. This sprawling property only has 38 suites, each of which includes an oversized whirlpool tub, walk-in marble steam room with rain forest shower, stone-encased fireplace, wet bar, luxurious bedding, premiere appliances and the finest toiletries. The spa is one of the main attractions here, however there is also an abundance of scenic trails for hiking, biking or horseback riding located nearby.
I've spent the better part of the last seven years exploring Asia and this corner of the world is nothing short of amazing. Spectacular sights, delicious foods, incredibly diverse cultures and such a rich history....Asia has it all!
However, Asia can also be overwhelming to first-timers. Where do I go and what do I do? Here are five awesome overlooked places to get your planning started:
Japan is the best country in the world for people-watching -- if you know where to look, that is. Much like the stylish yet offbeat Harajuku district in Tokyo, Osaka also as a youth Mecca that should be on the "to-do" list of every traveler to Japan. It is called Amerika-Mura and there is no more hip in town to be. The area is on the cutting edge of fashion and youth culture, and is packed full of restaurants and shops selling everything from clothing to music to random novelty items.
One of the best things to do on the island of Ko Samui, Thailand is to rent a scooter and get away from the crowds. Go explore the island, find a quiet beach and take time to unwind. Or check out the numerous markets and eat your way through as many of the small food spots scattered across the island as possible. The island is yours!
Bali is known for great resorts but the ones of Seminyak, Indonesia stand out in particular. Immaculate beaches. Delicious food. Luxurious resorts. Seminyak has it all but with less crowds that Kuta or Sanur. Soak up the sun on Seminyak Beach, go surfing or even indulge in a game of beach volleyball. The area is also a foodie's paradise, so make sure to come hungry. Start at Jalan Laksamana (also known as Eat Street) but make sure to expand beyond -- there are tons of unique, amazing restaurants serving some of the best food on the island.
Located at the end of the MTR line, Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong is a quiet suburb that is far removed from the normal tourist trail. It is also the home of Discovery Park, a combination shopping mall and park that has been around for nearly two decades. The tropical rain forest-themed shopping center spans over 600,000 square feet and even includes an artificial waterfall and stained glass ceiling over the main lobby. Once you are done shopping, do not forget to explore the neighborhood and get a glimpse of local Hong Kong life.
See More Hong Kong
Canada is an amazing winter destination due to its pristine beauty and wealth of outdoor winter activities. There is something for everyone here! Of course buying all your gear or forgotten items while on winter vacation is considerably more expensive than bringing them from home. So, if you are heading to Canada this winter, here is what you need for some of the most popular activities:
Getting to see winter animals in their native environment is a humbling, peaceful activity -- and a great opportunity for photographers. Edmonton, Alberta is home of the Elk Island National Park and offers some of the best winter Elk viewing in all of Canada. Don't forget:
Banff, Alberta is home to the Banff National Park and an amazing destination for adventurous winter activities such as dogsledding. To avoid expensive gear rental fees, be sure to bring:
Canada has no shortage of skiing destinations for people of all skill levels, however Whistler, British Columbia is consistently ranked as (one of) the top ski destination in Canada. It not only is fun for kids and adults, but also has plenty of non-skiing activities as well, including snow tubing and snowcat tours. For those who plan to go skiing, do not forgot to bring:
For seasonal festivals, shows and events, there is nowhere better to be than Quebec. Food festivals. Holiday shows. Performances and events a plenty. There is something new to do every day here during winter. However the pinnacle of all Canada's winter festivals is the Quebec winter carnival, Le Carnaval de Québec. It is one of the world's largest winter festivals and includes parades, parties, ice sculptures, sleigh races, shows, amusement rides and more.
What to bring to Le Carnaval de Québec?
Why your appetite? The carnival also includes the "Bain de Neige" or snow bath. The unique challenge is something unique that you won't soon forget!
When it comes to general outdoor activities and family fun, Mississauga, Ontario is a great choice. There is plenty of great ways to pass the days outside. Some of their most popular activities include tobogganing, snow-shoeing, cross-country skiing, and ice skating. Of course there are also lots of great festivals, events and even indoor activities as well. Just don't forget:
One final note: do not bring any cotton clothing. Cotton (including blue jeans) absorbs moisture and when combined with the cold, snowy Canadian winter, can easily cause hypothermia.
Colors are changing and the temperature is dropping, which means it's time for a quick trip before the winter comes and the holiday season begins.
Want to visit New York City but not sure you want to be in the heart of the chaos? Then the Best Western Plus Robert Treat Hotel in Newark, just a few miles from NYC, is the place for you. This location is especially convenient for road-trippers and people with an RV, as they offer free on-site parking, and there is plenty of public transportation nearby to get you anywhere you want to go. The hotel also boasts the Zagat rated, AAA Three Diamond fine dining restaurant, Maize, as well as plenty of amenities like a fitness center, free Wi-Fi, and free breakfast.
The whiskey bar at the Soho Grand Hotel -- image via mmmeeks
Hotels in NYC don't get much more stylish than the Soho Grand Hotel on West Broadway, where hip and luxury merge in an exquisite example of what a hotel should be. Everything about this hotel from the art to the architecture has been custom designed to perfectly reflect Soho, one of NYC's most iconic neighborhoods. Rooms feature custom furniture and high-end appliances, including an iPad and iPod, both custom loaded with everything you need to make the most of your time in Soho. The hardest part about staying here is leaving the hotel.
Tucked away on the east side of Manhattan in the quiet residential neighborhood of Kips Bay, The Marcel At Gramercy is a quiet, luxurious retreat from the fast pace of life in New York City. Their 136 spacious rooms all come with the finest appliances, linens, and toiletries, and they include a refrigerator, safe, and iHOME docking station. The Marcel also features a delicious restaurant and expansive business center with high-speed Internet that allows you to maximize your time in the city.
A tribute to the Dewey decimal system at the Library Hotel -- image via catherinecronin
Given the name of this boutique hotel, it should be no surprise that The Library Hotel on Madison Avenue features a literary theme. The ten guest floors each represent one of the ten categories of the Dewey decimal system, and the 60 rooms within are each custom furnished with books and artwork representing a particular topic within this category. And, yes, it is even possible to request a theme when making a reservation. One of the hotel's key features is the second floor Reading Room. Open 24 hours a day and offering complimentary snacks, this is a great place to relax with a good book, away from the hustle and bustle of NYC.
When the phrase "modern Manhattan" comes to mind, look no further than Manhattan NYC - An Affinia Hotel, a perfect place to stay for those who want to be at the center of New York's greatest borough. Rooms here are sleek and stylish, each designed by the Rockwell Group, and come in a variety of sizes -- including terrace suites with unparalleled Manhattan skyline views that are perfect for hosting a small gathering.